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12 June 2024

This England: Don’t be cruel

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

A speeding driver has avoided a driving ban because of his unusual job – as an Elvis Presley impersonator. Spencer Dale, 52, of Staffordshire, faced a six-month ban after being caught in York last year. Harrogate magistrates, who gave him three penalty points, agreed he would suffer “exceptional hardship” if he was unable to perform as the King around the country.
Gazette & Herald (Jenny Woodhouse)


An ice-cream van owner has been threatened with legal action after residents complained his chimes were too loud and used too often. John Barton, who runs Harrison’s Ices, in the Louth, Grimsby and Cleethorpes areas of Lincolnshire, was stunned to receive a council letter saying he could be prosecuted for noise pollution caused by his jingles. He said: “They’re not too loud. I can barely hear it in my van. It’s 12 seconds of music and it’s not in your ear… Someone has got too much time on their hands.”
Grimsby Live (Daragh Brady)

Spears of destiny

England will win Euro 2024, says a fortune teller who uses asparagus to predict the future. Jemima Packington tossed the vegetable spears into the air and, noting how they landed, declared: “It’s coming home.” The 67-year-old from Bath, the world’s only asparamancer, has previously predicted Brexit and the Queen’s death. She has fielded many questions about the Euros and has analysed the spears “very closely”.
Somerset Live (Daragh Brady)

[See also: This England: Clucking hell]

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This article appears in the 12 Jun 2024 issue of the New Statesman, The hard-right insurgency