Peter Rhodes: Declaring war on time-wasters

PETER RHODES on a bookshop clampdown, the Snowflake Generation and how the Bank of England got Brexit wrong.

100 Bank of England jobs face axe
Banking on disaster

STRANGE sight in the barber's where a little boy of about four or five was sobbing noisily as his hair was cut. It ended with a dramatic howl of anguish as the barber gently brushed the clippings from his neck. At this point, for having been such a brave little lad, the squawker was presented by his mother with an enormous bar of chocolate. Good luck at the dentist's, Mum.

THERE was a footnote to last week's item about my part in demolishing a Victorian villa in the 1960s. Every brick was lifted intact from the powdery old mortar and salvaged. But all the fireplaces, even the magnificent oak and polished-marble examples, were smashed up and scrapped. After all, in the Swinging Sixties, who wanted open fires? A few years later, everybody wanted them. In demolition, as in so many jobs, the most useful tool of all is a crystal ball.

THE Bank of England admits it misjudged the impact of a Brexit vote. Is anyone surprised? The entire Establishment, both in London and Brussels, eagerly took part in Project Fear, warning that leaving the EU would bring disaster. We now know, for example, that the BBC was aware that the Queen favoured leaving the EU, but failed to report the story. I can see all this ending in yet another public inquiry.

YOU know that feeling when you pop into the paper shop for the latest, freshest edition of your favourite magazine? You find it has been pawed, bent and finger-licked by hordes of lunchtime browsers who had absolutely no intention of buying anything. That is why my sympathies are entirely with the so-called “Basil Fawlty of Bookshops,” Steve Bloom. He charges 50p admission to his shop in Hawes, Yorkshire, and stands accused of being rude to customers. Bloom, who describes himself as only “low to medium rude,” says he wants to root out those who just want to “pass the time.” As a serious book-shop user, I say good luck to him.

THEOLOGY students at the University of Glasgow are being warned that a lecture on Jesus and cinema contains “graphic scenes of the crucifixion.” Let us hope these kids of the Snowflake Generation are also warned about other biblical passages. You could die laughing over that bit about the meek inheriting the Earth.

DICK Van Dyke, now 91, recently apologised for his terrible Cockney accent in Mary Poppins. A few days later, we were reminded of another accent malfunction with a repeat screening of Robin Hood (Film 4). I wonder whether Russell Crowe will ever admit that his much-criticised “Yorkshire” accent as Robin is about as authentic as Van Dyke Cockney. Crowe's Robin seems to veer between Halifax and Galway Bay. Ayeup, I'm Robin Hood, sithee and begorrah.

TRY this in your next pub quiz: What is the biggest life-form on Earth? The elephant, perhaps? The blue whale? Or what about those massive redwood trees in California? The answer, according to Peter Wohlleben in his wonderful and extraordinary best-seller The Hidden Life of Trees, is fungi. He cites an underground honey fungus in Oregon, reckoned to be 2,400 years old. It covers 2,000 acres and weighs 660 tons. Fry with a little butter . . .

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Comments for: "Peter Rhodes: Declaring war on time-wasters"

Bladerunner

I have a sign in my Stained Glass Studio which states 'Be aware that prices may vary depending on the attitude of the customer' unsurprisingly I get lots of smiles and very pleasant conversations with my customers. (But being honest, I always have had nice customers).

dylanwolf

Sticking your fingers in your ears and repeating la-la-la-la is not going to stop the reality of Brexit being a financial and political disaster for the UK, Mr Rhodes.

Cherry-picking idiotic "good news" stories about how catastrophe hasn't yet befallen us fools only fellow Brexiters, Mr Rhodes.

As even you may not have noticed we haven't actually left yet (I do know you realise this because your always toting that imbecilic and juvenile "why can't we just walk away today" line), but the impact of the total chaos, fear and incompetency over Brexit in both the current government and the opposition is ubiquitous and already highly damaging for the country.

If May survives to invoke Article 50, or if her successor follows through, then even you and your John Bull mates will have to start to admit that the prosperity of England's (the UK will struggle on for a few years before Scotland cuts loose) green and pleasant land has been ravaged by the wilful stupidity of the ignorant and the xenophobic.

dylanwolf

you're not your (the shame - I blame my proof reader, unfortunately that's me)

dylanwolf

You, a serious bookshop user? What the hell do you buy... colouring books?

