Is Gordon Brown facing the first signs of "the final revolt" within his UK Labour Party?
It has been noticeable in recent weeks that beleaguered British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has been looking for party support, which has indeed been coming from at least some of the party faithful. But it has not been convincing to an outside observer, as rather wooden stock-phrases have been trotted out about supporting the best man for the job. Reminiscent of the sort of language used by government and company chiefs when a trusted lieutenant is found embroiled in a scandal - and whose resignation is subsequently, and "reluctantly", accepted.
The end of last week saw the person generally portrayed as the "grey man" of British politics, Alistair Darling the Chancellor of the Exchequer, don the mantle of honest politician (an oxymoron to some), and tell the British public that they have never had it so bad - economically.
In fact, he said, this is the worst slump in 60 years. And he basically said he needed to tell it straight, and make people aware of the difficulties ahead. All of which seems to suggest that Brown is unwilling to give the bad news himself - and why might that be?
Clearly bad news is not good for his own tarnished image, or that of a party battered in the by-elections and showing poorly in all the opinion polls. (All forgotten briefly by the news of Britain's Olympic successes, and shadowed for a few days by the interminable reporting on the US elections). But might such news not also reflect rather badly on the performance of the previous Chancellor of the Exchequer who was, of course - Gordon Brown.
The move by Alistair Darling is a brave one. It puts him - at present - alone in his concerns at least within the party. Even Gordon Brown himself said the other day that the economy was "resilient". But it seems to suggest, given his previous non-confrontational history, that he either has very quietly harboured deep-seated ambitions to become Prime Minister himself, or he is "fronting" for a group of disgruntled Labour Party MPs who believe that their only hope to avert a total disaster at the next General Election is to do so with a new leader at their head.
The Labour Party now refers to Mr. Darling's comments as a "gaffe" - not a view shared by Mr "Daring" himself it seems. Somehow I get a sense there is a lot more to this than meets the eye.