If the truth is somewhat dull, a dash of artistic licence can go a long way - just add some proud left-wing anecdotes, a few scatter cushions, a well-rehearsed dance routine and a pair of knickers
Last week’s Commons debate on blacklisting was at times amusing given what a serious subject was being discussed. Backbench Labour MPs in particular seemed enthused to hear workers’ rights discussed and immediately began trying to outdo each other in listing their working-class credentials. It was almost as if Tony Blair had never existed as left-wing novel The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists was mentioned and a number of MPs rather proudly told the House that they had been labelled as communists in the past. Hansom was surprised no one started singing the Red Flag.
Turning to the government, Nick Clegg, it seems, has woken up and smelt the coffee on the UK’s shrinking economy. The deputy PM admitted in a partial mea culpa that the coalition made an error in cutting capital spending so deeply when it came to power and that in order to drive the economic recovery it needed to “mobilise more public spending on infrastructure”. Not before time some might think, given how the ongoing recession in construction has dragged down growth in the wider economy. If only the Lib Dems had someone in the Treasury, hmm …
The Shard may no longer be the tallest building in Europe, but it has, it would seem, found a new claim to fame as the home to the “nearly mile high club”. According to the Sun, “randy thrill-seekers” have been climbing to the top of the tower to “enjoy sky-high romps” on the top floor of the 1,016ft glass skyscraper. The Sun reports that couples “want to share their intimate moments while taking in magnificent views across the capital”. Racy stuff. But the evidence for the story was unconvincing to say the least: a pair of women’s knickers was found in the toilets. One is tempted to suggest the whole thing is a lacy fabrication.
The announcement of the proposed HS2 route beyond Birmingham to Manchester and Leeds was rightly hailed as good news for the north of England. But many Sheffield residents were left baffled over where the high-speed rail link will stop - not in the city centre, but at its out-of-town shopping centre Meadowhall. The reaction on Twitter was almost universally negative, where typical comments included “Is the government trying to kill off Sheffield” and “Cop out”. Surprisingly the joint owner of Meadowhall British Land, which stands to gain from the decision, did not make its views known on social media.
Message for the masses
Energy minister Greg Barker’s attempts to sell the transformative impact of the Green Deal seem to be becoming ever more surreal. “Now when you think of energy efficiency don’t think of a man in a brown boiler suit, think of Linda Barker,” he told a throng of bemused journalists this week. “We think the Green Deal is going to make energy efficiency the new scatter cushion and transform the way people think about what until now has been a rather boring issue.” Hansom questions whether utterly confusing consumers is better than boring them.
CHINA’S GOT TALENT
If you think it’s tough in the UK industry, spare a thought for Chinese builders. Many migrant workers in China are paid in a single lump sum at the end of the year but often wait weeks or months for it to trickle down through layers of subbies, if the money appears at all. As a result, younger workers seem to be increasingly trying to attract media attention to their plight, with some from Wuhan in central China even organising a recent Gangnam Style-dance. The leader of the dancers, who gave his name only as Mr Lu, told the Wuhan Evening News that in total 40 workers were owed the equivalent of £23,300. Since the story is receiving global attention, let’s hope they now get their money.
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