It was with some surprise that last night I found myself desperately trying to find a big enough object to put through the TV to blot out the image and sound of Ms Dawn Primarolo MP, Minster of State for Public Health. When none was forthcoming I considered self-immolation to escape the banalities, triteness and self-satisfied ability to emphasise the wrong word in every sentence.
I was saved from an early death by the realisation that the tilted head and patronising tones were a professional taught 'sympathetic' look, obviously adopted from barely qualified hospital/prison visitors who think that asking "And how are you?" is the epitome of sensitivity and skilful inter-personal skills.
Now I want to find the departmental trainers, and those who authorised this waste of public money, and have them hung above the doors of Whitehall pour encourager les autres.
And, of course, the cause of all this appalling patronising tones is Dawn's previous boss - Patricia Hewitt, the queen of oozing insincerity.