Brown Self-Destructs

This is not something you should do with eight days to go before an election:

Emboldened by Mr Brown's new confidence dealing with the great British public, one of his senior Downing Street staffers, Sue Nye, clearly thought he would be more than a match for Gillian Duffy, an opinionated 66-year-old widow who was vociferously voicing her views to anyone who would listen as Mr Brown visited a community payback scheme for offenders in Rochdale.

Mrs Duffy was delighted - robustly telling the Prime Minister her thoughts on a range of issues, from student tuition fee, to the deficit and, apparently to Mr Brown's disgust, immigration.

Their conversation was overheard by dozens of gleeful journalists and camera crews, again to Mr Brown's dismay.

As he climbed into his waiting Jaguar, he turned to his adviser and demanded to know who had been responsible for putting him in a situation he found so uncomfortable.

"She's just a sort of bigoted woman who says she used to be Labour," he raged.

His mic was on. This could be a meltdown moment for Labour already in third place. And if Labour collapses, all bets are off.