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Another Gavin Williamson performance to forget | David Mitchell

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 15/08/2021 - 7:00pm in

The education secretary has done his best, which isn’t exactly saying much

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Why is the Northern Ireland protocol still an issue? Actions have consequences | Fintan O'Toole

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 23/07/2021 - 5:00pm in

Someone tell Boris Johnson: you can’t bake your ‘oven-ready deal’ and then remove a key ingredient (even if it’s a sausage)

Ask a stupid question and you get a stupid answer. The Northern Ireland protocol is a stupid answer: it imposes a complex bureaucracy on the movement of ordinary goods across the Irish Sea. But it is the only possible response to a problem created by Boris Johnson. The reason it keeps coming around again and again, like a ghoul on a ghost train, is that it requires Johnson and his government to do something that goes against the grain of the whole Brexit project: to acknowledge that choices have costs.

There used to be a gameshow on American radio and TV called Truth or Consequences. It was so popular that a whole city in New Mexico is named after it. It’s where we live now. In each episode, the contestant was asked a deliberately daft question – and when they failed to answer it, they had to perform a zany or embarrassing stunt.

Fintan O’Toole is a columnist with the Irish Times

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So nice of Matt Hancock to quit – his only thought was of us | David Mitchell

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 04/07/2021 - 7:00pm in


Politics, UK news

The health secretary’s attempt to adopt the persona of a man doing the decent thing is grating… but at least he had to own up

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Boris Johnson’s roadmap is leading us in metaphorical circles | David Mitchell

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 23/05/2021 - 7:00pm in

The government’s way with words highlights a tussle between two lamentable aspects of our society

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Actually, we were laughing at Robert Jenrick, not his tiny flag | David Mitchell

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 04/04/2021 - 7:00pm in

The row over the housing secretary’s union jack is further evidence of the government’s leaden approach to national pride

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Why tug our forelocks to Richard III, a king who’s such a diva that he needs two funerals?

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 25/03/2015 - 1:43am in

For somebody who did less for Britain than, say, Olly Murs, we’re making a dreadful fuss of our late monarch

Who’s your favourite dead king? For me it’s a toss-up between King Henry VIII (likes: Greensleeves, beheadings) and Nat King Cole (likes: chestnuts roasting on an open fire, Jack Frost nipping at your nose). Those are definitely my top two.

Below them, there’s King Kong, King George III, Good King Wenceslas, and about 500 other assorted types of king before you get to Richard III. Never warmed to him. Don’t know why. I’ve just never really been into Richard III. Maybe it’s his Savile-esque haircut, or the fact that his name is widely used as rhyming slang for fecal matter, or just the way he’s routinely depicted as a murderous, scheming cross between Mr Punch and Quasimodo; a panto villain with nephews’ blood on his hands.

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David Cameron can’t help the No campaign – he’s less popular in Scotland than Windows 8

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 09/09/2014 - 1:01am in

The first rule of panic mode is you don’t talk about panic mode. And this is purely for personal reasons, but I don’t want Scotland to reject us

It used to be unthinkable. Now it’s thinkable. In fact, in some minds, it’s already been thought. Scotland might be voting yes to independence and splitting from the rest of the union. I’m not Scottish, and I’m therefore powerless to intervene, although I would personally prefer Scotland to stay – but only for entirely selfish and superficial reasons. Reason one: I’d rather not be lumbered with a Tory government from now until the day the moon crashes into the Thames. Two: I quite like Scotland and the Scottish, so it’s hard not to feel somehow personally affronted by their rejection. Why did you just unfriend and unfollow me, Scotland? What did I ever do to you? What’s that? Sorry, you’ll have to slow down a bit. Can’t understand a word you’re saying. Don’t you come with subtitles?! Ha ha ha! No, seriously, come back. Scotland? Scotland?

Apparently the consequences of a split in the union could be calamitous. The skies will fall and the seas will boil and the dead shall rise and the milk will spoil. There will be a great disturbance in the force. Duncan’s horses will turn and eat each other. Starving ravens will peck out your eyes halfway through the Great British Bake Off. Your dad will give birth to a jackal full of hornets. And in London’s last remaining DVD shop, Gregory’s Girl will quietly be re-categorised as “world cinema”.

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2014 is so horrible, nothing can cheer us up. Not even Simon Cowell with a bucket on his head | Charlie Brooker

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 26/08/2014 - 5:00am in

Russia v Ukraine, Isis, Boris Johnson, Cliff Richard and Ebola – there's not much to be cheerful about right now, though the ice bucket challenge is working overtime

Ah. Right. Looks like I picked a bad week to draw inspiration from current affairs for this knockabout comedy column. The news is rarely a warehouse of carefree chuckles but at the moment it's like an apocalyptic playlist on perpetual shuffle, with one harrowing crisis overlapping another. Palestine, Libya, Syria … it's all horrifying and upsetting. Not a single nice thing has happened all year, except the recent stealth launch of Cadbury's Wispa Biscuits, and even "stealth launch of Wispa Biscuits" sounds like a terrible euphemism for breaking wind.

The planet is currently playing host to countless alarming crises. There's the nail-biting tension of Russia v Ukraine, a depressing standoff overseen by facial-expression-avoider Vladimir Putin. I don't know if all the strings connecting Putin's face muscles to his brain were accidentally severed during a tragic smiling accident years ago, but I've seen brickwork convey more emotion.

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What is Drip and how, precisely, will it help the government ruin your life? | Charlie Brooker

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 15/07/2014 - 5:00am in

The Data Retention and Investigatory Powers bill is the most tedious outrage ever, right down to the dreary acronym. But oh, the horrors it will bring …

David Cameron cares about your safety. It's all he ever thinks about. It's his passion. He's passionate about it. Every time David Cameron thinks about how safe he'd like to keep you, passion overcomes him and he has to have a lie down. With his eyes shut. A bit like he's having a nap and doesn't care about your safety at all.

Right now he's so committed to keeping you safe, he's rushing something called the Drip bill through the House of Commons. Drip stands for Data Retention and Investigatory Powers and critics are calling it yet another erosion of civil liberties and … see, I've lost you because it's just so bloody boring. Maybe it's just me, but whenever I hear about some fresh internet privacy outrage my brain enters screensaver mode and displays that looped news footage of mumblin' Edward Snowden and I automatically nod off only to be awoken shortly afterwards by the sound of my forehead colliding sharply with the table.

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