War and terrorism have long been credited with laying bare the darkest depths to which mankind can sink.
There’s nothing quite like bloodshed and corruption of power in exposing us to the very worst in humanity, so we’re brought up to believe.
Yet to me, there’s an equally strong contender which I reckon is oft overlooked – serving the general public.
If you’ve cleaned up a clothing store floor after an army of sales shoppers, worked the Saturday night shift at a busy bar or had a customer huff and puff at you for using skimmed milk instead of soya – you’ll know where I’m coming from.
While I was at sixth form I had what some may call a ‘proper’ part-time job at a fast food restaurant (I needn’t name names, let’s just say I wasn’t lovin’ it) which I credit with teaching me some of life’s hardest lessons.
Paying tax on less than £4 an hour , for example, not to mention accelerating the growth of a thick, albeit slightly greasy, skin.
You want character-building? Try keeping your cool while half-eaten chips are thrown at you by an irate extra value meal buyer, or finding a drunk teenager sprawled on the toilet floor you so diligently mopped a matter of minutes ago.
So when I learned that a YouGov poll found that not having had a job outside politics, think-tanks and the media is what voters most dislike about Britain’s leading politicians, it made me wonder just how many of our MPs have known a hard day’s graft.
The closest the majority of our lot seem to come is donning hard hats for a publicity exercise, pointing at things on a tour of some factory. If you’re Boris Johnson, you’ll travel by zip-wire.
In recent decades much has been made of social mobility, namely helping to people from traditionally working-class backgrounds into more middle class professions. And snobbery towards manufacturing and service industries has emerged as a nasty side-effect.
Our out-of-touch politicians ought to recognise the value of a regular job.
My drive-thru colleagues were far better at handling members of the public than socially inept MPs elected to represent them.
Some might look down their nose – but I’ll always be proud to have served fries with that.