Shropshire Star

Mark Andrews: Talking to lamp posts, Tony Blair to the rescue, and vice trade deserts the city centre

Just when you thought the world couldn't get any weirder, Dundee Council is urging people to talk to lamp posts about climate change.

Even Amsterdam's red-light district is moving out of town

Which came as a bit of surprise to me. I thought that sort of behaviour was mainly confined to the back alleys of Glasgow.

The local authority has installed 'artificial intelligence chatbots' in lamp posts to encourage people to share their thoughts on global warming. Artificial or not, I can't help but think the chatbots are probably more intelligent than the people who have installed them.

And it seems Dundee is not the only council to embrace this madness. Apparently, a similar scheme has been running in Nottingham for some time. You know, the authority which last month declared itself bankrupt.

I can't help but think that the chatbots – or more to the point the local authorities behind the plan – are going to be disappointed by the responses they get.

No doubt, they are hoping that a load of achingly woke urban hipsters will tell them how they would really love to see more traffic restrictions and congestion charges, and a ban on soap and deodorant. What I suspect will really happen is that they will atrract a load of drunks at closing time telling them where they can stick their Ulez.

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According to The Guardian, Sir Tony Blair 'has let it be known that he is available if needed' to help stop the fighting in the Middle East. I'm sure that's a big relief to everybody concerned. A bit like the Krays offering to sort out gang violence in East London.

Word is he was not first choice for the role. But Attila the Hun turned it down.

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The European Medicine Agency, which recently quit its base in London for an industrial estate in Amsterdam, is not too happy about plans to turn a neighbouring business park into what must surely be the world's biggest brothel.

Amsterdam's leaders want to move the red-light district from its historic home in the heart of the old town, and replace it with a 100-room 'erotic centre', complete with restaurants, sex theatres, clubs and restaurants. Can you imagine anything less alluring? It sounds like an out-of-town shopping mall, only with whips, chains and dungeons.

That's the difference between Britain and Holland. Our leaders talk about levelling up. They are more interested in tying people up.

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Logging on to the Daily Mirror website, the first thing that comes up is a message: "We really care about your privacy". I think there is a gentleman in California who may wish to take issue with that.

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Merry Christmas everybody, and see you on the other side.