Vol 197 No 26 £2.90 €5.50* Exclusions apply A week in the life of the world | 1-7 December 2017 Zimbabwe smiles at the Crocodile Mnangagwa vows to rebuild nation What’s up with WhatsApp? Lifting the lid on group chat ‘It feels like a new adventure’ re’ The inventive world of Björk Germany’s grand accord wanes In need of a new direction? German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s authority was diminished by a weak showing in recent elections Christian Bruna/EPA Merkel’s struggles to to form a government are drawing anxious comparisons with the ill-fated Weimar years Philip Oltermann Danyal Bayaz has experienced many things during his first few weeks as a new MP, but boredom is not one of them. Two months after entering Germany’s parliament as a Green party candidate, Bayaz, 34, from Heidelberg, has watched rightwing politicians give each other standing ovations for Eurosceptic diatribes, leftwingers heckle the far right as racists and a former climate activist with dyed hair form unlikely alliances with Christian Democrats in tailored suits. Last week Bayaz saw the dramatic collapse of coalition talks that would have seen his Green colleagues catapulted into government and now faces the possibility that his seat may come up for grabs again in fresh elections next spring. “Right now I am not even sure if it’s worth me getting a loyalty card here,” he quips as he orders a cappuccino in the Bundestag’s canteen. For years, German politics were seen as uneventful to the point of tedium. Only recently the lack of drama inside the reconstructed Reichstag’s circular plenary chamber led to calls for a more confrontational, Westminster-style approach. But as old geopolitical certainties have crumbled over the past 18 months, Berlin’s consensual, unexcitable style of policymaking has won new admirers. Faltering efforts to form the next coalition government have exposed Angela Merkel’s diminished authority. Many are now beginning to wonder if the division wrought on Britain and the US by Brexit and Donald Trump has also descended on Europe’s biggest economy. With Merkel’s last coalition partners, the Social Democratic party (SPD) and the Free Democrats (FDP), seemingly more eager on opposition than on government posts, and an already ultra-oppositional Alternative für Deutschland hoping to profit from the political standstill, commentators in Germany have started to evoke the darkest days of the Weimar Republic, the period after the first world war when short-lived minority governments ruled by emergency decrees. “Like in Weimar, the federal republic is now a multiparty system in which extreme parties have begun to paralyse the working of the parliamentary democracy,” wrote Stephen Szabo, an expert on US-German relations. “Germany’s obsession with stability was largely a result of reforms aimed at avoiding the mistakes of the Weimar Republic,” said Anthony Glees, a historian at the University of Buckingham. “In spite of a proportional vote system, a 5% threshold for smaller parties guaranteed that postwar Germany was for decades a twoparty state, where the power would lie safely in the centre.” With polls for possible fresh elections next year predicting that both Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union and the SDP could drop below 30% 6→ Abu Dhabi AED14.50 Bahrain BHD1.90 *Cyprus €2.50 Czech Rep CZK145 Denmark DKK39 Dubai AED14.50 Egypt EGP49 *Greece €3.95 Hong Kong HKD52 Hungary HUF950 *Republic of Ireland €3.30 Japan JPY900 Jordan JOD2.90 Kuwait KWD1.45 Latvia €5.50 Lebanon LBP6000 *Malta €2.20 Norway NOK52 Oman OMR1.65 Pakistan PKR385 Poland PLN14 Qatar QAR14.50 Saudi Arabia SAR15.50 Singapore SGD8 South Africa ZAR49.90 Sweden SEK55 Switzerland CHF9 Turkey TRY15.50 2 The Guardian Weekly 01.12.17 World roundup Obama’s ‘neutral’ internet rules to end Ireland on brink of snap election 1 4 The US telecoms regulator is to overturn Obama-era rules keeping the internet neutral. The Federal Communications Commission chairman, Ajit Pai, said the body plans to repeal “net neutrality” regulations that were championed by tech companies and consumer groups, but criticised by internet service providers and Pai himself. “The FCC will no longer be in the business of micromanaging business models,” he said. He added that the Obama administration had sought to pick winners and losers and exercised “heavyhanded” regulation of the internet. Net neutrality is the principle that all internet traffic is treated equally. Critics say removing the rule will allow ISPs to control the internet – picking winners and losers by slowing some services while giving preferential treatment to those they favour. More US news, page 8 Ireland was on the verge of a snap election after the party that props up the minority coalition government threatened to pull down the administration over a police whistleblower scandal. The prime minister, Leo Varadkar, faces the prospect of going to the polls as early as this month, in the middle of a crucial summit on the EU, Britain and Brexit at which the stakes are high for the Irish Republic. The prospect of an election emerged following a row about emails from the deputy prime minister, Frances Fitzgerald, into how police deal with a whistleblower alleging corruption and malpractice. Slovenia PM risks job to support refugee 6 The prime minister of Slovenia, Miro Cerar, one of the few liberal leaders in central and eastern Europe, is facing impeachment over his support for a Syrian asylum seeker facing deportation. If the rightwing opposition wins its parliamentary motion, Cerar could be dismissed, although supporters say he has enough votes. The future of Ahmad Shamieh, 60, who arrived in Slovenia in 2015, has become a dividing line in the country’s politics. → Leftist leads Honduras presidency race 4 1 2 Early results from Honduras’s presidential election on Monday showed leftist challenger Salvador Nasralla with a surprise lead over President Juan Orlando Hernández. With 70% of votes counted, officials said Nasralla, pictured on poster, had 45.7% of the vote, with Hernández on 40.2%. Nasralla is a candidate of the Alliance of Opposition Against Dictatorship; Hernández a conservative US ally. Both claimed victory. Voter turnout appeared heavy, with few irregularities reported. More Americas news, page 9 → Hope for Argentinian sub crew fades 3 Water entered the snorkel of the Argentinian submarine ARA San Juan, causing its battery to short-circuit before it went missing on 15 November, a navy spokesman said on Monday as hope dwindled -for the 44-member crew. The San Juan had only a seven-day oxygen supply when it lost contact, and a sudden noise was detected that the navy says could have been the implosion of the vessel. Before its disappearance, the submarine had been ordered back to its Mar del Plata base after it reported water had entered the vessel, a navy spokesman, Enrique Balbi, said. The search for the submarine has been concentrated about 430km off Argentina’s southern coast. The effort includes ships and planes manned by 4,000 personnel from 13 countries, including Brazil, Chile and Britain. 2 EU steps up Russian ‘fake news’ battle 5 The EU is stepping up a campaign to counter disinformation and “fake news” from Russia by spending more than €1m ($1.2m) a year on an anti-propaganda unit. For the first time since the team was set up in 2015, the East StratCom taskforce will have money from the EU budget, rather than relying on contributions from member states or other budgets. The unit has been granted €1.1m a year from the EU budget for 2018-20, officials said. The funding emerged after the European council president, Donald Tusk, pictured, warned that one of Europe’s problems was “cyberattacks, fake news, hybrid war”, following a summit with EU leaders and their counterparts in eastern Europe and the Caucasus. “We have to keep very cautious, vigilant and also honest. If we want to protect ourselves, if we want to help our partners, we have to be very aware about the threat inside the EU,” he said. Tusk referred to Theresa May’s recent speech, in which the UK prime minister accused Russia of meddling in elections and planting fake stories in the media to “weaponise information” and sow discord. The decision to dedicate EU money to the unit follows a rise in misinformation about the Catalan independence referendum. More Europe news, pages 6, 7 → 3 Saudis block Yemen aid despite pledge 7 Aid agencies said Saudi Arabia had not fulfilled a promise to reopen aid corridors into northern Yemen, leaving the main aid lifeline closed for tens of thousands of starving people. Following intense pressure from western governments, Riyadh agreed early last week to lift a fortnightlong blockade of the port of Hodeida, but aid agencies said at the weekend that no permissions for shipments had yet been given. A UN source said: “We have submitted the request to bring in aid, as we have every day, but there has been nothing. At this stage we do not know the reason for the delay.” More Middle East news, page 4 → 5 The Guardian Weekly 01.12.17 3 Eyewitnessed The week’s events in pictures → Centre pages 24-25 Lebanon PM suspends his resignation 8 The Lebanese prime minister, Saad Hariri, said he was suspending the resignation he announced last month while in Saudi Arabia, easing a crisis that deepened regional tensions. “Our nation needs … exceptional efforts from everyone to protect it against danger,” Hariri said during independ- ence day celebrations, having returned to Beirut last Tuesday. “We must dissociate from wars, external struggles and regional conflicts.” Hariri’s surprise resignation had prompted fears he had been forced from office under orders from his regional backers and was held against his will in Saudi Arabia. Nepal launches elections in rural areas 10 Residents of mountain villages and foothill towns voted in Nepal’s first provincial polls last weekend, hoping to bring government closer to the areas. Officials said turnout was more than 65% among the 3.2 million voters choosing representatives in seven newly formed federal states as well as the national assembly. “We will be closer to the government now with the state assemblies,” said schoolteacher Swasthani Thapa, who was among voters queueing at Chautara, 80km east of Kathmandu. Elections continue until 7 December elsewhere in the country. More South Asia news, page 5 → 6 Eruption of Bali volcano looks likely 12 Indonesian officials called for 100,000 people to leave the area of Bali’s restless Mount Agung volcano, as a major eruption looked increasingly likely. By Monday, 40,000 people had been moved away from the volcano. Mount Agung has been spewing ash since last Tuesday. After confirmation that it was shifting into the magmatic phase, authorities raised the warning level to the maximum of 4 on Monday. Measurement of Mount Agung began after the last big eruption in 1963, which lasted a year and killed more than 1,000 people. More Asia Pacific news, page 8 → Chinese port hit by factory explosion 8 13 10 7 13 A factory explosion in a port city south of Shanghai last Sunday killed two people and injured at least 30 as it destroyed buildings and left streets littered with damaged cars and debris. The explosion struck a factory in a riverfront neighbourhood in Ningbo, one of China’s busiest ports. A police statement said the cause was under investigation. Television images showed cars twisted and mangled by the force of the explosion, a plume 11 12 14 9 Court doubles Pistorius jail sentence 9 A South African appeal court more than doubled the prison sentence of the former Paralympian Oscar Pistorius for murdering his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. The supreme court of appeal increased i the senten sentence from six years to 13 years and five mont months. Pistoriu torius killed Stee Steenkamp, am model, whe when he fired four bulle bullets throu a through closed toilet door in his home in Pretoria in February 2013. He said he had mistaken her for a burglar. Steenkamp’s family welcomed the longer sentence and said it showed justice could prevail in South Africa. “This is an emotional thing for them. They just feel that their trust in the justice system has been confirmed,” a family spokeswoman said. The court said Pistorius “displays a lack of remorse, and does not appreciate the gravity of his actions”. More Africa news, pages 12-13 → Pope visits Myanmar in Rohingya crisis Violence as Manus centre cleared 14 11 Thousands of Catholics welcomed Pope Francis to Myanmar, where he began a three-day visit. The trip was fraught with sensitivity over how he would deal with the plight of the Muslim Rohingya. He was scheduled to meet the de facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, and commander-inchief, Min Aung Hlaing, who have overseen the exodus of more than 620,000 Rohingya in three months. of grey smoke rising, and debris scattered for dozens of metres. Footage showed rescuers wearing helmets carrying injured people away. Eyewitnesses said there were a large number of injured people. Industrial accidents are common in China, where safety standards are often lax. In 2015 giant blasts killed at least 165 people in the northern port city of Tianjin, causing more than $1bn in damage and sparking widespread anger over a perceived lack of transparency. Violent scenes were witnessed at a former Australian migrant detention centre in neighbouring Papua New Guinea, as security forces struggled to remove former detainees from the facility. Papua New Guinea police and the Australian government said all residents had been removed from the Manus Island facility last Friday, on the second day of “Operation Helpim Friends”. But phone footage showed security personnel raiding the facility using metal batons, and forcing inhabitants on to buses against their will. The Australian immigration minister, Peter Dutton, said that he was aware of three people being injured in the operation. The centre was closed on 31 October, but up to 300 men resisted being moved because of concerns about their safety at a new centre, and had been living without running water or electricity. 4 The Guardian Weekly 01.12.17 International news Sisi vows ‘brute force’ after Sinai attack Analysis: an ‘iron fist’ policy in Egypt has always failed Airstrikes follow mosque massacre by militants reportedly flying Isis flag Edmund Bower Cairo Observer Egypt was reeling last weekend from the worst atrocity it has suffered in recent years, with officials putting the death toll from the bomb and gun assault on a Sinai mosque at 305. The figure includes 27 children. A further 128 people were wounded in the attack on the al-Rawda mosque in Bir al-Abed, north Sinai. A bomb ripped through the mosque as Friday prayers were finishing, before militants opened fire on the worshippers. In response, airstrikes were directed at “terrorist” locations, said military sources. Egypt’s chief prosecutor, Nabil Sadeq, said the attack was carried out by 25 to 30 militants stationed at the mosque’s main door and 12 windows before opening fire on those inside. More than 50 ambulances ferried casualties from the mosque, about 40km west of the city of Arish, to nearby hospitals. British prime minister Theresa May told the Egyptian president, Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, that the UK stood “ready to help in any way possible”. Downing Street added that the two leaders agreed that international cooperation was needed to tackle the problem of terrorism. Early this week no group had claimed responsibility for the attack, but it marks a significant escalation in a region where for three years Egyptian security forces have battled an Islamic State insurgency that has killed hundreds of police and soldiers. It was reported last weekend that the gunmen carried the Islamic State flag. The attack was not only one of the worst terrorist incidents in Egyptian history, but also the first on a mosque. The justification for assaulting a Muslim place of worship appears to be that it was frequented by Sufis, a sect many Islamist extremists deem heretical. There are, however, many conspiracy theories circulating, which suggest the atrocity has provided the president with a convenient opportunity to demonstrate his security credentials. In a nearby outdoor cafe, in the shadow of another mosque frequented by Sufis, most patrons were adamant last Saturday that the attack was purely politically motivated. “This was all because of the elections,” said one customer. Sisi is expected to stand in elections due to be held early next year to try to retain Tragedy … worshippers’ shoes after the al-Rawda assault Getty the presidency. When he first ran in 2014 his campaign message was that the former army general was the only man who could bring stability to the country and prevent the chaos that has engulfed Libya and Syria from reaching Egypt. “I supported him,” said the customer. “But I would never vote for him again. I’ll take just about anyone else; he can’t win.” With a sharp drop in tourism, following the 2011 Arab spring, Sisi has presided over a period of economic instability as well as terrorist threat. “Do any of us live as well as we used to?” said the customer. “My salary is a third of what it used to be.” All around the cafe and in the street are signs of the forthcoming elections. Posters on lamp-posts show Sisi’s smiling face, accompanied with an appeal for him to “Build it” – meaning to re-run for office. This is supposedly a grassroots movement, although some ‘This is all because of the elections,’ said one customer in a nearby cafe community figures have reported being given petitions to hand out, sent to them by the interior ministry. With the elections drawing closer, this attack seems to have shaken the government’s nerves. The president reacted swiftly, promising to meet the attack with brute force, as well as declaring three days of public mourning. In a press release last Saturday, the state information services said he had ordered that 200,000 Egyptian pounds ($11,300) be paid to the families of victims for every member killed. Yet the mood in Cairo last weekend was one of calm. Its residents are used to stories of violence from the Sinai region. “It feels like a long way away,” says Ahmed Yousef, 30, a telecoms engineer. In July, at least 23 soldiers were killed when suicide car bombs were detonated at two military checkpoints in Sinai. Isis claimed responsibility. The local Isis affiliate, Wilayat al-Sinai (the province of Sinai), also carried out the region’s previous deadliest attack when, in 2015, it brought down a Russian passenger jet carrying tourists back from the Sharm el-Sheikh resort, killing 224 people. Leader comment, page 22 → Egypt’s president, Abdel Fatah alSisi, cultivates a hard-man image. His response to last Friday’s atrocity at al-Rawda mosque in northern Sinai was wholly predictable. Hours after Islamic State-linked gunmen killed more than 300 Sufi worshippers, Sisi sent waves of warplanes to exact revenge. “The air force has … eliminated a number of outposts used by terrorist elements,” the military said. If only it were that easy. If Sisi and his generals knew the location of such terrorist outposts, why had they not already been destroyed? It is probable the targets were chosen randomly and yet more innocent lives may now have been lost. Speaking to the nation after the mosque raid, Sisi – an ex-general who seized power in 2013 in a military-backed coup – used the only language he knows. “The police and military will avenge our martyrs and restore peace and security,” he said. “We will respond with brute force.” But like an alcoholic who takes a drink and hopes that the outcome will be different this time, Sisi’s addiction to violence is a kind of madness. Egyptian leaders before him, notably Hosni Mubarak, all tried to physically crush their opponents. They all failed. And Sisi will, too. The largely ungoverned spaces of northern Sinai province have become a new locus of militant activity. Sinai has been under a state of emergency, and closed to outside agencies and media, since 2014, when militants killed 30 soldiers. The latest atrocity has been blamed on Wilayat al-Sinai, an Islamist group with links to Isis that has hit Coptic churches in Cairo and Alexandria. Sisi’s “iron fist” tactics have proved futile. The Isis link appears to be strengthening, and northern Sinai may become a destination of choice for jihadis. Long experience shows that more killings, repression and dictatorial rule are not the answer for Egypt, any more than for other post-Arab spring countries. Egypt under Sisi has become a black hole for human rights and democratic governance. Yet the US and Britain turn a blind eye. Until the state rejects systemic violence as a form of policy, the violence of non-state actors will persist and grow. That’s a hard lesson for a hard man like Sisi. Simon Tisdall The Guardian Weekly 01.12.17 5 International news Gender classes for Delhi taxi drivers India tries to change male mindsets in battle against sexual violence Michael Safi Delhi Observer In a dimly lit classroom Achyuta Dyansamantra strides back and forth before a whiteboard, intoning into the microphone like a preacher. “If you stare at a woman for more than 14 seconds, that can land you in jail,” he tells the audience. Singing to women in public or passing lewd remarks is also banned, he says. “Whether you agree with it or not, the law is the law.” About 100 faces stare back, many scribbling notes, some toying with their phones. The students are some of more than 100,000 commercial drivers who operate taxis and rickshaws in the Indian capital, Delhi. Since a gang rape and murder five years ago incensed the nation, such “gender sensitisation” classes have become mandatory to renew commercial driving licences in the city. As the anniversary of the death of physiotherapy student Jyoti Singh approaches, women’s rights advocates say the classes are helping to change a patriarchal culture, one that has proved more stubborn to reform than the country’s laws against sexual harassment and assault. One driver has been raising his hand patiently during the class. “Generally, all the rape happens in India and not in foreign countries,” he says when finally called on. “Why is that so?” The man answers himself. “In this country, if you want to have sex, you cannot do so – that’s why there is rape,” he says. Dyansamantra frowns. “We will discuss this later on,” he says, though he does mention that there is a red light district in the capital. In Delhi, as elsewhere, sexual violence is most frequently committed by men known to the victim. “If drivers were a problem, the Delhi transport system would have come to a stop,” says Rutika Sharma, a social worker who helps run the schemes, developed by the Delhi-based Manas Foundation, a mental health group. But as growing numbers of women go out to work and simply go about their lives, they are coming into more frequent contact with commercial drivers – some from backgrounds where the idea of an independent woman is still relatively new. “We are trying to explain things in 40 minutes or one hour, that they have been seeing for 40 years,” Sharma says. Changing mindsets is the aim of the class. “Clothing is a major argument,” Sharma says. “Some drivers say fashion – what the girls are wearing – is not Indian culture. They say we are copying other countries.” Inevitably, some raise this kind of clothing as a contributing factor to sexual harassment or assault. “We tell them rape cases are increasing with girls aged six months or two years old,” says Dyansamantra. “Or we show them stories of an 82-year-old lady being raped by some man. We ask the drivers: what was she wearing? And they realise – everything is a mindset.” Women drinking is also a big issue, says Sharma, especially in Hauz Khas Village, a south Delhi neighbourhood Change of pace … Delhi has seen an increase in women passengers Alamy of bars and restaurants. “If a girl goes to Hauz Khas, she is a not a good girl. It’s a bad place, where a girl cannot go. That is their mindset,” she says. Drivers frequently push back. “They say: you are modern children of Delhi universities, so you can talk like this, but we can’t. We are deep-rooted Indians,” she says. “But we tell them everything is changing. Now your taxi needs an AC. You have good phones. You are sending your own daughters to school, which you didn’t do before. You are giving your children this change, so why don’t you accept it?” Where moral persuasion fails, an appeal to the pocket can be effective. “We tell them 70% of their passengers are women. We run their business,” Sharma says. “So if we won’t come out, how will the drivers earn?” At the end of each class, drivers receive a sticker for their vehicle. “Along with my taxi, I also drive a campaign to end violence against women”, one declares. Another says: “Women’s respect and safety is my honour and duty”. Outside the training centre, Subhash Chander reclines in his rickshaw, smoking. “Of course you have to respect women,” he says. “But I’m an old man. Why do I need to attend such a class?” Much has changed in the four decades he has driven rickshaws in Delhi. “When I started, there were few women passengers,” he says. “Now every office has women, and most of them take autos.” It is not a development he welcomes. “Generally, 99% of women behave wrongly,” he says. “They are having mobiles and all these things. They don’t know how to talk to elders.” Pakistan minister quits after anti-blasphemy protests Nosheen Abbas Islamabad Sune Engel Rasmussen Pakistan’s law minister has resigned after weeks of protests staged by a hardline cleric against a perceived softening of the blasphemy laws. At least six protesters were killed and 200 injured in Islamabad last Saturday when thousands of police officers unsuccessfully tried to disperse a three-week sit-in that had virtually paralysed the capital. Zahid Hamid’s resignation is the latest in a series of government concessions to religious extremists, who have been edging their way further into the political mainstream. Last week a court in Lahore lifted the house arrest of Hafiz Saeed, a militant leader with a $10m US bounty on his head for international terrorism, who leads a growing political movement and is fiercely opposed to Indian and western interference in Pakistan. “The decision to resign was taken in a bid to steer the country out of the prevailing critical situation,” Hamid said, according to a report in Pakistan’s Tribune newspaper. Observers said Monday’s deal could set a dangerous precedent. “Zealots have taken the law into their own hands. Mullahs can get up and ask for anyone’s resignation, so this is the death of rationality,” said Zahid Hussain, a political analyst. “This is complete surrender to hardline Islamists. It’s a sad day for Pakistan: it shows that the state is so weak.” Hussain also rebuked the army, which brokered the deal and has been criticised for its alleged proximity to extremist groups, for refusing to step in against the protesters, despite a request from the government. In the deal on Monday with Khadim Hussain Rizvi, who heads the Tehreek-e-Labbaik party, the government also agreed to release a report on an investigation into the alteration of an electoral oath declaring the prophet Muhammad as God’s final prophet. Protesters saw the change as appeasing a religious minority, the Ahmadis, who are officially deemed heretical. The government will also free and drop charges against detained protesters. In return, Rizvi agreed not to issue a fatwa against the minister, seemingly to dissuade attacks on his person. Blasphemy is a capital offence in Pakistan and serves as a rallying cry for Islamist extremists. Unfounded allegations regularly trigger mob attacks and lynchings, which the government has been unable to prevent. The recent protests expose the fragility of the governing Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz party, which has been under increasing pressure since the disqualification of the prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, in July over corruption allegations. 6 The Guardian Weekly 01.12.17 International news Mladić begins life term for genocide Mladić, 74, was chief of staff of the Bosnian Serb forces from 1992 until 1996 during the ferocious civil wars and ethnic cleansing that followed the breakup of the Yugoslav state. The one-time fugitive from international justice faced 11 charges – two of genocide, five of crimes against humanity and four of violations of the laws or customs of war. He was cleared of one count of genocide, but found guilty of all other charges. The separate counts related to “ethnic cleansing” operations in Bosnia, sniping and shelling attacks on besieged civilians in Sarajevo, the massacre of Muslim men and boys at Srebrenica and taking UN personnel hostage in an attempt to deter Nato airstrikes. The trial in The Hague, which took 530 days across more than four years, is arguably the most significant war crimes case in Europe since the Nuremberg trials, in part because of the scale of the atrocities. Almost 600 people gave evidence for the prosecution and defence, including survivors of the conflict. Judge Alphons Orie said Mladić’s crimes “rank among the most heinous known to humankind and include genocide and extermination”. Orie dismissed mitigation pleas by the defence that Mladić was of “good character”, had diminished mental capacity and was in poor physical health. Relatives of victims flew into the Netherlands to attend the hearing, determined to see Mladić receive justice decades after the end of the war in which more than 100,000 people were killed. Among those present was Fikret Alić, the Bosnian who was photographed as an emaciated prisoner behind the wire of a prison camp in 1992. “Justice has won and the war criminal has been convicted,” he said. Others were reduced to tears by the judge’s description of past atrocities. Mladić was one of the world’s most wanted fugitives before his arrest in 2011 in northern Serbia. He was transferred to the ICTY in the Netherlands, where he refused to enter a plea. A not-guilty plea was eventually governments collapse and allow the rise of Adolf Hitler obscured the fact that minority governments worked efficiently elsewhere in Europe and even at a German state level. As the centre-left SPD is waking up to the potential cost of new elections and mulls over tolerating a minority government, it is possible that Merkel could eventually come to agree. “The way the Bundestag had managed to integrate first the Green party in the 1980s and then the Left party at the start of the new millennium shows that our parliamentary system can adapt to new parties,” Schulz said. “We sometimes forget that the Weimar Republic only had 10 years to mature and develop,” said Thomas Mergel, a historian at Berlin’s Humboldt University. Even during its short existence it had shown that a parliamentary system could teach the most intransigent political party the value of coalition forming, he argued. Bayaz is optimistic that a livelier Bundestag can have its upsides. “There is a new pluralism in the debating chamber,” he said. “Parties are not as easy to keep apart as they used to be.” The son of a German mother and a Turkish father with a PhD on financial markets, Bayaz said he would have enjoyed a conservative-liberal-green “Jamaica” coalition that cut through old political certainties. It is not impossible to conceive that newcomers like Bayaz could end up ushering in a German minority government. One of the hangovers of the Weimar Republic is that a president cannot call a snap election without making parliament vote in a chancellor first. The assumption is that a chancellor who has not organised a governing coalition would fail to gain a majority in such a vote. New MPs who have only just started to find a taste for their life in politics, from whatever party, may have a different idea. Observer ‘Butcher of Bosnia’ sentenced by UN court after mammoth trial Owen Bowcott and Julian Borger The former Bosnian Serb commander Ratko Mladić, known to many as the “butcher of Bosnia”, has been sentenced to life imprisonment after being convicted of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. More than 20 years after the Srebrenica massacre, Mladić was found guilty at the UN-backed international criminal tribunal for the former Yugos lavia (ICTY) in The Hague of 10 offences involving extermination, murder and persecution of civilian populations. As he entered the courtroom last Wednesday, Mladić gave a broad smile and thumbs up to the cameras – a gesture that infuriated relatives of the victims. His defiance shifted into detachment as the judgment began: Mladić played with his fingers and nodded occasionally, looking initially relaxed. The verdict was disrupted for more than half an hour when he asked the judges for a bathroom break. After he returned, defence lawyers requested that proceedings be halted or shortened because of his high blood pressure. The judges denied the request. Mladić then stood up shouting “this is all lies” and “I’ll fuck your mother”. He was forcibly removed from the courtroom. The verdicts were read in his absence. Failure to form alliance could be opportunity for German politics ← Continued from page 1 while support for the FDP, the AfD, the Greens and the Left party continues to grow, Glees said, “that system is now biting Germany in the leg”. Many historians warn of hastily drawn comparisons, however. “What’s wrong with Germany becoming more like multiparty democracies in the Netherlands or Scandinavia?” asked Andreas Schulz, a researcher on German parliamentarianism. Merkel has announced she is sceptical about forming a minority government, either on her own or with the Green party, which would have to form majorities with other parties vote by vote. But Schulz said the traumatic experience of seeing minority Guilty … Bosnia Serb military leader Ratko Mladić enters the courtroom entered on his behalf. Through much of the trial, he was a disruptive presence in court, heckling judges and on one occasion making a cut-throat gesture towards the mother of one of the 8,000 victims of the 1995 Srebrenica massacre. In evaluating Mladić’s culpability for genocide, the court cited: his command and control of the Bosnian Serb army and interior ministry forces, which carried out almost all of the executions; his presence in the area; and his frequent remarks about how the Muslims could “disappear”. Once Mladić has exhausted any appeals, he could, theoretically, be sent to the UK to serve out the rest of his life behind bars. Britain is one of the countries that has signed up to the tribunal’s agreement on the enforcement of sentences. The UK has hosted other Serbian convicts sent on from the ICTY. In 2010, Radislav Krstić, who was convicted at The Hague in 2001 for his part in the Srebrenica massacre, had his throat slashed in his cell at Wakefield