THE message, as you know, left behind after the first moon landing back in 1969 was: “We came in peace for all mankind.”

I imagine now that a second plaque is being prepared, to be placed alongside the original: “Sorry. We failed.”

For it is as clear as a moonlit night, or even the brightest summer’s day, that peace is unlikely to survive the second half century following that momentous “first step for man” on the moon.

President Trump has signalled the end of the hope embodied in the plaque. He announced: “When it comes to defending America it is not enough to merely have an American presence in space. We must have American dominance in space.”

To that end he has tasked the Pentagon to create a Space Force, to keep the US ahead in what is now openly the militarisation of space.

There’s recognition of that over here. The new head of our army, General Mark Carleton-Smith, spoke recently of how today’s battlefield had expanded and was “no longer bound by the laws of physics.” He was referring chiefly to cyber warfare, which, conducted via satellites, is a form of space war already firmly underway. And Russia of course will not just sit back and give America’s new Space Force a free run.

I address the following message to so-called Millennials, those born round about the Millennium, for whom the 21st Century will be more “theirs” than any other generation: Unless you can achieve what the human race hasn’t yet managed, which is turning bogus peace into what the Victorian poet Gerard Manley Hopkins called “pure peace”, allowing “no alarms of wars, the daunting wars, the death of it,” your world will end in a catastrophe that will make the Second World War look like the Battle of Hastings.

TALKING of battles… My wife is distraught – by the banishment from these pages of Horace and Doris.

Though possibly not even the greatest of the still-legions of fans of the perpetually warring couple, she nevertheless carries around a selection of their pocket cartoons – every one a gem.

She’s apt to pull out one when she needs a lift. After all, the real-life Dorises can’t rely on their Horaces to provide that, can they? Out of date? Nonsense, unless it’s Horace’s trilby or Doris’s frequent line of washing, an ever-rarer sight these days.

Like the late, great Les Dawson the couple are simply comically playing out the eternal battle of the sexes. And anyone who believes that a supposed dawn of enlightenment has put paid to that is very much mistaken.

Horace and Doris actually love each other to bits. Surely anyone not wet behind the ears recognises that? But let me give you just one masterpiece from my wife’s collection.

Doris is reporting Horace missing: “Now that I’ve given the description I’m not sure I want him back.” Don’t tell me you’re not smiling.

GREAT Exhibition of the North – maybe. Great act of thoughtlessness certainly. Whose idea was it to shower the leaders with shredded paper, which would land on Newcastle’s Quayside and in the Tyne? How could those leaders laugh as this littering took place around them?