Vol 197 No 20 £2.90 €5.50* Exclusions apply A week in the life of the world | 20-26 October 2017 Austria gives ives youth its head Kurz’s electoral toral gamble pays oﬀ ys o ﬀ Eigg’s dream comes true Community owners thrive ‘Maybe we try a woman?’ Mona Prince’s vision for Egypt Xi’s iron grip on Chinese hearts Midway through his 10-year stint, ‘chairman of everything’ is feared but also respected Tom Phillips Tanmen Like most residents of the fishing village of Tanmen, Huang Jie will never forget the day China’s “chairman of everything” came to town. It was 8 April 2013 – just a few months after Xi Jinping had taken power – and he was using one of his first presidential trips to pay a morale-boosting visit to the sailors on the frontline of Beijing’s quest to control the South China Sea. “He was just over there,” reminisced Huang, 45, the owner of a harbour-side equipment shop, motioning excitedly into the street to where Xi’s motorcade passed by. “He looked out at us and smiled. When he waved, it was as if it was in slow motion – he didn’t say a word, but I felt so excited.” Some five years after his tour of Tanmen, Xi is celebrating what should be the midpoint of a 10-year stint at the helm of the world’s second-largest economy. China’s political elite descended on Beijing this week to salute a 64-year-old strongman who is now so powerful that a new body of ideology may be written into the constitution, putting him in the same political league as the nation’s founder, Mao Zedong. For critics, foremost among them liberal intellectuals and human rights activists, Xi’s first term has proved calamitous. Some had hoped he would prove a political reformer. Instead, China’s authoritarian leader has waged Objects of affection … souvenir badges of Mao Zedong and Xi Jinping Thomas Peter/Reuters war on dissent with unexpected ferocity, throwing some opponents in jail and forcing others overseas. Abroad, Xi has also accrued detractors, irking nations large and small for his assertive – some say domineering – foreign policy initiatives. Perhaps nowhere has that swagger manifested itself more clearly than in the politically charged waters around Tanmen, where Beijing is using “maritime militia” groups to push highly controversial sovereignty claims over about 90% of the South China Sea. But as Xi completes his first term, experts say many of China’s 1.4 billion citizens see him in a far more favourable light. “Whatever people may have to say about Xi Jinping, he has actually been a popular leader,” said Steve Tsang, head of the China Institute at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London. “The economy remains strong … corruption has been contained … China is internationally much more accepted as being in the top league and is calling the shots … In Trumpian terms, he’s managed to make China look great again.” Cheng Li, director of the Brookings Institution’s John L Thornton China Cent er in Washington, said Xi’s popularity is stronger among poorer citizens. “Of course, there is a lot 12→ 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 TRY14.50 2 The Guardian Weekly 20.10.17 World roundup Academy expels disgraced movie mogul Fatalities as violent storm hits Ireland Macron denies ‘president of the rich’ tag 1 4 6 The organisation behind the Oscars has expelled the disgraced Hollywood movie producer Harvey Weinstein, while separately it emerged UK police are looking into five allegations of sexual assault against him made by three women. Several allegations of rape have been made by actors in the UK and the US against Weinstein, all of which he has strenuously denied. Last Saturday, some of the film industry’s most powerful figures voted to expel him from their ranks. Dozens of actors, including Hollywood A-listers Angelina Jolie and Gwyneth Paltrow, have made accusations of sexual abuse against the 65-year-old movie mogul this month, prompting the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to call an emergency meeting. Last week Weinstein’s wife, the British designer Georgina Chapman, said she was leaving him. Comment, page 18 At least three people died in hurricane-force winds and hundreds of thousands were left without power after Storm Ophelia battered Ireland and western Britain. Ireland experienced the worst of the weather on Monday, with winds of almost 160km/h damaging electricity networks and causing widespread disruption. The Irish prime minister, Leo Varadkar, described Ophelia’s impact as a “national emergency”, adding that it was the worst storm to have hit Ireland in 50 years. The remnants of the hurricane also cut off power supplies and disrupted transport in parts of north-west England and Scotland. More Europe news, pages 8, 9 → The French president, Emmanuel Macron, has angrily denied he is cut off from real life or holds workingclass people in disdain in his first live primetime interview after five months in power. Macron organised the TV appearance last Sun- day in part to counter the damaging image among his critics that he cares more about the wealthy than the struggling. In recent weeks, some of his policies, such as watering down wealth tax, had led to him being labelled a “president of the rich” by opponents. → 4 Cuba ailment could be ‘mass hysteria’ 2 Senior neurologists have suggested that a spate of mysterious ailments among US diplomats in Cuba – which has caused a diplomatic rift between the two countries – could have been caused by a form of “mass hysteria” rather than sonic attacks. The unexplained incidents have prompted the US to withdraw most of its embassy staff from Havana and expel the majority of Cuban diplomats from Washington. The neurologists who talked to the Guardian cautioned that no proper diagnosis is possible without far more information and access to the 22 US victims, who have suffered a range of symptoms including hearing loss, tinnitus, headaches and dizziness. The neurologists argue that the possibility of “functional disorder” due to a problem in the nervous system – rather than a disease – should be considered. More Americas news, page 7 3 1 2 7 Journalist’s murder stuns Malta → Dozens killed in Iberian wildﬁres 3 At least 32 people were killed in northern Portugal and Spain, where hundreds of wildfires forced residents to flee from towns and villages. The death toll in Portugal, where a huge fire killed 64 people in June, was expected to rise. The government declared a state of emergency for regions north of the Tajo river after last Sunday was described as “the worst day of the year in terms of forest fires” by the civil protection spokeswoman Patricia Gaspar. Over 6,000 firefighters were battling more than 500 wildfires last Sunday – the highest number of fires in a single day for more than 10 years. Jorge Gomes, Portugal’s secretary of state of internal administration, said most of the fires had been set deliberately. The fires were fanned by strong winds. Some blazes in Galicia, Spain, remained out of control this week. 5 The journalist who led the Panama Papers investigation into corruption in Malta was killed on Monday in a car bomb near her home. Daphne Caruana Galizia’s blogs were a thorn in the side of both the establishment and underworld figures that hold sway in Europe’s smallest member state. Her most recent revelations pointed the finger at Malta’s prime minister, Joseph Muscat, and two of his closest aides, connecting offshore companies linked to the three men with the sale of Maltese passports and payments from the government of Azerbaijan. No group or individual initially claimed responsibility for the attack. Muscat condemned the “barbaric attack”, saying he had asked police to reach out to other countries’ security services for help identifying the perpetrators. “Everyone knows Ms Caruana Galizia was a harsh critic of mine,” said Muscat, “but nobody can justify this barbaric act in any way”. Caruana Galizia was 53 and leaves a husband and three sons. Weah and Boakai face Liberia runoﬀ 7 The former international footballer George Weah and Liberia’s vice-president, Joseph Boakai, will face a runoff for the country’s presidency on 7 November, the electoral commission announced. With tallies in from 95.6% of polling stations, Weah had taken 39% of the votes and Boakai 29.1%, both well short of that required to win outright from the first round of voting. Whoever wins the second round will replace Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who is stepping down as president after a maximum of two terms. The handover would represent Liberia’s first peaceful transfer of power in more than seven decades. More Africa news, page 6 → 6 The Guardian Weekly 20.10.17 3 Eyewitnessed The week’s events in pictures → Centre pages 24-25 Isis fighters ‘broker deal to leave Raqqa’ 8 Islamic State fighters remaining in Raqqa, once the group’s de facto capital, have brokered a deal that would allow them to leave the city with a number of human shields, according to agencies in Syria. Omar Alloush, a senior official of the Raqqa civil council, said a deal had been reached to allow fighters out of the city, which is on the verge of being captured by the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces. “Foreign fighters are included in the deal,” he said. According to Alloush, up to 500 fighters including both Syrian and foreign-born jihadists remain in Raqqa. More Middle East news, pages 4, 5 → 10 5 8 Jeenbekov wins Kyrgyzstan election 10 Electoral observers said there were “numerous and significant procedural problems” during the count in Kyrgyzstan’s presidential vote, but praised the orderly transfer of power in the ex-Soviet state. Sooronbai Jeenbekov, a protege of the outgoing president, won last Sunday with 55%, a stronger result than polls 13 had predicted. Opposition leader Omurbek Babanov conceded defeat but said he would investigate irregularities. The election was seen as a test of stability in the central Asian country where Russia still holds considerable sway and two previous leaders were ousted in riots. Candidates had, in general, campaigned freely, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe said. 12 Park accuses successor of revenge plot 12 Park Geunhye, the deposed South Korean president, has denounced her bribery and corruption trial as “political revenge” after her legal team resigned in protest against her treatment in detention. Speaking publicly for the first time since her trial began six months ago, Park told a hearing at the Seoul central district court on Monday: “I was supposed to be released today, but the court issued another arrest warrant … I can’t accept its decision.” Last week the court extended her detention until April next year, citing a potential risk that she would attempt to destroy evidence. In an outburst that seemed to be directed at her successor as South Korean president, Moon Jae-in, Park said: “I hope I will be the last victim of political revenge in the name of the rule of law.” More Asia Pacific news, pages 12-13 → Chinese space station due to crash 13 An 8.5-tonne Chinese space station has accelerated its out-ofcontrol descent towards Earth and is expected to crash to the surface within a few months. The Tiangong-1 or “Heavenly Palace” lab was launched in 2011 as a “potent political symbol” of China, part of a scientific push to turn China into a space superpower. It was used 9 11 South African activist verdict praised 9 An anti-apartheid activist who died in 1971 was tortured and killed by South African police, a court said, a landmark decision that raised hopes that dozens of similar cases would be investigated. The inquest into Ahmed Timol’s death had riveted South Africans. “It is sad that it took so long,” Nobel peace prize winner and former archbishop Desmond Tutu said in a statement read out by Timol’s family. The court found that Timol, pictured, did not kill himself by jumping from a window, as authorities said at the time. An inquest found that the South African Communist party member was murdered after his arrest and transfer to a police station. Timol was one of 73 political detainees who died in police custody in South Africa between 1963 and 1990. The system of whiteminority rule ended in the early 1990s. 14 Australia joins UN human rights council 11 Australia was elected uncontested to the UN human rights council on Monday in New York, as the council wrestles with rights abuses among current and prospective members. Current member the Philippines has waged a deadly extrajudicial “war on drugs” that has killed at least 6,000 people, while prospective member the Democratic Republic of the Congo is riven by conflict, arbitrary arrests, torture and killings, and the persistent recruitment of child soldiers. Elections to the 47-member council are largely uncompetitive. Only among Asia Pacific states are six nations competing for four seats. Election is not a formality: a majority of votes cast is needed. Australia was competing for one of two “Western Europe and others” group seats against Spain and France, but France’s withdrawal made Australia’s elevation almost certain. for both manned and unmanned missions and visited by China’s first female astronaut, Liu Yang, in 2012. But in 2016 Chinese officials confirmed they had lost control of the space station and it would crash to Earth. China’s space agency has since notified the UN that it expects Tiangong-1 to come down between this month and next April. Antarctica penguins die of starvation 14 A colony of about 40,000 Adélie penguins in Antarctica has suffered a “catastrophic breeding event” – all but two chicks died of starvation this year. It d time is the second in four yearss that tation – such devastation sly seen in not previously more than 50 years red. – has occurred. The finding prompted calls to set up oa marine protected area in East Antarctica, at this week’s meeting of 24 nations and the EU at the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources in Hobart. The colony of about 18,000 breedin breeding penguin pairs on Petrels suffer a Island suffered similar eve event in 2013, blamed on a record amount of summer sea ice and heavy “u “unprecedented” rainfall. 4 The Guardian Weekly 20.10.17 International news Yemen cholera crisis is worst in history War-fuelled epidemic could amount to 1m cases by end of year Kate Lyons The cholera epidemic in Yemen has become the largest and fastestspreading outbreak of the disease in modern history, with a million cases expected by the year’s end and at least 600,000 children likely to be affected. The World Health Organization has reported more than 815,000 suspected cases of the disease in Yemen and 2,156 deaths. About 4,000 suspected cases are being reported daily, more than half of which are among children under 18. Children under five account for a quarter of all cases. The spread of the outbreak, which has surpassed Haiti as the biggest since records began in 1949, has been exacerbated by hunger and malnutrition. While there were 815,000 cases of cholera in Haiti between 2010 and 2017, Yemen has exceeded that number in just six months. Save the Children has warned that, at the current rate of infection, the number of cases will reach seven figures before the turn of the year, 60% of which will be among children. In July the International Committee of the Red Cross predicted there would be 600,000 suspected cholera cases in the country by the end of the year. Tamer Kirolos, Save the Children’s country director for Yemen, said an outbreak of this scale and speed is “what you get when a country is brought to its knees by conflict, when a healthcare system is on the brink of collapse, when its children are starving, and when its people are blocked from getting the medical treatment they need”. He added: “There’s no doubt this is a manmade crisis. Cholera only rears its head when there’s a complete and total breakdown in sanitation. All parties to the conflict must take responsibility for the health emergency we find ourselves in.” More than two years of fighting between the Saudi-led coalition and Houthi rebels has crippled the country, causing widespread internal displacement, the collapse of the public health system, and leaving millions on the brink of famine. The crisis was exacerbated when sanitation workers, whose salaries had gone unpaid, went on strike. This meant that rubbish was left on the streets and then washed into the water supply. It is estimated that 19.3 million Yemenis – more than two-thirds of the population – do not have access to clean water and sanitation. The government stopped funding the public health department in 2016, meaning many doctors and hospital staff have not received salaries for more than a year. Healthcare has since been provided mainly by international organisations, but their efforts have been hampered by the conflict. The spread of the disease has nonetheless slowed. At the beginning of the most recent outbreak, in May this year, between 5,000 and 6,000 new cases were detected daily. That rate has since dropped to just under 4,000 a day. The mortality rate has also declined, from 1% at the beginning of the outbreak to 0.26% now. “Whatever decline we’re seeing now is due to the heroic efforts of workers at the scene,” said Sherin Stocking up … safe water supplies have become scarce in Yemen Reuters Varkey, the officiating representative of Unicef Yemen. Varkey said the situation would not be solved until there was peace in the country. “There are no signals that give us any reason for optimism. We know that both parties to the conflict are continuing with their blatant disregard of the rights of children,” he said. “We’re at a cliff and we’re staring down and it is bottomless. There seems to be no hope.” Cholera should be easily treatable with oral rehydration salts and access to clean water. But Mariam Aldogani, Save the Children’s health adviser for the city of Hodeidah, said conditions in the country had made this very difficult. Aldogani said: “All the NGOs are trying to increase the knowledge of how to prevent the disease, because it’s preventable, you have to boil the water. But if you don’t have money to buy gas, and you have to walk a long way to get the wood, how can you boil the water?” Aldogani said witnessing the suffering of her patients was deeply painful. “I saw one young man, he had cholera and severe dehydration. He was in a coma and he died in front of his mother. We tried our best, but he came too late and she was crying, and I cried. It makes me angry. When I see a mother lose her baby, especially a stillbirth, she waits for this baby for a long time and then she loses it because of cholera, it makes me so angry. “The war is a big problem for us, it’s a wound. But with the cholera, you have the wound and you put salt in the wound. It hurts. I hope this war can be stopped. We need peace for the children of Yemen. Our situation before the war was not good, but it was not like this.” Morphine shortage means 25 million a year die in agony Sarah Boseley More than 25 million people, including 2.5 million children, die in agony every year around the world, for want of morphine or other palliative care, according to a major investigation. Poor people cannot get pain relief in many countries because their needs are overlooked or the authorities are so worried about the potential illicit use of addictive opioids that they will not allow their import. “Staring into this access abyss, one sees the depth of extreme suffering in the cruel face of poverty and inequity,” says a special report from a commission set up by the Lancet medical journal. In Haiti, for instance, says the report, there are no hospices for the dying and most suffer without pain relief at home. “Patients in pain from trauma or malignancy are treated with medications like ibuprofen and 2.5m Number of children among the 25 million people who die in pain every year for want of drugs or palliative care acetaminophen [paracetomol],” reports Antonia P Eyssallenne of the University of Miami School of Medicine. Nurses dislike giving high doses of narcotics for fear of blame for the patient’s death. The commission’s three-year inquiry found nearly half of all deaths globally – 25.5 million a year – involve serious suffering for want of pain relief and palliative care. A further 35.5 million live with chronic pain and distress. Of the 61 million total, 5.3 million are children. More than 80% of the suffering takes place in low- and middle-income countries. Jim Yong Kim, president of the World Bank, said: “Failure of health systems in poor countries is a major reason that patients need palliative care in the first place. More than 90% of these child deaths are from avoidable causes. We can and will change both these dire situations.” Professor Felicia Knaul, co-chair of the commission from the University of Miami, said: “The world suffers a deplorable pain crisis: little to no access to morphine for tens of millions of adults and children in poor countries who live and die in horrendous and preventable pain,” and called it “one of the world’s most striking injustices”. The Guardian Weekly 20.10.17 5 International news Iraq moves to occupy Kurdish territory Analysis: anti-Isis coalition risks descending into war Peshmerga withdraws from Kirkuk as US seeks to downplay clashes Martin Chulov Erbil and agencies Kurdish fighters lost more territory in Iraq this week, a day after Iraqi forces pushed them out of the disputed oilrich city of Kirkuk. The commander of local Yazidi fighters, Masloum Shingali, said Kurdish forces had left the town of Sinjar before dawn on Tuesday, allowing Shia-led militia fighting with Iraqi forces to move into the town. Shingali said there had been no clashes and that the Kurdish forces left immediately. “They didn’t want to fight,” he said. The town’s mayor, Mahma Khalil, said the Popular Mobilisation Forces, a predominantly Shia militia coalition, were securing Sinjar. Iraqi troops pushed their Kurdish allies in the battle against Islamic State out of Kirkuk on Monday, seizing oilfields and other facilities as tensions soar over last month’s Kurdish vote for independence. Iraqi forces also took control of the Bai Hasan and Avana oilfields northwest of Kirkuk on Tuesday, after seizing the Baba Gurgur, Jambur and Khabbaz fields the previous day, a senior military officer told Reuters. Oil officials in Baghdad said all the fields were operating normally. The Pentagon sought to play down the scale of clashes between the two sides on Monday, after forces loyal to the central government in Baghdad rapidly took over nearly all of Kirkuk, and Kurdish forces abandoned their positions, retreating to nearby oilfields. Video footage showed streams of Kurdish refugees leaving Kirkuk in cars. Thousands of civilians returned Advance … Iraqi troops head for peshmerga defences near Kirkuk Getty to Kirkuk on Tuesday, a day after fleeing for fear of potential clashes. Baghdad’s move came after last month’s referendum on Kurdish independence, which included the ethnically diverse city, a contentious move that Baghdad viewed as effective annexation. The peshmerga withdrawal delivered decisive military and political gains to Baghdad and a devastating blow to the Kurdish region’s de facto president, Massoud Barzani, who had staked much of his legacy on the referendum and aimed to use it as a stepping stone to consolidate Kurdish autonomy. The north-western town of Sinjar is infamous as the site of one of Islamic State’s worst atrocities. It killed thousands of Yazidi men and abducted thousands of women and girls as sex slaves in 2014. Tens of thousands of civilians fled into mountains in appalling conditions, helping to trigger US intervention against the jihadis. The Yazidis are Kurdish-speaking, but follow their own non-Muslim faith that earned them the hatred of the Sunni Muslim extremists of Isis. Following the 2014 exodus, many Yazidis volunteered to fight against Isis, either in their own militias or those sponsored by the Kurds or the Iraqi government. Hashed al-Shaabi, a paramilitary force made up largely of Shia militias trained by Iran said Yazidi fighters in its ranks had deployed in Sinjar. Kurdish forces took the town from Isis in 2015. Sinjar and Kirkuk form part of a swath of historically Kurdish-majority territory that the Kurds want to incorporate in their autonomous region in the north, against the wishes of Baghdad. The Kurds took over parts of the territory in 2014 when many units of the Iraqi army disintegrated in the face of the jihadis’ rapid advance through areas north and west of Baghdad. With Islamic State days from being ousted from its Syrian stronghold of Raqqa, and having been ejected two months ago from Mosul in Iraq, the western anti-Isis alliance should be congratulating itself. Instead, it finds the two ground forces that did most to expel Isis, which are armed, trained and supported by Washington, at each other’s throats, with tensions concentrated on the oil city of Kirkuk. The hardline military response from Iraq and Iran earlier this week to the Iraqi Kurds’ decision to hold a referendum on independence – a vote strongly opposed by every western state – risks a new war that could destroy the unity of the Iraqi state. The nightmare is a Turkish or Iranian occupation of parts of Kurdistan leading to a guerrilla war before the Isis dream of a caliphate is crushed. Already there is revived talk of disenfranchised Sunnis following the Kurdish path to independence by seeking to form their own state in Iraq – the genesis of Isis in 2014. Sunnis reason that, along with the Kurds, they make up approximately 40%-45% of Iraq’s population, but if the Kurds secede from Iraq, the remaining Sunnis will form a smaller rump in an overwhelmingly Shia state, which will make them more vulnerable to sectarian persecution. An amicable divorce for the Kurds was always unlikely due to the formal incorporation into Kurdistan of disputed territories such as Kirkuk, an emotive issue for Kurds and Arabs given its oil and strategic position. Patrick Wintour Palestinian rivals make new attempt at reconciliation Peter Beaumont Jerusalem The rival Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah have signed a preliminary reconciliation deal in the latest in a series of attempts to end a decadelong Palestinian territorial, political and ideological split that has crippled statehood aspirations. The deal, signed in Cairo in the presence of Egyptian intelligence officials, focuses on who should control the contested Gaza Strip and on what terms. The two sides’ mutual hostility has defined the stark geographical and ideological division in Palestinian society between the West Bank and Gaza, which they have ruled separately since clashes broke out in 2007. Hamas was represented at the signing by Saleh al-Arouri, who has been accused by Israel of masterminding attacks on Israelis from his exile in Turkey and elsewhere. Under the agreement, the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority (PA) is to resume full control of the Hamascontrolled Gaza Strip by 1 December, according to a statement from Egypt’s intelligence agency. According to reports the agreement would also see PA forces take control of the Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Egypt. In exchange, the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, and the PA are expected to lift crippling restrictions on electricity supply to Gaza that have made the lives of its 2 million residents miserable in recent months. While significant on paper at least, the deal is similar to previous attempts at reconciliation between the two sides that quickly ran into the sand. Despite the reported agreement on the Rafah crossing, it is unlikely to make much difference in practical terms for goods entering Gaza from Egypt, as truck traffic remains restricted by the Egyptian military because of the security crisis there. A Fatah official said Abbas would visit Gaza “within less than a month”. If it goes ahead, the Abbas visit would be the first since 2007, when the Islamist Hamas movement assumed control of Gaza. 6 The Guardian Weekly 20.10.17 International news Spotlight back on al-Shabaab Mogadishu bomb attack could prompt greater US involvement in Somalia Karen McVeigh Analysis Jason Burke For many years, Somalia was a forgotten front among the various campaigns against violent extremist Islamists around the world. Last Saturday’s massive bombing of the centre of Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia, will bring the spotlight back on to the battered country. Al-Shabaab, the Islamist group based in the country, is almost certainly responsible for the truck bomb that killed at least 320 people. The attack proves once more it is among the most capable and tenacious militant organisations anywhere. Al-Shabaab’s roots run back through a series of violent – and sometimes non-violent – revivalist Islamist movements in Somalia over the past 40 years. In the past decade, it has been fighting local, regional and international forces, and has survived significant strategic setbacks primarily by exploiting the weaknesses and failings of central government in the shattered state. One reason for the relative lack of attention to al-Shabaab in recent years in Washington, London and other western capitals is that the group has ruthlessly purged anyone who wanted to swear allegiance to Islamic State in Iraq and Syria from its ranks. That al-Shabaab – the name means “the youth” – is not seen as particularly dangerous beyond its immediate region is another reason. Though the group has been a formal affiliate of al-Qaida since 2011, it has not engaged in terrorist planning against European or US targets. Though it has attracted militants from the west, it has not sent many Destruction … the blast killed at least 320 people Mohamed Abdiwahab/Getty back the other way. It has, however, launched a series of attacks in east Africa, such as the assault on an upscale shopping mall in Kenya in 2013 in which 67 people were killed. Regional powers, including Kenya, have done the heavy lifting in terms of military deployments in Somalia in recent years. More than 20,000 troops have been deployed by the African Union. But they have been much criticised, accused of corruption, military incompetence and of being arrogant – and sometimes brutal – toward local populations. A series of assaults by al-Shabaab on African Union bases have undermined political will to continue this commitment among regional states – as the extremist strategists intended it would. The bombing in Mogadishu may intensify a growing US commitment to pursuing a more active role in Somalia. This year the US president Donald Trump designated Somalia a “zone of active hostilities”, allowing commanders greater authority when launching airstrikes, broadening the range of possible targets and relaxing restrictions designed to prevent civilian casualties. He also authorised the deployment of regular US forces to Somalia for the first time since 1994. The US pulled out of Somalia after the 1993 “Black Hawk Down” episode, when two helicopters were shot down in Mogadishu and the bodies of American soldiers