prison by three Muslim inmates intent on revenge. The former Liberian warlord Charles Taylor is also serving out his 50-year prison term in a UK jail. Mladić will remain in the UN detention centre at Scheveningen in the meantime. Any appeal will be dealt with by the successor court, the UN mechanism for international criminal tribunals. The trial is one of the last to be heard by the ICTY, which is to be dissolved at the end of the year. Ed Vulliamy, page 20 → Coalition talks back on hold Talks on forming another “grand coalition” government in Germany are unlikely to fully start until next year as the Social Democratic party (SPD) continues to weigh up the risks of working again with Angela Merkel. Merkel’s chances of a fourth term as chancellor were thrown into doubt last month when talks about a three-way “Jamaica coalition” between her Christian Democratic Union (CDU), the Free Democrats and the Greens collapsed. At the end of last week the SPD leader, Martin Schulz, budged and indicated he was open to exploring the possibility of a rerun of the centrist coalition between Germany’s two largest parties that has governed the country for the last four years. PO The Guardian Weekly 01.12.17 7 International news Romanian justice protests reignited High-level corruption would go unchecked, say government critics Daniel Boffey Brussels Romania’s centre-left coalition government is facing a fresh wave of demonstrations over claims that it wants to overhaul the justice system to allow high-level corruption to go unpunished. Tens of thousands of people massed in Bucharest and other cities last Sunday evening, a second demonstration was planned for this week and further protests are expected in the coming weeks. A joint statement by the 40 or so civil society groups and two trade union federations who are behind the protests claimed Romania had been “taken over by a political mafia”. In February a decree that would have shielded dozens of public officials from prosecution sparked the biggest street protests in the country since the 1989 revolution toppled the communist dictator Nicolae Ceauşescu. The decree was rescinded after two weeks of daily demonstrations. Liviu Dragnea, leader of Romania’s Social Democrat party, had his personal assets frozen by prosecutors The minister for justice, Florin Iordache, resigned, only to be later appointed to head a special parliamentary commission driving new legislative changes. The government’s opponents claim that under the draft laws now being considered in parliament, the powers of the respected anti-corruption directorate, the DNA, would be reduced, with the justice ministry able to name head prosecutors. The judicial inspection body that investigates the work of judges would also come under the control of the minister of justice. A new structure staffed by prosecutors is being devised to investigate criminal acts committed by magistrates. Iordache’s special parliamentary commission started considering the laws last week. The government aims to have them approved by the end of the year. The Romanian government is a coalition between the Social Democrat party (PSD), the centre-right Liberal-Democrat Alliance, and the Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania. In an annual report published by the European commission last month, the EU said justice reform had stagnated in the country this year and challenges to judicial independence remained a persistent source of concern. Last Sunday evening, a traditional time for protest in Romania, an estimated 30,000 people marched to parliament in Bucharest, while roughly 20,000 held rallies in about 70 cities across the country. Protesters shouting “Thieves” and “We want justice not corruption” briefly scuffled with mounted police in Bucharest and blew whistles as they marched. Monica Macovei, a former justice minister from the centre-right European Conservatives and Reformists group, said: “There will be more protests. There is no need to change the laws on the judiciary. “This coalition wants to stop the fight of the judiciary against corruption. It is time for the EU to send a very, very strong message because despite the report by the European commission the government is carrying on and judicial independence is in danger. The pan-European groups in the European parliament should also expel these parties. It should not be the people of Romania who suffer.” In the last decade, Romanian prosecutors have investigated hundreds of public officials, including former prime ministers, over allegations of corruption. Last month prosecutors froze personal assets belonging to the leader of the PSD, Liviu Dragnea, as part of an investigation into suspected theft of cash from state projects, some of them EU-funded. The European Anti-Fraud Office says the money was fraudulently paid to officials and others from the European Regional Development Fund for road construction in Romania. It asked the Romanian government to recover the funds. Dragnea denies wrongdoing and has appealed against the ruling to freeze his assets. He is unable to be prime minister because of a 2016 conviction for vote-rigging. Corruption experts say there are some positive aspects to the proposed reforms, including greater transparency and parliamentary scrutiny of the work of the secret services. Kicker here like this Then a short description here like this → Then Section and Page XX Hamstrung China gets taste for Spanish jamón Having discovered the joys of French wine, caviar and truffles, China’s new rich are now turning to Spain’s jamón ibérico, or Iberian ham, to satisfy their desire for western luxury goods. But demand threatens to outstrip supply, leaving Spaniards facing steep price rises for their most prized Christmas delicacy. China’s recent lifting of import restrictions has allowed top-of-therange ham to find its “rightful place in the market, alongside caviar and truffles”, René Lemée, the head of exports for the famous Cinco Jotas brand, told El País newspaper. Spanish ham comes in many forms, but to be defined as jamón ibérico de bellota (acorn-fed Iberian ham), which is what the Chinese want, it must first come from Iberian blackfoot pigs, or from 50% crossbreeds. These pigs must then spend several months of the year roaming the dehesa, pasture planted with oaks, feeding on grass and acorns. For the months before being slaughtered they eat this diet exclusively. Once it is killed, the animals’ legs are plunged into vats of salt and drycured for a minimum of 36 months. A 7.5kg leg sells at between €150 and €600 ($180 to $720). “It’s inevitable that the price in Spain is going to rise,” said Roberto Batres, the director of Shanghai de Delaiberia Gold, which exports ham, wine and olive oil to China. To meet demand the Chinese have started importing raw frozen pork to cure, although Batres says the product is excessively salty. The hand cutting of de-boned jamón de bellota is also an art and a ham-cutting school has been set up in China. Stephen Burgen Denis Doyle/Getty Chechen leader ‘ready to step down’ Reuters Ramzan Kadyrov, the leader of Russia’s Chechnya republic, said he was ready to step down, leaving it for the Kremlin to choose his successor. Kadyrov has been accused by human rights bodies of arbitrary arrests and torture of opponents, zero tolerance of sexual minorities and tough political declarations that have embarrassed the Kremlin. A former Islamist rebel who had led Chechnya since 2007, he was endorsed by president Vladimir Putin in March last year to carry on in the job, while being warned that Russian law must be strictly enforced in the majority-Muslim region. Asked in a TV interview if he was prepared to resign, the 41-year-old Kadyrov replied: “It is possible to say that it is my dream.” “Once there was a need for people like me to fight, to put things in order. Now we have order and prosperity … and time has come for changes in the Chechen Republic,” he told the Rossiya 1 channel in comments aired on Monday. Asked about his would-be successor, Kadyrov replied: “This is the prerogative of the state leadership.” Kadyrov’s unexpected statement c ame as Putin, 65, was widely expected to announce he will run for his fourth term as president in elections due in March. It is expected he will win by a landslide. But some analysts have said his association with politicians like Kadyrov may be used by opponents during the campaign. 8 The Guardian Weekly 01.12.17 International news Las Vegas gun sales languish Following the Route 91 massacre, the gun show action is at a ‘dead crawl’ Brittany Bronson Las Vegas In a convention hall off the Las Vegas strip, stalls selling assault rifles were drawing a steady stream of attendees. Women watched as their boyfriends aimed rifles towards the ceiling, peering through scopes. Families with children in pushchairs passed tables lined with tub after tub of ammunition clips and magazines, while handwritten signs displayed the number of rounds, from five to 40. This was the return of the Great Las Vegas Gun Show, one of the first firearms fairs in the city since the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history took place there. On 1 October, Stephen Paddock holed up in the Mandalay Bay hotel with nearly 50 weapons and more than 4,000 rounds of ammunition. Shooting down on the Route 91 Harvest festival, he killed 58 people and injured 489. While plenty of people were at the show last weekend, it was not a patch on past numbers, said Robert Fares of Silver Bullet Concealment, a local company. “This is actually smaller than it’s been. Just a year ago, it stretched all the way down,” he said, referring to where a partition cut the hall by a third, shrinking a room that in recent years had been full. Mike Zolczer has a home-based company, Polyphonic Audio, which sells ear protection for gun enthusiasts. Following Route 91, he said, “business has been a dead crawl … most of my money comes from gun shows.” Silver Bullet Concealment also mentioned a decline in business soon after the massacre. It said sales were slowly returning to normal. Midwest Arms Collector, organiser of the show, refused to release attendance figures, describing it only as “average”. It did not associate any spike or decline in sales with the Route 91 massacre, instead citing an overall national decrease in gun sales since Donald Trump’s election victory. Even so, discussion of Route 91 and of Paddock – as well as a distrust of media – could be heard in the hall. “You can identify as anything you want,” said Fares. “Just don’t make me pay for it, and don’t infringe your desires upon me. If I want to own a dozen high-capacity magazines, that’s my right.” Among items on sale at the twoday event were handguns, semi-automatic rifles and ammunition. Displays advertised holsters, rifle cases and other accessories. For women, there were handbags designed to carry guns, and petite guns in Tiffany blue; for children there were camouflage bags that read: “My first rifle.” What were not clearly advertised or on display were bump stocks, the device Paddock used to make his semi-automatic weapons fire more like automatic ones. After the shooting, there seemed to be political momentum towards a ban, but in Congress that momentum has stalled, with states and cities now taking the lead. Massachusetts has banned them, while Pennsylvania, Maryland, Vermont, Hawaii, Maine and South Carolina plan to introduce similar proposals. Convention sales constitute a large proportion of tourism revenue in Las Vegas. Since the Paddock massacre, the city has been trying to downplay any idea that it is no longer safe. A string of gun shows are due to be staged in Nevada in the next two months, culminating in late January with the biggest of them all, the Shot Show, the world’s largest, which usually attracts more than 60,000 people. At Mandalay Bay, glass now covers the windows Paddock shot out. But they are a slightly different colour from nearby panes, a permanent reminder of the October massacre. Fire sale … numbers were down at the Las Vegas show Brittany Bronson Former Trump security adviser may cooperate with Russia investigation Lawyers for Donald Trump are said to believe that former national security adviser Michael Flynn is on the verge of “flipping” and cooperating with investigators into the Trump campaign’s alleged collusion with Russia, according to reports last week. The retired three-star general, who championed Trump at rallies and advocated closer ties with Russia, is a central figure in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into whether Trump’s aides cooperated with Moscow to boost his 2016 presidential campaign. Flynn’s legal team last week cut off communications with the president’s lawyers, the New York Times said, the strongest signal yet that he is negotiating a deal. Mueller announced his first charges in October with the indictments of the former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and business associate Rick Gates, and the guilty plea of George Papadopoulos, a foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign. Papadopoulos has been cooperating with Mueller’s investigators, but Flynn would represent a star witness for the special counsel. Flynn’s lawyers have told Trump’s legal team they could no longer discuss Mueller’s investigation, the New York Times said. “Flynn’s lawyers had been sharing information with Mr Trump’s lawyers,” the paper added. “That agreement has been terminated.” Although this alone is not proof that Flynn has turned state’s witness, the development has led Trump’s lawyers to conclude that Flynn has at least begun discussions with Mueller about cooperating. David Smith Washington Comment, page 18 → Japanese assembly expels baby Justin McCurry Tokyo Weeks after Ivanka Trump lauded Japan’s progress on women’s participation in the workforce, a female politician was forced to leave the chamber after colleagues objected to the presence of her seven-month-old child. Yuka Ogata had taken her son to a session of the Kumamoto municipal assembly last Wednesday to highlight the difficulties many Japanese parents – particularly women – face juggling their careers with raising children, amid a shortage of nursery places. Ogata had taken her seat shortly before the start of the session when she was approached by the assembly chairman, Yoshitomo Sawada, and secretariat staff who demanded to know why she had brought her son. Their conversation lasted several minutes until Sawada escorted Ogata and her son to his office, according to the Asahi Shimbun newspaper. Ogata attended the delayed session alone after leaving her son with a friend. Sawada apologised for the delay, but an assembly member was reportedly heard to say: “You’re not the one who needs to be apologising.” Asahi Shimbun said that, though there is no rule against assembly members being accompanied by a young child, Ogata’s colleagues insisted he was a visitor and must sit in the public gallery. Ogata’s experience has focused attention on the daily reality faced by many working mothers in Japan amid a rise in the number of women entering the workforce. The number of children on waiting lists for state-funded daycare has risen for the third year in a row, figures released in September showed, raising doubts over government plans to provide a place for every child by April 2020. Sharing a stage with Trump at the World Assembly for Women last month, Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe, lauded his record on getting more women into the workplace and improving childcare provision, as part of the “womenomics” initiative he launched five years ago. The number of Japanese women in managerial positions has doubled over the past five years – albeit from a low base. Ogata, who previously worked for the United Nations, said she had been forced to act after a lack of progress in talks with the assembly secretariat about bringing her son to work. Secretariat staff said they would reconsider their position in light of the row. The Guardian Weekly 01.12.17 9 On the website Kicker here like this Guardian Cities explores São Then a short description herePaulo like this → theguardian.com/cities Then Section and Page XX International news Inside Brazil’s ‘Cracolandia’, the lawless drug zone at the heart of its biggest city São Paulo diary Sam Cowie “ I t’s a horrible life. You don’t eat. You don’t sleep. Any money you can get goes on crack,” says Felipa Drumont. Drumont is 26, transgender, homeless and addicted to crack. For the last four years she has lived on the streets of an area of central São Paulo that has become infamous: Cracolandia, literally meaning Crackland. Here hundreds of people sit in the street, wrapped in blankets, and smoke crack openly. Others wander, wild-eyed, looking for tin cans to sell. Most are gaunt from years of drug abuse. There is rubbish everywhere and a smell of body odour. Police patrol the perimeter, metres away, but do not intervene with drug-taking or dealing. They watch for other crimes, such as robbery. There are harm-reduction tents, municipal officers and NGO vehicles emblazoned with “Craco Resiste”. On weekdays there are workers and office types in suits who hurry past on the opposite side of the street. Cracolandia sits on prime real estate. It is next to Luz, the city’s biggest and busiest train station. Nearby is a neoclassicalstyle concert hall. The office of South America’s biggest newspaper, Folha de S.Paulo, is a few blocks away. It is unlike nearly anything in any city in the world. To some, including the mayor, João Doria, that makes it an embarrassment. After taking office in January, the business mogul declared war on Cracolandia. Early on a drizzly Sunday morning in May, Drumont watched as helicopters appeared and a battalion of 900 armed police and security agents descended on the addicts. She says the police used rubber bullets and stun grenades to disperse the crowd. “Thank God I wasn’t injured, but I was terrified.” Drumont and hundreds of other addicts scattered. Many took refuge in a nearby gas station; others checked themselves in for treatment in government programmes, or were accompanied by city social services to packed homeless shelters. After breaking up the crack market, police raided local properties, seized drugs and guns, and arrested dozens of suspected traffickers. Two sides of life … São Paulo girls pass through Cracolandia on their way to a ballet lesson Nacho Doce/Reuters Local government officials hailed the operation as a success. Doria declared: “Cracolandia is over and won’t come back.” Six months later Cracolandia continues, just metres from where it was cleared. The area around it is gentrifying and an ambitious revitalisation is planned for 2018, including 1,200 new apartments. But this brazen drug scene has been a fixture of São Paulo, Brazil's biggest city, for more than two decades. Since Cracolandia appeared in the 1990s, when the highly addictive form of cocaine entered the city’s narcotics market, a succession of governments have tried – and failed – to end it, mostly via Some feel Cracolandia is symptomatic of the city's wider problems of poverty, inequality and homelessness repressive policing. After the raid in May, Cracolandia re-formed just 400 metres away, in a park. Drumont followed; the raid didn’t dissuade her from taking crack. “I used even more drugs because I was nervous and scared,” she says. For those who say Cracolandia must go, the tactics meet broad approval. They consider Cracolandia a menace, arguing that it gives power to organised crime, degrades the city and perpetuates drug addiction. Brazil is thought to be home to the highest number of crack users in the world. According to the last national crack survey in 2014, carried out by the Fiocruz medical institute, there are about 370,000 regular users in 27 state capitals and the federal district around the capital, Brasilia. São Paulo is the base of Brazil’s most powerful drug trafficking gang, the PCC (First Command of the Capital). Authorities say it plays a controlling role in supplying Cracolandia. As evidence for the success of their tough strategy, officials point to a study – commissioned by the state government – showing that Cracolandia has become smaller: from 1,861 users before the operation in May to 414 in July, a reduction of 77%. Clarice Sandi Madruga, coordinator of the survey, said there are many reasons for the drop. Some addicts have sought help; others used the opportunity of the raid to flee from debts with drug dealers. “Something needed to be done,” she said. “But if many Paulistanos supported the raid, many did not. They take the view that Cracolandia is symptomatic of the city’s wider problems: of poverty, homelessness and inequality. They say for all its problems, it acts as a refuge for the city’s addicted, downtrodden and abandoned.” César Muñoz, senior researcher at Human Rights Watch, said the “war on drugs” approach has failed to reduce drug use, driven addicts away from health services and given rise to human rights violations. Even some government officials deplore the discredited tactics. “The traffickers they arrested are just small-time dealers,” says Arthur Pinto Filho, a senior official in the public prosecutor’s office of the state of São Paulo. “The traffic continues,” he adds. “It was a huge waste of public money … It was a step backwards. This is the same thing that has been done for years and never worked.” 10 The Guardian Weekly 01.12.17 International news Australia refocuses its foreign policy Deeper engagement in Pacific region issues asserted in white paper Katharine Murphy Sydney Climate change is creating a disaster on Australia’s doorstep, with environmental degradation and the demand for sustainable sources of food undermining stability in some countries, especially “fragile states”, according to the Australian government’s first foreign policy white paper in more than a decade. The briefing paper, released last week, contains warnings over the disruptive effects of climate change in Australia’s immediate region, noting that many small island states will be “severely affected in the long term”, and the coming decade will see increased need for disaster relief. The demand for water and food will rise, with the world’s oceans and forests under intense pressure, the paper notes. It says climate change and pressure on the environment could contribute to conflict and irregular migration, specifically affecting Australia’s economic interests. Despite debate in the country about whether Australia needs to rethink its American alliance, the white paper notes that the postwar alliance with the US “is central to Australia’s security and sits at the core of our strategic and defence planning”. While the white paper makes the case that it is in Australia’s interests to pursue a cooperative relationship with China, it contains language critical of China’s military posturing. It characterises the disputes that have emerged in the South China Sea as “a major fault line in the regional order”. With strategic tensions in the region on the rise, the white paper United to face fragile world … Malcolm Turnbull and Julie Bishop foreshadows a more activist Australian engagement with the democracies of the Indo-Pacific, meaning Japan, India, Indonesia and Korea – and more active support for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) countries, where China is attempting to assert diplomatic dominance. It also underscores the “grave and growing” threat posed by North Korea, characterising the behaviour of the Pyongyang regime as the most immediate security challenge for the region – while referencing the global threat from terrorism and insurgencies. Australia has been active in countering Isis-linked militants in the southern Philippines. The white paper also references the political challenges of the age, charting rising anti-globalisation and populist sentiment. It notes that politics in some countries has become more fragmented and “volatile”, with nationalism and protectionist sentiment on the rise, while the global governance and the rules-based order are now contested. It says that a more inward-looking world is a world less likely to rise collectively to meet collective security challenges. “We will be living in a more contested and competitive world,” said the foreign affairs minister, Julie Bishop, after the white paper was published. She said Australia would step up support for “our neighbourhood, where we have distinct responsibilities” and resist the “false hope of protectionism and isolationism”. In signalling a more activist role for Australia in the Indo-Pacific, the prime minister, Macolm Turnbull, said that, in the past, “we could safely assume that the world worked in a way that suited Australia. Now power is shifting and the rules and institutions are under challenge.” The prime minister said the white paper provided “a framework for securing our own future, while sharing the burden of collective leadership with trusted partners and friends”. Turnbull said Australia had no intention of degrading the alliance with the US but the contemporary climate meant “pursuing our interests as much in San Francisco as in Shanghai, and always on our own terms”. He said the US would remain a significant presence in the region, “leaving aside one administration or one president”, because it was “manifestly in America’s long-term national interest today, tomorrow and as it has always been”. Out of the blue Mexico creates ocean reserve Mexico’s government has created the largest ocean reserve in North America around a Pacific archipelago regarded as its crown jewel. The reserve will help ensure the conservation of marine creatures including humpback whales, pictured, giant rays and turtles. The protection zone spans 150,000 sq km around the Revillagigedo islands, which lie 390km south-west of the Baja California peninsula. Mexico’s president, Enrique Peña Nieto, announced the decision in a decree last weekend that also bans mining and the construction of new hotels on the islands. The four islands that make up the Revillagigedo archipelago, called the Galapagos of North America, are part of a submerged volcanic mountain range. The local ecosystem is central to the lives of some 400 species of fish, sharks and rays that depend on the nutrients drawn up by the ocean. The area is a breeding ground for commercially fished species such as tuna and sierra. However, the fish populations had declined, unable to reproduce fast enough for the rate at which they were fished. The creation of a marine reserve is expected to help them to recover, as all fishing activities will now be prohibited and the area policed by the Mexican navy. The news has been praised by internationally by the WWF. Mario Gómez, executive director of Beta Diversidad, a Mexican environment charity that has supported the reserve’s creation, also welcomed the move. “We are proud of the protection we will provide to marine life in this area, and for the preservation of this important centre of connectivity of species migrating throughout the Pacific,” Gómez said. Mexico joins Chile, New Zealand and Tahiti in taking recent steps to preserve the ecological systems in their territorial waters. Mattha Busby and agencies Photograph: Alamy International Tender Announcement (Ref: CWW/SR-66886/11/2017) Concern Worldwide Somalia with ﬁnancial assistance from DfID invites tenders from qualiﬁed suppliers for the following: Non-Food Items (NFI), Medical Equipment & RUTF / RUSF Tender Documents Available From: Web: www.concern.net/about/supplies Closing date for submission is: 1600 hours GMT on 15th December 2017 12 The Guardian Weekly 01.12.17 International news Zimbabwe Activists fear post-Mugabe crackdown on human rights Concerns grow over hardline record of new president Mnangagwa Jason Burke Harare Activists and human rights campaigners in Zimbabwe fear a new crackdown that could roll back gains made during the eight-day crisis that culminated in the resignation of President Robert Mugabe last week. Relatives of victims of state-sponsored violence are worried about the track record of the new leader, Emmerson Mnangagwa, who was Mugabe’s right-hand man and is blamed for the brutal suppression of opposition parties during elections in 2008. “Just because [Mnangagwa] has wrestled power from the devil does not mean I see him as the messiah,” said Patson Dzamara, whose activist brother, Itai, was abducted in 2015 and has not been heard of since. “So many have been killed, maimed, tortured or imprisoned, and the ones who are presiding over this transition are the ones responsible,” Dzamara added. Mugabe, whose 37-year rule over the impoverished southern African country was marked by brutal repression, quit after a military takeover led to mass protests and impeachment proceedings in parliament. In his inauguration speech in a packed national stadium in Harare last Friday, Mnangagwa, the 75-year-old stalwart of the ruling Zanu-PF party, said he would govern for all “patriotic Zimbabweans” and promised elections would be held as scheduled next year. He did not mention lifting restrictions on freedom of expression, or any measures to weaken the grip of the feared internal security services he helped to set up following Zimbabwe’s independence from white-minority rule in 1980. The new president was justice minister when Itai Dzamara was pushed into a vehicle by unknown men, and has been accused of involvement in the killings of more than 20,000 civilians in the south of Zimbabwe in the 1980s. Mnangagwa denies any responsibility, saying he was then head of internal security and not in the military, which carried out the massacres. In his inauguration speech, he called on Zimbabweans to “let bygones be bygones”. But there are concerns that Mnangagwa, despite describing Zimbabwe as an “unfolding democracy”, may prove as intolerant of protest as his predecessor. A court judgment was expected this week on subversion charges brought against Magamba, an award-winning satirical online network, social media activist centre and creative hub raided by police hours before the military takeover on 14 November. “How they deal with this [case] is a litmus test for the new government,” said Samm Farai Monro, Zimbabwe’s best-known political satirist and creative director of Magamba. “It will be a signal to any activist who uses social media … about what you can and can’t say in this supposedly new Zimbabwe.” The network had repeatedly incurred the wrath of authorities with an irreverent and immensely popular weekly show. The raid came after attempts to close its offices in Harare for alleged planning permission infringements failed. Martha O’Donovan, a US citizen who was an activist working with the network, was arrested last month on charges of subversion and undermining the authority of the president and will appear again in court this month. The fall of Mugabe, 93, was triggered by a factional battle within the ruling party over his succession. Within days of the military takeover, thousands of people were on the streets, waving placards and chanting slogans against the autocrat in scenes unthinkable under his rule. In one massive protest more than 100,000 people marched through Harare. Human rights activists in Harare say that more than 400 people have been detained since the military took power. These include hundreds of security officials loyal to Mugabe, as well as former finance minister Ignatius Chombo. Only a few have been charged with any offence. Chombo appeared in court last Saturday in leg irons to face corruption charges. He was later denied bail. The whereabouts of several other prominent supporters of Grace Mugabe, the former president’s 52-year-old wife, are unknown. It was the first lady’s bid to cement her hold on power through the sacking of Mnangagwa on 6 November that led to her husband’s fall. Takeover … Emmerson Mnangagwa exits smiling from his inauguration ceremony in Harare Ben Curtis/AP The cunning ‘Crocodile’ snaps up power Analysis Emma Graham-Harrison Zimbabwe’s new president is not, at first glance, the obvious champion of the change his country hungers for. Emmerson Mnangagwa is 75, and for decades he was right-hand man to Robert Mugabe, accused of the same human rights abuses and similar corruption. He is widely known as “the Crocodile”, a liberation war nickname that may have stuck because it suited his reputation for ruthless cunning. Born in east Zimbabwe, where relatives remember an “active and confident” boy, he spent 10 years in jail during the struggle, gaining O-levels, A-levels and a law degree, then returned to war in the bush. After independence he was a stalwart of the Zanu-PF party, which he now leads, and was one of Mugabe’s closest aides, cycling through roles including spymaster and security chief, and administering the wellstocked party coffers before being made vice-president. He fell out of favour and was ousted along with supporters from his “lacoste” faction, when his own presidential ambitions crossed those of Mugabe’s wife, Grace – but the split was very recent. “Mnangagwa isn’t exactly a fresh face. He’s been with Mugabe since 1976. He was the chief hatchet man for Mugabe on and off for 40 years. That’s a fact that hasn’t suddenly become irrelevant,” said the historian Stuart Doran. Perhaps the most controversial episode from Mnangagwa’s past is his role in ethnic massacres in the 1980s, carried out under Mugabe’s watch as part of a vicious postindependence power struggle with other factions. Thousands of civilians were massacred by the military, mostly ethnic Ndebeles in Matabeleland. Mnangagwa was in charge of intelligence services at the time. He has blamed the uniformed military. “We need to confront the Matabeleland issue head-on so we can heal, set up a peace and reconciliation committee, so we can move on,” said the activist Marshall Shonhai. “Our brothers and sisters in the south are hurting. For over 30 years it has just been swept under the carpet.” Human rights groups also say Mnangagwa played a key role in violence directed at the growing political opposition in Zimbabwe. He is blamed for repression during the The Guardian Weekly 01.12.17 13 Grace parallels Madame Mao Damned for their husbands’ sins → Comment, page 19 $10m for ‘jovial’ ex-ruler A “jovial” Robert Mugabe was “taking things very well” after resigning as president of Zimbabwe after 37 years in power, close associates and relatives have said. Gideon Golo, the former central bank governor and the former president’s business adviser, said Mugabe was in good spirits when he last saw him shortly before the inauguration of the country’s new leader, Emmerson Mnangagwa, last Friday. Mugabe was forced to resign by a military takeover, which led to popular protests and impeachment in parliament, but only after negotiating a deal that guaranteed immunity from prosecution, protection for his business interests and a $10m cash sum. The same protection is extended to his