2011年11月30日 星期三

英國公部門準備大罷工Public sector strike set to be largest for a generation

Public sector strike set to be largest for a generation

Health workers out on strike at midnight from the Birmingham Women's Hospital The strike is expected to be the biggest single day of industrial unrest since the Winter of Discontent

Up to two million public sector workers are staging a strike over pensions in what is set to be the biggest walkout for a generation.

Schools, hospitals, airports, ports and government offices will be among sites disrupted, as more than 1,000 demonstrations are due across the UK.

The chancellor urged more talks, saying strikes would not achieve anything.

Unions object to government plans to make their members pay more and work longer to earn their pensions.

The strike has impacted:

  • About 2,700 schools out of 21,700 are open in England says the BBC's education correspondent Gillian Hargreaves.
  • The Department of Education says it is expecting 13% of state-funded schools in England, including academies and free schools to open and 13% to be partially open. The status of 16% of schools is unknown.
  • Plane arrivals and take-offs at Britain's two biggest airports - Heathrow and Gatwick - are largely unaffected with only a few cancellations of inbound transatlantic flights to Heathrow.
  • Heathrow operator BAA, and its busiest carrier, British Airways, have both reported near-normal services, with queues at immigration no longer than usual.
  • At Heathrow, the 10 EU UK desks at Terminal 3 immigration are being manned by mix of home office staff and police officers who have been trained. Five non EU desks are open as airport sources suggest immigration controls are at two thirds of normal staffing levels
  • In Northern Ireland, no bus or train services will be operating and two thirds of schools and colleges will be closed.
  • About 300,000 public sector workers are set to go on strike in Scotland while 170,000 workers in Wales are to take action
'Negotiating table'

Speaking from Brussels, Chancellor George Osborne told BBC Breakfast: "The strike is not going to achieve anything, it's not going to change anything. It is only going to make our economy weaker and potentially cost jobs.

"So let's get back round the negotiating table, let's get a pension deal that is fair to the public sector, that gives decent pensions for many, many decades to come but which this county can also afford and our taxpayers can afford.

Why have strikes been called?

The government wants most public sector workers to:

  • Pay more into their pensions
  • Work for longer
  • Accept a pension based on a "career average" salary, rather than the current final salary arrangement which many are currently on
  • The government says the cost of funding public sector pensions is "unsustainable" as people are living longer
  • Unions say the proposals will leave members paying more and working longer for less

"That is what we should be doing today, not seeing these strikes."

He added that without making difficult choices about dealing with the UK's debts the country "would be bankrupt".

Labour leader Ed Miliband said he had "huge sympathy" for people whose lives are disrupted by the strike.

But he said he was "not going to condemn the dinner ladies, nurses, teachers who have made the decision to go on strike because they feel they have been put in an impossible position by a government that has refused to negotiate properly".

Shadow chancellor Ed Balls told BBC Breakfast the pensions row should have been resolved by the government.

On Tuesday night, shadow chief secretary of the treasury, Rachel Reeves, told BBC's Newsnight that Labour did not support the industrial action.

"We do not support the strike because a strike is a sign of failure," she said.

Earlier on Tuesday, union leaders reacted angrily to Mr Osborne's Autumn Statement announcements of a public sector pay cap of 1% for two years, as well as bringing forward to 2026 the rise in the state pension age to 67.

'Failure to negotiate'

Unison general secretary Dave Prentis told BBC Radio 4's Today Programme that industrial action by his union was rare but public sector workers "were annoyed". Millions of workers - mainly low-paid women - were being unfairly affected by changes to pensions, he said.

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George Osborne: ''I would urge people let's get back round the table''

"That is when people say enough is enough," he added.

Brendan Barber, general secretary of the TUC, said the public sector was "under attack" by the government, adding that the action was justified.

"There comes a time when people really have to stand up and make a stand," he told ITV's Daybreak.

"With the scale of change the government are trying to force through, making people work much, much longer and get much, much less, that's the call people have made."

Paul Noon, leader of civil service union Prospect, said members felt the chancellor was "aiming yet another punch at them".

The 24-hour strike is expected to disrupt courts, job centres, driving tests and council services, such as libraries, community centres and refuse collections. Highways Agency staff will be on strike, as will many Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs).

Education Secretary Michael Gove has said it is "unfair and unrealistic" to expect taxpayers to foot the growing public sector pensions bill.

Schools Minister Nick Gibb told BBC Radio 4's Today Programme: "We do understand people are concerned about pensions and we are determined to maintain defined benefit pensions. The negotiations are continuing.

"We have to be fair to all taxpayers not just those who work in the public sector. If we're going to sustain these kind of high quality pensions in the long run there does have to be reform."

General secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers Russell Hobby responded that "blame for any rise in union militancy - particularly among moderate unions - belongs fairly and squarely at the government's door: A failure to negotiate in any meaningful sense until the last minute".

Contingency plans

The UK Border Agency is set to be hit by the walkout of Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union members, and the agency has warned that "people travelling into the UK may experience delays at border control".

Airport sources suggested to the BBC that immigration controls are at two thirds of normal staffing levels - more than the 30-50% predicted previously.

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Brendan Barber said those going on strike were 'entitled to take this action'

The government has said no border controls will be relaxed to ease queues.

Hospital managers are planning to postpone thousands of non-emergency operations because of the strike.

Patients needing urgent treatment such as chemotherapy and kidney dialysis will still be able to get it, and maternity units will remain open.

Calls to 999 will still be answered, but patients are being urged to think carefully and call only if it is a genuine emergency.

The strike was "irresponsible and reckless", said John Longworth, the director general of the British Chambers of Commerce.

He added: "Trade unions are living in a bubble and ignoring the fact that Britain has to make its way in a competitive world."

Weather forecasting staff at the Met Office, catering staff in the House of Commons and museum curators are also among those due to walk out on Wednesday.

