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  • May Mcnicol-Williams


As we head into the new year, staying up to date with the news is more important now than any other time in the year. It is vital that young people especially are informed about current affairs and events so we can continue to better ourselves and those around us. Luckily, you are in just the right place to do so!! (Shameless brag) Carry on reading to find out the highlights of London December 2022, all condensed into a well-written article.

Energy is at the front of everyone’s mind at this time, as prices skyrocket children and adults are falling ill, some . Energy bills have reached record highs and are still rising, with the war in Ukraine highlighting how fragile energy supplies can be. Many households struggled over the holidays and will continue to struggle into 2023, and have had to come up with somewhat unconventional ways to help the blow of the bills. Dan Edelstyn and Hilary Powell, for example, have decided to live on their roof. While this action itself may not solve the major cost of living crisis, the continuous action hopefully will raise enough money to turn Lynmouth Road in Walthamstow into a sort of power plant. Buying and installing a solar energy system for an average three-bedroom house costs roughly £10,000, which puts this option out of the question for many families, and linking the houses together on a grid is even more costly. The project will be funded in various ways. There are grants from organisations, such as the London Community Energy Fund. There's also a crowdfunder, running while Dan and Hilary sleep on top of their house.

“We live in a society where Matt Hancock can be on celebrity TV and you think, ‘What the fuck is going on? This is sick, it’s like The Hunger Games. And we acquiesce. And the corruption and vandalism of those in charge are just forgotten. At the same time, we can’t be paralysed,” she continues. “I hope this can wake others up and make them realise you can take action, and that the worst thing would be to sit in despair and do nothing.” -Quote from Hillary Powell.

Cemeteries are running out of space to bury the dead, local London authorities have warned, and are calling for changes to be made to Victorian eras laws about grave plot letting. Cemetery experts are calling for this to be urgently renovated as local authorities including Tower Hamlets in London, and certain parts of Oxfordshire, have run out of spaces in which to bury people, while many others have little left after the pandemic’s death toll. At the end of this year a commission was begun to review cremation and burial laws in the UK but Julie Rugg, an academic at the University of York who sits on the Ministry of Justice cemeteries group, doubts that the process will be at all swift.

“There’s a massive, massive issue – it’s endemic, baked into our system for over 100 years. We’re still using a Victorian system, which is causing all sorts of problems because it’s so far out of date. Unlike other countries around the world we have no regulatory system for grave reuse which means once someone is buried it’s not possible to use that grave again,” said Rugg.

On the 16th of September, Muhammad Khan, 28, went to visit the Queen's coffin lying in state after her death the week previous. While the infamous queue moved slowly through Westminster Hall to view the coffin, Khan left the queue and ran toward the coffin before being restrained by multiple police officers. One witness attested that police wrestled Khan to the ground after he left the queue and grasped at the royal standard on the coffin at about 9.45pm. He has now been charged with a public order offence and will be treated at a mental health facility. Khan allegedly told one officer he “wanted to see if she (the Queen) was really dead”. District judge Lousisa Cieciora said she was satisfied that distress felt by the nearby mourners was “as a result of Mr Khan’s actions' ' and not due to the arrest by the officers.

Khan was charged with an offence under section 4A of the Public Order Act, alleging that he acted with intent to cause unknown people harassment, alarm or distress. The court was told at a previous hearing that doctors had assessed Khan as not fit to take part in proceedings and said he was suffering from delusions. The judge's decision was: “You will be taken to the Tower Hamlets Centre for Mental Health. How long you stay in the hospital will depend on your treatment and will depend on your doctors.”

And finally, the nurses strike. Many nurses protesting outside St Thomas’s hospital in Westminster (on the 15th and 20th of December) say that they and their colleagues are “exhausted and angry amid a dispute with the government over pay and patient safety” and that the cost of living crisis has made it impossible for them to be able to heat their homes. The protest received major public support (two thirds or 66%*) with almost half saying they strongly supported the nurses in their strikes.

However many nurses felt reluctant to give up even one day of work as it meant giving up that day's pay, which would surely show those who don't believe they should be striking an exact reason why they should. If our frontline workers like nurses, train drivers, postal workers and teachers (the people who keep the country functioning) can't afford even one day of no pay, what does that say about the way this government is treating them?

There will be two more nurses strikes on the 18th and 19th of January, says the Royal College of Nursing.*

*Nurses and ambulance workers have the most public support during Britain's winter of strikes | YouGov

Thank you for reading and happy new year. I wish you good luck as we head into 2023.

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