Wednesday, January 13, 2010

A lifetime of naked rambling in a very confined space?

I happened to be watching The Wright Stuff on Channel 5 this morning (sorry, I should say Five, the branding makes all the difference) - don't ask me how or why, and more to the point don't ask me to ever repeat the experience if the distinctly unfunny comedian Stephen Kay-Amos is a regular fixture on the show. Anyway, one of the topics for discussion was the 'Naked Rambler' Stephen Gough, and the prospect that he could be jailed for life by a Scottish court if he continues his 'repeat offending' (which is fairly rapid repeat offending by any standards, as he's been known to walk out of prison naked and be instantly rearrested for his trouble). As soon as the subject came up, I felt my 'Jock-bashing-alert' nerve-ends tingling, because of course the humourless Scottish authorities are notorious for having taken a much harder line with Gough than their English equivalents. However, to my surprise the panellists seemed to take the view, albeit with a degree of reluctance, that the courts here were not acting disproportionately. I must say as an instinctive libertarian (the Kevin Baker Fan Club would undoubtedly be spluttering indignantly if they read that) I can't agree - Gough has caused considerably less harm and distress to anyone than many offenders who don't end up spending a day in jail on account of their misdeeds. At most he's been an object of curiosity, and perhaps entertainment. It was particularly startling to hear Dawn Porter note that she'd once seen Gough 'in action' in London, and had been glad that her children hadn't been there, because the sight was so "weird". Now let me see - could this be the same Dawn Porter who once presented a programme entitled Dawn Gets Naked, in which her slogan was 'Get Naked With Me' and which culminated in her leading a group of topless women round central London on an open-top bus? Far be it from me to accuse anyone of inconsistency, but...well, perhaps she believes for some curious reason that male nudity is by definition weird/creepy/disturbing, but female nudity never can be.

Another odd topic of conversation on The Wright Stuff was David Cameron's apparent plan to replace 'units' as an alcoholic measure with the European standard of centilitres. Since when were the Tories ever keen to bring us into line with Europe, even on the most trivial of matters such as this? Can we expect the first split in any new Tory government to be caused by the 'Unit Martyrs'?

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