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LABOUR has captured the zeitgeist in Britain with popular policies that has helped shift left-wing politics into the mainstream, Jeremy Corbyn said today.
The Labour leader told delegates in his keynote speech at conference that the words were not his but former Tory Treasury minister Lord O’Neill’s.
“I’ve never sought to capture the mood of a Tory minister before, but let me say to His Lordship: you’re welcome, come and join us in the new political mainstream,” Mr Corbyn said.
He argued that the British people have become disillusioned after realising that the “deregulated financial capitalism” that led to the banking crisis a decade ago is no longer the “only way to run a modern economy.”
Mr Corbyn warned that a vacuum of “radical solutions” to build Britain back up again and provide public services and jobs that work alongside automation and technological advances will result in the far right and those that pander to them to “fill the gap with the politics of blame and division.”
He reiterated Labour’s extensive plans for more and better jobs, including putting workers on company boards, targets to eliminate carbon emissions by 2050 to result in 400,000 additional roles in a “green jobs revolution” and to fight for a Brexit deal that would protect people’s livelihood and status as British citizens and residents.
Mr Corbyn addressed allegations of anti-semitism within the party while he condemned the Tories for their hypocrisy for having used them as weapons against Labour.
At the same time, the government under Prime Minister Theresa May is being praised by the Hungarian far-right Islamophobic government led by Viktor Orban.
He also pointed out that Islamophobia is rife within the Conservative Party and slammed former foreign secretary Boris Johnson for his “dog-whistle jibes” against Muslim women, as well as the Windrush scandal caused by the Prime Minister when she was home secretary.
He said: “The row over anti-semitism has caused immense hurt and anxiety in the Jewish community and great dismay in the Labour Party. But I hope we can work together to draw a line under it.
“I say this to all in the Jewish community: This party, this movement, will always be implacable campaigners against anti-semitism and racism in all its forms. We are your ally.
“We will work with Jewish communities to eradicate anti-semitism, both from our party and wider society.
“And with your help I will fight for that with every breath I possess.”
He also reiterated that, unlike the Tories, Labour is not funded by “a dodgy donor or a shady businessmen’s club” and that members’ contributions mean that he doesn’t have to resort to “playing tennis with an oligarch” to keep the party running.
Mr Corbyn said: “Our money comes from hundreds of thousands of people across our country who believe in what we stand for ... Labour trades in hope for the many, not favours for the few.”
Unite general secretary Len McCluskey described Mr Corbyn’s speech as “inspiring.”
He said: “We heard a Labour leader draw a very clear line under the failed policies of the past, policies that have caused despair and division in our communities, and then set out a distinctive, different, positive Labour programme for the country.
“People watching at home will have heard something very new. They will be hearing a leader say that his party, the Labour Party, will put their interests front and centre.
“Decent jobs, strong and secure public services, humane treatment for the vulnerable in our society, a future for our children that we can all be proud of.
“Above all, they will have heard a prime minister-in-waiting, one that is leading the only party capable of putting their interests and that of the country first — and that party is Labour.
“The game is up, Theresa May. You and your party are a busted flush.
“If you have one shred of decency left, you’ll do the right thing — call a general election and give this country and its people the hope of a better future.”
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