THERE have been many headlines about John Prescott and hugging.
If you must hug the former deputy prime minister, may I suggest it be done from behind with a firm arm-lock round the neck.
I am joking, of course. It would be too dangerous. In his youth Prescott was a renowned pugilist and is still most likely handy with his fists. You will recall the swift left jab he delivered to an egg-throwing protester during the 2001 general election.
I could venture further into the topic of politicians you might like to grasp warmly by the throat.
But it turns out that when Baron Prescott was talking about hugs he was exhibiting a warm and tender aspect of his character. He said on Desert Island Discs: "I've got two brilliant sons and I love them to death, but to my great regret I cannot somehow put my arms around my sons. I think that's part of British culture and that was reflected a bit in me and I'm sad about that."
North of the border, the avoidance of familial physical bonding is passed on through our Scottish genes. There may be a paternal handshake or a pat on the shoulder on special occasions such as passing five Highers, getting a university degree or winning a Nobel prize for physics.
Actions speak louder than hugs. Little things like putting food on the table and shoes on your feet show your parents care.
Hugs are reserved for important moments, such as when Scotland achieves notable success at football or rugby. These emotional embraces have been few and far between of late.
In Spain I sometimes find myself on the end of an "abrazo fuerte" (a big hug) from a friend. Some blokes also go in for a peck on each cheek. I just say: no kisses please, I'm Scottish.
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