were dragged through the streets. In May a special forces soldier was killed in a skirmish with al-Shabaab. Any deeper commitment would come against a background of greater involvement in Africa. This month, four US servicemen were killed in a firefight with militants in Niger. Somalia is suffering its worst drought in 40 years, with the effects of climatic catastrophe compounded by war and poor governance. Al-Shabaab’s control over populations in much of rural south and central Somalia is such that it was able to impose a ban on humanitarian assistance, forcing hundreds of thousands of people to choose between death from starvation and disease or brutal punishment. Devastating blast is ‘the Somali 9/11’, oﬃcial says Somalian security officials say a key member of the cell that launched a devastating attack on Mogadishu has told them al-Shabaab, a violent Islamist group in Somalia, was responsible for the blast. The death toll from the bombing, which involved a truck packed with explosives, reached 320 late on Monday morning. Hundreds more were injured in one of the most lethal terrorist acts anywhere in the Tanzania’s Maasai fear for existence world for many years. Al-Shabaab, which is an al-Qaida affiliate, vowed this year to increase its attacks after both the US Trump administration and Somalia’s recently elected president, Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, announced fresh military efforts against the group. There was no initial claim of responsibility for the blast but a man detained by Somali security forces as he tried to drive a second vehicle packed with explosives into the city last Saturday, has given details of the plot to interrogators. One official said: “This is the Somali 9/11. The man we arrested has confessed. He is proud of what he has done. He says it was for jihad.” Analysts said the Somali security services had been under “very great pressure” in recent months, and had been seriously weakened by internal factional fighting. JB For Lilian Looloitai, a Maasai woman from east Africa, “land means life”. For her nomadic tribe, who have grazed cattle in north Tanzania’s highlands for centuries, a bitter dispute playing out on the edge of the Serengeti national park brings not just uncertainty, but threatens their very existence. It is the latest example of the growing tensions between wildlife conservation, which brings revenue to the country, and the rights of nomads, who need land to survive. “How long will the government continue to expand the national parks? It is for wildlife, but we are human beings,” said Looloitai, the managing director of Cords Limited, a rights group based in Arusha. “As pastoralists, we are being undermined.” The long-running border dispute between Maasai people in Loliondo and the authorities was reignited two months ago amid reports that, over a period of two days, hundreds of homes were burned down. It has happened at a time when pastoralists are struggling with a serious drought in the area, which has reduced the quality and quantity of their pasture. On 21 S eptember, residents from four villages in Loliondo – Ololosokwan, Olorien, Kirtalo and Arash – filed a case with the east African court of justice in an attempt to stop more evictions. “The way they are doing things is against human rights. We don’t expect people to be evicted,” said Looloitai. In Tanzania, all land belongs to the state, so evictions are not illegal if force is used, said Looloitai. However, she urged the government to find a peaceful solution. When claims emerged in 2012 that the Tanzanian government wanted to force Maasai pastoralists off their land to make way for game hunting, there was an international outcry. The plan, which would reportedly benefit Dubai-based company Otterlo Business Corporation, would have displaced about 30,000 people and caused problems for the Maasai, who depend on seasonal grasses to graze livestock. The government shelved the plans after the campaign. The latest reports are causing renewed concern. NGOs said the evictions were a surprise, because a commission had been working to find a solution to the land dispute. The Guardian Weekly 20.10.17 7 Comment&Debate International news Family freed after Afghan ‘nightmare’ Ashifa Kassam Toronto Queen’s promise ... Britain signed a treaty with indigenous people for the use of land Granger/Rex/Shutterstock Canada may owe a lot of rent First Nations legal case seeks to reassess 167year-old annuity treaty Ashifa Kassam Toronto When the fur-trader-turned-politician William Benjamin Robinson pulled up to the shores of the river that links Lake Superior and Lake Huron in 1850, his mission was clear: he was to gain access to as much of the vast territory around him as possible. Acting on behalf of Queen Victoria, Robinson launched into formal negotiations with the indigenous people who lived in what would later become north-eastern Ontario in Canada. The two sides eventually struck a deal: in exchange for access to more than 9m hectares of land, Robinson offered hunting and fishing rights – and an annual payment equivalent to C$2 per person each year. In 1874, the payment was increased to C$4 a year. Since then, it has remained stagnant. Now, 167 years after the Robinson Huron Treaty was signed, the docu- ment – and its original intent – is at the heart of a landmark legal challenge playing out in Ontario. Twenty-one First Nations, representing about 30,000 people, have taken the federal and Ontario governments to court, accusing them of failing to uphold the deal Robinson hashed out with their ancestors. Central to the case is the question of how the annual payment should be interpreted. The First Nations claim that their ancestors initially balked at what seemed like a paltry sum for their resource-rich land. “So what William Benjamin Robinson said – and I’m paraphrasing – was: ‘Here’s what I’ll do. I’ll offer you this annuity and if the territory produces more revenue for the crown, the annuity will be increased accordingly,’” said Mike Restoule, one of the plaintiffs in the case. The treaty stipulates that any increase in the annuity “shall not exceed the sum of 1-pound provincial currency in any one year, or such further sum as Her Majesty may be graciously pleased to order”. More than a century after the first increase, despite petitions and appeals from First Nations chiefs to various levels of government, the annuity remains unchanged. Last year, according to government figures, about 580,000 people were eligible to collect annuities from treaties signed between 1850 and 1921. For many, the payment has become a symbol of the complex relationship their ancestors forged with the crown. Ontario’s ministry of indigenous relations and reconciliation declined to comment on the case as it is before the courts. But in a statement to the Guardian, the government noted its respect for Aboriginal and treaty rights. “We are committed to meeting the province’s constitutional and other obligations in respect of indigenous peoples,” it said. The court cases, which have hearings scheduled into early 2018, have attracted attention across the country, said Restoule. “Other First Nation groups are watching this very carefully because they’re saying they don’t have a good deal either,” he added. Nearly five years to the day after they were captured by militants linked to the Taliban, an American woman, her Canadian husband and their three children – all of whom were born in captivity – were rescued, bringing an end to an ordeal the couple described as a “Kafkaesque nightmare”. Pakistani troops, operating on intelligence provided by the US, rescued Caitlan Coleman, her husband Joshua Boyle and their children after locating them in the mountainous Kurram Valley region that borders Afghanistan. The couple were kidnapped in Afghanistan in 2012 and were believed to be held by the Haqqani network, a group deemed a terrorist organisation by the US. After arriving in Toronto, Boyle said they had been kidnapped while trying to deliver aid to villagers in a Talibancontrolled region. Boyle later said the militants who abducted him and his wife raped her and killed an infant daughter born in captivity. Following their rescue, his fatherin-law expressed frustration with Boyle for taking his daughter to Afghanistan while she was pregnant. Many seized on the remarks, along with the fact that Boyle was once married to the sister of Omar Khadr, the Canadian held for 10 years at Guantánamo Bay, to speculate that the couple had had other motivations for the trip. Boyle dismissed the reports. “I’m a harmless hippy and I do not kill even mice,” he told the Toronto Star. “I’ve been vegetarian for 17 years. Anybody who knows me would laugh at the notion that I went with designs on becoming a combatant.” Opposition raises suspicions over Venezuela vote Rachelle Krygier, Anthony Faiola Washington Post Venezuela’s electoral council declared pro-government candidates the overwhelming winners in last Sunday’s key state elections even though the opposition, which opinion polls had shown poised for widespread victories, cast serious doubt on the results. In the vote to elect the governors in all 23 Venezuelan states, the progovernment electoral council said government candidates had won in 17 states, with the opposition capturing five and one remaining too close to call. Before the announcement, opposition officials, who had predicted an almost opposite outcome, suggested possible fraud. They were locked in meetings late last Sunday and did not immediately comment after the tally was announced. “Given the information we’ve been managing, we want to alert the country,” Gerardo Blyde, head of the opposition coalition’s campaign, said before the official results were released. “We have serious suspicions and doubts about the results that will be announced by the electoral council.” The results could spark a fresh round of international condemnation and potentially further sanctions on the authoritative government of president Nicolás Maduro. After a vote in July creating a progovernment super congress loyal to Maduro that was widely decried as fraud, US president Donald Trump labelled Venezuela a dictatorship and increased sanctions against Maduro and his government, while warning that more could come. Last Sunday, however, Maduro hailed the results as not only as a victory for his socialists, but as proof of his government’s commitment to democracy. “This is one more victory,” he said on state TV. “The path is democracy. The path is elections. Not violence. Not economic war.” The government put the turnout at a relatively high 61% – a level at which key pollsters had predicted the opposition would win sweeping victories. 8 The Guardian Weekly 20.10.17 International news Austrian voters swing to the right Conservative Sebastian Kurz may invite far right to join him in a coalition Philip Oltermann The centre of political gravity in Austria shifted to the right after the conservative Austrian People’s party (ÖVP) came out top in national elections, making its 31-year-old leader, Sebastian Kurz, the world’s youngest head of government. Projections last Sunday night put the ÖVP ahead with 31.7% of the vote. The incumbent chancellor Christian Kern’s centre-left Social Democrats (SPÖ) were relegated to second place with 27% of the vote, while the farright FPÖ took 25.9%, failing to match its best-ever result. For the first time Austria’s two rightwing parties both managed to increase their seats tally without taking votes off each other. The result represents a triumph for Kurz, who has turned around his party’s fortunes and said he was “overwhelmed” with the result, vowing to introduce a “new political culture” of togetherness under his leadership. The Vienna-born politician will probably be tasked with forming the next government, potentially in coalition with the FPÖ, founded by a former Nazi functionary and SS member after the second world war. Critics argue that Kurz, whose manifesto has called for lower taxes and tougher measures against “political Islam”, only achieved his victory by embracing a divisive agenda dictated by the far right. Of ÖVP voters, 55% said they had picked the party because of its stance on asylum and integration policies. The shift in Austria’s political landscape comes less than a year after the FPÖ’s Norbert Hofer was beaten in the presidential vote by a Green-backed candidate, Alexander Van der Bellen. Kern called elections in May after months of deadlock over policy disputes between the SPÖ and ÖVP, which have jointly governed in a “grand coalition” for the last decade. While last Sunday’s result would mathematically allow a continuation of the coalition, the election campaign has not only seen Kurz’s party drift to the right but sparked an ugly war of words between the former allies, intensified by allegations of “dirty campaigning”. Any rapprochement between the two parties would require deft diplomacy and could undermine Kurz’s platform for change. Kern, a former head of Austria’s state-run railway operator who took over as chancellor in May 2016, has previously indicated that he would prefer to go into opposition if his party came second. Last Sunday he stated that he expected Kurz to come quickly to a coalition agreement with the FPÖ. Neither centre party has categorically ruled out a coalition with the FPÖ, which formed a government with the SPÖ in 1983 and the ÖVP in 2000, a move met at the time with economic sanctions from Israel and several EU member states. Under Heinz-Christian Strache, who has led the FPÖ following a split in 2005, it switched from a broader anti-immigration message to more targeted anti-Islam rhetoric. In a recent TV debate Strache called for Austria to join the Visegrád group of central European states, whose borders overlap with the 19th-century Austro-Hungarian empire. On Austrian TV Strache described the result as a “great victory” and a sign of a “desire for change”, even though his party’s projected result falls short of the support the FPÖ commanded in polls at the height of the refugee crisis. A “dirndl coalition” between the ÖVP, the Greens and the liberal party Neos looked likely to fall short of a majority. The Greens, after a recent party split, found itself on the verge of failing to meet the 4% hurdle for entering parliament for the first time in 38 years. But the Peter Pilz List, a party founded by a former Green MP, looked likely to enter parliament for the first time. The Social Democrats will view the result with mixed feelings. While the SPÖ’s overall share of the vote decreased, it managed to improve its performance in the capital, Vienna, where it emerged as the strongest party and gained three percentage points. However, the SPÖ’s pitch as a progressive alternative to Kurz and the far right was damaged by revelations that an adviser to the party had paid for a group of websites churning out racist and antisemitic conspiracy theories to discredit Kurz in the eyes of far-right supporters. The Rocky fan who became foreign minister at just 27 At 31, Sebastian Kurz looks set to become the youngest-ever leader of an EU state and the current youngest leader in the world. Born in Meidling, a centre-left stronghold in Vienna’s south-west, and a fan of the Rocky films, his political career began when he joined the youth branch of the centre-right Austrian People’s party aged 17, while his party led a coalition with the far-right FPÖ. After serving as state secretary for integration from 2011 to 2013, he became foreign minister at the age of 27. In early 2016, he broke ranks with Berlin to lead the charge to reintroduce border controls that in effect sealed the Balkan migration route. PO Sebastian Kurz’s Austrian People’s party won over 30% of the vote Getty Ultimatum from Madrid as Puigdemont urges dialogue Sam Jones Madrid The Catalan president, Carles Puigdemont, has refused to clarify whether he declared Catalonia’s independence from Spain last week, but has repeated his calls for negotiations with the Madrid government to resolve the country’s political crisis. Although Puigdemont signed a unilateral declaration of independence last Tuesday, claiming that the recent referendum had given his government a mandate to create a sovereign republic, he proposed that the effects of the declaration be suspended for a few weeks to allow dialogue. The Spanish prime minister, Mariano Rajoy, responded with an ultimatum the next day. He said Puigdemont had until Monday this week to confirm whether he had declared independence, and until Thursday to abandon his push for independence or face imposition of direct rule from Madrid. In a letter on Monday, the Catalan president failed to answer Rajoy’s question, asking instead for an urgent meeting “before the situation deteriorates still further”.Puigdemont wrote: “We want to talk – as people do in established democracies … The suspension of the political mandate received at the ballot box on 1 October shows our firm desire to find a solution and not confrontation.” The Spanish government said it was disappointed. “It shouldn’t have been too hard to answer yes or no on whether independence has been declared,” the deputy prime minister, Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría, said on Monday morning. In the letter, Puigdemont said his government was proposing a twomonth window for talks before pressing ahead with independence. Rajoy has insisted there will be no talks until Puigdemont renounces his independence plans. Thousands of Guardia Civil and national police officers deployed to Catalonia will remain “until things return to normal”. In the referendum 90% of participants voted for splitting from Spain. But only 2.3 million of Catalonia’s 5.3 million voters – 43% – took part. The Guardian Weekly 20.10.17 9 Taxing the wealthy Kicker here like thismore IMF represents a sea change Thenreport a short description here like this → Finance, pageand 14 Page XX Then Section International news How Cosa Nostra’s ‘cattle mafia’ wants to bully farmers into surrendering land Sicily diary Lorenzo Tondo T he Napoli sisters keep their entire harvest in a glass jar, resting on a wooden table in the living room. Inside, there are only a dozen stalks of wheat. The rest of the crop – 80,000kg – was destroyed by the Sicilian mafia, determined to force out these three women working in the land of The Godfather. For three generations, the Napoli family farmed wheat and hay in Corleone, the historic stronghold of Cosa Nostra. Their father, Salvatore, was a hard worker who, after much sacrifice in the fields, managed to send his three daughters – Marianna, Ina and Irene – to university. But a crisis in what was the world’s most notorious mafia, broken apart by prosecutors, has pushed Cosa Nostra back to their rural origins, and they want their land back. The first threat to the Napoli sisters came in April 2009, a few months after their father’s death: 80 cows and 30 horses invaded their fields, destroying the entire crop. “We thought it was an accident,” says Ina, “but deep down we knew these things, around these parts, are never simple accidents.” Illegal grazing is the oldest form of mafia intimidation in Sicily. To make it clear the act was not an accident, two poisoned dogs and dozens of cow carcasses were delivered to their old country cottage. Two threshers were destroyed and cattle invasions continued for almost eight years. From time to time, a man appeared at the sisters’ house, offering €5,000 ($6,000) a year to “manage” their 90 hectares of land. Cosa Nostra saw the three unmarried sisters – zitelle, in the local dialect – as easy prey. The crisis in the mafia’s origins lies in the jailing of more than 4,000 mafiosi since 1990 and the replacement of old mobsters with younger bosses who lacked their authority. Drug trafficking, once under the control of Cosa Nostra, is now run by the most powerful Calabrian mafia, the ’Ndrangheta. The Sicilian construction industry, which once represented a giant business for the mafia, has lost more than €1bn since 2007, according to the Italian Association of Builders. Fighting back … the Napoli sisters in their fields in Corleone, Sicily Francesco Bellina/Cesura Far from Palermo, hidden in the Sicilian interior, Cosa Nostra is trying to start again from scratch. “It is as if, pushed by the crisis, Cosa Nostra has withdrawn into the countryside,” says Sergio Lari, the head of the Caltanissetta prosecutor’s office in the centre of Sicily. “Far from the pressure of the authorities in the big cities, the bosses seem to have found a safe haven.” “The cattle mafia is destroying these lands,” says Emanuele Feltri, who in 2010 set up an organic farm in the Simeto valley that soon after became subject to fire and theft by mafiosi. Four years ago, the mafia killed four of his sheep with rifles, one of which was decapitated. They thought stealing from us would be like stealing candy from a baby. But they messed with the wrong people “They ask the farmers for protection money, from €50 to €500 a month. They want to take our lands. Their goal is to bring the farmer to bankruptcy, by destroying his crop or burning his lands. In that way, they will be able to buy that land, for very little money, and benefit from EU agricultural subsidies.’’ The sisters’ land is thought to be worth €1m. Besides the wheat, there is an artificial lake and a source of pure, fresh water that could be used to produce bottled water. Before their father died, the farm produced tonnes of grain and hay with an annual profit of about €35,000. Today it produces just 330 bales of hay, while wheat production is at zero. Debts have accumulated, year after year, reaching €100,000. “This year, we earned €660,” says Marianna, tears wetting her face. “The mafia has bent but not broken us.” The sisters have filed more than 28 complaints since 2014 to the Carabinieri, the Italian military police, but their recourse to the law has isolated them in their community. “People no longer say hello to us; workers refuse to come to work with us,” Ina said. “Someone came to ask us to withdraw the complaints, to avoid it getting worse. But we did not.” A few months ago, the mafia delivered another macabre gift to the sisters: the skins of three sheep. Those responsible for the gruesome intimidation campaign remain free. While prosecutors are taking the cattle mafia on in dozens of cases across the island, the eightyear campaign against the sisters is not among them. Individual cases of illegal grazing are treated as minor offences, with fines of just €300. “We hope this sad story receives the right attention from the investigative authorities,” says the sister’s lawyer, Giorgio Bisagna. “Someone needs to investigate all the cases, together, from 2009 to today. If they don’t do it, those criminals will get only a couple of fines.” The Napoli sisters refuse to surrender and, in a few months, their land will come under the protection of Libera Terra, an association that usually manages lands confiscated from the mafia. “The bosses thought that stealing from three zitelle would be like stealing candy from a baby,” says Irene, “but this time they messed with the wrong zitelle.” 10 The Guardian Weekly 20.10.17 International news Trump scraps Obamacare subsidies Unesco: Israel joins US in quitting heritage agency Trumpcare … the president’s executive order angered state officials, who threaten legal action Reuters Surprise move delivers another wounding blow to healthcare reforms Ed Pilkington New York Sabrina Siddiqui Washington Donald Trump has planted a timebomb under Obamacare, issuing a notice late last Thursday that scraps vital federal subsidies underpinning the current healthcare system. The late-night move caught critics off guard and brought accusations that Trump was unilaterally destroying his predecessor’s signature legislation, the Affordable Care Act, after the Republican-controlled Congress failed to secure changes. The announcement stops federal support of up to $7bn to insurance companies to help them cover the medical needs of low-income Americans. The Trump administration sought to lay the blame for the current crisis in healthcare on former president Barack Obama, claiming the federal subsidies, known as “cost-sharing reduction payments”, were unlawful and “yet another example of how the previous administration abused taxpayer dollars and skirted the law to prop up a broken system”. Last Friday morning Trump claimed in a tweet that “the Democrats [sic] ObamaCare is imploding” and appeared to call on the Democrats to negotiate. “Massive subsidy payments to their pet insurance companies has stopped,” he wrote. “Dems should call me to fix! ... ObamaCare is a broken mess. Piece by piece we will now begin the process of giving America the great HealthCare it deserves!” Reaction from Democratic politicians and other Trump opponents was swift. Top officials denounced the White House move and threatened legal action to stop the subsidies being revoked. In California, the state attorney general, Xavier Becerra, said he was ready to sue the Trump administration to protect the subsidies. Eric Schneiderman, attorney general of New York state, followed suit. The attack on the subsidies came as a double blow to Obamacare, just hours after Trump had lashed out at the reforms by an executive order weakening the system. In that order, Trump opened the door to cheaper, less comprehensive insurance, which experts say will result in health plans for the sick becoming more expensive. Last Thursday’s second blow is targeted at the very foundations of the insurance structures created under Obamacare. The Congressional Budget Office two months ago suggested that terminating the cost-sharing subsidies would lead to a dramatic 20% rise in the average cost of the most popular plans offered by the Affordable Care Act, as well as worsening the federal deficit by almost $200m. Even moderate conservatives were aghast at the move. Charlie Sykes, a conservative talkshow host, said: “What we have now, for better or worse, is Trumpcare. Trump has said he wants Obamacare to implode. Is now taking steps to make it implode. Now he owns all of the consequences.” Among Republican leaders in Congress, the House speaker came to Trump’s support, even though his own party had not found a workable replacement for Obamacare. Paul Ryan said Trump’s efforts to unpick the reforms marked a “monumental affirmation of Congress’s authority”. The United States has formally notified the UN’s world heritage body Unesco that it is withdrawing its membership of the organisation citing “continuing anti-Israel bias”. The announcement by the Trump administration was followed a few hours later by news that Israel was also planning to quit the financially struggling cultural and educational agency. In a statement Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, welcomed the US move saying: “This is a brave and moral decision, because Unesco has become a theatre of absurd. Instead of preserving history, it distorts it.” The body is best known for its world heritage listings of outstanding cultural and natural sites but has often drawn the ire of Israel and the Trump administration for a series of decisions, including the listing of Hebron, a city in the occupied Palestinian territories, as a Palestinian world heritage site. Unesco’s director-general, Irina Bokova, expressed her “profound regret” over the US decision. “This is not just about World Heritage,” she said, describing the withdrawal as “a loss to both the organisation and the US”. Disclosing the US government’s decision, the state department said it would seek to “remain engaged … as a non-member observer state in order to contribute US views, perspectives and expertise”. The withdrawal will take effect on 31 December 2018. Peter Beaumont Comment, page 22 → Juggernaut rolls on after generals avert disaster on Iran deal Analysis Simon Tisdall Donald Trump’s unilateral decision to renege on the 2015 UN-approved nuclear deal with Iran has been condemned by friends and foes alike. Britain joined France and Germany in declaring support for the agreement as written. Iran was backed by China and Russia in deploring Trump’s move as unwarranted. That Trump does not much care what others think has been plain all along. But it could have been much worse. Trump had been expected to withdraw from the deal completely, demand harsh sanctions and take other steps to demonise Iran. The fact that he stepped back was the result of intense lobbying. Pressure was applied by senior White House officials, departmental chiefs and close allies. Trump’s worst instincts on Iran were curbed, for now. Leading the campaign inside the West Wing were three former generals – John Kelly, Trump’s chief of staff; James Mattis, defence secretary; and HR McMaster, national security adviser. Their intervention meant Trump’s speech, while strategically misjudged, needlessly bellicose, and factually inaccurate, was not the cataclysm predicted. It was the night of the generals. Whether Trump’s principal advisers and handlers, egged on by friendly overseas leaders, can pull off the same trick in future is an open question. But an important precedent has been set. The biggest concern is North Korea, where the US leader has recklessly threatened to rain down death and destruction on Kim Jong-un in response to the regime’s nuclear weapons build-up. For the time being, the three stooges – Generals Kelly, Mattis and McMaster – are probably the best, last defence preventing Trump from starting the third world war. Trump remains ready to wreck the accord completely at any point. If Congress accepts his call for additional criteria by which to measure Iran’s compliance, collapse of the deal may be months away. Leader comment, page 22 → ADVERTISEMENT INVITATION FOR BIDS Republic of Uzbekistan “Support to Equipping State Sanitary and Epidemiological Supervision Centers with Laboratory Equipment Project in the Republic of Uzbekistan” №UZB-0073 Procurement of Laboratory Equipment / ICB No: UZB-0073/ICB/01 This Invitation for Bids (IFB) follows the General Procurement Notice (GPN) for this project which was published on the websites of Islamic Development Bank (IDB) (www.isdb.org) on 19.04.2015, Ministry of Health of Uzbekistan (www.minzdrav.uz) on 24.04.2015, and in the newspaper Guardian Weekly on 21.08.2015, issue no. 11 (vol 193). The Government of the Republic of Uzbekistan has applied for financing from the IDB toward the cost of “Support to Equipping State Sanitary and Epidemiological Supervision Centers with Laboratory Equipment Project in the Republic of Uzbekistan”, and it intends to apply part of the proceeds of this financing to payments under the contract for Procurement of Laboratory Equipment, ICB No: UZB-0073/ICB/01. The Ministry of Health of Uzbekistan now invites sealed bids from eligible Bidders for supply of the following equipment: № of lots 1 2 3 4 5 № of items 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 2.1 2.2 3.1 4.1 4.2 5.1 5.2 Description Laboratory balances Luxmeter/lucimeter Meteometer pН/ion meter Distiller Ultrapure water system Electrostatic field intensity