I’ve wondered before about the mindset of the Shadow Cabinet. Whether they decided to serve on Corbyn’s front bench out of a mistaken belief that they could moderate him or due to a misguided feeling that they ought to serve in order to respect his mandate, they must now realise their error. When they aren’t being embarrassed by his failings or humiliated by his active undermining of their authority, their very presence facilitates the damage that he is doing to the Labour Party.
It is apparently only fear of the vengeful grassroots Corbynites (now organised into the troubling group Momentum) which has kept them all onboard for so long. The first to jump would have to be pretty confident of their popularity in their Constituency Labour Party.
But now that their leader is lining up to sack them anyway, why do they bother staying? Grinch-like, he has ruined their Christmas with briefing of a reshuffle and they must now constantly look over their shoulders to see if the knife is poised. Frontline politics is a stressful business at the best of times, and frontline Labour politics under this leader must be doubly frustrating, so the addition of an atmosphere of impending doom will make it nigh on unbearable.
There have been some suggestions that the reshuffle threat is an attempt to enforce some discipline by Team Corbyn. If so, then they are displaying their inexperience; this approach will only make the leaks and briefings worse. Various Shadow Cabinet members are already willing to rant to all and sundry (including Conservative bloggers) about the foolishness of their Corbynite colleagues – telling them that they will shortly be out on their ear gives them no reason to abandon the habit.
More importantly, why on earth would they be willing to sit on death row, waiting to be given the date of their execution? Returning to the back benches on their own terms would give them their lives back, lower their blood pressure and end their role as accomplices to the disastrous Corbyn experiment. They have tried to make things better, but they have failed – and there is nothing wrong with acknowledging that.