Last night I took part in a very bad tempered half hour paper review on Sky News alongside Eve Pollard and Michael White of the Guardian. White was not in a good mood, as we were doing it on the Sky News platform opposite the House of Lords rather than in a nice warm studio.
Why did it get bad tempered? Because White started being sexist and I questioned Gordon Brown's mental state. He accused Caroline Flint of having a "hissy fit". "Don't be so sexist," I said. Eve Pollard nodded in agreement. "I'm not, and don't try that one with me". "You'd never use that expression about a man," I said. He was furious.
It went downhill from there. I've thought long and hard about whether I was right to do question the Prime Minister's state of mind on live television. What I said was that anyone watching Gordon Brown's press conference would have come away with the impression that he was having some sort of breakdown on live television. I said it because that's how it appeared to me. The weird hand movements, the stutter, the repetition of various phrases - "I am not arrogant" - the declaration that he was "honest" seconds before he lied to Tom Bradby about never having considered sacking Alistair Darling. his odd facial expessions I could go on. As it turned out, I said little that Nick Robinson didn't say on the midnight BBC TV news bulletin. Anyone who say that press conference would have come away with the same impression.
But it enraged Michael White. "Don't say that," he hissed. "I'll say what I like if I believe it," I replied. "Not win me, sonny," he responded. "Don't try and tell me what to say, you're not going to bully me," I hit back. It got even worse when I accused Brown of lying over Alistair Darling. This is Denverthen's account...
Iain Dale, covering the front pages with Sir Michael White and Eve Pollard, became very animated when White began to put his usual moronic, self-satisfied Labourist spin on Brown's humiliation. Dale, after ripping White a new one for his extra-terrestrial nonsense, pointed out that Brown lied though his teeth in his press conference earlier today when he claimed he had never wanted to sack Alistair Darling. White sort of protested, but Dale nailed him by saying that White had known about it all along.
In the commercial break Michael had another go at me but I robustly defended myself. I've appeared on TV with him often enough to know that he will defend the indefensible where Labour is concerned, and anyone who saw his defence of Brown - who, he reckoned had had a good day! - would have laughed, just I did. He blustered that it was completely wrong to have said that Brown was mad, which is not what I did at all. Suggesting that someone is at the end of their tether or having a breakdown is not the same as saying they are mad.
But did he have a point? Even if I believed it could be true (and I do) was it right to question the Prime Minister's state of mind on live television?