In a period of politics that will be framed by alt-reality, it is fitting that a figure like Smith is still able to trundle his bandwagon along, even when his political career has fizzled to an end and the natural leap to working in PR for a drugs company beckons. Though Smith will be a minor footnote in the history of British politics, in the chapter on how politics was nearly destroyed by the fantasists and bullshine merchants, the very fact that such a figure can still operate on any level within British politics is telling and says a great deal about substance not being the defining characteristic of those working in and being paid by the political world.
Just as Michael Gove has a band who are consistently re-imagining him and his career to cover for his consistent failings, trying to overcome his natural inclination for being the most toxic figure in British politics (a moniker he revels in), there are, as Smith proves, many others in British politics, born from the world of PR and lobbying, who can fall back on their covens in attempt to resuscitate flat-lined careers. By the end of the Labour leadership campaigns in 2016, Smith had painted himself into the corner of being an odious little petulant man. Smith smells an opportunity to defibrillate his political career and, as proved by his calamitous run at the Labour leadership, he doesn’t care what the fallout is. British politics needs to drag itself out of this doldrum where the likes of Smith can be among its representatives.