Is there something about the Palace of Westminster that makes men reckless? As Pinchergate rumbles on, I recall that the only place I have ever been propositioned by anybody was in the gentlemen's lavatories at the House of Lords. It was about 30 years ago. I was approached by an elderly, popular and highly respected politician. There was no physical contact. But he stood far too close and his direction of travel, to use a modern phrase, was plain. I remember being surprised and vaguely amused.
No surprises in this week's survey among Black Country people which reveals that 52 per cent of them are pessimistic about the future of the region. If they were optimistic, they wouldn't be true Black Country folk, who tend to be lugubrious. They remind me of my Yorkshire relatives who took a generally dim view of things. There is a tale of a Yorkshireman who arrives at the Pearly Gates and beholds a land of angelic choirs and eternal bliss. “Is this Paradise?” he asks St Peter. “Yes,” replies the saint, “but you won't like it.”
Having binge-watched The Undeclared War (C4), an excellent thriller about lies and deception between Britain and Russia in cyber-space, I switched on the news to hear that the British Army's Twitter and YouTube accounts had been breached. So it's started . . ?
Talking of fake news, I am reminded of the lady serving us in a shop in Devon a few weeks ago. While wrapping our purchases, she explained how all the US school massacres are “co-ordinated” with the ultimate aim of disarming the American people and thus controlling the States. She did not explain who was doing the co-ordinating or how but she was utterly convinced of a conspiracy.
So why, in a world awash with such conspiracies, do the majority of people still believe mainstream politicians and long-established media? Glad you asked. I came across a message board last week where someone denounced those who don't believe in conspiracies as “the four-jabbed idiots.” It's the Covid injections, right? Just off to wrap my head in tinfoil.