Pick of the Week: Don't cry for me, Boris

Don't cry for me Boris, you were our pick of the week
Don't cry for me Boris, you were our pick of the week
Ian Dunt By

Our five most popular stories this week, for your reading pleasure - including Liz Kendall, George Osborne, Magna Carta and women in labs.

Five: Labour hustings verdict: The candidates are awful, but Kendall is probably the least awful

It's not the most upbeat sketch you're likely to see, but our assessment of the first TV hustings featuring the four Labour leadership contenders did at least try to find something positive to say. Corbyn speaks plainly, Kendall is new, Cooper and Burnham… well them not so much. With an audibly heavy heart we recommended Kendall on the back of the event, but it was hard to get remotely worked up about it. The Blairite – who insists she is not a Blairite – has the advantage of freshness. Having come into parliament after Labour's time in office she neatly side-steps most of the mud the Tories will fling at her. It's not much to commend someone, but it's something.

Four: What's the worst British law of all time?

It's unusual for a competition to make it into the top five, but this one was a little different. We listed our (completely subjective and unrepresentative) choices for the worst British law of all time and threw it open to the readers. Also it's not really of all time but let's not dwell on that. At the time of writing the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 was in the lead with Andrew Lansley's Health and Social Care Act 2012 narrowly behind. The new psychoactive substances bill is closing up the rear in third place and it hasn't even been voted on yet. That could all change by the time the competition comes to a close next Wednesday though.

Three: PMQs verdict: Small slip-up aside, Osborne survives dangerous encounter

More interest than usual for this PMQs as George Osborne stepped in for David Cameron and Hilary Benn for Harriet Harman. The chancellor had a tough balancing act to pull off – too good and you're elbowing your leader out the way, too bad and you no longer look like leader-in-waiting. Osborne mostly pulled it off, although a regrettable joke during an answer about suicide bombings showed he is still a little rough around the edges.


Two: Cameron has betrayed every principle he mentions in his Magna Carta speech

No beating around the bush for our assessment of Cameron's speech to mark the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta. In a way which he must have known would drive liberals to despair, he chose this occasion to promote his plans to scrap the Human Rights Act, while simultaneously stressing the importance of holding the executive to account. It's difficult to defend those two views at the same time and if it is possible it will take a more cerebral man than the prime minister to accomplish it. It's been an odd week for his sense of timing actually. He followed this up by accusing the Muslim community of not doing enough to challenge extremism… at the start of Ramadan.

One: Boris Johnson: Girls are hormone-filled and prone to weeping

Prize of place goes to Boris Johnson's attempt to defend Tim Hunt, the UCL scientist who said women were too emotional to work in labs with men. There was plenty of this about, with many commentators raising eyebrows at the way Hunt was sacked by the university while he was on the plane – and before he had a chance to be given a fair hearing by his employer. But Boris' point was somewhat different. He painfully laid out 'evidence' women cried more than men. It's only been a couple of years since the London mayor suggested women only went to university to get a man. But then Boris is quite emotional himself. He was filmed telling a cabbie to "fuck off and die" this week.

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