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3 November

In the headlines

The Bank of England has announced its biggest interest rate hike in 30 years, raising borrowing costs by 0.75 percentage points to 3%. Thankfully the rise will make little difference to fixed-rate mortgage prices, says The Daily Telegraph, because lenders have already added such a large “Truss premium” to their deals. Almost 17% of people living in England and Wales were born abroad, new census figures show, up from 13.4% a decade ago. The biggest increases were immigrants from Romania (80,000 to 539,000) and India (694,000 to 920,000). Bounty bars are being removed from some Celebrations chocolate boxes this Christmas, as part of a trial to see whether the divisive coconut treat should be permanently dropped. But given one in five customers say it’s their favourite, says the Daily Star, there may be “mutiny over the Bounty”.

British politics

The truth about our migration crisis

The “media bloodhounds” are at it again, says Allison Pearson in The Daily Telegraph, this time with a “hysterical 24/7 campaign to get Suella Braverman sacked”. The Home Secretary’s latest supposed crime is to have told the truth about Britain’s immigration crisis: namely, that the tens of thousands of people landing on the Kent coast are not all desperate mothers and children. As the Border Force has acknowledged, the “exponential rise” in Channel boat crossings this year is in fact the result of 10,000 adult men arriving from Albania, a “stable country that hasn’t seen a war in 25 years”. Are we not allowed to be “just a teensy bit alarmed about that”? Or admit that we don’t want to spend £7m “every single day” housing asylum seekers? All Braverman has done is try to give the British people what they keep voting for: “strong borders and lower net migration”.


New York has nothing on London

“Once upon a time, New York City was famous for dreaming big,” says Steve Cuozzo in the New York Post. “Masterpiece after masterpiece” was built, from Central Park and the great suspension bridges in the 19th century, to the subway system and the Empire State Building in the 20th. But now we’ve lost our “aspirational lustre” to the Big Apple’s rival, London. The British capital has recently completed not one, but two “colossal” projects: the 60-mile Elizabeth Line, which “cuts crosstown travel time by half”, and the redevelopment of Battersea Power Station. The once-derelict power plant is now the heart of a “42-acre wonderland” of public green space, hundreds of shops and restaurants, and thousands of new homes. Next year, Apple will move its UK headquarters to the site.

Gone viral

TikTok videos tagged #AlmondMom, to describe body image-obsessed mothers who encourage their daughters to curb calories, have racked up more than 550 million views. The nutty name comes from a 2014 episode of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, in which the perfectly sculpted future supermodel Gigi Hadid tells her mum Yolanda that her new, super-restrictive diet is making her feel “really weak”. “Just have a couple of almonds,” Yolanda helpfully advises. “And chew them really well.”

Inside politics

If you want to know how Democrats will fare in next week’s midterm elections, just look at US petrol prices. Over the past two years, Joe Biden’s approval ratings have correlated almost perfectly with the cost of fuel. When it’s expensive, as it is now, his numbers tend to sink; when it’s cheaper, they rebound. The same is true of polling for congressional Democrats. This sort of thing sends policy nerds a bit loopy, says Jordan Weissmann in Slate, as American presidents have almost no control over global oil prices. “Just one more reason why I can’t wait until everybody’s driving an electric car.”

Quirk of history

In the 1950s, the president of American cigarette holder firm Zeus Corp dreamt up a range of whimsical products. Robert Sterns’s puffing paraphernalia included the Umbrella Holder for rainy days; the Ashtray Holder for tidy smokers; the Multiholder with room for 20 fags at a time; the Lovers Holder for tandem smoking; and the Telescoping Holder, which extended to 4ft long.

On the money

Forbes has unveiled its list of this year’s highest-earning dead celebrities. “Top of the heap” is JRR Tolkien, thanks to the $500m sale of Middle Earth-related rights to a Swedish gaming company. Number two is basketball star Kobe Bryant, who earned $400m from the sale of a sports drink investment to Coca-Cola; number three is David Bowie, whose music catalogue has been sold for £250m. The full list of 13 artists, athletes and entertainers earned a total of $1.6bn, a 72% increase on last year.


Italy’s new right-wing government is criminalising raves, with organisers of unlicenced parties attended by more than 50 people facing up to six years in jail. The ban was prompted by a 48-hour Halloween rave in the northern city of Modena, which attracted revellers from as far afield as Belgium and France. It’s an inspired move, says Walt Hickey in Numlock News. “We all know governments that ban dancing get positively glowing write-ups.”


It’s a £65 bag of designer dung, which featured on Gwyneth Paltrow’s “Ridiculous but Awesome” gift guide for 2022. “This isn’t just any old shit,” says Danya Issawi in The Cut: it’s a blend of free-range goat, horse, chicken, and cow manure, “lovingly tended” by gardeners at the fancy Flamingo Estate in Los Angeles. The shop calls it the “finest poop in LA”, though you suspect “some celebrities would contest that statement”. See the rest of Gwynnie’s list, including a £200 satin baguette bag and a £20,000 sex chair, here.


quoted 3.11.22

“If all the economists were laid end to end, they would never reach a conclusion.”

George Bernard Shaw