Farewell, Ed: Peter Rhodes on a great broadcaster, a presidential gaffe and the question for the next EU Referendum
SO farewell, Ed Doolan, the veteran BBC broadcaster who died this week. Always good listening, always wise company, Doolan believed there was less evil in the world than some people seemed to think, and that when life seems to conspire against us, it's probably just a cock-up. As he told me nearly 20 years ago: "Never put down to malice anything you can put down to stupidity. It’s usually something that’s gone wrong or some jobsworth throwing his weight around on a bad morning."
DOOLAN is generally described as a champion of the underdog. But some underdogs strained his patience. I remember a caller to his Radio WM show complaining that there was a gap in her fence and her kids were getting out and playing by the road. "You get a hammer, some nails and some wood,"said Doolan. "And you fix the hole." He repeated this patiently, word for word, several times until the protesting caller got the message and hung up. "Ah, the dependency culture," sighed Doolan. He had a soft heart but was never a soft touch.
THE Alliance of British Drivers reports that a new record of 1.26 million drivers were "blackmailed" into attending so-called awareness courses in 2017 rather than accept fines and penalty points for motoring offences. It is a huge, glaring multi-million pound scandal worthy of any banana republic, yet MPs seem not to want to get involved. I fear this battle is lost, but history is on our side. As self-driving cars come on the market which are unable to stray over the speed limit, the entire "awareness" industry will come crashing down. And good riddance.
A READER, who apparently wishes half the population dead, writes: "When the current batch of Little Englanders are pushing up the daisies, the young people of today will be in charge and will reapply to join the EU." Splendid. I have taken the liberty of drafting the question for the 2040 EU Referendum voting form: "Hey, kids, would you like Britain to become one of the chief financiers and the military wing of the Great European Empire, now embracing Turkey and Albania and pushing its borders up against Russia and Syria? Or would you prefer Britain to remain the independent, peaceful and prosperous global trading nation it is now in 2040, controlling its own frontiers, respected throughout the world and acting as friend and honest broker to the USA, China, Russia and Europe?"
DONALD Trump is not the first US president to be mocked for his intellect, or lack of it. There was an unkind, and untrue, story of President George W Bush being horrified at a news report that three Brazilian soldiers had been killed in Iraq. "Remind me again," the president asked his aides. "How many is a brazillion?"
I WAS reminded of that tale by a letter in the Daily Telegraph this week suggesting a new name for any unimaginably large sum of money. Carillions.
PETER Rhodes will be speaking at Wolverhampton Literature Festival on Sunday, January 28. See: http://www.wolvesliteraturefestival.co.uk/peter-rhodes/4594118684