Peter Rhodes on safe spaces, depressing weather news and discovering your unborn baby's gender
Read today's column from Peter Rhodes.
THE BBC weather forecasters introduced the weekend's sunny spell as "potentially the last warm day before next spring or summer." I cannot think of ten little words more calculated to sap the human spirit. Far, far more depressing than anything coming out of Brexit.
I AM surprised to hear so much serious debate about Brexit meaning the end of Britain's two-party political system. It may have looked that way a year ago when the Remain/Leave division sliced right through the Labour and Conservative parties alike. It seemed for a while that the old division of Left and Right had been replaced with In or Out. Yet such is the power of our two-party system that even a phenomenon as powerful as Brexit is being channeled in those two old directions. Despite the Euro-adoration of Tories such as Ken Clarke and Dominic Grieve, the Conservative Party is becoming the Leave party. Despite the old socialist disdain for the EU as a "capitalists' club," Labour is morphing into the party of Remain.
INDEED, the issue has become so party-centred, and so toxic, that Labour MPs are allegedly being ordered not to support any deal obtained by Boris Johnson. Even if they and their Leave-voting constituencies agree with every word of it and cannot see any hope of improvement, they must vote it down. Democracy in action.
A READER tells me his son-in-law, owing to the demands of work, was unable to attend his wife's pregnancy scan which would reveal the sex of the couple's unborn child. But the couple were determined to get the news at the same moment. So the mum-to-be asked the scanner nurse not to reveal the gender but to write "boy" or "girl" on a piece of paper and slip it in an envelope. The nurse seemed puzzled but agreed. That night at home together, the happy couple solemnly opened the envelope and unfolded the piece of paper to reveal the message. It said: "Boy or girl."
IN order to create "safe space" for delegates, organisers of a conference at a university in London issued "traffic-light" badges. A green badge indicated a willingness to be approached by others, yellow meant "I will approach you if I wish to speak" and red was worn by those who didn't want to speak to anybody. How brilliant. How considerate. How thoroughly woke ("woke" in the modern sense means being aware of all the many injustices in society; you will be hearing a lot of it). And yet in this gathering of coloured badge-wearers, what becomes of folk like me who find themselves ignoring people who want to talk while blundering into conversations with those who wish to be left alone? I may be woke but, like eight per cent of men, I am also colour blind.
A READER with a better ear for music than I possess tells me a new TV advert for injury-compensation lawyers has the backing music from Rossini's piece, the Thieving Magpie.