Okay, so I know I wrote this time last year that 2017 would be the final year of the dear old Secret Diary - and I'm probably going to stick to that promise but I'm not 100 per cent sure.
If I kept it going then 2018 would be the Diary's ninth year. It'd be very satisfying for it to continue into 2019, too, just so I could chalk up 10 years. I'd like that. Ten years wearing the same satirical shirt. Then I'd quit, definitely, and hang up the shirt. Or just hang it up now. Or take it to the drycleaner or something,
So anyway. I'm in two or three minds. But it's tempting to stay on. The thing is that I always like writing the Diary because I always know what the first word will be: "Monday". I came up with the Monday-Friday format to make it easy on myself. The days of the week are like goalposts. It's a matter of running towards them while holding or kicking the head of whichever chosen wretch of the week.
A great many diaries were about that knight at the end of the day, Sir John Key. In some ways the column was a creature of the Key Administration: that's where it began, and it tracked the first, second and third terms of that efficient, lightweight Government, running alongside it like a yapping dog, loyal to the idea of mocking Key and his mockworthy staff.
Those were the days! There was a sort of golden age of satirical possibilities around about 2012-15, when national politics was a goldmine of wretches and knaves, jugglers and clowns - Key, David Cunliffe, Steffan Browning (reminder: the Green MP who advocated homeopathy as a cure for the Ebola virus), Jamie Whyte, Brendan Horan, Colin Craig, Kim Dotcom and the incomparable Aaron Gilmore.
Things quietened down after Key's departure and last year's election was really a bit of a fizzer, as in not a lot of overt silliness. But now we're at the dawn of a new political era, and it seems a shame not to track Jacinda Ardern's attempt to head up an efficient, lightweight Government. I'd like to diarise her relentlessly aggravating good cheer. I'd like to diarise her deputy's relentlessly aggravating bad mood. Then there's self-styled infrastructure superhero Phil Twyford, and the insufficiently bearded James Shaw, and Kelvin Davis, Willie Jackson, Ron Mark, Julie Ann Genter - my God, what deplorables!
One of the tests of an Opposition is to make a government look laughable. I'd be mighty grateful for any assistance in this regard from National, though I don't know if slow-thinking Bill English would be much help. Simon Bridges, though, has already achieved that goal, when he famously had Labour MPs running headless and clueless within seconds of the swearing-in ceremony. I hope he becomes National's next leader. I've always enjoyed his company. The Leader of the Opposition ought to operate as satirist-in-chief, and Bridges is sharp, prosecutorial, and very funny.
Satire exists beyond politics, of course, and there are early signs that a Secret Diary could be kept busy in 2018. Jack Tame and Hayley Holt at Breakfast. A new series of Married At First Sight. The new novel by Eleanor Catton. Hilary Barry at Seven Sharp, alongside - possibly, according to a rumour that I read in the Herald - Jeremy Wells: although how do you satirise a satirist?
Sarah Austen-Smith has written a paper about satire in New Zealand, as part of her Master of Journalism degree at Massey University. I was interviewed for it, and so was Wells, who seemed concerned that my satires may have made me some enemies: "I'm not saying Steve doesn't have a lot of friends, cos I'm his friend, but you know, he can be brutal."
Who, me? I suppose. And I wouldn't mind not making enemies with my writing. Maybe I should knock the Secret Diary on the head. I'm about to set off on holiday; I won't give it a second's thought while I'm away, but I'll see how I feel when I get back. The fitting of the shirt awaits.
• The Secret Diary is on holiday for two weeks. It may, or may not, be back.