LABOUR’S descent into acrimonious infighting at its annual conference is not only a dismaying spectacle for the party’s faithful supporters, but a worrying development for the country as a whole.
At a time when a strong Opposition is needed to hold a divided Government to account, the party appears to be more concerned with its own internal wrangles than Britain’s welfare.
A formidable Opposition, with a credible policy platform for office, is one of the key checks and balances in ensuring the Government of the day discharges its responsibilities in a proper manner, but Labour is failing to fulfil that function.
That failure is all the more concerning given the continuing confusion surrounding Brexit. This has only been deepened by the Supreme Court hearing arguments about the prorogation of Parliament, on which it will rule in the coming days, possibly throwing the whole issue into further turmoil.
There are serious questions over Labour’s suitability to form a Government, and so far its conference has offered no real answers. Public disquiet at the state of the party was apparent in the weekend’s polling that showed Jeremy Corbyn has the unenviable distinction of the lowest approval ratings of any Labour leader in history.
And the resignation of his head of policy, Andrew Fisher, who allegedly condemned the “blizzard of lies” amongst Mr Corbyn’s senior aides, marked yet more evidence of deep divisions in the party, coming as it did after an attempt to oust Labour deputy leader Tom Watson.
The picture that emerges is of an Opposition that will struggle to persuade voters it is fit to form a Government whenever a general election comes. If Labour is to learn anything from its conference, it must be that the party starts speaking for and to the country instead of arguing among itself.