Lovely to read this travelogue, but my heart sank when I read this, as it's an unfortunate reality of living in London at the moment. Thankfully the author was quick enough to evade them.
Be careful about using your phone on the street, day or dark, as it's extremely obvious from far away (eg for somebody sat on a moped pillion) when a potential victim is engrossed in their phone-work and not 100% attending to their surroundings.
Many friends and colleagues have suffered from this scurge, and the moped oiks really have no scruples (one friend was heavily pregnant when she was mugged).
Take care, but don't let that put you off enjoying a great city.
Police did nothing because the bike was stolen. And thus the cycle continues.
Actually, is getting better . Somebody posted the link right above your comment.
> It happened to my father a few years ago [...]
And you assume that nothing changed since then.
This has happened to two people I know in 2018.
setquk's father was sat in a car parked at the side of the road, presumably in the driver's seat, with the window open, and was using a mobile phone.
Someone came along on a motorbike, reached in through the open window, and grabbed his phone with the intention of stealing it.
He was quick enough to get hold of the would-be thief's arm and wind the window up, with the intention of trapping the thief there and summoning the police to arrest them.
Unfortunately, the thief escaped (but suffered some broken fingers in the process, presumably as setquk's father tried to hold him there); and unfortunately, although setquk's father was able to give the police the licence-plate number of the motorcycle the thief was using, this didn't help to track it down because the motorcycle was also stolen (and I guess the thief abandoned it shortly after this incident).
setquk sees this as another example of the same phenomenon described in the article and by dtf: opportunistic mobile-phone thieves on motorcycles.
There might be a difference in street crime between London and Athens but it's not that big.
I've also been walking on the footpath on New North Road when two guys on scooter have sped past.
The overall rate of violent crime in London is lower now that it was in 2001. And Peckham was a much rougher neighborhood in 2001 than it is now.
I do know people who've been moped'd and mugged - never suffered either myself (although I apparently have a "resting hate scowl" according to my sister which scares people away.)
It was very scary for her since they went up onto the curb and pushed her onto the tarmack as they grabbed it. It happened at around 6am in the morning at most 20 metres from our flat which was on a quiet terrace of victorian houses.
It's not just touristy areas. It's probably easier for the motorbike thugs to operate in places which have relatively quiet roads that they can escape on. I suspect that if you live in a nice area, but close to some of the inner city ghettos you are most at risk. I've also seen it happen in and around the parks.
I remember a crime map (I can't find out this link anymore...) showing that the side of London bridge which faces Tower Bridge had a high crime rate whereas the other side was absolutely safe. So if you want to cross London Bridge without taking a picture of Tower Bridge, pick the correct side :)
London is a big city though. As most big cities, I would never expect it to be totally safe.
I wonder if that's a function of the traffic level (it's a lot busier than the other side in peak) as much as tourists taking photos?
However, I know the problem exists and I have just been lucky. I am not claiming that my experience invalidates that of others - just adding my anecdote to the pile.
Around 50% of Islington's population are in social housing < 20% of whom work.
As indicated in her update elsewhere in her notes, the best waterfront bank in London is the South Bank, and the best way to see the South Bank is to walk along the actual waterfront bank, i.e. along the river.
The northern side of the river is a mess of blocked off stretches and vehicle roads. Whilst the South Bank is a lovely continuous pedestrian stretch with plenty of food places and small parks along it.
I frequently walk from Waterloo station along the bank to either Millennium Bridge, or onwards all the way to the Borough Market by London Bridge. Lovely stretch of the river.
There are some other nice parts of the South Bank, and I can see on her map she walked through the Cut, but I agree apart from the actual waterfront bank the rest is mostly dire.
Edit: actually, Hampton Court to Richmond would get my vote. I have walked or run the path between Kingston and Hampton Court bridges more times than I care to count, and feel very lucky to live around there.
I can highly recommend the Mute Swan at Hampton Court (near the bridge), a most excellent selection of ales and food (not cheap but so quality).
But in the area I can not recommend enough Richmond park, more so Isabella plantation around april/may when the flowers come out - totally amazing and will be an experience you will cherish, even if you not into flowers, it is mind blowing.
