Earlier today I was forced to endure 5 mins or so of some silly cow called Gerry(?) Halliwell, who Iâm told is a pop singer, gobbing off on Radio 5. In that brief but impressively ungrammatical period she must have used the phrase âyou knowâ at least 50 times, but one in particular stood out. It seems sheâs âwrittenâ a book, a character in which has a father whoâs âan archaeologist, you know, an expert on dinosaursâ. Hmmm. Funnily enough, I didnât âknowâ, though I suppose I should be grateful that she was even able to pronounce the word in the first place. Is there any hope for the country while mongs like this are not only tolerated but even lionized, and not just by âthe mediaâ? Iâve no problem with daft teenagers (I was one myself once) worshipping these knowledge-free zones (BTW, has Prescott taken up pop singing yet?), but it really worries me when supposedly responsible grown-ups take them seriously as well. I frequently get puzzled looks from perfectly intelligent people when I show my profound ignorance of â and utter lack of interest in â the âstarsâ of TV soaps, ârealityâ shows and pop noise. It now seems to be taken for granted, and not just in chav circles, that these spectacularly ignorant people actually have something interesting to say. I switch channels, as soon as anything appears on the news about African starvation, before some unwashed, foul-mouthed drug-ridden moron gives me the benefit of his inane opinions. And any day now I expect to hear Beckham airing his views on string theory (though he probably thinks thatâs something to do with his wifeâs underwear, worn by him or otherwise). I think the rot, in this as in so much else, started with Wilson, who handed out gongs to the Beatles in a cynical attempt to win yet more oik votes; 40 years later we had Blairâs take on the same ploy, cramming No 10 with smelly, slack-jawed cretins (of the non-political variety, that is) for photo-shoots. To be fair, Clown seems to have eschewed this course of action so far, though even he will probably adopt it as a panic measure come election time. But political exploitation dressed as approval bestowed a veneer of respectability on âcelebsâ that now seems dangerously ingrained in the national psyche. And, watching all this from the shadows, a certain âcommunityâ sits licking its lips, convinced that it sees a society ripe for plucking, and counting the days to the Great Enforced Conversion. OK, chavs and politicians have always grubbed around in the poo, but has ordinary, decent Middle Britain also sold its soul to the gods of Stupidity and Vulgarity? And, if so, is there any way back?