Amid the debris of Glasgow East, Gordon Brown & his cabinet meet trades union leaders at Warwick. In happier times for New Labour Blair would use such an occasion to lecture the unions; my way or the highway, he would gloat. Not any more.
However, as today's Guardian (http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2008/jul/25/glasgoweast.labour1 ) relates, there's still some very confused thinking at the apex of the government:
"One adviser saw a silver lining when he said, 'If we're lucky it could focus minds and weaken the trade unions. Which would be good for Gordon.'
"His argument was that the unions would recognise that they could not force through policies out of kilter with the public mood -- such as those that may have lost Labour last night's byelection.
'Or it will have another effect,' he added hastily. 'It will strengthen the hand of the unions who will say, "you are losing places like Easterhouse in Glasgow -- people who stuck with us through the dark days of the 80s and 90s; you have to start to listen to us and strengthen trade unions -- or you are finished".'
"Which would it be? 'I suspect what will happen will be the latter.' "
They just don't get it, do they?
20.26 Update: Neil Kinnock has appeared on More4 News, expressing confidence in Brown. Critics, he said, should "shut their mouths". Nurse, the screens!