Yes, Michael Dugher is a gutsy street fighter (as many of his colleagues pointed out yesterday). Yes, too, he is a rare working-class presence at the top of Labour politics; but there is a deeper significance behind his dismissal from the Shadow Cabinet yesterday.
If such a standard bearer from the old right-wing of the party is surplus to requirements, then Jeremy Corbyn’s “big tent” has suddenly become a bivouac.
And given Corbyn’s serial rebelliousness for three decades, to level a charge of “disloyalty” against Dugher for three of four interviews where he has extemporised on the state of Labour politics is fairly astonishing.
To put it mildly, Jeremy Corbyn does not have an embarrassment of riches to choose from.
Fifty per cent of the current frontbench would never get near the dispatch box under normal circumstances. A tough and experienced operator like Dugher should have been viewed as an asset.
Why could Jeremy Corbyn not reach out to him if, indeed, he had crossed a line? Or did he intimidate Corbyn’s inexperienced back office team?
Whatever, it is a sad day – and a worrying development – if a scion of the old Labour right wing – the backbone of the party – is no longer welcome at the top table.