I've read Alistair Darling's interview in the Guardian and I've come to the following conclusion: Darling is a man in the know, a man who knows that very shortly the Labour party is going to tear itself apart in an attempt to fix its problems. Darling's interview follows this basic theme: Things are bad and are going to get worse, the people are pissed off with us and we are failing to communicate - whilst at the same time saying that he believes Gordon Brown can sort this whole mess out. This sounds like a man putting a foot firmly in both camps.
There's going to be a battle and Darling wants to be one of those still standing when the dust settles. If Gordon hangs on to his position he can't be accused of not giving him his public support. However, should Brown get the boot he will be on record as understanding public dissatisfaction with the government and Brown's failure to get the party's message across.
This battle over the leadership of the Labour party, and ultimately the country will settle into two factions (three if you count those like Darling who will keep their heads down in the hope of still having a seat at the cabinet table). At the moment the two factions are likely to be David Miliband's band of usurpers and Gordon Brown's faithful few. I think we will hear similar statements from other ministers over the next couple of months - ministers who will edge their bets until they are sure which way the wind is blowing.
This positioning becomes clear when Darling's press adviser, Catherine tells him before his interview: "Now Alistair, tell her everything. Make sure you tell her everything." I don't think Catherine is telling Darling to make supporting noises about Brown, that will come naturally to him seeing as they are friends, I believe she is instructing Darling to be honest about they dire state of the party and its need for change (without saying that change should be Gordon going).
"Self preservation" will be the name of the game for many a Labour MP between now and the end of the year.