At last, it feels like we can.

At last, it feels like we can.

Marc Winsland, 26 - Young Scottish Fabian from Dundee - reflects on his first Conference delegate experience.

Last month's conference wasn't my first Labour Party rodeo.

But it was the first time in a long time (since those long-gone days before the Scottish independence referendum) that I left a political event feeling truly bouyant, confident and (dare I say it...) hopeful. It's a feeling which is both foreign and familiar. It would seem our patience is about to finally pay off.

I was delighted to represent my birth and home city of Dundee as a delegate in my childhood city of Liverpool. It was a chance to visit a great city, catch up with some old friends (and make new ones, of course), and play an active role in our party democracy. As it turns out, this was also the prime opportunity to witness the long-awaited rebirth of the Labour Party as a Government-in-waiting. The sound, sober masterclass in good economics by Rachel Reeves. The punchy blows against sleazy Tories by Angela Rayner. And, of course, the rousing 'speech of a lifetime' by our next Prime Minister, Sir Keir Starmer.

Although I cannot deny my disappointment that the leadership will shelve conference's historic support for electoral reform, it's vastly outweighed by my excitement for the policy platform spelled out by our top team: GB Energy, a Green New Deal, renters' rights, new council homes, public ownership of public transport and so much more. This is the basis of a party which won't just govern for the sake of it - but will fundamentally transform our country for the better. We believe in the good that Government can do. And we're serious about winning power. Because only then can we move from daydreaming to delivering. I know plenty of people who were sceptical about Starmer; they wanted to believe in him, but weren't yet quite convinced. I'm delighted that this conference has turned that around. Many of those people (both inside and, more importantly, outside the party) now agree with what many of us already knew: Starmer is ready and raring to lead our country. For those who may wonder why it 'took so long' for him to set out his stall, I'd argue the timing makes perfect sense: biding his time until an election feels close, and then sharing a fresh narrative at a point in time where: a) people want to hear it, and b) they are more likely to remember it. Plus: he has chosen the right political moment to talk about nationalisation of key services and utilities; to the floating voter, these are now necessary reforms, not idle ideological projects.

On the morning of Starmer's speech, when YouGov published a 17% Labour lead (the first, and smallest, of many commanding leads to come out of conference), I cautioned some fellow delegates that we can't simply rely on an anti-Tory backlash, strong as that may be. We must ride a pro-Labour wave all the way to Downing Street. At long last, it feels like we can.



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All rights reserved, Marc Winsland - edited by YSF Chair, Mr A. Walker Stewart.

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