This seems to me largely a waste of time. We know by now that if Labour has a majority they do not need us. If there is a hung parliament and they do need us, then they will come running.
Out in the wilds, beyond the impregnable conference fortress, in a meeting room in one of Manchester's interchangeable business hotels, a small sect gathered last night to discuss the prospects for a realignment of Liberal Democrats and Labour, a new progressive consensus.
It is a tribute to the determination of Neal Lawson, chair of the Compass, and Neil Sherlock, of the new thinktank CentreForum, that the effort to find common ground which began in the mid 1990s has continued through electoral landslides and official neglect into an era where the best prospect of Lib Dem gains in the next election will be to take seats from Labour in its old core territories in the cities and towns of the north.
No doubt it is a good thing that people from different parties talk to one another now and then. But there is more work to be done to give the Lib Dems some intellectual backbone. Shouldn't Centre for Um be concentrating on that?