Mr Frown called upon the Labour to UNITE and for a moment there it looked like he'd succeeded… in uniting them against him.
In fact, I DID wonder if saying that the vote on the Budget was a vote of confidence in the Prime Monster wasn't going to be COUNTER-PRODUCTIVE as it might have given the revolting backbenchers the notion that they had a chance to get rid of him!
But Mr Frank "Potter's" Field's revolt has collapsed, and he has withdrawn his motion. He promised a "double lock" to ensure compensation and has got… a review by Sooty.
I cannot say that I am at ALL surprised: the Labour have been all over the place on this issue, and it is just the latest from a week of RETRACTIONS. Number Ten denied there would be a 10p Tax rethink after the junior Treasury munchkin Ms Anglepoise Eagle (FLEXIBLE but SHEDS LITTLE LIGHT) had floated the notion on Any Questionables. Meanwhile, Ms Anglepoise Smith (no relation) found herself summarily Un-resigned after a traumatic transatlantic-talking down from Mr Frown in person.
On the other fluffy foot, Mr Frown was no doubt buoyed up by the news that Mr Balloon has vowed to stop the 10p tax changes. If anything is guaranteed to bring unity to the Labour ranks (and we do mean rank) then it's the thought of the Tory Toff pouring out his saccharine sentiment (i.e. artificial and in poor taste) over people who earn less than his SHOES do when riding in the Lexus.
And even though he looks like he's having to eat humble pie, and put up with the Conservatories hooting about him being weak, indecisive, dithering and pathetic, it certainly appears that Mr Frown has outmanoeuvred the back-bench rebels.
Having said that, we ARE talking about the Labour MPs here, the sort who are regularly outmanoeuvred by STATIONARY OBJECTS.
As Mr Ryan points out, it is a FUNNY sort of U-TURN that seems to leave Mr Frown and Sooty, er, going exactly the same way as they set out to.
Promises of a "review", to announce some "compensation" for some of the people who lose out by sometime, maybe Autumn, maybe next April, who knows maybe when Sooty becomes Pope, amount to not much of a HILL OF BEANS… especially if you've got to BUY the beans THIS WEEK when your actual pay in your actual pocket has been actually cut.
"Backdating" the help to the start of the year is a RECIPE we've tried before with TAX CREDITS paying them out and clawing them back and causing confusion and misery and, of course, it's none of it any good if you've ALREADY frozen to DEATH!
And you've got to ask: where does the MONEY come from? Liberal Democrat Mr Vince "the Power" Cable is honest about saying he'd raise money from the better off; young Master Gideon is completely open about hoping to get the cash from the magic money tree. Er. But we already know that Sooty is right up to the line on Government borrowing, having maxed out all the credit cards and gone to the limit on the mortgage on Number 11. Plus it doesn't help that he's just given fifty billion - that's SIX 10p tax bands – to the bankers.
UPDATE: Thursday morning, and Mr Field has just been on the The Today Programme to explain the confusion over whether the Government will be backdating all the compensation or not:
"Look, Mr Humpy," he said, "there really are only two explanations: either Yvette Cooper really doesn't know all the details of the deal I've struck with Sooty, or I've been played for a fool… oh drat!"
Mr Field has one of those flat, emotionless voices that sound like he's one of the LIVING DEAD, so it takes you a few moments to realise that he really IS one of the Living Dead!
But the real test is NOT whether Mr Frown gets humiliated in the House of Commons next Monday: it's whether he gets ANNIHILATED in the local elections the following Thursday.
Because after all the fuss they've made about how WRONG this is, letting themselves be persuaded by Mr Frown into trotting like SHEEPS behind him through the Aye lobby will only prove to voters how USELESS it is to elect the Labour!
All-in-all you can see why Lord Desai said: "Mr Frown was put on Earth to remind us how good* Lord Blairimort was."
(*"good" in this context meaning "well evil, maestro of wicked and top-banana with the Dark Side powers")