AS a political coup, the summer plot by Labour’s great and good to oust Jeremy Corbyn will go down in history as a lesson in how not to depose an unpopular party leader.
Even though Mr Corbyn is devoid of leadership qualities, he finds himself in an even stronger position after actually increasing his share of the vote.
This does not bode well for all those moderate MPs who can’t work with Mr Corbyn because of his socialist agenda and the infiltration of local parties by far-left activists operating under the Momentum umbrella as accusations of misogyny, bullying, intimidation and social media abuse multiply.
With a threat of another leadership contest likely to receive short shrift, their dilemma now is an agonising one – do they attempt to patch up their differences or do they look to form a break-away faction?
Much may depend on the ability of Mr Corbyn to exert some control over his activist extremists, including the type of language used by Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell as his war of words with Yvette Cooper escalated.
Even though it should be a source of pride that Labour’s membership is growing, it must not be at the expense of committed MPs who have a duty to represent all of their constituents – a point lost on the more radical activists who appear to think that the country has limitless funds and who regard supporters of the Trident nuclear deterrent as a threat to national security. What has happened to the party of democracy and tolerance?
Although Mr Corbyn has refrained from the type of personal attacks that are now de rigueur, he must take a firmer stance with those members whose conduct oversteps the mark or questions about his leadership, and Labour’s future, will resurface. And this is before any debate on policy – or the party’s ability to muster a credible Shadow Cabinet.
EVEN though Jeremy Hunt will be relieved that junior doctors have finally seen sense and called off their proposed industrial action on the grounds of patient safety, the Health Secretary’s problems have not gone away.
Quite the opposite. Not only are hospital trusts bedevilled by a shortage of medical staff – and budgets which cannot keep pace with the demands and expectations of an ageing population – but the NHS and social care system is struggling to meet the needs of elderly patients.
The King’s Fund was the first to highlight the issue this month. Then the Nuffield Trust. And now the British Medical Association has warned that cuts to local authority care funding are counter-productive because almost half of the 16 million adults admitted to hospital in England in 2014-15 were aged over 65. They can’t all be wrong.
Even though relations between Mr Hunt and the BMA have been strained over the new contracts for junior doctors before the health union lost the confidence of the public and patients with 15 days of strike action, the Government would be guilty of short-sightedness if it did not adopt some of the proposed remedies.
As the BMA says, connecting people to non-medical and community support services will help to tackle loneliness and social isolation. It also calls on the Government, and others, to appreciate the role of carers – and make sure they receive sufficient support. If Mr Hunt does not embrace such suggestions after the BMA backed down over strikes, he will be undeserving of any sympathy if hospitals can’t cope this winter.
IF there was a race to sign the most autographs while posing for selfies, Alistair and Jonny Brownlee would almost certainly dead-heat after they were swamped by thousands of wellwishers at their very own triathlon in the grounds of Harewood House.
No request was too much as the brothers relished their return to Yorkshire after a long summer flying the flag for their county at the Rio Olympics before all the drama of last weekend’s world series finale in the suffocating heat of Mexico.
Exemplary role models, their competitiveness as they cheered young siblings competing in special races for junior triathletes was simply awe-inspiring as the Earl of Harewood lauded the Brownlees for representing the best of Yorkshire while families spoke with equal eloquence about how nothing was too much trouble for the brothers as they gave encouragement to complete novices with their easy-going enthusiasm. As competitors, sportsmen and ambassadors, they’re totally selfless.