meter Microwave digestion system Acid purification system Gas chromatograph-mass spectrometry Gas chromatograph with ECD and FID Nitrogen generator for gas chromatograph with FID and ECD Gas analyzer for hydrogen fluoride in ambient air Multi-component gas analyzer, portable Unit Pcs. Pcs. Pcs. Pcs. Pcs. Pcs. Pcs. Pcs. Pcs. Pcs. Pcs. Pcs. Pcs. Pcs. Q-ty 101 71 91 101 75 16 16 98 15 16 57 57 7 101 Bidders may bid for any or all lots. Each lot must be priced separately. The Bid for a particular lot must contain all the items of the lot. Each item of the lot should be in full compliance with technical specifications for that item. Bids will be evaluated and contracts will be awarded on a lot-by-lot basis. Bidding will be conducted through the International Competitive Bidding (ICB) procedures specified in the Guidelines for Procurement of Goods and Works under IDB Financing and is open to all bidders from eligible source countries as defined in these Guidelines. In addition, please refer to paragraphs 1.7 and 1.8 setting forth the Bank’s policy on conflict of interest. Interested eligible Bidders may obtain further information from the Project Management Unit (PMU) and inspect the bidding documents at the address given in this invitation for bids from 14.00 to 17.00 (Tashkent time). Qualifications requirements include (a) financial conditions, (b) experience and technical capacity, (c) compliance of supplied goods with applicable international standards. Bids that do not contain such information may be rejected. Additional details are provided in the Bidding Documents. A complete set of Bidding Documents in English may be purchased by interested bidders upon submission of a written Application to the address below and upon payment of a non-refundable fee of US$300 (without VAT, VAT is not charged) or its equivalent in Uzbek soums (UZS) at the exchange rate fixed by the Central Bank of Republic of Uzbekistan on the day of payment. Payment shall be made by Bank transfer into one of the following accounts of the Ministry of Health: US Dollar account: Account #: 20203840600102144001 Private Open Joint Stock Commercial Bank "Invest Finance Bank", address: 1, T. Shevchenko str., Tashkent, 100029 Republic of Uzbekistan. SWIFT: INFBUZ2X Correspondent account: 70-55.085.997/001 in Raiffeisen Bank International AG, Vienna, Austria. SWIFT: RZBAATWW or UZS account: Account #: 20203000700102144001, Private Open Joint Stock Commercial Bank "Invest Finance Bank", address: 1, T. Shevchenko str., Tashkent, 100029 Republic of Uzbekistan, MFO (Bank code):01041 All banking charges and fees relating to the bank transfer shall be for the bidder’s account. Cashiers and certified checks are not accepted. The bidding documents may be collected by an authorized representative of the Bidder at the address of the PMU, upon presentation of the Bidder’s Authorization and documents confirming payment of the non-refundable fee to one of the above accounts. The Bidding Documents may also be sent to the Bidder by courier at no additional charge to the bidder following the receipt by the PMU of a written request quoting ICB No: UZB-0073/ICB/01, providing the address of delivery, contact details, and a document confirming payment of a non-refundable fee to one of the above accounts. Bidding Documents will be available from the date of advertisement of IFB. Bids must be delivered to the address below not later than 13.00 (Tashkent time) on December 19, 2017. Late bids will be rejected. Electronic bidding is not allowed. All bids must be accompanied by an original bid security of following amount equivalent to: № of lots 1 2 3 4 5 Amount of Bid Security $ 12’000 $ 31’000 $ 37’000 $ 76’000 $ 18’000 Currency of Bid Security US Dollars or an equivalent amount in freely convertible currency Bids will be opened in presence of bidders’ representatives who choose to attend the bid opening session at 15.00 (Tashkent time) on December 19, 2017, at the following address: Ministry of Health of Uzbekistan, 100011, 12 Navoi str., Tashkent, Uzbekistan, Project Management Unit Tel/fax: (+998 71) 268-25-39, 267-73-47 ext.:124 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org 12 The Guardian Weekly 20.10.17 International news Chairman Xi basks in love of China’s poor ← Continued from page 1 of criticism from intellectuals about the personality cult and the tight control,” he said. “But Xi Jinping’s popularity is solid among the laobaixing [common folk]. They see him as a strong leader … He gets ← Continued things done. from page He makes 1 Chinese people proud. There is a tendency to view him as the third great leader since Mao, Deng and then Xi.” In Tanmen, on the eastern coast of Hainan, some go even further. “In 5,000 years of Chinese history not a single national leader has set foot in Tanmen. It’s something we could never have dreamed … We are grateful to Chairman Xi,” beamed Zhong Wenfeng, the owner of a waterfront souvenir shop. Part of the adulation expressed here seems drawn almost verbatim from the intense and inescapable propaganda with which China bombards its citizens. “Chairman Xi is a world leader. His book on governance has sold out in many countries across the world,” Zhong gushed, parroting the unashamedly hagiographic bulletins in which the party news agency Xinhua excels. Outside his shop, a portrait of Xi – his hands clasped together – captured the image that spin doctors have tried to curate of their commander-inchief: a sagacious and omnipotent father figure leading his subjects towards “The China Dream”. An accompanying slogan stated: “The Dream of a Powerful Country. The Rejuvenation of China. The Happiness of the People. The Wealth of the Nation.” Observers say that Xi’s domestic veneration is largely the result of his populist anti-corruption crusade. In January 2013, Xi declared war on thieving tigers and flies – top officials and low-rank bureaucrats – describing their crimes as an existential threat to the Communist party’s grip on power. Dozens of top officials – often Xi’s rivals – have since been felled, including the former security chief, Zhou Yongkang, the army’s second most senior officer, Xu Caihou, and Sun Zhengcai, who some tipped as a future president. “Xi might not have people’s Xi’s rise to the world stage 15 June 1953 Born into well-connected political family. His father, Xi Zhongxun, fell out of favour in the Cultural Revolution but was rehabilitated. 1987 Marries folk singer Peng Liyuan. 1999-2007 Becomes governor of Fujian province and later party secretary of Zhejiang province. November 2012 Appointed general secretary of Communist party and in 2013 president of China. October 2017 The Economist declares Xi the most powerful man in the world. admiration, but he has certainly got their respect,” said Kerry Brown, the head of the China Institute at King’s College London. “In a multiparty democracy, I think he would probably be in a good position to be re-elected.” Orville Schell, a veteran China expert from New York’s Asia Society, said he sensed “a cauldron of disaffection” bubbling beneath the surface towards China’s political leaders. But many citizens applauded how Xi was strutting China’s stuff on the world stage. “I suspect that on a surface level – but an important level – many Chinese feel a certain amount of pride that their country is now able to speak, even throw its weight around a little, and be heeded in the world,” he said. Tsang said there was particular delight at how Xi appeared to be winning the geopolitical arm-wrestle with Donald Trump, who swept to power vowing to challenge Beijing on everything from trade to Taiwan, North Korea and the South China Sea, but has so far failed to match those threats with actions. Xi had ceded almost no ground to Trump on any of these issues, Tsang said. “And what have the Americans done? Nothing! So you can see why the average Chinese citizen might think Xi Jinping was doing really well.” At Tanmen’s docks, Qin Huaishu, another of the president’s fans, was giving a new lick of paint to a weathered fishing vessel that was turned into a permanent floating monument to Xi after he clambered on board during his 2013 visit. “Xi chatted with the fishermen about their daily lives and went downstairs to check the engine,” recalled Qin, a 55-year-old workman. At Tanmen’s fishermen association there were further tributes. Just inside the door hung a framed photograph memorialising Xi’s visit. A copy of Xi’s tome, The Governance of China, sat in pride of place on the desk of the association’s president, Ding Zhile. Women may hold up half the sky, but are scarce in politics Analysis Tom Phillips “Times have changed … today men and women are equal,” Mao Zedong pronounced more than half a century ago. “Whatever men comrades can accomplish, women comrades can too.” Unless, of course, you mean running the country. For not once since Mao’s communists took power in 1949 has a woman been appointed to China’s top political body, the politburo standing committee, let alone become the country’s top leader. Few expected that to change this week when the Communist party’s great and good met in Beijing to celebrate the start of Xi Jinping’s second five-year term and conduct a highly scripted reshuffle of the party’s upper echelons. “Taiwan has a female president. Even Hong Kong has a female chief executive. But I think the Communist party would have to collapse before you actually saw a woman leading China as a country,” said Leta Hong Fincher, the author of a forthcoming book Betraying Big Brother: China’s Feminist Resistance. “All the signs indicate that the Communist party does not want women to have power. It wants women to return to the home and take care of the families while men stay on the frontline and do the important work of the nation.” Cheng Li, an expert in Chinese politics from the Brookings Institution, said it was not inconceivable that a woman could clinch one of the seven spots on the standing committee during this month’s transition. He gave Sun Chunlan, the 67-year-old head of the United Front Work Department, a secretive group charged with fortifying the party’s influence at home and abroad, a 5-10% chance of breaking that glass ceiling. But there were similar hopes for Liu Yandong, the 71-year-old vicepremier, before the last party congress, in 2012, that came to nothing. “[The race] for the seats … is so tight – so competitive – that usually various forces will not let a woman leader enter,” Li admitted. Elizabeth Economy, director for Asia studies at the Council of Foreign Relations, predicted that the committee would remain a club for the boys: “I think it’s going to be a pretty conservative group that is comfortable with the more authoritarian and politically repressive state-directed tendencies of Xi.” Chairman Mao famously proclaimed that women “hold up half the sky” and they did enjoy unquestionable advances after the 1949 revolution, as China’s leader fought to simultaneously liberate women and The Guardian Weekly 20.10.17 13 Exiled politician warns of Cambodian crackdown Oliver Holmes Speaking to a local Communist party newspaper at the time, Ding boasted that Xi had shaken his hand on two separate occasions. He described China’s leader as “happy”. Five years on, however, he refused to share his memories of the afternoon he spent with one of the most powerful men on earth. “We’re not talking to any foreign media, no matter who you are,” he snapped. “Please put Chinese wave … a jade plaque has a picture of Xi and his wife Peng Liyuan How Hwee Young/EPA harness their economic potential. But women continue to play a peripheral role in Chinese politics. There are just two female faces on the party’s expanded 25-member politburo; only 10 of the 205 full members of its central committee are women, down from 13 in 2012. According to Li’s research, not a single one of China’s 31 provincial governments is run by a woman. There are only two female governors. Hong Fincher said an array of structural reasons helped explain why the pinnacle of Chinese politics was so overwhelmingly male: “There are far fewer women who are members of the Communist party; there is a huge gender gap in the mandated retirement age, so women are expected to retire up to 10 years before men; and there is rampant discrimination, actually throughout Chinese society but particularly in Chinese politics.” But the dearth of female politicians also reflected a broader deterioration in women’s rights that has seen authorities crack down on China’s nascent feminist movement, and push propaganda campaigns to convince women to marry earlier and have more children. Hong Fincher said a looming demographic crunch – which means that by 2050 more than a quarter of China’s population will be over 65 – had convinced Beijing that women were now needed more in the home than in the halls of power. “Communist party leaders are extremely alarmed at the demographic trends in China so this is a big reason why they are pushing women into marrying and having babies,” said Hong Fincher. yourself in my shoes. I have problems of my own.” The “chairman of everything” looked down from the wall behind him in an immaculately ironed blue shirt. Observer Additional reporting by Wang Zhen A senior Cambodian opposition figure has called for the world to wake up to a calculated campaign by long-time prime minister Hun Sen to batter the remnants of its democracy ahead of elections next year. “Democracy in Cambodia is dipping really fast into a big hole. There is no time to wait or waste,” said Mu Sochua from Berlin. After the Cambodian opposition leader, Kem Sokha, was arrested last month, Mu Sochua, his deputy in the Cambodia National Rescue party (CNRP), fled to Germany. “Whatever Mr Hun Sen wants, he gets. People are so fearful,” she said. In the run-up to July 2018 polls, the government has shuttered radio stations and newspapers, kicked out civil society groups and earlier this month it attempted to dissolve the CNRP, the main opposition party. Warning of “the death of democracy” under Hun Sen, Mu Sochua said a government-controlled supreme court was likely to rule in his favour against the CNRP. “That will totally destroy and set back democracy, way back,” she said of the lawsuit against her party, which Human Rights Watch has described as a “naked grab for total power”. “All the elements for building democracy in Cambodia have not just been weakened, but totally put into silence,” she added. After the south-east Asian nation emerged from years of war, it has worked ostensibly as a democracy since 1993. While government harassment has been widespread, a reasonably free and critical press has survived, as well as functioning elections every five years. The current crackdown appears motivated by the opposition’s significant and unexpected electoral gains during 2013 national elections, which it very nearly won. Taken aback by the sudden surge, Cambodia began a policy of imprisoning opposition leaders, including Sam Rainsy, the founding president of the CNRP, who is now in exile. But it was the June 2017 commune elections – which saw the CNRP take close to 44% of all seats – that proved the resilience of the opposition’s popularity and led to the recent rampedup purge. The opposition had presented a bona fide threat to Hun Sen’s three decades in power. The government has since forced the closure of a famed long-running paper, the Cambodia Daily, as well as radio stations that re-broadcast Radio Free Asia and Voice of America’s Khmer language service. “The ruling party, to make sure they don’t lose the next election, eliminated the independent voices, which is the radio. Because radio really reaches out to the most remote areas,” said Mu Sochua, who is globally renowned for her decades of women’s rights work and even served as a minister in Hun Sen’s coalition government for six years before resigning in 2004. “It’s been a very, very fast process. A rollercoaster for democracy, going towards the dissolution of the only and the main opposition party in Cambodia.” Duterte to target ‘big ﬁsh’ Oliver Holmes Manila and Reuters The president of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, has ordered police to end all operations in his deadly war on drugs after a 15-month campaign in which officers have killed thousands. In a televised speech he said he hoped a shift to bigger targets in his war on drugs would satisfy “bleeding hearts” and interfering western states fixated on the high death toll in his brutal crackdown. He read a memorandum that removes police from the drug war and places the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) in charge and said the shift was to target “big fish”, moving away from street level operations to go after big networks and suppliers. The PDEA’s 1,800 staff make up just over 1% of the 160,000-strong national police, meaning the order could significantly reduce the killings. The statement comes at a time of waning public support for countrywide operations that police say have killed more than 3,900 “drug personalities” since last July, although activists say these are alleged drug users and suspected small-time dealers. More than 2,000 other people have also been killed in drug-related crimes and thousands more murdered in unexplained circumstances, according to police data. 14 The Guardian Weekly 20.10.17 Tax the rich more, says IMF Fiscal analysis supports Labour strategy in UK – and undermines Trump Larry Elliott Washington Heather Stewart Higher income tax rates for the rich would help reduce inequality without damaging growth, the International Monetary Fund has said. The Washington-based IMF used its influential half-yearly fiscal monitor last Wednesday to demolish the argument that economic growth would suffer if governments in advanced western countries forced the top 1% of earners to pay more tax. It said tax theory suggested there should be “significantly higher” rates for those on higher incomes, but the argument against doing so was that hitting the rich would hurt growth. But the institution said: “Empirical results do not support this argument.” The IMF added that different types of wealth tax might also be considered. In the UK, the Labour party seized on the report, calling for higher taxes on the rich and citing the IMF’s intervention as evidence of the need for a fairer tax system. In its election manifesto this year, Labour proposed a 45% tax band on those earning more than £80,000 ($105,000) and a 50% rate for those on more than £123,000. John McDonnell, the UK shadow chancellor, said: “The IMF supports the argument we made in the general election for a fairer tax system. There is no evidence to support those who scaremonger about the effects of making the rich pay fairer tax.” The Conservative UK prime minister Theresa May has repeatedly attacked Labour’s approach as extreme. The fiscal monitor does not mention any country by name and does Fair share? Top tax rates have fallen from 62% to 35% Alamy not specify at what level governments should set the new higher rate for top earners. But the report stressed that cutting tax for the top 1% had gone too far – a strong hint that the IMF has doubts about the pro-rich tax plan proposed by Donald Trump for the US. Instead, the IMF said higher tax for the rich was necessary to arrest rising income inequality – the argument used by Labour in the UK. The fiscal monitor said most advanced economies in the west had experienced a sizeable increase in income inequality in the past three decades, driven primarily by the growing income of the top 1%. Governments have traditionally sought to make society more equal by levying higher income tax rates on the rich and using the proceeds to help the less well off. But the IMF found that income tax systems had become markedly less progressive in the 1980s and 1990s and had remained stable since then, even though growing inequality pointed to the need for a more progressive approach. In a blogpost, the head of the IMF’s fiscal affairs unit, Vítor Gaspar, said the average top income-tax rate for the richer countries in the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development had fallen from 62% in 1981 to 35% in 2015. IMF research found that between 1985 and 1995, redistribution through the tax system had offset 60% of the increase in inequality caused by market forces. But between 1995 and 2010, income tax systems had failed to respond to the continuing increase in inequality. Leader comment, page 22 → Australia ‘near the top’ for growth of income inequality Australia is among countries with the highest growth in income inequality in the world over the past 30 years, according to the International Monetary Fund. Vítor Gaspar, the head of the organisation’s fiscal affairs unit, said Australia’s income inequality growth was similar to the US, South Africa, India, China, Spain and the UK since the 1980s. Gaspar said IMF staff had used the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development’s income distribution database, Eurostat, and the World Bank’s Povcalnet data, among other sources, to calculate that income inequality had increased in nearly half of the world’s countries in the past three decades, and Australia had experienced a “large increase”. Last month Australia’s treasurer, Scott Morrison, told the Business Council of Australia that income inequality was not getting worse, and that the Treasury and Australia’s Reserve Bank had found, in specific analysis, that Australian wages were growing slowly across most industries and most regions. However, he would not release the analysis. In July, the Reserve Bank governor, Philip Lowe, when asked about his views on inequality, said it had grown “quite a lot” in the 1980s and 1990s and had risen “a little bit” recently, but it was important to make a distinction between income and wealth inequality. “Wealth inequality has become more pronounced particularly in the last five or six years because there’s been big gains in asset prices,” Lowe said. “So the people who own assets, which are usually wealthy people, have seen their wealth go up.” Gareth Hutchens Finance in brief Finance • Saudi Aramco has dismissed reports that it is considering shelving plans for the world’s biggest ever flotation, with the state-owned oil company saying the $2tn listing was on track for next year. Amid concerns about the feasibility of such a huge international listing, the company was favouring a private stake sale to foreign governments, including China, the Financial Times reported. But Aramco dismissed the report as “entirely speculative”. • James Murdoch narrowly survived a rebellion by independent Sky shareholders to be re-elected as chair of the British satellite broadcaster. Just 51.6% backed Murdoch to stay. Concern among dissenters centred on what they see as a potential conflict of interest, given his role as chief executive of 21st Century Fox, which is trying to buy Sky in an £11.7bn ($15.5bn) deal. Only 36% of independent investors, however, supported the company’s remuneration report. The total pay package for Sky’s chief executive, Jeremy Darroch, quadrupled to more than £16m in the year to the end of June, despite a hefty fall in annual profits. • The price of bitcoin last week smashed through $5,000 to an all-time high. The cryptocurrency rose by more than 8% to $5,243, having started the year at $966. Bitcoin has soared by more than 750% in the past year and is worth four times as much as an ounce of gold. But the price has been volatile. The digital currency fell below $3,000 in mid-September after a Chinese crackdown. Beijing ordered a cryptocurrency freeze due to fears that increasing numbers in the bitcoin market could prompt wider financial problems. Foreign exchanges Sterling rates Australia Canada Denmark Euro Hong Kong Japan New Zealand Norway Singapore Sweden Switzerland USA 16 Oct 1.69 1.66 8.39 1.13 10.39 148.63 1.85 10.53 1.80 10.82 1.29 1.33 9 Oct 1.69 1.64 8.32 1.12 10.23 147.78 1.85 10.48 1.79 10.65 1.28 1.31 The Guardian Weekly 20.10.17 15 UK news Hammond ﬁre Kicker hereunder like this Tory slated byhere Brexit foes Thenchancellor a short description like this → Matthew d’Ancona, page Then Section and Page XX21 Grim outlook as possibility of ‘bad-tempered’ Brexit grows Leaving the EU was sold as easy. But a no-deal scenario is horribly likely Analysis Toby Helm A little over a year ago, David Davis was confident Brexit Britain would soon strike new trade deals across the world. They could be negotiated and agreed without the difficulties and delays of which Remainers warned. All parts of the global trade jigsaw would fall quickly and neatly into place. “So be under no doubt,” the Brexit secretary wrote in an article for the ConservativeHome website in July 2016, “we can do deals with our trading partners, and we can do them quickly … I would expect the negotiation phase of most of them to be concluded within between 12 and 24 months. Trade deals with the US and China alone will give us a trade area almost twice the size of the EU, and of course we will also be seeking deals with Hong Kong, Canada, Australia, India, Japan, the UAE, Indonesia – and many others.” And international trade secretary Liam Fox predicted that a free-trade deal giving the UK access to EU markets after Brexit “should be one of the easiest in human history”. His fellow Tory, Eurosceptic John Redwood, said: “Getting out of the EU can be quick and easy – the UK holds most of the cards in any negotiation.” Last weekend, 16 months on from Leave’s narrow referendum win, the talk was no longer of quick deals or smooth routes out. Theresa May and her cabinet were preparing the country for the possibility of “no deal” being reached with Brussels before the UK leaves at the end of March 2019. No deal would also mean no two-year transition of the kind that May said would be so important in her recent Florence speech. Many hardline Brexiters have changed their tune, and cheer on the prospect of “no deal” as the only way to break free. None of the trade deals they envisaged have been done and none are in sight. (It is not possible to enter into them until we leave the customs union). Up to now, the EU has refused even to begin to talk about postBrexit trade arrangements with the UK because other issues, such as the divorce bill for leaving, are still May makes hectic diplomatic eﬀorts ahead of key summit No-fly zone … an EU ‘no deal’ could ground UK flights to Europe PA deadlocked. In the Commons last Monday, May confirmed that negotiations had stalled and reality was dawning. She said that “while it is profoundly in all our interests for the negotiations to succeed, it is also our responsibility as a government to prepare for every eventuality, so that is exactly what we are doing”. She meant: “Get ready for no deal.” If there is no UK-EU deal before March 2019, the consequences would be huge. The return of customs checks would mean a return to the hard border between Northern Ireland and the republic. For trade, the UK would default to World Trade Organization rules, meaning tariffs would be imposed on goods leaving the UK for the EU and on those sold into the UK market by the remaining 27 members. The government has said it wants the continuation of “frictionless” trade with EU countries. But a WTO regime would mean tariffs of between 2% and 3% on many industrial goods. They would be far higher in other sectors: 10% for cars, 20% to 40% for many agricultural products. The British Chambers of Commerce and other business groups warn that some British firms will consider moving abroad and investment in the UK could suffer. The chancellor, Philip Hammond, said there was also a prospect of flights between UK and EU airports being grounded, as the UK would no longer fall inside the EU’s aviation regulatory regime. The right of EU nationals to stay in the UK could also disappear, as would those of UK citizens living in EU countries. The hard-Brexit Tory right was arguing only a year ago that Brexit would be relatively smooth and simple. Now that it has proved to be anything but, and talks with Brussels have hit the buffers, many of them are encouraging this “no deal” option as somehow a pure form of Brexit. It means a clean break. They blame the EU and Remainers for blocking the kind of future they sold as possible before the Brexit referendum. The big question now is whether the British public takes the same view or coalesces more around the idea that “no deal” is a very bad deal for them. Observer Theresa May appealed to the French president, Emmanuel Macron, to widen the Brexit negotiations to discuss a transition period, during a high-stakes flurry of diplomacy ahead of this week’s European council summit. The prime minister was seeking to convince European leaders that talks on a transition phase should be approved at the summit on Friday. She also called the Irish taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, and held a whistle-stop dinner with the European commission president, Jean-Claude Juncker, and the EU’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, in Brussels on Monday. Downing Street’s efforts looked unlikely to be rewarded, however, unless May was willing to offer concrete guidance on how many of the UK’s financial commitments to the EU budget she is prepared to honour. Last weekend May sought to convince the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, of the need for talks on a transition phase without any success, it is understood. EU leaders appear to have concluded that insufficient progress has been made in the first phase of talks to open negotiations on the future trading relationship or discuss a transition period. Documents leaked last week suggested that European leaders, on the bidding of the European council president, Donald Tusk, would present an agreed position on a transition period and a trade deal in December, should the UK make further concessions. The EU is both unsure about the reliability of the UK as a negotiating partner, at a time when May’s position as prime minister is in doubt, and wary of looking too eager for trade talks when major concessions in the financial settlement are being sought. Other UK cabinet ministers have also been wooing EU leaders. The foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, met eight eastern European foreign ministers at Chevening last Sunday to try to break the Brexit deadlock. Guardian reporters 16 The Guardian Weekly 20.10.17 UK news Education budgets face ‘breaking point’ Headteachers warn MPs funding crisis in England is threat to standards Richard Adams Headteachers are warning MPs that school budgets in England are facing “breaking point” after a combined £2.8bn ($3.7bn) in cuts and costs imposed upon them by the government. The National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) is writing to all Westminster MPs to highlight the plight of state schools in England suffering from funding shortages and say that standards are at risk. In the letter Paul Whiteman, the NAHT’s general secretary, urges MPs to lobby Philip Hammond, the chancellor, and ask for more resources for schools ahead of next month’s