You know, you reach a certain age when it’s a daily struggle not to become a harrumphing caricature. Baffled by the way the world turns, you rely on your kids to gently deflate your swelling outrage, consoling yourself only with the knowledge that their time, too, will come.

But just once in a while, there’s the realisation that, no, you really are right and, instead of grim satisfaction it prompts the Howard Beale urge to shout: “I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!”

Such a moment this week, when, along with a green comet, the firmament boasts other portents of disaster. A star-crossed alignment of the news designed to convince even the most sceptical of on-lookers that our gods are of small things and their currency petty interference and not grand designs.

Come, look through the telescope and you will see what I mean.  

First there is the decision to ban the Tom Jones sing-along favourite Delilah from the Millennium Stadium in Wales just as the Six Nations rugby is about to begin. Why, why, why? Well, having been embroiled in a sexism scandal in which the former general manager of Welsh women’s rugby was told by a male colleague that he would like to rape her, it was deemed that the obvious fix was to stop the crowd singing the 1968 hit while waiting for the teams to run out.

The song, which Jones himself thought was a joke when it was first suggested he record it, tells the melodramatic tale of Valleys temptress Delilah, flaunting her infidelities at her  lover until, able to bear it no longer, he murders her in a fit of jealousy. A crime passionel of a type that litters history and literature and in which the perpetrator, of either sex, often stands as a cautionary tale.

While no Welsh rugby fan has yet been forbidden from watching Othello, it can only be a matter of time until Shakespeare joins Jones in being seen as an exhortation of a type which encourages back-room staff to say unforgivably crass things to their female co-workers.

The ban is, of course, the illusion of action. Superficial, authoritarian, killjoy and symbolic of things other than the Welsh Rugby Union intended when they came up with it as a sop to universal dissatisfaction with a sordid set of attitudes.

Not to be outdone, “health campaigners” are cross with, you’ll love this, The Beano. The veteran comic, home to Minnie the Minx and Dennis the Menace, now has a website which has encouraged its readers to help the Minx zap “vile vegetables” and quizzed kids on various fast food logos.

“Incredibly irresponsible” intoned the usual worthies. Well, up to a point. My own memories of the Beano, Dandy, Topper and Beezer are of the likes of The Bash Street Kids gasping a collective ‘’Coo! Ta!” to a fiver handed over for some accidental good deed before heading off for “slap up” visits to the fish and chip shop.

Granted, all were spawned in a time when “Fatty” was an exceptional and rare character, Billy Bunter “yiped” and “yarroo-ed” through the caning his appetite had inevitably led him to and Sparky’s Hungry Horace was seen as an aberration whose greed always ended in trouble.

No longer permitted to point this out, we are invited instead to pretend that kids clamour for broccoli with a “yum” on their lips and are utterly oblivious to the brands that, literally,  litter their high streets and have never indulged in “a cheeky Nando’s”.

A hermetically-sealed middle class illusion of crudité snacks, Mindful Chef boxes and colourful-wellied walks while “Going On A Bear Hunt”.

It’s enough to make you shut the door, sit by the fire and never venture out again. But wait! Who’s that knocking? Oh no! It’s the newly empowered wood burner inspectors. Daily giving council officials new intrusive purpose and all under the overused guise of an environmentalism which can never make up its mind. Remember when wood burners were good, diesels were the way forward and electric cars never came in hock to the ability to generate enough electricity or source Chinese-owned lithium?

Never mind that each load of logs has the flat-bed driver bent over it with a damp meter or that the coal merchant can only sell you approved, smokeless brands. You’re nicked m’beauty! A criminal record and a fine for causing global conflagration and all for imagining you’re quietly sat in front of the crackling flame and dodging the energy bills.

Even the natural corollary, “curling up with a good book” cannot escape the great admonition. Anthony Horowitz, the author, having revealed in The Spectator that his latest work was sent for a “sensitivity read” having included a native American character. It cost him the word “scalpel” on the basis that this might lead the reader to “scalping”, which, while a genuine rite of warfare, remains unassociated with surgical instruments.

Individually, these things might be mildly irritating, faintly laughable. The false invention of purpose, “something must be done”, the never-ending quest for virtuous exposure and righteous publicity.

Collectively, however, they’re not. One might venture down the extrapolatory path that, three years on from leaving the EU, we have forgotten that, in whatever form, this constant petty and unaccountable intrusion was precisely what people voted against.

One might fulminate against the dangers to art and freedom of expression that red-pencilled words, the logical inconsistencies of “lived experience” and the tricksy conflation of tales told and exhortations to act represent.

One might add too that Covid has coupled horribly with wokeism to give official weight to constant oversight of thought and deed. And all of these would have some basis while flirting with the “thin end of the wedge” caricature that might make one think twice.

But we mustn’t, you know. We let one go by then another. Frogs in the water, we don’t notice it’s started to boil until it’s too damn late to hop. When do we say “enough”? When do we defy? It really must be soon, I think. It’s getting hot in here. And to quote Homer Simpson, “They ain’t the boss of me.”

Write to us with your comments to be considered for publication at