family members and relatives. Mugabe, 93, will keep his salary of $150,000. His wife, 52-year-old Grace, will receive half of that after his death. “He is fine. I have been to see him; he is quite jovial. He is actually looking forward to his new life, farming and staying at the rural home. He has taken it well,” Leo Mugabe, a nephew, said. The former first lady was now concentrating on plans to build a university in his honour. “I like the spirit she has … she is with him all the time. She is an amazing person,” Leo Mugabe said. In August, Zimbabwe announced plans to build the $1bn postgraduate university in Mazowe, 35km outside Harare. The plan drew fierce criticism. Mugabe’s rule left Zimbabwe with a worthless currency, vast debts and a devastated infrastructure. One local Zimbabwean newspaper reported that the ageing autocrat wept as he signed his resignation letter last Tuesday. JB 2008 election campaign so intense that the opposition candidate eventually dropped out of the race, leaving the way clear for Mugabe. “It’s difficult to see how going forward he can be respectful of human rights, given his history,” said Dewa Mavhinga, southern Africa analyst for Human Rights Watch. “People may not see it now, or realise now, because of the relief of seeing the end of Mugabe’s political era, but Zimbabwe is in grave danger in terms of constitutional democracy.” Mnangagwa also has long ties with China. He trained there as a guerrilla in the 1960s, sent his son to study at a Chinese university, and visited Beijing shortly before the coup, leading to speculation he had sought the blessing of officials there. It is a connection that may help him bring in loans and foreign investment but has also sparked worries that he could look to Beijing for a new political model with tighter political control. Mnangagwa has been seen as more business-friendly than many in Zanu-PF. This explains his appeal to some Zimbabweans today. But many also hope that the Crocodile will not forget the fate of his exboss when he ignored the misery of ordinary citizens. Change of guard is a warning to Africa’s other strongmen Analysis Simon Tisdall The startling decision by Zanu-PF, Zimbabwe’s ruling party, to summarily remove the man who founded and ran the party with an iron discipline for more than 30 years will send a chill down the spines of other autocratic African leaders, who may find they have outstayed their welcome. General Constantino Chiwenga, the armed forces chief, kicked away the military prop supporting Robert Mugabe’s presidency last week. Mass protests in Harare, Bulawayo and other cities showed he had lost popular support. Mugabe’s party comrades began the process of impeaching him. Then, finally, he resigned. One leader with reason to feel uneasy is Uganda’s president, Yoweri Museveni. Like Mugabe, he came to power on the back of a guerrilla struggle. Museveni has stubbornly clung to office since 1986, abolishing presidential term limits, emasculating the political opposition and curbing media freedoms. He “won” a fifth consecutive term last year amid credible claims of voter fraud and intimidation. In a country of nearly 40 million where the average age is 15, most people were not born when Museveni first took office. At 73, he is 20 years younger than Mugabe. But his kindred liberation-era outlook, and his Mugabe-ish record of homophobia, appear anachronistic in the Facebook generation. Speaking recently to mark 31 years in power, Museveni showed disdain for modern notions of democratic accountability. According to the Zambian Observer, he told his audience: “I hear some people Years in power Africa’s longest serving leaders Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo Equatorial Guinea 38 Robert Mugabe Zimbabwe, 1980 to 2017 37 Paul Biya Equatorial Guinea 35 Denis Sassou Nguesso Congo-Brazzaville 33 not consecutive Yoweri Museveni Uganda 31 saying that I’m their servant. I’m not a servant of anybody. I am a freedom fighter. I am fighting for myself and for my beliefs.” Andrew Mwenda, writing in Uganda’s Independent Magazine, said Museveni has avoided some of Mugabe’s mistakes. “Museveni has actually disbanded the old guard in the NRM [National Resistance Movement – Uganda’s Zanu-PF equivalent] and the Uganda People’s Defence Force … While the military leaders of Zimbabwe are all from the old guard who fought the bush war, Museveni has purged these people.” Mwenda said Museveni had also sacked his most potentially troublesome challenger, Amama Mbabazi, a veteran former prime minister. Three other sub-Saharan African presidents with a questionable understanding of democratic pluralism – Paul Kagame in Rwanda, Pierre Nkurunziza in Burundi and Joseph Kabila in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) – may also be given pause by Mugabe’s downfall. Kagame, in charge since 1994, was elected president for another seven years in August with 98.79% of the vote – after ramming through a constitutional amendment allowing him to stand for a third term. Three of the better placed opposition candidates were disqualified. “Since the ruling Rwandan Patriotic Front took power 23 years ago, Rwandans have faced huge, and often deadly, obstacles to participating in public life and voicing criticism of government policy,” said Muthoni Wanyeki of Amnesty International before the poll. There is little sign yet Kagame will share Mugabe’s fate. Not so Nkurunziza in neighbouring Burundi. He played the same trick in 2015, insisting on a third term despite constitutional prohibitions. Less proficient at repression, he faced violent popular resistance – which he violently suppressed. Nkurunziza remains in post, but that could change, partly depending on an international criminal court investigation announced last month. Joseph Kabila, whose term as DRC president expired in 2016, is showing Mugabe-like tenacity in clinging to office. A deal to hold the delayed elections this year appears to have collapsed. The UN warned last month that 1.4 million people in the south-western Kasai region have been displaced by violence and more than 3,000 killed. But Kabila is not budging. 14 The Guardian Weekly 01.12.17 Finance Can Saskatoon’s $84m gamble pay oﬀ? Bitcoin record high defies bubble fear Julia Kollewe Big draw … Saskatoon hopes the Remai Modern gallery will encourage visitors and investment Adrien Williams Critics voice fears over Canadian town’s cultural economic revival plans Giovanna Dunmall Saskatoon “This isn’t just a gallery, it’s an act of making a city,” says Bruce Kuwabara, founding partner of KPMB Architects, at the opening of the Remai Modern, a vast glass-and-steel art museum in Saskatoon. The $84.6m (US$67m) project would be a major event for any city, let alone a small university town of 250,000 in the wheat-filled Canadian prairies. Saskatoon is on the cusp of something. It’s the third-fastest growing city in Canada, has one of the country’s youngest demographics and its economy is growing. The latter fact is thanks in great part to an oil and gas industry that, controversially, is charged some of the lowest tax rates in the world and has helped create more than 8,000 millionaires in the province of Saskatchewan. The Remai Modern – four horizontal cantilevered volumes by the South Saskatchewan river – is also the recipient of one of the biggest philanthropic arts donations in Canadian history. A series of new developments are being built near the museum, including an office tower, a high-rise condominium and a 15-storey boutique hotel. The downtown neighbourhood of Riversdale was until recently a cheap home for new immigrants and less affluent communities. It is fast filling up with independent bars, artisan coffee shops and trendy co-working spaces. “Riversdale was a bit of a ghost town six or seven years ago,” says Andy Yuen, owner of The Odd Couple, a independent restaurant in the area. “From a business perspective, having a world-class gallery a 10-minute walk away is amazing.” This is not the first time a smaller city has tried to reinvent or elevate itself with a high-profile gallery – think the Mona in Hobart, the Turner in Margate or, most famous of all, the Guggenheim in Bilbao. The latter spawned a phenomenon called the “Bilbao effect”, supposed to describe the trickle-down economic benefits and rise in tourism that happens as a result of this sort of splashy arts project. But will it work in Saskatoon? The museum says that the Remai will support 292 full-time jobs and contribute $34m to Saskatoon’s GDP in the first two years. Jen Budney, a Saskatoon-based curator, is sceptical. She believes that even in Bilbao the “effect” is highly questionable: poverty has risen in the Basque city and the art scene has flourished only thanks to generous investments in grassroots arts organisations by city officials. “Even if the projected number of tourists do arrive in Saskatoon, in the absence of any other policies and programmes, the real ‘Bilbao effect’ will be the creation of a few highly paid managerial positions and many more minimum-wage jobs,” she says. Priscilla Settee, professor of indigenous studies at the University of Saskatchewan, believes the money could have been better used. “Poverty is a huge issue for too many Saskatoon residents, many of whom are indigenous peoples,” she says. She rues the loss of the city’s former Mendel Art Gallery – whose collection of 8,000 works was inherited by the Remai Modern – arguing that its free admission and sevenday opening meant “people of little means felt it was accessible”. ‘The real effect will be to create a few highly paid management roles’ The Remai Modern’s long inception and cost overruns, which had to be covered by city funds at a time of significant municipal cuts, only make matters worse, Settee says. Originally projected to cost $55m, the Remai finally came in at over $80m (or $100m if you count the car park beneath, which it shares with a local theatre). The money for construction came largely from federal, provincial and city funds – and the city council (which picked up the largest share of the $55m public bill) has come under considerable scrutiny. The museum’s director, Gregory Burke, speaks of “embracing the history of indigenous peoples through modern and contemporary practice”. However, Budney – who was a curator at the Mendel and speaks for a group of artists and arts organisers who have been vocal throughout the construction – believes his words are hollow. “How is a museum of modern art going to address the legacies of colonialism, which you see every day in the devastating economic and social inequality in our city and province, when it hasn’t yet hired any indigenous staff for permanent senior strategic or creative positions?” she asks. But the make-or-break factor for the museum may be the number of visitors. Critics worry that projected number of 220,000 a year is unrealistic for a museum with an entrance fee of $12 in a city of 250,000. The wider province of Saskatchewan only contains a little over 1 million people, in an area roughly the size of France. Will art fans travel repeatedly, given the lack of direct flights from major art centres such as Los Angeles and New York, and the day-long journey required to get here from parts of Canada? The long winter, when temperatures reach -40C, may not help. Whatever happens, it will take a few years for the true “Remai effect” to become clear. Bitcoin hit a new record high after passing $9,000 and was this week close to reaching five figures as investors in the cryptocurrency shrugged off warnings of a bubble. The virtual currency rose to a fresh all-time high of $9,700 on Monday. That made it worth more than seven times an ounce of gold, which is traditionally seen as a safe haven in times of turmoil. In a remarkable rally, bitcoin started the year at $1,000 and smashed through $5,000 in October. Analysts said the decision by the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) to launch bitcoin futures in December had fuelled buying, but also warned of the dangers of a speculative bubble building. The digital currency has gained more than 50% since the CME announced its decision on 31 October. Neil Wilson, senior market analyst at ETX Capital, said: “The legitimacy this gives bitcoin as a tradeable asset is very important. The market cap of bitcoin now exceeds that of IBM, Disney [or] McDonald’s.” Warning of looming pain for bitcoin buyers, Wilson added: “But for traditionalists, it’s hard to fathom. Rather than a commodity or currency, bitcoin is like owning stock in a company that will only ever issue 21m shares and never pay a penny in dividends. The only way it has value is if the next guy is willing to pay you more for it – the greater fool. With no intrinsic value to bitcoin, it’s hard to see this as anything other than a giant speculative bubble.” Hussein Sayed, chief market strategist at online foreign exchange broker FXTM, said bitcoin was showing no signs of slowing down. According to CNBC, the financial news service, there are more than 120 investment funds devoted to cryptocurrencies. Leader comment, page 22 → Foreign exchanges Sterling rates Australia Canada Denmark Euro Hong Kong Japan New Zealand Norway Singapore Sweden Switzerland USA 27 Nov 1.75 1.69 8.31 1.12 10.41 148.50 1.94 10.85 1.79 11.05 1.31 1.33 20 Nov 1.75 1.69 8.36 1.12 10.35 148.60 1.94 10.94 1.80 11.18 1.31 1.33 The Guardian Weekly 01.12.17 15 UK news Corbyn the remainer Kicker here like this Labour leaderdescription has seen light Brexit Then a short hereon like this → Polly Toynbee,and page 21 XX Then Section Page Chancellor cuts property tax amid gloomy growth forecasts Bid to encourage home ownership is focus of annual budget statement Heather Stewart and Larry Elliott Philip Hammond placed a stamp duty cut for first-time buyers at the heart of his budget last Wednesday as he sought to mask Britain’s deteriorating economic prospects by pledging to “revive the homeowning dream”. Faced with evidence the UK will be one of the weakest growing major economies in the next five years, he announced a modest increase in funding for the NHS, and £15bn ($20bn) of measures to tackle the housing crisis. The measures were overshadowed by forecasts from the independent Office for Budget Responsibility cutting its expectations for UK growth until 2022 by a quarter. The OBR is now more pessimistic about growth than the Bank of England and the International Monetary Fund. In its biggest downgrade since its creation seven years ago, it said earnings and living standards would be squeezed hard over the next two years, even if the government succeeds in striking a Brexit deal. Unemployment is expected to rise as a result of sluggish growth – cut from 2% to 1.5% in 2017 and by between 0.2 and 0.5 percentage points in the next four years. Hammond announced a £9bn increase to borrowing in 2019-20 – expected by the Treasury to be the toughest period for the economy as Britain leaves the EU – and pushed back until the mid-2020s the date by which the government expects to end its budget deficit. The chancellor sought to placate rebels on both wings of his party, setting aside £3bn for Whitehall departments to prepare for Brexit, and cutting waiting times for claimants of universal credit. Hammond had been under intense pressure to respond to concerns during the general election campaign about cuts to public services and the rising cost of living, with several vocal MPs, including former minister Nick Boles, calling for an end to austerity. The shadow chancellor, John McDonnell, condemned the budget as “a nothing-has-changed budget from an out-of-touch government with no idea of the reality of people’s lives and no plan to improve them”. The OBR said it could no longer ignore the prolonged period of weak productivity growth since the start Pressure … Hammond tried to placate party critics Frank Augstein/AP Workers ‘face two decades without earnings growth’ Britain’s leading financial thinktank warned workers to expect an unprecedented two lost decades of earnings growth and many more years of austerity as a result of the slowdown forecast in the budget. The Institute for Fiscal Studies said that figures slashing the outlook for productivity, earnings and growth in every year until 2022 made “grim reading”, and predicted that even by the middle of the next decade, public finances would be in the red. It said: • GDP per person would be 3.5% smaller in 2021 than forecast in March 2016. • The loss of growth would mean the economy was £65bn ($87bn) smaller in 2021 than thought. • Average earnings were on course to be £1,400 a year lower in 2021 than forecast in 2016. Paul Johnson, the IFS director, said the OBR’s decision to reduce its growth forecasts would delay deficit reduction, limit Hammond’s ability to ease pressure on welfare and public services and harm living standards. “We are in danger of losing not just one but getting on for two decades of earnings growth,” he said. “We will all have to get used to the idea that steadily rising living standards may be a thing of the increasingly distant past.” The recovery in earnings, which were growing through 2014 to the first half of 2016, had been choked off, Johnson said. Phillip Inman of the global financial crisis a decade ago. In a sign of the damage caused by the worst recession the UK has suffered since the second world war, the OBR said the trend rate of productivity growth was now around 1%, half its pre-crisis rate. Analysis by the Resolution Foundation suggested the downgrade to GDP growth would result in a £1,000-a-year cut to average family incomes, with average pay not recovering to precrash levels until 2023. The Trades Union Congress said wages would be worth £800 less a year in 2021 than had been expected at the spring budget. Against this backdrop, the chancellor chose to loosen the purse strings, spending £25bn more over the next five years than planned at his first budget in March. Treasury insiders acknowledged that the spending boost in the next two years was to help offset the looming downturn. The abolition of stamp duty for first-time buyers was the most eyecatching element of Hammond’s bid to fulfil what Theresa May has called her “personal mission” to fix the housing crisis, and build 300,000 new homes a year. The Treasury said it amounted to an average tax cut of £1,600 for a million first-time buyers over five years. Other housing measures included allowing local authorities to levy increased council tax on empty homes, setting aside more funding for local authorities to buy up and decontaminate sites, and a review led by former minister Oliver Letwin into how to prevent developers hoarding land without building on it. But the details of the budget red book show that aside from the stamp duty change, the housing measures amount to just £275m of new spending in 2018-19, and £1.6bn by 2021-22. Alongside housing, Hammond announced an extra £2.8bn for the NHS, including £350m to deal with increased pressures over the winter and to get waiting time targets back on track. As expected, the chancellor abolished a one-week waiting time before universal credit claims can be processed – a move that should cut the waiting time from six weeks to five. The budget included a series of antitax-avoidance measures, after the leaked Paradise Papers underlined the scale of the challenge. 16 The Guardian Weekly 01.12.17 UK news Vote Leave in payouts probe Watchdog rejects claim donations to anti-EU groups were permitted Carole Cadwalladr Observer Vote Leave, the official campaign to quit the EU, faces fresh questions over controversial payments it made to other anti-Europe movements during its successful referendum battle. The electoral commission has denied a claim by Vote Leave’s chief strategist, Dominic Cummings, that it had given them “a letter of permission” to make the donations to other campaigns. The commission last week announced a new investigation into donations Vote Leave made of £625,000 ($835,000) to BeLeave and £100,000 to Veterans for Britain, and whether the officially sanctioned organisation had exceeded its official spending limits. Cummings had previously claimed that the commission gave permission “in writing” for the donations. However, following months of freedom of information requests, the commission has now said it had no record of it. Cummings did not respond to the Observer when asked if he had any explanation for the discrepancy. The watchdog said new information meant it had “reasonable grounds to suspect an offence may have been committed”, but Stephen Kinnock, Labour MP for Aberavon, said it now needed to produce this information. Kinnock wrote to the commission, the Metropolitan police and the Crown Prosecution Service in the spring with evidence that he claims showed four campaigns were “working together” in breach of UK law. He said: “It’s very unclear what’s prompted this new investigation. They haven’t produced any new evidence beyond what we knew months ago. I think the electoral commission really needs to lay its facts on the table.” The announcement last week came as the commission was facing a legal challenge from campaigning group the Good Law Project over why it had dropped a previous investigation into the spending of Vote Leave and satellite Brexit campaigns. At stake is whether Vote Leave deliberately engineered a way of exceeding the legal £7m funding limits or if it had permission to do so. After Jolyon Maugham of the Good Law Project said he would launch a judicial review of the commission’s failure to investigate the donations, Cummings tweeted in September: “FYI u seem unaware (not blaming u no reason u wd know) of a crucial fact: the EC gave us written permission in advance for what we did …” Then: “When they suddenly told us we cd make donations we were so shocked we asked for written confirmation & got it. Extremely surprising.” Kinnock said: “There is an unholy alliance of organisations that, at very best, played fast and loose with the law and at worst were deliberately manipulating and cheating.” He said he had sent another letter to the commission last week raising questions about how all four campaigns – Vote Leave, BeLeave, Veterans for Britain and the Democratic Unionist party – apparently achieved such close convergence in how resources were deployed. The watchdog said that, following the new information, it would examine if the Boris Johnson and Michael Gove-fronted campaign had filed its returns correctly. Cash stop … questions have arisen over Leave campaigners’ funds Getty Tales of despair deluge benefits inquiry Rowena Mason A House of Commons inquiry into disability benefits has heard from more than 3,000 people in despair at the system, including dozens who say they have been driven to suicidal thoughts by the process. Frank Field, chair of the work and pensions committee, said it would be usual to receive about 100 responses, but the inquiry had been deluged by people sharing stories about being denied disability benefits or battles to keep their entitlements. The evidence includes testimony from many saying their mental health had deteriorated as a result of trying to claim the employment support allowance (ESA) for daily living costs and/or the personal independence payment (PIP) to cover extra costs caused by long-term disability. There have been longstanding concerns among mental health groups, medical professionals, user groups and MPs about the operation of both benefits, with claimant assessments run by outsourced providers and final decisions made by Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) officials. The submissions included more than 100 people reporting that they, or someone they care for, feels their suicidal feelings have worsened or been triggered by the process. Field, a former Labour welfare minister, said the whole system was “not controlling expenditure and had a huge human cost”. He added: “This system is acting as a concrete block on the top of people rather than acting as a floor from which people can build security through their own efforts. It’s just absolutely dreadful.” A DWP spokesperson said: “Assessments are carried out by quali fied healthcare professionals who have at least two years of practical experience and must be registered with a medical body. The latest official research shows that 76% of PIP claimants and 83% of ESA claimants are satisfied with their overall experience.” Irish border ‘must await Brexit deal’ Jessica Elgot, Daniel Boffey and Henry McDonald A final decision on the Northern Irish border cannot be made until a UK-EU trade deal has been agreed, Liam Fox has said, despite warnings from Brussels that trade talks cannot proceed unless an agreement is reached ahead of the summit on 4 December. Ireland is seen as the key obstacle to proceeding to negotiations about a future trade relationship with the EU, with the Irish government dissatisfied with the options offered so far to prevent a hard border with Northern Ireland. Leo Varadkar, the Irish prime minister, has said he wants a written guarantee that there will be no hard border, which Dublin believes can be achieved only by keeping the region within the single market and customs union. Fox said that option was out of the question. “We don’t want there to be a hard border, but the UK is going to be leaving the customs union and the single market,” he said in a television interview last Sunday. Government sources conceded there was still some way to go on the question of the border, but it is likely to stress that neither side wants a hard border with Ireland, and the option to agree to Varadkar’s written guarantee has not yet been definitely ruled out. Fox said the UK had always come to special arrangements with Ireland that could be written into the final agreement, but there needed to be clarity about the future trading relationship with the EU before the border question could be settled. Fox’s position does not necessarily clash with the EU’s. The 27 member states need only “sufficient progress” to be made by next week’s council summit. This will require what the Irish foreign affairs minister, Simon Coveney, called last Friday “a road map” to how Britain plans to avoid a hard border. The Democratic Unionist leader, Arlene Foster, warned that any attempt to redraw the border into the Irish Sea would be opposed by her party, which holds the balance of power at Westminster. Speaking after her party’s annual conference in Belfast last weekend, she rejected “special status” for Northern Ireland and for it to stay in the customs union, which would lead to a redrawing of the border. “Every business I speak to does not want a border down the middle of the Irish Sea. The UK is our biggest market,” she said. The Guardian Weekly 01.12.17 17 Eastern promise Harrods’ £200m redesign to appeal to Asian shoppers News in brief Kicker here like this Then a short description here like this →Then ≥ ThenSection Sectionand andpage PageXX XX UK news • Prince Harry is to marry his American actor girlfriend, Meghan Markle, next year, Clarence House has announced. “His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales is delighted to announce the engagement of Prince Harry to Ms Meghan Markle,” it said in a statement on Monday. Prince Charles said he was thrilled and that Harry and Meghan would be “very happy indeed”. The ceremony is likely to be conducted by Justin Welby, the archbishop of Canterbury, who said he was delighted by the news and had been impressed by Harry’s “immense love for his family”. Comment, page 22 → Harrods has begun the biggest redevelopment in the department store’s 170-year history to increase its appeal to wealthy overseas shoppers flocking to Britain to exploit the weak pound. The managing director of Harrods, which is owned by Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund, said £200m ($267m) will be spent redeveloping the shop’s retail space over the next three years. The famous exterior with its 12,000 light bulbs and green awnings will be untouched. Michael Ward, who has been running Harrods for more than decade, said the refurbishment will be the most ambitious since the Knightsbridge store was opened by Charles Henry Harrod in 1849. Work has already begun on the redevelopment of its grade II-listed food halls, and its fine watch room and beauty halls will increase in size. Ward said much of the refurbishment work is being carried out to tailor the store to customers from China and south-east Asia. “Our Hong Kong and Chinese customers are extremely important to Harrods so are considered part of our redevelopment plans,” he said. “For us, the future is in the east and we have been focusing on that for a number of years.” He said Chinese customers are Harrods’s second-highest spenders after British shoppers, and research showed that £1 of every £5 that Chinese visitors spend in London is spent at Harrods. Last month Harrods reported its eighth consecutive year of rising profits, recording a 39% increase in pre-tax profit to £233m. Annual sales broke through the £2bn mark for the first time, and the company noted a “significant boost in trade after the weakening of the British currency”. The company paid out a £110m dividend to its owner Qatar Holding, the strategic investment division of the Qatar Investment Authority. The sovereign wealth fund bought Harrods from Mohamed Al Fayed for £1.2bn in 2010. Official figures show the number of Chinese visitors to the UK in the first six months of the year rose by 47% to 115,000. These visitors spent a record £231m in the first half of the year, a 54% increase according to the Office for National Statistics during this period. Rupert Neate Photograph: Dan Kitwood/Getty Toys a potential present for hackers Patrick Greenfield Parents should consider turning off cameras and geolocation settings in Christmas presents to protect their children from hackers, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has warned. Smart toys and wearable devices are among the most desirable children’s toys this Christmas, but the regulator has warned their internet connectivity presents safety risks from hackers. The guidance comes amid growing concern about the susceptibility of electronic items to hacking. In a blog post for the ICO, Steve Wood, the deputy commissioner, wrote: “You wouldn’t knowingly give a child a dangerous toy, so why risk buying them something that could be easily hacked into by strangers? “In the same way that safety standards are a primary consideration for shoppers buying toys, we want those buying connected items in the coming weeks to take a pause and think about both the child’s online safety, and also the potential threat to their own personal data such as bank details, if a toy, device or a supporting app is hacked into.” Wood urged adults to check if their internet router is secure, and consider setting up electronic devices with strong privacy options before their child unwraps their gift. The deputy commissioner warned parents: “If you aren’t convinced a smart toy or connected/wearable device will keep your children or your personal information safe, then don’t buy it. If consumers reject products that won’t protect them, then developers and retailers should soon get the message.” On cameras, Wood wrote: “Some toys and devices are fitted with web cameras. The ability to view footage remotely is both their biggest selling point and, if not set up correctly, potentially their biggest weakness, as the baby monitor hacking issue of a few years ago demonstrated. If you have no intention of viewing footage over the internet, then turn the remote viewing option off in the device’s settings, or else use strong, non-default passwords.” He added: “One of the main selling points of children’s smart watches is the ability for parents to know where their children are at all times. However, if this isn’t done securely, then others might have access to this data as well.” • Birds living and breeding on the UK’s farmland have seen numbers decline by almost a tenth in five years, official figures show. Farmland bird populations have declined by 56% since 1970, largely due to agricultural changes including the loss of mixed farming, a switch to autumn sowing of crops, a reduction in hay meadows and the stripping out of hedgerows. • The highest number of violent sexual crimes, including rapes, in Europe are recorded by the police in England and Wales, according to new EU official statistics. The disclosure comes as official British figures show that 1.2 million women and 700,000 men in the year to March 2017 reported being the victims of some form of domestic abuse in England and Wales. The Office for National Statistics says the majority of victims did not report their abuse to the police. • Employers and unions have called for a rethink of the government’s apprenticeship policies after a 59% fall in those taking up trainee posts since a new scheme was launched in April. Just 48,000 people started an apprenticeship in the final three months of the educational year to July 2017, compared with 117,800 in the same period a year before. The biggest drop came in the lowest level “intermediate” apprenticeships, which dived by 75%, compared with a 48% drop in the most advanced training courses. 