To the Theatre Royal last night, to see The Absence of War, a play by David Hare about the tribulations of a Labour Party in the run-up to a general election. It was written in the early nineties, and based on the 1992 election campaign, which Labour, led by Neil Kinnock, was expected to win, but ended up (according to many right-wing commentators) in snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.
As we sat and watched it, it felt as though it could almost have been written yesterday. The parallels between the fictional Labour leader and Ed Miliband were almost uncanny. Both men are decent and principled, both want to do the right thing, both want to modernise the party to make it relevant and electable - and both are useless leaders, unable to command the respect of their party. There's also the hostile and manipulative media to navigate, with elephant traps set, and we watch from behind our fingers as set-piece speeches and interviews are buggered up.
Maybe we expect too much of our political leaders - twenty-four hour rolling news coverage means they've always got to be on their guard, and there's no room for human error, as Natalie Bennett will testify. We expect them to be dynamic, to have the good-news answers that we want to hear for everything, and to be honest without mentioning inconvenient truths over things like the economy and healthcare.
We know we're being lied to by the political parties.
The truth is, we wouldn't want it any other way.