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Tories will be content that an even more damaged Brown limps on

SaturdayDial I've moved the swing-o-meter a little more in Brown's favour this morning.  Brown DID successfully reconstruct his Cabinet and the only damaging resignation he suffered was that of Caroline Flint's.  But Flint's resignation was undermined by the fact she had paid a tribute of loyalty to Brown only 24 hours earlier.  Her resignation looked a lot more like disappointment at not being put in the Cabinet than having the seriousness of James Purnell.

It's possible that big beasts are waiting until disastrous European results before moving against Brown but that seems unlikely.  Labour's big beasts know that they'll have to go to the country if they remove Brown and they fear the electorate's mood at the moment.  That's why only Purnell moved against Brown and without a palace coup there'll be no peasant's revolt from the backbenches.

Brown has survived and can smile a little this morning but it's no accident that the swing-o-meter has Cameron smiling as well.  Compared to just 48 hours ago Brown has less authority; a less impressive Cabinet (Hutton, Purnell and Blears are better than their replacements); lots of ministers who will need months to get on top of their briefs; a more disunited parliamentary party; and, crucially, less respect from all informed observers.

Martin Bright writes: "His Washingtonian nonsense about being taught by his father to always be honest is just hide-behind-the-sofa excruciating."  Every journalist knows that he lied to them yesterday about not wanting to move Alistair Darling.  It's yet another instalment of the dishonesty he most memorably exhibited at the time of the bottled 2007 election, that he didn't look at opinion polls when cancelling the election. 

The last word to David Cameron himself:

“Gordon Brown has been forced to carry out an emergency reshuffle to cling on to office. He has taken people for fools again by claiming it was ordered and calm when in fact it was driven by damaging Ministerial resignations. At a time when Britain needs a united and strong Government all they get is a weak and divided one. Britain deserves better than this."

And the last picture to Sky News:

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Scary.

Tim Montgomerie

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