Andy Moffatt: Hear me now, this is no joke

Ali G may be funny but the Howard brothers are not
Ali G may be funny but the Howard brothers are not

If you read the front page of last week’s St Helens Reporter and were repulsed by the antics of Carlos and Nathan Howard then you weren’t alone.

Some choice words have been used by outraged readers on our website to describe the teenagers brothers who, rather than show even an ounce of remorse for their crimes, sniggered as they were sent down by magistrates for a string of burglary charges.

They clearly found the prospect of a lengthy spell behind bars (not to mention the untold misery they’d inflicted on their victims) highly amusing.

The rest of us can only shake our heads and wonder: Just how self-absorbed can someone be to behave in such a fashion? Very, very self-absorbed is the blunt answer in the curious case of the Howard brothers.

A quick glance through their Facebook profile provides ample evidence to back up that assessment.

A near endless stream of photographs of the light-fingered siblings either puffing on suspicious-looking cigarettes is punctuated only by snaps of the pair witlessly posing, Ali G-fashion, in gangsta stances.

At one point, Carlos proclaims, without a trace of irony, that his full-time job is “being a legend”.

But for the seriousness of their crimes, these nitwits would be a source of constant amusement to any right-thinking person.

Instead, they are laughing at us. That we don’t return the favour is a measure of the misery they and others like them wreck on all of us.

These are words I never though I’d ever think, let alone write, but I feel a bit sorry for a Tory.

That’s right, I wish Michael Gove hadn’t been sacked. There I said it and I feel a lot better for it.

Not, you understand, because I necessarily agreed wholeheartedly with all his radical reforms to Britain’s schools, (though goodness knows something needs to be done).

Rather it is for the ridiculous lather of pomposity the mere mention of his name whipped up in some teachers that he gets my vote.

Staff rooms in schools up and down the land, we’re told by teaching unions, rejoiced at his being busted down to the role of chief whip in last week’s brutal cabinet reshuffle.

But a lot of what he introduced was an eminently sensible approach to the challenges faced by today’s children.

And those teachers who did the most complaining seemed more concerned about avoided being lumbered with extra work, not helping pupils get the best education possible.

Gove’s initiatives, however barmy they may have seemed at first glance, were surely driven by a desire to foster a deep love of learning and knowledge in children, and by the belief the our youngsters are capable of so much more than they currently end up believing of themselves.

For that reason, if nothing else, his departure isn’t a reason to rejoice.