I recently made the comment that the difference between being an author and being a screenwriter is the same as the difference between an immaculate conception and an egg donation.
This seemed to cause some confusion in certain circles although as someone who writes both novels and scripts, it seems to me to be a totally accurate statement. Therefore, what follows is a slightly tongue-in-cheek guide to the essential difference between the creative processes involved in what are after all, two very different writing disciplines.
As an author, when you write a novel, it is your baby. You sit, plot, write, edit, rewrite, edit again and then when you’re happy, you send it off to one or two trusted mates for their comments.
Dependent on what they say, you will either rewrite or polish your manuscript and then take the plunge into the real world and send it off to either your agent or your publisher. This is the terrifying time for all authors as these will be the first people within the industry to see, and judge, your latest efforts.
In response to their comments, you’ll either do more polishing or more rewriting after which it’ll go off to a proper editor who will fix your appalling grammar. Only then will it head off in the direction of the actual production process and eventually, print (or internet).
Yet from concept to shelf or kindle, the writer retains pretty much total creative control and as such, the finished article remains in essence, all your own work. Indeed, once it’s published the whole thing becomes about you and you alone. Have you ever seen a book publicised as ‘edited by….’? Of course not.
This is what I mean by immaculate conception. You’ve created something from nothing and now face the consequences. Be it praise or grief.
A screenplay is a totally different animal because in terms of the creative process, you as the writer have very little power over what finally ends up on-screen. Yes, you might well come up with the initial concept and you will certainly put the initial layer of flesh on the bones but generally speaking, your place is and always will be on the bottom rung of a very long development ladder. Indeed, a script will go through so many rewrites it might as well be written in pencil and it’s certainly safe to say that by the time it gets to the point when a director calls ‘action’, the shooting script will be very different from your initial draft
There are of course, very specific reasons for this be they creative improvements the director has made or something as mundane as location, cast or budget. Yet however much it might irritate you as the writer, everything is underpinned by one very simple fact and that is that everyone involved in the process wants to get the best thing that they possibly can onto the screen.
And that is the key difference. For unlike a novel, a script is a true collaboration and your pages are usually the starting point. Or to use my original statement, the egg.
You see, simple.
There are of course, occasions when the two elements meet and an author ends up adapting their own novel for the screen as I did with Top Dog. Whilst an interesting experience, it was quite possibly the single most challenging thing I’ve done as a writer and whilst I learned a lot, it’s not something I would advise an author to do unless they have either a very thick skin, a good therapist or access to a shotgun.
I have recently been in Belarus. Am amazing country full of amazing people.
This is not however, an attempt to boost the tourism trade of a former Eastern Bloc nation. It is rather, a wake up call. For whilst in the wonderful city of Brest, I had just that.
You see shortly before I left the UK, the issue of gender neutrality had hit the headlines. And as I sat in a bar with my hosts one night, I attempted to explain what it was all about and why it had suddenly become a big thing. But I couldn’t. Because I was too busy laughing, with them, at how utterly ridiculous the whole thing is.
Now I am well aware that there are people who struggle with their sexuality and yes, I have every sympathy with those who have issues relating to their gender. But the fact remains that they are a tiny minority of the population and whilst sensitive to their plight and totally supportive of the provision of whatever help and support this nation can provide for them, it is madness for our entire way of life to be turned upside down simply to accommodate their feelings. Indeed, one could, and indeed should, argue that it would be selfish of them to want us to.
Not that we would need to. For the truth is that more often than not, it isn’t them who are offended at all. Instead, in the vast majority of cases involving the mass manipulation of British society (which is exactly what this is), it will be some power crazed left-wing (and usually white skinned) fascist sitting in an ivory tax-payer funded tower somewhere. Desperate to find some fresh way of proving that the British people are scum, they will latch onto any cause, however crazed, and manufacture a sense of fake moral outrage which they will use to fuel their ongoing war against us. And we, the silent majority, rendered powerless against them after decades of political correctness, roll over for fear of causing offence.
The irony is that by our very nature, we are a tolerant lot and in the main, as history has proven many times, will do whatever we can to help and support anyone in need. A simple fact proven by the millions, billions donated to charity each year. But this isn’t enough for the libturds who are fuelled by the need for the ultimate decimation of our traditional way of life. One only has to look at the continuing onslaught against Brexit voters to see that.
Well I have news for these self-important power-driven twats, your time is coming to an end. Because you have finally pushed the patience and tolerance of the British people to the point where we have had enough of this utter madness.
