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  1. The Back Pages
14 September 2022

This England: Crackers for Christmas

This column – which, though named after a line in Shakespeare’s “Richard II”, refers to the whole of Britain – has run in the NS since 1934.

By New Statesman

Christmas superfan Pip Bensley has her festive tree up and decorated already. She is playing Christmas music and will soon open the first door of her four advent calendars.

When married, Pip used to put up her tree in October. Now separated, she puts up the tree after her eldest daughter Alex’s birthday in late August. The Southampton florist, 58, said: “Why are people so grumpy about it?”

Daily Mirror (Amanda Welles)

Playing the long game

A schoolboy footballer who scored a controversial equaliser in a derby 50 years ago has said replaying the match “has put a lot of demons to rest”.

Graeme Jones bundled the ball and the opposition goalkeeper into the net to level for Gayton Primary against St Peter’s CofE Primary in Wirral in 1972.

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He said he decided in the first Covid lockdown a replay was needed and spent a year finding his former teammates.

St Peter’s CofE gained their revenge in the rematch, winning 6-2. Mr Jones said the match had raised almost £2,000, which would be used to buy sports equipment for both schools.

BBC North West (Daragh Brady)

Need for speed

Two drivers caught speeding 30mph over the limit on the M4 in Wiltshire gave police officers some unusual excuses. Both drivers will be off to court after police speed guns registered speeds of 100mph and 101mph.

One reason given by a driver was that “people see my car and want to race me”. The other told road policing officers they needed the toilet.

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald (John Boaler)

[See also: How the Queen changed Britain]

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This article appears in the 14 Sep 2022 issue of the New Statesman, Succession

Select and enter your email address Your weekly guide to the best writing on ideas, politics, books and culture every Saturday. The best way to sign up for The Saturday Read is via saturdayread.substack.com The New Statesman's quick and essential guide to the news and politics of the day. The best way to sign up for Morning Call is via morningcall.substack.com Our Thursday ideas newsletter, delving into philosophy, criticism, and intellectual history. The best way to sign up for The Salvo is via thesalvo.substack.com Stay up to date with NS events, subscription offers & updates. Weekly analysis of the shift to a new economy from the New Statesman's Spotlight on Policy team.
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