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Month: March 2011

Ashley Cole – Is it possible to dislike him even more than we all did previously?

I’m pretty sure that he is the most disliked football around and tat is quite an accomplishment. Many footballers are disliked by fans of rival teams but the general public couldn’t care less. Ashley Cole has managed to transcend sport and is just disliked by everyone. I’m not even sure that Chelsea fans like him that much. Terrific footballer, yes. Best left-back in the world, quite possibly. Bit of a prat, without a doubt. Hated by most, yeah I’d say so.

We all know about his extra marital affairs that caused his divorce. We all know about him skipping out on Arsenal for mega-money. Then a few weeks ago he shot a work experience and seems to have pretty much got away with it. I’m pretty sure if I shot anyone then the police may want to get involved. Had the work experience kid shot Ashley Cole then all hell would’ve broken loose. So he gets away with that which is to be honest more than annoying and now this.

Whilst I do not generally buy newspapers I do read most of them online and therefore I do read The Sun and today a headline with, ‘Ashley Cole’s plan to woo Cheryl back’ is easily enough for me to click on. The fact is that he thinks that buying property in Dubai will woo her back, the divorce was all a stunt as she had to show that she was doing something and is extremely confident that they’ll re-marry when retires. What world does this guy live in?

So he thinks that when he retires and isn’t playing football any more she’ll run back to him and they’ll live happily ever after in Dubai? Well in a way you have to admire his optimism or maybe it’s just self-delusional. Either way the smugness and arrogance really pisses me off and he always pisses me off. He has it all, he can be a hero to many but instead chooses to act like a total jerk.

And to top it all off – the photo used in the article. Well lets just say they make him look like a right arrogant twit. Nice editing by whoever edited that.

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Ed Miliband tells Nick Clegg to go cower in a corner and he’ll save the day on AV

Yes I admit I may have used some poetic license in that title.

So Ed Miliband believes that the best way for the YestoAV campaign to win is if Nick Clegg does nothing, says nothing, believes nothing on the issue. The leader of the Labour party is apparently pro-AV and will be backing the Yes vote at the referendum but we’ve heard nothing from him or his party on that front until today. I haven’t heard anyone else from his party say anything on this front but if they have please point me towards it (they must have done but I’ve just missed it – it couldn’t just be Ed saying this whilst everyone else shyly looks down at their feet and starts talking about the weather, could it?)

So Ed Miliband says that the people of the country hate Nick Clegg and will automatically vote against whatever he wants at the referendum meaning that he should lead the campaign. Interesting hypothesis. However remember the people who wanted fairer votes were primarily those who followed the Lib Dems into the last election. So if they wanted fairer votes ten months ago then surely they still want them now? Or does Ed believe that everyone has now turned and after the tuition fees fo pah that all those that did want fairer votes are now perfectly happy with the old system? That doesn’t make sense unless those people now truly believe that Nick Clegg and the Lib Dems are the devil incarnate. Which you never know, they might.

The problem for Ed Miliband is he is a terrible speaker. He just is. David Miliband is good. Gordon Brown was not. Tony Blair was terrific. To lead a campaign you need a strong and charismatic voice and rightly or wrongly Nick Clegg still has that. He can hold an audience (if they give him a chance) and still attract the floating voters. Ed says he won’t share a floor with Nick Clegg believing that he’ll hurt the vote but it is more likely that Ed knows that Nick Clegg would overshadow him completely. If Ed was willing to work with Nick Clegg on this one then the YestoAV campaign would win quite convincingly. However due to Ed being scared of being outshone the vote is up in the air.

Unless Ed can bring the whole of Labour with him and very publicly state and campaign for a Yes vote then he has to let Nick Clegg front the campaign. The Lib Dems are the ones who pushed hard for this and they are the ones who need to win it. They aren’t hated all over the country despite what some people say and even now the polling is nip/tuck and changes from week to week. A good campaign for the Yes vote wins it and the best way is for both Labour and the Lib Dems to stand shoulder to shoulder on this issue. If they do then they win. If Labour don’t want to work with the Lib Dems and win it on their own then they face an uphill battle. The Lib Dems also face an uphill battle winning it on their own.

If Ed Miliband was truly Pro-AV then he would share the limelight and the stage with Nick Clegg. If he does this then they win. If he decides that he doesn’t want to do this then I question whether he is truly Pro-AV or is really Anti-whatever-the-Tories-want.

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‘If you want more duck houses: vote no. If you want more democracy: vote yes.’

