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23 May

In the headlines

Sue Gray’s long-awaited Partygate report is set to be published this week, says Politico. The dossier contains pictures of the Downing Street parties and is expected to give the PM and Chancellor a “pasting”. But, as ever, Boris Johnson’s survival rests on Tory MPs – and “at the moment, the perceived wisdom is they will stick rather than twist”. Britons who have been exposed to monkeypox have been told they should self-isolate for 21 days to avoid spreading it further. The UK has had 20 confirmed cases of the virus, which has been around since the 1970s and usually causes nasty boils and a fever. Fear not, says UnHerd. “Monkeypox is not the next Covid-19.” Temperatures could hit 30C as a 10-day heatwave starts later this week. Just in time for the jubilee weekend, says the Daily Star. “Long to ray over us.”

Racial politics

Liberals will regret racialising politics

The man accused of shooting dead 10 people in a black neighbourhood in Buffalo, New York, earlier this month was apparently motivated by the Great Replacement Theory, says Andrew Sullivan in The Weekly Dish. This is the conspiracy that a shadowy, Jewish global elite is deliberately encouraging mass non-white immigration to dilute the voting power of white Americans. The idea that there’s some secret plot to “dilute the ‘whiteness’ of America” is, of course, bonkers. But only because “there is nothing secret about it at all”. Liberals have been openly pining for more minorities – and thus, they think, more Democratic votes – for decades. New York Times columnist Michelle Goldberg has talked of “an embittered white conservative minority” clinging to power, “terrified at being swamped by a new mulitracial polyglot majority”. When it emerged that the number of white people in America was falling, left-wing filmmaker Michael Moore declared it the “best day ever in US history”.


Western riches won’t save Ukraine

Perhaps the most enduring legacy of the Marshall Plan – the massive US programme to rebuild western Europe’s economy after World War Two – is “the endless desire to repeat it” after subsequent conflicts, says Benn Steil in Foreign Affairs. “There will be a new Marshall Plan for Ukraine,” said Volodymyr Zelensky in March. European Council President Charles Michel agreed, announcing in May “the starting point for [a] kind of European Marshall Plan for Ukraine”. But as much as the country’s rich friends in the US and Europe would like to help, there’s one thing even the most “noble and generous of foreign saviours cannot change”: geography.

Love etc

Kourtney Kardashian and Travis Barker are addicted to weddings, says Mia Mercado in The Cut. The marriage-mad duo had a “practice” wedding in Las Vegas in April, a legal wedding in California earlier this month, and another four-day wedding at a castle in Italy over the weekend. “But wait, there’s more!” Apparently, Kourtney and Travis are also planning a fourth celebration for their more peripheral friends. “I don’t know what plans you had for November, but I’d put a pin in them if I were you.”


When Jilly Cooper was one chapter away from finishing Riders, her first big novel, she took the manuscript with her to a boozy lunch at Langan’s. “This was my only copy, laboriously typed out,” the author tells The Mail on Sunday. Unfortunately, Cooper got so drunk at lunch that she left her work on the bus home and had to write the whole thing again from scratch.


A letter to The Sunday Times: You mention U2 in your article on the most annoying bands ever. The (possibly apocryphal) story goes that they were also subject to the greatest heckle ever. Halfway through a Dublin gig, Bono told the audience to hush and then started clicking his fingers. “Every time I click my fingers, somewhere a child dies,” he said softly. Out of the gloom, a voice shouted out: “Stop f***in’ doing it, then.” Simon Miller, Thames Ditton, Surrey


“Kalani Lattanzi has taken bodysurfing to the next level,” says The New York Times. The 28-year-old Brazilian “surfs” 40ft waves using nothing but a pair of flippers. Even traditional wave lovers are impressed. Bodysurfing “is one of the most extreme things I’ve ever seen”, says Nic von Rupp, a professional big-wave surfer. “It’s like hanging from the wing of an airplane while everyone is sitting inside.”


If women want to boost their “spiritual wellness”, there’s only one way to do it, says the Evening Standard: join a “goddess circle”. The premise is simple: you share deeply personal stories while sitting cross-legged on the floor in, “as you might expect”, a circle. Each woo-woo gathering has a unique vibe, but “throws, candles and crystals are generally encouraged (natch)”. A-listers love them – apparently, Jennifer Aniston attends her goddess circle with a “feather-adorned talking stick”.


It’s the world’s most expensive automobile: a rare 1955 Mercedes Benz racing car which has just sold for a whopping £115m at auction. The sale more than tripled the previous record, set in 2018 for a £37m Ferrari. Among enthusiasts, the Mercedes is known as “the Mona Lisa of cars”.


quoted 23.5

“Competition brings out the best in products and the worst in people.”

American businessman David Sarnoff