by Kevin Meagher
There’s a party leadership contest going on that could have a profound effect on Labour, but its not the one between Jeremy Corbyn and Owen Smith.
Five candidates are currently limbering up to succeed Nigel Farage as the leader of UKIP and the implicaitons for Labour are very real. Having led the charge to get Britain out of the European Union, UKIP now has plenty time on its sides.
Where will the ‘kippers political energy and capital now go? Perhaps it will channel into building support in the 44 parliamentary seats where they are in second place to Labour, following last May’s general election.
Having neglected its heartlands for so long (and not particularly caring what voters there think), Labour now has a fight on its hands on hold on to some of them. But does the party actually recognise the threat?
Despite their other differences, what unites Blairites and Corbynistas is an unshakable belief that only racists are bothered about immigration and that London is the centre of the universe.
There is plenty political space (both physical and metaphysical) that Labour has chosen to abandon that UKIP is more than willing to fill, providing a sympathetic ear to provincial woes. All the more so if Labour continues to indulge its infantile gesture politics.
That said, UKIP still retains a massive inbuilt propensity to blow itself apart.