The Spectator

Barometer | 17 September 2015

Plus: How our railway is racing ahead; pylons to be proud of; Met Office summer predictions

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It’s their party

Jeremy Corbyn won the Labour leadership contest with 60% of the vote among four candidates in the first round. Which leader has the largest mandate from their party?

— David Cameron was elected in 2005 with 28% of the vote out of four candidates in the first round (held among MPs only). He won 68% of the party vote in the run-off with David Davis.

— Tim Farron won 57% of the Lib Dem vote this year. Only two candidates stood.

— Nicola Sturgeon was appointed as SNP leader unopposed last November.

— Nigel Farage was elected Ukip leader in 2006 with 45% of the vote (among four candidates) in a first-past-the-post system.

— Natalie Bennett was elected Green leader in 2012 with 59% in the final round of voting. She had won 41% in the first round, among four candidates.

All aboard

Rail usage has doubled since privatisation of the rail network in 1997/98. How does rail usage compare with countries which still have state-owned railways?

NO. OF RAIL JOURNEYS A YEAR PER RESIDENT

1998

UK

15.4

France

14.1

Germany

20.2

Netherlands

18.8

2013

UK

24.7

France

17.7

Germany

24.9

Netherlands

20.6

Source: Rail Delivery Group

Tall stories

National Grid announced that pylons will be removed from Snowdonia and other beauty spots at a cost of £11m each. Not every country is shy about their pylons. Which are the highest?

Zhoushan Island crossing, China (2010) 370 metres

Jiangyin Yangtze River Crossing (2003) 346m

Both are higher than the Eiffel Tower (324m). Britain’s highest pylon, at Thurrock, Essex, comes in at 190m. Its predecessor (which measured 148m) was the highest in the world when built in 1932.

Hot topic

The Met Office predicted cooler and drier summers for the UK in the next 20 years. Other Met Office long-term forecasts:

MARCH 2014 The UK is expected to see more milder, wetter winters and more hotter, drier summers in the future.

JUNE 2014 At the moment we are able to say that by the 2040s we can expect events [like 2003’s hot summer] to be normal.

JULY 2015 By 2100, a summer as hot as one we currently have every 20 years will occur in nine out of ten years.