Rhodes on Keir's beer, dodgy headlines and what to do with the Beeb's embarrassing statues

Read the latest column from Peter Rhodes.

A beer, Keir?
A beer, Keir?

"He had a Zoom meeting with a large number of people and the event went on and he had something to eat, and a bottle of beer.”

Come off it, Boris. Do you seriously think that explanation by one of your cronies is going to satisfy the British public? Oh, hang on a moment. The above comment wasn't a loyal Tory defending Boris over Partygate. It was a Labour spokesperson explaining a snatch of video which re-appeared at the weekend showing Keir Starmer drinking from a bottle of beer while meeting party members in May 2021.

So who's surprised? On December 29 I wrote: “If the Tories were partying in Downing Street then it's a fair bet that Labour, Lib-Dems and the rest were clinking the occasional glass, too.”

But in May 2021, in a less hysterical age, no-one paid much attention to the Starmer video, just as no-one paid much attention to government staff working/boozing in the garden at Number Ten which I suspect was common knowledge among politicians and political hacks at that time.

But now that hysteria has taken over and the Get Boris campaign rages, Starmer's video became just as intriguing as Boris's back-garden photos. And the more Labour tries to convince us that Keir's beer was totally different from Boris's bubbly, the more it looks like ducking and diving.

We have almost reached the stage of national self-righteousness where anyone who had any alcoholic drink between February 2020 and the present was guilty of hypocrisy, disrespect or some other vile crime.

And quite why having a drink the night before the Duke of Edinburgh's funeral should be regarded as extra-wicked, meriting an apology from Downing Street, is anyone's guess. I bet HRH would have thoroughly approved.

How headlines work. Observe how the news headline: “Five Tory MPs call for Boris to resign.” is made much stronger by simply deleting the first word to give: “Tory MPs call for Boris to resign.” Stronger, but less truthful.

Eric Gill, the raging deviant who sexually abused his daughters and sisters and even the family dog, was also a consummately gifted sculptor whose carvings adorn BBC Broadcasting House. One was attacked last week by a man wielding a hammer while “talking about paedophiles”. The Beeb is having a debate on a suitable location for Gill's statues. The Kennel Club?

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