2011年11月29日 星期二

倫敦性格小店滿街(East End)

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【明報專訊】東倫敦的Brick Lane、Spitalfield Market、Old Street,早已是潮人必到的聖地,還有什麼新意?原來離Brick Lane不遠的Redchurch Street,已悄悄成為潮人的新寵,不但吸引A.P.C.、Aesop等國際型牌進駐,還有許多性格小店和優質咖啡店。下次到East End,務必要來朝聖。


Redchurch Street就是其中一條這樣的街道:這裏本來大多是貨倉,現在已是倫敦最happening之地,設計師Terence Conran的酒店/食肆The Boundary、法國時裝品牌A.P.C.和澳洲護膚牌子Aesop等星級店,與街頭塗鴉、畫廊、驚喜連連的pop-up shops及個性商店並存。


被 Wallpaper雜誌形容為cult家品店的Labour and Wait(簡稱L&W),肯定是全街最受歡迎的小店。吸引潮人虔誠地每個周末來崇拜的,不是潮流,而是經典。「我和拍檔Simon本來是大眾品牌 的時裝設計師,逐漸厭倦必須時刻變幻的潮流。我們說過終有一天要開間店,賣簡約經典的東西……」Rachel的夢想在2000年實現,跟拍檔在 Cheshire Street開了L&W,今年搬到Redchurch Street現址。讓人一見傾心的,有來自奧地利和日本的搪瓷煲、茶壺等,還有特別向工廠訂做的搪瓷燈罩,包裝懷舊的法國橄欖油肥皂和白色蠟燭,粗麻繩造 的門碰頭(doorstop)等。「不過最好賣的,是潔廁刷連鋅桶!」即便是「鮑魚刷」,都令記者恨不得有自己的房子和花園,好讓我把它變成 L&W的陳列室。

珍藏家具 貨倉變古董店

另 一間「古老當時興」的型店,是古董家俬店Maison Trois Garcons。此店的東主,是法國餐廳Le Trois Garcons的三個老闆。店員介紹,舖位15年前本是個貨倉,讓老闆們存放收藏回來的古董家具,後來從玻璃窗瞥見裏面的途人,紛紛問這些家俬賣不賣,便 索性把貨倉變成家俬店。由店內的貨品,可以看到Le Trois Garcons的風格:奢華炫麗和新舊交融。有古董水晶吊燈、珠片手袋,也有現代設計的咕。


同樣值得瀏覽的, 還有Aubin & Wills的旗艦店。這個以中價年輕便服為主力的英國時裝品牌,去年5月在Redchurch Street一個貨倉開設這間集時裝店、畫廊和戲院於一身的destination store,畫廊由英國著名當代藝術家Stuart Semple策展,戲院則天天播放藝術電影和精選主流影片。一個high street品牌不惜把三分之二舖面花在藝術上,也許只有在Redchurch Street才能發生了。

˙Labour and Wait 打造簡約家(圖)

˙Maison Trois Garcons 昔日風采(圖)

˙Aubin & Wills 時裝x藝術(圖)


歇一歇 品嘗新西蘭咖啡

咖 啡文化媲美意大利的澳洲和新西蘭,近年肩負起一個責任,就是「拯救」咖啡成癮的留英同胞,教育英倫表親什麼叫好咖啡。來自新西蘭的Allpress Espresso,去年便來到Redchurch Street開咖啡店兼烘焙坊,售賣咖啡、三文治、鬆餅等輕食,迅即成為潮人落腳地,逛完街不妨來喝杯espresso看East End的眾生相。

Allpress Espresso

地址:58 Redchurch Street

電話:+44 (0)20 7749 1780







BestHotelOnline.com 是成立於香港的酒店訂房網,備有大量倫敦及世界各大城市住宿選擇,免手續費,並可於退房時結帳,毋須預繳。現推出積分獎賞計劃,兌換現金券甚至現金獎賞, 以及團購服務,可透過BestHotelOnline.com網站,以低至半價預訂酒店



編輯 屈曉彤

美術 Kenji

2011年11月28日 星期一

UK carrier 'fully ready in 2030'

UK carrier 'fully ready in 2030'
Britain may be without a fully operational aircraft carrier until 2030, according to a report published by the Commons spending watchdog.

2011年11月25日 星期五

London 2012 Olympics: volunteer uniforms revealed

London 2012 Olympics: volunteer uniforms revealed

Official Olympic volunteers, known as 'Games Makers', will wear outfits that are deep purple in colour with "poppy" red collars, cuffs and piping.

London 2012 Olympics volunteer and official uniforms revealed
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London 2012 Olympics volunteer and official uniforms revealed
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Photo: LOCOG/adidas











London 2012 Olympics: volunteer uniforms revealed
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London 2012 Olympics: volunteer uniforms revealed
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2011年11月24日 星期四

William Sommers

讀過亨利八世傳記的人 都知道他有一著名的弄臣William Sommers
公視 播放了The Tudors 卻一直沒他的影子
原來編劇者將它弄在第三位皇后 產後死亡的低潮時處理
昨天整集都以他為主最後的一景是William Sommers 戴皇冠坐在皇座上狂笑
照T. 克倫威爾 (部要跟著名的O. 克倫威爾搞混)
亨利骨子是天主教徒 只是無法忍受教宗管他.....

William Sommers
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
For the Scotland international footballer, see William Somers.

