In the latest instalment of his diaries currently being serialised in the Guardian, David Blunkett claims that Gordon Brown only backed the Iraq War at the last minute after concluding that Tony Blair would sack him if he didn't. As well as making the paper's front-page splash this morning, this story was also being talked-up by a wide-eyed Nick Robinson on last night's 10 O'Clock News.
I am genuinely surprised at both the Guardian and the Beeb for giving this such credence. If they had cast their minds back to 2003 for a few seconds, they would surely have realised that any notion of the Prime Minister being able to sack the Chancellor at that juncture is palpably absurd.
The Iraq War was, and is, a bitterly divisive issue for the Labour Party. Tony Blair was extremely fortunate that only two Cabinet ministers, Robin Cook and Clare Short, resigned over it, and furthermore that they did so in such a way that the parliamentary opposition to the conflict was fragmented rather than brought together.
The idea that, in this highly unstable political situation in which his premiership hung by a knife-edge, Tony Blair could have sacked Gordon Brown without triggering a successful coup against his leadership is, as Charlie Whelan would say, bollocks.
Then again, it does throw up what would surely be an interesting chapter in a book of political counterfactuals, were Iain Dale and Duncan Brack ever tempted to repeat that exercise.
Had Blair been daft enough to make Brown a martyr to the anti-war cause in, say, March 2003 after the first phase of the conflict ended, Brown would undoubtedly have become Prime Minister by the summer of that year after the unravelling of the Government's case for the war and the suicide of Dr David Kelly.
Mr Brown, untainted by the "trust" issue that attached itself to Mr Blair post-Kelly, would then have led Labour to a third successive 100-plus landslide, reducing the Tories to a parliamentary rump and producing in them such a collective nervous breakdown that their prospects of ever regaining power became negligible.
In other words, if we really were living in David Blunkett's parallel universe, the cause of the left in British politics might today be looking a damned site healthier.