Speed 19 May 2017

If you’re old enough to remember 1999 and if you’re reading this it’s likely that you are (and if not, then get back to your revision) you’ll recall that while listening to your CD copy of Play by Moby, you were likely worrying about the potentially catastrophic effects of the Millennium Bug, scheduled to crash your copy of Windows 95 and wipe your 10Gb hard drive on the 31st of December of that year.

But then of course, the new Millennium arrived (ignoring pedants at the time who said that ‘real’ Millennium wouldn’t tick around until the following year) and . . . nothing happened. Well, everyone had stinking hangovers and a sense of anti-climax but the world’s computers remained in service.

A similar scenario played at more modern speeds this week as Monday’s papers suggested that the “ransomware” attacks that had crippled some NHS computers at the end of the previous week were likely to return with the new one, this time bigger and dirtier and more destructive than ever. The Express warned of a “cyber blitz” and the Mirror shouted “Web hackers to strike again”.

And then, you’ve guessed it . . . nothing happened.

So thankfully, the UK’s “best general election ever” (source: no one at all) was allowed to continue unimpeded by a digital apocalypse. Which was a very good thing because imagine what we would have done without “MANIFESTO WEEK”, which has been a bit like “Bread Week” on Bake Off (that’s classic, pre Channel 4 defection Bake Off clearly), chock-full of experimental ingredients, heavy kneading, and (satire alert), half-baked creations! Wah-hey!

Actually, such an overly-stretched metaphor is obscuring the fact that the past week has seen the main political parties launch the most distinct, and differentiated set of proposed policies in many years. However, we know you’ve been busy and the manifestos are broad in heft so as a special service, The Friday Speed Read is going summarise each of them for you in short, social-media-friendly and very 2017 form. Because we’re nice like that.


Raise taxes for the rich. Make the private sector a lot more public sector. Scrap tuition fees. Bring back British Rail. Loads more cash for the NHS. Ban Zero Hours contracts. Don’t oppose Brexit.

Lib Dems:

Oppose Brexit. Plus some other stuff. But we’re not going to win so let’s just stick with the Brexit thing.


Be more Labour but without all the Corbyn stuff. Make rich OAPs pay more for social care. No more free lunches for younger Primary school pupils. Free breakfasts for all Primary School pupils. Be strong. More Grammar schools to increase fairness. Be stable. Win handsomely.

Plaid Cymru:


Yorkshire Party:



Not launching until next week. Could yet decide not to bother.

Away from the election for a moment, President Donald Trump took a few more leaps down the highway that leads to no longer being President Donald Trump by allegedly giving classified information to Sergei “Chuckles” Lavrov in a meeting in the White House. A day later, the Department of Justice appointed a Special Prosecutor to investigate the running sore that is the alleged links between the Trump election campaign. With things getting all very “Watergatey”, DJT barked out a brace of tweets: “I’m treated worse than any politician in history”, the leader of the free world opined, and “This is the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history”.

If you studied The Crucible at school, you may well agree with the response to these tweets from Representative Seth Moulton of Salem, Massachusetts:

In Slug News, The Mirror issued a warning to the nation’s gardeners with a headline that really should have been a 1950s B movie: “Invasion of the sex-mad super slugs!”. Apparently these slimy beasts, illegal immigrants from Spain the lot of them, sneaked past border controls by cunningly hiding in lettuces. Now they’re here they have only two things on their to-do list: Have sex. Eat everything. They can take up to 10 slug pellets like it ain’t no thing and with, typical restraint, the Daily Express reckons there will be 500 billion (not a typo) of them here by the summer.

We’re doomed.

One crumb of comfort is that slugs can’t vote (they can’t hold the little pencil) because if they could we’d all be ruled by (insert your choice of satirical target here) from June 9th.

Oh and as we’re inevitably dragged back into the election swamp, you may have missed that The Sun has launched a new feature in which lithe young women model lingerie with designs inspired by Theresa May’s shoes.

Can we stress that this is NOT A JOKE.

Today, Kelly from Daventry, wearing leopard-print pants and a bra gives her thoughts on the forthcoming election (while shivering presumably): “TM’s smart fiscal policies make her a shoe-in to get the Nation’s vote”.

Finally, the Telegraph reported that some scientists believe that a “really cold” corner that they’ve observed in Space, one that contains 20% less matter than it should, might have been caused by a parallel universe crashing into ours, “a bit like a traffic accident when cars pile up on the motorway”. That’s a right, a parallel universe, with its own space and time, where all the things that didn’t happen in our own universe could be happily playing out.

It sounds absolutely wonderful.

And is also an excuse to play this:

Have a great weekend.