We've got to become as ruthless as the Tories and stop pretending that it's a bad thing to say that if you're in politics you have to want to win more than anything else because if you don't win you end up where we are now - powerless to do anything for the people we claim to speak for and who we know are going to have five years of crap ahead, possibly more. It is evidence of the ludicrous mindset of some of our people that somehow we should look at the most successful election winning leader we ever had as a problem. I am all in favour of learning lessons about defeat. But there are a few lessons from victory too.
When I say that Charles was a lovely man and a talented politician, I mean it with all my heart. Having heard the news from a friend of Charles who knew he and I spoke and saw each other regularly, and who had found the body yesterday, I finally got to bed at three o'clock this morning, and was awake before 6, feeling shell-shocked and saddened to the core.
There is no point pretending that this is anything other than a disastrous result, yes especially in Scotland, but in England too. Perhaps one of the reasons we are in this position is because we took so long to elect a new leader after Gordon Brown lost in 2010 that we allowed the Tories to frame the politics surrounding the economy for the entire Parliament, and we did not rebut their attacks on our overall record with sufficient clarity or vigour, nor have arguments and policies able to build a coalition of support across the centre and the left of the political spectrum. Likewise clearly whatever strategies we thought we had for dealing with the nationalist surge in Scotland, they were not adequate.
Like Ed Miliband, I have crossed the Brand threshold of his East London home. It is a lot funkier than the NW3 place that used to attract my daughter and her friends. Like Ed, I sat down with him and discussed politics. He was particularly keen to have a go at me about Iraq, and TB's motivations. I was particularly keen to challenge him on his view, expressed when he was interviewed by - and more than held his own with - Jeremy Paxman, that voting made no difference. He didn't change my mind about TB. I think I may have changed his about voting because afterwards I started to notice him changing his tune...
I suspect that I, and others like me who are working for the Time to Change mental health awareness campaign, have many hundreds and thousands of speeches and talks and interviews still to go before we finally bring the walls of taboo and stigma crumbling down. The whisperers are people who come up to me and, unlike those who just want to say thanks for the talk, raise something else, lean in towards me and say very quietly "thanks for talking about mental health and depression, it really helps". It is good that they talk. But bad that they feel the need to whisper.
The long and the short is... We don't know. The papers didn't know. But they chose to decide the truth without knowledge. Now it may be that it turns out he was a depressive and those same papers will say 'ah, we told you so, we were right to run the headlines we ran.' To which the answer is 'no you weren't.' If he had just been told he had cancer, and a note to that effect had been found, would we be 'blaming' cancer for the deaths of those poor people who perished in the Alps? This is reporting that belongs in the dark ages along with witchcraft.
So after all the hype, the ads, the contorted build-up, the dozens of days of negotiations, the thousands of headlines, the millions of words of pre-match and post-match analysis, just over three million people bothered to tune in for the first 'big debate' agreed between the parties and the broadcasters. That is a shamingly low figure for all of us.
If he had had a heart attack, if had lost a long fight with cancer, if he had been knocked over by a car, would there be a need for a debate about 'what this says about the state of heart disease, or cancer care or road safety'? Possibly, but I doubt it. There still needs to be debate about depression as an illness, because there is still a lack of understanding that illness is exactly what it is.
We should lower the voting age, and introduce compulsory voting- with a 'none of the above' option - in local and national elections. Russell Brand's performance with Jeremy Paxman was electrifying TV, but dangerous. People should get involved. They should vote. And they should get into politics in whatever way can make a difference.
I think the pace of change has been greater during our lifetime than in any other period in history, and nowhere more so than in the media; papers, radio and TV active 24 hours a day, deadlines and regional borders effectively gone, news and comment largely fused, trends accelerated by social media which did not exist when I left Downing Street, let alone when I started. Mark Zuckerberg, 29, was not even born when I set out on the Daily Mirror.