Shropshire Star

Peter Rhodes on flops, spooks and taking the credit for tumbling inflation

After the nightmare of police officers' details being released online in Ulster, two English police forces have quietly confessed that some of their data on victims, witnesses and suspects has been mishandled, too. A very good day to bury bad news?

From Cromer with love?

“Who is responsible for this flop?” demands the Guardian, branding Alison Steadman and Larry Lamb's road trip, Billericay to Barry (Gold TV) a “ mind-bendingly banal failure.” But I doubt if there's any individual to blame. It sounds like the show is a victim of the all-pervading belief among programme-makers that every genre of TV, from antiques to travel to sport and talent shows, is automatically improved by inserting a celeb or two. But where's the proof? Lamb and Steadman are two great actors. Give them a great script and you'll get a great show. Give them a Volvo and you get a turkey.

Isn't spying supposed to be glamorous? According to reports, one of three Bulgarians accused of spying “has recently been been living at a seaside guest house in Great Yarmouth.” We've been expecting you in the penny arcade, Mr Bond . . .

I cannot imagine why America and Japan chose to go public this week on a new agreement to develop missile interceptors capable of shooting down the so-far invulnerable hypersonic missiles built by Russia and North Korea. What if those two unpredictable dictatorships, seeing their prize weapons about to be outdated, decided to use them before it's too late? There is a warning from history. In 1914 Germany watched Russia beginning its massive but slow process of mobilisation. At a stroke, from Berlin's point of view, the safest option was to start the First World War. Bonkers with hindsight but at the time it seemed to make sense.

Good to see inflation coming down sharply this week. But how much credit should the Government be allowed to claim? You may recall over a year ago the economists were predicting this falling trend as a natural bounce-back to the sudden and horrifying rise in prices back then. There's a full moon coming the week after next. Anyone in Whitehall want to claim credit for that?