Magazine article The Spectator


Magazine article The Spectator


Article excerpt

Television Society Awards. Grosvenor, Park Lane. Wore little white dress, big black bow, quite low neckline. Tripped over own handbag on way into hotel. Awkward frock moment. Think I got away with it. Not sure anyone noticed.

WEDNESDAY : Calls for more rainbows and fewer shark attacks in Lambeth. The council has come up with a New Inishativ, nicknamed -- by me -- Operation Crayon. They have asked the under-fives -- by way of a letter home from nursery -- to 'draw improvements they would like to see made to the borough'. Astonishingly, their drawings did not focus principally on the spiralling costs of council tax nor the pitiful collection of litter. In the main, the young of Lambeth demanded to see fewer Angry Mothers, more Sunny Days, and a substantial increase in Curly Chimney Smoke.

Democracy, they say, is a messy business.

Particularly with finger paint.

But next time you consider the idiosyncrasies of the system in the Palestinian elections or indeed Iran, spare a thought for the poor voters of south London who may find council policy dictated by their own toddlers.

THURSDAY : Pondering the need for a male sexual revolution. The National Center for Men (yes, only America would have one) suggests the time has come for a Roe v. Wade-type landmark ruling which would give men 'the freedom to enjoy lovemaking without the fear of forced procreation' -- if the word 'lovemaking' doesn't put them off sex altogether, I can't help feeling. Debate has been sparked there by a man whose partner told him she was infertile and on contraception and then got pregnant. If he'd been brighter, perhaps alarm bells would have rung a little earlier. He wasn't, they didn't, and he now argues he shouldn't have to pay child maintenance.

Is he a bad father and a feckless philanderer?

Audiences on Kilroy, Question Time and Trisha know the answer off pat. 'Put the welfare of the child fiiirst, ' they bray as one. Such instant moral high ground is more catechism than argument. But for once, let's hear it for the poor parent.

Giving Bad Dad (as we shall call him generically and a little unjustly) the legal opt-out not only seems fair to him but could ultimately allow another desperate mother-to-be, the Frozen Embryoed Natalie Evans, the child she so desperately wants without ruining her ex-boyfriend's life in the process.

FRIDAY : Last day at BBC London. A strange umbilical cord to cut, this one. …

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