Skip to main content
The Knowledge logo

22 March

In the headlines

Boris Johnson will appear before the Commons Privileges Committee at 2pm to defend himself from claims he misled Parliament over Partygate. The former PM insists that when he said lockdown rules were “followed at all times”, it wasn’t deliberately misleading but based on bad information. The committee will probably recommend Johnson be suspended as an MP for less than 10 days, says the FT, avoiding the “nuclear option” of a by-election in his constituency. Russia has criticised Britain for agreeing to send Ukraine shells tipped with depleted uranium. Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu warned that the armour-piercing ammunition would increase the chance of a “nuclear collision”. The UK is “enduring one of the dullest Marches on record”, says The Times, with less than half the usual amount of spring sunshine. It’s particularly grey in London, the South West and Wales, which have had a third of their average rays.


As this graphic illustrates, Scandinavians drink an awful lot of coffee compared to the rest of Europe. The huge figure for Luxembourg – 25.1kg a year per person – partly comes from the tiny nation’s low taxes on the beans. Caffeine lovers from neighbouring countries nip across the border to buy coffee on the cheap.

Inside politics

People forget just how much the Iraq War reshaped the Labour Party, says Patrick Maguire in The Times. Ed Miliband won the 2010 leadership race in part because, unlike his rivals, he was “untainted” by New Labour’s “cardinal sin”. Not even that marked a clean-enough break, so he was followed by Jeremy Corbyn and his chums from the Stop the War coalition. As for Keir Starmer, he published a legal opinion in 2003 saying the invasion of Iraq would be unlawful. But now that he is reclaiming some of New Labour’s old territory, he has taken a leaf out of Basil Fawlty’s book: “Don’t mention the war.”

Gone viral

Car thefts in US cities have gone crazy, says USA Facts. In 2022 they went up by 50% in Atlanta and El Paso, doubled in Chicago and tripled in Dayton, Ohio – all while “other types of crimes fell”. One big reason? Viral TikTok videos by a group called the “Kia Boys”, demonstrating how to start Kias and Hyundais using a USB charger. In the first half of the year, Chicago had 551 Kia or Hyundai vehicles stolen. In the second, 6,250 were pinched – a more than tenfold increase.


Slovenian skier Ema Klinec has set a new women’s world record for “ski flying”, which is basically ski jumping but with much steeper hills. Competing at the Norwegian resort of Vikersund, the 24-year-old travelled a mighty 226 metres – staying airborne for a full eight seconds.


To The Guardian:

With Partygate back in the news, I’m reminded of a comment passed on to me by a Greek taxi driver: “Politicians are like babies’ nappies. Both should be changed frequently, and for the same reason.”

Alan Gray, Brighton


It’s a “WasteShark”, a robot that swims around gobbling up plastic. The battery-powered green machine can gather 500kg of waste a day using lasers to detect objects in its path. It has been deployed in the Middle Dock at Canary Wharf, east London, says the Evening Standard, and will patrol the area for at least three months.


Quoted – 22-3-23

“All politicians in the end are like crazed wasps in a jam jar, each individually convinced that they are going to make it.”

Boris Johnson, in 2005