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Peter Rhodes on DIY crime detection, bugs from Mars and Boris's burka crisis

By Peter Rhodes | Peter Rhodes | Published:

The freedom of the press

Talking point

AND off to the car- accessory showroom where the staff have all been issued with headphones and Britney-style microphones, enabling them to communicate across the store. The result is a weird detachment. The lady at the till is looking at you and talking but she is not talking to you. She is talking to Carl in roof racks & camping and that sweet smile is for him, not you. So when you smile back, she looks at you as though you're mad. One day all these jobs will be done by robots. I don't think we will notice the difference.

IN the finest tradition of "I believe in freedom of the Press, but . . .", the Birmingham Labour MP Jess Phillips has reported Boris Johnson to the Equality and Human Rights Commission for his column suggesting that women wearing burkas look like letter boxes. Will she also be reporting Nesrine Malik who, in a Guardian article denouncing Johnson this week, uses the phrase "those Muslims in their bin liners"? If not, why not?

INCIDENTALLY, on the internet there are hundreds of references to burkas looking like letter boxes, some on websites hosted by respectable and even Left-leaning organisations. Why single out Boris?

WHILE he was busy repairing a roof in a Devon village, Julian Lory had £8,000 worth of tools stolen by burglars. Police advised him to "go door to door" and see if he could "generate a line of inquiry." No surprises there, then. The days are long gone when the constabulary responded to ordinary crimes inflicted on ordinary people.

THE best Mr Lory can hope for is that one day he'll get a call that goes: "Hi, Julian. It's Pc Bloggs here at the local nick. Thing is, we've got a hole in the roof and wondered if you could fix it for us." And Mr Lory will have the exquisite joy of replying: "No. I've got a better idea. Buy a trowel and some nails and a bucket full of mastic and then get yourself a ladder and . . . "

ON the day Mr Lory made the news, it was reported that the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners cross-party Brexit working group was warning the Government that a no-deal Brexit "poses a substantial risk to public safety, with police officers instantly losing vital access to cross-border investigative powers." Ah, yes. Those would be the cross-border investigative powers that are so useful in solving local burglaries. The current burglary-detection rate is about five in every 100. Today's police chiefs: great at playing politics, not so hot on protecting our homes.

HERE'S something to worry about when the drought goes away. After the discovery of water beneath the surface of Mars, a scientist popped up on telly to stress the absolute necessity of not contaminating Martian microbes with germs from Earth. Fair point. But to be honest I'm more worried about humankind's eternal quest for knowledge resulting in a phial of Martian microbes being brought to Earth - and someone dropping it.

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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