Peter Rhodes on Harry's note, finding the starting point in a war and who's more valuable – a doctor or a politician?
Read today's column from Peter Rhodes.
The Daily Mail called Harry and Meghan's farewell note an “astonishing statement”. It certainly is. Harry wrote that he and his wife were “continuing to fully support Her Majesty”. All that education and he's still splitting his infinitives. Astonishing, innit?
This time last week, Radio 4 began its coverage of the Middle East crisis with: “First the action, now the reaction.” This suggests the American drone strike which killed the Iranian general Qassem Soleimani was the starting point of today's stand-off, a sudden killing from out of the blue. It was no such thing. It was simply the latest move in a US-Iran war which has been spluttering for 40 years and it followed a series of Iran-inspired attacks, including a full-scale assault on the US embassy in Baghdad. And it's not over yet.
In the same way, 100 rockets fired from Gaza into Israel are barely reported but a single Israeli tank shell fired in retaliation is headline news at Broadcasting House.
The moment Donald Trump threatened to target heritage sites in Iran, the world suddenly got outraged. Such is the lesson of history. By 1991 the world had stood by for years as the Taliban killed thousands of innocents in Afghanistan. But when the Taliban demolished the world's two largest standing Buddhas at Bamiyan, our political leaders were suddenly horrified. Similarly, the Islamic State's vandalism of ancient Palmyra caused far more fuss than hundreds of civilian deaths.
And you may recall how in the early 1990s the IRA horrified us by bombing cultural icons in London: the Baltic Exchange, Planetarium, Royal Festival Hall, Imperial War Museum and London Stock Exchange. Do we really value buildings and statues more highly than human life?
The world warned Trump that demolishing some of Iran's ancient treasures would constitute a war crime under the Hague Convention. And yet I don't remember a single IRA bomber being criticised, let alone prosecuted, for war crimes after the London attacks. New war, same old double-standards.
Rosena Allin-Khan MP is a contender for deputy leader of the Labour Party. She is also a skilled doctor in a busy London A&E department. We should all be free to pursue whatever we wish in life. But don't you wonder what makes anyone think they would be more valuable to society, and contribute more to the world, as a deputy party leader than as a doctor?
Aston Martin reports a disappointing year with shares down 11 per cent. But Rolls Royce had a record year, selling 5,152 vehicles. What does this tell us? Possibly that the very rich are having a hard time of it but the very, very rich are doing okay, thanks.
There are votes in trees. Labour promised to plant 100 million trees a year, the Tories 30 million and the Lib-Dems 60 million. Whoever plants them, and however many trees we get, can somebody, after Australia's nightmare, ensure they are fire-proof?