Peter Rhodes on Welsh fudge, a Canadian jaw and one virus we would welcome

Read the latest column from Peter Rhodes.

Nothing rhymes with Llangollen
Nothing rhymes with Llangollen

The memory grows dim . . . Earlier this week I reflected on interviewing William Shatner in 1983. It was in fact in August 1987, when he opened the new monorail at Alton Towers.

A reader also takes me to task for referring to Shatner's “all-American jaw.” William Shatner is Canadian. Is there anything you lot don't know?

Moving swiftly on, a reader tells me there's a little shop in Llangollen (sounds like the first line of a poem, doesn't it?) which sells an impressive range of ice-creams and may have the answer to the question gripping the nation. As there is a global shortage of half-size chocolate flakes, what are we to stick in our 99 ice creams? The Llangollen shop sells sticks of its own home-made fudge – an admirable substitute, I am told.

And now, back to the poem: There is a small shop in Llangollen. . . .

Don't waste too much time on it. As far as I can tell, there is not a word in the English language that rhymes with Llangollen.

If dictators have anything in common it is their love of military hardware. From Africa to North Korea, from Syria to Belarus, the bloody-handed heads of state simply adore being seen with their tanks, rockets, warplanes and howitzers, and don't give a flying fig about economic sanctions.

The EU and Western governments may huff and puff about “aviation piracy” by Belarus in forcing a Ryanair flight to divert to Minsk and then snatching a dissident, Roman Protasevich. Why bother? Why not instead call upon our allegedly world-beating cyber experts to drop a big, nasty and untraceable computer virus into Belarus's military network?

And the next time the Belarus president Alexander Lukashenko orders his thugs to crush a riot or divert an airliner, nothing works, nothing happens and no-one is scared of him.

On March 31 I warned against pinning all the blame for all the Covid deaths on Boris Johnson. Back then, it was estimated that 46,000 people were probably infected with coronavirus while being treated for other conditions in hospitals in England. This week we learn that up to 8,700 of them died.

Jeremy Hunt, the former Health Secretary, says hospital-acquired Covid “remains one of the silent scandals of this pandemic.” But it's only silent because we were too busy clapping, banging pans and kidding ourselves that the NHS is the best health service in the world. Some folk dared whisper about hospital infections but they were drowned out.

As the whole truth dawns we are entitled to ask not only why so many perished but why the hospital-infection figures vary so widely between NHS trusts. Why have some coped so well and others failed so badly?

Yes, he'll be remembered – but how? From the Guardian: “Max Mosley’s legacy as a campaigner for a more ethical press.” And from the Sun: “F1 boss, son of fascist leader and enemy of Press exposed over prostitute orgy dies of cancer at 81.”

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