As predicted we have taken a severe kicking in Crewe, not just because of the 'toff' campaign attacks, not just because of the 10p tax fiasco and certainly not because the Tories and Cameron connect with voters but because the electorate was determined to give us a bloody nose. From the doorstep it was obvious that people were and are angry with us, disillusioned with our increasingly reactionary rhetoric and keen to send us and particularly Gordon Brown, a message.
As no doubt a plethora of posts and comments that will appear throughout the Labour blogosphere over the next day or so will indicate, the real challenge to the continuation of the pursuit of a progressive political agenda comes not from a resurgent Tory party but from the defeatists, pessimists and cynics that exist within our own movement. If Labour is to secure an unprecedented fourth term then it must urgently set about renewing itself, its message and its organisation.
I am not ashamed to be in the Labour party and I am proud of what we have achieved since 1997 but I am also acutely aware that we cannot constantly keep talking about these achievement. Looking to the past has much to recommend it, living in the past nothing at all.