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Mark Andrews on Saturday: Football anguish, the car conundrum, and a very strange way to keep fit

By Mark Andrews | Opinions | Published:

Read today's column from Mark Andrews.

Cristiano Ronaldo

Have you seen those adverts for a strange device called Peloton? As far as I can see, it is an exercise bike with the dubious addition of somebody shouting motivational messages through a television screen. And people are paying two grand and more for these things.

Can’t people even ride an exercise bike these days without some form of online connectivity?

A new report says more than half the nation’s children sleep with their mobile phone by their bedside, while 42 per cent become ‘uncomfortable’ when they have a weak phone signal. It warns electronic devices can ‘dominate’ children’s lives. You don’t say.

What is strange is that Wolverhampton Grammar School is now insisting that all lessons for children aged nine-to-14 will be conducted on iPads rather than exercise books, in an attempt to prepare them for the digital world.

Prepare them for the digital world? The real problem is weaning them off these things so they are ready for the real world.

Shouldn't we be preparing children for the non-digital world?

Surprise, surprise. With no Brexit news this week, the Government has brought forward its proposed ban on petrol and diesel cars to 2035. For politicians, making grand promises for long after they have left office is a bit like apologising for acts from the dim and distant past – a bit of easy grandstanding with no personal cost.

What is interesting is that the announcement came the same week as reports that Nissan could expand UK production in the event of post-Brexit import tariffs, with a view to undercutting imported cars.

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People more cynical than myself may wonder whether the two are connected. After all, what better way to boost your domestic car industry than ban the vehicles everyone else is using?

What advocates of electric cars are much less vocal about is that producing the batteries alone creates as much carbon dioxide as driving a petrol car for eight years. Which makes a mockery of so-called ‘scrappage’ schemes that encourage people to destroy perfectly serviceable cars every few years to buy the latest 'green' ones. But when did you ever hear a politician telling us to keep our money in our pockets?

A court in South Korea has awarded £240 each in compensation to two football fans who endured “mental anguish” after Cristiano Ronaldo failed to play in an exhibition match. According to a lawyer, that could be ‘the tip of the iceberg’.

I’ll say. If the mental anguish of missing Ronaldo’s silky skills is worth £240 a head, imagine what season-ticket holders at Walsall could be in line for.

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Sir Lenny Henry

Prince William expressed his ‘frustration’ at the lack of diversity during this year’s Baftas. It reminds me of a similar observation by Lenny Henry at some awards night or other about 10 years ago.

I can’t recall his precise words, but they were along the lines: “Things have got to change, it's terrible that people like me are so under-represented. It is time these awards properly recognised the talents of people from Dudley.”

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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