Peter Rhodes on mushy peas, whippets and advice on how to murder a man

The best way to a man's heart.

The bread-knife lady
The bread-knife lady

SOME folk are raging against the "racist" cartoon showing Serena Williams throwing her tantrum. As they are fully entitled to do. Yet I wonder how many of them were defiantly chanting "Je Suis Charlie" a couple of years ago in their support of the Charlie Hebdo magazine after the massacre at its Paris offices? Most people claim to cherish freedom of expression. What a lot of them mean is: "I believe in freedom of expression - but..."

I DON'T entirely understand how making misogyny (hatred of women) illegal is supposed to work. I am one of those bizarre blokes who prefers female company and would rather natter with women than get drawn into a blokey debate about footie. But it is a fact that some men simply dislike women, just as some men dislike cats, soccer or speed humps. It is also true that some women dislike blokes, as expressed by Jo Brand in one of her classic quips: "The best way to a man's heart is through his hanky pocket with a bread knife." It seems curious that the law overlooks Jo's advice on knife murder but may soon crack down on "disrespectful" men who wolf-whistle at women. I dare say I should be sent for re-education.

AND talking of education, three cheers for the Commission for Religious Education's plea for school RE lessons to include not only religions but atheism, secularism and humanism. At long last, RE teachers will be able to say: "Right, kids, I've given you all the guff from the curriculum on organised religion. Now, here's what most of us actually believe." In my limited experience, if you explain that it's perfectly fine, decent and respectable not to believe in a god, people breathe a sigh of relief.

I REFERRED recently to tithes - the one-tenth of your income demanded by the Church in olden times. A reader has a collection of 200-year-old receipts for rents and tithes from the landlord and the church, paid by tenant farmers. In some years the landlord reduced the rent because of "the bad state of the markets" but as far as my reader can find: "There is never a penny knocked off by the church. Clearly the aristocracy showed more Christian charity than the church."

IF we believe the Guardian, research shows that: "Labour has evolved from being the party of casseroles and bingo to the party of quinoa and student protests." Anyone else reminded of New Labour and the mushy peas?

IT's a lovely story, often told and always denied. The Labour grandee Peter Mandelson, on a 1997 campaign visit to a chip shop Oop North, allegedly pointed to the mushy peas and asked for "some of that guacamole." Labour is always boasting about its half-a-million members. I wonder how many of them could recognise mushy peas, mild ale or a whippet.

A WHIPPET, comrade? It's like a miniature Borzoi.

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