Digested week: peaceful pre-Gray limbo shattered by ‘happy birthday’ | John Crace


Followers of FC Magdeburg clearly have a way of humour. Again in 2012 when their group was mendacity backside of the fourth tier of German soccer and had gone 5 successive video games with out scoring, supporters gathered behind the purpose with a banner saying “Don’t fear, we’ll present you the place the purpose is” and a whole lot of huge luminous arrows all pointing to the again of the web.

Amazingly it labored, with Magdeburg managing to attain, although not, alas, to win, as they managed to concede twice. Nonetheless, small steps and all that. I could also be impatient, however I felt like doing one thing comparable at Stamford Bridge on Sunday after I watched Spurs lose to Chelsea for the third time in as many weeks – the fourth in whole for the season – with out scoring a single purpose within the course of. Worse nonetheless, a disallowed purpose for a foul on a defender apart, Tottenham solely had three photographs on course in your entire sport, two of which had been scuffed straight on the keeper, and by no means actually threatened to attain till the 88th minute, when a Harry Kane header was nicely saved.

It wasn’t fairly as dismal as my earlier journey to Chelsea for the Carabao Cup, through which I can’t keep in mind us as soon as wanting like scoring, but it surely was nonetheless laborious going watching Spurs persistently freely giving possession and having to endure the house followers singing “It’s occurred once more.” Which it had. Simply as all of us had anticipated it will. I’ve been going to Stamford Bridge for many years and solely as soon as seen Spurs win. Even the gamers now appear to count on to lose. Neither is the ache essentially over for the season. Will probably be sod’s regulation, if we handle to beat Brighton within the fourth spherical, that we draw Chelsea within the subsequent spherical of the FA Cup.


In the beginning of the week it felt as if all of Westminster was in a state of roughly peaceful limbo, with everybody ready for the publication of the Sue Grey report. That lasted lower than a day earlier than all hell broke free.


First, on Monday evening, ITV broke the information of one more celebration at Downing Road, through which Carrie Johnson and 30 members of workers had commandeered the cupboard room to shock Boris with cake and to sing “glad birthday”. Come this morning, the story had moved on, with the Metropolitan police commissioner, Cressida Dick, saying there could be a police investigation into varied events that came about in Downing Road and Whitehall.

Bizarrely, some Boris apologists spun the truth that Johnson was now going through a felony investigation as excellent news for him. Nearly instantly it was then introduced that Grey’s report wouldn’t now be printed till after the police had concluded their very own report. This quickly modified to components of the Grey report that the police weren’t keen on may very well be printed instantly, with the remaining withheld, earlier than, later within the afternoon, phrase slipped out that your entire report may very well be launched in any case.

Come the night, although, Downing Road had nonetheless not had sight of the report nor mentioned whether or not it will make the entire thing public when it did. Briefly, Westminster was in chaos with nobody figuring out what the hell was happening. The night ended with Jacob Rees-Mogg on Newsnight pledging his dependable assist to the prime minister it doesn’t matter what he turned out to have achieved. Ethical relativism was alive and nicely.


For years now, I’ve all the time thought of myself to be one of many worst ever monetary advisers. Earlier than I cleaned up my act within the later Eighties, I labored for a corporation whose important enterprise was promoting life insurance coverage linked to month-to-month financial savings insurance policies, which even I may see had been hopelessly dangerous worth for cash as they primarily appeared designed to make as a lot cash for the corporate as potential. Once I raised this with my supervisor, he simply shrugged and mentioned it was higher for individuals to be saving one thing quite than nothing. Not completely satisfied by this, I handed on my doubts to potential shoppers, with the outcome that I hardly bought any insurance policies in any respect. I even managed to mis-sell myself my very own endowment for our mortgage.


However it seems that I may need achieved some good in any case. Final week, my pal Alex reported again on a pension he believes I will need to have bought him in 1986. Now, it goes with out saying that neither of us has any recollection of me promoting him this pension, however the dates match and he can’t consider anybody else who may need bought it to him. Anyway, he will need to have paid in £50 per 30 days for 4 months earlier than stopping, presumably on the grounds that by then he had labored out I didn’t have a clue what I used to be doing and had, in any case, already been fired from the corporate.

