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21 June

In the headlines

Brits who have had two vaccinations may not have to self-isolate after their holidays, says a Public Health England adviser. Only one in 200 travellers from amber-list countries is testing positive for Covid. Cabinet members, including Rishi Sunak, are pushing Boris Johnson to stop sidelining ministers, says The Guardian. The PM relies on a close clique in No 10 to make decisions; the Cabinet “needs to be more involved”, in the view of one Whitehall official. Health Secretary Matt Hancock says “stress” drove Boris Johnson into calling him “hopeless”. “It feels like ancient history,” he told BBC Breakfast. “At times of stress, people say all sorts of things in private.” 

Comment of the day

The pandemic

We’re mad to trust “Stalin’s nanny”

As we remain in “pandemic limbo”, with the promised return to normality postponed once again, it’s time to call out the “behavioural science charlatans who make a living from stoking our anxieties”, says Camilla Tominey in The Daily Telegraph. More people are now dying on the roads than from Covid, yet last week the chair of Independent Sage, Sir David King, was hysterically warning that the situation could “explode” into a third wave.



One of Extinction Rebellion’s founders is urging “photogenic, sexy” young activists to break the law in front of the cameras to raise awareness of climate change. Roger Hallam, who compares himself to Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, says young protesters must “upset people” and get locked up if they want to further their cause. In a video targeting the young, he tells them they have “massive power”, as the arrest of a “bunch of kids” is “worth 1,000 adults” when it comes to making an impact.


St Paul’s Girls’ School is axing the role of head girl and replacing it with the less gender-binary “head of school”. The prestigious private school in west London has rejected the idea that it should remove “girls” from its name.

Gone viral

Scottish football fans were photographed tidying up Leicester Square following their team’s match against England at Wembley on Friday. I adore the Tartan Army, says Camilla Long in The Sunday Times. The rowdy Scots who descended on London won me over with their sense of fun and lack of clothing. One was arrested, naked, in Hyde Park. Another danced on the Tube wearing nothing but a kilt. “If only we boring southerners had half the character, or, for that matter, half the hilarious sense of national identity.”


Quoted 21-06

“If you want to know what God thinks of money, just look at the people he gave it to.”

Dorothy Parker

Snapshot answer

It’s David Bowie. The rare artwork was painted by the musician in the 1990s and later found in a Canadian rubbish dump. It was bought for just £3, but is expected to fetch more than £25,000 at auction this week. This isn’t the first time his work has been found in odd places, says NPR. The earliest known recording of his singing, from 1963, was found in 2018 in the bread basket of a former bandmate.