Mark Andrews: A sleepy lord, simplifying tram fares, and why Tony Blair's just a regular kinda peacemaker

Read the latest musings from Mark Andrews.

Lord Young of Norwood Green rises from his slumber to address the Lords
Lord Young of Norwood Green rises from his slumber to address the Lords

Dishevelled, bleary eyed, and frankly looking like he had just been turfed out of a police station after imbibing a few too many the night before, Lord Young of Norwood Green was banned from addressing the House of Lords after brazenly sleeping through the opening speech.

The debate, by the way, was about post-EU agricultural policy with regard to genetically modified crops. Can't possibly think what made him sleepy.

Bosses on the West Midland Metro tramline are introducing a new fare system which splits the service into four different zones, with three of the stations on the border of two zones, but which will only be charged at the rate within that zone. It will no longer be possible to buy a return ticket, but you can buy a ticket allowing all-day unlimited access within the specified zone or zones.

This, they say, is to "simplify" the options. One hates to think what would have happened had they chosen to make it complicated.

Simplifying tram fares

Three weeks into the war in Ukraine, I'm sure the burning question on everybody's lips is "what would Tony Blair do to end the conflict?"

Fortunately, the old silver fox is more than happy to oblige, offering his, y'know, words of wisdom in the Daily Mail. After all, he is a regular kinda peacemaker.

Like just about every other leader who has indulged bad Vlad in the past, he says the Putin he knew was very different from the dead-eyed dictator we see today. No he wasn't, he just pulled the wool over your eyes.

The former Prime Minister asks: "Does he (Putin) seriously believe he can govern a nation of 45million people against their will?" A bit rich from a bloke who tried to occupy two nations of 80 million.

Yet Sir Tony does raise one very valid point. The normal tactic of warfare is to not to show your hand, keep your cards close to your chest and take nothing off the table. But today's western leaders don't seem to be able to keep their mouths shut, flashing their cards around like Mike Dean and telling everybody who will listen that we won't be sending troops to the Ukraine, and wouldn't dream of imposing a no-fly zone.

Now I'm not suggesting we should do either of those things. But do we really need to tell Putin that?

The old joke used to be that Putin would never nuke London because he and his cronies owned half of it. Which begs the question about whether stripping them of all their property in the capital is such a clever move. Cynical, I know. But Putin doesn't exactly play by Queensberry rules.

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