Victories for Donald Trump and the Leave campaign confounded the pollsters, but were they to blame? …read more
The killing by Italian police of the Berlin market attacker and a predicted Christmas Eve shopping rush make the front pages. …read more
The NHS will serve more than 400,000 festive meals for patients on Christmas Day in the UK. …read more
Her Majesty tends to get on best with PMs confident enough to gossip with her. May’s silence on Brexit even to famously discreet monarch speaks volumes
When a leak emerges from Buckingham Palace, and especially when that leak tells us what the Queen supposedly thinks, interest is unsurprisingly intense.
Regal unknowability – as exemplified in the recent Netflix series The Crown, where the young Elizabeth II is portrayed as learning that she must stay publicly above the fray at all times – is an essential part of our image of the royal family, and so any claimed breaches in the facade are bound to be studied closely.Continue reading...
The absence of news from the allotments may have led you to imagine that we old codgers have joined the great host of chicken-keepers in the sky. Nothing could be further from the truth and I am happy to report that all is well in our little fantasy world, including our flock of Blacktail Columbians.
Well that was the case until an hour or so ago when storm Barbara paid us a visit. Now we face a good deal of fence repairing, plus the distribution of a good deal of sand to avoid the need to fit the hens out with stilts. But at least it has given Albert the perfect excuse to maintain his grumpiness even at Christmas. Meantime the rest of us await with interest the reaction of Mrs Albert to her gift of a cement-mixer!
Anyway, the purpose of this blog is to wish all our readers a happy Christmas, and to thank you for your loyal support over what has been an interesting year.
Eat, drink and be merry!!!
Incident log warned of increasing numbers of ‘non-British visitors’ to beach where seven men died this summer
The council that did not provide lifeguards at Camber Sands beach has blamed drownings over the summer on the limitations of “non-swimming persons of a certain culture”, according to an internal document seen by the Guardian.
Seven men – one of Asian heritage, one Brazilian teenager, and five of Tamil origin – died at the popular seaside resort of Camber Sands in East Sussex in July and August. All the men were described by family members as capable swimmers.Continue reading...
HM maligns PM’s lack of clarity, while Nick Clegg’s lunch with George Osborne proves it is the season of goodwill to all men
The party given by my close friend with terminal brain cancer that I wrote about last week turned out to be even more extraordinary than expected. It somehow managed to be both joyous and heartbreaking in equal measure – I’ll never forget it – and most people managed to save their tears for the way home. Stephen set the tone for the evening by saying that everyone had been sympathising with him about how difficult it must be. “It isn’t,” he said. “It’s actually incredibly easy. The diagnosis has given me an absolute clarity. A clarity of what really matters.” He then asked five friends who were personally involved in local and national charities to give presentations and invited everyone present to turn the occasion into a fundraiser for them. That, in turn, gave me a little clarity of my own. I’d been wondering about which charities should benefit from the Wasim Akram cricket sweater I sold at auction a couple of weeks ago. Now I know.Continue reading...
Two men die in an accident on a farm involving slurry. …read more
Two UK men are convicted of using Syria aid convoys to funnel cash to extremists in the war zone. …read more
Storm Barbara starts crossing Scotland, causing power cuts and school closures and bringing difficult travelling conditions. …read more
Part of a prison wing taken over by about 60 inmates in Kent has been reclaimed, officials say. …read more
Friday is expected to be the busiest day of the festive season on the UK’s roads as people prepare for Christmas, the AA says. …read more
The Queen is said to be “disappointed” with Theresa May over Brexit planning, and there is a warning of “no-go zones” for Jewish students at some universities. …read more
For many of us, Christmas is a time of hustle and bustle, bright lights, music and over-indulgence. But for hermit Rachel Denton, this Yuletide will be a time of silence and contemplation. …read more
Lessons learned by intelligence agencies after 2005 London bombings and greater cooperation could help but threat level is still severe
London or any other part of the UK presents an obvious target for Islamic terrorists, more so than Germany given the UK’s high-profile involvement as the closest military ally of the US.
UK intelligence agencies repeatedly warn that it is just a matter of time before a British target is hit. In a rare speech earlier this month, Alex Younger, the head of the UK’s overseas intelligence agency MI6, described the threat posed by groups such as Islamic State or its sympathisers as “unprecedented”.Continue reading...
Farage’s comments that murdered MP’s widower is linked to extremism condemned as ‘disgustingly offensive’
The founder of the campaign group Hope Not Hate has described Nigel Farage as “disgustingly offensive” for saying the widower of the murdered MP Jo Cox was tainted by extremism because he supported the organisation.
Writing for the Guardian, Nick Lowles likens the Ukip politician to Donald Trump, saying both seek to “vilify, abuse and bully their opponents into silence”, in part through abuse from their supporters on social media.Continue reading...