18 The Guardian Weekly 01.12.17 Comment&Debate Trump is destroying the US from within Jeﬀrey H Smith The president’s words and actions are deconstructing vital government agencies – and it may take years to undo the damage T he Guardian has reported that John le Carré, the famed British spy novelist, recently said of the Trump presidency: “Something truly, seriously bad is happening and we have to be awake to that.” Chillingly, he expressed alarm about the “toxic” parallels between the rise of Donald Trump and hard-right regimes in Poland and Hungary and the rise of fascism in the 1930s. Le Carré may be overstating the risk of rising fascism, but he is surely right to warn that many of Mr Trump’s early actions and words challenge fundamental tenets of democracy. These challenges include his assertion that the media is “the enemy of the people”, that news he doesn’t like is “fake news”, that there were “good people” among the neo-Nazi demonstrators in Charlottesville, Virginia. At the same time the Trump administration has mounted a systematic effort to “deconstruct the ‘administrative state’”, as his recently departed chief strategist, Stephen Bannon, was fond of saying. Much of this effort has been focused on the regulatory agencies rather than the national security agencies. But make no mistake: the president’s words and actions are deconstructing those agencies with perhaps even greater consequences. Trump’s destructive impact on the national security agencies has two dimensions. First, his foreign policy of “America first” has called into question our commitment to our allies and the international framework that has kept us safe for 70 years. In turn, the American institutions and individuals who must execute this policy are undermined. Second, some of his actions and utterances are so far outside the bounds of responsible presidential conduct that many professionals who serve in the national security agencies lack confidence in him as commander-inchief. Much damage has been done, and whether it can be repaired, and if so how, is not clear. Former presidents and secretaries of state and defence know that we must wisely use all of the tools in the “national security toolbox”, a useful concept coined by the former secretary of state Madeleine Albright. Our values and moral leadership are among our most effective tools. As the former Republican president George W Bush recently said: “When we lose sight of our ideals, it is not democracy that has failed. It is the failure of those charged with preserving and protecting democracy.” A weakened and demoralised foreign service is a serious blow to America’s long-term interests and security Jasper Rietman We also must lead. To do so, we need allies and skilful diplomacy carried out by adroit and experienced diplomats who are adequately resourced, supported and respected. Trump appears to have little or no appreciation of the value of diplomacy or foreign aid. If anything, the Trump administration seems oddly determined to cripple the Department of State. Consider, for example, the president’s tweet saying that the secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, was “wasting his time trying to negotiate with Little Rocket Man”, a foolish utterance that makes any resolution of the North Korean threat vastly more difficult. On top of this brilliant strategic move, Trump has proposed cuts of nearly 30% in the state department budget and the elimination of 2,300 jobs. Furthermore, Tillerson’s use of outside management experts to restructure the department as if ExxonMobil had just acquired a new oil drilling subsidiary has had the predictable effect. Diplomacy is sputtering on one cylinder and many of our best foreign service officers have quit in disgust. The administration is having a difficult time finding talented individuals to serve in the appointed jobs at state and defence. Applications for the foreign service are reportedly down and the department’s intention to no longer participate in the presidential management fellows programme is deeply disturbing. T he message to state department career employees is clear: “You are not important.” Tillerson is scheduled to unveil his proposed reorganisation soon, and there is great apprehension that his changes will gravely weaken the role of the state department and centralise power in political appointees at the expense of career professionals. All of this plays well with much of Trump’s base who are hostile to globalisation. But a weakened and demoralised foreign service is a serious blow to American longterm interests and security. The president’s foreign policy and his tweets are often hard to defend. Our allies wonder whether “America first” means “I’m last”. The president says he’ll honour America’s commitments, but that’s not what he said earlier. Does he mean it now, or is he just saying it because he’s been told to say it? This said, there are some hopeful signs. Trump has assembled some first-rate foreign policy advisers. There is criticism that it is too “general heavy”, but that is not well placed. Generals James Mattis, John Kelly and HR McMaster are combat-proven leaders and thinkers who have confronted the maddeningly complex wars in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan. The president seems to be listening to them on vital matters such as North Korea, Afghanistan and the value of the Iranian nuclear deal. McMaster and Kelly have, by most reports, done a good job of organising the policy process at the National Security Council. Whether careful decision-making processes will hold in a crisis, where actions must be managed closely to avoid unintended escalation, remains to be seen. And in a crisis the president’s inexperience and his tendency to tweet from the hip could be calamitous. The Trump administration is now past the initial days, when confusion and “rookie mistakes” are excusable. We are beginning to see what the true character of the man and his administration are. Echoing the concerns of John le Carré, Mattis recently told a small group of soldiers: “You just hold the line – my fine young soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines – you just hold the line until our country gets back to understanding and respecting each other and showing it.” Americans must all “hold the line”. Jeffrey H Smith counsels US and foreign companies on a wide range of national security issues The Guardian Weekly 01.12.17 19 Comment&Debate Grace was Mugabe’s lightning rod Tania Branigan Many have drawn parallels between the deposed first lady of Zimbabwe and Madame Mao. Both were largely damned for their husbands’ sins T hey say that history does not repeat itself, but it rhymes. Zimbabwe’s turmoil has had striking, almost uncanny echoes of China’s more than four decades ago. A charismatic figure revered for leading the struggle for liberation, yet reviled for his crimes once in power, is nearing the end of his long life, and evidently frail. The military and his party peers are jittery about their future. And at the heart of the struggle is the rise of his much younger, very ambitious wife. Robert Mugabe has been forced out at 93, after he appeared to be moving to secure his wife’s position. Mao Zedong’s grip remained tight when he died at 82. But his wife, Jiang Qing (“Madame Mao”), lost the ensuing power struggle and was put on trial – as some say Grace Mugabe may be. When the head of the war veterans’ association compared the Mugabes to the Chinese couple last Tuesday, he was only the latest of many Zimbabweans to do so. People there know the history well because of the long-term ties. Beijing was an early ally of Mugabe, but its interests are pragmatic, not ideological or personal. It wants stability and a friendly regime in Harare. That the new president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, is a known quantity, having trained in China, is a bonus. And the men in Beijing have never seemed comfortable with female leaders. Grace, like Jiang, came to the political forefront relatively late after marriage, and developed a young party clique around her: Jiang’s Gang of Four played a leading role in fomenting the devastating Cultural Revolution, while Grace fostered the G40, or Generation 40, grouping. Both humiliated established players and helped orchestrate their ousting. Both were bullies. Jiang was regarded – accurately – as volatile, vicious and vindictive. She caused countless deaths. “Gucci Grace” is seen not only as corrupt and extravagant, but also erratic and aggressive – unsurprisingly, given two very public cases of alleged assault overseas. But they were regarded with disdain as well as dislike; hence the frequent reminders that Mugabe worked in a government typing pool, while Jiang was a Shanghai starlet before reinventing herself as a revolutionary. Their images align suspiciously neatly with archetypes of irrational, vicious women – and look all the worse in light of frequent comparisons with the “good”, selfless, patriotic women who preceded them. Sally Mugabe was known as the “mother” of Zimbabwe, while He Zizhen, Mao’s third wife, was a committed revolutionary who was forced to leave two of their babies behind during the Long March in the 1930s. Ruthlessness, even unpredictability, hardly made either Jiang or Grace unique in their political spheres. Yet their allies and rivals never attracted the same visceral hatred. Both women became lightning rods for the grievances against their husbands. Pillorying them deflected blame from the men who sponsored them. These women were vehicles for their husband’s desire to maintain their legacies, and for factional interests as well as Nate Kitch their own. As Jiang told her show trial: “I was Chairman Mao’s dog – I bit who he wanted me to bite.” When the odds are stacked against women politically – more the case in China, then and now, than in Zimbabwe – the chances are that those who rise will have done so through personal connections. In Asia, this has sometimes allowed them to float above the fray, as if they have merely inherited a mission to fulfil from love and duty. But more often, and especially when their ambition is evident, these relationships are turned against them. And they, in turn, are weaponised against other women. Even now, the spectre of Jiang looms in China. For all the rhetoric of equality, no woman has ever reached the top political body. C Grace Mugabe and Jiang Qing were both vehicles for their husbands’ desire to maintain their political legacies hipo Dendere, a Zimbabwean and postdoctoral fellow in political science at Amherst College in the US, notes that some women seem to have been drawn to Grace precisely because of the misogyny she faced. Now, she warns, “Women are going to be afraid to speak out when they recall Grace Mugabe. I think she will be used against them … There’s a sense of people saying: ‘Women, you gave us these problems.’” Dendere points not just to protest slogans such as “We don’t want prostitutes in politics” and “Leadership is not sexually transmitted”, but also to previous elite attacks on both Grace and the other prominent Zimbabwean female politician, Joice Mujuru. She was vice-president to Robert Mugabe, until he ousted her, and boasted impressive credentials as a fighter in the liberation struggle. Even those were undermined by sexist attacks: she was accused of performing witchcraft to down an enemy aircraft, to capture and manipulate her husband, and to defeat political enemies. Yet young women in Zimbabwe have been trying to carve out a space for themselves, through activism such as the #shevotes campaign encouraging registration. Many more have taken to the streets to voice demands for change. They believe they have a right to determine their future – even if they are realistic about the prospects of doing so. The kind of change these women want does not stop at seeing off the Mugabes. It means seeing off the powerful old men who ousted them as well. 20 The Guardian Weekly 01.12.17 Comment&Debate Mladić will die in jail. But he won in Bosnia Ed Vulliamy Nate Kitch I revealed the camps where mass murder and rape took place. But the Serbian warlord has achieved his goal of banishing non-Serbs G eneral Ratko Mladić, the most bloodthirsty warlord to strut European soil since the Third Reich, will die in jail. Any other outcome after last week’s verdict in The Hague would have been preposterous. The mothers of the more than 8,000 men and boys mass-murdered in Srebrenica, over five days in the summer of 1995, have every reason to welcome the sentence of life imprisonment, and Mladić’s conviction for genocide: the only judicial standard by which that crime can be rightly measured. But for all the back-slapping by human rights organisations and lawyers, there is a dark cloud under which the majority of those who survived Mladić’s hurricane of violence etch out their lives, and that shrouds the memory of those killed, or who are still “missing”. I testified against Mladić, as well as his political counterpart Radovan Karadžić and seven other defendants, at The Hague: mostly to give evidence on the network of concentration camps I revealed in this newspaper in 1992 and the litany of mass murder, ethnic “cleansing”, rape and destruction that followed over three years. Last week I spent time on the phone to survivors. Beyond those bereaved by Srebrenica, not one shared in the celebration of Mladić’s conviction. He faced two counts of genocide: one for Srebrenica, the other for what happened in the “municipalities” elsewhere in Bosnia. Here serial atrocities were committed by troops under Mladić’s direct command over those years, while the international community dithered, and worse. The whole idea of the Hague tribunal was as much an act of contrition for that failure as it was ambition for international justice. Mladić’s pogroms included more mass murder, torture, mutilation and rape, in the camps at Omarska, Trnopolje and Keretem in north-west Bosnia. To the east, in Višegrad, civilians – including babies – were herded alive into houses for incineration, or down to a bridge to be shot, or chopped into pieces, and hurled into the river Drina. Then there was the wholesale demolition of towns and villages, and the “cleansing” of all non-Serbs; the razing of mosques and Catholic churches; the gathering of women and girls into camps for violation all night, every night. None of this, apparently, is genocide. Mladić was acquitted on that count. So what is? Among those in The Hague to hear the verdict was Kelima Dautović, who survived the Trnopolje camp while her husband was in one at Omarska, and lost many of her extended family and neighbours in the levelling of her home town of Kozarac in 1992. “It’s so disappointing, but hardly surprising,” she says. “Maybe they didn’t want to call it genocide because it happened under the eyes of the international community that was there, supposedly protecting us. Whatever, I hope the historians do a better job than the judges.” Human Rights Watch celebrates the fact that the verdict sends “a message to those in power around the world who are committing brutal atrocities, whether in Burma, North Korea, or Syria”, as preparations begin for prosecutions of war crimes in Syria. But who exactly will be brought to justice? As archbishop Desmond Tutu has asked: where was Tony Blair when it came to justice for the ruins of Iraq? The Hague tribunal’s remit was also to “promote reconciliation” in the Balkans. Well, there is none. Mladić got largely what he wanted: a Bosnian Serb statelet from which almost every non-Serb was banished in 1995. Even the chief prosecutor at The Hague, Serge Brammertz, acknowledged that “conflict and atrocities can gain a logic of their own”, and life in Bosnia is more sectarian than at any time since the war. Mladić is no doubt a furious man, but he can start his sentence with the satisfaction of a mission in no small part accomplished. More at theguardian.com/opinion Opinion In brief Manhattan mums fight a very civil war Low-alcohol wine isn’t worth drinking Something exciting happened in the world of online mothers’ forums last week, and it wasn’t a list of 10 new ways to spy on your nanny. In Britain there is Mumsnet; in New York, until recently, there was the Upper East Side Mommas group, a Facebook community of some 28,000 women that many went to for the advice – but stayed for the fights. There were the fights about vaccinations. There was the saga of the Spitting Woman, a homeless woman on Manhattan’s Upper East Side who spat at people and their children. In August, two members of the group had their lawyers send four other members a cease-and-desist letter after being called racist during an argument about Black Lives Matter. Punctuating these disputes was a series of increasingly desperate pleas for civility from the group’s founder. But a fight that broke out There’s nothing more dispiriting than the three words “low-alcohol wine”, with the possible exception of “low-fat cheese”. They usually denote a sickly sweet concoction with little resemblance to anything you would normally drink. Yet sales are booming. One group that has apparently taken to lowalcohol beverages is millennials. This tallies with a recent report from the Office for National Statistics in which over a quarter of 16- to 24-year-olds claimed not to drink. But is low-alcohol wine the best option for those who can’t or don’t want to booze? You won’t be entirely surprised to hear that, as the Guardian’s drinks correspondent, I’m not convinced. For a start, low-alcohol wine is a misnomer. Wine by definition involves a percentage of alcohol. Remove it and you’re essentially left over Israel/Palestine proved too much for her nerves; after a few days of fierce back and forth, the group was shut down. Two things stood out about this: the apparent inability of anyone involved to end matters simply by walking away. And the extent to which, in this exclusively female discursive space, many of those involved evoked their hurt feelings. Actually, there was a bigger takeaway: nothing on those pages fell outside even the strictest general user standards. There were no apparent trolls at work, no threats, no swearing, no violence. The fight in this Mommas group was about as civil as a forum can get. It seems a shame that what had been a vibrant group crumbled because adults can’t tolerate hearing other adults express passionately held counter-views. Emma Brockes with grape juice. You’ve subtracted the ingredient that makes wine so delicious and redolent of a specific place. Alcohol is a carrier of flavour and body – the qualities that make wine so compatible with food. If you’re used to drinking wine, you’re unlikely to be satisfied. It’s like eating an egg without the yolk. And there’s more to wine than just the taste. It’s perfectly possible to drink one glass, just as it’s possible to have one slice of cake. For various reasons sometimes people, including me, choose not to drink. I take at least a couple of days off each week, but I wouldn’t dream of drinking low-alcohol wines on those occasions. Do, by all means, if they appeal to you – but I can assure you that there are many more palatable options. Including that traditional British favourite, tea. Fiona Beckett The Guardian Weekly 01.12.17 21 Comment&Debate In praise of … spreading Christmas cheer The Institute for Fiscal Studies has issued a grim message for the British public: the age of austerity is not over Corbyn sees light on Brexit Polly Toynbee The Labour leader has finally grasped what leaving the EU means: harm for those his party cares about the most A t last, Labour steps up. Brexit is the great national crisis of our times and yet the leaders of the opposition have sometimes seemed so muted it has driven remainers to tear their hair out in frustration. That changed last Wednesday at prime minister’s questions. Jeremy Corbyn for the first time turned all guns on prime minister Theresa May over her incoherent, incomprehensible and impossible Brexit stance. He used all his questions, every one, to wallop her exactly where she and her party are most vulnerable – and not before time. If ever there were an open goal, it is the warring party of government whose demented 40-year obsession with the EU is finally driving us all to destruction. On budget day, prime minister’s questions (PMQs) may get less attention than usual, but the signs are that Corbyn’s blistering salvos are just the opening shots in what should be a weekly cannonade. Here’s his best tirade: “Seventeen months after the referendum they say there can be no hard border [between Ireland and Northern Ireland] but haven’t worked out how. They say they’ll protect workers rights, then vote against it. They say they’ll protect environmental rights, then vote against it. They promise action on tax avoidance but vote against it time and time again.” The prime minister’s lame response was: “Let me tell him, I am optimistic about our future. I’m optimistic about the success we can make of Brexit.” Naturally, anyone who questions her nonexistent post-Brexit plans or visions is a traitor, “talking down Britain”. Half an hour later as the chancellor rose, there was no way he could avoid talking down Britain, no sugar to coat the pill as he read out dire budget figures showing growth and productivity falling further behind the Europe many Tories so despise. And Brexit is the reason. As the forecast sinks in, everyone sees the longest fall in living standards for 50 years, lasting until the middle of the next decade. And even then, who knows? Where has Corbyn been? On a journey, say those close by. A lifetime of instinctive “capitalist club” A pub in Wimbledon will open its doors to anybody who’s alone or lonely on Christmas Day. They will be welcomed with open arms, “a free Christmas dinner and a drink of their favourite festive poison”. I was aware of how this time of year affects the lonely, but who aside from a publican in south-west London is doing anything about it? I contacted my local Age UK in Camden, north London, a charity that understands only too well the effects of loneliness on older people. “We try to give all our older community members Christmas gifts in early December and the majority of them will remain unopened in their homes until Christmas Day. For many of them it’s the only present they will receive and the only interaction they’ll have on Christmas.” You need only look at the most basic of statistics to see that people are living longer. One day, before we know it, organisations such as Age UK may be very important to us too. Dave Berry Euroscepticism has been shed. Distress over Brexit from his young supporters and his trade union allies has brought him round. Besides, the facts have changed. His abstract distaste for the EU has given way to facing the hard reality of what Brexit means: inflicting most harm on those he cares about most. If only those on the opposite benches were on the same reality-check journey. In PMQs he has usually dodged the great issue. But his tone changed recently: on a visit to Shipley, in West Yorkshire, he was asked how he would vote if there were a referendum now, Corbyn unhesitatingly said he’d vote remain: “I voted remain because I thought the best option was to remain. I haven’t changed my mind.” He added: “We must make sure we obtain tariff-free access to the European markets and protection of all the rights and membership of agencies we have achieved through the European Union.” He was, say some, hesitant on unfamiliar policy turf. But now he has found his feet, and his voice. “The danger is, we will get to March 2019 with no deal, we fall out of the EU, we go on to World Trade Organisation rules, and there will be threats to a lot of jobs all across Britain,” he warned. “I think it is quite shocking.” This week the EU’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, was expected to deliver his verdict on whether sufficient progress had been made. He has already thrown down the challenge to the chaotic Tories: what kind of country does Britain want to be? May doesn’t know, but Corbyn does. The European model beckons as the enlightened, internationalist, progressive vision – the Europhobic model is a land of impoverished deregulation. There were obvious reasons for Labour’s reluctance to go full-tilt against Brexit. Too many Labour MPs in leave seats had taken fright. But since the election, another picture has emerged: Labour lost votes in some leave seats but gained votes in other leave areas as electors lost faith in the government’s chaotic negotiations. My hunch is that the harder Corbyn hits out over Brexit, the stronger Labour’s support will grow. And the word is, that’s what we shall hear from now on. 22 The Guardian Weekly 01.12.17 theguardianweekly Comment Terror in Egypt Airstrikes will not end the crisis To describe last Friday’s horrific gun and bomb assault on a Sufi mosque in the northern Sinai peninsula as the deadliest attack by armed militants in Egypt’s modern history understates it. It is one of the worst to happen anywhere in recent years. Officials say more than 300 worshippers were killed. As in Manchester, Paris or Barcelona, families are devastated and a wider community left fearful – as its perpetrators desired. It is also unprecedented, despite the area’s troubled recent history. The escalation was not only in its scale and the ruthlessness of its organisation, but also in its target. Militants in the peninsula have killed hundreds of police and soldiers; the last year has seen them strike Coptic churches and pilgrims in mainland Egypt. Sufi shrines and a 100-year-old cleric have been attacked. But this attack is the first time a mosque there has been targeted. Though no one has yet claimed responsibility, it is widely assumed to be the work of the Islamic State affiliate, Wilayat al-Sinai (“province of Sinai”); officials say gunmen carried Isis flags. The motive is still unknown. Isis considers Sufis heretical and one of its propaganda outlets had published an interview with a local commander in Sinai who said that tackling Sufism was a priority. Other reports have suggested that the attack could be retaliation against a community that refused to cooperate with the militants, or that a rogue faction could be responsible. The experience of other countries shows there is rarely an easy explanation for radicalisation. It also highlights the temptation for governments to rush to extraordinary measures that not only contradict the values they purport to uphold, but can also prove counter-productive. Egypt’s president, Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, was quick to vow “brute force” and vengeance in response to the attack. Within hours, the government said it had launched airstrikes on “terrorist” locations. Even his dogged allies in the US, who kept their lips sealed when he ousted the elected Muslim Brotherhood government in a coup in 2013, have stressed the need for a proper counter-insurgency strategy that goes beyond striking bases – albeit while selling Cairo great quantities of the arms used to target militants. The UK has been more consistent in its message, but is unlikely to press too hard. Yet as Alistair Burt, the British minister of state for the Middle East, pointed out last weekend, confronting such extremism requires tackling it in a variety of ways, including by addressing what draws people towards militancy. If there are indications that Cairo’s thinking is beginning to take such ideas into account, the change is not yet obvious. But relying on brute force is likely to take a further toll on innocent citizens in northern Sinai, and cannot protect them from the kind of attackers who struck the al-Rawda mosque. Cryptocurrencies Blockchain of fools One of the few men to get out in time before the Wall Street crash of 1929 did so – legend has it – because he was offered a stock tip by the boy who shined his shoes. He immediately sold all his holdings. If the mania for gambling on the stock market had reached down to the children on the streets, the bubble must have been due to pop at any moment. The corresponding moment for the cryptocurrency bubble will only be discernible in retrospect, but we have some pretty strong candidates. The endorsement of one project by the reality-TV star Paris Hilton has already happened. The production – or “mining” – of bitcoins now uses more electricity than Ireland or Nigeria. Meanwhile, the notional price of the main cryptocurrencies continues to shoot upwards in a way that makes nonsense of the idea that they have any value as a medium of exchange. Even if they were widely accepted by legal merchants, it would at the moment be lunatic to exchange them for anything but real money. Since it is only widely used as a currency in drug deals or for ransom payments, there is either a huge boom in criminal activities outside the world of cryptocurrencies, or one within unregulated exchanges where these tokens are traded. There are many cryptocurrency schemes that are sold on the same grounds as the greatest South Sea Bubble prospectus: “For carrying on an undertaking of great advantage, but nobody to know what it is.” But there is one novel element in today’s lunacy, and this is the apocalyptic hope common in Silicon Valley that it is possible to replace all messy human institutions with infallible computer code. The blockchain technology underlying the various cryptocurrencies is meant to make human decisions redundant and to replace faith in governments with indisputable rationality. This delusion has produced one of the most astonishing outbursts of irrational exuberance in financial history. When this bubble bursts, it will be clear that so long as there is greed we will need laws to tame it. Royal wedding will change race relations in Britain Afua Hirsch Almost two decades ago, an unruly baroness named Kate Gavron made a shocking suggestion. Prince Charles, she said, should have married someone black. It would be, she imagined, a powerful symbol of the monarchy’s commitment to racial integration and multiculturalism. In this context, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s engagement represents something genuinely different from what has gone before. Their marriage will bring into reality what the British establishment lacked the imagination to even conceive of as possible 17 years ago – that a senior royal can love, and marry, someone whose ethnic heritage is not just different to his own, but the heritage that has been most othered in Britain – black and African. I struggled growing up with the feeling that the monarchy were fundamental to Britishness, but that the Britishness they represented was one that excluded me. That’s hardly surprising, given that the concept of the royal family is the very antithesis of diversity. Since the royal family are such a quintessentially British institution, it’s fitting that our British dysfunction around race should also emerge in response to Markle’s arrival. One of the problems in Britain today is the tendency to downplay racial difference, and the temptation of so many well-meaning people who “don’t see race” to believe that if we can all just wilfully blind ourselves, it will hopefully go away. By contrast, Markle has expressed pride in her heritage, speaking about the experience of having black heritage in a prejudiced American society; of seeing her mother abused with the “N” word, of working in a highly racialised industry as an actor, and the identity struggle that so many people who grow up as minorities can relate to. If Prince Harry had wanted to find a way to make his role more relevant in modern Britain, he could have done a lot worse. And so while neither the reaction to his engagement to Markle could ever have been planned, if engagements are meant to bring people together, this one is doing just that. Afua Hirsch is a writer and broadcaster The Guardian Weekly 01.12.17 23 Reply Coping with the rise of China For over 50 years I was unaware we had a family member involved in the first world war, and I held views on Remembrance Day similar to those of Simon Jenkins (Let’s consign the 20th century to history, 17 November). However, on the death of my mother in 2011, I found out from distant cousins that we had a great-uncle who died in 1917 in Belgium. Their research discovered his grave in a military cemetery near Ypres. We also discovered that this man rescued his brother (my grandfather) from a bomb blast and in so doing, was himself shot in the leg, dying one month later. My grandfather survived to produce four more children, including my mother. So if it were not for my great-uncle’s act of bravery, several family members would not exist. My brother, my wife and I paid a visit to Ypres on 1 April 2017, on the centenary of my great-uncle’s death, to show our respects. Andrew Hardman Cheadle Hulme, UK Donald Trump is the latest US president who is struggling to deal with the inexorable rise of China to replace the US as the dominant global power. It is clear that Trump is singularly ill-equipped for this once-a-century transition in the global pecking order. It will certainly take more than a bromance between Trump and Xi Jinping to smooth the change under way (A bromance unlikely to run smooth, 17 November). This time, after 500 years, it is out with the west and in with the east, compounding the scale of the break with the old order. This time the weapons at the disposal of both the rising and declining powers can destroy the planet. There is an imperative to ensure that the transition occurs while keeping global warming below 2C. This time the western conception of democracy will be replaced and the capitalist system will face unprecedented change. We will need world leaders with the values, vision, patience and courage to create a better world. They are not currently available. Stewart Sweeney Adelaide, South Australia • Simon Jenkins put into words what I have been thinking. As one of the few people alive who had a parent who fought in the first world war, I feel entitled to comment. The “heroes” of the first war found themselves trapped in a meaningless conflict that had been brought about by degenerate rulers and ambitious politicians. They were faced with the choice of being killed by the enemy or executed on the orders of their own officers. The average man in the trenches learned quickly how to stay alive. The rest of the world has failed to learn from that conflict. Today, it seems, nobody dares appear on television or at a public meeting without wearing a poppy. So I would like to suggest as an alternative we should have black poppies as a protest against all future wars. The proceeds could go to organisations dedicated to peace. But I fear that, if a million marchers were unable to stop the UK from getting into a meaningless war, we could be wearing black poppies for a long time. Mike Kearney La Mouche, France Letters for publication email@example.com Please include a full postal address and a reference to the article. We may edit letters. Submission and publication of all letters is subject to our terms and conditions, see: http://gu.com/letters-terms Editorial Acting editor: Graham Snowdon Guardian Weekly, Kings Place, 90 York Way, London N1 9GU, UK Gary Kempston Forget about remembering • Simon Jenkins’s view that Remembrance Day has become a “synthetic festival” offends the decency of both British and Commonwealth people. I hereby register my disgust. Whenever I visit Vimy Ridge, or the Ypres salient, I always express sorrow in the German cemeteries. The Germans too were lions led by donkeys as generals, and hyenas posing as politicians. They too left mothers and wives bereft. I tried to book a hotel in Ypres for next year’s 100th anniversary. Everywhere is fully booked – it is fair to assume by people with high moral values. I will be at Vimy Ridge. It is people like Jenkins who seek to stop the younger generations from comprehending that ordinary men and women believed. And, in so doing they sacrificed their todays so that people like him could have their tomorrows. It is not admirable to subvert others by using the privileged pulpit of a newspaper: especially when such opinions could be extremely distasteful to many decent people. Paul Cotton Ornex, France • May I congratulate Simon Jenkins on his brave article regarding the loss of meaning in our remembrance services. I really object to the Cenotaph’s inscription “The Glorious Dead”, while Wilfred Owen’s “The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est/ Pro patria mori” is far more honest and profound. Kay Nicholson Sheffield, UK To contact the editor directly: firstname.lastname@example.org On social media facebook.com/guardianweekly Twitter: @guardianweekly Subscriptions You can subscribe at subscribe.theguardian.com/weekly Or manage your subscription at subscribe.theguardian.com/manage Briefly • Micah White says we need a binding global legal regime to prosecute financial crimes against humanity (17 November). I agree, but this is only one of the elements of a planetary legal regime. Another should be the international climate crimes tribunal. The time for drafting that one is now. Stuart Reid Mt Lawley, Western Australia • Emmanuel Carrere reports that France’s president Emmanuel Macron, in Athens, recalled a reference by Hegel to Minerva and her wisdom-giving owl (17 November). Surely, whatever name Hegel may have used for the goddess of wisdom, so cultivated a man as the president would have called her by her Greek name Athena, after whom the city he was visiting was named. Michael Drury Brussels, Belgium Or contact: UK, Europe and Rest of World email@example.com +44 (0) 330 333 6767 USA and Canada: firstname.lastname@example.org Toll Free: +1-844-632-2010 Direct line: +1-917-900-4663 Australia/New Zealand: email@example.com Toll Free : 1 800 773 766 Direct line: +61 (0)2 8076 8599 From the archive 1 December 1959 De-teddification for the easily led On the hooks in the hall were hung the trappings of delinquent youth – black leather jackets and pencil-slim jeans. In the hall itself twelve youths wearing pale blue sweat-shirts and football shorts puffed through a strenuous routine of physical training, moving briskly as if the crisp commands from the instructor were snapping at their heels. These, it was explained, were “the sheep and the show-offs”. Not the gang leaders or the incurably vicious, but the easily led and the foolish. Teddy boys, in fact, in the process of being, in Mr Butler’s words, “de-teddified” at the senior attendance centre in Manchester. The attendance centre is a long, leaky annexe to the police station at Plymouth Grove, Manchester. The walls are bare, the floor is splintery, and puddled in places where the rain squeezes through the roof. Fortyseven youths have been here since the centre opened last December. All of them were ordered to attend for twelve hours by magistrates’ courts for offences ranging from petty larceny to drunken brawling. They are from the middle-stream of juvenile offenders who have been in trouble before but who have never been to approved school, borstal, or a detention centre. They are aged between 17 and 21 and are probably unaware that they are the guinea pigs in an experiment designed to tackle the rising crime rate among juveniles by creating in them a wholesome dread of punishment. There are other attendance centres throughout the country and they have been in operation for some time, but they all serve junior juvenile offenders – aged between 12 and 17. The Manchester centre is the only one which attempts to tackle the problem of the older boy. As at the junior attendance centres, the accent is on work, with everything done at the double: the difference is in the type of work done. Perhaps because the experiment is still experiencing growing pains, the work consists of what is termed in the Army “barrack-room bull.” The boys are employed on scraping and painting walls and repairing the ceiling. When they have redecorated the whole building it seems that they will start again and redecorate the redecorations, so to speak. For any breach of centre rules such as malingering or disobedience, the offender is sent back to the magistrates’ court and tried again. 