Readers’ Rants June

The views expressed in Readers’ Rants are those of the individual writers and not of Perspective magazine.

Send your rants to rants@perspectivemag.co.uk


Not the pub

Like all “free-born Englishmen”, to use the Prime Minister’s words, I waited with growing anticipation for the magic date of 17 May to arrive – the day of our liberation; the day we could all return to the pub. Oh, how I had missed that easy camaraderie with total  strangers and chatting to the bar staff about the weather or what was happening where they came from. Normality! What a crushing disappointment then to return to my local and be treated like a Ukrainian trying to sneak through Heathrow. First, I was told that I had to
register with the NHS tracking app. I explained patiently that I did not have a smartphone with me, and could I please just register by giving my name and number (as I have done in several places over the past year). The waitress became angry and marched off, leaving me to a colleague. Having finally navigated the formalities, I was shown to a table. I went to order but was informed I had to do that over another app, by scanning the code and paying online. Again, this is somewhat hard to do without a smartphone, and seems fairly pointless – she was standing right next to me, how on earth would I be increasing the danger of Covid transmission by placing an order directly? A fellow patron took pity on me, and ordered my glass of wine for me, for which I reimbursed him with cash, defeating the whole exercise of minimising contact. When my glass was delivered, I had to take it from the tray myself, the purpose of which I could not fathom, as the bar staff had handled it already. Whatever this distant planet dystopia is, it is not the pub I remember. This is not Normality. Next time I will stay in and order a bottle on Deliveroo.

Name and address withheld (for fear of retribution), Islington

Dangerous deliveries

With the massive increase in home deliveries, what is being done to ensure the security of what is being delivered? How long before some racist nut or religious fanatic gets a job in an Amazon packing centre and starts shipping nail bombs off willy-nilly? Or more likely, how long before these wannabe terrorists just start dropping look-alike cardboard boxes off in our hallways? Most of us are expecting a parcel half of the time anyway and wouldn’t even notice that it wasn’t the genuine article. I’m guessing that the Government doesn’t regulate domestic deliveries in this way, just as they once failed to adequately monitor public transport. Terrorism hasn’t gone away just because of Covid; it will just move to different forms of delivery, along with everything else.

Sarah Wilkinson, by email

Tragic performance

After the whirlwind of Harry and Meghan’s rather nuclear interview with Oprah, I thought the Royal Family might enter a timely interbellum to let the dust settle and wounds heal. So you can imagine my surprise when Harry, aka the Prince of Compassion, decided to take his father (and by extension his late grandfather) to task for the “pain and suffering” he had experienced as a child, supposedly to break this cycle (like the protagonist of a latter-day Oresteia). A couple of thoughts came to mind while listening to this latest salvo. Firstly, irrespective of Charles’ merits and demerits as a father, it seems a little tawdry and (dare I say) lacking in compassion to call out your father so publicly just a few weeks after the death of the Duke of Edinburgh. Secondly, I couldn’t help but wince as Harry spoke effusively of the difficulties of growing up within royalty, complaining that he had to “inherit every element of it without choice”. As a monarchist myself, I don’t condemn him at all for being born into his position, but it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that Harry is apparently unaware that everyone “inherits every element” of their own circumstances “without choice”. It is precisely this self-absorption, high-mindedness and conversation, which wouldn’t seem out of place over a late-night joint in a first-year halls of residence,
that seems to have struck the death knell for Harry’s reputation – at least on this side of the Atlantic.

Oliver Simons, London

Pull your head in, Harry

Who else is sick to death of hearing about Harry and Meghan’s pyscho-dramas? It is a shortcoming of the Royal Family that they did not offer Meghan the support she needed when she was suicidal, but I have little sympathy for Harry. Sure, it was a tragedy that Princess Diana died when he was only a small boy, but when he told Oprah in his interview that he couldn’t handle the paparazzi, which comes with being a member of the Royal Family, I lost sympathy. Many of the Royals keep their heads down – even his boring brother and future heir to the throne, William – yet Harry insists on making statements to the media, which he claims he loathes, about his life. If he doesn’t want the press to intrude on his life, he should stop making comments on the US Constitution, his own family and the British Press. Just lead the simple, anonymous life you’ve craved your whole life, Harry, rather than sell it to Netflix or Apple.

Emma Wood, Northampton

Lying journos

For sure it’s an utter disgrace, as Lord Dyson has concluded in his official report, that the BBC covered up the deceitful behaviour of Martin Bashir in order to re-employ him. It’s ironic in the extreme that he was employed as a religious editor, given what most religions have to say about lying. But let’s face it, this is not the worst case of recruitment of a journalist known to be a liar. For that, we have the case of Boris Johnson, once sacked for making up stories, now employed by us all as Prime Minister.

Joan Sayers, by email

Mad voters more like

Abi Besley (“Maddening Mayor” in last month’s Readers’ Rants) criticises Sadiq Khan’s record as Mayor of London and expresses her support for Brian Rose, whom she believed to be “making promises he would actually keep.” But Rose’s pledge to build 50,000 homes by Christmas this year, along with the rest of his scarcely believable claims in his mayoral campaign videos, were preceded by adverts for his $3,000 business course, which has received a wave of negative reviews amid allegations of fraudulent misrepresentation. Among other things, he has repeatedly interviewed the deranged conspiracy theorist David Icke, who believes the world is run by reptiles. Refusing the Covid vaccine because he is “low risk”, Rose also demonstrates a reckless selfishness or a profound failure to understand the conceptually straightforward aim of vaccinating the low risk to protect the at risk: whether self-centred or dim-witted, this does not suggest a capable political leader. Disappointment with our country’s two-party system is understandable; turning to crackpots and narcissists is not. Many of the candidates who failed to regain their deposit possessed no political experience and vague or outrageous policies. Some claimed to represent “the people” – that old chestnut! – and others scarcely bothered to disguise their blatant self-promotion. A protest vote is a powerful democratic tool. Why not use it to support the Greens, an increasingly professional party who have correctly identified the climate crisis as the greatest existential threat we face, or the Liberal Democrats, who know all too well the dangers of reneging on their promises? All too late for this election, of course, but worth remembering in the future.

John E. Burns, Battersea

Nul points pour le Beeb

So, as expected nul points for the UK in Eurovision. Why do we bother? And why does the Beeb spend our licence fees on this rubbish, something that due to politics we will never as a country get a sniff in, even if we were good enough?! Let’s spend our money on something a bit more worthwhile please, BBC.

Mel Heron, Kent

No techno-fix for climate chaos

I have always admired the American statesman, John Kerry, now President Biden’s envoy for climate change. His very appointment by Biden was inspiring and seemed to show how serious the new president is about bringing America back into the fold in the global effort to eliminate emissions. However, I watched appalled as he explained to Andrew Marr one Sunday in May the Americans’ approach to tackling emissions caused by livestock and agricultural farming – something like a third of all emissions – through technical fixes. He refused to concede a simple fact, that human beings – and Americans in particular – consume obscene quantities of meat and this is causing the destruction of the planet. Technology might have a role to play in capturing carbon and reducing methane release, but pretending we can somehow invent our way out of the climate crisis and not have to compromise our consumption is every bit as much a form of denial as the actual climate deniers on the other side of the fence.

Nick Wallace, by email

No context

The news always gives some historical context when reporting on conflicts. However, when it comes to the war between Israel and the Palestinians, it doesn’t. Including the details of when and why these troubles started isn’t just basic news reporting, it could also help better inform people who know little about it, which in my experience, is the majority. What we end up with instead is extreme bias based on current events with little understanding of the bigger picture.

Omar Al-Raja, by email



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