So we see it now, the total reversal of Brown's middle England strategy. This was the real story of his conference speech yesterday.
Do you remember his speech last year, with the blue backdrop and widespread speculation that he was going to try to wrongfoot the Conservatives by announcing some middle class tax cuts? Brown's reaction to his leadership woes was about as predictable as rain in August. Like nearly every party leader in difficulties, his advisers have clearly told him "Just be yourself." Otherwise known as the "If only Gordon could just be Gordon" strategy.
The problem for Labour is that the real Gordon is actually very left wing. "Fair" or "fairness" mentioned 39 times, blaming the financial crisis on city bonuses rather than his own regulatory failures, more free this and free that (but no mention of where the money is coming from) - this was the real story of yesterday.
As a speech it worked rhetorically because it was authentic. The trouble is that the authentic Brown is also the Brown who cannot connect to Middle England, and in a desparate last throw of the dice yesterday appealed to his grassroots to save his skin. Which leaves only the Conservatives in the middle ground - the last thing New Labour strategists can really have wanted.