I have never, as I am sure you will concede, used my position on this here paper of news to benefit myself. Far be it from me to pay tribute to my own fabulousness, but while I may have utilised the odd inch or two to advance my extreme views on subjects ranging from the benefits of house painting using pogo-sticks to dog-sitting in the Cotswolds, I am proud to say I have never taken advantage of this medium to spout any dangerous political rhetoric. Restraint is my ruler; moderation my goal.
The thinking behind this huggable, non-spiky stance is that, by the time they get to my bit at the back of the paper, I have to assume that the readers' brains are a little fatigued from one-too-many in-depth Robert Fisk-a-thons (however fascinating). As a result, they should be taken care of and not pummelled with ideas. I like to think of my little area as the cold glass of Ribena after a 10km run through ankle-deep treacle.
But rules, like a glass wrapped in a napkin at a Jewish wedding, are there to be stamped on and crushed into dust. Therefore, I should like to take this opportunity to issue a plea to the readership of this venerated periodical. Can someone provide me with an answer to the latest question which has seen me waking up in the middle of the night, namely, why is it so expensive to travel by train in this country? We are going to a wedding in Glasgow in a few weeks and, rather than clog up the sky with jet fumes and jettisoned wee, decided to take Ivor the Engine (or his modern equivalent).
So, online we went, to a website decided by us (take THAT, meerkats and opera singer!). Having perused the prices for a couple of return tickets from London to Glasgow (potentially bought a few weeks prior to travel, not the night before!), we decided that we would have to find a cheaper mode of transport, namely, a gold-plated helicopter flown by Prince William himself.
After dropping us off in Glasgow, Billy will hover 200ft above the hotel where the reception is being held, staying there for the duration of the do and passing the time by lobbing handfuls of tenners out into the Glaswegian sky, where they will float down and be grabbed by passing Glaswegians. After three hours of gold-plated hovering and tenner-throwing, we will still not have spent as much as we would have done had we gone on the train. And that is a disgrace.