We're going through one of the periodic phases of being down on our politics. Personally, I feel sure that overlong exposure to G..... B....* would make me physically ill; an unprecedented danger. And then there's all the other stuff: expenses, lies, irresponsibility and so on.
But despite our justifiable despondency, it's important to keep things in perspective. There are some things we do well. Or at least things that other people think we do well.
Firstly, Prime Minister's Question Time. No, it's probably not what it was. But nevertheless, others are seeking to emulate it.
Obama took questions for over an hour from Republican Congressmen last week and the process was so enlightening - he shredded his opponents' threadbare points - that there's a web campaign to introduce an official and regular 'President's Question Time'. This sort of face-to-face dialogue is seen as a way to get at the sometimes elusive truth. I would guess this is especially valuable in an environment where TV news is so politicised (mind you, Fox cut away from last weeks Q&A, presumably because what was happening didn't fit their remorseless anti-Obama narrative).
Secondly, the Chilcot Inquiry into the Iraq War. I went to a birthday party last weekend and got talking to the French parents of my eldest son's new best friend. Unprompted, they expressed their surprise that Blair, a former Prime Minister, should have to give an account of himself in such public and thorough fashion. They said they couldn't imagine that happening in France and thought it very creditable. Some American commentators have also been complimentary about it too.
There's been a lot of knocking of the Chilcot process as being overly soft (personally I would have liked to have seen a more forthright approach at times, and from others rather than just from Sir Roderic Lyne - perhaps a different eponymous chair?). But at least it's happening. And we should resist being too judgmental until the report is out.
We might hold our leaders to account imprecisely, sporadically and sometimes noisily. But at least we do it and in direct, public fashion. To adapt Dr Johnson: a powerful British politician's ritual grilling is like a dog's walking on his hind legs. It is not done well; but some are surprised to find it done at all.
One factor that helps us in this - certainly versus France and the US - is the leader of our executive branch not being the head of state. You don't have to be restrained by much ex-officio respect for G..... B.... as he doesn't embody the state or the country. As Robin Day said he's one of those 'transient, here-today...gone-tomorrow politicians'. And tomorrow can't come quickly enough.
* Nige appears to have adopted the habit of not spelling his name out. I think this is a good stress-reducing idea. If only I could get him pixilated whenever he appeared on TV too.