Peter Rhodes on a Longbridge legend, sitting with lions and 32 years of Driving Home for Christmas

Read the latest column from Peter Rhodes.

The Metro - Rust in Peace
The Metro - Rust in Peace

According to a coalition called the People's Vaccine Alliance, rich countries are hoarding doses of Covid vaccines and people living in poor countries will miss out. Pardon my cynicism but it's a fact that some of the world's poorest countries are run by fabulously rich politicians. How many of them could perfectly well afford to buy a few million doses of vaccine if it was a priority for them? And how many would prefer to spend the national budget on private jets, presidential palaces and overseas bolt-holes?

Chris Rea describes his Christmas belter, Driving Home for Christmas as “an accidental hit.” But how would the chart-topper, first released in 1988, fare if it were recorded now? Back then, it was a song about a husky-voiced rock star heading back to his loved ones. Today it's a song about an old bloke who has just been sharing a car with other people coming to burst your Covid bubble. And he seems to have a persistent dry throat . . . .

It may have passed you by but this year marks an anniversary for what one motoring writer describes as “arguably the best British car ever made.” A Bentley, perhaps? An Aston Martin? A glorious old Alvis? Nope. The birthday banger in question is the Austin Metro which first graced our roads 40 years ago.

A veteran of the Longbridge works once told me how he and his mates were taken to a pre-launch unveiling for the Austin workforce. The theatre curtains opened and there, on a plinth, shone the Metro. After years of building turkeys, here was the neat, chic future of the British car industry. “I'm not kidding,” he said, “there were grown men in tears.”

In the years that followed many Metro owners also shed tears as their pride and joy rusted and rotted away. The true test of a classic car is how many you see around today. There's an online Metro exhibition at the British Motor Museum but I can't think when I last saw one on the roads. See British Motor Museum | Temporary Exhibitions

Our changing language: “Multiple people injured after vehicle plows into crowd at New York protest. “ A fine example of Yankglish from the Guardian, a newspaper which really ought to know better.

I was ahead of the pack on two issues last week, namely the status of Scotch eggs (“substantial meal” or not?) and the lockdown-busting folly of Sky News presenter Kay Burley. But I didn't realise how big an issue these eggs would become and I worried I was being a little harsh on Burley. Not as harsh, it turns out, as her own bosses who have suspended her on full pay for six months.

Burley's suspension should not be too harrowing. She was due to fly to “my beloved Africa . . . to sit with lions” for a long holiday. The birthday party suggests Burley has bad-decision days. The Africa trip confirms it. As seasoned Africa visitors are aware, if you sit with lions they will eat you.

Sorry, we are not accepting comments on this article.

Top Stories

More from the Shropshire Star

UK & International News