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17 October

In the headlines

Jeremy Hunt, the new Chancellor, has reversed almost all of the mini-Budget in an emergency statement this morning. Plans to cut the basic tax rate from 20p to 19p have been scrapped, and the blanket price cap for energy bills will end in April rather than in two years’ time. Met Police Commissioner Mark Rowley has said hundreds of officers should be sacked, after a damning independent report found evidence of widespread lawbreaking within the force. One officer remained in post despite facing 11 misconduct allegations, including sexual assault and domestic abuse. The “Wags” of the England football team have been given a “strict list of do’s and don’ts” for the Qatar World Cup, says The Sun. The players’ partners have been told to “dress modestly”, and to refrain from swearing and boozing in the ultra-conservative Gulf state. “They drink… it’s all over.”


The real cause of Tory woes

When historians look back at Britain’s current predicament, they will discern one overriding cause, says Jonathan Freedland in The Guardian: Brexit. There’s the “obvious impact” of our economy being 5.2% smaller than it should be, which makes surging inflation much harder to deal with. Then there’s the outbreak of “magical thinking” that Brexit triggered. The ludicrous belief that leaving a trading bloc of your closest neighbours could somehow make you richer led directly to the nonsense of Trussonomics. Most important is the “sovereignty delusion”: the idea that taking back control from Brussels would mean Britain becoming “the sole master of its destiny”. There is no such thing as “pure, untrammelled sovereignty” in our interdependent world – as Kwasi Kwarteng found out when his mini-Budget was flatly rejected by the markets. The “Tory hallucination of an island able to command the tides was no more than a fever dream”.

Eating in

A jellyfish infestation in the Mediterranean has damaged fish farms, clogged power plants and upended tourism by making the water unsafe for swimming, says Hakai magazine. So in Italy, boffins and cooks have joined forces to try to convince gastronomes to start eating them. Early efforts to make the gelatinous invertebrates tasty included serving them “dried, fresh, and frozen”, and turning them into “mousse, meringue, seasonings, and thickeners”. But the two most promising options, say chefs, are cooking them to resemble the texture of soft calamari or a crispy chip.


There’s a new self-help group for recovering public schoolboys called The Privileged Man. For £1,995 a year, men who feel they have been damaged by their elite educations can pour out their hearts to each other on weekly Zoom calls and weekend retreats every three months. Co-founder Esmond Baring, scion of the Barings banking dynasty, tells The Sunday Times he was “judged and tested” because of his background while working in finance, but that he wanted to show privileged men have feelings too. “We are all, as Nelson Mandela said, one race – the human race.”

Inside politics

As Liz Truss began her disastrous press conference on Friday afternoon, her former Cabinet rival Michael Gove sent a tweet from a school in his Surrey constituency. “Good to talk to headteachers today,” he wrote, “providing strong leadership for the next generation.” Earlier, amid rumours Kwasi Kwarteng was being sacked, Gove posted a picture with a councillor who was overseeing local repairs, with the caption “good to see work being done on trip hazards”.


London’s Natural History Museum has announced the 2022 winners of its Wildlife Photographer of the Year contest. The top nod went to Karine Aigner’s snap of a ball of swarming cactus bees rolling across the hot Texas sand. Other selections included a snake snacking on a bat, and a small wood wren bent over, listening to the earth. See the full selection here.


Kim Jong-un has been cutting a dash at recent missile tests, with ensembles including a white tunic with a khaki safari hat. Former CIA analyst Bruce Klingner tells CNN the North Korean dictator is trying to demonstrate how “bold” he is. Perhaps, says one Twitter user, but the effect is more “post-menopausal love affair in Tuscany”.



“In six short weeks Britain has acquired Italian-style politics and finances, without the sunshine.” 

Camilla Cavendish in the FT