Tagging, it's easy to forget, is a form of theft. Anyone who tags someone else's property without their permission, whether with a magnificent mural or a crude signature, is as good as removing from their bank account the money that will be required to repair the damage.

The more self-confident taggers will proclaim their work to be art - which it certainly is - and tell you that the property owners they favour with their creations are lucky to have it, which is less certain. If so, they should be able to inform the owners in advance of their plans to receive face-to-face their grateful thanks and a box of Roses for their trouble.

Tagging as an art form is so popular that many people pay to have their properties so decorated. We once commissioned a tag on our home that a zealous council functionary painted over in a fit of anti-tagging enthusiasm.

We had quite the laugh over the phone to council about that one.


So it's surprising it has taken this long for the prospect of jailing Ross Goode, a persistently reoffending tagger with more than 800 tags to his name, to come up. That said, a jail sentence for this crime is foolish because it won't change anything and will merely reinforce a rebellious mindset.

Tagging will only stop when it ceases to be cool. The overreaction of a jail sentence will not achieve that result.

The nation has been spellbound for nigh on three weeks now over a cliffhanger with all the suspense of a bus arriving on time - who will be the new leader of the Labour party?

But if you are a Labour voter, why do you care? In this, the second Golden Age of Television, when there are so many more first-rate entertainment options available, why do you bother taking this contest seriously?

Read a book. Go for a walk.

Obviously professional stirrers, such as Bob Jones, and amateur ones such as Tau Henare, who is forever bothering Facebook and Twitter over the question, do so for their own amusement. But unless you are a Labour voter, you have no stake in the outcome.

And if you're a Labour opponent, then it's in your interests to have the worst possible candidate secure the job and doom his party to another three years of pretending nothing is wrong as they dawdle along the road to oblivion.

But then, people are forever failing to behave in ways I predict. When reports surfaced of the couple who had conceived a child to harvest stem cells to cure an otherwise fatal disease suffered by another of their children, I was awestruck that such a miracle of science is possible. With all that's going wrong and seemingly intractable in the world, it's a welcome reminder that the human ability to create and innovate and make the impossible possible is still at work.


I expected to be deafened by squeals from 21st-century Luddites proclaiming this was Frankenstein science. But they were hard to find.

"Critics say the process is a slippery slope towards treating children as commodities," muttered one curmudgeon half-heartedly. As if they aren't already - treated like dolls and pets, targeted by advertisers as young as possible, flung around social media like wriggling pink badges of honour.

Is saving a life a good reason to bring a child into the world? I would have thought so. It's certainly better than many other motives: revenge, the need to fill an emotional void, an attempt to keep a marriage together, bucket lists. This has not created one unnecessary life - it has secured two important and, I am sure, equally valued ones.