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6 October

In the headlines

Tory rebels are growing “increasingly confident” of forcing another government U-turn, says the I newspaper, this time on raising benefits in line with inflation. Former Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries, previously a strong supporter of Liz Truss, warned that the Tories face “wipeout” at the next election if they continue “lurching to the right”. Russia no longer has the “ability or willpower” to defend key positions in Ukraine, a senior US military official tells The Daily Telegraph. Ukrainian troops are regaining ground so fast, there’s now a “very real possibility” they could recapture Crimea. Netflix has reportedly pushed back against Harry and Meghan after the couple tried to have chunks of their forthcoming docuseries edited out. One possible reason, says Page Six, is to remove a few “truth bombs”. It’s said that King Charles III is waiting to see the show before deciding whether their children should become Prince Archie and Princess Lilibet. 🫣


Britain doesn’t want what the Tories are selling

The mood at the Tory party conference was “grim to funereal”, says Tim Stanley in The Spectator. “They know they’re beat.” But this is about more than the 45p tax cut. “The reality is that Britain doesn’t want what the Conservative Party is now selling.” Liz Truss’s economic diagnosis is sound: the West isn’t productive enough, which has left too many people chasing too few products, creating inflation. The solution pursued since Blair has been to give consumers more money to spend, but at some point the cash runs out. In the meantime, the economic base has neither modernised nor grown. What Truss is trying to do – with tax cuts, infrastructure spending and deregulation – is “give business a boot up the daisy”.


Should Germany pay Poland reparations?

During the Warsaw Uprising of 1944, German soldiers lined my eight-year-old father up against a wall next to a pile of corpses, says the Polish writer Grzegorz Jankowski in Die Welt. After an hour or two of “paralysing fear”, his life was spared, along with that of his mother and brother, and they were sent to a concentration camp instead. This story, and others like it, form the “moral basis” for the Polish government’s recent demand for €1.3trn in Second World War reparations from Germany. But more important than atoning for past crimes is “making sure the nightmare doesn’t come back”.

Gone viral

When Kim Kardashian debuted her new collection with Dolce & Gabbana at Milan Fashion Week, says Mia Mercado in The Cut, “the real show happened behind the scenes”. Wearing a blingy body-hugging dress, the 41-year-old was filmed struggling to walk up some stairs, eventually resorting to hopping up sideways. “Please, witness the pitter-pattering of a woman worth an estimated $1.8bn.”

On the money

White noise is the music industry’s “next big thing”, says The Observer – despite it having no tune, no lyrics and no beat. Streaming services have seen an “explosion” in tracks simply consisting of hissing, humming and other static, or recordings of rainfall, ocean waves and crackling bonfires. And although aficionados generally use it to help them work or sleep – not for pleasure – the numbers don’t lie: the 90-second Clean White Noise – Loopable With No Fade has been streamed 837 million times on Spotify, “worth an estimated $2.5m in royalties”.

Quirk of history

In 1871, the American lawyer Clement Vallandigham was defending a client accused of murder. “In demonstrating how the victim might have accidentally shot himself, he accidentally shot himself,” says the QI Twitter account – neatly proving his point. Vallandigham died, but his client was acquitted.

Love etc

When travel influencers Kristijan and Andrea Ilicic got married, they spurned the obvious honeymoon destinations, says CNN. Instead, the Croatian couple rode a freight train carrying iron ore for 450 miles across the “baking hot deserts of Mauritania”, where temperatures range from 45C in the day to below freezing at night.

Tomorrow’s world

Scientists have discovered a way to break down plastic bags “within hours at room temperature”, says The Guardian: using insect spit. Special enzymes in the saliva of wax worms – moth larvae that infest beehives – have been found to degrade polyethylene, a widely used plastic that can only be recycled using complex and inefficient chemical processes. The potentially world-changing discovery came after a scientist who happened to be an amateur beekeeper cleaned out a hive and found the worms eating holes in an old bin bag.


It’s a first edition of Jane Austen’s Emma, which has sold for £375,000, the highest price for any of her novels. The three-volume book, complete with a handwritten “from the author” message, is to go on display at Chawton House in Hampshire, the former home of the novelist’s brother Edward. The American buyer insisted the novel – the last of Austen’s to be published during her lifetime – should stay in the author’s homeland.


quoted 6.10.22

“The best way to cheer yourself is to try to cheer somebody else up.”

Mark Twain