Travelling back to Hull late on Thursday evening, I bumped into a senior Conservative MP who was taking the same train. He asked me what I was doing for Christmas. ‘Christmas’, I said, ‘is the season for marking’. He seemed slightly surprised: I explained that this was the time of year when the largest number of presents comes in the form of essays and research proposals. I plan to complete three writing commitments – two book chapters and a journal article – but a good part of the time will be spent poring over scripts. Given the weather, it’s probably no bad thing.