I WISH I understood more about the background to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I watched the recent row over claims of anti-semitism within the Labour Party and desperately tried to get my head around the issues.

Was Ken Livingstone being racist when he suggested Hitler was in favour of Zionism - the re-establishment of a Jewish homeland in the historic land of Israel? I just don't know.

I looked at the clips of the former Mayor of London being accosted by Sky News outside his home and tried to fathom out the opposing arguments - was Red Ken just stating fact, as he claimed, or was being a disgusting Nazi apologise, as someone else claimed?

I tried and I tried and I tried to decide but my mind kept wandering and I found myself instead thinking "I really like Ken's Barbour". How have Barbour managed to convince both left wing politicians and posh people to buy their coats? It's an issue that is almost as perplexing as the row over anti-semitism.

It's similar to the strange case of red (and sometimes mustard-coloured) trousers. For some reason, only public school old boys and anti-capitalists appear to be comfortable wearing them. Every adult in the middle thinks they look ridiculous.

I used to love my waxed jacket that I had as a child. Obviously it wasn't Barbour. I seem to remember my mum paid £19 for it from a stall on the market. If you've never worn wax I suggest you give it a try. Not only are they waterproof and windproof, they can surprisingly withstand a peppering from a shotgun - a useful trait if you're wearing one while pheasant beating and a red trouser-wearing gun enjoyed one too many Laphroaigs the previous night.

The coat was not to everyone's taste though. I remember vividly wearing it along with my wellies and peaky blinder flat cap, that I was equally fond of, for a school uniform shopping trip to Darlington.

I was called a 'yacker' by the townie children. Interestingly, the word 'yacker' appears originally to have been a derogatory term for pit labourers, meaning it would need to be preceded, as it often was, with the word 'farm' to ensure the intended insult made a modicum of sense. Next week the column will be taking a look at Stalinism and its influence on military chic.