If you are up for an intellectual read, try Barbarians by Alessandro Baricco.

I liked the anecdote about how your mother indulged you at the barbers. It explains a lot.

dylanwolf

I hear that the Home Office says in letter that it cannot give unilateral assurances until status of Britons in other EU countries is protected.

So essentially we've started taking hostages. This is going to end like Waco.

But hey Mr Rhodes says that everything in the garden is rosy.

Tobolt

Dylanpillock,

It must be very satisfying to sit behind a keyboard and try to be disingenuous to all who voted out of an unelected monopoly of narcissistic egomaniacs who feel they have a god given right to tell us mere mortals how we should feel about just about everything. May I suggest you go and meander over to Berlin, Paris, Brussels ( you know, all those really safe places your mates look after ) and do us all a favour and make sure it's only a one way ticket you purchase. I feel sick my years of serving Queen & Country for imbeciles like you to spout traitorous, unpatriotic comments, like the ones above,seem to have been for nothing. You sir, should be tried for treason.

dylanwolf

Dear Tobolt, you do understand that the Allies were fighting against fascism in WW2?

Even a cursory understanding of what the EU actually is and does, and what it represents should enlighten you to understand that Brexit not only involves huge unnecessary expense, but also is a hopelessly retrograde step back for the UK in terms of international standing and cooperation.

The European Union is a unique economic and political union between 28 European countries that together cover much of the continent. One of the EU's main goals is to promote human rights both internally and around the world. Human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights: these are the core values of the EU. Since the Lisbon Treaty's entry in force in 2009, the EU's Charter of Fundamental Rights brings all these rights together in a single document. The EU's institutions are legally bound to uphold them, as are EU governments whenever they apply EU law. This is what the Theresa May and the Tories are not keen on.

The EU was created in the aftermath of the Second World War. The first steps were to foster economic cooperation: the idea being that countries that trade with one another become economically interdependent and so more likely to avoid conflict.

The result was the European Economic Community (EEC), created in 1958, and initially increasing economic cooperation between six countries: Belgium, Germany, France, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. Since then, a huge single market has been created and continues to develop towards its full potential.

Tobolt

My word, no more condescending or ridiculous can a sycophantic europhile be !! How dare you try to smear patriotism or my four operational tours ( with men under my command who unfortunately don't have the luxury of being here today ) with mere tripe about the EU being anything but good and right !! It is nothing short of a totalitarian state of which short sighted brain washed tree hugging limp wristed liberals take as nothing but good.Enjoy your time trolling Mr Rhodes et al, you obviously have no idea what real life is about and, like i suggested, why don't you go and shove your idealistic views up the rear end of the saviour of the "free for all" beautiful, democratic EU - Herr Merkel !!

Maj. T W Jones CSM.GSM

dylanwolf

The apotheosis of combatants in wars is an enticing but flawed narrative. Soldiers are victims, not heroes and their deaths are tragedies not sacrifices. Patriotism does not issue from the barrel of a gun.

I have no knowledge of your personal story nor indeed that of Mr Rhodes; nor do you have knowledge of mine. We all travel from cradle to grave unknown.

When you equate liberal values with tree-hugging and limp-wristedness then you invite the inference that you are both anti-environmentalist and homophobic.

Your pride in military service, honours and attainment of the rank of Major are creditable to your character, but cut no ice in terms of your political views or understanding of the nature, role, significance and democratic nature of the European Union.

To suggest that the EU is totalitarian is a bizarre assertion; do go and look at the Eu website and familiarise yourself with its structure and processes.

The more often we pick up a book, the more often we extend our hand to our fellow man, the more often we listen carefully to what is said the richer we become.

Mr Rhodes, and apparently yourself, espouse an abhorrent philosophy of snide, self-satisfied division. You gather about you the prejudices and parochial concerns of the frightened people who fail to apprehend the debt we have yet to pay to the World.

Our concerns should be famine, disease, poverty, oppression, displaced people, racism, womens' rights, workers' rights, terrorism, corruption, the abuse of corporate power, global-warming, pollution, capitalist excess and wastage.

Self-ostracizing the UK and retreating from its international responsibilities to refugees, urgent global issues concerning ecology and climate and from co-operation with European partners is delusional madness on a breathtaking scale.

Wrap yourself in the flag all you like, but a true patriot desires that the UK act like a man, not a whimpering snowflake*.

