Shropshire Star

Mark Andrews: First winner of the election campaign, and the perversity of rewarding crime

Looks like I missed the boat for the job as head of diversity and inclusion at the House of Lords, which I referred to last week. A bit of disappointing, I was really looking forward to playing my part in this most egalitarian bastion of equality and inclusivity.

Former Post Office boss Paula Vennells arrives to give evidence to the Post Office Horizon IT inquiry

Hopefully I will have more luck in my application for the post of artistic director at Camden People's Theatre. On the plus side, they say the ideal applicant does not need any theatrical experience, which I don't have. And they are keen to identify people who 'self identify as disabled' – well, my eyesight's not the best, and I have got dodgy knees.

The stumbling block might be my lack of qualifications. Unfortunately, I don't have a criminal record.

Without a hint of irony, the theatre posted an advert saying it particularly welcomed applicants from the 'benefit class, criminal class and/or underclass'.

After a flood of complaints, the theatre has pulled the offending advert. But not, as you might expect, because the criteria are perverse. But because the terminology in the advert was not considered woke enough.

Indeed, summing up the idiocy that seems to grip modern academia, Exeter University's Lee Elliot Major said 'terms like 'criminal class' or 'underclass' immediately position people as inferior, when they often have a lot to offer'. I wonder if that's what he says when his house is broken into.

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It would be interesting to know how Camden People's Theatre would respond to an application from, say, a Christian preacher who had fallen foul of our increasingly deranged 'hate crime' laws. Or someone who gets a visit from the boys in blue for 'gingerphobia'.Or an old-school comedian who took a joke too far for 21st century sensibilities.

I suspect those are not the type of 'criminal classes' the theatre is looking for. Not the 'nasty' criminal classes, but the 'nice' ones. Burglars, drug dealers, people like that.

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What makes me so angry about this kind of stuff isn't just the patronising middle-class stupidity, it isn't even the fact that it rewards wrongdoing. I'm very happy to concede we all make mistakes, and that people deserve a second chance.

What I can't stomach is the unfairness of it. The way it disadvantages the thousands of law-abiding, hard-working young people – working-class or otherwise – with a passion for theatre who would give their eye-teeth for an opportunity like this. And the door is slammed in their face because they pay their way and haven't robbed anyone.

There is no such thing as positive discrimination. Discrimination is discrimination, and it is always pernicious and entirely negative.

Camden People's Theatre? Its inclusivity policy doesn't extend to people like me.

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Footage from South Korea showed a man engaged in what the national tabloids usually describe as 'an intimate romp' with a pink Tesla car. Apparently the connection was electric.

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Biggest winner in the election campaign so far? I would say Paula Vennells.

The former boss of the Post Office, who presided over the cover-up while innocent postmasters and counter assistants were sent to jail, gave evidence before the public inquiry on Wednesday. Her appearance was expected to be the big news event of the week, and her tearful appearance would normally have been on the front of the newspapers and leading the news bulletins.

But instead, she has became a footnote in this week's news cycle.