Is it sinking poll ratings? Is it sheer nervousness that he may well lose two traditionally safe Labour seats? Is it his indecision and lack of clarity on Brexit? Who knows? But something caused Corbyn to produce a desperate speech today arguing that people are 'dying' as a result of austerity. It stank of pure desperation. No one denies there are large-scale problems in the NHS, but to argue austerity is killing people displays how low the left are willing to sink these days.

A desperate plea to lost voters

Never before has Stoke-on-Trent appeared in the news so much.

Sadly, it has cropped up for the wrong reasons. This is a land distant from the Westminster bubble. It is a typical 'serfdom' that Labour could traditionally rely on to deliver a red MP to Parliament. This is how the centre-left party view their voters- peasants who are trapped in poverty just to provide them with a sufficient reason to vote for them. But now they're scared, which is why it is ridiculous to see their activists pound Stoke's streets as if it was a marginal seat.

Nonetheless, there is more to Stoke's problems than a party that has taken them for granted for too long. This is a place that has lost its industry and a sense of identity as a result of businesses moving to EU countries that pay their workers far less than they do here.

Hence why it is the 'Brexit capital' of Britain. It's a relief to these people that their out-of-touch former MP, Tristan Hunt, resigned. Let's hope that whoever wins can lead a campaign to restore some pride to this place.

That is why Corbyn's appeal to Copeland and Stoke's voters was shallow and empty. The Labour Leader pleaded with them to 'send a message' to Theresa May.

Yet the only person who may receive a warning this Thursday could well be the self-proclaimed Trotskyist himself. How can this man have the audacity to continue his reign as commissar if he loses two seats this party should depend upon at every election?

The narrow message

Clueless on the economy, lost over Brexit, and struggling to retain the support of his own MPs, what better way to appeal to them and the voters that return them to office than beat the drum of their seventy-year-old message about being the 'party of the NHS' and blaming those 'evil Tories' for causing deaths in our famous institution?

The NHS needs radical reform, and quickly. Since the 1980s, governments of all colours have legislated changes that enable our health service to raise revenue through alternative means, yet none of these governments have been bold enough to admit more private money is needed to plug the funding gap in the NHS.

As long as the left claim a monopoly over our prized institution, we will never solve the health and social care crisis. It makes politicians scared to be daring with NHS reform. But for the Leader of the Opposition, he believes an endless pot of gold can be found to drag Britain back into the 1970s. That is why singling out austerity as the cause of deaths in the NHS is pathetic. It is a last minute attempt to win over a shrinking, alienated core base of support.

The annual event of the year: a Labour leadership election!

So if the socialists lose Copeland and Stoke on Thursday, Corbyn will no doubt fall on his sword and resign. But he seems so incapable of comprehending that he is the sole reason why the centre-left party are failing. And even if he did the honourable thing, the current membership of the Labour Party is so left-wing that we know John McDonnell, the Shadow Chancellor, is waiting in the shadows to oust his useless comrade. It's reminiscent of the Soviet Union.

These leadership elections are becoming the annual event of the year. But it's tragic for democracy that we lack a strong opposition.

So rather than absorb the message behind Corbyn's NHS conference speech today, people will only be distracted by the smell of desperation. What a sad day for the centre-left.