Peter Rhodes on riots, a bad back and is it the end of the road for BAME?

Read the latest column from Peter Rhodes.

Steve's got a bad back
Steve's got a bad back

This week's nightmare headline on the TV newsreaders' autocue: “In Suez, stuck ship shifts slightly.”

Vaccination tedium. Which TV footage are we more fed up with – images of needles going into arms or images of thousands of little bottles on production lines?

In this hi-tech age of instant communication, how long should it take E.On Energy to explain why, when I have a smart meter, my last two bills have been based on estimated readings?

After waiting for ages for a human being to answer the phone, and giving up, I submitted my question by email. They say they'll be back in two or three days. A heliograph would be faster.

In June last year I said the term BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) was “at best clumsy and at worst, offensive,” being a sort of shorthand to describe anybody who isn't white.

Ten months on, I am not alone.

The Government's Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities says BAME is “unhelpful and redundant”. It claims that people from ethnic minorities prefer the term “ethnic minority” to either BAME or the equally odd and, in my humble opinion, undignified term, “people of colour.”

Funny things, demos.

Most people never go near one while others seem to spend half their lives brandishing banners, chucking bricks and generally raging against the system.

The Mayor of Bristol Marvin Rees refers to “serial demo-attenders who are looking for any opportunity to engage in physical confrontation with representations of what they see as the establishment."

He uses 23 words to define the menace when a single word will do. Rentamob.

What is striking is how many aspects of some rioters' behaviour (failure to obey laws and norms, impulsive behaviour, irritability, aggression, lack of remorse) are recognised as symptoms of antisocial personality disorder.

This is a potentially life-wrecking condition but it can be treated with medication and so-called talking therapies.

There have been thousands of cases of rioters being jailed, fined or sentenced to community punishment by judges, and many academic papers have been written on mental illness and riots. But I can't recall any court ever ordering a rioter to undergo treatment.

Unpleasant prejudices of our time.

LOD-shaming is the mockery and humiliation of people who have difficulty following the plot of Jed Mercurio's latest cop drama. But there is no need to feel ashamed. Let us say it loud and say it proud: It is perfectly normal to fall asleep during Line of Duty (BBC1).

I have been LOD-shamed by members of my own family for admitting that all I took away from episode two of Line of Duty was the fact that Steve has a bad back. I'm sure the plot will become clear as the season progresses but at this stage, for some of us, it's not so much a whodunnit as a whocareswhodunnit.

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