Digested week: Liz Truss emerges after disastrous mini-budget with little to say | Emma Brockes


As the British government reacts to soaring energy prices with the cunning technique of distraction of blowing up the whole economy, the French – those soft operators – are slipping into something hotter and More comfortable. Emmanuel Macron, having recently outgrown his Zelenskiy tribute wardrobe, still wears traditional work clothes, but other members of the president’s government rocked something more casual this week, in a bid to cheer the French shivering to overlap rather than turn over on the heater.

Here is Élisabeth Borne, the French prime minister, showing up to several meetings in a quilted jacket, the chic, fitted French version of the British favorite Zeppelin-waisted spherical puffer jacket. Agnès Pannier-Runacher, the Minister for Energy Transition, who went further by pairing her slim outerwear in technical fleece with polo neck underwear.

It was left to Bruno Le Maire, the Minister of Economy and Finance, to explain what was going on, posting a photo of him on social media, looking cheerful in a turtleneck, with the words : “You won’t see me in a tie anymore, you’ll see me in a turtleneck. And I think that will be very good, it will save us energy. It was kind of true, since the heat generated by the anger, ridicule and furious indignation of the French population could have, by the end of the week, supplied several power stations for free Marine Le Pen, recalling that whatever you say about extreme politicians right, they can become populist, summed up the government’s approach to soaring energy prices as “let them wear cashmere”.

If there’s a lesson in all of this for Liz Truss, she’ll of course miss it, though it’s nice to imagine her bundled up in a puffer jacket the size of an inflatable sumo suit and rolled around Whitehall, without ever disturbing the electorate again.


Fox News goes big on this hardy perennial, the menace of doctored Halloween candy. In my day, the urban legend was razor blades hidden in Mars mini bars. This Tuesday, Fox News’ resident entertainer Dana Perino describes a hellish Halloween come true in which “moms and dads everywhere are really worried that their kids will end up with those nerd bags of candy and find their kid dead.” .

She talks about “rainbow fentanyl”, about which the Drug Enforcement Agency in the United States has issued a warning. Fentanyl is extremely dangerous and overdoses are common. Rainbow fentanyl is the drug in brightly colored pill form, causing panic in some quarters of the American media for, a la Chris Morris, “targeting young people”.

Even so, Perino’s candy analogy is confusing. It’s clear that it’s been a while since she’s eaten a box of Nerds. For those who still buy them, the tiny popping candy nuggets look nothing like rainbow fentanyl pills, which appear to be the size of horse tranquilizers. Skittles, maybe, or M&Ms, but not Nerds, which look less like pills and more like fluorescent gravel.

It’s still unclear where she thinks your nerd-eating child will get their hands on this product, the implication being that your local drug dealer, answering the door during the trick or treat, will mischievously hand them to your child at the place of traditional sweets. A gram of fentanyl has a street price of between $150 and $200. A pack of Nerds costs $1.50. You do the math.


Compared to the UK, the US seems to be in good hands at the moment, despite President Biden’s occasional lapses. Nothing so strange as Trump’s inability to drink water from a bottle or to respect the basic rules of Western democracy. But during a speech in Washington DC on Wednesday, the president sadly called out Rep. Jackie Walorski’s comment – ​​“Jackie? Where is Jackie? — the Indiana congresswoman who died in a car accident last August. It might have been more explainable had Biden not spoken to his brother by phone in the days following the accident.

The late congresswoman’s brother, Keith, told reporters that Biden is “doing the best he can with what he has right now,” which was gracious if not totally reassuring. Meanwhile, Karine Jean-Pierre, the White House spokeswoman, peddled all she was worth to pull off a tough stop. “The president had already planned to welcome the congresswoman’s family to the White House on Friday,” she said, “so of course she was on his mind. She was on top of the president’s mind.”

“The confusing part,” a deadpan reporter said, “is why, if she and the family are at the top of the list, does the president think she’s alive and in the room?” Which was true but still a bit mean.

“I don’t find it confusing,” said Ms. Jean-Pierre. “I mean, I think a lot of people can talk to… Sometimes when you have someone on your mind, they’re on your mind, exactly that.” Biden had, during the speech, finally dropped his search for Walorski, concluding with a bit of pathos, “Where’s Jackie? She shouldn’t be here.


An e-mail comes from my building’s management office with the subject “raccoon attack on West End Avenue”, recounting a confrontation behind the compound between two individuals and a “big angry raccoon”. He chased them down the street, apparently, before turning west toward the river. The police and ambulance were called. The animal was thought to be rabid and if seen again, residents are urged to call animal control or 911.

It’s extremely exciting, and also, of course, very disturbing (but above all, exciting). There hasn’t been a human case of rabies in New York for more than 50 years, although according to the city’s health department, the number of animals testing positive for rabies this year was surprisingly high by 22. This includes seven raccoons. from Queens, a cat, a raccoon, two bats from Staten Island, two skunks and five raccoons from the Bronx, leading the health department to launch a wildlife vaccination campaign and suggesting a dystopian Disney movie to all those who can bother to write it. (De Niro and DeVito as the Staten Island Bats. Come on. Who wouldn’t watch this? It’s going to be bigger than The Lion King).


As part of its rabies awareness campaign, the co-op sends out a list of symptoms to watch out for, including ‘wobbly gait’, general ‘unconsciousness’ and ‘erratic wandering’. Which – thank you, I’ll be here all week – brings us to Liz Truss and her disastrous tour of regional BBC radio stations on Thursday, during which she seemed to take on the challenge of seeing how much airtime died. could stay before answering. a question.

With Graham Liver on BBC Lancashire, a question about the Tory consensus on fracking policy prompted two seconds of silence from the Prime Minister. With John Acres on BBC Stoke, when the host suggested the spike in interest rates caused by the government’s mini-budget last week could cost homeowners more than their savings in fuel costs, a full three seconds of looked dead before Truss pulled Putin’s emergency cord. The biggest bouquet, however, must go to Rima Ahmed on BBC Leeds, who with dangerous mirth greeted the Prime Minister with “Hello! How are you? Did you sleep well?” Followed, with the sweet innocence of the professional killer, by the question: “Where have you been?” Silence from Truss, after which [checks symptoms list] yes, something that could indeed be characterized as “repeated high-pitched vocalization”.

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