The scenes from Cop26 seem to perfectly capture the absurdity, vanity, and general vacuousness that is the modern world.

It’s a carousel of self-obsessed, bombastic, virtue-signalling hypocrites, from Sleepy Joe Biden snoozing on the job while his fleet of gas-guzzling limousines sit with engines idling out the back, to Nicola Sturgeon ambushing Sir David Attenborough for a selfie.

Then there’s Greta Thunberg throwing her toys out of her pram (by the way, Greta, your dismissal of world leaders’ ‘blah blah blah’ on green issues was only quite funny the first time; now it’s just annoying) to Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, spouting unutterable nonsense about Nazis.

Add to these the billionaires, most notably Jeff Bezos, fresh from his mate Bill Gates’s 66th birthday party in Turkey, where guests were shuttled from superyacht to beach club by helicopter.

With one exception. One small, white-haired, beady-eyed nonagenarian with a mind like a steel trap and a sense of decorum combined with quiet humility that, frankly, knocks all these preening popinjays into a cocked hat. I¿m talking about the Queen, of course

One exception. One small, white-haired and beady-eyed, nonagenarian. She has a mind like a steel trap, a sense of decorum, and quiet humility that knocks all these pretentious people into the dust. I’m talking about the Queen, of course 

Then there¿s Greta Thunberg throwing her toys out of her pram (by the way, Greta, your dismissal of world leaders¿ ¿blah blah blah¿ on green issues was only quite funny the first time; now it¿s just annoying) to Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, spouting unutterable nonsense about Nazis

Then there’s Greta Thunberg throwing her toys out of her pram (by the way, Greta, your dismissal of world leaders’ ‘blah blah blah’ on green issues was only quite funny the first time; now it’s just annoying) to Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, spouting unutterable nonsense about Nazis

I don’t know about you, but the sight of a man who has made an obscene fortune from selling mass-produced rubbish made in China (responsible for 27 per cent of global carbon emissions) lecturing us all about doing our bit to stop global warming is, to put it mildly, a bit rich.

Cop26, an event that was supposed to raise awareness about the plights of the planet and the people already suffering from the effects of climate change has done little but remind us just how out of touch many of our so-called great and noble are.

With one exception. One exception. A small, white-haired, beady eyed nonagenarian with a mind as steel trapped and a sense for decorum combined with quiet humility.

I’m talking about the Queen, of course. A woman whose decades of experience have taught her that wealth and power don’t always go hand-in-hand with wisdom. A monarch whose greatness does not come from the material trappings or royalty but from a long, dedicated life of service.

The world listens to her when she speaks. It’s not because she speaks loudly, forcefully, or surrounds herself in symbols of power. We listen because she’s calm, wise, and a little magical.

Add to these the billionaires, most notably Jeff Bezos, fresh from his mate Bill Gates¿s 66th birthday party in Turkey, where guests were shuttled from superyacht to beach club by helicopter

Add to these the billionaires, most notably Jeff Bezos, fresh from his mate Bill Gates’s 66th birthday party in Turkey, where guests were shuttled from superyacht to beach club by helicopter

Yet, she is so human. Her speech, which was delivered via video from the White Drawing Room at Windsor, saw her in green with a butterfly brooch and on her shoulder. This was in keeping with the image of her late husband, The Duke of Edinburgh, who was in Mexico in 1988 in a cloud full of butterflies.

I was reminded of their 73 year partnership as she acknowledged with great fondness his role in highlighting environment issues back as far as 1969. And her praise for her son Charles and grandson William were as touching as any proud mother’s.

She never asked for our sympathy or indulged in self-pity. Despite her poor health, she was there to fulfill her duty. She did it with quiet grace.

If she realised she was staging a bit of a PR coup, it didn’t show. But that’s what it was.

Her simple message, which was not complicated, was refreshing against the backdrop of protesters and motorcades of private jets and hot-air-emitting climate activists.

It¿s a carousel of self-obsessed, bombastic, virtue-signalling hypocrites, from Sleepy Joe Biden snoozing on the job while his fleet of gas-guzzling limousines sit with engines idling out the back, to Nicola Sturgeon ambushing Sir David Attenborough for a selfie

It’s a carousel of self-obsessed, bombastic, virtue-signalling hypocrites, from Sleepy Joe Biden snoozing on the job while his fleet of gas-guzzling limousines sit with engines idling out the back, to Nicola Sturgeon ambushing Sir David Attenborough for a selfie

Do Prince Andrew’s lawyers know something we don’t? Or is the assertion that Virginia Giuffre, not only is she a gold-digger, but also complicit in Jeffrey Epstein’s abuse of other girls the most daring legal defense ever? Expect fireworks soon, in either case.

