Express & Star

Rhodes on Boris's love life, Keir's saintliness and a lesson in business from the French

Read the latest column from Peter Rhodes.

Saint Keir – cruisin' for a bruisin'?

Penitent stool. I reported last week that the sentencing powers of magistrates have been increased from six months to “12 years.” This should, of course have read “12 months”. More's the pity.

After last week's election results came in, the Daily Mail used a headline which can be understood in two ways: “Tories turn on Boris.” I believe the original version of this headline followed 1970s campus riots in the States: “Students turn on firemen.”

Anyway, it's a fact that Boris is turned on not only by Tories but by colleagues, his own wives, other people's wives, lobbyists, artists and goodness knows who else. His string of lovers is long and tangled and we still don't know exactly how many children he has. One former lover describes his technique as “persistent”. Still, in Ukraine they regard him as a saint.

And if I were a political leader this week I'd much rather be in Boris's boots than Keir Starmer's. Oh, how stern and unforgiving Starmer was only a few weeks ago as the PM was first investigated by police and then fined. Oh, how Saint Keir of Righteousness shook his head at the wickedness of Boris Johnson and demanded, more in sorrow than in anger that, for the good of the nation and the reputation of the Commons, the PM had to resign.

Yet today Starmer himself is in the frame. As Durham Police re-examine Beergate, the event seems to be morphing from a few beers with the lads into the Feeding of the Five Thousand. Starmer's fall from grace may shock you to the core. On the other hand you may have followed his holier-than-thou tirades in the Commons and thought, yup, he's cruisin' for a bruisin'.

Meanwhile, in the real world, a queue forms at the new cashless meter in our local car park which demands your plastic before spending several minutes “authorising your card”. What makes the process more irritating is the council's notice alongside announcing: “Parking's never been easier.” Lying toads.

It is claimed that the French refused to supply technology which could have protected our warships from the deadly, and best-selling, Exocet missiles in the Falklands War 40 years ago. In the world of French commerce there is a useful phrase: “Les affaires sont les affaires.” Or as we Brits put it, business is business.