autumn statement. “The autumn budget is the last chance for money to make it to schools this year,” he said. “Please write to the chancellor of the exchequer to ask him to announce more money for schools.” Privately, school leaders are concerned that Brexit and other education issues – especially university tuition fees and student loans – are crowding school funding concerns off the agenda. With the Department for Education (DfE) and the Treasury having made concessions on student loans, and with the possibility of more to come, headteachers fear there are few resources left for schools. Whiteman said he believed the message had not been getting through to MPs about the extent of the crisis in schools, despite education being “a vote-changer for nearly a million people on polling day” at the last election. In his letter, Whiteman tells MPs: “I’d be very surprised indeed if you hadn’t heard from a headteacher or a parent expressing concerns about school funding over the last few months. And yet, there’s a concern among school leaders that despite the hundreds of letters written, and the thousands of parents, families and governors who have become campaigners, many MPs have failed to grasp the severity of the issue.” The NAHT also planned to have members lobby parliament directly this week. It has detailed how changes by the government since 2015 have resulted in £2.8bn being taken out of schools’ frontline budgets. The changes include national insurance and pension increases that have cut teaching budgets by 5.5%, and £600m-worth of cuts to the education services grant used to fund services such as facilities management and legal advice. Promises of higher pay for teachers will also have to be met from current budgets. The letter to MPs also points out that many schools and academies will have to pay a further 0.5% cut of their payroll for the government’s new apprenticeship levy. The DfE has already announced an extra £1.3bn for schools between 2018 and 2020, but the headteachers argue that is still below the further £2bn a year schools need to keep their budgets at the same level as 2015-16. The NAHT’s campaign follows last month’s move by 4,000 headteachers to write to parents, telling them there is “simply not enough money in the system” to fund schools properly. In response, the DfE said the new national funding formula being introduced by the government, alongside the extra £1.3bn announced by the education secretary, Justine Greening, would see funding distributed more fairly to each school. Inquiry into student loans to look at possible graduate tax Nicky Morgan, the former education secretary, is to lead an inquiry into the rising costs of the controversial student loans system in England and its possible replacement by a graduate tax. The system of student loans has been transformed into a major political issue by steeply rising levels of debt carried by graduates after university. Morgan’s inquiry comes after the prime minister, Theresa May, froze tuition fees at their fulltime level of £9,250 ($12,300) a year and raised the income level that triggers graduate repayments from £21,000 a year to £25,000. The Institute for Fiscal Studies has estimated that the changes will shift the cost of higher education by £2.3bn a year from graduates to taxpayers, with 83% of recent graduates unlikely to repay their income-contingent loans in full. The system introduced since 2012 means undergraduates take out loans of £9,250 per year for tuition fees, and maintenance loans of up to £8,400 a year for students living away from home outside of London (£11,000 in London). Graduates have to pay interest on the debt while studying and after graduation of up to 6.1% based on income. But they only have to make repayments worth 9% of their income above £25,000, while those who earn less than £25,000 pay nothing. Any debt or interest unpaid 30 years after graduation is written off by the government. The Treasury committee led by Morgan will scrutinise the changes to student loans, including repayment thresholds, interest rates, tuition fee levels and the impact on student finances. RA Seeking answers … teachers hope for money in the autumn budget Alamy Children’s chief attacks NHS over mental health care Jamie Doward Observer The children’s commissioner, Anne Longfield, has launched a savage attack on the head of the NHS, accusing him of denigrating research that shows an “unacceptable” lack of children’s mental health provision. In an unusual move, she published an open letter to Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England, saying he has ignored young people’s experiences of the service and the frustrations of their parents. In a list of grievances against him and his team, she threatens to use the law to compel him to hand over data on waiting times for children’s mental health services. Longfield decided to publish her complaints on the commissioner’s website after Stevens attacked many of the claims in her recent report into children’s mental health, her top priority after consulting with children. “Many told me about their desperate attempts, sometimes lasting years, to access support, and even primary school children raised concerns about anxiety,” she told Stevens in the letter. The report, published to coincide with World Mental Health Day last week, estimated that only between a quarter and a fifth of children with mental health conditions received help last year. It stated: “Progress in improving children’s mental health services has been unacceptably slow.” In a reply to Longfield, Stevens suggests NHS England was “bounced” into giving a response to the report only after aspects of it were shared with journalists. He said a key finding of the report – that “the government’s much-vaunted prioritisation of mental health has yet to translate into change at a local level” – was “demonstrably factually inaccurate”. Stevens writes: “I’m afraid we stand by our view that your report did indeed in places give a misleading view of NHS care.” David Harewood, page 48 → The Guardian Weekly 20.10.17 17 Scots’ bid Mull islanders launch appeal to buy neighbouring Ulva Islanders on Mull are to launch a worldwide appeal to help buy the tiny Hebridean island of Ulva, after Scottish ministers stopped its owner selling it for £4.25m ($5.6m). The appeal is likely to attract interest from people as far afield as Australia whose forebears left Ulva during and after the Highland clearances, which saw the island’s population plummet from about 600 people two centuries ago to just six today. The 1,860 hectare island in the Inner Hebrides nestles just off the west coast of Mull and is reached by a short ferry ride. It is the largest of Mull’s sister islands, which include Iona and Staffa, known for its striking basalt columns and Fingal’s Cave. Ulva features some of the same basalt columns found on Staffa, Neolithic standing stones, a Grade II-listed church and remnants of a once-sprawling township. Rebecca Munro, whose husband Rhuri grew up on the island, where they are raising their two children, said they hoped to see Ulva thrive again. Rhuri is a creel fisherman, and the nearby seas are rich in lobster, langoustine and crab, while she runs a small seafood cafe there with her sister-in-law, catering to about 5,000 visitors a year. “The idea that we could bring more people back and support the school at the same time would be lovely … When you walk around and you see the ruins and the houses still there but empty, you get a sense of what it could be like again,” she said. The community bid was announced in the summer after it emerged that Jamie Howard, whose family has owned Ulva for 70 years, was about to put it on the market. Its sale brochure boasted of the island’s links to Beatrix Potter and Sir Walter Scott. Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s first minister, announced at the Scottish National party’s annual conference last Tuesday that the sale had been blocked to allow a community bid using new rights for residents to buy local land, forests and buildings, partly with public funds. The Ulva bid is seen as a key moment for Scotland’s land reform movement, which wants to see an end to highly concentrated landownership patterns. The introduction of a national lottery-backed Scottish Land Fund, which has £10m a year to spend, has seen a surge in interest in community buyouts. Much of the purchase price would need to be raised through crowdfunding. Part of that campaign will focus on Australia and the wider Scottish diaspora. Ulva’s most famous emigre was Lachlan Macquarie, the fifth governor of New South Wales, who was described by British settlers as the “father of Australia”. Severin Carrell Photograph: Alamy Weekly review, page 26 → Universal credit threat to free school meals Michael Savage Jamie Doward Observer Ministers are facing fresh calls to suspend the rollout of their flagship welfare reform after experts warned that a potential flaw could end up costing an extra £600m ($800m) a year. MPs, councils and charities have already sounded the alarm over universal credit after mounting evidence that new claimants were being plunged into debt and rent arrears, including some threatened with eviction. There are now concerns the new system of benefit payments risks causing havoc with the allocation of free school meals, which are given to more than a million children from low-income families. Under universal credit, which combines several old benefits into a single payment, the “trigger” for working out which families are entitled to a free school meal has been removed. However, the system’s design means there is no obvious way of putting a new trigger in place. The Resolution Foundation thinktank is warning that ministers face having to either cut back free meals or give them to all children whose parents receive universal credit. The latter expansion would cover an additional 1.7 million children at a cost of up to £600m a year. Currently, some children of parents who receive working tax credits are entitled to a free meal. There is no such threshold built into the universal credit system. The government could not explain how the issue would be fixed, saying only that details would be released “in due course”. David Finch, senior economic analyst at the Resolution Foundation, said: “Implementing such an ambitious reform was always going to be hard … But inevitable implementation challenges are different to straightforward design flaws. “Universal credit rightly aims for a highly desirable simplification of our social security system, but the issue of free school meals is just one of many design issues which should be addressed before millions of people are moved to the new system.” John Harris, page 20 → News in brief Kicker here like this Then a short description here like this →Then ≥ ThenSection Sectionand andpage PageXX XX UK news • UK inflation hit a five-andhalf-year high on Tuesday, outstripping growth in pay packets and putting renewed pressure on the Bank of England to raise interest rates. The consumer prices index jumped by 3.0% in September, up from August’s 2.9% – the highest reading since early 2012. The increased squeeze on living standards comes as the weak pound pushes up the cost of imported fuel, food and raw materials. Sterling slumped following the Brexit referendum in June 2016. • Britain has made zero progress in tackling inequality between the sexes in the past decade and lags behind Sweden, Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands and France in the EU’s latest gender equality league table. The UK joins Slovakia and the Czech Republic among the EU’s 28 member states in having made no significant advances in reducing levels of inequality when taking into account a range of fields including the workplace, income, education, health or political engagement. • Nicola Sturgeon pledged to set up a state-owned energy company in Scotland to offer cheaper power to homeowners, as she sought to restore her battered party’s confidence at its annual conference last week. Seizing on a policy pushed by Scottish Labour, the first minister said power from the publicly owned energy company would be sold as cheaply as possible. It was one of a series of populist policies aimed at bolstering her party’s appeal to leftwing and rural voters. • Uber has lodged a legal appeal against Transport for London’s decision not to renew its private hire licence, as the ride-hailing app company steps up its campaign to keep operating in one of its biggest markets. It is attempting to reverse a ruling that it is not a “fit and proper” firm to run taxi services in the capital. Uber’s licence expired on 30 September, but its cars will remain available in London until the legal process is exhausted – potentially a year or more. A first hearing is likely to take place on 11 December, according to a judicial office spokesman. 18 The Guardian Weekly 20.10.17 Comment&Debate Weinstein’s fall is a cue to rethink masculinity Rebecca Solnit Too many men seem aroused by their ability to inflict pain and humiliation on women. But now their victims are being listened to T his month has not been a good one for women. In the United States, it was reported that a man who allegedly raped a 12-year-old girl was granted joint custody of the resultant eight-year-old boy being raised by his young mother. The severed head and legs of Swedish journalist Kim Wall, who disappeared after entering inventor Peter Madsen’s submarine, were discovered near Copenhagen. A hard drive belonging to Madsen, Danish police said, was loaded with videos showing women being decapitated alive. A Swedish model received rape threats for posing in an Adidas advertisement with unshaven legs. The University of Southern California’s dean of medicine was dumped after reports resurfaced that he had sexually harassed a young medical researcher in 2003. A number of men at liberal publications were revealed to have contacted Milo Yiannopoulos, urging him to attack women – “Please mock this fat feminist,” wrote a senior male staff writer at Vice’s women’s channel, since fired. And, of course, movie mogul Harvey Weinstein was described by the New York Times as a serial sexual harasser; his alleged offences, according to a TV journalist, including trapping her in a hallway, where he masturbated until he ejaculated into a potted plant. Last week, the New Yorker ran a follow-up story by Ronan Farrow (the biological son of Woody Allen, who has repudiated his father for his treatment of his sisters), expanding the charges women have made against Weinstein to include sexual assault. He quotes one young woman who said “he forced me to perform oral sex on him” after she showed up for a meeting. She added, “I have nightmares about him to this day.” Weinstein denies any non-consensual sex. Saturday 7 October was the first anniversary of the release of the tape in which the United States president boasted about sexually assaulting women; 11 women then came forward to accuse Donald Trump. This month began with the biggest mass shooting in modern US history, carried out by a man reported to have routinely verbally abused his girlfriend: domestic violence is common in the past of mass shooters. Underlying such attacks is a lack of empathy, a will to dominate and an entitlement to control, harm and even take the lives of others. Though there is a good argument that mental illness is not a sufficient explanation – and most mentally ill people are nonviolent – mass There must be terrible loneliness in a failure to value the humanity of others, the failure of empathy and imagination Jasper Rietman shooters and rapists seem to have a lack of empathy so extreme it constitutes a psychological disorder. At this point in history, it seems to be not just a defect from birth, but a characteristic many men are instilled with by the culture around them. It seems to be the precondition for causing horrific suffering and taking pleasure in it as a sign of one’s own power, in regarding others as worthless, as yours to harm or eliminate. Or perhaps it’s an extreme version of masculinity that has always been with us in a culture that gives men more power than women; perhaps these acts are the result of taking that to its logical conclusion. There must be terrible loneliness in that failure to value the humanity of others, the failure of empathy and imagination, to consider oneself the only person who matters. Caring about others, empathising, loving them, liberates each of us; these bereft figures seem to be prisoners of their selfishness before they are punishers of others. Much has also been written to explain why the mass shootings are not terrorism, but perhaps terrorism can be imagined as a cultural as well as political phenomenon, a desire to instil fear, assert dominance, devalue the rights and freedoms of others, assert the power of the violent and of violence. T hat powerlessness of others seems to be desired and relished in these cases. It’s time to talk about the fact that many men seem erotically excited by their ability to punish, humiliate, inflict pain on women – the subject of a lot of porn. When you jerk off while cornering an unwilling woman, you’re presumably excited by her powerlessness and misery or repulsion. Another of Weinstein’s victims told the New Yorker: “The fear turns him on.” Fox News founder and CEO Roger Ailes took pleasure, according to his victims, in degrading the employees he sexually exploited and harassed. Journalist Gabriel Sherman reported in 2016: “The culture of fear at Fox was such that no one would dare come forward” until Gretchen Carlson broke the silence with a lawsuit. This year several black employees sued the network for racial discrimination. There is a solution, but I don’t know how we reach it, except in a plethora of small acts that accrete into a different worldview and different values. It’s in how we raise boys, in what we define as erotic, in how men can discourage each other from the idea that harming women enhances their status. Perhaps it’s in young men in power learning from the fall of Ailes, Bill Cosby, Bill O’Reilly and now Weinstein – and myriad Silicon Valley executives and more than a handful of academics – that women have voices and, sometimes, people who listen believe them, and the era of impunity might be fading. Though the change that really matters will consist of eliminating the desire to do these things, not merely the fear of getting caught. In Darren Aronofsky’s film Mother!, Jennifer Lawrence plays a young earth goddess of a woman restoring her poet husband’s house to the best of her ability, alone, while he ignores her requests to have some say in what does and doesn’t happen, who does and does not enter their home. You can interpret the story, as Aronofsky intended, as an environmental allegory in which the house is the earth, the destruction is environmental destruction, the recklessness that accompanies selfishness. Or you can just see it as a film about things going increasingly wrong in an unequal marriage between an egomaniac without empathy and a woman who is all too giving and not respected. It works either way. It’s a film for our time and one I can only hope captures a moment that will pass, because it’s past time to talk seriously about the poisonous lack of empathy and imagination that lies behind the corpses and the nightmares and the everyday fears. The Guardian Weekly 20.10.17 19 Comment&Debate We should value people more than money Gary Younge Human beings have always travelled, but borders now limit that primal act of self-betterment. It’s time for us to put an end to immigration controls W hen I was a teenager I went to West Berlin with my local youth orchestra to take part in an AngloGerman cultural exchange. It was 1983 and the wall was up. As we toured the city over 10 days, we would keep butting into this grotesque cold war installation blocking our way, and butting up against my 14-year-old’s defence of socialism. Clearly, built with the deliberate intention to trap people in a place they might not want to be, the wall was heinous – not just a bad idea, but morally wrong. As such, it was the most obscene symbol of the broader case against the eastern bloc. The fact their governments would not allow residents to travel to the west was prima facie evidence of their lack of freedom: they were understood to be like open prisons. Not long after the wall came down, this entire logic went into reverse. As country after country shed its Stalinist overlords and went into free-market freefall, the case for their peoples’ right to leave was eclipsed by the fear that they might actually come. In the west their “freedom” was welcomed; their presence was not. While they were demolishing the wall, we were building a fortress. Politics kept them in. For more than a decade, before they gained admission to the European Union, economics would keep them out. “A map of the world that does not include utopia is not worth even glancing at,” wrote Oscar Wilde. “For it leaves out the one country at which humanity is always landing. And when humanity lands there, it looks out, and, seeing a better country, sets sail.” The map of my utopian world has no borders. I believe in the free movement of people. As a principle, I think we should all be able to roam the planet and live, love and create where we wish. Benedict Anderson once famously described nation states as “imagined communities”. I’d like to imagine mine without border guards, barbed wire, passport control, walls, fences or barriers. The world would be a better place without them. Some of this stems from personal history. I am from a travelling people. My parents were born and raised in Barbados, a small island in the Caribbean caught in the crosswinds of colonial ties and postwar labour scarcity. I have 14 aunts and uncles. Along with my parents, nine of them left Barbados for lives in Britain, the US and Canada. I have cousins scattered across the globe. Borders are no friends to diasporas. They privilege formfilling over family. “Do you plan to work while you are here?” the UK immigration officer asked my grandmother when she came to see us one time. “You have cane here?” she asked wryly – she who worked in the canefields her entire life. Like my granny, though for different reasons, borders have always been a tense issue for me. With those in uniform struggling to match the colour of my face to the crest on my passport, how could it be otherwise? To be black and on the move in the west Thomas Pullin is to be an object of suspicion. The documents are supposed to speak for themselves; but somehow there was always more explaining to do. Borders exist, by definition, to separate us from others. The primary two issues then become which “other” that will be, and on what basis we should be separated. America’s 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act, the White Australia Policy – a series of measures lasting 70 years – or Britain’s Commonwealth Immigrants Act of 1962 are among the more crude filters. But while the “othering” changes with time – the shift from race to religion as grounds for suspicion over a generation has been breathtaking – the fact of it remains the same. Some people won’t be welcome, not because of what they have done but because of who they are. T The map of my utopian world has no borders. As a principle, I think we should be able to roam the planet and live where we wish his has long been a problem. Recently, however, it has been compounded by the fact that even as borders have become tougher for people, they have all but been lifted for capital. Money can travel the globe virtually without restriction, in search of regulations that are weaker and labour that is cheaper. When it does, it often displaces people: shutting down factories and shifting them to the other side of the world. But those who find their lives turned upside down by the free movement of capital are often prevented from moving country and looking for work. People should have at least the same rights – or more, since humans are more valuable than money. Sadly, desperate people are turned away at borders all the time. Others are incarcerated for having the audacity to cross borders we have created, to escape wars we have started, environmental chaos we have contributed to or poverty we have helped create. Others die trying. It is a fact, rarely stated but generally acknowledged and accepted, that the global poor should not be allowed to travel. That’s most of the world. Nation states are a relatively new concept; migration is as old as humanity. Borders do not simply set boundaries for countries, but are metaphors for the boundaries of how we might think about other human beings. Immigrants are not the problem. Borders are. 20 The Guardian Weekly 20.10.17 Comment&Debate Tories are to blame for rise in UK homeless John Harris Eva Bee Ruinous government policies have seen rough sleeping soar. A beneﬁts payments overhaul will only pile on the misery for thousands more F rom the knuckles upwards, at least three of his fingers were missing. Frostbite last winter, he said. Some of his toes had gone too. Someone had found him unconscious with hypothermia, and he had spent months in hospital before once again living on the street. He said he needed £17 ($22) for a onenight stay in a hostel: I gave him a fiver and some cigarettes, and we talked some more. I was in Manchester, covering the Conservative party conference earlier this month. In the UK, the scourge of homelessness and rough sleeping has been growing at speed. A snapshot count by the National Audit Office this time last year suggested that just over 4,100 people in England were sleeping rough, a figure that had increased by 134% since 2010. The number of households in temporary accommodation was reckoned to be 77,000, up 60% in six years. Some of these figures look like underestimates. In Greater Manchester, homelessness is said to have quadrupled since 2010. Homelessness charity Crisis estimates that in 2016 rough sleeping in the UK averaged around 9,000. And all of these problems are set to get much worse. A study by academics at Heriot-Watt University in Scotland said that if government policy remains as it is, the number of homeless people in Britain will reach 575,000 by 2041, up from 236,000 in 2016. Over the same period, the number of people sleeping rough could top 40,000. Little more than a year ago, the official approach to homelessness was still often stuck in a rut of punitive measures: councils imposing fines for begging and rough sleeping, and endless talk of crackdowns and zero tolerance. Now, though, accompanied by a clear sense of political panic, there are the first signs of a thaw. Last week, Theresa May announced a £3.8m contribution to something called the “Greater Manchester Homelessness Prevention Trailblazer” – showing her approval for measures aimed at getting help to the region’s homeless people, many of them authored by Greater Manchester’s new Labour mayor, Andy Burnham. Meanwhile, parliament has passed the Homelessness Reduction Act, which will supposedly ensure that councils have increased obligations to homeless people. Clearly, all this is proof that homelessness is newly intruding on politics, but it jars against two unavoidable questions. First, why does the government still seem largely focused on symptoms, rather than causes? And when it comes to the latter, who is ultimately to blame? The answer is simple, embodied in the fact that homelessness statistics show a surge that began in 2010. The Tories have long had a streak of cold cruelty, and the obscenities of current homelessness are the result. Of course, if you cut and cap benefits, leave a snowballing housing crisis untouched and fail to question the specious morals of the market, it will have human costs. Now comes universal credit, a new system of benefits payments already rolled out in areas scattered across the country, before its full introduction in 2022. Private landlords are already refusing to let properties to people in receipt of the new benefit, for fear of their tenants going into arrears. Councils and housing associations say that the mandatory six-week gap between making a claim and receiving a first payment is leading to huge problems, and evictions are already under way. In Manchester, Burnham says universal credit threatens to double his region’s number of rough sleepers. “If the rollout goes ahead as planned it will make our problem dramatically worse,” he says. The words highlight two of 2017’s biggest stories: on the streets of British cities, everyday matters of life and death. And in London, a government seemingly lost in its own cruelties. More at theguardian.com/opinion Opinion In brief Find a better sauce for your outrage Farewell, old and not much-loved pound coin I did not come of age in an era of activism. During my four years at college, I can remember only two campus-wide protests that gained any traction. One was to remove a piece of modern sculpture that had been erected along a windswept walkway. The other was to restore a particular brand of cereal to its former availability in all dining halls. I was reminded of those sorry times as impromptu protests erupted at McDonald’s franchises across America, in response to a lack of Szechuan McNugget dipping sauce. The Szechuan sauce was originally introduced as a promotional tie-in with the 1998 Disney film Mulan, and then quickly discontinued. But after it recently figured in the plot of the animated sci-fi sitcom Rick and Morty, online petitions for its return were launched. Sensing a marketing opportunity, McDonald’s At midnight last Sunday, everything changed for ever. The pound coin – the old, round, squat pound coin, as British as a blue passport or a bag of liver – ceased to become legal tender. The trusty pound coin, unlocker of vending machines, locker of lockers, has been transformed into scrap metal in your hands, replaced by a bimetallic interloper that looks as if it was designed by Fisher-Price for a bet. You’re right to be brokenhearted about it. Except you’re not brokenhearted about it. Nobody is. In an age where the slightest alteration to anything must be met by oceans of fizzingly disproportionate outrage, the old pound coin has died unmourned. Vegans aren’t on the warpath because, unlike polymer banknotes, nobody thought to splice cow DNA into the new coins. Men’s rights activists aren’t narked off because, released a very limited amount of the sauce in selected outlets. McDonald’s had not reckoned with the determined entitlement of Rick and Morty fans. At one LA franchise, 300 people turned up to fight over 20 packets of sauce. The police had to be called. In Newark, New Jersey, customers held up makeshift signs that said “#GiveUsTheSauce”. It’s heartening to see that the young people of America are still familiar with the mechanisms of protest, if not the actual point of it. On the same weekend that the vicepresident stormed out of a football game because black NFL players were protesting over racial injustice, it seems a little stupid to confuse behaving like a jerk at McDonald’s with some