Peter Rhodes on MPs who quit, travel agents who prosper and activists who target guide dogs

Read today's column from Peter Rhodes.

The extremists' target
The extremists' target

I noticed among our week's shopping something called "gourmet lentils." Oxymorons on a plate.

After my recent item on one-liners, here's a gem from somebody called John Bercow of Westminster: "I'm no longer the Speaker. I don't have to remain impartial now." It's the way he tells 'em.

I am in favour of delaying the presentation of any medal, award or knighthood for sporting success until four years after the achievement. Just long enough for any missing urine samples to come to light, for new anti-doping processes to be refined and for the world to see whether today's national hero behaves him or herself as a role model rather than a national embarrassment. I take the same suspicious view of politicians retiring just before a General Election.

Of course, there are matters of politics, principles and the daily grinding-down by online trolling that may drive any decent MP to walk out on a job worth between £70,000 and £150,000. But let's just wait a few months and see how many of today's honourable quitters do not turn to anything that you or I might recognise as work. How many will slide effortlessly into hugely-paid jobs with political parties, the EU, international banks, corporations and various think-tanks? And how many of those jobs were lined up long before the resignation letters were sent?

In a couple of recent incidents, blind people have been confronted by animal-rights activists denouncing them for having guide dogs. In the activists' rule book, the dogs should be running free in the fields, not serving the needs of humans. So how much stupider is this national protest industry of ours going to get? Don't you get the impression that some loonies spend all day dreaming up things to get angry about and then branding anyone who opposes their idiocy as something ending in phobic. You support guide dogs? Then you must be canophobic. Or maybe labradophobic. Either way, you deserve to be denounced on Twitter. It is a form of madness but what can we do?

All you can hope is that if those who oppose the training and use of guide dogs, and get their kicks shouting at defenceless blind people, ever take to the streets in large numbers, they are dispersed by police dogs who never regard themselves as victims and thoroughly enjoy their work.

I was thrilled to see our local Thomas Cook shop saved and taken over by Hays Travel. But how daft, it seemed to me, that Hays had used their own name rather than adopting a fine old trading name like Thomas Cook. What folly. And then Hays Travel, having paid just £6 million for 555 Thomas Cook shops, announced it had sold the Thomas Cook name and website for £11 million. There are very good reasons why John Hays and his wife Irene own a global travel business and I do not.

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