There is talk of a renewed “Brown bounce” ahead of next week’s Glenrothes by-election as polls show increasing support for Gordon Brown’s handling of the economic crisis.
Brown’s much heralded recovery is fragile. But it reflects more than sudden enthusiasm for the prime minister.
With state intervention being widely used to offset the crisis after three decades of free market dominance, political discussion has shifted left, sidelining the Tories for now.
As people begin to engage with left wing ideas, they don’t always move straight to the most radical option.
Parties which once seemed down and out like Italy’s Democrats, who rallied two million people in Rome last Saturday, or the Irish Labour Party, can shift their rhetoric and so benefit from working people’s anger over the crisis.
Being in government makes this more difficult for Labour, but the left has to avoid simply cheering on Brown’s new enthusiasm for nationalisation and state spending.
He is, after all, only doing this as a last resort to bail out the system – and the costs will be passed on to us.