Imagine several million small children across the planet waking up on Christmas Day to discover that six of Santa Claus’s reindeer had had pixie dust blowouts at 30 000 feet over the North Atlantic, leading to a catastrophic loss of power and Santa’s sleigh plunging into the freezing ocean, killing all on board and scattering the pulverized cargo across the surface of the waves in a vast toy slick.

This is what it will be like if Barack Obama somehow manages to lose the US Presidential election in November. I don’t know if I could bear the mewling for even an hour, but it would go on for four years, God help us. Fortunately, right now, this only seems a possibility if Obama is videotaped in flagrante with his underage babysitter while wearing a turban on his head and shouting “Allahu Akbar!”. But here’s a cut-out-and-keep guide to the media explanations that will be on offer.