PERHAPS one of the most entertaining TV shows would be to go out into the highways and byways and ask vox pop who is vying for the leadership of the Labour Party.
I’ll bet there would be a lot of stammering, shrugging of shoulders and just plain blank looks.
And that tells you everything about the state of HM Loyal Opposition.
There ought to be an independent inquest into how and why such a great party as this has been brought so low.
Where have all the big beasts gone?
Mind you, as one who has been interested in politics since I was a lad, I am hard pushed accurately to name more than a few members of the Tory Cabinet.
Hence the sheer domination of British politics by Boris Johnson.
Generally, our politicians are not what they were and nobody knows why.
Is it the narrowness of their experience since many of them graduate from party apparatchik without earning a living in the world outside the celebrated Westminster bubble?
Is it that the populace is less and less inclined to enter a profession offering an uncertain career and lots of abuse, even death threats, along the way?
Could it be that we all expect far too much from politicians – and far too little from ourselves – and doom Ministers to inevitable failure?
Or is it that in a relatively thriving economy, even during 10 years of recovery from the 2008 crash – or Jeremy Corbyn’s imagined “austerity” – the ambitious think they can do far better for themselves in other walks of life?
Perish the thought, but could it possibly be that the anti-social media offers a sheltered platform for the ambitious to rant, rave and scorn their legislators?
Power without responsibility – the prerogative of the harlot throughout the ages, as Stanley Baldwin put it.
If so, then God help us. The world is now so volatile and dangerous that we need the brightest, best and most balanced handling our national and international affairs. And that goes for the Opposition as well as the Government.
In my experience governments are less effective when the opposition is weakest. Just look at the Tories’ “banana skin years” after Margaret Thatcher’s landslide victory in 1983.
If Ministers could tread on one in or out of Westminster, they did.
As No 10 press secretary, I often felt like a dustman following the Lord Mayor’s parade.
The big question now is whether the list of Labour leadership candidates will improve matters.
Here I should sound a note of humility.
You never know how anyone will perform until they get the top job. Who would have thought Mrs Thatcher would eventually raise Britain’s standing in the world?
I am therefore ready and willing to be surprised.
After all, we don’t have much to go on at the moment since most of the candidates are not “names” outside the confines of Westminster.
A possible exception is Sir Keir Starmer, ex-Director of Public Prosecutions, and regadred as the front runner.
He can only be an improvement on Jeremy Corbyn and the Momentum mob, always assuming they do not have it within their power to thwart his candidature.
That does not mean I expect much from him.
This is partly because he is wooden, brings anything but clarity to Brexit and mainly because, like the rest, he aspires to lead a party taken over by the totalitarian hard Left.
His moderation is dubious and I just cannot see him “doing a Kinnock” – that is, putting the far Left to flight.
It follows that Rebecca Long-Bailey – or Rebecca Wrong Daily as her critics inventively describe this protégé of Corbyn – represents no change.
But there is a move to have a woman leading Labour since the Tories have now had two without reply and the Scottish Nationalists, Liberal Democrats, Greens, Democratic Unionists and Sinn Fein one each.
Believe me, as one entirely cured of misogyny having worked for Barbara Castle, Margaret Thatcher and with Betty Boothroyd, I have not the slightest objection to a female leader.
But it matters what kind of female and a perpetuation of Corbyn’s Marxist creed if what we don’t need.
This raises questions over Angela Rayner, formerly the most senior official in the North West of Unison, the union backing Starmer.
She is said to be a close friend of Ms Long-Bailey, though describes herself as soft Left.
As for Jess Phillips and Lisa Nandy, who are they? Search me.
I rest my case. How did we get to this point?