Peter Rhodes on a dangerous definition, the art of catching bullets and how to open the windows in electric cars
Read today's column from Peter Rhodes.
A TUB of Waitrose vegan fermented soya has appeared in our fridge. My eye caught an advert in the weekend glossies for a biodegradable yoga mat. Nobody ever said saving the planet was going to be fun.
MY birthday present was a new waterproof camera. As you may recall, I dropped the old one in Loch Lomond a year ago. This new digital device came with a folded A4 sheet of instructions which seemed too small, too short and too good to be true. Sure enough, it directs you to the online manual which runs to 57 pages, proving once again that progress somehow never makes life any simpler.
IN a moment of sanity the Government has rejected a proposed definition of Islamophobia. Drawn up by MPs, Islamic groups and others, it declares: "Islamophobia is rooted in racism and is a type of racism that targets expressions of Muslimness or perceived Muslimness.” I have read and re-read it and it still strikes me as nonsense. It fails the first test of any legal definition, namely that it should be easily understood by any citizen and, in particular, by the hapless cops expected to recognise it on the street.
FOR a start, what on earth does "perceived Muslimness" mean? Who is supposed to be doing the perceiving – the offender, the accuser, the victim, the copper, the judge, the jury or some new quango with a brief to sniff out Islamophobia? Imagine how those words might be interpreted by lawyers eager for new business. Whatever its supporters claim, this definition looks suspiciously like the prelude to a catch-all law against blasphemy, but which only protects one religion. It may be inspired by good intentions but, as the old saying goes, the road to hell is paved with those.
AN old army mate of mine, Tony Geraghty, wrote a fine book in the 1980s, The Bullet Catchers. It described the high-octane life of the elite in the close-protection business. These are bodyguards who, as the title suggests, will step into the split-second gap between their charge and the assassin and, literally, take the bullet. Lower down the profession, as Nigel Farage discovered this week, are bodyguards who may be brave enough to catch a bullet but declined to catch a flying milkshake.
STILL trying to save the planet, a reader tells me of a test drive in an all-electric car. The snag is that the range is reduced drastically by using accessories such as wipers and heaters. He was surprised to see, as he briefly opened a window, the predicted range dropped from 76 miles to 71 miles.
COME to think of it, will electric cars of the future come with manual window winders to save energy? Will we oldies have to show young drivers how to use them? Righty uppie, leftie downie. I knew they'd find a use for us.