Do 20mph speed limits really save lives?

Within limits Do 20mph speed limits save lives? – A 2018 report by Atkins/AECOM/UCL found that 51% of motorists conformed to the new limit (47% in residential areas and 65% in city centres). – When a 20mph zone replaced a 30mph one the median speed fell by 0.7mph in residential areas and 0.9mph in city centres. It was found that there was insufficient evidence to judge whether the 20mph limit reduced casualties: while accident rates had tended to fall within the zones, the same was true of comparator zones which had remained at 30mph. – Only one area of 20mph zones (in Brighton) had seen a significant fall in casualties

My prediction for the next general election

My long-standing theory of British general election results is that they are all deserved. This is true not just of big victories e.g. Labour in 1945 and 1997, the Conservatives in 1979 and 2019, but also of no-score draws, such as the two elections of 1974. In our system (though first-past-the-past sometimes exaggerates) the voters are, collectively, always right. Dare I turn this retrospective rule into a prediction? If I did, I would say that the Tories now deserve to lose, but that Labour does not deserve to win. Logic therefore demands a Labour lead but no overall majority. Small British charities and voluntary groups are doing such good work

Ukraine’s real killing fields: An investigation into the war’s first aid crisis

Donetsk It’s past midnight and I am standing in silence with the crew of a military ambulance on the edge of the Donetsk region. The village is dark to avoid attracting the attention of Russian drones. The paramedics move with quiet determination, lifting blood-soaked stretchers and ferrying moaning, injured soldiers from one vehicle to the next. I see a wounded man with bandages where his legs used to be. His severed limb sits next to him in a bag. There are no figures for how many Ukrainians have been maimed in this war. Nor are there proper figures for the dead. Kyiv doesn’t give body counts, saying only that Ukrainian

In defence of the foreign aid cut

It says something for the persuasive powers of former international development secretary, Andrew Mitchell, that he mustered enough potential votes to inflict defeat on Boris Johnson’s government, if only his amendment had been permitted and a vote had been held. Mitchell’s consolation prize, awarded by the Speaker in recognition of the strength of feeling in the Commons, is an emergency debate on what would have been the substance of his amendment: to reinstate foreign aid at 0.7 per cent of GDP from next year, rather than the reduction to 0.5 per cent that was set in the Budget.  The rift this row has exposed among Conservative MPs could embarrass the Prime

Boris’s aid cuts problem isn’t going away

Sir Keir Starmer will have spent far more time preparing his response to today’s Budget which comes after Prime Minister’s Questions, but he did also manage to highlight a problem that isn’t going away for the government in his questions to Boris Johnson. The Labour leader chose to focus his stint on Yemen, criticising the British government’s relationship with Saudi Arabia, and the decision to cut international aid money to the war-torn country. Johnson insisted that ‘when it comes to the people of Yemen, we continue to step up to the plate’. The most instructive question was on whether MPs will get a vote on the cuts to aid. Starmer

The problem with mystery podcasts like Wind of Change

Did the US secretly write a power ballad in order to bring down the Soviet Union? That’s the question behind Wind of Change, a serial documentary that has topped the podcast charts. It’s the work of an investigative journalist called Patrick Radden Keefe who claims to have once received a tip-off, from an intelligence contact, that the song ‘Wind of Change’ — recorded by the hair metallers Scorpions — was actually a CIA campaign to encourage anti-Soviet uprisings. Now he wants to prove it. This week’s episode, the fourth of eight, takes Keefe to a collectors’ convention in Ohio in pursuit of an internet user called ‘Lance Sputnik’ who creates