Speed 14 July 2017

The last time that the name of King Henry VIII troubled us here at The Friday Speed Read was back in September last year when we reported on a man from Crewkerne in Somerset who held a vitriolic dislike for Michael ‘Expert’ Gove for banishing the Tudors from the primary curriculum 10 years earlier and thus rendering his main income as a Henry impersonator significantly less lucrative.

However, Fat Henry cropped up again this week as the Government announced its plans for its Great Repeal Bill (the name is presumably meant to invoke warm feelings of national pride but in reality just picks at the running sore that is the demise of Bake Off); this will bring all EU legislation into UK law ahead of Brexit to ensure that people’s rights continue to be upheld after our divorce. Not an unreasonable plan you’d think, so why invoke the name of England’s 8th Reginal Henry?

Well, it turns out TM the PM is rather keen on dusting off a piece of legislation from the heady days of 1539 (man, what a summer that was) that would allow her to fiddle with these laws as they passed from the EU to the UK statute books without the bothersome need to have any changes agreed by parliament. So if TM wants to dissolve the monasteries, smash the rich iconography of Catholicism, divorce her first wife for not bearing her a son, then marry five more women (and kill two of them) and set up her own religion (presumably based around the veneration of shoes and wheat) then she could absolutely do so.

Many MPs are, unsurprisingly, a little bit jumpy at the thought of Absolute Monarchy rather than democracy as a model for post Brexit Britain but the government has reassured them by repeating, incantation-like, in a very loud voice that everything is going to be okay. And we all know what happens to the sense and meaning of words when you repeat them dozens of times.

Elsewhere in the news this week, the nation’s two week interest in the sport of tennis continued with Andy Murray’s victory on Monday and ended with Johanna Konta’s loss on Thursday.

(Editor’s note – in last week’s TFSR, we published an extended skit about two tennis fans discussing Andy Murray’s crocked thigh. In actual fact, the bit of Andy Murray that was broken was his hip; connected to his thigh admittedly but according to doctors anatomically quite distinct. TFSR apologises profusely and can only beg for your forgiveness for making such a heinous error).

When Andy Murray was beaten in the quarter final having played the final two sets with only one leg working, the press turned its gaze towards Johanna Konta with headlines imploring her to beat Venus Williams for the good of the nation’s mental health. Special mention goes to The Sun for its headline invoking the spirit of Eddie Grant: “Give us hope Johanna”, which almost makes up for its previous day’s effort: “Kont stop me now”, which, let’s face it, was rubbish.

But then of course Johanna Konta joined Andy Murry on the media’s list marked “People we don’t need to think about until next June” and we all got back to our lives. Actually, before we do, let’s just flag the Daily Mail’s almost admirable disregard for the perils of juxtaposition with its Tuesday front page.  Headline: “Sexism row rocks rock our record-breaking day at Wimbledon”;  adjacent photograph: Pippa Middleton in a skimpy dress with the caption, “but at least Pippa’s back in her fashion stride”.

Thank goodness for that.

Coffee drinkers were cheered by the widely-reported revelation that their beverage of choice could help them live longer (there’s a joke somewhere in here about posh coffee already being more expensive than the elixir of life served in Starbuck’s Holy Grails but we can’t quite nail it). In a bonus piece of caffeine-related news Coca Cola announced that it is significantly increasing the amount of recycled plastic they’re using in its bottles. Which can only be a good thing for the environment at a time when the environment needs all the good news it can get given both the trillion-tonne iceberg that this week broke away from the Antarctic ice shelf and the report from a group of scientists claiming that the world is experiencing a “biological annihilation” after it was found that the number of individual animals that once lived alongside humans has now fallen by as much as 50 per cent.

Climate Change is of course not a worry for President Donald J Trump which is just as well because the past week he’s had a lot of other stuff piling up on his list of things to dismiss as nonsense. The biggest of which being his imaginatively-named son Donald Jr’s admission that he met with a Russian lawyer before the election who suggested that she had some dirt on Hilary Clinton that he might like to take a peek at. Forced to publish the emails he exchanged on the subject, DT Minor was forced to defend the line that he’d “love it” if the lawyer had something that would be useful to his father’s campaign. Fans of 90s football will have enjoyed the inadvertent reference to Kevin Keegan.

In other news, Kirsty Allsop says that washing machines in kitchens are “disgusting”; glass tables from Argos are exploding in the heat of the British summer; more people now pay for shop purchases with their contactless cards than they do with cash; dust makes you fat and there are people who think that throwing acid in the faces of strangers when trying to rob them is something other than barbaric and utterly inhumane.

And with that, another week comes to a close. But, returning to our opening story, here’s Rowan Atkinson as Henry VIII in an Elvis parody “A Little More Reformation” from the genius that is Horrible Histories.

For those who don’t know, Horrible Histories is a very good reason for having children.

Have a great weekend.