I think, in the world of journalism and column writing, it can sometimes be frowned upon to hold an opinion on political issues. God forbid you ever publish it. Should you take the plunge, and put words on a page, you can become inexorably connected to that opinion, regardless of a maturation or reconsideration.
No, this isn't a column that's about to defend Milo Yiannopoulos. Nothing can save him, and that's something we should all take joy in.
No, instead I want to use this space to instead vocalise something i've been trying to ignore or explain away for five months, and no longer feel I can.
I made a mistake when I voted for Jeremy Corbyn to be Labour leader.
I was deprived of my vote the first time he stood as leader, so I chased the party with dogged determination to vote for him the second time round. He stood as a man with principles, a clear conscience, and an idea of what Labour should rise up and become in the ashes of Blairism.
What we got instead is a leader who has said nothing about anything for the majority of the time, and the few times he has taken a firm stance, has appeared on the wrong side of the debate.
These by-elections in Copeland and Stoke show that Labour has completely faded in relevance. To lose a safeseat to the current serving government - a Government I remind you, that has done nothing but decimate the standard of living, and Britain's standing in the world - is a pretty poor reflection of Labour's affairs currently.
Although Corbyn is at the centre of this huge failing, the spokes that shoot off from the diagram of disaster does bring into light some of the reasons behind this decline.
I think the behaviour of Labour MP's since Corbyn's first successful election has been nothing short of abysmal. Seeking to undermine his position at every possible juncture, using resignation to weaken his image, and leaking to a press who are already out for blood on behalf of the Conservatives doesn't just damage the leader, it damages the party. Looking at news outlets and seeing yet another MP speaking out against the democratically elected leader makes the party look shambolic, and now we see the results of that. A party won't attract votes when it's unable to even have a unified message.
One could argue that it is a failing on Corbyn's part to effectively stamp his authority on the party. One could argue it was inevitable, given that the party was only pulled from irrelevance by Tony Blair, a man so universally revered that the very possibility of him returning into politics creates stomach ulcers. The truth probably hovers somewhere in-between, but the cause is irrelevant when faced with the results.
Social justice is impossible to deliver in a world where society is so unjust, and those within it don't seek change. Broken promises, nostalgic recollections of a three term government and tit-for-tat sniping through the press aren't forms of exchangeable currency, and that is all Labour appears to have to offer.
Perhaps Corbyn was the right man at the wrong time. Perhaps he was the right man in the wrong party. Perhaps. But it certainly is becoming increasingly clear that he is certainly the wrong man to get anything done.
What's also clear is there is nobody to replace him. No stand out names. None who have clean hands. None who haven't shown themselves to be opportunists, backstabbers or Corbyn allies. The whole party is tainted. Now more than ever we need a strong party who can actually hold the Government to account, but that party isn't Labour. They can't even hold themselves together.
I hate politics.
BRIT Awards 2017
In what was perhaps the tamest and least controversial award ceremony in recent years, the BRIT Awards 2017 took place this week, and tribute seemed to be order of the evening. David Bowie posthumorously won two awards - British Male Solo Artist and British Album of the Year. George Michael additionally got a touching tribute, with the remaining members of Wham! gave a heartfelt speech. Chris Martin performed A Different Corner, and the video montage included footage of Prince - someone who supported George a lot.
Other winners include Rag'n'Bone Man as British Breakthrough Act, Emeli Sandé as British Female Solo Artist, Little Mix with British Single, Adele for Global Success. Beyonce won International Female Solo Act, and Drake took the Male equivalent. Germaphobe Robbie Williams won the Brit ICON award, a big achievement given the only other two winners are Elton John and David Bowie.
But perhaps the runaway success of the evening was the collaborative live-performance of Castle On The Hill & Shape Of You between Ed Sheeran and Stormzy, the video of which is #1 trending on YouTube at time of writing.
For a full rundown of winners and runner-ups, The Telegraph have compiled a helpful table.
Source: BRIT Awards
NASA's Discovery Beyond Our Solar System
On Wednesday night, Nasa announced what might be the biggest exoplanet discovery to date. The Spitzer Space Telescope has revealed seven Earth Size planets orbiting a single star in a newly discovered system. Three of these are likely to have water and therefore can be classified as possible habitable zones.
Approximately 40 light-years away (235 trillion miles) from us, this new system can be classified as "close" in the Aquarius Constellation. The name given to the new system is TRAPPIST-1. Unlike our own Sun, the star of TRAPPIST-1 is known as an ultra-cool dwarf. This means planets orbiting at a close distance may have water surviving on the surface. All seven of the planets are so close together, that you could stand on the surface of one planet and clearly make out geological features of the neighbouring worlds.
Launching in 2018, the new James Webb Space Telescope will be used by the teams of Spitzer, Kepler and Hubble to undergo follow-up studies with greater sensitivity, detecting key factors about the habitability of these new planets.
