Pity Gordon Brown. There's nowhere to turn.
On a human level, watching the pain and humiliation on Brown's face as he faced the jeers and taunts in the Commons at question time this week, as blow after blow landed squarely, was not a pleasant experience.
I have little doubt that Brown is personally 'clean' of any funding sleaze. That he is mendacious and disingenuous is par for the course for anyone who has spent their entire life in politics, but for Gordon it doesn't follow that he's also personally corrupt. Unlike Blair, whose obsession with money and with the wealthy made him a figure of satire and ridicule, Brown will leave office with little more than his pension and a dribble of royalties from his sad little books.
Brown has done nothing but eat, sleep and breathe politics since he was 15 years old. He has deluded himself for an entire lifetime that he was fitted for the highest office of state. The agony of realisation must now be crowding in - that he really isn't up to the job, that his intellect isn't first-rate, that his personal flaws make him unfitted for a job at the helm of the ship of state.
For the first time I am beginning to feel a genuine pity for the man. However, he will play this one out to the last panzergrenadier; the tanks will almost have reached Horse Guards before he calls it a day. He will be hounded from office rather than leaving with a shred of dignity intact. And the sadness of the thing is that he's got nowhere to go; this was his life, all the seconds of all the hours he's lived since a teenager. He doesn't fish, or farm, or sail, or play cricket. His writing is as gauche and facile as a sixth-former's, and won't earn him a reputation. His legacy will be one of failure; economic, policy and leadership, and his place in British politics will be as an example of self-delusion and the dangers of hubris. Poor Gordon.