Many good walks in the area, many get overlooked and gets down to playing with google maps and going, that looks interesting. I found a lovely walk along the https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hogsmill_River
that runs from Chessington, towards Tolworth and then along to Ewell to the duck ponds - https://goo.gl/maps/khoiQJoaPyS2
Plenty of plums to be had along that route, as well as the odd apple and pear tree, did find one hazelnut tree but the abundance of grey squirrels soon graze that alas.
Also of note would be the plethora of damson bushes near Tolworth Georges fields, which I made some damson liqueur with this year that proved most potent and enjoyable.
My only real gripe about the London area (least the part I live and frequent) is the lack of Hazel and Walnut tree's, lots of Beach trees and whilst their nuts are nice, they are just not the same.
Though if you are into Blackberry's, the area is dominated with them and can happily graze from mid Summer all the way thru to the end of Autumn.
Also great as a cycling path - Putney to Hampton Court Palace and back!
I now live over in Twickenham which has even finer walks along the river or across Richmond Hill, but I always thought it amazing that those vistas over to the Wetlands were available in the heart of Zone 2.
Ancient things are always turning up. Here's the twitter account of the London Mudlark community: https://twitter.com/LondonMudlark
Rules and regs: https://www.pla.co.uk/Environment/Thames-foreshore-access-in...
I think planners have put a lot of emphasis on getting public rights of way running along the rest of the Thames, but maybe at the cost of real public spaces for sitting and enjoying yourself.
When I see pictures and video now, I wonder how much the view behind me would have changed.
Walking London was a cornucopia of experiences, from being treated by an erstwhile stranger to a great dinner on the backside of Chinatown, to being scammed out of 20 pounds -- and getting off lucky it was only that much.
(After a cold winter in Germany, it was a bit like being let out of the pen -- and into an abnormally gorgeous week of April good weather. Although, in reality, my German friends expressed a closeness, and -- I can actually use the word -- Gemuetlichkeit, that a frenetic London could not entirely substitute.)
P.S. This was back when, IIRC, the well-known book had rising to "London on £15 a Day". Or maybe it was £10 -- that sounds right. Anyway, £20 was substantially more than an inexpensive dinner -- or even shared lodging with an English breakfast. Ah, well -- lesson learned, and without physical injury.
Edit: Apparently TfL thinks the Thames Path continues in London: https://tfl.gov.uk/modes/walking/thames-path
Similarly there are other paving slabs with ridges, and the direction on the ridge relative to the path tells you if it’s for cyclists or pedestrians.
My understanding of this is that its actually price discrimination against people buying paper tickets, as they're more likely to have problems at the gates and result in a queue backing up.
As for recommendations for tourists, Oyster is great, but, there's really no need, a contactless bank card is capped at the same day and week rate as Oyster.
I've been commuting for the last year on my bank card, it's not the most financially efficient way, but it's not a lot more expensive (than a pre-paid pass).
Also bear in mind that a bank card will take ~2 seconds to scan at most stations' gates, versus milliseconds for an Oyster. It might seem trivial but at London rush hour it's an annoyance for you and everyone else.
One thing people also don't know is that at most stations, your card won't scan if you're standing between the gates, step back and scan or you'll just hold everyone up until you give up and walk away.
It's designed this way, I imagine, so that you don't scan while someone is still paying through the gate and have it close on you before you pass through.
I was really surprised at how expensive it was! Especially as the pound's value at the time was quite a bit higher than today.
It's great that I can commute to work for a £3 round-trip with a change halfway if I choose not to cycle! Of course, that's in South-West London and even then the traffic can get pretty bad. In central it's probably nightmarish to do it regularly.
Especially for lower paid commuters in London. Driving is also a non-starter if you work centrally so it's really your only option.
The only European city I recall being expensive compared to my usual commute was Geneva, Switzerland.
Eastern-bloc tend to be cheaper while the likes of Germany are closer to our prices.
People presume that Berlin is the center of Germany, when in fact it absolutely isn't. Hamburg is a much more wealthy city that Berlin. Here's  the ticket prices for Hamburg  and here's  the ticket prices for London, are you seeing much difference?
For Berlin I pay 760€ for a yearly ticket despite not living centrally (AB zone ticket still covers it). London zones 1-2 yearly ticket is £1404 (=1574.45€) again factor of 2 more expensive.
