And it is probable that Nemesis at that precise moment licked her dry lips. "Fun!" thought Nemesis.
E. F. Benson - Lucia In London (1927)
As well as the flattened foot, the leak of the Labour party draft manifesto is another strand of political embarrassment in a tangle of embarrassments. Apart from the revealing nature of the manifesto itself, another factor comes to mind and that is the issue of luck.
So far Theresa May is a lucky Prime Minister. She was an unremarkable Home Secretary but thanks to a series of unforeseen events she finds herself in a situation where her only serious political opponent is hopelessly incompetent and those around him are little better. Obviously not a situation she could ever have engineered herself.
Not only that, but May's difficulties in and around Brexit negotiations must have been eased politically by the boorish behaviour of prominent EU functionaries. Jean-Claude Juncker comes across as a spiteful old soak, which may be unfair but he certainly does May no harm here in the UK. Again, May’s calm and decidedly reticent public temperament seems suited to these turbulent times and that too is not her doing. Much more luck than judgement.
One might widen this issue of luck to include Donald Trump, who in the presidential election could surely have faced a more likeable and trustworthy Democrat candidate than Hillary Clinton. These things matter even when they should not and in Trump’s case Clinton's candidacy was a lucky break. He didn’t arrange it as far as we know.
How many successful CEOs are at least as lucky as they are competent? How many slip into their predecessor’s shoes at just the right time, when markets are turning in their favour? How many economic forecasters are selected by their luck, by a few lucky hits in an ocean of missed predictions?
In which case, and in spite of Jeremy Corbyn’s incompetence, we might wonder if Theresa May’s luck will hold until June 8th. Corbyn has loaded the dice heavily in her favour, but that was her lucky break too. It may not last.
Not that I’d bet against her.