By demoralising the Thatcher-hating core Labour vote Baroness Thatcher’s afternoon tea at No.10 may well cause more long-term damage to Brown than to Cameron, although I doubt that that was in her or her advisers’ calculations.

Glancing around what there is of a Labour-supporting blogosphere I see that Bloggers4Labour "can’t imagine any remotely plausible political strategy" for the "nauseating sight" of them together. Skipper believes Brown was right in saying that Thatcher was a conviction politician, but sees his cosying up to her as yet another example that he is not, and poor GrimmerUpNorth resents being booed at a local Palestinian Solidarity Campaign fund-raiser because of it.

So what will be the mood of the Labour faithful as they gather in Bournemouth a week on Sunday? I’m no expert on the internal machinations of the Labour coalition but I did attend their conference last time it was there (not as a member) so have some idea of the type of people who go. Then, in 2003, they were all muttering darkly about "blood for oil" and I often found myself compelled to defend Blair.

Now they’re meeting for the first time under Gordon Brown’s premiership but it will hardly be a love-in. It won’t simply be the things that he’s "done" in the last few months that will have annoyed them – as well as the above he’s recently had run-ins with the Prison Officers’ Association, Rail Maritime Transport union and, to some extent, the Trades Union Congress – but the things he hasn’t done.

What happened to the man the Left looked up to? Many of them Some of them will have held out during the Blair years patiently waiting for the coup d’etat, and now Brown’s got the crown and gone all Blair on them. New Labour hacks will accept Brown’s political manoevring for what it is, but the ideologues will be wondering when the political capital is actually going to be used for some ideological ends (sound familiar?).

Deputy Editor

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