I'm not a member of the all politicians are scumbags club. I think a lot of them go into it with the intention of doing good things. But, like most people I guess, I've found myself disappointed by them more often than not. Therefore when I heard ahead of yesterday's report launch by the Coalition of Men and Boys that scheduled speaker Nick Clegg had not circulated a speech in advance I assumed that he wasn't intending to turn up.
The Coalition brings together the Men's Health Forum with other organisations interested in men's and boys issues including Relate, Respect and Action for Children. It is a relatively new and largely unknown organisation so securing Clegg's support at the launch of its first major report was quite a coup. Clearly in the run-up to an election the Lib-Dem leader had bigger fish to fry.
But he came. Hot foot, breathless and late having been detained by parliamentary protocol apparently. But he came and made some comments which suggested he genuinely understood what the Coalition were trying to do. Moreover, knowing he would be late he sent an aide ahead of him to deliver the speech. Pretty impressive. OK, so it doesn't put him up there with the saintly Jed Bartlett - the president in TV's The West Wing - but given the terrible impression politicians have been giving of themselves lately it was a step in the right direction. Now, if only the bankers could rehabilitate themselves.
(There's more on the report and a response from the Women's National Commission on the MHF's website.)