While, as I think was established beyond reasonable doubt earlier this week, the nomination of Robbie Williams for The Sun's Greatest Living Briton was a bit of a joke, you could make something of an argument for Paul McCartney at least being seriously considered.
Trouble is, they've invited Ricky Wilson to promote his cause, which leaves McCartney not that seriously considered:
Hahahahahahahaha. Did you see that? That's yer actually drollery, that is.
He says that last bit like its inarguably a good thing. If it wasn't for the Beatles, the Pigeon Detectives - by their own admission - would have been putting their efforts into playing football.
Wilson can be expecting the call from Tory central office pretty soon with this level of rhetoric. The Beatles, certainly, made some actually, truly memorable music. They also knocked off a fair bit of so-so stuff. But to suggest that only a "knob-head" could even consider any criticism - like the nasty taint of racism that hangs over some of their studio work, for example; or the slightly Madonnaesque films; the subsequent solo careers; even their part in the creation of a music industry where the photos are as important than the records. Even the bloody Look-In "Story of The Beatles" comic strip I read when I was a kid managed to slip in a few critical frames into the hagiography.
Actually, there are some people who are left cold by The Beatles. And, frankly, nearly everyone I've ever met who likes The Beatles argues with more passion that other bands were better.
What helps solidify the "truth"? You've effectively just said "because I think you're a knob-head if you disagree with me, and I don't believe people who disagree with me, makes me even more convinced that I'm right" - that's not evidence, unless you're being prosecuted by Kafka.
And a group full of great musicians and songwriters can only help to make a better band.
We seem to have slipped from trying to argue that McCartney is better than Julie Andrews and Thatcher, and started to try and defend Ringo as a songwriter.
"Having people who can play their instruments and write songs makes a good band" is blindingly obvious and somewhat meaningless in trying to determine if Paul McCartney is a great man.
Yes. Can you imagine how he would have tossed and turned, unsettled and unfulfilled, had the theme from Spies Like Us been left unwritten?
And some absolute clunkers. In fact, probably more clunkers than fantastic tunes. (I probably can't convince Wilson on this one; maybe I should add '... and if you say not, you smell.')
Aha! Common ground. If this is a pop at Robbie Williams. Although we'd suggest David Bowie has more right to be here, for although he shares many of Macca's faults, he surely has a more interesting hinterland, and a better back catalogue.
Really? Tony Benn? Sarah Tisdall? David Attenborough? Eric Sykes? Steven Hawking? Richard Dawkins? Shirley Bassey?
Is this entirely true? Many of the post-Beatle activities of the Beatles have seemed to involved trying to scrape in money, and it's certainly arguable, although not, perhaps, provable that the publicity surrounding his divorce could have been avoided if he hadn't been so keen to hold on to so much of his money quite so tightly.
He is well known for his animal rights work and anti-landmine campaign, as well as for putting his weight behind the Make Poverty History campaign, Live Aid, Band Aid and many, many others.
Hasn't he pulled out of the landmine thing now?
Well, that's true. The whole fighting with his own publicist for having publicised him thing was purely to add to the gaiety of nations.
He's not the best, Ricky, he's simply in a position where anything he does - Give My Regards To Broad Street - will find an audience simply because of his profile.