A new policy has been introduced at nightclubs in London’s West End after complaints that some are discriminating against people based on the colour of their skin.
Following several complaints about door policies, Westminster City Council now wants venues to sign up to a voluntary code of conduct to make them more inclusive.
The code calls for better training for door staff and for the public to be aware of how to complain if they feel they have been discriminated against.
Arsenal striker Vivianne Miedema is the Netherlands’ all-time leading goalscorer, has won three league titles in two countries and holds the record for most Women’s Super League goals in a season. She is also just 23.
Fresh from playing in this summer’s World Cup final, Miedema sat down with BBC Sport to discuss her Dutch roots, football chats with Liverpool centre-back Virgil van Dijk and her childhood fascination with Robin van Persie.
Family, Feyenoord and Van Persie
Growing up in Hoogeveen, a town in the north-east of the Netherlands, Miedema would join her father and younger brother Lars in making the 120-mile trip to Rotterdam to watch Feyenoord play.
And when asked about the influence of her family on her playing career, Miedema jokes she “never really had a choice” but to pursue football as a profession.
“My dad used to play football, my granddad used to play football and my little brother is playing now too,” she tells BBC Sport, referring to Lars’ contract with FC Den Bosch, the club where Ruud van Nistelrooy began his career.
“We just loved it and there was nothing else for me. I am four years older than my brother but I used to play football with him and it’s made me a better player and I think him too.”
The Miedema family were all big Feyenoord fans and between 1996 and 2004 were able to watch as ex-Manchester United and Arsenal striker Van Persie developed on his way to becoming one of the best strikers in Europe.
Reflecting on that time, she says: “If you are a young girl now it might be a bit different because there are lots of female players to look up to but I used to be a fan of the Feyenoord players. I used to buy the little kits of Robin van Persie and watch every single game.
“They were the only games I was allowed to stay up late for during the week. We used to go to some of their games. Sometimes, as a birthday present, I would go to a fan day or an open training session.
“I met van Persie once – I can’t really remember it because I was so young. But [at Feyenoord] you got to meet some of the players and go on the pitch with them. It was amazing.”
Celebrating Dutch success with Virgil van Dijk
Like Van Persie, Miedema has become one of the most prolific strikers in the game.
She scored 22 goals and picked up 10 assists in 19 league appearances last season in helping Arsenal win their first WSL title in seven years, her performances leading to being named the PFA Player of the Year. Compatriot Van Dijk picked up the men’s prize.
“It was quite a big thing back home – two Dutch players winning it made it even bigger than it probably was for me and for him,” says Miedema.
“It was nice to get the awards after the year we both had but we are both quite down to earth and the day after the focus was on the football again.”
For Miedema, focussing on football meant the then-upcoming World Cup. Liverpool defender Van Dijk was supporting Miedema and her Dutch team-mates this summer, wishing them luck before their defeat in the final by champions the USA.
“I spoke with him [Van Dijk] at the PFA awards and he is a nice guy,” says Miedema. “Obviously we had some football chat – I went to the Liverpool v Barcelona Champions League semi-final as well.
“It was just nice. We see them [the men’s internationals] when we are away with the national team as well. We watch their games and they watch ours and he was watching the World Cup final. It’s nice to have that contact and respect each other.”
Breeding confidence at Arsenal
Dutch players have enjoyed success in the English game, with Ruud van Nistelrooy, Edwin van der Sar and Arjen Robben among players to have enhanced their reputations in the Premier League.
In 2018-19, there were four Dutch players in Arsenal Women’s title-winning squad and all four started the World Cup final. This summer, midfielder Jill Roord joined from Bayern Munich.
“The English league is one of the most attractive leagues to go to right now,” Miedema says.
“The step from Holland to England is small, it’s not like going to Spain where you don’t understand a word and it’s a different life. In England, it is quite similar to how we live and that makes it a lot easier.”
Miedema, who has scored 63 goals in 83 appearances for her country, adds that success on the international stage breeds confidence with team-mates back at Arsenal.
