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Bitesized Blighty: February 8, 2019

Toyosi Adebayo

  • This year’s Cheltenham Festival may be impacted by a shutdown of British racing as a result of an outbreak of equine flu. Following the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) announcement of the shutdown on Thursday, concerns rose that the lockdown of 174 racing stables could extend beyond the middle of next week, as a result of fresh cases of the flu. As a precaution, the BHA decided to restrict movement of horses at the yards of 120 other trainers who competed at race meetings. Betfair, a betting agency which sponsors all seven Cheltenham Festival horse races, revealed that the shutdown will cost the bookmaking industry tens of millions of pounds and could get much worse if the outbreak is prolonged. Undeterred by the absence of racing stakes, bookmakers have started taking bets on how long the suspension will last. The odds on it being lifted before 18 February currently sits at 1/5, according to gambling odds aggregator Oddschecker, while the possibility of the suspension lasting until March 1 and beyond is priced at 5/1. The Cheltenham Festival is scheduled to begin on March 12 2019.
  • Do you love music? Do you find talent competitions endlessly entertaining? Are you excited by the prospect of an international singing contest? Then you’ll be glad to know that tonight at 7:30pm (2:30, EST), the UK public gets to decide this year's entry acts and songs to Eurovision 2019. The UK, along with France, Germany, Italy and Spain in a group known as the 'Big Five' countries, is traditionally prequalified each year to take part in the Grand Final of the song contest. For the competition, countries from all over Europe - and a few from outside Europe - send a song and performer(s) to sing in the contest. Each country can have a maximum of six people in their act, and the song must be no longer than three minutes and everybody has to sing live, but no live instruments are allowed. On 14 and 16 May, 36 out of 42 qualifying countries will perform in the Semi-Finals in hopes of making it to the Grand Final which is on May 18. This year, the competition is taking place in Tel Aviv, Israel.
  • Four Brexit remainer activists have raised £30k in a day for billboards condemning Brexit. The group who goes by the name ‘Led By Donkeys’ said they have been inspired by a sense of frustration about promises made by MPs and the reality felt and observed by the British public. The pro-remainer billboards are being put up in a guerilla-style campaign, with the activists keeping their identities anonymous. According to the activists, the posters expose politicians’ lies and hypocrisy over leaving the EU and they are appearing across the UK and features speeches and quotes given by prominent Brexiteer politicians. One example is a quote taken from a speech given in Parliament by Jacob Rees-Mogg, a leading Brexiteer MP, in which he says: “We could have two referendums. As it happens, it might make more sense to have a second referendum after the renegotiation is completed.”. This quote is a clear demonstration of the hypocrisy and lies promulgated by pro-Brexit politicians, as many have repeatedly spoken out against the prospect of a second referendum, especially since Theresa May’s Brexit plan was defeated in the Parliament earlier this year.

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