It takes something special these days to outcompete Omicron. The Delta variant gave up the ghost pretty quickly, Brexit is largely a slow-motion car crash and the Russian invasion of Ukraine is still only a terrifying possibility.
But there comes the RMT union, threatening not only to prevent people from travelling to see family on Christmas Eve, but also to get anywhere on weekend evenings in the new year.
As our City Hall Editor Ross Lydall reports, the six-month protest, announced this morning, would represent the longest strike in the history of the London Underground.
The union has been in dispute with Transport for London for months over the rosters used to staff the Night Tube, and has already taken eight days of strike action to coincide with the partial reopening of the Night Tube last month.
The proposed industrial action would restart on Friday 7 January and continue *each week* until June. TfL has been able to keep the Night Tube running, but with a far less regular service than initially planned.
At times there has only been a train every 30 minutes, rather than one every 10 minutes, and extra station staff were deployed to ensure passenger safety after platforms became busy.
With Christmas a couple of days away, this feels like one of those work things that you never get round to sorting on a Friday afternoon and leave for future you to be saddled with on Monday morning. As London seeks to get back on its feet in the new year, expect this to be an ongoing sore.
Elsewhere in the paper, we have a strange relationship with cash. Sure, it’s legal tender, but have too much of it on you at any one time and the police try to take it away.
Which is how I imagine this east London man feels, on the run as he is after smuggling an estimated £5 million stuffed in suitcases out of the country.
Meanwhile, our heroic Culture team have assembled more ‘best of the capital in 2021’ reviews than you can throw a discarded lateral flow test at.
The best exhibitions from Hogarth to Helen Frankenthaler. The best pantomimes, from Pantoland to Jack and the Beanstalk. The best theatre, from Cabaret to Little Scratch. The best TV shows, from It’s A Sin to Mare of Easttown. The best albums, from Dave and Arlo Parks to Lana del Rey. And the best of what to watch this Christmas.
And finally, today is the last West End Final of the year. Thank you for reading, for putting up with the odd typo, strained analogies and egregious Tony Blair references. (The views expressed in that last link are not necessarily my own, but it remains the best video on all of YouTube.)
If you were minded to give me a Christmas present, please do invite someone you know to subscribe. The link is here, and you will have my unending gratitude.
Have a wonderful Christmas and new year.
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