John Harris

Journalist & Author

Is the Labour party having a nervous breakdown? | John Harris

Neither the leadership candidates nor party grandees give cause for much hope. Depressingly, current squabbles sound like the noise before more defeat

Watching the daily hurly-burly of debate and pronouncements at the top of the Labour party, one begins to wonder how exactly to characterise what is going on. The phrase that keeps coming to mind is “collective nervous breakdown”, though perhaps that misses the mark.

Thinking about it, the best metaphor might be a row among one of those aristocratic families whose stately home is falling down around them. The fortysomethings nominally in charge might argue, but none of them seem to have a clue how to turn things around; and the older members of the family will not leave them alone, continually poking their nose in to claim that it would all be OK if only someone could find a way of returning everything to the certainties of the last century, when everyone knew their place and that splendid Mr Churchill was in charge.

Related: Labour leadership hustings at GMB conference in Dublin – Politics live

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