Middle-class guilt is a post-modern condition in which the patient experiences a collective embarrassment of riches which leaves her in a state of chronic unease. Often, the patient will identify with and adopt the social characteristics of the object of their guilt, by, for example, speaking in a manner at odds with their own background. Male sufferers can be observed surreptitiously trading in cricket bats and rugby balls in favour of footballs. They will display a chronic pitying of choice "minorities" and a spirited proclivity to "celebrate multiculturalism" and generally "make a difference". The patient will denounce their own "comfortable, insular, bourgeois" culture and, in an attempt to bond with the chosen minorities, may exhibit signs of ethno-empathy. This can involve the Anglo-Saxon placing their hair in dreadlocks. There are often signs of an increased interest in world music, and the patient indulges in a yearly pilgrimage to the Notting Hill Carnival.

Guilty urbanites shun the leafy counties, and move to rougher areas such as Brixton or St Paul's, where their feelings of guilt are intensified by exposure to Big Issue sellers. Paradoxically, they will ruminate over their "difficult decision" to send their progeny to public school as opposed to the local comprehensive which is busy embracing diversity. There is as yet, no cure, though research continues ... as does hand-wringing. Dr Aric Sigman's programme, "Welcome to the Guilt Fest", is currently in pre-production at Channel 4