Peter Rhodes on a fake crisis, street language and how the Army once trained thousands of truckers

Read the latest column from Peter Rhodes.

Electric? Join the queue
Electric? Join the queue

The petrol crisis? No such thing. It was faked by multi-national vested interests to make us buy electric cars. Pass it on.

The only tiny hole in the above conspiracy theory is that many electrical re-charging points are on garage forecourts. So, petrol, diesel or electric, you might still have to queue.

Couldn't help noticing that the only driver at my local garage bellyaching at the checkout about the £35 maximum sale notice was the only customer not wearing a face mask.

As for the shortage of HGV drivers, I recall the Territorial Army of the 1980s when it was 60,000 strong with drill halls in every major town and city. In those days, with fleets of Land Rovers, cargo trucks, radio vehicles and even a few tanks, the TA trained its “weekend warriors” as drivers on both lorry and light-vehicle courses. The HGV course was free and became so popular that most units insisted that candidates first served a couple of years in the ranks before being eligible. I've no idea how many tens of thousands of part-time soldiers passed their HGV test with the TA but I don't recall any shortage of truckers back then.

But I do recall my unit's Land-Rovers being mobilised one hard winter to take food to drift-blocked villages. And who can forget the TA soldiers who laid thousands of sand bags to fight successive floods? Britain's big, reliable, socially useful TA was demolished by bean counters in Whitehall. So much damage has been done to this country by people who know the price of everything and the value of nothing.

Until Wednesday this week, Manchester will be hosting the Conservative Party Conference whose leaders, according to Labour's Angela Rayner, are “a bunch of scum, homophobic, racist, misogynistic, absolute vile … banana republic, vile, nasty, Etonian … piece of scum.” Can we now expect some overwrought, port-flushed Hooray Henry at a fringe Tory meeting to retaliate with similar venom? It is an old truth about English society that some of the nastiest street language is heard in some of the poshest streets.

Leaping on to a passing bandwagon, Keir Starmer says it's time for a female James Bond. But since this debate began, the sands have shifted. Why merely settle for a female? Why not a bespectacled, trans, cross-dressing, drag queening James Bond, preferably with a stammer? Meet 007, licensed to kill but not to exclude.

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