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19 December

In the headlines

“In the hand of God,” says The Sun, after Lionel Messi finally won the “Holy Grail” of football in what has been dubbed the best World Cup final in history. The 35-year-old’s Argentina side beat France on penalties after the game finished 3-3. It is the first time six World Cups in a row have produced six different winners: Brazil in 2002, then Italy, Spain, Germany, France and Argentina. Britain is bracing itself for “one of the most disruptive weeks of strike action in recent history”, says the FT. The government has signalled its determination to face down the unions as nurses, ambulance workers, customs and immigration staff, postal and rail workers all plan to walk out in the coming days. Temperatures have soared by 15C in 24 hours as the cold snap gives way to a mild, rainy spell. As one Twitter user says, Britain’s weather is “in more chaos than our government”.


What on earth is a “Director of Lived Experience”?

Surfing the internet in search of an “easy new career to see me into my dribbling senescence”, says Rod Liddle in The Sunday Times, I chanced across a wonderful opportunity: “Director of Lived Experience” for the NHS in the Midlands. I have 62 years of lived experience – “I could hardly have dead experience, could I?” – so I should be a shoo-in. And it’s obvious from the job description that nobody involved has “the remotest clue” what the role should entail. It’s terribly important to “bring the experiential lens to Trust Board decision-making”, apparently, and “facilitate the cultural changes needed to infuse and propagate best practice”. Sure, I can do that, “even though I don’t know what it actually means”.

British politics

Blair was more right-wing than today’s Tories

Since Tony Blair’s days, the “centre of gravity” of British politics has lurched drastically to the left, says Daniel Hannan in The Daily Telegraph. It’s impossible to imagine a Tory minister today saying “we are all Thatcherites now”, as Peter Mandelson did in 2002, or that regulation has a “suffocating” effect on the nation, as Blair did in 2005. The Labour PM “sought meaningful reform” for the NHS by bringing in private providers; he fought to keep illegal immigrants out of hospitals, and to make it harder for lawyers to block deportation orders. Gordon Brown, on a trip to Tanzania in 2005, asserted that Britain “should celebrate our past rather than apologise for it”.


After the World Cup final, Emmanuel Macron strode on to the pitch to try and comfort Kylian Mbappé. But France’s 23-year-old star striker – the first player to score a hat-trick in the final since Geoff Hurst in 1966 – wasn’t having any of it, refusing to meet Macron’s gaze as the president hugged him and cradled his head. He then appeared to repeat the snub at the medal ceremony, desperately trying to escape the French president’s clutches. “Gotta feel for Mbappé,” says one Twitter user. “First you lose on penalties, then you’re consoled by Macron.”

Staying young

If you’re looking for a hangover treatment this Christmas, TikTok user @TheWellnessPharm has you covered. In a viral post, the Los Angeles-based pharmacist says it’s as simple as crushing together vitamin B, magnesium and folic acid, then mixing them with an electrolyte drink. Some users are sceptical, however. “How am I supposed to get all these when I’m hungover,” asks one, “when I can’t even reach my phone charger?”

Inside politics

Staff at Chevening, the grace-and-favour country estate traditionally used by the foreign secretary, have told The Guardian they found traces of cocaine after Liz Truss hosted parties there. They say they discovered the drug in a snooker room on two separate occasions in August and September, just before Truss – who denies the allegations – became PM. A smudged line of suspicious white powder was also found in No 10 in April 2021 – after the party held during lockdown on the eve of Prince Philip’s funeral – with “a discarded Boots Advantage card on the same table”.


“Is there such thing as too much nostalgia?” asks Olivia Truffaut-Wong in The Cut. Thanks to Katie Holmes, we may soon find out. Earlier this month the actress stepped out in “the most Y2K throwback outfit” I’ve ever seen: a strapless, navy-blue minidress over loose-fitting jeans. Naturally, Twitter went wild, with users begging Holmes not to try and bring back the unflattering look once championed by Disney Channel tweens. “And here I was thinking that extra low-rise jeans would be the worst early-2000s trend to resurface in 2022.”

Gone viral

Drinkers attempting to take a leak on Soho’s streets are being met with a “nasty surprise”, says the Evening Standard. Thanks to the council’s newly installed “pee paint”, a plasticky substance that creates a water-repellent layer, the urine bounces back against the offender and leaves them “soaked”. Westminster City Council says it spends nearly £950,000 a year clearing up rogue wee.


It’s Jin, a member of the South Korean boy band BTS, showing off his new military haircut. The 30-year-old singer, whose full name is Kim Seok-jin, is the first of the megastar K-pop group to embark on his compulsory 18-month national service. BTS superfans lined the entrance to Jin’s training camp, ahead of his deployment to a unit near the North Korean border.


quoted 19.12.22

“An ambassador is an honest man sent to lie abroad for the good of his country.”

English diplomat Henry Wooton