Friday Fizz: The "seat of our pants" edition

The Friday Fizz is Not Enough Champagne's review of the week. You can read previous instalments here.


The top story today is obviously the breakthrough in the Brexit negotiations. As we are recording a podcast on this tomorrow, we will say very little on that today. Instead here are some stories that have not quite got the coverage they deserve.

1. Martin Shultz has said that the SPD may be interested in forming a grand coalition on Germany. Also, in "let's torpedo the hopes of Remainers" news, he's also tweeted that a United States of Europe should be created, and anyone who doesn't accept that should leave. EEA membership, anyone?

2. A report showing a modest improvement in reading scores for children in England has been seized on by Nick Gibb, the schools minister, for showing the success of the coalition introducing phonics to schools. A strange claim, seeing as the results have been improving since 2006 and phonics was introduced by Gordon Brown's administration in 2008. Worrying is that 26% of the 10-year olds surveyed said they were hungry "Every or almost every day".

3. Momentum are being investigated by the Electoral Commission into their election spending during June's election.

Old, New, Borrowed and Blue

Old: Tomorrow we record our final episodes of 2017 (well, unless the government falls) in which we are looking back on this year. Listen to the episode we recorded this time last year looking forward to 2017 below.

New: Our latest podcast is about the coalition talks in Germany.

Borrowed: Jonathan Freedland is typically good on Donald Trump's decision to pour petrol on a smouldering fire in the middle east.

Blue: James Frayne is one of the more interesting Conservative commentators, and people inside and out of Downing Street should read his contribution on Conservative Home this week.

Pop culture Recommendation

I've just finished the audiobook Babylon Berlin, which is excellently read by Mark Meadows. He also read Empire of Things, one of the best history books I've read over the past twelve months. Volker Kutchser's novel's plot owes a bit to LA Confidential (thanks to my wife for pointing this out) but has enough plot twists and period touches to make it a more than very good detective story.

That's all for this week. Enjoy the snow!