Peter Rhodes on dodgy honey, rabble in restaurants and why Rule, Britannia! should be sung loud and proud

By Peter Rhodes | Peter Rhodes | Published:

Read the latest column from Peter Rhodes.

Sing it loud

I referred to honey costing £5 a jar and a reader pointed out he can buy it for less than £2 at a supermarket. How can this be?

The Financial Times recently investigated “supermarket honey” and reported that 90 per cent of honey in Britain is imported, usually from China, and according to Interpol, roughly a third of all honey sold in the world has been adulterated. You get what you pay for.

Lord Tony Hall, director-general of the BBC, says the decision to perform orchestral versions of Rule, Britannia! and Land Of Hope And Glory at the Last Night of the Proms is a "creative" one. Bunkum.

At the very least, these two favourite songs should be sung, Covid-safe, by a soloist. Stripping out the words is yet another caving-in to the woke lobby by a BBC which has absolutely no confidence in its own traditions and spectacularly fails to represent the British people.

First, a reality check. These days, does anyone sing Land of Hope and Glory in the hope that Britain will build a massive fleet, create a huge army and start invading other nations in order to regain the British Empire? Of course not. Lyrics change their meaning over time and no modern audience applies the same literal meaning to Land of Hope and Glory that people did more than 100 years ago. If the lyrics “Wider still and wider shall thy bounds be set / God, who made thee mighty, make thee mightier yet” mean anything today, they surely refer to spreading the modern ideals that Britons like to be associated with: fair play, decency, liberty and the rule of law. Who can possibly argue with that?

As for Rule, Britannia! this is a celebration of the Royal Navy. Some say it is tainted with imperialism, yet it was our naval blockade that, with cannon and cutlasses, enforced the abolition of slavery in the 19th century. Britain lost thousands of fine young sailors to make the point that black lives mattered. Sing it loud, sing it proud.

If Tony Hall needs to know more about the navy's role in fighting slavery, here's one stirring and uplifting verdict: “One cannot doubt the evangelical zeal with which many officers and men alike took up the task of anti-slavery patrolling.” He'll find it on his own BBC History website.

A reader reports restaurant staff buckling under the challenge of serving cut-price meals in the Government's Eat Out to Help Out initiative. This is hardly surprising, given that weekday lunch bookings at the restaurant in question have soared from about 30 to more than 200. Some punters are booking two or three meals a day, some insist on paying after each course to claim maximum refunds and some are abusing the staff when service is slow. There seems to be a golden rule of human behaviour: the bigger the bargain, the worse the rabble.

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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