This morning's news that Labour acted illegally in blocking the right of members who have joined in the past 6 months to vote in the leadership election looks like being game, set and match for Jeremy Corbyn. Labour's National Executive decision always struck me as a bit of unsustainable gerrymandering by anti-Corbynistas carried out while the Corbynistas had momentarily taken their collective eye off the ball. They were, after all, ecstatic at the decision to allow Corbyn on the ballot paper despite having 80% of the Labour Parliamentary Party against him. The expectation is that a significant majority of the new members have joined to back Corbyn (though not to do any campaigning for the Labour party such as delivering leaflets or knocking on doors).
It seems therefore that the Smith challenge will fail dramatically and Corbyn will emerge stronger within the Labour Party while the appeal of the Labour Party in the country will be weakened further. In places like Gateshead that could be useful for the Lib Dems. There is no campaigning presence by the Conservatives, Greens or the Kippers. Whatever battles take place here in the future will involve only Labour and the Lib Dems. It is also very unlikely that Labour will split. I think the anti-Corbynistas will remain where they are but will engage in a war of attrition against the left, thus weakening Labour further.
The bigger picture is not so good. While I am confident the Lib Dems can mount serious challenges to the Conservatives, this can only happen in limited areas of the country. UKIP's entire purpose has now been served and Farage has gone. Even if the Kippers hang around (and survive the toxic battle to choose a new leader) they have not learnt how to break the voting system. 4 million general election votes and only one MP shows this to be the case. The SNP may be dominant in Scotland but that is, in terms of constituencies and voters, only a small fraction of the UK. Labour, not even able to form an opposition, never mind a government, will spend years fighting themselves rather than the Conservatives.
So be happy that Labour's self-destructive streak is creating openings for us. But be worried that the country is heading towards a one-party Conservative state for the next 20 years.