Who would have thought that the big political row of the week would be about changes to the taxation system introduced by the Labour Party, which involves 5.3 million of the poorest paid people of Britain being left worse off. Unsurprisingly, there are 73 seriously and publicly disgruntled Labour MPs, who are very displeased by what their leader and Prime Minister is doing. They're lining up to be disloyal. Tonight it was West Wales MP, Nick Ainger. Normally, when tax changes are upsetting MPs, its the Chancellor who gets in the neck, but this week's changes were announced by the previous Chancellor in last year's budget - so Gordon Brown can't do his usual Macavity disappearing trick when there's a whiff of cordite about. And anyway, Alistair Darling has become so discredited that he doesn't really count any longer. What makes it all so odd is that they cheered the very same Gordon Brown to the rafters of the House of Commons when he announced the changes that have just come into effect - 13 months ago. How times have changed.
And that's what's so interesting about all this. Its not the reams that have been written about the abolition of the 10p income tax band. The aspect that interests me is not the financial, but the status and standing of Gordon Brown. I watched him on some sort of party email conference tonight, answering questions about the tax changes being put by a 'soft' inhouse questioner. He sounded like the speaking clock, and looked about as convincing as Del Boy in a velvet suit on April Fool's Day. I'd read about Labour MPs barracking the Prime Minister over recent days, but hadn't quite believed it. I suppose I still had in my mind the dominant figure who towered over the Labour Party from his lofty post at the Treasury for 10 years. But I believe it now. I've also read that Gordon Brown is not a man to be underestimated, and that he could rise again. Well, yes I suppose he could. But what's new is that now it would be a real surprise. His 'aura of power' has simply drifted away on the breeze.