Peter Rhodes on cut-price funerals, death by paywall and the most serious allegations of all

By Peter Rhodes | Peter Rhodes | Published:

Read the latest column from Peter Rhodes.

Alex Salmond – conspiracy?

A reader tells me he had a leaflet pushed through his letterbox from a firm of funeral directors offering: “£100 off. Discount ends April 30. He asks: “What do they know that we don't?”

Many online publishers hide some of their content behind so-called paywalls, keeping the best stuff for those who are prepared to pay to read. And there's nothing wrong with that, for normal topics in normal times. But you can't help noticing the number of articles now hiding useful information behind paywalls, on the lines of: “The 10 best ways to protect yourself from coronavirus are SUBSCRIBE NOW TO CONTINUE READING.” It may make good business sense but doesn't it sound like demanding money with menaces?

We should not be surprised at the steady stream of MPs self-isolating with Covid-19 type symptoms. Just look at how there were crammed together in the House of Commons. If you kept hamsters like that you'd be prosecuted.

The claims made by Alex Salmond after his sex-pest acquittals are the gravest allegations that a citizen can raise against the state. He alleges nothing less than a top-level conspiracy to subvert Scotland's legal system and put him, an innocent politician, in jail. It is impossible to sweep these allegations aside as the exasperation of a wronged public figure desperately trying to rebuild his reputation. Nothing less than a full public inquiry will suffice, with a full re-examination of all the evidence, including some of the claims and rebuttals that were never tested in court. It may take time. It would certainly cost millions. But until the truth is established, Scotland's government, its political parties and the entire Scottish Establishment, jokingly referred to as the McMafia, stand accused of being unfit to govern Scotland, or even to run a banana republic.

“Once we are through this crisis,” asks a reader, “would it be a good time to rethink the current absurd Honours Lists?” Damn right.

Day by day we are learning who really matters. It is not royalty, rock legends, sport stars, rap artists, tycoons, explorers, politicians, poets, Whitehall mandarins or most of the others who queue up each year for gongs at the Palace. The people who matter are doctors, nurses, paramedics, delivery drivers, water, gas and electricity supply workers, truckers, farmers, food producers, supermarket staff and those running corner shops and post offices. The best Honours List would be the one made up entirely of these national saviours which people would read and then declare: “You know, I've never heard of any of them.”

Humble correction and apology. Earlier this week, in an item on pub lock-ins of the past, I claimed “most of the drinkers were cops coming off their night shift.” A retired officer says this is entirely untrue. They were off the late shift, not the night shift.

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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