The Spectator

Barometer | 26 January 2017

Also in Barometer: what drew bigger crowds than Obama or Trump? And Mrs Thatcher’s Rover test drive

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Nuclear near-misses

It was revealed that last June an unarmed Trident missile test-fired off Florida from a British submarine headed in the wrong direction, towards the US. Some other accidents involving nuclear weapons:

24 Jan 1961 A B52 bomber exploded in mid-air after taking off from Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in North Carolina. Three of the four activation devices on one of the two hydrogen bombs it was carrying were turned on.

8 Dec 1964 A B-58 caught fire on the ground at Bunker Hill Air Force Base in Indiana. The nuclear bomb on board was burned but did not explode.

18 Sept 1980 A worker at Little Rock Air Force Base dropped a spanner on a Titan II missile, causing an explosion in which the warhead was blasted 100 feet — without being set off.

Crowd sourcing

Some events that drew bigger crowds than either Barack Obama or Donald Trump.

Kumbh Mela, Hindu pilgrimage at Allahabad, India, 2013

30 million

Arba’een pilgrimage, Karbala, Iraq, November 2016


Ayatollah Khomeini’s funeral, Tehran,

June 1989


Open air mass by Pope Francis, Manila, January 2015


Democracy and Martyrs Rally, Istanbul, August 2016


Parade to celebrate Chicago Cubs’ victory in World Series, November 2016


Coronation of Elizabeth II, London,

June 1953


The lady’s not for reversing

Downing Street was worried Mrs Thatcher would prang a new Rover while reversing it during a test drive before the cameras in 1986. How dangerous is it to reverse?

No. of vehicles damaged in accidents in 2012

Turning right


Waiting to go ahead but held up


Turning left




Overtaking moving vehicle




Overtaking stationary vehicle


Source: Department for Transport

What brings in more?

How do receipts from business rates in England compare with those of council tax?

Business rates

Council tax

£20.7bn - 2011/12


£21.6bn - 2012/13


£20.6bn - 2013/14


£22.4bn - 2014/15


£23.2bn - 2015/16