As is the case with most years, we then moved on to March. Another month of doom and gloom, although Celebrity Big Brother controversy still continued, as Talk Talk announced it would no longer be sponsoring the programme. This was also the month in which an investigation started into premium rate phone lines used by TV companies. There were allegations of viewers being ripped off who phoned in to Ant and Dec, Richard and Judy and so on, even Blue Peter was found to have misled viewers. I think we can clearly see that 2007 was the year when we truly reached a moral rock-bottom.
You might have therefore thought it safer and less costly not to be at home sitting in front of your TV. Instead you could get in your car and see the wonders that the UK has to offer. However, if you bought your petrol from some Tesco petrol stations then your journey was likely to come to a shuddering halt as it turned out that their petrol had become contaminated causing potentially thousands of pounds worth of damage to cars. If that wasn’t enough, then there was also the woman who followed her so closely that when it directed her to drive down a railway line she did just what is said. I would make some comment about women drivers but it might be better to remind people that we do have those things called maps and learning to read one could actually mean you reach your destination in one piece.
The light entertainment of the month was Comic Relief and that included Tony Blair making a star appearance in a sketch. Probably the highlight of his year - apart from seeing Gordon Brown lurching from crisis to crisis after he took over as Prime Minister. Gordon Brown did, however, show himself to be a tough Scot by having a dental operation with no anaesthetic. Why, anyone would choose to do that I have no idea, perhaps it was cheaper and we know what a fiscally astute Chancellor he was. Sir Andrew Turnbull showed himself not to be Mr Brown’s biggest fan though when he described the contemptuous way Gordon Brown treated people. Some may think that made him an ideal candidate for the next prime Minister though of course.
In other news that month UCAS found that a number of students cheated when filling out their university applications, including plagiarising others. It sounds like they were entirely suited to going to university and were just getting started in their academic career early. This was also the month when the British Service men were captured by Iran for apparently crossing into Iranian waters whilst on patrol. A patrol that apparently didn’t include keeping an eye out for approaching ships, as they didn’t seem aware of their captors approach until it was too late.
A woman in Laos became the first person to die of bird flu; John Inman died aged 71, Sally Clark died somewhat unexpectedly having never recovered from being wrongly imprisoned for killing her own children, Bob Woolmer, the Pakistan cricket coach died in ‘mysterious circumstances’ and the world of coffee beans will never bee he same again after the death of Gareth Hunt from Pancreatic cancer.
This was also the month in which Alan Johnston was kidnapped just as he was finishing his time in Gaza.
Then we moved on to April, in which the British Servicemen were released by the Iranians after some diplomatic negotiations which might well have been comparable to Joseph Heller’ Catch 22 and involving someone just redrawing a line on a map. The Servicemen came home and promptly sold their stories to the highest bidder, which opened up a whole new storm of controversy.
It was a bit of a blood thirsty month. A disgruntled student killed 32 when he shot fellow students at Virginia Tech University. Rather less seriously, a polar bear received a death threat and Boris Yeltsin died.
In May it was a time of change at the top. Tony Blair announced that he would resign as Prime Minister on 27 June and John Reid said he would stand down at the same time. Gordon Brown was then announced as Prime Minister when he was unopposed in his leadership bid.
Also this month, the Cutty Sark caught fire and Trafalgar Square was turfed over for a couple of days – I have no recollection of why…
This was the month in which Madeleine McCann disappeared a story that was to dominate the headlines for the rest of the year with allegations and counter-allegations, but never any real answers.
London’s weekly railway news #231
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