Hello from the London team at The National. Here’s our look at what matters this week in the UK and around Europe.
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Newsletter

Welcome to the latest edition of the View from London, a weekly newsletter from The National putting a spotlight on the most compelling news and exclusive stories from the UK.

BIG PICTURE

Football's pioneering campaigner Gary Bennett, patron of Show Racism the Red Card, after receiving an honour from King Charles III at Windsor Castle on Tuesday.

Historic turning points are frequently not known at the moment in time, but often it is the task of statistics to point out the change.

So it is in England after the most recent census found that the country is no longer majority Christian. Figures show that at 46 per cent, the ratio identifying as Christian is now under the 50 per cent threshold.

There was a decline of 5.5 million professing the faith. Driving the figures is a change in the ethnic composition of the nation. Three large cities are majority ethnic, including the second city Birmingham.

Sunder Katwala, director of think tank and charity British Future, which focuses on issues of identity in the UK, told The National that the British Christian component has been weaker than the numbers would suggest for some time.

“People would have said Christian if they were nominally Christian or been brought up Christian,” Mr Katwala said.

There was a 44 per cent rise in the proportion of people describing themselves as Muslim, which in terms of the population as a whole was growth from 4.9 per cent to 6.5 per cent, while the proportion of Hindus rose from 1.5 per cent to 1.7 per cent.

Britain's first Hindu Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and his wife Akshata Murty listen to a school choir. Photo: 10 Downing Street

With the earlier news that the country had passed the landmark figure of 500,000 net migration in the most recent year, it is likely that the figures collected in last year's census will continue to change the face of modern Britain, adding layers of diversity.

This former British journalist writes from the perspective of being the father of two Muslim children and one who is Jewish that his concerns are eased by who is in leadership and how change is possible at the top too.

Damien McElroy
London Bureau Chief

 

EARTHSHOT TO BOSTON

We are looking at how the Prince and Princess of Wales will fare in Boston this week and having watched Netflix's The Crown, can only be mindful of how Prince William's parents fared on a fateful trip stateside in 1985.

Princess Diana danced with John Travolta and the rest was cast in the shadows.

The royal couple this time are going to promote Earthshot, the prize-granting charity that Prince William sees as a vehicle to address climate change.

The work to reward real efforts to resolve the crisis facing the Earth demands the kind of inspiration that John F Kennedy — hence the trip to JFK's hometown — infused in the American moonshot to land on the lunar surface before the end of the 1960s.

Talking of those matters, the distinguished Martin Rees, who exults in the title Astronomer Royal, writes for us on the Rashid Rover and how it is at the edge of human progress.

Watch out for the Thursday launch of the rover from Cape Canaveral and all of The National's coverage from Florida.

The Prince and Princess of Wales are making their first trip in eight years to the US to display their work on the Earthshot Prize for environmental innovators. AP
 

NEW DIVISIONS IN THE EU

The logic behind efforts to cap Russian revenue from shipping crude has been pretty obvious for some time.

But as the EU actually knuckles down to making a decision there is an unexpected hurdle. The current price of the Urals benchmark is far below the level that bureaucrats are proposing.

A significant faction in the bloc wants a new lower price but no one knows how long the current slump is likely to last.

It is another demonstration of how multidimensional the effect of the war has become. Brussels accuses the Russians of wanting to turn Ukraine into the black hole of Europe.

Meanwhile, the UK is on the verge of triggering an energy emergency, as the wind and renewables that provide about a third of its capacity are hit by the winter doldrums.

Over the next two days, Nato ministers meeting in Romania are pledging direct assistance to Kyiv to overcome its blackouts.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba and Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg discuss protection of critical infrastructure. AFP
 

DEATH IN MARYLEBONE

Sadly it has been a week in which the term double-stabbing has come into currency. The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has faced many vicissitudes but one of the most grim is the prevalence of knife crime in the richest streets and the poorest.

Incidents of knife crime have crossed into five figures already this year and there is no prospect of a slowdown on the horizon.

Gun crime is a growing scourge too, and the Mayor is struggling to find answers to the daily questions bombarding him and his police commanders.

Widespread attacks: map shows recent stabbings and shootings in London in just over a month.
 

OTHER STORIES THIS WEEK

Story Image A Scottish independence vote has been held off, but for how long?
Story Image Return of truce is vital to Yemen as global food and energy crises take toll
Story Image UAE provides the road map as police foil global drug cartels by 'following the money'