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

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What will Labour's new awkward squad do next?

What does the future hold for the party's once-rising-stars?

For years, Jeremy Corbyn was John McDonnell’s only friend in Parliament. Now, Corbyn is the twice-elected Labour leader, and McDonnell his shadow chancellor. The crushing leadership election victory has confirmed Corbyn-supporting MPs as the new Labour elite. It has also created a new awkward squad.   

Some MPs – including some vocal critics of Corbyn – are queuing up to get back in the shadow cabinet (one, Sarah Champion, returned during the leadership contest). Chi Onwurah, who spoke out on Corbyn’s management style, never left. But others, most notably the challenger Owen Smith, are resigning themselves to life on the back benches. 

So what is a once-rising-star MP to do? The most obvious choice is to throw yourself into the issue the Corbyn leadership doesn’t want to talk about – Brexit. The most obvious platform to do so on is a select committee. Chuka Umunna has founded Vote Leave Watch, a campaign group, and is running to replace Keith Vaz on the Home Affairs elect committee. Emma Reynolds, a former shadow Europe minister, is running alongside Hilary Benn to sit on the newly-created Brexit committee. 

Then there is the written word - so long as what you write is controversial enough. Rachel Reeves caused a stir when she described control on freedom of movement as “a red line” in Brexit negotiations. Keir Starmer is still planning to publish his long-scheduled immigration report. Alison McGovern embarked on a similar tour of the country

Other MPs have thrown themselves into campaigns, most notably refugee rights. Stella Creasy is working with Alf Dubs on his amendment to protect child refugees. Yvette Cooper chairs Labour's refugee taskforce.

The debate about whether Labour MPs should split altogether is ongoing, but the warnings of history aside, some Corbyn critics believe this is exactly what the leadership would like them to do. Richard Angell, deputy director of Progress, a centrist group, said: “Parts of the Labour project get very frustrated that good people Labour activists are staying in the party.”

One reason to stay in Labour is the promise of a return of shadow cabinet elections, a decision currently languishing with the National Executive Committee. 

But anti-Corbyn MPs may still yet find their ability to influence policies blocked. Even if the decision goes ahead, the Corbyn leadership is understood to be planning a root and branch reform of party institutions, to be announced in the late autumn. If it is consistent with his previous rhetoric, it will hand more power to the pro-Corbyn grassroots members. The members of Labour's new awkward squad have seized on elections as a way to legitimise their voices. But with Corbyn in charge, they might get more democracy than they bargained for.