London’s separateness from the rest of Britain becomes more pronounced every yearLondon has always been different from the rest of the country. But in recent decades the differences have widened to the point that, economically and socially, the capital now has little in common with the rest of Britain. The city may be hosting the Olympics in July, but none of those attending should kid themselves that they have visited Britain.
Despite our government’s best efforts, we’ll probably never know why Neil Heywood diedDealing with China is never easy, as everybody from Margaret Thatcher (over Hong Kong) to Barack Obama (over everything from currency issues to who is going to be top dog in the Pacific) has discovered. Now David Cameron and William Hague find themselves embroiled in the biggest political earthquake in the People’s Republic since the protests that led to the killings in Beijing in 1989.
When Europe’s finance ministers meet for a group photo, it’s easy to spot the rebel — Anders Borg has a ponytail and earring. What actually marks him out, though, is how he responded to the crash. While most countries in Europe borrowed massively, Borg did not. Since becoming Sweden’s finance minister, his mission has been to pare back government. His ‘stimulus’ was a permanent tax cut. To critics, this was fiscal lunacy — the so-called ‘punk tax cutting’ agenda.
Why I’m proud to play the banjoThe death last week of legendary banjo player Earl Scruggs was marked by generous obituaries. He fashioned a style of playing now copied worldwide. In 2004, his instrumental ‘Foggy Mountain Breakdown’ — theme music for the 1967 film Bonnie and Clyde — was chosen by the US Library of Congress for the National Recording Registry. He died at 88. So, a good innings.
Eighty-five years ago the National Gardens Scheme was created and blighted gardens in the UK forever. And in this anniversary year we will be bored silly by the praises sung of it.Starting as a scheme to let everyone, even the hoi polloi, into posh gardens for a donation to charity, it now dominates the garden world, tainting all it touches. Somehow the belief has grown that the gardens under the scheme are great, quality gardens.