Peter Rhodes on flatulent whales, nonsense in the Commons and flying non-stop to Oz
Read today's column from Peter Rhodes.
WE learn from Only Connect (BBC2) that a kylie is a sort of boomerang. What we weren't told is why Kylie became a popular girls' name but Catapult, Slingshot and Woomera did not.
WOOMERA? A hooked stick used by Aborigines to throw their spears further. Actually, the more you say it, the more it sounds like a really cool first name. Unless your surname is Bloomer in which case it sounds like a whale breaking wind. Woomera Bloomer. Do excuse me.
A LANDMARK in aviation. Qantas has flown an airliner carrying 50 employees and crew non-stop from New York to Sydney in 19 hours. The airline is now evaluating the impact on the passengers. Can future travellers cope with such marathon flights? In my humble opinion, few lessons will be learned.
SOME years ago I flew from the UK to the Falklands on an RAF TriStar. Even with a break at Ascension Island, it was a long, uncomfortable 18-hour flight on a plane crammed with 200 passengers. On the return leg, in the same TriStar, there were just 18 of us. I don't like flying but this was brilliant. You could spread out across a whole row of seats and go for little walks. It was like flying in an entire office, 40,000 feet high. In short, the gruelling flight out to the Falklands bore no resemblance to the blissful flight home. And the experience of 50 test passengers on the Qantas Dreamliner will be altogether dreamier than the real commercial thing when dozens of you are queuing for the loo, coping with screaming kids and discovering you are seated for 19 nightmarish hours between a couple of fat blokes from Blackpool.
LEADING seamlessly on, Saturday's Brexit debate was the first Saturday sitting of the Commons since the invasion of the Falklands in 1982. We can be thankful the House back then was not stuffed with the ditherers and deceivers who grace its benches today, otherwise Galtieri's conscripts would still be marching around Puerto Argentino (formerly Port Stanley) while Parliament was assuring the Argentine military dictatorship that more discussions were needed and, of course, all options were on the table.
WHO'S the winner of the most embarrassing performance so far in this Brexit nonsense? Was it Jeremy Corbyn dismissing Boris Johnson's EU withdrawal agreement - 26 minutes before it was even published? Or was it Chuka Umunna declaring that all Labour MPs would vote against the deal because it was against Labour principles? (This is the same principled Mr Umunna who jumped ship from Labour to Change UK, and then to the Lib-Dems).
NO, on second thoughts the prize goes to Jo Swinson, finger-wagging leader of the Unliberal Undemocrats, who seriously suggested suspending the Commons until naughty Boris wrote his letter to the EU. She is a great loss to primary-school education.