Corbyn’s ‘commonsense socialism’ is creating real change

Jeremy Corbyn arrived on stage in Liverpool yesterday to ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’. It’s not a theme familiar to Theresa Mayhem’s party

CROYDON COMMENTARY: The Labour Party’s annual conference ended in Liverpool with progress being made, writes DAVID WHITE

“I am a socialist and one day so will the Labour Party be.”

Those were the words of Donald Soper, the Methodist minister, socialist and pacifist. If he were around today, I think he would have enjoyed Labour’s 2018 Conference in the great city of Liverpool.

Jeremy Corbyn’s standing among Labour Party activists is stronger than ever. His ideas of “commonsense socialism” and his honesty and decency have struck a chord with many voters.

His detractors in the Labour Party, the Chuka Umunnas and the Margaret Hodges, mostly didn’t show their faces in Liverpool. They have declining support in the party, despite what the right-wing media would have us believe.

Corbyn’s end-of-conference speech was received rapturously. The speech lasted 59 minutes, of which approximately 16 minutes was taken up by standing ovations.

By way of contrast, and to get an idea of what the right of the party is saying and thinking, I went to a rally of the Progress organisation on Sunday. It was held in a museum.

It was an odd meeting. At one stage the lights went out. Another time there were loud ghostly noises, which I think came from museum staff trying out a sound system in another part of the building. Most significantly, Progress had virtually no new policy ideas.

Croydon Central MP Sarah Jones (left, at a conference fringe meeting), has a rapidly rising profile in the Labour Party

Croydon was well-represented at the Liverpool Conference. Sarah Jones, the MP for Croydon Central, was name-checked by Corbyn in his speech. He said be looked forward to her being Housing Minister in a Labour Government.

Referencing the 200-year anniversary of he Peterloo massacre of 1819 and the fight for workers’ rights, he noted  that a Sarah Jones was among those martyred. He promised the Croydon MP wouldn’t suffer the same fate!

The chair of the Croydon Central Constituency Labour Party, Joyce Reid, spoke in the education debate. It was a passionate call for society not to neglect young people.

Croydon resident Marc Wadsworth, who has been expelled from the Labour Party in what many regard as unfair circumstances, spoke at a meeting on combating racism. He received strong support for his cause from MPs Clive Lewis and Chris Williamson, and others.

From my point of view there were some disappointments at the conference. The National Executive Committee had watered down proposals for MPs to face a selection process in every Parliament, and reducing the hurdles which future leadership candidates have to overcome to get on the ballot. Proposals for reform of local government matters, including proposals for election of leaders of Labour groups by the members of the party in the area concerned, were deferred until next year. Nevertheless, progress has been made.

When this conference is looked at in a few years’ time, what will be seen as the most significant development? I think it might be Keir Starmer’s statement about Brexit. He said that if Theresa May doesn’t achieve a Brexit deal that satisfies Labour’s six tests, and if we can’t secure a General Election, there should be a public vote and, “Nobody is ruling out Remain as an option.” Whether this will turn out to be a wise reflection of changing public mood on Brexit, or something which leads millions of voters to feel they’ve been betrayed, remains to be seen.

Next week we’ll see the Tories wrestling with Brexit at their conference in Birmingham. If Theresa May comes out of that with as much support and affection as Corbyn now enjoys in his party, she will have done well.

  • David White, pictured right, is the secretary of Croydon Central CLP, and is writing in a personal capacity

  • Inside Croydon is a member of the Independent Community News Network
  • Inside Croydon is the borough’s only independent news source. Still here, after eight years, based in the heart of Croydon
  • “Monitored” by the council CEO since 2010
  • ROTTEN BOROUGH AWARDS 2017: Inside Croydon was source for two award-winning nominations in Private Eye magazine’s annual celebration of civic cock-ups
  • If you have a news story about life in or around Croydon, a residents’ or business association or a local event to publicise, please email us with full details at

About insidecroydon

News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email
This entry was posted in Croydon Central, David White, Education, Housing, Sarah Jones MP and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Corbyn’s ‘commonsense socialism’ is creating real change

  1. Libertas says:

    Is this article supposed to be a joke?

  2. David Wickens says:

    The problem that most parties have is that their members/activists support policies that they genuinely believe in but in many cases are unlikely to receive enough support from the electorate at large.

    UKIP gained support for its policy of leaving the EU but is now a shell of its former self as it has no credible policies that people will support.

  3. dickb4925 says:

    It’s easy to promise people everything. Quite another to deliver it, let alone pay for it. I don’t see Corbyn’s lot being able to do either.

    • Not familiar with Labour’s fully costed manifesto from last year then, eh, Dick?

      • dickb4925 says:

        I read that and smiled. Creative accounting at it’s best. Gives a new meaning to double entry book-keeping.

        • “Double-entry book-keeping”, presumably you’d prefer it done by the Big Five consultancy firms who have profited so much from outsourced austerity over the past eight years, during which time the deficit has doubled?

          The For the Many, Not the Few manifesto is a really interesting set of commonsense economic proposals which would be recognisable to Wilson, Attlee and Roosevelt. You really ought to try reading it.

  4. dickb4925 says:

    I didn’t say I was happy with the status quo. Far from it. But equally this is no time for idealistic experiments which we can ill afford.

    I’m sensing we’ll just have to agree to disagree on this one.:-)

    • Idealistic experiments such as Gideon Osborne’s austerity, which has failed the ordinary working people of this country so miserably for the past eight years?

      Or haven’t you heard of economist John Maynard Keynes? His policies, largely reflected in the 2017 Labour manifesto, were used in the New Deal in the United States in the 1930s and formed the basis for the Bretton Woods agreement which secured financial stability in post-war Europe. Idealistic? Possibly. But certainly not experimental.

Leave a Reply