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The Guardian e-paper Journal - March 31, 2018

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Section:GDN 1J PaGe:1 Edition Date:180331 Edition:01 Zone:
Sent at 30/3/2018 16:48
Is there really a difference between Corbyn and Blair? Marina Hyde, page 4
My Caribbean trip opened my eyes to the legacy of empire Lenny Henry, page 4
The Saturday interview New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern, page 6
The Guardian Saturday 31 March 2018
and ideas
How 1960s
cinema gave
us a glimpse of
our future lives
Ian Jack
ll human history, you might say, is
the story of people not knowing what
lies around the corner. The typical
family snapshot catches the pathos of
this ignorance very well: the 12-yearold schoolboy smiling on a seaside
promenade in 1935 is unaware of his
fate on a North Atlantic convoy six
years later. But the art form that makes us most aware of
this is the cinema. You enter a darkened hall to watch an
entertainment you first saw 30, 40, 50 and more years
ago. The story, the scenery and the characters haven’t
changed a jot – they are as vivacious and pleasurable to
watch, as “real”, as they ever were. But many, if not all,
of the actors are dead. The world beyond the screen has
moved on unpredictably. The film forces the audience, or
at least those in it who are old enough, to remember who
they were and how things were when they first saw it.
No two films had a bigger effect on me when I went to
see them as a teenager than Saturday Night and Sunday
Morning, and Tom Jones. Both were adapted from
novels, the first by Alan Sillitoe (published in 1958) and
the second by Henry Fielding (published in 1749). Both
starred Albert Finney. Both were British. Both bore the
name of Woodfall Films, a new company set up by the
playwright John Osborne, the young theatre director
Tony Richardson and the film producer Harry Saltzman
to make a film adaptation (starring Richard Burton) of
Osborne’s Look Back in Anger, the play that is said to
have changed the course of British theatre.
I can’t have known this history when I sat in a cinema
to watch them, soon after they came out. In the case
of Tom Jones I sat in several cinemas, because I was
besotted with Susannah York, and after the film’s main
run had ended in the big cities I took buses to see her
in country towns and polite Glasgow suburbs. Then
I met a girl who looked like Susannah York and, if it isn’t
too archaic an expression, courted her for six or seven
months: an unsuccessful wooing that was sustained by
my memory of her more perfect original in the cinema,
of her wide mouth and blue eyes flirting with Finney in
an 18th-century garden heavy with flowers.
This week, after an interval of more than 50 years,
I saw Tom Jones again at the British Film Institute, an
overture to a season of Woodfall films that begins at
BFI Southbank on Monday. The film won four Oscars,
including those for best picture and best director – Tony
Richardson – though nobody involved in
the filming had expected such success.
According to Richardson’s memoirs, it
Section:GDN 1J PaGe:2 Edition Date:180331 Edition:01 Zone:
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The Guardian Saturday 31 March 2018
How 1960s cinema gave us
a glimpse of our future lives
Ian Jack
Continued from front
was a thoroughly unhappy experience:
quarrelsome, rushed and, in the personage
of the actor Hugh Griffith, almost
unmanageably drunken. What I mainly remembered,
York and Finney apart, was the film’s pizzazz – how it
opens as a pastiche of a silent film, with title cards and
frantic motion, and how Finney sometimes makes
asides directly to the camera and therefore to us, the
audience. A revolutionary step.
These innovations, thrilling in 1963, now look
either too cliched or too clever for the film’s good, and
they detract from its real achievement in rendering
18th-century England as a greedy, rumbustious place
where the better-off put no constraint on their appetites
for food, drink, sex and hunting with dogs. The supper
shared by Finney (as Tom) and Joyce Redman (as the
libertine Mrs Waters) has become a classic of comic
eroticism, though the film’s greatest sequence in terms
of pure cinematography is the five minutes devoted to
the foxhunt. It was good this week to be reminded of its
original effect: how the word “hunt”, which had meant
no more to me than pretty prints on pub walls, now
conveyed something noisy, chaotic and dangerous, and
infused with blood lust.
n its picaresque story and vibrant depiction
of fleshly pleasure, Tom Jones prefigured the
swinging 60s. It was an early symptom of a new
way of living; just as Saturday Night and Sunday
Morning, released in 1960, hinted that an older
way of living, one restricted by deference and
social class, could soon be dying. Here Finney
played Arthur Seaton, a rebellious young
machinist in a Nottingham bicycle factory who despises
his workmates for their meekness and sobriety, and
pursues an affair with the wife of one of them, until she
gets pregnant and he transfers his interest to someone
younger and prettier. Karel Reisz, a prewar refugee from
Czechoslovakia, directed the film in black and white,
and gave it the austere look of a documentary.
Its simplicity and interest in veracity made Saturday
Night a leading example of British new wave cinema
(a genre to which Richardson contributed other films,
such as A Taste of Honey and The Loneliness of the
Long Distance Runner). It was probably the first film to
portray working-class life unsentimentally. Its opening
is still arresting.
As the foreman walks down rows of lathes to hand
out Friday’s wage packets, we hear Finney’s harsh
soliloquy. “Fred’s all right,” he says of a young black
workmate. “He’s one of them who knows how to spend
his money, like me. Enjoys hisself.” The camera moves
to some older workers, one in a flat cap. “That’s more
than them poor buggers know. They got ground down
during the war and never got over it …” Finally, and
most memorably: “What I’m out for is a good time.
All the rest is propaganda.”
When I first saw the film, I resented the reference to
“them poor buggers”, because my own father might
have been one of them. He also stood at a lathe all
day to fine-machine small pieces of steel, but “poor
bugger” would be no way to summarise his life. Reisz
thought of Seaton as a “sad person, terribly limited in
his sensibilities … and a bloody fool into the bargain”.
It was Finney’s magnetism that turned him into a kind
of hero for a new age.
Imagine he were real: what would have become of
him? The Raleigh company, where he worked, made
its first bicycles in the 1880s, and 50 years later could
boast that it owned the largest and most modern cycle
factory in the world, with a 6,000-strong workforce. In
the 1950s it bought its rivals BSA and Triumph, and then
in 1960, a year or two after Seaton joined, Raleigh itself
was acquired by Tube Investments, which owned most
other British cycle brands. The new company, known
as Ti-Raleigh, lasted in British hands until 1987, when
it was bought by a German bike manufacturer, Derby
Cycle. A Dutch company bought Derby Cycle in 2012.
Raleigh production in Nottingham ceased in 2003, when
manufacture moved to Taiwan and Vietnam.
Seaton might have been lucky, and seen it through
until the end. But only just. As it turned out, there was
more around the corner than sex, drugs and rock’n’roll.
Founded 1821 Independently owned by the Scott Trust № 53,371
‘Comment is free… but facts are sacred’ CP Scott
The message is in
the myth and not
the historical facts
What happened during the first Easter in Jerusalem
cannot be retrieved by the methods of historical
inquiry. It is impossible to disprove the resurrection.
But neither can the evidence of the Bible compel
belief that something so clearly impossible happened.
What can certainly be known are some of the stories
told about the events of that weekend. These did change
history, for better and for worse.
The worst is that the narrative in St John’s Gospel is
the foundational document for modern antisemitism.
Until that was written, the Jews were nothing special
to their neighbours; but in that narrative they are
clearly and deliberately responsible for the murder
of the son of God – in some perspectives, the greatest
crime that could ever be committed. The author of
St John’s Gospel is traditionally identified with “the
disciple whom Jesus loved”, but he must bear some
responsibility for the subsequent persecution of
hundreds of thousands of innocent people.
It is a legacy that is hard to shake off but it is not the
only, or even the main, legacy of the story. Read from
another perspective, the narrative has given strength
to millions of Christians to endure every kind of
persecution and injustice, and to try even in the midst
of that to return only good for evil. More than that, it
has seeped into the consciousness of half-believers, of
unheroic and unmartyred Christians and into everyone
who believes in western ideals of progress.
It is because of the Easter story that we believe there
is something wrong in the suffering of the weak, the
friendless, and even of those who believe that God has
forsaken them, as Jesus cried out that he had been from
the cross. This would have seemed an absurdity to the
Romans, the Greeks, or even the cultures celebrated in
the stories of the Old Testament. Assyrians or Romans
might not have had the Christian reasons for persecuting
Literary awards
It’s time to write a new
chapter in the rulebook
of the Man Booker prize
This week the British world of books finds itself in a
peculiar position: one literary prize is asking another to
change its rules. The Folio prize is run by a 250-strong
academy. Surveyed, 99% of them say American writers
ought to be ineligible for the Man Booker; the prize
should remain open only to those from Britain, the
Commonwealth, Ireland and Zimbabwe. In February,
leading British publishers also urged the change. Even
the Washington Post has pleaded with the British to
“take your Booker prize home”, saying “Americans don’t
need any encouragement to trumpet their own books”.