That line from Nick Clegg in the middle of his closing speech at the Lib Dem conference in Sheffield today on the AV referendum may just have been a stroke of genius by whoever wrote it. We have seen that often a tag line can sweep a person to power, think ‘Yes we can’ and ‘It’s the economy stupid’ in recent times and with the AV vote very much in the balance then something needed to said to hang your hat on.

This is where the quote in the title comes in. I think it might be fair to say that Sir Peter Viggers £1,645 Duck House on MP’s expenses may have been the claim that resonated most with the general public. How absolutely ridiculous to claim that as an MPs expense and it hasn’t been forgotten. People might not remember who it was but they remember it happened.

So to put it in a tag line that the #YesinMay and #YestoAV can use in both the media and on the doorstep is quite possibly the best move by a speechwriter in UK politics for quite some time. The AV referendum is as much a referendum on the Lib Dems as it is the actual changing of the voting system. Labour back the plan but are keeping very quiet in case it goes wrong. This is the Lib Dems fight and one they have finally realised they need to relish and vigorously fight on.

This was arguably the key part of the coalition agreement and without it the Lib Dems may not have gone into the coalition and they have let it drift. We are only what just over seven weeks away from the AV referendum and I don’t see it being discussed anywhere, let alone either campaign really making their voices heard.

The time is now to attack and Nick Clegg and his inner-circle seem to have grasped that fact. The time is now to go out and spread the word and the pros of having more choice. The end of tactical voting. The end of ‘no go zones’ for any one party (although in all honesty many constituencies will still be very tough to win) but many more MPs will not be able to sit on their laurels. The time is now to make a change that will take the country forward from petty two-tribal politics that has been going on for the best part of a century. The time is now to embrace a new era.

And the most important thing – we have a simple piece of ammo that can really hammer home our point.

Yes to more choice and Yes to fairer politics. Yes to AV and Yes in May.

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Take Me Out Lucy bullied over being seemingly desperate on the show

As one or two people may know…I have no life. Therefore Saturday’s are ‘Take Me Out’ time whilst the showing is going on. This series has been fantastic and there are a handful of girls we’ve got to know and love over the past 12 or so weeks. From Mint JoJo to lovely Kate, divine Carol to burlesque Samantha, disney-loving Abi-Scarlett to cougariffic Heidi. We all have our favourites but there have been two people who have been labelled by some on internet forums as desperate or worse. One is the Mint JoJo (who is all sorts of awesome so the haters are idiots) and the other is Lucy, whose only ‘crime’ is possibly trying a little bit too hard to get a date.

So when I was pointed to a story in The Sun with her saying how she’d been bullied both online and in her hometown over her appearances on the show it made me a wee bit sad. Yes she kept her light on a lot but in honesty what is wrong with that? All you really see is a guy walking on stage, a video about him and them doing their ‘unique talent’ what can you really tell from that? You never know who the right person is for you until you actually get to know them – and you don’t do that just from seeing that.

So in a way she’s been doing exactly the right thing. Turning off her light when someone obviously isn’t her cuppa tea but keeping it on when you never know. It may have been a bit cringing at times watching her try and deep down it was a bit of Car Crash TV but what was wrong with it? People have said they don’t want a date with someone because of the colour of their shoelaces or that they don’t like someone’s choice of shirt, or their hair-cut or their ear lobes are too big. Are these really good reasons to not go out on a date with someone? If they are then no wonder these people are single.

So Lucy has finally got a date. Hope it all went well and that people stop the hate. What is the point on hating on someone from a TV show because remember folks, that it all it is. Lucy is undoubtably a lovely girl who doesn’t deserve any bullying – nor do any of the girls. Just enjoy the show folks and stop making it so serious. Did people ever bully those who went on Blind Date? I somehow doubt it…

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A trip to Marks & Spencer and what I have learned from that trip

I shop in a variety of supermarkets depending on my mood. There are three that are within realistic distance of me shopping at. Asda is a 25 minute walk away. Sainsbury’s and M&S are both in the town centre, which is a five-minute train ride away and I live not 30 seconds from the train station. So I mix it up depending on what I’m wanting to buy. Yesterday I decide to shop in M&S for my food and something was rather stark.

Whilst looking at some food I noticed two people looking down their nose at me. This isn’t exactly abnormal but still I noticed it. Also looking around I did not see one ethnic person in the store and I did not see anyone younger than myself (I’m 27). I was in the store a good twenty minutes and 95% of people were white middle to upper age women with the other 5% retired gents with their wives. In twenty minutes milling about the aisles that is all I saw. Weird I thought.

