Peter Rhodes on a new low in politics, saving the Press and uncelebrated celebrities

By Peter Rhodes | Peter Rhodes | Published:

Sneering at victims.

Thither, Jeeves?

PRESENTED with 'Tesco' my new spell check suggests 'Tosca'. Nothing to make a song and dance about.

A WEATHER forecaster at the weekend said it would be chilly for those 'out and about'. The more you repeat this much-used phrase, the odder it seems. 'Out' is plain enough but what does 'about' mean? Time for change. Let us replace 'out and about' with the more lyrical term as used by Bertie Wooster in the P G Wodehouse Jeeves books: "Hither, thither and yon."

THE great writer G K Chesterton declared: "Journalism largely consists of saying 'Lord Jones is Dead' to people who never knew that Lord Jones was alive." I was reminded of that recently when the Guardian ran an obituary on "Ambalavaner Sivanandan: Director of the Institute of Race Relations who helped change the way Britain thought about race." He was apparently a fine chap. But to be honest I'm not sure he changed the way I think about race. It's not only that I'd never heard of him during his lifetime but that, according to the obituary, he died on January 3 and I don't even recall it being reported back then. One brave Guardian reader confesses: "Great headline - pity I've never heard about him." But then, in a world increasingly stuffed with celebrities, how do we keep up? How many times have you woken to the morning news that some allegedly famous person has passed away (Scandinavian poet, 70s rock singer, etc), and you've never heard of him? They are the uncelebrated celebrities.

I COMFORT myself with the suspicion that when obituary writers are asked to produce 1,000 glowing words on the latest uncelebrated celebrity, their initial response is: "Who?"

THE general coarseness of political debate is depressing. Some folk think that if you disagree with somebody's politics, you are entitled to hurl the vilest insults at them. Take the incident in Bexley, south London, a few days ago when a middle-aged man appeared to help a 97-year-old lady up the doorstep and into a club. In fact, as the CCTV showed, he was slyly stealing her purse and a 'substantial amount' of cash. Whatever our political views, can we all agree that robbing a defenceless old lady is disgraceful? Apparently not. The club in question was a Conservative Club which prompted this from a reader of the Daily Mail website: "I felt sorry for her, then realised she is a Tory. Oh well, never mind!" Disgusting barely covers it.

THERESA May, has announced a review into the printed Press to ensure its survival. She asks "whether industry or Government-led solutions can help improve the sustainability of the sector for the future." The danger, of course, is that newspapers might feel beholden to their saviours . As the old saying goes, he (or she) who pays the piper calls the tune. Mrs May is, of course, the most outstanding prime minister of our age, a beacon of enlightened policies, an example to the whole world, a shining, etc, etc . . .

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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