Society Diary: Boris, chips, cats and dogs

10 Aug 2018 Voices

Onyx, cat resident at the Dog's Trust Merseyside

Warm Friday wishes, readers! There are reasons aplenty to be cheerful this weekend: it has finally rained, the football’s back and we have a new Civil Society Strategy.

At more than 100 pages long, it’s just a shame that nobody outside the charity sphere seems to have taken an interest. Charities minister Tracey Crouch did her best to talk up the strategy on BBC Breakfast yesterday until presenter Naga Munchetty got bored and started interviewing her instead about the real story of the week: whether or not Boris Johnson is a racist buffoon.

Letter boxes

For those who missed it, The Real Marigold Hotel star Stanley Johnson’s son wrote an article for the Telegraph in which he said women who choose to wear a burqa look like letter boxes and bank robbers. This has led to criticism from many quarters including many Muslim women and politicians from all major parties.

And a charity Tell MAMA has already reported that a Muslim woman was taunted by two pensioners in a doctor’s waiting room while coverage of Johnson’s speech was broadcast.

For her part, Crouch criticised Johnson and said he failed to show Muslim women the same level of respect she had shown him recently. “A few months ago actually I was quite critical of people who were mocking Boris for the way that he looked when he went out running […] And now I feel that level of respect I tried to show him and defended him in that debate has been cast aside."

The day before, newly appointed culture secretary Jeremy Wright, had given a more measured criticism about BoJo, where he kept saying it was important to have a "robust conversation".

And with plenty of other commentators, depressingly including comedy legend Rowan Atkinson, defending Johnson’s words on grounds of “free speech”, Diary looks forward to many other think pieces from people who don’t know the difference between a burqa and a niqab bravely telling Muslim women how funny they look.

Weegie chips

In charity dieting news, Obesity Action Scotland (OAS) has warned that chip portions in Glasgow are 80 per cent larger than recommended.

OAS visited 30 takeaways in the city during May and found the average serving was 380g, compared to the 210g official portion size set out by the Food Standards Agency in 2002.

Programme lead Lorraine Tulloch said: "From our study, we see a portion of chips has grown significantly since 2002. Today's average bag of chips contains around half of the recommended calorie intake for a woman for an entire day. It is no wonder that people can put on weight so easily.”

Obviously obesity is no laughing matter, but Diary can’t help seeing this as a ringing endorsement of the value for money that chip shop owners in Glasgow are determined to give their customers.

In this 5p sugar tax world, where customers in Glasgow are now being sold watered-down Irn Bru disguised as the original recipe, a few extra chips feels like the least they deserve.

Also, Diary would have loved to have been part of the research team in Glasgow. Sampling generous portions of chips in the name of research sounds like a great way to spend a month.


Finally, in celebration of International Cat Day on Wednesday, Dogs Trust Merseyside made an exception to their usual line of work and took in an adorable black kitten.

According to the charity, a man came into the rehoming centre on Wednesday evening and handed over the cat, which the charity has nicknamed Onyx.

Rehoming centre manager Georgina Lowery said: "We don't know if the kitten belonged to him or he had found it. From what he said we were left uncertain.

"We think he is about five months old but he isn't microchipped so we have no way of finding out if he is missing from a loving home. He is absolutely gorgeous and we have called him Onyx after the black gem stone as he is a precious little thing."

It is lucky for Onyx that it was International Cat Day or presumably the charity would have left him to fend for himself on the streets.

Anyway, Diary hopes Onyx is getting on well with his dog housemates. And if Onyx's owner doesn't turn up, Diary would gladly welcome him as Civil Society Media’s office pet.


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