Mark Andrews on Saturday: Council Bungle and what qualifications do you need to get into university?

Proposals to end government loans to university students who flunk their exams have been met with predictable howls of outrage. Demonstrating commendable restraint, someone in The Guardian accused the Government of "closing off university prospects at age three”.

Wolverhampton is to become a "rainbow city"
Wolverhampton is to become a "rainbow city"

The suggestion is that kids must get either the equivalent of O-level English and Maths, or a couple of A-levels to receive a loan. Which does beg the question of what qualifications you need to get into university these days. Two O-levels? Even Prince Edward got more than that.

Wolverhampton is about to become a "rainbow city", and not before time. Hopefully other towns will follow this progressive and far-sighted lead.

But first things first. Who wants to be Zippy, and who's going to be George? I suspect Bungle won't be too hard to find.

Rainbow city, of course, will be yet another woke-fest. It won't address the sky-high business rates, boarded-up shops, litter, graffiti and parking chaos, but it will bring plenty of empty rhetoric about diversity, inclusivity, safe spaces et al. Most importantly of all, the council is going to create a "statement piece" in the city.

It almost makes one nostalgic for the days of "nuclear-free zones". At least they didn't involve silly art works.

As with all these things, the rainbow-city announcement follows a period of "consultation". This always reminds me of the focus groups on The Apprentice, where shell-shocked candidates desperately scramble to find something positive in the unanimous derision for their ridiculous ideas.

I remember a "consultation" meeting for a rather controversial planning proposal in the mid-1990s, when an ambitious young council leader vigorously tried to sell his vision to a somewhat sceptical public.

Spotting my presence at the back of the hall, he telephoned the next morning, "to make sure I had all the information I needed".

He added: "They were a bit unsure to begin with, but I think when it was explained to them they could see what we are trying to do."

And while one can hardly blame local authorities for crime levels, it is hard to see how declaring somewhere a rainbow city will make "everyone feel safe and free to be themselves".

There is only one way to do that. Flood the streets with police who will come down like a ton of bricks on all violent crime, theft and vandalism. And for the courts to throw the book at anyone who commits such crimes.

And, of course, cut out the pointless posturing about faddish causes.

Most Read

Most Read

Top Stories

More from the Express & Star

UK & International News