JEremy Corbyn's advisers joke that their private line for the next general election is: "Downing Street or Unemployment". Everyone at the top of the Labor Party is preparing for a grueling campaign – but they are also beginning to imagine life afterwards.
When one of Corbyn's key lieutenants, Karie Murphy, discreetly moved out last week, she officially declared her title as chief of staff and moved to Labor's headquarters in Victoria to oversee the election campaign. party.
But his departure has been the most public sign to date of deep concern at the party's summit about whether the Labor Party is ready for the government – or whether Corbyn is losing another general election, which could happen eventually.
Corbyn's close allies, John McDonnell and Diane Abbott, have urged him to relocate Murphy for months, citing the discontent of the 30+ employees in his office, and the concern that she was one of the people which have held back Labor's passage to support a second referendum. .
Charismatic and tough, Murphy often held the combative conversations that Corbyn tended to avoid, but McDonnell and others came to believe that she was making too many decisions on behalf of her boss. As one ally said, "Karie had fallen in the idea that she had directed Jeremy. Fortunately, this era is over. "
The failed attempt to abolish Tom Watson's vice-president position on the eve of the union conference was the catalyst for his marginalization.
At the time, the move was attributed to Jon Lansman, president of Momentum, who introduced the motion to the National Executive Committee (NEC). But friends say that Lansman voluntarily became the fall guy to protect Corbyn from direct responsibility.
The Guardian understands that if Corbyn had exasperated Watson 's speech claiming that the Labor Party should become a full party, and that his allies had discussed ways to isolate him, the Labor Party leader had specifically asked that the Labor Party should have a separate party. no action is taken before the conference. .
Murphy, his hard-working performer, insisted on telling his colleagues that it was too late to back down. Subsequently, according to two people present, mild-mannered Corbyn blamed the chaos that the Labor Party looks like "crazy student politicians". He was forced to intervene publicly and defend Watson.
And while Watson and he sat side by side on the front bench in Westminster later that week, the deputy chief also showed Corbyn a screenshot of leaflets distributed in Brighton calling the delegates to disrupt his speech – which he said had received the imprimatur from his leader. Office.
Ironically, the putsch had the opposite effect of the one planned by the conspirators and gave Watson a new lease of life.
It had seemed to his colleagues to be increasingly detached in recent weeks, suggesting that some might think that he could follow his friend Luciana Berger up to the Lib Dems, perhaps bringing in about twenty colleagues. with him. Instead, he arrived in Brighton emboldened and invigorated.
The other factor that led to Murphy's departure was the resignation of Andrew Fisher, who sent a furious e-mail against the leader of the Opposition Office (Loto).
The excerpts were leaked to the Sunday Times. But after the news of the situation in Loto was announced on Tuesday, the hyper-partisan Skwawkbox website – widely viewed in Labor circles as Murphy's spokesperson – has published the entire note. The image he portrayed was less ruthless ideological shock troops, more chaos, divisions, and discontent.
Reverend election expert David Butler said last week that he had "never felt more confused and uncertain" as to the outcome of the upcoming elections.
The Corbyn Loyalists hope that, as in 2017, Labor will be able to rephrase the campaign, away from Johnson's "Get Brexit Done" message, and return to the national program that has worked so well in 2017 – although it may to be much less effective when the Conservatives are constantly talking about funding schools, hospitals and police.
If Johnson returns with the solid majority he wants, McDonnell has acknowledged that he and Corbyn should step down.
And with Brexit cutting the traditional divide between the party and the party, it is very difficult to know if they would be followed by a candidate sharing their political perspective. "It will be chaos," says a leftist MP.
Corbyn's victory over Brexit politics in the conference room in Brighton underscored the intense loyalty he still commands to Labor members. "It's Jeremy's Day!" Said a gloating shadow minister at the time.
But her longtime allies also know that none of their favorite successors – Rebecca Long-Bailey, Laura Pidcock – is likely to inspire the same dedication.
Internal polls earlier this year suggested that Keir Starmer and Emily Thornberry were the most favored successors among the members, with Watson a little behind, according to insiders.
Earlier in the year, it was rumored that Starmer had created what his colleagues called a "bromance" joke with McDonnell. McDonnell would have dominated economic policy while Starmer led the party, a 21st century version of the Granita pact of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. But the two men deny ever considering negotiating an agreement and McDonnell made it clear to Brighton that he thought the next leader was to be a woman.
First, however, the party will have to stand together in potentially stormy general elections, with a carefully crafted compromise policy on Brexit. Corbyn's allies have been drawn into the past 12 months by a group of members for whom, as they say, "staying is a feeling".
But Starmer and other MPs are concerned that this is not far enough. One thing seems certain, as all the major parties fired their battles for this unpredictable election: as one leftist said, "it's crap or a nightmare for the Corbyn project".