IT'S all my fault. Bm@il of March 3 - long before the leaders' debates on TV, and even before pacts, treaties and 'getting into bed with people' became the norm - was headed: Coalition politics, anyone?

I wrote of my experience of being active in the Social Democratic Party of the 1980s; many of us in Hillingdon were formerly floating voters, who felt no single party had all the answers. I ended my column: "I still see a coalition of ideas as a desirable alternative to the playground politics of 'I'm always right and you're always wrong', which still exist today."

Be careful what you wish for, eh?Which brings me to Stephen Hawking, who has just said that aliens probably do exist and may seek us out. Contact with such intelligent species could be devastating for us, he warns. I'd have thought the reverse.

Imagine starship scouts travelling to recce our planet, casually tuning in to their 12D plasma screens and seeing terrestrial TV. What would they notice? Shrines to the memory of young people murdered on the streets; life-saving drugs rationed while bankers get huge bonuses; tales of the morbidly obese battling their 'demons' (chips); anorexics coaxed into not being 'afraid' of pizzas - and of course, Britain's Got Talent, with its dancing dogs and tuneless tenors.

They would slam on their brakes, turn and head for home. Maybe we are the aliens. * I'm planning my escape. I've found my ideal job, as the warden of Skomer Island, off the west coast of Wales. No roads, no shop, no pub - but loads of puffins. I have had an affinity with these creatures ever since I yelled to a sceptical Mr F that I could see two amazing birds in the tree outside our bedroom. I could only describe them as having lots of colour and wearing Phantom of the Opera masks.

Shortly afterwards our Hounslow paper reported a pair of puffins spotted in the area. They had clearly lost their way, but I knew they'd passed through Uxbridge and I've loved them ever since.