Tomorrow, I'll be telephoning my constituency chairman to inform him of my opinion that we should prepare for a General Election in Feb/March. I really do think that Gordon Brown will not survive to the end of the year. There will be a final effort to rally the Labour Party behind the Prime Minister at Labour's Conference next week - and his big speech will be hailed a success. But it will make no difference.
Its not the dozen or so MPs who have asked him to go. And it would not matter if this figure rose to 30. Its not that one Minister has resigned. And it would make no difference if that figure rose to 3/4. But Cabinet members. That's different - especially if its anyone who's spoken of as a possible replacement. Step forward James Parnell, who has tonight made supportive comments about the rebels (according to Newsnight). This is incendiary (assuming its true). Hutton didn't matter. But other Cabinet members who fancy the top job cannot allow Parnell to steal a march on them.
And if the Prime Minister is forced out, what will the new man or woman do. Well lets think about it. What's the best way to make sure Gordon Brown gets the blame for any defeat. If a defeat comes in Feb/March, the blame will land on Gordon Brown's doorstep, and the new leader gets to fight another day. If its held in June 2010, no-one will remember Gordon Brown, an dthe new leader will cop the blame. And a decision to go in Feb/March would take control of the agenda, and score high marks for boldness. I'm not saying its probable yet, but its a lot more probable tonight than it was this morning, and it's the way the big stone is rolling. I think quite a few association chairs will be having telephone calls tomorrow.