Shropshire Star

Peter Rhodes on Maxims, mobiles and missing the next world war

The bizarre similarities between the war in Ukraine and the First World War become ever stranger. It is reported that in some defensive positions, Ukrainian soldiers are relying on Maxim machine guns to keep the Russians at bay. Invented in 1884, used by both sides in the 1914-18 and 1939-45 world wars - and still spitting death at 600 rounds per minute. How long before we open those sturdy wooden cases right at the back of the national armoury, and send Ukraine a few old Lee-Enfields?


Latest forecast is that the official inquiry into the Covid pandemic could drag on for seven years and cost many millions. So what's new? Whenever something goes embarrassingly wrong, the traditional British response is to kick it into the long grass, and the longer the grass, the better. I'm amazed that no-one has called for an official inquiry into official inquiries.

The banking crises in California and Switzerland have disturbing echoes of 2007. One moment, the bankers and politicians were promising that all was well and under control. And the next moment, a photographer and I were dispatched to Birmingham where, outside the Northern Rock bank, worried customers clutching pass books were desperate to get their money. These things develop their own momentum.

When I suggested last week that there was a great conspiracy to make everyone buy a smartphone, none of us had heard of the Government's national alarm project, to be tested next month. Suddenly, every mobile in the country will screech a warning note, and a text message will tell us the nature of the disaster. This must be the greatest marketing slogan of all time. Get a mobile – or we'll start World War III without you.

More mobile news. A new app is unveiled which will enable motorists to check and report speeding and other offences committed by other drivers. Thus, every driver becomes a traffic cop. What could possibly go wrong?

A weekend gardening supplement tells us, on the subject of keeping deer out of your garden: “Stale human urine is... an excellent deterrent.”

First, find your stale human.