Oh dear, what a mess! As the comrades are busy reinventing what happened yesterday, let's look at a few basics;
1. There is no Labour MP who is an obvious candidate to succeed Brown in the eyes of the electorate
2. Labour MPs and ministers have all but avoided outright support of Brown whilst condemning the coup attempt - Miliboy's 'I am working closely with PM on foreign policy issues & support the re-election campaign for a Labour Govt that he is leading.' is about the weakest support ever for a PM from a serving senior minister, but Brown isn't going to sack anyone between now and the election.
3. Hoon and Hewitt must have known all along that there was no chance of their letter resulting in a leadership contest
4. The only chance coup plotters have is to secure Mandelson's support in advance; this Hoon and Hewitt signally failed to do. Mandelson realises that Brown must be kept in post until the election to take Labour's kicking; if mass public resentment earths itself in Brown's humiliation, Labour has at least a chance of electing a 'clean' leader
5. If Labour is wiped out everywhere south of the Pennines and becomes a rump party of the NE and NW, they will not elect Miliboy as leader - Crudarse and the 'Compass' faction will head the new, Lite Labour, party - and Mandelson's metrosexual New Labour will die a death.
No, Labour's future is so dependent on the election outcome - and look out for polling in the marginals, rather than just the headline party shares - that the only reason Brown is clinging to power for as long as possible is in the Micawberish hope that 'something will turn up'. There is no other reason for not calling the election right now, that he wants to go down in history as the captain at the helm when the party was forced to go to the country rather than the man who led the party to voluntary suicide.