ICYMI: Tory turmoil and power cuts – this week’s five top stories

ICYMI

It’s that time again.

It’s Saturday!

Wash your face, take a painkiller to deal with last night, grab a coffee and smile your way through the catastrophe that is the world right now.

If acting like everything is fine seems like an extremely difficult task – just ask Liz Truss for advice.

The prime minister, who has certainly had a stressful few weeks, will probably tell you to take a leaf out of her own book and turn to a 90s banger to fix things.

In other words: If things get a bit too much, Baby Got Back should sort you out.

In one last plea for you to keep reading the news, the last story in this round-up is about anal beads.

Tories in turmoil

Liz Truss’s leadership of the Conservative Party has been the most productive few weeks Labour has had in ages.

Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng revealed the new government’s mini-Budget on September 23 and the Tories have been in utter chaos since.

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The announcement’s effect on the value of the pound and the public backlash at tax cuts for the well-off forced Mr Kwarteng and Ms Truss into a humiliating U-turn on Monday.

Just the day after Ms Truss insisted she was ‘absolutely committed’ to cut the top rate of tax for Britain’s highest earners from 45% to 40%, Mr Kwarteng said they would be scrapping the idea.

He said: ‘It is clear that the abolition of the 45p tax rate has become a distraction from our overriding mission to tackle the challenges facing our country. We get it, and we have listened’.

People kind of wanted the Government to ‘get it’ before announcing a currency-value-altering budget so the backtracking made people more angry, with Ms Truss and Mr Kwarteng accused of ‘utter ineptitude’.

A former Cabinet minister reportedly called Ms Truss a ‘dead woman walking’ when he told The Mirror: ‘I am ashamed that we have a party that is having tax cuts for people at the top end, which are going to be funded by cuts in benefits.

‘She should have the good sense to realise she has lost all credibility and cannot do anything to recover.

‘The idea that Tory MPs in the Red Wall will stick with Liz who is guaranteed to lose their seats is not feasible. They will do something to get rid of her.’

Nadine Dorries speaking with Jacob Jacob Rees-Mogg.

Even Nadine Dorries has spoken about fears the Tories are ‘deserting the centre ground’ (Picture: 10 Downing Street)

Even ardent Boris Johnson-backer Nadine Dorries has waded into the Tory civil war and taken aim at Ms Truss’s plans.

The former culture secretary told The Times: I understand that we need to rocket-booster growth, but you don’t do that by throwing the baby out with the bathwater. You don’t win elections by lurching to the right and deserting the centre ground for Keir Starmer to place his flag on.’

Opinion polls are all but outright proving these Tory politicians’ fears, with Labour consecutively enjoying large vote share leads.

Research consultancy Savanta ComRes saw the opposition leap ahead of the Tories with 50% of the 2,113 people surveyed saying they would vote for Labour.

Political research director Chris Hopkins said: ‘If this played out at a general election, the Conservative Party could be pretty much wiped out, and Labour would have such a commanding lead it could put the Conservatives out of power for generations.’

In fact, more than half a million people have signed a petition demanding an early general election in the wake of Liz Truss’ tumultuous time in office.Parliament has to debate any petition which receives more than 100,000 signatures. A date is yet to be decided for this.

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This Budget U-turn took place on the day the Conservative Party conference began in Birmingham, with Mr Kwarteng starting his speech with the understatement of the year: ‘It’s been a tough day after a little turbulence’.

Ms Truss had to face her party the next day, giving the biggest speech of her political career – seen as an effort to contain any Tory rebellions brewing after less than a month in the job.

She walked on stage to M People’s 1990s hit, Moving On Up, pointing to her goals of promoting growth in Britain.

The founder of Manchester-based M People, Mike Pickering, said the band was ‘livid’ the dance anthem was used at the conference.

Not holding back, he jibed: ‘She won’t be around to use it again for very long, I would imagine.’

TL;DR: Who knew Labour’s biggest ally would be a Margaret Thatcher reincarnation?

Cost of living and energy blackouts

As your bank account will certainly have already told you, the cost of living crisis is still a thing.

The market got dramatically worse after the Conservatives’ mini-Budget but it’s worth remembering that a pandemic which saw businesses collapse and entire workforces furloughed has back-dropped where we are now.

Of course, the war in Ukraine and its impact on the price of energy has not helped either.

Fall of the Pound against the Dollar Metro Graphics

The pound plummeted this week – but it’s just the latest chapter in a story of decline over several years (Picture: Metro.co.uk)

For the next two years, the typical annual UK household bill will be £2,500.

While this is still more expensive than usual, this is saving at least £1,000 a year (based on current prices) thanks to the Government’s decision to freeze bills.

But energy companies have been going bust since the pandemic, and the ongoing crisis with Russia means there are still worries over supply.

Millions of Brits were on Thursday warned to brace for blackouts this winter if power plants can’t get enough gas to keep running.

The National Grid Electricity System Operator has issued its bleak ‘winter outlook’ report that details the scenario that a shortage of gas could mean ‘planned interruptions of electricity supply to businesses and households’. 

But the lights will stay on this winter unless the gas-fired power plants that produced 43% of Britain’s electricity over the last year cannot get enough gas to continue operating.

Families could face three-hour-long blackouts this winter (Picture: Getty)

Families could face three-hour-long blackouts this winter (Picture: Getty)

It would be the first time since the 1970s that planned blackouts would take place, which was during the miners’ strikes and the oil crisis.

In order to prevent planned power cuts, households will be paid to turn down their heating and not use their washing machines at peak time to save the country as much energy as possible.

Details of how much cash households will receive for turning down their appliances will be given on November 1.

It is the direst of three possible scenarios that the ESO laid out on Thursday for how Britain’s electricity grid might cope with the worst global energy crisis for decades.

