Walking into the Conservative Party conference in Manchester this week, I was accosted by one of a handful of protesters.
“Tory scum” he shouted at me and my companions.
Trying to explain that we were journalists, not delegates, fell on deaf ears.
“You probably work for the Daily Mail,” the man yelled, “or the Telegraph”.
I was about to put him right but realised a debate was pointless. The anti-austerity, anti-gentrification, anti-whatever rent-a-crowds gathering under the far-left umbrella do not tolerate pluralism.
There was no reasoning either with the anarchists bussed in from the south who, along with about 30 amplifiers, took up residence in central Manchester over the weekend.
Their grievance was unclear but they blasted “music” all through the day and into the small hours of the morning, rendering sleep impossible for anyone in the vicinity having to get up and go to work in the morning.
At a rally outside the conference on Sunday, eggs were hurled at people wearing suits and sporting conference passes and journalists were spat at.
The presence of such protesters at a Conservative conference is hardly a novelty but there has been something reminiscent of the Thatcher years in this week’s hate-filled scenes.
If all this apoplexy was contained within the baying mob it could be ignored but this is now the prevailing mindset of the people who have hijacked the Labour movement.
From Jeremy Corbyn a man who called Osama bin Laden’s death a ‘tragedy’ to union leader Len McCluskey, threatening to break the law if his demands on trade union reform are not met, the lunatics of Labour have taken over the asylum.
It is no surprise that sensible members of the party have been frightened off.
Lord Adonis, who has been persuaded by George Osborne to work with a new government commission to improve Britain’s transport and energy systems, is a high-profile defection.
Although he has not joined the Tories and will sit in the Lords as a politically neutral cross-bencher, he is a pragmatist.
He clearly believes he can be more useful cooperating with Conservative politicians on projects such as HS2, the high-speed railway from London to the north, than manning the barricades with his increasingly bellicose Labour comrades.
Who will be next? Labour voters who don’t belong to the Corbyn wing of the party will not necessarily be comfortable deserting in droves for the Tories.
But many must be feeling very disillusioned at the prospect of long years in the political wilderness while their party self-destructs.
In Scotland, there is the added factor of the constitution which, as the referendum showed, divides people more than conventional partisan politics.
Those Labour voters who joined the Conservatives to successfully safeguard the United Kingdom will perhaps be more attracted by moderate conservatism than the shrill class warfare of their own party.
With the SNP and Labour competing with each other for the left vote, the Tories in Scotland may have their best chance in a generation to attract the middle ground.
No wonder Ruth Davidson has been in ebullient mood in Manchester.
Not only is she regarded as a new broom in the Scottish party but she has earned the thumbs-up from Downing Street, winning the prize conference slot today before the Prime Minister’s closing address.
She is very different from the stereotype Tory boys and blue rinse brigade who tend to populate the party’s annual get together and she could blend into any political landscape.
This makes her very valuable to a party trying to appeal to a broader cross-section of the population, north and south of the border.
But it is not just party personalities like Davidson who could recruit disgruntled Labour voters.
There are some policies they might like too policies being pursued by David Cameron that were originally Labour ideas but because they are good for the country have been adopted as the Tories’ own.
Lord Adonis championed academy schools under Tony Blair and Cameron’s government accelerated the pace of reform and transformed education (outside Scotland) for the better.
Adonis was also behind HS2 and says he accepted Osborne’s invitation to become a government adviser because of a desire to update Britain’s infrastructure.
The Tories have avoided the temptation to gloat over the Labour Party’s disarray and there has been little triumphalism, publicly at least, to colour the tone of the conference.
There is nothing sensational in the Adonis-led commission, set up to tackle the housing crisis by overhauling planning rules, and speed up infrastructure schemes.
Whatever your politics, there is no denying that this has Britain’s interests at heart.
Can the same be said of any of Corbyn’s recent brainwaves?
Voters must decide who represents them best, the parties of protest or the parties of progress.