Jeremy Corbyn was amongst associates. He likes Brighton and he likes the commerce unions.
He’s from the unions. His first job was with a commerce union; NUPE, now a part of Unison.
And, for good measure, the climate in Brighton on the day of his huge Trades Union Congress (TUC) speech right here was completely superb.
His first Labour convention as get together chief, in 2015, was in Brighton and he informed me then that it was his favorite convention city.
And not like Tony Blair, who considered his visits to the TUC as a unpleasant chore, Mr Corbyn enjoys the firm of commerce union leaders.
These days the leaders of most of the huge unions are extra left-wing than their predecessors.
They are additionally staunch Corbyn allies; comparable to Len McCluskey of Unite, his chief cheerleader in the union motion, Dave Ward of the Communication Workers Union, and Mark Serwotka of the PCS, who is that this yr’s TUC president.
When Mr Blair was Labour chief it was claimed that when he spoke at the TUC or the get together’s Scottish convention he was so determined to get away shortly that he requested his driver to go away the car engine working.
A joke, clearly, however Mr Blair did say when he introduced in 2006 that he was quitting: “The next TUC conference next week will be my last, probably to the relief of both of us.”
Mr Corbyn, on the different hand, like his left-wing ally John McDonnell, has been coming to the TUC for years, talking at fringe conferences in help of strikes and marches and declaring solidarity with left-wing governments and staff’ struggles throughout the world.
So it was no shock that Mr Corbyn got here right here with a common election most likely solely weeks away and promised his union associates “the biggest extension of rights for workers that our country has ever seen”.
He promised a brand new Ministry of Employment Rights; repealing the Tory commerce union legal guidelines inside 100 days of Labour taking workplace; a dwelling wage of no less than £10 per hour for all staff from the age of 16; motion on the gender pay hole; equal rights for all staff from day one; the finish of zero-hour contracts; and no extra working till 75 earlier than getting a pension.
The unions have been campaigning towards zero-hour contracts for years and Mr Corbyn gained loud cheers and an prompt standing ovation for his pledge to abolish them.
He additionally promised a Workers Protection Agency with “real teeth” and the energy to prosecute corporations that pay lower than the minimal wage; staff on firm boards; and a 10% stake in giant corporations for staff, with a dividend of up to £500 a yr.
Mr Corbyn’s Tory opponents will little question declare he was handing out the goodies to his commerce union associates in return for them bank-rolling Labour’s common election marketing campaign.
After his speech Mr Corbyn did spend 90 minutes in a gathering of a bunch referred to as TULO, the Trade Union and Labour Party Liaison Organisation, whose members embody his shut ally Mr McCluskey.
It was all very pleasant and comradely, an actual love-in. In the outdated days we might have had talked about beer and sandwiches and smoke-filled rooms.
Not now. Mr Corbyn does not drink beer and smoking in venues like the Brighton Centre, the place Labour’s convention takes place in a fortnight, is strictly unlawful.
In his speech right here, Mr Corbyn mentioned “a general election is coming”, however Labour wouldn’t permit Boris Johnson to dictate the phrases.
Labour’s precedence was to cease a no-deal Brexit after which to set off a common election, he mentioned.
“And I can tell you this: we’re ready for that election,” Mr Corbyn added. “We’re prepared to unleash the greatest people-powered marketing campaign we have ever seen.
“And in that election we are going to commit to a public vote with a reputable possibility to go away and the possibility to stay.”
So not solely did Mr Corbyn tell the unions what they needed to hear on staff’ rights, but additionally on an EU referendum as properly.
He additionally delighted his commerce union viewers by attacking their favorite pantomime villains, Donald Trump and Jacob Rees-Mogg.
“A no-deal Brexit is really a Trump deal Brexit,” he mentioned, “leading to a one-sided US trade deal negotiated from a position of weakness.”
And later Mr Corbyn mentioned: “I’m informed that the final decade has seen the greatest squeeze on wages since the Napoleonic Wars.
“Personally I am unable to do not forget that far again. So I attempted to contact Jacob Rees-Mogg this morning to verify.
“But he was fast asleep again… on the government benches.”
Mr Rees-Mogg, the new chief of the Commons, is a favorite Corbyn goal.
At Labour’s convention in Liverpool final yr, delegates booed loudly when Mr Corbyn talked about him.
So I count on we’ll hear him lampoon him once more in his speech to his get together right here in a fortnight.
Labour activists love Mr Corbyn. But left-wing union delegates right here probably love him much more.
Especially when he tells them what they want to hear on staff’ rights.