Engraving of Will Sommers by Francis Delaram c. 1615-24
William 'Will' Sommers (or Somers) (died June 15, 1560) was the best-known court jester of Henry VIII of England.[1]
Born in Shropshire, Sommers came to the attention of Richard Fermor, a merchant of the staple at Calais, who brought him to Greenwich in 1525 to present to the King. Impressed by Sommers' sense of humour, Henry promptly offered him a place at court. He was soon in high favour with the King, whose liberality to him is attested by the accounts of the royal household.
Sommers remained in the King's service for the rest of Henry's life; in the King's later years, when he was troubled by a painful leg condition, it was said that only Sommers could lift his spirits.[2]
The jester was also a man of integrity and discretion; Thomas Cromwell appreciated that he sometimes drew the King's attention to extravagance and waste within the royal household by means of a joke. After Henry's death, Sommers remained at court, eventually retiring in the reign of Elizabeth I. He was probably the William Sommers whose death is recorded in the parish of St Leonards, Shoreditch, on June 15, 1560.
Court jesters were permitted familiarities without regard for deference, and Sommers possessed a shrewd wit, which he exercised even on Cardinal Wolsey. However, he did occasionally overstep the mark. In 1535, the King threatened to kill Sommers with his own hand, after Sir Nicholas Carew dared him to call Queen Anne "a ribald" and the Princess Elizabeth "a bastard"[3].
Robert Armin (writer of Foole upon Foole, 1600) tells how Sommers humiliated Thomas, the King's juggler. He interrupted one of Thomas' performances carrying milk and a breadroll. Will asked the King for a spoon, the King replied he had none and Thomas told him to use his hands. Will then sang:
'This bit Harry I give to theeand this next bit must serve for me,Both which I'll eat apace.This bit Madam unto you,And this bit I my self eate now,And the rest upon thy face.'[4]
He then threw the milk in his face, ran out, and Thomas was never at court again. Sommers also used his influence to compensate an uncle who had been ruined by an enclosure of common land, though it took a very subtle appeal by Sommers to Henry.
In Thomas Wilson's Arte of Rhetorique (1553–60), Will is quoted telling the financially hard-up King: "You have so many Frauditors [Auditors], so many Conveighers [Surveyers], and so many Deceivers [Receivers] that they get all to themselves."[5]
Sommers is believed to be portrayed in a painting of Henry VIII and family at the Palace of Whitehall, completed around 1544-5 by an unknown artist[6]. He also appears with Henry VIII in the Psalter of Henry VIII which was made for the King and is now in the British Library (MS Royal 2. A. XVI. A previously unknown picture in which he appears was discovered in 2008 at Boughton House, Northamptonshire.[7]
Under Mary I, Will's role was mainly ceremonial, and as a sidekick to Mary's personal fool, Jane. Will was reputed to be the only man who made Mary laugh, apart from John Heywood. Will's last public event was the coronation of Elizabeth I.
William Sommers made a number of appearances in 16th and 17th century drama and literature: for example, Thomas Nashe's Pleesant Comedie called Summers last Will and Testament (play first performed in 1592, published in 1600), Samuel Rowlands' Good Newes and Bad Newes (1622), and a popular account, A Pleasant Historie of the Life and Death of William Sommers (reprinted 1794). See also John Doran's History of Court Fools (1858)[8].

David Bradley played Will Sommers in the episode #3.5 of the Showtime series The Tudors (2009). The real William Sommers was younger than King Henry VIII.

In Margaret George's 1986 fictional "The Autobiographyof Henry VIII," Will Somers protects the manuscript from Queen Mary, who would destroy it. "Somers" adds observations in his own hand that throw light on the old king's hypocrisies and failings.
[edit] Notes
^ Weir, Henry VIII, p. 251.
^ Weir, Henry VIII, p. 401.
^ Weir, Henry VIII, p. 365.
^ Fools and Jesters at the English Court, John Southworth, page 97
^ Fools and Jesters at the English Court page 72
^ Weir, Henry VIII, p. 482.
^ "Rare Elizabeth I portrait found". BBC News. 2008-05-27. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/northamptonshire/7421051.stm.
^ Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition entry on William Sommers.
[edit] References
Weir, Alison (2002). Henry VIII: King and Court. Pimlico. ISBN 0-7126-6451-3.
Weir, Alison (1991). The Six Wives of Henry VIII. Grove Press. ISBN 0802136834.
"1911 Encyclopedia entry:William Sommers". http://www.1911encyclopedia.org/William_Sommers.
"BBC news article". BBC News. 27 May 2006. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/northamptonshire/7421051.stm.
[edit] External links

Biography portal
William Sommers at Find a Grave

2011年11月19日 星期六

In the Pilgrims’ Footsteps,

In the Pilgrims’ Footsteps, Through England and the Netherlands

Andrew Testa for The New York Times

The Church of St. Peter and St. Paul in Sturton le Steeple, England, is near a power station. More Photos »

LAST Thanksgiving my wife was trying to explain to our granddaughter, Lizzie, 5 at the time, that some of her ancestors had been participants at the original 1621 feast in Plymouth. “I know,” said Lizzie, who apparently had been learning about Thanksgiving in school. “We’re Indians!”


Actually, Lizzie’s forebears were Pilgrims. (My wife, like several million Americans at this point, is a Mayflower descendant.) Nowadays Pilgrims, with their funny, steeple-crowned hats and buckle shoes and their gloomy, pious ways (no games on Sunday, no celebrating even of Christmas!), have gone out of fashion. It’s true that upon arriving in the New World they were so hapless that they would surely have perished during their first winter without the help of the American Indians.

But the Pilgrims were nevertheless heroic in their way. There were a great many Puritans in England at the beginning of the 17th century who wanted to purge Christianity of what they considered the laxity and corruption introduced by Rome and by the insufficiently rigorous Church of England. But only a few hundred of them felt strongly enough to become separatists and emigrate to another land.

What they objected to in the established church may seem fussy and trivial today: the wearing of surplices, the exchange of wedding rings, making the sign of the cross at baptism. But at the heart of their convictions was also a radical political thought: that the state had no business in the running of religion, and that congregations had the right to elect their own leaders.

The 102 passengers who sailed on the Mayflower in September 1620 came from all over England (and not all of them were religiously motivated), but the leaders of the separatist movement came from just a handful of farming villages in Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire and southern Yorkshire, most within walking distance of one another. This is not the touristy, thatched-cottage part of England, but it is beautiful nonetheless, and last spring my wife and I visited to see what we could learn about her ancestors, who in so many ways are forefathers to us all.

We made the underappreciated cathedral town of Lincoln our base, and stayed at the White Hart Hotel in a charming upstairs room that overlooked the cathedral close. John Ruskin, the great English art critic, called the town’s cathedral “out and out the most precious piece of architecture in the British Isles,” which did not prevent the dean and chapter from renting it out as a location for the film “The Da Vinci Code.” It really is a towering wonder, visible from miles around. Clearly I would not have made a good Puritan, for of all the churches we visited, this is the one, with its cassock-wearing choristers, flickering candles and rumbling organ, that I liked the best.

Lincoln also has some interesting Roman ruins and a couple of good restaurants. At the bottom of the aptly named Steep Hill, there is one exceptional restaurant with a name that would probably summon forth pickets in the United States. It’s called the Jews House, which is what it was in the 13th century, when Lincoln was home to one of the largest Jewish populations in England. Far from being an ethnic restaurant, the Jews House these days serves a lot of food that observant Jews are not allowed to eat: dishes like pork belly with miso glaze and pan-fried tiger prawns with melon sorbet.

