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1 August

In the headlines

“It wasn’t a dream…” says the Daily Mail, “we DID beat Germany in a final!” England’s Lionesses stormed to victory in the Women’s Euros final last night with a 2-1 extra-time win at Wembley. The German papers weren’t happy: the tabloid Bild, moaning about a supposed referee error, said the victory had a “nasty, rotten smell”. Rishi Sunak has promised a 20% tax cut by 2030 in a last-ditch attempt to win over Tory members. The former chancellor says he’d reduce the basic rate of income tax to 16% if he became PM, the largest decrease in 30 years. Brits are paying up to £7,000 for surgery that takes hair from their heads and implants it into their eyebrows. Doctors put it down to bushy-browed idols including Cara Delevingne and the Gallagher brothers, says the Daily Star. It’s “a sight for sore eyes”.

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Gender identity

A turning point in the battle over gender

One day, says Sonia Sodha in The Observer, we may look back and wonder how so many institutions came to be dominated by the “regressive and controversial” world view that being a woman is not a scientific fact but an “inner feeling”. Thankfully the tide seems to be turning. Last week, an employment tribunal found that the human rights barrister Allison Bailey had been “victimised” by her bosses for criticising gender ideology. She was investigated for calling out the concept of the “cotton ceiling”, the absurd view that lesbians who don’t date trans women are “transphobic”. Quite rightly, Bailey was awarded “aggravated damages”, meaning her employer behaved “particularly egregiously”.

Energy crisis

The deafening silence over the energy crisis

There is more than the usual “air of unreality” about the leadership debates, says Juliet Samuel in The Daily Telegraph. While Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak stand on stage “blaming one another” for the coming recession, Vladimir Putin – “the real culprit” – is playing havoc with Europe’s energy markets. Whether or not he keeps gas flowing into our homes is “the only question that matters” for the millions who’ll struggle to pay their bills this winter. Instead, “the BBC wants to talk about Mr Sunak’s shoes”.

Inside politics

It would be wrong to see Liz Truss as just a “female Boris in Maggie’s clothes”, says Tim Shipman in The Sunday Times. Despite winning the support of most right-wingers, Truss remains politically flexible. She speaks to Tony Blair regularly (he has offered advice, “bitterly earned”, on the Middle East), and his wife Cherie has been known to send Truss “encouraging notes”. During lockdown, Truss says her family had a cooking rota, “a sort of family Come Dine With Me thing”, that soon became competitive. “I was in favour of having score cards but I’m afraid the rest of them weren’t!” And her choice of karaoke track is instructive: Push It by Salt-N-Pepa (above), the 1980s anthem for sexually liberated women. Sample lyric: “Can’t you hear the music pumping hard? Like I wish you would, Now push it real good.”

Quirk of history

Women’s football is showing it can “captivate fans”, says Simon Kuper in the FT, but “this isn’t a new discovery”. When women replaced men in factories during the First World War, they formed their own factory teams – and they were enormously popular. On Boxing Day 1920, Dick, Kerr Ladies beat St Helens 4-0 “in front of 53,000 paying spectators”. This success terrified the male-run Football Association, which soon forbade clubs from letting women use their pitches. That ban, which completely destroyed the women’s game, wasn’t rescinded until 1971.


There’s a benefit to stuffy heatwave commuting, says The Wall Street Journal: you’ll inadvertently be pulling off this summer’s “wet-meets-sweat” trend. The dewy look is supposedly associated with youth, hydration and energy. Celebrities like Hailey Bieber and Zendaya purposefully douse their hair and skin with glossy beauty products to “resemble alluringly soaked otters”.


Every year, Uber releases a list of items left behind by forgetful riders. Aside from the obvious – phone, wallet and keys are the top three – the company also collates the most unusual belongings retrieved by drivers. This year’s selection includes “my grandma’s teeth”, “a shitty painting of a moose”, and “six pool drains and an Employee of the Month plaque”. See the full list here.


It’s rice art in the Japanese village of Inakadate. Since 1993, farmers have been creating huge versions of famous artworks by planting differently coloured varieties of the crop in arty patterns. This year’s paddy portraits replicate Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa and Seiki Kuroda’s Lakeside, and will be on display until they are harvested in October.

Global update

Paris is swarming with rats, says Anne-Elisabeth Moutet in The Sunday Telegraph. The French capital has more than two for every resident and “vies with Marseilles for the distinction of being the most rat-infested city in the world (in proportion to human population)”. And what are they doing about it? Rien. A city councillor in charge of pest control stepped in to block a proposed cull, arguing that the rubbish-eating rodents were our “partners” because they “dispose” of waste.


quoted 1.8.22

“To be or not to be. That’s not really a question.”

French filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard