So, the Conservative Party has opposed the changes to the leadership election rules, which would have meant that the rank-and-file will not have been able to have a say in the election of a leader!
To be honest though they are in a Catch 22. To vote for the changes would have meant taking ordinary members democratic right to choose their leader. For rank-and-file to agree to that would have meant that they wanted power at the expense of self-respect. Something some sections of the Conservative Party are old hands at in any case.
To vote against them, which they have done, means that they will likely pick the most right-wing candidate of the lot (given past experience), and therefore make themselves even more unelectable. If they vote for the most populist, centerist candidate, i.e. Kenneth Clarke, then that shows that they lack principle, given that they voted so decisively against him before, and that they will put power above all else. Something the recently-deceased right-wing academic, Maurice Cowling, would have been proud of!
This however, does not mean that Labour should rest on their laurels, far from it! It is true that a Brown premiership will help revitalise the Party and bring more into the fold, but the Conservatives are like a Pike in shallow waters, and capable of causing great damage. Their members are a determined lot and it will need a fourth general election victory and gaining some pivotal seats to cause great psychological damge and make them face up to the fact that the long-term effects of Thatcherism are more of an albatross than an asset, and that to win they need to be a One-Nation Party!
Which will be difficult for them, because after the SDP debacle, Labour made sure it returned to that fold and made themselves very comfortable and popular there.