Anatomy of the Tories’ week from hell

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 (West End Final)
(West End Final)

There is one statistic so extraordinary about Armistice Day I struggle still to compute it. We are all taught at school how the guns fell silent on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month.

But it was only a couple of years ago I learned that the death toll for the morning of 11 November 1918 – when the commanders knew the fighting would cease at 11am – was greater than both sides would go on to suffer in Normandy on D Day, 1944. As the journalist and historian Adam Hochschild puts it, “The war ended as senselessly as it had begun.”

Of course, politicians never made unbelievably harmful or stupid decisions ever again... Speaking of which, the truly incredible element of the Tory-sleaze-news-cycle-that-will-never-end is how easily it could have been avoided – if Boris Johnson had simply accepted the judgement of the Committee on Standards.

Indeed, as Newsnight’s Lewis Goodall points out, one way to measure time is that onEarth 2, Owen Paterson is now roughly a quarter of the way through his suspension.

Of course, you know things have gotten real when even Rishi Sunak, a man who outside of fiscal events makes Ian Duncan Smith look like the loud man of British politics, breaks his silence on the issue. (Do click on that link, I went to the effort of capturing the exact moment for you.)

Now for the health of our parliamentary democracy, it is perhaps a good thing the Prime Minister erred in the way that he did. Sunlight really is the best disinfectant. But it is unclear when this story will run out of fuel. There are a lot of MPs with a lot of second jobs...

Elsewhere in the paper, Sadiq Khan has been urged to take ‘rapid action’ to prevent more London cyclist deaths. Already this year, at least 53 pedestrians and cyclists have been killed on London’s roads.

In the comment pages, Rupert Harrison thinks the economic gloom is overdone, and gives his reasons to be cheerful. Meanwhile, actor and UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Gugu Mbatha-Raw writes why refugees need an equal shot in the vaccine rollout.

And finally, as Matilda the Musical turns 10, deputy Arts Editor Jessie Thompson speaks to Tim Minchin, Dennis Kelly and Matthew Warchus for a fabulous oral history of the show.

“The secret to Matilda’s success? She doesn’t take any s***”

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