If VCs were awarded to journalists, Mary Riddell should be getting one today.
Not only did she write a fantastic piece in the Telegraph about the right of prisoners to vote but she so incensed the Telegraph green-ink brigade that an outpuring of bile was unleased at her on the website.
She is a hate figure for them anyway, with her impeccable background of the Mirror and Observer. But it is her fearless espousal of liberal ideas and, particularly, equating them with what this country really stands for which drives them nuts.
I have struggled to understand why the Right can't understand that Britain is most respected for is its history of liberal and democratic principles and what it is most despised for is its history of at times doing the opposite.
You have to hand it to the Telegraph for hiring Mary. One mouth-foamer today says it was only done to make people buy the paper. On the contrary, they buy it to read the Delingpole-like nutters (his word) and they are more likely to cancel their subscription because of Riddellisms. [Another swivel-head asks if readers have noticed that the real name of the evil Lord Voldemort is Riddle.]
Mary is involved in various justice/law and order groups so there is no doubt where she stands. Closer to Ken Clarke than David Blunkett or Jack Straw - or Telegraph readers.
I just can't fathom what the problem is about giving prisoners the vote. As she says in her column, most countries don't consider it an issue.
Why does it make David Cameron feel physically sick to think of a petty criminal having the right to vote? Does he have a weak stomach? Does he retch when he contemplates the destruction of higher education and selling off our forests to propery developers? Probably not.
The acid test would be how he feels when he reads a Mary Riddell column.