Peter Rhodes on stealing cars, dining first-class and kicking mass murder into the long grass

Two things surprise me about the news this week on thief-proofing our cars. The first is that keeping your ignition fob in a metal container really can prevent it from being hacked by the ungodly; I always assumed this was an urban myth.

Too soon for an inquiry?
Too soon for an inquiry?

The second surprise, according to a major insurance company, is that car theft has increased by 20 per cent in each of the past four years. Put simply, the more high-tech and keyless cars become, the easier they are to nick. This naturally comes as a shock to those of us who remember the days when you could start a Cortina with a bit of wire and a spare ignition key cost 3/6 at Halfords. Back then we were assured that the car of the future would be absolutely theft-proof. Hah.

Incidentally, when I refer to the theft of “our cars,” I mean, of course, your cars. I have the sort of car that villains may examine but rarely steal. I think it's the cassette player that puts them off.

Watch out for NCDs. You may be hearing more of them. That's because while we worry about catching Covid-19 from other people, by far the biggest killers in Britain, according to The Lancet, are Non Communicable Diseases, and many of those, including strokes, heart attacks and lung cancer, are the result of lifestyle choices. NCDs account for about 88 per cent of the UK's diseases and Britain now has the worst health outlook of any country in Western Europe, at a dismal 68.9 healthy years of life. You can't blame all that on politicians. Thousands of Brits who should have enjoyed a long and healthy old age were walking dead long before the pandemic arrived.

The gentle, mellifluous voice of Bob Ross on The Joy of Painting (BBC4) has become an evening fixture, along with his snatches of homespun advice, as when he describes how to make the gentlest of gentle brush strokes: “Two hairs and a bit of air.”

Damn politicians, they're always rushing into things, aren't they? Home Secretary Priti Patel says she may consider a call for a public inquiry into the Birmingham Pub Bombings. These atrocities, the worst unsolved murders in English history, happened in November 1974 and for decades the bereaved have been calling for a proper examination. Why give in now, Ms Patel? There is still a chance, after only 46 years, that we might discover something significant or even, heaven forbid, embarrassing. Why not kick it in to the long grass for another few decades? That's how politics works best, eh?

Faced with laying off its airline-meal chefs, the Finland carrier Finnair has employed them making first-class meals to be sold in supermarkets. Why stop there? For the full 30,000 feet gourmet fantasy, why not ensure your companion on one side has enough wine to snore noisily, and flatulently, through the next six hours and the bloke on the other side wants to tell you all about his prostate?

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