It has taken faith over the years to believe in Newcastle United. This year his faith is vindicated, though probably not sufficiently to push the Magpies into the European Cup. But the faith required to support Newcastle is nought compared with the faith which believes the Labour administration really does love local government.
Through two local government bills, prescriptive council structures, the construction of the great magic mountain of best value, the laboured birth of directly elected mayors, the addictive dependence on public service agreements (the administrative equivalent of cannabis) Sir Jeremy's faith has never faltered. The promised land is there for those with eyes to see it.
It takes more than faith to see HM Treasury as a promised land - it takes a vivid leap of imagination. But the Treasury is, apparently, the source of salvation. Chancellor Gordon Brown has discovered regionalism and has decided it can only happen if there are accountable local bodies which can be taken into partnership.
But catch the same minister over a plate of lamb dhansak and a daring 25 centilitres of white wine in the cafeteria and public reticence will yield to a positively unquenchable commentary upon the Treasury and all its works.
You can sum it up in one pithy expression which is certainly not found in the New Labour thesaurus - 'We were shafted.' Now haven't I heard that phrase somewhere before ?
Conservative MP, Skipton & Ripon