Peter Rhodes on justice in Brum, the jailing of a cardinal and how the wind makes Brexit worse

By Peter Rhodes | Peter Rhodes | Published:

Read today's column from Peter Rhodes.

Tim Minchin

BIRMINGHAM - a shining example of the English criminal-justice system at its best. A man is attacked by a stranger and knocked to the ground. The attacker is instantly detained, arrested, charged and the very next day is hauled before a court and jailed for 14 weeks. Has justice ever been so quick and competent? Or does it only work like this if the victim is a football star?

I COULDN'T help wondering, in the wake of the attack on Villa captain Jack Grealish, how many innocent Brummies were thumped or kicked in the streets over the weekend, and all they got from the police was a crime number and a leaflet from Victim Support.

THE jailing of Cardinal George Pell for sexually abusing two choirboys shows that the Australian legal system works well, if you give it long enough. It is three years since the singer, comedian and creator of Matilda, Tim Minchin boldly performed his song Come Home, Cardinal Pell. Minchin denounced the cleric as "scum" and challenged him, if the allegations were untrue, to sue. If the libel laws in Oz are anything like ours, Minchin was taking a chance. Today he is vindicated. I bet his lawyers are relieved.

SO did you wake yesterday tetchy, irritable and generally hacked off with the entire Brexit process and all the politicians who have led us into such a humiliating dead-end? But was it the MPs, or was it Storm Gareth? There is no human dilemma that cannot be made instantly worse by a 60mph wind howling though your chimneys. The link between winds and moods has been known for thousands of years. In severe cases it's called Ancraophobia and can lead to extreme anxiety, dry mouth, tremors, rapid breathing, sweating of the palms, nausea and irregular heart beat.

HOWEVER, if the wind dies down and you still feel angry, irritable and hacked off, it's probably down to the politicians, after all.

MEANWHILE, the proposed scrapping of tariffs revealed by the Treasury in the event of a no-deal Brexit looks like a promise of cheap imports for all. Dream on. Look closely and it seems the price of foreign agricultural products, in a blatant display of protectionism, would still be kept artificially high by tariffs in order to protect British farmers. Agriculture accounts for only about one per cent of the UK economy but, my goodness, farmers know how to lobby politicians.

DODGY deduction department. Just because I didn't specifically include McDonald's in my recent list of restaurant chains I've never visited does not make me a Big Mac fan, as one reader deduces. Indeed, as far as I can recall, I've only ever visited one branch of McDonald's and that was in Gibraltar some years ago where I bought an apple pastry. It was as hot as lava and instantly blistered my mouth. An unforgettable dining experience. A Big Mac remains something for the bucket list. Bottom of the bucket, since you ask.

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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