Peter Rhodes: Incompetent terrorists? It's a deadly delusion

By Peter Rhodes | Peter Rhodes | Published:

I RECENTLY reported the suggestion that owners of draughty houses might be forced to bring them up to modern insulation standards before being allowed to sell them. A reader says this is an issue which affects some of the grandest houses in the land. As he puts it: "Even Chequers has draughts."

Windy old Chequers?

CHEQUERS. Draughts. Took me a while, too.

AS Whitehall considers new laws to control reckless cyclists, the obvious question arises: Who's going to enforce them? The police? Hardly. If they can't get a grip on homicidal idiots driving lorries and cars, how can we expect them to nick unruly cyclists? A few days ago I was a passenger in a car on the M6. Between Walsall and Birmingham I saw four drivers using their mobile phones. The striking thing was that none of them made any attempt to hide what they were doing, including the driver of a Range Rover towing a trailer loaded with chassis and cheerfully exceeding the speed limit. In theory, using a mobile while driving can result in a £200 instant fine and six points on your licence. In practice, the chances of getting caught are so remote that some drivers carry on regardless.

PEDANT corner. The plural of chassis is chassis. The only difference is that in the plural form the final S is pronounced.

"IRMA shows we need a strong navy," thunders the Daily Telegraph, calling for the Fleet to be enlarged, in part to protect those little scraps of the old British Empire scattered around the Caribbean and elsewhere. Hurricane Irma has reminded us how many little places still fly the Union Jack. But do they really need us? And can we afford them? It is surely time for post-Imperial Britain to hold a major review into which possessions suit us and which should be encouraged either towards independence or federation with closer countries. Rather than make the Fleet bigger, let's make the Empire smaller.

JUST because you think something doesn't mean you have to commit it to print. This, from The Guardian website, is the sort of crass headline some hapless sub-editor may live to regret: "Four Lions factor: how terrorist incompetence is saving lives." The piece is about the Parsons Green atrocity when the bomb failed to detonate fully. But beware of assuming every jihadist is clueless. And beware, too, of likening any incident to the black-comedy film Four Lions. After all the hilarious cock-ups made by the four would-be martyrs, Four Lions ends with the distraught Omar (Riz Ahmed ) walking into a branch of Boots and blowing himself, the store, its staff and customers to shreds. Even incompetent terrorists can kill you.

WHATEVER happens to Boris Johnson, remember that the biggest lie ever told about the EU is not about how much money we pay into it. It is the gross,unforgivable whopper, repeated endlessly over 40 years, that if we ever wanted to leave the Union, it would be an easy matter.

A READER draws my attention to an advert for a house for sale. According to the estate agent's blurb, it features "four bedrooms, master dressing area, bathroom and guest WC, no chain."

Peter Rhodes

By Peter Rhodes

Award-winning columnist and blogger. Keeping an eye on the tribulations and trivia of a fast-changing world


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