"We should ask those who make profits out of revelling in, or encouraging, selfish irresponsibility among young men what they think they're doing... They celebrate thrill-seeking and instant gratification without ever allowing any thought of responsibility towards others, or commitment, to intrude."
Not an Archbishop this time... That's Tory shadow education secretary Michael Gove, taking time out from his usual Melanie-Phillips-Without-The-Charisma act to put the boot into lads' mags Nuts and Zoo.
A Tory minister, pissing noisily over the concepts of selfishness and instant gratification! Whatever next?
Not only that, but he goes on to bash Labour's abysmal record on inequality. An attempt to outflank Labour on the left, or merely a slap of make-up and a threadbare wig intended to disguise their satanic, scarlet hides and their painfully obvious horns?
I'm having a hard time deciding how to respond to this. On the one hand, it's possible to interpret it as a long-belated recognition that the free market is not, after all, the Divine Will of The Almighty Himself. The pages of dumbass lads' mags are not coated with smack - kids like gawping at celebrity knockers, hence there is Zoo and Nuts. Gove surely recognises this, and still thinks it's worth bitching about.
Further, he begs forgiveness for the Tories' one-time penchant for blaming all of society's ills on single mothers and gays. Even without a promise to stop pinning it all on immigrants, this should be good news for those of us who pray for a political environment that doesn't reward emboldened, aggressive stupidity. It holds out the hope that one day it'll be possible to discuss, say, bouncy castles, without some apparatchik accusing Ken Livingstone of filling London's bouncy castles with Islamists and lesbians.
Only one question remains to be asked... What is this joker even banging on about? If Britain's biggest worry is our oversexed media, what is going to be solved by complaining about two magazines when adverts for microwaveable burgers and deodorants are jam-packed with jiggling titty?
Hell, give it two years and Saturday night TV will be wall-to-wall teabagging contests and I'm A Celebrity, Pull This Ferret Out Of My Arse.
Check the list of proposals - bleat about the crassness of modern culture, lecture teenage dads, offer tax incentives to couples to get married... you could be looking at a Labour Party manifesto, chock-full of the same petty scribbling in the margins, the same kind of Now, now, play nice children sentiment.
Jesus, it's bad enough that Labour would rather swallow their own balls than lay a finger on a mobster like Roman Abramovich. Is it too much to ask for a Tory minister to burst onto the stage wreathed in flame, breathing smoke and vowing to exterminate playschools or some such? Surely Gove could've mustered a bit of infernal bellowing and skewered a few puppies on his trident, just for the die-hards.
Because really, even if there's nobody left to cheer, at least we'd have somebody to boo. Party politics these days is like having the telephone directory read aloud in monotone by the colour beige.