It's taken Gordon Brown a long weekend and several intense conversations with Mandelson and Campbell to make the decision that John Major reached within hours. Now that he's reached it, at just the right time to throw a spanner into the Conservative-Lib Dem talks, does it make an alliance with Labour more attractive to the Lib Dems?
Nick Robinson cogently outlined three problems for the LD's - they still get Brown until September; they then get another unelected leader; and they open themselves up to being called a 'loser's coalition'. In addition to those problems, Labour and the Lib Dems alone do not have enough seats to reach a majority (unlike a Con-LD deal), so need to bring in the varied interests of the nationalist parties and the Green MP. In those circumstances, do we get 'strong and stable government'? Not likely. And then there's the undoubted problem for Nick Clegg of entering a coalition with an as yet undetermined prime minister for the long term. If he joins with Labour now, he could end up serving under Ed Balls, David Miliband, Harriet Harman, or any one of several others? Is he equally happy with any of them? All, of course, unelected as PM.
New Labour has lived and died by the spin, and they are now using a last minute spin gambit from a discredited leader to give their tainted brand a few extra gasps of the breath of power. Like they needed to do anything else to remind us of their unsuitability for power.
UPDATE: Robinson accurately describes this as "an audacious bid by Gordon Brown to keep Labour in power, and to keep himself in power for a few more months". Audacious indeed.