This one will run and run
So much for the idea that Labour has drawn a line under what Peter Mandelson called its "week of madness". Charles Clarke's extraordinary intervention in this morning's London Evening Standard has ensured that that madness will carry on not just through the weekend but for months to come. Why? Because Mr Clarke has said in public what many senior Labour figures have - up until now - said only in private (often in more colourful language).
He and they believe that Gordon Brown could have stopped this week's resignations by junior members of the government "with a click of his fingers". Some go further and claim that Mr Brown personally orchestrated the revolt.
Their evidence is not just what Charles Clarke called the "terrible picture" of Mr Brown grinning in his car as he left Downing Street, not just his well known closeness to the minister who resigned, Tom Watson, but also a more serious allegation. One Blairite told me that on Wednesday morning before anyone had resigned the Chancellor used the threat that they would resign to try to extract concessions from the Prime Minister.
Clarke spells out the root of the anger felt about Brown among those who've worked with him when he condemns him for "failing to work with Cabinet colleagues". First on foundation hospitals, then tuition fees and recently on pension reform, Cabinet ministers saw Brown as the enemy within. This leads Clarke to his most damning conclusion that "the jury is still out" on Brown's fitness to lead.
"So what," you may say. Nobody can be friends with everyone. Gordon Brown can have a Cabinet which does not include Clarke or indeed Milburn and Byers. Oh yes and the others he's fallen out with - Hutton and Reid. And let's not forget the PM's chums - Falconer and Jowell. And Peter Mandelson will be persona non grata of course. Indeed he could. The problem is that these people are not willing to simply walk away and leave Gordon Brown to inherit and, they fear, dismantle the New Labour project they helped to create.
Yesterday saw not the end of the war in the Labour Party but just one skirmish. The war is about who leads it and in one direction and it will run and run.