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7 October

In the headlines

The PM’s speech at the Tory party conference was “vintage Boris, full of bluster and braggadocio, boosting his party’s confidence and boasting of its achievements”, said The Times. Actually, it was a speech full of  “ruthlessness and truthlessness”, offering “little more than pledges of a better tomorrow”, said The Guardian. Commentators were equally divided: “pitch-perfect,” said Janet Daley in the Telegraph; “facile, silly and fundamentally unserious,” said Reaction’s Iain Martin; “a tipsy middle manager at an office party would have delivered a better address,” said Kevin Maguire in the Mirror. There were no mass job losses after furlough ended, early data suggests. The scheme finished last week and, despite concerns, employers reported almost record low redundancy numbers. Andy Murray has lost his wedding ring. The tennis player keeps it tied to the shoelaces on his trainers, but they were stolen while he was training in America. “I need to find it,” he told his Instagram followers. “I’m in the bad books at home.” 

Comment of the day



Quirks of history

A sonnet written by Mary, Queen of Scots on the eve of her execution in 1587 has been discovered by the Bodleian Library in Oxford. The Catholic cousin of Elizabeth I scribbled the poem to her brother-in-law Henry III, the king of France. It includes the lines: “Alas, what am I? What use has my life? I am but a body whose heart’s torn away.”

Inside politics

Donald Trump endured a colonoscopy without anaesthesia in November 2019 to stop Mike Pence from taking charge for even an hour, reveals former White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham in her memoir, I’ll Take Your Questions Now

Gone viral

HBO has put out a trailer for its spin-off Game of Thrones TV show, House of the Dragon – it’s due for release next year and the teaser was viewed 8.4 million times in 48 hours after it dropped on Tuesday. When will it stop, says Danielle Cohen in The Cut. The only film and TV that gets made now is spin-offs, reboots or sequels. They’re all terrible: Sex and the City is in its third, dreadful revival and Gossip Girl is back and boring. Even the Sopranos prequel was a slog. Let Game of Thrones die.

Tomorrow’s world

Melting Russian permafrost – frozen land that was expected never to thaw – could cost the country $68bn in busted infrastructure by 2050, says The Wall Street Journal. Gas plants, pipelines and whole Siberian cities are warping and corroding as the defrosting earth shifts beneath their foundations. In spring 2020 a cracked tank leaked 20,000 tonnes of diesel because of melting permafrost, setting fire to the Arctic tundra.

Love etc

A Covid-induced loss of taste and smell puts people off their lovers as well as their food, according to a study published in the journal Plos One. Blunted senses hinder sexual stimulation. It’s worse when the virus makes things taste and smell “rancid”, as some participants reported. One person said they avoided kissing their boyfriend because the taste was too awful. 


Quoted 07-10

“Damaged people are dangerous. They know they can survive.”

Author Josephine Hart

Snapshot answer

It’s Grimes. Hounded by journalists after she split up with her billionaire boyfriend, Elon Musk, the singer decided to “troll” them by sitting on a pavement in Los Angeles, reading The Communist Manifesto. Cue a flurry of tabloid headlines, outraged that the second richest man in the world’s ex was reading Marx. “There are some very smart ideas in this book,” Grimes said on Instagram, which kept the local communists happy. It’s a “textbook case of all publicity being good publicity”, a Communist Party USA representative tells TMZ.