Bitesized Blighty: January 25, 2019

Toyosi Adebayo  Follow

  • On Tuesday, the European Commission warned that a no-deal Brexit would lead to a hard border between the U.K. and Ireland. The warning is a clear departure from previous talks which set out that the border would be invisible. These warnings stem from speculations over Theresa May’s Brexit Plan B, which is due to be debated and voted on in Parliament on Tuesday, January 29. In any event, a hard border between both countries would be a contravention of the Good Friday Agreement which was a major political peace agreement reached by multi-party negotiations in April 1998, and result in the removal of a border between both Irish territories. A hard border hasn’t existed between Northern Ireland (part of the U.K.) and the Republic of Ireland since the Troubles, the Northern Ireland conflicts, and the prospect of partitioning Ireland is a major concern for unionists and nationalists. See here to read more on why the Irish Border matters, which explains how it has become a dominant factor in the Brexit negotiations.
  • Despite the Brexit calamity, it seems the U.K. labour market has been faring quite well, at least in the wages and household spending arena. This week, it was announced that household spending returned to pre-crisis levels last year and a boost that can be attributed to a record high 75.8 per cent rise to employment rate, in the three months to November 2018, and a surge of wages by 3.3 per cent, the quickest rate for a decade. However, analysts have been quick to warn that although the figures seem encouraging, they may be masking more worrying issues such as the fact households are borrowing, putting expenses on credits and tapping into their savings to fund household spending.
  • Transport for London is throwing a grand ‘ol party on January 26, in celebration of the District Line’s 150th Anniversary and has invited all those who wish to attend. The party is an opportunity for fans to learn more about the line and attendees could also get a free tote bag party swag. Much like New York’s subway trains, London tube lines all have their very own unique personalities. The District Line is known for its slowness, strange smell, and that slightly off brake issue, but all these traits suddenly seem more endearing now that we know it is 150 years old. The line trudges along from Upminster in the east, to the west, where it branches off to four west London stations: Wimbledon, Richmond, Edgware Road and Ealing Broadway. Poor thing! But a positive feature of the District line’s service is that you get mobile signal! Trust us, that’s London commuting gold around here.
  • In more train news, if you are a train or tube buff, you’ll certainly be entertained by Buzzfeed’s ranking of London Tube lines and you can also check out these interesting facts about every London Tube station.

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