Conferences kick off this week and the only pass to arrive so far is from the Lib Dems. Labour sent back my pass photograph because I was smiling and that, apparently, is not on. A second, stern lot were sent off last week. It's on a knife-edge with the Tories. Will the original half-smile sneak through or not? Plaid Cymru don't seem to bother with passes so as long as I have a stern look on my face when I arrive in Llandudno - and having driven up the A470 that shouldn't be too hard - I'm hoping all will be well.
But the party that lambasted 'Happy Meal politics' will at least allow happy reporters through their doors. Not sure how happy the contingency of Lib Dem AMs will be though as they make their way to Brighton. Three of the six - Peter Black, Eleanor Burnham and Mick Bates - think the leader should at the very least be put to the test. Given Jenny Randerson isn't likely to follow suit then the big question must be whether the fifth, Kirsty Williams, steps up to the plate and takes him on. She has until October the 14th at least to make up her mind - and thanks Peter for your comment pointing out that there was no 'misreading' there on my part after all - because that is when nominations open.
Will she go for it? Why wouldn't she? Well come on, would you want to try and lead a group of six colleagues who may fit into a lift but who haven't appeared to travel in the same direction for quite some time? Would you trust them to unite behind you, given that the 'them' we're talking about here would include the former leader? Would you want to do it if you were still young enough to bide your time, wait for your children to reach school-age before giving it a go? Wouldn't you be tempted to sit tight until after next year's local elections and let Mike German take the hit if things go badly? If they go well, it's hard to imagine the Assembly leader would be that much more secure.
Wouldn't there be a niggling doubt in Kirsty Williams' mind that she might go for it but not get it? That being seen as the woman who scuppered the rainbow, now trying to depose the leader who fought to deliver it, would go down badly in swathes of Lib-Dem-land? Wouldn't it be easier to nominate one your colleagues who would be up for it? The man who's been doing the running and the writing, Peter Black perhaps?
So why would she go for it? Because if she doesn't, when will she get her chance? Can she really look on and watch Mike German go unchallenged, or stand on the sidelines as someone else tackles him? He may go sooner rather than later, then again he might not. What if she goes for it and is swiftly supported by Peter Black, Mick Bates and - despite their differences and her own ambitions - Eleanor Burnham? Would Mike German's position not be untenable? Wouldn't he have to step aside? And after all, being seen as one of a group who, with regret, felt Mike's time was up puts you in a rather more comfortable position the next time you're in that lift.
Would Eleanor Burnham nominate Peter Black? Would Peter Black nominate Eleanor Burnham? Mick Bates has argued for a new direction and seems clear in his own mind that something has got to happen. That sounds like a nomination for someone. Would Jenny Randerson feel differently if Mike German were forced to step aside? She'd never take him on but what if he were gone?
One lift, six AMs and a lot of questions.