Peter Rhodes on counting Russian subs, heartfelt anger and the face of Outlander
If we can't detect them, how can we count them?
WE are told that a "far right" party has come third in the Swedish elections and that Vince Cable wants to develop the "centre ground" of British politics. But these are subjective definitions; they actually tell us very little. It was not a politician nor a pundit but a humble listener on Any Answers (R4) who made the obvious point that the true centre of British politics these days is a long way to the right of Vince Cable.
SO farewell, Outlander (More 4). The tartan 'n' totty saga has reached the end of one series and we must wait until November for the next. Assuming, that is, you haven't already binge-viewed on DVD and seen the lot. There are a number of good things in this tale of time travel, not least the casting of Sam Heughan as the claymore-wielding hero Jamie Fraser. If you digitally blended the faces of Roger Moore and Christopher Reeve, Heughan's is the face you'd get, exactly half-way between 007 and Superman.
STILL on telly, while Bodyguard (BBC1) seems to have transfixed the nation on Sunday nights, Vanity Fair (ITV) is an engrossing and charming piece. It has so many winks and nods to modern life that you suspect the makers spotted the 20th century electric switch in one period house and thought, why the hell not?
ACCORDING to one weekend newspaper, the latest Russian submarines have hi-tech stealth technology and cannot be detected, and it has been "revealed"that Russian sub activity around the UK has increased tenfold in the past three years. Hang on. If we can't detect them, how can we possibly count them? Here's an explanation. If you actually could detect the latest Russian submarines, wouldn't you want the Russians to believe you couldn't?
LET the heartache begin. Public Health England has been roundly condemned for its new online heart-age calculator. Some scientists say the results are meaningless and, by advising people to consult their GP, could impose massive new demands on the NHS. PHE retorts that the test "has strong clinical and academic support." Tempers appear to be fraying.
ADD to that the fury of folk like some of my readers who reckon they're as fit as fiddles and get enraged at the calculator telling them their heart is years older than it ought to be. I have a friend, too, who was riled to be told his heart-age was five years older than his true age. He is in excellent shape yet seems to have been presented with a higher reading because he didn't know his blood pressure or cholesterol and the calculator inserted "average readings." This test appears to have unleashed a national tide of rage. And if one thing is guaranteed to bring on a heart attack it is apoplexy. A nice lie-down, everyone?
MY thanks to an eagle-eyed reader who spotted a small ad for : "George Formby meat grill, as new." Presumably all your steaks will turn out nice again.