Mysteriously although, since then the £200 has grown right into a wholesome £8,000. Extra remarkably, Alex discovered that when he got here to attract down the pension it was paying an annuity of £1,000. Fairly why it was providing such a beneficiant return, he didn’t ask. In case it was a mistake. So if he had had extra religion within the pension and caught with it, he may have been a made man. If he had simply continued to pay in for one more 4 years, he may have gotten a pension of £10K. So simply assume what he may need obtained if he had caught with it for even longer. I solely want I had been dumb sufficient to purchase one of many pensions I used to be promoting.

‘I’ve all the time mentioned that we within the Tory celebration consider in having our cake and consuming it.’ {Photograph}: Andrew Parsons/No 10 Downing St


With everybody nonetheless ready for the publication of the Sue Grey report, I’ve taken to filling the time by gathering a few of the excuses Conservative MPs have been making for Boris Johnson’s behaviour. Lower than a month in the past, the usual defence of most Tories was to say “Let’s wait to see what Sue Grey finds.” Now everybody who bothers to defend him in public has lengthy since given up pretending that Boris – or The Suspect, as he needs to be extra precisely identified – has advised the reality and has been busy setting up their very own realities.


Satisfaction of place goes to the Northern Eire minister Conor Burns, who tried to persuade Channel 4 viewers that Johnson had been “ambushed with cake”. That Colin the Caterpillar generally is a proper bastard. In the meantime, Andrew Rosindell mentioned it wasn’t as if The Suspect “had robbed a financial institution”. Think about having such low expectations of a first-rate minister. Edward Leigh although it absurd that Johnson could be introduced down by a bit of cake once we had been on the point of battle. A declare that may have been extra compelling if Boris had both been to Ukraine or spent any time negotiating a peaceful resolution for the nation as an alternative of firefighting a sleaze scandal at residence.

Theresa Villiers thought it was fantastic for The Suspect to go to as many events as he favored as a result of he had been prime minister whereas the vaccination programme was underway, Mark Jenkinson thought the events had been all a media conspiracy, whereas Richard Bacon thought mendacity about what you had been doing was too trivial an offence to be worthy of a point out.

Crispin Blunt had essentially the most uncommon take. He was sure everybody else had been breaking the regulation, so there was no hurt if the prime minister did as nicely. Technique to go, Crispin. Insult the overwhelming majority of people that did obey the regulation and didn’t see their households. Even once they had been dying. Hold it elegant.

Boris Johnson‘I fought the regulation and the regulation gained.’ {Photograph}: Leon Neal/Getty Photographs


Our canine, Herbie, is now older than me and my spouse. In canine years, at any charge. In September he turned 10 and he’s starting to point out his age. He’s nonetheless up for a stroll each morning and is an enthusiastic chaser of each squirrels and sticks. Previously he would nonetheless be fairly energetic when he will get residence, however now he simply desires to curve up on the couch or the mattress and nap for the remainder of the day. Come the night, he perks up and dashes around the backyard a number of instances to see if any foxes are about, however he’s then glad to come back as much as mattress once we do.

Not for the primary time, it has occurred to me that Herbie is displaying me find out how to develop outdated gracefully. For a begin he’s in higher form – he has no indicators of arthritis, whereas I’ve a man-made knee and a creaky again – and he doesn’t appear to moan or fear on the issues he can now not do. He simply will get on with issues.

I, however, nonetheless miss not having the ability to go operating, regardless of not having been ready to take action for over 10 years. The cross coach within the fitness center simply can’t exchange the liberty of exercising open air. Briefly, I’m simply not that accepting of my limitations. I can see the longer term and it’s not fairly. There’s no approach I’m ever getting a Stannah stairlift in the home; I’d quite drag myself upstairs on my arms and knees. I say that now, after all. Watch this area.

Digested week, digested: Grayja-vu

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