The Spectator

Barometer | 3 May 2018

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Is this thing on?

Sainsbury’s Chief Executive Mike Coupe was recorded singing ‘We’re in the Money’ as he prepared to go on ITV news about his company’s proposed merger with Asda. Other embarrassing microphone moments:

— Ronald Reagan was preparing for his weekly broadcast on National Public Radio in 1984 when he joked to technicians: ‘My fellow Americans, I’m pleased to tell you today I’ve signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes.’ The recording was later leaked.

— During the 2010 election, Gordon Brown called a voter a ‘bigoted woman’ in his campaign car, unaware that he still had a live Sky News microphone on his lapel

— In January, Today’s John Humphrys discussed Carrie Gracie’s complaint about her pay, telling colleague Jon Sopel: ‘How much of your salary are you prepared to hand over to Carrie Gracie to keep her?’

— In 2005 the Prince of Wales, posing for photos in Klosters with his sons, singled out the BBC’s royal reporter, Nicholas Witchell: ‘Bloody people. I can’t bear that man. I mean, he is so awful. He really is.’

Home and dry

The Home Office is often described as a political graveyard. How have Home Secretaries fared since 1945?

Became PM

1

Moved to another Commons job

6

Moved to a job in the Lords

3

Resigned under cloud, and did not take

up another government job

5

Removed in reshuffle and did not take another government job

3

Party lost election, took opposition job

5

Party lost election, no opposition job

2

Resigned to take job outside politics

2

Talking shop

It was announced Sainsbury’s and Asda are in merger talks, with the Asda name likely to disappear. How long have common brand names been on the High Street?

Years

Asda

53

Tesco

94

Morrisons

119

Marks & Spencer

134

Sainsbury’s

149

Battle of the bottle

The Scottish government introduced a minimum price for alcohol of 50p per unit. Some deals at Bargain Booze in Carlisle which will now be banned further north:

Price

70cl bottle Kirov Vodka

96.2%

12 cans of Carlsberg lager

90.3%

Two bottles Lambrini Bianco

89.9%

3l bottle of Amber Harvest Cider

89.7%