Gordon Brown has no shortage of advice on what he should do next. Denis McShane wants tax cuts. Simon Jenkins wants him to be brave and do everything that Simon Jenkins has been advocating in his columns. Alice Miles (and lefties in the PLP) want the 2p fuel tax rise delayed again. Truckers want to be made a special case.
Brown must avoid being seen as a soft touch by every special interest group and grumbling backbencher that comes along. The 10p tax bungle was a particular problem that needed addressing. It must not become a precedent. Instead, the government needs to identify half a dozen significant issues where it can promise - and make - real progress between now and 2010.
By all means make some of them areas where the Conservatives have a different view - polyclinics are an excellent example - but also find areas where Labour can deliver while the opposition talk - such as failing schools, where the number of low-attaining secondaries can be halved by 2010. Doing so will also expose the vacuousness of most Tory policy.
The government must focus as relentlessly as possible on these issues, maximising the times that ministers allude to them and organising activities around them. And Brown should use his authority and that of No 10 to drive these policies - and their delivery - through. Of course, Brown also needs the economy to recover sufficiently too. But without such a clear focus, the government will not recover its sense of purpose. And it needs to do so urgently.