As that looney Blair was proclaiming his increasingly Messianic self-assurance at the weekend, I neglected to mention to you all why his host, the ever-grinning and genial but 'Ahm a Yorkshireman so don't think ahm a pushover' Michael Parkinson holds a strange and special place in my affections. "Parky?" I hear you all exclaim, "but he's a twat, isn't he?" Well, you might think that, I couldn't possibly comment.
Parkinson is special, because he has the distinction of being the first person to whom I ever heard my mother attribute the sin of self-indulgent onanism. She was cooking our meal one evening when I was a teenager, and Parky was on the wireless, giving it his usual "As I come from Barnsley I'm an expert on everything"-slightly-irregular-intonation-and-talk-utter-drivel spiel, when the matron suddenly swung around from the hob and, with all the viper-like venom she could muster, pointed at the radio set and snarled "He really is one of life's wankers, isn't he?" I was stunned, then fell about with laughter. Stunned, because it's not like her to use strong language, but as ever she chose the right words to illustrate her erudition, and laughing because, well, it is funny when someone is that spot on.