Express & Star

Peter Rhodes on royal favourites, a baffled Baldrick and rooting out our innermost cyber-thoughts

In order to root out future problems with police officers, constabulary recruiters are being urged to dig deeper into the social-media activity of would-be bobbies in the hunt for evidence of prejudice and misogyny. And who can argue with that?

Enough to puzzle Baldrick

However, none of us is without sin. If deep searches are made into our innermost thoughts, how long before we reach the stage where nobody is good enough to do anything?

My approach to social media is much the same as Baldrick's approach to the Renaissance in Blackadder (BBC). It's just something that happens to other people.

I do not tweet or snap or tok or book a face. I have quite enough on my plate, thanks, with readers' letters and online comments. So I cannot begin to understand how Elon Musk, the richest man in the world, can believe that Twitter, basically a global megaphone for endless (and usually pointless) gassing, is worth 40 billion dollars. Maybe it isn't. A few weeks should tell.

Our changing language. “Enormity” is often used nowadays to describe anything big. But its original meaning implies great wickedness. Judge Richard Marks, describing the terrible murder and beheading of Mee Kuen Chong by her friend Jemma Mitchell at the Old Bailey, told Mitchell: “The enormity of your crime is profoundly shocking.” Quite warmed the hearts of us old pedants.

In the latest poll on the popularity of the Royal Family, the surprise is not that Kate and Wills are so hot, scoring 67 and 69 per cent respectively, but that the disgraced Prince Andrew, although bottom of the list, still managed to score 13 per cent. Let us pause to consider the fact that, despite everything, thousands of Brits apparently think Andrew is a thoroughly good egg. These Andy-fans live and walk among us. They have the vote.

Predictably, the Duke of Sussex languishes in the royal-popularity poll at 44 per cent. Last week's Have I Got News for You (BBC1) will not have helped him. In his forthcoming book, Spare, Harry claims that, as a father, soldier, environmentalist, mental-wellness advocate and husband, he has “worn many hats”. HIGNFY unkindly reminded us that one of those hats (remember the fancy-dress party affair?) might have been a Nazi helmet.