Next up was the queue for the till. Only one person in front of me. She was probably in her 40s with the person on the till in her 50s. She was taking an absolute age and gossiping. I took out one of my iPod headphones and overheard their conversation and they were talking about how working class and scummy Tesco was. Both women agreed that they would never shop in there. All a bit OTT if you ask me but the woman on the till was being rather pleasant to the customer. Next it was my turn and she looked at me and her tone changed.

She didn’t say hello or ask if I needed help with my bags. She didn’t look me in the eye and nor did she even wait until I’d got my bag open. No conversion just ‘that would be £38.90 please’ and then she gave me my change without saying anything. It was most rude. As those of you who are unfortunate enough to have met me will know that unless I have to dress up and look half-decent I wear slacks, a hoody and I hadn’t shaved in a few days. It was like she didn’t want ‘my kind’ in there. She seemed stunned that I paid in cash probably thinking in her head that I’d just cashed my giro.

This comes on the heels of my last visit to M&S were two old ladies in the queue were commenting on my hoody and were hoping that I wouldn’t stab them (they didn’t realise I could still hear them even though I had my iPod in and on). My response of ‘those kinda people rarely shop in M&S’ stunned them. It just seems really snooty.

I love M&S food. It’s great but I’m really not liking some of the people who work in and shop there.

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Mark Halsey is the best referee in the game but even he can have a bad day

It is not exactly a secret that Mark Halsey is in my opinion the best referee in the British game. I have thought this for the best part of the last decade. He lets the game flow and seems to realise that it is a man’s game and allows games to get physical. He isn’t overly officious and seems to understand the game better than most. Having said all that though his performance in the Wolves v Tottenham Hotspur game this afternoon was disappointing and when the best is making big mistakes then we have a problem.

How Alan Hutton wasn’t sent off for pulling a Wolves player down when shooting on goal in the six yard box is beyond me. Halsey saw it and gave the spot kick therefore he had to send Hutton off. It was without a shadow of a doubt a clear goalscoring opportunity, which is what it says in the laws of the game but only a yellow was shown. Halsey told Sky at Half-Time that he didn’t think it was a clear goalscoring opportunity. Well when a player is shooting from six yards with only the keeper to beat isn’t a clear goalscoring opportunity then I’m puzzled to put it mildly.

Later in the game Wolves seem to have equalised but a foul on the keeper was given and the goal chalked off. A poor decision again. Following his off the field physical problems though I was disgusted by the Wolves fans chanting, ‘You’re not fit to referee.’ I thought that was in very poor taste.

The thing is though that referees are deciding games and livelihoods. In the past week several high-profile referees have made pretty awful mistakes that have potentially impacted who wins the league and who stays up. It isn’t good enough. I watch a lot of north American sport and the level of officiating is far higher over there all in all. Having said that I was watching Daryl Harper the other day and the Australian umpire had an absolute shocker. His knowledge of the LBW law seems to be shall we say lacking.

As an aside I just typed in ‘Daryl Harper’ on google and the first option was ‘Daryl Harper worst umpire’ – hilarious.

Going back to EPL refs. Mark Clattenberg is seen by many to be our #2 behind Howard Webb but his decision to not send Wayne Rooney off last week when he saw the incident was mind-boggling. Martin Atkinson’s decision not to send off David Luiz on Tuesday was nearly as bad and the assistant referee in the Arsenal game yesterday flagging Arshavin offside when he wasn’t coupled with not seeing Titus Bramble’s two-handed shove in the back of the same player when clean through and in the box was woeful.

Referees will not be right 100% of the time. We know that and we always go through phases of high-profile mistakes but these are not hard ones. These are incidents the referees are seeing but not making the right decision and that it where the worry comes in. Let’s be blunt here. In the early game Phil Dowd should’ve flashed his red card on more than one occasion in the first half of Liverpool v Manchester United but seemed scared to do so. He saw all the incidents and gave three yellows when two were dead cert reds and one was a nip/tuck red/yellow.

The refs are seeing the big game-changing incidents but are not acting on them accordingly. That isn’t good enough for full-time officials and something needs to be done about it – and soon.

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Lempit Opik doesn’t wait for the Lib Dem nomination – to run for Mayor of London either way

He might not have the official backing of the Lib Dems but he has decided not to wait. Lempit Opik will today start knocking on doors in Southwick as he gets his candidacy under way. The former MP for Montgomeryshire will not receive any party funding for his campaign unless he gets selected as the Lib Dem candidate and a decision for that isn’t expected until the late summer/early autumn.

