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What Kind Of Week Has It Been? 5 October 2012

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Doing for the week's news what Rory McIlroy does for cutting it fine.

This week has been a busy one for me, as I moved to Manchester, and among the first things I saw were a budding singer being tortured telekinetically by Nicole Scherzinger, a man dancing in a carelessly louche fashion at the ballroom door of a cabaret singer's gig in our hotel, and Labour Party delegates in town for their yearly conference.

This was billed as a make or break speech for Ed Milliband this year (though in fairness, when is it not?) and oddly enough, not only did he not suck, he actually did very well. He even tried to audaciously nick the phrase "One Nation", which over the years has become shorthand for a Tory you find reasonable/don't bloody hate. But, as a rebranding strategy it may have a limited shelf life, as Milliband's Business spokesman Chuka Umuna couldn't define it with both hands and a flashlight on Newsnight this week.

This week may have given Milliband's lamentable personal numbers a bit of a boost but the party's own quite healthy polling figures will certainly be helped by the government's almost comical mishandling of the West Coast Mainline franchise. Basically put, Virgin lost the license to First Trains because civil servants forgot to carry the one. This caused new Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin, who recently had backed his Sir Humphreys to the hilt, to cut them loose and decry them as totally unacceptable. Meanwhile, former Transport Secretary Justine Greening must be searching frantically for a swallow hole big enough to jump in.

Meanwhile across the pond the first debate of the US Presidential season got underway on Wednesday night. By common consent not a great deal happened, but an on-script Romney performed better than a languid, rusty Obama. Whether Romney's performance will have any effect on his sagging numbers remains to be seen, but Glenn Beck has a theory: He's only behind because God wants to make it a miracle when he wins. Obama, meanwhile, seems to have packed up the debating malarky once he got that new job four years ago and could stand taking Samuel L Jackson's advice to apathetic voters, and wake the fuck up.

South of the border, down Costa Rica way, it seems people who know the way to San Jose will now also know where they're going once they get to the city, because they've erected their very first street signs. According to the Mayor, it will make his life so much easier not directing people to his house using a Pizza Hut as a point of reference. Mind you, most cities that have had signs for years still do that.

Costa Rica is probably billed "Madrid Airport West" by Ryanair, but in spite of being the world's most obnoxious businessman (especially impressive given what a crowded field that is) this week he still managed to add another brick onto his skyscraping tower of obnoxious Jenga. Apparently, he's underpaid at €1.2 million a year. Those taxes and charges are a bitch, eh Michael?