I cannot be the only one to be relieved that all this hat business is over. Every time I stepped outside my front door last week I had to duck and jab my umbrella at the heavens lest I be decapitated by the flocks of flying hats circling the ring.
Everywhere you looked people were about to throw hats, or fending off clamour from hat fanciers trying to persuade them to throw hats, or looking for all the world as if they were about to throw hats but then unexpectedly chickening out. Of course it was clear from the start that the unwary risked a clip round the ear from Chris Huhne’s bowler and Nick Clegg’s fedora. But Vince Cable, whose sombre homberg I admire, clutched onto its felt brim for what seemed an awfully long time before finally putting it back in its hat box. John Hemming’s flat cap only confused matters and left several people with sore heads, and what with all the air traffic control difficulties occasioned by Simon Hughes’ cheeky trilby, Steve Webb’s down-to-earth beanie, Lynne Featherstone’s elegant Treacy concoction, Julia Goldsworthy’s cool floppy Gap cotton sun-hat and Charles Kennedy’s traffic cone, I for one count us lucky to have escaped from the hat-throwing stage unscathed.
I know a bowler and a fedora have many things in common. They are both traditional men’s hats cut from a similar felted woolcloth and shaped with stitching and internal padding – albeit that the fedora has been reinterpreted for the fashion pages in recent times. But let us have an end to this muttering about the need for more hats. We have two perfectly good hats to choose from and I for one am enjoying the freedom to go about my daily business without having to throw myself behind a hedge every few yards.