I have complained before about the increasing tendency to encourage broadcast journalists to engage in banter between news items. Quite frankly, I don’t care if the weather forecaster has two children. I’m interested in the weather. Full stop. Weather forecaster, if you’re not forecasting the weather, you’re wasting my time. I don’t know if broadcast bosses are encouraging this tendency to spout trivia because it is a cheaper way to fill a programme than actually seeking out real news. I feel sorry for many of the folk involved in the banter because when they go off script they show themselves to be inarticulate, boring, shallow and sometimes rather stupid. Things get worse when they give their ad hoc opinions on news items. I recently heard a presenter on the BBC World Service, oh let’s name names – Razia Iqbal – expressing great satisfaction that four of the six finalists in the Man Booker literary award were women. If that’s not a blatantly sexist comment, I don’t know what is. As far as I am aware, women writers are not at a noticeable disadvantage when it comes to the Man Booker. Suppose all the authors on the shortlist had been men and I said on the radio that that was “just as it should be”. Do you think I’d get to keep my job on the airwaves? Do you think I’d be hounded off of the radio? Sexism and racism are sexism and racism no matter the gender or ethnic background of the source.