Two men are found guilty after a tipper truck crashed in Bath killing four people, including a four-year-old girl. …read more
Fog delays flights at London airports amid warnings of further travel disruption from Storm Barbara. …read more
The Queen and Prince Philip have arrived at Sandringham to start their Christmas break. …read more
A performance of West End musical Matilda is cancelled and other cut short after illness hits several cast members. …read more
Officials say US president-elect must stick to ambitious 2008 plan for expansion of complex and not build cheaper version
Donald Trump’s plans to expand his Aberdeenshire golf resort by building 2,750 new homes and holiday flats have suffered a significant blow.
In a major victory for the president-elect’s opponents in Scotland, senior planning officials have rejected Trump’s bid to build a far less ambitious and cheaper version of the vast holiday and sports resort he originally fought for in 2008.Continue reading...
Footage shows train missing cyclist by inches as he crosses tracks in Pudsey, Leeds
Dramatic footage of a cyclist coming within inches of being killed by a train has prompted fresh warnings about the dangers of level crossings.
The near-miss was filmed by trackside cameras and CCTV on board trains as they passed the Ducketts level crossing in Pudsey, Leeds, in the summer.Continue reading...
Retired clergy face the closure of their Church of England nursing home because it cannot find staff. …read more
A run-down of the highest-rated albums of 2016, as voted for by critics from 25 influential publications …read more
An ex-Crimewatch presenter launches a judicial review against the consultation on part two of the Leveson inquiry. …read more
Southern Rail faced an unexpected delay – when a lorry transporting a carriage got stuck on a road. …read more
Jamie Reed resigns to take job in nuclear industry, saying he will be able to achieve more for his community in Cumbria
One of Jeremy Corbyn’s most persistent critics quit as a Labour MP to take a job in the nuclear industry, triggering a three-way fight for his marginal northern seat with the Conservatives and Ukip.
Jamie Reed, the MP for Copeland in west Cumbria since 2005, told the Guardian he was resigning to work for the nuclear processing site Sellafield.Continue reading...
Man criticised for endangering lives after climbing on top of a train moving at up to 100mph through Merseyside
Police are searching for a man who calls himself “the Silver Shadow” after he was filmed travelling on top of a train moving at up to 70mph.
British transport police said the man, who appears to be in his 20s, put his own life and the lives of others on the train at risk when he climbed on to its roof on 11 December.Continue reading...
Northampton Saints escape sanction following a review into their treatment of George North’s latest head injury. …read more
A millionaire is sentenced to life in prison for murdering his £10,000-a-month personal escort after hearing she planned to leave him. …read more
The Queen and Prince Philip cancel plans to go to Sandringham in Norfolk on Wednesday due to colds. …read more
Labour MP Jamie Reed is quitting Parliament to take a job in the nuclear industry. …read more
A man is charged with the murder of a father found tied up in a County Durham house. …read more
The UK and Argentina sign a deal to identify 123 Argentine soldiers buried on the Falkland Islands. …read more
UK companies must retain “barrier-free” access to European markets after Brexit, the CBI warns. …read more
Sissinghurst Castle, Knole, Sutton House and Smallhythe Place are just some of the properties that will feature in next year’s focus on LGBTQ history
The long happy marriage and the very separate bedrooms of Vita Sackville-West and her husband, Harold Nicolson, will be celebrated at their Kent home as the National Trust turns its attention for the first time to the gay history locked within the walls of many of its properties.
The Nicolsons were a famously devoted couple, and had two sons, the writer and publisher Nigel and art historian Benedict, but both also had passionate relationships with partners of the same sex.Continue reading...
The aftermath of the Berlin lorry attack features on the front pages with the police manhunt and a potential UK link among the stories. …read more
Terrorist attacks using vehicles are very hard to prevent – but there are safety measures cities can use, experts say
The Berlin lorry attack on Monday that killed 12 people and injured 48 others raises a pressing question for security services across the world: what can be done to stop such attacks?
The attack on Berlin’s Christmas market came six months after a 19-tonne cargo truck was deliberately driven into crowds celebrating Bastille Day in Nice, killing 86 people and injuring 484.Continue reading...
Pair had difficult relationship in coalition but lunch sighting fuels speculation they are working together to push for soft Brexit
George Osborne and Nick Clegg have been spotted having lunch near Westminster, fuelling speculation they may be coordinating efforts to avoid a hard Brexit.
The former chancellor and former deputy prime minister had an often difficult relationship in the Conservative-led coalition government, particularly towards the end, with Clegg describing Osborne as a very dangerous man whose behaviour was “very unattractive, very cynical”.Continue reading...
A norovirus outbreak closes five wards at Altnagelvin hospital and the Slieve Russell hotel in the Cavan. …read more