On Wednesday 22nd March, Khalid Masood accelerated his car on Westminster Bridge running civilians over, leaving them with life threatening conditions in hospital; Aysha Frade and Leslie Rhodes both died, alongside a 75 year old man. The car headed towards the direction of parliament, eventually crashing into the gates and being ditched there. Masood, then escaped from the car and headed towards parliament, armed with a knife, he was stopped by police, one of which was PC Keith Palmer. Mr Palmer was not armed but did have a protective layer of clothing, despite this he was still stabbed and later died from the injuries he suffered. Team GB’s boxing coach and MP Tobias Ellwood, leaped over to provide aid in an attempt to save Palmer, Mr Ellwood even attempted to give mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, with hopes of his survival.
Khalid Masood, was 52 years old born in Kent, it is believed that he moved to the West Midlands. Masood’s birth name was ‘Adrian Russell Elms’ however later changed to his current, as he converted to Islam. Previously, he had been under surveillance by security forces for offences such as carrying a knife, however none of those were terror related, leaving no suspicion of such a crime he would commit. In order to commit the attack, he rented a car, leaving his occupation as ‘teacher’, even though the department of education had no records showing that he was a teacher in England, but he did teach English as a second language in Saudi Arabia.
PC Keith Palmer was 48 years old at the time of his death, providing the country with 15 years of service and married with a five year old daughter. Aysha Frade, 43 years old with 2 young daughters, was an administrator at DLD College in London, who was killed as the car hit her just before it crashed into parliament. Kurt Cochran was a tourist from Utah, who came to London to celebrate his 25th wedding anniversary with his wife Melissa, who survived the attack but was seriously injured. The final victim was a 75 year old pensioner Leslie Rhodes, he had previously been recovering from a medical treatment, but the attack worsened the situation and eventually his life support was turned off just a day after the tragic event. The attack left 50 people from 12 different countries injured, with 31 of them requiring hospital treatment. Three police officers were also injured as they were walking back from a commendation ceremony across the bridge. A Romanian tourist, who has been named by the Romanian embassy as ‘Andreea Cristea’ had fell of the bridge, as a result of the attack being severely injured.
“Severe”, has been used to describe the UK terror level, which could mean that the chance of another attack is high, therefore Londoners are too remain cautious and report any suspicious sightings. The disaster that occurred on Wednesday is being dealt with by, “near double strength”; of the police force said by Mr Rowley and additionally “up to a third” more of armed officers are on duty around the UK. Rowley added, "Our current arrangements have been developed with Parliament over many years and are designed to provide access to the seat of our government, balanced carefully with security that is proportionate but not overly intrusive” Also mentioning, “Of course, after an incident like this, as would be expected, my team will work with parliamentary authorities to assess whether a different tone or balance is necessary”.
This week the former chancellor Phillip Hammond; has unleashed plans to provide a transportation service for up to 15 miles for new pupils on free school meals, who attend a grammar school. This scheme would cost up to £5,000 a year per pupil, with extremely high costs, come cuts and as of last year disadvantaged/disabled pupils were deprived with a lower budget. The aim of this scheme is to eliminate the social barrier portrayed by selective education, hence why the government is willing to invest £5 million a year as funding into the transportation costs. Approximately 1,000 to 1,500 pupils are expected to benefit from this funding and transports costs in parliament are expected to rise to £20 million. Hammond commented on his reasons for suggesting this scheme; ““We recognize that for many parents the cost of travel can be a barrier to exercising that choice”. In order to enhance the support of his argument he mentioned, ““Pupils typically travel three times as far to attend selective schools, so we will extend free school transport to include all children on free school meals who attend a selective school because we are resolved that talent alone should determine the opportunities a child enjoys”. However, labour believe that Hammond has not taken into account that support for disadvantaged students provided to local councils has been slashed by £7 million a year. In fact an ombudsman reported a 63% of referrals were based on serious cases that involved in transportation to school, as 261 complaints were made, prior to the year before only being 160 complaints.
There have been many incidents of transportation inconveniences which have been shared publicly. One situation involved a mother whose middle daughter was the only one to receive transportation support from the local council and annoying funding for the other daughters were denied. Another situation consisted of a student with autism, losing his transport funding, resulting him having to walk dangerous and long distances just to travel to school. Angela Rayner, Labor's shadow education secretary out spoke that, ““The local school bus is now being replaced by the grammar school Uber. But when they are breaking their promise to protect school funding and heads are facing the worst cuts in a generation, it’s unbelievable that they think ‘cash for cabs’ is a good use of money”. Rayner also believes that many other pupils who are not disadvantaged are still faced with the same problem; “While we’re paying taxes for taxis, disabled teenagers are being left to fend for themselves and other kids are forced to change school for lack of transport”. “If this idea is the best that [education secretary] Justine Greening can come up with then she’s the one who should be getting a taxi for one”. Furthermore, a former spokesperson from ‘the department of education’ claimed, “Thousands of pupils on free school meals and other children from low income families will benefit from this new measure, removing the barrier that high transport costs can present. We will be working with selective schools and local authorities to provide this free transport, building on the service local authorities already provide to low income families attending other schools. Free school transport for pupils from low-income families has stayed in line with the numbers entitled to the service”. Overall this scheme seems fairly efficient but the fact cuts have been made from major sectors may be worrying to many low income and disadvantaged students.
