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This week in Tortoise: Virginia

This week in Tortoise: Virginia

For all the reporting of Prince Andrew’s disgrace and the damage he’s done to the Royal Family, what do we know of the woman whose unswerving campaign has shown that a Prince can be held accountable? This week’s Slow Newscast is Virginia – Alexi Mostrous’ investigation into the determined life and powerful case of Virginia Roberts Giuffre. 

Number 10 admitted to us last week that Boris and Carrie Johnson had shuttled between Downing Street and Chequers in March 2020, when the prime minister had just told people to stay at home and stop non-essential travel. This week, as Lara Spirit continues to piece together the Johnsons’ “do as I say, not as I do” movements at the start of lockdown in 2020, look out this morning for her note on Chequers, Carrie and “the commuter”. This isn’t a story about staffers; it’s about the prime minister and his wife. 

The Sensemaker, I hope you’ve noticed, is trying to make sure we’re across some of the stories drowned out by the twin scandals consuming the UK right now. Today, we air the unlikely hope of progress on Iran’s nuclear deal – and for the people that Tehran has held in its prisons for years as human bargaining chips. 

And this week’s ThinkIns are intended to lean into some live arguments: 

Tonight at 6.30pm London time: Is Instagram bad for you? How much is Meta’s Instagram platform damaging, in particular, the health and safety of teenage girls?

Tomorrow night, Matt d’Ancona hosts a ThinkIn on the unfashionable question: is the NHS overrated? He’ll prompt us, at the very least, to consider whether we have lost the ability to talk about it honestly and critically. 

On Wednesday, the Open News meeting is open to you, ideas, suggestions and views that you think need exploring. I also think it would be a good opportunity to talk about the Downing Street comms operation. 

And, on Thursday, would privatisation be good for Channel 4? John Whittingdale, the former media minister, and Michael Grade, who’s been at the top of the BBC, ITV and Channel 4 itself, will be making the arguments for new ownership. We know others will disagree. But we think that civilised disagreement will get us to a better understanding. Please join us to discuss what, in every sense, Channel Four is worth. 

The news has kicked off this year at quite a pace; we’re trying to be the slow newsroom that makes some sense of it. As ever, we’d love to know what you think. 

Have a very good week. 


James Harding
Editor & co-founder