“Nobody expected us to win the Euros or do well at the World Cup but we did it, again,” she says. “I played my part in that and it was good to get back into it recently for the start of the Euro qualifiers.”
After becoming the first player to surpass 16 goals in a single WSL season in 2018-19, there are higher expectations of Miedema and her team-mates to defend their title.
“I am lucky because I have been in this situation when I was at Bayern Munich [winning back-to-back league titles in 2015 and 2016]. I have that experience,” she says.
“It is something that’s extra special because obviously every team comes for you and has nothing to lose. They want to get a point off you and work a bit harder against you than other teams.
“That’s just extra motivation to get better every single week and play better football than we did last year.”
Trade unions suspended a threat of strike action on the London Underground last week after successful talks with Transport for London (TfL). There has not been a strike on the Tube during 2019 but have industrial relations improved since Sadiq Khan took over as Mayor of London from Boris Johnson three years ago?
Figures obtained by the BBC show that in the past 11 financial years, since Mr Johnson took over as mayor from Ken Livingstone, there have been more than 36,000 days lost to strike action.
The number of days lost is so high because TfL counts “one day lost for every member of staff missing” and it has led one academic to describe the London Underground as “a museum of bad industrial relations”.
Various disputes over issues including ticket office closures, job cuts, new rotas, employee dismissals and the introduction of the Night Tube have resulted in 68 individual dates of strike action since April 2008.
The London School of Economics’s Prof Tony Travers explained these industrial rows resembled “trigger points” that each mayor would aim to avoid in order to prevent any big strikes.
“These trigger points are usually something new,” he said. “These include the Night Tube, Olympics or working Boxing Day.
“Unions have long used the Underground as good leverage when trying to get better pay because of the monopoly that it serves.”
Between April 2008 and May 2012, during Mr Johnson’s first spell as Mayor of London, 12,523 shifts were lost to strike action – despite him trying to negotiate no-strike deals with the Tube unions.
Figures showed a further 19,689 working days were lost while he was mayor during his second term between May 2012 and May 2016.
In his 2016 Mayor of London election campaign Mr Khan pledged to “reduce the number of days lost to strike action” and he has seen 3,824 shifts lost to strike days during his time at City Hall.
While there have been significantly fewer working days lost to strikes under Mr Khan, there have been 25 dates of industrial action in his three years as mayor, compared with 33 across the whole eight years Mr Johnson was in office.
“Under Sadiq there have been fewer days lost,” Prof Travers said. “But the entire record for Tube strikes is particularly dire.”
TfL said the effect of any strike was dependent on the nature of the dispute, the number of unions involved and where the strike had been called.
The figures included strikes that affected either the whole Tube network or just part of it.
A spokesman for the Mayor of London said strike action had “reduced” under Mr Khan because he “listens to the concerns of workers”.
However, Conservative London Assembly member Keith Prince defended Mr Johnson’s record, instead accusing Mr Khan of having a “worse strikes record (than) any of his predecessors”.
According to the TfL data, strike action was predominantly taken by the RMT union, which has about 10,000 members employed on the Tube, and saw workers walk out on 34 occasions.
Aslef, which represents 2,456 Tube drivers, took 13 dates of strike action, while Unite had eight disputes which led to industrial action.
The Transport Salaried Staffs Association (TSSA) walked out on two occasions over “employee terms and conditions”.
Aslef’s Finn Brennan said his union had “regular meetings between transport unions, Mr Khan and his team”.
He added: “Aslef uses these meetings to highlight issues that go beyond the remit of the machinery meetings with employers and to encourage a more reasonable attitude on matters we have raised with the company.”
Frank Kelly has been a signal operator for more than five decades on the London Underground.
But the signal box he operates will soon be replaced as automation is introduced to signalling at the junction.
And after many years of dedicated service, Frank will be retiring with the signal box.
Alcohol sold in supermarkets should be taxed at a higher rate than drink sold in pubs, a think tank has suggested.
A “pub relief” would make drinking at home less affordable and support the pub sector, according to the Social Market Foundation (SMF).
