On both sides of politics, a question of leadership...

Was that it? Seriously? Two weeks of speculation, 36 hours of talks., for a couple of minor tweaks?

It's only four months since Jeremy Corbyn appointed his Shadow Cabinet, an equally lengthy, and at times chaotic process.

Much was made back then of the appointment of people like Michael Dugher and Maria Eagle, whose positions on key issues were so far from their leader they might as well be in another party.

Now, a few months later, he sacks one, and demotes the other.

Why did Mr Corbyn ever appoint a Trident supporter as Shadow Defence Secretary if he never intended to have a serious debate about the issue? Labour remains officially committed to renewing Trident -- a promise presumably not long for this world.

His advisers say the debacle over Syria convinced him Labour must speak with one voice on major foreign policy issues.

Which, we were told, is why Hilary Benn would have to go -- the Shadow Foreign Secretary's support for British strikes on Syria fatally marking his card.

The two men met, then met again, but no white smoke emerged from Labour HQ.

Finally, well after midnight, came some news. Mr Benn was...... remaining as Shadow Foreign Secretary.

In which case, why on earth would you allow so much speculation, so many briefings, saying the complete opposite?

The impression remains that people at the top of the Labour Party are largely making this up as they go along.

You have to presume Mr Corbyn desperately wanted to demote Mr Benn, or at least move him to a role where their differences wouldn't be so public -- only to back down when he realised the civil war so clearly coming down the tracks would arrive within hours if he went ahead.

Just to make relations with Labour MPs a little happier, he's sacked two shadow ministers, accusing one of incompetence, and both of disloyalty.

Loyalty to the leadership will always be a tricky issue for serial rebel Jeremy Corbyn. It's clear he and the great bulk of his MPs will never see eye to eye. Eventually, they'll have to decide if they can be bothered to scrutinise the government's actions, rather than fighting each other.


Mr Corbyn's inability to remove Mr Benn shows the limits of his legendary mandate, but he's not the only leader struggling to lead.

David Cameron's decision to allow his ministers to campaign on both sides of the coming EU referendum is hardly a testament to his strength, more an admission he couldn't force the whole Cabinet to follow him.

The Prime Minister says there will be a "clear Government position", which senior members of the Government will be free to publicly oppose. 

Who might take advantage of this new-found freedom? Iain Duncan-Smith seems likely to support exit, Chris Grayling and Michael Gove are leaning that way.

But, while Mr Cameron's move is no show of strength, it's crafty -- especially as he nears the end of his time as Conservative leader.

Harold Wilson did the same thing in 1975 -- allowing ministers in the then Labour government to campaign to leave Europe, as he supported staying in.

But, having won the referendum, some who opposed him were swiftly demoted.

If Mr Cameron loses the referendum, his career is over anyway. If he wins, it's hard to see how the careers of ministers in the losing camp would prosper.

And if you're a Eurosceptic Tory with leadership ambitions, like Theresa May or Sajid Javid, that might just give you pause for thought.