...it affects your judgment.
Today is another example in a rather long list of Brown's obsession of hating the Tories at every opportunity, by using dividing lines which then have a tendency to backfire.
Today MP's will vote on an alternative vote referendum, Brown's big idea to restore trust in Parliament. It's not hard to see this as another one of Brown's dividing lines; designed purely to portray the Tories as opponents of reform and supporters of the ‘gentleman’s club’ status quo.
If Brown does win the vote today then the Labour script will write itself (delete as applicable); Tories, opponents, for the privileged few, only Labour can be trusted to reform etc.
However, that this could be another fine mess for Brown is obvious. The policy is unpopular with a large number of Labour MPs, and as is evident there are already headlines of rebellion, hardly clever so near to an election.
Any mention of a referendum is a reminder of the one that Labour didn't want, not a sound basis when talking about restoring trust. If Brown does win the vote, there won't be enough time for it to become law, so the voters will asking where their referendum is come election time (if they care).
More importantly it just won't wash with the wider public, and will be seen for what it is, deeply cynical. The charge of; 'you only want to change the system because you are going to lose' will resonant. Public cynicism of everything Brown does was very evident over the weekend.
The only change voters' want is of the government not the system.