In football there is a well known phrase "the dreaded vote of confidence. This relates to the board of a football club usually having a board meeting on a Monday where they give the manager the vote of confidence, only to sack him after they lose the next game.
The are strange parallels to this currently in the Labour Party where ministerial colleagues of Gordon Brown (as well as some sycophantic journalists if Mariella Frostrup's sad defence on the Andrew Marr programme this morning shows) rally round Gordon Brown assuring us there is no question mark hanging over his continued leadership and that everything is fine and dandy.
The fact is though that it isn't.
To return to the football analogy again, Gordon has got a big match ahead of him with the local election on May 1st, and whilst colleagues will want to be seen as loyal before Thursday, there must be real questions about how many of them will remain so happily supportive if Labour have as bad a night as many think they will have.
It is worth remembering that when this year's round of council seats was last up, labour had a terrible night scoring just 28% of the popular vote, so they are not having to defend a high point in their political fortunes yet already labour are saying that 200 losses would be manageable.
So what does 200 losses equate to in football terms ? Hardly a battling draw or even a gutsy narrow defeat. For me, a 200 council seat loss at this stage would be a good 4-0 thrashing and you'd hardly blame any board for keeping the manger on in such circumstances unless they were really dumb, and therein lies Gordon Brown's salvation ...