Shropshire Star

Mark Andrews: Gurning Cummings, McDonald's mouse protesters, and why GDPR should be placed on the bonfire of red tape

The Covid inquiry so far. Would-be gurning champion Dominic Cummings had a potty mouth and thought he was intellectually superior to everyone around him. Boris Johnson was indecisive. And everybody agreed Matt Hancock was useless. Not exactly the shock of the century is it?

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Dominic Cummings.

But behind the soap opera, there are a couple of salient points. First of all, it is alleged that fears of breaching GDPR rules hampered efforts to protect the most vulnerable.

This isn't a huge surprise. GDPR is typical of the stupid, sledgehammer-to-crack-a-nut, bureaucratic diktats forced on us by Brussels. Few people fully understand the rules, meaning we are routinely and needlessly kept in the dark.

But now we have left the EU, isn't it time GDPR was put on the promised 'bonfire of red tape'?

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Secondly, Cummings claimed lockdown could have been avoided had the UK closed its borders before the disease arrived. No-one will ever know whether this is true, but I do recall asking back in January 2020 what the Government was playing at when it 'repatriated' a coach-load of Brits who were living in Wuhan.

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Put yourself in the mind of the McDonald's mouse men.

You almost certainly have no links to Palestine – there are only 20,000 people of Palestinian heritage in the UK – but you still feel such a burning sense of injustice that you will stop at nothing to stop Israel's military activity.

So what do you do? Buy a nest of mice, spray paint them in the colours of the Palestinian flag and throw them on the floor of a burger joint in Birmingham. If that doesn't make Benjamin Netanyahu think again, what will?

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Of course, anybody naive enough to believe a one-sided 'ceasefire' would end the bloodshed should listen to Hamas's own spokesman Ghazi Hamad. This week he went on television pledging to repeat the atrocities of October 7 'again and again' until Israel was 'annihilated'.

More to the point, he said he was more than prepared to offer the people of Gaza as 'martyrs' to achieve this end.

Yes, every death is equally heartbreaking. And Mr Hamad and his ilk are culpable for them all.

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That said, I can't agree with Lord Austin, the former MP for Dudley North, who called for the 'deluded mob' chanting pro-Hamas slogans to be sent to jail.

He is bang on the money in saying our homegrown terror apologists are at best stupid – and at worst downright hateful – but I also believe that as democrats we have to be better than them.

That means defending the free speech of everybody, no matter how objectionable they may be.