LETTERS FROM LONDON
REASONS TO BE CHEERFUL
8 July 2017
Not Disgruntled

Have you placed your bets on Wimbledon as yet? Wait. It’s all down to science,
not skill, luck, it’s the grunts. I know. Sounds bonkers. However, science says
grunts produced by players during the tennis matches they lost, were higher in
voice pitch than during the matches they won. So, a ‘silent scream’ manifested
as a high pitched grunt? Who knew?

Well, doctoral researcher and university tennis team captain Jordan Raine,
together with mammal communication experts Professor David Reby and Dr
Kasia Pisanski, knew.


There’s more: psychologists at the University of Sussex found that players
displayed differences in their grunt pitch long before it was clear whether they
would win or lose. Really?


I know, I know – but here is some proof. TV footage of 50 matches featuring
some of the world's top 30 tennis players was employed. Serves, backhands,
forehand shots were recorded at what stage of each match the grunts were
produced.


When players were shown short clips of other players' grunts - with no access
to any other information - they were able to identify – pay attention now - which
of two grunt sequences produced by the same player came from a match that
the player lost. Really. So they are listening. Are grunt coaches in their future?

But who didn’t turn the sound off when Sharapova shriek-grunted her way to
victory? Oh right. She was – erm – ‘assisted’ wasn’t she? And Andy? No study
on hideous, look-away-now grimaces. It’s all bets on. Where’s my purse? I’m
thinking Federer. But do you remember any of his memorable grunts?



Point Scoring

Trying to keep up with all the endless reporting, analysing who said what when,
we need a few hints as to the latest – oh put me to death now – changes.

YouGov has Labour with an eight-point lead. OK. Reread that.
Jeremy’s ahead and that makes all those Tories go mental. “Should we, shouldn't
we? What should we do? The tower? The guillotine – oh right, wrong country,
wrong rebellion. Bludgeon her with a kitten heel? What’s a kitten heel? Why not
stiletto? Lock her in her house with Phil and post armed police outside to prevent
any escaping?”


They can’t bury her and risk a general election, they can’t keep her in power
(not that she actually has any). Oh dear. What to do? Satisfaction rating among
the Tory faithful has fallen from +89 before the election to  -26. 71 per cent of
Tory activists who took part in a survey said she has to go or before the next
election. Innovative, clever, creative thinking? Not the Tories.


However, senior Conservatives have warned Theresa and are convinced that
Theresa’s sacked advisor Nick Timothy is baaaack. At least by telephone.
Conversations have evidently been logged by civil servants. Oh very naughty,
Theresa.


The Telegraph reported that junior ministers are turning against “selfish” Cabinet
ministers who are doing their best to keep that cardboard cut-out of Theresa
positioned at the front door of Number 10.


And what has Theresa done this week? Oh you will never guess. No. You won’t,
trust me here. She has appointed minister Steve Baker as the newest member of
her Brexit negotiating team. Note: negotiating team. Ha.


And the problem? Hmmm. It’s on record, well, it’s been recorded – literally - that
in 2010 he gave a speech to a right-wing think-tank, as you do. Ready? He said
the EU should be “wholly torn down” and called it an “obstacle” to world peace.
“World peace” – obstacle? WWI, WWII – remember those? European
Union?  

A spokesperson for Steve: “He now supports the Government’s position.”  Of
course he does; it’s no deal. Is this all getting a bit too Shakespearean? Has
Queen Theresa gone mad?
The Sunday Telegraph reported she is evidently
considering walking out on Brexit negotiations if the EU insists on a €100bn
Brexit bill. You know, that money we owe.


Warning: sick bags at the ready. Theresa has re-established her sycophantic
‘special relationship’ with The Don at the G20 Summit… “Oh Donny, oh Donny,
please come back to your second home, you know, the 51st state, your second
America, Little Britain. We’ll all be waiting and waving the American flag all over
our, well, your country. You are my hero. Please let me kiss your feet,
genuflect, pat your hair. Your magic will rub off on me. Can our trade deal
include loads of GM, antibiotic-filled meat, fracking, taking over our NHS?
Pleeeease. Together now: America first! America first! America first!”

“Yah, yah.  I’ll do a very very big deal, a very very big deal, very, very - very
very quickly very very. America
is first!". Thank god he’s so articulate or we’d
have no idea what he was saying…very, very.


