Editor's Comment: February 2017
PUBLISHED: 14:26 18 January 2017 | UPDATED: 14:26 18 January 2017
Back to blue passports? The return of the Imperial measurement? The Beckhams moving to the Cotswolds? Editor Mike Lowe gives his verdict on this month’s hot topics
In the turmoil that is Brexit, all sorts of loons have been coming out of the woodwork. One of these is the Conservative MP for Romford, Mr Andrew Rosindell.
We’re facing the collapse of the NHS, economic uncertainty, a European refugee crisis, and an American president who’s like a clown running across a minefield…and what is foremost in Rosindell’s mind is the return of the National Anthem to the BBC airwaves. Remarkably, he even put down a Parliamentary motion demanding that the Beeb should play it at least once a day.
What next? A midnight closedown and that little white diminishing dot on your black and white screen? The return of the test card?
Mr Rosindell and his ilk are also the people who are demanding the return of the bue British passport, calling our use of the burgundy European version “a humiliation”. Humiliation? Really? Humiliation is an MP seeing his lavish expenses detailed in the press, not using a burgundy passport to take a package holiday in Spain.
But why stop at passports and the National Anthem if we’re going to turn back the clock. What about dog poo and Spangles? Little blue packets of salt in crisps? Oh, and children up chimneys, smog, polio and tuberculosis.
And then there’s the return of Imperial measures, a cause which I must admit to some sympathy. I’m of a certain age, you see. A miles and yards, pints and pounds man. I don’t have a clue about kilometres. Grams (or is it grammes) leaves me baffled. I can just about cope with kilos as long as I think of them as 2lbs bags of sugar and forget about the extra bit. And if metric measures are so modern, why do we still order a ‘quarter-pounder’ in a fast food joint? Because it’s simpler than asking for a 113-gram burger, that’s why.
As far as I can tell, the move to metricity was enforced so that valid comparisons on price could be made across the European Union, but that’s just silly when you think about it. No-one is going to stand in a greengrocer’s in Cirencester and think “I’m sure this kilo of apples is cheaper in Carcassonne.” Complete nonsense.
Luckily when it comes to bigger measures, I’m well schooled in newspaper terminology. Things are either the size of a football field or the area of Wales. Height and length come in double-decked buses and Nelson’s column. Weight equals elephants. And life is so much simpler.
Regular readers (and if you’re not, why not?) will know that I often resent the way the Cotswolds is portrayed in the witless national media. We’re either seen as being populated by straw-sucking yokels who point at planes, or by members of the mythical Chipping Norton Set – Clarkson, Cameron, Brooks et al. And don’t get me started on the ‘Royal Triangle’ where everything from Bath to Stratford, Chepstow to Woodstock, is labelled as being “near Prince Charles’s Highgrove estate.”
Admittedly, there is a significant posh element who pitch up on a Friday evening to do their shopping at Daylesford before popping into Soho Farmhouse for a dip in the pool and some sushi in the Japenese restaurant, but they’re clearly not representative of the rest of us.
And now I fear the Posh element is about to get worse – much, much worse. It seems that the Beckhams have brought a £5 million, nine-bed mansion in the area, so we can now expect an absolute torrent of stereotypical balderdash every time the tabloids needs a space-filler.
I despair. And I worry about my blood pressure.
For more of Mike’s musings, follow him on Twitter! @cotslifeeditor