I know HS2's cancelled. You know HS2's cancelled. So why go through the painful charade of announcing it?

From the diary of Rishi Sunak, taking the tough decisions one rail link at a time

IT’S hard to announce the cancellation of a train line that’s cost £57 billion and make it sound good for growth. So I’m not going to. Announce it that is, I’ve already cancelled it. 

‘It proves that I’m not afraid to take tough and unpopular decisions,’ I tell Gove, from my Peleton. ‘Not answering the question will be tough, and also unpopular. But that’s my decison.’

‘Well I suppose it fits with your pro-motorist stance.’ he agrees. ‘But it’s a bit like the Phillip Schofield affair. After a while it doesn’t matter what you say, everyone knows you fucked it.’

‘Is there any way the voters could just move on?’ I ask. ‘Forget it ever happened, which by and large it didn’t?’ ‘Do you think I’m transport secretary?’ he replies, not unfairly. ‘I’m housing.’

‘Then who’s transport?’ He consults Wikipedia and discovers it’s Mark Harper. ‘Anyway,’ I continue, never having heard of Mark Harper and his view in this being irrelevant, ‘that’s what I’m going to do. Just not say.’

‘That could be problematic as a comms philosophy,’ says Gove. ‘You struggled enough with the regional BBC. And also I’ll be briefing against you all conference. Mercilessly slating you raw.

‘Nothing personal,’ he continues, ‘and it won’t be with the savage joy that we brought Truss down last year. But a wounded prime minister at a conference in Manchester cancelling the HS2 route to Manchester? The year before a general election? That’s bloodsport.’

‘What if I don’t cancel HS2?’ I ask, my voice wavering only slightly. ‘You think we care?’ he says.

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We all camp in that tent: seven Bake-Off secrets by Alison Hammond

THE Great British Bake Off is back, with new host Alison Hammond initiated into its sordid world of cakes and implied sex. These are the things she didn’t know: 

We all camp in the tent

You’re not allowed to leave the tent once filming starts. You can stroll around the grounds but you’re sleeping under canvas, feeding off leftover confectionary for 12 weeks. It’s dark, cold and you’re disturbed at midnight by Prue getting another macaron. Fielding sleeps with a line drawn around his body in icing sugar and never disturbs it.

They make up to 30 cakes a day

Think the cakes on screen are the only ones they make? So did I, once. The team slaves away baking up to 30 cakes, roulades, cronuts, zabagliones, flans, tarts, all the fucking rest and that goes on for days. The heat is unbearable. Then they decide it wasn’t good enough and use CGI cakes instead.

Paul Hollywood is played by Daniel Day Lewis

When he said he was retiring after his third Oscar, he meant he was throwing himself into a new role so completely he would never emerge from it. The role of Paul Hollywood, the silver-haired Scouse shaker of hands who nobody would ever suspect was talented. He’s gone so deep he even votes Tory.

This year there’s a drugs week

Cannabis-laced brownies with a light mescaline glaze have always been a feature of Bake Off afterparties – it was Mary’s recipe – so we’ve brought in drugs week. Whether hash oil brandy snaps, LSD frangipane or opium puffs, we’ll be making it, sampling it, and staggering around off our tits.

The ghosts of Mel and Sue haunt the tent

‘They could not be allowed to leave,’ as Paul explains, ‘they knew too much.’ So I don’t know who’s out there but they’re in here, the unquiet dead dwelling in the proving drawers. They swap the sugar for salt, knock teaspoons off tables and weep ectoplasm into the jus. Fielding they’re fine with, he walks their dead lands.

Prue Leith is from the future

That’s why she dresses like that. Apparently altering timelines is a subtle business and she was sent back to do this to avoid a dystopian future. ‘Or they just wanted rid of me,’ she added, unsure.

It is a ritual to summon Lugh, god of the harvest

The old ways were not being observed, the old gods unhonoured. So under the guise of an evening light-entertainment format Love Productions created a ritual that would ensure good harvests year on year. Lugh – Celtic geezer – loves it. And when we do Celebrity Bake-Off that ushers in spring.