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.