The Week in Review: One or two silver linings to a week of failures

Every cloud...
Every cloud...
Alex Stevenson By

Nothing seemed to go right for anyone this week. But somehow, the world still seems to be spinning round.

Each of the big stories of the week were tales of setbacks, failure and bad news for progress.

As expected, the EU budget proved a nightmarish challenge for poor old Herman Van Rompuyshambles. This was always going to be difficult, Downing Street told us; such were the monstrous complexities of the situation and the very diverse interests of the EU states that agreement was always going to be elusive. By Friday afternoon, it had become obvious how elusive that agreement was. It was nowhere to be found. Yet David Cameron managed to come up smelling of roses, having made diplomatic progress with Germany. A setback, but a silver lining, too.

Story number two: the Synod's vote on women bishops. The House of Laity actually voted in favour of appointing women to the post, but didn't quite get the two-thirds majority for the reform to take place. A real setback, but Archbishop John Sentamu predicted that progress had been made - and that there would be women bishops in his lifetime. Several parliamentarians got thoroughly worked up, and it does seem hard to see the status quo continuing much longer.

Then came Nadine Dorries. It shouldn't really be any surprise that the politician was the first to lose the Great British popularity contest that is I'm A Celebrity. But the premature ending of her TV career - forcing her to set up shop down under as she is contractually obliged to remain in Australia until the end of the show - has nonetheless left us wondering what might be next for this misfit MP.

There's more in this catalogue of people being fed up. The US began another bout of moaning as it faced up to Theresa May's refusal to extradite Gary McKinnon. The government was humiliated in the Lords in a series of defeats over their 'secret courts' proposals.  And, worst (or best) of all, a National Union of Students protest turned sour when the chief student was ousted from the stage by his own crowd.

Contrast all this with the sudden appearance, right at the end of the week, of a naked man on top of a statue in the middle of Whitehall. This is a place of grey-suited civil servants and historic buildings oozing with grandeur and dignity. The second duke of Cambridge, on whose head this nude individual was perched over Friday lunchtime, didn't look particularly pleased either. This was a triumph, on its own terms. Not that we know what they are. It didn't matter - the week ended with a dose of utter bizarre mayhem. Forget all that failure - it's naked time.

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