Helen Martin: Poor Peter Alliss not in blunderland

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WATCHING Zach Johnson lining up for his victory putt at The Open, 84-year-old Peter Alliss, the only man who can make a golf commentary funny and interesting, said of Johnson’s wife, Kim Barclay: “She is probably thinking ‘if this goes in I get a new kitchen’.”

The floodgates opened to a deluge of folk claiming to be offended by this slur on independent womanhood, rapidly followed by an apology from the BBC for Alliss’s sexist and 
inappropriate comments.

Alliss was born eight years before the Second World War. With all the modern demands for “tolerance” about everything, we show very little to the older generation who, through no fault of their own, can’t be expected to think like 30-somethings, or sign up to 21st century politically correct nonsense. And it is nonsense. Who wouldn’t want a new kitchen?

I’ve just installed one. Note, I say “I installed it” – obviously the joiners did. Himself claims – with no foundation whatsoever – I ambushed him because about 24 hours after I gained a rather nebulous, futuristic agreement in principle for a refurb at some point, the joiner was there with his catalogue and the demolition crew were bringing down the false ceiling.

Himself and I have alternated in the main breadwinner role. Any discussion about the kitchen wasn’t based on me being the little housewife and him bringing home the loot. It’s merely about getting agreement over when we spend “our” money and on what.

Women care more about kitchens now that we can choose the décor, the lighting, the gadgets, the style and invite the girls round for cocktails or plonk than women ever cared about the pokey domestic engine room where they had to spend every day boiling every drop of water, turning a back-breaking mangle and cooking rations over a fire.

Granny’s hell-hole has become my haven of relaxation, my play room, which over the years has been a de-stressing alternative to work. I have my toy box of blenders, mixers, fan ovens, washing machines and dishwashers – not to mention the wine rack. Cooking is on my terms, fun and a creative hobby, not a chore.

Himself relaxes by playing golf, which is why I have learned to tolerate The Open on the kitchen TV as long as Alliss is making cheeky asides, wise cracks and sharp observations. It really is the difference between entertainment and watching grass grow.

And if the gags are sometimes a bit dated, who cares? Things change. My son’s a great cook, some women can’t boil an egg, families and couples can be of any gender, and that’s all to the good.

Sexism, or the lack of it, evolves; it doesn’t just happen overnight. Either Alliss is right and women still love new kitchens (like me), or he’s wrong in which case complainants are blaming him simply for being 84.

Either way, the BBC was certainly wrong to apologise to these nit-picking whingers who have nothing better to do – apart from hunt for their lost sense of humour and tolerance.


Barmy banks are playing our cards wrong

ACCORDING to Which? contactless bank cards will leave millions at risk of theft and fraud.

We might have expected a more robust testing process before they were released on the market. Or that such proven risk would be enough to have the technology withdrawn.

But no. We are meant to settle for an “acceptable” level of risk along with guidance that we “should” be reimbursed by the card provider. We can buy a protective metal cover to stop thieves scanning our cards, or remember to wrap them in tin foil, unwrap them to use, then wrap them up again.

Which? also found that several retail websites didn’t bother to demand the security number on the back, or check the holder’s name and address, meaning the fraudsters could run up thousands on our accounts despite the cards only being supposed to work for small transactions.

One option is to tell your bank you do not want a contactless card and, ideally, use an alternative method for genuine transactions. It’s called “going into a shop”.

‘Rebel’ Corbyn is anything but

YOUNG political commentators refer to Jeremy Corbyn as a “Labour rebel”.

To anyone who’s been on the planet long enough to call it home, the only “rebels” are Tony Blair, Harriet Harman, Liz Kendall and co – all of whom have turned Tory.

Beeb loses sight of bigger picture

BEHIND the apparent hunger for “public consultation” and a plea that viewers make their feelings known about the purpose, scope and funding of the BBC, it is becoming clearer and clearer that the Corporation is completely out of touch with the rest of the business world as well as viewers.

While some were calling for the licence fee to be scrapped, others were panicking about whole stations and channels being axed, and all wondering who would cover the licence costs for over-75s, the chaps at the Beeb carried on as normal. And “normal” turns out to be hiring a world famous photographer who charges £20,000 a day to take staff photos!

That one example of how cavalier it is with our money is why the BBC has to go, or fund itself with voluntary subscriptions or advertising.