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What Kind Of Week Has It Been? 12th October, 2012

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Stripping the news of its' titles for taking performance-enhancing drugs.

The world feels pretty bleak at the minute. The increasingly murky and shameful revelations about Jimmy Saville and the BBC's ineptitude to do anything about it at the time seem never-ending, and show a failure to protect the vulnerable from people of power is not limited to the church or to government agencies. And in Wales, a small girl vanishing without trace has rendered a whole community inconsolable.

On the economic front too things aren't just dismal, they're actually worse than estimated. According to the world's financial equivalent of a Victorian surgeon the IMF, the UK's economy won't actually grow by 0.2% as originally hoped (a pretty crappy hope to begin with) but rather it will contract by 0.4%. Despite this, George Osbourne is sticking manfully to his prepared script, still insisting we're all in this together. Except, as always the case with austerity, some people are further in it than others.

In such bleak times it's important people have a leader to look up to, to reassure them that better times are ahead, and worryingly, a lot of people seem to be pinning their hopes on Boris Johnson. This week has seen Bojo swamped like he'd just recorded Twist & Shout or supplied the faithful with juniper berries, while a circumspect and under pressure David Cameron strikes a figure not seen since the last time the Incredible Hulk went hitchhiking. Policy wise, the highlight of the Conservatives' conference came from Robocop Chris Grayling, who promises an easy ride for someone who beats the tar out of a burglar during a rush of invader-repelling adrenalin. Fair enough, except for the fact only seven people between 1990 and 2005 were prosecuted for such an activity. Although David Cameron probably needs all the extra votes he can get.

Speaking of which over in the States Barack Obama has a serious case of l'esprit d'escalier this week after allowing Mitt Romney another round of mortal combat, when he really should have finished him. He's hit back a little bit, zoning in on Mitt's resolution to crack down on that wasteful big government flunkie Big Bird, (with limited success, mind) but some old friends of his have helped his cause no end. Big Bubba Clinton is proving to be worth his weight in gold after a hyperactively mocking send up on "Moderate Mitt", while Snoop Lion has helpfully compiled a list of reasons why he's not voting for Romney, best among them "Bitch got a dancing horse". He has a point: would you trust Old Man Romney with his dressaged hoof on the nuclear button?

Obama may be a bit reticent wielding a killer blow but Australian PM Julia Gillard has no such problems in defending herself with aplomb. Generally perceived as being a weak Prime Minister, Julia has given the whole world pause for thought (not least the struck-dumb opposition leader Tony Abbott) by smacking him around so much she may need the help of Chris Grayling.

Gillard must be feeling on top of the world at the minute, but she may have to make room up there soon with Felix Baumgartner. Intending to jump out of a plane 23 miles up on Earth city limits and break the sound barrier wearing a hi-tech suit that looks like a Birds Eye bag to cook prawns in, Felix has been continuously scuppered by the weather. While Baumgartner is looking to try again Sunday, former world rally world champion Petter Solberg tried a similar feat himself. Alas, going very fast in a straight line until you hit ground doesn't really work as well when you replace plane in the desert with Ford Focus in a vineyard.