The Labour Conference in Manchester is over. There were full and frank exchanges of views everywhere. So full and frank that people were even stabbing each other (figuratively) in the chest - and Mr. Wolfgang managed to go through the whole thing without being thrown out once or even arrested for being unkind to Margaret Becket.
There were two undoubted stars. First was Bill Clinton, one of the most persuasive tricksters ever to occupy the White House. I actually prefer George W. Bush - at least he's a WYSIWYG president. Bill wowed them as he's done before. This is becoming fashionable - to have American politicians at British party conferences - I think it started when Caspar Weinberger addresses a Tory fringe meeting in the late 1980s.
The other star was undoubtedly Tony Blair. Perhaps he felt lifted by the prospect of never having to do it again. He was certainly more relaxed than Gordon Brown and more fluent than Alan Johnson - and nicer than John Reid!
But listening to Gordon Brown I was reminded of the performances of David Davis at Blackpool last year and I'm not in the least surprised that the odds against him succeeding Blair are lengthening. This could really mark the start of the travails of Gordon. Stay tuned!
My personal award for least convincing ministerial speech goes to the former chairman of the Young Liberals, Liberal candidate for Putney and menace of cricket pitches, Peter Hain. This is for his pathetic attempt to portray devolution as a Unionist policy and his suggestion that Tory objections to Scottish and Welsh MPs being able to vote on English issues while they (like English MPs) can't vote on a whole raft of things that affect their own constituents in Scotland and Wales was 'creating second class MPs' and damaging the United Kingdom. Is the man so purblind that he really can't see that the damage has been done by the constitutional dog's breakfast his ham-fisted master has created?