The week when the lunatics took over the asylum
Hard Brexit became Mad Brexit with the leak of a Home Office document, possibly written by someone who’d served time in the prisons department, setting out draconian new rules for Little Britain. Most EU migrants will be offered residency for a maximum of two years, with an extension of one or two years for those in highly skilled occupations. Business leaders reacted with near-incredulity. Even the Brexit-supporting boss of the Wetherspoons pub chain was moved to express concern, as well he might considering that 75% of the waiters and 25% of the chefs in Britain come from other EU countries. The CEO of Travelodge pointed out that even if the hotel industry recruited every person on the unemployment register, including the virtually unemployable, it still wouldn’t be enough to fill all the vacancies. But should we care? In the spring of 2019, when there’s no one left to cook the food and no one left to serve it, the sacrifice will have been worth it: we will have 'taken control of our borders.’
Brass neck of the week
The Maybot's for asking FTSE 100 companies to sign a suicide note supporting her.
Programme for government (1)
Scotland’s first minister promised an 'informed discussion' about 'how the Scottish Parliament should use its tax powers.' If it runs true to form, the informed discussion will take place mainly in the head of Scotland’s first minister – before she clobbers higher earners in the next Holyrood budget.
Programme for government (2)
Most offenders in Scotland will soon be spared sentences of under 12 months. Although this could be construed as political interference in the independence of the judiciary, there has been scarcely a peep from our learned friends. Nor, come to that, any suggestion that a new army of social workers will be required to supervise the many additional community service orders.
Talking of which...
Mr Fergus, 72, the terror of the Macdonald Loch Rannoch Hotel, not only didn't go to prison but was deemed physically unfit to do community service. He was, however, fit enough to go on a drunken rampage, cutting the hotel’s communication cables with the scissors that he had somehow acquired – the ones with which he threatened to slit the throats of the staff and his fellow guests.
Programme for government (3)
Scotland will phase out new petrol and diesel cars, but sufficiently far in the future – an eternity in political terms – to ensure that there's no one around to remember if the target was ever met. Clever stuff, what?
How does she know?
The first minister, thanking all those involved in the Queensferry Crossing, claimed that 'the nation's heart is bursting with pride at what you have achieved.' When mere politicians presume to know how five and a half million people are feeling, it is time to be concerned.
Clinical emergency of the week
The acute pressure on NHS beds as a result of the nation's bursting heart.
Poem of the week
It's a tough call between the Scots Makar’s celebration of the Queensferry Crossing and Lewis Hamilton’s approximation of a rhyme in honour of the late Diana, Princess of Wales: 'The day we lost our nation's rose/Tears we cried like rivers flowed.’ Nice try, Lewis.
Hilarious hold-up of the week
The long tailback for the Queensferry Crossing on its first morning. How many bleeding bridges do they need over the Forth?
Press releases of the week
(1) 'Oil and gas conference gets underway' (free puff, BBC Scotland).
(2) 'Countdown to fourth Hebridean film festival' (ditto).
(3) 'Rag'n'Bone Man to headline Edinburgh's Hogmanay' (ditto).
The Mary Marquis Award for newsreader of the week
The relentlessly bouncy presenter on North Korean television who announced with her trademark smile that her country’s testing of a hydrogen bomb had been a 'complete success.' She is believed to have signed a new short-term contract which will ensure her reassuring presence on our screens until Armageddon, if not beyond.
Address of the week
73 Gunnersbury Avenue, a seven-bedroom detached house in West London which serves as the embassy of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. A rare visitor to the house in the last few days claimed implausibly that he was a plumber repairing a faulty U-bend. Kim may have been getting the work done before London’s few remaining plumbers are all sent home.
Name of the week
Names of the coming weeks
The Met Office is persisting with its asinine PR gimmick of naming potentially letal storms. Look out this winter for Aileen, Brian, Caroline, Dylan, Eleanor, Fionn, Georgina, Hector, Iona, James, Karen, Larry, Maeve, Niall, Octavia (the posh one), Paul, Rebecca, Simon, Tali, Victor, and Winifred. Is there anyone called Winifred still above ground?
Happy workers of the week
The employees of Sports Direct, who are expected to choose between a 'happy’ and a 'sad’ face on a touchscreen when checking in. Any misguided saddos still on the payroll must report to the management.
Overpaid and over here (1)
The broadcaster Kirsty Wark has set herself up as a champion of gender equality at the BBC in the inflated salaries being dished out to, um, people like herself.
Overpaid and over here (2)
A new UK regulatory body will have the power to fine universities if they fail to justify salaries of over £150,000 a year. It will also require them to publish details of all staff earning over £100,000 a year. Expect the justifications to start at Glasgow University.
How do they know?
In response to a freedom of information request, the Foreign Office said that Palmerston, the office cat, had caught 27 mice in the last year. Cue Newsnight investigation chaired by Kirsty Wark.
Most embarrassing film title of the week/year
'Our Souls at Night.'
A definition of what wasn't news this week
(1) Wayne Rooney spends the evening with a woman.
(2) The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are delighted to be expecting their third child.
A definition of what would have been news this week
(1) Wayne Rooney spends the evening with a man.
(2) The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge aren’t delighted to be expecting their third child.
Cruellest photographs of the week
Those of a small boy going to school for the first time under such headlines as 'His Royal Shyness.'
Most exciting front-page headline of the week
'Prince Charles relaxes at Braemar’ (Sunday Express).
'Arrogant apparatchiks of the week’ (Daily Telegraph)
It could only be Barnier and Juncker, even if they do sound like a high-end brand of toiletries for chaps.
Black holes of the week
(1) One is a hundred thousand times bigger than the Sun and has been found lurking in a toxic gas cloud near the heart of the Milky Way.
(2) Another big un continues to be reserved for cabinet secretary John Swinney, the man who brought you the Menie golf resort, who now dreams of appointing, with dubious legality, a state guardian for every child in Scotland.
Word of the week
Supermassive. See also: black holes; the Queensferry Crossing.
Death of the week
Yellow Pages. Entering the terminal ward: Inspector Rebus.
We wuz robbed
Scotland narrowly missed qualifying for the finals of Euro 2018. it hasn’t happened yet, but we might as well get in first.
Good person of the week
American golfer Stacy Lewis – without a victory on the circuit for several years – who won the Portland Classic and promptly donated her winnings to the flood victims in Houston.
The future is Mogg
The new star of the Conservative Party said he was 'completely opposed’ to abortion even in cases of rape or incest.
Tourist destinations of the week
(1) Scotland, 'the most beautiful country in the world’ according to the 'Rough Guide.' It is true that we do scenery very well. Though most of the scenery didn't require human assistance. Pity about the towns, which did.
(2) Glasgow, part of whose appeal, according to a travel writer on the New York Times, is its remote setting.
Pint of the week
£4.40 in Surrey, the most expensive place in Britain to buy a beer. Assuming there’s anyone behind the bar to sell you one, which there soon won’t be.