Why do our broadcasters give so much time on Sunday mornings to reviewing our Sunday newspapers? Andrew Marr's programme, an often enjoyable source of mainstream political preoccupations, is weakened by its reliance on a couple of famous know-alls, often deeply orthodox media types, pontificating about this story or that. (This morning it was Germaine Greer and Andrew Neil. I switched off.) The veracity and relevance of these stories are rarely questioned, let alone the special significance accorded the Sundays in the first place.
They do little to earn this vaunted status. In news terms most are full of tat: bogus plots and exposes or speculative updates of stories from earlier in the week. Today's are a good example. Almost no substantial evidence of serious moves against Gordon Brown emerges from the many stories about his woes. Mind you, perhaps my disbelief is treacherously reinforced by reports that some alleged plotters think Jack Straw should take Brown's place. Does anyone seriously imagine this would improve Labour prospects? The more such reports of Brown's imminent demise I read, the more inclined I am to think he will survive.
But there again, here's John Rentoul in the Sindie:
"Last week's survey by Ipsos MORI describes the party's problem in more detail. It found that 21 per cent of the electorate are anti-Brown Labourites, who said: 'I do not like Gordon Brown but I like the Labour Party.' Half of them intend to vote Labour anyway, but the other half are the key target group: the 10 per cent or so of voters who are sympathetic to Labour, do not like its leader and currently intend to put their cross elsewhere.
Their demographic profile ought to be studied carefully by any candidate who is serious about succeeding Brown. They tend to be young or, especially, middle-aged, with children and mortgages. They do not seem to be concentrated in any region or social class. They are Mr and Mrs Normal, the glue that held the New Labour coalition together. If Brown stays, they will become the glue that sets on the Cameron Tory coalition. Getting rid of Brown may not help. Labour MPs know that there are downsides to changing leader again, but they also know that they could hardly be worse off. Glasgow East suggests that it must be worth trying."
That's the most persuasive argument I've yet read that Brown should and will be removed. It concludes my review of the Sunday papers.