Article of the week!

Short, but perfectly formed

So I might have overblown it slightly. But still, this is great. And for a Friday afternoon, it's PERFECT.

From the UB Post in Mongolia: "City Championship for Barbers and Beauticians".

It's a short piece. So I'm going to copy it out here in full:

A city's championship of hairdressers and beauticians will be held on October 9.

Participators (barbers and beauticians) will compete for nine events such as hairstyle for men and women, headdress of evening and elective haircut.
In the competition, participants will show transformation of face on the face and body. They will make manicures by gouache and brush.

Mongolian Union of Barbers and Manicurists announced that "In this year, participators can't use adhesive and inlay on the nail".
Last year, N Batmonkh, barber of Tserenkhand salon, won the first place in the championship and was awarded by Grandpre from International competition.

Where to begin? The "elective haircut"? "Headdress of evening"? (WHY AREN'T THERE PICTURES?) The ban on adhesives? (So controversial!) Or the greatest line of all: "participants will show transformation of face on the face and body". I'm sorry, what? What what what? Face on the face? Face on the body? Will there be faces in different parts of the body?

More importantly, I can't believe I missed the actual event. If anyone has pictures, please send.

 

 

Sophie Elmhirst is features editor of the New Statesman

Photo: Getty
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Theresa May is paying the price for mismanaging Boris Johnson

The Foreign Secretary's bruised ego may end up destroying Theresa May. 

And to think that Theresa May scheduled her big speech for this Friday to make sure that Conservative party conference wouldn’t be dominated by the matter of Brexit. Now, thanks to Boris Johnson, it won’t just be her conference, but Labour’s, which is overshadowed by Brexit in general and Tory in-fighting in particular. (One imagines that the Labour leadership will find a way to cope somehow.)

May is paying the price for mismanaging Johnson during her period of political hegemony after she became leader. After he was betrayed by Michael Gove and lacking any particular faction in the parliamentary party, she brought him back from the brink of political death by making him Foreign Secretary, but also used her strength and his weakness to shrink his empire.

The Foreign Office had its responsibility for negotiating Brexit hived off to the newly-created Department for Exiting the European Union (Dexeu) and for navigating post-Brexit trade deals to the Department of International Trade. Johnson was given control of one of the great offices of state, but with no responsibility at all for the greatest foreign policy challenge since the Second World War.

Adding to his discomfort, the new Foreign Secretary was regularly the subject of jokes from the Prime Minister and cabinet colleagues. May likened him to a dog that had to be put down. Philip Hammond quipped about him during his joke-fuelled 2017 Budget. All of which gave Johnson’s allies the impression that Johnson-hunting was a licensed sport as far as Downing Street was concerned. He was then shut out of the election campaign and has continued to be a marginalised figure even as the disappointing election result forced May to involve the wider cabinet in policymaking.

His sense of exclusion from the discussions around May’s Florence speech only added to his sense of isolation. May forgot that if you aren’t going to kill, don’t wound: now, thanks to her lost majority, she can’t afford to put any of the Brexiteers out in the cold, and Johnson is once again where he wants to be: centre-stage. 

Stephen Bush is special correspondent at the New Statesman. His daily briefing, Morning Call, provides a quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics.