The Spectator

Barometer | 30 June 2016

Also in Barometer: great traffic jams of the world, Wimbledon prize inflation, rollercoaster risk factor

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More than three million voters disappointed by the result of the EU referendum have signed a petition demanding a re-run.

— They may have in mind the Danish referendum on the Maastricht Treaty in 1992, rejected by 50.7% of voters. A year later, after exemptions were offered to Denmark, the country voted again and approved the treaty by 56.7%.

— Or it could always go like the 1997 Winchester by-election. Having lost his seat by two votes in the general election, Conservative MP Gerry Malone challenged the result. In the re-run, Lib Dem Mark Oaten won with a majority of 21,556.

Jam yesterday

Concert-goers on the way to Glastonbury were stuck in a five-hour traffic jam. They were the lucky ones.

— In August 2010 motorists on National Highway 110 from Inner Mongolia to Beijing were caught in a 60-mile jam caused by roadworks. It lasted 11 days, with some motorists stuck for six days.

— In February 1980, motorists returning from skiing holidays caused a 109-mile jam on the A6 between Lyon and Paris.

— In April 1985 there was a 40-mile M1 jam between Milton Keynes and Rugby.

Singles market

The Wimbledon men’s singles champion will win £2 million, against £2,000 for the first professional championships in 1968. How much would winners get if the prize had merely gone up with RPI inflation?

Actual prize












£2 million

RPI adjusted













Bubbling up

Ten people were injured on a rollercoaster in Motherwell. How does the accident rate on such rides compare with that on ordinary trains?

— From 1990 to 2004 52 people died on rollercoasters, averaging 3.5 a year.

Source: International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions

— Americans take 1.7 billion rides a year, averaging around 1 mile, giving a fatality rate of two per billion passenger-miles.

— The death rate among US rail passengers is 0.15 per billion miles – making roller-coasters about 13 times more deadly.

Source: Research and Transport Economic, 2013