Back in 2014, the Man Booker changed its rules from
the slightly eccentric rubric of “everyone except the
Americans” to embrace US authors. It made absolute
sense at the time. The Man Booker, it was argued, ought
to scan the entire literary horizon. It ought not to be
parochial. It ought to serve readers the very best in
fiction, and scour the Earth to do so. Excluding the US,
a literary colossus, looked ridiculous, when so many
riveting adventures in form and language were being
undertaken there. The move was widely supported.
What could be more logical?
The pendulum of opinion has, however, swung
back. Inviting the Americans in has seemed a little like
Jews, but they would slaughter them by the thousand
for reasons of state. The casual cruelty of traditional
empires cannot be underestimated. Whatever else
the Romans gave us, it’s worth remembering for a
moment the brutal horror of crucifixion. A method
of public torture where it was considered a routine
kindness to smash the legs of the dying victims so
they would suffocate more quickly is hard to fathom,
but it seemed to the Romans nothing more than
common sense in the management of slaves.
The other point about this hideous cruelty is that
it was effective. The Roman empire flourished for
centuries. The argument of the high priest in the
Gospel narrative, that it is expedient for one man
to suffer for the sake of the people, is not specially
evil. In fact, it is no more the recognition of one
central social reality. It is one of the most realistic
touches of the passion narrative that no one in it is
egregiously wicked except perhaps Judas, and his
motivation is nowhere fleshed out. The authorities,
whether Jewish or Roman, are taking exactly the
kind of hard decisions that are needed to preserve
their power, and they are doing so in the belief that
almost any order would be better than anarchy.
None of them are saints, but neither are any of them
doing any worse than a contemporary politician who
decides it is expedient that African migrants should
drown in the Mediterranean rather than disturb the
balance of European societies – and as a result is
re-elected by his grateful people.
Yet somehow from this ordinary exercise of
necessary power, those who wrote the gospels and
those who read them afterwards drew the absurd and
entirely novel conclusion that the way of the world is
radically wrong. Pilate might argue that by crucifying
Jesus he prevented a revolution and ensured for the
inhabitants of Jerusalem another 30 or 40 years of
peace until their catastrophic revolt in AD66; but the
Christian narrative has inserted into such reasoning
a potent splinter of doubt. Necessity knows no law,
said the Greeks, and on some level we all believe
that. But we can also imagine – and sometimes seem
to glimpse – a world where that was not true and in
which all manner of things will be well. How to get
there is another matter. It might be quite impossible
without a miracle.
allowing the US to compete in the Commonwealth
Games. Certainly, if you did, it the overall quality
would go up – but it might make for a rather
monotonous contest. At a time when sales of literary
fiction have crashed in Britain, the dominance of
American titles on the past few shortlists has seemed
especially hard for publishers and authors to bear,
since prizes have become one of the few factors that
significantly drive sales. The US, simply by virtue of
its size, risks crowding out everyone else. And the
Americans have plenty of prizes of their own.
There are still those who strongly argue that the
Man Booker’s regulations are better for being clear,
logical and global. And if Americans have seemed to
dominate recent shortlists they will not necessarily
always do so (the past two winners have been from
the US). Furthermore, excluding the US now could
severely damage the credibility of the award –
changing the rules because the host team is losing.
What is the purpose of the Man Booker? Turning
back to its founding statements, it is clear that it was
instituted to reward “the best novel in the opinion
of the judges”. Its sole criterion was to be quality.
But it also said: “The real success will be a significant
increase in the sales of the winning book … that will
to some extent be shared not only by the authors who
have been shortlisted, but, in the long run, by authors
all over the country.” It was, in short, intended to
have a beneficial effect on the UK publishing industry
and its authors. And it was intended to be distinctive.
With the inclusion of Americans, all that could
be squandered. Were the Man Booker organisers
to row back now, they would not lose much face.
Globalisation, after all, is not an unalloyed good.
Section:GDN 1J PaGe:3 Edition Date:180331 Edition:01 Zone:
Saturday 31 March 2018 The Guardian
Sent at 30/3/2018 17:05
theories, fake
news, demonisation
of unpopular groups:
what happens to our
politics if all of these
become the norm?
matters: Jews
are the canary
in the coalmine
aster? The very word gives me a
migraine.” Not my view, but that of an
old family friend who couldn’t shake
the folk memory of Easter as pogrom
season, a time of anti-Jewish attacks as
Christians resurrected the libel that it
was the Jews, rather than the Romans,
who killed Jesus. But this weekend is
also Passover, when Jews retell the story that defines
them as a people, sitting around a Seder table and
recalling through words, song and food their exodus
from slavery in Egypt.
The Easter/Passover combination means that at this
time every year Jews are reminded of two core facts
about themselves. The first is that they are raised,
from the start, to remember that their place is with the
oppressed and against injustice because, were it not for
the exodus, they would still be slaves today. The second
is that, from the start, they have been hated.
Both of those messages feel timely this weekend, as
Jews reflect on the way a movement that they long saw
as their natural home – on the left, fighting oppression
and injustice – has been rocked by the question of antiJewish hatred. In the last week, the Passover and Easter
messages have collided painfully.
Rather than rehash the evidence again, perhaps it
might be useful to pick our way through some of the
responses that have greeted this latest eruption, starting
with the notion that antisemitism is being “weaponised”
against the Labour leadership.
It’s quite true that the issue has been picked up by those
on the right with no love for Labour, or for Jews for that
matter. It’s hard to take seriously the outrage of the Mail
or Telegraph when both have reached for the antisemitic
dog whistle in the recent past, attacking Ralph Miliband
or George Soros using the familiar old codes. You can be
particularly disgusted by Leave.EU, which tweeted an
image suggesting Labour was turning on Jews in a bid to
win over British Muslims. It was factually wrong, sought
to pit one minority against another, and was instantly
condemned by mainstream Jewish organisations.
So yes, you can make a strong case that plenty are
acting in bad faith, trying to use this issue as a stick to
beat Labour – but if you do that, you need to exempt Jews
themselves from that charge. As one who knows this
British fascists
on the streets of
London in 1936
community well, I can tell you: what’s motivating those
Jews protesting about antisemitism in Labour is fear of
antisemitism, no more and no less. It’s wrong to suggest
their true purpose is thwarting the Corbyn project.
This needs to be stressed because what lies beneath
such a view is a notion that is itself antisemitic: that
Jews do not act sincerely, but always with an ulterior
motive or hidden agenda.
Nor will it do to say that a political party will always
reflect wider society, that for as long as there are
antisemites in the UK there will be antisemites in
Labour. For one thing, the left exists to change society,
not simply to reflect its existing defects: it’s right to
expect better of Labour than of other parties. But it also
betrays a deep misunderstanding of this phenomenon.
For the antisemites exposed within Labour – and
monitoring groups reckon they have documented racist
posts by at least 1,000 party members, forwarding formal
complaints about many of them – have not wandered
into the wrong party by mistake. They’re not BNP-types
who misread the sign on the door. On the contrary, their
racism is a warped deformation of their leftism.
Remember, antisemitism differs from other racisms
in its belief that Jews are the secret masters of the
universe, pulling the strings that shape world events
– and always for the sake of evil. (Witness the former
Labour mayor of Blackburn who suggested Israel was
behind the Sandy Hook school massacre.) Once you
swallow that canard and see the Jews as the wielders
of clandestine, malign power, why, then it becomes
your duty as a good leftist to fight the Jews. This is why
August Bebel called antisemitism “the socialism of
fools” more than a century ago.
one of this is new. These ideas
have been around on the far left,
and on the edges of Labour, for
many decades. But they were
marginal before because the far
left was marginal. Now the far
left is in charge. Should anyone
else, besides Britain’s tiny Jewish
community, care about any of this? One Morning Star
columnist wrote this week that if you’re poor and
homeless, then “antisemitism accusations don’t figure
much in your daily list of getting by”. The implication
is that it’s impossible to fight both poverty and
antisemitism, and that a bit of the latter is a price worth
paying for defeat of the former.
Do we need to spell out why this is a mistake? Perhaps
we do. Maybe it’s hard to see antisemitism as a threat
equal to other racisms. The implications seem less
obvious for Jews than they might for Asian or black
Britons: Jews are rarely the target of calls to crack
down on immigration, for example. But a change in the
political climate could have a concrete effect on Jewish
life in this country.
Less tangibly, it’s the cast of mind, the way of
thinking, that antisemitism represents that we should
fear. Conspiracy theory, fake news, demonisation of
an unpopular group: what happens to our politics if all
these become the norm? This is why Jews have often
functioned as a canary in the coalmine: when a society
turns on its Jews, it is usually a sign of wider ill health.
Put another way, hasn’t history shown us that
racism never stays confined to mere “pockets”? Once
the virus is inside, it does not rest until it has infected
the entire body.
Section:GDN 1J PaGe:4 Edition Date:180331 Edition:01 Zone:
Sent at 30/3/2018 16:25
The Guardian Saturday 31 March 2018
Corbyn and
Blair: are they
really so very
re we so different, you and I?” the
emperor wonders of Maximus in
Gladiator. “You and I are very much
alike,” Belloq tells Indiana Jones in
Raiders of the Lost Ark, “I am but
a shadowy reflection of you.” “You
and me … you and me, we not so
different,” a rather poorly drawn
Mexican tells Vin Diesel in Fast & Furious 4. Even when
the characters don’t say it, we know it. Pacino and De
Niro in the restaurant in Heat. Luke cutting Vader’s hand
off in Return of the Jedi.
