Almost exactly 8 years ago I was sat on a wall in Brighton waiting to see Tony Blair go to a Sure Start centre in a general election campaign. I was chatting to a couple of young mums who had also heard the man was coming.
I asked if they used the Sure Start centre. They told me that one facility had changed their lives. Both had got jobs. Both had moved out of squalid bedsits into flats. One was about to get married. They jeered the handful of Tory protesters gathering across the road.
Tony Blair always said he had to fight hard to demonstrate his Labour credentials. He was not born to the red flag. Not a socialist. But he had, has, an absolute instinct for what mattered to the ordinary people, the working class if you must, of Britain. Even with the middle east conflicts, whatever one thinks now, the general position of siding with the oppressed against the oppressor is one that fits easily with the Battle of Britain spirit.
Today, because of that instinct of what is fair for the many, of what is right and just, there are now 3,000 Sure Start centres that have helped 3,000,000 like those mums I shared that wall with.
It is tears of frustration that I shed now, tears for the generation that will miss out on a sure start or a new start because the Parliamentary Labour Party is no longer connecting. No longer connecting with 'their' people in the way their former leader did so effortlessly. Seemingly.
The row over expenses is an issue that needs dealing with. The difficult policy decisions over the right of settlement for mercenaries is deservedly subject to high profile public scrutiny. The future of the post office and other public services are big issues. But the reason the Tories are making the running is because Labour has forgotten that they are representatives of the people, not delegates isolated from the people.
Unless Labour regains that earlier sure touch, then for many millions of people the Sure Start will turn into a bitter dead end. And it will be the fault of each and every member of the parliamentary Labour Party.