Mark Andrews on Saturday: A bad call that could cost lives, mystery about Geronimo, and XR shoot themselves in the foot

When I was at school, teachers would earnestly tell the tale about a lad who, larking about with his mates, gummed up the coin-slot on the public phone box.


              
Demonstrators during a protest by members of Extinction Rebellion near the Science Museum, in central London. Picture date: Sunday August 29, 2021. PA Photo. Extinction Rebellion protests are aiming to occupy parts of central London for two weeks, with its main aim this year being to demand the Government halts all new investment in fossil fuels. See PA story PROTEST Climate. Photo credit should read: James Manning/PA Wire
Demonstrators during a protest by members of Extinction Rebellion near the Science Museum, in central London. Picture date: Sunday August 29, 2021. PA Photo. Extinction Rebellion protests are aiming to occupy parts of central London for two weeks, with its main aim this year being to demand the Government halts all new investment in fossil fuels. See PA story PROTEST Climate. Photo credit should read: James Manning/PA Wire

On his return home, the lad was greeted by his hysterical mother who screamed that his father was seriously ill, and sent him to call an ambulance.

The tale always sounded a bit iffy to me – 999 calls are free, for a start – but the sentiment is right. Don't vandalise public telephones, you never know when you will need one.

Which brings me to veteran councillor Mike Leddy, who is so cheesed-off about drug-taking in Birmingham's phone boxes that he has taken to shrink-wrapping them in cling film.

I sympathise with his outrage, but by disabling public phone boxes, isn't Councillor Leddy endangering lives just like the mythical teenager of schoolteacher folklore? Except that Councillor Leddy is surely old enough to know better.

* * *

Geronimo the alpaca led away under police guard

Now I don't profess to know anything about zoology, and offer no opinion regarding the death of Geronimo the alpaca.

What I don't understand, though, is how he had been on death row for four years. Because when my colleague had TB, she was back at her desk in a few weeks. Wasn't it worth checking to see if Geronimo had got better?

* * *

Extinction Rebellion protests in London

It hasn't been a great week for our friends at Extinction Rebellion, has it?

First there was the hilarious interview in which co-founder Gail Bradbrook admitted driving a diesel car, saying it was essential to take her son to the football. Gail also confessed to flying 11,000 miles to stay at a hippy retreat in Costa Rica.

Then the crusties smashed the windows of J P Morgan bank in London. Surprisingly, this has not convinced J P Morgan to divert its funds into a sustainable T-shirt-printing collective. But it does mean someone will need to come round in a diesel van to replace the broken glass.

Most bizarre of all, though, was its decision to target the Worldwide Fund for Nature, a group which does more for the environment in an average five minutes than the XR lot have achieved in their lives. While Extinction Rebellion drones on about 'raising awareness' – what we used to call 'showing off' – the WWF gets on with saving species, restoring rivers and creating habitats for wildlife.

I know which side I'm on.

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