You and I … we are not so very different. There’s a
reason this is said in so many movies down the decades.
It tells a psychological truth about our uncomfortable
similarities with the very people we prefer to define
ourselves against.
I must now ask you as a matter of urgency to imagine
Jeremy Corbyn in the grubby vest of Vincent Diesel,
staring down the barrel of the gun at Tony Blair, who is
taunting him: “You and me … we not so deefferent.” Or,
if you are the other way inclined, imagine Blair in the
heroic vest, and Corbs as the villainous Mexican.
As defining characteristics of politicians go, an
unshakeable belief in one’s own moral purity is
surprisingly rare. For whatever reason, it does not
occur naturally in the Conservative party. Our dear
leaders have many and varied strains of self-belief,
Blair and Corbyn at the Cenotaph in 2017 DOMINIC LIPINSKI/PA
My Caribbean
trip has opened
my eyes to the
empire’s legacy
which are frequently quite virulent. But that specific,
and rather terrifying conviction that something MUST
be morally good because it is they who are doing it – or
that something they have done CANNOT be morally
bad because it was done by them – is really a class of
two, for me.
The first is Jeremy Corbyn, whose fundamental belief
that he couldn’t possibly have encouraged antisemitism
because of the very person he is was on show this week.
And the second was a chap named Tony Blair.
You never hear much about that guy any more, so as a
refresher course: Tony Blair was a guy who believed he
was a pretty straight sort of guy. Indeed, those were the
very words he used when responding to the media (he
detested what we now call the mainstream media) about
a bad situation he brought on himself shortly before he
took office. He was, he said, a pretty straight sort of guy.
He flatly refused to accept that the thing looking
awful might actually be awful. He was actually “hurt and
upset” by what the media had written about him. A lot
of his supporters thought what they were doing to Tony
was disgusting – total agenda. Some of this may sound
vaguely familiar.
For those of us who already thought Blair was suspect
at this early stage, this was a worrying sign of stuff to
come. The faintly messianic act, the belief that media
scrutiny was evidence of an “agenda”, the bullying
dismissals by his henchmen of legitimate inquiries – these
things, those of us who were not Blairistas believed, could
end up really mattering. Not that many Labour supporters
wanted to hear it at the time. Indeed, some might now
be asking: OK, so what? The guy just thought he was
morally right about everything – what’s the worst that
could have happened? What’s so dangerous about that?
Well … I don’t want to spoil it for those catching up
with the box set. But mistakes were made.
ndeed, this particular form of self-belief became
the sine qua non of Blair for me – the thing from
which all the mistakes flowed. It feels unlikely
that Corbyn would make the same mistakes
because of his similar conviction of purity. But
he would make other mistakes. Potentially grave
in different ways. People who believe they are
morally infallible always do. To govern is to have
your personality remorselessly exposed by events.
That sort of exposure has befallen Jeremy Corbyn this
week. Some of his defenders are even the same people
who shored up Blair’s worst bits. Chris Mullin, once one
of Blair’s best little helpers as a foreign office minister,
was this week tweeting: “Sorry to see Jewish leaders
ganging up on Corbyn.”
Oh dear, Chris (again). I guess enablers gonna enable.
Corbyn still cannot accept the reality that antisemitism
has flourished under his leadership, often encouraged
by his actions, and certainly by his inactions. He can’t
accept it because of the things he thinks he is. This is
a failure of the imagination, just as Blair’s inability to
countenance faults was.
As the much-praised Avenue Q song goes: everyone’s
a little bit racist. It doesn’t go “everyone’s a little bit racist
except Jeremy Corbyn”. All of us – to obviously varying
degrees – make judgments based on inherent prejudices,
frequently without realising. Realising that is important,
especially in someone regarded as a moral leader.
None of us should kid ourselves that we’re immune
to making mistakes in this department, perhaps terrible
ones. Given the history of the 20th century alone,
none of us should imagine that we couldn’t fall prey
to dark currents, dog whistles, lazy thinking that over
time calcifies into dangerous thinking. In Primo Levi’s
arrestingly simple words: “It happened, therefore it can
happen again.”
As far as the fatal flaw Blair and Corbyn share goes, it’s
hard to imagine things not ending badly for anyone in its
grip. We know neither can stand the other. But him and
him, they are not so very different. In films, the moment
that line is said is ideally the moment the hero pulls back
from the edge, and starts to redeem themselves. With
Blair still unable to accept his mistakes, and Corbyn still
convinced of his moral infallibility, escaping the cycle
feels difficult. It would certainly be nice. But maybe it’s
the sort of thing that only happens in the movies.
Lenny Henry
is an actor
and comedian.
Lenny Henry: The
Kid is on BBC1 on
Monday at 9pm
efore embarking on what
became a journey of discovery,
I knew just two things about the
Commonwealth. One was that it
was a collection of countries linked
by commerce and trade. The other
was that every few years there
was the Commonwealth Games.
Perhaps it was that initial lack of knowledge that made
travelling to Jamaica, and Antigua and Barbuda, as I
did recently for a documentary on the Commonwealth,
such an extraordinary experience.
I spoke to ordinary people, business people,
politicians, expats. Hardly any of it was as I expected.
When I asked people in Jamaica what they knew
about Britain, quite a few said things like tea and the
Queen. Quite a few told me Jamaica was better when
the Queen ran things. I was surprised, given our
impression of how important the Commonwealth is to
these countries, to find that many politicians couldn’t
really say why the Commonwealth is a good thing. It
just wasn’t that big a deal in their lives.
But they were interested in the role it might play
after Brexit. Once Britain traded with Jamaica a great
deal; not so much of late. I spent a lot of time with
movers and shakers in Kingston. “Ah, you need us now,”
was their attitude. And there is some truth to that.
But the trip wasn’t just about politics. For me, it was
really a matter of tracing my roots. My mum came to
Britain from Clarendon, in the south of Jamaica, to
make a better life for her family. I have been to Jamaica
before, but this trip made me think deeply about what
that entailed. I really understood for the first time what
life was like and why she made that leap. I thought again
about the history of that part of the Caribbean, about
slavery. I went to a plantation where they still produce
rum, and thought about what life must have been like
there then, and what that means for life there now.
When you think about the legacy of slavery in these
countries, the problems they face today make more
sense. How are they supposed to recover from that?
Consider, as I found myself doing, that the slave
owners got reparations and the slaves got nothing.
I found a Barbuda still devastated after last year’s
battering by Hurricane Irma. That was probably
the most upsetting part of my trip. One would have
thought that the Commonwealth would have come
together by now, to help and put in better protections.
So what now for the Commonwealth? No doubt
it needs rebranding. I have a CBE – which I accepted
because I knew how much my mum would have loved
it. But I can see that the Commonwealth is sullied in
the eyes of many people by the negative connotations
of empire. It needs a major reboot, in fact, which
would allow it to look to the future and not be so
weighed down by the past. But such a Commonwealth
could really come into its own: a big family of nations
working together. We should try to make that happen.
Section:GDN 1J PaGe:5 Edition Date:180331 Edition:01 Zone:
Saturday 31 March 2018 The Guardian
Sent at 30/3/2018 16:11
Trans people
are seen, and
must be heard
o you, the press, I say shame,
shame on all of you.” The words
of Michael Singleton, coroner
for Blackburn, Hyndburn and
Rossendale, as he closed the inquest
into the suicide of trans teacher
Lucy Meadows, still resound five
years later. Just five years ago, it was
possible for an ordinary, private trans person to be
hounded to death by the media – just for returning to
work as her authentic self.
Since 2013, trans visibility has increased at
breakneck speed. We’ve witnessed Laverne Cox on the
cover of Time and Caitlyn Jenner’s transition. Trans
writer Paris Lees has appeared on Question Time
and was featured in Vogue, and the singer Anohni
became the first trans woman nominated in the best
British female solo artist category at the Brits. Earlier this
month, trans actor Daniela Vega became the first trans
person to present at the Academy Awards, and the film in
which she starred, A Fantastic Woman, won an Oscar.
Today is International Day of Transgender Visibility.
Visibility is an important tool, but while I don’t wish to
dismiss its significance, it is useful to take stock of what
we mean when we call for visibility.
The received wisdom is that if people can see trans
people they will learn to tolerate us, to accept us and
then to embrace us. I’m not convinced this sort of
trickle-down liberation is enough. First, the trans people
who tend to be visible tend to be those judged as more
palatable by media gatekeepers – younger, prettier, nondisabled and white.
Second, when trans people are elevated to visibility,
not everyone’s reaction is to be kind. Like the men
on the street who used to spit at me when I started
transitioning, many people’s reaction on seeing trans
people with the same sense of entitlement to public
space as everyone else is to be angry. There was a 45%
rise in transphobic hate crime last year.
