Skip to main content
The Knowledge logo

9 December

In the headlines

The Chancellor has announced the biggest shake-up of banking rules for three decades. Jeremy Hunt says his 30-point growth plan will “review, repeal and replace” legislation imposed after the 2008 financial crash, including laws forcing firms to separate retail banking from riskier investment operations. American basketball star Brittney Griner has been freed in a prisoner swap between Russia and the US. The 32-year-old, who was serving a nine-and-a-half-year sentence in a penal colony for possession of cannabis oil, was exchanged for Viktor Bout, the notorious arms dealer who inspired Nicolas Cage’s character in Lord of War. A third of Brits are planning a booze-free Christmas this year, says the Daily Star, while nearly 40% will aim to welcome in the New Year sober. “Ding dong merrily on dry.”

British politics

Don’t give these “deranged” councillors more power

Labour’s “interminable plans for constitutional reform” boil down to two things, says Rod Liddle in The Spectator: abolishing the House of Lords and devolving power to “the regions”. But really, we want much, much less authority given to local government. “They should be allowed to empty our bins and that’s about it.” Decentralisation might be “laudable in theory”, but wait until you see “the kind of deranged bastards who will be wielding these new powers”. Take Ben Fitter-Harding, the Conservative leader of Canterbury City Council: he intends to divide the city into five zones, and only allow cars to travel between the zones via a ring road. All this pointless, “fascistic” plan will do is increase carbon emissions, by vastly increasing journey times.


The great divide at the heart of Europe

“Europe’s leadership couple”, France and Germany, have “taken to sleeping in separate bedrooms”, says Paul Taylor in Politico. The gulf between the two countries can be seen in everything from “geopolitics to defence, energy policy and public finances”. At a recent Paris meeting, Olaf Scholz rebuffed Emmanuel Macron’s pitch for a joint trip to China to present a “united European front” to Xi Jinping. Germany’s leader instead travelled to Beijing with a “posse of industrialists” eager to cut deals, in open defiance of Macron’s hawkish stance. But that’s just the latest in a long list of “grievances about each other’s infidelities”.


Netflix’s £90m Meghan and Harry documentary has been given a predictable thumbs-down by the critics. The Daily Telegraph calls it “deeply offensive”; the Daily Mail accuses the couple of an “assault on the Queen’s legacy”; The Guardian calls it a “turd in a stocking” for the royal family. But the real problem is that it’s so utterly boring, says The Spectator. Over a “near-interminable” three hours, the viewer endures a half-reworked mixture of the same stuff we’ve seen a thousand times before. No “lacerating, full-frontal assault” on the royal family, no accusations of real racism, nothing. Just a “well-filmed, comprehensive and deeply tedious wallow in narcissism”.


Anthony Trollope “died of the giggles”, says Emily Temple in LitHub. “For real.” In 1882, the novelist’s niece, Edith, began reading aloud a comic novel about a father who switches bodies with his son. “Trollope found the book hilarious, and laughed so hard that he suffered a stroke” – from which he never recovered. He died a month later.


After four years of Nebraska coming last in a list of US states people wanted to visit, its tourism commission adopted a new slogan in 2018: “Nebraska. Honestly, it’s not for everyone.” Accompanying taglines included “Famous for our flat, boring landscape”, and “Lucky for you, there’s nothing to do here”.

Shopping has compiled a list of the most popular Christmas toy from every year since 1920, including the $1 Slinky in 1945, the $89.99 Game Boy in 1989, and the $62.99 animatronic Baby Yoda two years ago. See what was flying off the shelves the year you were born here.

On the way out

The last Boeing 747 has rolled off the production line, 53 years after the model first took to the skies. More than 1,500 of the giant, two-decker planes have been built in that time, says The Guardian; they’ve carried cargo, commercial passengers and even the US president, when kitted out to serve as Air Force One. Now the 747 is being ditched in favour of more fuel-efficient aircraft.


It’s an entire village in central Italy, complete with houses, shops and restaurants, that can be rented for just £1,300 per night. Nestled in the hilly Marche region, Petritoli has room for up to 200 guests. Its cobblestone streets are home to attractions including a wine-tasting cellar, a handful of swimming pools, a Baroque theatre, an array of gelaterias – and the town’s historic castle. Buonissimo! Book your stay here.


quoted 9.12.22

“The factory of the future will have only two employees: a man and a dog. The man will be there to feed the dog. The dog will be there to keep the man from touching the equipment.”

Management guru Warren Bennis