OPINION - The Standard View: Must London always grind to a halt at the first sight of snow?
Monday was supposed to be the quiet before the storm, the day commuters could make it into the office ahead of a week of strikes. The snow — and London’s ill-preparedness for such events — put paid to that.
The reasons for the disruption are well-trodden. The UK, surrounded by relatively warm seas, received less than 24 snow days a year between 1961 and 2010. London, in the warmer South-East and bolstered by the urban heat island effect, gets fewer still. The considerable investment required to better prepare and prevent stoppages is therefore considered not worth the expense.
Nevertheless, the impact has been egregious. Schools closed, roads were brought to a standstill and entire airports shut down. The trains, too, have faced major disruption and cancellations — though Southeastern appears to need little excuse, climactic or otherwise, to axe services.
Until central and local government decide to spend on greater resilience, it is left to the public to at least invest in a decent pair of walking boots.
Theatre awards joy
The 66th instalment of the Evening Standard Theatre Awards, hosted last night by this newspaper’s proprietor, Lord Lebedev, at The Ivy in West Street, was a glamorous and emotional affair.
There were of course worthy winners, led by Jodie Comer and James McAvoy, who respectively picked up the Best Actress and Best Actor awards for their performances in Prima Facie and Cyrano de Bergerac — both at the Harold Pinter Theatre. Meanwhile, the Milton Shulman Award for Best Director, named after the Evening Standard’s former theatre and film critic, went to Lynette Linton for her production of Pearl Cleage’s Blues for an Alabama Sky at the National Theatre — the first woman of colour to triumph in the directing category since it was introduced in 1981.
The evening was also an opportunity to pay tribute to the industry as a whole, which has had to show all its grit and passion to come through the pandemic and various lockdowns. But in more auspicious developments, London now ends 2022 with @sohoplace, the first new purpose-built West End theatre in half a century. That’ll bring cheer not only for Christmas, but for years to come.
Gareth’s big decision
A tightly fought contest between two exciting teams that came down to the wire. That’s right, England have won the second cricket Test against Pakistan in Multan by 26 runs to clinch the series.
For football fans, it may represent only minor consolation after the World Cup defeat against France. The Three Lions played better than in many a knock-out match and were a late penalty miss by captain Harry Kane away from forcing extra time, when anything could have happened. But it represents another quarter-final exit.
Still, it was a valiant effort and Gareth Southgate has to decide whether to go again in two years’ time at the Euros. Being the England manager is all-consuming and not a job to be done on fumes. But as the most successful since a certain Sir Alf Ramsey, Southgate has more than earned the right to make the decision for himself.