Within hours of posting I ran across some indications that Rayner's personal ambitions were every bit the equal of the others, and her manoeuverings much the more active - she, unlike the two quite hardworking mayors, has no other serious responsibilities (despite her risible list of "official" appointments in the wake of her botched demotion by Starmer) and seems to be on the leadership trail 24/7, with the surreptitious funding to match.
So, two by-elections and a heap of bad-news-for-Starmer later, we come to the next bear trap for the People's Party: courtesy of George "Spoiler" Galloway, there appears to be every chance the Tories take the seat. That's what he hopes, anyway. Anticipating a big opportunity for change within the party hierarchy, knives are out in every corner and neither Rayner nor Burnham are particularly shy of reminding people they exist as alternatives.
You can trawl this stuff all over the place (indeed, troll it too if the mood takes you) but for those who don't choose to sully their browers, as a service to readers let me summarise how many on the left see this falling:
- there's a very good chance of humiliation for Labour at the poll
- Starmer has taken some rather lame preemptive measures to bolster his position, but will find the consequent crescendo of hostility hard to manage
- the Blairite Right, having installed him and propped him up, will tell him at gunpoint he must on no account resign, for a very technical reason: only 20 nominations are required for a leadership bid if the incumbent resigns (the Parliamentary Left can muster that), but it'd be 40 if he's challenged while in post (which they probably can't)
- having thus strapped Ed Cid to his horse, they will send him out of the castle gates for one last battle - to change the leadership election rules to turn it back into a parliament-only electoral college, thus slamming the door on the Left forever
- in the meantime, it's no-holds-barred infighting all the way, blood everywhere and serious collateral damage done, all the while trying to figure out a plausible candidate for whatever faction you support - which ain't easy, see the Left's turmoil over selecting a candidate to replace McCluskey ...
- ... and how to promote them into the Top Job because (as it's reckoned Rayner knows only too well), (s)he who wields the knife ... At this rate, they'll get Miliband E back. (Well, it won't be a women - will it?)
This student-politics stuff is the very essence of Labour and they are welcome to it. Live by the sword, die by the sword - and great spectator sport it is, too. For Part 1 of my armchair analysis, I conclude by taking the story-so-far full circle, and musing once more upon Sadiq Khan's approach to all this. He has absolutely no locus that I can see - far less, anyhow, than Burnham - and it all comes far, far too early for him. What does he do? I am guessing there's only one solid strategy: work for (or even just hope for) as messy an outcome as possible, so that it can only possibly be an interim state of affairs, with the can bouncing far enough down the road that he'll be able to pick it up in due course.
Part 2 before polling day itself. Have a great weekend! The soccer is a much healthier pastime ...