Why haven't Gordon Brown's plans for putsch yet come to shove?
Brown has always thought regicide both fails to reward the assassin (witness Michael Heseltine), and brings disaster to the regicidal party (witness the Tories from 1990 until a month ago). That, rather than lack of nerve, is why he has kept his dagger sheathed. So say his friends, at any rate. But in 2006 this logic will come under severe strain. For carrying on, with no change at the top, is exacting its own cost. Blair is struggling to deliver his programme - from incapacity benefit to identity cards - because his authority is waning. When John Prescott, and a variety of lesser mortals, feel free to sound off against the PM, you know that fear of the boss, a vital ingredient of power, is seeping away.
Here's hoping the palace coup comes ASAP. Along with the dumping of much of Blair's programme, including slashing incapacity benefit and introducing ID cards. Michael Portillo certainly thinks Brown will drop the latter.