Welcome to Declassified, a weekly column looking at the lighter side of politics.
Halloween (or for lovers of extra punctuation, Hallowe’en) is almost upon us, and the world sure is pretty scary.
The price of energy has risen so much that it’ll soon be cheaper to buy the seat next to William Shatner on a Jeff Bezos space rocket that looks like a penis than it will be to turn the radiator up to 3. That’s at least in part because the man with his fingers on Europe’s gas taps is Vladimir Putin, who will one day theatrically peel off his face to reveal … a much younger version of himself who can rule for another 40 years.
Alas, Putin won’t be attending the COP26 international climate talks in Glasgow as he’s too busy burning single-use plastic bottles but let’s be honest, there’s not masses of optimism about the talks.
The British prime minister has already said it’s “touch and go” whether there can be any kind of deal struck that’s adequate enough to curb irreversible climate change. And that’s coming from Boris Johnson, a man who is at the very least normally rather good when it comes to feigning optimism in the face of a torrent of shit.
Speaking of being, er, full of shit, there was a massive British government U-turn this week on dumping raw sewage into rivers and the sea. A number of Conservative MPs blocked imposing a clampdown on water companies channeling waste straight into the environment, presumably in the hope that the turds would wash in the direction of France.
It led to a proverbial shitstorm on social media and the government announcing that the water companies will be required by law to show a reduction in sewage overspills.
Bonnie the Seal will doubtless have been delighted at this change of policy. The seal is Glasgow’s mascot for the COP talks, although eagle-eyed fans of people in slightly creepy giant animal costumes will recognize Bonnie from the 2018 European Championships, a multi-sport event that also took place in Glasgow and for which Bonnie was also the mascot, as well as from the Euro Swim 2019 event. An excellent piece of recycling, I’m sure you’ll agree.
Bonnie isn’t the best Scottish mascot (that’s Partick Thistle Football Club’s Kingsley), and not everyone is a fan. One U.K. government official described Bonnie as the “king of the Glasgow rats” — a reference to reports that excess rubbish in the city has attracted packs of rodents. And if the idea that a seal — with legs rather than flippers — is putting together an army of rats doesn’t scare you, then nothing will.
“You there, can you drive a truck?”
Last week we gave you this photo:
Thanks for all the entries. Here’s the best from our postbag (there’s no prize except for the gift of laughter, which I think we can all agree is far more valuable than cash or booze).
“Am I being substituted, coach?”
“For sure, but only in April,” by Wouter Acke
Paul Dallison is POLITICO‘s slot news editor
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