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Peter Rhodes on the ethnic pay gap, banning sky lanterns and the true nature of cricket

By Peter Rhodes | Peter Rhodes | Published:

Read today's column from Peter Rhodes.

Cricket, lovely but dull

THAT time of year again. Tell me, is it possible to buy a birthday card for a lady that does not include the word "gin"? There seems to be an assumption among card makers that women of a certain age spend their lives wallowing in a bottomless lake of mother's ruin.

WELCOME back, Poldark (BBC1) and let the anachronism-spotting resume. Did we all see Ross going fishing with what looked like a modern rod with stainless steel rings? He might have done better if his little boat had gone further. Time to purchase ye olde outboard motor?

WHEN the BBC discovered its embarrassing gender pay gap, it sorted the issue pretty damn quick by slashing the salaries of top-paid males and handing out whopping great pay rises to its top women. But what about Britain's shocking ethnic pay gap? Research by the Office for National Statistics reveals a wide range of pay with Chinese workers at the top earning an average £15.75 an hour while Bangladeshis at the bottom of the scale earn £9.60. Clearly, the unfairest way to sort this out would involve taking money off the Chinese and giving it to the Bangladeshis. So in what sense was it fair to sort out the BBC's gender issues by robbing John to pay Joanna?

SO you've embraced the mood of the moment, bought a cricket bat and reserved yourself and your mates a pitch in your local park, or booked a trial with your nearest club,. Now, how long do you think you will have to play cricket before seeing half the excitement you witnessed in a few hours of the England v New Zealand World Cup final? I suspect most local-club players would admit it's about 30 years, if you're lucky.

DUDLEY Council has become the latest authority to ban the sale or release of sky lanterns. The wonder is that anyone needs to be told that this form of long-distance arson is unacceptable, especially in the West Midlands where, six years ago, a sky lantern landed on a Smethwick recycling centre, causing a spectacular £7 million blaze. Releasing a sky lantern is the pyromaniac equivalent of lobbing half-bricks over a garden wall or dropping water bombs from skyscrapers. It is done by people who are either wicked, stupid or incapable of seeing the consequences of their actions. You may recall my tale some years ago of a reader who came across a group of students on a university campus, trying to ignite and launch a sky lantern even though the surrounding Midlands countryside was tinder-dry. Thankfully, a grown-up intervened.

WHEN pundits point out that 85 per cent of university students voted Remain in the 2016 Referendum, as if higher education automatically brought great wisdom, I think of that gaggle of undergraduates struggling with the sky lantern. First we burn down Oxfordshire, then we exercise our right to vote.

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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