Peter Rhodes on jobs at the Palace, funding social care and insults in the post

Least popular job in Buckingham Palace? Taking the Queen her Sunday newspapers.

Most envied job in Buckingham Palace? After the Sunday papers arrived, connecting the phone call from monarch to heir concerning the CBE-for-cash row which I dare say began: “Charles? A word?”

Camilla Long, usually bang-on in current-affairs, declares in the Sunday Times that Michael Gove “has been the most influential politician of the last decade.” Not Nigel Farage, then?

Doctors and nurses joined in one of the final Extinction Rebellion demos in London, staging a die-in. And why not? After all, air pollution is reckoned to be linked to 40,000 deaths and much illness in the UK. On the other hand, in the UK about 22,000 patients are killed by medical negligence each year, but nobody ever seems to demonstrate about that.

Raising National Insurance or general taxation to pay for social care is a blunt and unfair weapon, clobbering younger people for the needs of the very old. If Boris Johnson is going to “fix” this issue, as he boasts, he has to start grabbing money from the elderly. He may face less resistance than he fears. By the time they get their state-pension, most people are all too aware of time's winged chariot flapping overhead and the distant but increasingly personal figure of the Grim Reaper shouldering his scythe. So they see the benefits of paying an extra tax if it guarantees social and / or residential care – without having to sell a much-loved family home to pay for it. What seems like daylight robbery when you're 40 looks like a bargain when you're 70.

Tom Ellis, the actor who provided the love interest in the sitcom Miranda, was asked recently what was the worst thing anyone had called him. He recalled the denunciation: “You are a disgrace of a man.” Such things go with the territory. When anyone puts their head over the parapet, whether in politics, the arts or the media, they gather their own bitter coterie of haters. I have my own little mob.

Some time ago I received a greetings card in the post. Turned out to be from one of my regular critics who declared: “Looking back over my 75 years, I can honestly say that you are without doubt the most despicable person that I have ever known.”

Still, it's always nice to be read.

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