Peter Rhodes on massive lottery wins, working from home and Keir Starmer's dilemma

After DVLA staff and Whitehall civil servants, police have joined the throng of those proclaiming the joy and efficiency of working from home. How long before we hear the same nonsense from truancy officers?

Joe and Jess Thwaite – a happy outlook?
Joe and Jess Thwaite – a happy outlook?

In Hampshire, a Police Federation official trills with delight at the improved work-life balance being enjoyed by officers working at home: “It is a bit more of a relaxed atmosphere.” Has anyone asked Joe Public how he feels about cops being “relaxed” while investigating the murder of a loved one? Thought not.

You may think Joe and Jess Thwaite, the £184 million EuroMillions winners, are stark staring mad to go public about their massive jackpot. But then how, in this wired age of ours, could they have hoped to keep it secret?

Perhaps there was once a time when people could be sworn to secrecy. But today we are a nation of blabbermouths and it only takes one tweet for your secret to be shared among nine billion fellow humans. The best that Joe and Jess can do is instantly remove themselves from social media, heed all the good advice on offer from the lottery organisers and keep as low-profile as possible.

I hope their sudden wealth brings them happiness but the track record of big jackpot winners is not encouraging. One hundred and eighty-four separate prizes of £1 million would create much more happiness than this terrifyingly unmanageable £184 million tsunami of cash.

The eternal allure of politics is how, time after time, it produces something unforeseeable and unexpected. Wouldn't it be bizarre if this Partygate nonsense ended with the Tories keeping their roguish leader and Labour losing its saintly Keir? It may not happen but by threatening to resign if he is fined, the eternally holier-than-thou Keir Starmer has beatified himself into a corner. In effect he is saying to Boris: “If we are both fined then we must both jump to our political deaths.” To which Boris may reply: “You jump if you want, pal. But I've paid my £50. Slate clean.”

I am reminded of a historian who explained to me the dangers of going to war with people who don't fight fair. As he put it rather elegantly: “Never get into a p***ing match with a skunk.”

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