The coalition’s next 100 days

Some key dates for your political diary.

If you read only one piece on the coalition's first 100 days in office I'd recommend Tim Montgomerie's recent NS article on the ten moments that define David Cameron's time in power. Combine this with Mehdi Hasan's account of the coalition's shock-and-awe assault on the state for a full understanding of the political significance of the government's reforms.

But what of the coalition's next 100 days? Here are some key dates for your political diary.

25 September: New Labour leader announced

The day David Cameron will learn who he'll face across the despatch box.

7 October: Shadow cabinet election results

The day ministers learn who'll be shadowing them in parliament.

20 October: Spending Review

The day we'll learn just how large the cuts to non-ring-fenced departments (everything except Health and International Development) are going to be. The review will set out spending plans for the years 2011/2012 to 2014/2015. Most budgets are expected to be cut by roughly 25 per cent, but George Osborne's promise to spare the defence and education funds from the worst means that some could be cut by up to 33 per cent.

26 October: Q3 GDP figures published

The first real test of the impact the coalition's economic policies have had on growth. Despite George Osborne's shameless attempt to take credit for the 1.1 per cent growth of the second quarter, less than a week of the period in question took place during the coalition's rule.

October (date TBC): Browne Review published

The long-awaited Browne review into higher education is due to be published some time in October. Around this date, we'll learn whether the coalition is fully committed to Vince Cable's proposal of a graduate tax.

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.

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The internet dictionary: what is a Milkshake Duck?

Milkshake ducking is now more common than ever.

The whole internet loves Milkshake Duck, a lovely duck that drinks milkshakes! Oh, apologies. We regret to inform you that the duck is a racist.

This is the gist of a joke tweet that first went viral in June 2016. It parodies a common occurrence online – of someone becoming wildly popular before being exposed as capital-B Bad. Milkshake Ducks are internet stars who quickly fall out of favour because of their offensive actions. There is no actual milkshake-drinking duck, but there are plenty of Milkshake Ducks. Ken Bone was one, and so was the Chewbacca Mask Lady. You become a Milkshake Duck (noun) after you are milkshake ducked (verb) by the internet.

Bone, who went viral for asking a question in a 2016 US presidential debate, was shunned after five days of fame when sleuths discovered his old comments on the forum Reddit. In them, he seemed to express approval for the 2014 leak of the actress Jennifer Lawrence’s nude photos and suggested that the shooting of the unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin in 2012 had been “justified”. The Chewbacca Mask Lady – a woman who went viral for a sweet video in which she laughingly wore a mask of the Star Wars character – was maligned after she began earning money for her fame while claiming God had made her go viral for “His glory”.

Milkshake ducking is now more common than ever. It embodies the ephemerality of internet fame and, like “fake news”, reveals our propensity to share things without scrutinising them first.

But the trend also exposes the internet’s inherent Schadenfreude. It is one thing for an online star to expose themselves as unworthy of attention because of their present-day actions and another for people to trawl through their online comments to find something they said in 2007, which they may no longer agree with in 2017.

For now, the whole internet loves milkshake ducking. We regret to inform you that it still doesn’t involve milkshakes. Or ducks.

Amelia Tait is a technology and digital culture writer at the New Statesman.

This article first appeared in the 17 August 2017 issue of the New Statesman, Trump goes nuclear