Belatedly, my reactions to last night's Question Time Deputy Leadership debate, large chunks of which I spent shouting at the TV scream or with my head buried in my hands.
Hazel: the bit where she, alone of the candidates, paid recognition to the rest of the electorate listening to the debate and said it wasn't just about saying things (allegedly) popular with an internal party audience: "We won three elections because we are in tune with the British people, there are new challenges around housing, climate change, international terrorism, but if we move away from that combination of a strong economy and social justice, if we go into punitive taxes, if we start to slide back into the territory, then that is a real warning to us."
Alan: came across as very relaxed, funny and a nice guy: "Our focus in '97 was about taking the centre ground and about keeping that centre ground.
"The only traditions we broke with was Labour party losing elections, because that's what the Labour party did in the past.
"We did that by capturing the centre ground and shifting it to the left. Issues like international development, national minimum wage, work-life balance would have been considered left-wing issues - now they're mainstream issues.
"That's why Cameron wants to get onto our territory. That's why we mustn't move off of it"
Hain: the moment when he realised that invited to praise each other, none of the rest had mentioned him. I felt genuinely sorry for him. Also proved he is ignorant of Labour history by claiming every Deputy Leader has been Deputy PM - incorrect as George Brown's final 3 years as DL were as a backbencher. But he was a Liberal then so he probably didn't notice.
Benn: excellent answer to the idiot in the audience who suggested Iraq was more important than dealing with poverty. Managed to summarise why the Labour Party exists in his attack on inequality.
Harman: the master of unsubstantiated assertions: "I would make the best team with Gordon" ... er, why exactly?
Cruddas: suit purchased from surplus wardrobe of 1940s time-travel sitcom "Goodnight Sweetheart". Politics of a similar vintage. Not just lurching left but burning any remaining bridges with mainstream opinion in the party at a rapid pace. How exactly would we fight a General Election with a Deputy Leader opposed to Trident replacement? Answers on a postcard please to the Tory HQ Attack Unit, who must be preparing their "Cruddas and Brown disagreements dossier" and rubbing their hands with glee. Needs to stop rubbing his nose on national TV as well. Still seems like a clever, nice bloke though. Just a totally wrong clever, nice bloke. And all his best ideas (party reform, housing) have been picked up by Gordon anyway, so he doesn't need the job now.