Mark Andrews on Saturday: Road rage, testing times, and the difference between a coup and an insurrection

Read the latest column from Mark Andrews.

Shocking scenes in the US this week
Shocking scenes in the US this week

A man was caught 'white-handed' by police when they found him painting out a new bus lane which was introduced in Birmingham last month.

Three officers were dispatched to the scene, and the offender was taken into custody accused of criminal damage. I do hope there is a similarly rapid show of force next time somebody reports a burglary, though.

Of course they were right to arrest him, you can't have people spray-painting the roads, and it will be the taxpayer who foots the bill for the damage. But given that over the past nine months we have relentlessly been told to avoid using public transport, who in their right mind would think it a good time to create a new bus lane?

* * *

News that Aston Villa's entire first team has been forced into isolation has sparked a bit of gallows humour among the claret-and-blue faithful. One wag suggested it must have been the goalie who caught it. Another, less kind individual reckons there's no way Tyrone Mings could get the virus.

"He's never been within two metres of anyone," he said.

* * *

Despite promises of life getting back to normal by spring, all GCSE and A-level exams have been scrapped for the second year running.

Exams are out for summer, again

Following last year's debacle, when exam boards tried a computer algorithm to guess what grades pupils would have got, it seems that this year the Government will be taking the soft option by inviting teachers to choose grades for their own pupils.

Maybe, given the disruption to education over the past year, there was little choice but to cancel. But if the coronavirus means the kids have not received enough schooling to sit their exams, then arbitrarily awarding them qualifications for things they haven't actually learned cannot be the answer.

It would take a brave minister to keep pupils back a year in order for them to sit their exams 12 months late,and it would be harsh on the kids. But would it be any worse than sending them out into the big, wide world with an incomplete education, and qualifications which few employers will take seriously?

* * *

Former shadow chancellor John McDonnell appeared on ITV's Peston this week, talking rather piously about the shocking scenes on Capitol Hill where Trump supporters stormed the congress.

John McDonnell – a coup, or insurrection?

"When it's a riot, effectively to overturn and election, that's not a protest, it's a coup, and when it's inspired by the person who lost that election, it has to be condemned," he said.

Can't disagree with any of that. But perhaps he would like to condemn another political leader, who a few years ago called for similar action in this country: "Parliamentary democracy doesn't work for us, elections aren't working for us," the man told a cheering mob of supporters. "We used to call it insurrection. Now we're polite and say it's direct action. Let's get back to calling it what it is, it's insurrection. We want to bring this Government down by whatever mechanism we have."

The politician's name? John McDonnell.

Sorry, we are not accepting comments on this article.

Top Stories

More from the Shropshire Star

UK & International News