Of course we have seen an independent win this position in the past as Ken Livingstone swept to victory over the Conservative candidate Steven Norris. The official Labour candidate Frank Dobson came third in first preference votes but actually came fourth overall if you take into account the second preference votes for the Lib Dem candidate Susan Kramer. This was a pretty bad moment for Labour as their vote was clearly split and had Red Ken not won then it would not have been a pretty site.

However I doubt that any potential split in the Lib Dem vote will have any difference here. The 2012 Mayor of London Election is a two-horse race and no-one else is getting a sniff of victory. This is a straight Ken Livingstone v Boris Johnson battle and all the other candidates are in the race to boost their profile and battle to protect their £10,000 deposit, which in all honesty if Opik runs as an independent he will lose.

Speaking yesterday Opik said, “My economic interest is to promote small firms. I also want to give London back to the public with a referendum on whether people are willing to pay more for a 24-hour Tube.” A 24-hour tube is something that will attract interest but enough interest to give him a hope? Quite simply no.

This is a pure ego trip from a man with a rather interesting private life who without a doubt enjoys the limelight. Running will keep him in the public eye and will help keep him in after-dinner speaking engagements. Whether or not he can ever make it into the House of Commons as an MP again is certainly up for debate but I don’t see the Lib Dem parachuting him into anywhere cosy so the odds are long.

So be prepared for lots of Lempit Opik on your TV for the next year or so as the campaign heats up but don’t expect Opik’s plan for London to ever come to fruition.

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How might the 2010 General Election have looked had the UK been a Republic and not a Monarchy?

Well I’ve written two blog posts today why not make it a third before I go off to the Indian to grab a curry?

There are many people across all political parties who want to remove the Monarchy and become a Republic. If we were to do that then for arguments sake lets adopt the US system where we would have a President instead of a Prime Minister and people would vote directly for them as well as voting for a local MP. Let’s say we have an Electoral College system using counties and give more votes to the higher populated counties like in America. This is all just hypothetical but might be fun to look at.

This would mean in 2010 we would have three main runners and riders. The Labour Party would put forward Gordon Brown, the Tories would put forward David Cameron and the Lib Dems would put forward Nick Clegg. I suspect the other fringe parties would do rather better than they do under our current system but I can’t see any of them realistically winning so let’s ignore them just for sake of this post.

Gordon Brown would be the incumbent having taken over after President Blair stood down. Brown was only ever elected as Vice-President on the Tony Blair ticket so would have to battle that stigma once again. Brown was leader overseeing a real downturn in the economy which is never a good thing in any voting system. However in a Presidential race would he have had the charisma to engage with the electorate and excite them to the point of electing him as President?

Maybe-maybe not but like the Republican Party over in the States you could chalk up significant victories for Labour under this system in weighty northern counties. Labour would only have to take a few counties in other areas of the UK to win. This would not be easy.

Brown would have had to pick a charismatic running mate on the ticket and the obvious man would have been David Miliband. The problem with this is that would Brown have trusted Miliband and put him on the ticket or would he have gone with one of his inner-circle – Ed Balls perhaps? I suspect it would have been a Brown-Balls ticket. Both strong but also both at the centre of a deeply unpopular government.

Next up we look at David Cameron. He had Middle England sown up and to win would have had to make inroads into the north and steal a Lancashire or a Warwickshire to make it an easy ride to the finish. Unlike Brown, Cameron’s main problem was no-one believed him to be a man of the people and the working classes could not stand the man. He would have needed a running mate who would have connected with that population to grab one or two of the big northern counties.

Looking around this is a major problem for the Tories under this scenario. The best appointment on the ticket would have been Mayor of London Boris Johnson and he ticks none of the boxes but has public appeal. He would be the foil and the public opposite to Cameron’s straight-lacedness (is that a word? MS Word says no – damn).

The Cameron-Johnson ticket would clean up the Home Counties and takes most of the London area and South-East. Probably not reaching a bump until we get to the South West.

Then the last big name ticket would be the upstart Nick Clegg-Vince Cable ticket. They would be before this election the most popular amongst the floating voters. A clean-cut Westminster student coupled with an old school Liberal who had the public’s trust. It was the dream ticket but would it have been popular enough to ride on the tidal-wave of public support to a victory?

