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19 July

In the headlines

Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak will spend Freedom Day self-isolating after their Cabinet colleague Sajid Javid tested positive for coronavirus. With new cases surging towards 100,000 a day, one minister said last night: “I just can’t escape the feeling that this is all about to go terribly wrong.” Roula Khalaf, the FT’s editor, is among 180 journalists targeted by an Israeli spyware company, says The Guardian. NSO reportedly selected possible civilian targets for its clients, using technology that extracts smartphone data and hijacks a phone’s microphone to eavesdrop. Lewis Hamilton won the British Grand Prix yesterday following a dramatic first-lap crash with title rival Max Verstappen, who labelled Hamilton’s driving “unsportsmanlike”. 

Comment of the day

The pandemic

Don’t call this Freedom Day, Boris 

We were promised Freedom Day, says Camilla Tominey in The Daily Telegraph, but instead we’ve got “FRINO (Freedom in Name Only)”, a watered-down return to “nothing remotely resembling normal”. Despite millions of vaccines, we’re more restricted than we were last summer thanks to the government’s “incomprehensible” travel policy and the “ludicrous” test-and-trace system, which in some cases is “pinging people through walls”.




Like many women, I abandoned bras in lockdown, says Dayna Evans in The Cut. And even now we are unlocked, I won’t be putting one back on. “The thought of returning my boobs to any state of confinement has left me horrified. How could I go back to imprisoning my ladies after a wondrous year of letting them roam?” I’ve weathered a global pandemic and “have bigger things to worry about than how to restrain some fatty tissue on my chest”. This summer, miserable bras, with their prodding wires and tight straps, can step aside: “I’m only here to have fun.”

Quirk of history

Forty years ago this month, Prince Charles married Diana Spencer in St Paul’s Cathedral. Among the thousands of people desperate to catch a glimpse of the couple was a 14-year-old David Cameron, says Emma Craigie in The Mail on Sunday. The future PM was so excited, he arrived at 10am the day before the wedding “to bag a good spot in The Mall and set up camp”. He stayed there for more than 24 hours until Diana emerged the next day at 11.20am.  


We don’t need “higher taxes on sugar and salt” or “the prescribing of fruit and vegetables by GPs”, says India Knight in The Sunday Times. We simply need to teach people to cook. Just as “few lung surgeons are smokers”, so people who can cook don’t usually eat rubbish. Instead they have decent, nutritious diets. It’s “ludicrous” our schools don’t teach future adults how to feed themselves. Okay, you’d have to build a few kitchens, but bad eating costs the UK £74bn a year and causes 64,000 needless deaths, so that seems like “the tiniest price to pay”. 

On the money

Neighbours of a luxury flat in Chelsea owned by the Vatican have complained about “hellish noise” from late-night parties at the “unoccupied” triplex apartment, says the FT. Residents of Hans Place, one of London’s most expensive addresses, have written to the council and the Pope’s ambassador to the UK to moan about loud events, sometimes involving DJs, at the flat, which is available to rent for £30,000 a week. It recently had a pool installed as part of a multimillion-pound refurb. 

On the way out

Rounders, which is being quietly dropped from the curriculum, with prep schools saying the number of girls playing cricket has doubled in two years. Twice as many girls as boys have signed up for cricket matches next year. Schools attribute this to the rise of professional women’s cricket.

Snapshot answer

It’s a building site in Manhattan that has been turned into a citrus-themed art installation. Citrovia, as it’s called, was originally going to be a construction shed at the bottom of a 58-storey office tower. Instead the developer has created a zesty walkway with 18ft lemon trees, 700 lemon sculptures and a constant stream of lemon-scented air freshener. 


Quoted 19-07

I have a small mind and I mean to use it.

French writer Antonin Artaud