Tempers are becoming strained as Labour politicians contemplate the possibility of Jeremy Corbyn becoming their leader.
A YouGov poll has found 53 per cent of voters eligible to take part in the Labour leadership contest - that’s party members, registered supporters and members of affiliated organisations - plan to back Mr Corbyn.
That’s clearly enough to hand him the leadership.
Support for Mr Corbyn, a London backbencher, is highest in the capital. And it’s lowest in the Midlands and Wales, which is counted as one region by YouGov (other regions are the rest of the south, the north of England and Scotland).
But even here, 47 per cent say they will vote for Mr Corbyn as their first preference.
Pollsters can be wrong, as we saw during the general election.
But even before the votes are counted, some Labour figures are worried this leadership election has damaged the party.
"Wave goodbye to Labour ever being elected"
Michael Cashman, who was a West Midlands MEP for 15 years and is now a Labour member of the House of Lords, lamented on Twitter: “The chance has been lost. After this self-indulgent overlong campaign we are on the defensive as after 2010. Worse.”
And he claimed supporters of Mr Corbyn were adopting bullying tactics.
Lord Cashman said the party could “wave goodbye to Labour ever being elected under his leadership”, adding: “And now I wait for the intolerance of the Corbyn-istas for anyone who dare have a different opinion.”
He went on to tell Twitter followers: “I have not experienced this sniping intolerance in the party since the mid 1980s.”
The argument that Labour has no chance of winning if Mr Corbyn becomes leader is frequently used by opponents.
Labour would "give up the ghost" if it elects Corbyn
Black Country MP Ian Austin (Lab Dudley North), responding on Twitter to a comment that it would be “fascinating” to see what happens to Labour, said: “Not sure ‘fascinating’ is word I’d use to watch one of Britain’s most important institutions give up the ghost.”
He said better words would be “tragic. terrible. irresponsible,” and predicted: “I suppose I’d have a lot more time to ride my bike ...”
Alastair Campbell, Tony Blair’s former press secretary, offered a similar warning, saying: “Corbyn will be a leader of the hard left, for the hard left, and espousing both general politics and specific positions that the public just are not going to accept in many of the seats that Labour is going to have to win.”
But there’s concern that the warning may fall on deaf ears. Indeed, Mr Campbell admitted his comments might actually help Mr Corbyn’s campaign “as his supporters take to social media to tell each other that if Blair’s spinmeister is against him, he must be alright”, but felt he had a duty to speak out just as he’d have a duty to shout a warning if he saw “a car crash about to happen.”
Are Mr Corbyn’s views really that terrible?
He’s been publishing a series of detailed policy documents, the most recent of which sets out measures to help young people.
They include plans for a £10 compulsory “living wage” - effectively a new minimum wage - to apply to people of any age, including apprentices.
Currently the minimum wage for young apprentices is £2.73 an hour, though this will increase due to inflation by the next election.
Obviously giving people more money is great, but it’s surely possible some firms would find it harder to employ apprentices if the cost increased this much.
Mr Corbyn wants to axe student tuition fees and bring back grants.
Rival candidate Andy Burnham also wants to end fees, by replacing them with a new tax on graduates, but Mr Corbyn simply suggests that £10 billion could come from income tax, stating: “Income tax receipts are due to increase by £15 billion between 2019/20 and 2020/21. We should use two-thirds of that to reduce student debt - by scrapping fees and restoring grants.”
In other documents he says a Labour government under his leadership would oversee “a publicly-led expansion and reconstruction of the economy” using “a National Investment Bank to head a multi-billion pound programme of infrastructure upgrades and support for high-tech and innovative industries.”
This bank would get its money from “large reductions in the £93 billion of corporate tax relief and subsidies”.
Genius or fantasy? You decide, but the danger for Labour is that voters in the leadership election come to one conclusion and voters in the general election come to another.
Maybe Midland MP Tom Watson could save Labour?
One despairing Labour grandee is so worried that he’s hoping Black Country MP Tom Watson will swoop down and save everyone.
John McTernan, Tony Blair’s former political secretary, argues that Mr Watson (Lab West Bromwich East), who is likely to win the contest to become Labour’s deputy leader, would somehow “neutralise” Mr Corbyn.
He argued that Mr Watson “will do anything to save the party he loves” and would “take back” Labour for the forces of common sense.
Quite what this means in practice is unclear and I suspect it will all come as a surprise to Mr Watson.
But such is the fear of Mr Corbyn becoming Labour leader that some within the party are already attempting to ferment plots to depose him.