THE comrade next to me just couldn’t help himself.

As John McDonnell went through his conference ritual of pressing every Socialist button he could find, my neighbour, miraculously, received an electric shock each time and jumped up enthusiastically. He clapped, he cheered, he whooped and whistled.

First it was Clause 4; “to secure for the workers, by hand or by brain, the full fruits of their industry”. Remember this was the one which Tony B changed to entrench New Labour’s commitment to economic dynamism.

“I say the Clause 4 principles are as relevant today as they were back then,” declared Red John. Comrade X shouted: “Yes, yes, yes,” and clapped loudly.

The Shadow Chancellor praised the Archbishop of Canterbury - not an everyday occurrence - who got into a spot of bother after calling zero hours contracts “evil”; it emerged some Anglican churches were advertising the very same.

Justin Welby got it in the neck from the right-wing press but Red John had some soothing words for the archbish: “When they get round to calling you a Marxist, I’ll give you some tips on how to handle it.”

Next up was giving workers a shareholding in their companies and the creation of a social dividend to help fund public services. Comrade X hollered his support.

Then came the N-word; the nationalisation of water, energy, the Royal Mail and the railways. My neighbour was by now jumping up and down with delight.

After hitting out at the banking fat cats, it was onto Brexit and the chance for Red John to send an electric shock throughout the entire conference hall.

Noting how he was not going to lower expectations, the wannabe Chancellor declared to a wave of applause: “The greater the mess we inherit, the more radical we have to be.” By now Comrade X needed a glass of water.

But the peak of my neighbour’s enthusiasm was about to be hit when the Labour chief mentioned how the Tories were supposedly drawing up secret plans for a quick general election. “So, the message from this conference is,” declared Red John: “bring it on!”

The electric current shot out from the podium and Comrade X punched the air repeatedly as the conference hall erupted.

After visiting Anfield at the weekend, it was perhaps inevitable that Red John, the son of a Liverpool docker, would go one step further and quote the footballing legend Bill Shankly.

He declared: “Whenever the General Election comes, we are ready. Ready to campaign for victory, ready for Government, ready to build the future. And you know, like Bill Shankly, we’ll be proud to call that future: Socialism.”

Strangely, at this point my neighbour stood completely silent as the hall erupted. It seemed clear; Comrade X was an Evertonian.