This afternoon I had a chat with Anita Pollack, who was a Labour MEP (for London South West) from 1989 till 1999, when she lost her seat. She had come to see me because she has just finished penning a book about Labour MEPs in the European Parliament in that decade. Her book will be an important political record of a period of great transition in terms of the Labour Party’s relationship with its sister parties on the Continent. It also, I suspect, will be full of the sort of political stories that fascinate political anoraks like yours truly. Anita has long since come to terms with her electoral defeat in 1999 , but she gave me a graphic description of just how it felt. For all those with political ambitions, not to win in the first place must be frustrating and galling. But to win, and then to lose, though it may be the lifestuff of democratic parliamentary politics, must be very, very tough indeed.