Once again we have seen Gordon Brown's fortunes take a turn for the worse. Last week he was doing what he likes best - demonstrating in his own eyes at least that he is a world statesman with his visit to the other side of the pond. Yesterday he delivered a passable speech to the party faithful but today received the bad news from Britain's biggest selling newspaper 'The Sun' that with the election possibly still many months away they have already decided to back Cameron.
Now this was always likely to happen at some stage but it's the timing that is so devastating for Gordon. When he might have thought that the content of his speech would be the subject of the day it is the statement from 'The Sun' that is the lead headline on the BBC at least. Assuming the Conservatives form the next government are we going to once again see that awful headline "It's the Sun wot won it".
One or two comments on that speech: I noticed that Brown's praise for our troops in Afghanistan was a very long way into the speech. It gained a short standing ovation but I get the impression that Brown doesn't really empathise with the troops whereas Cameron last year lauded our men and women out there right at the start of his speech. I imagine it will be the same at the Tory conference next week. Whatever one feels about our presence in Afghanistan surely you shouldn't insert your praise almost as an aside in your speech when our forces are risking their lives in that country. Yes Brown is something of a phony when it comes to our armed services.
As is the way of these things Brown made some new policy announcements or in fact reannouncements in some instances. As an example he stated that ID cards would no longer be compulsory. Good I thought - then I did a reality check, wasn't that decision announced a month or three back? Yes it was! So it's a bit of a nonsense padding out a speech with old news!
By all accounts it's only 'The Daily Mirror' that is doing any vigorous flag waving for Labour this morning. The Party might get a small bounce following a conference that is not quite so dire as many predicted. But any upsurge will be small and temporary and the Tories of course have the advantage of being the last of the main parties to have their annual conference and so can react to what the others have said and done.