Alan Duncan

Mr Duncan, 50, an MP since 1992, will be the first member of the Cabinet or shadow cabinet to have entered into a legal partnership with a same-sex partner……

Mr Duncan popped the question to Mr Dunseath on holiday in Oman on Valentine\’s Day.

Mr Duncan said: "James joked that if I had not asked him on Valentine\’s Day he would have asked me on Feb 29."

D\’ye think that might be a little more about the detailed mechanics of their love life than we really want to know?

Come On, Own Up

The largest earthquake to hit Britain for almost quarter of a century was felt across large parts of England in the early hours of this morning.

Who was it that finally perfected their technique?

Department of the Blindingly Obvious.

Britain is facing an infertility timebomb because the increasing use of IVF means that couples with inherited fertility problems are able to have children and pass the condition on to the next generation, scientists report today.

Well, duh!

Where the inability to have children is as a result of a genetic defect, if those genes get passed along…..

Although it also has to be pointed out that donor insemination, the largest part of the assisted conception industry, clearly doesn\’t suffer from the same problems.

You What?

Israeli fighter pilots may soon be receiving Viagra-style pills to help them to perform better at greater heights, according to a study by military officials released yesterday.

Is this really what the world needs? Hornier fighter pilots?

Is it in fact possible for fighter pilots to become so?

How Many People Are Gay?

It\’s one of those questions to which there\’s not really been a satisfactory answer. Yes, of course, sexuality is a spectrum and it depends to a certain extent upon the immediate environment but given the general environment in the country, how many are gay?

Homosexual campaigners have claimed previously that as many as one in 10 of the population is gay.

That doesn\’t even pass the snigger test.

Ben Summerskill, the chief executive of the gay rights group Stonewall, believes the true figure to be about six per cent.

That\’s not that much better: which pressure group head is going to downplay his own constituency?

Only one in 100 Britons would describe themselves as gay, according to the first government research into the nation\’s sexuality.

Yes, there are problems with their results (3%, ie, more than the number who claimed to be gay or bisexual told the interviewer to bugger off) but it\’s the best answer we\’ve got that has been arrived at by a process of any rigour.

That it also accords with my own prejudices/Bayesian priors/life experience of course makes me more inclined to believe it. While "who do you prefer to have sex with?" isn\’t a standard topic of conversation in pubs and coffee shops across the land (as opposed to the more common, "would you like to have sex with me?") simple eyeballing (no, I know, you can\’t say "Teh Gay!" by looking at someone but you know what I mean) of the limited sector of the population I\’ve met of four different countries that I\’ve lived in indicate that the 10% or 6% numbers are vast over-estimates.

A Question for Hillary Clinton

Someone should ask her this at a debate:

Now that lies Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick told on the witness stand have been exposed, one Detroit lawyer and political consultant said the next question is: What will Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy do?

Using text messages Kilpatrick and his chief of staff Christine Beatty exchanged, the Free Press revealed that they lied on the witness stand when they denied having had an affair.

The question?

"Should the Mayor of Detroit resign now that he\’s been shown to have perjured himself over his sexual conduct?".

I don\’t think for a moment that anyone would get a straight answer but it would be fun to see the squirming.

Craig Murray

I\’m not quite sure what this is going to do for his reputation as a crusading campaigner:

"Before I met Craig, I didn\’t really know about how men like to be spanked for sexual pleasure," she says. "They don\’t do this in Uzbekistan. Craig didn\’t want it in the play but I told him, \’It is my life story. It is about my culture.\’ I felt it was important it was kept in."

Perhaps nothing: we Brits are unshocked by le vice Anglais I think?

Adopted Twins Meet and Marry

Given the ever more complex family (and non-family) arrangements, you\’d think that things like this would happen more often:

Twins who were separated at birth have married each other, unaware that they were brother and sister.

Each had been adopted by a different family, with neither being told they had a twin.

We do tend to be physically attracted to those we are genetically close to. The reason we\’re not all hillbillies (the old joke is that a hillbilly virgin is one who can run faster than her brothers) is that there seems to be a mechanism whereby those who actually grow up together switch off that physical attraction bit (there are various thoughts about how this actually happens).

With the rise of IVF, sperm and egg donation etc, it does actually seem entirely sensible that this bcomes law:

"The right for children to know the identity of their biological parents is a human right.

"There will be more cases like this if children are not given access to the truth. The needs of the child must always be paramount.

"If you start trying to conceal someone\’s identity, sooner or later the truth will out.

"And if you don\’t know you are biologically related someone, you may become attracted to them and tragedies like this may occur."

I\’m not sure about human right, but as a matter of practicality. There\’s already a limit on the number of children a sperm donor (8 I think it is) can sire to reduce the possibility of such things happening.

Levitt on Prostitution

There are those who wish to make prostitution illegal in the UK. John has views. Steven Levitt has new empirical information.

Surprising to an outsider are the fluidity with which these women move in and out of prostitution and other work, their willingness to absorb enormous risk for a small pecuniary reward, and the blurred lines between good and evil, where police extort sex and pimps pay efficiency wages.

Where prostitution is illegal (as it is in Chicago) pimps enable prostitutes to make more money. Is that what Harriett actually wants? More pimps?

Cath Elliott

Not getting the point here:

We rightly condemn female genital mutilation (FGM) when it\’s forced on women and girls in the name of culture and tradition, yet we\’re quick to embrace it when it\’s sold to us packaged in the language of choice.

It\’s that magic word, choice. I might think it\’s absurd, you might think it\’s absurd, that some women go through plastic surgery on their genitalia. But if it is their choice this is of course vastly different from something forcewd upon other women.

For that\’s actually what the whole game is about, expanding the choices and liberties available. There\’s nothing in that which says that we have to approve of the choices people then make from the menu on offer, nothihng which allows us to stop them from making choices we disapprove of.

Well, not in a free society, at least, but then there are those who don\’t think that such freedom to do as they disapprove of should exist.

Ms Raven Writes

In former times, women had affairs because their romantic illusions weren\’t matched by reality. Tutored by romantic fiction to expect nothing less than the full hearts-and-flowers performance, they were led astray when they discovered that their husbands weren\’t reading from the same book. Sadly, the infidelities arising from these romantic fantasies were usually as disillusioning as the marriages.

Clearly not recovered from that affair with Julie Burchill equally clearly, the ability to write great prose is not sexually transmitted.