Peter Rhodes on human rights, battered heirlooms and straight talking from Javid

Read the latest column from Peter Rhodes.

Sajid Javid – get jabbed or quit
Sajid Javid – get jabbed or quit

A question that's never asked on The Repair Shop (BBC1): “If this is such a cherished, beloved and important family heirloom, as you claim, how come it's missing one leg, one arm, a glass eye and half its stuffing?”

Labour's David Lammy, referring to Tory plans to amend the Human Rights Act, declares: “There is no clamour from the public to get rid of human rights: it’s extraordinary.” No, what is extraordinary is a politician apparently being unaware of public fury at criminals abusing human-rights laws to avoid deportation. If MPs don't hear the clamour against that sort of injustice, are they really listening?

But at least Lammy has a compassionate nature. Which is more than can be said for some others on the left of British politics. A reader of The Independent positively punches the air with joy at the prospect of care homes running short of staff. As he puts it: “Old Tory voters in care homes will have to wait longer to have their nappies changed.” What a revolting person. And I bet he seriously thinks he's on the moral high ground.

As for the care-home crisis, it is a lose-lose situation for any politician. If you allow unvaccinated staff to work in care homes, you're wickedly and criminally complacent. But if you insist they all have the Covid jab you're infringing their human rights.

This probably explains why, as you will hear this week at the Conservative Conference, so many politicians are members of that great cross-party institution, the Amalgamated Union of Fudgers, Bet-Hedgers and Fence-Sitters.

It may also explain why, when I switched on the radio and heard someone saying bluntly: “If you work in a care home, you are working with some of the most vulnerable people in our country. If you cannot be bothered to go and get vaccinated, then get out and go and get another job,” I could not believe it was a politician speaking. Love him or hate him, Health Secretary Sajid Javid's straight talking will go down in history.

I suppose throughout history toddlers have learned to say the words that most matter to them: Mum, milk, moo-cow, dog, bow, arrow, brontosaurus and so on. Things change. Our grandson, now 19 months, wandered past brandishing the remote control and dreamily chanting: “Two-oh-two-oh-two-oh,” which makes no sense unless you know that the TV channel number for CBeebies is 202.

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