kind of cause. Let’s hope Rick and Morty fans can find some more suitable source of outrage. Tim Dowling unlike the new polymer tenners, the new coins haven’t just suddenly discovered that women exist. Even shops don’t seem to mind much. The Federation of Small Businesses, Poundland and Tesco all said they would carry on accepting the old pound coins. They aren’t legal tender any more, but what the hell. The passing of the old pound coin is an opportunity for you to be the truest version of yourself possible. If you’re in any way philanthropic, you can donate your stock of coins to any of the numerous charities who are requesting them. Or if you’re a historian, tape them to the inside of a notebook, even though nobody will ever take any pleasure from looking at them in the future. This is the round pound’s last gasp. It’s up to you to fritter it away on pretty much nothing. It’s what it would have wanted. Stuart Heritage The Guardian Weekly 20.10.17 21 Comment&Debate In praise of ... cats Hollywood stars have welcomed the expulsion of disgraced film producer Harvey Weinstein from the Academy Hammond is hated for prudence Matthew d’Ancona The chancellor is reviled by many Tories for looking at the fine print of Brexit and rejecting the feelgood fantasias T he book The Power of Positive Thinking introduced the notion that you can shape reality by mere “affirmations”. I suppose snake oil of this sort might help some people get through the day. But it is no basis upon which to govern a country. Wishing upon a star is not enough for a successful departure from the EU. Yet this is precisely what the exasperated Jiminy Crickets of Brexit are demanding of chancellor Philip Hammond. Last Thursday, John Redwood tweeted: “The Chancellor must get the Treasury to have more realistic, optimistic forecasts & to find the money for a successful economy post Brexit.” Nadine Dorries, meanwhile, complained: “We need a ‘can-do’ man in the Treasury, not a prophet of doom.” By something close to constitutional convention, the chancellor is the government-of-the-day’s Dr No. Whoever holds this great office of state must personify prudence, protect the public finances, resist all harebrained schemes that will jeopardise jobs or otherwise imperil prosperity. That, at least, is the job description. So it is innovative, not to say extremely stupid, to insist that Hammond suddenly pick up the pom-poms of the cheerleader and whoop that “Brexit totally rocks!” The latest charge levelled against the chancellor concerns his alleged failure to prepare with sufficient enthusiasm and application for a “no deal” outcome. All departments have been instructed to make contingency plans for the collapse of David Davis’s negotiations with the EU’s Michel Barnier. But Hammond’s foes want to see the public coffers opened, and money splashed out to make Britain ready for the cliff edge. Spent on what, though? Were Britain to crash out of the EU at the end of March 2019 without a deal, it would be subject to the rules of the World Trade Organization – meaning export tariffs of 10% on cars, 36% on dairy products, and high levies on clothes, footwear, chemicals and much else. The customs system would grind to a halt. International regulation systems would vanish, replaced by an economically disastrous vacuum. How did cats wind their way into our lives? The answer, as many evolutionary biologists argue, is that cats may have selected us as much as we selected them. Nothing challenges my understanding of Darwinian evolution more than the fact I have fallen so deeply in love with a milky-eyed cat. When he appeared in our lives, it was like we had discovered a rich new seam of love every time he entered the room. He offers very little affection, yet we lovingly prepare food for him. I am staggered at the realness of our emotions toward him. They are the same emotions I imagine you, dear reader, will know in your own pets. The same emotions that make you cry when they’re gone. We love them. And they seem to love us. Do we anthropomorphise them, or do they animalise us? If the latter, then perhaps it is their presence that may wake us up to the wider disasters we are inflicting upon nature. If so, that’s a message I’m happy to share. Jules Howard It is pitifully deluded to suggest that spending a few billion here, and a few billion there, is going to prepare the UK for such an outcome. As Hammond himself has suggested, the only way for Britain to cope with such a calamity would be for it to become an entirely different kind of country: low-tax, low-regulation, a Singapore of the west. The problem is that the British themselves would never tolerate the inevitable consequences of such a transformation – the drastic shrinkage of public services, the welfare state and core social entitlements. Small wonder that Kenneth Clarke and other Tory Remainers are tabling an amendment that would write the two-year transition plan into the EU withdrawal bill – effectively giving the Commons the ability to reject Brexit entirely if no agreement is reached with Brussels. At present this stands little chance of becoming law; but it will remind Theresa May and her whips that the parlous state of the EU talks is jeopardising her already precarious majority. May’s public readiness to countenance a “no deal” outcome reflects a strategy rather than a secret yearning. She calculates that the EU will not negotiate fairly unless its 27 other member states believe we are ready to walk away without an agreement. But as the months pass and the talks stall I also sense that a growing number of Brexiteers see “no deal” not as a threat but as an objective. Before the election, one cabinet minister close to the talks told me that “life under WTO rules would be perfectly OK, you know”. Really? For daring to look at the small print of Brexit and failing to declare the whole process “doubleplusgood”, Hammond is now pilloried by the faction within his party that, whatever its numerical strength, shouts loudest. He is hated by his enemies because he puts fact before emotion, and refuses to join in the feelgood fantasia. It is bleakly ironic that those who are working hardest to mitigate the most damaging consequences of Brexit are routinely accused of undermining the whole process. If only the chancellor would think positively, it would all be fine. Wouldn’t it? 22 The Guardian Weekly 20.10.17 theguardianweekly Comment Decertifying the Iran deal Full of sound and fury Donald Trump has taken a wild swing at his predecessor’s key foreign policy legacy, the milestone 2015 Iran nuclear accord. By refusing to “certify” Iran’s compliance, Mr Trump has set events on an unpredictable course. He had until 15 October to “certify” the deal’s implementation. He had done so twice already since coming to office. But this time, though nothing substantial has changed, he’s noisily refused. Does this matter? He cannot, alone, pull the US out of this deal, but he has raised the spectre that this might happen “at any time”. He wants measures taken to counter Iran’s “destabilising actions” and to “deny all paths to a nuclear weapon”, though without much clarity as to what this might entail. None of this contradicts the agreement formally, but it will all weaken it. Congress now has 60 days in which to decide whether to vote to reimpose sanctions. Even if that happens, European allies who are party to the nuclear deal, along with Russia and China, have all clearly indicated they will act to preserve it. The 2015 deal offered the best possible assurances that Iran’s nuclear military activities would be contained for roughly 10 years. It imposed strict international inspections, and provided strong incentives through sanctions relief. By defusing the nuclear crisis, it helped consolidate the more moderate factions within Iran’s power structures. It has helped to prevent the arms race in the Middle East from taking on entirely new proportions. Now, all these positive outcomes may start to unravel. Iran has promised a “crushing” response if its Revolutionary Guards are targeted by US sanctions – something Mr Trump has now called for. His provocation could lead to Iran pulling out of the nuclear accord – which may well be his tactical goal. The emerging diplomatic picture is unprecedented: a US president finds himself at odds not only with his own close advisers, but with all the key international players involved in a major crisis over international security. “America First” has become “America alone” at the moment when it is clear that America, alone, has far less power than it still supposes. No one else believes that Iran has violated the terms of the deal. Even Mr Trump now claims only that Iran has violated the “spirit” of the accord. There is no need to panic. Just as the agreement has its limits, so does Mr Trump’s angry rhetoric demonstrate his. He has not quite taken any action that Iran would find completely unacceptable. He threatens and blusters, but the agreement will stand unless Congress decides to break it. This is where all the pettiness of his character works for the good. Because he is interested only in victory, he may fail entirely to notice that he has backed down from some of his own rhetoric. But Congress must now refuse to impose sanctions that would definitively break the deal. The IMF’s message Yes, tax the super-rich The International Monetary Fund has been on quite a journey from the days when it was seen as the provisional wing of the Washington consensus, an ideology that promoted the false idea that growth was turbo-charged by scrapping welfare policies and pursuing privatisations. These days the IMF is less likely to harp on about the joys of liberalised capital flows than it is to warn of the dangers of evergreater inequality. The Fund’s latest – and welcome – foray into the realms of progressive economics came last week when it used its half-yearly fiscal monitor to make the case for higher taxes on the super-rich. Make no mistake, this is a significant moment. For almost 40 years, since the arrival of Margaret Thatcher in Downing Street and Ronald Reagan in the White House, the economic orthodoxy on taxation has been that higher taxes for the 1% are self-defeating. Soaking the rich, it was said, would lead to lower levels of innovation, less investment, weaker growth and, therefore, reduced revenue for the state. The IMF’s analysis makes two important points. First, it says that tax systems should have become more progressive in recent years in order to help offset growing inequality but rather have been becoming less progressive. Second, it finds no evidence for the argument that attempts to make the rich pay more tax would lead to lower growth. There is nothing especially surprising about either of the conclusions: in fact, the real surprise is that it has taken so long for the penny to drop. Growth rates have not picked up as taxes have been cut for the top 1%. If trickle-down theory worked, there would be a strong correlation between countries with low marginal tax rates for the rich and growth. There is no such correlation. The IMF is not naive. It knows it is one thing to make the case for higher taxes on the rich but another thing to get governments to implement them. The IMF has demolished the argument that what is good for the super-rich is good for the rest of us, but don’t expect the top 1% to give up without a fight. Culture can help bring us together. So Unesco is vital Costa-Gavras The Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg said earlier this year that the social media giant wants to bring together communities and help people “find a sense of purpose and support”. As a film-maker, I know that cinema is an ideal medium for opening minds and, in Zuckerberg’s words, “expanding our horizons”. Through cinema, distant countries have got to know one another and powerful taboos have been overcome. Politicians rightly fear and respect these powers. This is why authoritarians have always sought to subjugate them. Culture is not something we can take for granted; it requires a constant state of struggle. This is not a struggle for any one country to pursue on its own. This is why we have Unesco, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation. The organisation’s mission is a vital one: to “build peace in the minds of men and women” and “create the conditions for dialogue among civilisations, cultures and peoples, based upon respect for commonly shared values”. That means fostering quality education for all, putting science to work for sustainable development and celebrating cultural diversity. I believe Audrey Azoulay, who was France’s culture minister until earlier this year and has just been elected the new director-general of Unesco, will be perfect for the post, as I have seen her approach her work not with the mindset of a politician or a bureaucrat, but instead with the vision of an artist. Were they to look beyond their business interests, businessmen such as Zuckerberg could be incredibly helpful in meeting these challenges. Social media networks are incredible tools for building bridges across borders, but cannot create the cultural touchstones that bring disparate peoples together. Indeed, we have too often seen them having the effect of driving neighbours apart. If our shared objective is to heal divides, we must work together to protect our shared global heritage, while educating our children to preserve it when we are gone. Costa-Gavras is an Oscar-winning director and screenwriter The Guardian Weekly 20.10.17 23 Reply The vote in Catalonia • The English have remarkable knowhow in working with our fellow Brits – not only the Welsh, the Scots and the Manx but also the Irish. While in no way interfering in Spanish affairs, an offer of conciliatory help would be an act of statesmanship to one of our oldest European friends at this difficult time. David Hayes Bristol, UK Unfair review of Clinton book At the beginning of his review of Hillary Clinton’s new book What Happened (29 September) Peter Conrad claims that he “grieved” when she lost the presidential election. Who needs enemies with supporters like this? 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 gu.com/letters-terms Editorial Acting editor: Graham Snowdon Guardian Weekly, Kings Place, 90 York Way, London N1 9GU, United Kingdom Gary Kempston Much nonsense has been said and reported about the situation in Catalonia. First there is the suggestion that the Catalans were only trying to exercise their democratic right to vote (Simon Tisdall, 6 October). That is not so. The referendum in Catalonia only gave votes to a subset of the population of Spain, and so was not democratic. Second, there is the suggestion that the Catalans were peacefully campaigning “in line with the UN charter’s universal right to self-determination”. That too is nonsense. The charter merely talks about the “principle of … self-determination of peoples” without defining what “peoples” means. What it surely does not mean is that a subset of the people within a country can unilaterally declare independence from that country. If that were the case, London and the home counties could declare independence from the UK to form a state that remains in the EU. I am sure that even Tisdall would not defend that proposition. Catalonia contributes more taxes to Spain than it receives. That is the economic nature of any state – richer parts subsidise the poorer parts. However, the Catalans don’t like this and in a country that professes itself to be Catholic – and therefore Christian – it is pure hypocrisy. Alan Williams-Key Madrid, Spain it is ever more expensive to achieve and has finite limits. Unless we get to grips with the underlying forces driving our behaviour, we cannot hope to change it for the better; indeed, if we fail to control them, the pressure will inevitably become even greater and our responses even more competitive rather than cooperative. David Barker Bunbury, Western Australia Having just devoured the book, I was astounded by the viciousness and lack of exactitude in Conrad’s review. Steve Bannon’s team could not have done better. He displays all the prejudices Hillary Clinton had to contend with during her whole career: he attacks her for speaking out (too early), for the wrong reasons (for money), for wearing the wrong clothes (pantsuits from Ralph Lauren), for being guilty of triumphalism (she is preparing herself to be president) and finally for not understanding that it was all about showbiz (maybe she should have tap-danced wearing a miniskirt from Walmart). The concluding lines when he says he feels sorry for her opponent made me feel nauseated. Read the book and make your own mind up. I would feel honoured to shake Hillary Clinton’s hand. Her professionalism, her resilience and her composure are models for us all. Maria Moran Beaconsfield, Quebec, Canada Living on Planet Monbiot I wish I was living on the same planet as George Monbiot, where all we need to do to attain peace and harmony is to adopt a new social paradigm based on cooperation and altruism (22 September). Sadly, the world I inhabit is one in which there is ever-increasing pressure on all our essential needs caused by unbridled population growth and resulting in ever-increasing competition, which won’t go away just because we would like it to. Technology has supported this growth but its benefits are extremely unevenly distributed, 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 Macron’s so-called reforms In your 22 September cover story The eurozone strikes back, Jennifer Rankin quotes the economist James Nixon as saying that Emmanuel Macron’s labour reforms could hail a decade of expansion for the euro area. That sounds promising. But one sentence jumped out: that Macron’s reforms would “make it easier for small and medium-sized firms to fire workers, thus boosting hiring”. That sounds logical and you certainly can’t argue with steps to make things easier for smaller companies. But what I found strange was that “small and medium-sized” firms are mentioned specifically. What of multinational corporations? Will they be exempted and suddenly start giving stable, long-term contracts to their employees? I somehow doubt that and believe that corporations will get on the bandwagon and use “fireability” to reduce their costs, thereby enabling them to eclipse smaller companies even more quickly. Or maybe corporations are beyond this and have outsourced so much of their labour that they don’t really care. If this is the case, then governments should force corporations to raise their employment conditions, rather than have smaller companies lower theirs. Alan Mitcham Cologne, Germany Briefly • Oliver Burkeman’s article on anxiety (6 October) reminds me of the words carved on the mantelpiece in my grandparents’ house: “How much pain the evils have cost us that have never happened.” Sue Spring Le Boulvé, France 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 20 October 1987 Bloodbath as City suﬀers worst day Stock markets around the world ended yesterday in tatters as Wall Street’s nosedive continued. No major market was able to withstand the impact of New York’s sustained attack of nerves. In the Far East, Tokyo took an overnight hammering whilst Hong Kong and Singapore showed their sharpest ever falls. In London, too, it was a day for breaking unwanted records. The unprecedented £50bn bloodbath was intensified by Friday’s near closure of the City’s financial markets. On mainland Europe, Milan, Frankfurt and Paris all ended sharply down. Not surprisingly with share prices on the run, gold was in demand with investors closing $15.75 higher in London at $481 an ounce. In the City, the reaction to Wall Street was immediate, with the FTSE index opening 136.9 points down. At its worst, the index had crashed more than 300 points, a £63bn loss, and even a minor rally at the end of the day still left it almost 250 points adrift at 2,052.3. Dealers in London described the day as “frenetic”. More than 800 million shares changed hands, around 50% up on a normal day, whilst the Stock Exchange’s computer system recorded the highest ever number of price changes. At one stage during the morning, prices were changing so rapidly that the Stock Exchange put on the ‘fast market’ notice to show that prices being shown on dealing screens might well be different from those investors were quoted on the telephone. Peter Rodgers and Mark Milner Corrections and Clarifications • An article about Irish antiabortion protests (6 October) made geographical reference to the “British mainland”, when England should have been specified. • Due to an editing error in a 1 September article about US economics, we said Jackson Hole was in Colorado, not Wyoming. The Guardian Weekly’s policy is to correct significant errors as soon as possible. Please give the date, page or web link: guardian.readers@ theguardian.com or The readers’ editor, Kings Place, 90 York Way, London N1 9GU, United Kingdom. 24 The Guardian Weekly 20.10.17 Eyewitnessed Firefighters observe operations as wildfires blaze a destructive trail near Calistoga in California’s Napa Valley. At least 40 people have died and evacuees returned to find thousands of homes an Swiss speed climber Dani Arnold clings on one-handed as he traverses a section of the Breitwangflue ice tunnel near Kandersteg, Switzerland Thomas Senf/Mammut/AP A special light show from 59 Productions celebrates 20 years since the opening of the Frank Gehry-designed Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain Justin Sutcliffe The Guardian Weekly 20.10.17 25 nd businesses destroyed across the northern part of the state Justin Sullivan/Getty A cub is ready for its closeup at the Shenshuping Conservation and Research Centre of the Giant Panda in China, where 36 young made their first public appearance Getty Tunnels in the former Salina Turda salt mine in Cluj County, Romania. Excavation stopped in 1932 but the mine was reopened as a tourist attraction in 2010 Stoyan Nenov/Reuters A refuse collector at the top of a huge mound of rubbish at Okhla landfill in Delhi, India. The city produces more than 5,000 tonnes of waste each day Shams Qari/Barcroft Images 26 The Guardian Weekly 20.10.17 The Guardian Weekly 20.10.17 27 Forces at sea The untapped power of marine turbines → Discovery, pages 32-33 This island is not for sale The Hebridean isle of Eigg overcame private owners to assert community independence. But can its way of life survive? By Patrick Barkham I t’s the difference between black-and-white TV and colour,” said Brian Greene. “That’s what it was like after the revolution.” Greene was giving me a lift along Eigg’s only road, waving at every passerby. It was the kind of explosive Scottish Highland summer day when butterflies jinked out of the steaming greenery and every foxglove, fuchsia and yellow flag iris seemed to have simultaneously burst into flower. Small islands are like celebrities: they loom far larger than their actual size, they are pored over by visitor-fans and they become public possessions, laden with reputations and attributes they may or may not embody. The Hebridean island of Eigg is second to St Kilda as the most famous of the smaller British isles. While St Kilda is renowned for its extinction as a place of human settlement, Eigg is celebrated for its rebirth. After overthrowing its eccentric, authoritarian owner two decades ago, this 31 sq km patch of moor and mountain was reborn as what is sometimes mockingly called the People’s Republic of Eigg. This triumph of David versus Goliath has forged an apparently inspirational, sustainable community of 100 people. On first glance, it appears at once industriously creative and attractively lackadaisical: colourful houses, gardens filled with strawberry patches, hammocks made from former fishing nets and swings from old buoys. Larger British isles, such as Shetland and Orkney, or the Isle of Man, have (at least in modern times) avoided the vexation of capricious landlords. Perhaps their remoteness, or the strength of their local culture, militate against individual possession, but it may simply be sheer size. In contrast, the Small Isles – Eigg, Muck, Rùm and Canna – are perfectly formed and of an ideal size to be possessed by one person. For the last two centuries, these beautiful, fecund Hebridean islands have been objects of desire for wealthy men – and it has always been men – who love islands, with disastrous consequences for both sides. The islophile DH Lawrence wrote a satirical short story, The Man Who Loved Islands. It is a cautionary tale: a young idealist called Mr Cathcart buys a small island in order to create his own utopia, downsizes to a tiny one when he realises the native islanders are mocking him, and finally moves to an uninhabited rock. Fredrik Sjöberg, an author I visited on the tiny Swedish island of Runmarö, believes small islands possess “a peculiar attraction for men with a need for control and security” because “nothing is so enclosed and concrete as an island”. The literary academic Peter Conrad offers a more Freudian interpretation, suggesting that an island is a “uterine shelter” surrounded, like the foetus, by fluid, and attracting men in search of a mother or a primal source of safety. Novelists cocoon their creativity – and fragile egos – on islands, too. “I like islands,” wrote Will Self, “because they’re discrete and legible, just like stories.” Mystique and mischief … Eigg’s Singing Sands Patrick Barkham One of Eigg’s old Gaelic names is “the Island of the Powerful Women”, which it was respectfully called by male islanders at sea, to avoid bad luck. But its matriarchy was despoiled by a succession of men whose craving for Eigg outdid their means. The English Runciman family were reasonably enlightened – Lord Runciman’s wife, Hilda, became one of the first female MPs – but they sold Eigg as a “perfectly secluded island of the Old World” in 1966. It was bought by an elderly Welsh farmer whose Hereford cattle promptly died of bracken poisoning. Disheartened, he got rid of Eigg for £110,000 (roughly £1m, or $1.3m, at today’s rates) in 1971 to Bernard Farnham-Smith, self-styled naval commander and head of an English charity that wanted to run the island as a school for disabled boys. Eigg’s own school was so depleted that by 1973 it was down to one pupil. Islanders welcomed the charismatic “Commander” and his stories of his navy days in China. Farnham-Smith’s ingenious ideas were a bit vague, however, and he was soon cutting costs. The island doctor described his regime as “living under enemy occupation, without the satisfaction of being able to shoot the bugger”. It turned out that the most Farnham-Smith had commanded was a fire brigade, and Eigg was back on the market in 1974. On 1 April 1975, Keith Schellenberg, a dashing, Yorkshire-born businessman and former Olympic St Kilda is renowned for its extinction as a place of human settlement, Eigg is celebrating its rebirth bobsleigher, acquired Eigg. He was a charming, persuasive adventurer, who, over the next 20 years, fulfilled the narrative of The Man Who Loved Islands perhaps more faithfully than any other real nesomane (John Fowles’s term for island-lover). Legend has it that Schellenberg found himself locked in his home at Udny Castle, a grand pile belonging to his second wife, with the deadline for a blind auction for Eigg approaching. Unfazed, he abseiled down the walls to offer Farnham-Smith £274,000 – £74,000 more than the state-run Highlands and Islands Development Board was prepared to pay. The 39 remaining islanders – an all-time population low – were initially pleased. They didn’t want a takeover by the government, which had shown little interest in renovating their pier or reforming the high freight charges on the ferry. At first, Schellenberg promoted a prescient modern vision of self-sufficiency through tourism, the miracle industry then hailed by the authorities as the solution to the Highland “problem”. FarnhamSmith had kept the wooden community hall locked, but in a popular early move Schellenberg gave it back to the islanders so there could be badminton in winter and dances in summer. Dozens of ceilidhs took place during that first golden year. Unlike other Highland lairds, Schellenberg was a vegetarian who objected to shooting, and he encouraged the Scottish Wildlife Trust to create three nature reserves. Buildings were renovated for holiday homes, and flashy boats, including a motor cruiser called the Golden Eye, brought tourists to the island. Job ads in national newspapers brought an influx of new residents to work for the new owner. Maggie and Wes Fyffe were running a craft workshop on the east coast of Scotland when Schellenberg turned up and invited them to start a similar project on Eigg. The Fyffes loved Eigg and felt an immediate sense of belonging. “Apart from the fact that it is beautiful, I just liked being part of a small community,” Maggie said as we drank tea in her croft. The couple had two children and, on Eigg, they no longer felt excluded from things. “Kids go to everything here because if there’s something happening everybody goes,” said Maggie. “It just felt right.” In keeping with most Hebridean islanders, the Gaelic-speaking Eigg natives were far from insular. “It’s a real misconception that folk have about Hebridean crofter types,” said Maggie. She mentions an old islander who has travelled the globe and fought in Palestine. “People in general here are very hospitable – it’s part of the culture. They were really happy to see young people and kids arriving,” she said. That outward-facing mentality is still a feature of the island. By the summer of 1979, Eigg was open for business. The population jumped to 60 and the school, that crucial barometer of small-island health, had 12 pupils. There was a new tearoom and craft centre; moped hire, day cruises, sea angling, lobster fishing and pony trekking were advertised as on offer. Visitors could even help with haymaking or sheep shearing. Unfortunately, when the tourists arrived, these activities were rarely available. Staff turnover was worryingly high. New employees were housed in run-down buildings with polythene for windowpanes. Schellenberg’s grand Lodge was open house for his society friends in high summer. One likened him to Mr Toad: “Keith actually wears those round goggles and he’s always arriving in places with a lot of noise and clouds of dust.” His prized possession was a 1927 Rolls-Royce. Guests would perch on the running board as he drove them to beach picnics or moonlit games of hockey. “We spent our days as if we were Somerset Maugham characters, sunbathing or playing croquet on the manicured lawn,” said one friend. In the village shop I met Sarah Boden, one of Eigg’s two farmers. She remembers a German playboy landing in the Lodge gardens in a helicopter. Two models dressed in catsuits brandishing toy guns stepped out first. “Schellenberg was very charismatic, a real showman,” said Boden, who recalled him driving around in an eight-wheeled ArgoCat, an amphibious all-terrain vehicle. “He’d drive it to the boat and park it in the most ridiculous place possible at the pier, just