Rhodes on too many words, not enough houses and taking a bullet for Putin

Read the latest column from Peter Rhodes.

Bernie Ecclestone, bullet-taker
Bernie Ecclestone, bullet-taker

Words, words, words. The Gettysburg Address - 272 words. The Sermon on the Mount - about 2,000 words. The terms and conditions for a year's subscription to BBC Gardeners' World magazine: 5,948 words.

And if you don't tick the box saying you've read and understood all those 5,948 words, they won't send you the magazine and you'll never discover what Monty's been mulching.

The older we get, the more conservative our views tend to become. Here's a strangely troubling statistic dug up by the leftish columnist Polly Toynbee: “Every year of life we age, we grow 0.35 per cent more likely to vote Tory.”

Downing Street is said to be “exploring the idea” of tackling the housing crisis with ultra-long mortgages of up to 50 years that could pass between generations.

So what's new? It's only six years since Sweden, which previously had unlimited loan terms, lowered its maximum mortgage term to 105 years. Some Swedish homeowners have loans which only their grandchildren will have a chance of paying off. And I seem to recall, on a trip to Israel nearly 40 years ago, that 100-year, multi-generation mortgages were being proposed in the face of sky-high property prices in Jerusalem. The theory is that, when they die, parents pass on the debt to their children. Gee, Dad - thanks.

In any case, why is there such a chronic shortage of housing in Britain? Can it possibly be connected to the fact that between the Queen's Silver Jubilee in 1977 and the Platinum Jubilee this year, the UK's population rose from 56.2 million to 67.4 million?

Formula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone is a fan of Vladimir Putin. He declares: “I’d still take a bullet for him. I’d rather it didn’t hurt, but if it does I’d still take a bullet, because he’s a first-class person.” It's a noble gesture and well worth a try. The snag, of course, is that any modern rifle bullet will easily pass straight through two human bodies. Maybe “snag” is the wrong word.

It is good that the House of Commons, already well-equipped with a creche for MPs' babies and toddlers, has decided not to allow babies in the House. It's vital that small and impressionable children are exposed to the best possible role models, not that shower.

Most Read

Most Read

Top Stories

More from the Express & Star

UK & International News