Beating the cameras: Peter Rhodes on an epidemic of "misreads," Margaret Thatcher's cabinet reshuffle and meeting Tony Blair

By Peter Rhodes | Peter Rhodes | Published:

I CANNOT recall such a vicious crop of tyre-bursting, wheel-bending, suspension-cracking pot holes on our roads as we have now. It must have something to do with hard frosts followed by heavy rain, plus the fact that no-one in authority ever seems to expect such weather in a British winter, let alone plan for it.

Reshuffle - Margaret Thatcher

STILL on the roads, it is claimed that three per cent of the 40 million images taken each day by automatic number-plate recognition cameras (ANPR) are "misreads." No surprises there. You don't need false plates to beat the system. A strip of black tape can fool the cameras. Some tow hooks obscure your number plate. And in a grimy winter, how many plates are unwashed and unreadable? The whole ANPR system, used to monitor not only speeding motorists but organised crime and terrorism, depends on registration numbers being visible. When did you last hear of anyone being nicked for having an illegible plate?

A COMEDIAN in the 1980s announced details of Margaret Thatcher's latest cabinet reshuffle. Apparently, Thatcher had moved the blue Wedgwood pot behind the little china dog. This week's reshuffle by Theresa May was just as underwhelming and didn't even have a punch line. But it did make the point, as May sacked middle-aged ministers for being "male, pale and stale," as the BBC put it, that it is perfectly possible in these enlightened times to be sacked for being the wrong gender, colour or age.

A READER who believes Brexit will never happen writes: "Brexit is merely a bar-room drunk's xenophobic fantasy . . . Remainers will prevail because we have common sense, truth, peace, patriotism and the social good as our arguments." And humility. Don't forget the humility.

THE anti-Brexit movement, led by Lord Adonis, Gina Miller, Tony Blair and the others, is based on the unspoken, but heavily implied, belief that these people are much cleverer than the rest of us. I cannot speak for them all but I have interviewed Tony Blair several times. Although a number of words sprang to mind, "clever" was never one of them.

THE row over beggars and rough sleepers in Windsor before the royal wedding in May reminds me of a survey carried out by a homeless charity in the Midlands many years ago. Volunteers set out to count all the rough sleepers in the town centre. They found none - and, according to my source, were promptly sworn to silence by their boss. The worst news any charity can get is that the battle it exists to fight has been won.

A READER boldly declares: "I have never used a spellchecker in my life. I had an excellent education, therefore I do not need to use it." The trouble with making such a claim in this computer age is that all our writing is preserved online for ages and it only takes a quick Googling to reveal our blunders. Remember the wise old biblical warning: "Pride goeth before a forl."

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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