One of the topics up for discussion when I was on the wireless this week (that’s the radio, not computer) was Rachel Christie, Linford’s niece becoming Miss England. My co-panellist suggested that this may have been “political” and her connections probably helped. I said that it was a good thing, if subjective. It’s surely positive that black people are breaking out of “Miss Black Britain” type ghettoised versions to compete as equals and great that the gong was awarded to a non-Barbie doll type. Smashing the old stereotypes is all good – July’s Italian Vogue earlier made waves by featuring black only models in the entire issue and selling much better than projected.

Surely the question is really though; are beauty pageants really valid at all in this day and age? The whole issue was raised earlier in the year when the student union ULU were vocal in their protest at the Miss University of London contest. In 2002 Miss World was moved from Nigeria where it was due have have been held during Ramadan, after mass boycots from other nations about the country’s human riots record and riots from Islamists. The concept of the Beauty Contest has been on the wane in the UK – Miss World is no longer televised notwithstanding that we are surrounded by talent shows which even the current Goverment backed youth arts initiative seems to ape in its title “Find Your Talent”. In some ways the beauty pageant is the ultimate talent show where the winner can ultimately be utterly talentless.

While I’m here, I might as well remind you today that is polling day. Not another by-election (thankfully) but Iain Dale’s top blogs poll. I think I actully boycotted it last year but I keep getting incoming traffic (as we call it) from fellow travellers like Anthony Painter and Julian Ware-Lane name-dropping me as they remind everyone to vote by the end of today.  I will probably get round to ranking mine too. I’d urge you to consider me and pretty much most of the others on the sidebar… Chris P, Dave’s Part, Luke etc… except Iain Dale himself who I added after going on his 18 Doughty Street experiment but cannot see a reciprocal. He will do fine without my vote I suspect.

My reasons for last year’s boycott? Well ‘cos it’s a beauty contest of course.