As predicted the snow coup was over almost before it started. Mr Hoon and Mrs Hewitt did not entice a single new name onto the media to support the idea of a challenge to the PM. That must be a new record for a lack of support.
It has taught us three things. Senior Labour figures are divided over the wisdom of running with the PM as their Leader. Labour is preoccupied by its own internal troubles, which are more to do with personalities than with policy. The government ignores the financial crisis rumbling around its head.
Instead of a champion emerging with policies to tackle the deficit more immediately and manfully, to reform public services and to put the economy on a path of sustainable recovery, we witnessed several important figures in the government delaying their support for the PM and then writing lukewarm words that fell far short of endorsing him. The Chancellor clearly is not impressed by his neighbour, and did the minimum. The Foreign Secretary could not even manage the minimum, delaying the longest and then producing a very watered down statement.
These were not the brave deeds of people having genuine disagreements about how to rescue the country. Nor are they the words of loyalists who understand they all will be hanged together if it does not work.
I was invited onto Five Live to comment on the aborted coup. The BBC had done an excellent job explaining the coup through the words of John Pienaar just before my interview. I felt that in order not repeat that I should talk about the national financial crisis the Cabinet was ignoring owing to its personality preoccupations. The coup is symptomatic of a wider collapse in government, an inability to concentrate on solutions to our problems. The BBC had no wish to go there, so it was difficult to see what they wanted from me as they had already done it themselves through their Political Correspondent. They didn’t seem to know either, so they kept it short. They seemed most interested when I replied to their question about the Conservative party interest. From that point of view it could not be better. It leaves the government led by Mr Brown, the Conservatives preferred opponent at the next election, whilst doing him more damage from friendly fire.