Peter Rhodes on resilience, norovirus and painting the faces of criminals

After 9/11, “resilience” was the watchword. All over Britain, resilience officers were appointed with the brief, from a typical advert, “to assess, anticipate, prevent, prepare, respond and recover from threats to public safety, through arrangements for civil contingencies, consequence management for situations including acts of terrorism, natural disasters and major transport or industrial accidents.”

Fine words. So how come, two decades later, 60 per cent of Britain's supply of vital carbon dioxide is produced by just two foreign-owned factories, the UK has storage for only a week's supply of natural gas, there's a shortage of truckers, and ten idiots with a banner can close a motorway?

The more alert of you will have noticed I've been off for a couple of days. I was laid low by some sort of winter vomiting virus. Two things to note. Firstly, the winter vomiting virus can strike in any season. Secondly, despite the name, it is not the virus that does the vomiting; it is you. And how.

Songs of Praise (BBC1) will be holding a special service this Sunday to mark its 60th anniversary. Our chapel, a huge Methodist barn of a place in Leamington Spa, complete with balcony seating, was one of the early venues. The ladies of the church spent the day before the broadcast polishing the brass and woodwork until it shone. The first thing the BBC technicians did was to dust it all with fuller's earth to get rid of the shine which was dazzling the cameras. On the great day, hundreds of worshippers crammed in to get their faces on the telly. It was the only time any of us saw the old place full.

Mullah Nooruddin Turabi, described as the veteran enforcer of Taliban punishments, declares: “Cutting off of hands is very necessary for security.” If Turabi strikes you as a tad hardline, some of his younger followers seem softer-hearted. Men accused of petty theft have been publicly paraded in Kabul, some with their faces painted. A shop owner told Associated Press: “It’s not a good thing to see these people being shamed in public, but it stops the criminals because when people see it, they think ‘I don’t want that to be me'.” An off-handed remark.

In one online discussion on Turabi's views on crime, punishment and amputation, a contributor remarks: “I think most Daily Mail readers are broadly in agreement with this gentleman.”

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