For someone like me who, as a kid, walked to school muttering little political speeches to myself, it was irresistible to finally get a chance at political life for real. When the people of Etobicoke-Lakeshore elected me their MP, it changed me forever.
Politics is intensely physical: your hands touch, clasp and hold, and your eyes are always reaching for contact. None of this came naturally to me. I'd always put my trust in words and let the words do the work, but in politics, the real message is physical.
What's distinctively shocking about Machiavelli is that he didn't care. He believed not only that politicians must do evil in the name of the public good, but also that they shouldn't worry about it. He was unconcerned, in other words, with what modern thinkers call 'the problem of dirty hands.'
What everybody forgets is that when I was a journalist in Britain and in the United States, I was always a Canadian. And the price of expatriation does not go down, it goes up. I never felt part of the political common sense of Britain. I never felt it in the United States. I had no natural home in Britain and the U.S.
I've always thought Anne-Marie Slaughter would make a fantastic United States Senator or something. She's a real intellectual, but she's got enormous communicative skills and she's got government experience. The thing that drives me slightly crazy is the way we think about intellectuals as wooly, hopeless, arrogant, self-deceived, incapable.