In Britain, much has changed for the better, but the
visibility the media provides often sees us endlessly
talking about the same things. Hence the interminable
discussion of toilets and changing rooms, which are
more about cisgender people’s fears than trans people’s
lives. When I am invited on television or radio it is often
to discuss something negative someone has said about
trans women. It is never, for example, to discuss cases
such as that of “Ms C”, a trans woman in my hometown
of Bristol, who was stripped naked, pepper-sprayed and
assaulted by police officers who taunted her by asking if
she was a “man or a woman today” in the hours after she
had tried to kill herself in 2015.
The conversation about reforms to our gender
Shon Faye
is a writer, artist
and standup
recognition laws often strays into the irrelevant and
theoretical, while outlets are rarely interested when
I tell them about Jo, a homeless trans woman whose
possessions were set alight by tormentors while she
was at church. Last week we had the tragic news of the
killing of Naomi Hersi, a trans woman, in London.
Trans representation in the media cannot replace
trans people’s full inclusion and participation in broader
social movements. Often what is oppressing trans
people fits into a wider conversation about vulnerable
people in our society more generally. Meanwhile trans
men and non-binary people are still woefully ignored.
Too often, commentators mistake the hypervisibility
of trans women – which comes with so much abuse and
scrutiny – as a hangover of male privilege.
Society is fascinated and suspicious that a person
put in the “male” box at birth would instead appear
to choose womanhood. When the reverse happens,
there is less interest – good or bad – but the confected
outrage at terms such as “pregnant people” or the recent
inclusion of Kenny Jones, a 23-year-old trans man, in a
campaign about menstruation, show that when trans
men are visible, the abuse they receive can be vile.
Many trans men are showing great leadership. In the
UK, most of the legal rights that trans people have are
down to Stephen Whittle, while film-maker Jake Graf
advises the Labour party on trans issues, and transmasculine activist Fox Fisher campaigns on non-binary
recognition. The work of trans men and non-binary
people deserves more attention.
Like the coroner at the Lucy Meadows inquest, I often
think the mistreatment of the trans community is a
source of shame. But this weekend let’s be grateful for
what has been achieved. I ask those who now begin
to see us for the first time to look for common ground
as we try to build a fairer, freer and more equal society,
for everyone.
Section:GDN 1J PaGe:6 Edition Date:180331 Edition:01 Zone:
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Ahead of the Commonwealth
talks in London, New Zealand’s
prime minister Jacinda Ardern
reveals how she’s balancing
politics with pregnancy: ‘It is easy
to think the job is the most
important thing in the world –
the baby is a welcome distraction’
Interview by
Eleanor Ainge Roy
t has just gone lunchtime in New Zealand’s
largest city and Jacinda Ardern, the country’s
37-year-old prime minister and poster woman
of progressive politics, is sitting in the passenger
seat of a blue Subaru, craving a muesli bar and
wearing woollen shoes that look like slippers.
She has a removal company in at her twobedroom house and will soon be relocating to
a bigger, family-friendly home a few suburbs away, but
apologises that her place is “a bit of a mess” (it’s not).
This time last year Ardern, was known as a young
opposition MP with a passion for eradicating child
poverty – in fact, she could rather bang on about it. She
had a well-stocked whisky cabinet, frequently popped
up at music gigs and would return journalists’ phone
calls within minutes, at pretty much any hour of the
day or night.
Fast forward, and Ardern is now the leader of the
country, six months’ pregnant and seeking advice
on how to balance milk bottles and briefings from
Barack Obama, who had two young daughters when he
entered the White House in 2009. “I did ask him how
he dealt with guilt,” says Ardern, who met the former
president last week, and is currently in the throes of
figuring out how she will balance parenting and the
prime ministership.
“He just talked about the things you can do. Just to do
your best, and that there will always be elements of that
[guilt] in the roles that we do, and probably to a certain
degree just accepting that – but we are still doing our
best.” Her baby is due on 15 June; she plans to be back
at work six weeks later.
Ardern has a good-natured disposition and her
megawatt smile seems genuine, but she is also a prime
minister who rebels against her police minders to pop
down to the corner shop for milk, who believes New
Zealand’s “unique perspective” has been undersold on
the world stage – and a woman who doesn’t question if
she can juggle her many hats but instead sets her mind
to the logistics of how.
“Pregnancy certainly can feel like an illness for a
really long period of time,” she says. “I had 16 weeks of
morning sickness. And no one knew about it. I used a
few remedies to try to quell the worst of it but I think
a lot of people struggle with things in their day-to-day
lives that their workmates will never know about and
I just happen to be one of them.”
She says that she and her partner, Clarke Gayford,
don’t tend to pre-plan, but are a practical couple who
“take life often as it comes”.
Retaining some degree of normality amid their very
changed circumstances is a priority as they embark on
becoming parents. “Certainly life has changed. But I
really value being able to do normal things,” she says,
sitting in her small, simple living room.
“So yes, I do still drive from time to time. I do still
cook, I do still go to our local department store to buy
things like maternity jeans that no one else can really do
for me.” She pauses. “Getting stopped in the middle of
the lingerie section when you’re trying to stock up on a
few things by an older man who wants a selfie is a little
bit awkward ... but I don’t let that get in the way of me
trying to do normal things, because that is when I get to
interact with people as well. Preferably not among the
underwear, though.”
What does she find most difficult? “From a personal
perspective it would be that just even going out to
get milk becomes a bit challenging – just because
there is a whole entourage that then travels with me
for this simple thing. I tend to try to find ways not to
inconvenience a whole raft of people, so it changes my
mindset a bit,” she says. “The challenging thing from
a work perspective is just the range of things on any
given day that you’re dealing with, and making sure you
have the head space to really give them the thought and
consideration you would like to.”
A lot has been made of Ardern’s “niceness” – and she
is warm, inclusive and fun. But underlying the down-toearth charm is a determined feminist and canny, career
politician, who now uses eye rolls and sardonic smiles to
express what her position as head of the nation no longer
allows her to say.
Take her response to Donald Trump’s treatment of
women: “It is often easy to forget that people draw
from the way that you behave. And I know what I feel
comfortable with, so for me, it is just how I like to be
treated, how would I like to be talked about, how would
On issues such
as climate change
and nuclear matters,
New Zealand’s view
should be important
The Guardian Saturday 31 March 2018
Section:GDN 1J PaGe:7 Edition Date:180331 Edition:01 Zone:
Saturday 31 March 2018 The Guardian
Sent at 30/3/2018 15:36
Jacinda Ardern;
top, with
Barack Obama
in Auckland
earlier this
I like my mother to be treated and talked about, and that
is the lens that I apply. I can’t change the way that anyone
else behaves, though,” she says, with a smile that doesn’t
quite reach her eyes.
During the New Zealand election campaign last year,
Ardern was portrayed as the saviour of the beleaguered
left; a panacea after Trump and Brexit; a do-gooder who
wanted to decriminalise abortion, increase paid parental
leave, save the penguins and plant 10m trees.
“Do it for all of us,” said Jeremy Corbyn, in a video
of support.
When asked what keeps her up at night now, Ardern
responds in her characteristically earnest way: child
poverty. “We have said that we want to get child poverty
down to 5% or less in 10 years. And if we do that, it will
be the lowest rate we’ve ever had in New Zealand’s
records.” Then there is climate change, she adds, and
the increasing prison population despite a static crime
rate “that worries me, both from a capacity issue and at
a human level”.
But is anything really changing under her
leadership or will this government just tinker with
the lay of the land?
In her first six months, Ardern has faced criticism that
she lacks control of some of her forceful coalition cabinet
ministers, or that she is having afternoon tea with
pop stars rather than the poor. But despite a few small
stumbles, the leadership being thrust on her, and finding
out she was pregnant while wooing coalition partners,
Ardern remains forcefully sanguine – and she doesn’t
have trouble sleeping.
“Being PM is actually just an amplification of the
thing I experienced as an MP – and that’s the diversity
of the people that you get to meet,” she says. “And as
much as you do get a whole host of sometimes really
awful communication, you get some amazing things
as well. The number of schoolchildren who write to me
and say: ‘I want to be prime minister too. PS: Can you do
something about plastic bags?’. So I love that, I love that
level of contact that I get to have with people from all
walks of life.
Ardern’s Mormon upbringing sowed strong seeds, and
despite renouncing the faith in her early 20s, she says the
church’s teachings continue to have an impact on her.
“I am very service-minded – I often think about what I
can do for others. Did that come from my mother, or did
it come from the church in which I was raised? I can’t
really say, but I know it is something that I feel strongly
about. So I have no doubt it had an impact on me.”
Becoming pregnant, she says, has also significantly
shifted her perspective. “It becomes a welcome –
distraction is not quite the word – but reminder of life
beyond the thing you’re in. Because, as with any job,
that moment when you’re really tackling a big issue, or
something is causing you stress, that becomes the big
focus and it is easy to think that is the most important
thing in the world and everyone else should be
concerned with it, too,” she says, laughing.