When we lived in Vienna (a wealthy city, probably similar to Munich or Hamburg) transit prices were similar to Berlin (maybe even cheaper).
Not to mention that because London housing is so expensive most "common people" (who aren't living with room mates or are very wealthy) live in what we would consider a suburb rather than the city (in terms of distance from the city center) thus paying fares from further zones (iirc my friends at the time lived in zone 3 & were middle class professionals not paupers and/or with huge families).
From 8 years of living in Vienna and 5 of living in Berlin transit costs were never significant to me & I never lived in the center of either city.
The numbers quoted from the links above line up with my gut feeling when visiting London (my feeling was even more extreme actually, but a few years ago the GBP was worth a lot more € than today).
I haven't tried with a different bank though, so it could be bank specific.
In NL we've moved to a card system like that some years ago; the amount of people traveling without a ticket in the subways and trains has declined by a lot, and consequently, crime and violence against the train staff that fined them if they were checked. Likewise, staff could be reallocated from appearing as a big gang of ticket checkers at the exits of random stations to other tasks.
They do tend to put at least one guy near the gates though, for one to help out people that have trouble with the system, and on the other to discourage people jumping the gates. They're quite high so that's quite a feat, but there's also a builtin system so that it opens if pushed hard enough (in case of emergency).
Anyway. Ticket machines are big and expensive machines.
The gates are designed so that an adult can force their way through despite the gate being closed, but nevertheless in a fire or other emergency situation you don't want to wait for fleeing people to force the gates, so there must be a trained human available to command the gates to all open immediately. In a tube station there will be a control booth with CCTV of all areas somewhere to direct operations - the gate still must be supervised by someone physically nearby, not solely from the booth. Flow controls that don't prevent you fleeing from an emergency (e.g. the "Do Not Enter!" flashing signs at some tube entrances that can be activated to prevent overcrowding, or the changeable internal direction markers that let them send unfamiliar users over a longer alternate route to their destination) are controlled from the booth though.
There are posters all over London pushing people to use contactless, it's not an attempt to swindle visitors.
I've got so used to this that a few months ago I did a bus journey in a medium sized town and it felt totally backwards having a physical ticket.
This bus station is in the middle of nowhere just past Dartford, there isn't a building in sight let alone a cash machine, so, I looked in my wallet to find only my single, brand new, plastic £5 note with a palindrome serial number I'd been keeping. With a sigh I handed it over and we got our bus.
Lakeside was crap.
Lakeside is indeed crap.
maybe not ideal for your circumstances but food for thought
>But at the same time you need to be able to digest the numerous rules around it like daily and weekly caps etc.
The price caps are quite easy to understand - you just tap your card when you travel and you'll always be charged the lowest applicable fare. You don't have to think about whether you need to buy a daily or weekly ticket, because you'll never be charged more than the daily or weekly fare cap.
Plus sometimes it does actually go wrong. I have to request about 2-3 refunds a year where I've done the same route and not forgotten a thing.
If you're not wealthy, it's certainly worth knowing whether or not you've reached a cap.
I'm not sure contactless is as ubiquitous as we think it is.
They are designed to discourage you, and to push you towards solutions that are better for TfL and the environment: contactless cards.
Get a contactless bank card, Apple or Android pay on your phone or smart watch, or buy an Oyster card.
If you know you'll be travelling a lot for a week or two, look into a 7 day travel card which you load onto an Oyster card, and gives you unlimited travel for the zones you're interested in.
You can still travel outside those zones, but will pay a fare increment.
There is nothing to stop visitors from using either contactless card payments, Android/Apple pay, or an Oyster card. Oyster cards are easily purchased from all stations, especially places many people arrive like Heathrow Airport. They're promoted on websites aimed at tourists like visitlondon.com, and covered in every guidebook to the city. The £5 deposit and any remaining balance is refundable at many machines, and doesn't expire.
Do you mean "avoidable"?
They do have a 'secret' ticket called a Swiss Transfer ticket which will take you from any airport to any train station and back for a much cheaper price than a normal train ticket. However you cannot buy it in Switzerland, but have to order online before your departure.
