Peter Rhodes on vegan kilts, dangerous statistics and the global message of McDonald's
Read today's column from Peter Rhodes.
That nation-shattering, constitution-threatening, media-obsessing Royal Crisis in full:
- Harry and Meghan ask to spend more time in Canada
- Queen says: “Oh, all right, then.”
- That's it.
From Scotland comes news of a company manufacturing vegan kilts, avoiding all animal products such as wool and leather. The result is a pleated polyester bloke-skirt with plastic straps. But why stop there? Where is the macrobiotic sporran, the plant-based Tam o' Shanter, the lentil-derived dirk? Are we serious about saving this planet or not?
How statistics are made up. According to the Crime Survey for England and Wales this week, about one in five adults experienced some form of child abuse before they turned 16. Which sounds appalling until you read the small print: “Experiences ranged from being threatened as a child to rape.” In which bizarre parallel universe can a verbal threat be in any way equated to child-rape? These figures seem to prove that if you spread the criteria wide enough, you can prove anything.
“You wait till your father gets home.” Quickly, log it, prosecute it, put the mother on probation. That threat is surely another appalling case of child abuse.
The same catch-all approach is seen in the nationwide offensive against motorists who stray a few mph over the speed limit. What we need is law enforcement that works like a sniper to pick off the truly homicidal drivers and the vilest child abusers without mercy. Instead, the authorities use the shotgun approach. They try to convince us that a) nicking thousands of harmless motorists at 34mph is saving us from road carnage and b) extending the definition of child abuse to cover normal family behaviour and getting thousands of convictions will somehow reduce childhood suffering. Yet as the net is cast ever wider the sadistic, long-term torture and murder of infants goes on year after year, committed by a relatively small number of monsters, while cops and social workers are looking the other way.
The last barricade has fallen. Until now, the tiny county of Rutland has been the only English county without a McDonald's restaurant. Councillors this week voted to allow a drive-through. I dare say the locals (Rutlanders? Ruttles?) will quickly learn the global lesson of McDonald's, or for that matter of any fast-food joint. To have one 200 yards from your home is a great asset. To have one 10 yards from your home is a damn nuisance.
Men who go down to the sea in ships have always been a special breed. Cornwall: This Fishing Life (BBC2) is a fascinating study of big, blunt fishing-boat blokes who, depending on the tide, currents and fathomless panic of unseen silvery shoals, can make nothing one night and £1,000 the next. Catch it if you can. I guarantee you'll never feel the same way about sardines on toast.