*To use the a la mode prejorative term, starting now to replace political correctness in popularity, that the swivel-eyed loons of the far right like to pin on the left.

Saddler in Sweden...

My god Dylanwolf.... You must have had a very merry Christmas to cause you to descend into such nasty and personal attacks on Mr Rhodes... how do you have any idea what he reads? why imply he buys coloring books?

You are descending from being a slightly annoying footnote to these columns into a truly hateful spiteful troll.. As I have said before, if you don't like it, don't read it! I am a big believer in freedom of speech... as such Rhodes has the right to write what he likes in his tiny slice of the worlds media... And you have the right to to comment as long as comments are open... The difference is you come across as a nasty bitter little jobsworth with too much time on your hands, and Mr Rhodes doesn't.

dylanwolf

As an Express and Star journalist Mr Rhodes has a duty to serve the people of Wolverhampton and yet his column, hiding behind trite humour, and despite supposedly being light entertainment, continually expresses and promotes bigoted, ignorant and often erroneous reactionary propaganda.

Mr Rhodes deserves far more approbation than I ever serve him.

Saddler in Sweden...

You really are a self righteous twit aren't you? Mr Rhodes has absolutely no "Duty" to the people of Wolverhampton or anywhere else. As he is employed to write a column in the opinion section his "Duty" is to give his opinion. Which he does.

That you don't like it is neither here nor there.

dylanwolf

You are wrong. He has a profession, a job for which he is remunerated. He has a duty to perform it honourably and professionally. What Mr Rhodes does do is use his column to promulgate abhorrent, regressive views that seek to undermine the foundations and principles of community in our wonderful multi-cultural city.

His personal opinion is neither here nor there. He can state those freely in the public sphere. But as a journalist he has a position of some responsibility. He is abusing his platform and I will continue to call him out on it.

MAGISTER

Oh Dear Dillon old bean, looks like you've contrived to make a few readers somewhat miffed !

dylanwolf

Good, they need miffing.

Chappo

Well said Tobolt, Although your comments just enforce the trolls belief that any of us are bothered by his vile, meanderings.

The man is obviously a very sad individual, if ever he should get hold of Mr Rhodes address I would be very concerned indeed.

His mind is regularly full of such tripe and nonsense and his cut and paste scrawlings are the only way he can relieve himself. LOL

dylanwolf

My reply below.

dylanwolf

90% of lecturers and professors think Brexit will harm UK higher education.

42% of them say Brexit makes them more likely to leave.

76% of those who are non-UK EU citizens say Brexit makes them more likely to leave.

Theresa May's latest hard-Brexit statements on not keeping "bits of the EU" will probably fuel these feelings, too. National money cannot compensate for the value of full membership of a world-leading collaborate framework and a welcoming national environment for foreigners.

dylanwolf

Oh dear Chappo. In your opinion I'm vile, sad and full of tripe and nonsense. I can't say that your opinion, nor Tobolt's concern me at all. In reality Tobolt is playing the hand of an anti-patriot traitor in supporting Brexit, if only he was intelligent enough to recognise it.

As for Mr Rhodes, he will know that he has nothing whatsoever to fear from me, other than those opinions and criticisms I express openly, honestly and passionately in these comments.

Tobolt

Fictitious predictions by eurocrats as harmful as yourself. If you think i lack intellect to understand your belittling comments, or indeed any of the unproven "stats" of if's, buts or maybes, you are very much mistaken. To sit and try and justify your obvious very pitiful existence and egotistical sense of worthiness, is nothing short of bordering on the elitist set of idiots ideals that underestimated the "plebs" who voted out. You just don't like it do you and i, for one, am so very glad that you don't ! kinidiot

dylanwolf

Tobolt, I see you have learnt and adopted a good deal of barrack room language from your stint in the army. How charming.

As I pointed out above, you and I know nothing of each other's lives. My pitiful existence is quite bearable, thank you very much for your concern.

Those 'fictitious predictions' as you call them are not from eurocrats, they are from experts in their field (those people that Michael Gove is so tired of) economists, highly-qualified professionals, business leaders, academics, politicians, political commentators and so on.

The foaming-at-the-mouth far-right wing lies and xenophobic blatherings of self-serving, tax-avoiding press barons, Rupert Murdoch, Lord Rothermere and Richard Desmond have undermined democracy to such an extent that the referendum was a farce.

