From the floor of debate change we need.
- We had the voice of wizened old activism from the floor. "I remember the 1980s. The Trots will be back. We must have a Trot infestation strategy". Both Will Straw and Alastair Campbell have suggested these ghosts and nightmares are the main thing holding back the 'change we need', and here's the proof.
- But we've just have a very good rejoinder from the floor too: "We do have to get over Militant. We so need to do that. But we need to get over New Labour too". Those are now deeply alienating for new generations of activists. Let go of it all.
From the same speaker: "'Cynicism is boring' was the message from New York. If New York can get over cynicism, then Britain can".
Ben Brandzel has just taken this one head on: "I say in my chapter that I have not gone a day without hearing a horror story about the Trots or the Bennites. So thank you for keeping my perfect record. But we do have to get beyond that by addressing it. It was very dangerous". But Brandzel has a Trot defence strategy: it is not by closing down, it is by opening up the structures. It is not about checking and vetting everybody, so that you control them. 300 angry people can dominate a party which is failing. They can not if you don't try to check the bad apples, but to make sure you have opened up the party. If everyone has to be a vetted, signed and sealed community activist who is New Labour approved, then you are turning away thousands of people who want to help you.
"When all you have to choose from is professional politicos and the unemployed Trot newspaper-seller, then you are in trouble. Seven loud and angry people can dominate a small meeting", says Brandzel.
Loud applause for this. This is the answer. And this is a home crowd for the Change We Need argument.
And Campbell says: "I bumped into Derek Hatton and he said you do realise that I am now to the right of you. So they do move over time".
More seriously: "The Tories will get some of these ideas too. Let them do it and try. From where we are now, the Labour party has to take a few risks and starting doing it".