Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling have made an impressive start to 2008 – at least judged by the shambolic standards of the weeks running up to Christmas.
Mr Darling flew back to the Treasury from Edinburgh for a day to give an interview to the FT which set the tone for how he will deal with the fallout of the Northern Rock crisis. Rather than waiting for the Treasury select committee to tell him what to do, this gave the impression he was in control.
Then Gordon Brown gave a series of quietly impressive television and radio interviews. Even my schoolyard friend – who normally drops off his daughter and then bends my ear about Mr Brown’s utter uselessness – said he was impressed by the PM’s appearance on the Today programme this morning.
Fair enough. But before we get too carried away, I think the real reason why Mr Brown’s administration seems a bit more stable as we enter 2008 has nothing to do with these two heavyweights "hitting the ground running".
It is more the fact that over Christmas, the government has been closed down for several weeks. No government initiatives, no disasters either. Suddenly the Conservative lead over Labour has shrunk from ten points to five.
When will politicians learn that what the voters want most is not endless action but a bit of peace and quiet. Look at Belgium: they haven’t had a government there since June, and – as far as I could judge on my last visit – the country seems to be getting on perfectly OK without the politicians.
If I were Mr Brown I’d keep my head down for a few weeks. Let memories fade of his grim 2008 and wait for the press to get bored. We might even start focusing on inconsistencies and tensions on the Tory side as David Cameron starts to roll out his programme for government.