The Spectator

Barometer | 12 November 2015

Plus: police cameras and road deaths; commuting and happiness; football shares

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A marathon of cheats

Russian athletes may be stripped of the medals they won at the 2012 Olympics, but what of the earliest-known drug-taker in the modern Olympics? Thomas Hicks won the 1904 marathon in St Louis after taking two doses of brandy laced with strychnine.

—Hicks collapsed on the finishing line and had to be revived. There being no rule at the time against drugs, he was allowed to keep his gold medal.

— Not so a man who reached the finishing line ahead of him, fellow American Fred Lorz. He was disqualified after admitting that he had taken a car most of the way.

Police, camera, revenue

The police and crime commissioner for Bedfordshire is thinking of turning on speed cameras on the M1 24 hours a day. On which roads do most fatalities occur?


Urban A roads


Urban B roads


Urban minor roads


Extra-urban A roads


Extra-urban B roads


Extra-urban minor roads




Roads to happiness

According to the Office of National Statistics, 880,000 of us spend at least three hours a day commuting to work. Does it make us happy? Here are scores on the government’s new life-satisfaction measure, relative to people who commute up to 15 minutes a day.

16-30 mins


31-45 mins


46-60 mins


61-90 mins


91-179 mins


More than 180 mins


Sporting shares

Premiership footballers have lost millions investing in property. Have fans who invested in football clubs fared any better?

— Manchester United is quoted on the New York Stock Exchange, although the Glazer family continues to own 80% of the company. Investors could have bought the shares for $14 each when issued in August 2012. Last week they were trading at just over $18, a profit of 28%. No dividend.

—Celtic is listed on the London Stock Exchange. Over five years its shares have produced a 69% return and over ten years 79%. No dividend.

— Rangers was floated in 2000. Its shares were delisted from the Alternative Investment Market in April, making it hard for fans to realise any value remaining.