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Speed Read - let Twitter do the talking

This week Chief Speed Read is off on his holidays in France. En vacances if you will. Based on yesterday’s quarantine news, we look forward to seeing him back in the editor’s chair at some point next year. (To be fair, I don’t think any of us would mind fast-forwarding to 2021.)

Oh, how I long for silly season. Those quieter summer months of yesteryear when newspapers had to fill their pages with fluffy stories about cats fostering orphaned ducklings, or the image of Mother Theresa revealing itself in a giant Walkers crisp. We used to laugh – “don’t they have anything better to write about?” – but who’s laughing now?

Chief Speed Read loves a newspaper. Flicking through the pages, accumulating newsprint on his fingertips. But, as he sips his (ridiculously cheap and surprisingly good) Vin de Table in the sun, he hopefully won’t mind that Deputy Speed Read takes things in a more millennial direction. For this week only dear ones, we will be taking a tour through Twitter for our news.

The hope, perhaps, is that tweets likening the Education Secretary to Frank Spencer soften the blow of what’s been another pretty draining week.

Gavin “top fireplace salesman and irony no-fly-zone” Williamson is under scrutiny due to the absolute shambles A-level results have been. After heaping criticism on the Scottish government for downgrading pupils the English government have…done exactly the same. With 40% of A-levels downgraded, and very bright pupils missing out on places to top universities, the story is now turning into one of privilege as it appears pupils from disadvantaged areas have been hit hardest. Newspapers still managed to keep up their end of the bargain by illustrating stories with photos of pretty girls opening their results though.

It’s sometimes too easy to forget that just because there’s a pandemic, other things happen across the world, causing people to flee for their lives seeking a better life. Luckily for us, this week Priti Patel – aided by cliff-botherer Nigel Farage – reminded us by highlighting an increase in ‘illegal immigrants’ making the perilous channel crossing. The BBC and Sky sent out their reporters (in nice, big, safe boats) to cruise alongside one dinghy, while narrating the scene like some kind of morbid David Attenborough. Patel has recruited a Clandestine Channel Threat Commander (the name of my new sludge metal band) though, so everything is going to be OK.

This is all too dystopian so here’s something nicer:

Speaking of better things, on Tuesday Joe Biden picked Kamala Harris as his future Vice President. As the first black woman to take the role, it feels like somewhere in the world  progress is happening. I just hope she has a thick skin to deal with this kind of thing:

Oh, and I think we all really hope there’s a plan to stop this:

This week, at least, we all got to practice our national pastime; complaining about the weather. It’s too hot, too humid, where’s the rain my weather app keeps talking about? Thankfully, the heavens eventually opened and now it feels like the rain will never stop. But let’s take a moment to marvel at these photos of storm clouds seen from Wales:

Other things you may have missed:

Anti-masker, anti-vaxxer and all round anti-human Toby Young launched a dating forum on his Lockdown Sceptics website. Most of the ads are a little too fruity for these fair pages, but this is one gem (we suspect it might be someone having a little joke…)

Liz Truss tried to do a trade deal with Japan but she put the brakes on because they won’t buy our Stilton. As someone who lived round the corner from the heart of Stilton, Colston Basset, as a child, I am personally affronted.

Human ray of sunshine Carol Kirkwood made a bit of a mistake on Monday, but she was doggedly determined to carry on:

And finally, get this tune on. It’s time for the weekend!

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