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Starmer sketches out his route to victory but is he winning over support in Kent?

Party leaders and their aides spend days fine-tuning the speech that will define whether the conference has been a success or a damp squib.

It is true they are important statements and the challenge is to balance the needs of two audiences: the party faithful in the hall and the uncommitted out in the real world.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer making his keynote carried on with his speech after the glitter disruption (Peter Byrne/PA)
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer making his keynote carried on with his speech after the glitter disruption (Peter Byrne/PA)

Oh and a third audience - the now compulsory protester who ambushes the leader and chucks a load of glitter over their jacket.

Sir Keir just about managed to achieve this balance even when he declared he would build 1.5m houses over five years and would allow development on the green belt - in one fell swoop, he contrived to spread alarm among the Tory shires and triggered much indignant coughing and spluttering.

It is not the language that is necessarily the most important aspect of a speech; more the mood music that goes with it.

Still, there was no mistaking the pledge to build - not least because it was also used to articulate his vision of a decade of renewal.

In fact, it was sometimes hard to keep up with his chronological countdown, as the PM in waiting talked about fixing “tomorrow’s challenges today.”

Or was it fixing today’s challenges tomorrow?

In other passages, he set out how Labour would “build back a better Britain” which you couldn’t really disagree with because it doesn’t mean anything.

Who, after all, would pledge to leave Britain as it is and not tinker with anything?

He managed to push all the right buttons for the party faithful, especially when he declared that “the fire of change still burns in Britain and it lives on in Labour” - a stirringly vacuous declaration.

On the issue of small boats crossings, he was rather parsimonious with policy details - possibly because his explanation of the party’s policy went down so badly when he unveiled it before conference recently.

Was it enough to win over floating voters in Kent ‘s Tory-dominated shires in the same way Tony Blair did? The answer to that is we will find out next year.

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