Stand aside, everyone: the Conservative cowboy builders are back on the job | Marina Hyde

‘Build, build, build,’ gibbers Boris Johnson, as the party that bodged everything now wants to tell us how it will fix things

“We will double down on levelling up … We will invest … to fuel the animal spirits … We will not just bounce back, we will bounce forward.” Thus gibbered Boris Johnson this morning, sounding exactly like Franklin D Roosevelt shortly after the latter’s massive intracerebral haemorrhage. Or, as the prime minister put it of his “new deal” spending plans to restart the UK economy after coronavirus, announced today in Dudley: “it sounds positively Rooseveltian.”

Related: Boris Johnson refuses to rule out tax rises to fund recovery plans

Continue reading…

John Naughton: Is it payback time for Apple as the EU goes after its licences to print money? | John Naughton

The US giant faces a probe into its lucrative App Store and, more interestingly, the tech behind its phone payment system

On 16 June, the European commission opened two antitrust investigations into Apple’s App Store and Apple Pay practices. The first investigation will examine whether Apple has broken EU competition rules with its App Store policies. The second investigation is into whether restrictions imposed by Apple on the near field communication (NFC) capability of its iPhone and Apple Watch mean that banks and other financial institutions are prevented from offering NFC payment systems using Apple kit.

Let’s take the App Store first. When Apple unveiled the iPhone in 2007, it created an amazing new opportunity for software developers and, of course, for Apple itself. Because the new phone was basically a powerful handheld computer, that meant it could run smallish programs, which came to be called apps. And because it had an internet connection those programs could be efficiently distributed across the net. From this came the idea that Apple should set up an App Store to which developers could upload their programs. Apple, being a control-freak corporation, would vet those apps before they appeared on the store and would levy a 30% commission on sales. It seems like a great idea.

Given that Microsoft was the original digital monopolist, this is a case of the slag heap calling the kettle black

Continue reading…

Chatham County Line – Strange Fascination

This was brought to my attention by FRUK and by my Spotify new music feed due to the title track and lead “single” featuring multi Moon offender Sharon Van Etten. They are are from Raleigh, North Carolina, Trumpyland and they are described as a bluegrass band, but this LP is very much a straight up Americana rock n’ roll record with top quality songs.

It is their 8th LP of new material and they look to be one of those American artists that are very successful in the US and in parts of Europe, but are not given much attention in Benighted Blighty due to the bluegrass or county categorisation.

Richard Desmond is an endlessly mutating affliction. We must be on the fifth spike of him | Marina Hyde

It’s such a tonic to see the porn publisher back in the headlines after Robert Jenrick intervened to approve his £1bn development

Richard Desmond’s autobiography is called The Real Deal: The Autobiography of Britain’s Most Controversial Media Mogul. You know it’s good because it received a five-star review in the Daily Express. Hard to pick a favourite passage, but I’d probably go with the bit where Desmond calls Rupert Murdoch “a worthy opponent”. Sad to think that Murdoch will one day go over the Reichenbach Falls at Desmond’s hand – but ultimately, that is what you get when you’re the Moriarty to Richard’s Clouseau. Imagine the show that Succession could have been, if they’d only had the ambition to be inspired by a proper magnate.

Still, it’s such a tonic to see Desmond back in the headlines. He’s resurfaced over this business of his £1bn Westferry Printworks property development that housing minister Robert Jenrick personally intervened to approve, only to later accept he acted unlawfully due to “apparent bias”. Up until Sunday, it had seemed as if Jenrick was getting away with this story that we’d all be talking about if only there weren’t all the other stories. And he probably still will.

Related: In Boris Johnson’s long history of lies, the Marcus Rashford one is the strangest | Simon Hattenstone

Continue reading…

Fassine – Forge

Fassine are a trio from London in Benighted Blighty and they were brought to my attention by GIITTV on the release of the single Magpie. It is their 3rd LP and the brilliant Magpie is one of the most straigforward tracks on a wonderfully strange and cinematic Top Pop album that would be right at home on the Killing Eve soundtrack.