Peter Rhodes on a missing loo, the approach of Brexit and summer's last blast
Read today's column from Peter Rhodes.
I MAY have missed it but as far as I can see, to my great sorrow, no newspaper has used the oldest and best gag, employed by generations of headline writers to describe the theft of sanitary fittings. A £1 million solid gold WC was stolen from Blenheim Palace. Police had nothing to go on.
NINE little words. They are hardly the Gettysburg Address or Churchill's "Finest Hour" speech and they're not even particularly grammatical. And yet they signify that Brexit is no longer a theory or a promise but is just around the corner. The words have appeared on British motorways over the past few days; you may have seen them on the gantry displays. They offer advice to hauliers and truckers: "Freight to EU may change November 1. Check papers." It's happening, folks.
IN A free society, there's nothing we could or should do to prevent people waving EU flags at The Last Night of the Proms. But isn't there something decidedly odd about singing Land of Hope and Glory in praise of Britain while waving the banner of a hopeless and rather inglorious superstate.
I SPENT a night on my old boat, rocked on the bosom of the deep in what one newspaper called "summer's last blast." Strange, isn't it, this desire for a home from home? If it isn't a boat, or a shed, then it's a den, a caravan or a chalet. We have perfectly good homes yet we yearn for something smaller, colder, damper and wobblier. Odd.
INCIDENTALLY, I bet the recent warm days turn out not to be "summer's last blast." The seasons always produce a surprise. Remember balmy February? And I'll never forget the shock of leaning back against a pub wall in a beer garden in Lyme Regis some years ago and finding it as hot as a storage heater - in October.
ACCORDING to one report, Labour is planning the dismantling of private schools through "the full redistribution of their assets." This is fighting talk. It will stir the spirits of those who cherish equality, fairness and human rights. So you may be surprised to learn that the European Convention on Human Rights has this to say about schools: "In the exercise of any functions which it assumes in relation to education and to teaching, the State shall respect the right of parents to ensure such education and teaching in conformity with their own religious and philosophical convictions." So what happens if parents can prove a genuine philosophical conviction that a paid-for, boarding educating is the greatest gift they can give little Boris, Jacob or Dave?
ANY serious move to shut down Eton, Harrow or any other public schools could lead into interminable human-rights hearings in the highest courts in the land. It would be a bonanza for Britain's top legal practices which are, of course, stuffed with the products of Eton, Harrow and other public schools. Trebles all round, chaps. Jeremy's paying the bill.