Shropshire Star

Mark Andrews: 'Playful' England kit, emperor's new clothes, and spare us a Penny

Sports kit manufacturer Nike has ruffled a few feathers with the new England kit, which features a 'playful update' of the St George's flag with purple and blue stripes.


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Former England goalkeeper David Seaman has suggested they should replace the three lions with a trio of street moggies while they're about it, or words to that effect.

One suspects that is exactly the response Nike was seeking, it no doubt thought a bit of controversy would make the brand seem edgy and cool.

Doesn't work for me, though. What I would have found really edgy and brave would be a 'playful update' of the Palestinian flag. Maybe with a few pink lovehearts and peace symbols, or something like that. So come on, Nike, how about it? Thought not.

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How would you react if you woke up one morning and found your house had been daubed with green paint? Call the police? OK, maybe not with all those pronouns to look after. But I'm pretty sure my reaction wouldn't be that of Islington Council, which welcomed the attack as 'a really powerful piece, which highlights the vital role that trees play in our communities and in tackling the climate emergency.'

Of course, what happened was a chap calling himself 'Banksy' claimed it was he who had splashed the block of flats with green paint, meaning what would otherwise have been described as mindless vandalism is now a priceless piece of street art.

Unfortunately, somebody followed it through by adding a bit of white paint. But because whoever did that did not call himself 'Banksy', Islington, Islington Council responded by saying, "It's sad to see the piece has been defaced."

Talk about the emperor's new clothes. Did it not occur to anybody that the white paint represented the extreme snowfall we all face as a result of global warming?

Anyhow, the good news is that the local authority has stepped up security, installed a fence, and asked for security patrols to keep an eye on it. Doesn't that just some up local government in the 21st century. Not enough money to fix the potholes, but they've still got time to protect a bit of graffiti.

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Maybe if Chris Kanizi had changed his name to something a little trendier, Greenwich Council might have cut him a bit of slack.

Chris has been ordered to paint over the mural outside his chip shop which features a cod in a bowler hat and carrying a Union Jack, with the slogan 'a great British meal'.

Frankly, I think it's pretty tacky, and wouldn't be impressed if it opened up anywhere near where I live. But it looks vastly more artistic than Banksy's mess.

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A nervy week for Rishi Sunak amid moves to depose him as PM. Not surprising, really, he has been in office for nearly 18 months, now, so you can hardly blame backbenchers for wanting a change.

What is desperate is that they are pinning their hopes on Penny Mordaunt, the queen of woke who came third in the 2022 leadership election, having done worse than both Rishi and Liz Truss. Granted, she's good at holding a sword above her head. But if Penny Mordaunt is the answer, I shudder to think what the question must be.