The general consensus was that Boris actively wanted to be sacked: a political version of suicide-by-cop. It's a little flattering to him, but after this week we must finally accept that Johnson is the Tories' Raoul Moat. Like Moat's story, Boris's will eventually end the way it was always going to end; it's just a question of how many people/economic regions/diplomatic relationships he takes down with him on the way.
Over the course of the conference, I heard several former loyalists advancing the theory that their former darling had finally gone too far...
And yet... it must be must be said that for all their wanton ineptitude, and at times grotesque dysfunction, the Tories are still polling around 40%...
Yes, how many times did we hear the democrats say:
"How is it possible we're 1-0 down/only 1-0 up to a ski resort/country with the population of Bristol?"
At moments such as these, most England fans know all too well what that says about their side. Yet neither the Tories nor Labour - both of which can't wait to tell you how historically useless the other lot are - seem dimly aware what their failure to put themselves comfortably ahead against that kind of adversary says about them.
No, as conference season draws to a close, it feels a stretch to imagine we are watching two equally formidable adversaries grappling at the Reichenbach Falls. Two drunks fighting in a puddle feels more like it. We might get a clear victor, we might not. But let's not be deluded as to the quality of the spectacle.