In the late afternoon on the day after the 1983 General Election my then girlfriend and I spoke at great length on the (landline) telephone while I was still hungover, sleep deprived and utterly, utterly miserable. An hour or so later she turned up at my door and suggested I needed to "get out the house".
We drove up the Gleniffer Braes and went for a walk. The view of Paisley was as magnificent as always but it did little lighten my mood. At one point the path reached an escarpment with a sharp drop and Christine cautioned, not entirely in jest, that I was not to think about jumping.
The thing was that nothing about what had happened was other than as expected but it didn't make it any easier to bear.
You see elections are important. I'd done pretty much all the marching and rallying and meeting and conferencing on offer over the previous four years to 1983. It was, to be honest, hugely enjoyable. "Everybody" you met hated the Tories. "Everybody" predicted utter catastrophe for the NHS, the Trade Unions, Local Government, poor people in general: everything the Labour Party cared about, if the Tories were returned to power. With, at the time, the additional frisson that there was every prospect of a nuclear war.
Yet we all just stood and watched it happen. The polls said Foot couldn't win but we, at best, believed this could be turned round in the campaign or, at worst, simply disbelieved the polls as bad for (our) morale.
During the day of 12th December I was struck by the enthusiasm of the very many young people shown on twitter engaged in "getting out" the Labour vote in appalling weather. Many, I have no doubt, enthusiastic Corbynistas. It is what they choose to learn from their own experience which will now determine what happens next. For I was so reminded of my younger self.
If they are content to spend another four or five years having a good time marching, rallying, meeting and conferencing, knowing that it will almost certainly come with a massive hangover at the end of it, then Corbynism will continue in form if not in name. With the same, or potentially an even worse, ending in 2024 or 25. All of the 57 varieties of Leninism Corbyn has let (back) in will be quite happy with that, as they do not truly believe in a parliamentary route to socialism anyway. So will be the anti-Semites, for continuity Corbynism means continuity membership. So will the social media panhandlers and the Unite faction around Corbyn's inner circle, who will presumably keep their well paid jobs and disproportionate influence, as indifferent to the wreck of a once great Party as they have been already to the wreck of a once great trade union.
But they are not enough without the (genuinely) idealistic.
The key lies with these new, mainly young, activists. Some I suspect will drift away, daunted by any prospect of turning things round. But others will stay. And hopefully they will not want to repeat the experience of "that" exit poll. Getting to them will be the key to any more mainstream candidate getting the Party back.
But we can't lose sight of the other errors of Corbynism that could as easily have been made by a more centrist leadership. The Party's image has become ridiculously Londoncentric. It is no accident that this is the one part of the Country where we actually gained a seat. But you can't win an election in London alone. As has just been demonstrated, Keir Starmer and Emily Thornberry might have come from humble stock but they are not (today) humble stock. At least in public perception.
I'm not myself persuaded that it "has" to be a woman but I'm certainly of the view that it "has" to be someone with a direct appeal outside the M25. And, Dan Jarvis aside, that leaves the only credible candidates being women.
But it also has to be someone, to use a reference which is hopefully not too anachronistic, who has "The X Factor".
One of the lessons of the election is that while there should be no doubt (NO DOUBT!!!!) who now is the Party of Government, there remains little doubt who is the most likely alternative. Both the Libs and the Tigs crashed and burned. It might yet be the case that the next non Tory Government is not a Labour Government but even if Labour takes the most disastrous of turns in the next three months that is not, I suspect, something that would become apparent until (at least) after the next general election. Yes, on the one hand, the task, in terms of conventional "swing" is an enormous one but on the other, given the volatility of the electorate, it need not be an impossible one. Assuming it has the right message, and messenger, from day one.
And this is where things become difficult, for it is not entirely about politics. But it is entirely about who cuts through as different but not frightening. And on any view that is Jess Phillips. Just as it was once about Barack Obama.