This is probably not happening but it would have been very interesting had they taken the Electoral College votes for counties such as Devon & Cornwall – both of whom would have been serious targets and legitimate possibilities for the duo. They were widely seen to have the most popular policies except on two major issues – the nuclear deterrent and immigration. The latter being a killer.

So the end result is no-one wins more than 50% of the Electoral College votes with the nationalist parties in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland doing enough to mean that a winner would have had less than 50%.

If it ended there David Cameron would have been elected president but may not have had a majority in the newly-refigured House of Commons or House of Lords. If however an AV system was in place then Gordon Brown most likely is declared the winner and becomes President thanks in main to the AV votes of nationalist parties and Lib Dems.

Neither Brown nor Cameron would likely have a majority in either house and pushing through legislation at a time of economic instability would have been extremely tricky – whoever had won.

Of course one of them could still have done a policy deal with the Lib Dems to allow legislation to slide through easier as it would be likely the Lib Dems would still have MPs at local level.

It would have been very interesting had we been a Republic in 2010. When electing a President often charisma trumps all and a campaign it squarely focused on personalities with policies often relegated to second place in the mud-slinging and in the media.

What would have happened had we been a Republic in 2010 using a system extremely similar to the US style electoral college? Who knows but it would have been a very different campaign but probably a very similar result with one or two counties being the swing giving either Brown or Cameron the keys to #10.

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Barnsley Central and 6th place for the Lib Dems. Ugly but it was only a one-night stand type of ugly.

So in one of the biggest stunners in recent political history, Labour managed to defy all the odds and re-gain Barnsley Central from an Independent last night. Oh I’m just hearing through the voices in my head that I may have over-egged that opening sentence a wee bit.

Labour winning (oh Charlie Sheen – whenever I see the word winning now I chuckle) in what is about as safe a seat as you get was never going to be the story. If the Lib Dem vote collapsed then it would surely signal panic and the end of the world as we knew it. The coalition would fall and David Cameron would be seeing the Queen today to dissolve parliament and set a General Election that would sweep Ed Miliband into #10 and Labour back into power.

Well the Lib Dem vote collapsed beyond what anyone really thought. It was on the face of it a shockingly awful result for the party and shows clearly that people are not happy with the party. Placing them behind an independent though as well as UKIP and BNP will have created waves that will have rocked the boat internally. However look a bit deeper into the result and the history of by-elections and you’ll see that these are times for the protest vote and the Lib Dems on this occasion were the obvious protest vote party – but not in the right way.

The party were never going to win here and they knew it. The Conservatives knew they weren’t going to win either. So did either party really put up any sort of realistic campaign? No they quite simply left it to Labour and the fringe parties to battle it out on the doorstep and in the local media.

Can you look too deeply into a result where no fight was put up? I’m not sure you can. The result on the face of it is only good for UKIP. They rose from 4.7% and a distant 5th last May to a 12.2% vote share and a pretty solid 2nd place just ten months later. That isn’t too shabby at all.

Yet again though can you really look too deeply at this and extrapolate these results over the country and what might happen in 2015? No you can’t whatever anyone tries to tell you. General Elections are fought on both a national and local level but by-elections are fought solely on the local level. No real TV time is given in a by-election certainly when it happens to be in an extremely safe seat.

In summary this was not a pretty night for the Lib Dems at all. It was about as pretty as a pavement outside a kebab joint in the early hours of a Sunday morning. It will look bad for today but when next week rolls around this result will be forgotten and not brought up by anyone again as it has no relevance (well except for Nigel Farage – he’ll prattle on about it for years but still – he’s an idiot). It must be said that long-term the result in Barnsley Central will have very little to no effect on the future of the party or the coalition government.

To say anything different would be inaccurate and even worse than that – it would be lazy.

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David Starkey on Question Time sounded like a paranoid art student on a pretty nasty LSD trip

I really do like long headlines don’t I?

Last night I switched up the laptop at around 10ish as I had a giant energy gap and went to bed. I had no plans to watch BBC Question Time but turns out I was still awake for it (and subsequently still awake til gone 2) so I stuck it on and tried to fall asleep. As I wasn’t on twitter last night I have no idea what everyone els thought of him and whether or not I’m alone on this island with my PoV but as Kel would say to Kenan ‘awwww here goes…’

Every week I think someone is an idiot and this week it was David Starkey. Now I’ll put this out there right now – he is easily superior to me in education and is without a shadow of a doubt far more intelligent than I ever will be but despite Jon Heyman’s belief that you cannot say anything bad about a person you’ve never met I’m happy to say that I thought he was nuts (Starkey not Heyman…).

