Plastic fantastic

Just what the world needs: a plastic surgery competition

Yes it's true. Pravda, that bastion of extraordinary news, reports this week on the Miss Plastic Surgery competition in Hungary.

Quote of the week?

Contestants showed off breast implants, nose jobs and facelifts as Miss Plastic Hungary 2009 strove to promote the benefits of plastic surgery in a country where artificial enhancements are viewed mostly with a wary eye.

Oh, and:

The pageant also meant to show that cosmetic corrections did not necessarily have to be about oversized breasts, bulbous lips and skin stretched to near tearing point.

Pravda can be so POETIC when it chooses. Bulbous lips indeed: this is the stuff of greatness. But, before you judge, at least acknowledge the diversity of the competition:

Nearly all the contestants showed off augmented breasts, with reshaped noses also popular. One finalist had surgically adjusted toes.

How often do you get to see surgically adjusted toes, eh? This is practically educational.

Sophie Elmhirst is features editor of the New Statesman

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Lord Sainsbury pulls funding from Progress and other political causes

The longstanding Labour donor will no longer fund party political causes. 

Centrist Labour MPs face a funding gap for their ideas after the longstanding Labour donor Lord Sainsbury announced he will stop financing party political causes.

Sainsbury, who served as a New Labour minister and also donated to the Liberal Democrats, is instead concentrating on charitable causes. 

Lord Sainsbury funded the centrist organisation Progress, dubbed the “original Blairite pressure group”, which was founded in mid Nineties and provided the intellectual underpinnings of New Labour.

The former supermarket boss is understood to still fund Policy Network, an international thinktank headed by New Labour veteran Peter Mandelson.

He has also funded the Remain campaign group Britain Stronger in Europe. The latter reinvented itself as Open Britain after the Leave vote, and has campaigned for a softer Brexit. Its supporters include former Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg and Labour's Chuka Umunna, and it now relies on grassroots funding.

Sainsbury said he wished to “hand the baton on to a new generation of donors” who supported progressive politics. 

Progress director Richard Angell said: “Progress is extremely grateful to Lord Sainsbury for the funding he has provided for over two decades. We always knew it would not last forever.”

The organisation has raised a third of its funding target from other donors, but is now appealing for financial support from Labour supporters. Its aims include “stopping a hard-left take over” of the Labour party and “renewing the ideas of the centre-left”. 

Julia Rampen is the digital news editor of the New Statesman (previously editor of The Staggers, The New Statesman's online rolling politics blog). She has also been deputy editor at Mirror Money Online and has worked as a financial journalist for several trade magazines. 

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