Peter Rhodes on mansion taxes, that MP's dress and kids with no sense of humour

Read today's column from Peter Rhodes

Tracy Brabin and the dress
Tracy Brabin and the dress

The eBay online auction of Tracy Brabin's off-the-shoulder dress ends tonight, all being well with a hefty donation to Girlguiding. But the issue of what is acceptable dress for MPs in Parliament rumbles on.

When I first saw her in the offending frock, I assumed the Labour MP and former Coronation Street star had dressed in a bit of a hurry and this was the female equivalent of getting both your feet down the same trouser leg. But when the Twitter trolls weighed in, Brabin hit back, publicly declaring: “I can confirm I’m not a slag, hungover, a tart about to breastfeed, a slapper, drunk, just been banged over a wheelie bin.” Now, I swear that none of those possibilities had even remotely occurred to me – until Brabin planted the images in my mind. Now, I cannot get rid of them. I feel as though I've been groomed. Over to you, Rumpole.

Girlguiding? This odd-looking word is the hip, happening rebranding of what used to be called The Girl Guides' Association. It's not only shorter than the original and therefore easier to spell but also avoids any confusing apostrophes.

If Boris Johnson presses ahead with the “mansion tax” promised at the weekend, I can make two confident predictions. Firstly, you'll be amazed how small some mansions are. Secondly, you won't believe how quickly your own house becomes a mansion.

On the same day that mansion tax was leaked, spreading alarm through the affluent South-East, Downing Street also let it be known that the qualifying salary for skilled migrants would be dropped from £30,000 to about £25,000, making it easier for more people to settle and work here. Two months ago Boris Johnson was elected on a platform of less immigration and lower taxes. Now it's more immigration and higher taxes. With hindsight we may have paid too much attention to those Lefties who denounced him as hard-Right and not enough to those who know him better and have been telling us all along that Boris is a bit of a soft old liberal. The Sunday Times told us back in September: “Boris Johnson is more liberal than conservative.” But who was listening?

“An exploitative city state that rewards white people with unfathomable wealth and keeps its poor ethnic-minority population in squalor.” London, as defined this week by commentator Rod Liddle.

After 20 minutes on the phone to a call centre, the young person on the other end wished me well and ended with what is becoming the standard line: “Now, is there anything else I can help you with today?” I suggested it would be grand if she could pop around and mow the lawn. Kids today, absolutely no sense of humour.

After Brexit, Meghxit, Frexit and Grexit, I smiled to see the headline on a tale about entries at Crufts falling because of confusion among foreign owners. Rexit.

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