Peter Rhodes on the fear of terrorism, shortages of everything and why bank cards are rarely green

Read the latest column from Peter Rhodes.

Joe Biden - doing his best
Joe Biden - doing his best

After last week's loss / theft of my wallet, two replacement debit cards arrived in a mini-flurry of clean, green self-righteousness.

The first bank claimed its cards are made from 85 per cent recycled plastic. The second bank trumped this with its new PVC-free card which neither contains nor is made from chlorine, “making them better for the environment.” To put this in perspective, in a card's lifetime, how many plastic products does it generate, to be created from plastic, delivered in plastic and eventually dumped in mountains of plastic? Bank cards are the driving force behind ever-expanding, and often pointless, consumption. They are green in much the way that gangrene is green.

Joe Biden is a good man doing his best. That's what makes it so scary. We're still waiting for an explanation as to how he plans to “hunt you down and make you pay” when the attackers are suicide bombers.

But I don't share the common and gloomy outlook that, with the Taliban running Afghanistan, the West is at greater risk of terror attacks. The US, UK and allies may have withdrawn but the Taliban suffered more than 50,000 killed over 20 years of warfare and could barely move a Jeep without being zapped by a drone. It was a traumatic war for them. Why would they risk it happening again?

Historians may describe the past few months as the Age of WFH (Working From Home). Millions of Brits have turned their living room or under-stairs into an office. One giveaway comes half-way through a phone chat with your bank, insurance company or council when you hear a dog barking in the background or a tiny little voice announcing: “Mummy, I dun poo.”

The other giveaways are that you spend longer on hold, the conversations are more drawn-out and leisurely, and everything takes longer. So maybe we'll remember it as the Age of WFHBNVH (Working From Home But Not Very Hard).

To add to our troubles, there's a shortage of everything, with the obvious exception of shortages, which are abundant. If you notice a decline in the quality of this column, it's because there's a global lack of syntax and some of the best adverbs are stuck in the Suez Canal.

The BBC Sports Personality of the Year is due to be held in December. After events in New York, it's a bit of a formality, isn't it?

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