Columnist Catch-up A round-up of Fleet Street’s finest and the big issues on their minds
Writing in the DAILY MAIL, drug addiction specialist Dr Robert Lefever said that while statins (which reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke) can work wonders, we must be careful not to stop trying to prevent ill health by relying on drugs to treat the symptoms instead.
‘We are in danger of becoming a nation of pill poppers who take no responsibility for their own health care,’ he said. ‘A nation whose people would prefer to choose to take pills at earlier and earlier ages rather than lead a healthy life.’
We must avoid becoming ‘a culture in which a chubby teenager believes it is just fine to eat an extra cheeseburger, because he knows he can take a pill to reduce his cholesterol later.’
Meanwhile, Conservative MP Kwasi Kwarteng, wrote in the DAILY TELEGRAPH about how Britain needs to take inspiration from London 2012 and rediscover its winning spirit. ‘The turnaround in our Olympic performance shows… that Britain doesn’t have to fall behind other nations.
‘We have millions of young, dynamic people who need to be inspired with a sense of optimism. We have a bright future… The lesson from the Olympics and Paralympics is that decline is not inevitable.’
THE BIG PICTURE Naomi Watts, on the set of the forthcoming Diana biopic – recreating the iconic shot of Princess Diana holidaying with Dodi Fayed on Mohamed Al Fayed’s yacht, in Portofino, Italy, just one week before her death in 1997
LIFE ON THE FARM by Robin Page
WHAT IS HAPPENING to the Royal Mail – the post? Before Eric, my ‘postie’, was forced to retire at the age of 65, I could set the alarm clock by the letters falling into the box at 7.05am precisely. But then Eric was sent into the land of enforced slippers and idleness, and mayhem followed.
I believe that it is the Post Office/Royal Mail’s cunning plan to privatise mail delivery: the assumption that people will accept anything in the hope of improvement. Now I never know when the letters are coming, including The Lady. It is a disgrace: 10am on Wednesday, 3.30pm on Thursday, 5pm on Saturday – it is unacceptable.
I need a regular service for the arrival of cattle passports, bank statements, etc. Running the farm is running a business. If the Royal Mail wants to run its business chaotically, fine. But I want to run mine properly – and I need a regular postman. Postmen come and go – some on bikes, some in vans, some running, some strolling. What a shambles. Years ago, I became the village’s part-time postman. Our sub-postmaster simply said: ‘Robin, Rodney (the full-time postman) is on holiday next week – will you deliver the letters?’
With no training or interview, I began work – on Rodney’s bike. I did not have to be Brain of Britain, and for several years I was part-time ‘postie’, happily cycling around each morning, keeping fit and keeping afloat financially – just. Better times came and I retired to the typewriter and computer. But there are locals in the village who could do the post round as I did – but that would be too easy. The Royal Mail demands application forms, interviews and ‘work where you are sent’. The result – the worst rural postal service ever. It’s time to bring back common sense – and make the mail work for the locals it serves.
Random royal facts of the week
At the age of 18 months, Prince Philip escaped a military junta by being carried aboard a Royal Navy rescue ship in an orange box.
He was stateless until the King of Denmark provided him with a Danish passport.
In 1957, within minutes of delivering a speech on road safety, Prince Philip crashed his car.
The Book Of Royal Useless Information by Noel Botham and Bruce Montague (John Blake; £10.99).
The Vasari bag for men by Jil Sander costs £185 – and is made from 100% brown coated paper. Bargain! ◆ Good news for hay fever suﬀerers – scientists have created pollen-free flowers
7 September 2012