Labour Conference 2018: This is Corbyn's party and businesses have stopped being dismissive of it

The Labour Party conference, in comparison with the recent past, is a sea of tranquility; Corbyn is in charge of his party and it looks united.

Corbyn is in full command of the Parfty as it prepares for a possible General Election, writes Stuart Thomson
Corbyn is in full command of the Parfty as it prepares for a possible General Election, writes Stuart Thomson

Gone, well largely not attending, are the doubters and nay-sayers. Instead, the party conference is a place where like-minded Corbynistas can came together to discuss how to transform the country.

Even the Momentum ‘World Transformed’ festival now looks more like a ‘complementary’ event rather than a rival.

With the whiff of a General Election in the air, the Labour Party has rediscovered its unity.

However, everyone knows that this is only skin-deep and it will only take a few words out of place for the edifice to come crashing down. The anti-Semitism issue has not gone away, it is merely resting.

The party has benefited from finding an issue it can unite around – Europe.

There is no great level of detail about the party would do, but everyone can agree that the Conservatives are doing a bad job and that Labour would do better.

The party leadership seems to have found a way around the potentially tricky second referendum issue with a classic piece of fudge.

It should, though, be sufficient for the purposes of the leadership in keeping everyone together.

There will, though, in future years, be issues on which the views of the membership and those of the leadership differ.

Usually the leadership wins, especially when the party is in government, and these are the types of challenges that Corbyn, McDonnell and their allies are now almost looking forward to.

It would mean that they are in government and trying to deliver their transformative agenda.

There is not quite the sniffiness or dismissiveness towards Labour under Corbyn that there was a few years back. The last election result put paid to that.

Stuart Thomson, head of public affairs at Bircham Dyson Bell

No-one should be watching or attending this party conference expecting any huge policy announcements.

The party continues to work towards fleshing out the detail and delivery plans for the policies contained in its election manifesto.

That is the platform on which it will fight the next General Election, whether that comes in November, early next year or 2022.

There will be a few snippets of new policies, commissions and reviews announced, but only as the leadership attempts to keep the members motivated and active in advance of an election and keep the media interested.

Businesses know that there will be change, they don’t need this party conference to tell them that.

There is not quite the sniffiness or dismissiveness towards Labour under Corbyn that there was a few years back. The last election result put paid to that.

But there is not a lot of love around. More of a grudging acceptance on all sides.

It is not as though the Conservative Party is exactly ‘business-friendly’ at the moment and it shouldn’t be forgotten that it was Mrs May who promised to put workers on boards.

If an election does not come soon then the party’s fragile coalitions may start to splinter; not least whether to actively fight for a Brexit deal referendum if an election isn’t a realistic prospect.

Corbyn still has work to do to shape the party, not least through internal party reforms, but as it stands he is unassailable.

Stuart Thomson is head of public affairs at Bircham Dyson Bell

Thumbnail image: ©A Davidson/SHM/REX/Shutterstock)

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