Thinking about it now, it seems extraordinary that I rushed home on 3 October 1995 to see the live verdict of the OJ Simpson trial on TV. Along with over half of the US population and quite a large percentage of the UK one, I watched as he was found not guilty of the murders of his ex-wife and her friend. I had never even heard of him before he was arrested and starred (I use the term deliberately) in what has been described as the trial of the century. It was all so over the top and showbiz it didn’t even occur to me that we should put TV cameras in English courts.
No-one could fail to be moved by the words of Tariq Jahan, the father of one of the three men mown down by a hit and run driver in Birmingham last week. His reaction to his son’s death, killed as he tried to protect his community from rioters, was both poignant and extraordinary. He said he believed people could stay calm and could live together. The police said his words had played a significant part in helping to quell further unrest.
There are lots of things that make me proud to be British, at least there were until yesterday. I feel pretty ashamed at seeing yobs and hoodlums looting and rioting, laying waste to people's homes and businesses for nothing more than a shiny pair of trainers or an iPod. It's particularly depressing when seen alongside the recent protests across the middle east.