A relatively calm day today and a period of well-deserved space in the political madness where memories could turn to the D-Day anniversary. Even in Normanday, however, Gordon Brown couldn’t escape his woes completely and was booed by a small section of the crowd when he arrived at an event.
But the lull seems to be over and tonight the drama is ramping up again. The News of the World has got hold of e-mails written by Peter Mandelson last year, before his return to Government, where he calls the Prime Minister ‘complex’ and said that ‘strategic policy formulation’ was more important than ‘telling people you watch the X-Factor’. Mandelson is too good a spinner to be thrown off course be these relatively trivial leaks but it does serve to remind people that even very senior colleagues harbour concerns about the Prime Minister’s personality.
The big moment of the weekend will come at 9pm on Sunday evening when the European election results are announced. Everyone expects these to be dire for Labour but if the party slips to fourth place then the plots really could kick off again. Brown now looks relatively safe from Cabinet intrigue as the likely leadership contenders meekly accepted jobs in the cabinet or stepped down – but rumours are still circulating that Labour backbenchers may be less amenable as many see their once safe seats become distictly marginal. We shall see on Monday.
What is still clear is that Brown isn’t out of the woods yet, though he looks safer than he did on Thursday night. The next step to safety now is to make it through Monday night’s PLP meeting – something that may be easier said than done.