I am left somewhat bemused by the media reaction to the news that UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage will not stand in the forthcoming parliamentary by-election in the Nottinghamshire constituency of Newark.
Always keen to jump on a Farage story, the country's political press went into a frenzy several days back over whether the UKIP leader (currently a Member of the European Parliament) would stand in the by-election. Having decided not to stand (rather sensibly, I think - as does Isabel Hardman in The Spectator), Farage now finds himself the subject of media taunts and jibes from politicians of other parties that he has 'bottled it'.
Well, how terribly 'playschool' that all is. Encapsulating everything that's wrong about Britain's culture of "yah, boo!" politics, this is the equivalent of the rest of the school egging on one kid in the playground to eat worms and dirt. That kid knows its a bad idea to eat the worms - and so do the kids gleefully trying to push him into it - but in the playground, the threat of being called 'chicken', and jeered at for being afraid, is a powerful thing indeed.
I certainly wouldn't frame myself as a UKIP supporter - but I don't think I am being unreasonable to expect our politicians and journalists to be a little more grown-up than this.