The Institute of Alcohol Studies (IAS), which commissioned the research, said it would help to cut problem drinking.
Taxing cider and wine by the unit in England would also have public health benefits, the IAS said.
The idea would be to shift taxation towards high-strength drinks bought for consumption at home – and away from weaker products bought in pubs and bars, the SMF said.
That could mean that beer in pubs would become less expensive, depending on how the duties were structured.
Taxing cider and wine by the unit, as is already the case with beer and spirits, would also help cut down problem drinking, it added.
According to recent research, cheap supermarket alcohol was the “number one” concern for publicans, said IAS senior policy analyst Aveek Bhattacharya, followed by competition from big chains.
“Wetherspoon’s comes in, and that’s a killer,” he said, adding: “Business rates are a big pressure.”
The number of pubs in the UK has declined by nearly a quarter since 2008 as small pubs disappear and big chains consolidate their businesses, according to the latest official figures.
‘Tougher and tougher’
“I’ve been in the game 20 years, and it’s got tougher and tougher,” says “CJ” Lewis, the manager of the independent King and Queen pub in London’s Fitzrovia district.
“And to be honest, the supermarkets are a little bit to blame,” he says.
He says that alcohol available in supermarkets “is, in theory, too cheap”.
“The price of alcohol here [in the pub] compared with the price in a supermarket is a bit ridiculous.”
However, he adds: “I can’t complain, because I buy it myself.”
He says the idea of higher taxes for alcohol in supermarkets is “great” for the pub industry in theory, but he’s not sure how it would work out in practice.
Supermarkets may still find a way to cut prices, he says.
And any tax relief on beer sold in brewery-owned pubs might be clawed back from landlords by the breweries, he adds. The breweries could charge those landlords more for their beer, and it would stay the same price in the pub for customers, he says.
Mr Bhattacharya said alcohol in supermarkets is cheap for a number of reasons.
Alcohol duty has been cut in real terms every year since 2013, and beer duty in real terms is 18% lower than then.
One of the main reasons supermarket booze is cheaper than pubs is bargaining power, he says.
Supermarkets can squeeze brewers on price because they are such large customers, but when it comes to landlords negotiating with brewers, “the boot’s on the other foot”, he said.
Supermarkets can also use alcohol as a loss leader – that is, it’s sold at a loss to attract shoppers into stores, where they will buy more profitable items.
Duty of care
Katherine Severi, IAS chief executive, said: “Alcohol has become a lot more affordable, and cheaper too, by comparison with other goods… For too long, alcohol duty has been politicised.”
Landlords have a duty of care to people in their pubs, she said, adding that a change in the tax regime would “reduce societal harms”.
Brigid Simmonds, chief executive of the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA), which represents brewers, said: “The focus should be on reducing the overall beer duty rate, which is one of the highest in the EU and places an enormous burden on pubs.
“It is also important that the report recognises that the excise duty regime should encourage the consumption of lower-strength products.”
A Treasury statement said: “We are committed to supporting our pub industry and responsible drinkers, while tackling the sources of harmful drinking.
“That’s why we’ve consistently cut or frozen alcohol duties, saving drinkers £5.2bn, and introduced a new higher rate of tax for harmful high-strength ciders.”
|Rugby World Cup warm-up: England v Italy|
|Venue: St James’ Park, Newcastle Date: Friday 6 September Kick-off: 19:45 BST|
|Coverage: Live on BBC Radio 5 Live with highlights on BBC Two at 23:05 BST|
Harlequins centre Joe Marchant will start England’s final warm-up match against Italy on Friday despite not being part of the World Cup squad.
Marchant is alongside Piers Francis in the midfield in what is described as a “mix and match selection strategy”.
Ruaridh McConnochie will finally make his debut on the wing and joins Jonny May and Anthony Watson in the back three.
Billy Vunipola makes his fourth start of the campaign at number eight.
“We have gone with a mix and match selection policy to develop our adaptability and the team’s ability to cope with any situation,” explained head coach Eddie Jones.
