NSW Labor is a dumped lover.
Like most dumped lovers, she knew it was coming. Her lover's eye had drifted to another, and no longer lingered, smiling, over steaming cups of hot chocolate old cold winter nights.
She clung, she sobbed, she begged for redemption, but it was not to happen.
All break-ups are messy, and this one is no exception.
Like any dumpee, the break-up is followed immediately by mournful introspection. "Was it me? Did I talk too much? Was I not attentive enough? Were my factions a turn-off?"
Long, interminable conversations with those closest to you. Before long even the op-ed editors are saying "Enough! It ended! Deal with it!"
After that comes the rebound. Or at least, the attempted rebound. Someone calls her up, promises her a night out, alcohol, attractive members of the opposite sex to erase the feelings she can't shake.
So what do she do? She gets dressed up, maybe takes some risks, maybe puts on that dress that really isn't appropriate for wearing in public.
John Robertson is that dress. Deep down, she knows it's a bad idea, but screw it, she's sad and she's angry and tomorrow will look after itself. Right now, she wants to feel GOOD! And what better way to feel better than to choose a divisive headkicker to lead the way. Sure, it might do more harm than good, but we gotta do something right?
Of course rebounds never work. She ends up feeling even worse, and is even more convinced that politics is a mug's game, and the voters are stupid and not worth bothering about.
This is the lowest point. The all too common consequence is a period of solitude. Perhaps some really awful poetry, or an overseas trip. Or a sustained run of of polls so bad that lazy journos will write articles questioning whether it will be more or less than 52 years before you are back in power.
But, at that lowest point, she has an epiphany. She's been going about it wrong. She ditches that nasty dress. She realises what it was that she was doing wrong. No one likes a mourner talks incessantly about her last lover. That old flame is gone now but there are plenty votes in the sea.
She needs to be true to herself. Put herself back out there again. Show the world that she has been hurt, but she is back. Wiser, more experienced, more wiley in the ways of love.
She gets a new haircut, or chooses an electable leader (Tebbutt, perhaps?)
Suddenly, the voters are paying attention to her again. It's better than before - she is happier, healthier, and she can barely remember the old factions.
Sometimes, being dumped is a good thing.