One might almost feel sorry for Gordon Brown and, if he hadn't been such a ruinously wasteful Chancellor during his 10 years in the job (despite the nonsense many people still spout about his disastrous time running the Treasury), one might actually be a little regretful of his current woes, but as it is it seems to me he is simply, and not before time, reaping the whirlwind of 11 years of Labour having squandered the reasonably-performing economy they inherited in 1997.
Here we have the Health Secretary and a member of the Cabinet, Alan Johnson, permitting himself to be quoted in a newspaper, and a right-of-centre one at that, saying:
"I guess in the analogy of Wimbledon, I mean Gordon's not interested in strutting his stuff on the show courts and he's quite happy to do it on the outer courts, which makes him quite unique for a politician."
- this is the Prime Minister he is talking about, not some junior Minister in an obscure department! He then goes on to damn the man further with some exceedingly faint praise:
"In terms of what he is achieving, in very difficult circumstances, I think it's been a good year."
This simply continues the 'demolition job' many of Brown's closest collleagues indulged in during Andrew Rawnsley's documentary a couple of weeks back. It is quite obvious that Cabinet discipline is now almost non-existent and that Gordon Brown no longer has the respect of his close colleagues or the authority to impose any kind of self-restraint on them.
Likewise Labour Party sympathiser and former donor, Sir Gerry Robinson, spoke earlier today pretty bluntly about Labour's prospects with Brown as Leader:
"It is very straightforward. I think Labour are looking in a lot of trouble and I think Brown is showing all the signs of not being a capable leader," he told BBC1's Andrew Marr Show.
"These crises don't happen accidentally. It's not just an issue of timing; it's an issue of either getting it right or not getting it right. And it doesn't feel right.
"In the end, politics like everything is about leadership and leadership is about a capacity to make us feel we are doing the right thing at the right time and making everybody feel good - that the country's in good shape.
"If you haven't got that capacity then I wouldn't back it frankly, And I don't think Gordon has that capacity. It is a very, very difficult position to come back from. In fact, probably an impossible position to come back from."
It really is no good someone in such a prominent position wanting to stay in the side-lines and Alan Johnson's and Gerry Robinson's comments illustrate quite clearly that they think that, too. How long can Brown continue as Leader of the Labour Party when even 'friends' are willing to state publicly just how awfully badly he has performed as Prime Minister?
UPDATE: (Monday 30JUN08 01.30 BST) It now seems certain there will be a by-election in the Glasgow East constituency, caused by the resignation through ill-health of incumbent Labour MP David Marshall. Although Mr Marshall held his seat in 2005 with a very substantial majority it is now being speculated that Labour could lose the by-election and that if this happened that Brown's own position as PM might no longer be tenable.