To visit the villages of the Pilgrim leaders, all you really need is a map and a car. We had the additional benefit of Nick Bunker, author of “Making Haste From Babylon: The Mayflower Pilgrims and the New World” (Knopf, 2010), who, after working as a stockbroker in London, now lives in an old, partly Norman house in Lincoln, where he writes full time. He was wearing riding breeches, stout boots and thick knee socks — not strictly necessary but a nice, squire-like touch. He took us first not to one of the Pilgrim sites but to the Church of St. Lawrence, in the all-but-abandoned village of Snarford. The tiny stone building gives no suggestion of the extravagant alabaster statues within — funeral monuments of the St. Paul family, local grandees who became staunch Puritans. Sir George, the last and wealthiest of the clan, and his wife, Frances Wray, are propped up on their right elbows, as if watching television on the couch. He’s wearing armor and she has on a starched white ruff.

The almost lurid colors of the statues take a little getting used to if you have grown up on notions of Puritan somberness, and the general splendor of the little church is an important clue to the Pilgrims. Unlike so many radical religious movements, theirs did not take hold among the poor and downtrodden but, rather, among small landowners and yeoman farmers. Many of them could read, a fairly unusual accomplishment then but a useful one for a group that believed wisdom derived from personal study of the Scriptures.

The most important of the Pilgrim villages, and probably the epicenter of the whole separatist movement, is Scrooby, in Nottinghamshire, where William Brewster, the local postmaster and later a Pilgrim leader, lived and held clandestine religious services in a large manor house. Scrooby today is a bit of a backwater and most of the house (which is now in private hands) was demolished in 1636.

You can still see traces of the moat and fishponds that once surrounded this grand establishment, and in the nearby market town of Gainsborough, another Puritan stronghold, there is an enormous half-timbered Elizabethan manor that gives an idea of what Scrooby Manor must have been like. In Gainsborough, especially, the Puritans were not rubes but bustling men of business.

Not far from Scrooby is the modest Yorkshire village of Austerfield, where William Bradford, the second governor of the Plymouth Colony, grew up; orphaned, he found solace in the radical preaching that could be heard in the area. In the other direction is Babworth, a pretty little hamlet where Richard Clifton, an important separatist thinker, was rector of the local church.

Then there is Sturton le Steeple, where these days at the Church of St. Peter and St. Paul, Fisher-Price toys, for child-minding, are parked next to a sarcophagus. Sturton, a large and still prosperous-looking village, was the birthplace of both John Robinson, the charismatic spiritual leader of the Pilgrims, and John Smyth, who led a large separatist congregation but eventually became even more important in the Baptist movement.

More than anything else it was probably the critical mass of such men — eloquent, passionate, many of them educated at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge — that accounts for why this area became such a hotbed of separatism. It also did not hurt that the main religious authority was the Archbishop of York, who, being more worried about Roman Catholics, took a fairly relaxed attitude toward the Puritans.

But could the landscape itself have been a factor? This is farming country, so flat that a modest little mound in the Nottinghamshire village of Gringley-on-the-Hill is a local landmark. Nick Bunker took us up there one morning, and though the view has changed a lot since the 17th century — much of the land has been drained, and there is a big power station to the north — you can still get a sense of what it must have been like. The sky is endless, the horizon flat, the light soft and Hopperish. There are marshes, woods, heaths, pasturelands and fields of red clay. Though far from the sea, it is a countryside, Mr. Bunker suggested, that in some ways resembles what the Pilgrims found in New England. It’s also the kind of landscape that urges you to spread out and — far from bishops and bureaucrats down south — think daring, independent thoughts.

So why did they leave? For one thing, the king and a new Archbishop of York had begun cracking down on them. The Scrooby congregation also interpreted a devastating flood that surged up the Bristol Channel in January 1607 as a sign of divine disapproval. Later that year a large group tried to flee the country, booking passage from the Lincolnshire port of Boston. They were betrayed by the ship’s captain, however, and the leaders, including Brewster, were imprisoned in the town’s medieval guild hall. (Once a port second in importance only to London, Boston is now down at the heels a little, though still worth a visit thanks to the local church, St. Botolph’s, and the guild hall, now a museum.)

A year later the separatists tried again, and a handful of them made it to Amsterdam, where they were followed by a steady trickle of others from the Scrooby area. “They all got over at length,” Bradford wrote, “some at one time and some at another, and some in one place and some in another, and met again according to their desires, with no small rejoicing.”

After a year or so, the flock, now numbering 100 or so, moved south to the town of Leiden. My wife and I came to like this university town even more than Amsterdam, though the bike riders are apt to run over the unwary. One afternoon I saw a woman pedaling her young child on the crossbars while also texting.

Many of the canals in Leiden are wider and leafier than those in Amsterdam, and there are extensive public gardens belonging to the university. But in the 17th century Leiden was also an industrial town, noisome and crowded. The English immigrants, like most people, worked in the textile business, weaving cloth on looms in the home, and they sorely missed rural life. William Bradford lived on a canal, not far from Haarlemmerstraat, the city’s main shopping thoroughfare, that was so foul it eventually had to be filled in. The entrance to the alley where he lived is today across from an H & M store. William Brewster lived on an alley appropriately known as Stincksteeg. There is a plaque marking the spot and, in a window where his house once was, a poster of Marilyn Monroe. Like most of the English Pilgrims at Leiden, Brewster lived near the Pieterskerk, the city’s grandest church, still imposing though much of the ornament was stripped out during the Reformation.

The only remaining Pilgrim house is also in this neighborhood, on the corner of the Pieterskerkhof and the Kloksteeg, but it has been so modernized that you would never take it for a 17th-century dwelling. To get a better idea of how the Pilgrims lived you need to visit the American Pilgrim Museum, a brick house near the Hooglandse Kerk presided over by the genial and drily ironic Jeremy Bangs, author of the immense and immensely knowledgeable book “Strangers and Pilgrims, Travellers and Sojourners: Leiden and the Foundations of Plymouth Plantation” (General Society of Mayflower Descendants, 2009).

It is the oldest house in Leiden, dating back to the 14th century, and typical of a Pilgrim dwelling: a single 8-by-14-foot room with a stone floor, small leaded windows, a big medieval fireplace. The parents would have slept sitting up in a box bed (because lying flat was thought to cause disease) and the children on the floor. Somewhere in there a loom would have been crammed.

It was for the sake of the children, Bradford later wrote, that the Pilgrims decided to move on to the New World. In Leiden they had to work from an early age and many of them were learning Dutch and adopting Dutch customs. But the cramped, slumlike conditions, so far from the open Scrooby landscape, also had something to do with the decision.