Friday’s match in Newcastle will be the first England Test match to be staged at St James’ Park.
Jones’ side then fly out to Japan on Sunday before their tournament opener against Tonga on 22 September.
“We are playing at an iconic football ground and we know the area is an important one for rugby in the northern part of England,” Jones added.
“We are looking forward to seeing and playing in front of the fans.”
Marchant made his England debut as a replacement against Wales last month before also coming on against Ireland a fortnight ago.
His inclusion raises questions over the fitness of Jonathan Joseph, after the Bath man pulled out of the Ireland game with unspecified muscle soreness.
Meanwhile Vunipola’s inclusion in the back-row for the fourth consecutive match appears a gamble by Jones.
However assistant coach Neal Hatley said on Thursday the England management had no concerns about Vunipola’s workload.
“One of the key things with Billy is to keep him playing,” Hatley said.
Captain Owen Farrell starts at fly-half for the first time in the warm-up schedule, while Anthony Watson plays at full-back for the first time since March 2018.
“We have had a solid training week in Treviso with hot conditions so we are looking forward to testing ourselves against Italy on Friday night,” Jones added.
“Then we hop on the plane and are ready to go to Japan.”
Two men are in hospital after a double stabbing at a Tube station in south London.
Police were called to Elephant and Castle station at about 23:30 BST on Sunday and found two men with stab wounds in a street nearby.
A 24-year-old man is in a critical condition and a 25-year-old is in a serious condition.
British Transport Police said it was “a shocking act of violence” and two men had been arrested.
Det Ch Insp Sam Blackburn said: “At this time we believe there was an altercation between two groups of men inside the Underground station and it is here the victims sustained their injuries before making their way on to the street.”
The station is likely to be closed on Monday morning as forensic examinations take place.
Three people have been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder after a 15-year-old boy was stabbed.
The victim remains in a critical condition in hospital following the attack in Tottenham, north London, on Friday.
He was found with multiple stab wounds on Willan Road, in the Broadwater Farm estate, at around 11:15 BST.
Scotland Yard said three males were detained in connection with the incident on Friday evening.
Officers believe the boy was involved in an altercation shortly before he was stabbed, possibly by a suspect riding a bicycle.
Police would like to speak to members of the public who gave first aid to the victim at the scene.
Det Insp Paul Ridley said: “I am keen to hear from anyone who either witnessed, or has information concerning this attack.
“The victim, not yet 16 years old, sustained multiple stab wounds and is fighting for his life.
“If you know anything about the circumstances surrounding the incident or if you witnessed it, please do come forward.
“I would also appeal to the members of the public who valiantly administered crucial first aid to the victim to come forward to my investigation team.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact police on 101.
Kano’s last album – the 2016 MOBO-winning Made in the Manor – was an introspective reflection on his journey, friends, family and rivals. This time around, with knife crime on the rise again, the east London MC is looking and speaking out.
The 34-year-old rapper / actor has a starring role in the returning crime drama Top Boy and his sixth LP Hoodies All Summer sees him combine music and drama to devastating effect.
The powerful music video for lead single Trouble begins with a sample of an old speech by the late activist Darcus Howe, blaming politicians and police for failing black communities and creating disharmony.
Kano picks up the threads of Howe’s argument in his eerily-jaunty opening verse: “Politician, hush don’t make a sound / Been oppressing us couple centuries now / And these gunshots never reach your town / It’s never on top when you leave your house.”
The whole piece then crashes down to a gospel prayer after the video’s young protagonist, Nate, is stabbed to death in broad daylight while playing with his friends. Now with more than 100 people having been fatally stabbed in the UK this year – the youngest, Jaden Moodie, was just 14 years old when he was killed in nearby Leyton – Kano wants his music to become “a direct conversation with people of the community that I’m from”.
“I do see what’s going on, things do trouble me and it’s natural that will creep into my music,” he says. “I don’t want to be a preachy person. It’s more like ‘I get it.’
