There was a time when David Blunkett entertained serious hopes of becoming Labour leader and Prime Minister. More recently, after he realised that Gordon Brown is unbeatable, he appeared to make his peace with the Chancellor, and indicated that he might be interested in succeeding him in that post.
Today, however, those hopes are in ruins. As the controversry over his diaries continues to rage, the Brownite camp in the shape of Gordon's First Lieutenant, Right-Hand Man and Vicar-on-Earth Nick Brown has delivered a death blow to any lingering prospect of Blunkett resuming his frontline career.
"Newcastle" Brown does not normally do on-the-record quotes. He is the kind of politician - and all parties have them - who prefer to operate in the shadowy realms of thinly-veiled hints and off-the-record briefings, generating the kind of stories that end up being attributed to "close friends," and "key allies" rather than any named individual.
Yet here is the former Chief Whip telling today's Times: "Politics is a team game. Politicians on the same side have to stick together. I cannot understand what David Blunkett thinks he is doing except disqualifying himself from consideration as a serious politician."
This comment will need no deciphering among the ranks of Labour MPs who are used to Nick's ways. He could have chosen to employ his usual, less direct methods, and still got someone to write a story along the lines that "key allies" of Gordon Brown were warning Blunkett as to his future behaviour - but he didn't.
It can only mean that Gordon is sending a clear an unambiguous message to the former Home Secretary. "You're out."