May 15, 2024 - 7:00pm

→ RFK Jr excluded from presidential debates

Joe Biden and Donald Trump have finally agreed to a debate date on 27 June and, at the President’s insistence, will be bypassing the Commission on Presidential Debates, which has hosted these events since the Eighties.

Biden’s campaign complained of the Commission’s handling of Covid-19 protocol in 2020, but a more likely rationale for the President preferring a news network debate is the opportunity to exclude independent candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr, who might gain the requisite 15% of national polling to qualify for the Commission’s debate. The CNN debate will require participants to appear on enough state ballots to reach 270 electoral votes, which in all likelihood would disqualify RFK Jr.

“Keeping viable candidates off the debate stage undermines democracy,” Kennedy wrote in response to the news. “If Americans are ever going to escape the hammerlock of the two-party system, now is the time to do it. These are the two most unpopular candidates in living memory.” Maybe next time. 

→ National Trust experiments with racial euphemism

The National Trust is embracing a trendy term for discussing non-white people.

The UK heritage organisation has announced plans to help 100 “people from the global majority” become walk leaders, joining a growing effort to help expand outdoorsmanship to a more racially diverse audience. The North Face, for example, offered a 20% discount in March to anyone who took an online course on inclusion which, among other things, taught that racial minorities need “affinity groups” where they can “learn about the outdoors without fear of being judged”.

The National Trust was apparently undeterred by the widespread backlash last year to its exclusion of Christmas and Easter from its charity calendar, as well as its more recent incursions into the culture wars.

The phrase “global majority” is meant to “decolonise language” by declining to “situate whiteness as the norm”. Perhaps “the global minority” will enter the lexicon as well…

→ BBC’s Ros Atkins to play Glastonbury

Coldplay. Shania Twain. Add to this year’s Glastonbury line-up that BBC News presenter who always pops up in dark shirts. The Beeb’s Ros Atkins, who has long moonlighted as a drum & bass DJ, announced today that he will be playing a set at the festival in June.

In a 2022 interview, the BBC’s News and Analysis Editor claimed he’d abandoned the decks but a change of a heart, and a series of sell-out gigs, has resulted in his invitation to play the Somerset festival. Atkins’s BBC colleague and jungle music aficionado Amol Rajan could serve as a warm-up act.