So in one sense - this sense - one could say that Brown sort of succeeded. He has shifted the narrative slightly - maybe - with the BBC on this morning's Today programme being willing accomplices, typically, or even the initiators of this latest little change of tack. But we know that the whole narrative, whichever way it is leaning, is generally nonsense anyway; that the reality is rather different, regardless of whether it influences people's minds or not.
The reality is that Brown, with his back against the wall and his campaign leaders pulling in three different directions, telling their own voters to vote for other parties (David Blackburn was pretty amusing on this in the morning), has decided unsurprisingly to get all atavistic on our butts; to go back to the old irrational, deceitful, Tory-hating, prehistoric Balls-Brown fake dividing line that Mandelson and Darling worked so hard to move away from and onto less toxic, less risky ground. They tried to decontaminate brand Brown. It seems they failed.
But they at least could see the bigger picture that concerns the whole future of Labour. I figure they calculated that if they allowed Brown to lie about phantom Tory cuts/ equally phantom Labour spending, won the election and then proceeded to cut everything in sight having been ordered to by the IMF, they would lose the next election (which would probably come soon afterwards anyway) by a country mile, be truly obliterated this time by a livid electorate, and secure 25 years of Tory government into the bargain without David Cameron even having to break sweat.
So, the upshot is that, despite the direction in which the media narrative is currently veering, apparently and irrelevantly, the fact is that Brown has got it disastrously wrong. He's not only reverted to type (who could have doubted that he wouldn't - that's all he is, after all), but he's actually going to lose the election on the back of it too, so we can skip the brief period of the total turmoil of a Labour government winning on a lie and collapsing within months as the economy tears itself apart and move straight onto the Tories.
All in all, the couple of more rational members of the former Labour cabinet must be tearing their collective hair out (that doesn't include Liam Byrne, naturally) gnashing their teeth and generally wailing a lot. Thanks to Gordon Brown, the whole, elegantly triangulated (and exquisitely dishonest rather than brutally deceitful) Mandelsonian election campaign strategy has now totally imploded and will suck the party down with it.
As I've said before, they only have themselves to blame. They could have removed Brown a long time ago. Hell, they never should have taken the piss out of the electorate by giving the auld wrecker a coronation in the first place. But that's all history now, and so is Labour. The one silver lining is that if there is any justice left in this world, or, indeed, sense left in this country, then even if Labour aren't kicked into third place and kicked into touch for a generation - even if they manage by some miracle to keep Cameron down to a minority government - Brown will be gone.
Even I, ever the optimist who still firmly believes in the clear Tory triumph - if by some horrible, perverted twist of fate I'm wrong, even I would happily settle just for the end of Brown if I can't have anything else. That outcome would be by no means satisfying, or even satisfactory, but it'd be one hell of a relief.