Peter Rhodes on rickshaw resentment, expressions we hate and the row over a naked statue

Read the latest column from Peter Rhodes.

The Mary Wollstonecraft statue
The Mary Wollstonecraft statue

I'm a Celebrity . . . Get Me Out of Here! is being filmed in Abergele. A national newspaper reported how one pair of devoted fans, Jane and Melanie, drove right across Wales, from Caerphilly in the south to Abergele in the north, “in the hope of seeing Ant and Dec.” Saddest thing I've read for ages.

I'm not sure if police officers are looking any younger, but the years still spin by. Doesn't the Winter Fuel Payment seem to come around quickly?

According to a survey by a mobile-phone company a few days ago, the expressions we find most insufferable include thinking outside the box, low-hanging fruit, touching base, and spit-balling ideas. This is vital research which tells us much about modern Britain. I congratulate the survey people for nailing this puppy to the ceiling.

The BBC's annual Rickshaw Challenge has been forced off the road and on to exercise bikes after one of the crew tested positive for Coronavirus. The surprise is that the BBC ever got involved with rickshaws in the first place. More than 30 years ago in Hong Kong I was told that the rickshaw was widely seen as a symbol of colonialism and oppression. They were forbidden in China from 1947. When Kolkata (Calcutta) set out to ban its last surviving rickshaws a few years back, local politicians denounced them as “barbaric, despicable and inhuman.”

Although the Rickshaw Challenge teams are all volunteers, the rickshaw itself has so many unpleasant overtones of rich white men being towed by poor natives that you'd think a politically-correct and woke organisation like the BBC would give it a wide berth. If this were the Nigel Farage Rickshaw Challenge, I bet the Beeb would have done a little research and denounced it long ago.

New ways with maths. The Guardian reports: “According to UK study, just five per cent of children’s books have black, Asian or minority ethnic protagonists – a small improvement from one per cent in 2017 .” Small? Who says? Any statistician will tell you that to multiply anything by five is a big thing. It's only a small thing if you're trying to make a point.

When my time comes and my adoring readers insist on raising a statue in my memory, may I make one request? Please let it be fully clothed. Feminists are falling out with each other over the curious, naked, silver thingy erected in London to celebrate the life and works of Britain's pioneer feminist, Mary Wollstonecraft. The sculptor Maggi Hambling says the figure represents “the ongoing battle – a woman ready to challenge the world.” Seriously? Wouldn't Mary be a little more confident about going into battle if she were at least wearing her knickers? My statue? Tweed jacket and pair of corduroys would be grand.

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