“‘I know the wider world might not get it and I know the media might not get it when a kid gets stabbed and they throw him up on screen and act like he was a gang member when he wasn’t – trying to blame the parents and everyone but the system that’s been created.”
“I think great art poses questions and doesn’t necessarily give answers and solutions – that’s not what I’m trying to do,” he adds.
“I’m here to show you my perspective, as an older person. I’m not not silly enough to think someone’s going to stop violence.
“I’m just trying to humanise situations and represent voices that aren’t being represented.”
Poet Caleb Femi has called Kano a musical spokesperson – a modern-day Bob Dylan or Tupac Shakur for Britain’s youth.
“In these times of uncertain political leadership, the endz have found their own prime minster in Kano” he writes.
“The endz minister?!” laughs Kano, whose real name is Kane Robinson. “I don’t want that job – it’s hard enough doing the jobs I do right now!”
After thanking Femi for those “kind words” he stresses the importance of his own being able to “stand the test of time.”
“This album in particular I just kept thinking about myself in the future, looking back and could I be proud of what I’ve done?
“If I had an album full of party tunes in a time like this, would that be acceptable for the artist that I believe I am?”
That’s why, when other artists are drip-feeding a constant supply of “content”, Kano is happy to operate in his own time and on his own terms.
His new record, featuring Kojo Funds, Popcaan and Lil Silva, melds UK hip-hop, grime and garage influences, as well as jungle and dancehall – reflecting his Jamaican roots. The penultimate track, Class of Deja, sees him re-connect with Ghetts and D Double E – all members of the legendary N.A.S.T.Y Crew, who are widely considered pioneers of the grime scene in the early noughties.
Kano says he’s pleased to have “inspired a generation of young artists,” recalling how, before the scene exploded and started putting “dollar signs” in people’s eyes, artists like himself, Wiley, Dizzee Rascal and Lethal Bizzle were spitting bars on pirate radio simply “because we loved it”.
One of the young fans galvanised by those trailblazers was Stormzy – who made sure to thank Kano and his cohorts for “paving the way” during his historic Glastonbury headline performance in June.
Likewise, Kano acknowledges Stormzy in his album opener, Free Years Later. But rather than celebrate his success, he recalls how police allegedly kicked open his front door, after a neighbour mistook him for a burglar. As Kano notes, “as a young, successful black man in this country – in some people’s eyes you still don’t belong”.
Perhaps that’s why he’s determined to colonise spaces that aren’t a natural home for UK rap – with a five date-tour of lavish venues like the Royal Albert Hall and Manchester namesake the Albert Hall, in October.
“I don’t remember many moments of our kind of music in those buildings,” he observes.
Before that, however, the star will reprise his debut acting role as Sully, a drug dealer on the fictional Hackney estate of Summerhouse, in Top Boy.
The cult series looked to have bitten the dust after being dropped by Channel 4 in 2014, only to be saved by high-profile fan and soon-to-be Netflix executive producer, Drake.
“He just let them know ‘I’m a big fan of the show. If there’s anything I could do to help get it back I would love to do so. I’m serious.’
“Shortly after that we sat down, me, him and [actor] Ash [Walters] and spoke about our ambitions.
“He was like ‘I don’t want to get involved in creating it. I want you guys to do what you do.'”
While there’s “definitely no cameo” from Drizzy there will be appearances from Dave – “a natural on camera” – and the “unstoppable” Little Simz.
How then do so many rappers – from Will Smith to Queen Latifah – move into acting so seamlessly?
“Hip-hop is the art of story-telling,” Kano muses, noting acting is “allowing yourself to become vulnerable”.
“Maybe there’s a confidence that it takes.”
Confidence and looking out, as well as looking in.
Hoodies All Summer by Kano is out on 30 August and Top Boy returns on 13 September.
The government and HS2 knew that the new high speed railway was over budget and was probably behind schedule years ago, documents seen by the BBC show.
Crucially, the documents were written in 2016, before MPs had signed-off the first phase of the project.
It is evidence that both the public and Parliament were not given the full picture about the true cost.
