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The Telegraph Frontpage for Wednesday 2022 December 21

Blower cartoon
Danny Boyle By Danny Boyle
Thousands of ambulance staff have today gone on strike for the first time in three decades, with warnings that patient safety cannot be guaranteed. We have a guide to what to expect in each area.

Home births scrapped amid strike transport fears

As paramedics and crews go on strike today, the Health Secretary has taken aim at ambulance unions. Steve Barclay insisted that they made a conscious choice to inflict harm on patients by going ahead with the industrial action, with the public urged to avoid needless car journeys or getting drunk. Around 25,000 staff are taking part in the first national walkout for more than 30 years today, with 10 of 11 trusts in England and Wales affected. Health leaders warned that Britain was entering “a very dangerous time” and that “they cannot guarantee patient safety”. As hospitals fear ambulances will not respond to emergency calls, home births for some patients have been cancelled. We have a region-by-region guide to what to expect in each area. Mr Barclay said the refusal of unions to agree to provide cover for emergency calls, and the lack of clarity about which cases will get a response, had made contingency planning “almost impossible”. Read his article for us.

The impact of today’s strikes is expected to be significantly greater than the industrial action by nurses. After saying she would not budge from her 19pc pay rise demand, the Royal College of Nursing boss Pat Cullen will now negotiate with the Government as she pleaded with ministers to get the dispute “wrapped up by Christmas”. Associate editor Gordon Rayner says it is not for the first time this winter that a hardline union boss appears increasingly out of step with their members. Oliver Gill can reveal RMT union leader Mick Lynch has held secret talks with Network Rail bosses amid hopes that he will sue for peace in the New Year.

Zelensky on his way to Washington for surprise visit

Volodymyr Zelensky is on his way to America for a surprise visit to Washington today following his meeting with troops in the beleaguered eastern Donbas region of Ukraine. The Ukrainian president posted on Twitter that he will hold talks with US president Joe Biden and congressional leaders, including national security committee chiefs. Mr Zelensky will also deliver an address to Congress. Follow live updates. Details emerged within hours of Congress proposing a $45bn (£37bn) assistance package of military and economic aid to Ukraine. The visit, which has been shrouded in secrecy because of security concerns, is Mr Zelensky’s first foreign trip since the Russian invasion in February.

Britain has too many turkeys, sparking a price war

As we come to the end of a year of shortages, it seemed inevitable, perhaps, that we would see out 2022 unable to track down a turkey. Yet we are now just four days away from Christmas lunch and, far from facing bare shelves or a black market for prize birds, supermarkets and high-end turkey farms appear to be teeming with supplies. In fact, there is a price war on. With an apparent glut of cut-price birds, Eleanor Steafel has been exploring the best deals to be had before December 25.

Also in the news this morning

Fishermen land whopper | British trawlers will be able to catch 30,000 more tons of fish than would have been possible before Brexit, ministers said. The Government announced a new quota deal with the EU that will take the total potential catches for UK trawlers up to £750m in 2023. Senior Tories said the uplift demonstrated the benefits of the UK having left the bloc and regained its status as an independent coastal state.

  • Foreign policy | Sunak warns of growing threat posed by Iran
    Rishi Sunak has said he is “increasingly concerned” about Iran’s behaviour and suggested it could become one of the UK’s biggest foreign policy threats in the coming months.

    He cited Iran’s nuclear programme and their “destabilising” impact on the region, as well as the treatment of their own citizens.

    The Prime Minister made the remarks during his first appearance before the liaison committee, which is made up of select committee chairs.

  • Boris Becker | Inmate threatened to kill me, says Wimbledon star
    Boris Becker broke down in tears as he described how a murderer threatened to kill him in prison.

    The three-time Wimbledon champion said he feared for his life as the killer, whom he called “John”, told him in detail how he was going to die.

    Becker, 55, revealed the harrowing details of his incarceration, in Wandsworth and Huntercombe prisons, in his first interview since leaving prison in the UK and being deported to Germany last week.

  • Spared jail | Female football fan who groped male rival at match
    A female football fan who groped a rival supporter has been spared jail despite the victim calling for the incident to be taken as seriously as an assault by a man.

    Mother-of-six Jemma Whiteside, 40, grabbed the man’s genitals and rubbed her bottom against his shoulder at an Everton v Manchester City Premier League game.

    She was said to have been heard saying: “I am going to f— him later, and I don’t even know his name.”

    The Everton-supporting victim reported the incident to police saying he was “shocked and upset” at being fondled.

  • Trans rights | Sex change can start at age 15 under SNP law
    Teenagers as young as 15 will be able to begin the process of legally changing their sex after MSPs blocked a last-ditch bid to exclude children from Nicola Sturgeon’s transgender reforms.

    The SNP government on Tuesday rejected pleas to make meaningful concessions to critics of its controversial proposals, as a minister confirmed that Scots would become eligible to apply to change their legal sex on the day of their 16th birthday.

    Shona Robison, a close ally of Ms Sturgeon who is steering the bill through Holyrood, confirmed time spent living in an “acquired gender” as a 15-year-old would count towards a six-month minimum time period required by the legislation.

  • Out with the old | Let nothing you dismay? Try a woke carol
    Traditionalists ‘absolutely disgusted’ after lyrics of God Rest Ye Merry, Gentleman changed
    Christmas carol rewritten to be more “inclusive” to women and queer people has prompted a row within the Church of England, after critics said the move was an attempt to “push political ideology”

Around the world: Chinese hospitals at breaking point

Chaotic scenes of patients being resuscitated on hospital floors and exhausted doctors collapsing on wards are emerging from China amid what has been called a Covid infection “tsunami”. One video showed several patients hooked up to chest compression machines and ventilators strewn around the room. After the country’s zero-Covid strategy was eased following widespread protests in several cities, China correspondent Sophia Yan reports how hospitals have been overrun.
Patients have to be treated on the floor of the emergency observation unit.

