'Is that a sword?' I ask. 'Like it? It's new,' says Penny, tossing her hair

From the diary of Rishi Sunak, Britain’s technical prime minister

SHE’S not carrying it. It’s just casually holstered at her waist, like everyone’s rocking the everyday accessory of a sword and swordbelt. 

‘Is that-‘ I say, fearing the answer. ‘A sword?’ she replies, cheeks pink with pride. ‘Yes. It’s Lord Nelson’s in fact. I borrowed it from the Navy. The admiral’s an older gent. Very accommodating, not like you.’

‘Ah,’ I say, stalling for time. Because I already knew about the sword. Everybody knew about the bloody sword. We’d all seen her Instagram this morning. Akshata was particularly harsh about it.

Judging discretion the better part of valour, I don’t repeat my wife’s comments about ‘that bloody Valkyrie getting all the plaudits’ or indeed the Coronation being ‘shit’ with ‘a lower per-head spend than our wedding’. Penny is, after all, armed.

‘I think only Black Rod’s allowed a sword in here,’ I say, lamely. ‘Rules rules rules,’ she says. ‘Not as important as winning the hearts of the people, are they? Not as important as losing a thousand councillors, are they?’

‘You see,’ she adds, ‘Fortune has favoured me. I’ve found my thing. A little bit magician’s assistant, a little bit Boudica, a little bit dominatrix. The answer was a sword all along.

‘And now I’ve got this, do we really need you? Losing culture wars? Losing to the Blob on Brexit? Losing every leadership election you’ve entered? Mm?’

‘I’m prime minister,’ I say, breathing heavily. ‘And I’m fucking Britannia,’ she says, a glint in her eye. I note I am uncomfortably aroused.

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I'm so bloody full I feel sick: The gammon food critic tackles an all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet

Restaurant reviews by Justin Tanner, our retired food critic who thought the Coronation was fucking great

AMERICAN TikTokers, slagging off our good old British Chinese? Who do they think they are? That’s our national Friday night cuisine. 

I was so patriotically outraged on behalf of our Chinatown cousins, particularly Tony at the Sun Lok, I decided it fell to me to prove there’s nothing wrong with going for a Chinese. And doubling down.

So after a few sharpeners, I rock up at the all-you-can-eat buffet. I explain I’m Covid-negative, because I imagine they’re still concerned about the pandemic they started, and make a joke about skipping the crispy fried bat. They don’t laugh as much as they should.

I’m shown to my table in curt silence, a sign of respect to paying guests in their culture, and there’s the first problem. Chopsticks.

Fuck’s sake. I’ve tried these before, always pissed, and you burn off more calories than you’re getting on board. It’s no wonder they’re all so tiny if they can only eat what they can pick up with bloody knitting needles.

I get the proper cutlery and get in the buffet queue. And they’ve provided enough. Actual fucking banquet. Could keep the poor homeless Army veterans living on the Birmingham streets fed for weeks. Mind you, keep away from those lads, they’re dangerous.

It’s a marvellous example of Britain working with other cultures to make those cultures better. Sesame prawn toast? Inspired by sliced white bread. Chicken and noodle soup is from Heinz and chow mein, which is really nothing more than posh Pot Noodle.

I load up, going heavy on the Cantonese-style sweet and sour even though that irritates me as a concept. Sweet AND sour? They need to make their minds up. It can’t be both.

All that, prawn crackers, spring rolls, pork balls, beef in black bean sauce, ribs, trip after trip to the buffet until I’m groaning as much as my plate is. My bowels will be clogged like an Army shithouse.

Having fought prejudice with my gluttony, I get the bill and a fortune cookie. Each message is handwritten in Mandarin and bespoke to each guest. Looks like squiggles, but it’s a classy touch.

I’m halfway home when I realise mine says ‘fat cunt’ upside-down. Bloody charming. You give them Hong Kong back and that’s the gratitude you get.