IT's hard to decide what's most painful about this blogpost from the MP Nadine Dorries. Is it the public labelling of her new boyfriend's ex-wife as an alcoholic, and (alleged) bad mother to boot?
Or the decision to let his daughter post something about her mother that, one day, she might live to regret? Or just the fact that it will surely be open season on all of them in tomorrow's papers, with editors doubtless arguing that the children of both parties are now fair game?
But I have a nagging feeling that it's too simple just to blame Dorries for this mess. She crossed the line: but she's part of a political and media culture in which that's now too easy, and as a journalist it makes me uncomfortable.
It's not that she posted this in response to a newspaper story brewing about her relationship. You may or may not feel there is public interest in her love life, but many MPs endure such interest without going this nuclear.
It's more that she is in politics at a time when there is no such thing as too much information, from the mysterious 'contraceptive equipment' Cherie Blair didn't want to take to Balmoral to Nick Clegg's 30 previous lovers (or not quite, as the case may be).
We demand to know exactly why Ed Miliband hasn't married his partner, or precisely how Gordon Brown felt about the death of his firstborn child (as if you couldn't imagine). We think there's something wrong with politicians who won't play the game (see how po-faced Yvette Cooper is made to sound in this interview for not wanting to discuss her kids). We rely too much on intimate personal information to judge our leaders' characters - and not enough on ideas, which might tell us about their values.
And I'm as guilty as anyone. I have sat glazed-eyed through interviews with Cabinet Ministers chuntering on about white papers and almost wept with relief when they finally offer some kind of personal anecdote to illustrate it: ha, something I know the news desk will like! (And I worked for a broadsheet).
Human interest stories are naturally easier to digest than dry policy, and private life is sometimes highly relevant to public confidence: think of the minister who sacks his diary secretary to install his mistress in the job, say. But we are reaching the stage where ideas alone aren't enough for politicians to offer. And suddenly the kind of casual invasiveness Dorries demonstrates here can start to seem weirdly normal.
It's partly about the celebritisation of politics, partly about the way blogging and Facebooking gradually chips away at MPs' inhibitions, and partly a legacy of the expenses leaks.
We now know exactly where they bought their loobrushes at our expense: not much mystique there. And many MPs are so desperate to show they have nothing to hide that they're confused about where exactly to stop (think David Laws having to out himself as gay following stories about his expense claims on a house shared with his lover). It's perhaps relevant that details of Dorries's private life have been used by opponents to challenge her expenses claims in the past.
The caravan will move on from Dorries. But the uncomfortable question remains: where to draw the line on what we really want, or need, to know?