Patients have to be treated on the floor of the emergency observation unit.

Comment and analysis

  • Philip Johnston | The NHS behemoth is broken beyond repair
    The strikes are just the tip of the iceberg: the entire nationalised system is now starting to collapse
  • Allison Pearson | This is the apology Harry and Meghan owe
    Instead of demanding that the Palace say sorry, the Sussexes should take time out from being reality TV stars to start grovelling
  • Bryony Gordon | Why Clarkson’s ‘joke’ fell at the first hurdle
    Next time he puts pen to paper, he’d do well to remember the Duchess of Sussex is a real person… not a Game of Thrones character
    It can hardly be said that The Sun has ever been a bastion of feminism. Until eight years ago, you could pick up the tabloid, flick open its front page and immediately be confronted with a pair of naked breasts. When The Sun finally dumped Page 3 in 2015, it was hailed by campaigners as “a huge step for challenging media sexism” and everyone assumed that the dark days of objectifying women in print were finally at an end.
    Then came last weekend, when, for reasons that still remain unclear, someone at the paper – many people at the paper, we must assume – waved through Jeremy Clarkson’s column about the Duchess of Sussex and, in doing so, made Page 3 look like a copy of Spare Rib, the seminal magazine of the 1970s set up in the second wave of feminism to challenge exploitation and stereotyping of women.
  • Telegraph View | A new threat to the freedom of the press
    The ICO has published a draft statutory code which gives it too much latitude to decide what is desirable and in the public interest
  • Reader letters | NHS can be reformed only if all parties unite

Sport briefing: Stokes hails ‘perfect’ performance

Ben Stokes hailed a “perfect tour” of Pakistan as former captain Michael Vaughan declared the “Bazball” era the best eight months in English cricket history. England made it nine wins out of 10 since the appointment of Stokes as captain and Brendon McCullum as head coach with an eight-wicket victory in Karachi. These are their “wacky tactics”. Meanwhile, Argentina’s players were forced to evacuate their World Cup parade by helicopter as an open-top bus parade descended into chaos.

Editor’s choice

Truth tellers
‘Truth-tellers’ | Why millions have turned to online ‘gurus’ for modern-day enlightenment
Helen Lewis’s Radio 4 series, The New Gurus, looks at how ‘truth-tellers’ such as Russell Brand are attracting audiences of millions

The dependably brilliant Helen Lewis bookended the first episode of The New Gurus (Radio 4, Mon-Thu) with the bizarre story of Russell Brand’s transition from loudmouth comedian to spiritual influencer over the past decade or so. In the series she looks at “looking for enlightenment in the digital world” and how, as faith in institutions crumbles, that space is increasingly filled by charismatic online individuals trying to convince us they have all the answers.

Brand was the perfect illustration of the elasticity of charisma in the internet age. The possibility of completely switching track and taking your brand and followers with you – not always, necessarily, in a good direction. We then tracked back to what made it all possible – the rise of the internet – and in particular the man behind much of the tech that gave us easy, instant, 24-hour access to the internet, Apple co-founder Steve Jobs.

Goth gets a glamorous makeover | TV show ‘Wednesday’ heralds a style revival
Best films
Top Gun: Maverick, Aftersun and beyond | Our critics’ choices for the best films of 2022

Business briefing: Musk searches for chief executive

Elon Musk is “actively searching” for a new Twitter chief executive after losing a poll where millions of the social network’s users called on him to quit. The Tesla chief executive has reportedly begun to search for a possible successor at the company, despite making comments that cast doubt over whether he was prepared to step down. Meanwhile, British Gas callouts are down by nearly a fifth amid a slew of complaints.


Here is a selection of articles we think you’ll be interested in today.
Opinion – Give me Labrador-loving Rishi as Prime Minister over football-mad Keir any day
Lift pension tax rules to stop early retirement surge, Rishi Sunak told
Unions have made conscious choice to inflict harm on patients, says Steve Barclay
Rishi Sunak fails to put number on Rwanda deportations in first liaison committee grilling – live updates
Police investigate after Tory MP Bob Stewart tells activist to ‘go back to Bahrain’
Aristocrats in rent arrears sue Airbnb landlord after power to deluxe London flat was cut off
Christmas carol rewritten to be more ‘inclusive’ pushes ‘woke, unbiblical agenda’
New quota deal means British fishermen can catch 30,000 tonnes more than before Brexit
Female Man City fan who groped man spared jail despite victim’s plea to treat her same as male
Jeremy Clarkson to stay as host of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire ‘at the moment’
Emily in Paris, series 3, review: sacr bleu! Netflix’s hit show is even more vacuous than ever
Opinion – Why millions have turned to online ‘gurus’ for modern-day enlightenment
2022 UK box office winners and losers: can Avatar 2 sink Top Gun?
All hail Liz Kingsman, the comedian superbly puncturing an over-inflated Fleabag
Death in Paradise’s Don Warrington: ‘Should Rising Damp be edited? No – its intentions were good’

Published by Guestspeaker

A joint effort of several authors who do find that nobody can keep standing at the side and that “Everyone" must care about what is going on in today’s world. We are a bunch of people who do not mind that somebody has a totally different idea but is willing to share the ideas with others and to be Active and willing to let others understand how "today’s decisions will influence the future”. Therefore we would love to see many others to "Act today".

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