UK News

Insights from the UK and beyond

How bad is the “Tube”?

tubeNews that London Underground suffers from terrible problems with overcrowding probably not really going to surprise many commuters.

From unbearable heat or the sweaty odours emanating from fellow passengers during the summer months, to being unceremoniously poked with umbrellas in the winter, travellers on the Tube are used to uncomfortable journeys.

A survey by the London Assembly’s Transport Committee found 80 percent of people had suffered from overcrowding, to such an extent that many had to psyche themselves up before setting off.

Transport for London say it is spending billions as part of the biggest upgrade of the system in decades which will mean better stations, more trains and faster journeys. But there is a cost, as lines are regularly closed to allow the improvement works to take place causing problems which the committee says other European cities such as Madrid manage to avoid.

What you never knew about Jobcentres


Although the number of Britons claiming jobless benefit in October rose by its smallest amount in 18 months, the jobless rate is at 7.8 percent.

One resource, sometimes overlooked by unemployed professionals and businesses looking for new recruits, is Jobcentre Plus, a government-run employment agency.

from FaithWorld:

Climate change debate spurs warm feelings in London

china-climateIt is rare that religion and science find agreement, but that is what happened when Britain's Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks spoke at a meeting on saving the earth from climate change.

"The great Harvard biologist E.O. Wilson published a book in 2007 called "Creation", subtitled An Appeal to Save Life on Earth," Sacks told leaders of all the major faiths meeting at Lambeth Palace in London on Thursday.

What do you think of Michael Jackson’s single “This Is It”?


This Is ItMichael Jackson’s posthumous  new single, “This Is It” began streaming online and playing on radio stations on Monday. The singer died four months ago from a prescription drugs overdose at age 50.

A series of 50 concerts scheduled at London’s 02 Arena from July 2009 through March 2010 was also entitled “This Is It”.

Making heavy weather over Scotland


FRANCE-STORM/Anyone listening to the BBC radio weather forecast this morning on the first day of Autumn will have come away with a detailed knowledge of how things look likely to pan out in Scotland – heavy winds apparently and not at all a day for going out walking on the hills.

They will also have probably had more than they need about Northern Ireland, with its endless bands of rain.

Minister warns against “contaminating” 2012 Olympics

BRITAIN/Clerics and police have expressed concern, and now the Olympics minister has – London could see a proliferation in prostitution and human trafficking during the 2012 Games.

Some have warned the Olympics could see a repeat of the ”mega brothels” set up in German cities for the 2006 World Cup in Germany.

from Commentaries:

Turner is right to take on swollen banks

So the watchdog can bark after all. Adair Turner, chairman of Britain's Financial Services Authority, says the financial sector has "swollen beyond its socially useful size". That is a striking statement for any financial regulator, particularly one that counts promoting London's financial centre as one of its goals. Identifying the problem, however, is the easy bit. Reversing decades of financial expansion will require global agreement on tough new rules, and the determination to make sure they are consistently enforced.

Turner's comments, in a debate hosted by Prospect magazine, underscore the extent to which the crisis has upended the received wisdom among policymakers. For years they assumed markets were self-correcting, that financial innovation brought lasting economic benefits, and that regulators should think twice before getting in the way.

from The Great Debate UK:

Government must deliver on Olympic legacy promise

robertson1- Hugh Robertson is the opposition Conservatives' Olympics spokesman. The views expressed are his own. -

With three years to go, it is remarkable that London 2012 is going so well.

London’s Olympics were launched with a massive government miscalculation that resulted in the budget having to be increased threefold, were based on a plan that required us to build two Terminal 5s in half the time and have had to contend with the worst economic recession in living memory.

Whose art would you forge?


“Close Examination: Fakes, Mistakes and Discoveries,” an exhibition slated to go on show next summer at the National Gallery in London, will celebrate copies of works done by students of the great masters.

The exhibition ties in with recent forays by the gallery into boosting its reproduction of art online via a new iPhone application and a relaunch of its website, which allows access to its entire collection.

Would you exchange your Michael Jackson O2 tickets?


More than 50 million pounds worth of tickets were sold to see Michael Jackson perform at London’s O2 Arena where he was scheduled for a series of 50 concerts before his death.

The King of Pop’s run at the O2, scheduled to kick off in July, would have been the highest-grossing single concert engagement.