The rows of empty seats at the Labour Party conference as Gordon Brown addressed his troops to launch 'Operation Fight Back' spoke volumes about party morale. An air of defeatism has now seized Labour, combined with an acceptance that the time has passed to replace Gordon Brown.
Brown's message sounded very Old Labour to me with some remarks about the market which do not fit with an article he wrote some years ago in Political Quarterly when New Labour was at its zenith. No doubt the intention was to rally the troops and consolidate the core vote but that was William Hague's strategy and look where it got him.
Bashing bankers' bonuses is good populist stuff, but Dave Cameron is not foolish enough to present himself as the bankers' friend and the general tone of Brown's message will have done little to win over Middle England or deserting professional and managerial voters.
Andrew Marr has annoyed Downing Street by raising the issue of how reliant Brown is on prescription drugs yesterday, something that has been bubbling around in the blogs and a few press reports for some time. Brown does look exhausted, but it's a demanding job and aged Tony Blair.