Shropshire Star

Peter Rhodes on a change at Glastonbury, lessons from WhatsApp and when to trust journalists

A forecaster told us that this week’s snow came from “the backside of a cold front”. Sounds like the wind of change.

John Peel – name change

In the BBC's coverage of the Wayne Couzens trial, as signed for deaf people, did anyone else find the bizarre flasher-mac gesture for “indecent exposure” entirely inappropriate? It added slapstick to trauma.

After a week of leaks from the Daily Telegraph's haul of lockdown texts, is anyone particularly shocked to discover that Whitehall is thronged with pushy, sharp-elbowed politicians with massive egos and little sense of loyalty? We knew all that before.

What we didn’t know was how willingly the super-egos break the first rule of social media, namely if you wouldn’t shout it from the rooftops with a megaphone, don’t put it in a text. No, not even a “private” text, because privacy lasts only as long as friendship, which in the corridors of power, is often not very long at all.

Another lesson from the WhatsApp affair is that if you’re writing a book and you share masses of private information with a journalist, you deserve all you get. I recall a briefing for army press officers many years ago when a genial old hack from Fleet Street delivered a lecture on the various conventions and understandings on which senior officers could speak to journalists. His list included; on the record, off the record, private, attributable, non-attributable, and so on. He created the impression that these agreements were written in stone and understood by all. When he had finished, I suggested a much simpler approach to dealing with the media: if you don’t want to see something in the paper, don’t tell a journalist. Works every time.

Glastonbury is set to rename its John Peel stage. The organisers have spent much time and energy denying claims that this is because of Peel's alleged interest in under-age girls. Why not simply claim it's an act of solidarity with the anti-foxhunting brigade? D'ye ken?

A £1 billion hotel in Dubai has such mirror-perfect indoor pools that some folk mistake them for polished marble and step on - and in. So far, it is reported, “a succession of stars and influencers fell into its indoor ponds”. I bet that cheers us all up.