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Byline: By PETER COLLINS South Wales Echo

My revelation a couple of months ago that I sometimes write this column at the crack of dawn while wearing purple pyjamas caused a flutter of amusement among several readers. The image left others profoundly disturbed. Some readers may be pleased to know that I am wearing my purple pyjamas as I write. Others should perhaps stop reading now.

I also take pleasure in wearing 'flip-flops,' a simple item of footwear that allows my tootsies to breathe and saves on washing socks.

It wasn't until this week that I became aware that 'flip-flop' could be employed as a term of abuse or criticism.

In the House of Commons, David Cameron (or 'Dodgy Dave' as he is known in parts of Barry) accused Tony Blair (whose nickname among some Barrians I cannot repeat in a family newspaper) of 'flip-flopping' on his proposed education reforms.

Mr Blair countered by accusing Mr Cameron of 'flip-flopping' on all manner of issues, not least whether he was a traditional or a liberal Conservative.

It seems to me, however, that there is a lot to be said for 'flip-flopping.' It demonstrates a quality that is, sadly, frowned upon in today's increasingly intolerant society - that is the willingness to change one's mind based on the evidence.

It is perhaps time for some newspaper editors to 'flip-flop' and admit that it was wrong to publish insulting cartoons of the prophet Mohammed, while some Muslims could 'flip-flop' and admit their violent reaction is unacceptable.
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Copyright 2006 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Feb 10, 2006
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