London Diary: On public demand, Tussauds throws out May waxwork

Theresa May still has a few weeks left before being ushered out of Downing Street, but not everyone it seems wants to wait that long to see her off. Madame Tussauds has already thrown out her waxwork

London Diary: On public demand, Tussauds throws out May waxwork
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Hasan Suroor

Theresa May still has a few weeks left before being ushered out of Downing Street, but not everyone it seems wants to wait that long to see her off. Madame Tussauds has already thrown out her waxwork. Not on any old whim but on public demand.

The Museum in central London called a public vote asking them whether the £150,000 May look-alike should “remain” or “leave.

And, as one newspaper cheekily put it, “the leave side won by a margin overwhelmingly greater than 52-48”, a reference to the Brexit referendum vote. No other prime minister’s statue has had such a short life in recent memory mirroring May’s own short-lived prime ministership.

What gender bias?

It has become commonplace to complain about gender bias in the British media as indeed in other professions. The narrative is that there are “not enough” women in high-profile positions in the media.

Really?

The political editors of BBC and Sky are women; the foreign editor of Sky is a woman; the lead presenter of BBC’s prestigious current affairs programme Newsnight is a woman (two of its other three presenters are also women); BBC Question Time is now presented by a woman; its daytime current affairs Politics Alive is presented by a woman and frequently has an all-women line-up; its Europe Editor is a woman; The Guardian newspaper’s Editor and its two political editors are women as its chief leader writer; The Times’s Defence Editor is a woman; The Telegraph’s Brexit Editor is a woman; and a woman is tipped to be The Financial Times’s next Editor. In addition, some of Britain’s most high-profile newspaper columnists and TV journalists are women.

This is huge progress compared to how things were just a decade ago, and isn’t it only fair that this progress is acknowledged even as the campaign for greater equality continues?

Alas, it’s never done.


Spectators for hire

We have all heard about hired crowds at political rallies but ever heard of spectators being hired?

That too to watch a cricket World Cup match at—of all places—Lord’s? And not just from any old stand but the Pavilion seats reserved for MCC members.

It has been reported that ticket sales for the pavilion seats for the Pakistan-Bangladesh fixture (July 5) were so low that MCC approached local schools to send their pupils round to watch the match to “ensure that TV cameras do not show rows of empty seats”.

Lucky kids. But what does it say about MCC members—guardians of England cricket!

Not at work, please

Forget the old disputes over wages and working conditions, there’s now a new cause for workers to fight for: the “right” to use mobile phone at work. Trade unions say this is the “new front for friction” between workers and their bosses with employers coming out with increasingly tough rules on use of mobile phones during office hours.

Most insist on workers surrendering their phones when clocking in for work while some have taken to including a clause in the employment contract prohibiting “unauthorised use of mobile phones” during working hours. One British firm refuses recruiting candidates who object to handing over their mobile devices.

Rules are particularly strict for those in jobs that require public dealings such as waiters, receptionists, porters, customer relations staff. Employers say the sight of staff glued to their mobile phones puts off customers and is bad for business.

Workers have complained of suffering “anxiety attacks” without their phones. They see it as a breach of their human rights. But so far, employers seem to be winning the war.


Americans are coming

First came the Arabs with their petro-dollars , then the Russian oligarchs seeking to launder their newly-minted riches. And they were followed by affluent Chinese snapping up everything from prime property and businesses to football clubs and golf courses.

Now, apparently, Americans—buoyed by an economic bounce at home and attracted by the falling value of the Pound—have joined the scramble for whatever is left of Britain’s indigenous assets. Their real target, however, is high-end real estate in London.

The proportion of expensive properties bought by Americans has reportedly doubled over the past year—up from three percent in the previous year to six percent in 2019

And, lastly

a sticker on the window of a car in London: “Warning—this car was made in France.”

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