Some 23 years ago I was vetted by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office for a job in one of our last remaining colonies. My Irish antecedents caused a little concern, but of more concern was my previous presidency of a college student union. At my final meeting with my vetting officer, he asked me if I knew of any subversives - for form's sake he included fascists in his list. Of course, half my friends veered between Trots (on the right) and Maoists (left to centrist) but I didn't want to shop them so I cast about for a safe left-wing demon. "Well, I've met Jack Straw", I said. "But he seemed all right."
"They always do," was the response, and I was warned about Mr Straw in no uncertain terms.