Setting up awards to recognise achievements by women or minority groups does a disservice to the gifted female and ethnic minority talents who are more than capable of competing with the crème de la crème of their chosen fields... I can assure you, the best neither need nor want such well meaning, but ultimately patronising, "positive" discrimination.
People with cerebral palsy can remember when SCOPE was called The Spastic Society. Now we have a culture where political correctness has overtaken and one cannot use the term 'disabled' or 'mentally handicapped' or even 'handicapped'; instead we have to use the terms 'less-abled' or 'learning difficulties'. Is this really required
Then, without warning, this reasonable man stood in some sort of salute and mocked a disabled contributor to the debate with the question: "Are you Richard III?'" It was a bizarre intervention... Surely a man intelligent enough to reasonably argue his case in front of 300 people realises that standing and insulting his opponents will do his cause no good at all?
Conversations are now elevated and scrutinized in an amphitheatre of social media. There are those that spectate, speculate, and jump on the bandwagon - whether that's with good intentions, or to kill the show. The Internet means that people don't forget words, and events are recorded forever at the end of a web search. Over time, the moment, context and goodwill crumbles away...
Howard Jacobson hates himself for not being a worse man than he is. The once-proclaimed 'English Philip Roth', Booker Prize winner and literary dirty dog - his new novel Zoo Time, revels in its shoe fetishes and lusty ménage a trois fantasies - he still feels he hasn't sunk to the depths he looked excitedly into as a boy.