Boris Johnson, the foreign secretary will be making a trip to Russia, to meet Sergey Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister. Johnson believes that “You've got to beware of what they are up to”, the prime minister has also reinforced that the meeting will not be based around “business as usual” and more on an “engage but beware” principle. Johnson also added, “we don’t want to get into a new Cold War. That’s something London and Washington are completely at one on”. Even though these comments may seem rather controversial, they are extremely important issues which need to be resolved such as dealing with the crisis in Syria and Ukraine, unfortunately, they both share different views on each issue, so negotiating may be harder than expected. An FCO spokesman said, “Discussions will focus on the UK-Russia relationship and current international issues including Syria and Ukraine, where we continue to have significant differences”, then continuing on to say, “The foreign secretary will continue to be robust on these issues where we differ”. It is further to confirmed when the two will meet; “Details of precise timings will be confirmed in due course. A potential visit has been in the pipeline for some time, with the Prime Minister and President Putin discussing this when they met in China in September 2016”.
Johnson will be the first minister to visit Moscow on an official visit since 5 years ago. However, just 5 months ago he was accused of “Russophobic hysteria”, due to the calling of protests outside the Russian embassy because of the Aleppo bombing. Even so, Johnson said there is “no case for relaxation”, as he believes that the EU needs to be responsible and take more care over Russia’s actions. Putin himself is currently under question as the UK makes careful moves, after the accusations based on the hacking of the US presidential election. Michael Flynn, who is the US national security advisor resigned due to allegations of leaking information to the Russian ambassador, supposedly then covering up the conversations, between the two. Furthermore, documents from the CIA showed that Russian operatives did, in fact, interfere in the US elections, which then questions whether Russia intervened in the EU referendum vote, even more, so tensions are rising on whether the outcome of the next German and French elections will be legitimate. Overall, there is an uncertain relationship, between Russia and UK, due to trust issues, at the moment, however, the meeting with Johnson is hoped to change this perspective.
It is said that 1 in every 30 £1 coins are counterfeit and fake. As of March 28th 2017 after 30 years of the first £1 coins, The Bank of England will be introducing the new £1 coin. You may have already seen the new £5 note and to step up the security the £1 comes into play. It is a 12 sided also known as a: Dodecahedron, and around 1.5 billion coins are being produced by the Royal Mint. It has been said that security levels have been raised with the new £1 coin. This will help business and tax payers to reduce the costs.
Looking at the comparison the New £1 coin is more lighter than the old rounded coin. It is also larger and thinner.
When looking at the coin the appearance or the design has been changed
A new design of the English Rose, Scottish Thistle, Welsh Leek and the Northern Ireland Shamrock have been included.
As of 28th March till the 15th October 2017 there will be a co-circulation period. This period is where both the old and the new £1 will be used. After the 16th of October there is a demonstration period where all the new £1 coins will be in full circulation and in use. The old £1 will not be in use.
Over 10,000 protestors have taken to the streets, down central London and outside Parliament, with the purpose of demonstrating against the attacks directed towards the NHS (National Health Service). The government especially is facing a vast amount of criticism after cuts; closures and privatisation of hospitals have worsened the health care throughout the country. The protestors claimed their outrage in the NHS was due to, “yet more austerity”, perhaps because cuts to the healthcare are a great risk, being one of the most important branches of public service. ‘#OurNHS’ was a common sighting, with worry that 2/3 hospital services in England being cut back, which would indeed concern the great public. The March started around Tavistock Square, then ended in Westminster, accompanying over 250,000 people, which illustrates the scale of the problem and the grand effects it has on people lives. Posters filled the air, with messages that included, ‘Keep your dirty hands of our hospital jobs’ and ‘cut the bone’, it does not seem as though the government is fulfilling her vision for the country, which was, “Together we will build a better Britain”. Many of the Union leaders remarked that the NHS services “are on their knees”, with a limit to economic support, there is only room for little social improvement. The March is being classified as one of the biggest NHS demonstrations to date, reflecting upon the severity of the situation.
The labour leader party, Jeremy Corbyn, showed up to heroically challenge the government and back supporters by claiming, “Don’t let them tell you there’s no money for the NHS. There’s no excuse for it… the money is there if you collect the taxes properly to fund it and pay for it”. Here, Corbyn has clamped his foot down and spoke the truth for the majority, which ultimately questions which service the government is prioritising their spending on. However, the ‘sustainability transformation plans’ (SMP), were set up by the government across England in order improve the NHS but have just resulted in “privatisation” and “cuts”, having the complete opposite effect. Further speakers included Bernie Saunder’s brother, Unite general secretary Len McCluskey and Coronation street star, Julie Hesmondhalgh. Len McCluskey asserted that “I am marching because I am furious. Tories destroying the greatest gift the people of this country have created”. The Deputy Chairmen for the British medical association council, Dr David Wrigley proclaimed, “a cry for help for anyone who uses the NHS”, “in such a desperate situation”. “We need to highlight it. As a doctor, I see day to day the serious pressures in the NHS due to the funding cuts from the government”.
Amongst the demonstrators was Felix Ramos, an individual who stood beside a coffin whilst on the march, he proclaimed a very valid point that “Many people are not going to get the help they need. If you do not have health, there is no life”. He correctly elaborated that, “Privatisation does not work for life. It is not going to care for the vulnerable but it might care for people who can afford special treatment. It is not for the majority”. In 2015, the department for work and pensions said 5 million people are on benefits with such a high majority, the government is not doing the country a favour through privatisation. The department of health spoke about a future investment of £4 billion into the NHS, but who would this really benefit, only those who can afford the cost. The protest is hoped to have opened the government eyes on the real situation of the NHS, before the budget next week.