Peter Rhodes on an MP's wealth, being haunted by earworms and the impossible task facing pro-Brexit boffins
I REFERRED recently to Kip Glaspie, the detective played by Carey Mulligan in the new BBC cop thriller, Collateral. Kip Glaspie. It sounds like one of those improbable names from Toast of London (C4): Clem Fandango, Duncan Clench, Clancy Moped, Betty Pimples, Dinky Frinkbuster, and Ken Suggestion. Never has one series given us so many great names.
THE trouble with names such as the above is that they can become earworms. You hear them once and then cannot get them out of your mind. I recall one time when I was haunted for days on end by an Australian jockey. Scobie Breasley. Scobie Breasley. Scobie Breasley. Dammit...
HERE we go again. Before the bodies had even been buried after the Florida school massacre, some gun enthusiasts were claiming that, if only the teachers had been armed, the gunman could have been zapped before he killed anyone. What hope can there be for people who genuinely believe that the problem is not that America has too many guns (last count 300 million), but too few? And, hell, why stop with arming the teachers? The kids can only be truly safe when every dinner lady has a .44 Magnum. God Bless America.
A TORY MP, Andrew Bridgen, has asked the National Crime Agency to investigate the wealth of Labour grandee Keith Vaz who, it is alleged, has amassed a £4 million property empire while earning only £90,000 a year in the Commons. The probe seems to be based on the belief that people on roughly the same salary as each other should live in roughly the same style. But has it ever been so? Some people are simply good with money, others are not. I once knew an MP who earned several times my salary yet was always in debt. In the case of Keith Vaz, the old proverb by Confucius may apply: "Great wealth is no more than a prudent wife." Mr Vaz's wife Maria may or may not be prudent but she is a partner in a law firm, which must help.
WHILE it's good to see academics supporting Briefings for Brexit, a website devoted to the unsung benefits of quitting the EU, they face an uphill battle. For this is not merely an argument about politics, economics or any other lecture-theatre subject. It goes deep into the human spirit. Just as some infants depend on a comfort blanket, so some adults need a catastrophe blanket. Their natural mind-set is to believe they are on the brink of Armageddon.
I WOULD not mind betting that some of those panicking about Brexit were the ones who, over the years, have made themselves sick with worry about nuclear annihilation, DDT poisoning, the coming ice age (remember that?), global warming and, in the past few months, plastic pollution. The hugely intelligent men and women behind Briefings for Brexit may make a good case for quitting. But they will never turn pessimists into optimists.
SCOBIE Breasley. Still can't shake it off. . . .