+ prepaid - load it up and go
+ the system manages the maximum fares
+ automatic refunds for 'minor' corrections/errors
+ app available to track transactions albeit not real-time
+ can be registered online to receive reports and the ability to manage account
+ max fares for no-touch are sandboxed i.e. in red up to a certain amount + no journeys, until they are resolved and/or further funds are added to clear the event
All of the above with some caveats
- no limit on credit/debit cards i.e. if the pad fails to recognise touch-in/out events it results in a maximum fare. These events might also incur additional charges depending on your issuer
+ there are nuances due to misaligned systems and thus exists a cheaper way of calculating weekly maximum fare when acting as a 'Travelcard'
= refunds have a similar route but with added protection of consumer laws. YMMV
Oyster/Contactless can also be used on certain river services and the Emirates Air-line.
Due to implementation, there is a high-latency between touch events and notifications from the app. So, it might be prudent for some to limit the expenditure.
As for carrying less plastic, Revolut might be an option? However, as a short to medium term visitor, Oyster makes more sense - even considering the refundable deposit.
You can buy an airline ticket on Emirates... using your Oyster card?
TFL gather together all journeys made per day, so no matter how many journeys are made with the same contactless card there will be one charge made. However, an awful foreign bank might charge $2 per transaction, which could be more than the refundable deposit on an Oyster card.
A slightly better draw is that you also get a Network Rail Gold card, which entitles you to a 33% discount on some train journeys. The partner and I use this quite frequently when visiting various parts of the UK!
For most visitors, contactless will give the same prices as Oyster, and is a lot cheaper than paper tickets.
Just two weeks ago I was finally able to get an oyster-like card from South West Rail that works with the train and the tube. Progress, finally!
For example in Bingley (Yorkshire) where my mother lives, and in Southampton (on the South Coast) where I live, the buses use ITSO smartcards. But you can't take a ride on her bus with my smartcard.
Contactless bank cards do work on both systems though, and on the London transport network. So "Use a credit card" ends up being the "one physical token" solution.
Even if I put some money on that card, via her bus' payment system? As in, I go to a tfl ticket machine, touch, put money on, touch again and then I can use the card on the underground. Then I go to Southampton, go to a ticket machine, touch, put money on, touch again, then I can use the card on the Southampton's transit system.
Literally just tried this with the Southampton card in London against a tfl machine. No Dice.
Shame, but yeah, not really surprising.
I think the fragmented nature of the operating companies probably doesn't help. Maybe with time!
A transport network needs to be designed so that everybody can use it - that means being able to access it with cash.
Even Oyster’s £5 deposit per card can be an issue for some people.
10 Downing Street is an example and there’s something about it in this piece on its reconstruction: https://history.blog.gov.uk/2017/07/19/rebuilding-no-10-down...
Well, it's their language, at the end of the day. You'd expect them to be well spoken, innit? :p
There is a serious problem with the way the elite treat this country though. It becomes more apparent the longer you live here, with the way David Cameron handled the EU ref being the perfect example. They're so sure of themselves, they've never really experienced a situation where they haven't been in the advantage, and they have 0 empathy. Then they fuck things up royally.
The narrowness of the elite and their supporting media organisations (including the ones run by overseas tax exiles) causes a terrible inward focus. Entire regions of the country end up feeling forgotten, with good reason.
...and that’s exactly why I feel so strongly that they are being idiots. Nobody would care about an actually terrible country ruining its future and descending into madness.
But apart from that, I'm not sure what bad press you get?
i.e. the 5 richest areas of the city. Definitely not representative of the real London. Head to Camberwell, Manor House, Ealing and Walthamstow next time to see where "regular" people are living.
Tourists thoroughly enjoy the central areas but seldom realize they could never afford a home there of any decent size.
For the roughest and poorest areas try Harlesden, Tottenham, or Edmonton. (Or don't, because they're dangerous.)
That's not a complete list, but they'll certainly give visitors a different view of London.
I would argue that the neighbourhoods above are just representations of the other side of the spectrum. Not where "regular" people live.
