The sad story of Sumanto

If spinach be the food of love, read on

This morning we travel to Indonesia, courtesy of Papua New Guinea's Weekend Courier newspaper.

I think this might be my favourite story so far. I'm going to list the reasons why. I do like a list.

a) The protagonist is an ex-cannibal.

b) He's looking for love.

c) It contains the quote: I love meat... all types of meat as long as it's cooked. But I don't eat people any more. (Mostly spinach.)

I can see why some might not take to the plight of Sumanto. (He once dug up a corpse. And ate it.) But in the spirit of Second Chances, and New Beginnings, and generally supporting lonely, strange people the world over (one of the manifesto commitments of this blog - watch this space for further manifesto commitments as and when they occur to me), I'd like to suggest a general surge of goodwill in his direction. I also really like the idea of an ex-cannibal lonely hearts column. Surely My Single Friend could easily diversify into My Ex-Cannibal Neighbour?

Anyway, good luck to you, Sumanto. I hope you find love, and I hope that said love likes spinach (the greatest euphemism for flesh I've ever heard).

Sophie Elmhirst is features editor of the New Statesman

Photo: Getty
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Cabinet audit: what does the appointment of Liam Fox as International Trade Secretary mean for policy?

The political and policy-based implications of the new Secretary of State for International Trade.

Only Nixon, it is said, could have gone to China. Only a politician with the impeccable Commie-bashing credentials of the 37th President had the political capital necessary to strike a deal with the People’s Republic of China.

Theresa May’s great hope is that only Liam Fox, the newly-installed Secretary of State for International Trade, has the Euro-bashing credentials to break the news to the Brexiteers that a deal between a post-Leave United Kingdom and China might be somewhat harder to negotiate than Vote Leave suggested.

The biggest item on the agenda: striking a deal that allows Britain to stay in the single market. Elsewhere, Fox should use his political capital with the Conservative right to wait longer to sign deals than a Remainer would have to, to avoid the United Kingdom being caught in a series of bad deals. 

Stephen Bush is special correspondent at the New Statesman. He usually writes about politics.