A mate of mine was involved in Boris Johnson's visit to Manchester on Saturday (from the Manchester civic side) and had one very clear message that he took away. Labour is screwed, he surmised. Johnson is in campaign mode, he was very, very good and if he delivers Brexit, Labour is out for two terms. It just layered on yet more evidence that this isn't a government, but a campaign. The old Vote Leave gang, back in business with the single aim of delivering Brexit. The speeches, the roadshows, the meeting today with Nicola Sturgeon, it's all just a show. All of that and everything else isn't even a dead cat, it's a dead duck, a dead parrot. A dead democracy.
Professionally I've been looking out for the announcements of various ministerial briefs. I'm wasting my time, there are no ministers. There are Johnson allies around the cabinet table with no actual work to do. People analysing that Gavin Williamson (or is it Grant Shapps?) might do something in Education is for the birds. Will Esther McVey (or is that Michael Green?) build more houses? None of it matters. He's brought his brother back to Higher Education, which isn't a bad result for the sector, but the chances of actions being taken over the Augar Review this year are slim to none.
There will be no votes in parliament, no government business, no reform agendas. Just Brexit.
Labour literally has no plan to confront this. Labour's core leadership is entirely focused on changing the make up of the Parliamentary Labour Party. All over the country Momentum activists are mobilising to get rid of their MPs via trigger ballots and deselection contests. It is time consuming and energy sapping for activists, it is distracting for MPs. Don't expect sensible compromises and cross party working from those Labour MPs, they are too terrified of the knock.
And those who pledged to 'stay and fight' over anti-semitism are meekly posing with Jeremy and his true believers in photos, sounding for all the world like hostages.
|and the scowl - complete with eyeroll and sneer|
Corbyn isn't even trying to pretend he cares about the issue any more. His disgraceful interview with Sophy Ridge on Sky News showed that. The aggressive eye roll and sneer he reserves for female interviewers who make him uncomfortable, and the general message that it's no more than a few people dipping into it by mistake.
All Labour's outriders and useful idiots have had to say this weekend has been to launch further attacks on the straw man construct of the 'centrists' who they believe have enabled Boris Johnson. Mocking people who celebrated the anniversary of Danny Boyle and Frank Cottrell Boyce's tremendous opening ceremony at London 2012.
I slightly disagree with my mate's prognosis. Sure, Labour is knackered, but a clear path to stopping this madness is opening up. Enough Tories in parliament can make a stand against this capture of their party, rallying to sensible ones like Justin Greening, Dominic Grieve and Rory Stewart to effectively force an election and make a stand. If the Liberal Democrats and more brave independents can capture the non-maniacs in the Tory core vote with a Remain Alliance, and become the largest party, there's a deal to be done by Jo Swinson with the non-Corbyn element of what's left in the Labour Party.
Time to get busy people.