To myself, on the bus home.
On this blog, I routinely use the term 'clown' to refer to those who are obsessed with Westminster gossip. I should explain this properly, in case anyone mistakes it for an insult. In rodeos (or is it bullfights?), whenever some rampant animal looks like it is going to knock anything over, a bunch of clowns are paid to run out and distract it.
And this is the role that the lobby correspondents (and my two colleagues on the show) fulfill.
The one point that I probably did get across - in a roundabout way - is that anyone who believes that this is a particularly corrupt country is probably - clinically - bewildered. We should be offering them our pity, not our scorn. But if we have one major problem in this country, it is not corruption - it is official incompetence. Incompetence on a massive, profligate scale. It's the old cock-up v conspiracy theme - and the smart money is always on the cock-up.
Exposing bureaucratic incompetence is a lonely task. As Gilbert & Sullivan put it, 'a policeman's lot is not a happy one.' It is hit-and miss, and few newspapers will ever fund the necessary investigation when they can sell papers with cheap gossip. If anyone were ever to put the work in, they would be sure to find Guido, the Monkey, or one of the usual suspects jumping up and down, screaming "OO-oo! Over here! Look! An irrelevant Lib-Dem is being pooed on by a rent-boy! John Prescott is playing Croquet! In the afternoon! And he's been given a cowboy suit!!!" Whenever a massive cock-up could come to light, there's an army of little beasties crawling around looking for a conspiracy.
That's what the clowns are for. The unwitting pawns of civil misdirection. And they don't even get paid for it!
Another one of the regular themes on this blog is the way that, when people are given a bit of space on the media, they simplify and overstate their arguments in order to attract attention to themselves.
Annoying, isn't it?