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24 October

In the headlines

Rishi Sunak looks set to be crowned PM today, unless Penny Mordaunt can secure the support of 100 Tory MPs by 2pm. Sunak’s path to victory cleared last night when Boris Johnson decided not to enter the race. The former PM claimed he had enough backers to make the ballot, but said pulling out was the “right thing to do” because the party wasn’t united behind him. Royal Mail is urging people to use up “everyday” stamps within the next 100 days, after which they’ll become unusable. From 31 January, barcoded stamps, which allow customers to scan and track their letters via an app, will be required. The “white van man” stereotype is outdated, says the I newspaper. A study has found that 43% of van drivers are women, half of whom read a broadsheet newspaper and a third of whom practise yoga.

British politics

How Rishi can redeem the Tories

If Rishi Sunak is indeed to be our next PM, says Clare Foges in The Times, how can he redeem the Conservative Party? After years of hearing “endless musings” about how the Tories can win and hold on to power, “and very little on what they will do with it”, Sunak must now put the “national interest” first. This means abandoning the “cabinet-of-cronies model” and recruiting those who run our country on ability; implementing whatever tax and spending cuts are necessary to stabilise the economy, “regardless of the electoral pain”; and ditching pointless culture war rhetoric. It also means addressing “the elephant rampaging around the room”: Brexit, which is responsible for “a significant portion of our economic malaise”. In 2016, the British economy was 90% the size of Germany’s; now it is less than 70%.

US and China

Biden’s “economic war” on Beijing

It’s astonishing how little coverage it has received, says Edward Luce in the FT, but Joe Biden has just launched a “full-blown economic war” on Beijing. Specifically, his administration has announced severe restrictions on the export of high-end US semiconductor chips to China; similar limits on chips made with US equipment (which means pretty much all of them); and a ban on Americans and green card holders working with Chinese chip producers without approval. The move won’t just affect China’s military and AI capabilities, which rely on advanced computer chips. It means America is committed “to blocking China in all kinds of civilian technologies that make up a modern economy”.


The Comedy Wildlife Photo Awards have announced this year’s finalists. Selections include an exasperated-looking mother macaque by Sophie Hart, a crane poised behind a bull creating a Pegasus-like illusion (Jagdeep Rajput), and a king penguin ducking so that it appears to have lost its head (Martin Grace). See the full list here.

Love etc

Florida governor and rising Republican star Ron DeSantis had a weird trick for weeding out potential love interests, says the FT. The politician would tell women he liked Thai food, but pronounce it “thigh”. If they pointed out his mistake, he’d quickly find an excuse to leave the date. “He didn’t want a girlfriend who corrected him.”

Gone viral

The TikTok hashtag #StayAtHomeGirlfriend, where “incredibly affluent women” show off their lackadaisical daily routines, has racked up more than 130 million views, says Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour. Users post videos of themselves waking up at 11am in pristine bedrooms, running “very light errands” like posting a letter, grabbing expensive brunches, attending yoga classes, and returning home to prepare dinner for their breadwinning partners. For some, this idealisation of unemployment “goes against everything we’ve been taught about female empowerment”. Others take a more favourable view. “How do I apply for the position?” asks one commenter.


If you’re still undecided on this year’s Halloween outfit, says L’Officiel, why not revisit some of Hollywood’s best celebrity costumes for inspiration? Memorable efforts include Mickey Hargitay and Jayne Mansfield as Tarzan and Jane; Blake Lively and Martha Stewart as Cleopatra and Medusa; Rihanna, spray-painted green, as a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle; and Lizzo, donning prosthetic ears to transform into Baby Yoda. See more top outfits here.

Inside politics

“Does Nadhim Zahawi have the worst judgement in Tory politics?” asks Steerpike in The Spectator. In July, the then education secretary agreed to become Boris Johnson’s new chancellor, only to demand the PM’s resignation barely a day later. Yesterday, he called for “the return of, er, Boris Johnson”, writing a piece for the Telegraph entitled: “Get ready for Boris 2.0, the man who will make the Tories and Britain great again.” The article was published at 9pm – almost exactly the moment Johnson announced he wasn’t running. Zahawi swiftly announced he was now backing Rishi Sunak, tweeting: “A day is a long time in politics…”


It’s Jacob Rees-Mogg’s carriage clock, which has the letters M, O, G, G where the 12, 3, 6 and 9 would usually be. Eagle-eyed BBC viewers spotted the personalised timepiece when the notoriously old-fashioned Business Secretary was doing an interview from home on Sunday morning. “I’m more surprised he has the internet,” tweeted one.


quoted 24.10.22

“I never think of the future. It comes soon enough.”

Albert Einstein