There are many words to describe silver-tongued Martin Paterson, the Food and Drink Federation's wily deputy director general ­ but time-share salesman?
Strange as it seems, that was how he saw himself as he stood up to give the address at last week's reception in the Houses of Parliament for the foodlink programme.
"This is a bit like a timeshare presentation. You get a glass of champagne and then you have to listen to a speech," he said.
The difference, of course, is that people very rarely buy into time-share pitches, whereas the foodlink programme is this year celebrating a decade of good work.
All this is a far cry from the days when Paterson worked at 10 Downing Street ­ when Margaret Thatcher was in office. As befits his Scottish background, one of his most important tasks was to take charge of Mrs T's glass of whisky whenever a photo opportunity arose.

{{COUNTERPOINT }}