When it looked obvious that Jeremy was going to win, a number of MPs - you know who you are - made tart remarks about his rebellious record and whinged to the media that they would show the new leadership as much loyalty Jeremy had shown Blair and Brown. Good grief, I know the chamber is often likened to a playground, but the honourable members are sometimes expected to act like grown-ups. Whatever one thinks of Jeremy and his politics, every knows he is a principled man and has always voted in accordance with his views. He didn't vote against the whip set by His Royal Blairness out of pique or bloody-mindedness, but because Blair sometimes demanded his party push through policies that were wrong, damaged our people, and by extension, our party and movement. Granted, this week's abstainers have very different politics, but what principled stand were they making? That Labour should share Osborne's ideological commitment to a public sector starved of funds? That further austerity is the right and proper response to spiralling debt? Or were they protesting the, how shall we say, haphazard handling of the party's position on the issue? If it's the former, then they're giving grist to the newbies by the bucket load. And if it's the latter, they just look petty-minded.
A word of advice for our 21 friends. Okay, we get it. You think what's happened to the Labour Party is a catastrophe. Unfortunately for you and your politics, an absolute majority of members think differently - and those numbers are swelling by the day. Nevertheless, one would assume you'd quite like to make a comeback. You may have written 2020 off but all your instincts are telling you that the pendulum is bound to swing back into political territory you're more comfortable with eventually. How then to prepare yourself for this eventuality? Do you a) rub the membership up the wrong way by continually rebelling against their views and marginalising your politics further, or b) draw on the election-winning creds you claim are uniquely yours and start thinking strategically about your predicament. Ask yourselves, is it better to openly set out your stall and accept party discipline when contentious matters come to the vote with a view to persuading members of the merits of your views, or is the purity of positioning - a weird reverse of revolutionary identity politics - all that matters and damn the consequences?
It's no skin off my nose. Their politics aren't my politics. But they can't say they haven't been warned.