But much of what some of the MPs seem to be complaining about doesn’t look much different from the normal cajoling, threats and blackmail which are the stock-in-trade of the Whips’ Offices; and it looks as though some of the more delicate souls amongst them are really complaining more about the source of the responses than about their content. How dare ordinary party members – let alone the voting public – threaten not to vote for MPs just because they disagree with them?
But why on earth shouldn’t members of any party, who have selected a candidate for election and then canvassed and leafletted on his or her behalf, have an absolute right to withdraw their support and demand an opportunity to select a candidate more in tune with their own views? The concept of deselection or reselection of MPs is being treated as though it is utterly outrageous, and the MPs concerned sound as though they believe that they should have a job for life, regardless of what they do or say. Why? What gives them that right? The very fact that they think they should have such a right underlines how far the Labour Party has drifted from being the property of its members.