Hadley a dry eye in the house
Kanga-fluu is heading to Britain from Australia. Down Under, they’ve experienced one of the worst flu outbreaks in living memory and, like a Sydney student on a gap year, the virus is bound to land here. The strain, known as h3n2, has hit old folk and children hardest and left hospitals overwhelmed. It could be the least welcome Aussie import since Neighbours. Here, the annual flu vaccine programme is just getting under way. Strewth, bring it on. As London Fashion Week gets going, proof the fashion world is absolutely head-over-dodgy-heels bonkers. The latest trainers from top designer label Balenciaga, priced at a cool £600, have been styled to look “pre-worn” or, in the language of us normal folk, scuffed up and dirtied to look ready for the bin. The multicoloured Triple S sneakers have sold out online ahead of release later this month. I suspect Triple S stands for “scandalously stupid shoes”. Police Scotland were formally established on April 1, 2013. April Fool’s Day. How prophetic. Four years on from the merger of our eight regional forces, it’s become a bad joke. Chief Constable Phil Gormley is on “special leave” pending a bullying probe. Disgruntled rank and file officers are now “too scunnered” to complain about their work conditions. Justice Minister Michael Matheson insists it’s business as s usual. Who’s fooling who, Mr Matheson? News to break New Romantic hearts…the remaining members of Spandau Ballet are auditioning to replace Tony Hadley.
Say it isn’t “True” (see what I did there?). How can they replace the irreplaceable? Such talent, such frilly shirts, such ego.
Well, probably quite easily, according to Gary Kemp.
“Spandau Ballet are bigger than one person,” he said last week.
When Hadley posted a petulant tweet during the summer declaring that he had left the band, fans suspected he had thrown a hissy fit and would soon come round. Apparently not. And certainly not in time for the release of a new anniversary CD/DVD of Through The Barricades on Friday.
Fear not, Tony devotees, he’s vowed to continue as a solo artist.
Which means you’ll probably catch him hosting 80s night at your local pub before long.
Apple released have X. the new iPhone kids want Already the The £1000 one each. Face ID security, device has to the owner which allows just by looking start the phone the kids know at it. Ironic… be getting they won’t looking at one just by my face.
Well, a few of my closest friends live there and, if they’re any indication of the local female population, then it’s home to friendly, smart sorts who enjoy a night out and have been known to break ankles in the pursuit of the best dance move (that was one friend in particular – and it was my hen night).
Then there’s Mugdock Country Park, the start of the West Highland Way and scattered pieces of the Roman Antonine Wall protruding unexpectedly through garden lawns. What’s not to like about that kind of place? Last week, East Dunbartonshire was named the best place in Britain to be a woman, the results of a survey by the respected NatCen research institute for Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour.
Which is great news for Scotland, and even better news for the residents of leafy commuter towns and villages such as Bearsden, Milngavie and Milton of Campsie.
But it’s not in the least surprising. And, if you dig a bit deeper, a rather more depressing story unfolds. Particularly if, like some of my equally entertaining friends, you happen to live in neighbouring West Dunbartonshire, in old industrial towns such as Clydebank, Dumbarton or Alexandria.
In the very same survey, West Dunbartonshire, just a quick FitBit-guided power walk across the border from its counterpart to the east, was named the worst place in Scotland for women. It came stone last of the 32 Scottish local councils and only managed a low bounce off the bottom for the whole of the UK, coming 356th out of 380.
Two areas side by side on the map, divided only by the black line of council boundaries, but thousands of miles apart in so many ways that we’re forced to confront the terrible inequality that continues to blight this nation.
They share similar physical geography, each extending into beautiful countryside, the west taking in part of Loch Lomond, the east including stretches of the Campsie Hills. Clean fresh air in plentiful supply. And their main towns or villages are within easy reach of Glasgow, with all the job opportunities and leisure services it offers.
But prosperous East Dunbartonshire easily outperformed its neighbouring local authority, ranking far above on criteria such as education, quality of the local environment, personal wellbeing and income. Yes, income.
Well, in East Dunbartonshire, the average house price of £ 225,570 is more than double West Dunbartonshire’s average of £109,735. That tells its own story.
The Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation last year showed pockets of West Dunbartonshire are among the poorest in the country. About one in four children are believed to live in poverty.
West Dunbartonshire has the second-highest rate of domestic abuse in Scotland ( behind Dundee), so it’s small wonder it fared poorly in NatCen’s assessment of women’s safety.
And arguably most shocking of all, West Dunbartonshire recorded the lowest l ife expectancy in the whole of the UK. Baby girls can expect an average of 78.7 years, while the daughters of East Dunbartonshire, raised a few miles away, are looking at 83.5 years, nearly five years more to enjoy being a woman living there.
Sadly, the gap in experience between the better- off and the poor is replicated all over the country but it’s nowhere more obvious as between two council areas sitting shoulder to shoulder, now categorised for women as the best beside the worst.
So we can be pleased for the wonderful women of East Dunbartonshire and proud they have put Scotland on the top peg for all to see.
But when the wonderful women of West Dunbartonshire feel the same way as their near neighbours, that’s the time to celebrate.
TRUE TALENT Tony Hadley in France in 1981 CLASH Baby names