Peter Rhodes on a perilous vegetable, a shameful court ruling and learning about Britain - in Israel
I AM no great fan of Donald Trump but credit where credit is due. His gag: "Nobody does self-deprecating humour better than I do" is a perfect political gem. Groucho Marx would have loved it.
EDITING on the hoof. Between 7am and 9am on Monday, someone at Radio 4 decided that Italy's "anti immigrant" party was actually "anti illegal immigrant." Which, presumably, is what all parties should be.
SUMMING up the character of the Anglo-Saxon, the great English poet Rudyard Kipling wrote: "He never means anything serious till he talks about justice and right. " At the very heart of what it means to be British is the belief that all of us, from toffs to travellers, are equal before the law. This explains the outrage over magistrates in Ipswich refusing to ban an army officer from driving, even though he was clocked at up to 130mph in his Aston Martin on an A-road. The 26-year-old captain argued that he needed to be able to drive during his forthcoming six-month tour of the Falklands. The magistrate described the incident as "unacceptable" and then made it appear perfectly acceptable by imposing merely a fine and costs. The local police commissioner is outraged and rightly so. It looks like a case of the Establishment taking care of its own. Justice? Right? Oh, please.
DANGER in the fridge. Can anyone explain what has happened to my sealed plastic bag of beetroot bought at Sainsbury's and still, at the time of writing, well within its use-by date? The contents have grown and swollen until the bag is as taut as a football and looks fit to burst. Fermentation, perhaps?
LATER this year Prince William will become the first British royal to make an official visit to Israel and Palestine. I hope William gets as much out of his visit as I got on a memorable assignment more than 30 years ago. In a single week I learned something about the Holy Land - and a great deal about my own country. The British class system is so ingrained that we hardly notice it. There were six journalists on this trip, plus a guide and a driver. Back in the UK at every appointment, the driver would have quietly slipped away to a transport cafe. In Israel, even though he didn't speak a word of English, the driver stayed with us. If we hacks dined with a government minister, then so did he. The driver was one of the party and, in Israeli society, it would have been rude to exclude him. Here in Britain we may talk about equality but we still have a way to go.
IT was entirely right and proper that Members of Parliament, in the form of the The Digital, Culture, Media and Sport select committee, should be the ones to dish the dirt this week on drug taking among British cyclists. After all, it's obvious that MPs never take anything to improve their performance.