I hope this article finds you well, and you aren't too 'tired' from St Patrick's day celebrations. Belated happy birthday to my brother, who was born on the day of the Irish. Similar hopes of a minimal hangover apply to you too.
I've written quite a long blog post this week regarding the abysmal state of liberal media, and our failing to appropriately tackle a rising right-wing rhetoric due to fear of offending - either our audience, our investors or ourselves. Should you be interested in reading that, the article can be found here.
It's been a good few weeks since we mentioned the disaster that is the current US administration, and it will only receive the slightest comment here. Good on Trump for sticking to his guns. Such courage. Such bravery. Such greatness. It's rare you see a politician stick to vehemently to a line despite all the evidence presented to the contrary. I imagine that had Obama actually wiretapped Trump towers we would have got more leaked audio footage, as that man is a walking disaster in front of the public, just imagine what he's like behind closed doors.
Until next week,
Article 50 bill is given Royal Assent
After what was at one point looking to be a last minute spanner in the works of Brexit, what with the Lords slapping two amendments on the original bill, the final bill sailed through both the Commons and the Lord's unamended. The amendments in question was over giving Parliament a final vote over the Brexit deal, and guaranteeing the rights of EU migrants already in the UK. The Commons voted against both amendments with a larger margin than the first time around, and the Lords decided not to oppose the bill again. It was given Royal Assent a few days later, clearing the way for Theresa May to begin the formal process of negotiating the departure of the UK from the EU.
Government U-turn on National Insurance increase
After facing backlash from within his own party, and receiving minimal support from Theresa May, Philip Hammond has backtracked on his planned national insurance hike, which would have affected small businesses and those who were self-employed. While good news for freelancers, it does leave a £2bn deficit in his budget, money which was set aside to aid councils cope with the strains on social care. It is not yet known how this hole will be filled, although Hammond has stated that MP's will have to wait until his autumn budget to find out. Realistically he can either make cuts to fill the gap, or borrow the money - a decision he will not take lightly after stating he wants to have contingency should he need to start spending once Brexit begins.
Source: The Telegraph
George Osborne is the new Evening Standard editor
Former Chancellor George Osborne has found a new way to occupy his time - he is the new editor of the Evening Standard. Replacing Sarah Sands in early May, Mr Osborne will edit the paper four days a week alongside his existing commitments as an MP. It is an interesting dichotomy to see an MP acting as editor to a newspaper that should be holding politicians to account, although Osborne addressed this saying the paper should continue "say what we want to say about the Government, about london politicians, about any issue that comes up on the basis of whether it's good for London or not."
Rihanna and Adam Driver to star in Amazon's new film 'Annette'
Rihanna is set to star in cult French director Leos Carax's upcoming film. Rihanna is rumoured to start filming across international locations in Spring, alongside Girls' Adam Driver, but it is unknown how big the pop star's role will be.
Variety claims Amazon Studios have US and Canadian distribution rights meaning Amazon will be screening Carax's English debut.
The film, written and composed by art-rock duo Sparks is musically led and tells the story of a widowed stand up comedian and his young daughter who amazes with a special gift.
Stormzy rages at NME
@NME it is kool to use my me as a poster boy for such a sensitive issue without permission? You lot have been begging me to be on your cover
— #GSAP (@Stormzy1) March 16, 2017
Stormzy features on the latest cover of NME with the words 'DEPRESSION: IT'S TIME TO TALK' typed across his chest. But while you may think this is a partnership between the musician and the publication to tackle mental health, it transpires it wasn't actually the case. In a tirade of angry tweets, Stormzy called the magazine 'proper dickheads', stating that they had been trying to secure him for the front cover but failed, so took advantage of seeing him opening up about his mental health issues elsewhere. He continued later, stating '"However using my face as a poster boy for it to sell your magazine is so foul and below the belt I will never respect you lot." Later, he wrote "I've no issue with sharing my story but, with my permission!"
NME Editor Mike Williams later responded saying, "We used your image as we felt it would resonate most with our readers, and I can only apologise again that you didn't know." "Our only intention was to raise awareness of an issue that we've been inspired to talk about following your comments."
The full list of tweets and NME response can be found in the source below.
Sandi Toksvig and Noel Fielding to join Great British Bake Off
When you think of great double acts your mind may conjure up greats such as Simon & Garfunkel, The Two Ronnies or Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins. You wouldn't think Mighty Boosh actor Noel Fielding and QI host Sandi Toksvig, but apparently Channel 4 do - having hired them to host GBBO following its departure from the BBC. Joining the hosts will be cookery writer and presenter Prue Leith, taking on the Mary Berry's role as judge alongside the only remaining member of the original GBBO lineup Paul Hollywood. Talking about his appointment, Noel Fielding said "I've always loved brightly coloured cakes and Sandi Toksvig so this is a dream come true for me. It's basically the double."
Wellcome Book Prize shortlist announced
An announcement from the Wellcome Book Prize has been made - the 2017 shortlist is here! The prize honors outstanding fiction and non-fiction that have taken leaps in science and medicine.
The list includes four non-fiction titles and two fiction, compiled by a judging panel led up by Scottish Crime writer Val McDermid. Joining them is Simon Baron-Cohen, Gemma Cairney, Tim Laws and Di Speirs.
The winner of the £30,000 prize will be announced on Monday 24th April at an evening event at Wellcome Collection.
The full shortlist:
- How to Survive a Plague by David France
- When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
- Mend the Living by Maylis de Kerangal
- The Tidal Zone by Sarah Moss
- The Gene by Siddartha Mukherjee
- I Contain Multitudes by Ed Yong
British Book Awards shortlist announced
It would appear that book awards are like buses, none for ages and then plenty come at once. The British Book Awards, also known as the Nibbies was acquired by The Bookseller this year, and has introduced some significant changes from previous years. The prize has expanded with additional awards. Chrime and Thriller have their own category, and non-fiction is further split into Lifestyle and Narrative. This will also be the first time since 2004 that there is a unified book and trade award-giving. Each of the six categories have six books in their shortlist, and the category winners will be decided by six panels of judges. A separate panel will decide the overall Book of the Year. All the results will be revealed at an awards ceremony on 8 May at Grosvenor House in central London. The category shortlists can be found in the source link below.
Source: The Bookseller
Shortlist for the CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway medals announced
See what I mean about books and buses. Last one I promise, although by no means least, the shortlist for the CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway medals were also announced this week. The two awards, the oldest UK book awards for children and young people, celebrate outstanding writing for children and young people, and illustration in children's books respectively.
The winner will be announced at at RIBA on 19 June. The recipient of each award will be given £500 in books to donate to their local library, a specially commissioned golden medal and £5,000 each from the Colin Mears Award. There will additionally be one recipient from each shortlist that will be awarded the Amnesty CILIP Honour award, given to books that most distinctly illuminate, uphold or celebrate freedoms.
The full shortlist for both awards can be found in the source link below.
Maddie Drury and Blossom Caldarone contributed to this report
Photo: Sam Greenhalgh