In a lot of ways it's reminiscent of those nature documentaries on television, where the hushed voice of David Attenborough describes the struggle for supremacy between two alpha-male gorillas. Except the voice here is not hushed; scanning the news programmes and the papers, the tone seems more shrill and febrile. I've never really been a fan of Tony Blair but one has to have a certain amount of sympathy for him; he's coming to resemble an injured fish, surrounded by sharks drawn from miles around by the smell of his blood. Maybe `sympathy' is too strong a word.
One thing which has surprised me is how the party which seemed so sure-footed and capable when it came into power now seems so willing to tear itself apart in public. A few hundred years ago this would all have been resolved by one group or the other kicking down its opponents' doors in the wee small hours, putting everyone inside to the sword, and sticking the defeated leader's head on a pike. And really, what we're watching at the moment is just a modern version of that. It's not pretty.
This morning, Charles Clarke waded into the fray by describing Gordon Brown's behaviour as ``absolutely stupid,'' Ruth Kelly was advising everybody to ``settle down,'' and Harriet Harman was raising the spectre of the Tories gaining an advantage unless everybody started pulling together again.
There's a lot of anger there, and I suspect that, compared with what is to come, in a few months the events of this week will look like a scuffle in the corner of the playground over who's going to be school bully.