There will be bloodbath in Labour after these results


The battle may be over, but the dust is still swirling around and the stench of cordite still lingers in the atmosphere.

In short, the Labour Party is now in turmoil, with many of its old guard openly critical of the way its campaign was conducted under an inadequate leader.

There will almost certainly be a political bloodbath in the party as the centrists fight to control it again. None of the potential successors to Ed Miliband seems to be anything other than ordinary.

And will Harriet Harman, the deputy leader and now acting leader, and a great warrior for women’s equality, have a go? I never understood why she didn’t do so in 2010.

But first of all, Labour has to reform its current ludicrous leadership election rules. In 2010 they enabled the unions, rather than the politicians, to elect Ed Miliband. What the electorate have just shown is that they did not want a left-wing government dictated to by trade union barons.

The party should change the rules, enabling the politicians to elect the leader and reducing the role of the unions to an absolute minimum, or even zero. That would at least be a good start.

Meanwhile, the Liberal Democrats are in an even worse plight, with just eight MPs remaining, no more than a blip on the Westminster landscape. For donkey’s years, they have been the third party in Parliament: no longer. Nick Clegg’s so-called leadership tore his party to shreds.

Elsewhere, there will be cheers in Tory ranks that David Cameron has given Michael Gove a proper job at last as Justice Minister after his puzzling demotion from Education Secretary, where he made such an impact, to Chief Whip, which is a post for a rough-and-ready sergeant-major, not a man like Gove, who has such political acumen.

It’s been suggested that Cameron thought Gove had made too much of an impact on the world of education, thus building up enough enemies to be damaging to the Tories’ election prospects. That was one reason given for his otherwise inexplicable removal from that post in the last Parliament .

But Cameron’s future course will not be easy. Even though his principal opponent, Labour, is in turmoil, the road ahead for the new Government will be littered with bumps, potholes and very likely some very dangerous hairpin bends as well.

• An inquiry is being held into why the hugely expensive opinion polls got it so wrong throughout the campaign. The pollsters boast that they use highly scientific and precise methods to reach their conclusions. You could have fooled me.

Inquiries won’t resolve anything. What would have a salutary effect is if the newspapers refused to pay these organisations the exorbitant fees when they get it wrong.

Indeed, I don’t know why the newspapers waste so much money on this very inexact science, so inexpertly conducted.

• Three party leaders have resigned in the wake of the general election. But why not Jim Murphy, Labour’s leader in Scotland, who led the party to what must have been its greatest disaster in history?

I see that two trade unions have called on him to quit. I am only surprised that he was not instantly sacked from his post.

• It must have been the great understatement of the entire campaign: as fellow Liberal Democrats were being toppled like ninepins all around him, Sir Menzies Campbell, the party’s elder statesman, observed: “Not a great night.”

• One glimmer of light for poor Ed Miliband. At least now he won’t have to pay his proposed mansions tax on his London home. Every cloud ...