Theresa May opened her Tory conference speech today by saying that when her party came to Birmingham this week, "some big questions were hanging in the air". They still are. In fact, I have even more questions now than I did when she started. Here are ten...
I like to look on the sunny side of life, but even I have to recognise that our Party is scarcely in a shape to meet the challenge of a general election right now. We need a period of unity, self-discipline, policy development and talking to the public rather than ourselves - as I hope we will get once the leadership election is over - before we are ready to face the electorate with any realistic prospect of success.
There is no doubt that 23 June 2016 was a watershed moment for our country. But what type of watershed will it be? Will Brexit signal the decline of the UK as a global power, a potential break up of the Union and a voluntary resignation from the world stage with a shrinking economy and a divided population? Or will it force us to confront some stark realities and bridge some of the deep fissures in our society and in our economy? Can we use Brexit as an opportunity to think afresh about how to create a more united society, a more just economy and forge a new role in the world?
Labour has forgotten what its name means. Labour is a movement of the common labour force, not a centre right tepid mediocracy, nor a diluted moderate Conservatism.
It is a classic Whitehall power grab carried out while the chaos caused by Brexit is still unfolding. While Cabinet members familiarise themselves with their new roles, the Government Digital Service (GDS) is under threat, with a Whitehall plan to undermine it already well advanced. Unless it's stopped, a decade of digital progress in central government could be undone. The Home Office has already quietly removed its most senior digital leader and similar positions in the Cabinet Office, DWP and HMRC are reportedly under threat. The mandarin machine is taking advantage of the summer hiatus to launch a minor coup, with the Sir Humphreys of Whitehall effectively trying to repatriate powers to their respective departments. The new cabinet office minister, Ben Gummer, must not allow them to succeed.
The security services have an important job to do keeping us safe and they carry it out with distinction but many of us question whether mass surveillance and state snooping is a price worth paying. Judicial oversight is essential if we are to maintain the right balance between civil liberties and state power. I hope the new Prime Minister will reflect on this. Strong leaders are capable of recognising they made mistakes in the past and taking steps to rectify them.
Doubling down on divisiveness, Tom Watson has chosen to attack Unite and myself personally for our position on the unnecessary Labour leadership election which his manoeuvres, amongst others, have forced on the Party at a time of national crisis... Indeed, Tom was more than keen on Unite members' money in the days before he fell for the charms of Max Mosley's support. His complaints now are hypocritical, as well as ill-founded, and his attempt to divide our union will fall flat on its face.
The answer is they probably won't be able to and that in itself is a catastrophe. In such vitriolic times the country needs Parliament to function properly, especially with a government just entering its infancy, something it will not be able to do without a unified opposition. Labour needs to sort itself out and quickly, for the sake of us all.
"Next time that you want to stab Caesar, make sure that you're not holding a plastic spoon". At a time when politics has become increasingly like the Thick of It, Labour's revolters may regret not heeding Malcolm Tucker's advice.
Given the likelihood that the Parliamentary Labour Party will use its right to select the names that will appear on the ballot to exclude left-wing candidates, if Corbyn is toppled then the Left is definitively out of power, and there will be little reason for left-wing members to stay.
Boris Johnson has decided to use the EU vote to further his own career and force his way into No 10 - regardless of the cost to the country and seemingly his own party. It is cynical. It is short-sighted. It is selfish. And I believe the British electorate will see through it. I don't agree with Michael Gove about anything. I don't have much time for Chris Grayling or Iain Duncan Smith. But at least they are expressing a sincerely held view when they claim the UK would be better off outside the EU - no matter how misguided they are to believe it. The same cannot be said of Boris Johnson.
Sometimes it's the people with whom we work most closely that end up knowing us the best. So it has proved with George Osborne and Iain Duncan Smith. That's why IDS's observation in his resignation letter to the Prime Minister was so revealing. In it, he said: "I am unable to watch passively whilst certain policies are enacted in order to meet the fiscal self-imposed restraints that I believe are more and more perceived as distinctly political rather than in the national economic interest". For once IDS has hit the nail on the head. George Osborne is a man who always puts his career before his country. The nation's economic interest is not his primary concern.
Oh, Oldham West. Poor, poor Oldham West. By the time you read this article, we might already know the results of Thursday's by-election. I'm already t...
It may be true he's made some mistakes here, as I'm not familiar with every case he's taken on. But it's time Tom was defended against the broad thrust of the criticism against him, which is that he threatened judicial independence and created a climate where mistakes were bound to happen.
PMQs today made it pretty clear: Corbyn is starting to employ that headmaster stare. Today, it went from a rather stern warning look to a full-on, narrow-eyed, flashing-gazed glare at the Tory front bench who promptly erupted from muffled laughter to full-on cheers, accompanied by the classic chanting of "Ooooh", which reminded me all too strongly of schooldays seated in front of a well-intentioned but sadly incompetent supply teacher.
I have heard many disturbing and harrowing accounts of child abuse since I asked that question in the House of Commons. It is impossible not to become deeply upset and angry when listening to them. When the death of Leon Brittan was announced, I worried that the justice system would no longer take its course and that the allegations would never be thoroughly investigated... The choice facing anyone who is presented with testimony of this kind is whether to pass it on to the authorities and urge them to investigate or to ignore it. I chose the first option. I felt it was my duty to do so.