“London is bracing itself for another wave of pollution blowing over from the Continent – but this time it'll be mixed with Saharan dust.
“The capital is set to get the brunt of the bad air, with the government warning of “high or very high” levels of pollution from later today and into tomorrow. The air is expected to have cleared by Saturday.
“The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has warned that adults and children with heart or lung problems should avoid physical exertion, particularly outdoors. These people are at risk of exacerbated symptoms, Defra said.”
- City AM, 9 April 2015, ‘Toxic cloud returns: Defra warns of “high or very high levels” as Saharan dust mixes with Continental pollution’.
Editor’s note: Five years ago, the Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajökull erupted, covering much of northern Europe in press hysteria. This happened to coincide with the early stages of political mud-slinging ahead of the then looming UK election. To mark this anniversary, we republish the following commentary from the period, kept in its original form, with a weary acknowledgment that not that much has really changed over the last 1800 or so days.
April 13 (London) – Investors throughout the UK and Europe were left in the dark over the weekend as a gigantic cloud of cash started surging out of London. Meteorologists said the cloud of red hot cash was being bolstered by unsustainable torrents of hot air associated with the now 14 year-long election campaign. At Heathrow, there were angry scenes as hundreds of families desperately trying to escape the now permanent political coverage were told that none of the major parties’ election pledges would fly.
Six million passengers, otherwise known as the civil service, could be affected if the cash cloud, as feared, is leaving the country for good. Commentators speculated that the cash was heading towards Asia but that the climate just about anywhere looked preferable to Britain. “The outlook for today is in fact worse,” said air traffic control officials. “The forecast affected area appears to be growing.” The cash is surging out of local currency savings accounts and is expected to drift southeast before reaching Switzerland, where much of it is expected to settle. Some climatologists believe the cash plume may be joined by a separate stream of cash currently leaving Greece as fast as it can be bundled into suitcases and stuffed down trousers. As and when the dust starts to clear in Athens, other parts of Europe are forecast to become engulfed, including Spain, Portugal and Italy. In Lisbon, there are reports that townsfolk have already abandoned the use of Euros and are paying for purchases with pasteis de nata.
France’s civil aviation authority shut Charles de Gaulle and Orly airports – not for any reason, just because they could. With travel plans thrown into confusion, European politicians were not expected to resume lying any time soon. The Greek finance minister admitted that he was getting nowhere fast. Investors are determinedly spending their money before it congeals into tiny, worthless fragments, called Pounds.
Meanwhile, in New York and Washington, several dozen passers-by were clubbed to death by wads of dollars being dropped by Federal Reserve helicopters to help stimulate the US domestic economy.
The ongoing disruption caused chaos throughout London as stranded travellers queued at bureaux de change to gape at real currencies they would now never be able to afford. In the latest foreign exchange fixings, the Pound Sterling was valued at 2.5 twigs.
Labour leader Gordon Brown, taking time off from torching piles of £20 notes in an industrial furnace, praised the rapid response of the emergency services to this latest crisis. Having watched last Thursday’s prime ministerial debate, the IMF has an appointment at Downing Street scheduled for May 7th.
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