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Peter Rhodes on a shortage of modesty, filling the hours and Royals heading for Tinseltown

By Peter Rhodes | Peter Rhodes | Published:

Read today's column from Peter Rhodes.

The lure of Canada

If the first casualty of war is truth, the first casualty of a pandemic may be modesty. Jeremy Corbyn claims that during least year's election campaign he was "denounced as somebody that wanted to spend more money than we could possibly afford, in order to right the social wrongs of this country.” But now he says the Government's massive spending to beat coronavirus has proved him “absolutely right.” As he prepares to stand down as Labour leader, Corbyn portrays himself as the genius no-one heeded. Er, how's that again?

We might agree with his glowing self-assessment if we could recall a single speech by him, or a single line in the Labour manifesto, promising for example to buy the NHS an extra 30,000 ventilators, 20 million virus test kits and a few 5,000-bed emergency hospitals, on the offchance that we might get a pandemic. In fact, at any time in the campaign did any of the political parties mention pandemics?

Corbyn is indulging in something called the Texas Sharpshooter Fallacy. First you fire your six-gun at the barn door. Then you paint the target around the bullet holes. Spot-on, every time.

Or then again, maybe the first casualty of a pandemic is grammar. According to the Daily Mail website: “Thousands of people flaunted coronavirus social distancing rules.” Flouted, perhaps?

Canada is a lovely place, especially if you enjoy maple syrup, Union Jacks, the Northern Lights, enormous bears and occasionally getting saluted by a Mountie. But did anyone seriously think dear old Canada would become the permanent home of a young, starry-eyed and hugely ambitious couple like Harry and Meghan? If you want to build a new media / movie / speaking-tour sort of career there is only place to be and that's where they're heading. No, not Saskatchewan. Hollywood.

A photo of three NHS nurses celebrating last week's nationwide applause for health workers made a charming composition. And then you looked again. The nurses were huddled together, heads almost touching and their surgical masks were off. If the experts don't observe social distancing, what hope for the rest of us?

There's not much good news from the coronavirus front but one factor rarely gets a mention in the casualty-prediction figures. It is expertise. The longer medical teams deal with this virus, the more skilled they will become. This may explain why some hospitals are performing better than others. I was impressed with a nurse on the radio describing how quickly her team learned to recognise Covid-19 from X-rays. Time saved, lives saved.

Meanwhile, how the days drag. I was planning to hold an official census of all the woodlice in our garden shed. First, I must make a clipboard. Should kill an hour or so.

Peter Rhodes

By Peter Rhodes

Award-winning columnist and blogger. Keeping an eye on the tribulations and trivia of a fast-changing world

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