The fact is that offence isn’t given, it can only be taken. More importantly, despite what you so obviously believe, it can’t be taken on someone else’s behalf. So if hearing ‘ladies and gentlemen’ being announced on the tube or watching someone’s daughter pretend to be a ballerina in an advert on TV causes you angst, then might I suggest that the problem lies with you. Not with the great British public.
So please, do us all a favour. Stop trying to impose your crazed, warped doctrine on us and let us get on with being decent, hard-working British people. Because despite what you want to think, the vast majority of us don’t actually have a problem with any minority group at all.
I first posted the following blog in the spring of 2012, the year that footballer Andre Gray posted a series of homophobic tweets which saw him spread across the sports pages of the British press.
You would hope that things would have changed in recent years but last night, as I watched the Gareth Thomas documentary on homophobia it became horrifically clear that nothing much has changed at all. And to me, the reason is because the finger of blame is far too easily being pointed in entirely the wrong direction.
To be fair to Gareth Thomas, at least he had a go at taking the game to task and the appalling car crash interviews given by Gordon Taylor and Simone Pound of the PFA coupled with the refusal of the FA to respond to him underlined everything I say below. But where were the interviews with current Premier League players or coaching staff? Why no contribution from the likes of Lineker or Shearer?
Instead, he fell into the now traditional trap of attacking the supporters using social media to try and underline his case. Consequently, by suggesting that the reason why no players have come out as gay was due to potential abuse from the terraces, all he really did was further demonise the very people who will ultimately win the war against homophobia in football. The supporters.
As I said, the blog below was written five years ago and it angers me that I’m being forced to repost it. Because the fact that we’re still without an openly gay footballer in England isn’t simply tragic, it’s shameful.
As you may or may not know, Downing Street will today play host to a summit which will discuss, amongst other things, the issues of racism and homophobia.
Leaving aside the simple truth that I actually think our PM has more important things to be doing at the moment, the reason this summit is taking place is apparently to take a fresh look at both ‘problems’ in the face of recent events and, in the case of homophobia, in the wake of the BBC documentary which looked at the lack of any openly gay players in the professional game.
Now my views on racism at football are in black and white for all to see, be that on this very blog or in my book Kicking Off. Homophobia however, is something I have never really discussed before and there is a reason for that.
You see speaking as a football fan, it is my assertion that there isn’t actually a problem to address at the moment and nor will there be until such time as we have a player with the bottle to actually come out and admit to his sexuality. At that point things will change immediately because then the anti-homophobia campaign will have an actual focal point or to be blunt, a potential victim. As a result, then, and only then, will we know if we actually have a major problem at all. Because at the moment, it is all supposition.
That is I know, a very simplistic way of looking at things but let’s face it, once inside the confines of a ground, football fans become fairly simplistic beings. All too often the concept of right and wrong is neutralised by raw emotion and whilst any form of abusive chanting is unacceptable, the real key to stopping it isn’t legislation, it’s by changing the mindset of the minority who do it.
The precedent of course, is racist chanting. For as black players made more inroads into the game, supporters eventually began to realise how futile and pathetic abusing them was and that soon became so ingrained in their psyche that to even utter a racist term stopped occurring to all but the most rabid of morons. Indeed, far from knocking football for being racist we should be applauding it for driving the anti-racism message deep into the heart of British society.
I believe that exactly the same thing will happen with homophobia and I would argue that it would happen in a fairly short space of time if not immediately. After all, one only has to look at the TV to see how much has changed with regard to British societies acceptance of homosexuality in recent years.
Yet as the noises being made ahead of this summit clearly seem to prove, both the game and the authorities would like the great British public to believe that the second an openly gay player steps onto a field, the terraces will resound with cries of ‘they don’t like it up ‘em’ or ‘I’m free’ and the sight of fans mincing up and down behind the goals. Indeed the reason I sat down and wrote this very blog is because I have been so offended by some of the things I have been hearing this morning. Football fans may not be perfect, but the suggestion that more than a tiny minority are genuinely homophobic is beyond offensive,
The question of course, is why such things are being inferred and the answer, like most things to do with the great game, is fairly obvious. It’s a basic diversion tactic. Because if you point the finger of blame toward the fans, you don’t actually have to apportion any blame to yourselves.
