Editorial Tuesday 28 June 2016: Labouring under the delusion of secrecy - the clandestine McDonnell policy review
Ever since Jeremy Corbyn's spectacular victory in the Labour Party's leadership context, his skills as a leader have been in question.
This isn't surprising. Having never held ministerial, shadow, PPS or whipping roles, Mr Corbyn was never very likely to know how anything bigger than a pressure group or a demonstration was run.
His early call for "a kinder politics (and) ... less personal abuse" was welcome. The rise in hate crime reports and racist incidents since the EU advisory referendum and the appalling killing of Jo Cox MP remind us that encouraging or perpetuating abuse and victimisation worsen our public discourse.
Sadly (but unsurprisingly for those with knowledge of the hard left's history), Mr Corbyn's tenure as Labour leader has been overshadowed by the behaviours of far-left activists, whether in the Momentum pressure group or elsewhere. Critics of Mr Corbyn's performance as Labour leader, within and beyond the Labour Party, have teen targeted for foul abuse on social media and intimidation in person.
While Mr Corbyn is by all accounts a 'nice man' personally, he certainly seems to keep company with consistently toxic people. The far left are in their own way just as bad as the far right, yet with a grotesque added certainty of their own moral virtue.
Anti-semitism has also reared its deeply ugly head on the left once more.
As the Leave campaigners change their tune and economists forecast significant problems and call for clarity, the chaos caused by the referendum vote has been the catalyst for action.
It has become abundantly clear to Labour remain supporters (the vast majority of the Parliamentary Labour Party) that long-time EU opponent Mr Corbyn and his advisory team had actively undermined the Remain campaign.
Labour Party policy is pro-EU. To such a serial rebel as Mr Corbyn, this seemed immaterial. Hence his anaemic pro-EU campaigning.
What a serial rebel such as Mr Corbyn cannot legitimately do, however, is make loyalty an issue. When it comes to mandates, the Blair government had a not-unimpressive one from the whole country.
Many Labour MPs have made heroic efforts to make a Corbyn-led Labour Party work. Now that PM David Cameron's resignation raises the near prospect of a general election, MPs who have as a whole supported or tolerated Corbynism have had a look at whether it's working, and concluded that it isn't. Not even slightly.
Strikingly, the wave of resignations has not been confined to the usual suspects. The Blair era MPs have not been shy about pointing out the deficiencies in Mr Corbyn's efforts to lead the party, but the majority of centrist and left-wing MPs have clearly concluded that Mr Corbyn simply cannot lead.
His grassroots support was thought to have made Mr Corbyn bulletproof. Interestingly, this seems to have been seriously damaged by Vice Media's film 'The Outsider', made by a young supporter of Mr Corbyn's who became disillusioned by the chaotic incompetence he witnessed during making the film.
Shadow health secretary Heidi Alexander was the first to resign. Ms Alexander has been a good, thoughtful performer in the role, well-supported by her team of advisors and PPS. She is nobody's idea of a Blairite ultra. Her departure was clearly more in sorrow than in anger.
Yet her and others' departure was quite inevitable, even had the referendum been won by Remain.
One reason for this is that shadow chancellor John McDonnell - Mr Corbyn's closest political ally - has been conducting his own semi-secret policy review in health (and presumably many other areas), supported by Momentum and advised by various left-wing individuals, many of whom are apparently not Labour Party members. (Editor's note: I originally used the phrase "hard-left individuals", but this is somewhat subjective and so I have changed it.)
You might think that reviewing Labour Party policy in secret is not John McDonnell's job.
And you'd be right.
Mr McDonnell's unofficial, predatory policy review was not a terribly well-kept secret. It made many MPs aware that the Corbyn era owes far more to the entryism of Militant than it does to serious, democratic and broad-based politics.
The McDonnell policy review awoke many MPs to the nature of their leadership: the referendum result brought the tipping point forwards.
Whatever one's political view, our Parliamentary democracy requires an effective opposition to hold the Government to account. It has not had one under Mr Corbyn: the Government's reverses have come from the Lords, their own backbenches or U-turns.
Politics is in turmoil. It's time for the Labour Party to get its shit together.
Update: More on this story here and here.