The past, the present and the future are like three different things. For instance like a hairbrush, a spinning top and a jar of marmalade.
Or that’s what you would think if you spoke to any practising politician whose immediate, continuous and permanent job is to win an election. They are stuck in the present and can only think of the future if it in some ways solves the eternal problem that they may be given the big elbow at the next election.
So you have this very pressing requirement if you are a full-time, elected professional politician. Your mind has to acclimatise to this very strange rearrangement of the world in a neurosis of feared rejection, in the same way that a youngster getting a job on a cross-channel ferry might have to get used to the swells and rough seas. Or maybe a trainee doctor to the sight of blood and pus or the smell of shit.
You have to find a way of accommodating competition for your seat, and at the same time get used to the temporariness of it all.
The past is everything that has ever happened. The present is everything that is happening. The future is everything that just might happen. And into this you have to factor in ensuring as well as you can that you have a future that involves you winning office again.
Recently I spoke to a politician of a particularly impressive kind. She was part of the ‘new wave’: action-packed and devoted to her constituents. When I spoke about how I was going to bring a bill in the House of Lords that hopefully will go to the House of Commons, where she sat, and that it was called ‘The Wellbeing of Future Generations Bill’, she did not warm to the idea.