Like it or not, if you are a pro-footballer be it at Old Trafford or Roots Hall, the nature of the beast is such that getting abuse from the terrace is going to be part and parcel of your career. Brutal though this might be, it is a nailed on fact and if you don’t like it or don’t think you will be able to take it, then don’t do it. It really is as simple as that.
The key to dealing with that abuse is to understand why it happens and what it actually means. Because for the most part, vitriol will only be coming at you from opposing fans if you’re pissing them off by doing a good job. And as long as you’re doing a good job, as recent history has proven only too well, your own supporters will not only forgive you anything but they will continue to heap adulation on you. Since they are the ones who ultimately pay your wages, they’re the only ones you really have to worry about.
However, if that grief comes not from the terraces but from your peers, especially your own team mates, it is something else entirely because it goes beyond banter from the crowd, it becomes personal.
Anyone who has ever been in a changing room knows that many of them are like a scene from Animal Farm (the George Orwell book, not the porn movie!) and any individual who shows even the remotest sign of being in any way different becomes fair game. Remember the stick Graham Le Saux used to get simply because he has a brain in his head? Much of that focussed on his supposed sexuality and let’s face it, if you were gay and saw that as a potential warning of things to come, why on earth would you want to put yourself in the firing line?
Of course not all players are like that and I’m sure that there are certain changing rooms which are delightful places to be post-training. But there are plenty which aren’t, especially if you’re not one of the towel-snapping, prank playing, tart shagging brigade and it is that ‘closed shop’ lad mentality which David Cameron and the various cronies and cling-ons should be discussing not the old chestnut of fears of abuse from the terraces.
But that will only happen when the game actually admits it has a problem in-house and we all know how reluctant it is to do that. Especially when you have a mute and already demonised scapegoat ready to hand.
Thanks to all those people who continue to keep both The Crew and Top Dog at the top of the various download charts. It really is humbling. Could I please ask that if you have read either book you leave a review of some kind as they are a great help both to me and to potential readers. And don’t forget, my latest comedy ebook Wings of a Sparrow is also available both in print and to download.
As someone who is lucky enough to converse with people from pretty much every point of the spectrum on which human life sits, I frequently find myself responding to questions of some kind or another.
Inevitably, the bulk of these will revolve around subjects linked to writing and be of the ‘how can I?’ variety which is fine as my work or writing will be the thing which brought us together and if someone takes the time to contact me, it’s only right that I afford them the courtesy of a reply.
Occasionally however, I’ll get a curveball question and the range of issues these can cover is, to say the least, broad. Only recently for example, I found myself explaining to someone from the other side of the world why we British drive on the ‘wrong’ side of the road.
To be honest, I like this kind of random stuff. Not only does it tax the brain (or test my proficiency on google) but I find it quite rewarding to think that people actually feel comfortable enough to ask me these things. Especially when in some cases, I’ll have been the first Englishman they’ll have ever emailed.
My favourite question however, is one which lands in my inbox on a regular basis. It is quite simply, why football?
Usually of course, this will be used in the context of violence or hatred of some kind but increasingly, it’s being asked by people who don’t follow the game and want to know why those of us who do are so fanatical about it.
My response to this is that there is no such thing as a standard answer because there is no such thing as a standard football fan. To the uninitiated we might well come across as sheep (or even mugs) but when you look a little deeper, you’ll quickly discover that there are all kinds of reasons to explain why we are all unique in our love of the great game and our respective teams. There are even different degrees of obsession but if you want to know more about that, then you best read this.
Amongst those of us who actually get off our backsides to attend games in the flesh however, there is one common thread and that is that being a fan of the game is not just about the 90 minutes of actual football. And I mean football, not even great football. For it’s fair to say that some of the best days I’ve had as a supporter have been on days when Watford have lost and I’d bet that most fans reading this will be nodding in agreement.
For the simple reality is that watching football is about one thing, hope. Hope that things will get better, or at least not get worse. Hope that you will win promotion, not get relegated, beat your local rivals or even just carry on for one more season. And with that hope comes every kind of emotional experience possible all wrapped up in one simple word, passion.
To be a part of that passion and share those experiences with other like minded souls is why we do it and why we love it because it’s where we feel that we belong.
Don’t ask me why we do it, just try and explain to me why you don’t.
Speaking of football and fans, my old book Rebellion is now available as an ebook.
First published in 2006, it tells the background to some of the more infamous fan protests including those at Charlton, Wimbledon, Manchester United, Manchester City, Norwich and Bournemouth amongst many others.
