I heard the Secretary of State for Health, Patricia Hewitt, on the radio this morning defending her NHS policies against whoever is criticising them at the moment. I can’t actually quite bear to listen to Ms Hewitt because whatever she is actually saying, the message that is conveyed is something like: ‘I am not only a very clever person but also a very good person. I am not sure whether you are disagreeing with me out of malice or stupidity but to make my sentiments clearI am inflecting my voice with a mixture of one part scorn to two parts pity.'
She is one of a breed of Labour women who share this quality of condescension, others including Margaret Jay, Tessa Blackstone, Patricia Hollis and Margaret Hodge, all of whom set me covering my ears and scurrying from the room whenever they appear on TV or wireless. They also serve as a reminder of why I never remotely considered joining the Labour Party.
Postscript: In case the sexism police are patrolling this blog, I can only apologise, plead provocation and promise not to reoffend.