One nice thing about Beacon is that every article has to have a header image. So in writing the Ends of Britain series, I increasingly take photos when I visit somewhere. A selection of header photos appears above; there are links to the articles from the image pages. Continue reading “Picturing the Ends of Britain: photos for Beacon”
If you were looking for parts of the economy to nationalise, luxury hotels would probably be low on most people’s lists – and for the last three decades, British governments have mainly privatised, not nationalised, with most of Royal Mail being privatised this week.
Having just spent a week in a different parador – Spain’s nationalised chain of hotels – every night, that’s a bit of a shame. Not because hotel accommodation urgently needs to become part of the public sector, but because it’s difficult to imagine any organisation but a government doing what Spain has done with several paradores: take a fantastic but decrepit old building and make it usable again. Continue reading “Spain’s nationalised heritage paradores: unlikely in Britain, sadly”
The north of France is a lot like the north of England. It’s a bit colder, metropolitan types think it has funny accents and food and it has suffered from a decline in industry, particularly mining. Lille should get itself twinned with Manchester – both cities have great histories and great ambitions for the future (and both are now major student and cultural centres). Continue reading “Art galleries in northern France: La Piscine Roubaix beats Louvre Lens”
The west country council came perilously close to outsourcing a wide range of services to BT. Why did it change its mind?
Based on a set of interviews with councillors, and a trip to Bodmin to take a look at the Beacon technology park courtesy of Ann Kerridge – some images in the gallery above – this is my first piece in my second run as a freelance journalist, for the Guardian’s Society pages. Cornwall council is taking a pragmatic approach to outsourcing, trying to create and protect local jobs, increase efficiency and involve its local NHS trusts.
There are plenty of reasons to visit Britain’s cathedrals, including faith, history and spectacular architecture. Formerly, food may not have been one of them. However, along with other improvements in British cuisine, my research suggests that it is now possible to find good cathedral food – if not in the same building, then in a suitably Christian location not far away. Continue reading “The good cathedral food guide to Hereford, Brecon, Chester and London”