Here is my ideal scenario. Having failed to push through his deal to leave the European Union in the House of Commons, Boris Johnson abides by the terms of the Benn Act and drafts a letter requesting an extension to the 31 October deadline. That extension would be eight minutes and 21 seconds, approximately the time it takes light to travel from the sun to earth — depending slightly, of course, on where we are in our orbit at the time.
Jacob Rees-Mogg sits at a mahogany table in his office drinking black coffee from a Spode cup. Across from him sit three aides — laptops out and ears pricked. These days, the Moggster comes with an entourage, and their determination to be present sometimes surprises him. ‘I kept on saying to them on Sunday that they didn’t need to come to the thing in the evening but I think they’re worried about me saying the wrong thing!’
They’d have had good reason to worry.
Exit through the gift shop. Pick up a postcard, a magnet, a novelty eggcup in the shape of Queen Elizabeth I. Treat yourself to a replica Rosetta Stone, a Babylonian bookend, a build-your-own Leonardo trebuchet. Tuck your little one up at night with a cuddly Anubis the dog.
Nicholas Coleridge, chairman of the Victoria & Albert Museum, has put the tat among the pigeons by telling the Cheltenham Literature Festival that the V&A shop is more successful than the BM’s.
While American troops were hurriedly leaving north-eastern Syria, a young female Kurdish politician called Hervin Khalaf was pulled from her car and executed by the side of the road. Actually, the Kurdish media said she was raped and then stoned to death. They blamed one of the Arab militias being used by Turkey in its invasion. A grim video posted online shows a man holding a Kalashnikov nudging her body with the tip of his boot, as you would a dead animal.
Next week my compatriots will cast their votes in what has arguably been the worst Canadian election ever. By ‘worst’ I don’t mean allegations of voter fraud or political corruption or scenes of civil unrest but a collective release of hot prairie wind followed by a vague sinking sensation — the feeling of a prosperous nation of decent people settling into a new low of political disillusionment.
The campaign kicked off with a bang, as Time, a US magazine, humiliated the Canadian press by breaking the story of the year: yearbook images of our dreamboat PM — the thinking non-gender-binary person’s gluten--free crumpet — cavorting in blackface back when he was teacher at a private Vancouver high school.
We saw two different worlds, or at least two different value systems, collide in the High Court in Birmingham this week. On one side there was Sarah Hewitt-Clarkson, the headmistress of Anderton Park, a little primary school in Sparkhill, a largely Pakistani bit of the city; on the other, two men who represent Muslim parents there. You may well have heard about the case. It has turned into one of those totemic issues: tolerant Britain vs backward religious people.
When I was young, from about the age of nine to 13, I went through what my parents recall with a shudder as ‘the football shirt phase’. Where some children rebel by smoking, and others take to eyeliner, my vice was polyester. My first shirt was a quirky one — an early Noughties AS Bari white and red home shirt with an itchy collar. The thing smelled of washing powder no matter how much I wore it — which was daily for the best part of three months one very hot Italian summer.