I always used to read his Times columns but since that paper disappeared behind the paywall last year I have (so far) not succumbed to the temptation to sign up. But listening to him this week on Radio 4's Any Questions gave me a reminder of what I am missing.
I was particularly impressed with something he said about the coalition government with respect to control orders. He explained that he is a card carrying Conservative member and always will be but that on this and related subjects he does not trust his party's own instincts and the fact that Nick Clegg is coming at this from the direction of having been sceptical about them and will come to a judgement based on the facts presented to him is a good thing. He even said that he would trust Clegg's judgement on this basis and go along with whatever he decided. He went on to suggest that this is an excellent example of where the fact that the government is a coalition is a benefit to the country and that its decision making processes are the better for it.
I think Matthew is right. I would not go so far as to say that I personally would defer my own judgement to Clegg on this particular issue, I have my own view, but I certainly think the fact that politicians from two different parties are involved in the decision making process is ultimately a good thing.
I think for me it is a bit like biodiversity. In nature if there are not enough of a range of genes available within the pool of a particular species then eventually it atrophies and ultimately dies. I think that is what can happen with single party government and it certainly happened with the recent Labour administration. But with more than one party in government, the body politic has an infusion of different and in some cases disparate ideas from which the governing programme emerges.
Following this, I may even be tempted to do a month trial of the Times to get a more regular infusion of Mr Parris' disparate ideas!