Following on from yesterday's posts, the two principal points of view on the Blair v Brown story are well represented in an excellent online debate currently taking place on the Guardian's Comment is Free blog.
As I noted yesterday, Michael White takes the view that much of the current round of speculation has been got up by the media, that Blair still wants Brown to succeed him, and that Alan Milburn is not a serious candidate for the succession.
Since then, former Mandelson spin doctor Derek Draper has hit back with a piece provocatively entitled Michael's Whitewash which argues that the relationship has descended to visceral loathing and that Blair has hatched a dastardly plot to prevent Gordon entering No 10.
I'm with Michael up to a point, but top marks to CiF for allowing two of their contributors to tear strips off eachother in this way.
I think Rachel Sylvester puts her finger on it in this article in today's Telegraph, arguing that Blair remains committed to the "orderly handover" so long as it's on his terms.
"The louder Mr Brown, or his allies, shout 'off with his head,' the more intent Mr Blair becomes on staying. Advisers who assumed he would stand down next summer now say they think he will try to stay until 2008. 'He's very angry and it's hardened his position,' one said."
I do in fact still think he will go in May next year - but only if the Brownites stop trying to hurry him along.
Update: The Draper-White exchange on Comment is Free eventually ran to six posts. Here it is in full:
Draper "reveals" Blair's masterplan to block Brown
White says the rivalry is not as bad as all that
Draper accuses the former Guardian pol ed of "Whitewash" (geddit?)
White accuses Draper of "naivety"
Draper says it's going to get worse before it gets better
White urges Draper to calm down