Peter Rhodes on a sweet joke, a bitter reaction and the latest miracles at Lourdes

Read today's column from Peter Rhodes.

Paul Hollywood - no apology needed
Paul Hollywood - no apology needed

NO, I didn't know the New Zealand national anthem ran to 87 verses either. Have they finished yet?

ALWAYS read the small print. A letter from the Co-Op Bank alerts us to changes in the overdraft-notification process. Doesn't apply to me because I have a PhD in Smug and never get overdrawn. But this example caught my eye: "If you have £200 in your account and an arranged overdraft of £300, you available balance would currently be displayed as £500. In future your available balance will show as £200." In other words, they've decided to start telling you the truth.

BAKE-Off guru Paul Hollywood has been forced to apologise by the diabetes lobby after "thoughtlessly" describing a contestant's Belgian buns as "diabetes on a plate." He should not have given in.

FAR from breaking any taboos or saying anything new, Hollywood was following in a long line of admittedly bad-taste jokes about the link between the commonest form of diabetes, type 2, and lifestyle. Go to Google and you'll find more than 130,000 references to "diabetes in a mug," usually describing chocolate-rich sundaes or other calorie-glutted treats, and many other references to meals described as "diabetes on a plate."

CAMPAIGNERS at the website report that: "Obesity is believed to account for 80 per cent of the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, while recent research suggests that obese people are up to 80 times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those with a BMI (body-mass index) of less than 22." There are exceptions but type 2 is a disease which is strongly associated with obesity and it is not irresponsible to mention this connection. Unless you also think it's also irresponsible to suggest that smoking causes lung cancer.

AS for the complaints about Hollywood's quip, well, so what? These days, thanks to the effortless instant venom made possible by social media, some folk somewhere are offended by something all the time. We live in a hyper-offendable society and we shouldn't assume a flurry of manufactured rage on Twitter is even worth reading, let alone reporting.

INDEED, it may be time to launch the All-Purpose Apology app. This brilliant invention is pre-printed with your most profound, personal and sincere apologies, with gaps left to be filled in by whichever individual or interest group you happen to offend. The complainers get the satisfaction of receiving their custom-made apology to show to their shareholders. Everybody else knows it doesn't mean a thing.

POLICE are dealing with a rise in pick-pocketing in the French pilgrimage city of Lourdes. A local councillor blames a false sense of security among trippers and suggests: "They think the Virgin will protect them." It doesn't work like that. Heaven helps those who help themselves. And if you walk around Lourdes with your handbag open and don't get robbed, it's a miracle.

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