Last weekend, amidst all the celebrations of Team GB’s phenomenal success, an unlikely image emerged.
Either side of some athletes (I forget who, such was the significance of the rest of the photo) stood London mayor Boris Johnson and Labour leader Ed Miliband.
Both were beaming. Milband even tweeted it.
Perhaps their smiles were reflecting the national mood of triumph. Maybe they just smiled because they’re politicians and this was a photo op. Or maybe they were both aware of an almost surreal bond between them now; that for entirely separate reasons they are both enjoying the sight of David Cameron on the ropes.
Put simply, the prime minister is being squeezed by two equally implausible candidates for his job. Jokers to the Left of him, clowns to the Right, and he’s stuck in the middle with Clegg.
It’s a dangerous place to be – undermined by his party’s Mayor of London, attacked by the opposition and hamstrung by his deputy. To this triumvirate we can add a fourth problem into the mix; his party’s patience is slipping away faster than Usain Bolt in a hurry.
Donations are drying up (and moving to UKIP), membership is down, conference attendance will be thin and morale is low.
Many Tory activists now say in public that which they would only voice in private just a few months ago; that they won’t campaign for Cameron’s Conservatives at the next election.
Why should they? They want their concerns about Europe addressed, they distrust the arrogant way in way gay marriage is being forced through and they don’t know why so much money is spent abroad when soldiers are receiving their P45s on the frontline.
Far from responding to these concerns (which are not limited to members of the Tory Party) there appears to a mild disdain for party activists from both Downing Street and CCHQ.
It’s come to something when Baroness Warsi has to ring round local associations and beg them to send delegates to the autumn conference. As I understand it, these calls are “one way conversations”.
It is against this backdrop the deputy PM is calling for “a rebalancing” of the coalition.
To many conservatives, the coalition has been alarmingly unbalanced since its inception.
Clegg calls it a “two way street” and if we accept this image we should think of 307 cars heading in one direction and a coach carrying 57 Lib Dems in the other. How’s that for balance?
The fact is that Cameron has to fight a battle on multiple fronts now.
Mortar fire from the opposition as the economy tanks, sniping from City Hall as London’s super summer goes to the Mayor’s head, the odd grenade from his backbenches and psychological warfare from his deputy.
To labour the metaphor, he has to rally his troops. Clegg’s political life is counting down to the next election and whatever grim fate awaits him and his party.
At the moment, the same can be said for Cameron.
As the unlikely spectres of Boris and Miliband wait in the shadows, the PM and his deputy face defeat under almost any scenario currently being discussed in the bars of Westminster.
As they figure out how to survive the coming winter, at least they have that in common.
Christian May is a consultant with Media Intelligence Partners and tweets at @christianjmay