“But I think the beauty of children is that they draw
you away from that thing. There have been a couple of
meetings where I have been working away very focused
on an issue and I’ll get a sharp kick in the ribcage, and it is
this little reminder that there is something else going on
in my life, too.”
The prime minister’s father, Ross Ardern, is New
Zealand’s high commissioner to the Pacific island Niue,
and will soon take up a posting as the administrator of
the island Tokelau, a dependent New Zealand territory.
Ardern herself has worked under some of the most
successful leaders of the past decades, including former
prime minsters Helen Clark in New Zealand, and Tony
Blair in the UK.
“I was one small cog in a very large machine,” she says
of working for Blair in Downing Street. “And that was
certainly something I learned from being involved in the
British civil service – is just how large it is. I worked in the
Cabinet Office. I was there at the time the leadership was
transitioning from Tony Blair to Gordon Brown.”
She follows news from Britain with interest
and says she can’t deny “holding opinions” on
Brexit, but says her government will continue to
engage with a post-EU Britain, and has “our hand
up ready and waiting” as a starting point for the UK
I asked Barack
Obama how he dealt
with the guilt of juggling
family life with the job. He
just said to do your best
to determine future bilateral free trade agreements.
With the Commonwealth Heads of Government
Meeting (Chogm) in London just two weeks away,
Ardern is preparing to make New Zealand’s voice heard
on the global stage and she is determined to not let the
country’s small size and remote location get in the way
of it being listened to. She would also like to advocate
on behalf of smaller Pacific nations, such as Kiribati and
Tuvalu. “Our other unique perspective is that we are
isolated, but we are isolated in a particular part of the
world. That is the Pacific. And within the Pacific, we are
not immune to the challenges of climate change, and
even though our emissions profile might be small, we
see ourselves as having a responsibility to amplify [the
voice of ] the likes of Tuvalu and Kiribati, and Tonga and
Samoa, and those places that will ultimately be affected
as we will be,” says Ardern.
Arden will have breakfast with Corbyn and meet
her fellow Commonwealth leaders at a time when
the Queen’s succession is becoming an increasingly
pressing question. That said, she can’t remember the
last time a voter asked her about New Zealand becoming
a republic. “It’s not something the public is really calling
for here. I think within my lifetime there is a likelihood
we will transition. It is not something this government is
prioritising at all, though,” she says.
Ardern appears to be at the helm of an increasingly
independent country – that could include a possible
break from the motherland, a louder voice on the world
stage and embracing New Zealand’s unique Pacific
history and identity.
“We are among small island nations, but we have the
most to lose and the most to gain. On major issues, on
things such as climate change or even nuclear matters,
our view has been, and should be, important. I have
never felt that New Zealand’s view is diminished just
because we are small and geographically isolated,”
she says.
“I think our approach to life is the same approach
as in politics. We are a very pragmatic people; perhaps
because of our isolation we tend to be pretty inventive
as well – we just get on with it.”
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It occurs to me reading Hadley
Freeman’s account of the antiCorbyn demonstration (Why
I protested against Corbyn, 28
March) that the best way for her
and the Board of Deputies of
British Jews to consolidate the
benefits of their protest would be
to issue a public statement making
it absolutely clear they regard
criticism of the Israeli government’s
policy and its actions against the
Palestinians as legitimate and not
in itself antisemitic.
Those of us who have long
enjoyed close relationships with
Jewish friends and colleagues
always make it clear that our
trenchant criticism is of Israel and
not of the Jewish people. Indeed,
we are often frustrated with the
damage that the conflation of the
two does to that relationship. I
look forward to the time when very
different Israeli governments treat
Palestinians differently, and that
it will be possible to be a member
of both one’s party’s Friends of
Palestine and its Friends of Israel.
Michael Meadowcroft
• Before being elected as Labour
party leader, Jeremy Corbyn
chaired Liberation (formerly the
Movement for Colonial Freedom)
in succession to me. Liberation,
founded in 1954 on the initiative
of Fenner Brockway, was in the
forefront of the struggle against
all forms of racism. When Jeremy
took the chair it was accepted that
one of our continuing fundamental
purposes was opposition to racism –
including antisemitism. Liberation
has been critical of Israel’s
treatment of the Palestinians – and
often had Israeli or Jewish speakers
at meetings arguing the case.
It is obvious that criticism of
Corbyn and the Labour party on
grounds of antisemitism is being
encouraged by individuals who –
unlike the Labour leader himself
– have rarely participated in the
general struggle against racism.
Most are motivated by opposition
to Labour under Corbyn and any
excuse to harass him will be taken.
Stan Newens
President, Liberation
• Whatever the state of its internal
civil war, and however numerous
or deep its so-called pockets of
antisemitism, recent statements
from the Labour party are in danger
of convincing the public that it is
incapable of rudimentary inquiry.
Christine Shawcroft’s resignation
illustrates what looks at best like an
inability, and at worst a reluctance,
to establish facts before leaping to
judgments. That she has admitted
defending her suspended colleague
The Guardian Saturday 31 March 2018
Labour, antisemitism
and criticism of Israel
“before being aware of the full
information about this case” is the
kind of desperate special pleading
that adds insult to the original injury.
Sadly, she shares this chronic
affliction with others, most notably
Corbyn, whose own mea culpa
betrays the same blindspot: “I
sincerely regret that I did not look
more closely at the image I was
commenting on” (Report, 23 March).
It appears not to have occurred to
him that he had only to ask what
reasons were given for its removal
by the council, to discover that the
mural in question was offensive.
Is it too much to ask that MPs ask
pertinent questions before offering
their verdicts?
Paul McGilchrist
Colchester, Essex
• In the context of the debate
about antisemitism in the Labour
party (Labour agrees radical action
needed over antisemitism, 28
March), some of us in the Methodist
church have become aware that
any support for Palestinians under
Israeli occupation quickly attracts
Yes, Jeremy Corbyn
has met with Hamas.
So have Tony Blair,
Jimmy Carter and the
Israeli government
Ian Sinclair
attention from the Board of Deputies
of British Jews. Antisemitism must
be opposed whenever and wherever
it emerges, and the record of the
Christian churches on this is poor
and sometimes lamentable.
The actions of the state of Israel
must also be opposed when they
lead to the kind of oppression
of Palestinians that Archbishop
Desmond Tutu has described as
worse than that suffered by black
Africans under the apartheid
system. Surely, this should not be
seen as antisemitism.
Rev David Haslam, Rev Brian
Brown, Rev Warren Bardsley
Evesham, Worcestershire
• Labour membership is nearing the
600,000 mark, and in any body of
people that large you’re bound to get
some unpalatable views. This is not
to say that they are acceptable – they
are not. I say that as a Jew and as a
Labour party member. But while
there is no doubt that an element,
however small, of antisemitism
exists within the party, there is
also no doubt that the current row
has been created – and is being
weaponised – by those who oppose
Corbyn. How else to explain the
fact that much of the controversy
is to do with episodes dredged up
from several years back? Someone is
poring over the Labour leader’s past
looking for dirt a few weeks before an
election. Even conspiracy theorists
are correct some of the time.
Bruce Paley
Nolton Haven, Pembrokeshire
• The Board of Deputies of British
Jews – drawn from synagogues
and Jewish organisations – does
not speak for the thousands of
individual Jews in the UK who do
not belong to these groups. The
mass of Jews are probably liberal.
However, the board’s president,
Jonathan Arkush, told the Times of
Israel that the last election results
represented a “loss” and described
the Tory-DUP agreement as “good
news”. And he told the Jewish
Chronicle that there must come a
point when even groups like the
Jewish Labour Movement or Labour
Friends of Israel feel “it’s over” for
Jewish links with the party. He also supported Donald
Trump’s moving of the US embassy
to Jerusalem and has condemned
criticism of Israeli settlers. His views
are not necessarily mainstream
Jewish views. For him to make it a
precondition for meeting Corbyn that
Labour should adopt all 11 examples
illustrating the International
Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s
definition of antisemitism is a
cynical political move.
Tracy Lindner
• Yes, Jeremy Corbyn has met with
representatives from Hamas. Tony
Blair and Jimmy Carter have also
met with Hamas and, according
to an April 2016 report in Haaretz
newspaper, the Israeli government
itself has held “secret, indirect
talks” with Hamas. So does Hadley
Freeman think the former British
prime minister, US president and the
Israeli government are tainted with
antisemitism for meeting Hamas,
as she claims Corbyn is?
Ian Sinclair
• You should investigate – and
discuss, at length, for balance –
the prevalence of antisemitism
and other forms of racism in the
Conservative party. Antisemitism
is under-recognised in our society
and it is good that awareness is
being raised about it, and action
taken. But it does not increase the
safety and security of our Jewish
population to collude with the
false impression that such attitudes
are more prevalent on the left of
politics, when the reality is the
opposite. The Labour party should
be applauded for taking action on
antisemitism. The Tory party must
follow suit, and the media should
ensure it is made to do so.
