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15 July

In the headlines

“Red hot alert,” says the Daily Mirror, as temperatures are set to hit 35C in the coming days, and may peak at a record 40C. This “killer scorcher” could overwhelm the NHS with a “huge surge of heat-related casualties”. The final five Tory leadership candidates have their first TV debate tonight, on Channel 4 at 7.30pm. Kemi Badenoch and Tom Tugendhat, in fourth and fifth place respectively, have “the most to gain” from the exposure, says Politico – the frontrunners “risk being outshone”. Country star Dolly Parton plans to bring out a range of clothes and accessories for dogs, says The Sun. The collection, to launch later this year, will unsurprisingly be named “Doggy Parton”.

British politics

The triumph of Tory diversity

Fed up with Boris Johnson? Well, you can be sure of one thing, says Yasmeen Serhan in The Atlantic: the next prime minister won’t look anything like him. Of 10 people on the original candidates list, half were from ethnic minorities and half were women. No credible white male candidate remains. It might seem odd to find this in a right-of-centre party, given the left’s “perceived patent on diversity and multiculturalism”. But the truth is Britain’s Conservatives have a near-monopoly on political firsts, including the first Jewish PM (Benjamin Disraeli), the first female PM (Margaret Thatcher) and the first non-white chancellor and home secretary (Sajid Javid in both cases). According to Sunder Katwala, director of the British Future think tank, this Tory field represents “probably the most ethnically diverse contest for party leadership that has been seen in any major party in any democracy”. The party’s grassroots members may still be overwhelmingly white, but there’s no question they would happily vote for an Asian or black candidate. “The only people who doubt that are liberal progressives.”


The West should spend on teachers, not tanks

Thirty years after the end of the Cold War, the West is remilitarising, says Simon Kuper in the FT. Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has promised an “eightfold expansion in forces on high alert to 300,000”; for member state defence spending, he says, 2% of GDP should be “a floor, not a ceiling”. But is all this really necessary? Russia spends $66bn on its military a year – a fraction of the $801bn splurged by the US, and the $363bn spent by other Nato members. Even if the US abandons Europe after the 2024 election – a possibility if Donald Trump wins – “other Nato states would outspend Russia more than sixfold”.

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Thanks to TikTok “bimbos” and Greta Gerwig’s Barbie revamp, hot pink is this summer’s must-wear colour, says Refinery29. Not light “maiden pinks”, but the “angriest, sexiest, loudest” shade imaginable, to celebrate strong, “hyper femme” modern women. “There’s a reason Sex and the City’s producers chose this hue for their title cards.”


The Queen last attended the Church of England’s General Synod in 2015, says The Times. After a roaring cry of “long live the Queen”, the monarch leaned over to the Archbishop of Canterbury and dryly muttered: “I think I’ve lived long enough, don’t you?” Justin Welby says he froze, unsure how to reply, before telling Her Majesty there was no answer he could give that wouldn’t be “either treasonous or obsequious”.

Staying young

French food bureaucrats are telling gastronomes to avoid cured meats, after nutritionists found their high levels of nitrates – added to help the beloved delicacies last longer on the shelf – may be linked to certain forms of cancer. Given French attitudes to smoking and drinking, saucisson makers are unlikely to be feeling too worried.


The Audubon Photography Awards have released their selection of this year’s best bird pics. Jack Zhi’s shot of a fledgling raptor learning to hunt got the top spot, with other nods going to snaps of a “mountain chicken” sitting broodingly on a cliff’s edge, and two grebe chicks vying for a fish on their mother’s back. See the full list here.

Love etc

Good old-fashioned missionary “gets the shaft” as the dullest sex position, says the New York Post. But research shows it’s the method most likely to help women achieve orgasm. The key, according to scientists at the New H Medical gynaecology clinic in New York, is to wedge a pillow under the woman’s bum to raise her hips, increasing blood flow to the crucial area. Researchers did note that “results among women may vary” due to men’s unpredictable or inconsistent “thrusting forces”.


It’s an ice cream van selling lollies in the likenesses of Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates and Jack Ma. “Eat the Rich Popsicles” are the brainchild of art collective MSCHF, which has parked on of these trucks in New York and one in Los Angeles. But with each revolutionary snack costing $10, you’ll have to be pretty well-off yourself to indulge in sugary class warfare.


quoted 15.7.22

“I take care to only travel on Italian ships. In the event of disaster, there is none of that nonsense about women and children first.”

Noël Coward