There's a crisis in education. There must be, if we at the two big teaching unions have finally got our act together to take joint strike action. Thousands of schools closed in day long strikes rolling round the country.
So why now does the Daily Mail put on a nothing of a story about the Labour party leader's father? Because country-hating is a strange concept. And, as Polish descended Jewish Belgian who joined the RAF, not really likely. Not much to write about; not much to answer.
Because, dear reader, it kept the Teachers' strike out of the two surrounding and consecutive Questiontimes and Any Questions, even when the tempting sight of Michael Gove [no brain], and Will Self [enough for the rest of the panel by the look at it] sitting next to each other presented itself.
Over my 30+ years' teaching, I often have to referee the fights that begin, "She called my mother a . . . " "And is she?" I now ask. Once the child gets over the shock of the question, I point that s/he knows she isn't, I know she isn't, and most likely the child trying to provoke you knows she isn't, so there's no point really getting upset. This is a good moment to walk away.
I think Ed was trying to walk away, but the darker side of politics was loving it. Is it free speech; is it a valid story with public interest? No, it's a great red herring, and the real question was how much time on the national airwaves could we waste on this?
[And the darker side did want to remind you that Ed's dad was Jewish, and that Ralph was originally called Adolphe. Call me cynical, but I think that's trying to have the racist cake and eating it from both sides - and I think that's probably a metaphor too far!]