Generally speaking, it’s fair to say that I don’t usually have the same world view as Tatton MP Esther McVey. Truth be told if she’s in favour of something, it’s more than likely I’ll be vehemently opposed to it.

But just like a stopped clock tells the right time twice a day, I very occasionally find myself agreeing with her. I do find it quite a disconcerting experience but fair’s fair.

And one thing you can certainly say about Ms McVey is she’s certainly not shy about expounding her views.

So what has caused me and Esther to be singing from the same hymn sheet this time.

Last week, she stood up in Parliament and called for GCSEs and A-levels due to be sat this summer to be cancelled – and be replaced with teacher assessments – as pupils face continued disruption to their education from the pandemic.

Ms McVey said students in year 11 and 13 had suffered ‘far more disruption’ than last year’s pupils who had exams cancelled, and this year’s cohort should also be awarded grades in the same way.

I couldn’t have agreed more when she called on Education Secretary Gavin Williamson to do the ‘fair and right’ thing and cancel the exams to ‘provide certainty’ for tens of thousands of young people.

At the time of writing, the decision hadn’t been made about closing schools in a bid to get the pandemic under control, but even Williamson – a man who has the charisma of a locum parson conducting a funeral service for someone he’s never met – had agreed to a delayed and phased return to schools for pupils across England while rapid Covid testing can be put in place. Given the governments dire, privatised testing system and the lack of accuracy of the so-called rapid flow tests, this doesn’t exactly strike me as the ‘world class’ response to the virus we keep on hearing about.

As the website said: “Scotland and Wales have cancelled next summer’s GCSEs, National 5s, A-levels and Highers, yet England and Northern Ireland seem determined to press ahead with.

“The divergence in policy between countries across the union threatens a fair university admissions system for school leavers, with pupils from one region potentially at a disadvantage compared with those from another. What is worse, young people and their futures are quietly becoming a playing field for a political tug of war between Westminster and the devolved administrations.”

I think it’s time we all got behind Ms McVey (now there’s a phrase I never thought I’d write) and push for a little bit of fairness for our young people. It’s the least we can do for them.

On a completely different and somewhat random point, I noticed a story on the Guardian’s website about when you should take down your Christmas decorations.

Keep this in mind for next year. For the avoidance of doubt (and the bad luck that goes with it) everything should come down before sunset on January 5.

Let’s just clear up a few festive dates.

Advent is a period of religious observance on the four Sundays leading up to Christmas. I don’t wish to be a killjoy but it’s a little bit more significant than opening little doors on a cardboard box to be rewarded with either a small piece of chocolate or a can of Brewdog beer for you to drink and post a picture on Instagram.

Advent 2021 starts on Sunday, November 28 and ends on Christmas Eve. Traditionalists might like to make a note of that start date and do us all a favour by not putting up tacky flashing lights outside their houses until the end of November at the very earliest.

Having dispensed with one religious festival, we then roll straight into another one with the 12 days of Christmas, also known as Christmastide. That starts on Christmas Day and continues until January 5 inclusive.

Back in the Middle Ages, a day ended at sunset, with the evening and the night belonging to the next day, hence why the end of the festivities is the 5th.

If you leave your decorations up until January 6, you have inadvertently wandered into another religious festival, the Feast of the Epiphany (the visit of the Three Wise Men and all that) and that’s not a good thing to do.

However, all is not lost if you miss the January 5 date but according to my Christmas folklore expert, there are strict rules that need to be followed. (I swear I’m not making this up as I’m going along).

Any decoration not taken down has to be left in place until Shrove Tuesday when it can be safely removed, but only if the mistletoe is burned on the fire used to make your pancakes.

Failure to do this will inevitably result in bad luck.

Seems to make perfect sense to me. Let’s face it, after the year we’ve all just had, who would want to tempt fate. We could all do with a bit more good luck.