Labour is finding right target

Labour have every right to demand an early snap general election this autumn over the Brexit debacle, but I suspect it will fall on deaf ears.

Do they really believe they will persuade Theresa May to repeat the same grave error of judgement as last year? She had foolishly ignored the advice of some of her wise advisers not to hold an unnecessary election, and had also seriously under-estimated the appeal which Jeremy Corbyn would exercise over voters.

The Prime Minister has now learnt her lesson. And Dominic Raab, Brexit Secretary, has firmly rejected the idea of an early election. “It’s for the birds,” he said. “It is not going to happen.”

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However, it is more refreshing to see Labour at last attacking the party’s natural enemy the Tories - certainly at the start of its conference in Liverpool - than to see them tearing themselves to bits.

The country needs a battling Opposition, rather than one that is inward-looking and obsessed with self-harm.

- The withering description by David Cameron of Ukip as “fruitcakes, loonies and closet racists, mostly” seemed to some people a little harsh at the time. No doubt the then Prime Minister was seriously worried about the extent to which Ukip would attract into its ranks otherwise potential Tory voters. After all, in those days, Ukip represented the views of what turned out to be the majority of voters at the Brexit referendum. In fact, Ukip played some part in getting the referendum to happen at all.

But since then, when the party appeared to be a useful and serious addition to the British political scene, Ukip has degenerated into a ragtag and bobtail outfit, sliding dangerously towards the extreme right of British politics. If this continues, it will gain a reputation like that of the National Front and the English Defence League, and disappear unmourned from the landscape.

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Ukip has had a succession of ineffectual or useless leaders since the days of Nigel Farage. But even he, with his considerable influence, seems unable to halt the party’s slide into oblivion.

I suspect that sooner rather than later, it will be a case of “thanks for the memory”.