Danny Boyle to help launch £30m film and media school in Manchester
Oscar-winning director Danny Boyle is to help spearhead a new film and media school at Manchester Metropolitan University. The school will help homegrown talent enter the creative industry, which so happens to be to one of the fastest-growing sectors in the region. It will work closely with existing media and arts institutions such as the BBC, HOME, ITV and Red Productions to teach 1,000 students a year. Their education won't just centre around film, but will also branch off into animation, applied games, special effects, sound design, software design and immersive media production. The project is half funded by MMU and half by the region's 10 councils through a government pot of money for boosting the economy.
Source: Manchester Evening News
Female film protagonists up 7% from 2015, an all time high
Female protagonists in hit films reached an all-time high in 2016, according to a study by the Centre for the Study of Women in Television and Film. The study found that women led 29% of the top 100 grossing films of the year, up 7% from the year before and represents a new record. 2016 was a particularly good year for film in general, and female fronted films such as Arrival, Rogue One and Ghostbusters were all examples of the increased prominence and success of female led films. A reported 37% of films included major female characters, up 3% from 2015, and this is another alltime high. Rogue One made over £1bn at the worldwide box office, and Bad Moms made $179m worldwide from a reported $20m sequel.
Sir David Attenborough to present Blue Planet sequel
National treasure Sir Attenborough will present Blue Planet II, the sequel to the 2001 Bafta and Emmy award winning marine documentary series Blue Planet. The follow-up has taken four years to film, with every ocean and continent being covered. New techniques are being utilised including suction cams that attack to the back of whale sharks, and "tow cams", which can capture predatory fish head on. The series will present new discoveries such as the newly found species of crab with a hairy chest - affectionately nicknamed the "Hoff crab" after David Hasselhoff. Blue Planet II is a seven part series and will be released later this year.
Brighton Fringe reveal their 2017 programme
A record-breaking 970 shows and events are scheduled for the 2017 Brighton Fringe. Included on that list is more than 300 world premieres, 100 international shows, and the first ever weekday Fringe City. The 260-strong theatre programme includes the world premiere of Blooming, and We are Ian, which won the Brighton Fringe Award for Excellence at last year's Edinburgh Fringe. There are 320 comedy shows including Jerry Sadowitz, Owen Roberts (one-third of BEASTS), Tez Ilyas and Sophie Willan. This years WINDOW programme once more promotes ten new shows selected by industry experts. In addition to all of this there is dance, cabaret and circus, over 100 music acts, visual arts, spoken word and events and film, such as Project Knockdown. If that wasn't enough, Fringe City - a free family outdoor event that takes place every weekend of May - will also take place on Thursday and Fridays. Brighton Fringe will also be hosting a special Dutch season, where acclaimed shows from the Netherlands are brought over, funded by the Dutch Embassy and Dutch performing Arts Fund.
We will once more be covering Brighton Fringe, so keep your eyes peeled on our Brighton Fringe Voicebox for interviews, how-to guides and reviews!
Source: Brighton Fringe
Carnegie and Kate Greenaway medal long-lists have been announced
This year marks the 80th anniversary of the Carnegie medal, and the 60th anniversary of the Kate Greenaway medal, which is presented to great books for children and young people, and for outstanding books in terms of illustrations for children respectively.
Books on the Carnegie Medal longlist include Sputnik's Guide to life on Earth, How not to Disappear and Time Travelling with a Hamster, to name a few. On the Kate Greenaway longlist, books include Alpha, Bob the Artist and Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. American author and illustrator Brian Selznick is longlisted for both medals for The Marvels. The shortlist will be announced 16th March, and the winners will be announced 19th June.
For the full longlist of both awards, visit the CLIP Carnegie & Kate Greenaway Children's Book Awards website.
Spanish artist's portrait of German girl wins major British art prize
A portrait of a pensive German girl, Elfe, has won this year's £5,000 Brian Botting Prize for an outstanding representation of the human form. Created by 26-year old Spanish painter and illustrator Júlia Moscardó was praised by judges for its sensitivity and skill. Moscardó, who was born in Valencia, Spain, first came to the UK in 2013 to study at the University of Leeds of 9 months, and then returned in 2015 to take an MA at Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, where she currently lives. Elfe will be at the Mall Galleries from 6–18 March as part of the Lynn Painter-Stainers competition exhibition, and the Brian Botting Prize is one of four prizes that form the competition. This is the third year running that the Brian Botting prize has been won by an artist aged 30 or under.
World watches with glee as Milo Yiannopoulos' world collapses
Troll, alt-right 'provocateur' and otherwise complete ass Milo Yiannopoulos has finally proven that even the extreme right have a line they won't cross. Misogyny, racism and the deliberate spreading of 'fake news' (lies) are all morally acceptable, even encouraged by some on the right, but condoning paedophillia is a step too far. Thank-god for that. For those who missed it, Milo has been caught on video commenting on the "arbitrary and oppressive idea of consent", and that "you can get quite hung up on this child abuse thing" yet, somehow, none of this actually indicates he supports child abuse. Yeah, I don't know either. Since then he has had his book deal with Simon & Schuster cancelled, and he was forced to resign from Breitbart after employees threatened to quit if he didn't go. What's worrying about the whole thing is that it took an apparent thumbs-up to the thought of child abuse for people to start distancing themselves from him. Strange times...
Source: Vice (Strong language)
Gracie McCabe contributed to this report
Header image: Garry Knight