Peter Rhodes on Santa's voting intentions, flooding folly and some new words for an old song

Read today's column from Peter Rhodes.

 Plan? What plan?
Plan? What plan?

A few days ago I posed the most crucial question of this yuletide General Election: who will Santa be voting for? A reader suggests it will probably be the Lib-Dems because he suspects Santa is a Remaindeer.

Extinction Rebellion activists who blocked the streets of London are now lining up to sue the police for thousands of pounds in compensation after a court ruled that the police's blanket ban on demos was unlawful. The icebergs may melt, the polar bears may drown and coastal cities may slip beneath the waves but whatever the weather, the lawyers will always do well.

Moral from inundated Yorkshire If you build on the flood plain, it will flood. Plainly.

Sometimes, the clue is in the name, as with Somerset, a low-lying place which was badly flooded in 2013-14 and considered by our ancestors to be suitable only for summer habitation. One of the worst-flooded places near Doncaster this week was the village of Fishlake.

You might imagine, after a series of terrible floods, that Whitehall would have come up with some brilliant UK-wide plan to encourage development on higher ground and forbid it on the flood plains. Not exactly. In February this year Whitehall announced that, according to the latest planning on river and coastal risk management, "as the population grows,the number of properties in the flood plain is set to double over the next 50 years." That's not exactly a strategy is it? More a meek acceptance that things are bad and cannot be changed. I can only advise you either to run for the hills or buy lots of sand bags.

The polls suggest Boris Johnson is heading for election victory. At times like this I recall the over-confident pundit on Radio 4 the night before Theresa May's disastrous 2017 snap General Election who said all discussion was pointless. How so? He explained: "By this time tomorrow we’ll have a Tory government with a 100-seat majority.” Computer-aided voting analysis is all very well but sometimes it's no better than examining the entrails of a chicken.

Memo: Dear Royal British Legion, I must protest in the strongest possible terms at the choice of "All the Nice Girls Love a Sailor" to mark the entrance of the Merchant Navy contingent at Saturday's Festival of Remembrance. This song, suggesting that all sailors are male, prolongs gender stereotypes, reinforces the global patriarchal hegemony and denies positive role models to people of all genders (or none) considering a career at sea. May I suggest the following change of lyrics for the opening line of this song? "All nice people, whatever their sexuality, race or creed and no matter where they figure on the LGBTQI++ spectrum, would favourably consider a consensual relationship with a member of the Merchant Navy built on mutual respect, non-binary awareness and safe spaces." I leave the musical arrangement to your judgment. Yours &c . . .

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