With Christmas just around the corner, now should be the time for celebrations, complete with office parties, last-minute shopping and decorating our homes. Instead, this week brought with it more doom and gloom on the economic front, freezing conditions across the country and ended with the sad and tragic news that a nurse in the hospital, where the Duchess of Cambridge was being treated, had been found dead.
Things had started so well, with the oft-speculated, eagerly awaited announcement that Kate was indeed 'with child'. Never has one woman's morning sickness warranted so much analysis, with the world and its midwife queuing up to offer advice and insight into the royal condition. By the time the Duchess left the King Edward VII Hospital, back to her professional, smiling self, there can't have been a media outlet across the world that hadn't carried the news that she was expecting.
Of course as we all now know, sad to say, the story did not end there. Hilarity at a prank call to the hospital by two Australian DJs, turned to horror as news broke towards the end of the week that the nurse who had taken the call had allegedly committed suicide.
Jacintha Saldanha was pronounced dead at her home in London on Friday after police discovered her unconscious that morning.
Both St James' Palace and the King Edward VII Hospital have already issued statements in support of Jacintha's family, with it noted that everyone had offered the nurse their full support in the wake of the prank call.
Such an event certainly puts other things into perspective, casting something of a shadow over the battles in Westminster that preceded it. However, the Autumn Statement was still hard to ignore.
Rather than promise light at the end of the tunnel, George Osborne painted an altogether gloomy picture of the future with a tunnel that gets ever longer (2018 longer to be precise) and a murky dimmer switch at its conclusion.
That the whole sorry Statement then descended into an argument over whether the Tories had mocked Ed Balls' stammer or not, seemed somewhat to be missing the point. If you're feeling the squeeze now, do not expect it to get any easier... for some time yet.
And if you're a new mum or on benefits, it's going to get substantially harder. Whether we'll see the same uproar over 'mummy tax' as we did 'granny tax' at the time of the budget remains to be seen.
For yet another week, the Leveson report continued to make headlines, with the great and good of Fleet Street convening at Downing Street to make their case for the future regulation of the press. Leveson himself was in warmer climes Down Under discussing the wild west of the web, something he'd somewhat glossed over in his dossier for the UK. Still, it was nice to know that despite his mistrust for the internet, he'd found it so useful when compiling the report, using Wikipedia to fact-check certain things (the founders of the Independent, for instance), and coming a cropper in the process.
A moment of light relief in an otherwise downcast week.
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