24 The Guardian Weekly 01.12.17 Eyewitnessed Shoppers scramble for television sets on Black Friday at a store in São Paulo, Brazil. Retailers across the world now see the US-inspired discount day as a litmus test ahead of the key Christmas t An 11-year-old Balinese dancer has her makeup applied before performing a traditional Margapati dance at a village event in Denpasar, Indonesia Mahendra Moonstar/Getty A pair of John Lennon’s glasses are displayed at police headquarters in Berlin. A man was arrested on suspicion of handling stolen items from Lennon’s estate Markus Schreiber/AP The Guardian Weekly 01.12.17 25 trading period Paulo Whitaker/Reuters Flowers are placed on the carcass of one of two endangered Asian elephants killed by a train near Gauhati, India. It is thought they ventured into the area in search of food Anupam Nath/AP New York’s annual Thanksgiving Day parade featured giant balloons characters from popular culture, in this case Angry Birds, above the streets of Manhattan Wang Ying/Xinhua A Krampus show in Goricane, Slovenia, hots up. The goat-demon who punishes naughty children at Christmas has become better known in recent years Borut Zivulovic/Reuters 26 The Guardian Weekly 01.12.17 The fatal defect of neoliberalism The guiding principles behind the era’s reigning ﬁscal ideology – always more markets, always less government – are in fact a perversion of mainstream economics, argues Dani Rodrik A s even its harshest critics concede, neoliberalism is hard to pin down. In broad terms, it denotes a preference for markets over government, economic incentives over cultural norms, and private entrepreneurship over collective action. It has been used to describe a wide range of phenomena – from Augusto Pinochet to Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan, from the Clinton Democrats and the UK’s New Labour to the economic opening in China and the reform of the welfare state in Sweden. The term is used as a catchall for anything that smacks of deregulation, liberalisation, privatisation or fiscal austerity. Today it is routinely reviled as a shorthand for the ideas and practices that have produced growing economic insecurity and inequality, led to the loss of our political values and ideals, and even precipitated our current populist backlash. We live in the age of neoliberalism, apparently. But who are neoliberalism’s adherents and disseminators – the neoliberals themselves? Oddly, you have to go back a long time to find anyone explicitly embracing neoliberalism. In 1982, Charles Peters, the longtime editor of the political magazine Washington Monthly, published an essay titled A NeoLiberal’s Manifesto. It makes for interesting reading 35 years later, since the neoliberalism it describes bears little resemblance to today’s target of derision. The politicians Peters names as exemplifying the movement are not the likes of Thatcher and Reagan, but rather liberals – in the US sense of the word – who have become disillusioned with unions and big government and dropped their prejudices against markets and the military. The use of the term “neoliberal” exploded in the 1990s, when it became closely associated with two developments, neither of which Peters’s article had mentioned. One of these was financial deregulation, which would culminate in the 2008 financial crash. The second was economic globalisation, which accelerated thanks to free flows of finance and to a new, more ambitious type of trade agreement. Financialisation and globalisation have become the most overt manifestations of neoliberalism in today’s world. That neoliberalism is a slippery, shifting concept, with no explicit lobby of defenders, does not Impure neoliberals … Tony Blair and Bill Clinton mean that it is irrelevant or unreal. Who can deny that the world has experienced a decisive shift toward markets from the 1980s on? Or that centre-left politicians – Democrats in the US, socialists and social democrats in Europe – enthusiastically adopted some of the central creeds of Thatcherism and Reaganism? Much of our contemporary policy discussion remains infused with principles supposedly grounded in the concept of homo economicus, the perfectly rational human being who always pursues his own self-interest. But the looseness of the term neoliberalism also means that criticism of it often misses the mark. There is nothing wrong with markets, private entrepreneurship or incentives – when deployed appropriately. Their creative use lies behind the most significant economic achievements of our time. As we heap scorn on neoliberalism, we risk throwing out some of neoliberalism’s useful ideas. In Iceland, 86% of workers are trade union members; the comparable number in Switzerland is just 16% The real trouble is that mainstream economics shades too easily into ideology, constraining the choices that we appear to have and providing cookie-cutter solutions. A proper understanding of the economics that lie behind neoliberalism would allow us to identify – and to reject – ideology when it masquerades as economic science. Most importantly, it would help us to develop the institutional imagination we badly need to redesign capitalism for the 21st century. Neoliberalism is typically understood as being based on key tenets of mainstream economic science. To see those tenets without the ideology, consider this thought experiment. A highly regarded economist lands in a country he has never visited and knows nothing about. He is brought to a meeting with the country’s leading policymakers. “Our country is in trouble,” they tell him. “The economy is stagnant, investment is low, and there is no growth in sight.” They turn to him expectantly: “Please tell us what we should do to make our economy grow.” The Guardian Weekly 01.12.17 27 What’s up with WhatsApp? The secret world of group chat → Review, pages 30-31 Illustration: Eleanor Shakespeare The economist explains that he knows too little about the country to make any recommendations. He would need to study the history of the economy, to analyse the statistics, and to travel around the country before he could say anything. But his hosts are insistent. “We understand your reticence, and we wish you had the time for all that,” they tell him. “But isn’t economics a science, and aren’t you one of its most distinguished practitioners? Even though you do not know much about our economy, surely there are some general theories and prescriptions you can share with us to guide our economic policies and reforms.” The economist does not want to emulate those economic gurus he has long criticised for peddling their favourite policy advice. But he feels challenged by the question. Are there universal truths in economics? Can he say anything valid or useful? So he begins. The efficiency with which an economy’s resources are allocated is a critical determinant of the economy’s performance, he says. Efficiency, in turn, requires aligning the incentives of households and businesses with social costs and benefits. The incentives faced by entrepreneurs, investors and producers are particularly important when it comes to economic growth. Growth needs a system of property rights and contract enforcement that will ensure those who invest can retain the returns on their investments. And the economy must be open to ideas and innovations from the rest of the world. But economies can be derailed by macroeconomic instability, he goes on. Governments must therefore pursue a sound monetary policy, which means restricting the growth of liquidity to the increase in nominal money demand at reasonable inflation. They must ensure fiscal sustainability, so that the increase in public debt does not outpace national income. And they must carry out prudential regulation of financial institutions to prevent the financial system from taking excessive risk. He warms to his task. Economics is not just about efficiency and growth, he adds. Economic principles also carry over to equity and social policy. Economics has little to say about how much redistribution a society should seek. But it does tell us that the tax base should be as broad as possible, and that social programmes should be designed in a way that does not encourage workers to drop out of the labour market. By the time the economist stops, it appears as if he has laid out a fully fledged neoliberal agenda. A critic in the audience will have heard all the code words: efficiency, incentives, property rights, sound money, fiscal prudence. And yet the universal principles that the economist describes are in fact quite openended. They presume a capitalist economy – one in which investment decisions are made by private individuals and firms – but not much beyond that. They allow for – indeed, they require – a surprising variety of institutional arrangements. So has the economist just delivered a neoliberal screed? We would be mistaken to think so, and our mistake would consist of associating each abstract term – incentives, property rights, sound money – with a particular institutional counterpart. And therein lies the central conceit, and the fatal flaw, of neoliberalism: the belief that first-order economic principles map on to a unique set of policies, approximated by a Thatcher/Reagan-style agenda. Consider property rights. They matter insofar as they allocate returns on investments. An optimal system would distribute property rights to those who would make the best use of an asset, and afford protection against those most likely to expropriate the returns. Property rights are good when they protect innovators from free Continued on page 28 → 28 The Guardian Weekly 01.12.17 Weekly review ← Continued from page 27 riders, but they are bad when they protect them from competition. Depending on the context, a legal regime that provides the appropriate incentives can look quite different from the standard US-style regime of private property rights. This may seem like a semantic point with little practical import; but China’s phenomenal economic success is largely due to its orthodoxy-defying institutional tinkering. China turned to markets, but did not copy western practices in property rights. Its reforms produced market-based incentives through a series of institutional arrangements that were better adapted to the local context. Rather than move directly from state to private ownership, for example, which would have been stymied by the weakness of the prevailing legal structures, the country relied on mixed forms of ownership that provided more effective property rights for entrepreneurs in practice. Township and Village Enterprises (TVEs), which spearheaded Chinese economic growth during the 1980s, were collectives owned and controlled by local governments. Even though TVEs were publicly owned, entrepreneurs received the protection they needed against expropriation. Local governments had a direct stake in the profits of the firms, and hence did not want to kill the goose that lays the golden eggs. China relied on a range of such innovations, each delivering the economist’s higher-order economic principles in unfamiliar institutional arrangements. For instance, it shielded its large state sector from global competition, establishing special economic zones where foreign firms could operate with different rules than in the rest of the economy. In view of such departures from orthodox blueprints, describing China’s economic reforms as neoliberal – as critics are inclined to do – distorts more than it reveals. If we are to call this neoliberalism, we must surely look more kindly on the ideas behind the most dramatic poverty reduction in history. One might protest that China’s institutional innovations were purely transitional. But this common line of thinking overlooks the diversity of capitalist arrangements that still prevails among advanced economies, despite the considerable homogenisation of our policy discourse. What, after all, are western institutions? The size of the public sector in OECD countries varies, from a third of the economy in Korea to nearly 60% in Finland. In Iceland, 86% of workers are members of a trade union; the comparable number in Switzerland is just 16%. In the US, firms can fire workers almost at will; French labour laws have historically required employers to jump through many hoops first. Stock markets have grown to a total value of nearly oneand-a-half times GDP in the US; in Germany, they are only a third as large, equivalent to just 50% of GDP. The idea that any one of these models of taxation, labour relations or financial organisation is Adapted to local circumstances … Chinese free trade operates differently to the American version inherently superior to the others is belied by the varying economic fortunes that each of these economies have experienced over recent decades. The US has gone through successive periods of angst in which its economic institutions were judged inferior to those in Germany, Japan or China. Certainly, comparable levels of wealth and productivity can be produced under very different models of capitalism. The visiting economist in our thought experiment knows all this, and recognises that the principles he has enunciated need to be filled in with institutional detail before they become operational. Property rights? Yes, but how? Sound money? Of course, but how? It would perhaps be easier to criticise his list of principles for being vacuous than to denounce it as a neoliberal screed. Still, these principles are not entirely contentfree. China, and indeed all countries that managed to develop rapidly, demonstrate the utility of those principles once they are properly adapted to local context. Conversely, too many economies have been driven to ruin courtesy of the political leaders who chose to violate them. We need look no further than Latin American populists or eastern European communist regimes to appreciate the practical significance of sound money, fiscal sustainability and private incentives. Of course, economics goes beyond a list of abstract, largely common-sense principles. Much of the work of economists consists of developing stylised models of how economies work and then confronting those models with evidence. Economists tend to think of what they do as progressively refining their understanding of the world: their models are supposed to get better and better as they are tested and revised over time. But progress in economics happens differently. Economists study a social reality that is unlike the physical universe. It is completely manmade, highly malleable and operates according to different rules across time and space. Economics advances not by settling on the right model or theory to answer such questions, but by improving our understanding of the diversity of causal relationships. Neoliberalism and its customary remedies – always more markets, always less government – are in fact a perversion of mainstream economics. Good economists know that the correct answer to any question in economics is: it depends. Does an increase in the minimum wage depress employment? Yes, if the labour market is really competitive and employers have no control over the wage they must pay to attract workers; but not necessarily otherwise. Does trade liberalisation increase economic growth? Yes, if it increases the profitability of industries where the bulk of investment and innovation takes place; but not otherwise. Does more government spending increase employment? Yes, if there is slack in the economy and wages do not rise; but not otherwise. Does monopoly harm innovation? Yes and no, depending on a whole host of market circumstances. In economics, new models rarely supplant older models. The basic competitive-markets model dating back to Adam Smith has been modified over time by the inclusion, in rough historical order, of monopoly, externalities, scale economies, incomplete and asymmetric information, irrational behaviour and many other real-world features. But the older models remain as useful as ever. Understanding how real markets operate necessitates using different lenses at different times. Perhaps maps offer the best analogy. Just like economic models, maps are highly stylised representations of reality. They are useful precisely because they abstract from many real-world details that would get in the way. But abstraction also implies that we need a different map depending on the nature of our journey. If we are travelling by bike, we need a map of bike trails. If a new subway is constructed, we will need a subway map – but we wouldn’t throw out the older maps. Economists tend to be very good at making maps, but not good enough at choosing the one most suited to the task at hand. When confronted with policy questions of the type our visiting economist faces, too many of them resort to “benchmark” models that favour the laissez-faire approach. John Maynard Keynes once defined economics as the “science of thinking in terms of models, joined to the art of choosing models which are relevant”. Economists typically have trouble with the “art” part. This, too, can be illustrated with a parable. A journalist calls an economics professor for his view on whether free trade is a good idea. The professor responds enthusiastically in the affirmative. The journalist then goes undercover as a student in the professor’s advanced graduate seminar on international trade. He poses the same question: is free trade good? This time the professor is stymied. “What do you mean by ‘good’?” he responds. “And good for whom?” The professor then launches into an extensive exegesis that will ultimately culminate in a heavily hedged statement: “So if the long list of conditions I have just described are satisfied, and assuming we can tax the beneficiaries to compensate the losers, freer trade has the potential to The Guardian Weekly 01.12.17 29 Kicker here like this Then a short description here like this → Then Section and page XX Sorely disappointed … Mexico faithfully followed neoliberalism’s economic prescriptions, but stagnation followed Mario Guzman/EPA increase everyone’s wellbeing.” If he is in an expansive mood, the professor might add that the effect of free trade on an economy’s longterm growth rate is not clear either, and would depend on an altogether different set of requirements. This professor is rather different from the one the journalist encountered previously. On the record, he exudes self-confidence about the appropriate policy. There is one and only one model, at least as far as the public conversation is concerned, and there is a single correct answer, regardless of context. Strangely, the professor deems the knowledge that he imparts to his advanced students to be inappropriate (or dangerous) for the general public. Why? The roots of such behaviour lie deep in the culture of the economics profession. But one important motive is the zeal to display the profession’s crown jewels – market efficiency, the invisible hand, comparative advantage – in untarnished form, and to shield them from attack by self-interested barbarians, namely the protectionists. Unfortunately, these economists typically ignore the barbarians on the other side of the issue – financiers and multinational corporations whose motives are no purer and who Access to free markets has played an important role in virtually all the economic miracles of our time are all too ready to hijack these ideas for their own benefit. As a result, economists’ contributions to public debate are often biased in one direction, in favour of more trade, more finance and less government. That is why economists have developed a reputation as cheerleaders for neoliberalism, even if mainstream economics is very far from a paean to laissez-faire. The economists who let their enthusiasm for free markets run wild are in fact not being true to their own discipline. How then should we think about globalisation in order to liberate it from the grip of neoliberal practices? We must begin by understanding the positive potential of global markets. Access to world markets in goods, technologies and capital has played an important role in virtually all of the economic miracles of our time. China is the most recent and powerful reminder of this historical truth, but it is not the only case. Before China, similar miracles were performed by South Korea, Taiwan, Japan and a few non-Asian countries. All of these countries embraced globalisation rather than turn their backs on it, and they benefited handsomely. Defenders of the existing economic order will quickly point to these examples when globalisation comes into question. What they will fail to say is that almost all of these countries joined the world economy by violating neoliberal strictures. South Korea and Taiwan, for instance, heavily subsidised their exporters, the former through the financial system and the latter through tax incentives. All of them eventually removed most of their import restrictions, long after economic growth had taken off. But none, with the sole exception of Chile in the 1980s under Pinochet, followed the neoliberal recommendation of a rapid opening-up to imports. Chile’s neoliberal experiment eventually produced the worst economic crisis in all of Latin America. While the details differ across countries, in all cases governments played an active role in restructuring the economy and buffering it against a volatile external environment. Industrial policies, restrictions on capital flows and currency controls – all prohibited in the neoliberal playbook – were rampant. By contrast, countries that stuck closest to the neoliberal model of globalisation were sorely disappointed. Mexico provides a particularly sad example. Following a series of macroeconomic crises in the mid-1990s, Mexico embraced macroeconomic orthodoxy, extensively liberalised its economy, freed up the financial system, sharply reduced import restrictions and signed the North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta). These policies did produce macroeconomic stability and a significant rise in foreign trade and internal investment. But where it counts – in overall productivity and economic growth – the experiment failed. Since undertaking the reforms, overall productivity in Mexico has stagnated, and the economy has underperformed even by the undemanding standards of Latin America. These outcomes are not a surprise from the perspective of sound economics. They are yet another manifestation of the need for economic policies to be attuned to the failures to which markets are prone, and to be tailored to the specific circumstances of each country. No single blueprint fits all. As Peters’s 1982 manifesto attests, the meaning of neoliberalism has changed considerably over time as the label has acquired harder-line connotations with respect to deregulation, financialisation and globalisation. But there is one thread that connects all versions of neoliberalism, and that is the emphasis on economic growth. Peters wrote in 1982 that the emphasis was warranted because growth is essential to all our social and political ends – community, democracy, prosperity. Entrepreneurship, private investment and removing obstacles that stand in the way (such as excessive regulation) were all instruments for achieving economic growth. If a similar neoliberal manifesto were penned today, it would no doubt make the same point. Critics often point out that this emphasis on economics debases and sacrifices other important values such as equality, social inclusion, democratic deliberation and justice. Those political and social objectives obviously matter enormously, and in some contexts they matter the most. They cannot always, or even often, be achieved by means of technocratic economic policies; politics must play a central role. Still, neoliberals are not wrong when they argue that our most cherished ideals are more likely to be attained when our economy is vibrant, strong and growing. Where they are wrong is in believing that there is a unique and universal recipe for improving economic performance, to which they have access. The fatal flaw of neoliberalism is that it does not even get the economics right. It must be rejected on its own terms for the simple reason that it is bad economics. A version of this article first appeared in Boston Review 30 The Guardian Weekly 01.12.17 Weekly review Inside the secret world of group chat WhatsApp’s intimate circles are helping bring scandal to light and play an increasingly vital role for politicians and activists. Here, ﬁve users open up I f Jan Koum and Brian Acton hadn’t been turned down for jobs at Facebook, the lives of a billion or so people around the world might look somewhat different today. Their failure to get hired, however, left the two former Yahoo! employees with enough time on their hands to play around with an idea. And eight years ago, that idea became WhatsApp. Like most incredibly lucrative inventions, it doesn’t sound like much; just a free, quick and easy mobile phone messaging service, allowing users to set up specific groups of friends around whom messages will be sent en masse. But last year it overtook traditional SMS text messaging in popularity and increasingly it’s weaving itself into the fabric of modern life, for what it really does is create private meeting places in a very public online world. In that sense, WhatsApp is beginning to turn friendship back into what it used to be before Facebook (which inevitably bought the app three years ago): not vast, sprawling networks of people you barely know but small, intimate circles of trust where likeminded people can share stuff that matters to them. Sometimes it’s things that would be boring to anyone outside the circle, as with the legions of family WhatsApps used to share baby pictures, injokes and gently nagging messages from mothers to far-flung offspring at university. But sometimes what’s shared is anything but dull. Shortly after June’s UK general election, Tory MPs used WhatsApp groups to canvass backbench opinion about Theresa May’s prospects – so much more discreet than huddling in the corners of House of Commons tearooms, as plotters did in a more analogue age. They’re routinely used on all sides of the house to swap gossip, agree lines to take across groups of sympathetic MPs and support individuals under pressure. They’ve played a pivotal part in exposing sexual harassment, with victims swapping names via a “whisper network” of likeminded WhatsAppers. And for political activists inside repressive regimes, they can be a lifesaver. Yet the app’s system of secure end-to-end encryption – which means that nobody outside the group can intercept the messages – also attracts those with more sinister intent. UK home secretary Amber Rudd suggested earlier this year that it was one of several potential hiding places for those plotting terrorist atrocities – Isis recruiters have been known to use it and Khalid Masood sent a message on the service shortly before killing six people by driving his car into a crowd of pedestrians on Westminster Bridge earlier this year. The FBI, meanwhile, is said to be concerned about its potential use in money laundering, insider trading and other financial crimes. The biggest danger for ordinary users, however, is that while a group may feel like a safe and private space, it can be anything but. It’s so simple for the distracted to send what was meant to be a private thought around the wrong group, as the Labour MP Lucy Powell found out when she sent a less than flattering message about frontbench colleagues to the entire women’s parliamentary Labour party. And, unlike a whispered conversation in real life, WhatsApp leaves an electronic record that can all too easily be leaked by a rogue group member; like human friendships down the ages, it’s only ever as strong as its most gossipy link. Some things, it seems, even technology can’t change. Gaby Hinsliff The Second Source Female journalists tackle sexual harassment Rosamund Urwin Sisterhood can emerge in unexpected places. In recent weeks, WhatsApp has been my haven of female solidarity, my sorority house – a group set up in reaction to the onslaught of tales about sexual harassment is now forging a response to combat esthis abuse. It all began with a Twitter message. I had read a brilliant piece by Emily y Reynolds: An Incomplete List of All the Men in the Media Who Have Wronged Me. Afterwards, I messaged her to say how well-written it was. Reynolds – who is younger than me – had had similar (actually far worse) experiences to me when I started as a journalist 10 years ago. It made me think, if nothing changed, thiss would happen to the 22-year-old of tomorrow, of next year, of the next decade – a stuck record of abuse. Compared with what has since been reported, the harassment I suffered seems mild. There were inappropriate texts (“Before I die, I will kiss every freckle on your lips” was one) and incessant pestering. Reynolds wrote she had been sent an unsolicited penis pic before a follow-up introducing her to a contact. We set up a WhatsApp group for female journalists to ttalk about their experiences. Five founding members swiftly became 20. Patfoundi terns swiftly emerged. The same names kep kept coming up – and the same behaviour. Men invited women for drinks osiou ten tensibly to give them career advice, but expecting rather more than a chat. It exp became obvious why this type of abuse beca is so prevalent p in the media. It is an informal industry indu where contacts are all. Our group started with stories, but it quickly morphed into a movement. It has empowered us. When I was sexually harassed, I felt alone; now I realise so many women shared my experiences and we want to stop it happening to more women in the future. This revolution will be WhatsApped. The Guardian Weekly 01.12.17 31 Kicker here like this Then a short description here like this → Then Section and page XX The White Helmets Syria Civil Defence volunteers coordinate rescues Khaled Khatib The internet in Syria is bad, but WhatsApp doesn’t require a lot of data, so everyone uses it. I’ve been with the Syria Civil Defence, also known as the White Helmets, since 2013 – we are volunteers who go to the scene of attacks to rescue trapped civilians. We have people ready all round Syria. We use WhatsApp groups to organise where more help is needed. It’s especially important for contacting people in areas that are completely under siege, like the countryside around Homs, and areas where there are no longer motorways to travel on. We can hold meetings with these colleagues through WhatsApp. In April, when there was a large chemical attack in Khan Sheikhoun, the local rescue group used WhatsApp to communicate that they needed more support. Many rescue groups responded and went to the scene where more than 60 people were killed and many more injured. It is difficult to think how this would have been coordinated so quickly with so many people in any other way. As a media officer, I used WhatsApp to communicate with people on the ground about what was happening and then put the story on social media to bring more help to the people there. Recently, we’ve been using WhatsApp to speak to our team in Ghouta, a Damascus suburb, where there is shelling in the street. WhatsApp makes being in touch during the war easier for us. Gaysians LGBT group supporting Asians and organising marches Khakan Qureshi Women’s PLP A group for female British Labour MPs Lucy Powell I’m part of a south Asian LGBT support group