Up at 4.30am yesterday for the train to West London to December's NPF. The Party has got into the habit of being extremely 'cloak and dagger' about venues for meetings. On this occasion indeed, I was never formally told the precise location, so I set off hopefully for 'West London' guessing that we would stuck out at Heathrow again.
(As those of you with finely-tuned politcal antennae may have picked up, the Party is going through, ahem, some little local difficulties at the moment, so it was easy to forgive staff for the admin slip-ups).
There was a rather febrile mood amongst delegates - some I think had turned up just to see if anything else could go wrong. Harriet and Gordon spoke well, I thought, although in the private session afterwards, when he was blunter about the political challenges ahead, Gordon's manner was distinctly reminiscent of Tony - subconsciously I'm sure. Afterwards, Gordon shook a lot of hands - we were sitting in the front row, and when Gordon enquired of my colleague Nick Forbes where he was from, and he replied "the North East", Gordon looked as though he wanted to wipe his hand somewhere.
Still the announcement that we are pressing ahead with party funding reform was entirely sensible, I thought. Peter Riddell wrote in the Times that no progress is possible whilst investigations are proceedings, but the Government has to show leadership, and we can't allow the Tories to act as roadblocks to reform. And I think that the vast majority of people will be on the side of the Government when it presses for limits on spending both locally and nationally - no-one apart from the Tories wants to see further escalation of the funding 'arms race' that has driven all the parties to solicit funds from rich backers.
It's a shame that it's taken the Abrahams revelations to prompt it, but if proper arrangements for party funding, including regulated public support, comes from this week's events, then perhaps it will have been worth it.