Gordon Brown's on holiday. Not in Italy, or the Vrigin Islands; he's spending a few days in Dorset, then heading to the family home in Scotland. Yet another instance of his difference from his predecessor, and another ratchet turned in his moulding himself into the British people's affections. I have to confess that, so far, and despite myself, I have warmed considerably to Brown. I liked his cancelling of the supercasino policy. I thought his first cabinet was weighty and talented. I preferred his measured, unhysterical response to the airport attacks at the outset of his premiership. I like his frequent use of the Commons for his statements. I liked his businesslike, besuited meeting with George Bush. There has, in fact, not been much to take offence at. He comes across as a professional premier, eschewing showiness, concentrating on the job, and revealing a clear, principled basis for his work. What is most obvious is that what makes him appealing at present, is that he seems the very antithesis of the unlamented Blair. This is a trick that the Cameroonies have been slow to pick up on, and it is costing them.
Gordon Brown may or may not call an election in October - chances are probably still more against than for - but he has so far shown the Labour Party that he is potentially a winner, and given the Tories little rest as they re-plan their strategy over summer.