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Peter Rhodes on the joy of blame, the rushing of royal-birth photos and how events conspired against Extinction Rebellion

By Peter Rhodes | Peter Rhodes | Published:

Read today's column from Peter Rhodes.

Take your time, Duchess

YOU know how it is when something strikes you as amusing but in such poor taste that a) you must be the only one thinking it and b) you certainly wouldn't repeat it. And then somebody else does. My thanks to Private Eye for making the point that the new generation of no-fault divorces announced by the Government won't be half as gratifying as the old, nasty and dripping-with-venom divorces. The Eye cartoon shows a lady hissing to her friend: "But I don't want to divorce him if I can't blame him."

I CAN'T imagine many women are surprised at Duchess Meghan of Tinseltown's decision to have a private birth, far removed from the traditional goldfish-bowl event. We have seen the grisly process too many times. Within minutes of giving birth, perfect baby and its lippy-glossed, haute-couture, elegantly-coiffed and astonishingly trim royal mother are radiant in the dazzle of a million camera flashes on the pavement outside a London clinic. We have no idea what combination of painkillers and Palace-pressure makes such things possible but it is far, far removed from the experience of most mothers.

SO this time, you set the agenda, Duchess. Whatever the idiot courtiers may tell tell you, there really is is no rush.

HISTORY will probably tell us that this week, not last week, would have been the best time for the Extinction Rebellion protests in London. The aim of such events is to grab the maximum media coverage. Who could have guessed that the protesters' disruption would be knocked right down the TV News running order and into the middle pages of the newspapers, first by the Tiger Woods sensation and then by the fire in Notre Dame? Nobody has ever explained the general cussedness and plan-wrecking nature of life quite as well as Harold Macmillan: "Events, dear boy. Events."

IN covering the Extinction Rebellion events, TV and radio seemed to follow the tried-and-trusted system for reporting the views of Brexiteers: find somebody who looks like a village idiot and shove a microphone in his or her face. And off they go, blathering on about the Government doing nuffink and there's no point in having babies 'cos the planet's doomed, innit?

AND because all the working people are busy working, there's no-one on the scene to point out the massive energy revolution of the past 20 years. The coal mines, which once employed half a million Brits in appalling conditions, are all gone, smogs have vanished and on some days most of the UK's power comes from renewables, including thousands of wind turbines. This country and its economy have been transformed by the quest for cleaner power. Of course, more needs to be done. But the way we think about everything from plastic to aviation, from motoring to sorting our rubbish has changed more in the past five years than in the half-century before. The real revolution is well under way and anyone who claims "They" are doing nothing is simply wrong.

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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