Not all of them went. Some were fearful. Some, like John Robinson, stayed behind to tend the Leiden flock. Had he gone to New England, history — especially the relations between the Pilgrims and the Indians — might have been different. In Mr. Bangs’s account, Robinson emerges as a man of singular intelligence and liberality who decided, for example, that St. Paul was wrong and that women should feel free to speak up in church.

Another Leidenite, Thomas Blossom, was a passenger on the Speedwell, the Mayflower’s companion vessel, which sprang a leak and had to turn back. He eventually made the journey in 1629, joining the colony at Plymouth, where he became first deacon of the church. This might be of interest to those concerned about President Obama’s Americanness, for Blossom is one of his ancestors.

My wife happened to bring this up a few weeks later when we were completing our Pilgrim journey by making a visit to Plimouth Plantation, a replica of the original colony in Plymouth, Mass., where historical re-enactors take the part of the historical Pilgrims. She got into a conversation with a woman in a bonnet and voluminous skirt cooking over a fire. “You know, a descendant of one of your brethren eventually became president,” my wife said.

The woman looked at her and said, “President of what, Miss?”


There are direct flights from New York to the East Midlands airport in Nottingham, about an hour away, or you can drive or take the train from London, which will take three to four hours. To get around the Pilgrim landscape, you will need a car, some good maps, and GPS wouldn’t hurt, though even that may not help when it comes to navigating Lincoln’s many and confusing one-way streets. Luckily, the police seem tolerant of bewildered Yanks. The cathedral and the Stump, the great church in Boston, are open daily, but the various parish churches have more limited schedules and some are open only by appointment. It is best to write or call ahead to the parish secretary.

The White Hart Hotel (www.whitehart-lincoln.co.uk) is charming, ideally situated at 87 Ballgate, across from the cathedral close, and — a valuable perk — comes with parking. Double rooms, with breakfast, start at about £99 (about $156, at $1.57 to the pound). The food at the White Hart is more than acceptable, but it would be a mistake not to try the Jews House, the city’s best restaurant, housed in its oldest and most picturesque building (jewshouserestaurant.co.uk). Less ambitious and more traditionally English is the nearby Wig and Mitre, a Victorian pub-style restaurant that features things like braised beef and roast wood pigeon (wigandmitre.com).


Car rentals are much more expensive in the Netherlands than in England, and because the country is so small and the Dutch train system so good, a car here is really more a hindrance than a help. Trains from Amsterdam to Leiden run every 15 minutes or so; the trip takes a little over half an hour and costs 14 euros (about $19, at $1.35 to the euro).

Leiden is itself easily and pleasantly walkable. A good way to preview the city and get your bearings is to take a boat tour through Leiden’s many canals. Several companies offer these trips, almost all with narration in English available, and there is usually a boat of one sort or another leaving every few minutes from the Beestenmarkt. Fares are mostly under 10 euros for a ride of roughly one hour.

Though outstanding in just about every other way, Leiden is not a city of great hotels. The Nieuw Minerva occupies what used to be six 16th-century houses facing one of the city’s many canals and is best appreciated from the outside. The rooms are serviceable, not very expensive by European standards (starting at $78 for a double) and the location is ideal: a short walk from the Central Station and just around the corner from the Haarlemmerstraat, one of the city’s two main drags.

The two essential Pilgrim sites in Leiden are the great Pieterskerk, or Peter’s Church, which became the Puritan John Robinson’s adoptive home, and the Leiden American Pilgrim Museum, easily found by heading for the hard to-miss belltower of the Hooglandse Kerk, or Highland Church. (That it could be called such suggests that the flatland-dwelling Dutch have very different ideas of altitude from ours.) The museum is open Wednesday through Saturday, 1 to 5 p.m.; admission 3 euros.

In Leiden, as elsewhere in the Netherlands, it is surprisingly difficult to find authentic Dutch food. A good all-purpose bistro, lively and reasonably priced, is the City Hall Restaurant (restaurantcityhall.nl), as the name suggests, behind Leiden’s 17th-century city hall, a building whose grandness suggests how seriously the town fathers took the notion of civic government.

Elsewhere in town are lots of bars serving authentic jenever, not to be confused with gin and a drink the Pilgrims were probably advised to stay away from. Not for nothing is a shot of jenever, tossed down after a beer, known as a kopstoot, or a head butt.

CHARLES McGRATH is a writer at large for The New York Times.

2011年11月15日 星期二

London Protesters Warily Watch New York/ 2012奧運維安

  • Todd Heisler/The New York Times
  • Robert Stolarik for The New York Times
  • Richard Perry/The New York Times
  • Richard Perry/The New York Times
  • Ozier Muhammad/The New York Times
  • Todd Heisler/The New York Times
  • Hiroko Masuike/The New York Times
  • Todd Heisler/The New York Times
  • Todd Heisler/The New York Times
  • Todd Heisler/The New York Times
  • Ozier Muhammad/The New York Times
  • Marcus Yam for The New York Times
  • Marcus Yam for The New York Times
Protesters reconvened in Zuccotti Park on Tuesday night.
London Protesters Warily Watch New York

Any celebration of Occupy London’s continued existence was muted by news that legal action to evict them was being resumed.

2012奧運維安 英考慮部署地對空飛彈 【2011/11/15 16:56】

〔本報訊〕據外媒報導,有謠言指出,將有來自各國的恐怖份子,企圖在明年的英國倫敦奧運中滋事。英國國防部長韓蒙德(Philip Hammond)昨天表示,將採取一切必要措施,維護2012倫敦奧運的安全,甚至不排除部署地對空飛彈。




美國國務院發言人唐納(Mark Toner)也趕緊說明,美國對於英國的奧運維安有絕對信心,兩國討論相關問題也是很平常的事。

2011年11月14日 星期一

倫敦金融城的轉變 What Bob Diamond really tells us about the City

2011年11月14日 07:28 AM
What Bob Diamond really tells us about the City

A widely noted speech last week by Bob Diamond, chief executive of Barclays, coincided with the 25th anniversary of Big Bang, the great shake up of the structure of the City Of London. The transformation of the man who had told the world the time for remorse was over into the figure who pleaded for more public understanding of his industry was widely noted.