Julia Cameron
‘A late night food
delivery on the
streets of Kyoto’s
historic centre,
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Bureaucracy makes
church top-heavy
Many of us working in country
parishes would welcome Simon
Jenkins’ call for the “nationalisation”
of rural church buildings (Opinion,
30 March). I held high hopes for
the independent Taylor Review,
on which Simon served and which,
in the event, turned out to be the
dampest of squibs. Something far
more radical along the lines Simon
advocates is required.
The Church of England has not
adjusted organisationally to the
changing times. Since I went to
theological college in 1979, Sunday
attendances have fallen by twothirds. But the bureaucracy has not
been reduced, so we have the same
number of bishops. Then on top
of that, within dioceses the “head
office” structure expands. So we get
to the position where in Cornwall,
the poorest county of England, the
diocese takes on average 70% of the
unrestricted income of parishes while
the bureaucracy grows exponentially.
(In London it is 20%.) Where once
there was a diocesan secretary
we now also have a deputy, four
information officers, the list goes on.
Simon, keep sending the message.
You have friends inside the barricades.
Rev Peter C Bellenes
Rector of Duloe & Herodsfoot,
Harrowbarrow, Cornwall
• Practically no one would wish the
many Anglican architectural gems
to fall into disrepair. The C of E is
already examining their, generally
limited, suitability for alternative
use. But these repairs do not require
a change of ownership or further
austerity by raising taxes. The C of E
should use its own realisable assets,
well in excess of £8bn even above
parish level, to pay for maintenance.
Where modernisation is needed is
disestablishment and particularly the
removal of bishops from the House of
Lords. We would not have same-sex
marriage if their impudent wrecking
amendment had succeeded.
Keith Porteous Wood
President, National Secular Society
Section:GDN 1J PaGe:9 Edition Date:180331 Edition:01 Zone:
Saturday 31 March 2018 The Guardian
Sent at 30/3/2018 16:27
 @guardianletters
Corrections and
• An article said Dan Jarvis had
been told he would have to quit as
the Labour MP for Barnsley Central
to run as Sheffield city region
mayor. If he won the mayoralty he
would have to quit, but not to run,
according to a ruling by Labour’s
national executive committee
(Jarvis told he must quit as MP to
run as mayor, 24 March, page 28).
Editorial complaints and corrections can be sent to or The readers’ editor,
King’s Place, 90 York Way, London N1 9GU; alternatively
call 020 3353 4736 from 10am to 1pm Monday to Friday
excluding public holidays.
Signed off school
with Beatlemania
Further proof, if any is needed, that
the UK is being run for the benefit of
big business (Outcry as GKN falls to
hostile takeover, 30 March). If the
takeover is permitted, shareholders
will walk away with fat profits while
employees will be flung on to the jobs
market to scrabble for precarious
work and zero-hours contracts.
Jane Sutherland
Reading, Berkshire
• The Tory government claims the
economy is safe in its hands, yet the
national debt has recently passed
£2tn having been at £.75tn when
it came to power. Why is this not
discussed or commented on?
Marilyn Hulbert
What’s in a name, women ask
I share Joanna Moorhead’s joy at
John Bercow’s calling out of Boris
Johnson for his sexist remarks
to Emily Thornberry (Don’t dare
call me Mrs. I kept my name for a
reason, 29 March) as I have long
been struck by one other example
of this same “everyday sexism”.
Can anybody explain why, in this
day and age, women are still asked
on almost every form they fill in
whether they are married? This is
the only information gathered by
asking women to opt for one of the
“Mrs”, “Miss” or “Ms” options. In
which scenario is this relevant? It is
time that all such outdated thinking
is challenged, so well done to John
Bercow for not letting this pass.
Angela Barker
Weybridge, Surrey
• I understand Joanna Moorhead’s
feeling: my daughter-in-law is a
professor and continues to use her
“maiden” name in that capacity.
When occasion demands (Christmas
for example) do I address the
envelope as Mr … and Prof … or as
Mr and Mrs using my son’s surname?
When we use our maiden name,
which we are sometimes obliged to do
on forms, we are using the surname
of our fathers. What is suggested
should be used on future marriage
certificates to overcome this? Ms
Moorhead’s feeling is one of non-use
of the male surname as it suggests
domination of male over female as a
form of outdated slavery. What, and
whose, surnames do children take?
I write as someone who does not
allow any domination of male against
female in my life. But I am happy to
use my husband’s surname. From
the point of view of ancestry it could
be very useful to those who follow.
Joan Mazumdar
Galmpton, Devon
• Of course you kept your own
name, Joanna Moorhead. Unless that
was your father’s name? Better use
your mother’s maiden name then.
But that could well be her father’s
name… Oh dear. Enough is enough –
time for your children, if any, to go by
the name of Moorhead? Perhaps the
answer lies in the Netherlands. My
late Dutch brother’s granddaughter,
a paediatrician, and her partner (not
husband) of 10 years have two young
children. Both the girl and the boy go
by their mother’s name – which was
of course her father’s name; but you
have to start somewhere …
Elisabeth Moore
Darlington, County Durham
• Much as I respect Joanna Moorhead’s
decision to keep her father’s surname
after marriage, I resent her patronising
attitude towards women who,
like me, made a different choice.
Boris Johnson’s most recent jibe
was offensive. Just as offensive is
Ms Moorhead’s contention that a
woman’s identity can be lost and her
commitment as a feminist irrevocably
undermined by a name.
Jackie Winter
• Regarding memorable sick
notes (Letters, 28 March), I cite the
example of my wife’s school sick
note, following a night queueing
for tickets to a Beatles’ concert.
Her stepfather wrote that she
couldn’t attend school as she was
suffering from Beatlemania.
Roy Miller
Staines-upon-Thames, Surrey
• Perhaps Gill Glover could respond
to the letter of Catherine Mallyon
of the RSC (29 March) about the
increased women’s toilet facilities
at Stratford by quoting the sentry in
the opening scene of Hamlet – “For
this relief much thanks”.
Cyril Duff
• Ironically, a return of a bottle
and can deposit scheme (Report,
28 March) will give my favourite
Ken Dodd joke a new lease of life
“My Grandma died and left twenty
pounds in her will – fifty six pounds
ten after we returned the empties.”
Ron Plasma
Broadbottom, Cheshire
• I’m guessing that their favourite
composer (Mozart, warm beds,
toys – it’s a Spanish police dog’s life,
29 March) will be Offenbach?
Ian Garner
Keighley, West Yorkshire
Established 1906
Country diary
The wave-like wall at Gorseddau
slate quarry was running through
my mind. I needed to go back and
see if it was as I remembered. On a
bitter March afternoon I set off
along the old tramway that curves
in from Cwm Pennant to the north.
A hundred yards to my left, on a
windy shelf of moor at the 330-metre
contour, were barely discernible
remains of Treforys, a three-street
village built to house the quarry
workmen. It had 36 cottages,
according to the 1861 census, each
of them with a quarter-acre plot.
Today sedge spears through the acid
soil and spikes of bog asphodel –
the unfailing index to unproductive
land – gleam brilliant orange when
the sun dips below mist and cloud
to illuminate this austere landscape.
By 1871 the village was deserted,
its consumptive and dispirited
inhabitants dispersed. The grandiose
Gorseddau scheme was over.
“Everything that could facilitate
the works was produced, nothing
being wanting but the slate vein,”
noted an 1871 newspaper report
on the company’s liquidation.
The misjudgment of these venture
capitalists amazes me. Even the
layman can see at a glance that
Gorseddau rock does not cleave in
the way to satisfy a soaring midVictorian demand for roof slates.
But the scheme left enduring
monuments: the quarry itself;
the wave-wall; the marvellous,
ingenious, romanesque-windowed
Ynysypandy slate mill, where gravity
fed the blocks down to the cutting
floor. After the quarry closed, before
it was de-roofed in 1906, the mill
was used for eisteddfodau, and for
nonconformist meetings prior to the
building of Saron Chapel nearby in
the mid-1880s. The latter is now a
sumptuous converted holiday let.
As for Ynysypandy’s “slate
cathedral”, RH Tawney would have
smiled at the fate of this symbol
of religion and the decline of
capitalism. I prefer the stilled wave of
rock at the head of the cwm: its huge
blocks and exquisite curve designed
to protect the tramway from rocks
falling from spoil-heaps above; to
shore up the line of communication
against destruction by the scheme’s
own waste. I can’t imagine a modern
version in plastic having quite the
same resonant solidity and beauty.
Jim Perrin
Twitter: @gdncountrydiary
Section:GDN 1J PaGe:10 Edition Date:180331 Edition:01 Zone:
Sent at 30/3/2018 16:24
The Guardian Saturday 31 March 2018
His haunting
images of
people caught up in a
vicious civil war have
assumed a deeper
Romano Cagnoni
Photojournalist whose
images appeared on
newspaper front pages
across the world
he photojournalist
Romano Cagnoni,
who has died
aged 82, created
some of the most
memorable images
of war in Vietnam
and Nigeria.
According to Harold Evans, editor
of the Sunday Times from 1967 to
1981, he was “one of the five most
important photographers of the
20th century” alongside Henri
Cartier-Bresson, Bill Brandt, Don
McCullin and W Eugene Smith.
