“Serious journalism is beyond The Age. The Age has its own political agenda and should register itself as a political party. The sooner The Age closes for good, the better for the whole of Melbourne, Victoria and Australia.” — Blogage

“All of the good journalists have left the Fairfax sinking ship long ago. All we have left are partisan hacks who dredge up this dribble. I will never buy The Age again.” — Phil

“Completely agree. I thought fairfax was different from Murdoch. Apparently not. I am more disturbed by this editorial than the results of the election.” — Noel Morris

Just some of the 600-plus commenters on The Age website, who joined hundreds more across social media in condemning the paper for editorialising on Saturday that Prime Minister Julia Gillard had to step down.

Which makes them almost as delusional as Labor MPs. Almost.

That a newspaper seen as “left-of-centre” — as editor-in-chief Andrew Holden admitted in a hasty video rebuttal on Saturday — would advocate a position that is now, unquestionably, the only way to save a left-of-centre government (or at least a whole bunch of left-of-centre MPs) is hardly a surprise. Given the terminal lack of support for the Prime Minister in every national opinion poll, it’s only surprising why so many people cared.

At the heart of an intractable situation for Labor and its supporters is the principle that good prime ministers shouldn’t be cut down. They believe Gillard has done a good job in difficult and often unfair circumstances. They believe Kevin Rudd is a megalomaniac who has undermined her position and doesn’t deserve another chance.

That may be true, but it will all count for naught when Labor is wiped from the electoral map in September. Gillard can’t save the government — that much, at least, is certain. And you can’t be a good government if you don’t hold government.

Those who care about a progressive political agenda — Labor MPs, say — should face up to reality.