They have nothing in common and can’t stand each other, but Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn are the only people who can make the other look good as a party leader, writes Ayesha Hazarika.
When news came through that the book Tom Hamilton and I wrote about the history of Prime Minister’s Questions, Punch and Judy Politics, was coming out in paperback, we faced a dilemma.
The hardback cover had images of Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn. But with non-stop speculation about party splits, coups and snap general elections, we made the snap decision to remove them both from the cover and do something completely different – which in hindsight was the correct decision and a rare accurate political prediction.
In fairness, we knew it would the Prime Minister who would be departing stage right, and not the Leader of the Opposition who will be with us for quite some time to come (for better or worse).
The revelation that the Prime Minister was “hoping” to resign was so typical of her reign – confused, ineffective and a damp squib.
It was not one of those spine-tingling moments you’ll always remember, like when Thatcher quit or Steps broke up.
I was with a group of executives from the music industry who could not be further removed from the Westminster bubble. I interrupted our meeting to announce the news in rather amateur dramatic fashion to which one young woman replied: “Big deal ... Hasn’t she announced this three times already?”
The political obituaries have not been kind, and that may be harsh but I believe it’s fair.
This is a politician who wanted the top job, was no bimbling novice, had a clear job to do and failed in her one task.
No-one ever said that delivering Brexit was going to be easy, but she refused to try to reach out and bring parliament and the public together from across the nations and regions.
Where there was discord, she brought more. Where there was error, she brought delusion. And where there was doubt, she brought David Davis.
She leaves a divided Cabinet, party and country – it’s a depressing legacy.
And on top of all the pain of Brexit, the Conservatives are going to tear themselves apart over who will succeed her.
As you can imagine, the Champagne corks are flying at Labour HQ (nothing’s too good for the workers).
Jeremy Corbyn is a lucky general. Events seem to go his way at the right time. Just as his own party was teetering perilously on the brink of more splits, the Tories hand him a gift.
But despite the crowing, I reckon he will miss Theresa May.
Because although they can’t stand each other and have nothing in common, they share an undeniable bond: they are perfectly and uniquely matched in their inadequacies as leader. They are the only other human being who makes the other look good.
But they have more in common than that. Loathed and disrespected by many of their MPs; terrible orators and performers at the despatch box; hateful of the media and reluctant to engage; a bunker mentality and enormous stubbornness; but great stamina ... although I’m not sure she clocks up many 15k runs.
They are the odd couple. And come midday on a Wednesday, he may well look back and think of her fondly, especially when her successor gets stuck in.
They were the Angie and Den of British politics. End of an era, babe.