It might be thought odd to describe what is happening in the Tory party right now as an example of unity, with the Westminster Twitter machine in overdrive. One Brexit MP has tweeted that her Remain colleague went and gave a speech to a post-vote rally in a state of inebriation, a description that the Remainer described as defamatory. Meanwhile, Stephen Crabb has launched his leadership campaign with some clever coded jabs at Boris Johnson, who faces a “Stop Boris” drive by some parliamentarians. And we have not even heard properly from Theresa “get me in a TV debate with Boris and watch me take him apart” May yet.

Even so, beyond all the immediate shenanigans, it is quite obvious what is happening. The Tory tribe in power is doing what it usually does in these situations. In a determined spirit it is setting about choosing a successor to its outgoing leader, taking a cold-hearted view on who can do the job of Prime Minister best of the available candidates and who stands the best chance of beating Labour. There will be some weeks of considerable unpleasantness and ferocious blue on blue combat. Someone will win and then all involved – bar a small group of refuseniks – will declare that this is a marvellous result, even if they think it is not, because attention will shift to getting a good deal with the EU. And then trying to strip the stricken Labour party back to 100 seats and governing for a decade. To this end the Tory machine – much of which on the donor side was for Leave – will raise funds from the City and business for a general election.

Consider the clear contrast between the Tory response to the resignation of David Cameron, and the Labour response to the brave but unbelievably protracted and pitiful attempts to get the highly-unsuitable Jeremy Corbyn to leave his post as leader of the opposition.

There was a collective intake of breath when Cameron stepped out of Number 10 with his wife at his side on Friday morning after he lost the referendum. OMG, that’s it, he’s going, said watching Tories. After that, there was time for a quick spot of sentimentality and dabbing of moistened eyes. That took care of the first ten minutes after David Cameron’s announcement. And then… on to what’s next.

The Tory party’s utter ruthlessness in these circumstances – in ousting Heath, in ousting Thatcher and rejecting Heseltine, in getting rid of IDS and lining up Michael Howard – is quite something to behold when you see it close up as a journalist. I was in the room next door, waiting for someone, when Michael Portillo’s campaign crashed and burned and he gave his thank you speech to his team, and then took a taxi with his defeated campaign team, where they were depressed for as long as it took to get to the beginning of Pall Mall.

The shock of being ousted by such a bunch can destabilise some leaders (look at the response of Thatcher, who herself had ousted Heath 15 years earlier). Less emotional Tories, schooled in the party’s history and with realistic outlook on human nature, take it better. Cameron himself was in good spirits a few days after his defeat, making jokes at his own expense in the Commons.

Labour, on the other hand, is dreadful at removing leaders. The best one can say is that this makes it a “nicer” party, although I doubt it is. Labour politics is just as ruthless, although the tradition is of conflicts being fought largely in proxy, in committees and via the trade union support network. The leader then attracts great tribal loyalty beyond the point of rationality. This is why the effort to get Blair to go provoked such trauma. It was not the way Labour think it does business, and it is why even when Brown should have been replaced pre-2010, he was not. The Tory party would have had Gordon Brown gone before you can say “my what an expensive looking pair of shoes Peter Mandelson’s got on.”

And look at all the miserable weeping and wailing even of those prominent Labour MPs who know Corbyn is a disaster. They should be delighted the party’s worst ever leader is in the process of being shown the door. All their energy should be on finding an alternative Prime Minister, and on recruiting moderate Labour voters to join the party and help them expel the hard-left SWP types who have stolen the party of John Smith.

The reason their task is urgent and there is no time for sentimentality is that even before the events of the last week Labour faced an existential crisis. It is dead in Scotland. I mean that. It has no reason to exist now that the battle is between the dominant SNP and Ruth Davidson’s Tories. In the north of England UKIP is on Labour’s tail. And in the Midlands and South, that rejected Ed Miliband’s updated brand (Russell Brand) of north London soft leftism, only a dramatic move back to the centre and to competence will save the party from imminent disaster when the Tories do call an election this year or next. Labour needs to locate someone that is so obviously different from what it has offered for years, so that the viewers of Gogglebox Britain (the single best focus group), in marginal seats, sit up and say: blimey, this man/woman has got something. I’m listening. Labour might be back in business. Someone is going stop the Tories having it all their own way.

Labour had better stop all the snivelling and find such a person, quickly.