Shortly after the local election results were announced I was told that Brown and Mandelson had discussed temporarily suspending elections during a private meeting.
I didn't believe it of course. While Brown is undoubtedly deranged enough to suggest it and self obsessed enough to believe he can get away with it, Peter Mandelson is neither. Nor is he stupid enough to believe that news of such a discussion wouldn't leak.
However having just finished reading some of Brown's 'suggestions' for electoral reform I'm no longer quite so sure that it isn't true.
Quite frankly these 'suggestions' amount to nothing more than a desperate attempt to rig the system by a throughly deranged individual who is obviously no longer in full control of his faculties.
Which rather begs the question. Who's pulling his strings? Who did these ideas really come from?
They are certainly not Gordon Brown's. Brown has clearly demonstrated both publicly and privately that he is psychologically incapable of accepting the fact that neither he nor the Labour party have a snowball's chance in hell of winning a general election.
The most obvious candidate is Mandelson. Yet Mandelson is apparently quite happy with the current system which allows the leadership to dictate who can stand for election. It also allows them to control MPs and PPCs by threatening to withhold their support as Brown's blackshirts did recently to shore up his rapidly failing support within the PLP. With so many Labour MPs up to their necks in it over their expenses, they are not in a position to risk refusing their support.
Naturally it is possible that the whole thing is meant as nothing more than a means of distracting attention from the expenses fiasco. If so then it has been partially successful with some of the debate now having shifted to how MPs are elected instead of what they do once elected and how to stop them when they inevitably get caught.
It's even marginally possible that having been caught out so badly by the expenses fiasco, whoever is pulling Brown's strings has decided to capitalise on the situation by making things look so bad that voters will be desperate for change, any change, as they were in 1997. And out of that desperation they will support the creation of what is in effect a one party state with a Labour/Lib-Dem coalition permanently being re-elected under an Alternative Vote system.
With the Lib-Dems being long term proponents of a proportional representation system similar to that used for the European Parliament - and which allows vermin like the BNP and other extremists to gain seats despite having actually lost some of their support. It's likely that they would support this as their only means of getting some influence over whoever is holding the reins.
Our current first past the post system isn't perfect and has often been criticised for not representing the entire electorate amongst other things, but it actually works quite well and far better than any of the proposed alternatives.
However the real issue is and always has been the lack of a suitable mechanism for dealing with MPs who abuse their position and despite Brown's announcement this afternoon of tougher sanctions for MPs guilty of 'misconduct', there is still no definition of what will constitute misconduct and no intention of applying sanctions to the current crop of thieving toerags other than the existing sacrificial scapegoats.
Until that is properly resolved with those involved being permanently banned from holding any public or corporate office and, where appropriate, prosecuted for fraud, misconduct in a public office etc. everything else is just window dressing.