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12 August 2015

There isn’t a month to go – the Labour leadership election is practically over

Most supporters will vote in the next week, most are tired of the contest - a last minute shock is unlikely.

By Stephen Bush

A month to go? Registration for Labour’s ballot closes at noon today, and voting papers will arrive at the homes of party members next week. The winner will be announced on September 12.

But in reality, the contest has far less time to run. Most people will have cast their votes by August 20, in just over a week’s time. There is just one set of Sunday papers left between then and now. Just eight daily updates from the influential LabourList website. Just one solitary issue of the New Statesman.

As tired – and in some cases, fractious – as the leadership campaigns themselves are, Labour party activists and MPs are even more bored of the whole thing. Many are on the beach, either literally or metaphorically as far as their level of interest in the whole thing is concerned.

“Zzzzzzzz” was the message attached to one email, helpfully forwarded to the New Statesman by one member. “I want this to be over sooo badly” was another. “When does this end?” pleaded a third. Even those voters most excited by Jeremy Corbyn – the only candidate to really inspire any genuine passion among the membership – are now bored of the contest.

Most of the electorate has switched off. They have decided, one way or the other: Jeremy Corbyn is either a madman or a messiah, Andy Burnham either Labour’s next Prime Minister or a panderer, Yvette Cooper either boring or reassuring, Liz Kendall the purveyor of harsh truths – or simply harsh.

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That’s why, absent a big, vote-shifting moment between now and Monday,  it really is all over bar the shouting.