It always seems a particularly excruciating element of any awards process that the nominees have to write their acceptance speeches before they know whether they have won. How do you stay coolly detached about the result if you’ve already planned what you say in one of the greatest moments of your life?
In that spirit, pity the poor Labour leadership candidates. They will find out on Saturday, September 25, which one of them has won the election to become leader of the party and leader of the opposition. The winner will then have to deliver the leader’s speech to conference on Tuesday – the pinnacle of any of their careers so far.
The problem is that writing such a crucial speech will take more than just three days. If it is to live up to the occasion the process will begin weeks, if not months, in advance. Which means that they will all have to start crafting their most important speech ever knowing that four out of the five of them will never get to deliver it.
For the Miliband brothers, Ed Balls and Andy Burnham, this could be a long and painful process. For Diane Abbott (latest odds, 33-1), perhaps less so.