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Inside politics

A hasty exit for the Afghan president


Afghanistan’s president, Ashraf Ghani, has fled the country and taken refuge in the UAE, claiming that it would avoid “bloodshed and chaos”. He has denied reports that he took $169m in cash with him. “I came just with my clothes, and I was not even able to bring my library,” he said on Facebook. Ghani is a former academic who once lectured at various American universities. One of his books is called Fixing Failed States.

Workington doesn’t rule the world

Tories are obsessed with the “red wall”, says Clare Foges in The Times. As floodwaters rise in London and the mercury pushes 50C in Sicily, they bleat about Workington man and his diesel car. It makes one want to weep. It’s also “maddeningly patronising”, casting a swathe of the country as “van-driving, Greggs pasty-eating backbone-o-the-nation types”. The evidence doesn’t bear it out: 50% of red-wallers believe ethnic diversity is “part of British culture”, only 4% less than the national average. And 63% of them see climate change as a top priority.

Biden indulges his inner child


President Biden has “the tastes of a five-year-old,” one long-time adviser tells The Washington Post. He prefers orange Gatorade, a sports drink, to alcohol, and has stocked the outer Oval Office with chocolate-chip cookies – individually wrapped with a gold White House seal. He also carries around a lunch bag filled with protein bars and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, into which he dips during meetings.

A knight to remember

When Sir Trevor McDonald interviewed George W Bush at the White House, the president kept calling him “Sir”, he recalled on Clive Anderson’s podcast. McDonald assured him “Trevor” was fine, adding “a lot of people consider [knighthoods] pretty useless”. Dubya bridled: “You mustn’t say that. My father has one.” Bush Sr received his gong in 1993.