The Tories clearly have no plan for Brexit, they did not expect that result, they don't even want that result. Labour are just as bad under the Euro-sceptic Jeremy Corbyn.

But alas politicians are reluctant to appear to be bad democrats. They fear that opposing Article 50 would be undemocratic, despite the advisory nature of the referendum and the undermining of its validity by 40 years of anti-EU bile spouted in those three popular tabloids.

The Tories are in desperate need of a figure such as Ken Clarke.

Treating our EU membership as casually as voting in Strictly Come Dancing and assuming the consequences are equally insignificant is perverse.

What politicians are not taking into account is that for the UK this is a crisis.

A large crisis. In fact, if you got a moment, it's a twelve-storey crisis with a magnificent entrance hall, carpeting throughout, 24-hour portage, and an enormous sign on the roof, saying 'This Is a Large Crisis'.

Theresa May seems not only determined to lead us to the cliff edge, but to send us plummeting to the rocks below with a hefty shove.

And you, my friend, and Mr Rhodes are abetting her.

Tobolt

Again, your attempt of belittling myself and others falls on deaf ears. The fact you try to appease your glorified self by stating that people such as I think leaving the corrupt eu ( filed accounts anyone ? Greece nicely in the germans back pocket anyone ? ) is comparable to a television dancing competition tells me only one thing, and that is that you are a delusional excuse of a human being. I feel nothing but pity for you as your sense of worth and importance is only important to you The second you mention the jurrassic Ken Clarke as is what is actually needed, was the second you confirmed your status a a grade one pusillanimous buffoon. You may spout chaucer, shakespeare or even your love of everything european as much as you like but, please sir, do not attempt to belittle any other decent human being for having the temerity and confidence in his or her own country to succeed without unelected bureaucrats ( oh and fwits like yourself ) implying we didn't actually understand the vote. Your use of words such as homophobic is quite laughable as i have four sons, two who are homosexual and two that, to my knowledge anyway, are heterosexual. I love them no less than each other and will state that they are the sole purpose of my living. Unfortunately, i see your purpose is to try and be above us mere mortals to such an extent you are, quite simply, a very sad, bitter internet troll with no sense of purpose.

Stick some unfounded stats to the above why don't you zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

MAGISTER

Dylan, you are clearly an erudite, thinking fellow with above-average intelligence. As I have observed on many occasions with intelligent people, they often place too much emphasis on experts and statistical data - as I have in the past - dismissing other known factors as anecdotal if it doesn't suit the narrative or failure to consider ulterior motives in the presentation of such data. Experts have been wrong in so many cases from time immemorial.

John Blenkinsop took the advice of experts who told him his railway couldn't work with smooth iron wheels on smooth iron rails. So he put holes in the rail and installed a cogged wheel to mesh.

Experts said passengers couldn't travel faster than 40mph or they would suffocate.

In 1929 economist Irvine Fisher suggested the USA stock market had reached a permanently high plateau. A week later came the Wall Street Crash.

90% of lecturers and professors think Brexit will harm UK higher education. Are these lecturers thinking about the harm to the nation's education system or their jobs in this statement?

42% of them say Brexit makes them more likely to leave. Given that many are middle-aged with mortgages and children, much of this leaving talk is hot air. In reality they know they are going nowhere. Most of my colleagues said they had had enough and were thinking of leaving but we all retired at the same place.

With respect to economists much of what they say can be taken with a large pinch of salt as they are rarely correct in their analysis. The following comments about economists are humorous but nevertheless contain an element of truth.

"An economist tells you tomorrow why what he predicted yesterday didn't happen today."

" Economists make astrologers look respectable"

You make many valid points, Dylan, which in my humble opinion would be better expressed and taken on board by readers if written in a more conciliatory style.

dylanwolf

It's true that experts aren't always right. But they are vastly more likely to be right than the man on the Clapham omnibus.

The "don't trust experts meme" beloved of the Mail, Sun, Express chooses to focus on mocking outliers in the scientific or otherwise professional community for expressing radical or controversial views. The resulting copy sells newspapers.

"Boffins predict hurricane winds", "Scientists torture hedgehogs with bleach", "Mars rover spots ancient battlements", "Trial reveals cure for cancer" type headlines,more befitting the National Enquirer, than the popular rags purporting themselves still to be a newspapers.

One need only to take a look at Ben Goldacre's bad science articles to see how incompetent and purposely misleading newspapers are when it comes to reporting science.

