Back before Brexit and Trump, news used to consist mainly of genteel, quirky or downright ridiculous tales involving cows who had their heads stuck in fences, bits of toast which happened to resemble the faces of famous or long dead people and maybe the odd political scandal just to liven things up. Even the Tony Blair/Peter Mandelson era seems quaint compared to present day politics. But look closely enough and between the tsunami waves of today’s breaking stories and you will still find the ripples made by lesser stories and it is to these we turn our attention first.
The Queen’s Sapphire Jubilee is today, so time if ever there was one, to celebrate the genuine harmoniousness which emanates from the continuity of her reign. In her 65 years on the throne, she has been attended by no fewer than 13 prime ministers, beginning with Winston Churchill and taking us right up to the present incumbent, Theresa May. We are also now in the peculiar position in that all of the coinage in circulation now bares the head of one monarch.
THE BANK JOB
Bankers will be in the news for a number of reasons. Some of their ilk will be in court facing charges of rigging the Euribor exchange rate, the banking equivalent of stealing. Others meanwhile, will be plying their trade as per usual and regaling us with various bits of news relating to the price of houses. Tomorrow, for example, the Halifax will release its house price study. This column confidently predicts prices will have risen to the point where young people now scratch their heads in disbelief and parents everywhere glance wincingly at their savings books.
On Thursday, the Department of Transport will unveil statistics relating to delays on Britain’s major roads and motorways. The announcement is due at 9.30am prompt, unless the person delivering it gets stuck in traffic.
Thursday will also see this year’s Oldie of the Year awards, which are presented in London on behalf of the eponymous magazine. The awards are a (successful) attempt to shine a light on people of a certain age and ceremonies are frequently attended by the likes of Gyles Brandreth, Prunella Scales, Barry Humphries, et al. Last year’s winner was Olivia de Havilland, who also turned 100 and who played a schoolteacher in Gone With The Wind.
Brexit will loom large next week as MPs engage in nothing short of verbal warfare over what is inarguably one of the most divisive issues in decades.
Our elected representatives will be voting on amendments to the Article 50 Bill. Tensions are high, so expect guerilla-style politicking. Labour MP Chuka Umunna plans to add an amendment that £350m a week goes to the NHS, because that’s what Boris Johnson said during the referendum campaign. And (shock, horror), Nicola Sturgeon is also not happy. She has pledged to Highland Fling no fewer than 50 amendments at the bill. One thing is for sure, the Brexit bandwagon still has a rocky road to climb before it reaches the top of the hill.
Arnold Schwarzenegger may have taken over from Donald Trump as the boss of the US version of The Apprentice and even though ‘The Donald’ appeared to mock the show’s ratings, the former Governator came out in favour of his predecessor, urging people to “give him a chance”. As politicians practised in the art of political correctness struggle to pick their jaws up off the floor, you can expect even more no-nonsense tactics from the US President.