On hearing that many of her subjects could not afford to buy bread, Queen Marie Antoinette replied “Qu’ils mangent de la brioche”—“Let them eat cake.” As may be imagined, this went down badly with les citoyens français, who would have loved to have got their hands on a couple of brioches, given that they could not even afford a mouldy baguette. Two centuries on and the United Kingdom, one of the richest economies in the world, is providing food for its struggling citizens by way of food banks. Among those making use of this facility are nurses, currently on strike for the first time in their history. The starting salary for a nurse is some £27,000 and more senior nurses may earn £35,000. Reminder – these people have your life in their hands. They went through the Pandemic with inadequate protection, working around the clock and putting their own lives at risk; indeed, many died. Every Thursday night, as the clock struck 8, we stood on our door steps applauding and banging saucepan lids to show our appreciation of their efforts. Except that our appreciation does not run to paying them properly for those efforts. They could earn much more in McDonald’s and get free burgers to boot. And fries.
This week, as another round of strikes began, Simon Clarke MP, a former Cabinet Minister, but now relegated to the back benches by Rishi Sunak, thought it would be a good idea to criticise the nurses’ claim that some of them had to use food banks. In Clarke’s opinion, anyone earning £35,000 a year (which not all of them do), was clearly not budgeting properly and “my message is everyone needs to take responsibility in their lives’. This from the man who was Chief Secretary to the Treasury under Johnson, was Secretary of State for Levelling Up for about 10 minutes in a government led by Truss, and who was an enthusiastic advocate for Brexit, which everyone but its most misguided supporters now admit is not what it was supposed to be and which has failed to lead us into the sunlit uplands in which we were supposed to frolic.
An MP earns £84,000 a year and Cabinet Ministers get another £65,000. Clarke also trousered £16,876 severance pay on getting the boot from the Cabinet. He further claimed £220,000 in expenses last year, including rent in London of £2,400 pounds a month, office expenses and travel (First Class of course) to and from his constituency in Teesside. Plus someone contributed £5,000 pounds, multi-millionaire “Lord” Zac Goldsmith gave him £7,500 pounds and Clarke and his partner, whoever that unfortunate person may be, got £1,200 worth of Wimbledon tickets. Which is a lot of baguette and brioche; not only that, it is baguette and brioche thickly spread with artisanal butter and the most expensive confitures. In other words, this public-school educated Oxford graduate, who trained as a solicitor before going to work for Dominic Raab, is an absolute tool, ignorant, spoiled and tone-deaf in common with many of his colleagues on the Tory benches. The Tories have been in power since 2010. They have trashed the National Health Service, which is on its knees. Clarke is (over)paid from the public purse, he has cocked up everything he has put his hand to, and he now has the temerity to open his mouth and criticise people paid a wholly inadequate wage, people who actually do something useful, and who do not have the benefit of heavily subsidised, exquisitely cooked lunches and dinners in the House of Commons, and who have to pay their own fares to work. Not to put too fine a point on it, Simon Clarke should shut the fuck up.
Our survey of this week’s sartorial sludge comes from the Red Carpet at the 2023 Critics’ Choice Awards in Los Angeles, where actors various paraded about in borrowed finery. We start with Marcia Gay Harden wearing One/Of.
This is certainly One/Of. One/Of the worst things WTF has seen for a while, not least because it doesn’t fit, not even at all, and also because it appears to be a recycled damask curtain with a plume of black fumes blowing out of her bottom, like the Smoke Monster in Lost. Why is there a This-Way-To-My-Minge black arrow effect?
Marcia gains extra minus points for the blotchy marmalade legs with matching blusher.
Anya Taylor-Joy wearing Dior.
Dior!!??!!??!!?? Mais non! Mon Dieu! That is so NOT Anya’s colour, as she is already pinky beige enough without more pinky beige to go over the pinky beige. Also, WTF has a question. Here it is. If you are going to line a dress, why stop above the crotch? As WTF remarked of Prince Harry last week, either piss or get the pot. This looks like the lovechild of a tailor’s dummy and a pair of those very overpriced Gucci tights. And she has a cottage loaf on her head.
Julia Garner, wearing Ferragamo.
This is like a Mark Rothko with added minge moment and bellybutton detail. We can but be thankful that she added a bralet from Skims to avoid full nippleage.
WTF also hates the shoes, which look like silken door-stops with straps.
Sebastian Stan, wearing Givenchy.
Yurgle. He is handsome, but even he cannot carry off wearing a crappy tee shirt with a cummerbund. Is this the beginning of a new trend? Because this new trend is bad. Very bad. What is next? A nappy and a bow tie?
The baby looks cute. But then, he’s a baby.
Elle Fanning wearing Alexander McQueen.
In between leaving her hotel and arriving at the ceremony, Elle was set upon by a vicious gang which tore her dress to shreds, rather like Cinderella when the Ugly Sisters attacked her and destroyed her gown.
Natasha Lyonne wearing Gucci.
We seem to have entered a fairytale phase. We have had Cinderella and her tatters and now we have half Wicked Witch, half black beetle, with poor Natasha teetering on sky-high heels and looking as miserable as sin.
Quinta Brunson wearing Robert Wun.
Dear me, she looks like she is being devoured by a grizzly bear.
Meanwhile, WTF deplores a turd topknot almost above all things, and that is a particularly large turd.
And finally, here is Devery Jacobs wearing Simone Rocha.
WTF is occurring? Everything from the neck down is ugly, from the suit to the I’m-yomping-into-Baghdad-boots to the thing hanging off the suit, which seems to be a pair of painter’s overalls made from a bundle of sheets.
This week’s It’s Got To Go comes from WTF aficionado WTF who is fed up with the freezing weather and the inability of trains, planes, cars, buses and roads to cope with it. We are told we will have a hot summer, even hotter than the one we had in 2022, and that was bloody hot. And then the trains, planes, cars, buses and roads will be unable to cope with that as well. Come on, people! The climate has changed. This is our life now. Get with the programme. Stop being so useless. It’s Got To Go.
OK Readers, that’s your lot for this week. Get those comments coming in and make WTF smile and she needs to smile, trust me. As for your excellent suggestions for It’s Got To Go, it is a pleasure to receive them. Let us meet again next Friday. Be good x
Oh dear. I wish I had cheering words. You’ve cheered me up (nice baby!, the rest, well, yeah, ’nuff said) but I lack the knack. Maybe the thought counts?
(Seriously, you’re in London, right? Go to the orchid show at Kew, starting Feb 4 and continuing for about a month. Wandering around among flowers always helps me to forget problems for a while. It might work for you too?)