OPINION - London reaches boiling point

·3-min read
 (West End Final)
(West End Final)

Some people ‘hate-follow’ celebrities or influencers on social media. Mine is ‘Extreme Temperatures Around The World‘. In recent days, it has reported on terribly hot weather in western China, Pakistan and Spain. Today, it is the turn of the UK.

Reaching 34 °C is not unprecedented, but it is unusual for June. At least, it used to be. According to the Met Office, should it happen today, it would mean that the threshold has been reached on three days in the last six Junes.

Prior to that, the only June exceedances – in recorded history – were 1947, 1957 and the famous summer of 1976. The Met Office notes dryly:

“An increase in the frequency, duration, and intensity of extreme high-temperature events and heatwaves over recent decades is linked to the observed warming of the planet and can be attributed to human activity.”

The Royal Meteorological Society points to climate change projections which suggest it is only a matter of time until temperatures of 40 °C become relatively commonplace in the UK. If you want a positive spin, the hottest years of this century so far will by 2200 be remembered as the coolest.

Elsewhere in the paper, the Home Secretary Priti Patel has approved the extradition of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange to the United States, where he is wanted for the leaking of documents more than a decade ago which the US Government says breached the law and put lives in danger.

Meanwhile, the European Broadcasting Union has said it is in talks with the BBC “to potentially host the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest” in the UK after concluding next year’s contest cannot be held in Ukraine. I rather like Britain hosting things, and appreciate this may not be a wholly popular view, but the various UK cities immediately jostling to host feels a bit, I don’t know, icky?

Having said that, while Kyiv is losing Eurovision, it has gained a far more substantial victory, as European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has proposed granting Ukraine candidate status for EU membership, on the understanding that the country carry out a number of reforms.

It’s a long old journey from candidate status to membership (Turkey gained it in 1999 and is not close to joining), but it represents a huge moment not only for Ukraine but all of Europe.

In the comment pages, Melanie McDonagh says there are extraordinary works of art in public spaces all around us – let’s find them. While I say what we’re all thinking: no one cares about your holiday, least of all the photos. (There’s also a tribute to Paul McCartney, who turns 80 tomorrow and whom we need more than ever.)

And finally, ES Magazine has gone food crazy. Wondering what to eat this summer? Here are Food and Drink Editor Joanna Taylor’s top picks. Then, meet Simon Rogan, the seven-star chef behind L’Enclume. Discover the new technologies set to revolutionise at-home drinking and dining. And get a sneak peek of the best foodie launches in the second half of 2022.

Bon appétit, stay cool and have a lovely weekend.

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