There is a far easier way to _roughly_ date buildings.
o English bond: pre georgian to early victorian (1650-1840)
o Flemish bond: victorian to ~1930s
o Stretcher bond: anything with a cavity wall, so 1950>
If the brick is glazed its ~1870-1930
see https://www.designingbuildings.co.uk/wiki/Types_of_brick_bon... for what the bonds look like
About the market off Edgware Road ("Most merchants had already left, though a handful were finishing packing up. Many had just thrown their cardboard boxes, packaging, and other trash on the ground for someone else to clean up") - this is Church Street, which is a pretty good local market for everyday food and supplies. It's a daily market and I think the same merchants occupy the same spaces every day, which may be why they're a bit relaxed about clearing up. It's a slightly grubby area but I like it.
At the end of Church Street is Rossmore Road: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7helGibteIM
In that article, the architect mentions he originally wanted it built out of brick in the style of Alvar Aalto, but they had to settle for painted concrete. In 1970 even the paint job was cut from the budget and wasn’t done until the renovation, so for 36 years the Brunswick was a brutalist bunker.
Im glad they fixed it. It’s an interesting landmark of British modernism’s fling with low-key sci-fi architecture — and the grocery store is good, I go there all the time.
Compared to how it was (I have been there) it's a really nice place now. I wouldn't be averse to living in it if it wasn't so expensive.
At the same time I like brutalist architecture. I used to hang out in the Barbican when I worked at that end of the city years ago.
I thought those studs were to make it clearer for blind and partially sighted people where the crossing is?
There's a Tom Scott video about them:
When I moved to London I was shocked how hostile to pedestrians it was. Oxford street should not have cars on it (there's an ongoing project but it's taking forever). Same for other neighbourhood thoroughfares, like Regent St, Piccadilly, Bishopsgate, Fleet St, etc. It would be a much better city if that was the case.
 Our house has 4 rooms and 5 chimneys and that's the best explanation I have. Our house also has a boiler flue fitted much later - made from asbestos!
Does San Francisco not have that?
Another story: foreign friend of a friend came to work for an estate agent. She wondered why having a toilet was something to put on the sign. Surely every place has a toilet? And why were all the signs misspelled?
Edit: that went way over my head... sigh
I too have noticed this. Does anyone have any explanation? Due to better health care? Worse health care? More of a walking culture? more interest in soccer which causes these types of injuries? Something else entirely?
I suspect that most Americans with an injured leg would travel by car unless they had absolutely no alternative, while a lot of Londoners see nothing wrong with hobbling about on crutches.
I was assuming that most people are on crutches temporarily, as I've only ever known people to use them this way. I would assume this group are less likely to get a special car just for the duration or their use.
A quick google didn't give me any idea of what proportion of people use them permanently/long-term, although there are reports of complications increasing with prolonged (>1 year) use  so it implies they definitely are around.
In the USA I see more people with chronic healthcare issues that have not been treated (they just get on with it). I suspect its because of the cost of healthcare - in the UK minor issues like leg injuries dont require you to think about cost before seeking treatment. whilst in the US you would have to consider if its a good ROI based on your income.
So the cost may be enough to nudge US ppl to ignore, whilst the free element means more ppl seek intervention in the UK
Of course this is just opinion and not real data.
I just want to mention that what you've written is not ok.
Google Maps is very clearly "designed in California", with no awareness of the rest of the world.
I had the same impression in Asia, where subway exists are numbered and it makes a lot of sense to get out at the right exit but Google Maps does not really take the exits into account although they are on the map.
It also does not display the non-Latin names of stops, which would've been useful sometimes, especially when asking people for directions. People in Asia aren't often terribly familiar with the names of the stations in English.
Did people wake up one day and find that their "Main Street" was now just "part of Route 66, it doesn't have a name" ?
The letter-number designations like "A33" in the UK are like your route numbers. Some were purpose built and nobody cares what the underlying road is "named" (all the major Motorways are like this, there is no "name" for the M25, it's just the M25) but most are pre-existing roads, designated as part of some route and to locals the original name is what they'd call their bit.
e.g. Nobody where I live would say "the A335" they'd say "Thomas Lewis Way" because that's what this part of the A335 is named even though it was constructed specifically in order to bypass local streets for the A335 route. A person from out of town might say they used the A335 but probably people would look puzzled, then go "Oh, Thomas Lewis Way, yeah".
