Skip to main content
The Knowledge logo

12 October

In the headlines

The government’s botched handling of the pandemic ranks “as one of the most important public health failures the UK has ever experienced”, a cross-party report by MPs concludes. “There’s an issue there of hindsight,” Cabinet minister Stephen Barclay said on Radio 4’s Today. Hindsight has “nothing to do” with your party’s lockdown delay last winter, replied presenter Amol Rajan. “People are dead that should be alive.” Sally Rooney has banned an Israeli publisher from translating her new novel into Hebrew to support a pro-Palestine boycott. It’s “a weird way for a writer to make a statement”, says The Times’s Hugo Rifkind on Twitter. “Why not try writing?”  

Comment of the day



Inside politics

Donald Trump’s recent weight loss is down to not having the White House kitchen on standby “24/7”, former adviser Jason Miller tells GB News. The former president has reportedly lost 15lb since leaving the Oval Office, where he had an unlimited supply of M&Ms marked with the presidential seal and a red button on his desk for ordering Diet Coke. 


After Brexit, English is the mother tongue of only 1.5% of EU citizens: the Irish and the Maltese. So why on earth is it still being used for intra-European talks, asks Michel Guérin in Le Monde. For too long we’ve bathed “in the amniotic warmth” of language’s “soft imperialism” – when Ursula von der Leyen delivers more than 80% of her State of the Union address in English, “she is de facto addressing the Americans and the English”. But as Aukus shows, the Anglo-Saxon world is abandoning the EU to strike off on its own. If Europe’s “strategic autonomy” is to mean anything, it must start with our tongues (he means French).

Gone viral

Recipes for South Korean dalgona biscuits have gone viral on TikTok after the honeycomb treat appeared in the hit Netflix drama Squid Game. Made from sugar and bicarbonate of soda, they feature in a violent contest between debt-laden Koreans in episode three. #Dalgona has been viewed 1.2 billion times on TikTok.


A Victorian church in Bournemouth has changed its name from St Michael’s to St Mike’s to attract younger people. “What’s next – St Dave’s? St Pete’s?” one source grumbled to The Sun. 


Quoted 12-10

“Our deeds determine us, as much as we determine our deeds.”

George Eliot

Snapshot answer

It’s Willy Wonka. Timothée Chalamet, 25, shared an on-set snap from a new film about the Roald Dahl character, to be released in March 2023. He’s playing a young version of the chocolatier, before he opened his factory – cue the internet collapsing “in fits of lust-crazed despair”, says Stuart Heritage in The Guardian. But Willy Wonka has always been a bit sexy. He’s “a man who built a factory devoted to the pursuit of pleasure”.