Conviction and responsibility
To go, or not to go. That was the question which hung over Gordon Brown's first party conference speech (watch it here). As it happened, he did nothing to reveal his intentions, not mentioning the word election, or talking about his opponents once.
But this was, nevertheless, a speech designed to sell his personal story, his values and his policies to the parts of Britain which other leaders cannot reach. Not since the era of his new friend Margaret Thatcher have the words 'Britain' or 'Britishness' been used so often - 71 times, as it happens. Not since her day have there been so many references to conviction, to discipline and to responsibility. He even went so far as to promise to deliver her hugely controversial dream - that people in the NHS should be able to see the doctor they want, at the hospital they want.
Though there was plenty to cheer and to inspire his own party - pledges to increase the minimum wage, extend maternity pay and student grants - this seemed to be a speech designed to appeal to the Tory press, and to unsettle the Tory party. If they respond as he hopes they will, he'll then be able to make that decision about whether to go to the polls.
However good the write ups though, however good the polls, he'll still reflect that if he calls an election and doesn't win it, this first conference speech will turn out to be his last.