At last, the truth

You have always wanted to know this

I feel like we've been waiting for this for a lifetime. Rather like the Second Coming, or Godot. But this one's defied the trend and finally arrived! Now we know: the causes of crane accidents.

The life-turning-point-esque revelations come all the way from the Straits Times in Singapore, where there is an alarming number of cranes (17,000!) and therefore crane-related accidents (162 last year!). Crane-related accidents is the technical term. A hundred and sixty-two sounds like an alarming number but actually I have no idea as I have nothing to compare it to. My life is sorely lacking in crane statistics. Granted, crane-related accidents are not to be mocked. But absurd investigations into crane accidents are opent to mockery, I think. This one has discovered that managers, operators, supervisors and faulty cranes are all to blame for crane accidents. Which is pretty much anyone who has anything to do with a crane, apart from maybe a passing bird that has been exonerated from the whole murky affair.

Anyway, that's today for you. Politics, 9/11, Afghanistan, recession, swine flu. And cranes.

 

 

 

 

Sophie Elmhirst is features editor of the New Statesman

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PMQs review: Theresa May shows how her confidence has grown

After her Brexit speech, the PM declared of Jeremy Corbyn: "I've got a plan - he doesn't have a clue". 

The woman derided as “Theresa Maybe” believes she has neutralised that charge. Following her Brexit speech, Theresa May cut a far more confident figure at today's PMQs. Jeremy Corbyn inevitably devoted all six of his questions to Europe but failed to land a definitive blow.

He began by denouncing May for “sidelining parliament” at the very moment the UK was supposedly reclaiming sovereignty (though he yesterday praised her for guaranteeing MPs would get a vote). “It’s not so much the Iron Lady as the irony lady,” he quipped. But May, who has sometimes faltered against Corbyn, had a ready retort. The Labour leader, she noted, had denounced the government for planning to leave the single market while simultaneously seeking “access” to it. Yet “access”, she went on, was precisely what Corbyn had demanded (seemingly having confused it with full membership). "I've got a plan - he doesn't have a clue,” she declared.

When Corbyn recalled May’s economic warnings during the referendum (“Does she now disagree with herself?”), the PM was able to reply: “I said if we voted to leave the EU the sky would not fall in and look at what has happened to our economic situation since we voted to leave the EU”.

Corbyn’s subsequent question on whether May would pay for single market access was less wounding than it might have been because she has consistently refused to rule out budget contributions (though yesterday emphasised that the days of “vast” payments were over).

When the Labour leader ended by rightly hailing the contribution immigrants made to public services (“The real pressure on public services comes from a government that slashed billions”), May took full opportunity of the chance to have the last word, launching a full-frontal attack on his leadership and a defence of hers. “There is indeed a difference - when I look at the issue of Brexit or any other issues like the NHS or social care, I consider the issue, I set out my plan and I stick to it. It's called leadership, he should try it some time.”

For May, life will soon get harder. Once Article 50 is triggered, it is the EU 27, not the UK, that will take back control (the withdrawal agreement must be approved by at least 72 per cent of member states). With MPs now guaranteed a vote on the final outcome, parliament will also reassert itself. But for now, May can reflect with satisfaction on her strengthened position.

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.