Mental health referrals for adolescents were up 134 per cent in 2021 compared to the start of the pandemic, which saw children locked away in isolation for almost a year. Psychiatric waiting lists have increased from weeks to months. There is a chronic shortage of social workers. Teachers report being unable to cope with the mental health crisis among their students. Nearly £1 billion has been cut from government funding for the Early Intervention Grant. Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services have seen a 23.5 per cent decrease in spending per person between 2015 and 2021.
On 20 July, Marcus Rashford tweeted that he had heard the Spectator was ‘planning to run a story on me tomorrow about how I have benefitted commercially in the last 18 months’. He made it clear that he had not in fact made any money from his campaigns to provide children with food, books and shelter. The article never appeared in the Spectator. On 5 August, the comedian Dannie Grufferty revealed she was the source of the bogus story, and had spent months fooling the magazine into almost running it.
In his interview with Laura Kuenssberg on Tuesday evening, Dominic Cummings described a battle for control over Boris Johnson between himself and Carrie Symonds, now the prime minister’s wife. He lost. We know he lost because to the victor the spoils and to the loser a 7 p.m. interview on BBC2.
Last weekend, Premier League sides, media organisations, and sporting and political figures adhered to a social media boycott held to recognise the failure of sites such as Twitter and Facebook to tackle racism in football. From Friday to Monday, only a handful of organisations didn’t go along with the idea. One journalist was clearly sticking to the boycott until the news broke about Manchester United fans protesting against the Glazer family’s ownership of their club, causing their game against Liverpool to be postponed, at which point the journalist returned to Twitter to cover it, highlighting the inanity of the whole performance.
Covid-19 has taken more than 100,000 lives in the UK. Restrictions mean that no more than thirty people can go to a funeral. But a funeral is not supposed to be a small, intimate affair, in the way a wedding or baptism can be. There’s a Congolese saying: ‘A family doesn’t bury its dead on its own.’ But what do you do when a community can’t come together, whether financially or spiritually, to aid a mourning family?
For months, Nigel Farage has been maintaining a solitary watch on the south coast of England, looking out for small boats of migrants arriving on the beaches and filming them with his camera phone.
On Friday – when the Conservative government was attempting to shrug off another day of scandal focused on the housing minister, Robert Jenrick – the Labour Party leadership decided it was the perfect time to take a swing at the left. Rebecca Long-Bailey was sacked as shadow education secretary for retweeting a link to an interview in the Independent with the actor Maxine Peake, in which Peake claimed, incorrectly, that ‘the tactics used by the police in America, kneeling on George Floyd’s neck, that was learnt from seminars with Israeli secret services.’
AfCON features European-based players and European managers, but it resolutely sticks to its awkward calendar, taking place every other January, unlike most international tournaments, which are fitted in between the seasons of the major European leagues. It always finds a way to overcome crises: when Morocco withdrew as host because of the Ebola epidemic, Equatorial Guinea stepped into the breach. AfCON also unites the African diaspora in a way that no other international football tournament can.