前不久,正當倫敦金融城(City Of London)歡慶“金融大爆炸”(Big Bang,即金融城結構大改革)25週年之際,巴克萊(Barclays)首席執行官鮑博•戴蒙德(Bob Diamond )發表的一個講話引起了廣泛的關注。這個曾告誡世人停止懊悔的人,如今卻在請求民眾對金融業多一點理解,這種轉變吸引了許多人的注意。

But Mr Diamond's emergence as the public face of the City is a measure of another transformation. Britain's indigenous investment banking industry has all but disappeared, while a US investment banker is now in charge of one of its largest retail banks. Investment banks have declined, while investment bankers have grown in power, influence – and remuneration. This is perhaps the most startling of the many consequences of Big Bang.


The changes implemented in and around 1986 involved a mixture of deregulation and re-regulation. The conventions that had governed behaviour, largely tacit, were embedded in the English class system that governed recruitment.


But now the informal value driven culture, whose ultimate sanction was famously described as the raised eyebrow of the governor of the Bank of England, was replaced by an extensive rulebook. The gates of the City were opened to comprehensive school boys, and girls, and to foreigners who might not even recognise ​​the Governor, far less appreciate the significance of his raised eyebrow.

但如今,極其詳盡的規則手冊取代了過去那種不正規的實用主義文化。關於這種文化有種著名的說法:最終能不能通過,全看英國央行(Bank of England)行長的眼色。改革之後,倫敦金融城的大門向所有人敞開了,包括普通的中學生,也包括那些老外——他們連行長什麼樣都不知道,更別提看懂行長的眼色了。

Clever graduates and foreigners came in droves. Merchant banks, as they were once called, had always been the aristocrats of the financial system. One by one they were wiped out. US investment banks, now free to expand their London operations, were more professional and more aggressive. Blue-blooded names such as Kleinwort Benson and Morgan Grenfell sought comfort in European retail banks. Barings blew up. Warburg, the meritocratic institution best placed to survive the foreign onslaught, stumbled and fell into the arms of Swiss Bank Corporation. Of the old names, only firms such as Lazard and Rothschild, which have retreated into niche positions, remain.

無數聰明的大學畢業生和外國人來到了金融城。英國的投資銀行一度被稱為商人銀行(Merchant bank),它們一直在金融體系中保持著高高在上的地位。可後來這些商人銀行一個接一個地倒下了。如今美國的投資銀行可以自由擴展它們在倫敦的業務,這些銀行更專業,也更雄心勃勃。佳活賓信(Kleinwort Benson)和摩根•格倫費爾(Morgan Grenfell)等出身高貴的老字號,只滿足於在歐洲經營一些零售銀行。巴林銀行(Barings)倒了。施行精英式管理、最有能力抵擋外資入侵的華寶銀行(Warburg)也栽了,被瑞士銀行公司(Swiss Bank Corporation)收入旗下。在那些老字號中,只有一些轉向利基市場的銀行生存了下來,比如瑞德集團(Lazard)和羅斯柴爾德(Rothschild)。

Thus US banks came to dominate London's wholesale markets in financial services. Even those activities which were not undertaken by US institutions were conducted in the transactions-oriented style the Americans had developed. But that same aggression and greed created reputational issues that steadily eroded the numbers of US banks. Drexel failed: Salomon, Bankers Trust, CSFB were absorbed into larger institutions. By the beginning of the last decade the number of major independent investment banks worldwide had been reduced to five, all of them American. The crisis of 2008 would claim the scalps of three.

就這樣,美國的銀行最終統領了倫敦的批發銀行業務。即便是那些沒有被美國金融機構拿下的業務,也開始採用美國人那種著眼於交易的業務風格。但這種追名逐利和貪婪同樣引發了一些信譽問題,美國不斷有銀行因為這些問題而倒下。德崇證券(Drexel)倒閉了,所羅門兄弟(Salomon)、信孚銀行(Bankers Trust)和瑞士信貸第一波士頓(CSFB)則被一些更大的金融機構吞併了。到本世紀初,全世界重量級獨立投資銀行只剩下五家,全部都是美國的。 2008年金融危機爆發後,又有三家壯烈犧牲。

At Big Bang market makers, brokers, discount houses and asset managers had been acquired by retail banks. These purchases were unsuccessful. Retail banks are necessarily large bureaucracies. Their success depends on processing millions of transactions every day to common standards with a very high degree of accuracy. These requirements fit uneasily with the entrepreneurial buccaneering culture required for, and by, those who trade financial assets.


If investment banks found life tough without the organisational and financial cushion of a retail bank, and retail banks could not control investment banks, the solution was clear: investment bankers would control retail banks. Smarter, greedier and more ambitious than their colleagues who had worked their way through the branch network, investment bankers seized control of conglomerates brought into being by Big Bang, the relaxation and repeal of Glass-Steagall, and the reinvention of continental Europe's universal banks on Anglo-Saxon lines.


In 2011, the chief executives of three of Britain's four large banks, like their counterparts at Citigroup, Deutsche, and UBS, are men who have built their careers in investment banking. When António Horta-Osório of Lloyds returns to health, it will be four out of four. When the titans of global finance today exchange reminiscences, only one man has different stories to tell: Brian Moynihan of Bank of America, who was in charge of consumer and small business banking before he assumed the post of chief executive. Would anyone like to take a bet on the likely background of Mr Moynihan's successor?

2011年,在英國的四大銀行中,有三家的首席執行官都是從投資銀行業務中成長起來的。花旗集團(Citigroup)、德意志銀行(Deutsche)和瑞銀(UBS)也是這種情況。等因健康原因正在休假的勞埃德(Lloyds)首席執行官安東尼奧•奧爾塔-奧索里奧(António Horta-Osório)返回工作崗位,我們就可以說四大銀行的首席執行官都是如此了。現如今,如果所有全球金融業巨頭們聚到一起、共同回憶往日做投資銀行業務時的往事,那麼,只有一個人找不到共同語言,這個人就是美國銀行(Bank of America)的首席執行官布賴恩•莫伊尼漢(Brian Moynihan)。在擔任首席執行官之前,莫伊尼漢負責的是個人業務和小企業業務。而莫伊尼漢的繼任者會是怎樣的背景,有人想打個賭嗎?