The Department for Transport said: “Like all major, complex projects delivery plans evolve over time.”
“We regularly keep Parliament and members of the public updated on the progress of the project,” the DfT added.
HS2 Ltd is a public company, set-up to build a new high-speed line linking London, Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds. It is funded by the taxpayer.
The line was due to be built in two phases, beginning with a new railway linking London and the West Midlands.
This would be followed by a second phase taking services from Birmingham to Manchester and Leeds.
Phase one of the development was due to open at the end of 2026, with the second phase scheduled for completion by 2032-33.
In total, the railway was supposed to cost £55.7bn.
Earlier this month, the government said it planned to review the costs and benefits of the rail project, with a “go or no-go” decision by the end of the year.
But until recently, ministers and bosses at HS2 have insisted everything was on track.
Only last month, the transport minister, Nusrat Ghani MP, who is now a government whip, told Parliament “confidently” that the programme would be delivered on budget and on time.
“There is only one budget for HS2 and it is £55.7bn,” she said.
But the documents obtained by BBC News show that at least three years ago both the government and HS2 knew that wasn’t the case.
In May 2016, then chancellor George Osborne received a letter from Patrick McLoughlin, the transport secretary at the time, in which he admitted that the first stretch of the railway was already a billion pounds over budget.
The budget for phase one of HS2, linking London to Birmingham, is £24bn.
However a former HS2 director told the BBC that the £1bn overspend was considered, at the time, to be “a very conservative estimate.”
“Internally the teams knew it was a lot higher than that,” he added.
The £1bn overspend is worse than it first seems because it did not include a realistic estimate for how much the land and property needed to build the railway would cost.
Property estimate ‘ad-hoc’
The estimate for land and property which HS2 was using at the time for the London-Birmingham stretch was £2.8bn.
The consultancy firm PwC found that “fundamental parts” of that estimate had been calculated in an “ad-hoc manner”, according to a report seen by the BBC.
And two senior figures who worked in the Land and Property department at HS2 from August 2015 to April 2016 calculated that, in reality, the true cost was £4.8bn.
That would have added a further £2bn, taking the total overspend at the time on phase one of the project to at least £3bn.
Phase one delay
The May 2016 letter to George Osborne also shows that a one-year delay to the opening of phase one was already being considered as it could “bring cost savings.”
Cost was, in the words of the then transport secretary, “a significant challenge.”
The letter also reveals that, at that time, HS2 failed a critical hurdle called Review Point One.
According to a former HS2 director that “was like saying it wasn’t fit for purpose.”
The BBC has also obtained a Department for Transport briefing note labelled as “confidential”, written in December 2016.
The document acknowledges that even with planned savings “a significant gap to target price will remain.”
And it says, following alterations to the scheme, phase one of HS2 would need to open a year late.
The situation has become a lot worse since the two documents were written.
Last month, a leaked letter suggested that HS2 could be up to £30bn over its budget.
But in December of last year, HS2’s chief executive, Mark Thurston, was still insisting everything was fine.
“We’re confident we have a good estimate for the first phase,” he told BBC Panorama.
“We are not over budget.”
Second phase doubt
The Department for Transport memo also states that there is a relatively small chance that the stretch of the railway, linking Birmingham to Crewe, which is known as phase 2a, would be delivered on time.
It puts the probability of that happening at a mere 35%.
The Crewe to Birmingham stretch is due to run trains from December 2027.
In a statement to the BBC, HS2 Ltd said it had “provided regular updates on the project”.
It said there had been “extensive scrutiny” from the National Audit Office and Parliamentary Committees.
And it said that chief executive Mark Thurston had “spoken publicly for some time about the cost pressures facing the project”.
Mr Thurston was appointed as HS2’s chief executive in March 2017.
His predecessor, Simon Kirby, said during his tenure HS2 Ltd “operated fully transparently in respect of the Department for Transport who were kept fully appraised of all relevant information on the cost and timetable of the project.”
The new Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, is due to provide Parliament with a full update on the project next week.