2. Even if Jeremy had a team of super canny Malcolm Tuckers around him and ran a smooth media operation with nary a hitch, questions of peace and war were always going to present his leadership with serious difficulties. In normal times with a "mainstream" leader, significant divisions among the party are normal. With an avowed anti-war campaigner at the helm, military-minded MPs were destined to have a tough time going along with Jeremy's brand of pacifism.
3. In the summer, I suggested that the mass ranks of radicalised members would be a means to hold a recalcitrant PLP in check. You might argue that the sound and the fury of recent weeks suggests the thesis is bunk. Au contraire, were it not for the brooding majority of - still - largely unorganised Jeremy supporters, a lot more than the gnashing of teeth would have taken place. The calls for coups last weekend would have materialised as an actual putsch were the balance of forces in the party any different. Of course, while weak in his own shadow cabinet, let alone the PLP, Jeremy and his team know this is their trump card.
4. The weekend's email out to members irked a good number of MPs because this was a shot across the bow, a reminder that Jeremy is far stronger among the grass roots than they. It was crude, sure, but effective. The 75,000 emails (apparently) received in return backing the leader's stance would not have passed muster where polling science is concerned, but it was a blunt instrument reminding some wavering MPs who the boss is. I've seen some denounce this as outrageous, but that's what happens when the membership in membership organisations assert themselves. The only way around this is to recruit more like-minded people.
5. Ah, recruitment. The pro-Jeremy faction is strong in the party, and arguably getting stronger. Members in the centre and on the right are starting to trickle away. Celebs like Matt Forde (who?) and Robert Webb have disappeared. Soft celebrity types are one thing, but when relatively well-known activists like ex-NUS president Gemma Tumelty (not known as a 4.5%'er, incidentally) are off, then things are a-shifting. Meanwhile, the member ticker keeps going up - and I doubt those new arrivals are being recruited to dilute Corbynism.
6. Nevertheless, Jeremy has attracted some brickbats from the left for not imposing a whipped vote. Whether this would have been possible without majority support of the shadow cabinet is a matter for the rule book geeks, the point is it could have got very ugly and, as hard as it might seem, have caused even more damage to the party and stored up more trouble for the future. Whatever you think of Jeremy, he sees himself as a party person and will do all he can to avoid a SDP-style split.
7. This isn't to say Jeremy couldn't have played his hand better. As a student of political manoeuvres and strategising, in my opinion rank amateurism remains the hallmark of his tenure so far. Dear old Ed Miliband made me wince from time to time, but at the moment it's multiple times every week. There is a certain reticence to Jeremy, which I noted in the leadership's pre-election period, a reluctance to lead from the front. All last week for example it was Ken Livingstone, when not causing controversies of his own, who was going around putting the alternative to Dave's phony war plans - that is targeted air strikes combined with a multi-national force under the UN umbrella. One can assume Jeremy is sympathetic to the plan as Ken wouldn't have been wheeled out to punt for it. Had the leader made that case as a more serious alternative to the Prime Minister's vacuous scheme, then some of the shouting and division might have been avoided.
8. This isn't because Jeremy is lacking backbone, it's a question of culture. As Len McCluskey observed in a criticism from the right, he's still in campaigner as opposed to Leader of the Opposition mode. That can have some strengths and populist pull, but in other respects it's a major disadvantage. The amateurism and awkward associations, opposing this but not being forthright on that. What Jeremy is lacking so far and, unfortunately for him, shows no signs of demonstrating is the need to build a hegemonic project over the PLP and then the electorate. While the former may be out of step with the party, their views as a rule are not out of step with the country. Win them over in sufficient numbers, then the rest of the country can be conquered. Reliance on browbeating them with effective deselection via the boundary review demonstrates the distance between the party now and where it needs to be to win.
9. Last but not least, Jeremy isn't going anywhere for now. Do I think he'll be there in 2020? No, but that's for another post.