AMIDST the tumult of UK politics this week where respect seemed to have become contaminated by loathing something restorative also emerged. The long hidden firmaments separating right from left, socialism from capitalism, became visible once more.

These were once sharply-defined points on Britain’s political landscape by which you could set your moral compass. Then the age of Margaret Thatcher dawned and with it the worship of consumerism where a fire-sale of British assets lasting three decades created a new class of millionaires and Tory party donors. Thus, getting rich quickly and easily was regarded as a virtue and ordinary people denied the access codes saw the lights go out in their communities.

The Labour Party, which had once championed these neighbourhoods, simply gave up the ghost, retiring wounded from the eternal fray after seeing the 1992 election slip from their grasp when it had seemed theirs for the taking. This reversal was the most grievous cut of all as it seemed to signal that its own people had become mesmerised and duped by the bribes of right-to-buy and a few hundred quid from Sid at British Gas.

Capitalism had won and there seemed nothing else for it but to fall in behind and loosen the bonds of Clause IV and the dreams of making the profits of industry flow to the many and not the few. The Labour party, primped up and gentrified under Tony Blair was a wretched facsimile of the movement which brought the British people homes fit for habitation, free healthcare and access to university education. This one was all about appeasing high finance and the banks by withdrawing scrutiny of their misdeeds and quietly permitting Mrs Thatcher’s anti-trade union measures to ride.

Socialism, long reviled by the right for giving the masses a glimpse of something glorious, became something pernicious and anti-patriotic once more under Mr Blair and his acolytes whose guiding principles were cashed in for a portfolio of city non-execs and the brush of ermine.

In Parliament this week the left, glimpsing perhaps the downfall of a sitting Tory Prime Minister, made a graven idol of an elderly lady with a spider brooch. Later they rose up in righteous fury because Boris Johnson used words like ‘surrender’ and ‘humbug’ to dismiss calls that he apologise for unlawfully proroguing parliament.

This would have comforted a Tory regime which has overseen a one-sided austerity experiment; a hostile environment for immigrants and refugees and tax cuts for the UK’s most affluent citizens and corporations. Across the UK and especially in its poorest communities thousands of families continue to suffer the effects of Mrs Thatcher’s social engineering.

Yet here was the left being side-tracked once more, this time by the mere sounds of right-wing contempt. In future, they may come to regret that this contrived outrage at robust and plain speech from the Conservatives may undermine any attempts to express their own justifiable anger over Tory attacks on the people they purport to represent.

The confetti of their outrage, conveniently for the Tories, masked the messages coming out of the most important Labour Party conference in generations. At Brighton this week the party delivered several crucial policy statements that signalled to its wider membership that delivering for the many and not the few is more than just a slogan.

The move to reclaim an authentic Clause IV, the momentous declaration that gives this movement its entire moral purpose, was long overdue. Before the advent of Thatcherism and the concept of profit-before-people, Clause IV was regarded as a reasonable aspiration for working class people who had been forbidden to share in the profits of their labour.

“To secure for the workers by hand or by brain the full fruits of their industry and the most equitable distribution thereof that may be possible upon the basis of the common ownership of the means of production, distribution and exchange and the best obtainable system of popular administration and control of each industry or service.”

This was a challenge to inequality and thus came to be hated by a Tory party that has always thrived on greed and corruption. Thereafter, they relied on the owners of Britain’s mass circulation newspapers – their former chums at Eton and Oxford – to treat this message like a contagion.

The Labour conference also pledged to dismantle the UK’s private school system, the principal means by which its advocates ensure that fairness is always kept at a safe distance and that unearned wealth will always triumph over hard work and natural ability. Their adoption of a suite of SNP measures to help our most vulnerable citizens and already embedded in Scotland’s social contracts simply underpinned the return to its most sacred values.

There’s a perverse reassurance to be had in observing the behaviour of Boris Johnson at this point when Labour has re-discovered its soul. The Prime Minister has been rebuked by some on his own side for fostering an extreme form of Toryism by casting overboard those who refuse to give him total fealty. He believes himself above the law and treats the UK’s democratic institutions with contempt. Accusations of corruption and conflicts of interest seem to embolden him.

This has always been the Tory way; this is their Clause IV: “to deny the workers the full fruits of their industry and by any means necessary – legal or illegal – exerting control over each industry or service.” What party did these ‘moderate’ Tories think they were signing up for? Just as Jeremy Corbyn is re-acquainting Labour with its core values so Mr Johnson is embracing once more the most cherished principles of Conservatism. For the first time in a generation our two main parties are playing the roles originally assigned to them by the constituencies they were sworn to protect. Let honest battle now commence.

Brexit must and will happen because a clear majority of English voters committed themselves to it in a clearly-defined campaign. This also offers a stark reminder to Scots that on the most serious issues affecting their future their votes simply do not matter under our current constitutional arrangements.