in Birmingham and someone contacted me to see if I wanted to help get our commu-nity across the UK together for this year’s London Pride – he invited me to a small group to organise it. It is made up of 19 people around the country, many of them prominent within our community. It’s 70 years since the partition of India a ty and 50 years since homosexuality f lt lik d was decriminalised in the UK, so it felt like a good time for us to make a statement. We organised for 100 of us to be in the Pride parade this year. We might have gone as individuals in the past, but this time we made a stand and said: “We are gay Asians and we’re standing proud.” It felt like our little group made a big difference. In our group there are atheists, agnostics, Sikhs, Hindus, Muslims and we discuss the unique challenges we face. There’s one woman who is going through a traumatic time e as she prepares to tell her family she is lesbian and we’ve been able to give her assurance and guidance. We’re like-minded individuals who have come together to make things happen. I’m in about eight parliamentary WhatsApp groups. Back in January, I had a temporary group with the MPs Alison Al McGovern and Jess Phillips to draft an article on childcare. When it was published, there had been a sense offline that our frontbench was wasn’t that happy. Later in the day there was a co conversation on the Women’s PLP [Parliame mentary Labour party] group about childcare and the article came up. I meant to comment abou about it in the group of the three of us, but put message in the Women’s PLP group – about my m women in that group. [The post read: “We are in th the most ludicrous, nonsensical, pretend, unreal, bollocks position as an Opposition … Angela [Rayner] and Tulip [Siddiq] really think they’re going to be Ministers in an actual Labour govern government very soon.”] I realised my m mistake almost straight away. I texted Angela and Tulip to apo apologise and posted back in the larger group to apologise everybody. I had a sleepless to e nigh night, but Angela and Tulip were very good about it. It’s made very, v me incredibly incre careful. If you commit th thi t writing, iti those things to whether it’s WhatsApp, text or email, then they can stand there for the rest of time without context. Cornmarkets Business Group Cork traders ﬁght antisocial behaviour Frank Bradley Nicolas Asfouri/Getty I set up a group for traders in our area of Cork city to communicate the problems we’re facing. We’ve got 29 different businesses in the group – the Scout shop, McDonald’s, there are public houses, restaurants, craft shops, hairdressers and shoe shops. This summer there was an increase in antisocial behaviour and it hasn’t been given enough attention by the authorities. People are openly dealing heroin. There’s a lot of drinking happening on the main street,, and a lot of aggression. I’m a publican and I try y to keep a strict house, but ut there are off-licences selling countless amounts of alcohol and it’s affecting us all. We use the group to record stuff so that when we go into meetings with City Hall or the police, we know what we want to talk about. We take pictures of people drinking in the street, urinating. We’re not being vigilantes. We’ve been told, and we’re very aware, that we can’t use any of this as official evidence against anyone. We’re all self-employed and don’t really have the time to take off for meetings, so it saves us time. We’ve We ve only used the group in a negative way so far, but we’ve decided we’re going to use WhatsApp g to organise a festival in the spring, too. IInterviews by Candice Pires Ca 32 The Guardian Weekly 01.12.17 Discovery DNA revolution reveals our origins Scientists can map our ancestors’ genomes without skeletal remains, explains Robin McKie S cientists made a remarkable discovery at Trou Al’Wesse in Belgium earlier this year. Inside a cave that overlooks the Hoyoux river they found evidence it had been occupied by Neanderthals tens of thousands of years ago. Yet the cave contained no skull fragments, no teeth – nor any other skeletal remains of this extinct species of human being. The team, from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, were sure of their ground, however. Their genetic analysis of soil samples, scraped from the cave floor, had pinpointed the presence of Neanderthals through that most definitive of biological markers: their DNA. In other words, without digging up a bone or a molar, the team, led by geneticist Matthias Meyer, had found – merely by studying a few microscopic strands of DNA – that tens of thousands of years ago Neanderthals had sheltered at Trou Al’Wesse. It was the scientific equivalent of “extracting gold dust from the air”, as one researcher put it. Such hyperbole is understandable. The Trou Al’Wesse sediments would have been packed with DNA from plants, bacteria and other cave animals accumulated over millennia – as well as possible contaminating genetic material from the scientists themselves. Yet the Leipzig group, whose work was reported in the journal Science, in April, was able to pinpoint the few invisible scraps of Neanderthal DNA that had lingered there and enrich this material until they had enough to study its makeup in detail. “We don’t know what was the exact source of this Neanderthal DNA,” Meyer said. “It could have come from Neanderthals who bled, or sweated, or left urine or faeces in the cave. However, once these cells had broken open, their DNA would have spilled out and would have become bound to minerals in the soil, where they were preserved.” Meyer’s project is an example of the astonishing advances that have been made in studying ancient genomes. Apart from detecting the presence of Neanderthals and other ancient people at sites devoid of any other remains, researchers are also using these techniques to uncover ancient population movements, pinpoint previously unknown human species, track the evolution of human illnesses and uncover the sources of human creativity. A new window has been opened on to our past. “This is the genetic equivalent of uncovering the great library of Alexandria. All we have to do now is to learn how to read what we have found,” said Johannes Krausse, of the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in Jena. The study of ancient genomes began 20 years ago when scientists first developed techniques for extracting DNA from fossils and for creating sufficient copies of that genetic material to allow them to study and characterise them. As a result, we have discovered that Neanderthals, who evolved separately from modern humans for more than half a million years, later interbred with us as we emerged from our African homeland. The existence of the Denisovans was revealed only when scientists extracted DNA from a tooth and a few bone fragments from the Denisova cave in Siberia, and found it belonged to a previously unknown species of ancient human. Only a finger bone and three teeth of these people have ever been found, yet we know from genetic studies that Denisovans also interbred with modern humans. Their descendants, carrying small amounts of Denisovan DNA, then went on to settle in Melanesia and Australia thousands of years ago. “Essentially, we are finding – thanks to DNA studies – that our relatively simple picture of human evolution was insufficiently detailed,” said Professor Chris Stringer of the Natural History Museum, It came from somewhere else … the mysterious dark object from Stuart Clark Astronomers say they are now certain that a mysterious object detected hurtling past our sun in October is indeed from another solar system. They have named it 1I/2017 U1(’Oumuamua) and believe it could be one of 10,000 others lurking undetected in our cosmic neighbourhood. The certainty of its interstellar origin comes from an analysis showing its orbit is almost impossible to achieve from within our solar system. It is the first rock to have been identified as forming around another star. Since asteroids coalesce during planet formation, this object – named after a Hawaiian messenger – can tell us something about the formation of planets around its parent star. The latest analyses show ’Oumuamua is similar to some comets and asteroids in our own solar system. This suggests planetary compositions like ours could be typical across the galaxy. ’Oumuamua is thought to be an extremely dark object, absorbing 96% of light that falls on its surface, and it is red. This colour is the hallmark of organic (carbon-based) molecules, which are the building blocks that allow life as we know it to function. It is widely thought that the delivery of organic molecules to the early Earth by the collision of comets and asteroids made life here possible. ’Oumuamua shows the same could be possible in other solar systems. The characteristics of the rock have been published by two groups of astronomers. The first, led by Karen Meech of the University of Hawaii, found ’Oumuamua was elongated and about 400 metres long. Using the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope they also found it rotated once every 7.3 hours. The other group of astronomers, led by David Jewitt of the University of California Los Angeles, estimated how many similar interstellar visitors there might be in our solar system. Surprisingly, they calculate another 10,000 could be closer to the sun than the eighth planet, Neptune, A very complicated family tree ... advances in DNA collection and analysis have shown that Homo sapiens were more mobile and complex than previously thought Stuart Kinlough/Alamy London. “It is now clear there was a lot more interbreeding between ancient species, including early Homo sapiens and others, and that there was a lot more movement of populations both in the distant past – and relatively recently.” One intriguing discovery is provided by the identification of the Ust’-Ishim man, a 45,000-year-old male whose remains were found in Siberia. DNA taken from his thigh bone indicates he was a member of Homo sapiens who possessed a distinctive genetic lineage that has since disappeared entirely. And a similar fate seems to have affected the Oase people of Romania. Named after a specimen found at Peştera cu Oase, Romania, this population of Homo sapiens contained fairly high amounts of Neanderthal DNA from recent interbreeding but also died out without leaving any further trace. Scientists have also uncovered evidence that about 15,000 years ago, as the first farmers were developing in the Middle East, a group of people known as basal Eurasians added their DNA to the gene pool of these early agriculturists. Yet no one knows who these people were. The ghostly imprint of their genes in modern human DNA is the only evidence we have so far of their existence. A major player in uncovering this picture of mysterious, shifting populations is the Swedish researcher Svante Pääbo, who led much of the effort to sequence the Neanderthal genome and the discovery of the Denisovans. Like most others in the field, he too has been startled by the rate of progress. “I now think it is possible that we could sequence the genes of people and animals that lived up to 1 million years ago,” he said. “Already we have isolated genes from a horse that was 700,000 years old – though it helped that it was preserved in permafrost. However, if you had asked me 20 years ago what the limit would be I would have said we would be lucky to go back 100,000 years.” The insights gained through the study of ancient genomes go far beyond the study of our past. “There is a great deal we can learn about modern humans from this work,” said Tony Capra of Vanderbilt University in Nashville. “For example, we know that around 2% of the genomes of modern humans is made up of Neanderthal DNA. However, some parts of our genomes are noticeable because they never contain Neanderthal DNA. That indicates these sections contain genes that are crucial to our success as a species.” Observer a diﬀerent solar system Alien ... artist’s impression of ’Oumuamua which is 30 times further from the Sun than the Earth. Yet these are currently undetected. Each of these interstellar interlopers would be just passing through, travelling too fast to be captured by the gravity of the sun. Yet it still takes them about a decade to cross our solar system and head back into interstellar space. If this estimate is correct, about 1,000 enter and another 1,000 leave every year – which means that roughly three arrive and three leave every day. Using robotic telescopes such as Pan-Starrs, which detected ’Oumuamua, to look for asteroids is a priority for astronomers searching for potentially hazardous objects that could impact Earth. Dispatches The Guardian Weekly 01.12.17 33 Adults can help babies identify words and ideas Babies as young as six months old may have an inkling that certain words and concepts are related, say scientists in research that sheds new light on how infants learn. The study also found that babies who were more often exposed to adults talking to them about items in their vicinity did better at identifying a picture of an object when the item was said out loud. “What this is saying is that it is always a good idea to talk to your kid and to show interest in whatever they are interested in, and it looks like the more you do that, the better – put very simply,” said Dr Elika Bergelson of Duke University in North Carolina, who co-authored the paper published in the Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences. Sperm and air pollution High levels of air pollution are associated with poor sperm quality and could be partly responsible for the sharp drop in male fertility, according to a study. A team of scientists, led by researchers from the Chinese University of Hong Kong, studied the sperm of nearly 6,500 men and found a “strong association” between high levels of fine particulate air pollution and “abnormal sperm shape”. The report, published in the journal Occupational & Environmental Medicine, said that although the effect is “relatively small in clinical terms” it might still lead to infertility for a “significant number of couples” given the extent of air pollution in cities around the world. Vitamin D and arthritis Maintaining sufficient vitamin D levels may help to prevent rheumatoid arthritis, according to researchers. A study led by the University of Birmingham compared the ability of immune cells in blood from inflamed joints in people with rheumatoid arthritis to respond to the so-called sunshine vitamin. The experts found tissue that was not diseased responded well to vitamin D, suggesting it could be effective at preventing the disease’s onset. Rollin’ with the blues A study has found that blue whales have a tendency to roll to one side or the other when lunging for prey, with the preference apparently down to the depth of the water and the type of roll they execute. “As humans we think lateralisation [like “handedness”] is a uniquely human trait but actually you find it in a broad range of species in the animal kingdom,” said James Herbert-Read of Stockholm University, co-author of the study in Current Biology. 34 The Guardian Weekly 01.12.17 Books Getting better all the time Steven Poole finds endearing comedy in two friends trying to outdo each other’s self-help plans Desperately Seeking Self-Improvement: A Year Inside the Optimization Movement by Carl Cederström and André Spicer OR Books, 357pp How can I be a better person? For most of human history this has been an ethical question. But now it’s a technological one. This is the age of life-hacks, smart drugs, cosmetic surgery, mindfulness apps, productivity-enhancing software and social media, the largest infrastructure for boasting the world has ever seen. Crucially, the phrase “self-help”, with its unfortunate possible implications of weakness and victimhood, has been elbowed out by the engineering metaphor of “self-optimisation”. This is now such a huge and variegated industry that, for a curious outsider, it’s difficult to know where to start. Which is where our authors come in, for they have done their readers the profound service of starting everywhere. Over the course of 2016, they each spent an entire month trying to optimise, according to the latest scientific or at least sciencey advice, one area of their lives, from productivity (in the work sense), to brain function, physical attractiveness, relationships, creativity, money and so on. In a month, Carl Cederström scoffs smart pills, gets a personal trainer to build muscle and learns French; André Spicer runs an ultramarathon, becomes a day trader and goes on a man retreat. It’s a great idea for a stunt book, and the results are written up in a tremendously enjoyable form of alternating diary entries, which importantly avoids any kind of second-guessing hindsight. We follow the adventures of each author in what seems like real time – Cederström in Stockholm, Spicer in London – and we also witness one side and then the other of their conversations about the project. The result is something like an internet-age buddy movie in which the heroes vie to outdo one another in extreme self-fashioning, and constantly trade amusing insults. Spicer goes to a cultish selfimprovement seminar and writes: “During the next break, I wrote an email to Carl asking him what he thought my blockage was. He responded with one word: yourself.” The authors embark on the project as critics of the culture, but they do find some things that actually work for them – for instance, working in “Pomodoros”, or blocks of 25 minutes punctuated by five-minute breaks – and the analysis of this world in general gets deeper and more thoughtful as they approach the end of a very bizarre year. Cederström goes on a Zen guru’s retreat, for example, and is surprised: “Before going to the retreat I had thought of spiritual training as a middle-class indulgence. But now, after I saw the pain that these people were suffering and how desperate they were to get better, I could no longer stand on the side and laugh.” But that’s OK, since there are still plenty of other things worth laughing about. The chapter on optimising sex, in particular, is an absurdist masterpiece: the authors’ long-suffering partners refuse to participate, so Spicer dances awkwardly at a Are we there yet? Carl Cederström, left, and André Spicer try to better themselves Ikon/Alamy Tantric workshop, while Cederström buys expensive masturbation paraphernalia in a futile attempt to become multi-orgasmic. “I could think of many people I wouldn’t like to have sex with,” he writes, “and I was one of them.” Comedy is deployed as an analytical weapon, which is especially effective during the month the he authors attempt to become better people in a morall sense (after all), by trying on philosophies such as “effective altruism”. “I was just getting into my new role as moral Carl,” Cederström ederström reflects, “and I had already alienated enated my family.” Overall, as an n anatomy of modern optimisation culture ulture the book is sharp and laconic, aconic, as readers of the authors’ uthors’ excellent previous vious work, The Wellness lness Syndrome, will have expected. Late on, the authors spend nd a m o n t h t r ying to optimise e “attention”, or how famous they can become on social media. Cederström decides to record his physical self-transformation on Instagram. “As I was doing my second set of bench presses, I thought about Christopher Lasch’s claim that, in the early 1970s, as people lost hope in improving the world politically, they retreated into self-impro self-improvement. It was no small irony that our year of self self-improvement was also the year when both Britain Britai and the USA had fallen apart politically.” In London, Lo meanwhile, Spicer is thin thinking along the same lines. “What “Wha can you say when you are face faced with a year like 2016? All words wor seem to be cliches. They only added to the rubble of history.” But this book is also something more than a sparkling nonfiction analysis of cultural tura trends: it’s an alm almost novelistic ac account of a pleasingly in sardonic The Guardian Weekly 01.12.17 35 The first transnational corporation in the west The Templars: The Rise and Spectacular Fall of God’s Holy Warriors by Dan Jones Viking, 428pp “The themes of the Templar story resonate powerfully today,” Jones observes. He rightly does not draw specious parallels, but the reader can’t help recognising familiar territory. In what we now call the Middle East, religions collide and atrocities abound. The power of states is threatened, or seen to be threatened, by unaccountable forces with global tentacles. Information is unreliable and easily manipulated, allowing conspiracy theories to take root and spread. But nothing is left of the Templars except words on parchment and ruins in stone. Cullen Murphy Washington Post friendship. “Carl Skyped,” reads one of Spicer’s early diary entries. “He was lying on a couch under a blanket. He looked pitiful. I instantly started feeling better about things. This always happens. When Carl feels bad, I feel good. Buoyed by Carl’s illness, I continued writing.” The result is that the book is both the record of a “social scientific experiment”, as they say, and a fine literary comedy of cultural criticism. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the selfimprovement world that this account illuminates is what so many of its most ardent followers want to do with all that increased productivity and endurance. Do they dream of revolutionising scientific understanding or making immortal art? Not really; they just want to become self-improvement gurus themselves. The logical end point of this curious dynamic will arrive when everyone in the world spends their time telling everyone else how to optimise their life as someone tells other people how to improve their methods of telling other people how to improve themselves. It may sound silly, but on the other hand there would be no time for nuclear Armageddon. The planning was meticulous. The letters were sent by the king to local authorities throughout his realm. They were to act one month later, simultaneously and at dawn – on a Friday the 13th. The targets were unaware of what lay in store. It was a performance reminiscent of a Stalinist purge or Hitler’s Night of the Long Knives. The year was 1307, and the month was October. The king was Philip IV of France. And his victims were all members of the order of “the Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and the Temple of Jerusalem”, better known as the Knights Templar – or simply the Templars. Over a period of two centuries, this charitable and military order of Crusaders had grown in power and wealth. At a stroke, and with the acquiescence of a weakened pope, Philip destroyed the order, imprisoning its leaders and burning many at the stake. “God will avenge our death,” said James of Molay, the last Grand Master, as he faced the flames on an island in the Seine. And, in a way, God has. The Templars live on in popular culture – from the video game Assassin’s Creed to Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code. Philip IV does not. Dan Jones, the author of well-regarded histories of the Plantagenets and the Wars of the Roses, obviously gives no credence to the conspiratorial fantasies that have been spun around the Templars. His aim is to present a gripping historical narrative, and in this he succeeds. The raw material is rich. Founded by a French knight in 1119, after the successful First Crusade, the Templars began with a mission to protect throngs of pilgrims travelling to the Holy Land. The members of the order wore white robes with a distinctive red cross, embraced personal poverty and lived according to a regime codified by the Cistercian abbot Bernard of Clairvaux. A papal charter was followed by a papal decree granting the Templars an exemption from taxes and local laws, effectively creating a transnational entity. As Jones describes it, the order comes across as a combination of Blackwater, Goldman Sachs, Kroll International, FedEx, Fort Knox, Bechtel and, well, the Red Cross. “By the 1240s,” Jones writes, “the order was providing diverse financial services to some of the richest and most powerful figures across Christendom.” The order’s military record was mixed. In 1187, an army of Templars and others was surrounded and slaughtered by the sultan Saladin in his successful campaign to restore Palestine to the Muslim fold. But the Templars had another century of influential life in front of them, until that Friday the 13th in 1307. Philip IV was pious, paranoid, unscrupulous, mercurial and deeply in debt to the Templars. It was all too easy to manufacture charges of heresy, blasphemy and sexual depravity. The power and secretiveness of the Templars only fuelled the charges. Within a few years the Templars were extinct, except in the popular imagination. Grounds for inspiration Life in the Garden by Penelope Lively Fig Tree, 208pp Alex Preston Observer When a really good book comes along, it draws attention to the absence of such a book on your shelves before it arrived. I hadn’t really thought much about the state of the once venerable art of garden writing until I read Life in the Garden. It brought home to me how few recent gardening books come anywhere close to its style, intelligence and depth. Garden books have become, as Penelope Lively herself points out, nothing more than “vehicles for lavish photography”. Lively is the only author to have won both the Booker, for Moon Tiger in 1987, and the Carnegie medal for children’s fiction, for The Ghost of Thomas Kempe in 1973. In Life in the Garden, she has given us something quite new; rich and unusual, this is a book to treasure, as beautiful on the inside as its gorgeous cover and endpapers (all by the celebrated illustrator Katie Scott). “The two central activities in my life – alongside writing – have been reading and gardening,” Lively says, and Life in the Garden laces elegantly between the two. “I always pay attention when a writer conjures up a garden,” Lively writes, “… it is nearly always deliberate, a garden contrived to serve a narrative purpose, to create atmosphere, to furnish a character.” Life in the Garden moves between Lively’s own horticultural life and a broad history of gardening, with regular and illuminating examples from a host of the best garden writers in nonfiction, poetry and novels. Lively’s work is full of memorable gardens, from the Egyptian oases of Moon Tiger (which drew on her childhood in Egypt) to the garden centre at Dean Close in According to Mark. Lively doesn’t quote herself, which is a shame, but calls on others instead, from Virginia Woolf and Vita Sackville-West to her friends Elizabeth Jane Howard and Carol Shields. She is gently dismissive of those writers who give you a garden, but don’t know enough about it to name names. Proust comes in for criticism here. This is a book that gives words to something that those of us who garden know by instinct – how being in the garden raises the spirits, modulates the seasons. Throughout the book we are drip-fed scenes from Lively’s life, so it becomes like an autobiography smuggled into a garden book. Now, at 84, time and space have conspired to circumscribe her gardening existence. She writes frankly of the fact that the Hydrangea paniculata Continued on page 36 → 36 The Guardian Weekly 01.12.17 Books ←Continued from page 35 Limelight she’s planting will probably outlive her, although “I am requiring it to perform while I can still enjoy it”. This isn’t quite a perfect book. Lively has a tic of too-regular authorial interjections to remind the reader of what’s to come. It’s part of the charm of the book, this enthusiasm, but the outbursts come too often and begin to clunk. There’s a common theme that links many of the authors Lively mentions – they’re infuriatingly privileged. Lively herself is from blue-blooded stock – her grandmother’s place in Somerset had a sunken rose garden, a ha-ha, a splendid-sounding yewlined water feature. Few of my author friends have been lucky enough to inherit castles with extensive grounds or pick up a Prussian aristo with a sprawling estate, like Elizabeth von Arnim. And yet, for all the scarcity of really good contemporary garden writers, there are still many who use gardens to powerful effect in their novels. Our long history of gardening deserves a book as beautiful as Life in the Garden. Eﬃng, not blinding Swearing Is Good for You: the Amazing Science of Bad Language by Emma Byrne Profile, 240pp How to Swear: An Illustrated Guide by Stephen Wildish Ebury Press, 192pp Andrew Anthony Observer My earliest memory is of sitting on the pavement outside my childhood home while Tony Hilsden tutored me in the lexicon of profanity. “No, ’. It’s ‘cunt’.” not ‘can’t’. I was four our years old and the reacks in n my mind is that my son it sticks augh ht him doing it, mother caught sent him packing and told me to forget everything I’d just learned. That, of course, became an impossibility the bidinstant I realised its forbidden nature. So began my initiation into the social taboo boo of “bad” language. ame We all go through the same proscription by some or other authority figure. And yet most ient of us emerge as proficient ruct swearers, able to construct ould whole sentences, should ut of the occasion demand, out F-words and S-words and d Cabet words, and a whole alphabet of curses that, despite near universal recognition, are deemed unfit to print. In spite of their widespread pread d onall circulation and occasional ds re eprofitability, these words remain marginal, suspect, unac unaccy. ceptable in polite society. ut what wh hat It’s not so much about they describe – the words ds “se “sex”, ex”, “rectum” and “vagina”, for example, do not require asterisks – but more about what they represent: the unsayable. We know this because the nature and type of unsayable words changes across time and cultures. Blaspheming – the mere mention of God or Jesus – was once beyond the bounds, as was the word “bloody”. So, what’s the point of unsayable words that we regularly say? According to Emma Byrne, author of Swearing Is Good for You, profanities are a fundamental part of our language, performing a vital role in our development. She comes at swearing from the perspective of evolutionary psychology and with a vocabulary of which Tony Hilsden would have approved. Citing several not always entirely relevant scientific studies, she makes the case that taboo words act as a kind of pressure valve, allowing us to let off steam rather than, say, punch somebody’s lights out. Apparently research shows that swearing also helps productivity, creates greater unity, eases pain and is so deeply embedded in our brains that profanities are often the last bits of language that stroke victims can use. “In fact,” writes Byrne, “I don’t think we would have made it as the world’s most populous primate if we hadn’t learned to swear.” It was at this stage that I mumbled something that may have eased my own pain but didn’t necessarily help with my productivity as a reviewer. Byrne’s contention is that without swearing we would have to rely on biting and gouging and throwing faeces to maintain social order, but you don’t need a PhD in psychology to know that if someone describes someone else with a swearword in, say, a road rage incident, the risk of violence goes up, not down. However, if there is a defining characteristic of swearwords it must surely be their flexibility. As Stephen Wildish shows in How to Swear: An Illustrated Guide, “fuck” can be an adjective, a verb and a noun, all in the same sentence. It can also be offensive, funny, descriptive, ironic, literal, metaphorical and much else besides, depending on linguistic and social context. To enter into the vernacular, this is one of those elegantly designed amusements amusemen intended to be read while wiping y your arse. A book of lavatorial la language ang made for the smart lavatory. lav vat Both h books bo attempt to be profound profoun nd about the profane uses psychology and – Byrne us neurology; neurolo ogy Wildish employs grammarr and an irony – and both indulge in the obvious writers in nd humour hum ou of their subject. However, both books Ho are ar re constructed from co conceits onc on which the au authors uth fail to deliver. admits in her Ass Byrne B co conclusion: onc “There’s no o way w to know for sure su re that any of this [th [the he idea that swearing provided a peaceful alpro ovi ternative to violence for tern na ourr primitive p ancestors] happened”. hap ppe Still, they’re entertainStil S ing and an informative and, a else, remind if nothing not you of o the pleasure of usin using ng words that are not meant mea ant to be said. Marking one’s place Black Rock White City by AS Patrić Melville House, 256pp Houman Barekat Australian author AS Patrić’s debut novel tells the story of two migrants from the former Yugoslavia trying to rebuild their lives in late 1990s Australia. Black Rock is a suburb of Melbourne with a large immigrant population, and “white city” – the literal English translation of “Belgrade” – connotes renewal and regeneration, the blank slate of a fresh start. His protagonists, Jovan and Suzana, lost everything in the Balkan conflict. In Australia they take jobs that are beneath their level of education: she works as a carer; he, formerly a university lecturer, is now a hospital janitor. Jovan used to be a prolific poet and Suzana wrote fiction, but neither has done much writing since they migrated. Patrić – who was born in Serbia and moved to Australia as a child – paints a convincing snapshot of émigré life, rendering its banal humiliations with pointed weariness. Aussies speak to Jovan “as though his slow, thick words are a result of brain damage”, and he endures constant passive-aggressive banter from a racist colleague. Even the dentist he is sleeping with (with Suzana’s blessing) treats him dismissively: “He’s more a part of the now of her imagination than he is a man with his own history and his own future.” Suzana’s best friend in Australia is a fellow migrant with whom she has little in common aside from a shared language. Then there is the matter of adjusting to a different set of cultural expectations regarding gender relations: Suzana can’t help feeling contemptuous of her employer for his passive and diffident manner, which would be deemed weak and unmanly by the standards of her native country. This is all perceptively observed, but it hangs awkwardly on a plot line that would not look out of place in a television cop show. A mysterious vandal writes menacing graffiti on the walls of the hospital where Jovan works. He goes on to mutilate a corpse, carving the word “Inspiration” into the body, and the threat level escalates from there. Jovan befriends a journalist, who as luck would have it is writing a book on graffiti. The two men indulge in lots of lurid hypothesising about the perpetrator’s motives. The theme that connects these two seemingly discrete narratives is the idea of writing as release. Patrić invites us to consider that the impulse that drives youths to scrawl tags on train stations is not a million miles from the urge to write fiction or poetry: in both cases it is a question of wanting to register your existence. Suzana, who has attempted suicide, edges towards some kind of healing as she begins writing a historical novel: “When ink is put to the page she is history and her children will speak again.” It hangs together, but only just. Black Rock White City won Australia’s prestigious Miles Franklin award in 2016. No doubt it was the book’s sympathetic and topical portrayal of marginalised communities that endeared it to the judges: Patrić’s trenchant humanism forms a sombre rejoinder to the rising tide of nativism across the English-speaking world. Black Rock White City is aesthetically flawed, but its sensitive exploration of the innate human need to put down roots is admirably ambitious and timely. 