RIGHT, northern mothers, time to stop slacking! Get those children working. Up at the crack of dawn, violin practice, ballet practice, extra maths, beginner’s Mandarin, advanced French, Duke of Edinburgh’s award, charity works…

I’m exhausted just thinking about it. Northern mothers aren’t pushy enough, according to the Children’s Commissioner, Anne Longfield. While sharp-elbowed southern mothers are busy pushing their children ahead, supervising homework, scouting out the best schools, planning their every minute so it will look good on a CV, we’re guilty of letting our children just be…well, children…

What failures we are. To be fair, there’s some justice in her comments.

UK children are low in the league of international attainment. In basic maths, science and reading, our children don’t do as well as those from Singapore, Slovenia and more than a dozen other countries. Children from the North of England don’t do as well as those from the South. So we could certainly pull up our socks and encourage them to work harder and aim higher.

If I’d made mine do extra Latin instead of playing endless football or eating their tea in front of Neighbours, who knows? they might be running the world by now. There again, maybe not…

The trouble with tiger parenting is that at some time it has to stop – though there are parents who spend the first week at university with their children to help them settle in – and children will have to take control over their own lives. Some will succeed brilliantly.

Other will find this hard, without constant support and nagging. Some will rebel. Some will buckle altogether under the weight of expectation and pressure to succeed. It’s a risky business.

Our children need support, encouragement, opportunities, an occasional metaphorical boot up the bum, and a healthy dose of benign neglect. And they’ll be fine.

The only youngsters who really need tiger mothers are those cute little stripy cubs.

WELL, the plan was to have a day out in London drinking ritzy cocktails in swish bars with younger son, before impending fatherhood forced him to change his profligate ways. My ticket was booked, our itinerary planned…

But the baby had other ideas. Our first grandson – cousin to two delightful little girls in Darlington – arrived ten days early, just a few hours before I was due to set off. Bang goes my posh drinks…

But it meant I was there when they all came home from hospital, which was even more perfect planning. Cuddles with a new baby in the family are worth a million cocktails.

THE train back from London was nearly half an hour late leaving Kings Cross because the driver had to have his break. Fair enough. No one wants a dozing driver.

On the other hand… We were so late, that everyone on the train was entitled to at least half their money back. Some, possibly all of it.

Virgin had to pay for taxis from York for passengers going to Harrogate and Scarborough; from Darlington for anyone going to Teesside and from Newcastle for anyone for Sunderland. Not cheap.

Presumably it’s not economical to have spare drivers on stand by in case they’re needed.

But it seems a very expensive way of carrying on.

MAYBE the Beefeaters in the Tower should be known as Sandwich Munchers instead…

We’re falling out of love with the Sunday roast. So much so, that a quarter of us have sandwiches for Sunday lunch. Some say this is the end of family life as we know it. A great tradition is dying. But why not? It’s possibly a sign that families have better things to do than hang round all day cooking and eating.

When my sons were small we had a roast joint only when the weather was too awful to go anywhere or there was a granny visiting on Sundays. Otherwise we were all so busy heading off in different directions – football, rugby, work – that just getting any three of us at the table together was an achievement. Yes, of course it’s great for a family to sit down together and talk. But it doesn’t have to be on Sunday. And it doesn’t have to be a roast. It doesn’t even have to be a meal.

As long as families are talking to each other, what they eat is pretty irrelevant.

CRUZ Beckham, 11, has just launched a charity single and his own Twitter and Instagram accounts.

I’ve always thought that David and Victoria were quite sensible parents. But this, just after eldest son Brooklyn, 17, was given a £38,000 Mercedes just after passing his test, makes me realise that actually, they’re quite bonkers.