Epidurals aren’t so After all, there is no evil.

Good news: An epidural is not a risk to babies according to a study that was published last week by more than 435,000 women. When I was having my first child more than 18 years ago, it was made very clear in my NCT classes that having an epidural was not only a cop-out but incredibly selfish, as it might pose a risk to ‘baby’ (it drove me mad how midwives would refer to ‘baby’ instead of ‘the baby’).

In truth, the only risk to my baby was that a midwife didn’t spot that my daughter was the wrong way up, and almost killed both of us.

I want women to be able get the pain relief they need without feeling guilty.

Is Mark Zuckerberg becoming more like an AI version of himself? It’s not someone you would want to meet anywhere, let alone in a darkened universe.

Is it just me, or does Mark Zuckerberg look more and more like a creepy AI version of his human self?

Is Mark Zuckerberg becoming more like an AI version of himself?

Nicola Sturgeon urges the world’s leaders to ‘put egos aside over the next few days’ as Scotland plays host to Cop26. Hmm.

As far as I know, she is the only politician there who is in this month’s edition of Vogue magazine, the ultimate bible of vanity.

The Education Secretary suggested that the school day be extended. Brilliant idea — not only would it help pupils catch up post-Covid, it would also mean that year groups could be staggered to reduce virus transmission. While he’s at it, though, could he also look at bringing in a later start, particularly in secondary schools? Last term my son’s school moved from 8.30am to 9.30am to make it easier for pupils to travel outside rush hour — and it was absolute bliss, the difference between a civilised start to the day and waking up to Kevin the Teenager.

Asked about the prospect of a meat tax, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, right, said she was more in favour of a ‘carrot’ than a ‘stick’ to encourage people to change their eating habits. I hope that’s an organic, locally sourced carrot, Liz. Otherwise you’ll be in for no end of stick. 

Asked about the prospect of a meat tax, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, right, said she was more in favour of a ¿carrot¿ than a ¿stick¿ to encourage people to change their eating habits

Asked about the prospect of a meat tax, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, right, said she was more in favour of a ‘carrot’ than a ‘stick’ to encourage people to change their eating habits

The Government is looking at prescribing electronic cigarettes as a way to pay tobacco companies for their rising duty on cigarettes. British American Tobacco and Philip Morris, two giants in the tobacco industry, have been quietly investing in vapes for many years. Are we really going to let them have access to the NHS budgets? 

Ofqual has suggested that exam papers should use simpler language and put harder questions last to boost equality and avoid ‘demotivating’ pupils from more diverse backgrounds. But the whole point of an exam is that it’s a test. It’s meant to be hard. It may also help to ensure that when you go to hospital — or use any other service that requires knowledge and training — the person with your health or life in their hands actually knows what they are doing. 

It’s great to see that the powers-that be have finally realized how stupidly smart motorways really are. Stupid and dangerous, like so many modern inventions that begin with the prefix ‘smart’. This is an oxymoron, with the emphasis being on the moron. 

Billie’s pearl of green wisdom 

Incredibly irritating side-effect of Cop26: celebrities pointing out the b******g obvious. Exhibit No 1: Billie Eilish. ‘We must stand together and speak up to save our planet, not just for us, but for our future generations, and we need urgent, urgent action now and to work together as one.’

Billie, are you really that serious? Now why didn’t I think of that.

Incredibly irritating side-effect of Cop26: celebrities pointing out the b******g obvious. Exhibit No 1: Billie Eilish

Incredibly irritating side-effect of Cop26: celebrities pointing out the b******g obvious. Exhibit No 1: Billie Eilish

Trees are amazing 

I’m a fan of the pledge to stop deforestation by 2030, which is something I can really support at this climate summit. Not only are trees key to soaking up carbon emissions (a recent report found that increasing the Earth’s forests by an area the size of the U.S. would cut atmospheric carbon dioxide by 25 per cent), but they are some of the most impressive organisms on the planet.

I recently went to see a yew in a modest churchyard near a friend’s house in Wales that is reputed to be over 5,000 years old and still thriving.

How can you not be in awe of something that was alive while our ancestors were still living in caves — and may yet outlive us all?