The two (idiots) are dismissed as rather – pathetic, pointless, ineffectual, thick,
marginalised isolationists by the other leaders. Leaders who are in fact – leaders.



Take Your Leave

The director of the official campaign to leave the EU, Dominic Cummings, the
man responsible for the £350m lie on the bus has now said the voters may have
made an “error” by believing his spin. Not his “error” then?


The former special advisor to Michael Gove has admitted Brexit might turn out to
be a terrible mistake. Now he tells us. Having irrevocably changed the entire
history of the country, he admits it now and has apparently casually, casually!?
admitted he may have helped, helped!? lead Britain in a late night Twitter
exchange. Mea culpa at midnight? Hmmm.


Political Scrapbook, suspects ‘he knew that all along and is getting nervous
about having wilfully misled the British public into an act of self harm’. Nervous at
being caught out? Despicable, Dominic.



Let the Little Children Come unto Me

Remember those 3000 child refugees? The ones we were so generously (un)
willingly agreed to allow to enter the country? The very ones living in horrific
inhumane camps? The number has been reduced to 350. Was is it with the
Tories and that number?


Previous immigration minister, Robert Goodwill, managed to reduce the
government’s commitment, to take in only 350 unaccompanied child refugees.
And what position has he been appointed to? Oh guess. Minister for Children
and Families. Really. Moved to the Department for Education responsible for
safeguarding vulnerable children. Losing the will to live yet?



Reason to be Cheerful

Shockingly there is one. Sit down, Remainers. A poll via the London School of
Economics with polling firm Opinium found that people were ready and willing to
pay large sums of cash for EU citizenship. Quoi!? £400 to £1000 a year. That’s
68 per cent: four in five. This amounts to much more than what the UK currently
contributes to the EU budget.
58 per cent had been Brexiteers. And – if the
referendum were held today, tomorrow, whenever it would be show 54 per cent
would vote to – remain. 46 per cent would back Brexit. Fools. This study also
shows that 73 per cent would like to see EU citizens being awarded voting rights
at both local and national elections. Quelle surprise!



Not Cheerful

An RAF plane flew Arlene Foster home to Northern Ireland? Why exactly? How
much exactly? Well, we have no idea why – are we supposed to use our
imaginations?  Oh let’s.

She said she was simply standing on the road, thumb out, cash in her rucksack
begging for a lift and don’t you just know they stopped to pick her up. No
shouting threats? No “do you know who I am”? Or “I’m paying your salary”. Or
“I
'm going to tell Theresa” necessary. Another £20,000 added to the – ouch -
£1bn pay-off? Shocking, this time we aren’t paying. Miracle of miracles. So
when you see MPs begging in Westminster, you’ll know why.

Son of the late Ian Paisley has admitted his party is being vilified since it’s
‘separated at birth’ (I know) relationship with the Tories. He said: “If I had said
some of those things about other groups in our society or if you had said them
about Muslim groups in this city [London], you wouldn’t have got away with it.
You got away with it about us. And I think that is something that needs to be
said…” So he did. Ahhh. We feel your pain. Indeed.



Hot, Hot, Hot

This week Stephen Hawking warned that The Donald’s decision to withdraw from
the Paris climate agreement will cause "avoidable environmental damage."

"We are close to the tipping point where global warming becomes irreversible.
Trump’s action could push the earth over the brink, to become like Venus, with a
temperature of 250 degrees and raining sulphuric acid." Explicitly - hell.


Nearly 200 nations have signed on to limiting the global average temperature
increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.1.5C.  Maybe the Don doesn’t know
what Celsius is. “What’s 1.5C anyway? What’s the problem? A little 1.5. Who
cares? Get over it.” Good thinking. Oh dear. Did I actually write ‘thinking’?
No
worries. We have the $9m Svalbard Global Seed Vault in the Ar
ctic to save
humanity. The seed vault houses 135,000 different genetic deposits.


OK. Worry. Climate change has forced he Norwegian government-led
organization Statsbygg to re-evaluate how best to monitor the vault going forward
because unseasonably high temperatures caused water to leak through its
entrance. Referred to as “a flooding drama” (blimey!) with the whole region
“warming two times faster than the rest of the world; it has these crazy
consequences that happen seemingly overnight." Not looking good is it? “Hey!
Yo! You must be talking about me. I’m always lookin good. Tell them Ivanka.”
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