Simon Carr: Hooray for David, free from victory and the delusions of power

Sketch: Forty-eight hours later he looked smarter, richer and more interesting than he ever has before
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The Independent Online

They're both on their way, quite visibly, so let's start with the lucky one. David is the elegant proof that failure, loss and defeat can be better for you than winning – and probably easier to deal with. For one thing, it knocks that psychotic optimism out of you. And for another it releases you from the cares of victory.

Presumably this is one of the two worst things ever to have happened to him. But this happened live, on national television. Not just in front of his friends, family, colleagues, party – but also the indifferent millions of an audience that only wanted to see whether he'd cry.

Forty-eight hours later he looked smarter, richer and more interesting than he ever has before. The suit was magnificent, the physique was fashionplate, his facial expressions have a depth and texture that make you want to know more about him rather than less.

Ping! As the microwave tells us. He's ready. He's done.

The least his brother can do is to sack Baroness Ashton and make him our High Representative in the EU. That'd make amends.

It was billed as a Q&A session but he made a speech instead. Best speech ever. He was unnecessarily generous. He was authentically loyal. And he surely didn't mean "special" in the educational sense when he said Ed was special to him, special to the party and would be special to the nation.

Maybe he did, secretly. He's already special, he's got the teeth of Mr Ed the Talking Horse and a sinus problem like the Louisiana Bayou. Are we allowed to ask where that deck quoit mouth came from – the same place as the Venusian eyes? He's special all right.

David though, finest hour, hooray for David. He said he had a number of speeches he could deliver from the ones he'd prepared earlier (laughter). He said he hadn't gone into the race without being reconciled to the possibility of losing. "Don't worry," he told us, "I'll be all right." (More laughter.)

At the end there was a standing ovation, some Royal Shakespeare bowing, and a new audience noise – not whooping but hooting. He deserved the hooters (only five more MPs and he'd have won!).

His brother is also on the way, as I say. It's the other way. The thrill of leadership has rushed to their heads. They're marching around in the bubble of fame, authority, power. They project their ideas, plans, illusions and delusions on to a grateful nation. They are going to save 60 million people from a Tory government, whether they want it or not. So they're shoving news crews out of the way – get back, the messiah team is coming through!

He'll need all that.

There's some talk that he has the power to override the PLP decision to elect the chief whip. He could, the talk says, declare that he's not going to allow an alternative power base to grow up in the Whips' Office – and that he'll appoint his own person.

That would dramatise a seriousness of purpose. Then he could put Balls into the shadow chancellorship without it looking weak.