Peter Rhodes on faking eco-concern, a national wave of sympathy and turning good news from Israel into bad news
CONFUSING headlines of our time: "Man bitten by shark previously attacked by bear and snake." (Sky News).
COMMENTING on her alleged affair with Donald Trump, the porn star and burlesque performer Stormy Daniels says: "It is the only thing in my life that I wish I could undo." Strange words, coming from a stripper.
YES, the die-off of coral on Australia's greatest natural treasure revealed a few days ago is a terrible ecological disaster. But it's a long way away and, to be honest, we have plenty of other things to worry about. So do we have to be really, genuinely, seriously concerned about the Great Barrier Reef or is it okay if we just pretend to be? (And how could anybody tell the difference?)
THE Guardian is marking the 70th anniversary of the creation of Israel with lofty foreboding. A reporter encountered a young Palestinian intellectual living in the beautiful, laid-back city of Haifa who said: "If all of Israel and Palestine could be like Haifa, I’d be happy. It’s not lovey-dovey. Life is essentially segregated but every community accepts that you can do your own thing. It’s not perfect, but it’s still better than everywhere else.” This sounds like sweet news which clearly does not suit the Left's agenda. So the Guardian website gave it the sour headline: "Haifa is essentially segregated." Not exactly fake news, but you get the message.
LOFTY Foreboding. I may have created a new TV detective.
THERESA May won't be seriously damaged by the Windrush furore. This is because most Brits are kind but pragmatic. They have endless sympathy for good people being mistreated by the system. I cannot remember an outpouring of empathy and affection as profound as the one created by this fiasco. Almost overnight, "the Windrush generation" became "our Windrush generation," to be cherished and protected. But most folk also accept the need for a "hostile atmosphere" (a term used by both Labour and Tory politicians) towards illegal immigrants; how else do you avoid treating law-breakers the same as the law-abiding? And no matter how humane your immigration policy, if you don't have the ultimate sanction of deporting illegals, then you may as well have no immigration policy at all. The Windrush affair is a national disgrace and must be sorted out quickly, fairly and generously. But don't let anyone use it as a reason to start dismantling the drawbridge.
INCIDENTALLY, it seems we can only cope with one social scandal at a time. Until a few days ago the media was stuffed with stories about homeless people sleeping rough. They have been Windrushed right off the agenda.
I WROTE some weeks ago about my lack of enthusiasm for what the late, great Alistair Cooke called the twilight wine of Scotland. At an old friend's funeral a few days ago, I took a nip as I always do on such occasions. It's a ritual. Just as it isn't a real Christmas without brandy butter and stuffing, so it's not a real funeral without pork pie and a small whisky and water.