Mark Andrews: Spring watch, witches, plus 1066 and all that money

Spring is coming. The sun is shining, the daffodils springing, the crocuses in full bloom. And of course Extinction Rebellion are coming out to play again.

Extinction Rebellion protests - but where exactly?
Extinction Rebellion protests - but where exactly?

Not quite yet, obviously. It's still a bit parky at night, and the ground frosts can be horrible. But they assure us that next month they will be ready to dust down the Loctite and blockade Britain's oil refineries.

I do think they are choosing the wrong target though. When it comes to oil, Britain is very much a minnow on the global stage. I would have been much more impressed if they staged their protest in Russia.

Rachel Reeves – tapping into the public mood?

March 2021, and Labour's Rachel Reeves attacks the Chancellor for failing to earmark enough funding to "fix the NHS and social care".

March 2022, and Rachel Reeves, now shadow chancellor, successfully tables a non-binding motion calling for the Government to abandon its one per cent rise in National Insurance. To, er, raise money for the NHS and social care.

To be fair to Rachel, I think she has tapped into the public mood, and there does seem to be a consensus developing around health funding. We're all in favour of spending more taxpayers' money on the NHS. As long as it's from other taxpayers.

Apology for the Battle of Hastings?

Talking of tapping into the public mood, Nicola Sturgeon has just apologised for "injustice on a colossal scale", and hinted that new legislation could be on the way to right an historic wrong.

And the injustice Miss Sturgeon is so determined to address? The Great Scottish Witch Hunt carried out by King James IV in the 16th century. They talk about nothing else in Gorbals, apparently.

But that's the thing with modern politicians. They love saying sorry for things they can't be held responsible for, and for which they can do nothing about.

David Cameron was the worst: Bloody Sunday, the Amritsar massacre of 1919, Hillsborough, the prosecution of Alan Turing, there seemed to be no moment in history he didn't have a platitude for.

Anyhow, when Miss Sturgeon is finally ready to put her broomstick away, there a few other important injustices that world leaders should address.

For a start, when is Mr Macron going to apologise for the Battle of Hastings. And what about those Danes, Swedes and Norwegians who raped and pillaged these islands in the 8th century? And think how much the Italian government must owe us for the Roman occupation and subsequent slave trade.

Indeed, put like that, maybe we shouldn't need to put up National Insurance after all. The reparations should easily cover the cost.

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