These are the most-read stories on BigIssue.com in 2021.
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Understanding the scale of the problem is the first step in solving it, so we keep this article up to date with the latest figures on homelessness and what you can do to help people in need. It was one of our most-read stories of 2021.
9. Roger Taylor: ‘I just wish I’d got to say goodbye to Freddie’
The Big Issue’s Letter To My Younger Self series makes a point of interviewing interesting people, asking them to look back on their life and give advice to themselves at 16.
“I was literally on my way to see him, less than half a mile away, when they rang me in my car and told me he had gone,” he told Jane Graham.
“I just stopped the car on Kensington High Street, in a kind of shock. Because even when you know somebody is going to die, it’s still such a shock when they actually do.
Check out the rest of this year’s best interviews from the series here.
8. The COP26 menu is ‘like serving cigarettes at a lung cancer conference’
For two weeks in November, attentions turned to Glasgow for the UN’s COP26 climate conference. It was billed as make or break, a last chance for the planet to agree on how to turn the tide on climate change and protect our world for future generations.
“It’s like serving cigarettes at a lung cancer conference. As long as such illogical decisions are being made, the climate emergency will never be resolved,” said one critic.
7. Universal credit: What is it and why does the £20 cut matter?
Universal credit, The Conservative government’s overhaul of the social support system has been a constant source of criticism and 2021 brought many of the conversations to a head.
Claimants doubled over the pandemic as the economic impact affected millions, causing Chancellor Rishi Sunak increased payments by £20 per week in March 2020, only to take it away again in September 2021.
Campaigners insisted he not go through with what was, in effect, a £1,000 a year cut to the incomes of some of the most vulnerable people in the country, and The Big Issue’s Hannah Westwater tracked the debate and its impact throughout the year in this regularly updated explainer article.
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The government’s Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill is designed to introduce new police powers and rules around crime and justice across England and Wales. It has been strongly opposed. Critics say it threatens to put severe limitations on protests, expand stop and search powers, and put more people at risk of homelessness.
Thousands joined Kill The Bill protests across the country as the legislation went through parliament, with even former prime minister Theresa May voicing her concerns, telling Home Secretary Priti Patel to consider the “fine line between popular and being populist” because “our freedoms depend on it”.
“I’ve seen maps of what the ocean is going to do to Bangladesh,” he said. “There’s 60 million people in Bangladesh? It’s going to be underwater! Where are those people going to go? India already has too many people. Pakistan, are you kidding me?”
4. James Bowen reveals statue of Street Cat Bob in London: ‘It’s his legacy’
Former Big Issue vendor James Bowen found Bob, a ginger tom injured and abandoned, in 2007. He took care of the young cat – who in turn gave him a reason to get up each morning. The story of how they became inseparable, busking and selling The Big Issue on the streets of London, quickly became a bestseller.
“The problem is that if we don’t do it then who is going to? It’s about stepping up to the mantle and making sure that these people are supported and services are provided for them,” said Andy Lockhard, a volunteer with Kindness Homeless.
2. 8 Hollywood A-listers Brian Cox trashes Logan Roy-style in his new book
As megalomaniac media mogul Logan Roy in smash hit series Succession, actor Brian Cox rarely shies away from making his feelings known. Turns out Cox isn’t too far removed from the character in real life either.
He looks back at his career in new autobiography Putting the Rabbit in the Hat, a book our Steven MacKenzie researched ahead of their November interview.
He found some quotes of solid gold as Cox shared his opinions on co-stars across the years. Steven Seagal?
“Steven Seagal is as ludicrous in real life as he appears on screen. He radiates a studied serenity, as though he’s on a higher plane to the rest of us, and while he’s certainly on a different plane, no doubt about that, it’s probably not a higher one.”
There’s more, much more, in the second most-read story on The Big Issue website in 2021.
1. Christopher Eccleston: ‘I’m currently sleeping in the Tardis’
Christopher Eccleston’s work as a Big Issue Ambassador has always kept him close, so when he recorded a new four-part series of a Doctor Who audio adventure, our Adrian Lobb was among the first to know.
He left his first stint as the Doctor amid acrimony but is still there for his fans.
“I like to make [them] happy,” says Eccleston. “I have my passions as you know – reggae, rocksteady, ska, soul music – there’s certain things that excite me. So I completely understand that in people. And I’m happy if they’re happy.”
The interview was the most-read story on The Big Issue site in 2021.
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