In 1965 Cagnoni became the first
non-communist photographer
to enter North Vietnam, visiting
the country in the company of the
powerful pictures
journalist James Cameron and the
news cameraman Malcolm Aird.
He travelled into the countryside
to capture the lives of ordinary
Vietnamese as they struggled to
work the land during ferocious aerial
bombing by the US.
In Hanoi he accompanied
Cameron to a meeting with the
prime minister, Pham Van Dong, at
the presidential palace. When the
country’s president, Ho Chi Minh,
unexpectedly entered the room,
it was Cagnoni who interrupted
the interview to persuade Ho Chi
Minh to pose for photographs. “I
said to the president that people
sensitive to justice in the west would
have loved to see him in such good
health,” he recalled. “He told me I
was an optimist, that optimists make
good revolutionaries and so I could
photograph him.” The resulting
pictures appeared on the front pages
of newspapers across the world.
Cagnoni was born in the small
coastal town of Pietrasanta in
Tuscany, Italy. His father, Umberto,
was a marble polisher and his
mother, Ada, ran the home. At
the age of nine Romano narrowly
escaped death when, in 1944, the
Waffen SS massacred 560 civilians
in Sant’Anna di Stazzema in the
Tuscan hills. Cagnoni’s family had
left the village the previous day after
Romano’s older brother, Luciano,
had overheard a conversation
between a Nazi officer and a
captured partisan. Luciano was
later arrested by the Germans and
transported to a labour camp in
After the second world war
Cagnoni trained as a photographic
assistant in a local studio, before
working as a roving beach
photographer around the Versilia
region in Tuscany, which is where,
in 1957, he met an Englishwoman,
Helen Warby. The next year he
followed her back to London and
they were married. Despite his
limited English, Cagnoni found
himself in demand as a wedding
photographer for the newly
Cagnoni covered
both sides at
close quarters
in the Biafran
war, 1969. Below,
his pictures
of children in
a Bucharest
orphanage, 1995,
and Ho Chi Minh
and Pham Van
Dong in North
Vietnam, 1965
arrived immigrant communities of
Dalston and Hackney, where local
photographic studios often refused
commissions from black families.
Later, as a freelance press
photographer, he produced an
austerely powerful image of Winston
Churchill’s funeral procession
and made a name for himself by
climbing down from the rooftop of
the Dorchester hotel to photograph
Elizabeth Taylor and her husband,
Eddie Fisher, from the balcony of
their suite. Taylor was in town to
play the lead in Cleopatra, but had
insisted she would not pose for any
photographs. Cagnoni’s snatched
images earned him enough money
to buy the camera equipment
he needed to become a full-time
Soon afterwards he joined the
London office of the Report photo
agency, run by Simon Guttmann,
an influential figure in the world of
photography. In 1963 he took the
stage photos for Joan Littlewood’s
acclaimed production of Oh! What
a Lovely War and the following year
landed the job of official Labour
party photographer, trailing Harold
Wilson across Britain during his
successful election campaign.
Guttmann was instrumental in
organising Cagnoni’s trip to Vietnam
in 1965 and in ensuring that his
images of Ho Chi Minh appeared
on the front of Life magazine,
L’Espresso and the Observer. In
1967 the Nigerian civil war broke
out following the secession of the
eastern region of Biafra, where
the inhabitants were mostly Igbo
In February the following
year Cagnoni was one of the
first journalists to arrive in the
beleaguered country. Foreign
reporters and photographers were
ordered out after a few days but
Cagnoni managed to remain there
for several weeks, basing himself in
a hotel in Port Harcourt. He made
Section:GDN 1J PaGe:11 Edition Date:180331 Edition:01 Zone:
Saturday 31 March 2018 The Guardian
Sent at 30/3/2018 16:24
 @guardianobits
many trips to the frontline and, over
games of poker, managed to befriend
Chukwuemeka OdumegwuOjukwu, the charismatic leader of
the fledgling Igbo state.
In Biafra Cagnoni made what
many consider his most iconic
image: a group of 150 young, barechested, shaven-headed Igbo
soldiers gathered in the harsh
sunlight. Shot from the balcony of
a nearby building using a 500mm
telephoto lens, it is a poetic and
viscerally powerful evocation of a
collective tribal identity redefined by
war. In his book, Pictures on a Page,
Evans wrote that Cagnoni “knew at
once what he had secured with this
one: a powerful image of war and
sacrifice. The shaven, bare-breasted
men are vulnerable, anonymous,
compressed to a single flesh by the
500mm lens.”
ife magazine bought
exclusive rights to his
Biafran war series,
and the editors
had laid out his
photographs over
12 pages when the
news broke of the
assassination of Martin Luther King
on 4 April 1968, delaying publication
of his images until four months later.
He returned to Biafra in 1969,
staying for two months, by which
time images of starving Biafran
children had imprinted themselves
on the public consciousness. Often
blackening his face with ash and clay
so as not to be mistaken for a white
mercenary, Cagnoni journeyed
to the frontline, photographing
combatants on both sides at close
In 1970, on his final visit to Biafra,
he captured the last desperate days
of Ojukwu and his resistance army
in images that were published on the
front pages of newspapers in Britain
and Europe.
He received an award from the
Overseas Press Club of America for
his Biafran pictures, and as time
has gone by his hauntingly intimate
images of people caught up in a
vicious civil war have assumed
a deeper resonance, being more
thoughtful and evocative than many
of the violent war photographs of his
Throughout the 1970s Cagnoni
worked as a photojournalist for the
Observer. He photographed Chile
under the brief tenure of its socialist
president, Salvador Allende,
working alongside the novelist
Graham Greene, and chronicled the
return of Juan Perón to Argentina in
1973. As well as covering conflicts
in South Africa and Palestine, he
made extended series on drug
production in Thailand and the
everyday lives of Britain’s immigrant
communities. In the early 80s he
travelled to Afghanistan, where
he shot clandestine photographs
of Russian soldiers, using a small
camera carried inside a large mitten
in which he had cut a hole.
Having settled in his hometown,
Pietrasanta, in the late 80s, Cagnoni
produced Caro Marmo, a book of
landscape photographs in and
around local marble quarries.
In 1991 he took this late embrace
of rigorous formalism even further
by creating a series of large-format
images of bomb-damaged and
bullet-peppered buildings in former
During the recent conflict in
Chechnya he set up a studio in the
war zone in Grozny, where he made
imposing portraits of local fighters
for a series entitled Warriors. In his
late 70s he travelled to Syria with his
third wife, Patricia Franceschetti,
also a photographer, taking pictures
in refugee camps and distributing
mobile phones to children to
encourage them to take selfies.
Despite his associations with
war, Cagnoni once said of himself:
“I would like to make it clear that
I do not consider myself a war
photographer, rather a photographer
[who] knows what war means and
how to document it.”
His work was shown in more than
45 solo exhibitions and published in
16 books.
He is survived by Patricia, by two
children, Stefano and Tania, from
his marriage to Helen, which ended
in divorce, three grandchildren,
Rosa, Tommaso and Anna, and his
sister, Anna-Maria. His second wife,
Berenice Sydney, from whom he was
divorced, died in the early 1980s.
Sean O’Hagan
Romano Cagnoni, photographer, born
9 November 1935; died 30 January
Bill Maynard
Comedy actor who
starred in Heartbeat
and as Selwyn Froggitt
ill Maynard, who
has died aged
89, was well
known as an actor
and comedian,
especially as a
member of the cast
in five Carry On
films and in the popular television
series Heartbeat. Behind the scenes
he had a reputation as a hell-raiser.
His Carry On parts began in Carry
On Loving (1970) and he appeared in
four of the cruder Confessions series
in the 70s. He had his own show on
BBC Radio Leicester until 2008 and
was still working well into his 80s.
Outside showbusiness, Maynard
once said he would like to be “president of England” and he stood as an
independent candidate in the 1984
Chesterfield byelection, opposing
Tony Benn for Labour. Asked if the
electorate could take seriously a
man who had played a labourer in
Oh No, It’s Selwyn Froggitt!, Maynard replied: “Quite honestly, it’s
been my experience over the years
that it takes someone serious to play
the fool.” Maynard polled just 1,355
votes against Benn’s 24,633.
He relished the perks of show
business and claimed that he always
carried a crate of champagne in his
car to help seduce whoever was
He was born Walter Williams
in Heath End, Surrey, the son of a
gardener, also Walter, and Edith, a
laundry worker. The family moved
to Leicestershire, where he attended
Kibworth Beauchamp grammar
school. At the age of 11 he was
already earning more than his father
by doing comedy turns in clubs.
Maynard was working for a
Leicester clothes wholesaler when
he met Muriel Linnett. They married
in 1949 and had a son and a daughter. He worked in local rep and
then went to Butlins holiday camp,
Skegness, where he met the comedy
actor Terry Scott. In 1955 the two of
them appeared on TV in Great Scott,
It’s Maynard. After this he briefly
had his own comedy and music
show, Mostly Maynard.