You're right for practical purposes, but they do often technically have names. The M25 is the "London Orbital Motorway": https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M25_motorway
In the Midwest, at least, it is very common for larger roads to have both local names and route numbers (one of county, state, or federal); no, the road name is not removed that I've ever seen. An example, heading due west from Chicago is state route 38, which is Roosevelt Road through the city and suburbs, then has other names as it passes through smaller towns - often "Lincoln Highway," as 38 generally follows that historic route. Frequently state routes will have the name "State Street" within smaller towns.
The Interstate system is a departure from this, and rarely do they have names - although in Chicago they do have de facto names, which often confuses outsiders when they hear the traffic report. "What the heck is the Ike?!"
Overall, this is complicated and it's not surprising to me that it's hard to get a computer to do the right thing.
Not really. In New Jersey for example, almost all major roads have both a name and a number, and both are displayed on Google Maps.
1. Every major road has a name, like "High Street"
2. In London, some street names are ambiguous. So in some parts of London, every street sign includes the postcode district in red. For example, a street might be signposted "High Street W3" 
3. Some of these streets will also have a numeric code, like "A4020"
4. Addresses on these streets will also have a full postcode, like W3 6LE
5. Google also shows "plus codes" like "GP4M+P7 Acton, London" which no-one else uses (I think they're useful in other countries, that don't have high-precision postcode systems)
Not very widespread at all in my experience.
- Seventy-seven per cent of the public believe the NHS should be maintained in its current form. This level of support has remained consistent over almost two decades despite widespread social, economic and political change.
- Around 90 per cent of people support the founding principles of the NHS, indicating that these principles are just as relevant today as when the NHS was established.
- A clear majority (66 per cent) of adults are willing to pay more of their own taxes to fund the NHS, underlining growing support among the public for tax rises to increase NHS funding.
You are saying the NHS is popular.
Those are orthogonal: you can like the NHS and want to change it.
Absolutely, but at least when I lived in England everybody was also very opinionated about how CurrentGovernment ruining it, how it used to be so much better and how you need to to X right now to fix it.
Edit: I'm not suggesting that either the BBC or the NHS are above criticism - far from it. But I'd rather criticism was based on facts and not what the Daily Mail reports.
Mind you - I'm only talking about a handful of people but the ones I did meet who thought that way were at such a level of foaming at the mouth lunacy I can't really forget them. I did memorably try and explain to one crowd why I was quite happy with not being able to shoot trespassers on my lawn but I think I was regarded as a dangerous communist after that.
NB Not had any conversations like that for 10+ years...
I get that the NHS has this 'sacred cow' thing going on, where it's almost impossible to criticise and even proposing much change must be done tactfully... but this is because we think it's great, if underfunded.
I think its fair to say that a person's views on public service broadcasting and public healthcare, i.e. the TV Licence (which funds the BBC) and the NHS, correspond to where they are on the political spectrum - the further right are openly critical, the moderate right are insincerely supportive, and the centre and left are openly and genuinely supportive. Based on this, it sounds like the author was hanging out with some people from the far right, in which case this would not be hugely widespread in the UK as a whole.
It might be possible that the demographics populating these areas might be less 'grateful' for the services the NHS provides.
 You can dial 112 instead if you prefer.
 Unless the private hospital charges you an admin fee for calling the ambulance for you, which I wouldn't put past those bastards. If it was profitable to slowly torture you to death that's exactly what they'd do to you. Personally I prefer to be treated by someone on a fixed salary who just wants to do the best they can with the resources available to them while earning the respect of their colleagues.
 This has turned into a bit of a rant, but I suppose it gives people a feel for the British NHS "religion".
You were the first to have it and now you messed it up, compared to most of the european countries.
Lots of odd things are funded with this money, including for example local newspaper reporters at for-profit newspapers (!) but the name and forcing the BBC to actually collect it mean in the public consciousness it's all blamed on the BBC.
Now, Public Service Broadcasting is _distinct_ from having central government revenue funding a broadcaster as happens for the BBC. All UK terrestrial TV is "Public Service Broadcasting" and so are the old US TV networks. PSB means you're using up some finite public resource (radio bandwidth) and so you need to "give back" to the public. It's pretty common to require a daily news broadcast and to have other constraints "for the good of the public" e.g. a non-English country might require at least 10 hours per week of the local language even though viewers would really just prefer wall-to-wall imported soap operas in English or whatever.
