Home for Christmas. 1,000 British troops are being withdrawn from Iraq. It makes a great headline on the eve of a possible election but let's be clear this is not the story Gordon Brown wanted to tell.
In recent days, he has considered much more radical options which would have allowed him to make a decisive break with the Blairite past. All of them were based on complete withdrawal from Basra.
• Option 1 was to place British troops inside American and Australian bases. Free of the need to defend their own base, significant withdrawals would have been possible.
• Option 2 was to withdraw to a base in Kuwait. Again, significant withdrawals would have followed.
Both were rejected in favour of a gradual draw down of troops of just the sort Tony Blair would have pursued if he'd still been PM.
Be clear about another thing. Gordon Brown has just broken his own promise to make significant announcements in Parliament even though he is due to make a statement on Monday in the Commons. Together with the decision to bring his NHS review forward to this Thursday it is hard to escape the conclusion that everything is being done to prepare for an election announcement as early as next Tuesday.