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MARTEL MAXWELL: From Prince Andrew to politics, we’ve all made up our minds

The Queen and Prince Andrew in happier times, at Windsor in 2017. Photo: Shutterstock.
The Queen and Prince Andrew in happier times, at Windsor in 2017. Photo: Shutterstock.

Opinions on the monarchy are a bit like football.

You’re not suddenly going to change allegiances from Dundee to United because of a few bad results.

It’s part of you – it’s your team, it’s in your blood.

Similarly, no matter how bad the royal scandal gets (and the Prince Andrew one is up there) it’s not going to change anyone’s previously-held opinions of the royal family.

Here’s what I mean. If you don’t believe we need a royal family, Andrew is proof that the monarchy is corrupt, self-serving, entitled and all the rest.

If on the other hand you are a pro-royalist, you are able to divorce her son’s behaviour from her and the rest of the family.

Whenever I’ve written about the monarchy here, it has evoked high emotions.

I’m still get the odd email asking (albeit in a friendly manner) why I like the queen so much.

I don’t know. I just do. She makes me quite emotional. I can’t help it.

But the point I’m making is that a bad apple like Andrew won’t sway people’s firmly-held opinions, or persuade one side of the fence to suddenly get up and sit on the other.

Prince Andrew is facing a trial in the US over allegations he had sex with a minor who had been trafficked by the convicted paedophile Jeffrey Epstein. Photo: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

The same applies to almost any argument I can think of.

Same applies to politics and pandemics

Take Covid. If you are terrified of the virus and believe everyone should wear masks and abide by the rules you will not be moved by arguments from anti-vaxxers and anti-maskers.

Or voting. Whatever Nicola Sturgeon gets wrong in the fields of health, education, unemployment or housing, will anything make a staunch SNP voter tick another party’s box in the next ballot?

Will devout Conservatives reject their Tories when the next election rolls round, or will they be willing to overlook the damaging headlines about Downing Street bashes in order to support the party once again?

Boris Johnson is under fire over Downing Street parties but will it sway voters? Photo: Jack Hill/The Times/PA Wire.

We are all adept at taking in all of the facts of a matter, but still finding a way, often subconsciously, to come to a conclusion that suits our ingrained views.

It’s why social media is so angry and is encouraging an “us against them” mentality.

It’s why families and friends fall out – from failing to see things any other way than our own.

And it’s getting worse.

The ability to have a rational conversation has been clamped – amid the fear of being cancelled.

I’ve stopped offering my opinion when I bump into people – whether it’s on masks, lockdowns, holidays or virtually any other topic – because people seem so angry all of the time.

Often they’re only a bit less angry if you agree with them.

I’d like to be a bit more open to persuasion in 2022.

As resolutions go, it sounds more enjoyable than saying no to chocolate. Whether it’s any more achievable remains to be seen.

Expert’s opinions were food for thought

I missed his name as I joined the conversation halfway through, but a food and nutrition expert on Chris Evans’ Virgin Radio breakfast show was serving up some interesting nuggets the other day.

He says the “food mafia” has been telling us for decades that sugar and salt are bad, when it’s not actually true – or at least not entirely.

We’ve all been told to eat breakfast – in part so companies can sell us their brands.

But many people don’t need to, he says. And lots of us could lose weight and function better if we didn’t.

It’s our overconsumption of highly processed foods that is the real issue, according to this nutritionist.

And we eat more of of this than any other European country.

A new wave of researchers are making it clear that not one diet fits all.

Our bodies are different and we need to be more open to experimenting so we can figure out what makes us feel good and bad.

Planting ideas in my head

This expert did say something which stupefied me though – that we should all be aiming to eat 30 different plants a week.

Was he crazy? How many kinds of kale or seaweed (eeugh) can you get?

But then he explained plants are pretty much everything that’s not meat or processed food.

They’re nuts, seeds, fruit, veg, the grains we find in bread.

Is 30 a week the new five a day? Photo: Shutterstock.

Thirty still seems on the high side but I am willing to give it a go.

As I write this (eating a handful of walnuts) I think I’ve managed 10.

That 30 seems a long way off but I’ve got my eye on a packet of prawn cocktail Golden Wonder crisps.

If we’re prepared to gloss over the processed bit I think we can all agree that potatoes count as plants.

Normality is returning and that’s something to cheer

As we adjust to the re-opening of large events and sports matches to the public, it feels like we might be taking a step in the right direction towards normality.

It’s such a huge thing mentally to be able to look forward to an occasion- no matter how big or small.

Kids and teachers can start to believe, with a fair degree of certainty, that the end of term concerts they are planning will not only go ahead, but will be performed in front of an audience brimming with pride.

And to those who have missed going to their regular football games, the news will mean so much.

It will be a welcome return for fans and staff alike when we hear the crowds from Tannadice and Dens again.

It can’t come soon enough.

MARTEL MAXWELL: My mental health message? Listen when someone wants to talk

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