As well as the internationally famous BBC, Britain also has "Channel 4" which owns the Film Production company Film4 that made or co-made films you've probably enjoyed (e.g. "Trainspotting", "12 Years a Slave"). Channel 4 is a PSB, but more importantly it's publicly owned. It operates more like a for-profit television company (e.g. advertising) except the money goes back into making TV and it has a publicly controlled mission to be er, challenging. So e.g. the BBC went "Hey, half the population are women, so it's crazy to have all these panel discussion shows with 6 men and no women. From now on, if your show has a panel discussion it needs either a woman or a sign-off explaining why there weren't any women" but C4 is the kind of place where they go "Hang on, there totally must be Muslim lesbians, right? Let's do a show about the Muslim lesbian dating scene, so there's this whole tolerance angle but also it has hot women kissing each other".
So most people abstain unless they know it is OK to talk.
Then that's not going to make you popular.
University used to be free in the UK.
Then tuition fees at University started at £1000ish a year, went up to about £3000, and is now £9000. All in about 10 years.
Also small fees like these affect the poor more than the well off. If I miss an appointment and it costs me £5, I wouldn't miss the money.
A quick search apparently shows that a quarter of British households have less than £100 in savings. 
When that's 5% of their money that's just punishing the poor.
I'll say "Well they shouldn't miss the appointment, they can cancel if they can't make it"
To which you'll reply something about people and last minute, completely unavoidable things which prevent appointments being made.
To which, I'll reply that blah blah and on and on.
I've learned there's no point. I don't think fees for that are abnormal (have seen them and their handling of scenarios in operation in other countries to no big alarm) but it's against NHS dogma! Don't get me wrong, I like the NHS but there's seriously zealot-esque thinking towards it from many corners. It's not a case of "totally free" or the USA.
But as said, I'm an immigrant and have learned to keep quite on such matters.
If someone doesn't show they move onto the next person.
Usually GPs have an issue in that appointments take longer than planned, so there's often waiting on the side of the patient.
Most GPs have appointments reserved to be bookable on the day if you call up in the morning.
What problem are you proposing a solution for?
Your comment about religious zelotry is condescending. Saying that anyone criticising your viewpoint is a blind fanatic.
> Are missed appointments such a issue for GPs?
"Patients who miss GP appointments are costing NHS England £216m a year, officials have said." - https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-46732626
And the incident I described what started due to one of the girls, a receptionist in a GP, bemoaning how many missed appointments they have and what a backlog it begets. People agreed. Just now I checked my doctor's online portal and I can't get an appointment for over two weeks (they advise to ring up at 8 on the morning if it#s an emergency and they'll try to fit you in). Unfortunately recently I had cause to have 6 appointments over a two week period, I saw a lot of names being called and no-one attending.
> If someone doesn't show they move onto the next person.
This presumes that people without an appointment, just hang around the waiting area... As said the backlog grows.
Often their inability to keep appointments is inextricably linked to the medical condition, too - either physical or mental. Often it's linked to poverty or insecure living too.
We could start trying to price them out, which will at the margin result in someone dying of a preventable condition. This seems to be becoming more politically acceptable (see benefits system, food banks, refugees etc), but it's also something people are right to be squeamish about.
Personally, I think the situation can be improved by more education. I think a fine would unfairly affect the less well off, not only because it would be a much more significant amount to them but because those are the same people who are more likely to have unforseen circumstances that mean they can't make an appointment, such as a job where they might just change your shift with little/no notice.
I think the actual booking system could fix a lot of these issues at most surgeries, too. My last surgery held back 75% of appointments such that you couldn't book them until the day of the appointment. This meant that you could almost always get a same day appointment as long as you called at 8:30am, and also meant you probably had a much better idea of whether you were going to be able to make that appointment or not. People who needed to get an advance appointment could still do so, and would have to wait a couple of weeks usually but that's no worse than most other places. It really did seem to fix a lot of the problems I've seen - I don't know why more places don't do it.
It's not dogma but yes it could be classed as zealotry, and not in a derogatory way. There are worse things to be a zealot about than public health. I cherish one part of our country that actually has written, founding principles.
They shaped what the NHS has been for over half a century, and what many people still want the NHS to be.
