The cabinet minister leant back into his chair and took a fortifying swig of his drink. Then, in a voice that blended bravado with fatalism, he said: "It's going to be absolutely horrendous. We're doomed to be extremely unpopular. Doooomed."
He was anticipating the public reaction to the ferocity of the spending squeeze that George Osborne will unveil in just five weeks' time. Put aside everything else that has occurred in the life of the coalition to date. None of it amounts to anything more than foreplay compared with the comprehensive spending review, the results of which are scheduled to be announced on 20 October.
Enough said, I think.
And 100% right.
They are doooomed.