38 The Guardian Weekly 01.12.17 Culture ‘I’m dating life. It feels like Icelandic icon Björk is in positive mood with her new album, um, Utopia. She gives Miranda Sawyer a sneak listen and discusses creative y flute club control, the trouble with men – and why she started Friday I t’s hard talking to Björk about her music. This is for a few reasons, the most important of which is that she doesn’t make music to talk about it. She makes music because that is what she does (“I write one song per month,” she says, “sometimes two months”), and usually the whole picture of an album doesn’t emerge for her until very late in the process. “OK, I will put my head into the place where I have to talk about me,” Björk says, shifting in her seat. She is feeling “a bit scruffy” – she means rough around the edges – after a night out at a gig (her friends’, twins Gyða and Kristin: “Gyða plays these kind of cello loops, it’s really meditative”). Even off-duty, Björk is interested in the offbeat and experimental. She’s worked in music for more than 30 years, so she’s called a pop star. But really, she’s an artist in disguise, often literally (at the moment, she favours delicate feather or filigree head dresses). Today, despite her hangover, she looks great. There is kohl smudged under her eyes, and she’s drinking tea and chewing gum. Every so often she takes her gum out and puts it on her saucer; then picks it up absent-mindedly and chews it again. We are above a cafe in Reykjavik, Iceland. This building was once the home of an important politician, and the rooms are small and decorated like a granny’s house: ornaments in glass display cases, Victorian side tables, antimacassars on curlyarmed sofas. Björk folds herself in and out of her olde worlde chair, her body language opening and shutting according to how comfortable she is with the conversation. At the moment, the conversation concerns her new album, Utopia. Björk has only recently worked out what Utopia might mean. For a long time, as is her wont, she was creating it without a huge idea, just working. Her music involves her exploring small triggers, connecting “emotional coordinates”; matching technical difficulties with musical aims; processing the results of time spent with musicians, editors, producers; arranging, recording, editing, mixing. Mostly editing. “Eighty per cent of my music is me sitting by my laptop, editing. Weeks and weeks on each song,” she says. Now it’s all done, she’s marshalling her multitudinous ideas – musical, conceptual, conscious, subconscious – trying to organise everything into a single quotable notion. She has been working on this album for two and a half years. I have heard it exactly once. Seventyfive minutes ago, in the room next door, I plugged earphones into a laptop and listened to Utopia all the way through. Straight afterwards, I walked into this room to talk to Björk about what I’d just heard. I can’t hear Utopia any other way because Björk’s last album, Vulnicura, was leaked online three months before its release date. The river between us is swirling with her experiences. I’ve barely got my toes wet. Anyhow, Björk has been making Utopia since she finished her last tour. It started, she says, like many of her albums: as both a reaction against her previous album, and a following-on from it. Released in 2015, Vulnicura was bleak. It dived into the misery of her break-up with artist Matthew Barney, her longterm partner and father of her daughter, Ísadóra. Its centrepiece, Black Lake, had Björk at her most vulnerable and bitter, with lyrics such as “I am one wound, my pulsating suffering being … You fear my limitless emotions, I am bored of your apocalyptic obsessions … You have nothing to give, your heart is hollow.” “The saddest song I’ve ever written,” is how she describes it to me. “We did the final gigs for Vulnicura in Carnegie Hall,” she remembers, “and they were so tragic. Everybody who ever had a broken heart ever was there, and they were all telling me their stories. It was really sweet and genuine, you know? And with the performances, I was like: ‘This has to be discreet, and treated with grace.’ But after the first one, I almost felt guilty. Because the whole room was crying and I was not. Me and Alejandro [Ghersi, AKA electronic artist Arca, who worked on Vulnicura] were guiltily drinking champagne in the back going: ‘Next time we’re going to have fun, OK?’ I wanted this album to go towards the light. You indulge in the grief to a certain point, but then you have to be a little bit Pollyanna.” ‘People miss the jokes. A lot of it is me taking the piss out of myself and being … self-deprecating’ That’s the contrast with Vulnicura. The continuation – what Björk calls “the seed” – is provided partly by Ghersi. He came into Vulnicura towards the end of the process, when Björk was in full control: “I was the bossy back-seat driver.” They got on well, and during Utopia, their partnership was more equal, Björk letting him contribute more as an artist. They took small elements they liked from Vulnicura, passed sounds they liked to each other via email (melodies from South American flutes, singers from Cambodia) and played with them. The result is exceptionally beautiful. Utopia is overwhelming, lush and gorgeous, with harps and flutes and real-life bird calls, a magic forest of constantly changing sound. There’s an ebb and flow dynamic, like the turning of swallows in the sky. Sometimes Björk’s voice is at the fore, sometimes it’s just another instrument. This is not an album of pop songs, although you might find one or two, at a push; it’s orchestral and detailed, all-enveloping. Björk thinks of her utopia as an island, perhaps one that was created out of an eco-disaster, an island where plants have mouths or hover like hummingbirds or grow out of your hands. “Do you know the fish in The Simpsons, that has three eyes? Like that.” (This This makes me laugh: Björk is n she’s given credit for.) In her funnier than en arrive to create a new, bethead, women ter society. They bring kids and music and eco-friendly y tech, “and then there is the fe on the island”. everyday life This idea came partly because she wanted to use flutes, and her friend James Merry (originally hired to do research rch for her 2011 album Biophilia) dug yths from around the world. He found out flute myths tales “from South America, Amazon tribes, and Africa, and Indonesia, and China, and Icelandic ”. The thread between the tales was a mythology”. story of escape, ape, where women break out from a society thatt oppresses them, steal flutes and run hildren to a new place: “And they live with their children very happily y for, I dunno, two-thirds of an album. e guys come and chop everyone’s heads But then the idn’t fancy that bit, so “I decided I’m off.” Björk didn’t ange the ending. I think we can going to change ou know.” change it, you now that I got all this I don’t know sten, though the from one listen, sense of wildlife, ldlife, physical liss was very space and bliss strong. My notes say things like “epic, full of nature”,, “rattle ounds)”, (monkey sounds)”, geous, “flutes gorgeous, beats tough, transcendent”. ent”. I e idea did get the ace, of of a new place, women supportpporting women,, of rejecting old systems (in Tabula Rasa, she eak the sings: “Break chains of the fuckups of our fathers”). There are also – excitng hints of a ingly – strong new lover (Blissing Blissing Me: “I fall in love with his song”). ling of the end And the feeling of a difficult relationship, of ward (Sue Me). moving forward ay well be being Though I may too literal. Björk jörk laughs when cs at her, and ask I quote lyrics her about her er love life. “It’s pretty ty active, I’ll leave he says. “I think it at that,” she it’s still too o early to be too specific. Look, ook, I’m happy Technical and nd visual … Björk spentt two and a half ing on Utopia years working Santiago Felipe/Getty elipe/Getty The Guardian Weekly 01.12.17 39 a new adventure’ that people are st still listening to me after all these years, but b sometimes I feel people misunderstand the lyrics. People miss misunders the jokes. jokes A lot of it is me taking the of myself and being, what do piss out o you call it, it self-deprecating …” In a recent rec interview, Björk called Tinder album”. “Yes, because Utopia “my T I thought that w was hilarious, but obviously I would never be able to be on Tinder.” What she’s talking about, really, is fresh experiences with new people: the excitement and sexiness and clumsiness of those encounters. “P “People trying things out, and rejection, both ways. W We all have chapters, and then it’s like: ‘I’m walking when you start new chapters, ch down the same streets II’m always walking down, I’m wearing the same clothes, clothe but it feels like I’m on Mars.’ sense, but also in a scary sense. I In the best possible sen explorer, I enjoy it.” missed being this emotional emot Björk’s been travellin travelling with her music from when Her first foreign tour, in 1983, she was a teenager. He when she was 18, was w with Tappi Tikarrass, supporting the punk band Cras Crass. Back then, Björk spoke no Margaret Thatcher” from English, but learned “Fuck “F another band, Flux of Pink P Indians, who had a song with that as the chorus chorus. These were the days of skinheads and punks figh ghting at gigs. Björk loved it. “It was like I went to th the moon!” she says. “Like: ‘My God, things are so exotic here!’” She was in various va Icelandic punk/goth/ indie bands until unti her first solo album, Debut in 1993, married her art tendencies and soaring voice with producer pro Nellee Hooper’s dance went platinum in the US. Back sensibility and w then, I would see se her at parties, and she enjoyed herself in the t same way we all did. There is no VIP velvet velve rope instinct in Björk. She likes stimulating stimulatin people, whoever they are. We talk about abo that time a bit; interestingly, through the filter of gender politics and then move mo on to the more acute issexual harassment and abuse. sue of sexu The night before b I arrived, Björk issued statement on Facebook in support of a stateme the actors actor who have spoken out about this. She Sh said that she, too, had been sexually harassed while working in sexual the fillm industry. She named no names, though she was clearly name talking about Lars von Trier, the talkin director of Dancer in the Dark, in direc which she starred (Von Trier has whic since denied her claims). “My sinc humiliation and role as a lesser hum sexually harassed being was the sex norm and set in stone with the nor director and staff of dozens who dire enabled it,” she wrote. Having ena long operated from a position lon power in the music industry, of p she was shocked to find that actresses did not have such power. tres When she was promoting Vulnicura, in an interview with Vul Pitchfork, she pointed out that, Pitc for y years, she has been regarded as a singer-songwriter who works with male producers. In wor fact, she produces her albums, and she is in control of the arrangements, the sound, the mixing, everything. She wondered, in the interview, if it was partly her fault: she likes to create beautiful visuals and so has rarely been photographed in the studio, next to a mixing desk, or holding an effects unit. Lots of young female musicians took her at her word, and there is now a website dedicated to pictures of them next to technical equipment. “I am so honoured by this,” she says. “And so now I’m going to try and talk about these things more. Agh, I’m blushing! But I am going to own it … for the ladies.” (She says this in a funny voice.) What she wants to tell me about is the all-female group of 12 flautists on Utopia. “The flute club! Flute-Föstudagur!” They would meet at her cabin every Friday (Föstudagur means Friday). Björk, who’s been paying the flute since she was six, rehearsed them, “like 50 or 60 days”, and did all the arrangements and the conducting, everything. It was the same for the choir and the brass, “and for all the arrangements I’ve done on my albums. But people … it’s like they think it happened by magic and fell from the sky.” Why do we have the impression that Björk isn’t a technical musician? Perhaps it’s because she’s a singer, with her exceptionally emotional voice. “Yes, and I think more with women than men, if we have that access to the emotional side in us, people think it has to be oblivious,” she says. “We are allowed to be oblivious, but we can’t then step back and edit it. But the mixing of this album was really tricky. You know, without trying to sound too pretentious, it was not necessarily about the events but the filters around the sound. The juxtaposition of the flutes and the electronics and the voice and the birds. It’s really delicate. If it’s wrong, the whole thing just tips … It took me three months to mix the album.” She thinks of Utopia as having three parts. The discovery of the island, the day to day, and then, more prosaically, how humans survive difficult times. One of the songs, Body Memory, is about how your body can get you through trauma when your head and heart can’t. It was sparked by another day she spent at her cabin, this time by herself. She wrapped herself in loads of coats, lay down on the moss, and listened to an audiobook of The Tibetan Book of the Dead. She’d been aware of the book for a long time but had dismissed it as “a bit goth”. This time, though, she found it stimulating, especially the final part. “It’s about having people who are experts in dying,” she says, “who have physical practice to help you to die. Like yoga exercises. Breathing exercises … Like death doulas. I was so impressed by this.” And so she wrote Body Memory to remind herself that she is able to move through grief, get past Vulnicura and survive. “It’s my version of helping myself, suggesting you have it all in you, you have all the answers. Without sounding mushy. It’s like my manifesto. Let’s do this!” Björk laughs and picks up her gum and her body language is open. She’s waving from the other bank, not semaphoring. “I think I’m Tindered to life,” she says. “I’m dating life. I’m like: ‘Oh, those are new hands and I’ve got new legs and new … it’s a feeling of … It feels like a new adventure.’” Observer Utopia is released on One Little Indian 40 The Guardian Weekly 01.12.17 Culture Naked flesh was never the same again A Modigliani retrospective emphasises the agency of his models, ﬁnds Lara Feigel “ W e fight against the nude in painting, as nauseous and as tedious as adultery in literature,” proclaimed the Italian Futurists in 1910. The nude was dead; the speeding car more thrilling than the female body. Yet by 1919, Modigliani had almost single-handedly resuscitated her. Naked flesh, captured on the canvas, would never be the same again. For decades, every Modigliani book and exhibition has talked about the “myth” of Modigliani, and this retrospective – his biggest in decades – at Tate Modern is no exception. Each biographer has had a new approach. Exhibitions have focused on elucidating the specifics of his Italian heritage or his social milieu. This one makes much of his cosmopolitanism, reminding us that he was a Jewish Italian in Paris. It emphasises that he was a sculptor as well as a painter (nine of his sculptures are included) and examines his social and historical context. It sheds light on his relationship with cinema and contemporary fashion and attempts to give agency to his models. This works well when it comes to Modigliani’s most significant love affairs, and there are three very interesting women to explore. Two of these, the Russian poet Anna Akhmatova and the South African-born British journalist Beatrice Hastings, were at least as professionally successful as he was. He met the married Akhmatova in 1910, and their affair lasted for more than a year. He drew her repeatedly and one of the few surviving drawings appears here. There is something otherworldly about her, reclining in bed: her hair forms a halo and the sheet around her legs gives her the appearance of a mermaid. The relationship with Hastings lasted longer, Mythic … Reclining Nude, 1919; detail of Seated Nude, 1917, top Museum of Modern Art, New York from 1914-16, and resulted in some intriguing paintings. Few letters from Modigliani survive, so Hastings’s columns for a London magazine form a crucial lens on to the artist in this period. These were the years that saw him making his reputation as a painter but also saw him succumbing to alcohol and drugs, and becoming more unpredictably irascible. A feminist, dedicated to living unconventionally, Hastings smoked in public and matched her lover in his drinking. She also seems to have fought back. The myths about their quarrels still proliferate. There’s an anecdote in which he threw her through a closed window and she bit him in the balls. Perhaps the most striking portrait of her is the one from 1915 where she’s figured as “Madam Pompadour”, an anglicised version of Louis XV’s smart and politically influential mistress. With her exuberant xuberant hats, Hastings appears as a woman of the world, her face and neck elongated in Modigliani’s now characteristic c way. He was forging a style that was distinctly his, the lines clear and definite, the human shapes, whether of eyes or faces, echoing the almond-ovals of his sculptures. Then there is Jeanne Hébuterne, the most frequently painted of Mod-igliani’s lovers. They met in 1917 when hen he was 33 and she 19; she bore his child in 1918. Jeanne was undoubtedly the he meekest of Modigliani’s serious lovers. Though she was a painter in her own right, it’s hard to argue that her career mattered much in years that were dominated by child bearing and curtailed by her willingly sacrificial death two days after his own from tuberculosis. It’s possible, then, to create a narrative in which agency is given to Modigliani’s most significant mistresses. But what of his nude models – surely the paintings that many of the visitors will be there to see? The Tate has collected 17 of the nudes painted between 1916 and 1919, as well as an earlier one made in a darker expressionist style. Though some of the models of these paintings are given first names and are recognisable across several pictures, we don’t know anything about them. The exhibition’s curator Nancy Ireson suggests that these models can be identified as “new women” by their hair and makeup. Certainly this is rendered convincing by their expressions in the paintings. Modigliani portrays them as erotic subjects in control of their own sexuality, fully able to answer the male gaze with desire of their own. Visually, there is something unusually satisfying about looking at a Modigliani nude from his final years. A characteristic example is the wonderful Sleeping Nude With Open Arms (1917), where a woman lies, erotically splayed, her legs leading off beyond the edge of the picture. The gaze is drawn rapidly down so that the process of looking, if sustained, becomes a process of repeatedly caressing from head to thigh. Subtle variations in colour show the muscles in her stomach tensed with expecHer arms, open behind her head tation. H in a gesture g of self-satisfied display, seem about to move forward, allowsee ing her to participate in the scene. in Other nudes are more quietly languorous. There’s even the ocla ccasional gesture of modesty, with a 1917 standing nude somewhat halfheartedly covering a breast and ha patch of pubic hair with her hands. It patc was the th pubic hair that was the focus for shock shocked outrage when Modigliani first exhibited the po portraits in 1917. Though the nudes may be a highlight, the show aims to give a sense of his range. There are friends (Cocteau is among the most visually appealing), dealers and ordinary people. The Tate’s own The Little Peasant (1918) and the 1919 The Boy are moving portraits from his final years, where he seems to have returned to the influence of Cézanne. The exhibition ends, as it must, with his haunting final self-portrait from 1919, his cheeks gaunt, his eyes half-shut with sadness and pain, but both the face and body as poised as ever. “Happiness is an angel with a grave face,” Modigliani had written, before painting himself in that role. And so the myth endures. Modigliani is at Tate Modern, London, until 2 April The Guardian Weekly 01.12.17 41 Culture Reviews Kicker here like this Then a short description here like this → Then Section and page XX Rock & pop Morrissey Low in High School Theatre Marnie G iven its world premiere by English National Opera, Nico Muhly’s Marnie is drawn from Winston Graham’s 1961 novel of the same name, famously filmed by Alfred Hitchcock in 1964. The subject, Muhly argues, “screams out for operatic treatment”, and his heroine – a thief and liar acting out of compulsive responses to half-remembered childhood trauma – certainly has antecedents elsewhere. Muhly links her fear of sex and physical contact to Debussy’s Mélisande, who, like Marnie, is also trapped in a marriage with a potentially abusive man. There are also overtones of Emilia Marty in Janácek’s Makropoulos Case, who similarly changes her identity multiple times for the purposes of deception. Muhly and his librettist Nicholas Wright follow the outlines of the novel rather than the film, retaining the original British setting. We encounter characters that Hitchcock dropped, most crucially, perhaps, Mrs Rutland, the formidably manipulative mother of Marnie’s husband, Mark. Music and dramaturgy are stylised, at times a bit too much so. In a gesture towards Jungian psychology, Marnie is tracked by four similarly dressed “shadows”, who sing in Monteverdian close harmony, while eight male dancers in suits and trilbies hover round her, omnipresent Film Mudbound T his is a big, powerful, generational story culminating in tragedy and violence, based on the novel by Hillary Jordan, which director Dee Rees handles with flair and real passion. It concerns Jim Crow America and the changes beginning to happen after young men returned from the second world war to find a home unfit for heroes, riddled with the bigoted attitudes they left behind in wartime. Jason Clarke and Garrett Hedlund play brothers Henry and Jamie; Carey Mulligan plays Laura, an unworldly woman who marries Henry, charmed by his shy courtesy but also secretly entranced by Jamie’s romantic charm. Yet these good qualities seem knocked out of the brothers when they have Tristram Kenton ‘T reminders of the masculinity she understandably dreads. The chorus are both essential to the drama and commentators upon it. The climactic hunt, in which the death of Marnie’s horse Forio results in her first experience of grief, is closer to oratorio than opera – a big choral narrative, followed by a succession of arias. The score has passages of undeniable beauty. A lyrical warmth characterises Muhly’s vocal lines, and the choral writing, geared to the ENO chorus for whom Muhly has expressed great admiration, is tremendous. Yet there is a major flaw, which is primarily one of tone. Muhly’s approach is essentially reflective; this psychological thriller doesn’t always thrill as it should. It is, however, superbly done. Sasha Cooke, pictured above, and Daniel Okulitch, fine artists both, admirably convey the central couple’s difficult relationship. Cooke sounds gorgeous and is a compelling actor. Okulitch has a nice line in vulnerability that makes Mark’s predatory sexuality all the more troubling. There are strong cameos from Lesley Garrett as Mrs Rutland, and Diana Montague as Lucy, the friend of Marnie’s mother who holds the key to the past. Michael Mayer’s staging has an elegant fluidity. Martyn Brabbins conducts with great sensitivity. The playing and choral singing are outstanding. Tim Ashley At the Coliseum, London, until 3 December to work on the grim farm in the he Mississippi mud belonging to their grotesquely squely racist father, Pappy (Jonathan Banks). ks). Their tenants are a black family, amily, led by y a lay preacher, Hap Jackson (Rob Rob Morgan), and his smart son Ronsel (Jason on Mitchell, pictured). Ronsel and Jamie go off to war after Pearl Harbor. They ey return, traumatised and lonely, ly, with a bond of friendship and d respect that transcends race. The two begin a clandestine friendship. It leads to a moment of horror, yet also to a strange kind of release. Mudbound is absorbing: the language, performance and direction all have real sinew. Peter Bradshaw here are not many artists around today that can compare to Morrissey,” offered record label BMG, when the singer inked the deal that brings us his 11th album. “He is prodigious, literate, witty, elegant and, above all, courageous. His lyrics, humour and melodies have influenced many generations.” An enthusiastic tribute, but perhaps hard for long-time observers of Morrissey’s career to read without immediately thinking: yeah, I’ll give this relationship six months. In a world of flux and change, there’s a certain comforting familiarity about the arrival of a new Morrissey album. We’ve had stage one: the signing of a fresh record contract, replete with gushing praise. And, indeed, stage two: promotion of new album overshadowed by Morrissey’s inclination to make public statements that suggest – and let us pick our words carefully here – that some of his views may tend a little towards the reactionary. Which brings us to stage three: the album itself – already acclaimed as a brilliant return to form by people who can remember a time when Morrissey only released extraordinary records, 2006’s Ringleader of the Tormentors being the most recent example. But Low in High School largely cleaves to the model of its two less stellar predecessors. Like 2009’s Years of Refusal and 2014’s World Peace Is None of Your Business, its main musical currency is wilful ugliness. Opener My Love, I’d Do Anything for You’s glam stomp is blitzed with corrosive guitars, churning electronics, a deafening, discordant brass arrangement and, somewhere in the background, a plethora of distorted screams and cries. It’s an approach that can be potent. Yet once you’re struck by the sense that the sonic ugliness reflects the worldview of the man at its centre – the way the wit and compassion that illuminated Morrissey’s greatest songs has gradually calcified into misanthropy and self-pity – the overall effect can be hugely unedifying. Witness the abundantly nasty I Bury the Living, on which Morrissey sneers at a squaddie and, after he’s killed in the line of duty, at his bereaved mother. It’s over seven minutes long, plenty of time to explore a topic, but there’s no subtlety, nuance or insight here. You listen to it and think: how did a lyricist who wrote songs as beautifully shaded and empathetic as This Night Has Opened My Eyes wind up thinking this passes muster? But elsewhere, Morrissey’s greatness flashes into life. Th There are brilliant lines liberally scattered abou about – “I’m not my type”, “Will you wrap yourr legs y you leg around my head to greet me?” – and, on I W Wish You Lonely, a piece of penetrating self-scru self-scrutiny that goes some way to answering oft-asked question about what Morrissey’s the oft-as real proble problem is. A life of solitude with only the Ukip leadership leade election results for company, it suggests, makes you “think of yourself only, sugge of e everything you demand, you want and need, and to hell with everybody else”. ne What it all amounts to is your standar ard Morrissey solo album: brilliance alongside stuff that boggles the mind. a A state of affairs that, alas, may bring us A tto the traditional stage four, in which Morrissey denounces his record label as part of the ever-burgeoning global conspiracy ranged against him. Alexis Petridis 42 The Guardian Weekly 01.12.17 Diversions Notes & Queries Nature watch Bretton, Derbyshire Let the sunshine in, you say? Looks pretty cloudy to me • Yes, if they wanted to see more of the world. Maurice Trapp, Le Vigan, France Doesn’t much feel like the Age of Aquarius, so what shall we call it? Our worship of the selfie and a sense of political impotence suggest we should call it the Age of Narcissyphus. David Isaacs, Sydney, Australia • I stopped carrying a camera when travelling as soon as I realised that taking pictures stopped me from actually looking at what was in front of me. Chris Kennedy, Stella, Ontario, Canada • Considering those at the helm of certain countries, then I fear we are in the Age of Cancer. Charlie Bamforth, Davis, California, US • Nefarious. Jonathan Vanderels, Shaftsbury, Vermont, US • The Age of Unreason, or, briefly, the Twitterage. Joan Dawson, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada • My suggestion is the Age of Hilarious, but it’s a sick joke. Neil Johnson, Birmingham, UK • The Age of Querulousness? Richard Orlando, Westmount, Quebec, Canada • Author Steve Fraser seems to have nailed it in the title of his book, The Age of Acquiescence: The Life and Death of American Resistance to Organised Wealth and Power. Lawrie Bradly, Surrey Hills, Victoria, Australia I’m sure that Siri will tell us Is it time to rethink our definition of intelligence? Who’s clever enough to know? Edward P Wolfers, Austinmer, NSW, Australia • If they could find another way to share it. Lillian Henning, Nantucket, Massachusetts, US Age of Aquarius ... Woodstock Geopolitical competition • A machine will soon decide more precisely on our behalf. Philip Stigger, Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada What makes a great game? • Empires knocking hell out of one another. Paul Broady, Christchurch, New Zealand • Intelligence: that’s what we use Siri for, isn’t it? Marilyn Hamilton, Perth, Western Australia • Thinking your side will lose, but they don’t. Charlie Pearson, Portland, Oregon, US • Beyond a doubt. However, even intelligence circles have difficulty thinking beyond the box. David Tucker, Halle, Germany More Notes & Queries See additional answers online bit.ly/notesandqueries • Once we find some, perhaps. Noel Bird, Boreen Point, Queensland, Australia Learn to see with your eyes Would people travel as much if they could not take pictures? If digital detox is important to you, then you would still explore the world, but minus the intrusion of a camera. Ursula Nixon, Bodalla, NSW, Australia Any answers? Whatever became of those ‘little pink houses for you and me’? RM Fransson, Wheat Ridge, Colorado, US When does infatuation turn to love? John Geffroy, Las Vegas, New Mexico, US Send answers to weekly.nandq@ theguardian.com or Guardian Weekly, Kings Place, 90 York Way, London N1 9GU, UK Good to meet you Rosanna Eckersley Around four years ago I was offered a six-week introductory subscription to the Guardian Weekly. I was studying for my PhD and teaching art history. It had become difficult to get through a daily newspaper, but it wasn’t just the scale of the Weekly that appealed – it was the range of international news and in-depth discussion that took me beyond the UK. I was hooked! Unlike so many readers, I have always lived in the UK, and the south-east of England. The happiest changes in my life have come through family and education: my husband, three children and a baby granddaughter; my degree at Birk- beck College, University of London, completed at the age of 42, led to the satisfactions of higher education teaching; my doctorate, on artist Winifred Knights, re-ignited a partially dormant feminism. I like the Eyewitnessed pictures – the scale has real impact. I The road between Abney and Bretton had been closed for much of the summer as a landslip was repaired. The ground hereabouts is wormed through with faults and weaknesses, a legacy of shale rocks and local lead mining. It’s a boundary of sorts, between limestone country to the south and dark gritstone moors to the north, a place of geomantic charm and mystery, hidden corners and unexpected angles. Now the road was open again, offering some of the best views in the Peak District. I stopped at a remote cottage where a footpath led down into the head of Bretton Clough. To the north of me was an elegant matrix of walls and emerald fields below Cockey Farm, itself tucked pleasingly into the rumpled shoulder of Abney Low. To my right was a patch of moor whose thin soil and steep ground must have made enclosure a waste of effort. Hidden nearby was an ancient well and to the east Eyam Moor with its bronze age stone circle half lost in heather. particularly enjoy the Weekly Review articles, the range of commentators on the back page and topics that warrant greater coverage, from the lives of Chechen gay men to solutions to housing problems and indigenous communities worldwide. I was first drawn to the Weekly by this international range. But I read the UK discussions, too: in a country shaken by the terrible Grenfell Tower fire, political turmoil and terrorism, we need high-quality, thoughtful journalism. If you would like to appear in this space, send a brief note to firstname.lastname@example.org The trees just here are always full of birds. There’s gorse and plenty of tree cover: alder and willow in the wet flushes, beech and sycamore near the cottage, which, I noticed, had generous rations on offer. Teams of goldfinches, chaffinches and tits were working in rotation at several hanging feeders. A woodpecker watched from the trees. A siskin hopped below for scraps, then a female greenfinch, and then a brambling. In the birches behind me a blackbird clucked softly and I turned as some fieldfares alighted. It was almost too much. Then the homeowner arrived, not in the least concerned to find a stranger scanning the back of his property. It was, he said, always this busy, since his wife put up the feeders. “You see them coming up out of the valley each morning,” he told me, as though describing a Mongol horde. I moved on, up a rough track, glancing across scrubby fields to see a sparrowhawk sweep through my field of my vision and settle watchfully in a tree. A rising tide, it seems, really does float all boats. Ed Douglas Read more Nature watch online bit.ly/naturewatch The Guardian Weekly 01.12.17 43 Quick crossword 1 2 Cryptic crossword by Arachne 3 4 8 5 6 Across 7 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 Across 1 Pulchritude (6) 4 Straight downhill ski run (6) 8 Jordan’s capital (5) 9 Afghan fundamentalist militia (7) 10 North African country (7) 11 Black and white beast (5) 12 Defamatory (9) 17 Trump’s predecessor (5) 19 Large dish (7) 21 Adult (5-2) 22 Wherewithal (5) 23 Beer and lemonade mixture (6) 24 Wagered (6) Down 1 Composer of a well-known lullaby published in 1868 (6) 2 Senior naval officer (7) 3 Uniform jacket (5) 5 West Indian ballad (7) 6 Not rural (5) 7 Grammatical word structure in sentences (6) 9 Farewell remark – dipole top (anag) (6-3) 13 Whacked on the head (7) 14 Reversal (7) 15 Branches (6) 16 Forced open (6) 18 Hawaiian greeting (5) 20 Let in (5) W A T E R C H A I E S T I C K U P E C T P R E E K T E R D I R T R I T O N G O N S B I N C I S I O N R L E R E X U L T Z E D T O P E N I C I L R O S E M A R Y E S T T R A I N G E E O B R F A L O L W L I N S E W I A L D C E B O E E U S T Down 1 Remove papers from aforementioned iron strongbox (4) 2 Start to fall off wagon after 31 days in shape (7) 3 Simplified drawings of clouds over Indian city (8) Last week’s solution, No 14,810 First published in the Guardian 30 October 2017, No 14,814 Futoshiki Medium ©Clarity Media Ltd 3 1 2 < 3 ∧ 3 1 1 1 5 ∧ ∨ 2 < 4 Last week’s solution 4 2 ∨ ∧ 2 < 4 5 ∧ > > ∧ > ∨ < ∧ 3 ∨ ∧ 3 4 9 5 6 7 8 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 5 How’s your father, if air con not working? (11) 6 Female officer promoted to protect a state (6) 7 Serious student stripped on street (7) 8 Raised objection, piercing sex organs in experimental locations (4,5) 12 Composition of Lennon, voice for pacifism (3-8) 13 Legless chaps touring Rhode Island with time for fun (9) 15 Some ascendant yogis outrival masters (8) 17 Bitter criticism of 6 musicians online (7) First published in the Guardian 8 November 2017, No 27,349 19 Fearful and upset, I therefore shut up (7) 20 Chromium and bronze around east of Mediterranean island (6) 22 6 foot of cantankerous pensioner (4) G U A R D I A N A N G E L S E R E M P R I E S E S I A O T R Y M A N D E E L E U L L A B L L B A G O A S C E W M L T I V A T E S T C H P O R T A A U L L I A R D S L B E T I T E R S L A T A I E H O M A S T R A R I N G E E B I S T E R G B I N D A N T L I F I L E S R H E N D E D E E I L I S T S U P E N T A N A C I S H E R N E Last week’s solution, No 27,342 > ∧ > > Fill in the grid so that every row, every column and every 3x3 box contains the numbers 1 to 9. We will publish the solution next week. Free puzzles at theguardian.com/sudoku 1 5 2 Sudoku classic Hard 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 neighbour. 