In England if you know you are going to be getting a lot of prescriptions you can pay an amount upfront, then prescriptions are at no extra cost than that. https://www.nhs.uk/using-the-nhs/help-with-health-costs/save...
The state of dentistry in the UK is shocking.
There is a debate to be had about whether "make poor people fill out paperwork" is a justifiable approach, but it doesn't have to cost you £20 for the check-up.
If someone emits a criticism it MUST mean that they want "an American system" and "to sell the profitable parts to the friends and family of conservative politicians" because, of course, that's the only alternative to the current situation...
So it's fine to criticise as long as the criticism is limited to suggesting that perhaps the hospital's car park could be slightly cheaper, if that's not too much bother, please, sorry.
Hence why people either say that everything's great or keep quiet.
(More funding would be hugely popular, as the Brexit A/B testers discovered with the "£350m for the NHS" bus...)
The NHS is popular, and people like it, but it's also very inefficient and it can become a political nightmare for anyone who tries to address that.
Given the health results for the amount we pay I think the NHS is actually very efficient - most of the problems with the NHS seem to have come about through ideologically motivated meddling and an an unwillingness to resource it properly.
Poor analogy, Netflix would also have to be owned but not funded by US Govt.
TV licence people can't exactly kick in the front door and search you for broadcast reception equipment, they're not the police, more like slightly more official bailiffs. They may threaten you with all sorts of legal toil but their powers are quite limited, they rely on their reputation to scare you into submission.
Well yes, that's part of the scenario. That doesnt dismiss the point there's a news and entertainment company that thinks everyone watches their content and therefore sends them angry threats
No they're _less_ official than bailiffs.
Bailiffs can force their way into your home to take your property to pay for some fines and taxes.
A TV licence person can do absolutely nothing - they're just a normal member of the public.
I mean't more official in that TV licence people work for a government owned organisation. Though I hadn't realised they didn't even have bailiff powers.
Not true in all cases!
> Bailiffs are allowed to force their way into your home to collect unpaid criminal fines, Income Tax or Stamp Duty, but only as a last resort.
If these circumstances don't apply they can take things from outside your home, such as your car.
TV Licensing People certainly can't drive off with your car.
> TV Licensing People certainly can't drive off with your car.
It would make for a very interesting Top Gear replacement if they could though.
Ideally with data and not anecdotes
- The public sector is inefficient (1)
- The NHS is in the public sector
- Therefore the NHS is inefficient
 Apart from the bits that the person repeating this argument is proud of (e.g. SAS) or scared of (e.g. GCHQ)
1. Hardly any way to see a GP outside work hours, so you have to take time off.
2. Cannot see a GP near to where you work, it has to be near to where you live. Which, combined with point 1, is a pain.
3. If you don't use the NHS and go see a private GP instead (which makes economic sense given how much your time off costs vs a private GP costs), you still have to pay for it.
4. Hard to get an appointment at short notice; registration is a pain and very inconvenient.
5. Unless you are dying, they are unlikely to offer any real help/proper tests, but then again that depends on individual GP and is probably not that different between NHS/private.
6. No personal accountability for your health. You end up paying for all the clowns that drink too much on a Friday night and end up in an ambulance and other people that do not take care of their health. Old people seem to go to a GP just because they are lonely.
I have not had to use NHS hospitals luckily, but I am guessing if you are not dying the wait times could be bad.
If you’re really sick you’ll be seen very quickly, and you’ll be extremely glad the doctors aren’t busy pandering to people with minor conditions.
> Old people seem to go to a GP just because they are lonely.
I somehow doubt the above.
This leads to oddities like there is a national contract for medical staff (nurses, surgeons and doctors etc) but hundreds of different employers.
Each PCT negotiates it's own suppliers, and has a number of stakeholders who are normally GPs. Its all totally ballsed up.
Thats not even touching the IT systems.
However using per capita spend on health, it is ridiculously efficient https://data.oecd.org/healthres/health-spending.htm
The outsourced local Patient transport fiasco in my trust caused no end of problems people missing dialysis treatments etc.
Yeah, there's a disparate mix of up to date tech and unpatched Windows XP systems, since there's no centralised tech management - some trusts care about patient data and external threats, others don't.
longer waiting times
an inflexible system with no opportunities to pay for top ups to standard care