Peter Rhodes on a heroic boy, a gross columnist and celebrating Christmas once every four years

A petition has been launched for the George Cross to be awarded posthumously to Jack Johnson, the 10-year-old boy who plunged into a frozen lake in Solihull to save other children. Sadly, I can't see it succeeding.

Jeremy Clarkson. Photo: Ian West/PA Wire
Jeremy Clarkson. Photo: Ian West/PA Wire

Although the GC is intended to recognise the deeds of both military and civilian heroes, recent awards have gone almost exclusively to service personnel. And the required level of bravery is set remarkably high. Even Lisa Potts, Wolverhampton's machete-attack hero, failed to qualify for a GC and was awarded the lesser George Medal. It may be that little Jack qualifies for a GM. One thing is certain; his heroism must not be forgotten.

Should Christmas be held once every four years? The idea was floated by Paul Whitehouse in Mortimer & Whitehouse: Gone Fishing (BBC2) as a means of making the festival more special. It would certainly take pressure off some frazzled parents. But how do you explain to a four-year-old, as the magic of Christmas 2022 slips into memory, that they'll have to wait an entire lifetime for the next one?

One day, the technology will deliver the 1,000-mile battery and the 10-minute recharger. Until then, electric cars are a weedy substitute for petrol-powered vehicles. We have friends down from Scotland for the New Year. They have a shiny new electric powered company car. Yet for the trip to England they did the sums and figured they would have to make at least two recharging stops. They left the new limo in the garage and travelled in their old car, a 20-year-old banger.

And I bet they're not alone. As the EV revolution rumbles on, how many motorists will enjoy polishing their new car and showing it off on short runs – but keep a proper car in the garage for serious motoring?

The row drags on over Jeremy Clarkson suggesting the Duchess of Sussex should be paraded naked through the streets and pelted with excrement. I was surprised to hear the cry from the woke brigade of “misogyny!”

Are we supposed to believe that women have special protection from criticism simply because they are female? If so, what was 50 years of feminism all about? Clarkson's attack on Meghan may have been gross but it was equal-opportunities gross.

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