This Week in the New Normal #92

Our successor to This Week in the Guardian, This Week in the New Normal is our weekly chart of the progress of autocracy, authoritarianism and economic restructuring around the world.

1. Rishi is throwing the election

We wrote in our piece on Rishi Sunak’s national service pledge that the Tories were not trying to win the UK’s upcoming election, this week only proves our point.

Firstly, on D-Day, Rishi left the ceremony early for unknown reasons, purely so he could be accused of disrespecting the troops. An absolutely ridiculous move for a Tory leader supposedly contesting an election. It could not be more obviously self-sabotaged if he’d turned up drunk and shirtless chanting “I love the Nazis, I wish we’d lost!”

It was also announced yesterday that the Tories will be suspending ALL social media campaigning due to “lack of funds”.

Couple that with Farage’s political rebirth “accidentally” splitting the Tory vote, and it’s pretty obvious what’s happening here.

2. UK “e coli outbreak” and the “unknown food item”

More anti-food news this week, when the UK’s Health Security Agency reported an “e-coli outbreak” that has so far resulted in 113 cases all across the country.

The weird thing is that despite publicly announcing it was likely linked to a “food product”, they have not released any details – no specific products, no brands, not even any particular type of food.

Which, basically, means one of three things is going on here…

  1. It’s a real outbreak, and they know what caused it, but some MPs have shares in the company responsible.
  2. It’s a real outbreak, and they know it has nothing to do with food but want to scare people and normalize “food warnings”.
  3. The whole thing is a psy-op and the vagueness spreads the widest possible net of suspicion whilst they do some backroom negotiations on who has to be the patsy.

Smart money right now is on 3, with the “food product” in question almost certainly being meat and/or dairy related.

3. Eating Bugs. Again.

Speaking of food, there’s been a sudden increase in “eat ze bugs” propaganda this week, with a particular focus on cicadas for some reason. An interview published a few days ago by Scientific American headlines:

Snacking on Cicadas Can Be Sustainable and Delicious

In it, Joseph Yoon – founder of Brooklyn Bugs and something called an “edible insects ambassador” – extolls the many virtues of eating cicadas, from the “nutty flavor” to the environmental benefits.

Meanwhile, Yahoo News wants you to know cicadas have “as much protein as red meat” and are “literally a superfood”, as well as the usual environmental stuff. The headline supposedly warns of “health risks”, but that’s just a veneer of impartiality, and only refers to potential allergies. It’s a puff piece through and through.

Body and Soul magazine suggests edible insects are “the snack of the future”.

ABC is weighing in too, asking:

Should people eat insects instead of meat?

…you’ll never guess what the answer is.

4. Europe’s First Biometric Check-outs

Credit giant Mastercard is teaming up with fintech company PayEye and Polish supermarket Empik to run Europe’s first pilot scheme for biometric checkouts.

Selected Empik stores across Poland will have biometric iris scanners installed at their checkouts, enabling customers to “pay with a glance”.

Isn’t technology exciting?

BONUS: Odd story of the week

British celebrity Doctor Michael Mosely went missing while on holiday in Greece five days ago, and yesterday a body was found which is now confirmed to be his.

This is very sad for his friends and family, to be sure…but I have no idea why it would receive wall-to-wall coverage across every major paper and news channel for over 48 hours straight. Can’t help but think it means something, but I couldn’t tell you what.

It’s not all bad…

This weekend marks the 75th Anniversary of the publication of Orwell’s seminal 1984, to mark it here are few of our favourite quotes, which are not as famous as others but just as relevant.

For example, his description of the purpose of war:

“The essential act of war is destruction, not necessarily of human lives, but of the products of human labour. War is a way of shattering to pieces, or pouring into the stratosphere, or sinking in the depths of the sea, materials which might otherwise be used to make the masses too comfortable, and hence, in the long run, too intelligent.”

The importance of individual, internal resistance:

“He was a lonely ghost uttering a truth that nobody would ever hear. But so long as he uttered it, in some obscure way the continuity was not broken. It was not by making yourself heard but by staying sane that you carried on the human heritage.”

And the nature of The Beast:

“The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power, pure power […] Power is not a means; it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power.”

And on a lighter note, here’s Bob Moran on the UK’s Election…


All told a pretty hectic week for the new normal crowd, and we didn’t even mention Putin announcing BRICS’ own payment system.

There’s a lot of change in the air, a lot of agendas in the works, if you see a headline, article, post or interview you think is a sign of the times, post it in the comments, email us or share it on social media and we will add it to the next edition.


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