In a week when Ed Balls clearly been busy he has hailed the Spice Girls suitable role models for the nation’s young women as they embark on a comeback tour. He is quoted as saying “They work hard, they are clean-living and they were about girl-power”. An outraged reaction has ensued from certain rightward quarters. The News of the World has rejected the charge as “A Load of Balls” raging against “a catalogue of bad behaviour which would horrify most parents”. Their objections include eating disorders, failed marriage, flirtations with lesbianism and two children born out of wedlock. Yet this seems a dangerously out of touch reaction to reality. Recess Monkey has pointed out the blatant homophobia on display here and I must say I side with him. Not only is the NOW attitude anachronistic in the face of the repeal of section 28 and introduction of civil partnerships, but in additin to this surely many parents would recognise aspects of their own lives in their list: indeed such fallibility and by taking a creche on tour makes the Spice Girls thoroughly modern mums.

More from me on this including mention of sociologist and theorist of risk society Ulrich Beck, Led Zep, Morrissey (of course), the Darwinian canoeist and the Spice’s comments on politics from 11 years ago are here at Progress’ exellent website.