Stand up time
Here we go again. The prime minister, we're told, "will brave the inquisition/face the music/confront the feral beast [choose cliche of choice] at the beginning of his worst week yet".
Heard it before? Of course you have, whenever Tony Blair was in the soup. Downing Street organised today's news conference to show that Gordon Brown, just like his predecessor, could withstand the slings and arrows, the name-calling and the cat calls and still emerge looking like a prime minister.
The truth is that he would far rather do this at a news conference than in the bear-pit of Parliament or a round with the media's toughest interviewers. It isn't that difficult when you get to choose the questions (allowing you to say "the lady at the back with the headscarf" if the going gets tough and you fancy a detour into the Middle East) and you disallow follow-ups and when you stand up in the state rooms of Downing Street looking prime ministerial.
Naturally, it would not be wise of me to set out what I hope to ask. As ever the Mrs Merton approach (see blogs passim) would be the most apt and fun but ultimately too facetious:
"Prime minister, what finally convinced you to call off an election which the pollsters told you you might lose?"
Your suggestions for what I should ask always gratefully received.