4 5 ∨ 2 < 4 ∧ ∨ 5 3 1 1 Tawdry, casual fling is enthralling! (6) 4 Extremely aloof, graceful and rich (8) 9 Confused, at heart, by most recent setback for game (6) 10 Patrick oddly ignored constellation without a red giant (8) 11 Enters damaging struggle for promotion (14) 13 Impressive intellectual ringing round miners (10) 14 Hit thumb regularly on front of sill (4) 16 See world without borders and wax lyrical (4) 18 Lustful Liberal Democrat restrained by pair with common sense (10) 21 Aren’t sorry to interrupt relations between Mars and Venus, perhaps (14) 23 Being sexist in guest house (8) 24 Jill and Tony halfcut after second cocktail (6) 25 Brilliant storybooks ultimately enhance childhood (8) 26 Reverse right away from acid on motorway (6) ∧ 5 2 8 9 4 1 3 7 6 7 4 3 5 8 6 9 1 2 1 9 6 7 2 3 4 8 5 4 8 2 6 5 9 7 3 1 9 1 7 2 3 8 6 5 4 6 3 5 4 1 7 2 9 8 Last week’s solution 8 7 4 1 9 2 5 6 3 2 6 1 3 7 5 8 4 9 3 5 9 8 6 4 1 2 7 44 The Guardian Weekly 01.12.17 Diversions Shortcuts Heiress gets oﬀ lightly – with $30,000 ﬁne Most students would feel a $30,000plus fine for driving over the limit was a calamity, but Katharina G Andresen got off lightly. Andresen, 22, was handed a NOK250,000 ($30,600) fine by an Oslo court after she failed a roadside breathalyser test while on her way to the family chalet in the ski resort of Hafjell, three hours north of the capital, for the Easter weekend. Drink-driving penalties in Norway are means-tested, and since Andresen – a tobacco heiress with assets estimated at NOK7.7bn – is reportedly the country’s richest woman, the fine could have been much higher. Andresen, who was found to have a blood alcohol level of 0.06 – three times over the legal limit, which at 0.02 is one of Europe’s strictest – more than an hour after she was stopped, successfully pleaded that she had limited means. While the state prosecutor demanded the stiffest possible penalty and 18 days in prison, the court accepted that she had “no fixed income” and “the assets she possesses, at the date of this judgment, have not yet yielded a dividend”. In normal cases, Norwegian judges fine drunk drivers 1.5 times their gross monthly salary, but they have discretion to increase the amount based on what they consider to be the “real financial position” of the defendant, VG said. Andresen, who was also banned from driving for 13 months and handed a suspended three-week prison sentence, said she regretted her error of judgment. “I thought I had waited long enough not to be over the limit any more,” she told financial daily Finansavisen. “I am very sorry.” Jon Henley Monaco will claim sea to build posh ﬂats Monte Carlo, is regarded as vital for the continued growth of the principality; according to state statistics body L’Institut monégasque de la statistique et des études économiques (IMSEE), not one new-build apartment went up for sale last year. Rupert Neate Construction has begun on a $2bn scheme to reclaim land from the sea around Monaco so that more luxury apartments can be built for the thousands of extra millionaires expected to move to the principality in the next 10 years. Nearly 35 in every 100 Monaco residents are millionaires and more of the global super-rich want to join them. Around 2,700 more are expected to call Monaco home by 2026, according to research by estate agent Knight Frank, taking the total to 16,100 out of a total population of under 38,000. But the sovereign city-state has run out of space for those seeking the “fiscal advantages” antages” that the rs. tax haven offers. he world’s To attract the e Albert II, wealthy, Prince the reigning monarch, has approved the “offshore on project”, urban extension which will add d six hecco’s 202 tares to Monaco’s hectares. This will allow the creation tion of mes 120 luxury homes re selling for more than $100,000 per sq metre. The new Portier Cove ecological neighbourhood, near Casino de Call to ban smoking from French ﬁlms tween Fred Red and Jack Black. The chances of a card drawn randomly from Fred’s hand being red is now ⅓. Jack notes the chances of his drawing a black card from his hand are not ⅓. He discards a red card and takes a card from Fred and now the chances of a black card are ⅓. How many black cards does Jack Black have? Twitter: @ChrisMaslanka b) outcast c) loose overgarment worn by some Muslim women d) Egyptian goddess of primogeniture A call for French directors to stub out smoking on screen has been greeted with a mix of disbelief and outright ridicule. It has also prompted the existential question: what would French cinema be without the cigarette? The debate was ignited after the Socialist senator Nadine GreletCertenais accused France’s filmmakers of continuing to advertise for the tobacco industry. “Seventy per cent of new French films have at least one scene of someone smoking. This Thi more or less helps to make mak its use banal, even promote prom it, to children and a adolescents,” Grelet-Certenais Grelet-Ce told the Sénat, th the upper house of parliam parliament. published five A study publ years ago by a French anti-cancer group gr found that 80% of the 180 films surve surveyed by the organis organisation featured a reference re to ssmoking – ssomeone lighting li Smoking or Smokin fuming? Jeanne Moreau in i Eva up, for example – and 10% had more than 10 such scenes. On Europe1 radio, the philosopher Raphaël Enthoven said the idea might have been made with good intentions but was little more than “censorship under the pretext of public health”. “Injecting morality into the ‘seventh art’ [cinema] is like pouring cola into a Château Lafite,” he said. Kim Willsher Mexican politician promotes rat soup A local politician in the Mexican state of Zacatecas is promoting the consumption of rat soup in an attempt to rescue a local tradition and remove the stigma of eating rodents. “The idea is to demystify the consumption of field rats, a clean animal, which is not related in any way to the species in the sewers,” said Guadalupe Flores, a member of the state legislature. The consumption of caldo de rata – rat soup – goes back to colonial times in Zacatecas, a state set in the heart of the country. Full of vegetables such as corn and courgette and spiced with oregano, the soup is still commonly consumed in some communities but it rarely makes the menus of restaurants. Mexican politicians are often themselves described as ratas by protesters and editorial cartoonists, so there was a degree of irony in Flores’ decision to host a recent festival celebrating rat soup on the steps of the state legislature. But she expressed confidence that the attention could help revive interest in the traditional dish. David Agren Maslanka puzzles 1 “Carluccio – damn your boots! Giorgio! Modi–bloomin’–gliani!” These were the dire oaths emanating from the drawing room at 123 just before Pedanticus booted the DAB radio into the wastepaper basketbin. What had got the aesthete’s dander up this time? 2 “(x – 7) is positive if x is larger than 7 and negative if not,” remarked Andy to Candy, as they wrestled with homework; which was to write down a simple expression involving x that was positive if x took values between 0 and 1, and was negative everywhere else. Any ideas? 3 Down at The Last Chance saloon Tom breaks open a new pack of cards and deals them evenly be- Missing Links Identify the word in which each asterisk represents a missing letter: *A*B*L*Y* Same Difference Find the correct definition: ABAYA a) screen Rearrange the letters of PLASTIC GOOSE to make another word. Dropouts Wordplay Wordpool E pluribus unum Identify the two words, the spelling of which differs only in the letters shown: ***F******** (“it’s paid”) ***C******** (“it’s walked”) Find a word that follows the first word in the clue and precedes the second, in each case making a fresh word or phrase. Eg the answer to fish mix could be cake (fishcake & cake mix) and to bat man it could be he (bathe & he-man) ... a) racing energy b) sub green c) no breaker d) true bottle e) crazy club f) pine pie ©CMM2017. For solutions see page 47 The Guardian Weekly 01.12.17 45 Kicker here like this Then a short description here like this → Then Section and page XX Mind&Relationships Oliver Burkeman This column will change your life The Amish stance toward any invention is that they assume they don’t need it, then adopt it only if it suits their values T he basic stereotype about the Amish – drivers of horse-drawn buggies, wearers of huge beards – is that they’re stuck in the 18th century: if a technology wasn’t invented by then, you won’t find them using it today. So it’s alarming to learn, as the New York Times reported recently, that smartphones, PCs and computer-controlled machinery are increasingly part of the community’s daily life. There are Amish bakeries that take credit cards. So much for your fantasy – OK, my fantasy – of escaping the hyper-connected world and retreating to a simpler era. If clicking and swiping have got even the Amish addicted, what hope for the rest of us? Except, as Kevin Kelly points out in his book What Technology Wants, the Amish have never been unequivocal shunners of modernity. “Amish lives are anything but anti-technological,” he writes. Visiting Amish communities, he found battery-powered radios, computer-controlled milling machines, solar panels, chemical fertilisers and GM crops. What distinguishes the Amish stance toward any given invention isn’t that they reject it outright; it’s that they start by assuming they don’t want or need it, then adopt it only if they decide it’s in line with their values. Generally, these days, “our default is set to say ‘yes’ to new things”, Kelly notes, whereas for the Amish “the default is set to ‘no’”. Thus cars don’t make the cut, because they encourage people to wander far away, instead of building community close to home. But laptops and smartphones are fine, for some Amish, in certain workplace contexts – though never at home – because the benefits are deemed to outweigh the downsides. I’m not going to argue that we should adopt Amish values, which are largely illiberal, let alone Illustration by Michele Marconi; right, Lo Cole What I’m really thinking The older man oﬀered a seat on the bus copy their system for determining which technologies are allowed, which essentially means doing whatever the bishops decide. But I agree with Cal Newport, who highlighted Kelly’s work on his blog recently: isn’t it alarming that the basic Amish logic – adopt a new technology only if it helps you do what you deem important – feels so alien to us? “The Amish are clear about what they value,” he writes, “and new technologies are evaluated by their impact on these values.” Why does the basic Amish logic – adopt a new technology only if it helps you do what you deem important – seem alien? It’s not rocket science. (I’m not sure where the Amish stand on rocket science.) Yet most of us are deeply enmeshed in the opposite: we end up gradually adopting new things simply because they’re there. To implement Newport’s philosophy, you might take an inventory of the tech you use and evaluate each item for its real usefulness, working on the assumption that if something can’t justify itself, it’s out. I’ve started that process: I left a bunch of social networks I was barely on, and deleted all but 30 (!) apps from my phone, including email. (I almost never replied via phone anyway.) Yes, it’s only a start. On the other hand, I don’t own a car, so I’m already Amish-ish in that respect. Time to start shopping for a horse and cart. email@example.com The teenager who offers me her seat is pretty, I notice. With the warmest of smiles, she rises and steps into the aisle with courtesy bordering on a curtsey. I am wrong-footed, then conflicted. “No,” I scream silently, stifling an internal laugh, “I come from a generation where I do that for you.” I realise immediately what a strange and bygone place that is. Speech fails me; I burn with embarrassment and confusion. Later, I reflect that this is an act of unfettered kindness, an example of the goodness of a maligned generation. I bow in recognition, but feel bowed with shame. I am fit, able, strong. In my head, I am young; she shocks me by making me so acutely aware of my advancing years. To accept the seat is to accept that new status – elderly, needy, requiring care – a status I am not yet ready to embrace. To decline is to snub an act of generosity. To prevaricate is to appear ungrateful and ungraciously dithery. To explain is impossible. This dilemma is played out before the other passengers. What if, once I am seated, an older person boards and no one gives up their seat? Do I remain motionless and burn with shame, or stand and relinquish my newly received gift – a slap in the face for the kindly girl? I manoeuvre awkwardly into the seat, smile and sink my head on to my chest, in childlike submission to a world that has consigned me to a new role. The bus stumbles to a halt. I shuffle down the aisle and out into the rain, a Rubicon crossed. Tell us what you’re really thinking – email firstname.lastname@example.org 46 The Guardian Weekly 01.12.17 Sport England’s hopes lie in Adelaide pitch After first Ashes Test drubbing, seamers could be key to levelling series Cricket Vic Marks Brisbane Now an optimistic outlook is required. The good news for England fans is that there is a precedent for the team being overcome in the first Test in Brisbane and yet returning home with the Ashes (though one has to acknowledge that this happened on the 1954-55 tour when Frank Tyson was reckoned to be really quite scary by the Australians). There is, however, no escaping the fact that the mountain has become higher for England following their 10-wicket defeat at the Gabba which leaves them 1-0 down in the fivematch series. Perhaps the most worrying observation is that the team performed quite well for most of the match, yet were still outplayed. The parallels with the corresponding defeat in Brisbane four years ago are far from precise. Then, England had a more experienced lineup which prompted greater expectations. But they were an old side and it did not take much for the tour party to splinter when it started to go wrong (on the second day of the Gabba Test rather than the fourth). They left Brisbane in a state of shock, incurred by the ferocity of Mitchell Johnson roared on by 30,000 Queenslanders, and they did not get over it. There is a different feel to this side. They have more limitations but hopefully greater resolve, if not as much talent. They will surely stick together better. Now they head to Adelaide, where the second Test begins on 2 December, and the pressure mounts. In times past, the most genteel of Australia’s capitals was quite a good place to take stock. By Antipodean standards the wicket was a featherbed, where outof-sorts batsmen could recover form. It could easily be a venue for a holding draw while the generals reassessed their resources – but not any more. Adelaide has become a result-pitch in the era of day-night Test cricket. As dusk falls, the capricious pink ball can become mischievous and untrustworthy. Bowlers now look forward to the Adelaide Test more than batsmen. In one sense this is good news for England. If a draw is taken out of the equation the chances of squaring the series at the earliest opportunity are enhanced. Traditionally England sides – and this theory applies to the 2017 tour party – are better suited to surfaces that offer sideways movement. On true surfaces extra pace and quality, mystery spin can be invaluable; this is not England’s forte. But the old guard of Stuart Broad and Jimmy Anderson can be rejuvenated by the prospect of seam movement, which has been evident whenever using the pink ball in Adelaide. So the second Test probably represents England’s best chance of a win in this series, but the realisation that a draw is very unlikely adds to the pressure. England will play the same batsmen. All, except Alastair Cook, showed glimmers of form at the Gabba, where the ball spun more than anticipated for Nathan Lyon. Now they must consider how to play Lyon in Adelaide; they may have to risk being more positive. The problem is not helped by the proliferation of left-handers in the England team. Like most off-spinners Lyon is more effective against them; this mirrors the difficulties From 76-4 to 10-wicket victory On a disappointingly sunny fifthday for England fans, Australia completed the job of winning the first Test at the Gabba without any alarms. Their victory was emphatic in the end: a 10-wicket romp, which represented some comeback from the depths of 76 for four on day two. The winning runs came from a scorching straight drive by Cameron Bancroft, a wonderful way to end his Test debut. This completed a terrific fightback by Australia. Having bowled England out for 195, they required 170 to win. As the pitch flattened, Bancroft and David Warner knocked off the runs to preserve their fantastic record in Brisbane. VM experienced against Mehedi Hasan in Bangladesh and Ravi Ashwin in the 2016-17 India winter tour. England could do with more right-handers – even the man in reserve, Gary Ballance, is left-handed – but the selectors must have taken that into account. For Mark Stoneman – impressively composed against the new ball at the Gabba – and Dawid Malan, working out how to get off strike against Lyon is a challenge. Counter-intuitively, batsmen sometimes need to be more aggressive in Test cricket than at domestic level, for the simple reason they receive far fewer poor deliveries. Stoneman and Malan are discovering this the hard way against Lyon. Mitchell Starc neatly outlined Lyon’s value to the side at the Gabba: “He has been fantastic in this Test, by keeping one end tied up, it enabled A shirt can be so much more than a numbers game Inside sport Barry Glendenning If the evidence presented in the opening week of the US justice department’s Fifa corruption trial was not grim enough, the recent sight of a footballer named Mambo not wearing No 5 provided further evidence that the game is to all intents and purposes “gone”. During a televised English National League match between his side and Leyton Orient, the Ebbsfleet United central defender Yado Mambo became an unlikely social media talking point when viewers noticed the 26-yearold’s club had missed a trick by failing to allocate him the obvious digit as an homage to that 1999 Lou Bega smash-hit Mambo No 5. On the face of it, shirt numbers are no more than a means of identification but they are so much more than that. Some are iconic and tradition- ally associated with creative genius – not just any old clogger gets to wear No 10, like Eusebio, Maradona and Pelé. Word from the Emirates Stadium suggests prising that particular Arsenal shirt from the shoulders of Jack Wilshere is believed to be a strict condition of any new deal Mesut Özil may sign. The often-maligned midfielder already wears the No 10 shirt for Germany and a cursory perusal of his Twitter feed suggests he is more than a little obsessed with occupying that number than any number of wannabe UK prime ministers. Even in baseball it resonates: one episode of Seinfeld centred on George Costanza’s plan to name his first born Seven, after the New York Yankees legend Mickey Mantle. Gianluigi Buffon’s decision to wear No 88 at Parma famously upset Italy’s Jewish population, who saw it as neo-Nazi symbolism (H is the eighth letter of the alphabet, so 88 equates to HH, or Heil Hitler). The The Guardian Weekly 01.12.17 47 Sport in brief the quick bowlers to have short, sharp spells at the other end.” So the theory is simple: disrupt Lyon and those fast bowlers’ spells will not be so short or sharp. The problem is that Lyon is much-improved; he now bowls faster and more accurately. But even the best lose some control when successfully attacked. If there is the anticipated movement in Adelaide, then England’s comparative lack of pace will be less critical. Twenty wickets will not be beyond them but finding a way to dispatch the Australia captain Steve Smith cheaply – his unbeaten first-innings 141 was a major difference between the sides – will keep the analysts busy. goalkeeper, who had just lost his place in the Italian national team to Francesco Toldo, pleaded ignorance of this and insisted his choice of bingo’s two fat ladies was a motivational tool. “I have chosen 88 because it reminds me of four balls and in Italy we all know what it means to have balls: strength and determination,” he said. “And this season I will have to have balls to get back my place in the Italy team.” Whatever his logic, it had the desired effect. rubber after David Goffin had given Belgium both their points with impressive displays in the singles. France, however, had more strength in depth, winning a singles match through Jo-Wilfried Tsonga last Friday and Richard Gasquet and PierreHugues Herbert coming away with victory in last Saturday’s doubles match. It is France’s first title since they beat Australia away in 2001 before three defeats in the final in 2002, 2010 and 2014. ran in 10 tries at Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane to advance to their 12th successive World Cup decider. There they will face England, who withstood a tremendous late fightback by Tonga in Auckland to prevail 20-18 in the other semi-final. • Less than a week after becoming the first Kangaroo to score five tries in a Test, Valentine Holmes broke his record with six in Australia’s 54-6 Rugby League World Cup semi-final rout of Fiji. A ruthless Australia • France won their 10th Davis Cup tennis title as Lucas Pouille thrashed Steve Darcis 6-3, 6-1, 6-0 to give them a 3-2 victory in the final against Belgium in Lille. Pouille was never threatened in the decisive Hands on … France’s Davis Cup winners Chess Leonard Barden The Fide Grand Prix continues in Palma de Mallorca, with just one of the eight candidates to challenge for Magnus Carlsen’s world crown still to be decided. Shak Mamedyarov made sure of the seventh spot when his Azeri colleague Teimour Radjabov lost two games at Palma to drop out of contention. Meanwhile, Levon Aronian took the overall lead with an imaginative attacking game that overwhelmed his normally ultra-solid Dutch opponent Anish Giri. Finally, world champion Carlsen continues to sweep aside all opposition at rapid and blitz chess. The Norwegian crushed China’s Ding Liren in their speed match. He was near-invincible in online speed games, defeating Wesley So and Alex Grischuk by wide margins in the chess.com knockout. Once again an early h2-h4!? set the tone for Aronian’s victory, and it was probably best to stop the pawn’s further advance by 8...Bg4 9 Bg2 Nc6. A little later Black could try 12...cxd3 13 Qh4 f6! when there is nothing clear. As played, White’s attack speedily became crushing when his f-pawn • After a season that had featured an often gripping and highly competitive battle for the title, Formula One closed the curtain on the campaign with a decidedly anticlimactic affair in Abu Dhabi. The fireworks that greeted Valtteri Bottas as he crossed the line to take victory at Yas Marina, on an uninspiring circuit where passing is hard, had sadly not lit up the occasion. But for Bottas this was anything but a damp squib; beating his Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton into second was just the finish the Finn badly needed. Equally for Mercedes, sealing a dominant one-two over Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel in third was the perfect finale. Maslanka solutions 3522 Magnus Carlsen v Wesley So, chess.com speed 2017. How did White win? joned the assault. Black’s final error was 24...Bf6 when Qd6 is a better practical chance. In the game 27 d6! was utterly crushing. Levon Aronian v Anish Giri 1 Nf3 Nf6 2 c4 g6 3 Nc3 d5 4 cxd5 Nxd5 5 d3 Bg7 6 Bd2 O-O 7 g3 c5 8 h4!? Nc6 9 h5 Nxc3 10 bxc3 c4 11 hxg6 hxg6 12 Qa4 Na5? 13 d4 b6 14 Bg2 Bb7 15 Qc2 Qd5 16 Nh4 Qd7 17 e4 e5 18 d5 Bc8 19 f4! Qe7 20 f5! g5 21 Qd1 gxh4 22 Rxh4 Rd8 23 Qh5 Kf8 24 Rg4 Bf6? 25 Bh6+ Ke8 26 Rg8+ Kd7 27 d6! 1-0 3522 Qb1! (threat 2 Qb8 mate) Qb5 2 Nc6+! Qxc6 3 Qb8+ Qc8 4 Qb6+ Nc7 5 Qd6+ and mate On form … Australia opener Cameron Bancroft beats the dive of Joe Root in Brisbane Matt King/Getty • Scotland rounded off an entertaining round of northern hemisphere rugby union internationals in style by thrashing Australia 53-24 at Murrayfield. The Scots ran in eight tries against the Wallabies – who were reduced to 14 men for half of the game after the sending off of Sekope Kepu – to end up with their largest-ever points total against a Tier One nation. New Zealand remained at the top of the world rankings, underlining their class with a 33-18 win over Wales in Cardiff. England ran in seven tries in a 48-14 win over Samoa at Twickenham, while Ireland also completed a clean sweep of November international victories after a 28-19 win over Argentina in Dublin. Elsewhere, South Africa eased to a 35-6 win over Italy in Padua, while Japan showed they will be no pushovers when they host the 2019 World Cup, scoring three tries against France in a 23-23 draw in Paris. 1 It is perhaps little wonder that so many English words are mangled as it is a multifarious language hard to bring under uniform control. So we hear poling for polling, and buck for book. But the rules of Italian pronunciation are so easy and uniform. One such rule is that i immediately after c or g is not pronounced but serves only to soften the preceding consonant; so Carluccio is just three syllables: Car-loochcho (there is a double ch sound in it) and not Car loo-chi-o. Similarly, Giorgio is not Jawjee-o (or worse still: Jee-aw-jee-o), but two syllables approximating to Jaw-Joe. Know this and you are well-placed to say eg Giorgione. As for the gl in Modigliani, the g is not sounded in its own right but belongs to the trigraph gli pronounced lyee. 2 x(1 - x) will work the trick. For x > 1 x is positive and 1 – x is negative; for x < 0, x is negative and 1 - x is positive. Only in the range 0 < x < 1 are both positive. At x = 0 and x = 1 the expression equals zero. 3 Jack had had 8 black cards, 17 red cards and 2 jokers. He ends up with 16 red cards, 9 black cards and two jokers. Clearly, 2 jokers are involved as the number of red cards Fred has is a third of the number of cards he has, but 26 is not integrally divisible by 3, but 27 is. So Fred has 9 red cards and 18 others; there are 26 red cards in the pack so Jack Black must have 17 red cards, and 10 other cards. Now Jack can’t have 9 black cards, or the chances of a black would be 1⁄3; he must end with 9, so he must have had 8 black cards and gets a black card from Fred. Wordpool c) Dropouts JAMBALAYA Same Difference PROFESSIONAL, PROCESSIONAL EPU ESCAPOLOGIST Missing Links a) racing/green/energy b) sub/ lime/green c) no/deal/breaker d) true/blue/ bottle e) crazy/golf/club f) pine/apple/pie Guardian News & Media Ltd. All rights reserved. Published by Guardian News & Media Ltd., Kings Place, 90 York Way, London N1 9GU, UK. Acting editor: Graham Snowdon. Printed by Trinity Mirror Printing Ltd, Watford. Registered as a newspaper at the Post Office. Annual subscription rates (in local currencies): UK £120; Europe €196; Rest of World £192; US $240; Canada $240; Australia $312; NZ $392 Quarterly subscription rates: UK £30; Europe €49; Rest of World £48; US $60; Canada $60; Australia $78; NZ $98 To subscribe visit gu.com/subscribe/weekly Neoliberalism’s fatal flaw How did mainstream economics get so distorted? Review, pages 26-29 Gaby Hinsliﬀ Life isn’t always wonderful in small towns, but we can’t give up on them. Provincial centres are struggling as people move away – yet the future isn’t all about cities summer, fantasising about snapping up a family house for the price of a flat at home. But look closer and those high streets are too sleepy by half, bulked out with charity shops and brave stabs at businesses that don’t last. Come back in winter when it’s blowing a gale and it’s a different story. These are the rapidly ageing towns whose young people leave for university and don’t return, except at Christmas when they venture into the pubs they used to drink in, and feel half nostalgic, half uncomfortable. One unforeseen consequence of expanding higher education, with almost half of UK teenagers now going away to university, is that so many get a taste of city life and never look back. And fair enough, to be frank. It would be wholly wrong to turn back the clock, when for so many of my generation higher education was the making of us. But the greater opportunities seized by some do raise unsettling questions about the impact on those left behind – the kids Small towns thrive when their occupants feel genuinely torn between staying or going Nate Kitch S witzerland needs you. Or more precisely, the tiny Alpine community of Albinen needs you, badly enough that it’s offering 25,000 Swiss francs (about $25,000) a head to anyone prepared to move into town and stay there. Its chief attraction is said to be lots of lovely fresh air; and if that sounds suspiciously like admitting it doesn’t have all that many attractions, therein perhaps lies the problem. Young people are leaving Albinen, shrinking its population to that of a modest hamlet, and not coming back. And that’s a problem not confined to Switzerland. Small towns and villages everywhere, from the sleepy shires to post-industrial towns, are now struggling to keep their footing in a world where youth, energy and prosperity are draining away to the city. A million young people have moved out of small communities over the past 30 years, according to the new thinktank Centre for Towns, launched last week to focus minds on places that all too easily slip between the cracks of public debate, the places that aren’t really rural or urban but awkwardly in between. They don’t always look as if they are struggling, and contrary to urban myth not all their residents exhibit a curmudgeonly rage against the modern world. Some are the sort of pretty, sleepy market towns where holidaying city dwellers hover wistfully by estate agents’ windows every who couldn’t or didn’t want to move, and older generations who never had the chance. Thanks to their rapidly ageing populations, it’s small towns that will bear the brunt of rising demand for expensive health and social care, just as they are grappling with the painful consequences of economic change. Their factories are closing, high-street shops being replaced by vast warehouses where the only work is picking and packing goods for invisible online customers. Places where automation is more likely to cost jobs than bring them. While thinktanks like Centre for Towns don’t have all the answers, at least they are thinking far enough ahead to ask the right questions about what, apart from a sackful of Swiss francs, could make small-town life attractive again. It’s always involved compromises, occasionally painful ones. Everyone remembers the syrupy ending of It’s A Wonderful Life, where a small town rallies round to save its beloved bank, but the film actually begins with thoughts of suicide. Our hero George dreamed of travelling the world, and leaving the dreary family business behind for something new; but his father’s death leaves him effectively trapped, forced to step in to save the bank the community relies on. His reward for staying and doing his duty by Bedford Falls is a happy family life and the warm glow of knowing his community cares about him. It’s an impossibly romanticised version of what happened to many small-town family businessmen in 1930s America, but then as now the film’s popularity suggests people do still long to believe in the fairytale. Small towns thrive when their occupants feel genuinely torn between staying or going, because there are advantages to both. The problem now is that in too many small towns that choice has come to feel rather like a tug-of-war in which one end let go of the rope. There is precious little comfort to be had in staying, but dwindling opportunities to get out. But small towns occupy a powerful place in our hearts and imaginations, and they have a right to survive. All they need now is a reason to exist.