so the visitors would watch.” Schellenberg revived the inter-island games that traditionally took place between residents of the Small Isles, and for his guests devised war games with tennis balls, which were insensitively billed as “Jacobites v Hanoverians”. Continued on page 28 → 28 The Guardian Weekly 20.10.17 Weekly review ← Continued from page 27 During the 1988 games the island ceilidh band, who had agreed to play for his wealthy guests, decided there would be a small entrance fee to raise money for a new hall. When Schellenberg discovered that his American friends had been charged, he demanded that their money be returned. The band walked off stage and many islanders left the concert in protest, pursued by one of the laird’s aristocratic Scottish guests, who shouted: “Scum of the earth, half-baked socialists!” Behind the comedy was genuine suffering. In 1980, Schellenberg had divorced his wealthy second wife and, suddenly much poorer, was running Eigg on a shoestring. The farm manager quit, labourers were made redundant and the tractors ran out of diesel. His regime was propped up by generous government tax breaks for new, environmentally damaging plantations of nonnative Sitka spruce. The rain came in through the nursery roof; old islanders’ homes were by now particularly dilapidated. Life “was quite grim”, remembered Boden, who spent the first six years of her life on the island in the 1980s. “We lived in five different houses and two caravans. Schellenberg would employ and sack people on a total whim, so there was no security.” Inadvertently, though, he created an island community that would ultimately depose him. Many of the outsiders Schellenberg hired and fired, such as the Fyffes, liked Eigg so much that they stayed, and scratched out a self-sufficient life on crofts in Cleadale, the fertile valley that had been the island’s traditional centre. Older inhabitants were welcoming, if perplexed, to see newcomers adopt the life they urged their children to escape. Old and new bonded over house ceilidhs while Schellenberg fretted about Eigg’s “hippy” population. He characterised them as misfits fleeing the mainstream, “wandering itinerants who found the island a nice refuge but were not mentally strong enough to cope with the life and earn a living”. The laird was struggling to earn one, too. Planned golf courses and tennis courts never materialised, and tourism petered to a halt. “I’ve kept its style slightly run-down – the Hebrides feel,” he claimed in later years. Eventually, Schellenberg’s ex-wife, who still jointly owned Eigg, took him to court, accusing him of mismanaging their declining asset. Across the Highlands, by the 1990s, there were growing calls for land reform. Tom Forsyth, an unsung hero of Scottish land reform who had helped regenerate crofting on an isolated peninsula north of Ullapool, imagined that Eigg could become a new Iona – like that much-visited Scottish isle, a place of spiritual pilgrimage, creativity and prosperity. Together with Alastair McIntosh, a Lewis academic; Robert Harris, a Borders farmer, and Liz Lyon, an artist, Forsyth would found the Isle of Eigg Heritage Trust. In 1991 they launched a public appeal: to raise millions of pounds so they could buy the island. The following May, Schellenberg was forced by his ex-wife to put Eigg up for sale. In July 1992, it was bought by the highest bidder: Schellenberg. He planned to take his Rolls-Royce on a “triumphant tour” of the island, reported the Scotsman, “once it was rendered roadworthy”. The car’s days were numbered, however: early in January 1994 the sheds on Eigg’s pier burned down, with Schellenberg’s Roller inside. The police arrived to investigate but the culprits were never identified. “It was once the laird’s factor [his estate manager] who went about burning people out. Now it seems OK to burn out the laird himself,” fumed Schellenberg, blaming “hippies and dropouts” for subverting island traditions with “acid-rock parties”. Eigg’s indigenous population responded with an open letter refuting his “ludicrous allegations”. Schellenberg was determined not to let the islanders take over, and in 1995, needing money after an acrimonious split from his third wife, he abruptly sold Eigg to a fire-worshipping German artist and selfstyled “professor” who went by the name of Maruma – Gotthilf Christian Eckhard Oesterle had read his new name in a pool of water in Geneva. Schellenberg returned to Eigg one last time to requisition an 1805 map of the island from the craft shop. Islanders heard he was on his way and parked a disused community bus against the shop’s door to block it. Then they took the day off to see what would happen next. A local police officer told the furious ex-landlord that if no one claimed ownership of the bus within 30 days he could remove it. Schellenberg stormed off, by boat. “You never understood me,” was his anguished parting shot to the islanders. “I always wanted to be one of you.” Brian Greene, who came here from England as a young man responding to a job advert, almost felt sorry for him. “He was like an alien. The Scots can be pretty hard on their thousand-year-old oppressor sometimes,” he said. “Everyone has good points, but he refused to show his.” Maruma arrived with grand plans. He declared it was impossible to own Eigg and vowed to improve opportunities for the community, build a swimming pool, and replace the dirty diesel generators that provided electricity with wind and solar power. The press discovered that, unfortunately, Maruma was not quite what he seemed: he was unknown in the art world, he wasn’t a proper professor, and he had used Eigg as security for a loan at a punitive 20% interest rate. He promised to remove the island’s rusty old cars, but a pile of wrecks soon accumulated by the pier: locals dubbed it “the Maruma centre”. In July 1996, the island was put up for sale again, at an inflated price of £2m. The Trust redoubled its fundraising efforts. The story of the islanders who wanted to buy their own island was portrayed as a jolly romp in the style of Ealing comedy Whisky Galore, in which Hebridean islanders rebel against British bureaucrats. Eigg folk didn’t particularly relish this stereotype, but it captured imaginations and raised money. ‘A triumph for all that is good in humanity and one in the eye for everything that is mean-spirited’ The Guardian Weekly 20.10.17 29 Kicker here like this Then a short description here like this → Then Section and page XX No more lairds … islanders (including Maggie Fyffe, far left) take a break after erecting a standing stone to celebrate their purchase of Eigg. Above, Keith Schellenberg, the isle’s owner until 1995 Murdo MacLeod Maggie Fyffe, who became the Trust’s administrator, sorted through the mail from wellwishers: donations began flowing in at the rate of £1,000 per post bag; soon it was £30,000 per bag. Concerts took place in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Tyrone – and even Detroit – to raise funds. A mystery benefactor, a woman from northern England whose identity Fyffe still won’t reveal, gave £900,000. According to Alastair McIntosh, most donations came from England. Outsiders were shocked by the feudalism that the islanders endured – the owners even decided which of them, if any, could eat Eigg’s seaweed – and worried about the possible fate of its pristine environment. The wildlife trusts, including the Scottish Wildlife Trust, were particularly effective at mobilising their members to help Eigg. Meanwhile, the island’s Trust feared that Maruma’s German estate agent would sell Eigg to another international client. The agent described the Scottish islands on his books as “the Van Goghs” of 120 personally inspected paradises: “There is a sense of romance in buying islands. It is the ultimate purchase you can make, a complete miniature world of which you can be king.” Maruma’s creditor, a German clothing exporter, finally put the islanders out of their misery. After Maruma defaulted on his £300,000 loan, the creditor used the Scottish courts to force Eigg’s sale. His solicitors accepted the islanders’ offer of £1.5m on 4 April 1997. Finally, the people of Eigg owned their island. Community-owned Eigg is 20 years old. Like a celebrity, it must handle fame, fans, negative publicity and hangers-on. A constant stream of film-makers, journalists, anthropologists and scientists pitch up to study the place, so I sense a certain weariness when I pull my notebook from my pocket. Boden moved back to Eigg in 2010, after years as a music journalist in London. She’s amazed by how many members of her former tribe arrive on storytelling business each summer and expect her to delightedly drop everything. “A lot of them come with a script that they expect you to conform to – ‘As a community we are forging forwards and revolutionising X, Y and Z’ – but usually the reality is a lot more complicated than that. They don’t really listen to what you say and go away none the wiser.” Or, as her partner Johnny Lynch – the musician Pictish Trail – put it: “I find it quite embarrassing because there’s folk here who say, ‘I saw you on the TV, you fanny.’” At the time of the buyout, Simon Fraser, then chairman of the Trust, called it “a triumph for all that is good in humanity and certainly one in the eye for everything that is mean-spirited and self-seeking”. The islanders celebrated independence day on 12 June 1997 with 90 bottles of malt donated by Skye’s Talisker distillery, which had been founded by two brothers from Eigg. The hangover, an eruption of mean-spiritedness, came six years later. A Scottish-German journalist, a critic of land reform, visited Eigg and penned an unflattering portrayal of the new island rulers for Die Zeit in Germany, which British tabloids were only too happy to echo. Islanders were quoted speaking of a “clash of cultures” – between Hebridean residents and incomers – and Keith Schellenberg chipped in, claiming Eigg had been despoiled “by people who had lived in Tibet and had ‘Make Love, Not War’ painted on the sides of their vans”. The newspapers’ cautionary tales about Eigg appear to have lodged in the minds of many who briefly visit. I met two tourists on Barra who passed on gossip they had heard about Eigg politics, claiming it was a cliquey, “clannish” place. I encountered an ex-resident of Rùm who declared that Eigg was “a bit too full of scandals and growers and dropouts”, and suggested residents needed to grow up. Robert Louis Stevenson, who adventured through the isles of the south Pacific in the 1880s, described the drifters in the Marquesas as “people ‘on the beach’” – beached like driftwood – and more than once before I reached Eigg, I heard that familiar accusation: it’s full of people who flee to a small island because they can’t hack it in the mainstream. There was another charge too: its residents were grant-junkies, sustaining their laidback lifestyles with mainland subsidies. I chatted to the owner-captain of the little boat Shearwater on my way to Eigg and he criticised his larger rival, the government-subsidised CalMac ferry. I assumed he’d attack Eigg’s subsidised existence too, but he unexpectedly defended the island: everyone talks about Eigg’s grant money, he argued, but no one on the mainland describes the National Grid or roads or hospitals as state handouts, whereas Eigg built its own electricity grid and doesn’t have hospitals or proper roads. Subsidies are hoovered up by whoever owns land in Britain. It does seem unfair, then, to criticise the islanders for applying for the subsidies enjoyed by wealthier landowners. As islanders point out, taxpayers’ funds provided just £17,517 towards Eigg’s community buyout. Plenty of outsiders look more positively upon Eigg. On my way home from the island, I stopped for supper in Glasgow with Alastair McIntosh, the author and activist who invigorated Eigg’s independence movement. I found him volunteering at GalGael, a charity based in an old workshop in the terraced streets around Rangers’ Ibrox stadium. Young people were carving wood and learning how to build boats. Continued on page 30 → 30 The Guardian Weekly 20.10.17 Weekly review ← Continued from page 29 McIntosh’s beard is turning white and he controls a hearing aid with his mobile phone, but he still possesses an aura of both vitality and peace, and is as inspiring as the best kind of preacher. To my surprise, this man of Lewis was born in Doncaster to an English mother and a Scottish father. When McIntosh was four years old, his father took the family to Lewis, which remains his son’s heartland, and worked there as a GP. The island is the foundation for McIntosh’s belief in the importance of communities rooted in a local culture that can transcend the spiritual paucity of global capitalism and its veneration of consumption. He cherishes Eigg, which represents a rare win for activists. “When we set up the first Eigg Trust, the original vision was about renewable energy, cultural renewal and renewal of the spirit. Not only has all of it been fulfilled, but it’s been considerably surpassed.” He’s not claiming the credit; it’s the islanders who’ve exceeded the Trust’s hopes. He recently returned to Eigg. “The ones who were heavy on the drink were still heavy on the drink, but the thing that impressed me was the number of young people who were back, balancing babies with a rich matrix of economic activities by which they held their lives together and built their homes, unfettered by an absentee landlord.” The old divide between indigenous people and newcomers has disappeared on Eigg with a younger generation who are a melange of both. The supposed Hebridean/hippy divide was never so stark or so simple, and many islanders working quietly at the heart of the community are from indigenous families. Eigg’s success has come from a genuine fusion of Hebridean culture and mainland counterculture. Incomers who have fitted in with island life, and not just come to buy the view, have taken on the best Hebridean traditions of spirituality, cooperation, hospitality and music, and Eigg has attracted people wanting to participate in a less materialistic community. But to create a community less focused on money, people need a platform to share it, argues McIntosh, and that platform is “the land”. The fact that the community owns the island of Eigg makes it different from alternative-minded communities in, say, Totnes or Hebden Bridge, or almost any place in England where daily life, and most possibilities, are mediated through the landownership of private individuals. The communityowned Eigg is “not a selfish endeavour. It’s not about just wanting to be landowners, it’s about the community having life and individuals having life within that community,” said McIntosh. “In Scotland, we spit the word out – ‘property’. You can’t own the land, the land owns you. What I found in England is there’s such a lack of physical space, and it’s usually upper-class-controlled. England has never recovered from the Norman conquest. That deeply embedded class system is so divisive.” In contrast, community ownership enables Eigg to run its own housing association and provide cheap rents – currently about half the market level of “affordable housing” in this region of Scotland. Lowrent societies where residents are liberated from the grind of earning a lot to pay for a house are likely to be more radical, creative places: people have the freedom, and time, to pursue less money-oriented goals. McIntosh echoes an earlier writer of the Highlands, Hugh MacDiarmid, by raising the question of what a small island might bring to a bigger one. His great hope 20 years ago was that Eigg would be “a pattern and an example unto one another”, to quote George Fox, the founder of the Quakers. The centre needs the periphery as a source of inspiration and renewal, just as the periphery relies on the centre. Eigg may be able to give the larger island at its side some practical lessons in affordable housing, renewable energy and land reform. A small-island manifesto for the “mainland” might begin with the realisation that we need to treat other people more carefully. Be open to outsiders and to the world. Live as generalists, not as sclerosed super-specialists. Spend more time outside. Reduce our consumption. Make our own energy or, at worst, buy it by the sack, and then we will use less. Consider animals and plants as well as people. Live more intimately with our place, for it is a complex living organism, too. I spent several days walking across Eigg’s moors to meet some of the islanders who run its democratically elected “government”, the Isle of Eigg Heritage Trust. Apart from replacing feudalism with scrupulous democracy, the Trust’s first priority after buying the island was to ensure that the islanders, who mostly lease their properties, had one basic right they never enjoyed under individual owners: security of tenure. They renovated dilapidated homes and built a shop and tea room, with toilets and showers for visitors. The early years of the Trust were not riven with conflict, but the historian Camille Dressler revealed some tensions in her 2007 book, Eigg: the Story of an Island. The directors of the Trust realised, to their “bafflement and frustration”, that “the suspicion towards power-holders, which was once directed at the landowner, now found itself directed at the Trust”. The Schellenberg/Maruma era was, at best, a negligent one, and the islanders were used to sorting things out themselves. Many had enjoyed this feeling of liberty from bureaucratic conventions, and Community ownership enables Eigg to run its own housing association and provide cheap rents were not sure they liked the box-ticking demanded by democracy. As one islander told Dressler: “The more efficient we try to make this organisation, the more we end up like the mainland.” But Dressler now says any unease about the self-governing regime has disappeared. Maggie Fyffe believes that almost every decision is reached by consensus. A high proportion of residents volunteer for the Trust or for various committees that manage everything from the island’s rubbish to its culture, but there are some refuseniks. Boden is currently serving as a Trust director. “We still struggle with an us-v-them mentality,” she said. “Sometimes decisions get made and people moan about ‘the Trust this’ or ‘the Trust that’. You have to remind them that they are the Trust.” Eigg has thrived, said McIntosh, because the community has developed a way to manage disputes. “That’s of such importance. In my view, the main inhibitor of community landownership is that people are afraid of themselves, they are afraid of what might be set loose if they don’t have a controlling figure above them.” Many portraits of island dystopias are suffused with this fear. On his tour of Scotland, Samuel Johnson wrote of the dangers of brooding brought on by small islands: “The evils of dereliction rush upon the thoughts; man is made unwillingly acquainted with his own weakness.” Mr Cathcart is confronted by precisely this in The Man Who Loved Islands. Perhaps DH Lawrence was scared of small islands, too. William Golding brooded much upon this danger, not only in Lord of the Flies, in which the schoolboy inhabitants of a small island rapidly turn feral, but in Pincher Martin, in which a wrecked sailor’s small island is revealed to be a hallucination of his own ruined mind, or perhaps purgatory. In reality, the residents of Eigg have faced their inner demons and won. I sat in Maggie Fyffe’s croft, where water-andwind-powered fairy lights twinkled and the air smelt of roll-ups and woodsmoke. Is Eigg a utopia? “Utopia is a bit strong.” She cackled wildly at my question and then paused. “I think it is. I love it here.” Home land … Sarah Boden, a farmer and director of Eigg’s community trust Murdo MacLeod The Guardian Weekly 20.10.17 31 Weekly review Kicker here like this Then a short description here like this → Then Section and page XX ‘I’m here to do a job, not speak for God’ Mona Prince hopes to breathe new life into Egypt’s presidential race, finds Ruth Michaelson I n a smoky restaurant-bar in downtown Cairo, the presidential candidate is sucking hard on a cigarette. “I’m breaking the image of the president as an all-knowing, god-like type,” says Mona Prince, an elbow propped against the table. Prince, an English literature professor in a frayed white baseball cap, drinks two beers during our interview. “I’m a human being – and the president is a human being!” she laughs. The message that leaders, even current president Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, are fallible, is popular among other prospective candidates too. “We primarily want to send a message that no president is immortal in office – that there are other candidates and there is competition,” says Anwar el-Sadat, the nephew and namesake of Egypt’s iconic former president. Sadat said he is contemplating a run, and that he and his team are preparing a potential candidacy. Should he enter Egypt’s 2018 presidential race, the well-known former MP will be a formidable candidate. Yet in a country where Sisi won the last election with 96% of the vote, prospective candidates for 2018 are not aiming for victory. Simply getting on the ballot and presenting an alternative to Egypt’s current dictatorial politics will be a win in their eyes. Since coming to power in 2013 and then winning the 2014 election, Sisi has positioned himself as the personification of Egypt’s security and potential prosperity, while cracking down on all opposition. “The competition with Sisi is not necessarily about winning, it’s about creating debate,” says Sadat. The only thing that could dissuade him from running, he says, would be “if I felt that the competition is already settled, biased, or lacking in independence”. Prince is fond of saying “We’re not doomed!” as a kind of perverse rallying cry. Her platform is focused on education and the arts as the solution for Egypt’s woes, including economic crisis and a growing jihadist insurgency. But her candidacy has been met with derision, in part because of her unorthodox way of announcing her intention to run via a Facebook video that showed her drinking beer on the rooftop of her home and discussing political issues. “No presidential candidate would dare post a photo with a glass of wine or whatever in his hand – even though they do drink,” she says. “It’s not about promoting drinking in the society. I’m just being honest! I don’t post pictures of myself praying so that people know I’m religious. That’s not what qualifies me to be president. I’m here to do a job, not speak for God.” Prince is no stranger to controversy. She is currently suspended from Suez University after teaching John Milton’s Paradise Lost, leading the university to accuse her of “spreading destructive ideas”, and “glorifying Satan”. The university started a disciplinary hearing – still ongoing – after she posted a video of herself dancing on Facebook. Prince could lose her job and, if further legal charges are brought, she will be banned from the presidential race. Much of the criticism of Prince in Egyptian media targets her gender, dismissing her for “revealing her personal life”. She responds that such criticism deepened her motivation to run for president. “[The people] feel like we need some change, and why not?” she says. “We’ve tried the prototype – a president who looks and talks a certain way. Maybe we try a woman?” But entering the presidential race has become a ‘We’ve tried the prototype – a president who looks and talks a certain way. Maybe we try a woman?’ Change candidate … if Mona Prince stands for president she could cash in on dissatisfaction with Abdel Fatah-al-Sisi Joao Martins dangerous prospect, even months before the official campaign is due to start. The human rights lawyer Khaled Ali, who launched a legal battle against the Egyptian government earlier this year to prevent the transfer of two Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia, received less than 1% of the vote when he ran in Egypt’s only internationally recognised democratic election in 2012. But after news reports linked him to a second run in 2018, he found himself in court, sentenced to three months in prison for an “obscene gesture”, stemming from a photo taken months earlier outside a Cairo court. Ali is expected to appeal, but if he loses he won’t be able to stand next year. Former presidential candidate and ex-prime minister Ahmed Shafiq, who lost to Mohammed Morsi in 2012, has hinted he intends to run again in 2018, saying on television last month that he will announce his decision “within a week or 10 days”. Shafiq, a former commander of the Egyptian Air Force, is linked the country’s powerful military and the deposed autocrat Hosni Mubarak. He remains in exile in the United Arab Emirates. Despite obvious hurdles to their candidacies, Sisi’s would-be opponents have reason to hope for public support. A 2016 poll from Egypt’s Centre for Public Opinion Research found a 14% drop in Sisi’s popularity after economic turmoil led to rising prices. However, some MPs are pushing for the presidential term to be extended to six years, arguing Sisi needs more time to enact long-promised economic reforms. To get on the ballot, all candidates require a petition of at least 30,000 signatures from 15 governorates. Prince claims that her 110,300 Facebook followers to her personal page – her campaign page has 7,230 at the time of writing – make this achievable, unlike when she last ran, in 2012. “It’s an achievement if I manage that,” she says. 32 The Guardian Weekly 20.10.17 Discovery Ocean winds could power Floating marine turbine farms may be the next big step for green technology, explains Chris Mooney T here is so much wind energy potential over oceans that it could theoretically be used to generate “civilisation scale power” – assuming, that is, that we are willing to cover enormous stretches of the sea with turbines, and can come up with ways to install and maintain them in often extreme ocean environments, according to new research. It’s very unlikely that we would ever build open ocean turbines on anything like that scale – indeed, doing so could even alter the planet’s climate, the research finds. But the more modest message is that wind energy over the open oceans has large potential – reinforcing the idea that floating wind farms, over very deep waters, could be the next major step for wind energy technology. “I would look at this as kind of a green light for that industry from a geophysical point of view,” said Ken Caldeira of the Carnegie Institution for Science in Stanford, California. The study, in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, was led by Carnegie researcher Anna Possner, who worked in collaboration with Caldeira. The study takes, as its outset, prior research that has found that there’s probably an upper limit to the amount of energy that can be generated by a wind farm that’s located on land. The limit arises both because natural and human structures on land create friction that slows down the wind speed, but also because each individual wind turbine extracts some of the energy of the wind and transforms it into power that we can use – leaving less wind energy for other turbines to collect. “If each turbine removes something like half the energy flowing through it, by the time you get to the second row, you’ve only got a quarter of the energy, and so on,” explained Caldeira. The ocean is different. First, wind speeds can be as much as 70% higher than on land. But a bigger deal is what you might call wind replenishment. The new research found that over the midlatitude oceans, storms regularly transfer powerful wind energy down to the surface from higher altitudes, meaning that the upper limit here for how much energy you can capture with turbines is considerably higher. “Over land, the turbines are just sort of scraping the kinetic energy out of the lowest part of the atmosphere, whereas over the ocean, it’s depleting the kinetic energy out of most of the troposphere, or the lower part of the atmosphere,” said Caldeira. The study compares a theoretical wind farm of nearly 2m sq km located either over the US (centred on Kansas) or in the open Atlantic. And it finds that covering much of the central US with wind farms would still be insufficient to power the US and China, which would require a generating capacity of some seven terawatts annually (a terawatt is equivalent to a trillion watts). But the North Atlantic could theoretically power those two countries and then some. The potential energy that can be extracted over the ocean, given the same area, is “at least three times as high”. It would take an even larger, 3m sq km wind installation over the ocean to provide humanity’s current power needs, or 18 terawatts, the study found. That’s an area that is even larger than Greenland. Hence, the study concludes that “on an annual mean basis, the wind power available in the North Atlantic could be sufficient to power the world”. But it’s critical to emphasise that these are purely theoretical calculations. They are thwarted by many practical factors, including the fact that the winds aren’t equally strong in all seasons, and that the technologies to capture their energy at such a scale, much less transfer it to shore, do not currently exist. And there’s another large problem: modelling simulations performed in the study suggest that Stereotype that women are kinder and less selfish is true, claim Nicola Davis “Woman seems to differ from man in mental disposition, chiefly in her greater tenderness and less selfishness,” wrote Charles Darwin in The Descent of Man. Now scientists claim there is evidence that the brain’s reward system may be geared towards more “prosocial” behaviour in women. “It was known that women and men behave differently, but it was not known why, or how this comes about in the brain,” said Philippe Tobler, associate professor of neuroeconomics and social neuroscience at the University of Zurich. Writing in the journal Nature Human Behaviour, Tobler and colleagues from Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands carried out two studies looking at whether dopamine, a neurotransmitter that plays a crucial role in the brain’s reward system, is linked to different social behaviours in men and women. In the first, a group of 56 men and women were randomly allocated to two groups, and either given a placebo or amisulpride – a drug that blocks the action of dopamine in the brain. The participants were then presented with a hypothetical situation in which they could either claim a wad of cash for themselves, or split a chunk of money evenly with another person. After completing the task, the experiment was repeated with participants taking the alternative pill. In the second study, the team looked at data from 40 men and women who had undergone brain imaging while undertaking decisions on whether to share money, focusing on a value-processing region of the brain that relies on dopamine signalling. The team found that when making prosocial choices, activity in a value-processing region of the