Mark Andrews: Therese gets her tinsel tangled, the dangers of crying wolf, and what happened to the pork shortage?

There's no need to cancel your office party, the Prime Minister reassured us this week. Well, I suppose given the revelations of the past few days, he would have to say that, wouldn't he?

Therese Coffey
Therese Coffey

But there must be no snogging under the mistletoe says Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey.

"You don't need to do things like that," she said primly. Try telling that to Matt Hancock, minister.

I think if I were organising a party, I would put Miss Coffey in charge of the beverage trolley. She's certainly got the name for it.

All we need now is for Carrie to come up with a bit of advice about the decorations.

"About £88,000 should do it, just steer clear of that ghastly tinsel from John Lewis, unless you want your office to look like Theresa May's dining room," she would probably say.

* * *

People living near the Princess Royal Hospital in Telford have reacted with fury at plans to remove yellow lines from their road, fearing visitors will start parking opposite their homes.

A bit irritating, granted. But the law gives everyone equal rights on the public highway, and the hospital car park is too small for the site. Not helped, of course, by all the houses built around it.

Anyhow, one resident is reported to have gone down the Insulate Britain route, threatening to glue his face to the yellow paint.

Another adds: "It will cause accidents, stress, mental health issues, fighting, and possible fatalities due to inconsiderate parkers."

Nice to see a sensible, proportionate response.

But isn't playing the "mental health" card about something as trivial as parking restrictions grossly demeaning to people who are really struggling with such issues?

It is something we are seeing more and more of, particularly on social media. Certain groups of people – I would say it tends to be those of the "safe spaces" persuasion ­– appear to cite ""mental health" every time they do not get their own way.

Now mental health is unquestionably a serious issue which has been swept under the carpet for too long, often with tragic consequences. And it is good that people are now encouraged to talk freely about such problems issues without the fear of stigma.

But that freedom comes with a responsibility, that being that people should take great care about how they talk about such issues. Crying wolf over "mental health" for something as spurious as a parking dispute is extremely harmful to those with real problems.

* * *

Whatever happened to the pigs-in-blankets crisis?

During a recent cheap lunch at a budget carvery chain, a waitress tried to tempt me with pigs in blankets. Given that they are not exactly conducive to my heart health, I politely declined.

"Not even if I told you they were only 99p?" she said, seductively.

I take it the much-vaunted pigs-in-blankets shortage failed to materialise, then?

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