Yesterday, in response to some of the madness that has been tricking out into the public domain lately, I posted the first half of my 50 policies that I would adopt were I to be placed in charge of this once great country. You can read this by clicking here.
However, before I post the remaining 25, I feel I must comment on something that hit the news yesterday and that is the subject of Gender Neutrality in adverts. The trouble is, I don’t know where to start because it is such absolute bloody madness that I had to check that yesterday wasn’t April 1st.
Quite why this country enables and allows these morons to dictate to us genuinely escapes me and if anything, it reinforces the idea that for the sake of the future of this country, we need someone to kick start a backlash against political correctness.
What really saddens me is that so powerful has this lobby become that no one in the public eye is prepared to stand up and call it out for the craziness that it is. Instead, they stay quiet and so the media fascists are able to railroad their agenda through without hinderance. And who suffers? Yes, we do.
It has to stop. It has to be stopped.
Here are the remaining 25 policies. Enjoy, and comment if you feel the need!
26. Make St. Georges Day a national holiday and adopt Jerusalem as the national anthem of England.
27. Have a genuinely English parliament in line with the other countries of the union.
28. Make it illegal for teachers to show political or religious bias in schools.
29. Properly fund the public and social services as priorities. They underpin this country.
30. Enforce the laws against illegal practices carried out on religious or cultural grounds.
31. Make repairing the roads an absolute priority.
32. Carry out an urgent investigation into where and how the money being raised by major charities is being spent.
33. Suspend all historic enquiries into the activities of our Armed Forces .
34. Ban the use of mobile phones in schools.
35. Anyone caught using a phone whilst driving should have it confiscated on the spot.
36. Anyone granted residency who commits a criminal offence requiring a custodial sentence within 5 years should instantly forfeit their British passport and face immediate deportation to their country of origin.
37. Anyone caught using a disabled badge illegally should have their car seized immediately.
38. Charge people for failing to attend NHS appointments.
39. Charge people for A&E services if their visits are drink or drug related.
40. Charge overseas lorry drivers for the use of our road network and put the money raised into the budget to fix the roads.
41. Any individual granted residency who shows an affiliation to any political or religious organisation dedicated to the overthrow of our nation and it’s democratic or Christian values should immediately forfeit their British passport and be deported to their country of origin. Their immediate family should also face the same sanctions.
42. If Sky TV move games at late notice, then they should be made to compensate the travelling supporters.
43. End the practice of having different rules for different countries in the union. Either we all have free prescriptions and tuition fee’s, or none do.
44. Air ambulances should not be reliant on charity and nor would they be. Same goes for the RNLI.
45. Anyone from overseas who serves or has served in HM Armed Forces would automatically have right to remain here for the rest of their natural lives.
46. Stop the practice of buy to invest by doubling the community charge bill for any properties left intentionally empty for more than three months. Properties left intentionally empty for more than 12 months would be seized for use by the local authorities for a negligible rent.
47. Make it a legal requirement for councils to house veterans as a priority.
48. Legalise the use of water cannon when necessary in the UK (and put dye in the water).
49. Make assaults on all public service workers a criminal offence.
50. Identify cases where political correctness is being used to pander to minorities and apply basic common sense to bring the country back from this liberalistic madness. For example, and as previously stated, the concept of ’gender neutrality’ is pure nonsense.
As anyone who knows me or reads my blogs on a regular basis will know, I am a huge advocate of something that has seemingly become old-fashioned in this modern age. It’s called common sense. And it’s demise has not simply weakened this country, it’s made it a laughing-stock.
I know, for example, that coffee is hot and that heat burns therefore I don’t need to have a label on my cup reminding me of that fact (although if you think I look so dense that I do, maybe you shouldn’t be selling it to me in the first place). Similarly, I can work out for myself that peanut butter contains nuts, fish fingers contain fish and that vegetables are suitable for vegetarians.
Common sense is, of course, most notably lacking in those who we have charged to run our country and this week that has been brought home in the most brutal way possible by news that the aircraft brought to replace the Harrier, in my humble opinion the greatest fighter aircraft of modern times, is not fit for purpose. A simple fact almost everyone with links to the Royal Air Force could have told them years ago saving billions of pounds. OUR pounds.
So, with this madness in mind, in the extremely unlikely of my assuming power over my country of birth, I thought it time to compile a list of 50 things that would sit high up on my ‘to do’ list. All of them seem to be perfectly reasonable to me yet for whatever reason, none seem to feature in the minds of the current government. In some cases, quite the opposite. Which kind of proves my point.
