Richard Ingrams: What's a bored housewife to do but go shopping?

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The Independent Online

The catalogue of junk bought on eBay by Cherie Blair includes a three-tier cake stand, digital bathroom scales worth £1.64 and a set of old fish knives – the kind of stuff you could find in the average car boot sale.

It is clear that Cherie is in the grip of some kind of unfortunate addiction. But her friends are busy making excuses for her, saying how bored she is, though how we are supposed to square that with all the talk of her busy career as a high-flying barrister and part-time judge is not wholly clear. The friends go on to point out that she is alone a lot of the time while Mr Blair jets around the world making speeches in exchange for large sums of money. That may well be, but whether Mr Blair is around or not, their Bayswater mansion in Connaught Square continues to be guarded night and day by armed policemen – an arrangement that you can be sure will not in any way be affected by the Government's proposed cuts in the police force budget.

And apart from anything else, those police could well be needed to intercept and examine the endless stream of deliveries being made almost every day to the Blair residence. What may look like a harmless parcel containing a three-tier cake stand could well turn out to be concealing a terrorist device. You can't be too careful these days.

Let the Scots have their own time zone

It is always a confusing time of the year when Halloween, Remembrance Day, bonfire night and Christmas all seem rolled into one, and when pumpkins, mince pies and fireworks are all simultaneously on sale in the shops. Another traditional feature of this season is the putting back of the clocks, something that will happen tonight, and as is customary, voices are being raised to complain about the end of British Summer Time. This year it has been the turn of a spokesman for the Policies Studies Institute, writing in the British Medical Journal, who points out that sticking with BST all the year round would give everyone more time for outdoors activities and make everyone that much fitter.

We have heard it all before. And we have heard the police saying that it would mean less crime and fewer road accidents. All this, and not to mention a lifting of depression caused by seasonal affective disorder. Nothing will be done about it simply because politicians are frightened of alienating Scottish voters who would suffer most from long dark mornings. But if the Scots are nowadays so keen on having their independence, what is to stop them having their own British Scottish time?

Animal worship taken to extremes

A number of terrorists were given long prison sentences this week and for once they were all white, middle class and well educated – one of them was even a hospital nurse. Just as fanatical as any Muslim extremists, they were the so-called animal rights activists, utterly ruthless, vicious and proof once again of the truth of Chesterton's saying that "where there is animal worship there is human sacrifice".

But these activists are only taking to extremes the dangerous sentimentality towards any form of wildlife which nowadays pervades our nation. Thus a woman who in a moment of madness put a cat into a wheelie bin has been taken to court by the RSPCA, fined a large sum and subjected to hate mail and death threats. Currently we have an outbreak of media hysteria over an elderly stag on Exmoor which hardly anyone has ever seen and which is so elusive that nobody can be sure whether it is alive or dead. It is no wonder that those "activists" have pursued their vicious campaigns for so long before the authorities finally caught up with them.

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