‘Chlorination chicken’ and other items on the Brexit menu

Planet Business: The week in fowl play, Japanese politics and brushes with death

The news in brief from Tokyo. Photograph: Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP/Getty Images

The news in brief from Tokyo. Photograph: Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP/Getty Images


In numbers: Brush with death


Years since Microsoft Paint has been part of the Windows operating system (basically, since the birth of Windows).

100 million

People who use MS Paint every month, according to Microsoft, which this week “cleared up some confusion”, saying MS Paint, reported to be have been killed off, will remain available for free in the Windows Store.


Years before Adobe Systems’ Flash Player will finally disappear. The plug-in is vulnerable and soon it will no longer be updated.

Image of the week: Tokyo tanking

Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe’s once invincible position is no more, as this thoughtful English translation from a rally in front of the parliament in Tokyo makes plain. After a string of scandals, most recently claims (denied) that Abe showed favouritism to a friend in a business deal, the government’s popularity has slumped to “death zone” levels. Abe resigned in 2007 after an earlier, briefer stint in power, but managed to stage a political resurrection and implement an economic recovery plan dubbed Abenomics, but now it looks like he might be, well, over.

Photograph: Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP/Getty Images

The lexicon: Chlorination chicken

“Coronation chicken”, a creamy chicken salad monstrosity, was conceived for Queen Elizabeth’s coronation lunch in 1953. “Chlorination chicken” is its Brexit-flavoured update for the 21st century. Liam Fox, UK trade minister and leading Brexiteer, was in Washington talking trade with Trump this week when the surprise focal point of a possible UK-US trade deal turned out to be poultry. In the US, chickens are washed in chlorine, which is not dangerous in itself, but the reason why alarms people on this side of the Atlantic: US farm and food safety rules, earlier along in the cycle, are regarded as less stringent than EU ones. Fox cried, um, fowl, telling the media to end its chicken obsession and the public not to be concerned: chickens imported from the US would represent the best of British values, or something.

Getting to know: Jeffrey Blue

Into each life some rain must fall, but it has definitely not been the sunniest of weeks for Jeffrey Blue, who has lost a court case against the Newcastle United owner and Sports Direct boss Mike Ashley over a £15 million “deal” allegedly made in a pub. Blue, an investment banker, claimed that during a night of heavy drinking in January 2013, Ashley had agreed to pay him £15 million if Sports Direct’s shares doubled to £8. They did just that in February 2014. Alas, the judge ruled that no would have thought what Ashley said in the pub was “serious” – a conclusion that should be applied to 90 per cent of pub conversations – and Blue now has to pick up Ashley’s legal bill. The case was notable for Blue’s claim that Ashley once vomited into a fireplace after a senior management meeting that was “effectively a pub lock-in”. Such a charming man.

The list: Trendy office eye-rolls

Deliveroo’s new headquarters in London boasts a “centre court”, on which no sport be played, unless you count the sport of attending large team meetings. The company is not the first, and it won’t be the last, to come up with silly names for bits of the office.

1. Thought wheels: “thought wheels” can be found at the BBC’s offices in Salford. It’s the space senior managers go when they’re trying to get to grips with the whole equal pay concept.

2. Rooms named after TV show characters: “Your critical team update is scheduled for 2pm in Fr Ted Crilly.” And so on.

3. Limbo: this story is so good, it might be apocryphal, but a worker at the company formerly known as Yahoo was once told his meeting was “in Limbo”, so he went back to his desk, assuming the venue had not been decided upon.

4. King’s Landing: at Instagram, workers and visitors will find various rooms named after places in Game of Thrones, which is very now, obviously, but might need a culture refresh by the time we hit the 2020s.

5. The “wall”: Facebook loves a good wall – a giant whiteboard on which workers can scribble anything they like, as long as it’s somehow weirdly profound.