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Mark Andrews on Saturday: Beach ready? Pool the other one

By Mark Andrews | Opinions | Published:

Read the latest musings from Mark Andrews.

Some people don't know how to beehive

Swim England, previously the plain old Amateur Swimming Association, has drawn up plans for swimming baths to reopen. It suggest swimmers could be asked to avoid the changing rooms, and that they should turn up "beach ready".

I'm not sure they have thought this through. Because unless you actually have a penthouse on the roof of your local baths, you are going to need to travel. Now it might just about be possible to drive to the pool in trunks or a swimsuit, flippers and a snorkel, but are swimmers seriously being asked to drive home in a wringing wet cossie? Maybe they will have to get dressed in the car park.

Swim England is one of those organisations which a generation ago would have been run by amiable old gentlemen in blazers, but has now become a fully-fledged member of the quangocracy.

Its proposals talk about 'wellbeing' and 'the new normal', and are filled with talk about 'signage', 'intended outcomes' and the 'customer journey'.

Then, at the end, with no hint of irony, it says 'communication should be inclusive'.

Jeremy Corbyn's older brother is to stand trial on accused of breaking the lockdown by attending protests.

Piers Corbyn says man-made climate-change is a hoax, and was protesting against lockdown regulations which he says are part of a global conspiracy.

He may be wrong on both counts, and his guilt or innocence is for the courts to decide. But since half the nation's student population seems to have been on permanent protest for the past month, with the Old Bill turning a blind eye, could you blame him for feeling singled out?

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As part of the 'track and trace' measures when pubs reopen, punters will not only be encouraged to order their drinks with a smartphone app, they will also need to leave their names, addresses and phone number with the landlord.

Which is all very well, but what about the 20 per cent of the UK population that doesn't own a smartphone?

There is also the probably much larger demographic, myself included, that is uncomfortable with handing personal data to overseas tech firms. And even less comfortable with giving out bank details.

And if we have to record our movements in such detail, it could spell the end of the crafty pint after work.

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Some years ago I used a 1960s photograph of some friends in the pub as part of our Pictures From The Past series. A day or two later, a relative of one of the gentlemen rang in, wanting to know why he had been in the pub when he should have been somewhere else.

People will steal anything. In Market Bosworth thieves used a vacuum cleaner to remove 130,000 valuable bees from a chimney. Some people just don't know how to beehive.

It's stirred up a hornet's nest among the bee-keeping fraternity, so let's hope the police catch those responsible. Maybe it's time for a sting operation.

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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