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Inside politics

Bill Clinton should have come clean


Impeachment, a new TV drama about the Monica Lewinsky scandal, raises an interesting question, says Douglas Murray in The Spectator: what if Bill Clinton had told the truth about it earlier and admitted that affairs are “a fact of life”? I don’t know what it would have done for his political popularity – or for his relationship with Hillary – but it might have been good for America.

France has a famously grown-up attitude to sex and Britain sees it “as mainly a subject for humour”. But despite being “perhaps the most sexualised society in the world”, America still views sex through a puritanical prism. New York governor Andrew Cuomo resigned not over his administration’s cover-up of Covid deaths in nursing homes, but because, “among other transgressions, he had put a hand on a woman’s cheek at a wedding and asked if he could kiss her”. A grown-up nation that didn’t see extra-marital sex as “a scandalous, potentially imprisonable matter” would probably be a good deal less fractured.

Always ready for her close-up

Simon Dawson/No 10 Downing Street

Since the Cabinet reshuffle six weeks ago, the government’s Flickr photo-sharing account has featured 267 photos of Foreign Secretary Liz Truss and 104 of every other minister combined, says Valentine Low in The Times. Only Boris Johnson, who has his own dedicated photographer and Flickr account, beats her tally. There’s “Liz Truss smiling”, “Liz Truss looking serious” – even Liz Truss looking like Tom Cruise in a pilot’s helmet on the deck of an aircraft carrier.

Truss is known to distinguish between middle-class, eco-conscious “Waitrose Tories”, and just-about-managing “Lidl Tories”, says Bagehot in The Economist. When it comes to climate policy, Johnson “has surrounded himself not so much with Waitrose Tories but with Petersham Nurseries Tories”: those who frequent the garden-centre-cum-delicatessen in southwest London where afternoon tea can set you back £55 and a flower vase £920. Petersham Nurseries Tories think nothing of spending £100,000 on a Tesla or £15,000 on a heat pump, but the Lidl ones may well revolt over the PM’s green agenda.

Biden’s prescient present

When the 18-year-old pop star Olivia Rodrigo visited the White House this summer, President Biden gave her a pair of aviator sunglasses that match his own, a packet of M&M’s and a shoehorn with the presidential emblem on it. A shoehorn is an inspired present, says Danielle Cohen in The Cut. “Sure, Rodrigo is young and spry, and probably doesn’t need to avoid stooping for the sake of back pain, but it’s never too early to start.”