Hmmm. After last night, the political spoor today is a little more nuanced.
With Purnell’s shocker before the 10 O’Clock News, today started as make or break: the cabinet reshuffle was more of a half-step. The hapless Darling remains at the Treasury today, despite Brown’s obvious desire to see his pal Ed Balls there. For the great blundering beast – Britain’s worst-ever Chancellor and least effective Prime Minister in generations – has, at least in part, ‘got it’. He’s finally realised he’s in trouble.
I’m giving it 48 hours before something else big happens. A coup over the weekend, or 70 Labour MPs signing a motion, or perhaps even something totally from left field, like Blair signalling a return. Either way, this is the weekend that counts; blood will seep from beneath Westminster doors.
But I hope he stays on. I don’t want to see Brown defeated by his own party; I want to see him defeated at a General Election. To finally realise, without any self-justification or post-rationalising left to him, that he is not wanted, was never wanted, and should never have been Prime Minister.
In fact, the only thing that bothers me about the next Conservative government is George Osborne. I always weigh up who’d be the better politician by imagining the two parties’ candidates in a bar fight. In the post of Chancellor (and Brown is still Chancellor, really) you’d hardly consider it a contest: the big clunking fist versus the little weedy guy from Eton who looks like he’d start blubbing if challenged to a beer centurion? But ABB applies here: Anything But Brown.