Mark Andrews: Not Hancock's finest half hour, a Gray day for Sir Keir, and bad news for language students

Isabel Oakeshott rose to prominence after persuading Vicky Pryce, estranged wife of cabinet minister Chris Huhne, to reveal she had accepted a speeding fine on her husband's behalf. The disclosure landed them both in prison.

Matt Hancock – not the shrewdest operator?
Matt Hancock – not the shrewdest operator?

Miss Oakeshott ended the diplomatic career of Sir Kim Darroch, British Ambassador to the US, by revealing indiscreet comments he made about Donald Trump.

She then wrote a book making some, shall we say, rather unflattering allegations involving David Cameron and a pig, which she later admitted may well have been untrue.

And for some reason Matt Hancock thought she was the ideal person to trust with a stash of highly sensitive text messages about his handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

Not the shrewdest of operators, is he?

* * *

Meanwhile, you would think Sir Keir Starmer would keep his head down and let the likes of Hancock do his job for him. So, of course, he responded by announcing Sue Gray as his chief of staff for when he enters Downing Street.

Now maybe Sir Keir believes his 20-point lead in the opinion polls is down to his personal magnetism, but I suspect it is owes more to Miss Gray's investigation into the 'Partygate' affair. And by calling her impartiality into question, he undermines the main reason he is favourite to become PM.

Besides, with the small matter of a general election nearly two years away, isn't it a little presumptuous to be appointing a chief of staff?

* * *

How many genders would you say there are? Now I recall this being a rather vexed debate in my school days. My French master said two, masculine and feminine. But my German teacher – who also taught French – insisted there were three, with neuter making up the numbers.

Anyhow, it seems children at Queen Elizabeth II Primary School on the Isle of Man are being taught the correct number is actually 73. Which must be a nightmare when when revising your irregular verbs.

When an 11-year-old boy questioned this, the drag queen in charge of the class ordered him out of the room in disgrace.

Yes, you read that right. Now call me a stick in the mud, but wasn't life simpler when it was teachers who took the lessons?

* * *

In London, you are never more than six foot away from a rat, goes the old saying.

Well the way things are going, we will soon be scarcely more than 6ft away from our nearest branch of Aldi. The German retailer has announced proposals for another 30 branches, on top of the countless applications already going through the planning process.

The argument goes that bringing shops closer to people cuts down on car journeys. I would rather keep residential areas peaceful, and keep much-needed shops in our struggling town centres.

Most Read

Most Read

Top Stories

More from the Shropshire Star

UK & International News