They are listed in no particular order and I’ll publish half now and the rest tomorrow but if you think I’ve missed anything off, please feel free to suggest it and if it’s sensible, I’ll add it to my manifesto. Come the revolution, I may even offer you a job.
Similarly, if anything here offends you, then maybe you should consider why and how your feelings are being hurt because as far as I’m concerned, you’re part of the problem. Remember, you can’t be offended, you can only take offence. A simple truth that political correctness seems to have eradicated from this once great land.
Make it illegal for anyone under 25 to stand for parliament. How can anyone be an effective MP if they have no genuine experience of either life or working?
Equal pay and rights for women. It’s 2017, not 1917.
Actively target the big tax avoiders. They’ve had a decent run, now hit them, hard.
Scrap HS2. It has it’s merits, but the cost outweighs every single one of them.
Enforce random drug and alcohol testing for anyone on unemployment benefits. If people have to undergo them at work, why shouldn’t those who are seeking work?
Pay the public services a decent wage. Not just as a reward for the amazing service they give, but to encourage people to look seriously at them as potential careers.
Scrap car parking charges at hospitals. Full stop. Yes, I know they raise money but where does that money come from? Staff, patients and people visiting patients. I mean, FFS.
Make everyone carry a photo I.D card which has to be produced on request. Ok, I know that this is a contentious issue but let’s face it, we have to do something to find out who should or should not be living here and using our precious resources.
Limit the number of Uber drivers in London. They’re flooding the capital with shit driving.
Make all Taxi and Uber drivers display photo ID at all times.
Schools should be teaching the following: basic manners, courtesy and respect, the notion of personal responsibility, basic money handling and basic first aid.
Wind down Overseas Aid to zero over the next five years and use the money saved to fund proper mental health care and support for pensioners needing care. If individuals want to fund projects overseas, there are plenty of charities they can hand money to.
Scrap the practice of pensioners having to pay for their care in later life. The majority will have paid taxes all their lives and so we have a duty to look after them. Period.
Stop the practice of benefits being sent abroad.
Stop the practice of refugees bringing their families to the UK.
Anyone who has been granted asylum in the UK who returns to their country of origin for any reason within five years should forfeit their British passport immediately. If they can visit a place they supposedly fled from, it can’t have been that bad.
Carry out an urgent review of train fares and limit them as appropriate. They’re madness.
Voting to be made compulsory. We should also have a system of online voting or if voting in person, be required to produce photo ID to prove we are who we say we are.
Ban the sale of any meat killed to satisfy some warped religious idealism. It’s cruel and barbaric.
Anyone who has been on employment benefits for over 6 months has to carry out some kind of community work to earn their money.
Set up a system where anyone who has been out of work for a year has to accept jobs offered to them or they lose their benefits. As long as those jobs offered are on or above the minimum wage, why not?
Campaign actively to remind people that every penny the government spends or gives away is OUR money, not theirs. Some people seem to have forgotten that simple reality.
Make it an offence to have your face covered in public unless it’s either cold or you’re riding a motorbike.
Let the police actually and actively enforce the law of this land rather than force them to try and be everyone’s mate.
Make the desecration of the national flag or national monuments a criminal offence.
You might not have heard about it because for some reason, the mainstream media didn’t think it was important enough to warrant even a mention. Neither did a single politician including the wonderful Mayor of London who will usually be found at the opening of an envelope.
But it was important, incredibly so.
Because what we saw, possibly for the first time, was a sizeable gathering of people from amongst what many would normally refer to as the silent majority. And unlike the kind of march we are used to seeing involving Corbyn and Co, this one passed without a hint of trouble. Indeed, both the organisers and participants have received glowing praise from the Metropolitan Police for the way it was organised and conducted.
This, in itself, is significant enough but what makes it amazing, incredible even, is that the majority of the people involved were football fans. Or rather, football lads. Working class males from clubs up and down the land who put their rivalries aside for the day and marched side by side to show their support for a common cause.
Yes, that’s right. West Ham walked with Millwall, Spurs walked with Arsenal, and a hundred more besides walked together under the banner of The Football Lads Alliance to protest against extremism on our shores. As a show of public solidarity from the working class, it doesn’t get any bigger.
Inevitably, The Football Lads Alliance has been tagged as extreme right-wing and social media is currently awash with left-wing trolls trying to goad those who support it with accusations of racism and Islamophobia and even that this is the EDL reborn. That’s what they do to suppress anything that doesn’t fit in with their crazed idealism.
