Lazarus here: great to be back!
Were I the type to wear a hat, I'd take it off and doff it to The Beautiful One who wrote so much more sensibly than me in my absense in her seductive efforts to get you to watch our offering.
But today she is so busy , torn between the relative merits of Sony and AppleMac laptops, that it falls to me to make that effort: no hat, less seductive, but equally sincere.
Two big stories wrestle for the top spot tonight: why it is a good day, potentially, for the Met and why it is a bad day, certainly, for the Boys and Girls in Blue and the man who currently leads them. What a choice.
The potential good news comes from those boffins of the the micro-forensic world. Throw your minds back 14 years: the words "institutionalised racism" may bring a chilling echo. It is what Lord MacPherson said New Scotland Yard laboured under in the wake of their failure to promptly and properly investigate the murder of Stephen Lawrence. Bad went to worse when they thought they had five young men in the frame only for the case to crumble. A costly private prosecution fared no better leaving Stephen's parents nearly broke and, certainly, still broken hearted. Now a fresh examination of the case and the evidence may have yielded some microscopically small, but legally immensely important facts. Harris is the man in the deer-stalker with the pipe and violin.
Next to that we have the words of Nick Hardwick, the Chair of the Independent Police Complaints Commission: Sir Ian Blair "deliberately delayed" and obstructed the investigation of the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes, the Brazlian electrician his men thought was a bomber. The GLA have already said Blair has to go, and despite the messages of support from the Home Secretary, Sir Ian may feel more like Martin Jol having listened to the early votes of confidence from the Spurs board! Marcus wields his truncheon for you at 6.
My first encounter with the whole green/environmental thing was when I was a student and we voted not to use plastic cups in the Union because they weren't biodegradable. What? You can't break them down to a chemical point at which they can once again return, cleanly, to the biosphere. So ban plastic bags, tax them or charge for them? It's a debate that rustles across London. Piers is the man with the shopping trolley.
With no unneccesary wrapping, on our pudding trolley we have a non-melting ice-rink at the Natural History Mueum (historic, perhaps, but hardly natural - surely?); plus, Miss Piggy on film and Homer Simpson in the studio. Just as well we are keeping them well apart or we might face the clatter of tiny, yellow trotters down the road a piece... though Ms Porker pledges her undying love to The Frog. "Huh", he wrote, with a toss of the head.
I've been to Dublin and not drunk Guiness, to Manchester and not got wet, and to the Lake District and not played Swallows and Amazons: I was working, honestly: just another time, another place.
Good to be back.
See you at 6.
Alastair & Katie