Peter Rhodes on Northern grit, cameras at supper and how Covid-19 preys on the poor

Read the latest column from Peter Rhodes.

The rich survive
The rich survive

America floats on an ocean of conspiracy theories. Donald Trump had barely announced his Covid-19 infection than one pedestrian in Washington was informing reporters that Trump was falsely claiming to be ill in order to avoid another TV pummelling from Joe Biden. Now, brace yourselves for the next crop of conspiracy theories, paranoia and politicking.

Which way will America swing if Trump survives? Some would certainly proclaim him as the ultimate alpha-male, shrugging off an infection which has claimed a million lives as if it were nothing worse than a chill. Hail, the Chief.

But others might look at the recovery of Trump, Boris Johnson, Dominic Cummings, the Prince of Wales and a number of heads of state around the world and ask, how come all these rich men survive when so many poor people die? The States is such a strange place these days that no-one knows whether survival would sweep Trump back into power as a living legend or damn him as a symbol of the unfairness at the heart of that old, old lie, the American Dream.

Jeremy Corbyn was caught breaking the rule of six by attending a dinner party for eight. He'd have got away with it had somebody not taken a photograph of the event. One of my colleagues asks, who gets the camera out at a dinner party? One answer is anyone organising a military dinner where, in my experience, the camera is as important as the regimental silver. It is useful – nay, essential - to have photographic proof of those who attended and who are therefore due to be sent a mess bill. A photograph eliminates all that unseemly arguing from officers who not only deny ordering that last bottle of port but can't even remember being there.

None of this applies to Mr Corbyn, of course. He is a vegetarian with vegan leanings who never drinks alcohol, whose preferred tipple is coconut water and whose table talk revolves around how hard he fought anti-semitism in the Labour Party and what a great Place East Germany was. There's no need for cameras because nobody could possibly forget any dinner party Mr Corbyn attended. More mung beans, anyone?

If Extinction Rebellion targets the new coal mine being built in Cumbria, can we expect more robust policing than we saw a few weeks ago when XR blockaded newspaper printing works? A Hertfordshire police spokesman told us then that officers were “working to facilitate the rights of both the protesters and those affected by their presence.”

It sounded as though cops took the view that troublemakers and their victims were equally innocent, which seems an odd approach to policing. The spokesman went on to complain that protesters were “not co-operating.” But if protesters co-operated they wouldn't be protesters, would they? I bet the cops in Cumbria will show some Northern grit.

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