Mark Andrews: If that's not worth an Asbo, what is?

By Mark Andrews | Opinions | Published:

Read today's column from Mark Andrews.

The Two Mikes – anti-social?

KAY Crane, an 81-year-old grandmother, has been issued with an anti-social behaviour order for wearing a bikini in her garden while listening to TalkSport. And I have to concur, that behaviour is very anti-social on both counts, particularly if she was listening to The Two Mikes and their inane ramblings. But it does raise the question of what other anti-social acts Asbos could be used to prevent. Driving a blinged up Vauxhall Corsa with an outsized exhaust and noisy stereo, obviously, as well as the garish Christmas lights that some people install in mid-November. There’s probably also a case for banning obese middle-aged men from wandering the supermarkets in flip-flops and combat shorts, as well as those young mothers who think it’s ok to go shopping in their pyjamas. Then there are those awful verbal ticks which have polluted our language since the dawn of the reality television craze. ‘It is what it is’, ‘we are where we are’, ‘it’s one of those’ I’m sure you will agree these are far more anti-social than an elderly lady in swimwear.

PROBABLY the most interesting thing to emerge from the Conservative leadership election is that Rory the Tory is not quite what he seems. Despite his habit of talking about himself in the third person – ‘Rory this’ and ‘Rory that’– he is really not Rory at all. His name is Roderick. For some reason, he has chosen not to go through life known as Rod Stewart, presumably to avoid confusion with the other one. Which is a bit disappointing really, because he would have livened up the hustings no end if he wore pink slacks and a leopard-print shirt. You wear it well, Rory.

WHICH reminds me of the time, about 2003, when I had to interview an up-and-coming Tory MP called Theresa May. Unsure of whether her first name had an ‘h’ in it, I did a quick Google search which revealed Teresa May, without the ‘h’, to be a very different lady indeed. And if you are not familiar with her work, let’s just say her clothing budget is probably much smaller than that of the Prime Minister. Given that she doesn’t tend to wear many.

NOW it’s all very well people talking about the need to keep up with technology, but what about when technology fails to keep up with mankind? On a journey to Lincolnshire on Sunday, my 12-year-old sat-nav tried to direct me onto a road which no longer exists, resulting in me taking the London-bound M1. No problem, it simply recalculated the route, telling me to leave the motorway, head back north, and then south down the M6 to the non-existent junction once more. After 40 minutes and £30 worth of petrol – yes, it’s a very thirsty car – found a suitable lay-by and did what I hadn’t done for the best part of a decade. I reached for the well thumbed road old road atlas on the back seat.

SAT-NAV is a brilliant invention, and makes a breeze of driving in big cities such as London or Birmingham which once no-go areas to somebody unfamiliar with the roads. But I also worry it is making us too dependent, and whether future generations will be able to perform the basic function of deciphering a map.

THAT said, I later discovered that I could have changed the sat-nav settings to avoid the motorway. The equipment is only as intelligent as the person using it.

Mark Andrews

By Mark Andrews

Senior news writer for the Shropshire Star specialising in in-depth features and commentary, investigative reporting and political matters.


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