AUGUST is the silly season, partly because politicians are away from Parliament and off on their holidays. There is probably a lot to be said in favour of the country having a complete break from politics because it can become tiresome.

However, the world does not stop turning. As tourists will testify, the pound is at its lowest point for a year as the markets grow increasingly worried that Britain will leave the European Union without any form of a trade deal.

And politicians abhor a vacuum, so Boris Johnson has stolen all the silly season headlines with his ill-judged column about burkas. It is fellow Tories who have led the opposition to Mr Johnson, from party leader Theresa May down to Dominic Grieve and Baroness Warsi, and the former Foreign Secretary may yet face a party investigation.

Amazingly, there has been barely a peep from Labour, just as it has barely mustered a chunter about the falling pound.

That is because, two years after Jeremy Corbyn instituted an investigation into alleged anti-Semitism in the party, the row still rumbles on. It would be very hard for Labour to condemn Mr Johnson for Islamophobia when it is embroiled in its own racist dispute. Mr Corbyn has failed to act decisively – adopting the full international definition of anti-Semitism would be a start – and the issue is sapping the life out of the party.

Mr Johnson's predicament may just be a silly season story not worthy of Labour comment, but the reasons behind the falling pound are a huge issue. The pound's fall was partly triggered by International Trade Secretary Liam Fox saying it was now 60/40 that Britain would leave the EU with no deal.

He blamed EU intransigence, but no deal would be an enormous failure for the Conservative government which has existed for the last two years purely to get a deal and oversee an orderly Brexit. With the March deadline looming, surely Labour has something worthwhile to say – but, due to the anti-Semitism row, it doesn't have the energy to say it.