brain was stronger for women than men. The researchers say that, taken together, the civilisation Dispatches The Guardian Weekly 20.10.17 33 Just listening helps us understand emotions A study by a US psychologist suggests that people are better able to pick up on the emotions of others when simply focusing on their voice, compared with watching and listening to them. “Humans are actually remarkably good at using many of their senses for conveying emotions, but emotion research historically is focused almost exclusively on the facial expressions,” said Michael Kraus, a social psychologist at Yale University. While combining information from a person’s voice with their facial expressions and other cues might at first seem like a way to boost understanding of their thoughts and feelings, Kraus added that pooling the senses divides attention. “Listening matters,” he said. New Antarctic mission extracting this much wind energy from nature would have planetary-scale effects, including cooling down parts of the Arctic by as much as 13C. “Trying to get civilisation-scale power out of wind is a bit asking for trouble,” Caldeira said. But he said the climate effect would be smaller if the amount of energy being tapped was reduced down from these extremely high numbers, and if the wind farms were more spaced out across the globe. “I think it lends itself to the idea that we’re going to want to use a portfolio of technologies, and not rely on this only,” said Caldeira. Energy gurus have long said that among renewable sources, solar energy has the greatest potential to scale up and generate terawatt-scale power, enough to satisfy large parts of human energy demand. Caldeira doesn’t dispute that. But his study suggests that at least if open ocean wind becomes accessible someday, it may have considerable potential too. Alexander Slocum, an MIT mechanical engineering professor who has focused on offshore wind and its potential, and who was not involved in the research, said he considered the paper a “very good study” and that it didn’t seem biased. “The conclusion implied by the paper that open ocean wind energy farms can provide most of our energy needs is also supported history: as a technology becomes constrained (eg horse-drawn carriages) or monopolised (Opec), a motivation arises to look around for alternatives,” Slocum continued by email. “The automobile did it to horses, the US did it to Opec with fracking, and now renewables are doing it to the hydrocarbon industry.” The research points to a kind of third act for wind energy. On land, turbines are very well established and more are being installed every year. Offshore, meanwhile, coastal areas are now also seeing more and more turbine installations, but still in relatively shallow waters. But to get out over the open ocean, where the sea is often several kilometres deep, is expected to require yet another technology – likely a floating turbine that extends above the water and sits atop some kind of very large submerged floating structure, accompanied by cables that anchor the entire turbine to the seafloor. Experimentation with the technology is already happening: Statoil is moving to build a large floating wind farm off the coast of Scotland, which will be located in waters around 100 metres deep and have 15 megawatts of electricity generating capacity. The turbines are 253 metres tall, but 78 metres of that length refers to the floating part below the sea surface. “The things that we’re describing are likely not going to be economic today, but once you have an industry that’s starting in that direction, it should provide incentive for that industry to develop,” said Caldeira. Washington Post neuroscientists studies support the idea that the dopamine-based reward system is geared towards sharing behaviour in women and more selfish behaviour in men. But others are far from convinced. Gina Rippon, professor of cognitive neuroimaging at Aston ‘We know that girls and women are expected to behave in different ways from boys and men’ A team of scientists is planning an expedition to examine the marine ecosystem revealed when an enormous iceberg broke off the Larsen C ice shelf earlier this year. Researchers are now hoping the event may lead to novel revelations from the area opened up, which had been hidden under ice for up to 120,000 years. Scientists from the British Antarctic Survey will embark on the research ship RRS James Clark Ross in February. If everything works out, the scientists will examine the 5,800 sq km of sea floor that had been shielded. Harry Potter fan’s wasp A Harry Potter fan turned entomologist has named a wasp after a redeemed villain in the series in the hope of drawing attention to the much maligned insect. Tom Saunders named a New Zealand parasitoid wasp as part of his masters study at Auckland University. The wasp, which he named Lusius malfoyi, is one of 3,000 wasps endemic to New Zealand, none of which sting or cause any problems to humans. The wasp was named after the fictional Lucius Malfoy, who is the father of Draco Malfoy in JK Rowling’s series. Online 3D shipwreck University who was not involved in the work, said that while intriguing, the results were “questionable”. She pointed out that the imaging study pooled results from two different groups of participants. However, Angela Saini, author of Inferior: How Science Got Women Wrong, said that the results showed biology and culture were intertwined: “We know that girls and women are socially expected to behave in different ways from boys and men. We encourage girls to be kinder, gentler and more generous … It shouldn’t really come as a surprise that research like this shows that women tend to show a greater reward response to this kind of behaviour.” Armchair archaeologists will have the chance to explore a second world war shipwreck online in 3D virtual reality. The Thistlegorm Project documents the wreckage of SS Thistlegorm, a British merchant steamship sunk by a German bomber in 1941 off the coast of Egypt. The ship lies 32 metres below the surface of the Red Sea, and the site is considered one of the best wreck dives in the world. The survey allowed the team behind the project to reconstruct what is left of the Thistlegorm on the sea bed and create 3D models of how the wreck appears. 34 The Guardian Weekly 20.10.17 Books Luxuriant garden of the stars Stuart Clark marvels at beautiful images of the cosmos drawn from both astronomy and art Universe edited by Rosie Pickles Phaidon, 352pp Many poetic descriptions of the universe have found their way into print over the millennia that humankind has been fascinated with outer space. The starry vault, the firmament, the void, heaven – all express something of the awe and mystery we naturally feel when confronted with infinity. Perhaps the most apparently incongruous, yet simultaneously most appropriate description is to be found in the works of William Herschel, the 18th-century astronomer who discovered the planet Uranus. He called the universe a “luxuriant garden”. He lived at a time when botanists were travelling the world to classify its myriad plants. Herschel saw a direct parallel to his own efforts to catalogue the celestial objects that he and his sister, Caroline, were discovering in the night sky. Each curiosity appeared as a sculpted twist of dim light in his telescope, as plentiful and as diverse as wildflowers in a meadow: hence his horticultural description. As I flipped through the pages of Universe, I found myself experiencing a sense of Herschelian wonder at the sheer beauty of deep space. But what makes this book unique is that as well as the breathtaking images taken with telescopes and the drawings of historical astronomers, it also includes the creative representations that have sprung from the mind of artists. The result is a weighty tome that contains more than 300 evocative pictures. It was once popular to call publications of this sort “coffee table books”, but Universe deserves more serious consideration than as a visual distraction while taking a caffeine hit. “The pictures had to have art-historical interest, aesthetic value and/or curiosity value, and above all be provocative,” says Professor Paul Murdin, a Cambridge astronomer, who wrote the book’s introduction. It is a refreshing perspective to bring to an astronomy book, and reflects perfectly the quiet rise of “one culture” thinking that places art and science on level pegging as equally valid ways to bring meaning to our place in nature. Perhaps this is because the book’s editor is Rosie Pickles, an art historian rather than an astronomer, who put together a group of consultants to advise on pictures that were significant or fresh, and spanned a number of cultures. “Artists have a way of seeing that is different from us scientists,” says Murdin, “We let nature provide the originality and beauty, artists get inspiration from sources that are less constrained.” Thus, a high-definition image of the galaxy Centaurus A is placed opposite a diptych from artist Jane Grisewood. Centaurus A contains a supermassive black hole in its core that is disturbing space so much that jets of particles can be seen shooting out of it, and Grisewood’s piece reflects her interest in black holes. It uses two black-and-white artworks to visualise the power of gravity, both to hold shining objects together and to hide things from view within a heart of utter darkness. About everything you can’t see in the picture … Nasa’s awe-inspiring image of Saturn Nasa/JPL Elsewhere in the book, a 1582 alchemical representation of the sun, complete with a ray halo and a human face, is juxtaposed with a 21st-century computer simulation of a sunspot. Immediately noticeable are the tendrils that reach out from the sunspot, emulating the artistic representation of the sun’s rays in the artwork. Although this works well, the approach could perhaps have been more clearly signposted on the cover. Subtitling the book Exploring the Astronomical World does mean that it is going to disappoint anyone who purchases it as an easy way to learn astronomy. Unapologetically, it sometimes requires the reader to closely examine the captions to separate scientific fact from artistic fiction. For example, I was surprised to learn that the picture of Titan is in fact a piece of art by Daniel Zeller. Conversely, it was almost a shock to discover that the impressionistic swirls, rather pretentiously (I thought) called Dunes on Mars, was in fact a picture, from the HiRise camera on Nasa’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, of actual dunes on Mars. The piece that brought the biggest smile to my face was Totality by Scottish artist Katie Paterson. She constructed a disco ball, each mirrored tile depicting a different solar eclipse. It reminds me of all the times I’ve secretly stood beneath one and imagined that I’m in deep space. The book contains images of genuine surprise. One such is 1971’s Fallen Astronaut by Paul van Hoeydonck. The Belgian artist fashioned a 8.5cm tall human figure out of aluminium as a tribute to the six Soviet cosmonauts and the eight US astronauts who had died in the exploration of space. What makes it truly extraordinary, however, is that the image shows it lying in the dust on the surface of the moon. Apollo 15 astronaut Dave Scott had smuggled it aboard his lunar capsule and deposited it there without the approval or knowledge of The Guardian Weekly 20.10.17 35 Truths rise from the sunken depths Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan Little, Brown, 448pp Meghan O’Rourke Nasa during a moon walk. As there is no atmosphere on the moon, the small statue could now rest there undisturbed for millennia. One of Murdin’s own favourite images is of Buzz Aldrin’s footprint on the lunar surface. The reason, he says, is because “the picture is about everything you can’t see in the picture”. That itself is an important theme running throughout. Murdin says that he hopes the reader will take away “pride at being human in a vast and fascinating universe”. There are not many books that can claim that level of ambition. While some will balk at the interdisciplinary approach, it is worth remembering that many of the most popular astronomy books contain their elements of fiction. By that I mean that there is a modern fashion for neglecting to differentiate mere hypotheses from established fact. At least here, the origin of the image is detailed in the caption. Universe may be the ultimate coffee table book about astronomy. Just make sure you have the ultimate coffee table to hold its weight. Observer Jennifer Egan has said that she wants each novel she writes to teach her something new. So what does the writer who won a Pulitzer prize in 2011 for A Visit from the Goon Squad – an experimental, audacious novel that embraces discontinuity, told in 13 chapters from varying points of view, including a surprisingly moving chapter in the form of a PowerPoint presentation – try next? Unpredictably, Egan has written something that looks at first glance like a traditional historical novel. A work of remarkable cinematic scope, Manhattan Beach portrays the lives of an Irish family in Brooklyn, set against the backdrop of the Great Depression and then the second world war. A young woman becomes a diver to help the war effort and uncovers the powerful forces that led to her beloved father’s disappearance; a father is forced to leave his family behind to save his own life; and a successful mobster gets swept up in cultural tides that threaten everything he’s built. As a novelist, Egan possesses an unusual mix of qualities, combining a powerful social realism with poetic resonances that derive from her precise imagery and her fascination with the limitations of language. Here, she places her characters in situations that permit trenchant cultural observations, writing revealingly about the challenges of coming of age in the middle of the American century, when women’s lives were substantially circumscribed. But this novel is also metaphysical in nature: Egan’s characters are transformed by the vast ocean around them, which both hides and reveals. In the vivid opening set piece, 11-year-old Anna Kerrigan accompanies her father Eddie to visit a charming mobster named Dexter Styles at his house in Manhattan Beach. Eddie is angling for a new job: he needs money to pay for a wheelchair for Anna’s sister Lydia, who is severely disabled. Anna, of course, knows none of this, and the scene is written with the watchfulness of a young girl. When her father leaves her alone with Dexter’s daughter and her nurse at the beach, she finds herself driven to plunge her feet into the icy water, producing “a flame of ache that felt unexpectedly pleasant”, and resonating with the novel’s theme of loss. While the reader might expect this scene to precede a book exploring Eddie and Dexter’s relationship, Egan thwarts our expectations. We flash forward to the mid-1940s: Anna is 19, working at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, and Eddie has disappeared. Anna now supports her mother and Lydia. She fiercely pushes her way into a job as the only female diver in the Navy Yard, and later pursues a one-night stand with Dexter, concealing her identity and hoping to learn what happened to her missing father. Egan shifts perspectives fluidly, moving from Anna to Eddie to Dexter – all written in the close third person that allows us to shadow the characters’ inner lives. In one crucial scene, Anna asks Dexter to take Lydia to the beach, where Lydia briefly awakens and speaks. The moment changes not only Anna but Dexter for ever. Egan’s decision to withhold crucial scenes until late on ends up feeling disappointing, even if one can appreciate the reasons for her doing so. It’s in the later sections that we meet Eddie once more. But at this late stage the narrative feels less urgent than expository. This may be a weakness of Manhattan Beach, but it comes from an admirable attempt to deploy narrative as a tool to enact – to mimic – the disruptions we experience in real life. Optimistic outrage The Death of Homo Economicus Peter Fleming Pluto, 308pp Steven Poole To certain segments of the progressive left, capitalism has been “late capitalism”, or in its death throes, or already dead, for a very long time. So how come it still exists? Part of the answer may lie in the argument of this sparklingly sardonic book by Peter Fleming. Our entire lives, he argues, have been economified. The ruling narratives of work and commerce hypnotise us into thinking of our very selves as micro-businesses, so that it becomes ever harder to imagine life outside the paradigm of capital investment, productivity and profit. “Homo economicus” is the made-up creature who is the proletarian hero of mid-20th-century economics: going about his life with unimpeachable rationality, efficiently calculating ways to maximise his self-interest. But people don’t actually live like that, as the behavioural economists Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman pointed out. It is a refuted model, yet its malign influence persists. Fleming offers an excellent historical analysis of the associated idea of “human capital”, according to which each employee really is a little entrepreneur, investing in his or her skills. This amounts, Fleming thinks, to a deliberate atomisation of the workforce and a hollowing-out of education itself. The skill of an individual, he insists rightly, is not a private good – and this applies not just to the most obvious examples, such as doctors, but to everyone. Fleming has an excellent chapter on the “theatre of work”, where looking busy and adopting the right emotional attitude in an office can be soul-destroying burdens, and he is very astute on the inhumanity of the zero-hours contract, allied to unprecedented methods of electronic surveillance over employees. Delivery drivers, for example, are paid only for each package they deliver, with no sickness or other benefits. Fleming extends the logic remorselessly: why pay a bartender for any time other than those exact seconds when she is pouring a drink? Employers, he writes, should be paying for “availability” over a period of time; paying only for exactly measured micro-quantities of work is just the newest way to shaft the little guy. Today, “sophisticated technologies are now paving the way for millions of ‘crap jobs’ to flourish”, and millions of human beings are being downgraded to the undignified status of sub-automata: they still have to work because they are cheaper than machines. This is all enlivened by a marvellously insulting turn of phrase: most Continued on page 36 → 36 The Guardian Weekly 20.10.17 Books ←Continued from page 35 economics, the author claims, takes place in “a kind of nerd’s dreamtime”. He writes contemptuously of “the state and its semi-lobotomised thinktanks” as well as the “submental technocrats” who enforce targets in university teaching. The reader may periodically demur at what can seem like apocalyptic exaggeration, but that is after all in the nature of polemic. What, then, is to be done? Fleming favours a “radical de-privatisation of the public sphere”, some version of universal basic income and a fellowship of the precarious to demand universal workers’ rights. It’s notable that next to such ideas the final lines of The Communist Manifesto – “Workers of the world, unite” – would not look outdated. But there is also a more contemporary hint of Game of Thrones throughout the book, as Fleming warns that if we do nothing, a dark “winter” of humanity is coming. Yet the nicest thing about his book is its avoidance of despair: it is often hilariously angry, but the stylish expression of outrage can itself be a positive and optimistic act. Gaze afresh in awe The Lost Words by Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris Hamish Hamilton, 128pp Katharine Norbury Observer Fresh Complaint by Jeffrey Eugenides Farrar Straus Giroux, 304pp Lisa Zeidner Washington Post Illustration by Jackie Morris In 2007, the new edition of the Oxford Junior Dictionary introduced words such as “broadband” while others, describing the natural world, disappeared. The dictionary’s guidelines require that it reflect “the current frequency of words in daily language of children”. However, the philosopher AJ Ayer introduced a generation to the notion that unless we have a word for something, we are unable to conceive of it, and The shape of the whole that there is a direct relationship between our imagination, our ability to have ideas about things, and our vocabulary. Not surprisingly, a groundswell of opposition to the word cull began to grow and, in 2015, the debate reached a tipping point when an open letter to the OJD, coordinated by the naturalist Laurence Rose, was signed by many artists and writers along with the brilliant illustrator Jackie Morris and the hugely acclaimed wordsmith, word collector, and defender of the natural world, Robert Macfarlane. A heated debate in the national press ensued, both for and against the lost words, and the collaboration between Morris and Macfarlane was born. The Lost Words makes no mention of the dictionary. Instead, in a book of spells rather than poems, exquisitely illustrated by Morris, Macfarlane gently, firmly and meticulously restores the missing words. Acorn, blackberry, bluebell, conker and “perhaps the one that cut the deepest” for Morris, “kingfisher”, are lovingly returned to future generations of children. It is a sumptuous, heavy book. A proportion of the profits will go to Action for Conservation, a charity that works with “disadvantaged and socially excluded children” and is “dedicated to inspiring young people to take action for the natural world”. There are no current plans for a paperback, and I think this is a shame, because a lighter, cheaper edition that could be tucked under a little one’s arm and afforded by the school library will cross the social divide just by being there. The acrostic spell-poems are designed to be read out loud. It is a book for adults and children, for adults to read with children. The spells carry the spirit of their subject in their structure. Take the brilliant “Magpie Manifesto: / Argue Every Toss! / Gossip, Bicker, Yak and Snicker All Day Long!” Not only are the word and the bird restored and celebrated, but the spirit and nature and the clatter of the magpie are conserved within its lines. The Lost Words is a beautiful book and, in terms of ideas, an important one. I once asked a magician what he considered to be the defining characteristic of his art. “Directing the gaze,” he said. Re-enchantment, re-engagement and conservation of the natural world is ultimately only going to be possible if we retain the language with which to make it happen. Restored … the word otter was among nature terms removed from the Oxford Junior Dictionary Jeffrey Eugenides, author of the Pulitzer prize-w inning novel Middlesex, is known for epic tales with intricate plots and large casts that cover long time periods. His fulsome approach is not ideally suited for the short-story form. But with Fresh Complaint, his first collection of short fiction, Eugenides gamely adapts his characteristic style for the genre. Because he’s not a fast writer, with nine years between each of his novels, the collection offers his fans a quick fix – a kind of intermezzo – of his distinctive voice. The 10 stories in Fresh Complaint cover close to three decades of Eugenides’s writing career, from 1988 to the present. Most chronicle struggle and disappointment. His characters’ relationships sour; their promising careers don’t soar as they approach middle age, and neither do their bank accounts. They fret about health insurance. Bill collectors hound them at dinner. Eugenides excels at penetrating – and gently mocking – the insider lingo of academics. He can make a realistic setting seem deliciously weird, and the highlights in these stories often feature simultaneously funny and plaintive images that encourage our appreciation for “the pleasant absurdity of America”. Two of these stories revisit characters from Eugenides’s novels. The Oracular Vulva reintroduces Dr Peter Luce, the sexologist and intersex expert from Middlesex, as he does field research on the bizarre Dawat tribe in Irian Jaya and engages in an Amadeus-style rivalry about sexual identity with a younger academic. Air Mail revisits the peripatetic, mystically inclined Mitchell from The Marriage Plot as he endures an epic case of dysentery – and a hallucinatory fast – at a backpackers’ camp in Thailand. These stories can’t fairly be called outtakes, as they cover different periods in the characters’ lives than the novels do. Of course, in a novel Eugenides has more time. But the highly unusual situations and settings featured in these tales feel more true to his vision than the ones chronicling more typical dissatisfactions: the divorces, infidelities and dashed hopes that turn up in many an American writer’s New Yorker magazine story. Although the writing is undeniably skilful, Eugenides isn’t at his best when focusing on “lives of quiet desperation”. His novels – and better stories – chronicle wilder, more significant troubles. The two best stories in Fresh Complaint are the two most recent, and they bookend the collection. The achingly sad Complainers concerns the fraught relationship between an 88-year-old woman with dementia and her younger friend, as both slip out of their lives’ moorings. In the title story, an Indian American teenager seduces and entraps a famous married cosmologist when he gives a lecture at a small Delaware college – a plot to bespoil her own reputation and avoid an arranged marriage in India. In both of these stories, Eugenides achieves what a stellar short story can do better than any other form: by focusing on one discrete part of a life, he forcefully suggests the shape of the whole. 38 The Guardian Weekly 20.10.17 Culture The house of Lego built brick by brick for all ages This gleaming ziggurat of fun in the Danish town of Billund is a homecoming for the toy firm as much as a tourist attraction, finds Oliver Wainwright C hildren are wrestling with the jaws of a shark in mid-attack, while others are trying their hand at surfing on wobbly boards, raised up on a bright blue platform overlooking the endless forest that stretches around the Danish town of Billund. Elsewhere, yet more crowds of kids are leaping across rubber steps, shrieking with delight as they race to the swings on this multi-levelled, multicoloured landscape. This gleaming ziggurat of fun is the new Lego House, a mind-blowing mecca for fans of the iconic construction toy, designed by BIG, the firm led by Danish architect Bjarke Ingels. Now heading up a New York-based global empire, working on everything from Google’s new California campus to a Chinese energy firm’s HQ, Ingels sees the project as a homecoming. “We have finally graduated as Danish architects,” he says proudly. “We have made a brick building – without breaking the brick module in a single place.” Ingels is referring to the rule, particularly observed by meticulous Danes, that you should never cut a brick to fit with your design, but configure the design to fit the brick instead. For his first foray into bricks, Ingels couldn’t have landed a better commission – even if these are not actually bricks at all, but ceramic tiles clipped on to a steel frame. Rarely have architect and client been so well matched, given Ingels’s trademark brand of cartoonish quips, and his penchant for blocky forms. His buildings sometimes feel a little flat, more sheen than depth, but for a temple to Lego that couldn’t be more appropriate. The project is a triumph. This staggered pile of shiny white blocks, built just metres from the redbrick house and workshop where the family-owned company began in 1932, is the ultimate embodiment of the Lego brand. At two of its corners, the big blocks appear to melt, plunging down to form cascading steps, encouraging you to clamber up on to the colourful terraces that spiral up to the summit for views across the town. A row of skylights, resembling the circular studs of Lego bricks, allow you to peer down into the building at the marvels within – chiefly a row of three huge dinosaurs howling with rage because, as keen observers will notice, they’ve each trodden on a piece of Lego. “This had to be a place where even the most hardcore Lego fans would say, ‘Wow!’,” says Jørgen Vig Knudstorp, the former CEO and now executive chairman, who has been credited with turning the company around after it almost went bankrupt in 2004. “But it’s also about trying to revitalise the town centre, which has been left behind by all the development on the edge of the city, out near the airport. Visitors come to the Legoland and Lalandia theme parks, but they rarely venture into town.” As the employer of 4,500 of the 7,000 citizens of Billund, the company has an interest in the future of the place. It is fitting that the Lego House now stands on the site of the former town hall (which became redundant after municipal functions were recently consolidated), and Knudstorp says it is the centrepiece of a wider masterplan, on which BIG is also working, for Billund to become “the creative world capital of children”. It can sometimes be tricky to separate the company from the town: it was Lego that built the airport in the 1960s and it recently founded its own international school here, based on “playful pedagogy”. It is now busy building housing for its employees, as well as a vast new HQ, similarly envisioned as a stack of toy blocks. In an eerie touch, Lego security cars also glide around town, as if waiting for some spectacular cartoon crime scene from The Lego Movie to erupt. The opening of the Lego House comes at an awkward time for the brand. After years of untrammelled growth, the first half of 2017 saw revenue fall by 6%, leading to the announcement of 1,400 job losses last month, around 8% of the entire workforce. “We grew too quickly,” says Knudstorp, fiddling absentmindedly with a pile of bricks. “But I’m confident we’re back on track.” In the world of the Lego House, though, everything is awesome. First, you’re taken on a journey through 13 galleries, cleverly designed to appeal to kids and grown-ups, with just the right mix of interactive tech and traditional brick-based fun. Like everything Lego, it’s not cheap, with tickets costing 199 krone, or $32, for adults and children alike. You can try your hand at town-planning, Legostyle, with a digitised population of Lego minifigures eagerly awaiting the arrival of housing, offices and green space, projected on to big model tables. The growing city adapts to whatever buildings visitors add, introducing young minds to such concepts as the logic of zoning. Elsewhere, guests are challenged to save a On Architecture The Guardian Weekly 20.10.17 39 Building creativity … children explore one of nine play terraces at the Lego House; left, a birds-eye view of the structure; a young fan gets to grips with some bricks Lego; Iwan Baan population of woolly mammoths stuck in the Arctic ice, using a fleet of Lego Mindstorms robots, or