Skip to main content
The Knowledge logo

6 June

In the headlines

Boris Johnson will face a no-confidence vote by Tory MPs this evening. The PM should win it “comfortably”, says Politico: he needs the backing of the majority – at least 180 – of his MPs, and at least 160 are members of his government. But it’s no sure thing, says TalkTV’s Tom Newton Dunn on Twitter: the vote is a secret ballot, and Conservative MPs are “the most perfidious electorate in the world”. Britain is dispatching “cutting-edge” long-range rockets to Ukraine, says The Times. The weapons are so powerful that Kyiv has had to promise not to use them against targets inside Russia. A painting (below) found hanging in a bungalow in Enfield, north London, has sold for £255,000. A routine valuation found it was by the 15th-century Italian master Filippino Lippi, says The Sun. It’s “art to believe”.

International relations

Don’t give poor countries a pass on Putin

“Rich-world liberals” have always given the “global south” – what used to be known as the third world – the moral benefit of the doubt, says Janan Ganesh in the FT. But it’s hard to square that with how the Ukraine war has been viewed outside the West. Russia retains a net positive reputation in Egypt, Vietnam and India; there have been pro-Moscow protests in west and central Africa. In March, Ukraine recalled its ambassador in Morocco, “another staple of the gap-year trail”, because of the country’s lack of support against the invasion.


Britain is not America

Brits think their country is much more diverse than it actually is, says Lionel Shriver in The Times. According to a new poll, they estimate that 20% of the country is black (it’s 3%); 15% is Muslim (actually 4%); 5% transgender (no more than 0.6% in reality); and 15% gay and lesbian (in fact, 1.8%). For good measure, people think 20% of the country is vegan or vegetarian – the actual figure is 4%. It’s a similar story in my native America, where people “wildly” overestimate the size of racial and sexual minorities. The left’s “fetishistic” obsession with these groups has skewed the general population’s sense of how numerous they are.

Gone viral

Richard Griffin, a former royal protection officer, was once with the Queen at a picnic in Balmoral when they encountered two Americans on a walking holiday. But the tourists didn’t recognise her, Griffin tells Sky News, and one even asked her where she lived. “I live in London, but I’ve got a holiday home just the other side of the hills,” the Queen replied. Given they were near a royal castle, the American asked if she had ever met the Queen. The monarch gestured to her bodyguard and said: “Well I haven’t, but Dickie here meets her regularly.” Impressed, the American asked for a photo – of him and Griffin. The Queen duly took the snap.

On the money

The average price of a pint has surged by 70% since 2008, from £2.30 to £3.95, says the FT. The main long-term factors are the rising costs of energy and labour; in recent months the Ukraine war has also sent grain prices soaring. Some pints in London are now over £8, according to a survey by industry tracker CGA.

Inside politics

Whatever happens in the no-confidence vote, says Sky News’ Joe Pike on Twitter, it’s unlikely that Boris Johnson will leave office today. That will mean he will be prime minister for at least as long as Gordon Brown managed – he equals the Labour PM’s two years and 318 days tomorrow. If Johnson does step down today, he’ll be the shortest-serving PM since Anthony Eden resigned 65 years ago.


A daring “poolside showstopper” is set to be summer’s most stylish piece, says Polly Vernon in The Times: the monokini. Imagine a swimsuit that after some misfortune – “shark attack, cannonball strike” – has been deprived of the fabric usually covering the belly and back, so the top is attached to the bottoms by just a sliver of fabric or other material. The chic cossies, a favourite of the Kardashian clan, are “not for the faint-hearted or self-conscious”. But they’re “super fun”.

Staying young

A village in Sardinia has nabbed the Guinness World Record for the highest proportion of centenarian citizens. There are eight people aged 100 or older currently living in Perdasdefogu – that’s one in 220 of the population. Locals reckon the secret is a simple diet, staying active and avoiding nursing homes.


It’s Fabuleu de Maucour, a horse from France’s equivalent of the Household Cavalry, which has been presented as a jubilee gift to help patch up Anglo-French relations. “You are the golden thread that binds our two countries,” Emmanuel Macron said in a message to the Queen, “proof of the unwavering friendship between our nations.” France’s own history of receiving animals as gifts is less auspicious, says The Sunday Times. In 2013, a camel calf given to then French president François Hollande in Mali was left with locals until shipping could be arranged. Unfortunately, they turned it into a tajine.


Quoted 6.6.22

“Absence diminishes mediocre passions and increases great ones, as the wind extinguishes candles and fans fires.”

François de La Rochefoucauld