Peter Rhodes on a dodgy dishwasher, £100 debit cards and a lesson from an MP's murder

Read today's column from Peter Rhodes.

Sir David Amess MP
Sir David Amess MP

A cheery email from E.ON tells us customers: “You’re in safe hands this winter.” Safe hands, or grasping hands? My monthly direct debit to E.ON which was £66 in February is now £112.

As far as we know, there is no connection between the snarling unpleasantness currently infesting British politics and the killing of Sir David Amess MP. It looks like yet another atrocity by an angry, frustrated man who probably knows or cares nothing about inter-party spats but thinks he is doing God’s work. And yet this appalling tragedy offers a lesson to politicians everywhere. If your battle cry is “The other lot are scum!” how do you express any meaningful, civilised or grown-up response when one of them is murdered?

Last week’s item on women becoming grandmothers at 30 brings to mind the TV historian Bettany Hughes who told us some years ago that our forbears were an early-fertile bunch: “Ancient Greek society was a juvenile one,” she said. “Most men were fathers at 12, grandfathers at 24, dead by 35.” Today, we tend to worry about peaking too soon.

I wrote recently about the trial of waiting for tradespeople who, glutted with post-lockdown work, are very much the masters now. A reader tells me her 10-month-old dishwasher gave up the ghost on August 3, while under warranty. Since then she’s had calls, visits and lots of promises (can’t get the parts / parts delayed, etc) but the dishwasher is still bust. She reckons she’s had to do 219 sink washes. Chapped while waiting for chaps.

Professor Kathleen Stock whose views on gender make her a hate figure for transgender activists, says bookshop managers should “show some mettle” and display her books. I bet this is more about glass than mettle. Bookshop’s average profit margin on a £10 book - about £3.50. Bookshop’s average cost for replacing one pane of glass smashed by brick, about £120.

Back in January I suggested that raising the spending limit for contactless debit cards from £45 to £100, as proposed by the Financial Conduct Authority, was “great news for burglars, muggers and bag-snatchers.” Well, it’s happened. However, some store chains warn that the new £100 limit may not take effect for months. So here’s a note for burglars, muggers and bag-snatchers everywhere. Please be patient.

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