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Peter Rhodes on cheque books, lovers' trysts and the art of architecturalising puppies

By Peter Rhodes | Peter Rhodes | Published:

Tryst or a romp?

Vincent Franklin in The Thick of It

WITH Jeremy Corbyn fighting allegations of anti-semitism on a daily basis, you'd expect his old allies to be shouting support from the rooftops. Seriously, has anybody seen Diane Abbott?

I WROTE recently about newspapers slipping into coy mediaeval language (lass, beau, etc) when describing anything sexual. Sure enough, one of this week's reviews of Bodyguard (BBC1), refers to the leading characters having "two steamy trysts." "Tryst" is a favourite tabloid word, along with "romp." I'm not sure if there is any real difference between romping and trysting, although romping always sounds a bit lower-class. The tattooed underclass romp on budget airliners but the gentry have trysts in private jets.

BODYGUARD (BBC1) appears to have been staffed with help from the All Ladies Theatrical Casting Agency, with females taking all the best parts, from Home Secretary to police sniper. One victim of this wimmin-centric process is Vincent Franklin, a brilliant actor best known as the hyperactive PR guru, hippy and ideas-waterfall, Stewart Pearson, in the Beeb's political spoof of blessed memory, The Thick of It. In Bodyguard he plays the Minister of State for Counter-Terrorism who, so far, is a bit of a bore. I long for Franklin to yell a Pearsonish: "Let's architecturalise these puppies!" So far, no joy.

SOME years ago in a moment of whimsy, I asked what made a famous Burmese politician different from all the other world leaders. The answer was that Aung San Suu Kyi came with fried rice. Honestly, you would not believe the spitting fury that followed. How dare I make fun of this wonderful, saintly, peace-bringing Nobel Prize winner? Today she is damned by the UN report on genocide in Myanmar and there are calls to strip her of that Nobel Peace Prize. Call it a hunch but the smiley little lady always struck me as too good to be true.

TALKING of inappropriate snacks, whatever possessed the Scottish politician Alex Salmond, on the campaign trail in 1999, to share his Solero ice-cream with a 17-year-old student? It looked awkward back then and today, with the SNP legend accused of sexual harassment, it hardly helps. There is a lesson here for politicians everywhere. You are approached by a young and attractive supporter. Do you a) nod politely, b) shake hands, or c) let them lick your Solero? It's really not that difficult, is it?

IFyou ask people how they feel about food prices rising by £7 a month because of the long, hot summer, they'll say it's a diabolical liberty and a national disgrace. Ask those same people if they'd cheerfully pay £7 a month for a glorious long, dry summer that begins in May and lasts until September and they'll whip out their cheque books in no time. It's all about how you ask the question.

FOR younger readers, a cheque book is, er, well, it really doesn't matter. Soon they will all be gone.

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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