I am back after a couple of weeks in France - and happily managed to dodge the royal birth and the deferential cheer-leading that goes with it. I have no more to say about the birth of the new prince - and you'll see why in a minute:
These days, thanks to smart phones, going on holiday is not the isolating experience that it used to be. Rather than a hermit-like couple of weeks away from the news, thanks to Facebook and blogs, you remain connected to the world albeit through a rather peculiar lens.
So my awareness of the royal birth derived from what I read through the posts of my Facebook friends. Unsurprisingly, most of these are of a generally left/liberal/republican persuasion and a significant number of them have a reasonable sense of humour. But far too many of them felt obliged to post 'me-too' posts either taking the piss out of the new prince or making all-too obvious points about the birth. And if I had been at home, I would probably have done exactly the same thing.
But with the benefit of a bit of a distance I realised that we really don't need all this. All those posts may make us chuckle for a few seconds - and that's fine - but more worryingly they give us a sense of smug self-righteousness that in so doing we have somehow struck a blow for something or other. I recall that back in the 1980s Billy Bragg used to sing something about 'wearing badges is not enough in times like these'. Maybe Facebook posts are the new badges.