Any controversy over Sadiq Khan’s right to speak at Conference was instantly dispelled as the London Mayor endorsed Jeremy Corbyn in a remarkably unifying speech.
Khan labelled the Labour leader “King of Glastonbury and King of Grime” thanking him for instilling the spirit of optimism now found in the party.
The news that tax-evading taxi company Addison Lee have followed Uber in having its London licence revoked – under pressure from trade union GMB – provided the relevant air for Khan to also praise the work of trade unionists that had worked tirelessly to achieve four new London Labour MPs.
Khan also referenced the grassroots campaign group integral to Corbyn’s unprecedented success, saying the Labour party is:
on the march, on the up and has momentum on its side
The many pointers to the successes of Labour’s left, coming from the Blairite mayor, put the idea of factions in the party on the backburner. This speech was in resolute solidarity with Corbyn and his leftwing policies.
Recently installed Kensington MP Emma Dent Coad was singled out specifically for her work with families of the Grenfell Tower tragedy, with Khan then lauding London’s emergency services and transport staff as “heroes” and “beacons of hope” after a grueling summer of terrorist attacks in the capital.
Conversely, Theresa May was told she should be “utterly ashamed” with her party’s year on year funding cuts meaning a billion pounds less for the police.
Khan branded the traditional view of the Tories as the party of law and order “a sick joke”, noting the absurdity of there being fewer, more poorly-paid emergency services when the demand for them has never been greater.
Khan also championed that a Corbyn-led Labour government would reverse this situation and “deliver what the emergency services deserve” with an immediate increase in real term funding.
Khan espoused how Labour councils were lighting the way to more peaceable society through investing in community cohesion as well as through regaining trust in the police force through policies of transparency.
A success in cohesion analogous with the Labour Party itself.
In stark contrast to this comradery on display at the Labour Conference, next week’s Tory equivalent is shaping up to be something of a fractious affair.
As the party is pulled in opposite directions due to Brexit intentions, the situation in camp is less disarray and more on the verge of tearing itself apart.
Prior to Theresa May’s Florence speech, Boris Johnson was accused of behaving so out of line that many described him as essentially asking to be sacked. The day following May’s speech, warring members of the cabinet were carefully choreographed so as to exit Downing Street accompanied by their respective nemesis. It was an attempt to demonstrate reconciliation.
It was an effort that proved an embarrassingly unconvincing gloss job; its superficiality playing out in the ensuing days since, as prominent Tory MPs fall over themselves to undermine their fragile, impotent leader.
McDonnell and Thornberry livened up the Labour Conference with some well-placed, astute humour. But many will be laughing for very different reasons at the Tory Conference next week.
You can watch Sadiq Khan’s unifying speech below:
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