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Speed Read: Feral Hogs stampede Twitter

Speed is this week writing from a cottage in Pembrokeshire. Wait, or is it Carmarthenshire?  Ahh well who needs details, it’s been ‘an amazing day.’

If not having a clue where you are or what is going on doesn’t matter to the US President in the shadow of two mass shootings in two days, then who the heck cares where we are.

Yep, Donald has redefined ‘an amazing day’ as one where 30 people lose their lives and, as leader of their country, they look to you for reassurance. So you go to the hospital to meet gunshot victims and manage to screw it up entirely.

Two mass shootings in two days (yes, we are repeating that) and POTUS couldn’t quite muster the intellectual ability to remember the town he was in. It’s ok though, because he himself had a ‘special time’ as evidenced by personally telling the press that it was a shame they didn’t get to join him on the hospital tour to see the victims and their life-changing injuries as though it was a day out to Madame Tussauds.

Shall we venture into the basic correlation between countries that don’t give out guns willy-nilly (which we have decided is hyphenated) and countries that don’t have regular mass shootings? Not now. Let’s instead talk about Arkansas-based Willy McNabb who responded to talk of gun control by tweeting: “Legit question for rural Americans — How do I kill the 30-50 feral hogs that run into my yard within 3-5 mins while my small kids play?” Well, Twitter nearly broke under the weight of feral hog inspired memes and gags. Chuka Umunna made an honourable attempt to show he didn’t use up all his humour in joining the Lib Dems, when he tweeted ‘we send the EU 30-50 feral hogs a week, let’s fund our NHS instead.’ Which obviously begs the question of how long he intends to stay in his current party? 3-5 minutes. No? Fair enough.

Pharrell Hogs in the wild #feralhogs

In other news, having got the message that he was not going to win the Tory leadership contest, Matt Hancock exchanged his principles and dignity (what was left of it after his much mocked app launch – Google it, Speed is still smirking a year later) for overnight respect and belief in Boris Johnson, just in time for his ministerial pay rise and belief in a Government car.

The Health Secretary should have taken his own app’s advice (“Matt Hancock keeps stopping”) after his announcement of ‘new’ money for the NHS was ripped to shreds within hours. Never one to let an internationally respected think tank get in the way of a good yarn, the Secretary of State generously handed a junior minister the broadcast baton and sent Chris Skidmore out to have his professional pride broken in the evening slots. When asked on Channel 4 whether it was true to say the money was in fact far from new, ‘it’s not untrue’ said Chris whose career in the Health Department could not have “skidded more” to an abrupt stop.

Way to go in getting the medical profession on side, Matt. Within 24 hours doctors were getting a full-scale root and branch pensions review, in their favour. Not that we are cynical about this entirely out of the blue policy U-turn.

Speaking of being cynically misled, McDonalds had egg McMuffin on its corporate face this week when it was revealed their new paper straws aren’t recyclable, but the plastic ones they scrapped in the name of eco responsibility were. So quick to uproar were all those who had been bathing in the strawberry milkshake of environmental goddess status, that there seemed to be little room to think outside of the happy meal box and suggest that human lips are reasonably functionable when trying to get liquid out of a receptacle.

If only there were a way to find a link between McDonalds’ disingenuously misleading us and Michael Gove this week being ‘absolutely clear that we need to change the Withdrawal Agreement’ having been ‘clear’ in January that ‘the Withdrawal Agreement is the best possible deal for the British people.’

Don’t worry we are parking the Brexit chat there. We have as much capacity and mental energy for that right now as POTUS does for rational argument.

Rationality was, understandably, quite beyond many of the thousands of passengers stuck at Heathrow and Gatwick mid-week when an IT glitch grounded BA planes and caused chaos. Are travel chaos stories a fave of us Brits, or is it a worldwide phenomenon? No air conditioning on the 17.25 out of Chippenham? Cracking, make it the local headline. A lot of people travelling on a bank holiday weekend? Shocker! Splash it all over the nationals. We were engrossed hearing of the horror Pam and family experienced, stuck at London Heathrow and potentially missing their 19.30 dinner reservation at the Louvre. Our sympathy was tempered however when it was revealed that Pam’s hubbie, Karl (we assume with a K), hadn’t endorsed Pam’s decision to ring into Radio 4’s PM programme to share this important news with aging luvvie’s favourite, Evan Davis. Karl began nagging in the background for Pam to stop chatting. Hold up Karl. Denying the nation the chance to reel with you in your travel angst? That’s just not British. We suggest you revert to manual; park your Francophile fancies, join a queue for fish and chips, and wash it down with a cup of Tetley drunk through the inbuilt straws that nature provided you with.

And finally, as much as we at Speed aim to be ‘a magician with language’ and to ‘use words to help us grapple with our deepest wounds’ (hence addressing the lack of air conditioning on the GWR to Bristol last week) alas, this level of tribute only belongs to Toni Morrison, the Nobel prize winning author who died this week. Having begun this week’s column by addressing American racial division and its consequences, it’s apt to acknowledge the powerful impact her catalogue has had on representing the Black American voice. The literary world has been left with a gap.

At least there are some more voices of minorities cutting through; Willy McNab is doing a banging job representing the feral hog community.

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