Brown lives to fight another day

He has defied political gravity and steered a way through this minefield reshuffle

Yet again Gordon Brown has defied his critics and lived to fight another day. In what seemed like an impossible reshuffle, he correctly judged that moving Alistair Darling against his will to the Home Office would have spelt the end of his government. And by successfully easing Alan Johnson into the post, he has neutralised his chief rival for the leadership and strengthened his premiership. That Johnson has decided to remain loyal - albeit perhaps on the theory "he who wields the knife never wears the crown" - is infinitely significant. At a stroke, Brown has defied political gravity and - with the help of Peter Mandelson - steered a way through this minefield reshuffle.

Of course, the perceived crisis is not over yet. The public read that a government is in free-fall. More voices are likely to call for Brown to go, as Douglas Alexander conceded this morning.But - for now at least - Brown has yet again reminded the political world why it is wrong to write him off. Of course, it is exciting to declare "he's finished". But the boring reality remains that Brown will remain leader, at least until a general election which still, after all, looks set for next year.

James Macintyre is political correspondent for the New Statesman.
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Word of the week: Michellania


Each week The Staggers will pick a new word to describe our uncharted political and socioeconomic territory. 

After brash Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump paraded his family at the national convention, the word of the week is:

Michellania (n)

A speech made of words and phrases gathered from different sources, such as Michelle Obama speeches and Rick Astley lyrics.

Usage: 

"I listened hard, but all I heard was michellania."

"Can you really tell the difference between all this michellania?"

"This michellania - you couldn't make it up."

Articles to read if you're sick of michellania:

Do you have a suggestion for next week's word? Share it in the form below.