The Labour Party is in jubilant mood as it meets for its annual conference

By Bagehot

ABOUT half-way through “Jaws”, Steven Spielberg’s 1975 blockbuster, Sheriff Brody (Roy Schneider) finally catches sight of the giant shark that has been wreaking havoc in the high seas off the New England coast. Horrified and awe-struck, but still holding onto his cigarette, he rushes into his boat’s cabin and tells his ship mate (Robert Shaw) that “you’re going to need a bigger boat”. You only had to spend a few hours at the Labour Party’s annual conference in Brighton to realise that the Tories are going to need a bigger boat if they are to escape from being gobbled up by Jeremy Corbyn’s resurgent Labour Party.

I haven’t seen so much positive political energy since Barack Obama fired up the Democratic base in 2008 with his (retrospectively banal) slogans about “hope and change” and “yes we can”. The Labour Conference is bigger than ever before: 13,000 delegates have signed up and hundreds had to be turned away. The Brighton Metropole, the conference’s main hotel, is seething with people. The mood is jubilant: Labour Party activists parade up and down the sea front as if they are walking on air. Everybody knows who the real victors of last June’s election were. And everybody knows that it is only a matter of time before the Labour Party is once more in Downing Street—and that this time it will be the real Labour Party rather than Tony Blair’s watered-down compromise.

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