Archive for the ‘British current affairs’ Category


If a substantial sum of money unexpectedly appeared in your bank account, what would you do?

December 4th, 2021 by Roger Darlington

This is what happened in August 2020 to Helen Peters [not her real name] when she found that Her Majesty’s Revenues & Customs (HMRC) deposited in her bank account the sum of £774,839.39. She decided to wait and see what would happen but found herself spending almost £20,000 before contacting a newspaper to ask what […]

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A review of “Beyond A Fringe”, the memoir of Conservative politician Andrew Mitchell

November 21st, 2021 by Roger Darlington

In 1971, for the first time I read a memoir by a Conservative politician: “The Art Of The Possible” by Rab Butler. As a lifelong member of the Labour Party, it has taken me exactly 50 years to repeat this experience. My ‘excuse’ is that my son – who works in the international development sector […]

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What are the most popular baby names in Britain?

November 4th, 2021 by Roger Darlington

Of course, names change in popularity. According to the data compiled annually by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) and published each September, the most popular names for children born in England & Wales during 2020 were as follows: Position Boys Girls 1 Oliver Olivia 2 George Amelia 3 Arthur Isla 4 Noah Ava 5 […]

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The growing death toll from covid in the UK

October 7th, 2021 by Roger Darlington

It troubles me that the announcement each day of the previous day’s deaths from Covid-19 disguises the size of the cumulative figure. The number of deaths within 28 days of a positive covid test now totals 137,417. The number of deaths with covid 19 mentioned on the death certificate now totals 160,824. These figures compare […]

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Word of the day: hecatomb

October 4th, 2021 by Roger Darlington

Say what you like about British Prime Minister Boris Johnson – and I’ve said a lot that is not complimentary – but his Oxford University education has given him an impressive vocabulary. In an interview this week about shortages in the British marketplace, he commented: “If I may say so, the great hecatomb of pigs […]

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The local elections: definitely bad news for Labour – but maybe not that bad and certainly far from unique

May 10th, 2021 by Roger Darlington

As a lifelong member of the Labour Party, naturally I am extremely disappointed by the results of the elections held on Thursday. But I’m not despondent. The most dramatic result was the loss of a Parliamentary by-election in Hartlepool. This certainly underlines a loss of support in the north-east, but Hartlepool is a bit special. […]

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Some (brief) personal views on THAT interview

March 9th, 2021 by Roger Darlington

In my 72 years, I’ve never met a member of the British Royal Family and have never had any wish to do so. I don’t read the tabloid press so I’ve missed most of the gossip around the various royal personages. I’ve not seen one episode of “The Crown”. But I did watch the interview […]

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How large is the British House of Lords?

February 26th, 2021 by Roger Darlington

The House of Lords is the upper chamber in the British political system but the one with less authority. Its main roles are to revise legislation and keep a check on government by scrutinising its activities. Since 1911, its power to block “money bills” is limited to one month and its power to block other […]

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Covid: UK virus deaths exceed 100,000 since pandemic began

January 26th, 2021 by Roger Darlington

There are three main ways of calculating the death toll from coronavirus: those who died within 28 days of being tested positive for covid (the official government measure announced on the media each day); those who had the virus mentioned on their death certificate (a wider measure from the Office of National Statistics); and excess […]

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Just how deadly was 2020?

January 14th, 2021 by Roger Darlington

“Official statistics released on Tuesday showed 2020 was the deadliest year in England and Wales for more than a century. More than 608,000 people died last year, 81,653 of whom as a result of coronavirus. Deaths exceeded 600,000 for only the second time on record, and the toll was just behind that of 611,861 in 1918, […]

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