The former Conservative cabinet minister Michael Portillo has published what to these eyes is a particularly disgusting rant against the British people, claiming that we are fat and lazy; in his words, 'soft and selfish'.
It covers much the same ground as Correlli Barnett's 'The Lost Victory'; yet without complimenting Barnett, it bears as much relationship to that book as a slice of turkey ham does to an 18-inch steak.
If we are fat, it is because we have to eat the over-salted swill, little better than fodder, that now passes for affordable food. For many British people, the concept of having choice in food means nothing but an arbitrage between competing brands of packaged swill. The British diet used to consist of red meat and green vegetables; now, it is processed chicken, stuffed with more antibiotics than a branch of Boots and saturated with enough water to flood Boscastle, and oven-ready chips, each one a cardiac Scud missile, heart-attack bombs in a box. This is nothing to do with personal taste. This is a direct consequence of 35 years of stagnating wages and the age-old abject surrender of the food supply's management to the private sector.
If we are lazy, it is because we are exhausted by working the longest hours in Europe, too much of which is taxed to provide Portillo with his pension. No wonder we drink.
The British must be the only apparently free people in the world who are forced to listen to those passed off in front of them as intellectuals constantly putting them down. The fact that Portillo is able to say such things without much fear of consequences is that despite being fat and lazy, and not having suffered as much as other peoples in World War Two, we are at heart a peaceful people, often in the face of the gravest provocation.
As I munch on my dinner, wondering whether it's going to kill me now or kill me later, I really do rather hope that's going to continue.