‘As a result of industrial action this exit is closed.’ The unwelcome tiding is stuck across two massive doors in King’s Cross underground station with what appears to be yellow-and-black crime scene tape. It is not what London’s put-upon commuters want to see.
It is the first week of December and a freezing London is enduring its fourth tube strike in three months, as unions fight plans to cut jobs. Students have staged rallies and campus occupations to protest planned university tuition fee increases. The police have taken to holding protesters in cordoned-off areas for hours on end. This being Britain, the tactic is called ‘kettling’.
And cuts to the defense budget mean Britain’s flagship aircraft carrier will be axed, together with the fighter jets that took off from it. But Britain will be allowed to use a French aircraft carrier, in a deal one commentator dubbed the ‘entente frugale’. The French vessel in question – the Charles de Gaulle – recently broke down.
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If you weren’t aware it’s big day in the UK today. It is general election day, and will see eith Gordon Brown ousted as Prime Minister to be replaced by the first Conservative Prime Minister in 13 years, or see Labour given an unprecedented fourth term in Government.
London’s two big tabloids have backed different parties.
The Sun, a newspaper who backed Tony Blair 13 years ago, is now firmly behind Conservative David Cameron, the man who has painted himself as Blair’s natural successor.
Meanwhile the Daily Mirror has continued their support for the Labour Party, making Cameron’s privileged upbringing the focus of the attack. They make it more explicit in an alternate front page you can see below the fold, which reminds readers he was a member of Oxford’s famous Bullingdon Club (along with London Mayor Boris Johnson) that would go around trashing pubs and writing cheques for the damage.
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Whilst the Logies and Rosemount Australian Fashion Week have kept Australian fashion commentators busy, the looks currently being critiqued in Britain are not on the red carpet or the catwalk but on the campaign trail.
The British media billed it as a showdown between Sarah Brown, wife of Prime Minister Gordon Brown, and Samantha Cameron, wife of Conservatives’ Leader David Cameron, but it became a three-horse race as the rise and rise of the Liberal Democrats meant their leader’s wife, Miriam González Durántez, suddenly found herself the subject of intense scrutiny. The three women all spoke to UK Grazia in this week’s issue which has hit news stands just before the poll.
As Gordon Brown faces renewed pressure after describing a Labour voter as a “bigoted woman” and one of his own candidates labelling him “the worst Prime Minister we have had in this country”, Sarah Brown has become increasingly important to her husband’s chances of reelection.
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American authorities have charged Wall Street mammoth Goldman Sachs with fraud. British and German authorities want to know more, too.
President Obama is promising to toughen banking regulations. These include shining a light on the murky world of derivatives, the inter-twined financial products so complicated they almost brought the whole system down.
More consumer protection is promised, too, particularly on the credit card front.
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