Peter Rhodes on choosing ministers, flying dragons and drinking from mugs at M&S

Read the latest column from Peter Rhodes.

Emilia Clarke as Queen Daenerys
Emilia Clarke as Queen Daenerys

Sit down. Brace yourselves for the news. It is announced that Marks & Spencer is to replace the cups and saucers in its restaurants with mugs. Judging by the headlines, this marks the triumph of barbarism, or the collapse of Western civilisation or possibly the end of the entire space-time continuum. Mugs in M&S? Run for the hills.

My self-appointed task of binge-viewing the entire Game of Thrones years after it ended continues frenetically. I'm up to Season Five in which Queen Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) has her first flight on a dragon, proving that from mythical pre-history to the present day, blondes have all the fun.

The new Government is led by a woman, and not one of the four great offices of state (PM, Chancellor, Home Sec, Foreign Sec) is held by a white man. Faced with this remarkable line-up, even the Guardian is forced to concede: “The New PM has appointed a team that is historically inclusive in some regards.” But it asks grudgingly: “How well does it represent the population it will govern?”

Well, frankly who cares? Whoever believed that any organisation has to be a perfect mirror image of the public it serves? Do we really want Cabinets, fire brigades, armies or football teams slavishly reflecting society in every aspect of colour, creed, IQ or physical ability? Don't we actually want the firefighters to be fitter, the soldiers to be tougher and the politicians to be brighter (we can at least hope) than plain old Joe Public?

I admit being quietly impressed by Thérèse Coffey who, despite being overweight and with a fondness for cigars, cheerfully accepted the job of Health Secretary declaring briskly: “I appreciate I may not be the role model.” Brazen does not begin to describe it.

Coffey may lose a few pounds in her new job. She will certainly lose those continental accents on her forename. They do not come easily to the keyboard and in time Thérèse will become plain Therese.

Still on politics, a reader asks: “Is Liz Truss the first British Prime minister to be named after a surgical appliance?” No, Sir. That honour goes to the great Victorian statesman The Rt Hon. Nigel Splinted-Crutch, first Baron of Catheter. Some days I do lots of research. Other days I just make stuff up.

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