2011年11月11日 星期五

兩本倫敦的地下世界: LONDON UNDER: The Secret History Beneath the Streets

地下倫敦 北京:新星2006

Underground London: Travels Beneath the City Streets

by Stephen Smith 2004

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

In this marvelous work, Stephen Smith explores the life and history of London from an unusual angle—underneath. Beginning with the rivers that run under the capital and ending in the system of tunnels beneath the Thames Barrier, Underground London is an enthralling journey into a subterranean world. We find the author descending into St. Andrew’s crypts, where the dead are being raised; joining miners digging tunnels; and exploring the culverts beneath Hampton Court, a stunning feat of engineering designed as a secret passageway for Henry VIII’s mistresses. Smith visits Victorian sewers, wartime bunkers, and secret vaults. He explores tube stations and the now-defunct Mail Rail, the miniature railway that once transported twelve million letters a day.


In this marvelous work, Stephen Smith explores the life and history of London from an unusual angle—underneath. Beginning with the rivers that run under the capital and ending in the system of tunnels beneath the Thames Barrier, Underground London is an enthralling journey into a subterranean world. We find the author descending into St. Andrews crypts, where the dead are being raised; joining miners digging tunnels; and exploring the culverts beneath Hampton Court, a stunning feat of engineering designed as a secret passageway for Henry VIIIs mistresses. Smith visits Victorian sewers, wartime bunkers, and secret vaults. He explores tube stations and the now-defunct Mail Rail, the miniature railway that once transported twelve million letters a day.


Beneath the Streets of London

Is that vast labyrinth beneath London the Eighth Wonder of the World or the Ninth Circle of Hell? I’ll admit to a bias. As a longtime commuter on the infernal Long Island Rail Road and a rider of a subway whose signs are in fluent fuhgeddaboudit, I know what I like in a train system. Even as an American pre-teenager growing up in London, I marveled at the Underground and navigated it alone with ease and awe. I’m opting for Eighth Wonder.

M. McNeill/Fox Photos — Getty Images

Another world: the Underground as air-raid shelter, December 1940.


The Secret History Beneath the Streets

By Peter Ackroyd

Illustrated. 228 pp. Nan A. Talese/Doubleday. $25

Don’t make me go down there again. The prolific Peter Ackroyd, having written histories and fictions covering every square inch of London above ground (“London: The Biography,” “Thames: The Biography,” “The Great Fire of London,” “The Lambs of London”), has turned his attention to the world below, dashing off a windy treasure called “London Under: The Secret History Beneath the Streets.” He seems obsessed with reminding us that the living aren’t meant to linger underground — and when we do, that we shouldn’t be surprised to encounter the dead and occasionally the undead. “There may be monsters,” he writes. Mind the gap indeed.

Twenty-first-century readers may not be in danger of slipping deep beneath London and never emerging, but a fascinating, chilling chapter on the use of the Underground during World War II, when tens of thousands of people sheltered there and created an alternate city, complete with its own newspapers, suggests how close we can come. It’s the second half of “London Under” that tells this story of the Tube — the true reward of the book — but Ackroyd makes readers work for it. First he takes us on a tour of the ancient subterrain. The current London is sinking, and as it does all the Londons before it are rising up. The 30 compressed feet of clay, gravel, wood and stone where these Londons meet has coughed up basilicas, markets, amphitheaters, bathhouses, taverns, temples, a Roman ship sunk by a stone cannonball, even a mammoth. And, of course, bodies. Many, many bodies.

Ackroyd follows seemingly all the rivers, streams, pipes, sewers and tunnels that ever crisscrossed the city. Since many routes are mirrored in the streets above, he enumerates warrens within warrens of place names, at times sounding like a London cabby who has “done the Knowledge,” the legendary test of such map memory. It’s lovely to hear the names, though. Even without meaning they have melody: Cowcross Street, Turnagain Lane, Budge Row, Tooting, the Wandle, Cockfosters.

The hero of this narrative is Joseph Bazalgette, the city engineer who after “the great stink” of 1858 devised a sewer system that is largely still in use today. Before Bazalgette’s sewers, London pretty much routinely smelled rank, its rivers the repository of first resort for its filth. (“The sinks ran grease, and hair of measled hogs,” Ben Jonson wrote in a poem about the River Fleet.) Ackroyd puts Bazalgette in the pantheon of London builders with Sir Christopher Wren and John Nash. His were cathedrals that grew below ground.

Plenty of other “mole men,” diggers with missions both practical and psychological, make up this history. One took his inspiration from a shipworm when he built the first tunnel beneath the Thames — 4,000 years after the Babylonians had constructed theirs under the Euphrates, but still just the second under-river tunnel.

About the same time, Charles Pearson was seeing his derided proposals for subterranean train lines take shape. Ackroyd fills the final chapters with wondrous tales of that project: its earliest successes and failures, its characters and its lore. The first escalator to the depths? “A man with a wooden leg was employed to ride up and down,” Ackroyd informs us, “to instill confidence in the nervous passengers.” The first trainmen? They petitioned the railroad company for permission to grow beards “as a protection against sulfurous deposits.” An early commuter? Oscar Wilde, who rode to his job editing a women’s magazine. The first trains? They were christened Czar, Kaiser, Locust and Hornet. And, of course, Pluto — god of the underworld.

Mary Jo Murphy edits the Weekend Arts section of The Times.

An Essay on the State of England (John Cary 1695)

An Essay on the State of England (John Cary 1695)

John Cary's essay on the State of England in Relation to its Trade, its Poor, and its Taxes for carrying on the present War against France


The Forgotten Book that Helped Shape the Modern Economy

Executive Summary:

A British merchant's long-forgotten work, An Essay on the State of England, could lead to a rethinking of how modern economies developed in Europe and America, and add historical perspective on the proper relationship between government and business. An interview with business historian Sophus A. Reinert. Key concepts include:

  • Like sifting through archaeological layers, the various translations of John Cary's influential but all-but-forgotten Essay on the State of England reveal how his ideas both influenced and were modified in the economic development of Western nations.
  • Many modern scholars view the emergence of the modern political economy through a lens of laissez-faire, when in fact government interventions during the 1700s were frequent and determined. The reigning idioms of political economy, its proposals, and their implementation in the eighteenth century were very different from the ideas later celebrated by the economics profession.

