Firstly, I apologise for the lack of blogging during the past few days. Partly it's down to other commitments, but also it's down a feeling of deep despair about the current state of politics and the apparent sad denouement to which the Gordon Brown administration appears to be heading.
Today has seen the resignation of David Cairns and by all accounts two more Ministers of State are likely to follow. Take your pick from Tony McNulty, David Hanson, Liam Byrne, Jim Murphy, Kim Howells, Pat McFadden, Bill Rammell and Ben Bradshaw. It could be any of them, though Byrne would probably be the most damaging.
I still think these are essentially too disparate a group of people to be acting as part of some dark plot being co-ordinated behind the scenes by John Reid or even by Tony Blair as some bloggers have sought to suggest. But in that probably lies their strength.
If this was a Blairite plot, I think the charge would have stuck by now, and the party rallied much more strongly behind Gordon. The right-wing bloggers who delight in taunting Brown may find it hard to believe, but the very last thing the Labour Party wants - or for that matter needs - is a return to Blairism.
I myself thought it likely for some time that Gordon would face a leadership challenge this autumn, and before the recess, I argued that he probably should face one, on the grounds that he has failed to restore Labour's lost moral compass as his supporters hoped.
However he still had a few cards left to play - the September relaunch, the reshuffle, the conference speech, and finally the electoral test offered by the Glenrothes by-election. In my view, he should have been allowed to play those cards before the party was forced to reach a conclusion about whether his leadership should continue.
As it is, I think the failure of the party to remain united at this critical time has made it moreorless inevitable that there can be no happy outcome for Mr Brown. In other words, the rebels have created for the party a self-fullfilling prophecy - which no doubt was the intention of some of them.
It's not about numbers - remember that Chamberlain was never defeated in the Commons in 1940 - it's about momentum. And the political narrative created by these sackings and resignations will ultimately ensure that all roads conspire towards one end.
But what most deeply depresses me about all this is not the fact that a politician I still admire has failed to live up to the high hopes invested in him. It is the fact that politics is increasingly starting to resemble a reality TV show.
Political leaders who once might have expected to be around for a generation as Harold Wilson and Margaret Thatcher were, or going further back, for several generations in the case of Gladstone and Churchill, now have a shelf-life of only a few years before an increasingly superficial electorate becomes bored of them.
Over the past 11 years, the Tories have had five leaders, the Liberal Democrats four, and by the end of the year Labour will possibly have had three, but I don't think this rapid turnover is because the quality of political leadership is declining. It is rather a by-product of a national obsession with celebrity which in turn demands a style of political leadership based on glitz and "personality" rather than solid achievement.
For me, the accession of Gordon Brown represented a chance to put an end to all this rubbish. The most baleful legacy of his apparent failure will be to condemn the United Kingdom to twenty or thirty years of showbiz politics.