I don’t know if it’s because I am unusually narcissistic, but I often find that newsworthy events have parallels with the circumstances and challenges of my own life. Take, for example, the internal disputes raging within the Labour party about whether to keep or to eject Jeremy Corbyn as leader, which have uncanny resonances with the internal disputes currently raging in my own mind about whether to keep or to reject kind men who treat me nicely, but aren’t quite as exciting as arseholes.
Like the Labour Party, my romantic life for the last couple of decades has been headed up by a series of wildly overconfident, inept sociopaths with endless self-regard. And, like the Labour Party, despite their successively diminishing quality, I’ve been unable to properly envisage a future with someone more suitable — possibly because the first one was initially so intoxicating and we had lots of good times. Sure, the charismatic smooth talkers will inevitably leave you high and dry: they’ll lie to your face, dodge your questions and lead you into an illegal, decade-long war with many thousands of casualties, but still — they’re quite good in bed and they know how to manipulate the mainstream media.
For the last few months, like the Labour party, I’ve respected the mandate of my members (Mum, mates, therapist) and tried something different: giving a go to men who seem honest, straightforward and principled. And, trust me, I know it’s hard. Life seems a little duller when one isn’t on tenterhooks every time one sends a text message; when sex is less frequent and you remember that it’s supposed to be an emotional, as well as a physical, connection, which means you sometimes cry afterwards, although you’re not really sure why. But, on the bright side: you can get things done; you can get down to the proper work of fixing yourself, or your country, of planning a future more stable and happy than the turmoil of the past. You are not constantly distracted by mind games and egoistic power-plays that leave you floundering and uncertain.
I guess what we’re both looking for, the Labour Party and I, is a happy medium: someone sexy, charismatic and cruel but who is, ultimately, reasonable, kind and trustworthy. And this is where I might be able to help out, because I have a head start on the Labour Party here, having spent a lot longer looking for this elusive balance than they have. Luckily, this puts me in a position to advise them. Listen, babies: nice ones are never sort of a little bit arseholes as well. (I know, I know, there’s Nicola Sturgeon, and your mate who married that skiing instructor she met in it Switzerland ¬— you can always cite the exception — but let’s get real, that isn’t going to happen to you.)
Ultimately, whether you’re a single thirty-something woman with amazing boobs hoping to have a baby before the end of the decade, or a political party hoping to revisit the glory-days of the late 90s, when you ruled the country and people were yet to notice you’d sold out by sacrificing your core principles to appeal to the centre-right, you have to decide what you want in the long in term. Yes, someone photogenic, someone with an expensive suit and good chat and lots of answers (who, preferably, knows how to eat a bacon sandwich in public), will probably bring short-term gain. You’ll get balanced press coverage, a cohesive shadow cabinet and you might even be able to have an orgasm without triggering dormant bonding hormones. But the smooth-talkers, sharply dressed and spouting all the answers, always turn out to be charlatans in the end. Haven’t we had enough of bullshitters, me and the Labour party; don’t we just need someone calm and compassionate now, someone we can hold on to during these uncertain times, someone we can really make a future with?