We should worry about what is happening to London. Our capital is, after all, the country’s economic powerhouse. It accounts for just under a quarter of Britain’s GDP. In fact, three of its now most deserted locations — the City, the West End and Canary Wharf — account collectively for an eighth of the nation’s output. There is a danger that short-term damage to London’s economy could become permanent unless the right steps are taken.
We are going to hear a lot about Test, Trace and Isolate (TTI) in coming weeks, as we approach autumn and fears of a second wave of Covid-19 grow. Now we have moved away from national lockdown but do not yet have a vaccine, the test-and-trace system is our main bulwark against a resurgence of the disease.
But how good a defence is it? A study published in the Lancet Child and Adolescent Health this week suggests there is a huge amount at stake.
As a boy, Douglas Ross, the new leader of the Scottish Conservative and Unionist party, had two interests: cows and football. Growing up on a dairy farm in Moray, he never aspired to hold political office. He enjoyed the solitude of early morning milking. ‘Some people like big tractors, other people like sheep. I was just really interested in dairy cattle, and Holsteins in particular,’ he explained earlier this year.
Now he finds himself faced with one of the more daunting tasks in British politics: thwarting Nicola Sturgeon and, in the process, preserving the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
Pangong Lake is the most unlikely of places for a naval conflict between two of the world’s nuclear-powers, India and China, with a third, Pakistan, looking on with not a little interest.
Lying some 280 miles east of Islamabad, 360 miles north of New Delhi and 2,170 miles west of Beijing, Pangong Lake is in the remote northern Himalayas. In 1905, the explorer Ellsworth Huntington said that its beauty could ‘rival, or even excel, the most famous lakes of Italy or Switzerland’.
Dear Prime Minister, You already have quite enough on your plate. So forgive me if I hoist a storm cone over another potential problem. I refer to the US presidential election on 3 November and the possibility of its ending in deadlock and confusion.
I was the British ambassador to Washington during the Bush/Gore election of 2000. The outcome hung in suspense for a month. Everything turned on which contestant had won more votes in Florida.
For the Scottish National party, the phrase ‘nanny state’ is not so much a criticism as an aspiration. This is the party that wanted to assign a state guardian to every child born in Scotland through its ‘named person’ scheme, only to be thwarted by the Supreme Court. Under Nicola Sturgeon’s leadership, there have been repeated attempts to regulate the eating and drinking habits of people, including proposed bans on two-for-one pizza deals and minimum pricing on cheaper alcoholic drinks.
Rather like unpacking after a holiday, when you take unworn clothes from the case still neatly folded because the occasion to wear them didn’t arise, unshown film sequences from my travel programmes are carefully edited and stored. The cancellation of this year’s long trip along the Spice Route made us look at these stories again; with not much prompting we have made three whole programmes from them. In the few years since we made these series the world has changed.
August, as usual, will be the busiest month for Britain’s amusement parks — which is odd when you consider that this will mean thousands of people who have been sitting indoors trying to avoid sickness now lining up for seats expressly designed to induce nausea.
There are amusement parks and there are theme parks. The latter often have rides named after movie franchises — or perhaps Peppa Pig — and can charge more for merchandise.