Picture the scene. There we were, May 2010, exhausted, flushed, staggered, the Lib Dems taking part in the special conference at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham, to agree the coalition on the terms offered.
I was so staggered myself that I lost my diary (email me if anyone found it, I'd like to know what I was supposed to be doing for the rest of 2010).
At some point during the business of wandering round the fake corridors and escalators that bedevil conference centres of all kinds, I was hailed by Chris Huhne, the new Secretary of State with responsibility for delivering a greener energy policy.
I turned around and saw him at the top of the escalator, and remember thinking that I had never seen anyone look so exhilarated - as well he might, joining the Liberal Democrats decades before and finding himself in the cabinet. He was also, as we know now, in love.
I knew, of course, as we all did, that the chances of him delivering a genuinely green energy policy were remote. The political difficulties were immense, and certainly haven't reduced since. But I believed that he would be able to shift the wasteful, creaking old monster we know as UK Energy Policy in a greener direction - and that it would help re-balance the economy too.
There was a problem: he would clearly not be able to adopt a strict Lib Dem position on nuclear energy, but there would be conditions, as Chris Huhne spelled out from the rostrum.
I was probably more reassured than I was by any other remark - in fact it is the only sentence I remember from the whole day. This was the moment when he borrowed from George Bush Sr: "Read my lips," he said. "No nuclear subsidies."
I am sure that, at the time, he believed this. This is not an attack on his honesty, or an attack on Huhne at all - he is a huge loss to frontline politics.
But what are we to make of this morning's announcement of the deal with French company EDF, giving it a guaranteed price for electricity for 35 years amounting to a subsidy of somewhere around £1 billion a year (if electricity prices stay the same)?
Everyone knows that nuclear energy would be impossible without some kind of guarantee, and I seriously doubt whether EDF will ever make money even on that one. But that was not what we promised ourselves - let alone anyone else.
The party's embarrassing new policy repeats the same glib non-position - no nuclear subsidies, when that is precisely what is now being agreed.
Don't get me wrong. I support the coalition. I think Ed Davey is doing an impressive job in the increasingly embattled position as Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change. I know how hard he has worked for a better deal on the new Hinkley Point nuclear power station.
I also know that everything now depends politically on denying that the fixed price guarantee is a subsidy. It is - and it isn't the only one: there is another subsidy in the insurance against nuclear accidents and in the storage of nuclear waste for some centuries to come. There are also loan guarantees to EDF.
It also needs to get through rapidly-changing EU regulations about energy subsidies, currently being taken apart by the Germans.
But it is the opportunity cost which enrages me. Billion-pound-a-year subsidies are not that common, and imagine what we could do to the UK economy if that money - about £37.5 billion over 35 years - went into making the UK the manufacturing centre for renewable energy for the world.
And imagine, if we did so, how much lower our power bills would be at the end of it.
The Joy of Six 1008
10 hours ago