An article for Cumbria Pink following the announcement that there is to be - yet another - Labour leadership election... one that Jeremy Corbyn seems sure to win.
Less than a month ago we were dragged through a thoroughly miserable EU referendum campaign, all of us hoping that come June 23rd, that would be it for a while.
But it wasn’t.
The news that Britain voted to leave the EU quickly became a side-note to the political earthquake that followed.
But while the Conservatives united at breakneck speed behind Theresa May, Labour have taken the opportunity to wash their dirty linen in public.
The upcoming Labour leadership election is a battle for the party’s soul. But the fight is not just taking place in the gilded corridors of Westminster - it is just as real in Labour branches across Cumbria.
Just this month, Barrow’s MP John Woodcock overwhelmingly lost a vote of no confidence from the Ulverston Labour branch due to his continued attacks on Jeremy Corbyn. Alongside this, a ‘Red Labour’ group has sprouted in Barrow, and a number of Labour stalwarts and councillors have signed a petition for him to stand down, citing the fact that he has neglected his constituents in pursuit of a ‘crusade’ against his democratically elected leader.
Up and down the country, we’ve seen Labour MPs challenged in a similar way.
You might ask why this matters to Barrow.
It matters because the future of Labour and the future of Trident are intertwined.
Next Monday, the Conservatives have called a vote in parliament to approve the next stage of the Trident Successor programme. The vote will pass as the Conservatives have a majority at Westminster.
But if Jeremy Corbyn wins the leadership election - and most pundits believe he will - he will have a refreshed mandate to change the party in his image. That means a harder left party that wants unilateral disarmament and for the Trident programme to be scrapped.
What seemed impossible under Blair and Brown will become Labour party policy by 2020.
It will be suicide for Labour to fight the next general election in Barrow on a policy which will hurt up to 1 in 5 jobs in the area.
Labour MPs who fought Mr Corbyn tooth and nail since his appointment may face deselection. As we’ve seen in Ulverston, there are already moves being made to soften the ground for this.
MPs like John Woodcock had an opportunity to work with Jeremy Corbyn in good faith and find a compromise on important issues like this. Instead, they ran a guerrilla war against him and have used the Brexit vote to engineer a coup. It looks like they will lose.
John Woodcock has spent the last year fighting Mr Corbyn rather than speaking for Barrow. He protests that he did this to ‘save’ Labour. Instead he is now looking at the prospect of a split party, scrapping Trident being party policy, and deselection by his own party members.
Bad judgement has torpedoed Labour and it looks set to sink John Woodcock in Barrow.