In the 60s and 70s he found work
in TV series such as Till Death Do
Us Part, Up Pompeii, Coronation
Street and Love Thy Neighbour. The
Carry On films kept him occupied
throughout the 70s, along with,
on TV, Oh No, It’s Selwyn Froggitt!
(1974) and The Life of Riley (1975).
Maynard once said that he
watched television only to see himself and that he set out to destroy
Maynard, right, as Claude Greengrass,
with Bobby Knutt in Heartbeat, 1996
anyone who tried to “stop him doing
his best” while acting. His favourite
book was The Power of Positive
Thinking. Once, asked to describe
himself in a few words, he replied:
“Stand up and be counted.”
Often he was willing to do just
that when others might have
thought silence wiser. In 1995 he told
a newspaper he was angry because,
though he was paid £400,000 a year
as Claude Greengrass in Heartbeat,
Nick Berry, who played PC Rowan,
had a £1m contract. Three years
later, ITV rescheduled the show to
end at 9.30, half an hour after the
“watershed”. A million stopped
watching, and Maynard remarked:
“It’s ridiculous. They have shot
themselves in the foot.” Heartbeat
ended in 2000, but he played Greengrass again in The Royal in 2003.
Muriel died of cancer in 1983. In
1990, Maynard married Tonia BernCampbell. When, eight years later,
she filed for divorce, he said publicly
that he had never really loved her.
Maynard wrote two books of
autobiography, The Yo-Yo Man
(1975) and Stand Up … and Be
Counted (1997). He had always
said he based his stage name on an
advertisement for Maynard’s wine
gums and that his mother often
tried to persuade him to switch back
to his real name. In 1998, after his
mother’s death, he said that he had
decided to do so in her memory.
He suffered a mild stroke shooting a new Heartbeat series. Doctors
told him that he would be all right if
he took it easy; but, despite listing
his hobbies as “lying down”, taking
it easy was not really his forte.
He is survived by his children,
Martin and Jayne.
Dennis Barker
Bill Maynard (Walter Frederick
George Williams), actor and
comedian, born 8 October 1928;
died 30 March 2018
Dennis Barker died in 2015
Today’s birthdays: Herb Alpert,
bandleader, 83; Roger Black, sports
presenter and former athlete, 52;
Richard Chamberlain, actor, 84;
Deirdre Clancy, costume designer,
75; Sir Alan Duncan, Conservative
MP and minister of state for
foreign and commonwealth
affairs, 61; Al Gore, former US
vice-president, 70; Christopher
Hampson, choreographer, 45; Tess
Knighton, early music scholar,
61; Ewan McGregor, actor, 47;
Prof Tim O’Brien, astrophysicist,
54; Mick Ralphs, guitarist and
songwriter, 74; Lord (David)
Steel, former leader, Lib Dems,
80; Lord (David) Trefgarne,
former Conservative minister,
77; Christopher Walken, actor,
75; Angus Young, guitarist and
songwriter, 63.
Tomorrow’s birthdays: Susan
Boyle, singer, 57; Jimmy Cliff,
reggae singer, 70; Anna Coote,
principal fellow, New Economics
Foundation, 71; Dame Kay Davies,
human geneticist, 67; Chris Evans,
broadcaster, 52; Sir Roderick
Floud, economic historian, 76;
John Glen, Conservative MP, 44;
David Gower, cricketer, 61; Chris
Grayling, Conservative MP and
secretary of state for transport,
56; Sharon Hodgson, Labour MP,
52; Ben Kelly, interior designer,
69; Milan Kundera, writer, 89; Ali
MacGraw, actor, 79; Lord (Paul)
Myners, former Labour minister
and former chair, Guardian Media
Group, 70; Annie Nightingale, DJ,
78; Sir Stephen O’Brien, former
UN undersecretary general
for humanitarian affairs and
emergency relief coordinator, 61;
David Oyelowo, actor, 42; Marie
Patterson, trade unionist, former
TUC president, 84; Jane Powell,
screen actor, 89; Phillip Schofield,
TV host, 56; Arnie Sidebottom,
cricketer, 64; Dame Rosemary
Spencer, diplomat, 77; John Varley,
banker, former chief executive, 62;
Lord Dafydd Wigley, economist,
former leader, Plaid Cymru, 75; JJ
Williams, rugby player, 70.
Letter Keith O’Brien
Terry Philpot writes: Cardinal
Keith O’Brien (obituary, 20 March)
was indeed “not an out-and-out
reactionary”. In 1995, he shocked a
remembrance service by castigating
the allies for using nuclear weapons
against Japan, and in 2002 praised
the courage of the Faslane nuclear
base protesters. He also opposed
continuing aid to Pakistan without
a commitment by the Pakistani
government to freedom of
religion for Christians and other
minorities. He was vociferous in
attacking poverty, both domestic
and overseas, and a supporter of
the Jubilee 2000 campaign against
international debt.
Section:GDN 1J PaGe:12 Edition Date:180331 Edition:01 Zone:
Sent at 30/3/2018 13:01
The Guardian Saturday 31 March 2018
Killer Sudoku
Chris Maslanka’s puzzles
Hard No 599
Pyrgic puzzles
I am a fan of art. Nevertheless Art’s loss is
Geometry’s gain. I measured the angles when
1 ‘Fracking has pushed down the price of gas
the attendant wasn’t looking. Unfortunately I
in the states by 400%.’ Pedanticus heard an
couldn’t get them all
“expert” say this on the TV news. Why did the before he came back
ground move beneath the Prof’s feet?
and threw me out
in Hungarian. What
2 Andy and Candy’s homework is to find
is x (the angle the
the greatest product of two positive whole
leftmost cane makes 10°
numbers that add to make 100. Andy
approached the problem through trial and
The other missing
error while Candy starting working on a
proof. Can you help? What if the two numbers
had to add to 99 instead?
4 Prove the sum of the squares of the first n
natural numbers (that is: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and so
3 I was amazed to find Garabaggio is now
on) is given by:
exhibiting (or uninhibiting, as I think of it)
S = n(n + 1)(2n + 1)/6.
in Budapest as well. How far will the (it is
The normal rules of
Sudoku apply: fill each
row, column and 3x3 box
with all the numbers from
1 to 9. In addition, the
digits in each inner shape
(marked by dots) must
add up to the number in
the top corner of that box.
No digit can be repeated
within an inner shape.
Killer Sudoku
Hard No 599
Fill in the grid so that
every row and column
contains the numbers
1-5. The “greater than” or
“less than” signs indicate
where a number is larger
or smaller than its
Cryptic crossword
Solution No. 27,470
Quick crossword
Solution no 14,943
Want more? Get access to more than
4,000 puzzles at
crossword. To buy puzzle books, visit or call
0330 333 6846.
2 <
earnestly hoped) short-lived but virulent rash
of his non-genius spread? In the gallery I saw
his Pile of Canes. I must say it reminded me
more of a pile of something else, but then
5 Is this number a perfect square? How do you
know? 9999999998888888877777776666
Same Difference
Identify these words that differ only in the
letters shown:
***E***** (marker of progress)
***L***** (a brake on progress?)
In each case find the correct definition:
a) Japanese version of Irn-Bru
b) large stork of some parts of the Americas
c) Egyptian militia
d) long pike
a) ancient Greek goddess of the deathwish
b) the wife of Proclus
c) feast celebrating death
d) snakes having fatal bites
a) Japanese junk
b) Javanese junk
c) jam-maker’s boiler
d) Indian sedan chair
E pluribus unum
Rearrange the letters of NERDY AIRTIME to
make another word.
Where digital rodent lives?
(5, 3)
What do you call a cowboy with paper
Missing Links
Find a word which follows the first word in
the clue and precedes the second in each
case making a fresh word or phrase. E.g. the
answer to fish mix could be cake (fishcake
& cake mix) and to bat man it could be he
(bathe & he-man)...
a) crab pie
b).web haft
c) parking invaders
d) sore blank
e) coven elope
f) best oeuvre
© CMM 2018. Solutions on Page 66
Quick crossword No 14,944
Old Testament book of sacred songs (6)
Boring documents and written information (5)
Very little to eat — goodness gracious me! (6)
Substance that alchemists believed could turn
base metals into gold (6)
Remedy (4)
Female rubber? (8)
Colour — to be gentler (anag) (6,5)
Household servant (often faithful and old!) (8)
Urban area larger than a village (4)
Young rascal — horror (6)
Wildcat — loo etc (anag) (6)
Mawkish (5)
Distinctive characteristic (6)
The Easter prize crossword is on Page 66
1 Unsettle (7)
2 Support attached to the side
of a chair (7)
3 Monk’s mule (anag) —
eg honeydew (4,5)
4 Lamps — daffodils (5)
5 Melange (7)
6 Messenger of the gods (6)
11 Make something distasteful seem more
palatable? (5-4)
13 Part of a rock formation above
the surface (7)
14 Drastic — limit (7)
15 Big Apple (3,4)
16 On the house (6)
18 Creamy white (5)
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