Rotherham Borough Council took away three children from foster parents because they belonged to the UK Independence Party. ‘If the party mantra is, for example, ending the active promotion of multiculturalism I have to think about that,’ said Joyce Thacker, Rotherham’s Strategic Director of Children and Young People’s Services. Rochdale Council said that 12 of its workers were being investigated following the conviction last May of nine men who ran a child sex ring. Greater Manchester Police said that boys ‘were victims of physical and sexual abuse’ by the late Sir Cyril Smith, the MP for Rochdale, in the 1960s. Boris Johnson was mistaken for Boris Becker in Delhi on a tour promoting London business.
Mark Carney, the Governor of the Bank of Canada, was named by George Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, as the Governor of the Bank of England from 1 July in succession to Sir Mervyn King. The Financial Services Authority fined the Swiss bank UBS £29.7 million for failings that led to the jailed trader Kweku Adoboli losing it £1.4 billion. David Cameron, the Prime Minister, after returning from a stymied EU budget summit, told the House of Commons that a deal was ‘still doable’. Lord Justice Leveson published a long report on press standards. Dinah Sheridan, who starred in Genevieve, died, aged 92. Firemen removed part of the roof of a house in St Albans, Hertfordshire, and rescued a man still impaled on the leg of a table in the loft; he recovered in hospital.
Hundred of houses were flooded after days of rain. The Exe swept over the railway at Exeter. The Avon flooded Marlborough, Wiltshire. The Elwy flooded St Asaph, Denbighshire. At Kempsey, Worcestershire, pumps failed that formed part of a new £1.5 million flood-protection scheme. Of the 878,000 people who joined the government’s welfare-to-work programme between June 2011 and July 2012, only 31,000 had found a job for six months — 3.53 per cent, compared with the 5 per cent target. Nadine Dorries returned to England from Australia, after being voted off I’m a Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here!, and discussed her suspension from the Conservative party with the Chief Whip. Police closed Whitehall for more than two hours when a naked man sat on the head of the equestrian statue of the Duke of Cambridge.
President Mohammed Mursi of Egypt issued a decree prohibiting any authority from revoking his decisions, and barring judges from dissolving the assembly drawing up a constitution. His action came a day after the ceasefire between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, which he had been praised for negotiating. Tens of thousands protested against the decree in Tahrir Square, Cairo. Ten children were reported killed by a bomb dropped by a Syrian government aeroplane on the village of Deir al-Asafir, east of Damascus. More than 20 people were killed by car bombs in Damascus. The body of Yasser Arafat, the first president of the Palestinian Authority, who died in 2004, was exhumed for tests in Russia, Switzerland and France to see if Polonium 210 or other poisons killed him. A second person in Saudi Arabia died of a respiratory illness from a newly identified coronavirus, thought by some to come from bats.
More than 17,000 gathered in Doha, the capital of Qatar, for the 18th Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Mostly Tutsi rebels of the M23 group, led by General Bosco ‘Terminator’ Ntaganda, remained in control of eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. More than 100 died in a fire at the Tazreen Fashion factory in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh. Larry Hagman, who played JR in Dallas, died, aged 81.
President François Hollande of France threatened to nationalisation the Arcelor Mittal steel plant, whose owners want to sell two furnaces. Thousands of dairy farmers, protesting at falling prices, sprayed fresh milk at the European Parliament and at riot police in Brussels. ‘In Europe there are some who would feel that their heart would be lighter if the UK left the union,’ Mario Monti, the Prime Minister of Italy, said on television. In regional elections in Catalonia, the centre-right CiU party of President Artur Mas lost 12 of its 62 seats, out of the total of 135, and another separatist party, the left-wing ERC, won 21. The Pope created six new cardinals from outside Europe, bringing the number eligible to elect the next pope to 120, the maximum allowed. Millions of hotel room card-locks were said to be vulnerable to a simple electronic device that could open them in seconds. CSH
This article first appeared in the print edition of The Spectator magazine, dated 1 December 2012