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Peter Rhodes on Brexit brains, the march of Americanisms and a "privacy policy" where nothing seems private

By Peter Rhodes | Peter Rhodes | Published:

More Yankslang

Gotten chucked out

A FEW days after buying our new car we received an email from the makers notifying us that their privacy policy had been updated. I dare say most of us never read such stuff with its endless pages of small print. But I had an idle moment. It turned into quite a chilling moment.

"THE information we collect," began the email, " includes some or all of the following:" It then listed no fewer than 19 varieties of information garnered, from your phone number, address and date of birth to your GPS location, internet browser and the all-embracing "details of any transactions between you and us or any retailer."

HAVING gathered this information about you, the car makers may "from time to time" disclose it to: "Roadside assistance service providers, customer contact centres, mobility and car hire providers, direct marketing communications agencies and consultants, market research and market analytics service providers, our legal and other professional advisors." Call me paranoid but it looks as though this company, and thousands like it, are gathering as much information as they can and giving it to anybody they choose. If this is a "privacy policy," heaven protect us from blabbermouths.

THE unstoppable march of Yankslang continues. In that bible of middle England and English values the Daily Mail, no less, a columnist declares that Susannah Constantine in Strictly Come Dancing (BBC1) "couldn't have gotten much worse." No, indeedy.

MEANWHILE, at the Biased Broadcasting Corporation, the front page of BBC News contained a photo with the caption: "Donald Trump was spotted with what appeared to be toilet paper stuck to the sole of his shoe as he boarded an Air Force One plane." So that's world news, is it? Would Auntie have used a similar picture involving Barack Obama? If not, why not?

THE Scottish Government has passed a law banning public bodies from putting the Shetland Islands in a little box on maps, a traditional cartographer's trick which makes the islands look closer to the mainland than they are. From now on, maps should show the islands exactly where they are, many miles away across the northern seas. I am reminded of my attempt, a few years ago, to create a bespoke map of south Devon. It is an online service, allowing you to put any place you want at the middle of your map. What could be finer than a map centred on our favourite seaside village of Beer? Think it through. When the map arrived, the bottom half of it was blue.

DOES anyone believe all that chummy Irish-EU chatter about Brexit being agreed in the next couple of weeks? Me neither. There is still lots of amusement to be had for Dublin and Brussels as they play their favourite party game of backing Britain into a corner and then accusing it of being intransigent. The history of Europe is a long and unhappy catalogue of foreigners assuming that, in the end, the Brits will always see common sense and capitulate. Common sense? Us? Really?

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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