Three news items have caught my eye this week, and, in a radical departure from my usual format, I’ll comment on all three.
But first an admission: when in France, I watch Sky News at breakfast. Each morning I bet with myself how long I can stand it, and I’m pleased to announce that the other day I broke by 25 seconds my previous personal best of nine minutes.
Part of the reason for this record-breaking endurance was that I was confused. A professional dietician and a full-time environmental activist were preaching nutritional and moral goodness, the kind of lesson I, keenly aware of my own deficiency in both virtues, always welcome.
The dietician praised avocados for their taste and high content of good fats, adding that it’s a quarter of an avocado, not a gluttonous whole, that constitutes a proper portion. However, it was the activist who led the discussion.
He agreed that avocados taste good and are good, but we shouldn’t eat them anyway because doing so destroys the planet (presumably the Earth). My breakfast that morning actually was avocado on toast, so I felt suitably shamed. Still, an explanation of some sort was in order and it duly came.
It turned out that avocados aren’t cultivated sustainably, which destroys the environment and therefore the planet. And the undestroyed part is then finished off by the need to transport avocados from Mexico to England, thereby trampling the planet under a giant carbon footprint.
Since we don’t grow avocados in Britain, explained the activist, they should be replaced with things we produce locally and don’t have to transport across the planet.
The dietician readily betrayed avocados and crossed over to the other side. Saving the planet was high on her agenda too. The nutrients we derive from this offensive fruit, she said, ought to be replaced with olive oil for moral reasons.
That confused me twice over. First, I couldn’t quite figure out a way of replacing avocados with olive oil in my guacamole. Second, I couldn’t for the life of me remember ever seeing many olive groves anywhere in England.
The activist spotted the geographical contradiction too and objected that, to improve our diets and save the planet at the same time, avocados must be replaced not with foreign olive oil, but with home-grown animal products, such as red meat and cream.
My confusion deepened. Both virtuous substitutes are full of cholesterol, which, as we all know, rivals cyanide for deadly potential and crystal meth for moral decrepitude.
As to red meat, I wonder what animal rights people will have to say about the recommendation to devour the carcasses of murdered creatures. Since man is nothing but an animal, such a diet is a moral equivalent of cannibalism.
I was again confused, and so was the dietician. The urgent need to save the planet clashed with the need to eat ethically, sensibly and without annihilating whole herds of innocent animals who are just like us.
Since I could bear neither her confusion nor mine, I switched to another channel, where Prince Harry was being praised for his own commitment to saving the planet.
Harry spoke, barefoot for some unfathomable reason, at a Google climate retreat in Sicily, where HRH was joined by swarms of A-listers, including every Hollywood actor and pop star I know and dozens of others who are so universally famous that I’ve never heard of them.
The A-listers pledged to do all they could to save the planet from warm weather, which, we must remember, is caused by carbon emissions.
Fair enough, the participants in this worthy event should redouble their planet-saving efforts just to counteract the effect of the 114 private jets and an armada of superyachts on which they had arrived in Sicily.
In addition, Harry also promised to save the planet by having no more than two children. I don’t know about the planet, but the royal family and all of us should be saved from having to cope with too many sprogs of Harry and Meghan.
Harry has clearly inherited his brains from his mother and possibly also his father, if those malicious, vindictive and manifestly false rumours are true. Ever since Harry met Meghan, he has been ignoring the anatomical fact that the thinking organ is located between the ears, not between the legs.
On an unrelated subject, I was privileged to receive the transcript of Joe Biden’s opening remarks at yesterday’s debate among more Democratic candidates than you can shake a machete at. Mr Biden used the opportunity to attack President Trump’s record. This is what he said:
“Friends, Americans, countrymen, lend me your ears. Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown of US presidency, and Trump’s head has been lying throughout his elitist tenure.
“Never in the field of US politics was so much taken from so many by so few. That’s why I come to bury Trump, not to praise him.
“Trump has nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat. He creates a desert and calls it peace. Hence we have before us many long months of toil and struggle until the next election. But we shall not flag or fail… We shall never surrender!
“The buck stops here – this man, the first Biden who has ever gone to university, is not for turning. And it’s time my opponents stopped banging on and on about my having plagiarised that Neil Kinnock speech. Immature politicians plagiarise; mature politicians steal. That brings me back to Trump…”
Following the news is such fun, isn’t it? I’m happy to be able to share my enjoyment with you.