Did you have a good New Years Eve?
I did. My family and I were invited to a rather decent party by friends who hold an event to see the year out every 31st December. Our friends party is always excellent, the food and drink is always free flowing, the conversations always diverse and interesting.
Last night, as middle aged parents usually do, we spoke about schools and holidays, interesting books and latest kitchen gadgets. As always as the night progressed the discussions became deeper and as they often do, particularly when new acquaintances become aware of my role as a Councillor, the subject comes round to politics.
A number of times last night I was asked the same question: 'So, what do you think of Jeremy Corbyn?'
Each time I was faced with trying to give a balanced answer I decided to try something a little different with my response: 'Well, what do you think of him'?
There was as an odd symmetry in the views I received back.
'Well, he seems a nice guy but I'm not sure about his views on defence.'
'He seems really principled but I can't see him going into a room with the US President or German Chancellor.'
'I like him but he's a bit incompetent isn't he?'
Its fair to say that these responses came from people who my experience on the doorstep wouldn't have me pegging them as regular Labour voters but each person in turn told me that they had voted for us in the past, perhaps more importantly each one had a general antipathy towards the Tories.
It seems to me at least that I hear that word 'BUT' far more often than I should.
How many people like Mr Corbyn, very much me included, BUT there is always a reason they wouldn't consider voting for him?
I don't usually do political predictions but I am going to make one for 2016. This year for Labour will be the year of 'BUT'.
In Jeremy Corbyn Labour has a leader that is genuinely likeable.
If the party can eradicate enough of those 'BUT's there is a real chance that Jeremy will become Prime Minister, if they can't there is a real chance that Labour's days as an electoral force are over.