Iain Dale thinks that Mandelson has run out of optimism. Well, it would be hard to blame him.
If you are the Speer in the final days of the Brown Reich. Knowing the realities. Knowing just how big the real debt is, how fragile the economy is, how little the tax receipts will add up to in quarter 2.
No matter how skilled he may be, his leader is not facing realities.
Why pick a fight with the Gurkhas? Why try and bounce through expenses when you know that the opposition has been setting this trap for you for months. When Brown himself abstained over the issue, but now pretends the whole thing was his idea. The government has run out of credibility.
No wonder if Mr Mandelson has begun to feel a bit like this.