Wishing you a very apply Christmas

Daily blogger Peter Rhodes on Godless Guiding, digital confusion and tasteless beer

Bear Grylls

THIS will be a very apply Christmas. In Britain and the United States, sales of cider are soaring. I'm not surprised, having nobly carried out some recent research in clubs where draught cider competes with cheap keg beer. The “beer” is unworthy of the name, a bland concoction of brown water and alcohol with a head like shaving foam. The cider tastes of cider. No contest.

YOU may have noted when I wrote a couple of days ago about pork scratchings, I avoided the term “Black Country delicacy.” This is because, as any old timer will tell you, in the traditional hard-core Black Country pubs, they never served such things. If you ordered pork scratchings, they'd give you a pig and a cheese grater.

HERE'S a nasty new twist on the “update your email account” scam designed by internet crooks to extract your personal details. This time the message is : “Your Five incoming mails were placed on hold status due to the recent upgrade to our database, In order to receive the messages, click here to update your account.” The threat is that they have your emails. They don't. And if you hover your cursor over the alleged sender's name, in this case “BT Customer Care,” it should reveal the true (and probably hijacked) email address of the sender. You can pass this information on to BT but I'm not sure they're interested.

ONE of the most enduring feminist myths is that if women were in charge, this world would be a much nicer place. Women (it is alleged) are gentler, kinder and more co-operative than the wicked old male of the species. This theory does not quite explain how Margaret Thatcher, Indira Gandhi and Golda Meir became such effective war leaders. Nor does it explain the terrible mess that the lady-led Girlguiding UK has made of the vexed issue of recruits swearing their promise to God. The Scouts, led by that ultimate alpha-male Bear Grylls as Chief Scout, faced the same dilemma. They consulted widely and then opted for an alternative Godless promise to suit atheists and agnostics. It's a free choice - problem solved. Girlguiding UK, in contrast, has imposed a hardline no-God promise on all newcomers which has caused great division and distress. Dissenting groups are now being threatened with expulsion from the movement. So in a movement designed exclusively for girls, whatever happened to the kindly female qualities? Maybe they should put a man in charge.

THAT HS2 timeline in full. 2009: Government proposes the new line. 2010: First HS2 report paper published. December 2013: MPs of the Commons Transport Committee declare that HS2 is “essential” for the UK's future. So something we had never heard of four years ago is suddenly essential. How stupid do they think we are?

A SPOOF poem based on The Night Before Christmas and released by Nottinghamshire Police to highlight the issue of rape has been condemned as disgusting and insensitive. If I may put in a word for English literature, it is also utter claptrap. With couplets such as “Her attacker was nestled all snug in his bed / While visions of the rape he committed danced through his head,” it is clumsy, clunking doggerel with no wit, reason or rhythm. The worrying part is that it was approved all the way to the top with no-one in the constabulary saying: “It's rubbish. It'll make us look thick.” It is. It does.

WHAT'S red, has 13 buttons and drives you bonkers? It is the DAB digital radio I bought in a daringly progressive moment a few years ago and which lies, unused, on a windowsill. I haven't a clue how to make it go. This week, thank heavens, the Government announced a stay of execution for FM frequencies. Ed Vaizey, the communications minister, says: “I absolutely believe that the future of radio in this country is digital.” And that's where it should remain. Firmly in the future