Charlie Whelan says . . .

Don't believe it - "Tony Blair will ride to the rescue"

It has been a bad few weeks for the Blairite commentators. In fact, most of them have already "jumped ship", though one at least is remaining true to the cause - the PM's official biographer.

John Rentoul, who writes anonymous leaders for the ever-improving Independent, also writes a signed column for the Sindy and firmly nailed his colours to the mast last Sunday. As it becomes clearer by the hour to everyone just how much of a liability the Prime Minister is for the government, Rentoul writes: "Labour will regain the initiative only when it fights on a Blairite campaign of spending on, plus reform of, the public services." Even the beleaguered Alan Milburn doesn't believe that twaddle any more, and probably neither does our great leader himself. Tony Blair is, as I write, desperately looking at ways to get Gordon Brown back running the show without having to grovel. He wants to win this election and now realises what a major mistake he made in bringing back the man who couldn't even cope with running a government department, never mind an election campaign.

Rentoul tells us that campaigns in this country are presidential and that's why his man needs to come to the rescue: "Blair remains the supreme communicator of our age. He will have to save the day." Apparently it doesn't matter if, as Rentoul admits, "everybody hates him". Actually this isn't the case. Among Labour supporters, Blair is still very slightly ahead of Brown in the polls. This shows how loyal Labour people have become. The same can't be said about most Labour MPs, who would love it if the PM quit before the election - instead of being forced out soon after.