Let’s be clear: I’m not a great fan of the Liberal Democrats.
I don’t think power has brought out the best in them, and I don’t think they have comported themselves well in government.
I regularly meet their former voters who feel incredibly let down and cheated out of what they thought they were voting for. So no, I’m no great fan of the Liberal Democrats.
But you know who I dislike more than the Liberal Democrats? The Tories. It has been the Tory policies that make this government so cruel; Tory policies that have made this government so ideological; Tory policies that are failing our economy and our future.
Which is why I am slightly concerned at the attitude some Labour members have struck towards the manoeuvring within the Lib Dems towards a possible future Lib/Lab coalition.
I want Labour to win an outright victory at the next election. I will do everything in my power to make that happen between now and 2015. I believe we can and will do it, though I know it will be the fight of our lives.
I do not support those who believe the best outcome of the next election would be a Lib/Lab pact, but I do believe that it is a possibility that Labour may just fall short of an overall majority at the next election, it would be arrogant not to believe this a possibility even if a completely undesirable one.
I accept that to many planning for a second best scenario detracts from the focus on winning that we need to maintain at all times.
But last time around, the combination of the electoral maths and the lack of preparation for coalition negotiation by Labour led to this Tory government. Labour have to be prepared for second best: we need to try to get the Tories out of government and we should be prepared to sacrifice some things to do that if we need to.
Of course, depending on how the maths works out, if a coalition is needed, it may not need to be with the Liberal Democrats.
If Labour comes close to a majority, it could be that nationalist parties will be more appropriate partners. That too will have to be part of any contingency planning.
But Labour need to think about what they can and can’t demand from the Lib Dems, and the Lib Dems need to think about what they might want and be able to demand if – as expected – their numbers are significantly diminished.
I don’t think Clegg could be any part of a potential Lib/Lab Government, Ed is right about that.
I think we might also struggle to work with Danny Alexander – and he would certainly have to be moved from the Treasury if he were to have a ministerial role at all.
But beyond that we would need to accept that we will have to work with some of the Lib Dems we are less keen on.
We can’t just have Vince Cable and Charles Kennedy: depending on who keeps and who loses their seats, we might also need to work with David Laws and Jeremy Browne.
That might be distasteful, but if (and only if) the alternative is a Tory government, then we need to be grown-ups about that.
Labour’s National Policy Forum is currently being strengthened to work better. There is a genuine sense of excitement and optimism about our policy-making process.
As the Forum work together to produce our manifesto, it will be important for them (us – I’m proud to be a member) to look at their red lines and to make it clear what we will and won’t negotiate on.
I would suggest that key areas would be the economy and the NHS – which would need to be key U-turns for a possible Liberal Democrat coalition partners, though ones that might reflect the decisions made by their conferences better than their performance in government has done.
The Liberal Democrat should do the same.
Both sides can and will continue to battle against each other. The Liberal Democrats in government deserve the blame for our continuingly failing economy, and if – as widely predicted - this winter pushes the NHS to its extremes, they will be culpable for those failures too.
I want a Labour victory at the next election.
I think it is essential for the country that Labour return to power and start to halt the damage being done by the Tories.
I think it is essential for the country that the Tories are thrown out of power and are not allowed to do further damage to our communities and our economy.
I simply don’t believe it is defeatist or wrong to plan to make that happen, whatever it takes.