It is only on very rare occasions that I struggle to have a strong opinion on something.
In fact it is well-documented that I am constantly prepared to argue a case – even over the most trivial matters. Aspects of daily life which most level-headed people barely give a second thought to.
Personalised number plates can make me irate. White people with dreadlocks drive me to utter despair. The mere sight of Sarah Millican on my television set inspires murderous rage.
But here I am, fingers to keyboard, spiralling downward in a vortex of neutrality.
As a journalist I approach stories without bias – contrary to accusations of United Against Facism and English Defence League Twitter trolls (over the same story, no less).
As a columnist, however, it’s sort of my job to have an opinion. To examine the facts, come to my own conclusion and be prepared to put a name and unflattering headshot to it.
Yet when it comes to forming a view on one of the most importants issues of the moment – the UK’s military striking in Syria – I have failed.
When MPs voted against David Cameron’s initial call for action, I rejoiced with the leftie protesters who immediately dropped anti-war placards, daubed themselves in black and white facepaint, whipped on the ‘Stop the Cull’ T-shirts and returned to Camp Badger.
Then I opened a newspaper and saw tiny body bags carrying children killed in chemical attacks. Suddenly, I didn’t feel like celebrating. Suddenly, the cynic in me questioned the motives of the MPs who voted ‘no’; so full of zeal to capitalise on brief popularity from the wildnerness of Westminister’s backbenches to Newsnight.
Images from Syria are harrowing. But so too is the all-too-familiar sight of a 19-year-old British lad being carried home from conflict in a box. Of the mother who clings to his photo, the agony of knowing she’ll never see him again etched all over her face.
Should we value the lives of our own men and women over the innocent in Syria and ‘leave them to it’?
Times likes this are precisely when we look to our elected leaders, to put our faith in MPs to decide what is right, not make it an exercise in political point-scoring.
Forget impending war – that’s the thing which frightens me most.