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Things are getting better...

I’ve attended every Labour conference since 2010 and have seen just about every emotion from delegates and party staffers along the way. The year 2022 will go down as completely different to any of the other eleven..

I’m not someone who gets swept away in opinion polls or latest fads. Friends and MPs will tell you that I am often cynical about polling or the real indication of a by-election result. But what is now completely indisputable after this week, is that it is clear that if the opportunity arose, Labour could genuinely govern and could do so competently and confidently.

Here’s my key takeaways from Liverpool:

Shadow Chancellor

The Shadow Chancellor is impressive. As a former Bank of England economist herself, Rachel Reeves knows what she is doing and it is clear that she thinks deeply about structural economic issues. Business and the City trust her and the direct comparison with the disastrous start of Kwasi Kwarteng is helpful for her..

Businesses are back

As any party conference 'goer' will attest, it is the post-11pm talks in the bar that really set the tone for conference and what is happening. Is there a buzz? Who is showing their face? Is it just the same old crowd?

What was clear from this year is that a large number of the delegates and attendees were in fact businesses attending the Labour Party conference for either the first time ever, or certainly the first time for a decade.

A large number of businesses and delegates told me that they only booked their tickets to come to conference when Liz Truss was confirmed as the new Prime Minister. There were even some that had booked to come after the mini-budget on Friday. The business community and private sector is losing trust and confidence in the government, rapidly.

Businesses want a relationship with key Labour MPs and Special Advisers who could be running government departments at any moment. Lots of new people were attending conference and building those vital links. Jonathan Reynolds Industrial Strategy was a major hit, as was the focus on green growth and technology.

Keir Starmer is a Prime Minister in waiting

Keir Starmer delivered the speech of his life.

He looked the part and sounded the part. Keir looked and sounded totally confident and focused throughout all 5 days of the conference. He is developing a real presence that Prime Minister's need in order to succeed.

As one of the most eminent legal minds of his generation, Keir already has the intellect to be Prime Minister. A comparison between the intellectual capacity of Starmer and Truss is like comparing the quality of football in the Champions League with League 2.

Now Keir is showing he also has the personality and command to take Labour into government. After a torturous 2 years of sorting out the party - not all of which was sexy or newsworthy - Labour has rid itself of the internal squabbling, hard left distraction that was the Corbyn-era. The party is now very much Keir Starmer’s party and he is developing sensible, centre ground policies to win.

After an impressive response to HM The Queen's passing and his strongest ever conference season, LOTO (Leader of the Opposition's office) will be buoyed.

The media are clueless

The media don’t know how to handle this new Labour Party.

Still we see nonsense questions like on Sky News this morning asking Labour MPs if Jeremy Corbyn will be in the cabinet. Corbyn isn’t even a Labour Party MP. And at a time when the government is crashing the British economy, it’s clear that the media needs to up its game.

Next week, we turn our focus to the Conservative Conference in Birmingham, which will be interesting. Lobbyists attending next week are already receiving briefings that the end is close for Truss. It is worth remembering that the new PM hasn't been in post for a month yet, and this is supposed to be the honeymoon period. Her first major policy moment has been a car crash. She needs to pull several rabbits out of several hats next week in order to keep the show on the road and letters away from the 1922...


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