Skip to main content

Heroes and villains

Parliament | Excel | Sir/Miss

Kevin Mazur/Getty


British democracy, according to the glam rocker Gene Simmons. The Kiss bass player was given a tour of parliament this week, and said he was impressed with the Deputy Prime Minister’s Questions debate between Oliver Dowden and Angela Rayner. “It was the clash of wills but respectful,” the so-called “God of Thunder” remarked. “I think Americans can take a big lesson in civility in how to make democracy actually work and still respect the other side.”


Microsoft Excel, which led Austria’s main centre-left party to announce the wrong winner in a leadership election. Last Saturday, the Social Democrats declared that Hans Peter Doskozil had triumphed in the tightly contested race, but issued a sheepish correction on Monday after discovering a “technical error” in the spreadsheet used to tabulate the votes. The real winner was the Marxist, Eurosceptic left-winger Andreas Babler.


“Sir” and “Miss” when used to address teachers, which are, according to one headmaster, “deeply unequal”. James Handscombe, of Harris Westminster Sixth Form in London, has told pupils to ditch the terms, as one likens men to medieval knights and the other likens women to “a small girl, or an Edwardian shop assistant”. Instead, they are to use “Mr Handscombe” and its equivalants – or, if a pupil has forgotten a surname, simply “teacher”.