“The long succession of announcements may have diminishing returns,” a Downing Street adviser admits. “We're burning up money, which can't go on, and the frenetic activity makes us look like headless chickens.”
A normally loyal minister is even franker: “Gordon is behaving like the Leader of the Opposition rather than the Prime Minister. It's all tactics rather than strategy. He makes an announcement, gets the headline then moves on when what really matters is making sure it works.” It's more and more apparent that Labour needs to change tack if it's to have anything like a chance for a fourth term. The "global problems" and "do nothing" mantras aren't having the same traction as before Christmas, and that's even before we get on to Brown's ineffective measures to combat the recession. One option is mentioned by another Downing Street aide in Sylvester's article (“It's against Gordon's nature to do a mea culpa but at some stage we've got to find the words”), but it's doubful whether Brown will be prepared to change course drastically enough to make it count. In which case, it'll be little surprise if the dormant leadership speculation erupts once again.