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Speed Read: The week the clocks went back

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Stephanie Driver

There are certain moments in the annual calendar that require Brits to repeat a conversation structure ad nauseum for 24 hours with anyone they encounter. The clocks going back is one such occasion. True to form on Sunday morning we all commenced obligatory observations that it was ‘now going to be dark in the evening so much earlier’, as though it had never happened before; that ‘we didn’t know the proper time until about lunchtime’ because in a shock not felt since the last time change, ‘iPhones change themselves’. The potential for this to be a dark hint that we are at the precipice of AI extinguishing the need for the human race at all is ignored because Google doesn’t give us a clear answer.

This year’s conversations experienced a momentary pause when everyone’s favourite ‘I remember him from the 90’s but not sure what he did’ presenter Dave Benson Phillips (Get your own Back, for those under 30), tweeted the instruction for everyone to remember to ‘put their c*cks back.’ We can’t see Dave’s attempt to mix things up catching on.

Perhaps we are underestimating Dave and in fact his attempt to make the conversation all about him was a clever prelude to this week’s report about the prevalence of narcissism and the traits to look out for. Narcissists are apparently characterised by ‘excessive self-concern and overvaluation of the self’, the report’s authors couldn’t have got their timing better, whether an hour ahead or an hour behind, who knows, as the political week kicked off with our esteemed representatives making decisions informed by the highest standards of expertise and debate, all driven by our best interests politicians complementing the news agenda nicely by demonstrating those traits in action.

Nearly two days were spent debating if an election was the way forward, too much of this time specifically arguing about the implications of holding a general election on December 9th or December 12th, driven by the Labour Leader’s argument that it could disenfranchise students, and based on the crass assumption that students will all vote for his party. Jeremy Corbyn outmanoeuvred himself for the prize of obtuse assumptions when, presumingly having realised he may not win this election, he sought to change the franchise by calling for EU nationals to have a vote, because of course they will all vote for the Party that has demonstrated a masterclass in fence sitting about the value of EU citizens to us over the last three years. It was an admirable effort, but ultimately, one that failed.

And so, we are off. December 12th.  Turnout could be skewed, not because of the cold, the dark, or the lack of credible people or policies to vote for, but because Thursday 12th of December is peak work Christmas party day. For the many not the few might be Labour’s slogan, it will be our approach to double Bacardis to take the edge off having to endorse anyone.

Corbyn launched his campaign by casting shade on his own 2017 effort. The Labour leader committed to ‘launching the most ambitious and radical campaign our country has ever seen’, before offering a load of free stuff and asking the media to report what he says verbatim.

Johnson embarked on a one-day dash to a hospital, a school and police station, which told people three things. Firstly, that he will attempt to make public services front and centre of his campaign. Secondly, that he and his team know darn well that when purdah officially kicks in, no self-respecting hospital manager, school head or Chief of police will be letting him across their threshold. And finally, that given the success of hiding him away from mischief throughout his victorious leadership bid, his team are banking these images now before he is put under house arrest to prevent him from insulting anyone or spilling any wine (niche gag for politicos)

Looking ahead to the next six weeks with political fatigue already, the following fact comes to mind. The first newspapers published in England were forbidden from printing any news about England. Instead, they covered ‘Newes from Italy, Germany, Hungarie, Spaine and France.’ The country may be divided on basically everything, but we at Speed can see a way to unite us for the forthcoming six weeks.

Moving swiftly on from our suggestion to censor the press, on Thursday, Twitter’s Jack Dorsey used his platform to, depending on your point of view (basically if you’re Mark Zuckerberg) do just that. @jack upped the stakes in his ongoing personal beef with Facebook’s Zuckerberg by announcing that as of the end of November, paid for political ads will be banned on Twitter. Given nobody really does this anyway, Dorsey turned a weakness into a strength and managed to clobber his rival with some negative PR in the process. Quite a coup.

Facebook weakly defended itself, by raising the question of where the line was between political ads and issue ads. We all love a corporate public spat but posit the theory that we shouldn’t be looking to corporates to regulate themselves anyway; why aren’t our politicians responding appropriately to our changing world and putting measures in place to balance our safety and freedom in the means through we now communicate? I refer you back to paragraph four.

If you have the energy to do this mental gymnastics, Donald Trump, yes, he of fake news founding fame, waded in through his digital campaign chief, Brad Parscale. Brad provided a beautiful piece of irony by calling the move ‘yet another attempt by the left to silence Trump and conservatives” therefore essentially admitting their comms are full of misinformation.

It’s been quite a political ride this week, and one that we at Speed are braced for. Perhaps more so as of next week when our excitement isn’t focused on tomorrow morning’s rugby. We have more faith in the team than the accountants of English Rugby who, back in January made the decision not to insure themselves against a World Cup victory, therefore meaning that if… (dare we? Ok,) when, we are victorious against South Africa and the team’s bonuses are paid out, English rugby will go broke. Swings and roundabouts. We’ll be in the pub by 9am ignoring the insurance implications and cheering until our voices are hoarse.

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