Everything we face comes back to leadership. Everything.
And the doubts were widespread from the very beginning. So why was D Milliband so reluctant to challenge Brown when Blair stood down?
Mandelson offers some support for David Miliband, who has faced criticism for failing to accept Blair's advice to challenge Brown for the Labour leadership in 2007. "I think he felt that entering a leadership race at that stage would be like entering a football match when you are already four nil down with only 35 minutes left to play."
Hardly the sort of courageous, never-say-die player you want on your team is it? "No, boss. I'm not going on as we're losing too badly". Even if he'd run and lost - as was, indeed, probable - he'd have done everyone in his party a favour: Brown's legitimacy would have been bolstered and he would have established his credentials as an alternative leader.
Mandelson's comment also suggests that D Milliband's reasons for ducking out of subsequent challenges were similarly, let us say, prudential. (And by the way, can you believe such an interjection can be thought of as 'support'?)