I’ve always wondered just how much of Alan Partridge’s pompous behaviour is a reflection of his creator, Steve Coogan. Sometimes the comedian seems to encourage it.
Coogan has persuaded a magistrate not to hand out an automatic six-month driving ban (despite already notching up nine points on his licence) after being found guilty of speeding in Sussex.
Coogan claimed that filming for his forthcoming BBC series involved driving around Britain and that “it’s an artistic thing that he [Partridge] drives and that defines his character”.
He also argued that 15 or 20 professionals had been lined up to work, presumably suggesting an inability to drive would leave them jobless, if only for a while.
But what really startled me was that the judge appeared to agree and reduced the ban to just two months.
I think it’s worth recalling Coogan’s driving record. In 2012 he was found not guilty of speeding after it had initially “slipped his mind” that a friend had been driving; in 2016 he was fined and banned for 28 days for speeding in Brighton.
The chairwoman of the magistrates this time around said she had taken into account the “exceptional hardship” a lengthy ban would cause. What kind of “hardship”?
How wonderful for celebrities who can put forward defences of this type. Would the same argument work for ordinary drivers who don’t appear on television? Like delivery people, ambulance drivers, care workers and busy mums trying to combine a zero hours job with dropping their kids off at school.
My faith in rock music has been temporarily restored. According to the manager of The 1975, the execrable essay/song that his band recorded with diminutive doom-monger Greta Thunberg had previously [ . . . ]
The SNP MP is a vocal proponent of LGBT rights on social media, in return she receives a torrent of bigotry
Mhairi Black is the youngest MP in the House of Commons and as such carries the unofficial title of ‘Baby of the House.’ However, she is light years ahead of many of her colleagues when it comes to LGBT rights and trans rights in particular.
The SNP representative for Paisley and Renfrewshire South is campaigning for changes to the Gender Recognition Act that will allow trans people to self identify their gender – already an established process in several liberal democracies.
For taking this stance, and declaring it publicly on Twitter, Black receives a torrent of transphobic abuse. The MP says often people “haven’t come on the journey” to understand the trans experience but also highlights “a core of transphobes” trying to attack the existence of this marginalised group.
“In order to get to the kind of society that I think we all want to see, fundamentally it’s got to start with just being nice to people,” Black says. “Ultimately, just don’t be a Jeremy Hunt.”