BRITAIN: Forecast: Cold and Dark

Britain labored under a Dickensian midwinter gloom last week. Off went the garish neons of Piccadilly Circus. After twilight, Big Ben could be heard but not seen. Buckingham Palace was lit by candles and hand torches. Millions of Londoners went to and from work beneath dimmed streetlights. Thirty crews of firemen helped rescue people who were trapped in stalled elevators. Dramatizing the nation's power shortage, one BBC newscaster had to read his bulletin by candlelight. A general synod of the Church of England also was conducted—perhaps fittingly—by candlelight, but that was not what the prelates had intended.

It was Britain's...

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