What are we to make of the situation regarding Tony Blair's leadership following his admission that he may have "made a mistake" in pre-announcing his decision to resign at the end of a third term?
Downing Street is predictably trying to play down the comment, but as far as the Brownite Guardian commentator Jackie Ashley is concerned, it's a declaration of war.
Ashley's argument is that there is agreement on an handover date to Gordon Brown and that the Prime Minister means to stay on as long as he possibly can - all the better if that means an alternative succession candidate has a chance to come forward.
In this context, I would draw attention to an extraordinary piece is currently running in the Press Gazette's Axe Grinder column. Although it has not been followed up by the MSM, that of course does not necessarily mean it is not true.
I can't link to it as the Press Gazette is a subscription only site (growl) but the gist is that the loans-for-peerages revelations have caused a near-irreperable breakdown in relations on both sides - on Brown's side, because he believes Blair is tarnishing the Labour Party, and on Blair's, because he believes Brown's people blew the whistle on it.
"One senior ex-minister told Axegrinder the disclosures were the last straw for Brown, who believes the loans have dealt a hammer blow to his and the Government's reputation for financial probity. Extraordinarily, the veteran politician said: "Gordon has told Tony ‘I didn't get you on education, but I will get you on sleaze'."
Incidentally, the UKPG piece goes onto say that the Guardian's decision to call for Blair's head has caused consternation in its "Blairite" political team which might explain why Mike White was so keen to disassociate himself from it on Sky News last week (see previous posts.)
But I digress. What is becoming clear is that Blair intends to try and go on to that 10th anniversary of his coming to power next May - whether Gordon likes it or not.
Whether he manages it will depend largely on events, in particular whether there are any further damaging sleaze revelations, whether there are further major backbench rebellions on key legislation, and whether Labour's position in the polls starts to deteriorate.
But I have to say that if any of the above rumours are true, then things are not looking good for that fabled "orderly transition."
If the Blairites sincerely do believe Gordon was behind the loans-for-peerages disclosures, or that he is trying to use them to bring about the Prime Minister's political assassination, they will not forgive him.
They will run an alternative candidate against him - Milburn or Miliband are the most likely contenders - and, although Brown will still win, he will inherit a fatally divided party that will go on to lose - and lose bad - in 2009/10.