Labour’s win is a victory for the smuggest people in Britain: the Sub-Lineker Sensibles

The Rest is Politics: Live, Rory Stewart and Alastair Campbel
The Rest is Politics: Live, Rory Stewart and Alastair Campbel

Sir Keir Starmer will no doubt call his spectacular landslide a victory for “working people”. In reality, however, it’s a victory for a much smaller, and far more specific, group.

The Sub-Lineker Sensibles.

You know the type of people I mean. They’re the type who will rejoice that “the grown-ups” are now “back in the room”. Who are forever sagely averring that the answer to any complex problem “probably lies somewhere in the middle”, and that we just need to be more “nuanced” (i.e. vague, timid and waffly). Who deplore the “divisiveness” of the “culture wars”, by which they mean issues that they’re too frightened to express their real opinion about in case it arouses the displeasure of people more fashionable than they are.

They’re the type of people who vigorously applaud Alastair Campbell every time he rails, with a completely straight face, against the shocking lack of honesty and integrity in modern politics. Who tweet that their “fantasy Cabinet” would feature Ian Hislop, Emily Maitlis, Hugh Grant and Carol Vorderman. Who believe that, if the BBC is being “attacked by both sides”, then it “must be doing something right”. Who mock the “gammon” for believing everything they read in the Daily Mail, while themselves believing everything they read in the Byline Times. Whose most frequent and vociferous complaint about Brexit is that it’s made the queues longer at airports whenever they go on holiday to Europe. Who think that a supermarket printing a Union flag on a bag of carrots heralds the imminent rebirth of 1930s fascism – and yet appear to have nothing to say about the weekly spectacle of vast angry mobs marching through our streets, intimidating Jews.

They’re the type of people who love to use twee portmanteau swear words, such as “cockwomble” and “w—puffin”, as if they’re pitching to be a scriptwriter for The Thick of It 20 years too late. Who call Miriam Margolyes a “national treasure” because she says rude things about the Tories, unlike every other celebrity in Britain. Who chortle at lower-class people for owning sofa cushions embroidered with the vacuous motto “Live Laugh Love” – yet think it’s noble and profound to tweet #BeKind. Who never tire of pointing out that actually, St George was actually Turkish, actually. Who still watch Have I Got News for You.

These are the people who are celebrating most gleefully today. Perhaps we should be gracious, and congratulate them on their dazzling success. After all, it’s their country now.

In truth, though, it already was.


Lily puts her foot in it

It’s been several years since the pop star Lily Allen last hit the charts. Happily, though, she’s discovered  a new source of income. She’s started selling photos of herself on the “adult entertainment” website OnlyFans. Unlike most of the women on OnlyFans, however, she isn’t naked. Instead, all her photos are of her feet.

I suspect she’ll do very well for herself. The foot fetishist community is bigger than you might imagine. When I worked at a lads’ mag 20 years ago, I was startled by the sheer number of peculiar men who would write in, begging us to print close-up photos – even posters – of our glamour models’ feet. Sadly for these correspondents, we never obliged, on the grounds that, while such images would please the foot-fanciers, they would drive away absolutely everyone else.

I don’t mean to sound unkind. These poor men can hardly help themselves. All the same, there is one thing I would love to know.

Men with more conventional tastes may find a topless woman attractive, but would be embarrassed, even appalled, to see a woman go topless in a public place. Do foot fetishists apply similar standards? If they see a woman walking barefoot, for example on a beach, do they recoil in horror, and hurl a pair of socks at her?

“Have some basic decency, you wanton strumpet! Put them away!”


Pay to play

Americans would never have become the wealthiest people on Earth without keeping an eagle eye on the bottom line. But this ethos doesn’t just prevail in the boardroom. Evidently it also prevails in the home. Because an American mother has gone viral on TikTok after urging her fellow parents to start charging for playdates.

Whenever a friend of your children comes to play, she says, you should bill the friend’s parents for any costs incurred. She herself recently sent the mother of her infant daughter’s best friend an itemised bill for $15 (£11.73) of expenses, including fruit ($1), yoghurt ($1), “Sat on couch, wear and tear” ($1), and “Three trips to the bathroom” ($3).

Impressively entrepreneurial. Or possibly just mean. Either way, she isn’t actually the first to implement such a scheme. In the 1990s, when I was at secondary school, the father of one girl used to charge her friends for any fizzy drinks they consumed when they came round to see her. Yes, all right, so I did grow up in Scotland, but I can assure you that this was not standard practice, even in Edinburgh.

Still, since the idea now seems to be gaining traction, I suggest we pursue it to its logical end. Because, if we’re claiming back costs incurred by other people’s children, why not also claim back costs incurred by our own?

In Britain, raising a child is said to cost, on average, around £166,000. If you have a son or daughter, therefore, wake them up on their 18th birthday, and present them with the bill.


Way of the World is a twice-weekly satirical look at the headlines aiming to mock the absurdities of the modern world. It is published at 7am every Tuesday and Saturday

Advertisement