Sorry for not swearing
How times change. There now follows a sort of apology. An apology for NOT using a swear word.
This morning the leader of the Conservative Party joined us on the Breakfast sofa, ostensibly to talk about poverty. After about four minutes talking about how to define, and how potentially to help, those "less fortunate" the conversation turned to other matters (you can see for yourself by clicking here).
When we're joined by a political leader, we often move the conversation on to talk about other pertinent issues and this morning was no exception. But this morning felt a bit different. This morning we wanted to talk about tossers.
David Cameron had been invited on to talk about poverty, so were we being fair asking him about the Tories' latest stab at "viral marketing". Of course we were. Mr Cameron made no complaint about it and my boss - the head of TV news, Peter Horrocks, was positively delighted.
However, there was some soul searching afterwards about whether we'd tackled it the right way. You see we didn't actually use the word "tosser". We skirted around it, fearing that it was too rude for a breakfast audience. We're a family programme and we're closer to the end of the watershed than to the start of it. We had a swearing episode a year ago; admittedly involving a word that begins with F and is much worse than tosser. That caused a huge stink, led to one of my more embarrassing Newswatch performances and went all the way to Ofcom, who fortunately didn't uphold the complaint.
So we're probably a bit nervy about bad words. But should we be? The boss's point is that if the naughty word is Mr Cameron's then it is he, not us, who are open to the charge of coarsening the debate. Who are we to censor that debate?
This approach surprised some of the production team, who feel that talking about tossers at ten to eight might be a step too far for the Breakfast audience, regardless of who is choosing to use the word. I suspect the very fact that the Conservative Party thinks it's acceptable to engage in a debate about whether someone is being a tosser means the opposition party may have moved on a little faster than we have.
Next time, we won't be so careful...