The bell tolls for Corbyn’s leadership, but where are Labour’s centrists?
As Spud puts it in the Trainspotting sequel: first there is an opportunity, and then there is a betrayal. Whoever leaked Labour focus group pollingon the shadow cabinet’s rising stars to the Sunday Times – allegedly the party’s ousted elections chief, Jon Trickett – intended to capitalise fully on Jeremy Corbyn’s embarrassment last week over Brexit, the undermining of his authority by frontbench rebels and his woeful position in the latest opinion polls.
It is no exaggeration to say that the Tories cannot quite believe what is happening to the opposition. In the words of one of the prime minister’s closest allies: “I sometimes rub my eyes and think I’m dreaming.” The emotions that Labour’s collapse triggers in No 10 are more nuanced than you might think. Every government needs an opposition that it is at least minimally viable against which to define itself and with which to scare the electorate.