Proud as I am to be a servant of the morass of stupidity that is the voting public, life at DRIP is not all Beluga lunches, Champagne receptions and occasional dips into the Whitehall typing pool. It is mostly that, of course (aided and abetted by our friends at Defra, who spent £5k being trained in the art of caviar vetting, bless 'em), but there are moments of quiet contemplation as I stare out over the pigeon shit-stained rooftops and attempt, as the current jargon has it, to 'animate' the work of this vital ministry.

And of this one I am quite proud. What is the only tonic currently guaranteed to raise the great unwashed out of their collective catatonia? Why, it is Strictly Come Dancing of course, an emotional Temazepam of a programme as the economy sinks into a black hole and our children knife each other outside the local c-store.

So what better idea than a special edition of SCD featuring our beloved retail leaders? Surely this would be just the tonic - the free publicity afforded to the grocery industry could reverse the recession overnight! And to make it even more of a useful bonding exercise, their dance partners could be taken from the political elite.

Picture, if you will, Markup de Price locked in a sweaty tango with the Rt Hon Anne Widdecombe, whispering news of the pork market into her shell-like. In a blur of ginger, Bondandybond engages in a frantic salsa with the bizarre Clare Short (for the benefit of Asda customers, salsa is Spanish for ketchup). And stage left, who is that but the Cuban-heeled King Justin? The innocent smoothie himself has in his passionate clutches none other than Dawn Primarolo - and I bet it's not traffic lights they're discussing as their limbs entwine in a steamy cucumba rumba.

And that'll be Tel, dancing on his own.

All right, it might not fly. But at least it would probably drive everyone out of the house and down to the shops.n