Labour is in turmoil over Brexit just as the Stoke Central and Copeland by-elections hove into view. As Steve Richards has pointed out, Labour has always been split on Europe – but more nimble leaders and the basis of a stronger Labour movement saw us through. This time it’s totally different. Whatever your views on Jeremy Corbyn, he is no master of internal party management or parliamentary tactics. But even if we could conjure up a Wilson or an Attlee now, it is doubtful how any leader could paper over the cracks of such a political, cultural and emotional divide between Brexit and Remainers that now runs through the PLP, the party and the country. In the heat of the crisis you can see why the leadership is insisting, for now, on a three line whip on article 50. Labour, they feel, can’t be seen to be blocking Brexit ahead of Stoke and Copeland. The loss of one seat would be a disaster; the loss of both catastrophic. In their crisis the only thing that matters is surviving the day.