Peter Rhodes on voter ID, villainous readers and a new assault on dirty dog owners

Having your computer hacked (see Monday's gripping epistle) is a bit like being burgled, in that it can be days or weeks before you realise how much has been taken.

Polly Toynbee – no ID needed
Polly Toynbee – no ID needed

Since the weekend, I have discovered that the ungodly had been inserting their sticky fingers into my email auto-forward service. This is the software (you may not even know you have it) which enables you to forward all your emails to another address, such as your office computer.

In other words, uninvited strangers have been reading my emails, including the emails containing these columns. You see the dilemma? Hackers may be scum but it's always nice to increase one's readership.

That lioness of the Left, Polly Toynbee, rages against the Government's plan for people to produce ID before being allowed to vote. She says it discriminates against the poor, the young and ethnic minorities. And in any case, she says, it's unnecessary because, when ID was demanded during pilot tests in 2018 and 2019, “of 3,000 people turned away, more than a third never came back”. To Polly this is evidence of honest citizens being unfairly rejected and losing heart. But might it not be that some of the 1,000-plus who never returned to the polling stations after being challenged had no right to be there in the first place? Maybe ID works after all.

Under the grandly-styled Public Spaces Protection Order, dog walkers in Hammersmith and Fulham could be fined up to £100 if they are found not to be carrying plastic bags to clear up dog poo. Great idea in principle but in practice, how many skinheads with snarling pitbulls will be ignored by the wardens while little old ladies with poodles are hunted down without mercy?

I find myself in Advent in some pain and with very few events in my social diary. This proves an ancient adage: you know you're getting old when your back goes out more than you do.

And what festive folly put out my back? Chopping a yule log, perhaps? Lifting a massive Christmas tree? Nope. I was reaching for a towel in the bathroom. In four billion years of natural selection, there is no greater evolutionary cock-up than the human spine.

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