If playing the man and not the ball is a sign of weakness, then Conservative Central Office must be a pretty desperate place. The latest set of Conservative posters, featuring Gordon Brown and a variety of statements blaming him for the state of the economy risk inviting the question "And what are you going to do about it?".
And, unlike the famous 'Labour Isn't Working' poster, there is a rather thin set of policies on offer this time. It just seems like a collection of cheap shots for, let us be honest, there is no evidence to suggest that Gordon Brown doesn't have the nation's interests at heart. I accept that such a view isn't an easy sell, especially with the rather more vitriolic elements amongst Conservative supporters, but it's the policies that have failed, not the man.
All that such a campaign does is stiffen resolve amongst Labour activists, alienate waverers and convince those who were leaning away from the Conservatives that they are right to do so. Politicians and political parties have a very poor reputation for honesty and decency, and such a negative campaign does little to change that.
All in all, it looks like the first signs of panic, and reminds you of the bad old Tories of yesteryear. Given how unkind social history has been to them as individuals, had I been their advertising consultant, I might have sought to avoid stirring up those memories...