This columnist's advice to the Parliamentary Labour Party is therefore simple. Give up. With the leader you've got and led as you are, all is lost.
And there's a second strand to the duff commentary that will be assailing us from today onwards. Having denounced Mr Brown and all his works, pronounced him terminally useless, doubted his ability to get his show back on the road and hinted that he has personality flaws so deep as to doom his premiership, many commentators are going on to say that there can “of course” be no thought of a challenge to his leadership. Labour's rules are too complicated and cumbersome, they say. Labour MPs “lack the killer instinct” shown by Tories and “don't do regicide”. The advice is then concluded with the suggestion that the Party will just have to get behind its leader as best it can, stop rocking the boat, rediscover discipline and carry on to the bitter end hoping for an improvement that the writer has offered reasons for doubting Mr Brown will ever be capable of. I was guilty of this myself last week.
Gee, thanks, Mr Columnist. So I'll end by challenging this wisdom, though my challenge is ventured hesitantly and with no great confidence.
It is possible to get bogged down in technical wisdom and miss the obvious. Colleagues don't walk willingly into the bonfire, whatever the rules may say. If it becomes clear to most where the path is leading then one way or another a means may be found to abort the journey. I have no idea who might challenge Mr Brown, or how; but, reasoning backwards from an outcome that many of his tribe must wish for, my instinct is that a way to produce it might be found. Things happen. Where there's a will, there's a bayonet.
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