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Why Corbyn is Thatcher's heir

Like Margaret Thatcher, Jeremy Corbyn has kept faith with life-long political convictions. Credit: PA

That was the most socialist and longest speech by a British political leader on the brink of power any of us can remember.

Jeremy Corbyn doubled down on his left-wing manifesto for the last General Election - because of his conviction that the centre of gravity in British politics has shifted in his direction.

He also stuck two 68-year-old fingers up to power and the establishment; he warned housebuilders that undeveloped land would be taxed and even expropriated; he told landlords they face rent controls; he repeated his pledge to nationalise the energy, water and railway companies; he taunted the editor of the Daily Mail that his paper's personal attacks on him were in practice doing Labour a favour.

Jeremy Corbyn set the world to rights in his 90-minute address. Credit: PA

Trade unions would regain their lost powers and gain more. Companies would pay more tax so that people could acquire the skills needed to cope with the industrial challenges set by robotics and artificial intelligence.

Council tenants would not have their estates redeveloped unless they agreed in a ballot. The gender pay gap would be closed.

Arms sales to Saudi Arabia would be stopped. Pressure would be put on Israel to agree to a "genuine two state solution" of its conflict with Palestinians.

Jeremy Corbyn enjoyed the festival atmosphere at the conference. Credit: PA

As for terrorism, it is "thriving in a world our governments have helped to shape, with its failed states, military interventions and occupations, where millions are forced to flee conflict or hunger".

And the boot was put into Trump, for not behaving like a proper world leader, for good measure.

This was probably the best delivered and crafted of any he has given (which, to be frank, is not saying much - oratory and Corbynism are not hand in glove).

The Labour mob loved and worshipped him, in what was more religious festival than traditional conference.

Margaret Thatcher became the dominant force of British politics in the 1980s. Credit: PA

It was 90 minutes of putting the world to rights by a politician who has largely occupied the same political space for 50 years. He was true to himself, as he normally is, in a way that is unusual for a politician at the top.

In that narrow sense - and whisper it softly - he is Thatcher's heir.

He thinks the mountain, the British people, have at last migrated to him - that the huge surge Labour enjoyed in the election was just the start, not a flash in the pan of a dire Tory campaign.

Tony Blair sold his vision of Britain to Labour's conference in 1997. Credit: PA

If he's right, we've just heard a speech as important as those by Blair in the 90s and Thatcher in the 70s that presaged a reshaping of our discourse and lives.

But truthfully these shifts are easier to see in the rear view mirror than through the front windscreen.