I knew Labour had had a bad election, but didn't keep in touch with home so my first contact was reading the Mail on Sunday on the flight back to Heathrow. Labour strife appeared to have descended into open warfare. Take Geraldine Smith's article - which deserves a fisk. What kind of mindset do you need to have got yourself into to call fellow female MPs witches? Whilst I think that the following quote has a kernel of truth, can't Ms Smith appreciate that it is so much more powerful and therefore damaging to her party cause when a female Labour MP says it.
The trouble with some of the so-called Blair Babes is that they have come into Parliament without any experience of the cut and thrust of the business world. Frankly, some of them are better equipped for meetings of a WI knitting circle than the rough and tumble of politics.
I am not sure which element of what is going on is worse for Labour's prospects. Is it the open division with each factional blow and counter-blow escalating the level of rancour? Or is it Gordon Brown's stubborn intransigence and startling immaturity? Or is it the 'Blairite' plotters who only appear to have damaged themselves and their party so far whilst cementing Labour's reputation for incompetence? I didn't expect ruthlessness, but they can't even manage to give one of the weakest PM's in history a political knifing.
I would like to see Labour obliterated at the ballot box, but even I don't think I could wish for this nasty, mean-spirited saga to play out in public for much longer. A friend of a friend who has contacts in the Treasury and meets a Minister frequently, reports back that the air of gloom when he last visited was palpable. The Minister who I won't name doesn't seem like the sharpest tool in the box, but does at least come across as affable in public.
Meanwhile, the Independent has the audacity to assemble four Lefties to debate titled 'Is Our Democracy Under Threat?' in Birmingham this Wednesday. Let me assure the panellists who I expect to be scratching around for new and exciting ways to keep the Tories out, that the public's appetite for an immediate general election will be made crystal clear.