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22 May

In the headlines

Rishi Sunak will meet his ethics adviser today to discuss whether to formally investigate Suella Braverman over her handling of a speeding ticket. The Home Secretary asked civil servants for help arranging a private speed awareness course last year, a potential breach of the ministerial code. Drug driving is now more common in the UK than drink driving, says the Daily Mail. A new police report shows that around 80 motorists are caught under the influence of narcotics every day, but many escape justice because their blood tests take too long to process. Jeff Bezos’s new £400m superyacht has a wooden figurehead that appears to be modeled on his girlfriend Lauren Sánchez. The Amazon founder’s 417ft vessel, reportedly the world’s largest sailing boat, has been spotted on its maiden voyage around the Mediterranean.


The winners of this year’s Close-Up Photographer of the Year challenge – celebrating images with a “minimalist style” – include the tip of a calla-lily petal; an owlfly perched on a slender stem in a meadow in Lorraine, France; four comatricha nigra slime moulds; and a sawfly larva clutching a vertical stalk. See the rest here.

Inside politics

During the National Conservatism Conference last week, says Daniel Hannan in The Sunday Telegraph, it struck me just how much our political centre of gravity has moved to the left since the turn of the century, when Labour opposed wealth taxes and Peter Mandelson declared “we are all Thatcherites now”. What happened? It’s in part because of the financial crisis, when public money was used to rescue rich bankers “from their own mistakes”. Social media has elevated “emotion and intuition over reason and logic”. Lockdowns made everyone “more collectivist”. Worst of all, people have come to believe we are living under a free-market system – when in fact “we are taxing and spending vastly more than during the Blair years”.

Eating in

Here’s an absolutely delicious idea, says LifeHacker: “cure an egg yolk in soy sauce”. Leaving a fresh yolk in a bath of soy for a few hours, with a dash of vinegar or mirin, creates a “jammy, savoury disc” that’s equally at home on a piece of toast or a slice of pizza. The science is simple enough: the yolk’s semi-permeable membrane absorbs saltiness from the soy by osmosis, concentrating its flavour and creating a firmer texture that means it can be comfortably spread without dripping everywhere. And on a non-scientific level, it’s really tasty.

On the money

According to the late French chef Joël Robuchon, a restaurant being awarded a Michelin star typically results in 20% more business, says Bloomberg. Two stars nets 40% more business, and three stars brings in 100% more business. A 2006 analysis of Parisian restaurants found that establishments awarded a star raised prices by 25% – and that neighbouring restaurants were also emboldened to raise prices between 5% and 13%.


Saturday marked a significant milestone in Westminster, says Politico: it was the day the Conservatives equalled New Labour’s 4,757 unbroken days – just over 13 years – in Downing Street. Those over the age of 40 will remember a time when “it felt like Tony Blair might just be prime minister forever”, and over-wrought political commentators were asking whether the Tories would “finally become extinct”. As always, the pendulum swung back.


It’s a jacket that can make drinking water from fog, says Dezeen. The brainchild of Swedish designer Pavels Hedström, the Fog-X has a sail-like mesh antenna that can be deployed to catch mist moisture and direct it into an integrated water pouch. The innovative garment, which has just won a public vote in the Lexus Design Awards, can also be fashioned into a “one-person shelter” – or just worn as a normal coat.


quoted 22.5.23

“Death helps. Death gives us something to do. Because it’s a full-time job looking the other way.”

Martin Amis