The Friday Speed Read
Who’d want to be David Davis at the moment? (form an orderly queue please).
As the Brexit “talks” recommenced this week, DD may have been forgiven for employing a jauntier gait than of late as he skipped towards Brussels and the open arms of his old mucker Michel “Chuckles” Barnier. Following TM the PM’s speech in Florence last Friday, surely there’d be room for optimism? A few rays of autumn-hued sunshine to dapple the negotiations following TM’s promise of a two year transition period following Brexit? A transition period during which everything would ostensibly remain as it’s always been.
DD Bonjour Frenchie! J’ai some news!
MB Could you please stop mangling my language?
DD Only if you stop mangling notre Brexit!
DD Ha! C’etait un joke! Funny non? Alors, volia un bon idea pour un transition period! Oui! Je ne joke pas! C’est vrai! Est-ce que can we now parler about un trade deal?
MB *silence – as endless, and profound as death itself*
The current impasse bookended the media week with Monday’s Express railing at a “New EU plot to wreck Brexit” and Thursday’s Guardian quoting Michel Barnier’s quip that it could take “several months” for talks to progress to the next stage.
Meanwhile, Cabinet infighting continued about what sort of Brexit is the best sort of Brexit and TM the PM must be dreading next week’s Conservative Party conference, not least for the fact that there are widespread reports this morning of 50,000 protestors planning to rock up in Manchester and shout a lot. And if that wasn’t enough angst, every media outlet is talking candidly about who will replace the PM should her premiership (inevitably?) dissolve into thin air.
She must surely be wishing that in March she’d opted for a week of going crazy on the waterslides at Butlins rather than taking that now-infamous walking holiday when the idea for a snap general election floated to her on the Welsh breeze.
In other politics news, the Labour Party held its annual conference in Brighton at which Jeremy Corbyn’s victory in the general election was celebrated with gusto and t-shirt slogans by its youthful delegates. What’s that? Labour didn’t actually win the election? Are you sure? Labour seems pretty sure that it did? Well, even if it didn’t, losing is the new winning so let’s party like it’s 1917! And no, singing “Oh Jeremy Corbyn” to the tune of Seven Nation Army will never get bone-splinteringly tedious.
Reaction to Labour’s conference and its proposed renationalisation of utilities, buy-back of PFI contracts and imposition of private sector rent caps was divided along predictable lines. Say what you want about Corbyn-era Labour, but the one reaction it doesn’t provoke is “Meh”. Tuesday’s Mail was spoiling for a fight (a theme that was to dominate the second half of the week) with its headline that “Labour is the real nasty party” and, in contrast, Thursday’s Guardian filled its front page with a picture of Jez giving a double point to the camera like Sporty Spice circa 1996 , with the quote “the party is ready for government, zigazig-ha” (apart from that last bit).
Prince Harry’s love life continues to be a source of considerable fascination, not least this week when he and his girlfriend Meghan Markle appeared in public together for the first time. There were photos aplenty of the clearly very happy couple and the Telegraph came over all giggly and excitable when it discovered that the baggy white blouse worn by MM was called “The Husband”. OMG!!!
In other, less important, news, Ryanair celebrated the PR success of its recent spate of flight cancellations in the only way it knows how, by cancelling a load more (“Now Ryanair cancels Xmas – the Mail); Dyson announced it was to make a (presumably bag-less) electric car; Saudi women were given the right to drive cars (with or without bags) for the very first time and arch-pornographer and cod-feminist Hugh Hefner fastened his final, sinister silk dressing gown at the age of 91.
All of the tabloids printed tributes to Liz Dawn on Wednesday; the Coronation Street star had played Vera Duckworth for nearly 30 years. “Tara, Vera love” said the Mirror’s single-story front page.
Love was in short supply for cricket this week with the news that England internationals Ben Stokes and Alex Hales were arrested for brawling outside a Bristol nightclub. The sport offered almost unlimited pun options and the Sun (of course) stepped up to the crease: “Hit for Six” and on Friday following an allegation that Stokes made a video in which he ridicules Katie Price’s autistic son: “He’s got no boundaries”.
Depressingly, the week ended with a widely reported survey that more than 1 in 4 Britons admits to some sort of racial prejudice. In entirely unrelated news, Katie Hopkins is picking herself up after being sacked by LBC for making a joke about the Final Solution by setting off on a tour of UK schools to teach children that “opinions are not right or wrong”. (Insert your own opinion of Hopkins here: whatever it might be, it can’t be wrong because there’s of course no such thing).
To lighten the mood, the Times reported this week that the flu vaccine is more effective if you’re in a good mood when injected with it. So to that end, here’s a song that should do the trick, taken from the soundtrack to Pulp Fiction, a film that this week made the news for being, in the opinion of people who hold this opinion, one of the very best of the last 30 years.
Have a great weekend.