The past day or so has been astonishingly educational and, regardless of the outcome of the various negotiations, I think that we can be pretty proud of the way in which things have been handled.
The Parliamentary Party and the Federal Executive appear to have carried out their responsibilities without leaking or public dissent, despite the pressure that they are under. The media have been kept up to date with events, so that the public are reassured as far as is possible, and nobody is making outlandish or outrageous demands. It all seems to be pretty professional.
Our potential partners appear to be having problems though. I have already addressed the issues that Conservatives are facing, but it is equally true that there is no obvious process by which Labour activists are being engaged. There are reports that senior Labour figures are attempting to influence Liberal Democrats, and there are a number of calls for a coalition of progressive forces. However, there isn't a clear sense that these are official moves, or that they even represent the view of the Labour Party as opposed to individual initiatives.
How will Labour sell a coalition to their own members and activists? Given the fairly poisonous nature of the relationship between the two parties in local government, and the views expressed by the likes of Frank Dobson that Liberal Democrats are basically untrustworthy, it looks like a tough sell.
With Gordon Brown going home to Fife, a valid question is "just who is in charge of the Labour negotiating team?". Indeed, who is actually qualified to negotiate on behalf of the Labour Party? And whilst, for the timebeing, that may not be immediately important, the time may come when it becomes critical...