The Michael Gove betrayal gambit turns out all for nought. Ruthlessness has its electoral limits. So the next British Prime minister will be a woman, Theresa May. How long she can keep the job without calling an election remains to be seen.It is also unclear to what extent she will follow the policies of George Osborne with respect to austerity and anti deficit hysteria.
In the opposition Labour party in the meantime chaotic self imposed disintegration has set in with the announcement of a challenge to the democratically elected leader Jeremy Corbyn by one of the MPs who was formerly in Corbyn’s shadow cabinet. Angela Eagle who previously had served in the cabinet of Gordon Brown as pensions minister and who voted for the Iraq war has launched the challenge to Corbyn on behalf of the rebels in the parliamentary party. She was an active campaigner on the remain side and is regarded as a soft left member of the PLP. Her sister is also an MP. Her support for the Iraq war in stark contrast to Corbyn’s refusal to vote for it will undoubtedly be an issue. The first hurdle Corbyn may have to overcome might be an attempt by the anti Corbynites to exclude his name from the ballot on account of his failure to get a sufficient number of MPs, 20 % of the party’s MPs and EU parliament MPS to back him. The union president of Unite who backs Corbyn Len McCluskey has stated that should the executive fail to include Corbyn on the ballot this act will split the party and yield a poisoned chalice to whomever the party chooses as leader. Labour’s hari kari would be complete.
Generally speaking people are very reluctant to vote for a party in the throes of civil war. They usually turn away from such parties in an election. The replace Corbyn coup will be seen in this way and is likely to be a bitter and divisive contest. The Iraq inquiry has severely damaged the Blairite wing of the party who seem to loath Corbyn. His very well reasoned critique of the Blair administrations mis-handling of the decision to go to war in Iraq backed up by the thorough report of the Chilcot Iraq inquiry is probably resented by them. But in the current state of British politics resentment is an unaffordable luxury.