Barometer

Who started America’s presidential debates?

3 October 2020

9:00 AM

3 October 2020

9:00 AM

Word for word

US presidential debates are often traced back to the first televised debate, between Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy in 1960. But they were inspired by a series of seven debates held between Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas while contesting an Illinois senatorial seat in 1858. The debates would have stretched a modern audience — they were each three hours long. It is hard to imagine, too, how modern candidates would have coped with the format: the first speaker was invited to speak for an hour, the second for 90 minutes, and then the first candidate was allowed a further half-hour. Douglas won the seat and, two years later, found himself again facing Lincoln for the presidency. This time, Lincoln declined to debate — and went on to win the top job.

Taxi wars

Uber won its court case against Transport for London, allowing it to continue operating in the capital. How big a player is Uber?

— In March 2019 there were 108,200 licensed vehicles in London.

20,100 of these were taxis, i.e. black cabs, allowed to ply for hire on the streets.

88,100 were minicabs which, like Uber, must be pre-booked.

— There were 129,900 licensed drivers, of whom 45,000 are thought to be with Uber.

Source: Department for Transport

Covid knock-on

What effect did lockdown have on the diagnoses of non-Covid conditions? Among the 250,000 population of Salford between 1 March and 31 May there were:


1,073 people diagnosed with mental-health conditions, compared with the 2,147 cases which would have been expected from the experience of recent years.

141 cases of type 2 diabetes (276).

598 cases of heart and circulatory disorders (1,054).

163 cases of cancer (194).

Source: National Institute for Health Research

Back to nature

A conservation charity called for 30 per cent of England to be designated ‘wild belt’. How is land in England currently used?

Agriculture | 63%

Forest, open land and water | 21%

Residential gardens | 4.8%

Transport and utilities | 4.8%

Outdoor recreation | 2.2%

Residential buildings | 1.1%

Industrial/commercial | 0.4%

Source: Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government

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