Peter Rhodes: Never underestimate this foxy issue
Theresa and hunting, Michael Caine and money, and a three-hour hunger strike.
“THE proverb that money does not buy you happiness is a lie put about by the rich to stop the poor killing them.” Sir Michael Caine, as quoted this week by Max Hastings.
I HAD to read this twice. It's a letter from the AA headlined: “We've kept our best rate for our Members.” And the nature of this offer? It is a new AA Member Saver Account, issued because “we believe it's our Members that deserve the best.” And the “best rate” they are offering? It is one per cent, based on a minimum balance of £100. In other words, you give them £100 and a year from now they give you £101. No thanks. To be fair, the AA are quite good at breakdown recovery.
THERESA May says she supports fox hunting and would allow a free vote in Parliament on repealing the hunting ban. Big mistake. Hunting is a pastime enjoyed by only a few thousand people yet it offends millions. Successive opinion polls show that a majority of Britons – even in rural areas – are opposed to it. And while it is not something that would swing an election result alone, it is an issue which persuades people who might otherwise not vote to go to the polling station and vote against it.
HUNTING probably played a part in Tony Blair's 1997 landslide victory when Labour's manifesto included a promise to ban it. It certainly affected the Wolverhampton South West result where the lifelong hunter and Tory grandee Nick Budgen lost his seat to the passionately anti-hunt Jenny Jones. It was a surprising result (not least to Jones who resigned after just one term in the Commons). I was there at the count and will never forget the exultation as Labour's majority of 5,118 was announced. I wrote at the time: “As the feely-huggy brigade cheered Jenny Jones, a great roar went up, like a pack baying at the kill. And they reflected on how easily they had flushed out and culled the fox-hunting barrister in Wolverhampton South West. Tallyho.” Cold logic tells us that the fate of a small furry predator should not influence great affairs of state. But it does, and by supporting the hunt Theresa May is risking millions of votes.
THE scumbags who ring up from somewhere East of Suez, claiming to be from “Windows Technical Support,” and con people into paying for non-existent “faults” to be fixed, may have changed tactics. I had a call this week from someone with “BT Openreach technical support,” claiming he had detected many faults on my computer. I asked him how he was spelling BT. After some bluster he hung up.
ISRAEL has released covert footage of a Palestinian hunger striker allegedly eating biscuits and sweets in his cell. I am reminded of a reader some years ago who solemnly informed me that, all other tactics having failed, he was going on hunger strike to pursue a grievance with his local council. Three hours later he rang to say he had called it off. Had he forced the council to back down? “No,” he explained. “I was bloody famished.”