Corbyn puts focus on winning power to deliver “socialism of the 21st century”

28th September, 2016 4:49 pm

jeremy-corbyn-conference-speech

Jeremy Corbyn today presented his vision for “socialism of the 21st century”, as he used his first conference speech since being re-elected Labour leader to flesh out his offer to voters.

While Corbyn said he appreciated there is an”electoral mountain” for Labour to climb, he stressed that power is “Labour’s goal” as he put the party on a general election footing.

A more assured speech from the leader than last year saw him tackle some of the criticisms that have been made about him over the last 12 months. As well as a focus on the importance of winning power, he also provided a more detailed policy platform and unequivocally condemned anti-Semitism as “evil”.

Although he did make pleas for unity within the party, most of the speech was more outward-looking as he set out a policy platform to fight the election on.

He has even earned praise from some of his most ardent critics within the Parliamentary Labour Party, with John Woodcock tweeting that he had shown a “firm direction” for the party.

Among the policy detail was an explanation of his plans to fund investment in education

“Investment in capital must include investment in human capital, the skilled workers needed to make our economy a success,” Corbyn said. “So this is the deal Labour will offer to business.

“To help pay for a National Education Service, we will ask you pay a little more in tax.

“We’ve already started to set out some of this, pledging to raise corporation tax by less than 1.5 percent to give an Education Maintenance Allowance to college students and grants to university students so that every young learner can afford to support themselves as they develop skills and get qualifications.”

Speaking directly to the business community, who he has been accused of neglecting in the past, Corbyn promised to ensure that good employers are not undercut by those avoiding paying full tax.

“I also pledge to good businesses that we will clamp down those that dodge their taxes you should not be undercut by those that don’t play by the rules”, he said. “There is nothing more unpatriotic than not paying your taxes it is an act of vandalism, damaging our NHS, damaging older people’s social care, damaging younger people’s education. So a Labour government will make shabby tax avoidance a thing of the past.”

Corbyn walked out to a prolonged standing ovation from the conference hall, and his more assured performance was met with several rounds of applause, including mention of Shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner and his apology for the war in Iraq.

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