Spare a thought for Tom Watson, the Black Country MP expected to become Labour’s new deputy leader on Saturday September 12.
The MP who is widely regarded as the favourite in the Deputy Leadership contest is hoping to help Labour back into power by revitalising its grass roots operations, travelling the country to encourage local party members and giving local councillors a bigger role in campaigning and decision-making.
Mr Watson, MP for West Bromwich East, hoped very much to be an organiser in his new job, assuming he does indeed win, rather than someone who helps make policy. And that should mean he can work with whoever is elected leader.
But it now looks like his role, hard enough to begin with, will be even more difficult than expected.
If Jeremy Corbyn becomes Labour’s new leader then the party will be divided, with many MPs at odds with the man at the top.
And while the leadership election has attracted new members and supporters who are enthusiastic about Mr Corbyn, it’s left some old hands in constituency parties across the country feeling that their years of delivering envelopes and paying full membership fees have been taken for granted.
Mr Watson is going to have to play peacemaker. And there was more than a hint of this in a speech he delivered in Dudley on Monday September 7, as the campaign entered its final days.
"We are all good people with good motives"
First, he highlighted the bad-tempered nature of some of the campaign, particularly on social media where some supporters of Mr Corbyn (ignoring pleas from the official Corbyn campaign to stop) have been particularly unpleasant to rival candidate Liz Kendall, seen as being on the relative right of the Labour Party.
Mr Watson said: “You have to start from the position that, inside the Labour party, we are all good people with good motives – indeed, with the same motives – and nobody is right about everything. And nobody is wrong about everything either.
“Liz Kendall is not a Tory and Jeremy Corbyn is not a Trot, and saying either of those things – on Twitter, on Facebook or in real life – just plays into the hands of our real opponents – the Tories. And they hold enough cards at the moment as it is.”
The MP also attacked proposals to introduce full re-selection for every Labour MP.
This follows reports that MPs hostile to Mr Corbyn or his policies could be sacked and replaced by left-wingers, as the Labour left seeks to ensure that they retain control of the party even once Mr Corbyn goes, whenever that may be.
Again, Mr Corbyn himself (through his official spokesman) has said he has no intention of introducing anything of the kind.
But a body called the Campaign for Labour Party Democracy is planning to propose a motion at Labour’s annual conference to introduce the practice.
Its spokesman is Jon Lansman, who also runs an organisation called Jeremy Corbyn Campaign 2015 (Supporters) Ltd which has worked with the Corbyn campaign.
At the moment, constituency Labour parties simply confirm that they want sitting MPs to stand again. The proposed change would mean a full selection process is held every time, other people able to offer themselves as potential candidates.
You can't just get rid of Labour MPs whose views you don't share
Mr Watson said told his Dudley audience that mandatory reselection was “an inherently intolerant mechanism, which isn’t helpful to the process of drawing the party together.”
He said: “What mandatory reselection comes down to is not rooting out the occasional bad egg, but systematically getting rid of Labour MPs some of whose views you might not share.”
He added: “In a spirit of comradeship and unity, I call on the Campaign for Labour Party Democracy to withdraw their Conference motion on this.”
Mr Watson seems to recognise that the party has some healing to do - and there may be some people on the left whose actions would make things worse.
This is in no way an attack on Mr Corbyn, who has always stressed his willingness to work with those in the party who come from a different tradition to him.
Labour must back NATO and the EU
But Mr Watson went on to highlight two issues where perhaps he and Mr Corbyn do differ.
He pointed out: “A Labour government was the driving force behind the creation of NATO . . . whatever the merits of individual conflicts I’m sure our own security is best served by our full participation in NATO.”
Mr Corbyn, by contrast, has said he believes NATO should have been abolished long ago.
And Mr Watson insisted Labour must back EU membership, saying: “On a political level, the EU is David Cameron’s problem. He is split from his membership and most of his Parliamentary party . . . in the Labour party, though, we’ve had no such problems for a very long time. Let’s keep it that way.
“Our position on the referendum is ‘yes’, we have to stay in. It’s clear, simple, and right.”
It seems likely that Labour under Mr Corbyn will also come down on the side of staying in, but the left-wing MP is far less enthusiastic about the EU.
So Tom Watson clearly feels a need to speak out - and is willing to do so.
If Jeremy Corbyn becomes Labour leader on Saturday he may find he doesn’t have it all his own way.
Tom Watson isn’t a politician who’s satisfied with widening the debate or playing internal party games - he’s someone who wants to get into government, and that’s what he’ll set out to do.