If any reader can name the current Secretary of State, or any others over the past 10 years, they deserve a prize. Failure to name any of them is excusable, as most have been undistinguished and indistinguishable. The notable exception is Julian Smith, who was appointed by Boris Johnson and, in a Herculean effort, restored the Assembly. His perverse reward from Johnson was to get the sack.
Earlier Secretaries of State were, indeed, distinguished politicians. The wily and affable Willie Whitelaw springs to mind. He was the first Secretary of State and took over the governance of Northern Ireland in 1972, at a time when it seemed like there would be a complete meltdown.
But it has to be said that the early Conservative appointees were better than the Labour ones. The Conservatives, despite their unionist sympathies, were often more adroit at dealing with both unionists and nationalists and, unlike Labour, were less reliant on a military approach as a solution.
By far the worst Secretary of State was Labour's Merlyn Rees. He was a weak man, who vacillated and gave into the loyalist paramilitaries who brought down the first power-sharing Executive in 1974. His craven surrender to the loyalists delayed a settlement by 24 years.
Mo Mowlam, unlike Rees, was an outstanding Labour Secretary of State. Recently, there has been much mention of her in releases of restricted Government files.
Mowlam came here in 1997 as part of the new, dynamic Labour government formed by Tony Blair. In the previous two years, as Shadow Northern Ireland spokesperson, she educated herself in depth on the situation here and got to know many local politicians.
Suitably equipped, she fell into her duties with energy and an unconventional, but very human, touch in engaging with ordinary people. She was a breath of fresh air after the patrician Sir Patrick Mayhew.
Like Blair, she was determined to find a solution to the tragedy that had dogged British politics for the previous 25 years and build on the Provisional IRA and loyalist ceasefires of 1994.
The Canary Wharf bombing in London in February 1996 had brought the Provisional IRA ceasefire to an end, but shortly after Mowlam arrived, it was restored, leaving the way open for her to shift the talks process into a higher gear.
The role of personality in politics is often obscured, or simply downplayed as being irrelevant. In the case of Mo Mowlam, it was, in fact, her gift.
Her warm personality and personal engagement with politicians on both sides and with people working in the community made a big difference in levelling the ground for the major breakthrough of the Good Friday Agreement. As Peter Hain acknowledged: "She (Mowlam) was the catalyst that allowed politics to move forward."
Her courageous decision, in January 1998, to visit the loyalist prisoners in the Maze prison was instrumental in keeping the smaller loyalist parties within the political negotiations.
Without their participation, the structure of the talks process would have become unbalanced and weakened. There was also the ever-present fear that they, too, like the Provisional IRA, would breach the ceasefire.
As a result of her outstanding success during her three years in Northern Ireland, her popularity in Britain soared to dizzying heights, but this caused her grief at the top level of the Labour Party.
During the 1998 Labour Party conference, Mowlam was given a standing ovation whenever Labour leader Tony Blair mentioned her name during his speech. This spontaneous act demonstrated her widespread popularity within the Labour Party's rank and file. But it caused nervousness within the Blair leadership and it has been seen as a factor in her downfall.
In October 1999, she was removed as Northern Ireland Secretary to London as the Cabinet Office Minister. This rag-tag ministry was really a sideways demotion.
After that, Downing Street conducted a vicious whispering campaign against her, suggesting she wasn't up to the job. By 2001, after 14 years in Parliament, she decided to quit politics.
Throughout her term in office, in which she smoothed the pathway leading to the Agreement, Mo Mowlam bravely and without self-pity struggled with a brain tumour. She was under constant medical attention and underwent radiotherapy.
This had severe side-effects, including weight-gain and extensive hair-loss. This led to her having to wear a wig, which caused her discomfort and irritation. Famously, at meetings, she disposed of her uncomfortable wig without any embarrassment.
The fact that she was ill, but still chose to work on and to work with great vigour, is a tribute to her abiding commitment to resolving our problems here. Such sacrifice is rare in politics.
Niccolo Machiavelli advised rulers that it is better to be feared than to be loved. In the case of Mo Mowlam, she proved the opposite.
Her unique contribution to our peace should never be forgotten.