Peter Rhodes on chlorine-washed bigotry, an Andrex Brexit and 50 years spent waiting for Armageddon
Read today's column from Peter Rhodes.
SO this is the week. This is the defining week, the crucial week the historical week. This is the week when the mother of Parliaments votes on how and when to leave the European Union. Unless, of course, they postpone it until next week, or the week after that, or...
THE longer this Brexit thing rumbles on, the more I am reminded of a friend who was in labour for 36 hours with her first child. By the end of it, utterly exhausted after gas and air, epidural and emergency caesarean, she was presented with a perfect little baby. She admitted she'd have settled for a labrador puppy.
SEE the point? Sometimes a process becomes so long and wearying that all you want is for it to end. So it is with Brexit. Yet the final result may be quite close to what most Brexiters wanted back in 2016. What mattered was to get out of the European Union and regain our sovereignty. We wanted to trade with the EU but not be part of it or to be ruled from Brussels. And we accepted that whatever form of Brexit was finally delivered, it couldn't ignore the fact that 48 per cent of voters wanted to remain. And so the stage is set for what Ian Hislop predicted two years ago, an old-fashioned British compromise. I foresee an Andrex Brexit, soft but serviceable.
AT the heart of the debate about chlorine-washed chicken is plain old anti-Americanism. It's a form of bigotry based on the belief that, because the Yanks have more money than us, they must somehow be cheating. We convince ourselves that our standards are higher than theirs because we Europeans are skilled and dedicated and they are dodgy spivs. And nobody mentions the embarrassing fact that the great diesel-emissions fraud was perpetrated by Europeans but detected by the United States Environmental Protection Agency. Sometimes, the Yanks know best.
MORE on the fascinating subject of Chinese goods which are sold in Britain for less than the cost of posting them to or from China. A reader recalls buying a scraper to clean the gears on his bike. It cost £5 in the high street but on Amazon was just £1.56, including postage from China. While he was delighted with the deal, his verdict is "bonkers." Bonkers, indeed – and yet somebody's making a profit.
THE BBC's new series Blue Planet Live will question the ethics of having babies at a time of climate change and over-population. This rings a bell. About 50 years ago, deeply depressed by a TV documentary, I wrote a strident little essay on the appalling state of our planet ending with my teenage pledge: "I will not be responsible for bringing another human being into this world." The programme in question was not about climate change or population. It was about the long-term effects of DDT, which nobody talks about any more. That's the trouble with Armageddon. Just when you think it's arriving, something else happens.