London Calling

What a time to be in London!

By Ralph McAllister

Heatwaves, housing tragedies, knifings, a general election and all the throbbing rhythms of a great city.

We had 34 degrees here one day with the next seeing the first cooler weather, 26,  in a week.
Shorts and sandals the order of the day and in all the years I have been coming to London, I cannot remember ever seeking the shade in order to keep cool, quite so often and often with a tinge of desperation.
Underground hell
As for the underground, about 50 degrees in rush hour,luckily, Londoners still offer seats to the aged, of which I do recognise these days I am one.

In fact the friendliness of people has been one of the joys of this visit, people from all walks of life, ethnicity and age.

O’Casey said once “the whole world’s in a state of chassis” and that sure applies to the political scene here.
An empty Queen’s Speech, Brexit confusions, a hung Parliament which is seen to be a huge difficulty, the young finally expressing themselves at the
ballot box, the list is endless.

Corbyn who was pictured on the front page of the Mail on Election Day in a rubbish bin “Bin Corbyn”, get it?

Samples of the front-page treatment of the UK election

So unsubtle and so vicious.

The Right-wing press

The right wing press as malicious as they have been in a century.

And now Grenfell the charred ruin of which I pass every day I go into town.

Grenfell Tower during the fire

What an indictment of austerity, neglect and corruption.

People here are so angry with government and local councils.

Revolution in the air? Perhaps.

The simple pleasures

And yet the quality of life, despite the nervousness, goes on.

The simple pleasures of enjoying the glorious green spaces, the restaurants, the theatres are not being thwarted.

Courage and generosity of spirit remain central to Londoners’ lives.

Long may that continue.

I shall talk later of the cultural highlights of this visit.

In the meantime, keep warm as I try, ineffectually, to keep cool!