Now I said I wasn't actually going to watch Tony Blair's speech this year but I had nothing better to do so I caved in anyway.
It was a competent enough effort, I suppose... and he did mention Dennis Skinner for the second speech in a row. But I have no time for the 'my Tony Blair right or wrong' brigade, the kind of people who would sit there and listen to the most unbelievable right-wing bollocks and then just clap anyway. There was a lot of total nonsense in this speech: ID cards, a completely bonkers analysis of the Iraq invasion's contribution to the "war on terror", criticism of David Cameron for a (very sensible) scepticism about the current US adminstration, the standard garbled technospeak about the "Google generation" and how it's important to be able to order online books 24/7, and a rather childish dig at the Liberal Democrats - so much for "serious politics". He did throw some extra things into the mix - an acknowledgement of the Labour Party's role in getting him to where he is now, for instance - but he remains an intensely arrogant and insufferable proposition.
Admittedly I am not the most unbiased assessor of a Tony Blair speech - and the initial response on BBC2, even from the most un-Blairite Roy Hattersley, has been very positive. I will say that Blair's delivery was a lot better than Brown's - Tony didn't come across like he had been loaded up on downers before taking the podium.
But I do feel a strange elation at this point - to quote Chris Morris's 2001 Brasseye special, I have a feeling rather like the exhausted calm at the end of an hour's forced vomiting. Because this is the last year (barring the possibility of a 1931-style National Government, where Blair jumps ship to the Tories) that I will have to listen to this awful man talking his business, and the Labour party can now move forward - to what, remains to be seen, but there will at least be a change of some kind. It should have happened in 2003 if not before, but it is happening in 2007 for sure, and, as I'm sure Tony would say himself, thank God for that.