All the media attention this week was on Nick Griffin and the BNP. But meanwhile, some possibly more significant developments have been taking place behind the scenes in the Labour Party. Here's today's Journal column.
There is a widely-held maxim in our profession that all publicity is good publicity. But after Thursday night's Question Time on the BBC, I wonder if Nick Griffin would necessarily agree.
In the run-up to the programme, there were widespread fears that the British National Party leader's appearance would somehow give the far-right group the mainstream political respectability it craves.
Critics of the BBC's decision to allow him to appear cited the upsurge in support for Jean-Marie Le Pen's neo-fascist National Front party in France in 1984, following a high-profile television performance.
But in the event, those who were worried on this score need not have feared. Far from giving his party added credibility, Mr Griffin's appearance on the programme merely confirmed that neither he nor his party are serious political players.
If Mr Griffin was the political genius that his admirers - as well as some of his opponents - clearly believe him to be, then maybe they would have had a point.
But Mr Griffin is no Jean-Marie Le Pen, still less an Enoch Powell, and my overwhelming impression from watching the programme was to wonder why anyone would want to vote for this clown.
Grinning your way through a YouTube video about MPs' expenses as Prime Minister Gordon Brown did earlier this year is one thing. Grinning your way through a question about whether or not you denied the Holocaust is quite another.
For my part, I cannot disagree with Justice Secretary Jack Straw's verdict, that far from providing the BNP with a platform for a political "breakthrough," the whole episode has been a catastrophe for the party.
Meanwhile, back in the real world of serious politics....strange things seem to be stirring in the Labour undergrowth.
Today sees the return to the region of the one-time Hartlepool MP Peter Mandelson to deliver the annual South Shields Lecture in the constituency of Foreign Secretary and potential Labour leadership contender David Miliband.
The confluence of these two leading Blairites in the region at the same time has led to excitable talk that Lord Mandy may be preparing to throw over poor Mr Brown in favour of the perennial young pretender.
While this may be a case of putting two and two together and making 17, there is a certain political logic to some of the speculation, in that most Labour MPs now believe the Prime Minister to be incapable of leading them to victory next May.
But as Mr Brown's fortunes have continued to decline, Miliband Senior seems to have overcome the political banana-skins that afflicted him during 2008 to become, once more, the flavour of the month.
As I noted a few weeks back, his cause has probably been helped by the fact that his chief rival, Home Secretary Alan Johnson, has now said he's not up to the job of PM so many times that most of the party agrees with him.
As well as resuming his front-runner status for the Labour leadership, Mr Miliband is also being spoken of as a contender for the post of EU foreign minister or "high representative," due to be created once the Lisbon Treaty is ratified.
Mr Miliband used Twitter to deny the rumour yesterday, but some insist he'd be happier in that role than in No 10, and that it's actually younger brother Ed who is Mandy's chosen one.
I wrote several months ago now that I did not believe Mr Brown would lead Labour into the General Election if it became clear that the only consequence of that would be a catastrophic defeat.
The recent drip-drip-drip of information about the Prime Minister’s health, some of it emanating from within Downing Street itself, seems to confirm that an exit strategy is being carefully devised.
At the moment, I suspect Mr Brown is keeping his options open in the hope that something will turn up, but yesterday’s news that the country is still in recession will hardly have lightened his mood.
One slogan heard doing the rounds this week was “New Year, New Leader” – and once again, the name of Miliband seems to be in the frame.