I have never felt I have that much in common with David Cameron, but today we share a modest traducement by The Sunday Times.
The Prime Minister’s comes in the form of a headline saying ‘Cameron says sorry to women’. What? All of them? What on earth has he done? It turned out to be the best the paper could do in terms of a news story out of a very long interview, which included a very long explanation as to why he told a Labour MP to ‘calm down’ and why he suggested a woman Tory MP was ‘frustrated’.
But underlying it are two factors which are quite interesting as a backdrop to their conference. The first is the reality shown up by polling that Cameron and the Tories go down a lot worse with women than men. It may well be that the interview was a deliberate attempt to try to do something about that. I doubt it however, because the second factor I note from the blitz of pre-conference with Cameron, George Osborne, William Hague, Liam Fox, Theresa May, Andrew Mitchell and others is the lack of a clear and simple message.
I had read somewhere that ‘leadership’ was to be the theme. But it seems to be clashing a little with the ‘I feel your pain’ tone of several of these interviews, including the Prime Minister’s. And the ministers seem to be banging on about hobby horses more than giving a sense of clear leadership in tough times.
As for my own modest traducement, it comes on Page 3 which says that I am hoping to play the bagpipes at a Bob Dylan concert. Yes, you read that correctly. Now as it happens I wasn’t aware I was hoping to do so until the paper called me and told me.
I am indeed, as the paper says, re-learning some of my lost bagpiping skills for a TV programme, which will end with me performing somewhere. I knew Sky Arts were ambitious, but a Bob Dylan concert! Bloody hell. Anyway, this being a TV programme I am not supposed to know where the ‘journey’ (telly people love that word) will end. But I will be surprised if it ends up with me on the same stage as Bob Dylan, exciting though Fiona found such a prospect when she read the story this morning.
I’ve only just got over playing football with Diego Maradona five years ago. Not that I ever mention it.