Speed 10 March 2017

Right then. Let’s be straight with you from the very start of this week’s “The Friday Speed Read”. In these times of “alternative facts” and “FAKE news (sad)” we want to make it abundantly clear that this week’s effort is a timeshare. A beautiful timeshare, somewhere sunny, sold to you by a man in chinos and a baseball cap. Monday to Thursday will feel familiar, but Friday onwards goes rogue, allowing the Editor free rein. Perish the thought.

But dear reader, you don’t care about our staffing challenges. Let’s get on.

Mary Berry. What the HELL are you playing at? This was the question asked by an angry nation and its appointed chroniclers of #TeamFleetStreet earlier in the week. And not unreasonably either because, and there’s no way of sweetening this particular pill, Berry (Mary) had appeared on BBC2 last Monday night and added white wine and cream to her bolognaise sauce as if it were the most natural thing in the world. The country went MAD with fury. “Mary Berry!” it hollered. “That ain’t no way to make a bolognaise sauce and you know it!”. Meanwhile, what with Brexit and pineapple on pizza and everything, Italy is raising a standing army and preparing to invade. And who can blame them?

Meanwhile, President Trump was reacting to SpagBolGate in the only way he knows how: by accusing Obama of tapping his communications during the election campaign (while clearly not feeling the need to trouble anyone with any such trivialities as ‘evidence’) and redrafting his Executive Order banning entry to the USA to anyone from his list of countries with “bad dudes” that someone wrote for him on the back of fag packet.

Elsewhere in the Land of the Free, Wikileaks released documents ‘proving’ that the CIA now has the ability to spy on you through your electronic devices and you don’t even get a push notification telling you that they’re doing it or anything. Better start wearing trousers when you watch the TV then.

However, there’s no doubting that the week’s ‘Most Newsy News’ crown goes to Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip “Chuckles” Hammond who delivered a stand-up routine with added National Insurance rises for the self-employed to a tricky crowd in Westminster. Phil stood at the despatch box and smiled, waved and winked as he laid down his best collection of one-liners that he’d definitively not been working on for ages when he should have been doing something difficult with spreadsheets. Like tax credits. Or pivot tables.

For those (lucky enough) to have missed them, here are Phil’s best budget gags:

  1. “Jeremy Corbyn is now so far down a black hole that even Stephen Hawking has disowned him”.

(Notes – classic structure cf. “My wife’s so fat when she sits around the house she sits around the house” and other such misogynistic horror from a different age)

  1. “70m to keep the UK at the forefront of disruptive technology such as biotech, robotics systems and driverless vehicles, a technology I believe the party opposite knows something about …”

(Notes – Clever. He’s got TWO meanings out of the phrase “driverless vehicles” – one literal and one metaphorical. This is when an expensive education pays you back in spades)

  1. “Under the last Labour government corporation tax was 28% – by the way, they don’t call it the last Labour government for nothing”

(Notes – On. Fire)

And that’s your lot for the first four days of the week. Aside from TM the PM’s drive to fight unfairness in education by introducing new Grammar schools, Diana’s butler marrying a bloke, Barcelona winning the most insane game of football ever played and Lords amending the Brexit bill for a second time leading the sacking of Michael Heseltine of the 1980s, nothing else of note happened whatsoever.

And in the gap below the editor of TFSR is free to bring you up to date with the momentous events that today has brought. Or just embed a cool video…we’ll see:

[Editor grabs keyboard] While the temptation is strong just to embed ‘Woman Falls Down Hole’, the Editor’s conscience is pricking, and we cannot fight the news cycle. Firstly, we hope your morning latte or lunchtime sushi salad doesn’t come from Pret because the ubiquitous snack chain could look rather understaffed once Brexit hits. It turns out that woman on Question Time that everyone laughed at (no, not the one who said she voted Brexit because of straight bananas, the other one), might have been right as Pret’s director of HR warned that only 1 in 50 applicants are Brits.

Elsewhere Donald Trump continued his streak of being awful everyday and oh goodness it’s so tiring and…ugh. But many women – and feminist allies – continued to be awesome, with International Women’s Day celebrations and peaceful protests. Let’s just not dwell too long on the tone-deaf statement from Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, married to Very Hot Prime Minister™ Justin Trudeau, celebrating…men.

Oh, and if you’re wondering, International Men’s Day is on November 19th. Just ask comedian Richard Herring, who celebrates every IWD informing anyone asking on Twitter of the date.

Finally, in full on Having Your Cake And Eating It News, Boris Johnson has said TM the PM should channel her spirit animal Maggie T and refuse to pay the £50bn bill to leave the EU. In solidarity, TFSR has weekend plans to go to a Michelin starred restaurant, complain about the food before ordering, eat everything anyway and then walk out without paying up.

Perhaps we’ll start our meal with two soups.