Peter Rhodes: Why underdogs aren't always the good guys

By Peter Rhodes | Peter Rhodes | Published:

JUST when you think every possible issue has been analysed and dissected, along comes something you'd never even considered. From the Guardian website: "Is drive-by sex toy hacking a wake-up call for Britain’s internet security?"

Demonstratrors in Catalonia

SADLY, I have absolutely no advice on how to tell if a sex toy has been nobbled by a drive-by hacker. I shudder to think how you'd reboot it.

I REFERRED yesterday to "plucky little Catalonia." I was making the old mistake of automatically asuming that the underdogs are the good guys. What we don't know is, if it got its independence, what sort of mini-state might Catalonia become? A beacon for liberal, inclusive democracy? Or a nasty little jack-booted dictatorship? In 1914 Great Britain entered the First World War in defence of "brave little Belgium." Later we discovered that Belgium ran its African empire not in a brave way but as the most bestial slavemaster on the continent.

CHANNEL 4 assembled a roomful of Remoaners who duly whinged and whined about the Brexit process. Some demanded a second referendum, on the grounds that a third of the UK electorate declined to vote in last year's referendum and the eventual majority for Leave was too marginal So presumably these folk would insist that their second referendum to overturn Brexit would be valid only if a bigger slice of the electorate voted than in 2016 and if the anti-Brexit majority produced a thumping majority of, say, 75 per cent. Is that what they have in mind? Thought not.

TUCKED away in government statistics a few days ago was the alarming fact that 140 people died on UK roads in 2016 as a result of drivers being distracted by in-car technology. That is a whopping 39 per cent rise on the previous year and if you've travelled in a brand-new car recently, you'll understand why. Some of the satnav, music and internet systems demand as much concentration as watching the TV. A recent report by the American Automobile Association found that nearly half of new cars had so-called infotainment systems that required a "very high" demand on driver's concentration. Some functions could draw the driver's eyes off the road for up to 40 seconds. In the wide open spaces along Route 66 you might get away with that sort of attention lapse. Heading up the M6 at Birmingham in the rush hour and you're a hi-tech accident waiting to happen. Last year 140 dead. This year?

I HAVE sold my old boat. There is a saying that the best times in sailing are the day you buy your boat and the day you sell it. Anyway, the purchaser was delighted with the deal and, although I walked away from my old lugger with mixed feelings and wistful memories of nights lapping on the bosom of the deep, it's amazing how a fistful of fivers eases the parting and allows you to buy those household items you had put on hold. As Masefield almost put it, I must go down to the shops again . . .

Peter Rhodes

By Peter Rhodes

Award-winning columnist and blogger. Keeping an eye on the tribulations and trivia of a fast-changing world


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