It was almost an LBJ moment, but not quite “I will not seek, nor will I accept”. Pa Broon has announced that he will stand down – not immediately, but after giving notice to his party that they should set in train the process of choosing a new leader. He will not back any candidate. That last may be bad news for “Auguste” Balls.
So how has this particular push come to shove? The Lib Dem Parliamentary party have apparently not reacted favourably to the thought of going in with the Tories, which may mean that their grasp on the history of Liberalism is at least good enough to remember 1922, and Stanley Baldwin, a supremely devious operator, pulling the plug on Lloyd George in order that the Tories should survive and remain strong.
So the Lib Dems are now looking rather more favourably on talks with Labour. And Corporal Clegg has been shown to be absolutely right to keep the Labour channel open while talks with the Tories went on.As for Brown, he has taken the brunt of a ferocious media onslaught for long enough. There comes a time to make the difficult decisions. That time has come, and he has made his decision. He may yet get some peace and quiet in his retirement.