Peter Rhodes on a slumbering premier, vaccine snobbery and the next health nightmare coming our way

Read the latest column from Peter Rhodes.

Napping on the job?
Napping on the job?

Phil Spector has died. A reader asks: “Is it true his brother Crispin was head of quality control at Walker's?”

First we were told Boris Johnson relaxes with “power naps,” then Downing Street contradicted the claim. If it's true, the PM is not the greatest advert for the practice. Have you looked at his eyes lately? Deep-sunk and rheumy, they look 20 years older than the rest of him.

Johnson said recently: “It's very, very plausible that eyesight can be a problem associated with coronavirus.” The more we learn about the after-effects of “long Covid,” the nastier it seems. The Prime Minister likes us to think he has made a full recovery. How long before a Downing Street insider lets slip that he's still struggling?

Paul Williams, a doctor and former Labour MP, says some patients have declined the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine, saying they would “wait for the English one.” It is, he says, “a lesson that nationalism has consequences.” Nationalism? Might it not be patriotism? Or plain old-fashioned snobbery which creeps into every aspect of our national life, including getting your jab, currently being offered in a variety of formulas, settings and background music? There are swank points to be scored. If you had the choice, wouldn't you prefer to have the true blue, home-grown Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine in Lichfield Cathedral with the organist playing Vivaldi rather than a quick jab of the Belgian stuff at Bog Park sports centre to a CD of Slade's Greatest Hits?

Me? Moderna in The Lygon Arms with James Taylor. Excellent.

Talking of snobbery, my eye was caught by the police comment on an attempted burglary in Birmingham: “Fortunately, they were unsuccessful and left in a Ford Focus.”

Pandemics may come and go but the decline in the effectiveness of antibiotics races on, claiming 1.5 million lives a year as so-called superbugs kill at will. A chemical company has just given Oxford University £100 million for research into antibiotic resistance. There was a time, just over a year ago, when we might have raised an eyebrow at so much corporate loot being pumped into academia. Since then we have discovered, to our surprise and pride, that Britain's pharmaceutical industry is a world-beating national treasure. Today, we don't grudge it a penny and if it also takes public money to create a new range of antibiotics, so be it. The university's vice-chancellor Louise Richardson says the Covid pandemic shows the "high cost of ignoring something that is likely to head our way.” Once bitten . . .

Shock, horror! The police have thousands of files on people who have been arrested but never charged with anything. This is appalling. The Home Secretary should resign.

Shock, horror! Remember those thousands of files kept by police on thousand of people who have been arrested but charged with nothing? Well, loads of them have been been accidentally destroyed in a computer glitch. This is appalling. The Home Secretary should resign.

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