In the other two scenarios, the operator hopes that by paying people to charge their electric cars at off-peak times and firing up backup coal plants it can offset the risk of blackouts.

TL;DR: Nothing illustrates Britain ‘moving on up’ like a blackout schedule from the 1970s.

Will and Kate visit Northern Ireland

Here at Metro.co.uk, we give the people want they want. And the people’s clicks make it very clear that they want to know what the Royal Family does – at all times.

So let’s skip the ‘there’s more important stuff going on than what part of the world Kate and William are in’.

There is – but technically there’s always something more important than something else, so just read about the Royals making cocktails and enjoy your Saturday.

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The Prince and Princess of Wales visited Northern Ireland last week, in a return to duties after the official mourning period ended for Royals on September 26.

The couple spent Thursday in Belfast meeting business leaders and organisations working across the city’s divided community.

The couple accepted a challenge to see who could make the fastest drink during a visit to Trademarket in Belfast – but it descended into mild acrimony.

Poised to start pouring, Kate suspected her husband had begun before the whistle and exclaimed ‘he’s started’, to chuckles from William.

She battled to catch up and deftly poured measures of the various ingredients into a cocktail maker to create Up the Lagan in a Bubble.

William was declared champion after quickly pouring the concoction over ice and adding a sprig of mint, before clinking glasses with his wife and taking a swig.

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The trip did not all go as smoothly as William poured, with Kate getting confronted by a critical bystander.

Footage shows a red-headed woman saying ‘nice to meet you but it would be better if you were in your own country’.

Kate laughed off the jibe and quickly moved on to greet someone else, at which point the same woman could be heard saying ‘Ireland belongs to the Irish’.

TL;DR: At least William will always have bartending to lean back on – to get his family through the cost of living crisis.

Thailand massacre

Thailand saw the deadliest rampage in its entire history on Thursday, when nearly 40 people – most of them toddlers – died in a gun and knife attack on a pre-school.

Former policeman Panya Kamrap burst into a day-care centre, killing dozens of children and teachers and then firing on more people.

The attacker, who authorities said had been sacked from the force earlier this year because of a drug offence, took his own life after killing his own wife and child at home.

In footage posted online after the attack, frantic family members could be heard weeping outside the centre.

A gunman opened fire at a nursery killing at least 20 people including children and adults in Thailand this afternoon.??? Dozens of bodies covered in blood were scattered across the floor and in the grounds outside the Child Care Center Uthai Sawan Subdistrict Administrative Organization in Nong Bua Lam Phu province in the far north of the country.

Blankets were seen covering bodies (Picture: ViralPress)

wanted man

Thai police issued a wanted poster of Panya Khamrab, who officials say was dismissed from his duties over drug use

At least 24 of the 36 people shot or stabbed to death in the small north-eastern town of Uthai Sawan were children.

Heart-breaking pictures show coffins being carried to a morgue today following the attack.

Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, who is to travel to the town today, told reporters initial reports were that the former officer was having personal problems.

‘This shouldn’t happen,’ he said. ‘I feel deep sadness toward the victims and their relatives.’

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Friday saw royal and government representatives stand in lines to lay wreaths at ceremonial tables in front of the Young Children’s Development Centre’s main door.

They were followed by weeping family members, who gathered their hands in prayer before laying single white flowers on the wooden floor.

‘I cried until I had no more tears coming out of my eyes. They are running through my heart’ said Seksan Sriraj, 28, whose pregnant wife was a teacher at the centre and was due to give birth this month.

TL;DR: The world is in a dire, dire state.

Anal beads in the chess world

September saw the world of chess rocked by its biggest scandal in years, when chess grandmaster Hans Mok Niemann was accused of using anal beads to cheat.

At just 19 years old, Hans sensationally beat the world champ Magnus Carlsen earlier this year.

The upset sent the chess world into a frenzy and resulted in rumours that Niemann had somehow cheated his way to victory.

A wild theory suggested vibrating anal beads could be his tactic.

Lodged deep inside him, they would pass through the airport-style tournament security and – being controlled by his coach watching the match – vibrate gently to let him know the right moves to make.

Neimann didn’t help his cause when he stated he would play naked as a way to prove his innocence.

Unfortunately for him, an extensive 72-page investigation into Neimann by Chess.com made some damning claims on Tuesday.

The joke'anal beads' theory of chess cheating has been circulating on Reddit (Credit: Reddit)

The ‘anal beads’ theory of chess cheating began circulating on Reddit (Credit: Reddit)

Professional chess player Hans Niemann in photos from his Instagram page.

Professional chess player Hans Niemann has been accused of cheating ‘over 100 times’ in a new report (Provider: hans_niemann/Instagram)

It says the chess prodigy broke the rules in tournaments as recently as 2020, noting ‘many remarkable signals and unusual patterns in Hans’ path as a player’.

In fact, the report says that Neimann used illegal computer aids to receive assistance in over 100 online games in his path to the top. Many of these tournaments included cash prizes, it added.

Neimann was expelled from the site in 2020 for ‘blatant cheating’.

Apart from the anal beads theory, some people suspect Niemann got his hands on Carlsen’s game plan ahead of time, thereby anticipating his surprise opening.

While we might not know if anal beads are a liability to the integrity of chess, advances in material science and artificial intelligence could mean checking for ingenious inventions like ‘smart clothes’ that transmit messages through the fabric.

TL;DR: Everyone with an exam coming up is about to develop an anal bead kink.

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at webnews@metro.co.uk.

For more stories like this, check our news page.

https://metro.co.uk/2022/10/08/icymi-tory-turmoil-and-power-cuts-this-weeks-five-top-stories-17522460/ ICYMI: Tory turmoil and power cuts – this week’s five top stories

Justin Scacco

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