Associating oneself with the political left in Britain is a tiresome business these days.
It means sharing a platform with many holier-than-thou types whose chief political impulse appears to be banning cigarettes, fatty foods and petrol-guzzling automotive behemoths.
It means occupying the same space as pathological NIMBYs whose idea of how best to secure economic security for all is to protest against the opening of new Tesco stores.
It means being forced to pick over the twitching, smouldering corpse of New Labour, scouring for a trace of a progressive idea amongst the privatisations, illiberal laws and foreign policy disasters.
The outsider could be forgiven for imagining that such a political affiliation is a sure sign of masochistic tendencies, and sometimes I'm almost forced to agree.
And then I read a post by a man who is clearly having a big wank over the two 16 year old girls facing a decade in an African prison for drug smuggling.
This kind of thing scarcely validates any belief I hold, beyond the obvious fact that the political right contains a high proportion of vengeance-crazed sadists who enjoy twisting their own nipples while reading reports about Britain's ludicrously high incarceration rate.
Such things are an apt reminder that, while the left may be condescending and self-important, I rarely find myself in discussion with people whose lives are a continual struggle to conceal their compulsive vindictiveness.