Pets, which are unacceptable symbols of Western decadence, according to Iran’s rulers. A wave of pet confiscations has swept the capital, Tehran, and a bill passed in the Iranian parliament requires pet owners to have a special permit, or face a minimum fine of £670. Even cats are in the crosshairs, says the BBC, despite Iran being the birthplace of the Persian, one of the world’s most famous breeds.
British diplomats, who are among the most honest in the world. In a five-year study of unpaid parking tickets accrued by envoys to the United Nations in New York, the UK contingent didn’t receive a single one. Kuwait notched up an average of 246, per diplomat, every year. It’s a point worth remembering, says James Marriott in The Times: “In a global context, the British establishment remains notably uncorrupt.”
quoted Boris 31.12.22
“I’ve got a brilliant new strategy, which is to make so many gaffes that nobody knows which one to concentrate on.”
Boris Johnson, talking to the BBC in 2006
Brexit, which has affected the quality of Britain’s drugs. Summer ravers were warned that because of supply chain issues, Brexit among them, ecstasy pills contained less and less actual ecstasy, and more filler material like caffeine. Nearly half of the substances sold as ecstasy at festivals last summer didn’t contain any trace of the drug.
Giles Keating, who has managed the enviable feat of heating a stately home for almost nothing. The 50-room Athelhampton House in Dorset (pictured), which was mentioned in the Domesday book and inspired Thomas Hardy’s Far From the Madding Crowd, used to cost £50,000 a year to keep warm. Since buying the property in 2019, Keating has installed 400 solar panels across the estate, along with a network of heat pumps. The system now produces excess energy, which is stored in a collection of Tesla batteries.
Gender-neutral loos, which will “almost certainly lead to the total collapse of civilisation”, says Michael Deacon in The Daily Telegraph. This has nothing to do with the trans debate – the problem is that if women ever saw the state of men’s public lavatories, they’d be so appalled they would never have anything to do with a man again. “Every nunnery in Britain will have a 10-year waiting list. By 2030 the birth rate will be down to zero. And by the turn of the century, mankind will be extinct.”
Polo neck jumpers, which are helping the French government beat the energy crisis. “You will no longer see me with a tie but with a polo neck,” finance minister Bruno Le Maire said in September. Le Maire is urging civil servants and other office workers to follow a trend he and President Macron adopted two winters ago: wearing sweaters with their suits instead of shirts and ties.
Rome, which Time Out has ranked as the world’s filthiest major city. The Italian capital’s “overflowing rubbish bins, unbridled rat population and acrid stench” helped it beat New York and Glasgow, says The Independent. Some local politicians have even called for the army to be drafted in to help clear up “the eternally dirty city”.
quoted Truman 31.12.22
“I have found the best way to give advice to your children is to find out what they want and then advise them to do it.”
Durham University, which is seeking to “decolonise” mathematics. About time too, says Rod Liddle in The Spectator. “For too long the subject has been dominated by racist stuff like adding things up or multiplying.” Hopefully now when students are faced with the question “what is four plus four?”, they’ll be able to “eschew the didacticism of white supremacy by answering eight”, and instead suggest a number that “they think feels intuitively right, such as 7,231”.
Bungling Indian air force officers, who nearly started a war with Pakistan. In March, the three soldiers accidentally launched a cruise missile into their neighbour’s territory at three times the speed of sound. It wasn’t armed, and only damaged a wall. But the officers were still fired – unlike, thankfully, the 300-plus nuclear weapons India and Pakistan have between them.
Provincial nightclubs, according to Lisa Nandy. Labour’s shadow levelling up secretary reckons their widespread closure is depriving towns of cultural and economic hubs. I totally agree, says Ed Cumming in The Daily Telegraph. “The Bad Provincial Nightclub is a cornerstone of British identity” and a training ground for “vital adult skills”: how to lie about your age, how to manage limited resources for drinks, food and transport, and how to deal with people who look “a bit fighty”.
quoted Murdoch 31.12.22
“One of the secrets of a happy life is continuous small treats.”
Two Irishmen, who carried their dead pal to the post office and propped him up at the counter in an apparent attempt to collect his pension. The pair claim the man was alive when they set off. “We’re hardly going to drag a dead man down the road,” one said, adding: “He probably died in the post office – at the ice-cream freezer, I’d say that’s where he dropped off.”
Vladimir Solovyov, a Russian state television host, who has thoughtfully decided to spare Britain’s Celtic bits from nuclear apocalypse. In July, Solovyov proposed obliterating England with an atomic missile, but added: “We won’t touch Scotland. Scotland will be independent. Wales has been quiet so far. Wales, too, will be independent.” Northern Ireland also gets a pass.
Lockdown, says Gordon Ramsay, because it wiped out so many “crap” restaurants. Two years of closed doors were “devastating” for the industry, Ramsay tells Radio Times, forcing surviving restaurateurs to “raise their game”. But on the upside, “the crap’s gone”. Among the hundreds of “shithole” chain restaurants to shut branches for good in lockdown were Byron Burger, Carluccio’s and Zizzi. Ciao.
Norway’s defence chiefs, who ordered conscripts to return their underwear after they finished military service so that it could be handed on to the next batch of recruits. Because of a shortfall in supplies in January, the pants, socks and bras were reused subject to “proper checks and cleaning”.
quoted dickens 31.12.22
“The pain of parting is nothing to the joy of meeting again.”