An Essay on the State of England (John Cary 1695)

2011年11月8日 星期二

Thomas More和《法律的界碑》

公視的都鐸王朝(The Tutors) ,讓我查《天主教聖人辭典》不朽的聖人More, Thomas (1478–1535), The Oxford Dictiona...Thomas More和《法律的界碑》Lord Denning 四本法律書中的 Thomas Wolsey More…..當然還有《大英百科‧亨利八世》。我搞不清楚(不完全)那些劇情是小說,或史實?譬如說More 有沒燒異(新)教徒?不過,我40幾年前看的著名電影《良相佐國》的許多景可能過份豪華了……

2011年11月7日 星期一

The Year of Guy Fawkes

The Year of Guy Fawkes


The Year of Guy Fawkes

The stylized mask from the graphic novel and film V for Vendetta has evolved into a global symbol of insurrection. For Nov. 5 — a.k.a. Guy Fawkes Day — here is a world-wide round up of Fawkes wannabes

2011年11月3日 星期四

Big Bang: from optimism to anxiety.

London as a financial centre

Banged about

In the 25 years since Big Bang, the mood in the City has changed from optimism to anxiety. Can it recover?

A SHORT walk east from the Bank of England’s building on Threadneedle Street takes you to the Broadgate shops-and-offices complex, built in the 1980s on the edge of the City, London’s main financial district. The shifting architecture on the journey traces the changes wrought by “Big Bang”, a set of new rules for the financial-services industry that came into force 25 years ago, on October 27th 1986.

The stone-clad buildings on the mazy streets and narrow lanes around the old Stock Exchange on Throgmorton Street, close to the Bank, housed the British firms that carved up London’s stockbroking and trading until the Big Bang reforms. The buildings are rarely more than five storeys high and are tightly packed, befitting an industry that was once close-knit and small-scale. Walking east, the streets widen and the buildings become larger and newer. These house some of the big investment banks, usually foreign-owned, which trade shares, bonds, currencies and derivatives on a scale that would have made an old-school City gent choke on his lunch.

These one-stop financial shops with vast trading floors are one legacy of Big Bang (the demise of the leisurely lunch is another). Foreign banks took advantage of the opening up of stockbroking to outsiders to establish a presence in London’s fast-growing financial centre. That influx of capital pushed up wages and, together with rising stockmarkets and lower income-tax rates, created a mood of optimism among City professionals.

A quarter of a century on, the City is far bigger: it established a second cluster in the early 1990s at Canary Wharf, a few miles east of Broadgate. But the mood is also much darker. Fears of renewed recession in the rich world and anxiety about the euro zone have dampened stockmarkets and made the lucrative fees from underwriting share and debt issues, or advising on big mergers, seem a distant prospect.

Investment banks have struggled to make money so staff will be cut. The CEBR, a consultancy that tracks the London economy, reckons City-type jobs (including in business services linked to finance) will fall by 27,000 this year to around 288,000, almost a fifth below their pre-crisis peak. On top of current anxieties are longer-term worries about unhelpful European regulation and the challenge to London’s status from emerging financial centres in Asia.

Once the City could have relied on government to fight its corner. But the protesters currently camped in the churchyard of St Paul’s Cathedral, near Paternoster Square, the Stock Exchange’s home since 2004, reflect a broader anger that makes it tricky for politicians to speak up for finance. The share of Britain’s GDP accounted for by financial services, including the retail kind such as arranging mortgages, has been steadily shrinking since 2007. If the City is cut down to size, so be it, say some. The economy should in any case be “rebalanced” away from creating paper assets and towards manufacturing.

The generous rewards in an industry that relied on taxpayer support to keep it afloat are indeed hard to stomach. More effective financial regulation is needed, even if some proposals seem misdirected. But the desire to stuff the City back into the narrow streets and poky buildings to which it was confined before Big Bang is at odds with the requirements of another kind of rebalancing: for exports to fire the economy at a time when government and consumers are tackling their debts.

Wholesale finance is one of the few industries in which Britain has large net export earnings. In the first half of 2011, the combined trade surplus of financial services and insurance was 2.6% of GDP, partly offsetting Britain’s deficit in goods (see chart). Net exports worth a further 0.5% of GDP are typically chalked up by related services, such as law, accountancy and consulting.

The message from these persistent surpluses is that the City, for all its faults, is a source of comparative advantage. One pound in every three managed in Britain is done so on behalf of foreigners, according to the Investment Management Association. London is the world’s leading centre for cross-border bank lending as well as marine insurance, according to CityUK, a lobby group. It accounts for two-fifths of global turnover in foreign exchange, more than New York and Tokyo combined, and similarly dominates the market for bespoke interest-rate derivatives. Britain is second only to America as a home to hedge-funds and private equity, even though the 50% tax rate on high incomes has driven some business to Switzerland.

The City’s lead in such niches owes something to the Big Bang-inspired emergence of London-based “full-service” investment banks. But its comparative advantage has deeper roots. One is its time zone: London’s trading day starts as the Tokyo market closes and a few hours before New York opens. The widespread use of English around the world gives London an edge over Frankfurt, Paris or Milan as Europe’s main financial centre. The legal system is a boon: where there are parties from several different countries in a deal—say a Dutch firm selling an African business to an Asian rival—they often choose to have the contract drawn up where there is a good body of commercial law and experienced judges. That Britain itself is open to foreign direct investment gives London an edge in arranging cross-border deals.

The fire next time

These blessings should in theory reinforce each other. The City’s financiers, lawyers and accountants benefit from proximity. The speedy exchange of information is a competitive edge. This also explains those big trading floors: the hope is that the trader of European bank shares, say, will pick up useful knowledge from his firm’s interest-rate or currency analysts. Most of all, London benefits from incumbency and a long history as a financial centre. Trading creates liquidity, which attracts more business (and skills) in a virtuous circle.

London’s long-term prospects depend on its ability to sustain these attractions—and to rekindle the competitive fire that the Big Bang reforms aimed to spark. City bigwigs worry that much EU regulation is designed to undermine London and favour other financial centres in Europe. A bid by the European Central Bank to force clearing houses settling trades in euros to locate in the euro zone is one such threat. A proposed tax on financial transactions, which would divert business from Europe, also causes dismay. The burgeoning emerging-market demand for finance should be an opportunity. The risk is that fighting battles closer to home means it is missed.

Big Bang

The deregulation of the London Stock Exchange on (27 October 1986), when a number of complex changes in trading practices were put into effect simultaneously. (1983 —) .

[From the earlier senses, creation of the universe in one cataclysmic explosion, hence any sudden forceful beginning.]