Herbert Stein’s law, “Things that cannot go on, won’t,” is one of the best laws of politics. It works for fiscal issues and it usually works for politics as a whole. The British Labour party, however, is currently working to try to disprove this rule. To do them justice they are having a good stab at doing so, which suggests that the maxim should perhaps be re-written: “Things that cannot go on sometimes do.”
Consider the latest developments in the party’s recent unhappy history. Earlier this month the party’s specially commissioned inquiry into anti-Semitism within the party found the party not guilty of this bigotry for the second time in six months. Yet at the launch of these findings, a grassroots member of Jeremy Corbyn’s wing of the party verbally bullied a female Jewish Labour MP until she left in tears, and Jeremy Corbyn himself appeared to compare the Jewish state with ISIS. Although this episode captured some headlines, it was a mere footnote alongside the other catastrophes in the Labour party.