It feels like it’s gone on forever, we know – but tomorrow Labour will finally reveal the result of its leadership contest to replace Ed Miliband, who was so convincingly beaten during this year’s General Election.
That election, back in May, reminded us of an age-old lesson in politics: never assume that there’s any such thing as a foregone conclusion.
While most commentators and polls were pointing towards a hung parliament, the Conservatives snuck in and secured an unexpected majority.
Thus we should not automatically assume that Labour, come tomorrow, will be led by firebrand socialist Jeremy Corbyn. The chances of him winning exceed 80 per cent, according to betting markets.
“I would be amazed if it’s anyone but Corbyn,” says political guru Mike Smithson.
There is still a chance, however, that Yvette Cooper will surprise us all by pipping him at the post.
But if the polls and the markets turn out to be right, and if the MP for Islington North triumphs, the result will be nothing short of astonishing.
It will paint the Labour party as a petulant teenager, responding to May’s defeat with a defiant strop – bolting the bedroom door and turning up the stereo to drown out any uncomfortable voices of disagreement.
The party, founded 115 years ago with the laudable aim of sticking up for working people, was presented with a clear choice – learn from the failings of Miliband’s campaign, or lash out and move even further to the left. Labour’s research revealed that voters did not trust Miliband with the economy.
Yet now, bizarrely, it could be about to elect a man who earnestly proposes “The People’s QE”, an idea ridiculed by nearly all serious economists.
There are other options, of course, such as Cooper and Liz Kendall – the latter of whom offers a breath of fresh air and genuine threat to the Tories.
Presented with the chance to elect its first-ever female leader and fight for victory in 2020, it appears that Labour will – instead – look to the past and opt for what one of its own MPs has described as a “Trotskyist tribute act”.
Incredible as it may seem, polling shows Labour supporters divided over whether or not they should prioritise winning the next election. For many, it’s better to revert to Corbyn’s socialist ideas of the 1970s and ’80s and accept the electoral consequences.
They may be about to get their wish.