Rhodes on Swedish neutrality and making a fortune from looking at the rain

A beach hut at Southwold in Suffolk is for sale at £250,000. The lease has only 18 years to run, there's annual ground rent of almost £1,000 to pay and the buyer won't even be allowed to stay overnight in the 10ft wide hut. At first sight it looks a bit steep.

Beach huts – a nice little earner
Beach huts – a nice little earner

And then you read the small print and discover that in elegant, genteel Southwold some of the beach huts are used all year round and rented for an eye-watering £600 a week. You can get a seven-night holiday in Spain for less than that.

As the great American showman P T Barnum might have put it, no-one ever lost money by overestimating the eagerness of Brits to sit in small buildings, looking at the rain.

Britain has signed an agreement to come to the aid of Sweden and Finland if a “disaster” strikes or the Russian bear extends his bloody claws in their direction. This is a huge change for Sweden which has preserved and cherished its neutrality. Well, sort of. One hates to rain on Boris's parade but Sweden cheerfully exported high-grade steel to Nazi Germany throughout the Second World War - as Mr Putin, who seems to be living in 1945, will no doubt remind us in the days to come.

The latest migrants brought ashore at Dover were, as usual, mostly young men. But one was clutching a toddler. Shouldn't the first action by the immigration authorities be to carry out DNA tests to establish who, if anyone, on the boat is related to the child? It might also be wise to take the child's fingerprints, if only to ensure he doesn't mysteriously reappear in Calais and be sent off on another of these leaky death-traps? Or would such checks infringe somebody's human rights?

Presenter Adam Henson stands accused of wokery by referring in Countryfile (BBC1) to cattle whose gestation period is “the same as a person, nine months.” I heard the broadcast and it didn't strike me as politically loaded but some Tweeters denounced Henson for not referring to “women” rather than “a person.” I suspect the problem is that we have all become over-sensitised to such things. Five years ago, no-one would even have noticed Henson's choice of words. Since then, taking offence has become a national sport.

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