Experts are experts. Mostly they are right and experts with integrity steer the argument in the right direction with evidence, experience and knowledge.

As for my tone, it's pretty hard to take a conciliatory tone with the people who voted Brexit, when their vote is so blatantly catastrophic. I'm very angry about this and reconciliation is not on the table until a few truths begin to be realised and a few pigeons start to come home to roost.

MAGISTER

"when their vote is so blatantly catastrophic."

As we have not yet left the EU, Dylan, I fail to understand why you are sure it will be catastrophic. As in the famous sentence "A week is a long time in politics" several months could see a totally different EU. There are elections looming and you may be surprised by other countries voting to leave.

It's only been months since Obama said we were at the back of the queue and Hilary Clinton would definitely be the next President. After all, who would vote for the likes of Trump?

With respect to Brexit negotiations, who knows? It may turn out to be "catastrophic" but as yet we don't know how May will play it. Just as many experts have suggested it will turn out fine as not. I suggest you wait and see Dylan.

Pinprick

Poor Dylan. We are wise to fear people with obsessions. Especially people obsessed with the notion that they alone know the truth and that those of us who don't see their truth lack intelligence. Be especially wary of the one who condemns the weakness in another. Time and time again we discover that they are corrupted by the very weakness they so vehemently condemn.

dylanwolf

The one who tries to hide what he don't know to begin with?

I'd don't reflect my opinions back on myself as an attribute. What's obvious about Brexit, is obvious about Brexit. I've come across no arguments that persuade that there are actually any benefits accrued from leaving the EU aside from the meaningless populist mantra of "getting our country back", "controlling our borders" and so on - all of which we already have and already do.

When it gets down to basics people have voted Brexit because they feel uncomfortable seeing mosques, temples and Polish shops in English towns, because they feel uncomfortable riding the bus with a woman wearing a burkha, or with two Indian youths talking in Punjabi.

Well sorry, we can't push the clock back to 1930. The world is now internationalist. Your going to have to get used to multiculturalism. It isn't failing, it hasn't failed and we can't let Brexiters undermine it.

Multiculturalism is wonderfully liberating, opening all people up to new experiences and broadening their horizons, providing challenges and opportunities.

Chappo

Not just my opinion Dylan. Do you seriously think anyone actually reads more than the first six words of your diatribe, we all know the rest of it is your regurgitated excrement.

As for Mr Rhodes, how does he 'know' such a thing about you.

Being trolled must be very scary stuff for anyone, even a hard nosed hack.

dylanwolf

Mr Rhodes is not being trolled by me. I am merely determined to hold him to account for what he writes in his column..

If you haven't got the attention span to take in more that the first six words of any argument it would be hardly surprising if you formed your political opinions based on the banner headlines in the Mail, Express and Sun.

My issue with Mr Rhodes is that he uses his column to endorse the wild erroneous claims and the abhorrent philosophy of those maleficent newspapers. I would like him to do a little journalism rather than churn out the trite propagandist guff that must take him less than a half-hour to compile.

Bladerunner

I wonder if Dylanwolf understands democracy judging by his continued support of the EU, which is removing democratic rights without a vote by the citizens of the EU countries. I am, to many people, a stereotypical europhile, I live in Europe and support good links between European countries and I depend on the European agreement not to double tax EU citizens on earnings or pension payments. However, I voted for Britain to leave the EU because I do not support a Federal Europe, even though this will have a major impact on my quality of life both financially and on the convenience of travelling back to the UK to visit my family still in the UK.

And before anyone starts calling me names (as Dylanwolf seems to do at the drop of a hat to anyone who disagrees with him) I am not a racist right wing nutter, I am left of centre in my politics and enjoy living in a very socialist country - even Swedens version of the Conservative party are left of Blair's New Labour.

I have watched a very socialist, pro european Sweden begin to turn against the Federal ambitions of the EU (apart from the proEU elitists living in Stockholm) and the more the concerns of the Swedish people are ignored by the politicians the greater the speed at which this dissatisfaction grows and the more they look to the extreme right Sweden Democrats, who make UKIP look like the Green Party.

Chappo

Bladerunner your comments and your vote is very interesting, and gives a new angle at which to look at the Brexit decision of the British people.

Keep us updated.

Now what was that you said again Dylan, sorry dozed off after 'trolled', I assume you were slagging off my intelligence...........yawnnnnnnn

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