Could Glasgow East be the turning point?
Conventional wisdom and media punditry has liked the idea that the Glasgow East by-election due on 24 July was going to be the final nail in Gordon Brown's political coffin.
Personally I think there is more chance it will be the turning point when Labour's, and Brown's fortunes, start - perhaps slowly but surely - to go upwards.
Today's ICM poll in the Sunday Telegraph puts Labour on 47% in the constituency, with the SNP on 33%, the Lib Dems on 9% and Tories on just 7%.
I'm sure it will be closer when it gets to polling day, but such has been the media expectations game played so far that even a narrow victory is going to look like an against the odds triumph for the PM.
The results in inner London constituencies on 1 May with similar (though more ethnically mixed) demographics to Glasgow East showed that where a good campaign is fought, Labour's core vote is still remarkably solid - and will turn-out enthusiastically in a tight contest.
There's good reason for this. Contrary to the incredibly patronising portrayal of Glasgow East voters in the media over the last couple of weeks, voters in the most economically deprived constituencies in the UK aren't cannon fodder voting Labour through habit against their own interest. They've had to deal with the worst excesses of Thatcherism and they know that whilst the past 11 years of Labour government have not been a socialist Nirvana, they've been a hundred times better than the alternative. They are also not gullible enough to be sucker-punched into thinking that Norman Lamont's ex-Special Adviser Mr Cameron, whilst he may indeed have developed a social conscience since his Thatcherite youth, really knows or cares about life in parts of Britain his party drift into for an occasional "gosh look at all these poor people" by-election walk-about, rather than live in and represent all year round.
Life in Glasgow East is tough - beyond tough - for many of its residents, and the health and poverty statistics for the constituency (and similar areas in East London and other major cities and outside them in former mining areas) are as good an argument for democratic socialism and as good a reminder of why the Labour Party exists as any one needs. Labour's work in Glasgow East and similar seats isn't finished. It's hardly begun. A fourth term Labour Government isn't a luxury for these kind of constituencies - it's a matter of life or death when male life expectancy in a constituency lags behind the national average by 11 years - if you don't have a Government whose priority is redistribution and investment in healthcare, that 11 year gap will get bigger not smaller.
But the direction of travel after 11 years of Labour Government is a good one and if you are living in what Australian PM Bob Hawke called the "inch between a Labour and a rightwing government you know that inch is a good place to live". Many people in Glasgow East don't have the buffer zone of comfort in their lives to gamble and risk a return to the economic decline, under-investment in health and education and disinterest in the regeneration of their city that they endured under the Tories until 1997. All the things that it's easy to be blase about that Labour has done over the last 11 years have had the greatest impact in the seats like Glasgow East with the greatest poverty: the National Minimum Wage, massive investment in police, schools and hospitals, a massive reduction in unemployment, child benefit up 26%, Sure Start, huge reductions in pensioner and child poverty, tax credits. All of these things, which have been at the core of what Labour in government has been about, have made the most difference in this kind of constituency. That's quite apart from the specific investment happening in Glasgow - ranging from the city's shipbuilding industry getting a major share in building the new Type 45 destroyers and the two new aircraft carriers, creating and sustaining jobs and skills, through to the £1.6bn Clyde Gateway project, which has targeted building 10,000 new homes and 400,000 square metres of commercial property in the next 20 years and aims to create 21,000 new jobs and increase the population in the East End of Glasgow by 20,000.
I think we'll pull it off - maybe narrowly - in Glasgow East because voters there aren't stupid and will vote in their self-interest to protect the improvements to their lives of the last 11 years and to safeguard the future hope that only Labour cares enough to bring to the UK's least well-off communities.
It looks like we have an excellent local candidate and I have a hunch that in a few years time we may all be raising a toast to Margaret Curran and the people of Glasgow East as the folk who saved Labour in its hour of greatest need.