URBAN legend has it that George Best - by this point a rich but has-been alky rather than a footballer of genius - once ordered champagne to be delivered to the five-star hotel room in which he was gallivanting with a half-naked Miss World.
The bellboy arrived with the bubbly, only to find thousands of pounds of casino winnings strewn over the bed. The waiter calmly turned round to the the one-time Manchester United legend and pointedly asked him: ‘So, Mr Best. Where did it all go wrong?’
That’s a question the far left would do well to ponder as it gears up for the impending general election in a condition weaker than any in which it has found itself for perhaps a century.
In the 1990s and early 2000s, I was an enthusiastic advocate of initiatives like the Socialist Labour Party and the Socialist Alliance. But experience has taught me that a project of this type is impossible to realise in this country.
After 15 years of trying, we are actually further away from that target than we were to begin with. If you want to know why in six short words, the left is too bleeding stupid.
His analysis of why the spartists will never get anywhere contains words of wisdom for people of any ideology: finding the common ground and agreeing to disagree about the rest rather than getting hung up on why your version of brand X is better than mine gets you much further than spending all your time fighting each other about something that is entirely irrelevant to most people, supremely dull to the vast majority and only paints your entire political grouping as a bunch of PFJ nutters.
Anybody who doesn't understand and internalise this is really never going to help the cause, whatever the cause is, and can therefore safely be ignored by all people who actually want their cause to succeed, rather than "being right".
I want a more libertarian society. I want the government to butt out of my diet, my boozing, my smoking, my drug-taking; I want the government to stop spending my money on pointless bullshit and jobs for the boys (and gals); I want the public service to understand that they are supposed to serve the public, not be served by the public. I don't really care whether 17 angels can dance on the head of a pin or only 16. I just want less government. If you want less government, swallow your pride, shake my hand, and work with me to get less government, we can argue over the rest when we have less government.
But if you persist in arguing about the number of angels on the head of that pin, I can only offer two words of advice: fuck off. I'm not interested in your crap any more.