Mark Andrews on Saturday: Masks, exams, Rishi and Ritchie

By Mark Andrews | Opinions | Published:

Read the latest musings from Mark Andrews.

Face mask – but how do you buy one when your's breaks?

Just a hypothetical question, but suppose the elastic on your face mask snaps while you are shopping, meaning you can't go into the shops. How do you buy another one?

The Government is to ban 'two for the price of one' deals on foods high in sugar, salt or fat as part of its anti-obesity strategy.

Rishi Sunak: two for the price of one?

Meanwhile this week it launched the 'Rishi's dishes' half-price food scheme, which means two people can go into a fast-food joint and order two meals, very high in sugar, salt and fat, for the price of, er, one.

A few months ago, at the height of the coronavirus pandemic, there was talk of abandoning the football season and relegating my team, Aston Villa, on some spurious points-per-game calculation. Fortunately, fixtures resumed, and Villa avoided relegation.

Now, a football team being unfairly relegated on the basis of a contrived formula is annoying, but not life changing. So imagine what is must be like for the thousands of teenagers this week picking up their A-level results based, not on their performance in the exam room, but on an arcane formula calculated by bureaucrats in the education system. For some it may be good news, but for many it won't, and they will never know whether their lives might have panned out differently had their exams gone ahead.

Social distancing is not difficult in the exam room

It makes you wonder, was there really no way these exams could have been held, even if it meant postponing them for a couple of months? It's not as if social distancing is unusual in the exam room.


It seems we're top of the league at organising sporting tournaments, but bottom of the class when it comes to youngster's education.

And before anyone brings up the 'ghost goal', Villa would still have stayed up on goals scored.

Mike van Erp sounds just the type you want in your social bubble, doesn't he?

The self-styled vigilante cyclist spends his days riding around London with a camera trying to catch people using their mobile phones at the wheel. Fair enough you might say, and I certainly don't condone using a hand-held phone while driving.


But Mr Erp, who boasted of snaring 358 drivers last year, does seem to take it a bit far. Particularly as none of the 'offenders' publicly shamed on his YouTube channel – a recent scalp is film director Guy Ritchie – were actually moving at the time.

Of course, under the law – for reasons I have never quite understood – it is technically an offence, and Mr Ritchie received a driving ban. I'm sure he will get over it.

By the way, Mr Erp describes himself as a 'full-time rollerskating instructor', which poses a couple of questions. First, isn't encouraging youngsters to career around public places on rollerskates a lot more dangerous than sending a text message in a stationary vehicle? And secondly, given that Mr Erp is 48 years old, isn't it about time he grew up and got a proper job?

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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