The first question was about Libya and what we as a country should do. His thoughts were essentially that we can’t do anything as people can only get freedom by doing it themselves so if Gaddafi wants to mass-genocide his own people then we should stand aside and let that happen because that is the only way they will learn. He obviously didn’t say that out right because that would’ve been all over the news but he got no applause for what he said which was basically ‘We can’t help them win freedom so we shouldn’t try and protect them with military force’. I think that is certainly a fair representation of what he said.

As one of those liberal types that thinks we are all human and if someone is killing someone else and we have a chance to stop it then we should do so then obviously I was in my arms over this (metaphorically obviously – I was still trying to go to sleep). So I was already het up as it were.

Next question was about Prince Andrew’s links to Libya and most panellists basically said they didn’t know in great detail about the story so chose not to address it directly. Fair enough. Starkey though used the question to attack Tony Blair for doing deals with Gaddafi that led to him giving up his chemical weapon research and funding terrorism in exchange for oil. Yeah Tony Blair really was evil making sure an insane leader didn’t develop weapons that if he had them at this stage would have killed tens of thousands of his own people. Yeah, so evil…

Also as an aside he made a very sarcastic and nasty comment about Prince Andrew and intellectual corruption which was totally uncalled for. Whatever you think about the Duke of York this was a guy who went to war for Queen and Country and took enemy fire during the Falklands Conflict even though as the Queen’s son he could easily have been removed from front line duty. For that both he and Prince Harry should always have our respect. Whether he’s Mensa quality or not shouldn’t be sniggered at by anyone.

The next question was on Rupert Murdoch and the deal to him to take full control at BSkyB. Starkey used this opportunity in this question to attack…Tony Blair. It is like this is a pattern. Yet again talking about the deal in the desert with Gaddafi. He stated that Murdoch had always been a supporter of Blair and New Labour until recently implying that Blair and Murdoch are as evil as each other. We all know that Murdoch supports whoever will win. That is his way and his company’s way (although he still wanted to back Brown but his son and Rebecca Wade persuaded him that would be an unwise move in the long term influentially).

The disease of Blairism, Interventionalism, and Corruption runs deep in this government as well he says. Scary stuff. He goes on to point out that he doesn’t care one jot about who owns Sky but just hates Blairism and Blair and anything and everything he did.

Finally we come to the my tricky question of the Christian couple who cannot foster any more children after saying that if a kid in their care wanted to talk about being gay they would tell the child that it is morally wrong.

I will say this. This is not an easy case at all and both sides have very compelling arguments. I can see why the Courts had a hard time with this one. Starkey is openly gay and ended his opening gambit with this, ‘Speaking as someone who is gay and had a mother who is Christian and passionately hated and opposed it, the hatred and opposition made me what I am’.

So in essence he is happy he had a hard upbringing as that allowed him to be who he is today. He is therefore implying that kids should have the same trials and tribulations because if they get love and affection from their parents then they’ll not turn out to be as good in the long run.

Let me say this. What horse shit.

Liam Hallian who is an Economist and Columnist for the Sunday Telegraph said that the decision was insane. The couple were in line to foster kids between five and eight and kids that young don’t know anything about sexuality so this hypothetical situation would never turn up. I have to say that is not accurate. Kids of a very young age do have questions about this and they are even taught it at school at that age these days. Questions are going to crop up at school and in the playground. To think that it would never cross the minds of any kid in their care is quite frankly delusional.

Iain Duncan-Smith on the panel was the only one who clearly looked at the case in detail and made the key point that a foster parent is not a parent. The job of a foster carer is to bring up the foster child in a caring environment in a way dictated to by the state as they are in state care. Therefore if the state says that homosexuality is not wrong then no foster carer should enforce their personal views on the matter on to any foster child. That seems relatively straightforward to me.

To close I have seen some performances on Question Time in my life but last night I really wondered if I had seen a more cynical hatred of the world we live in and I don’t think I have. Everyone has to suffer and everyone needs to have as much pain as possible in their lives to make them a better person.

Forgive me for saying this but I do not believe a word of it. We are all wired differently and whilst some people will come through a bad upbringing with a better chance of success, many many more will fall by the wayside and have awful lives.

I just hope I never become as downbeat on society and the world as the historian as David Starkey is because if I do, I suspect I will not enjoy life one jot.

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