Monday, 22 March 2010


Politics is much more exciting when you get the WAGs involved. Over the last week we’ve had the emergence of Samantha Cameron and Sarah Brown as key parts of the Tory and Labour election campaigns. Meanwhile, Miriam Clegg has been distancing herself from the idea of being a ‘political wife’. Samantha has got herself a lovely nickname - SamCam (rather reminiscent of The X Factor’s SuBo) and the Mail on Sunday printed some ‘somewhat daring’ pictures of her dressed in sheepskin and cuddling two kittens. They were certainly enough to make the males of Parliament take in a deep breath. Ahem.

It’s been a busy day at the Cameron household, what with the management of their reaction to the photos and Samantha announcing the arrival of a new baby. Congrats on that, by the way. But David said he was ‘very surprised’ the photos were published and was hoping, along with his wife, that would stay in the archives. However, he didn’t seem angry about this and treated it in a seemingly playful manner, which was surely the right way to go about it. SamCam could prove to be the Carla Bruni of British politics in the way she has livened things up in the last few weeks. The Daily Mail described her as having ‘enviable long legs’. Could politicians really be judged on the attractiveness of their wives? Well, it’s probably a more interesting debate than the reform of the House of Lords.

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I’m used to reading stories about Christians alleging persecution due to their beliefs, so it’s interesting that the tables were turned this weekend. Gay couple Michael Black and John Brampton [pictured] say they were not allowed to stay in a Berkshire B&B due to their homosexuality. Owners Susanne and Francis Wilkinson say it is against their policy to accommodate same sex couples, adding “we are not prepared to have that sort of activity under our roof”. I remember when Basil Fawlty told off a heterosexual couple for getting raunchy in the bedroom. How times have changed.

The issue of homosexuality is heavily debated within the Church, no more so than with gay bishops. Despite being a Christian myself, I feel what the Wilkinson couple did was wrong. Yes, they are right to stand up for their beliefs and that should be commended, but they imposed them on somebody else to the extent where the men were judged as being sinners. If being gay is Biblically wrong (and some people doubt that) then should the Wilkinsons allow thieves, robbers and adulterers into their B&B? That's Biblically wrong too. They have embarrassed two gay men who were doing nothing illegal, and it says nothing for the inclusion of homosexuals into the Church.

I think it’s important we do not judge anyone - whether we think they are doing is right or wrong - as the Bible says everyone is seen as equal under God’s eyes. I don't wish to condemn the Wilkinsons, as I think it's great that they want to stand up for their beliefs, but I think they should have let the couple stay in their hotel. The issue is not whether being gay is Biblically right or wrong. The issue is that Christians have not been very good at incorporating gay people into the Church and it's time to change that.

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Right then. With a few months to go until the Football League season finishes, I think it’s about time I made some predictions on what will happen. All four leagues have had excellent competition this season, and it’s tight at the top as well as the bottom. So, here’s what I think:

Winners: Manchester United // Champions League: Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester City // Relegated: Hull, Burnley, Portsmouth

Winners: Newcastle United* [Jonas Gutierrez, pictured] // Promoted: West Bromwich Albion and Leicester City // Relegated: Scunthorpe United, Plymouth Argyle, Peterborough United

Winners: Norwich City // Promoted: Leeds United and Millwall // Relegated: Hartlepool United, Wycombe Wanderers, Stockport County, Southend United**

Winners: Rochdale // Promoted: AFC Bournemouth, Notts County, Northampton Town // Relegated: Grimsby Town, Darlington

Please let me know whether you agree with these predictions! Or have I got it terribly wrong? Either way, we’ll find out come May. By the way, I’ll go for Chelsea v Portsmouth in The FA Cup and Barcelona v Manchester United in the Champions League. Chelsea and Barca to win.

* I predicted the Toon finish 16th at the start of the season, but Chris Hughton has done a grand job and got everybody playing for the shirt again. It’s been great fun to be top of the league for the first time in ages!

** It pains me to say it, but I know relegation is coming for Southend. A combination of no money to spend on players (or their wages), catastrophic financial management over the years and simply not being good enough for the league since Lee Barnard left. I only hope I still have a club left to support after the HMRC winding-up hearing on April 14...

PICTURES: Daily Mirror/PA; The Guardian; Journal Live