Peter Rhodes on a Chancellor's haircut, a premier's trip to Egypt and a land without losers

It was revealed at the weekend that Chancellor Jeremy Hunt pays £110 a time for a haircut in Downing Street. Or does he? Isn't the truth that Mr Hunt's haircuts, like his food, accommodation, clothes and transport, are all paid for by the rest of us?

Jeremy Hunt – a sharp trim?
Jeremy Hunt – a sharp trim?

Strangely enough, I have always believed that you can judge a man's character by the amount he spends on a haircut. Me? The Number Three all over, please, tapered neck. A snip at £8.95.

When Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said he wasn't going to Cop27 in Egypt, he was denounced as weak, lacking leadership and failing to recognise the importance of climate change. Now he's agreed to be there, he is denounced for visiting a state with such a dodgy human-rights record. As I said last week, damned if you do, damned if you don't.

We go back a long way, Britain and Egypt. In collaboration with France and Israel, the UK stitched up Egypt wickedly in the 1956 Suez Crisis (for crisis, read invasion) and lied about it afterwards. In this nasty imperial adventure up to 4,000 Egyptians were killed and nearly 5,000 wounded, before the Yanks told us to stop. The real wonder of Egypt today is that any Egyptians agree to speak to us at all.

The most worrying aspect of this week's mid-term elections in the US is how many candidates have refused to commit to accepting the result of the election. The coming hours will tell us whether it was serious or baloney. But the threat was that if they didn't win they'd simply ignore the result and carry on the fight by other means. And if you wonder what that might look like, think back to the post-election attack on the Capitol by Trump's wacko supporters.

This business of denying an election result is a far cry from the British tradition of defeated candidates accepting the will of the people and wishing their opponent well.

But then the Americans take a different view of competitions in general, best illustrated in their saying: “Show me a good loser and I'll show you a loser.” We are two nations divided by two views of sportsmanship. (Sorry, sportspersonship).

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