But this time, they are wrong. Instead, all they’re actually doing is showing that they’re scared. Scared that their worst nightmares are beginning to come true and that something they can’t bully or shout down has begun.
I have spoken a lot about the silent majority of middle England over the last few months and how it has remained relatively silent in the face of the relentless attacks on it in the wake of both Brexit and the general election. Now, finally, it seems that it’s beginning to wake up from its slumber and find its voice.
When that happens, as history has proven many times, you ignore it at your peril.
In a previous blog, I wrote the following: Enough with the hashtags, the vigils, the understanding, the calls for calm, for unity, for tolerance and enough of waiting. Yes, waiting.
Waiting for the next piece of human garbage to blow himself up, drive into pedestrians, hack the head off an off-duty servicemen or carry out whatever depraved act they want to do in the name of their warped idealism.
And it’s coming. We all know it’s coming.
I take no comfort from saying this, but it’s true: I told you so. And I wasn’t the only one.
And now, even as the bodies lie in the morgues of London and the critically injured fight for their lives, we begin the next period of waiting. Because make no mistake, in spite of the phenomenal efforts of the police and the security services, that’s what we are doing; waiting. Waiting for the next horror show to take part on the streets of our country, the next list of dead, the next stream of excuses and the next cries of ‘keep calm and carry on’ from politicians who are too scared to face up to the reality of what’s been happening to this country on their watch.
Well I’m sorry, I’ve had enough of that. Enough of bending over backwards for fear of offending, enough of hearing excuses and enough of waiting. Because it’s time to cry enough and start actually taking the fight to these bastards who skulk amongst us.
The obvious question of course, is how. And whilst it is fine to talk about long-term solutions such as increasing the number of armed police on our streets and giving the security services the tools they need, we need to start thinking short-term and to me the immediate answer is simple. It’s internment.
After all, if the security services are already all over these people and the ultimate aim is to deradicalise them anyway, why not get them off the streets into a secure location where Imams and other Islamic scholars can begin that process at no risk to the public?
You may think that’s a fanciful idea and totally at odds with the fundamental rule of law in that we are innocent until proven guilty but consider this. We have laws in this country which mean that if someone is in danger of causing harm to either themselves or others, they can be taken into custody and placed into a secure facility fairly quickly under the mental health act. Er… hello! Isn’t planning to butcher as many people as you can before blowing yourself up or being shot and killed slightly barking? Or does the fact that it’s being done in the name of some warped religious ideology render that law impotent?
The argument against Internment seems to focus on the bizarre notion that we’d be creating a British Guantanamo and/or driving more people into the arms of evil but to me, this is beyond laughable. Not least because whatever alternative we’ve been trying in the name of ‘tolerance’ clearly hasn’t been working has it. And besides, lest anyone forget, this isn’t about the average British Muslim, it’s about a group of raving fanatics who even our wonderful London Mayor says have nothing to do Islam. So how, or why, would the Muslim community in Britain have a problem with internment given that these barbarians are as much their enemy as anyones? More so in fact because they’re the poor souls who are having to endure the entirely unwarranted stares, suspicion and even abuse on the back of what is being carried out in the name of the religion they follow. That’s not fair, it’s not right and it’s not acceptable.
We are all in this together, that’s true. But we have to accept that we are fighting a war against an enemy for whom life has little or no meaning and if we ever to start thinking about winning that war, the time has come to send a message to the filth that seek to divide and destroy us that not only will they never win, but that we are coming for them.
I didn’t watch the debate last night as I’ve always considered such things to be unsavoury slanging matches which is apparently what happened last night, again.
However, for what it’s worth, I thought Theresa May was absolutely right to stay away for three specific reasons:
First, she had always said that she wouldn’t take part in such things and to change her mind at the last minute would have played right into the hands of those who attack her for being indecisive. But equally, that decision would only have been made in response to Labour suddenly deciding at the last minute that Corbyn would attend so for her to follow suit in response would have inferred that she was running scared of the opposition. One that the other six would have exploited to the full live on air. Why risk that?
Second, it was always going to turn into a bear pit and as a consequence, she had nothing to gain personally from taking part, but everything to lose.
Thirdly, by sending Amber Rudd, who apparently did well, what she did do was show that she has a strong team around her. Compare that to Labour and the ongoing car crash that is Diane Abbott for example, and that was clearly an excellent move.