Jeremy Corbyn used his first conference speech as Labour Leader to promise the kind of change in society that his supporters want to see.
In run up to the speech, the media focused on the fact that Corbyn was set to emphasise his commitment to “British values”.
But the speech was unashamedly left wing. Corbyn reiterated his opposition to Trident nuclear weapons and war. And he attacked the Tories over austerity and the housing crisis.
Corbyn said Labour had to embrace the “new left movement” that had made his election possible.
Delegates pouring out of the conference hall were overwhelmingly positive.
One of them, Kelly, told Socialist Worker, “It was amazing. It will resonate with so many people. It was funny it was powerful. It was just amazing.”
Another, Karen Cummings, said, “I thought it was excellent. It was better than I expected. I liked that he spoke about helping the poorest in society and refugees.”
Even some people who may not have supported Corbyn seemed like the speech.
One told Socialist Worker, “I thought it was quite old school. I’m not really sure whether it’s the right way to appeal to the electorate.
“But I thought he was good on things such as the Trade Union Bill”
Another, Dave Wallworth, said, “It was what conference wanted to hear. It was something we’ve not heard in a long time. He brought it back to what the party was meant to be for.
“I didn’t expect to like it. I was New Labour – and I’m not afraid to say that. But I liked it. We’re going to show what this party is for.”
And Katy, from York, told Socialist Worker, “I thought it was interesting. It was obviously a lot less stage managed than we’ve seen at previous conferences.
“I thought he could have talked more about policies. But it was good to hear him talk from the heart.”
Others clearly loved it.
Jean from Scotland said, “Fantastic. Brilliant. It brought everybody together. Especially in Scotland – powerful.”
Another told Socialist Worker “I didn’t realise he was an orator. Politicians have a way of saying the same things the same way. But he was different. I can’t wait for more.”
Sam Gillespie said, “It was amazing. The atmosphere in the room was brilliant. I’ve been at a few conferences before. It was so different.”
And Ewan, a student, said, “It was really, really good. The whole message was, things don’t have to be this way – things can change. It was really really powerful.
“For too long politicians and the most powerful people in this country have had their own way. But I think Jeremy is a real source for change.”