Shropshire Star

Peter Rhodes on a come-back for Trump, a handout from the state and an etiquette dilemma for Paddington

First, the electricity company tells me they're knocking £66 off my monthly direct debit as part of the Government's scheme to keep enough grateful pensioners alive to win the next general election.

On his way back?

Next, a flyer from the local council explains how I can keep warm and avoid loneliness. Finally, a letter arrives from DWP headed: “Your 2022 Winter Fuel Payment will be £250.” And I believe that curious £10 winter “gift” from Whitehall may also be on the way.

All this largesse from Whitehall is what cynics call the nanny state. Keep it coming, Nanny.

For 400 years or so, Shakespeare's play Henry V has provided harmless entertainment for the English with its jolly themes of killing lots of French toffs and seducing their princess. Today, however, London's Globe theatre is working on a production which will condemn King Henry for imperialism, white supremacy, toxic masculinity and all that stuff. I can scarcely contain my astonishment.

For if the Globe's version is accurate, it means that a king born in 1386 and raised in an age when quarrels were settled with longbows, war hammers and trebuchets, did not share the progressive, liberal, feminised, anti-imperial, multicultural and gender-fluid views of today's theatre bosses. The House of Lancaster did not do woke. Shock, horror.

I referred yesterday to my interview with a couple of friends who were scared by a “British Bigfoot” near Cannock Chase. You can find it at A Bigfoot Anniversary ( . I generally avoid the arcane and, as far as I am aware, this is the only time I've been featured in the Mysterious Universe website.

Freedom of expression means nothing if you can't find an outlet for your views. As far as I am aware, only one publication has aired its readers' concerns over the etiquette of Paddington Bear wearing his hat in the presence of Queen Elizabeth II. Latest thread in the correspondence suggests Her Majesty may have relaxed the no-hat convention on the grounds that Paddington was in uniform and thus the rule did not apply. I am indebted to The Oldie magazine.

It looks as though Donald Trump may stand in the 2024 US presidential elections. Make America Grim Again.