Has centre ground moved Jeremy Corbyn's way?

Jeremy Corbyn speaking in Brighton Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Jeremy Corbyn speaking in Brighton, closing the Labour conference

What do Jeremy Corbyn and George Osborne have in common? Yes, read that sentence again. They are not exactly fellow travellers. But, believe it or not, on conference platforms they made almost identical claims.

The former chancellor, in 2015, claimed the Tories had created a "new centre ground", believing that after the crash, the case for reducing the country's debt, and shrinking the state, had been won.

The Labour leader, who has been arguing all week for a much more statist society, today said that after the crash, the fabled centre ground has moved to the left, "certainly not where it was twenty or thirty years ago". His claim was "we are now the political mainstream".

For many months this has been Team Corbyn's analysis. But it is their advance in June's election that has given them the confidence now to express it. For a leader who, for years, was on the fringes of his own party, it is quite something to behold.

In this hall, in this city this week, he has proved beyond doubt that the vast majority of Labour members, the new influx, think he is right. But there are some nerves. Divisions in the party are much diminished, but have not completely disappeared.

Jeremy Corbyn has changed - grown in stature. Labour has transformed under his leadership, energised by the hopes of his legions of supporters.

Yet even inside this confident bubble there is an awareness that the leadership can't count on that vigour forever, nor rely on the excitement you can see and feel here being enough to send him to No 10.

Just as George Osborne had hopes that his new centre ground would get him there, there are no guarantees.

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