Whatever hopes Jeremy Corbyn may have had for 2016, they have been summarily crushed within a week of all those pristine new calendars and diaries gaining their first entries.
The chaos surrounding the Labour leader’s so-called “reshuffle” – which has rather less resembled an orderly rearrangement of a pack of cards than a pack of tantruming toddlers running amok in a casino – has ensured that any semblance of calm he might have acquired over the Christmas break has evaporated.
All sorts of advice has been offered to Corbyn since he became leader of a party that, for sheer dysfunction and disunity, may now deserve to be preceded by “hen” – or the prefix of doom, as Bernard Black had it. But such advice is entirely useless. He could hire recently-Sirred Lynton Crosby himself, the doyen of Antipodean win-at-all-costs electioneering, and it would make no difference.
It has taken Corbyn fewer than four months to achieve total ignominy – an achievement that Ed Miliband arguably took a full five years over.
The Conservatives must be absolutely desperate to keep Corbyn where he is. They won the 2015 election having preached the importance of “security”. Now, despite oodles of real-world evidence showing that they couldn’t secure a padlock in a safe, the UK under their guardianship is being made to look like a combination of Fort Knox and Alcatraz guarded by the Avengers themselves when compared to Labour’s utter ineptitude.
I mentioned Lynton Crosby earlier. Knighting the man who ran the government’s election campaign should be an obvious warning sign that the government thinks it has carte blanche. And that’s not even taking into account his lobbying activity.
When the Prime Minister’s chief concern is his own party’s capacity to oppose him, it only goes to show that there is only one party he is seriously worried about.
When the Prime Minister thinks he can defenestrate the formerly-sacred principle of collective responsibility to allow his own Ministers to campaign against his government, it only proves one thing: he doesn’t see a threat coming from elsewhere.
When the Prime Minister says he will carry on in post even if he loses a referendum that defines Britain’s place in the world, it demonstrates arrogance – certainly – but also that his position is nigh impregnable.
UK politics would be hilarious right now, if it didn’t matter. But that joke isn’t funny any more. It’s too close to home, and it’s too near the bone.
Happy new year, Jeremy.