IT'S not often I get incensed by other people's opinions. Having worked as a journalist for a number of years I know that for every person with one opinion there are several other people who think the exact opposite and there are a whole breed of other people who spout controversial opinions simply to get a rise out of others.
But in spite of this knowledge, I couldn't stop my blood from boiling at the views of a lady on breakfast television recently.
The subject under discussion was whether parents should pay for their babies to attend the Olympics to be held in London this summer.
But it was not this particular aspect of the discussion which bothered me. As far as I'm concerned this question is ridiculous and isn't even worthy of a discussion. Of course people should not have to pay for a baby of just a few months to attend the Games when they will be in the arms of their mother or father the whole time and completely oblivious to their surroundings.
In fact the discussion on television barely targeted this particular question, which I believe was indicative of what a ludicrous question it was.
No, this lady who so riled me used her time on TV to sound off about how awful she would find it to be sat next to a newborn baby at the Olympic Games. You would have thought she was talking about a murderer or a rapist judging by the venom with which she spoke. The very manner in which she described the situation - how the baby would be continually 'squawking' and looking for attention from its parents and, god forbid, needing to be fed constantly - was unbelievable to my ears as a parent of a baby myself.
I think this is indicative of society's perception of babies out in public as a whole. People are so quick to frown when they hear a baby cry and too often in conversation talk of how people with young children should be banned from here and segregated off from others there.
Attitudes are different in different countries but here in Britain parents of young children are made to feel they shouldn't enter out into public with their youngsters for fear of other people's reactions should their child cry or misbehave or need feeding.
This woman, who was herself of child-bearing age, which for me made her opinions even more difficult to swallow, so devoid she seemed to be of any maternal feeling, was encapsulating this whole attitude which makes getting out and about with children even more difficult than it is anyway.
Shouldn't we as a society be far more accepting of people of all ages and not run scared when we hear a baby start to whimper? OK, so it's not ideal to be out to lunch, for example, and for a baby to start crying but it's also not the end of the world. That was all of us once and so many of these frowning people have either had children themselves or will go on to have them.
Shouldn't we therefore be far more tolerant of others as we would like to be tolerated ourselves? I do know for sure that it should be people like that lady on television who should be treated with contempt not helpless young children who are simply doing what nature tells them to.