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On these long summer days there's nothing I like better than to indulge in the traditional British past-time of conservative baiting.

Like the sound of leather on willow or the murmur of contented voices wafting from a beer garden, there is something about upsetting right-wingers which for me just sums up the summer months.

I was fortunate enough to be introduced to the joys of annoying reactionaries in my youth, when a friend of mine turned a family party to mayhem by telling his elderly uncle that what Britain needed was a tax system more like Sweden's. I started off tentatively myself, sticking up for the Welfare State, then telling a taxi driver that actually, no, I didn't blame immigrants for all the problems of society. But the joy I got from baiting the rich and powerful with my liberal opinions quickly convinced me that this was something I wanted to do full time.

Now I think nothing of telling an entire pub of motoring bores that (a) Jeremy Clarkson is a buffoon; (b) speed cameras are a good thing; and (c) it's not a tax on the motorist, it's a parking ticket.

I write regularly to Richard Littlejohn to tell him how much I admire social workers and take weekly drives through the countryside to shout "hunting is banned, you know" through a megaphone. To me, conservative baiting is a pleasure in itself. To get into a conversation with a Fascist and push him into spluttering that "it's political correctness gone mad" makes life worth living.

Other people prefer to make it a competitive sport, going to dinner parties and scoring five points for every time you can get someone to declare that there is a "nanny state", 10 for each time someone says that Tony Blair is a "damned socialist" and 20 for goading someone into calling for the return of National Service. Of course, there are some that say that conservative baiting is a cruel and vindictive sport that has no place in modern society.

I have no truck for such an argument, which is a typical example of conservatives coming into our liberal areas and failing to understand our liberal ways. What the "consies" (as we like to call them) fail to understand is that your typical right-winger actually likes to be baited. Really, there's nothing they want more than to be stirred into a fury by being told about lottery grants for experimental black lesbian theatre groups.

Of course, it kills many of them off, but at the end of the day, isn't that more humane than allowing them a slow and agonising decline as society's changing mores drive them to distraction?

If left to his own devices, your typical conservative will often destroy himself with his own bile. Conservative baiting actually restores nature's balance by giving them something harmless to foam about and stop them burning out in a frenzy of muttering about lefties in the BBC. I, for one, hope to be conservative baiting for many a year yet and hope that many more will join me in this enjoyable family sport.

Journalists

David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer