Back to that health education conference. Professor Hugh Pennington, Aberdeen University's E-coli terminator, did not mince his words and dedicated his lecture to those killed by the Bellshill food poisoning tragedy, reading out the list of those who died.
But he changed pace quickly. "What's the similarity between some butchers (no names, of course) and a karate expert?" he ventured. "They can both kill you with one chop."
Last in a heavy day of speeches was Sam Galbraith, the Health and Children's Minister, who sidled up to the podium a shade after four o'clock.
Stating the obvious, he observed, "I'm the last speaker." More unexpectedly, he added: "So after me, you can bugger off."