Peter Rhodes on smart Alecs, viral remedies and how to be a broadcaster

By Peter Rhodes | Peter Rhodes | Published:

Read the latest column from Peter Rhodes.

Dominic Cummings

There are bargains and bargains. According to eBay, I can make a massive saving of £1,597.01p. This is based on the assertion that the last time I viewed an anti-Covid face mask the asking price was £1,600 and they're now selling them at £2.99. Oh, yeah?

How strange that the Dominic Cummings debate, conducted by journalists and politicians who regard themselves as thoroughly modern and infallibly woke, has been shot through with old-fashioned sexism and paternalism.

The assumption throughout has been that the coronavirus flight to County Durham was entirely Cummings' responsibility. But what if wasn't his idea? What if it was Mrs Cummings' decision? Should the Tory adviser then have overruled his wife? And if so, on what grounds – that he is the man of the house? One for you, Ms Kuenssberg.

Broadcasting for beginners. And now over to Professor Nigel Noddy, director of the Wrekin Institute of Irrational Epidemiology, who alleges that every coronavirus death on a line north of the River Trent can be directly attributed to Dominic Cummings. Later, we'll be talking to Dr Donut Golightly, senior researcher in Applied Exaggeration at the University of Hyperbole, who believes Professor Noddy has grossly underestimated the death toll which she puts at “about 20 million.” But first, let's hear from Ricky, Archbishop of Moreton-in-Marsh, who believes there is biblical evidence that the entire Cummings Family for three generations hence shall boil in the fiery furnaces of Hades. We should warn viewers of a nervous disposition that this interview contains the word “Thatcher.”

Back in the real world, Brian Booth, a representative with West Yorkshire Police Federation says enforcing the lockdown could become impossible in the wake of the Cummings affair. He says:”It really does undermine what we are trying to achieve. We already have it hard with smart Alecs who think they know the law better than us and this just plays into their hands.” To which there are two answers. Firstly, what lockdown? Secondly, how short does he think our memories are?

Barely two weeks ago it was revealed that police and prosecutors wrongly charged dozens of people under the coronavirus regulations. Police apologised and blamed "the rushed nature of the laws" but one civil-rights lawyer described over-zealous policing by some chief constables "misstating the law." So maybe some smart Alecs really did know the law better than some bobbies.

The spread of the virus has created an online boom in home remedies. I had to smile at one submitted by somebody who laid out their credentials thus: “I suffer from flu every six months or so. . . since it affects me so regularly I spent countless hours of online research and trial/error on how to get rid of it when it happens.” Their list of “what worked for me” includes gargling in salt water and drinking cider vinegar. And remember, this anti-flu remedy comes with the endorsement of somebody who gets flu every six months.

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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