Liam Halligan: Are labour now closer to power?

Liam Halligan: Are labour now closer to power?
on the money 2909
Liam Halligan

By Liam Halligan

Published: 29/09/2021

- 14:05

Updated: 29/09/2021

- 14:38

Has the party done enough to convince voters?

Now, I AM just back from Labour’s party conference in Brighton. And what struck me listening to the speeches, talking to shadow ministers and other delegates is what nearly always strikes me when I go to party conferences as a journalist – be they Labour, Conservative or whatever else.

That is, party conferences are nearly all about internal procedure, political infighting and intra-party rivalries. And, true to form, I’m afraid most of what happened was about internal discussion rather than speaking to the outside world.

At least some shadow ministers, given their moment in the media sun, could have used their platform speeches to spend at least a bit of time addressing the UK’s fuel crisis – which is now a very serious, economy-threatening phenomenon.

Given the huge lack of leadership on this issue from the actual government, it was an open goal, but Labour failed to put the ball in the back of the net.

Having said that, I do think Starmer’s Labour party made progress in Brighton. The announcement by Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves that Labour would abolish business rates was, as I said on Monday, a very important announcement. Seeing off demands for a £15 minimum wage, while defending a £10 minimum, was a reasonable and responsible thing to do.

Plus, Starmer pushed arcane but important rule tweaks through party conference which will stymie Parliamentary hardliners, preventing another Corbynista leadership bid. And in his leader’s speech, which we just heard, the Labour leader did indeed mention the fuel situation - if only in passing.

So what does it all amount to. And what does it mean for us – ordinary voters, ordinary workers, ordinary men and women. And that’s your On The Money question today. After the party’s annual conference in Brighton, “Is Labour now closer to power?”

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