Britain’s online community certainly has a collective flavour. There is an enjoyably scheduled sense of direction and topicality in blog posts, facebook updates and tweets isn’t there? So far on this drab October’s agenda there has been an interesting and unusual mix of celebritism and politics: Jan Moir’s unnatural column, Cheryl Cole’s solo efforts and now Nick Griffin’s appearance on Question Time.
In and around these almost organised uproars, I enjoy the quirky sideshows and tangents... How can Simon Cowell be so rich and have such bad hair? Is Nick Griffin a closet gay like Martin Webster inadvertently suggests? Is Bonnie Greer actually a brilliantly acted prosthetic make-up side-project of Germaine Greer?
What interested me most about Question Time this evening was the ever-emerging authority of Sayeeda “Baroness” Warsi, who I like to call The Waroness.
Tonight The Waroness, who is the Tory’s spokesman on community cohesion, gave such brilliantly articulate and naturally considerate answers you could almost hear the whoosh of her pay rise. Of course if David Cameron comes into power then The Waroness will no doubt become a senior minister.
She’s quite a political wild card too, being the first Muslim woman to be selected by the Conservatives. The Waroness must surely be empathetic and understanding towards minorities.
Yet in 2005 her supposed empathy-slash-impartiality towards minorities revealed itself to be somewhat wavering, when her election campaign in Yorkshire showcased ideas of a homophobic slance.
The Waroness disagreed with the equality and alignment of sexual age consent, as well as attacking what she believed to be the “pedalling” of homosexuality in schools.
It was refreshing, therefore, this evening to see Sayeeda Warsi confirm her support and acceptance of civil partnerships. Presenter David Dimbleby’s reiterative insistence on asking The Waroness for her views on gay relationships being legally recognised made it quite clear to the audience that he suspected her to be a bit behind the times and lacking a few colours in her rainbow.
Of course The Waroness knows better than to say a homophobic remark in the run-up to a national election, and consequently volunteer to be Jan Moir 2 in front of a colossal BBC audience. Also, since climbing a few rungs on the Tory ladder, The Waroness will have realised just how many of the party's MPs are a bit gay. You only need to look at their work experience shadows and interns! There are usually at least five having a cigarette outside KU Bar.
Still, hopefully, she is wiser now and has learned from the backlash to her insensitivities in 2005. I think that Warsi knows the role of politicians - to serve and support the public, not to dictate and attempt to reshape communities to fit their own personal preferences.
Admittedly, her vocalised support for civil partnerships was somewhat skeletal compared to the rest of her expansive and charismatic contributions to QT this evening. Of course the focus was on ostracising Nick Griffin from British politics, and so Dimbleby spared The Waroness the discomfort of resurfacing her mistakes from 2005.
Nevertheless, The Waroness gave an impressive political performance tonight. Collected, intelligent, diligent and understanding. I’m intrigued to see where Warsi’s strengths will take her next.