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Iain Dale is Presenter of LBC Drive, Managing Director of Biteback Publications, a columnist and broadcaster and a former Conservative Parliamentary candidate.

The appointment of Seumus Milne as Jeremy Corbyn’s Director of Strategy raised many eyebrows at the time. A Labour friend of mine who knows about these things told me: “Within a few months he’ll have complete control – you just watch the purge of anyone who dares to confront him”.

On Wednesday night, it emerged that Neale Coleman, Corbyn’s experienced head of policy, had quit after a bruising encounter with Milne over Corbyn announcing policies in his Fabian Society speech last Saturday without even consulting Coleman. Next on the hitlist is Simon Fletcher, Corbyn’s chief of staff, who has also been completely sidelined by Milne.

Make no mistake, this is a power grab right out of the Trotsky political handbook, which tells us that in order to implement permanent revolution you have to grab all levers of power within an organisation and be ruthless about it. Many Labour MPs profess to be horrified by Milne’s approach to his job, and several have told Jeremy Corbyn of their concerns, but as far as the leader is concerned he can do no wrong. Carry on, comrades!

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Those of us who considered Donald Trump a joke candidate are having to rapidly revise our views. He’s still there and shows no signs of departing the field. Indeed, he is consistently topping Republican polls.

This week, he received the endorsement of the completely batshit-crazy Sarah Palin. I say that as someone who thought she was rather refreshing when she first arrived on the scene, and defended her against a concerted media onslaught.

No more. Her performance in front of The Donald and a hysterical Iowan crowd proved, once and for all, what a narrow escape the United States had when John McCain failed to beat Barack Obama. And the thing is, her screeching was scripted. She was reading from notes. Trump, standing behind her on the stage, didn’t quite raise his eyes to the skies, but you could tell that even he was thinking: “this woman is off the scale”.

The fact that she is the darling of the Tea Party tells you all you need to know about it. Tim Montgomerie, who is now covering the US election for The Timeshas written that he couldn’t support either Trump or Cruz, even though previously he has supported Rick Santorum who may look and sometimes sound very moderate but is actually just as reactionary as Trump and Cruz.

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The Democrats are also having their issues. Hillary Clinton is by no means home and dry, and is being seriously challenged by Bernie Sanders, the US equivalent of Jeremy Corbyn. I interviewed Bernie’s Oxford-based brother, Larry, this week – a very genial cove who is equally as left wing as his sibling.

In New Hampshire, Sanders is tipped to run Hillary very close. If he beats her, he could really get what George Bush Senior used to call ‘The Big Mo’. I struggle to believe that there is a serious possibility of the presidential election, being contested by Trump and Sanders, but you never know.

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Back in 2005, Michael Ashcroft published his analysis of where the Conservatives went wrong in the election of that year. It was called Smell the Coffee. It was avidly read, well researched and didn’t pull its punches.

Contrast that to the meek effort by Margaret Beckett this week. She had been tasked by Labour’s National Executive Committee with writing a report explaining why Labour lost, and lost so badly. To be frank, her report was a joke. It was short on explanation and long on bleating. It concluded that Ed Miliband was a good leader, and done little wrong. It was all the fault of the dastardly media who gave him such a hard time.

Imagine the derision that would have been heaped on Lord Ashcroft in 2005 if he had made similar claims about Iain Duncan Smith and Michael Howard. They, too, faced a hostile media, but no one seriously believed that was why the Tories lost.

The second group of people to blame for Labour’s loss were apparently the evil Tories, who managed to bamboozle the stupid electorate. So in short, very little of what happened was Labour’s fault. There was little coffee smelling going on in this report, but the smell of bullshit and ostrich dung was very evident. Labour will never make electoral progress if it doesn’t confront its failings at the election, let alone the consequences of what they did in the ensuing leadership election.

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Unlike Crispin Blunt I have never used, or felt the need to use, poppers. I’m not sure how wise it was of him to tell the Commons that he is a popper user, but he had right on his side in his argument that their use shouldn’t be banned. Yet another example of Government taking it on itself to ban something which is completely harmless in order to make itself look tough.

87 comments for: Iain Dale: Over at Corbyn Central, the comrades are eating each other

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