Express & Star

Peter Rhodes on a chicken blunder, a questionable ballot and eating out at £200 a time

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) stands accused of using a voting process variously described as “odd” and “circuitous” to gather enough votes to call industrial action. Not all nurses are happy with the outcome. Support for any strike is at best patchy.

Nurses at a nursing station. Photo: Jane Barlow/PA Wire

People say that history repeats itself and I can't be the only one reminded of the nasty, juddery progress of a doomed national strike back in 1984-85 which was called without a proper ballot and caused bitter division. Who's advising the RCN today – Arthur Scargill?

Two new guide books claim the price of a meal at the UK’s best restaurants has more than doubled since Brexit from £100 a head to more than £200. I'm not sure this tells us anything about Brexit but when so many people are prepared to pay £200 for a blow-out, it does rewrite an old adage: a fool and his money are soon partying.

You know a TV drama is destined for greatness when it has the confidence to kill off two fine leading actors in the first few minutes. Farewell Toby Jones (suicide) and Ciaran Hinds (throat cut), who laid down their lives in the first episode of the violent but totally enchanting and superbly filmed new Western series, The English (BBC1). You know, there are times when I do not resent paying the licence fee.

Our changing language. I'd never come across this one before. An actor's wife at a charity event in London was described by one reporter as “modelesque.” So much kinder than “skinny.”

My item on the need to teach schoolkids about slavery recalls a well-intentioned campaign in Texas where educators agreed that pupils should be protected from topics that might make them “feel discomfort.” One working party proposed a curriculum in which slavery was described as “involuntary relocation.”

And if you think that's crass, what do you make of KFC Germany's invitation for customers to commemorate Kristallnacht, the beginning of the Holocaust which ultimately killed six million Jews, by dining on “tender cheese with crispy chicken”? KFC was mortified. Its excuse is that this was a computer-generated promotion “linked to calendars that include national observances.” I dare say the computers were only obeying orders.