Shropshire Star

Peter Rhodes on expensive babies, inspirational Gladiators and a postcode lottery for speeding tickets

Pity the rich. One of the tabloids featured a couple with a joint income of £100,000 who are “too poor” to have a baby.

Gladiators – ready for a better Britain?

Read on and what they actually want is “the kind of lifestyle we would like to have with children”. In other words, they want the moon.

Put simply, babies take the style out of lifestyle. The gorgeous white linen sofa that all your friends envy is, in the eyes of a toddler, merely a trampoline. Your wonderful William Morris wallpaper is perfect for baby's first adventure with felt-tip pens. If you want to be chic and sleek, parenting is an eternal challenge. And if you seriously want to wait until you can afford kids, you'll never have them.

Why does anyone become a parent? It's because now and then, when the broil and battle of day is done, your noisy, selfish, demanding little hooligan suddenly transmogrifies into an angel, snuggles up next to you on your battered and felt-tipped sofa and says: “Twiddle wiv my hair, Mummy.” You can't put a price on moments like that but it's a lot more than £100,000.

And the great thing is that 30 years later, if grandkids come along, it happens all over again. I'm glad we kept the old sofa.

Newly released figures show that 97 per cent of the 700,000 tickets imposed for breaches of 20mph limits since 2013 have been issued by just two forces, while six forces issued no 20mph tickets at all. Here's more proof, if you needed it, that Britain being policed by more than 40 separate constabularies is not only wasteful and bonkers but deeply unfair.

If you worry about Britain losing its identity or breaking apart into warring factions, make sure to watch Gladiators (BBC1), the ultimate antidote to societal anxiety.

Here is the Britain we dreamed of, a multi-racial, multi-cultural melting pot at ease with itself where contenders, Gladiators and family supporters alike join in a joyous celebration of training, discipline and dedication where, despite the theatrical snarling, no-one takes themselves too seriously. I wonder how many nations could present such a positive and optimistic face to the world.