Peter Rhodes on a hidden message, the wisdom of William Brown and the continuing campaign to get Cummings

By Peter Rhodes | Peter Rhodes | Published:

Read the latest column from Peter Rhodes.

Dominic made us do it

A reader says he has spotted a subliminal message in the Government's warning: “Stay Alert. Stop the Virus. Save Lives.” If you read only the bottom line of the text it says: “Alert – the virus lives.”

Incidentally, if you haven't figured it out yet, the Dominic Cummings story has little to do with public health. It was mostly about Brexit. It has been an orchestrated attack by politicians and sections of the media who have never forgiven Cummings for his part in getting Britain out of the European Union and helping Boris Johnson win a massive election victory. Long after the virus has vanished, the “get Cummings” campaign will continue.

And I daresay the Church of England's bishops will join in, just as they did this time. Britain is a rare country in that it gives a public platform to people simply for being a bit more superstitious than the rest of us. There's a similar tradition in Iran.

The eagerness of some CofE clerics to be bold on politics but a bit woolly on doctrine is not new. During the 1980s one pundit said the Church of England couldn't make its mind up on homosexuality but knew instinctively that the poll tax was wrong.

The most desperate report in this manufactured scandal was the claim in the Daily Telegraph that, among trippers to a crowded beach on Monday, “many said that if Dominic Cummings, the Prime Minister's most senior adviser, could break the rules, they can too.” Oh, really? So the crowds were nothing to do with the blazing sunshine and Mediterranean temperatures, then? None of the “many” trippers who allegedly mentioned Cummings' name are identified. How strange.

Michael O’Leary, the boss of Ryanair, is a fluent and persuasive speaker and when he denounces the Government's 14-day quarantine plan for air travellers as idiotic, he has a point. But take a jumbo-sized pinch of salt with his implication that what's good for Ryanair is good for Britain.

Even before coronavirus, the chance of keeping all the world's airlines in business was pretty remote. Cheap flights for the masses, the life-blood of companies such as Ryanair, may be impossible to reconcile with a green planet and bio-security. Twenty years from now in a zero-emissions, zero-fun world, your grandchildren may find a pair of souvenir castanets and ask: “What was Alicante?”

Did you know “quarantine,” comes from Latin and Italian and literally means 40 days of isolation? My other discovery from my lockdown leisure reading is that amnesty comes from the same word as amnesia. Under the law of ancient Rome, amnesty meant that a crime was not forgiven, but forgotten. I didn't know that. In fact the more I read in these strange times, the more I discover I didn't know.

I believe it was that towering literary character William Brown, of Just William fame, who made the point that life is much more exciting when you're ignorant.

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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