I had the briefest peep into political Twitter this morning. Horrible. Truly horrible. The usual attacks, the same old tired shibboleths and the deep, deep divisions laid bare.
And yet I feel strangely optimistic today. Yesterday at the Convention of the North in Newcastle we once again saw the very best of our people trying to find ways to improve the North. There were local leaders from all three main parties there with a really positive common purpose. All the discussions around the breakouts were practical and never partisan. I spent valuable time talking to colleagues from Middlesbrough, Stockport, Preston, Newcastle and from the Greater Manchester Combined Authority, on Education, local government and business engagement. I spent the train journey back fizzing with ideas.
On Wednesday Andy Burnham made a speech in Westminster which made the point that a new politics was being born in Greater Manchester: "Devolution to Greater Manchester has transferred budgets, powers and responsibilities.
"But it’s done something much more important than that. It is helping us engage people in developing policies and counteracting the widespread disengagement from politics that led to Brexit.
"Devolution is not just a series of technical changes to the machinery of Government. It has had a profoundly positive effect on the culture of our city-region. It has created a new energy; a sense of possibility; a shaft of light in an otherwise gloomy political scene.
"It has allowed us to give a level of engagement to our leaders in business, the universities, the faith and voluntary sectors in developing new policy solutions that you can never provide from a national level."
I take an enormous amount of encouragement and pride in that. Not a day goes by without someone in our university reaching out to me to run by ideas about how they can engage with the whole devolution enterprise, and the Mayor has been a transformative figurehead in enabling that enthusiasm.
Locally, there's a few different things going on. A couple of really quality young campaigners in Stockport, Daniel Oliver and David Allum, have decided they've had enough of Labour and have cut up their cards. One of my councillors, Kenny Blair, has left the Conservatives and is now operating as an enthusiastic independent. Putting parties to the side seems like the best thing to do in such circumstances.
It cuts to the heart of what you are prepared to do with your time and talents. Self selecting groups of activists passing motions of no confidence and support for various causes isn't democracy in action. Making a difference to how we organise society to help people fulfill their potential is much more exciting.