"You idiot. You naive, foolish, irresponsible nincompoop. There is really no description of stupidity, no matter how vivid, that is adequate. I quake at the imbecility of it."
So, is Tony Blair's assessment of the Freedom of Information Act his government introduced right or valid?
I know there will be some Conservative politicians at County Hall who will be shaking their heads in agreement with the former PM - and that's an unusual consensus.
For Blair, FOI has been a mistake because it has been used by the media rather than the public, for which it was primarily intended (which rather overlooks the fact that the public look to the media to act as a public watchdog).
He claims in his autobiography: "For political leaders, it's like saying to someone who is hitting you over the head with a stick, 'Hey, try this [FOI] instead', and handing them a mallet."
Of course, as a politican in opposition, he had completely different opinions as you can read here.
At that point, greater access to information was all about forging a new partnership between government and the public it was there to serve.
I am a regular user of FOI and it won't come as a surprise to hear that I believe it has proved genuinely helpful in providing voters - yes, and journalists - with a powerful tool with which to hold public bodies to account.
One of the very first FOI requests I made was to Kent county council asking for information about visits made by councillors and officers abroad and why they had gone.
We were provided with a vast amount of information which I readily concede provided us with a good old fashioned scoop as we detailed how various individuals had travelled to the furthest-flung corners of the globe on assorted fact-finding visits.
Why Blair has got it wrong on FOI: read this piece by Maurice Frankel of the Campaign for Freedom of Information here>>>
I cannot think that - prior to the FOI Act - there would have been any way in which any of this information would have been provided to me (or indeed anyone else) by the council had I requested it. Yet who would argue that it wasn't in the public interest?
We have made this request several times over the years under FOI and there has been an interesting trend. Each year, the number of international visits has gone down, as has the amount of taxpayers' money being spent on them.
Now, there may be some people - I can think of one or two - who regard it as rather unfortunate that there is less foreign travel being undertaken by our elected members and officers but I suspect they will be in a minority.
You could argue that the moves towards forcing councils and others towards publishing more detail about the earnings of senior officials have their origin in FOI. Had it not been for various requests made for such data - and the frequent refusals by certain authorities including KCC - I doubt very much whether the government would have taken steps to introduce legislation compelling the disclosure of senior officers and civil servants.
And the whole expenses scandal involving MPs began with an FOI request.
Councils and others often complain they are wasting time and money on dealing with 'pointless' requests with no real purpose. Of course, that makes a presumption about what they believe is valid or legitimate.
But good authorities who are genuinely committed to transparency have shown that there is a way of minimising the burden through simple measures such as much more routine publication of information. If the information is already out there, there's no requirement to deal with it under FOI.
The problem is that council officers who are genuinely keen on transparency come up against politicians who are dead set against it because it means they must relinquish control of information they consider "theirs"rather than "ours".
Blair's despair at ever having introduced FOI is in effect, the most powerful argument that can be made in support of it.