To say last week was wet is a bit of an understatement. For festival goers and cricket lovers it was a total washout. India's match against New Zealand at Trent Bridge on Thursday was the fourth match of the Cricket World Cup to be abandoned so far, and the third to be called off without a ball being bowled. This has already surpassed the previous highest number of washed-out matches in a World Cup - two in 1992 and 2003. Understandably frustrated fans have been offering up solutions to beat the rain. These range from building retractable roofs (unfeasibly expensive) and introducing reserve days (extending a tournament that is already seven weeks long), to not holding the cricket world cup in England and Wales! Friday, however, did provide a ray of sunshine. England dispatched the West Indies, with Joe Root smashing a century, and fans were treated to the sight of Chris Gayle doing the "floss" dance as he warmed up to bowl whilst still wearing his aviator shades. Must be all that Caribbean sunshine!
On Wednesday night, Arcadia Group's seven CVAs were narrowly approved, despite the group's biggest landlord, intu, voting against them. Intu's reaction to the CVA was emphatic stating, "we firmly believe that the terms of the Arcadia CVA are unfair to our full rent-paying tenants and not in the interests of any of our other stakeholders". There is no hiding the resentment here! On the face of it, Sir Philip Green - retail's no.1 pantomime villain - has been given a second chance, but the sense of a retail crisis pervades. Identifying the causes are easy (just start with the rise in online shopping and high business rates, and add a dose of Brexit). Finding solutions are not. The Weekly was therefore encouraged to read that retail specialists GCW had been to the small Belgian city of Roeselare, the poster city for retail innovation if you haven't heard of it, to see what positive steps can be taken at the town centre level. Bucking the trend of town centre decline, Roeselare's leaders have apparently created a 'smart' shopping city with a strong brand that now draws in visitors and consumers. Among a host of initiatives, they've invested in the public realm, improved accessibility, transformed the weekly market, introduced a programme of tax incentives to support traders and provided free city centre Wi-fi. And visitor numbers have soared as a result. Could the same be done in Gateshead or Ellesmere Port? That's questionable, but the future of our towns and high streets is a topic that will be closely examined at St Bride's Annual Seminar on Thursday.
The newspaper headlines this week have been dominated by the battle for the Tory leadership. The contest, however, is fast becoming a one horse race with Boris Johnson threatening to emulate the USA women's football team's performance over Thailand (a record 13-0) with a similarly emphatic victory. As the Spectator's James Forsyth neatly put it, "the only person who can stop Boris is Boris". So what will Boris be like as Prime Minister? Can he turn from Showman into Statesman? Few Londoners, for example, can have forgotten the indelible image of Boris hanging from a 20 ft zip wire in his suit whilst celebrating Team GB's success at the 2012 Olympics. Over the next few weeks Boris is going to be subjected to a forensic examination of every past gaffe (of which there are many) and misdemeanour (so far the only one he has admitted to is driving over 70 mph!). However, The Weekly has come up with a campaign strategy that might help him navigate these choppy waters. Step forward the now ex-White House Press Secretary, Sarah Sanders, who this week resigned from her post. If anyone is qualified to head up Boris's media relations team then it's the woman who has helped keep Donald Trump in office and was accused at The White House Correspondents' dinner last April of "burning facts". Sanders even told the press that "God wanted Donald Trump to be President". Now how do you argue with that??