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Mark Andrews on Saturday: Sensitive cops, creepy crawlies and a political parlour game

By Mark Andrews | Opinions | Published:

Read the latest musings from Mark Andrews.

Chris Packham

Rookie police officers are being told that they can opt out of training sessions featuring real-life examples of crime if they find the rude language or offensive attitudes too much.

Which seems rather odd, given that we live in an age where foul language never seems to have been so prevalent.

But if these trainee police officers find swearing or politically-incorrect viewpoints so offensive, how are they ever going to cope with the tough old world where the villains themselves are less polite and enlightened? Maybe they think it’s like those old Ealing comedies, where the policeman blows his whistle and a young cockney scally in a stripy jumper emerges from behind the bins saying, “all right guv’nor, it’s a fair cop.”

It sounds a bit like when they started showing The Sweeney in America, but redacted for the more sensitive US audience, with no swearing and no violence. I suspect they were very short episodes.

Wildlife presenter Chris Packham has called for an end to the I’m A Celebrity ‘Bushtucker trials’, where people you have barely heard of are made to eat live bugs.

Now call me snowflake if you want, but I think he’s spot on. Large insects might not be cute and cuddly, and yes, they may suffer a similar fate at the hands of predators in the wild. But is it really necessary to watch them being eaten alive just for a bit of entertainment?

Maybe there was a time when it was funny to watch puffed-up C-listers being forced to eat horrible squirming creatures, in the same way it may once have seemed funny to watch tone-deaf oddballs arguing with Simon Cowell about their musical talent. Maybe there was even a time when it was mildly amusing to watch obscure celebrities making a hash of the Charleston, although I never got it myself.

But that time was about 15 years ago. Surely it’s time to knock all these tired reality shows on the head and come up with something more original.

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Yippee, at the third time of asking, Britain finally goes to the polls on December 12.

On Monday, Boris Johnson asked for an election under the Fixed Term Parliaments Act, which required a two-thirds majority. He fell well short because the opposition parties did not agree.

Arcane parlour game?

So on Tuesday, he made the same proposal outside of the Fixed Term Parliaments Act, meaning it did not require a two-thirds majority. So two thirds of MPs voted in favour.

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On both occasions, the MPs voted after spending the whole day talking about it, yet their minds had clearly been made up in advance.

These are the same MPs who stopped us leaving the EU this week because there was not enough time for debate. But had they not spent two days arguing about the election we’re having anyway, there would have been more time for them to get on with it.

Does anybody think our crucible of democracy is like some arcane parlour game?

Mark Andrews

By Mark Andrews
@MAndrews_Star

Senior news writer for the Shropshire Star specialising in in-depth features and commentary, investigative reporting and political matters.

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