Labour have found two ways of circumventing Hunt’s spending trap: first, to ignore it, and, second, to reduce pressure on the public finances through optimistic promises of economic growth.
A frontbench mutiny such as this is extraordinary for a party on the cusp of power. Yet the Government keeps managing to keep its own crises front and centre.
At least 13 members of his front bench are in open revolt. As I write, that’s sustainable. As matters develop, it may not be.
Our party system could become befouled by communalism, with the Conservatives the party of Israel, India and Jews, and Labour that of Palestine, Pakistan and Muslims. Such an outcome would be incompatible with democracy as we know it.
What Sir Keir and Labour MPs say in the Commons is worth keeping an eye on.
On the evidence of yesterday’s Commons statement, Labour backbench opinion is broadly pro-Palestinian – so pressure on the party leadership’s line is likely to intensify during the weeks ahead.
If an organisation whose response to recent events is a protest outside the Israeli embassy isn’t proscribed by Labour, the only question is: why not?
For all the Shadow Chancellor’s efforts to pose as the voice of fiscal discipline, pressure for higher spending from her colleagues and party continue to add up.
Such was the state of the polls going into this race that even a narrow win would have seemed like a setback for Sir Keir Starmer and Anas Sarwar, the Scottish Labour leader. No fear of that now, and no comfort for Humza Yousaf.
It is in Labour’s interest not to rise to CCHQ’s bait, and allow the Prime Minister to make a few inevitable u-turns.
Any significant agreement with the EU would require continuous alignment between Westminster and Brussels in terms of regulation. Will we end up, to coin a phrase, shadowing the Customs Union?
The logic of the choice remains as Ken Clarke put it – Rwanda or nothing. Sir Keir has swallowed much in his pursuit of power, but Rwanda is a mouthful too much for him, or at least for his party. So he’s trying to bluff his way out of the problem.
Tony Blair and Gordon Brown inherited a strong economy and low taxes, and thus plenty of scope for more spending. Sir Keir Starmer and Rachel Reeves would take office in vastly more difficult circumstances.
Perhaps sticking up for Farage is a bridge too far, even for the former human rights lawyer. Perhaps it doesn’t seem worth picking that battle when there are more substantive policy disputes to win.
If the Opposition take office next year they will inherit a very difficult situation. If MPs haven’t dipped their hands in the blood of a Starmerite programme, ill-discipline may be the result.