Britain could “easily cope” with a no-deal Brexit, which would be the fault of EU leaders’ “obduracy”, Boris Johnson claimed at the summit of G7 countries in France, as he continued to resist mounting pressure to spell out his own plans for breaking the deadlock. “I think we can get through this, this is a great, great country, the UK, we can easily cope with a no-deal scenario,” Johnson insisted in Biarritz, as he made his debut on the international stage as prime minister with a series of bilateral meetings with world leaders including Donald Trump, the EU council president, Donald Tusk, and the Indian prime minister, Narendra Modi. Johnson said preparations for no deal were being ramped up to help secure an agreement, but also “so that if and when we are forced by the obduracy by our European friends to come out on 31 October without a deal that things are as smooth as they can possibly be”. Johnson claimed food shortages – … [Read more...] about Britain can easily cope with no-deal Brexit, claims Boris Johnson
Since it’s rather difficult to know where to start on what happened on Wednesday, let’s begin in the future. I want to assure you that when the apocalypse has come, and you’re living in the bombed-out remnants of civilisation, clad in rags and distilling drinking water from your own urine, the one crackling radio in your resistance bunker will still be bringing news of Conservative party leadership contests. Even as your crew crawl over ghost cities, scavenging electronic equipment that some androgynous teenage savant is going to solder together to see if you can discover if there are Others Like You, you’ll be doing it to a soundtrack of the last radio announcer going: “Aaannnnd … Liam Fox has indicated he will not put his name forward for the next round of balloting. He will instead transfer his votes, so that whichever self-interested timebomb wins will make him minister of food spores.” Still, back to the present day, where it’s … [Read more...] about Spartans don’t hug it out. Except for Jacob Rees-Mogg and Steve Baker
When Paula Sherriff stood up in the House of Commons two weeks ago to beg Boris Johnson to moderate his “offensive, dangerous, inflammatory” language, she took herself by surprise. “I know it sounds bizarre, but I didn’t even brush my hair,” she says. She had gone into the chamber intending to listen to the prime minister’s statement – this was the day after the prorogation of parliament was ruled unlawful. But as Johnson spoke, she felt the anxiety intensify in her corner of the Commons. “I was sitting among female MPs. We were getting irritated. Agitated,” she says. She must feel it now, too, because she has started to fidget in her seat, in her office in Westminster. “We were saying: ‘This is what’s going to be in our inboxes tomorrow!” Every time he said: ‘Surrender’, we were getting more and more … ” she squirms, her arms jostling with the elbows of imaginary neighbours. So she … [Read more...] about Labour MP Paula Sherriff: ‘Boris Johnson dismissed me as a hysterical female’
One day in 2017, Alexa went rogue. When Martin Josephson, who lives in London, came home from work, he heard his Amazon Echo Dot voice assistant spitting out fragmentary commands, seemingly based on his previous interactions with the device. It appeared to be regurgitating requests to book train tickets for journeys he had already taken and to record TV shows that he had already watched. Josephson had not said the wake word – “Alexa” – to activate it and nothing he said would stop it. It was, he says, “Kafkaesque”. This was especially interesting because Josephson (not his real name) was a former Amazon employee. Three years earlier, he had volunteered to sit in a room reciting a string of apparently meaningless phrases into a microphone for an undisclosed purpose. Only when Amazon released the Echo in the US in 2014 did he realise what he had been working on. He bought a Dot, the Echo’s cheaper, smaller model, after it launched in 2016, and … [Read more...] about ‘Alexa, are you invading my privacy?’ – the dark side of our voice assistants
‘Fury as academic tells BBC’s Radio 4 programme that Manchester, Leeds and York are not in the north.” “John Humphrys interrogates Rupert Everett about being gay – then asks when it’ll be irrelevant.” “Criticising Rwanda for sponsoring Arsenal shirts is shortsighted and insulting.” Headlines from London’s Evening Standard, the New Statesman and the Independent. And the connection? Radio 4’s Today programme. What is it about Today? Why does everyone get so riled up about it? Type #r4today into Twitter of a morning, and see the vitriol. Talk to BBC insiders and they launch into a rant. Everyone has an opinion about Today. As Radio 4’s early morning current affairs show, the flagship news outlet that strikes terror into politicians’ hearts even as they clamour to appear on it, the Today programme has been a fixture of British daily life since 1957, when it began as two 20-minute segments of “topical … [Read more...] about Trouble at the Today programme: is it losing its grip?