Mark Andrews on Saturday: Smelly lager louts, petty bureaucrats, and RIP Tommy Doc

Read the latest column from Mark Andrews.

RIP Tommy Docherty
RIP Tommy Docherty

Remember all those fantastic Nightingale hospitals built at lightning speed during the early days of the coronavirus pandemic?

I only mention them because many of them are now being dismantled just as we are told the NHS is at risk of being overwhelmed by the latest wave of the virus. Which would appear to mean one of two things: either they are being closed when they are desperately needed, or that they were never really the answer in the first place.

Either way, it's a shocking waste of taxpayers' money.

* * *

According to retailers' magazine The Grocer, the past year has seen a huge upsurge in the sales of lager, with San Miguel sales rocketing by 61 per cent, and even the unfortunately named Corona seeing a 40 per cent jump.

Since lockdown, people have been skimping on deodorant and downing mass-produced lager

On the other hand, spending on deodorants plummeted by 10 per cent. Well they do say the virus causes you to lose your sense of smell.

So people are skimping on personal hygiene while quaffing gassy, mass-produced lager like there's no tomorrow. Not an attractive picture, is it?

* * *

Still, the good news is we now have three licensed vaccines to fight the virus, including the AstraZeneca injection which was finally licensed this week, and will provide a cheap, easy-to-administer jab that could protect up to two million people a week.

The NHS ordered enough vaccine to treat 50,000 people – if the bureaucrats will allow it

Even better news is that about 40,000 retired medics have offered their services to help deliver the vaccines as quickly as possible. So what could go wrong?

The Great British bureaucrat, of course.

Well, it seems that this army of public-spirited volunteers are being asked to fill out up to 21 different forms before they will be considered fit to administer the drug. They are even being asked to declare whether they have been referred to the Government's anti-terrorism programme.

OK, you can't have any Tom, Dick or Harry delivering medical care, but as long as they have the relevant qualifications and pass a criminal-record check, that should be enough. If I were a retired medic, selflessly offering my expertise free of charge for the good of the nation, I would be sorely tempted to tell the pen-pushers where to stick their injection. And it probably wouldn't be the arm.

* * *

RIP Tommy Docherty, described in all the national newspapers as the "former Chelsea, Manchester United and Scotland manager", with barely a mention of his time at Villa or Wolves.

He once famously remarked: “When one door closes, another slams shut in your face.”

Which seems rather apt at the moment.

The Doc didn't always get it right, though. He once said of a young, up-and-coming forward trying to make his name in this neck of the woods: "If that lad makes a First Division footballer, then I'm Mao Tse-Tung." The player in question was Dwight Yorke.

His thoughts on our fine trade were also a little dubious: "I've always said there's a place for the Press, but they haven't dug it yet."

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