What makes Boris Johnson an improvement on Theresa May? Those of us who cheered him on into 10 Downing Street have a long list. He backed Brexit, so would stand a far greater chance of getting it done. He’d hire better people, who could outwit and outmanoeuvre his parliamentary enemies (as we have seen this week). He is acting with a pace and with a daring that is extraordinary – and commensurate with the challenge he faces over Brexit.
‘Totnes? It’s hippie central.’ A friend warned me what to expect when I visited the affluent, left-leaning town in south-east Devon to assess public opinion about the local MP, Dr Sarah Wollaston. In March she left the Tories to join Change UK and she now sits as a Liberal Democrat. I equipped myself with a photo of her and wandered the streets last Monday. A chap in the Wild Fig Deli told me that her disloyalty would terminate her career.
It is not hard to think of times when German military weakness would have been lauded as good news across the rest of Europe, but perhaps not when the German minister accused of running her country’s armed forces into the ground has just been named as the next president of the European Commission.
The most recent embarrassment for the Bundeswehr — the grounding of all 53 of its Tiger helicopters this month due to technical faults — is just the latest in a long series of humiliations to have sprung from Ursula von der Leyen’s spell as defence minister.
Cristiano Ronaldo is a Portuguese expert on forests who also plays football, so when he shared a picture online of a recent forest fire in the Amazon, it went viral. Perhaps he was in a rush that day to get out of the laboratory to football training, because it later transpired that the photograph was actually taken in 2013, not this year, and in southern Brazil, nowhere near the Amazon.
But at least his picture was only six years old.
Over the years, I have spent around five months sleeping rough on the streets of London, Birmingham and New York, making undercover TV programmes. Matthew, who works in my Westminster office, spent last summer involuntarily homeless after he was cheated by his business partner. I suspect we are the only people within the Palace of Westminster who have been through the unpleasant experience of sleeping rough, and we both have come to the same conclusion.
‘Baby, It’s Cold Outside’ was a Christmas classic for more than half a century until people suddenly began to worry that it was about yuletide date rape. ‘It was because of the video Tom Jones and I made,’ says Cerys Matthews, in her smoky Welsh lilt. She recorded a cover with Jones in 1999. The video showed the craggy old Welsh crooner slip something in her drink that turns Cerys into a high camp vamp.
Halfway across the brand new bridge that links the two halves of Tintagel Castle, there’s a gap where you can look down at the waves crashing on the rocks below. Don’t worry; it’s only a few inches wide so there’s no danger of falling through it. But it’s a thrilling reminder that you’re suspended between an island and the mainland; between the present and the past.
Like a lot of places in Cornwall, Tintagel has a complicated history.