I'll leave it to others to mull over the riots, the result and the Royals, but what has been clear from the tuition fee debate over the last few months is the big Lib Dem fall out has to end.
I understand both sides of the debate and can see completely why those Lib Dems who chose to vote no did so. I also complete understand the argument put forward by Cable and Clegg that their revision of the Browne proposals (Browne+) are demonstrably better than the original and the current regime. But what I cannot understand is why those Lib Dem opponents of the proposals chose to argue their case in a way that gave cover for the NUS and Labour.
This argument should never have been about trust - even though it is easy to make a case for that. The Lib Dems have been entirely consistent about the benefits of further and higher education and making access as easy as possible - particularly for bright kids from poorer backgrounds. They were consistent in 1998 when they opposed Labour's introduction of fees in the first place and in 2004 when they opposed Labour's introduction of top up fees as they were when they realised earlier this year the economic situation meant that abolition would have to be delayed. And that clear principle of making it easy for bright kids from poorer backgrounds to get a good education shines through Vince Cable's changes to the original Browne scheme.
But there is a big difference between the detailed expression of policy and the principles and values that lie behind it. Just as some Lib Dems were wedded to the 1997 tactical position of raising taxes to pay for better public services way beyond its economic usefulness and making it some sort of totem of Social Liberalism, there seems to be vocal minority who have been wedded to no tuition fees as a totem of principle rather than a policy for a particular time.
Keynes said when the facts change I change my mind. The detail of policy is simply an expression of how we best put our principles and values into action. Our principle is not to oppose tuition fees per se, but to widen access to further and higher education because it benefits everyone and is the biggest driver to ending poverty. The tuition fees pledge was an expression of that goal. That has not changed and we can point to how our principles have been applied consistently to the new reality.
Unfortunately the opponents of Browne+ within the party have failed to make that distinction and done the Labour party's dirty work by focussing on the promise not the rationale for making it.
But I'm confident both sides now understand the necessity of coming together and starting to argue a case, in a language that all can understand. In the end it's our values that matter - not the policies. And it's time to start framing the debate in those terms - not Labour's (whose record on student finance is a mixture of hypocrisy, opportunism and craven fawning to the commercial interests of the biggest and richest universities in the land).