A spokesperson, reacting to comments from senior Labour party sources that Gordon Brown was 'holed below the waterline' and was 'sinking fast' sought to defuse the continuing row over party disunity.
"Gordon Brown," said the spokesperson, "is a magnificent four-funnelled transatlantic liner, like those operated by the White Star Line in the early part of the twentieth century.
"He is unsinkable due to his waterproof compartments, even if these don't extend up to the main deck.
"He is the kind of ship that will steam at full speed through a field of icebergs, so confident he is that nothing will deflect him from his course.
There is no question as to whether he will meet with disaster. I hope this clarifies matters and there will be no further doubts about the direction he is taking us in."