So the worst-kept secret in politics is out. Michael Meacher is to challenge Gordon Brown for the Labour leadership, claiming only he can unite the left." The reaction from the John McDonnell camp was suitably pithy. "We have been expecting Michael's announcement for over nine months. It doesn't change things."
Indeed it doesn't. Both men are completely unelectable either as Labour leader or as Prime Ministers and will be trounced by Brown if they ever get on the ballot paper - McDonnell because he is an unreconstructed throwback to the days of the Loony Left, Meacher because he is an ageing Faust who compromised every political ideal he ever held in his long and ultimately fruitless attempts to hang onto ministerial office.
That the election could throw up two such unpromising candidates is symptomatic of the plight of the left at this time. McDonnell seems a perfecly amiable chap, and can at least point to a principled voting record. But Meacher has zero credibility with the left as a result of his decision not to resign over the Iraq War - a decision he now says he bitterly regrets.
If left-leaning MPs are looking for a credible candidate to stand against Brown, as opposed to a token standard-bearer who will simply make Gordon look good, they should look no further than the one man in their midst who did resign over the war - John Denham.
Unlike Meacher or McDonnell, Denham is a sensible leftie who in most respects holds perfectly mainstream Labour Party views, notably on the importance of tackling inequality. He also, of course, has relevant recent high-level ministerial experience as a minister in the Home Office.
John Denham is a man of high principle who in my opinion would make an admirable Prime Minister. Unfortunately he seems to have no intention of standing. Unless he can be persuaded to do so, the left should stop wasting its time - and the Labour Party's money - and get behind Gordon.