Labour is in a shambles and needs a complete overhaul

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If the Labour Party believe that after their dismal showing in the local elections, all they have to do is pick themselves up, brush themselves down, and start again, they are sadly disillusioned.

The plight of the Labour Party is far more serious and deep-seated than that. Corbyn should be grateful to Zac Goldsmith for being such a poor performer, rather than congratulating his own candidate Sadiq Khan on becoming London Mayor.

The brutal truth is that as the official opposition facing an unpopular and, some would say, mediocre government, involved in a civil war over Europe, Labour should have been running rings around them at the local elections.

Instead they lost their way in Scotland (large parts of which were once impregnable Labour) and just about held their own in England. In short, it was a pathetic performance.

Labour will have to buck its ideas up if it is to become an effective political fighting force again, capable of winning the next general election.

Alas for them, the leadership issue, with some elements in the party actually saying out loud that Corbyn should go, is now a dangerously serious issue. The Tories are in a big enough shambles, but Labour is not far behind.

For a start, Labour should urgently revise the leadership election rules which last year enabled the trade unions, rather than the MPs, to elect Corbyn to the job.

MPs, who have to work with their leader, day in, day out, should be given far more power in the election process and the trade unions far less.

That is why Labour is now led by a scarcely inspiring left-winger whom the majority of Labour MPs would probably never have voted for.

In short, Labour needs a complete overhaul of its internal practices and to be bold enough if they dare to drastically reduce the power the trade unions wield over them.

That will take courage and cost money, but something needs to be done - and quickly.

Otherwise there is a danger of returning to the days of Harold Wilson when the unions told him how to govern the country. That would be disastrous for the Labour Party, but more importantly, for the country as well.

:: The Government’s U-turn abandoning the plan to force all schools to become academies was beyond humiliation and the way in which this decision was announced was beyond contempt.

For a start, why should the Government , which promised “choice” at the general election, try to force anything on anybody? That was bad enough. But why, also, did they not test the water before making the announcement about this policy?

If they had had any sense, that is what the should have done. They would then have found that the opposition to it was overwhelming.

But, no. They went ahead willy-nilly, with David Cameron boasting that academies were the best thing since sliced bread. But he met his match and more. The Government cowered and caved in, forced to concede that the strength of opposition to it was more than they could handle.

If they had done their homework, they would have been spared this humiliation.

But the manner in which this policy was withdrawn was shameful. They picked the day when the media would be full of the local elections and it was thus, to quote a phrase, “a good day to bury bad news”.

In short, the Prime Minister should be thoroughly ashamed at the way this half-baked proposal was handled.

• Let us hope that the new round of talks designed to end the disgraceful junior doctors’ dispute will be successful.

They have no right to put patients at risk to achieve their own ends - even though they say, unconvincingly, that this won’t happen.

I hope these doctors are aware of the immense damage - though I hope not irreparable - they have done to a dedicated and trusted profession.

To put it bluntly, they have been operating a system of blackmail.

• You would hardly think that Jeremy Corbyn and Donald Trump had anything in common. Two more contrasting political figures it would be hard to find. Chalk and cheese.

Yet there is a remarkable similarity about the way they dealt with their election opportunities.

Corbyn nearly did not fight at all because he could not muster enough sponsors to make him eligible as a candidate. However, some well-meaning (but ill-advised) middle-of-the-road Labour MPs who believed the hard left should have an opportunity to speak out in the leadership election, acted as sponsors.

They assumed, as did most other people, that Corbyn would simply finish at the bottom of the pile. How wrong they were! And how stupid they now look!

Equally for Donald Trump. It was widely thought when he entered the race as the would-be Republican candidate for the White House there would be a few political “explosions” at the start of the campaign followed by his early elimination.

How wrong THEY were!

A little while ago, the idea of a Corbyn/Trump “summit” in the White House was too ludicrous even to consider. Now, it is not quite so far-fetched.