Peter Rhodes on weeping for a dictator, rocking around the clock and pressing the nuclear button

Read today's column from Peter Rhodes.

Your call, Nicola
Your call, Nicola

There is nothing new under the sun. The machete-wielding gangs who appeared at Birmingham's Star City cinema for a showing of the movie Blue Story are a reincarnation of the Teddy Boys who in 1956 “went wild in the aisles” at cinemas showing Rock Around the Clock. Back then, the nation was equally horrified. Seats were torn up, police were called and some cinemas refused to show the rock 'n' roll film to avoid damage or disturbance.

I am aware that many old Teddy Boys, now in their 70s, will read this and be horrified at the comparison. But then how easy it is to excuse the sins of our past while harrumphing in fury at the sins of the kids of today.

I once pointed out to a harrumphing old chap that he had cheerfully admitted to being a Teddy Boy. He even told me he used to carry a cut-throat razor. “Only for show,” he replied, indignantly.

The Labour Party's stock response to allegations of anti-semitism is to claim that Jeremy Corbyn has spent his entire life fighting anti-semitism. But is this such a wise tactic? It suggests either that Corbyn mixes in circles where there are huge and constantly-renewing amounts of anti-semitism - or that he's not a particularly effective fighter.

The SNP leader, Nicola Sturgeon, was asked whether she would ever be prepared to use a nuclear weapon. Her response was to condemn the idea that “to be a credible political leader, you must be willing to use an indiscriminate weapon of mass destruction – killing millions, or even tens of millions, of innocent people.” Not good enough.

Politicians arguing against nuclear weapons invariably lapse into this “millions of innocent people” theme, as if the only use for a nuke is to create a second Hiroshima or Nagasaki. Here's a different scenario. A huge invasion fleet carrying 100,000 soldiers has been dispatched by a non-nuclear but savage and primitive country, to invade the UK, slaughter all the Brits and occupy these islands. Our military top brass say that once these stormtroopers have landed, it will be impossible to halt them. However, the invasion fleet could be destroyed hundreds of miles away at sea with a couple of nuclear airbursts fired by Trident submarines. Radiation would be minimal. Not a single civilian would be killed. The UK would be saved and liberty and democracy would triumph over the forces of darkness. Your call, Nicola.

If you think the above scenario is improbable, you're right. But most wars are improbable. You rarely get the one you expect.

Photo of the week must be the shot of North Korea's Kim Jong-un surrounded by female soldiers, all of whom are crying. According to the caption, the weeping ladies were “overwhelmed to be in such proximity to the Supreme Leader.” I bet. Now the dilemma. Who dares to be the first to stop crying . . ?

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