John Docker: Incredible scenes in Canada

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What incredible scenes in the Canadian parliament last week, with the entire chamber standing to applaud the Sergeant at Arms for his bravery in tackling a gunman. Watching the coverage I couldn’t but help compare the images with our own House of Commons. First off, the chamber was packed to its Gallic gunnels - a rarity in itself over here. Next our own Sergeant at Arms would have been obliged to rely on his ceremonial sword rather than packing a pistol - or bashing the gunman on the head with the mace of course!

But the main difference that struck me was the apparent air of mutual respect in the chamber. The Prime Minister was applauded by the opposition as well as his own supporters – and vice-versa for the Leader of the Opposition. Then the PM actually embraced the Speaker of the House and the Leader of the Opposition. (Must be the French influence at work.) Can you just imagine our lot having a cuddle on camera in the corner?

And can you see our politicians letting any incident like this pass, without scoring political points? Fat chance!

Now it has to be said my faithful Ford isn’t brand new, or even nearly new by today’s throw-away standards, but it enjoys a history of very low mileage and having just had its annual service, is running like a dream. So it came as a bit of a shock-horror when refused its MOT last week. Not for bad brakes, defective lighting, worn tyres or anything serious like that but because - wait for it, the headlamp washers weren’t working. Being the techno-dummy I am, I didn’t even realise the car was fitted with headlamp washers – I thought those diddy little plastic panels were just blanks to cover a non-standard fitting. Sounds daft I know but I rarely travel after dark these days and it simply hadn’t occurred to me.

It’s but one of a mass of new nit-picking regulations forced upon us by – as if you couldn’t guess, our friends across the channel. I am totally in favour of rules and regulations which make our motoring safer. When I think back to the state of some vehicles on the road when I first drove, I am surprised my generation survived. But this is barking-mad bureaucracy at its best from the anti-motoring megalomaniacs in Brussels. The reason given for this particular new rule is that dirt on High-Intensity lights can cause diffraction – blinding on-coming drivers. Oh dear, how are they going to eliminate early morning sunshine I wonder? Mark my words, they’ll be demanding we drive on the right soon.

Finally, I gather diesel drivers especially have a new worry - about particulate filters whatever they are. So be warned, if you have an MOT coming up, check the new rules. Otherwise - like the teddy bear song, when you go down for an MOT you’ll be in for a big surprise. But this is no picnic!