February 15, 2024 - 6:02pm

→ Joe Biden’s TikTok gets off to a shaky start

Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks? Joe Biden’s decision to join TikTok this week might have been criticised by Republicans over potential national security concerns, but perhaps more disappointing for the commander-in-chief is how flat his output has been (see below).


dark brandon

♬ original sound – Biden-Harris HQ

So far Biden has gained only 137,000 followers which, compared to another veteran politician over the Atlantic, is pretty paltry. Today, Politico ran a story on how Nigel Farage has been “stealing a TikTok march” with his half a million followers on his personal account and boosting support for his party, Reform UK. “With almost 47,000 followers, nearly 600,000 likes and millions of views on their videos,” it writes, “Reform UK is by far the most successful political party on the app in the U.K.” Whether or not Team Biden takes its cue from Farage’s TikTok operation, one thing he should watch out for: make sure your team isn’t liking videos they shouldn’t be

→ Losing track of London’s new train names

Today the Mayor of London made a bold and agenda-setting announcement: that London’s Overground trains would be getting new names to “reflect London’s rich local culture and history”. Though we were spared an NHS line (the parallels with delays and strikes were all too obvious), these new names (Lioness line, Windrush line etc. ) are very much ideologically simpatico.

As Mary Harrington writes for UnHerd, out are history’s great men and in are ” structural forces, “systemic” ills and other more nebulous dynamics”. But there’s also a bigger problem: just how historically accurate are these lines? Helen Lewis points out that the Mayor’s promotional tweet for the Suffragette line features a statue of Millicent Fawcett — who “rather notoriously, was not a Suffragette”. The one problem with a ‘Current Thing’ approach to history is that a lot of those pesky facts get in the way of a convenient narrative.

→ Tucker Carlson’s tour of Moscow

Since his two-hour-long sit-down with Vladimir Putin, Tucker Carlson has been taking his viewers on a Lonely Planet tour of Moscow. Marvelling at low grocery prices and the efficiency of Moscow’s subway system, Carlson wondered why the US could not attain something similar. “How does Russia — a ‘gas station with nuclear weapons’,” asked Carlson, “have a subway station that is nicer than anything in our country?”

Unfortunately, Tucker’s praise for Moscow did not appear to feed back to Putin, who told state broadcasters this week that he “didn’t get complete satisfaction” from the interview because “I honestly thought he would be aggressive and ask so-called sharp questions…But he chose a different tactic.” Even if Putin is trolling Carlson, as a New York resident I certainly sympathise with his subway critique: a first-world city with third-world infrastructure.