Or, at least, he was in 1992.
What a great call, Gordo!
Lame duck Brown: wrong then; wrong now. Wrong about nearly everything. It was with good reason he was dissuaded by Mandelson and Blair in '94 to stand for the leadership. They already knew what a loser he was, so they gave him the British economy to screw around with for a decade instead, until he managed to stage a coup of his own in 2007, after a long-running, deperately divisive and deceitful campaign against his boss, Blair. But if the last three years of his unwanted, undeserved and unearned premiership have proved anything beyond a shadow of a doubt, it's that the man is still a total loser.
If they could be honest with the public for ten seconds, Darling and Mandelson would be the first to agree with that summary, if recent events are anything to go by. That's why, in one, final, desperate throw of the dice before the general election, they've taken over - leaving the loser to his thoughts.
I think it is safe to say now that it won't work. All they've managed to do is to create a paradox. Everyone knows that keeping the loser in place simply means to most people that if they vote Labour, it probably means five more years of Brown. So they won't vote Labour. Game over. If they did get of Brown now, then people would conclude that Labour is utterly divided (we know that anyway, but it would then be 'official'). So they won't vote Labour. Game over. I suppose one could speculate - and I wouldn't put it past them - that there might be some sort of calculation there that in the event of a hung parliament, which is the best they can really hope for barring a miracle, Brown would 'retire' soon after as part of some dodgy deal with the Lib Dems.
But back to now - and, perhaps, reality. The fact is that Darling and Mandelson have stripped Brown of his authority, fearing a total meltdown for Labour had he been permitted to go on lying and spinning - and misleading a wised-up electorate - on the economy while trying to run just another negative, ineffective (remember Crewe?) Brown-Ballsian smear assault on Cameron's Conservatives. Their eyes are on the future, yes. But not the future of Britain, the future of Labour. They've neutered Balls, before he and his fellow left wingers have a chance to mass their forces, to head off a post-defeat bloodbath before it starts. Whatever I might think about Mandelson, he's certainly got game.
However, I don't think people can forgive the depths of his cynicism, the tedious naval-gazing and vanity driving Labour's endless infighting, or with what increasingly looks like a faked coup effectively leaving a technically legitimate Prime Minister with no authority, a prisoner of his own cabinet. In fact, there was a real coup - and it was successful. As I said, unelected Mandelson is now in charge of the UK. As this begins to dawn on people over the next few weeks, I reckon the horribly decayed state of the Labour party, and their attempts to mislead people about this reality, will begin to register in the polls.
So the Tories are dead right: this is all about Labour when it should be about the country. After these events, the country desperately needs to be permitted to grant a fresh mandate to govern - doesn't matter who to - and to do it immediately, preferably with the first thaws.
A point for Labourists to bear in mind? The longer you wait, the angrier people will become, and the bigger your defeat will be. But hey, I know you'll go on burying heads in sand (or snow). Fair enough. But don't say you weren't warned when you're clearing-up the rubble of a total collapse in your popular vote at the general election. I can't wait.
(Thanks to ajs41 for another great clip.)