The plan is that Ministers will have been offered new jobs before they know if the plot is on or not and that their self-preservation instinct will lead them to say yes, binding them to Brown. But in practise, there is a chance that this could backfire. Whenever word gets out that a reshuffle is underway, the rumour mill goes into overdrive—no speculation it too outrageous or too thinly sourced to make the rounds. So there’s a danger that Ministers could think, wrongly, that they’re going to be dropped or demoted and decide to get their retaliation in first.
Friday will be one of those days when no one knows what is going to happen. It could end with Brown having pulled off a reshuffle and stymied the plotters or with Ministers resigning on air and saying Labour needs a new leader. Or, we could find that everything still hinges on what the results are on Sunday night.