invited to create a school of colourful fish to be released into a digital aquarium. There are recording booths for making your own stop-motion animation, and racing car components waiting for you to click a vehicle together and hurtle it down a ramp. All of these virtual wonders can be uploaded and enjoyed later on an accompanying app. But other zones are dedicated to what Lego has always done best: bricks. Mountains of them are everywhere, with buckets built into every bench and huge troughs filled by gushing brick waterfalls, along with galleries dedicated to impossibly detailed fantasy worlds full of amusing scenes, many submitted by Lego fans themselves. “We thought: ‘If we gave a Lego superfan enough time and bricks, what would they make?’” says Stuart Harris, the man in charge of concocting these elaborate structures. The result is a robot smashing through the back of an opera house, U2 playing on the roof of an English pub, a streaker running across a football pitch and many other surreal tableaux. For serious AFOLs (adult fans of Lego), though, the sepulchral basement will be the highlight. Here, the Lego story is told with precious early prototypes from the archive spotlit in glass cases and arranged around a hallowed central shrine, where the most popular lines throughout the ages are on display, along with a digitised table of every Lego set ever made. Just in case it was all getting too grown-up, there’s a family of Lego moles, burrowing through the floor. Museum cafes are seldom much to celebrate, but here again the brick brand has surpassed itself. “The minifigures in the kitchen can’t understand us when we speak to them,” says an apologetic waitress, “so we have to give them your order in the form of Lego bricks.” Guests must then assemble their brick lunch, scan it in, then marvel as a Lego lunchbox trundles out of the kitchen, down a spiralling conveyor belt and into their hands, via a pair of humanoid robots. Visiting children were in raptures. In all of these jaw-dropping theatrics, the building fades into the background, a neutral setting of white volumes, gently tinted by the brightly coloured floors, always giving glimpses into other galleries. The designers have thankfully resisted the temptation to take the Lego theme too far – there are no oversized Lego doors, windows or light fittings. The simple Lego brick is the key: all of the furniture and exhibits are made from standard Lego pieces, enlarged to the same scale as the building, so you can go home and make a model of the entire thing yourself. Or buy the official version in the gift shop for $80. Finally, as you leave, you pass a rumbling machine that spurts out packets of six red bricks, which each visitor is given, along with a combination card suggesting one way to put them together. “Considering six bricks can be configured in over 915 million ways,” says Harris, “it should keep us going for at least the next 3,000 years.” Bilbao eﬀect often copied, never equalled Rowan Moore T he Bilbao Guggenheim museum, which opened to the public 20 years ago this month, has become the most influential building of modern times. It has given its name to the “Bilbao effect” – a phenomenon whereby cultural investment plus showy architecture is supposed to equal economic uplift for cities down on their luck. It is the father of “iconic” architecture, the prolific progenitor of countless odd-shaped buildings the world over. Yet rarely, if ever, have the myriad wannabe Bilbaos matched the original. Frank Gehry’s project has fulfilled its original intentions as a “transformational project” with precision. It proved the catalyst for a wider plan to turn around an industrial city in decline. It appeals to a “universal audience”, creates a “positive image” and aims to “reinforce self-esteem”. It has been rewarded with a steady million visitors a year, the 20-millionth having arrived shortly before the 20th birthday. Gehry and his office pioneered the use of Catia, software originally developed for designing aircraft, which allowed elaborate shapes to be made without prohibitive cost. It enabled him to realise the Bilbao Guggenheim, as he is keen to point out, within its $100m budget. The ability of computers to design unfeasibly elaborate buildings has since multiplied. It is a ubiquitous and defining feature of contemporary architecture. It has been an effective accomplice of post-Bilbao “iconic” architecture that, although sensible architects have been pointing out its weaknesses for almost as long as it has existed, and although it suffers from an obvious hyperinflation of shape – if everything looks abnormal it becomes normal – shows no sign of going away. This long-running craze would have happened in any case, but the Guggenheim gave it fuel. From the political, cultural and commercial currents of its time, it drew the energy to make a phenomenon that few people le would wish away, least of all Bilbao itself. Its true lesson n is that it can’t be copied, pied, because e it came from circumstances es that were unique. 40 The Guardian Weekly 20.10.17 Culture Grandeur, beauty and excess Tim Ashley is swept away visually and aurally by the V&A’s showcase of the power of opera T his vast and exhilarating exhibition explores and celebrates opera’s often confrontational history, its grandeur, beauty and occasional excess, and, above all, its ability to probe the depths of the human psyche, both individual and collective. Mounted by the V&A in collaboration with the Royal Opera House, Opera: Passion, Power and Politics is by no means exhaustive, nor does it claim to be. Seven operas are examined in the context both of their composer’s lives and the cities and countries in which they were originally performed – the exception being the 1861 Paris version of Wagner’s Tannhäuser. A final room brings us up to date with a survey of operas mostly premiered since 1945. The experience is essentially immersive. We walk through the exhibition – the first in the new Sainsbury Gallery – with headphones as a hi-tech sound system plays a constantly shifting musical or spoken commentary on what we see. We begin with Monteverdi’s L’Incoronazione di Poppea (1643) in the pleasure-loving Venetian Republic, and the opera’s final duet, with its suggestively twining voices, accompanies us as we pass paintings of gamblers and courtesans provocatively holding open their skirts. In Handel’s London, a mercantile city that viewed opera primarily as an import that demanded lavish stagings, we find a working replica of a baroque theatre, and hear Rinaldo’s mermaids singing as we watch a ship pitching through gh a storm at sea before the clouds uds part and it reaches safety. Multiple narratives gradually ally emerge and converge. Opera era has always been at the political ical cutting edge. Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro embraces ces the values of Enlightenment ent Vienna in its attack on aristocratic codes of privilege ege and licence. A passage from om Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s u’s 1758 Letter to D’Alembert on the Theatre is daubed on the walls. “The stage is, in general eneral a painting of the human passions, the original off which hi h iis in every human heart,” we read, as we hear and watch the extraordinary Act III sextet that reunites Mozart’s hero with the parents from whom he was separated Opera lovers will find their perceptions altered; newcomers may well be startled and converted at birth, as the Count, whose power over Figaro is breaking, looks on in discomfited rage. When we reach Milan and Verdi’s Nabucco, we are plunged into a national struggle for independence, fought both in the theatre and on the battlefield. We listen to Va Pensiero in the midst of a photographic installation that shows the auditoriums of 150 Immersive … a working replica of a baroque theatre; above, a portrait of Mozart Jack Taylor/Getty Itali Italian opera houses, before arriving, almost literally, at the arriv barricades where the music is barr suddenly replaced by the sound sudd of distant d gunfire. The exhibition’s final opera T Shostakovich’s Lady Macbeth is Sh of Mtsensk, M first performed in Leningrad in 1934, and suppressed Len by Stalin two years later. Con Constructivist posters remind us the doomed flowering of Soviet of th modernism. A reconstruction of mo Sho Shostakovich’s study is literally cor cordoned off by red tape. On its back wall, archive footage shows the shows the composer himself manically playing the Act III interlude on the piano. A second strand to the exhibition is primarily erotic. All seven operas deal with the nature of desire, and can be interpreted as male narratives about female sexuality, even Nabucco, where we hear Maria Callas voicing Abigaille’s torrential feelings for Ismaele. The Venusberg music from the Paris Tannhäuser, meanwhile, ranks among the most extreme depictions of sex in music, and eight TV screens push the scene to excess by deliriously jumbling its representation in six different postwar productions. In the decorous, hypocritical Paris of Napoleon III – his statue surveys the room with lofty indifference – the work’s reception pitted an admiring intelligentsia against a hostile public: Baudelaire, whose Richard Wagner et Tannhäuser à Paris represented a turning point in music criticism, can be seen among the listeners in Manet’s painting Music in the Tuileries Garden. Eroticism tips into expressionist violence in the sixth opera, Strauss’s Salome, the 1905 Dresden premiere of which took place against the background of the emergence of the psychoanalytic movement and the growing consolidation of feminism. Ernst Ludwig Kirchner’s aggressive nudes challenge the viewer, and an analyst’s couch, placed beneath a video of the final scene from David McVicar’s terrifying Royal Opera production, turns Strauss’s necrophiliac heroine into a case study. Strauss’s annotated copy of Oscar Wilde’s play, complete with Aubrey Beardsley’s illustrations, arouses something like reverential awe, and costumes by Salvador Dalí and Gianni Versace testify to its almost unnerving attraction. A poster for International Women’s Day in 1925 closes the section and leads us towards Shostakovich’s heroine and her sympathetically observed, if catastrophic, revolt against the male world in which she finds herself trapped. The last room elaborates the theme for our own time, as Agnès in George Benjamin’s Written on Skin fiercely defies the Protector who abuses her. It’s a remarkable achievement that ultimately has the potential to change the way you think. Opera lovers will find their perceptions alternately challenged and renewed by what they find. Newcomers may well be startled, convinced and converted by its narrative of social relevance, immediacy and essential humanity. I cannot recommend it too highly. At the Victoria & Albert Museum, London, until 25 February The Guardian Weekly 20.10.17 41 Culture Reviews Kicker here like this Then a short description here like this → Then Section and page XX Rock and pop Midnight Oil Way to Blue W Film Loving Vincent H ere is an oddity: intriguing and yet weirdly exasperating, like a sentimental tribute, or a one-joke epic, or a monomaniacal act of stylistic pedantry. It’s an animation imagining the last months of Vincent Van Gogh’s life, and specifically (but inconclusively) investigating the theory first aired in the 2011 biography by Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith, that he did not shoot himself but was actually shot as a bizarre prank by a local bully, one René Secrétan, a 16-year-old who was tormenting poor Vincent and loved to swagger round the fields in a cowboy costume carrying a pistol. So on his deathbed Van Gogh claimed he had killed himself, perhaps out of weary despair, or a desire not to make posthumous trouble for the neighbourhood, or perhaps simply to avoid the ignominy of an absurd end, and claim the awful glamour of suicide. But the real point of this film is that every frame is a pastiche of a Van Gogh canvas, and everything has avowedly been painted by hand. Landscapes pulse and throb, swirl and scintillate; brushstrokes bristle on skies or people’s faces like autumn leaves. Sometimes specific images are coyly referenced – although the film stops short of the sunflowers themselves. Directors Hugh Welchman and Dorotea Art Dalí/Duchamp O n a scrap of paper, Marcel Duchamp explained why he took the name Rrose Sélavy for his female alter ego, who gazes out from a sultry photo taken in the 1920s. The name of his drag persona is, he explains, “an easy pun”. Rrose Sélavy sounds like “Eros, c’est la vie” – meaning “Eros, that’s life.” This exhibition could easily have the same pun as its title, for that belief is what connects the two most subversive provocateurs of the 20th century. Salvador Dalí’s life’s mission was to revel in base lusts. Men and women masturbate copiously in his work, most notably in his 1929 painting The First Days of Spring, in which a greyfaced man collapses on a woman’s breasts. At first Kobiela have created live-action footage with actors playing scripted roles and then digital software appears to have been used to facilitate the over-painting. But the point is that actual, real oozing paint has been used: intricately, painstakingly. Audiences are entitled to ask: might not the same effect have been achieved much more easily with digital trickery from a laptop? Are Welchman and Kobiela like old school London cab drivers finding their way around with “the knowledge” while everyone else has satnav? It’s not clear. But the result is a continuously weird and dreamlike film. Douglas Booth plays Armand Roulin, the son of a local postmaster in Auvers-sur-Oise, where Van Gogh’s life ended in illness and poverty. His father is the bearded Joseph, played by Chris O’Dowd, and images of both Roulins are of course based on Van Gogh’s portraits. On the narrative pretext of delivering a letter from Van Gogh to Dr Gachet (Jerome Flynn), Armand makes it his business to discover what actually happened and he talks to many famous portrait subjects. Van Gogh is played by Robert Gulaczyk and the flashbacks are in the form of monochrome pencil drawings. It’s accomplished and, in a way, impressive. But it also becomes oppressive, self-admiring and even a bit pointless. As an exercise in style, Loving Vincent is of interest, but it doesn’t tell us that much about his work or his life. Peter Bradshaw sight, a display of some of his most pornographic drawings near some off Duchamp’s most revered readymades es seems a bizarre coupling, yet among the latter’s objects is Please Touch, a book cover adorned with a rubber breast. Both artists seem enthusiasti-cally depraved, which is what makess this exhibition such a delight. The different personalities of Dalí and Duchamp are revealed by their portrayals of their fathers. In 1925, Dalí painted his as a glaring, pipe-holding patriarch. By contrast, the Fauvestyle portrait the young Duchamp painted ainted of his in 1910 is almost anodyne. But it is Duchamp’s genius that triumphs. Jonathan than Jones At the Royal Academy of Arts, London, n, until 3 January e’re in a sports field in Alice Springs for the first of Midnight Oil’s Australian tour dates – and the last leg of their Great Circle world tour – and expectations are high. The band first played here in 1986 on the Blackfella/Whitefella Tour, an experience that became the inspiration for the album Diesel and Dust. Those songs about baking highways and waterholes were born here. Tonight, those songs are coming home. This reunion is about more than just nostalgia. Midnight Oil were Australia’s most political band, driven by a passion for Indigenous rights, environmental concerns and a desire to speak truth to power. The Oils disbanded because lead singer Peter Garrett, pictured below, thought he could better achieve his aims through a political career, and reformed when he discovered this was folly. “The only thing I can say to you is ignore Tony Abbott at all costs,” he says. “He was pretty close to me at one stage of my working life. Didn’t feel good, I’ve got to say that. Did not feel good. Does not look good, does not sound good.” The question now is whether Midnight Oil are still relevant as a political force. And do the fans even care? The band is watertight, clear as a bell and full of energy. Garrett’s voice is strong and his body is satisfactorily twitchy, but the first part of the set feels like a warm-up. The first truly great moment comes seven songs in, when the band plays Truganini from Earth and Sun and Moon. Their voices join together in sweet, strident harmonies, so quintessentially Oils, calling out the horrors of colonial history in a curiously uplifting wave. A little later, the band unearths No Time For Games from the Bird Noises EP and Garrett sneaks some new lyrics into the mix. “Got no time for people who don’t believe in marriage equality, got no time for people who are mistaken about history,” he sings, before sidling up to Jim Moginie for a bout of interpretive dance as the lead guitarist plays a jagged solo. From here on in, Midnight Oil are well and truly away. Rob Hirst climbs down from behind the drumkit to join Garrett, bassist Bones Hillman and guitarist Martin Rotsey at the front of the stage while Moginie positions himself on the keyboard for Tin Legs and Tin Mines, and the band is bathed in stage-lit hues of desert orange and pink. Joyfully, we arrive at a trio of hits from Diesel and Dust, primed for th their anthemic power. The snaking melody of War Warakurna is carried by ou arms to the sky to the audience, and we lift our honour the fierc erce refrain of The Dead Heart, but it’s worth noting here that there are very few black faces in the crowd. Their absence speaks s volumes about how ffar we have not come. The trilogy closes with the classic clas Beds are Burning, and the crowd sings en masse, mas on cue. The Oils may not have had las the lasting political impact they once o hoped for, but for Au Australian rock at least, their legacy rings true. Simone Simo Ubaldi To Touring Australia to 17 1 November 42 The Guardian Weekly 20.10.17 Diversions Notes & Queries Nature watch Morfa Harlech The rich need all they can get There’s nothing left to say: they write in a strange way If you won the lottery, what would you do with your millions? Spend the lot on lottery tickets in the hope of winning some real cash! André Carrel, Terrace, British Columbia, Canada What’s so sinister about lefties? The answer is: everything! Since the word sinister derives from the Latin word for left, lefties are by definition sinister. Even my sinister brother-in-law acknowledges this reality. Terence Rowell, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada • My guiding principle would be to not let the millions change my life. Reiner Jaakson, Oakville, Ontario, Canada • They can’t be set straight by the right. R De Braganza, Kilifi, Kenya • Have you ever seen them write? Pat Phillips, Adelaide, South Australia • Lefties are sinister because righties are more dexterous. David Isaacs, Sydney, Australia • They lack the adroitness of the right. Peter Rosier, Camperdown, NSW, Australia A questionable answer Is death the question or the answer? I’ll side with Hamlet on this one and just procrastinate. Richard Orlando, Westmount, Quebec, Canada • We shan’t know the answer to that question until it’s too late. Joan Dawson, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada • The devil’s in the detail. Marilyn Hamilton, Perth, Western Australia • Death is a question. Ouija boards notwithstanding, no one has • At last I would be rich, so I would certainly need all of the money. John Anderson, Pukekohe, New Zealand Sinister style … Greg Rusedski returned to give us the answers. Lawrence Fotheringham, Chatham, Ontario, Canada • I’d mind my own business (and you should mind yours). David Tucker, Halle, Germany Madness takes the prize • Neither – simply the quest for dissolution. Noel Bird, Boreen Point, Queensland, Australia • Neither – it’s simply a fact of life. Lawrie Bradly, Surrey Hills, Victoria, Australia At what point does madness become brilliance? When you win the Nobel prize for it. John Ryder, Kyoto, Japan More Notes & Queries See additional answers online bit.ly/notesandqueries • Neither. It is merely an antidote. Michael Olin, Holt, UK Any answers? • Once we get to find out, will we care? Margaret Wyeth, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada Do people who believe in an afterlife behave better towards others? John Benseman, Auckland, New Zealand • As death is unquestionable, it is self-evidently the answer. David Turner, Bellevue Heights, South Australia Wouldn’t we rather be children again, living with our parents? Edward Black, Sydney, Australia • That depends on whether you think it is the beginning or the end. Neil Johnson, Birmingham, UK Send answers to weekly.nandq@ theguardian.com or Guardian Weekly, Kings Place, 90 York Way, London N1 9GU, UK Good to meet you Nancy Arms I have a former work supervisor and friend I admire named Hanne. She’s from Denmark but has lived in the US for many years. I have always respected her intelligent and humorous opinion on many things, but particularly her outsider’s perspective on America. Around the time it became apparent that Donald Trump was serious about running, we got together for lunch. We ruminated about how nothing was really clear, “but one thing is for certain,” she said, “it will be bad.” I told her that frequently the news overwhelmed me, but I wanted to be informed, that it was going to be more important than ever to be a citizen who participated. She said she listened to National Public Radio a bit, and also subscribed to the Guardian Weekly. Between the two sources, she felt like she was getting a good worldview. Within a week of Trump’s The wave smudges out something written in the sand with a stick. I imagine it as a spell cast to charm ashore those lost at sea. And so it does, as tides ebb and flow, stranding the barrel jellyfish. These extraordinary creatures, alsjo known as dustbin-lid jellyfish because of their size and shape, have been shipwrecked after an epic voyage. Rhizostoma pulmo or R octopus is the largest jellyfish in British waters (they can grow to nearly 90cm in diameter) and is harvested around Wales for high-value medical-grade collagen. It feeds on plankton and its sting does not injure humans any more than do nettles; it is fed upon by leatherback turtles and sunfish. Jellyfish are boneless, brainless and heartless, and have drifted on ocean currents for 500m years, pulsing gently towards landfall with the same kind of trusting faith as the dark age mystics who set themselves adrift seeking divine grace. There are many washed up on this beach – some upside down, election, the crap faucet turned on full blast. It was hard to even understand what was going on among the media speculation and the outrage. That week I quit Facebook and subscribed to the Guardian Weekly. Now I take in a level-headed and even-handed version of the news and when the articles become too heartbreaking, I set the newspaper down and pick it up later. If you’re reading this, Hanne, good call, and thanks. If you would like to appear in this space, send a brief note to firstname.lastname@example.org showing frilly translucent pantaloons of tentacles; others the right way up, looking like in-vitro flowers on Victorian graves; others halffolded, resigned to this contortion without struggle. Beach walkers seem unimpressed with the jellyfish, repulsed even, as if these creatures were worse than the plastic flotsam and jetsam that sullies the pristine beach. A juvenile gull with an imploring whistle, and its immaculate pirate-eyed parent, dance for crumbs around a pink flipflop on the dune’s edge. There is a log to perch on eating sarnies, with a view beyond the surf of black ducks in rafts of 20 or 30, separated by a hundred metres or so. These are scoter, Melanitta nigra, perhaps hundreds of them on the north end of Cardigan Bay towards the Llyn peninsula. These ducks are almost silent lurching in the lumpy water, pelagic pilgrims of the storm abandoned to its surge and yet free. The scoter whistle their chants at sea. Around them are more barrel jellyfish, dreaming minds in a luminous trance heading towards a futile yet inspirational end. Paul Evans Read more Nature watch online bit.ly/naturewatch The Guardian Weekly 20.10.17 43 Quick crossword 1 Cryptic crossword by Philistine 2 3 Across 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 13 14 16 12 15 17 18 19 Across 5 Spirit of the age (9) 8 Long skirt (4) 9 Child’s feline pet (5-3) 10 Eat greedily (6) 11 Withstand (6) 13 With enthusiasm (6) 15 Very bad (6) 16 Sport combining rifle shooting and crosscountry skiing (8) 18 Herb with thread-like foliage used as seasoning (4) 19 Space for manoeuvre (5,4) Down 1 Large bottle enclosed in wickerwork (8) 2 Irish author of Dracula, d. 1912 (6) 3 A or B? (6) 4 Catch sight of (4) 6 Self-service restaurant (9) 7 Exact copy (9) 12 Air force unit (8) 14 Lemon shade (6) 15 Deliberately misleading rumour (6) 17 Lean (4) S U G A R D H R A M A L A P R O E R M D U M P F A A Z E R O G R E N L A M P O O N L I S C O A X T H T I I P E R C E A D D Y P I Q P J OW L R O E O U N D R Y V T A V I T Y L S B R A G A A K E D E R B Y E L L N T I L E Last week’s solution, No 14,773 First published in the Guardian 20 September 2017, No 14,780 Down 1 Chanel in gold reflected style (6) 2 1910’s oversized coat (3,3) 3 Free up climate change of unwelcome post (6,4) 4 Your imprisonment by extremely evangelical radical (5) 5 Romance rudely interrupted by … JIFFY AD! (6,3) Futoshiki Medium 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. 2 < 4 3 ∨ ∨ 3 1 2 4 ∨ ∧ ∨ 1 5 3 > 2 ∧ ∧ 2 < 4 5 1 ∧ ∨ 4 > 3 1 5 ©Clarity Media Ltd 5 Last week’s solution 1 > 5 4 ∨ 3 2 ∧ 2 3 4 9 5 6 7 8 19 20 10 11 12 13 14 16 15 17 18 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 6 Stick card (4) 7 Denial from Antigone (8) 8 Disagreement thins out acts to put back into play (5-3) 13 Professed East German deposing sensible leader (10) 15 No French police centre in the neighbourhood is disproportionate (3-6) 16 Hybrid front weapon (8) 17 Chapter two ends, having covered previous work by 14? (8) 19 Celebrated without her in ramshackle farmhouse (6) 20 Involved in battle, Kremlin revolutionary of 1910 (6) First published in the Guardian 26 September 2017, No 27,312 23 Beginning to near Australia, unfortunate refugees upset to be incarcerated here (5) 24 Every other phase in rising tide (4) V I C T O R M E L D R E W B L A M P D R A N I C E R R E C A N N D T O E E D I N G H N N R U D E N C E U O Y M P W H I T A S K E T Y H A N A T I C V I I O E A T H L O N L L I U I E S S E N G O N G U E I N C E X P R E S S E S P U N C H A R T H M O I L U N S M E A T N H O U T N G I T O R H U R I A M N B T I A L C E E E K Last week’s solution, No 27,306 Sudoku classic Hard ∧ ∨ 1 1 Give a new name to brand leader? Agreed to differ about that (7) 5 Tree enthusiast chasing firms (7) 9 Smoke irritated Craig (5) 10 German meat and food rejected by queen (9) 11 Lucky rollover for 20? (10) 12 Back Tory moderates in a pickle (4) 14 1910 is a geneticist ignored at first, as is John (11) 18 Realign energy in turn with love across the channel (11) 21 Draw to be inadequate (4) 22 Most in need of tip to form relationships (5,5) 25 Memo from lover accepting command (9) 26 Stop urban division (5) 27 Say Saddam has chemical and biological weapons in 1910 (7) 28 Il est un misérable bain-marie, peut-être (7) < ∧ ∨ < < ∧ < > 7 > > 2 8 5 1 2 6 5 8 1 2 9 6 1 1 4 2 8 4 3 3 6 4 5 9 6 5 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 2 8 1 5 9 4 7 6 3 3 7 4 2 6 1 9 8 5 5 6 9 8 7 3 4 2 1 9 5 6 4 8 2 3 1 7 4 3 7 9 1 6 8 5 2 1 2 8 7 3 5 6 4 9 Last week’s solution 6 1 2 3 4 7 5 9 8 7 9 5 6 2 8 1 3 4 8 4 3 1 5 9 2 7 6 44 The Guardian Weekly 20.10.17 Diversions Shortcuts One way to take shine oﬀ smuggled gold Indian customs authorities have discovered 29 people hiding gold in their rectums on two flights that landed at a southern airport. More than 10kg of the metal were found on at least 37 passengers on the two flights from the Sri Lankan capital, Colombo, that landed at Madurai international airport in Tamil Nadu. Some had wedged the pieces, ranging from 30 to 600 grams, into their hand luggage or children’s pushchairs. Others opted for a more “ingenious way of concealment”, according to India’s Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI), the law enforcement agency that intercepted the passengers. Upon “thorough examination”, the DRI said, the nuggets were discovered and confiscated by authorities. The total value of the haul was about 30m rupees ($4.6m). The smugglers walked free as no individual was carrying enough to meet the criminal threshold. Gold is hugely popular in India, traditionally worn by brides, donated to Hindu temples as offerings, or given as part of dowries from all but the poorest families. As the country’s middle class has grown, so has demand. Indians are thought to hold about $1tn in private gold. A temple in Kerala was discovered in 2011 to be storing about $22bn worth of the metal in its vault. A spokesman for the DRI said the latest haul was far from the largest – a 2015 operation netted almostt 64kg of gold smuggled by three planeloads of passengers. “The uniqueness of this case is that huge numbers of people concealed the gold in their rectums,” he said. “Rectum concealment by this many guys is a first.” Michael Safi World’s smelliest fruit has genome decoded Once described as smelling of “turpentine and onions, garnished with a gym sock”, south east Asia’s durian fruit leaves no one unmoved – you either adore or abhor it. Popular in Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia, the spiny, stinky delicacy is banned from public transport and hotels because of its strong smell. Yet for a food so controversial, very little was known about the durian’s genetic makeup – until now. Scientists from Singapore, Hong Kong and Malaysia published the DNA blueprint of the common durian, Durio zibethinus, laying bare the genes responsible for its traits. Such data “is vital to better understanding of durian biodiversity”, the team wrote in n the journal Nature Genetics. While some may ay wish h they h h had d never caught a whiff hiff of durian, others are concerned ned d that several species are e considered endangered ere ed or vulnerable. Knownow wing more about the bout th e plant’s DNA NA may help protect otect it. There ere are 30 known own species in the he Durio family, with D zibethinus the most widely consumed. Agence FrancePresse Giant piano ﬁnds new home in New Zealand ‘Most useless airport’ receives its ﬁrst ﬂight One of the world’s longest pianos has found a new home in the deep south of New Zealand after the fire brigade were called on to help shift the behemoth into place. Adrian Mann began building the 5.7-metre piano as a high school student in a farm shed in Timaru, a small town on the east coast of the South Island. Now aged 28 and working full-time as a piano builder, Mann said his keyboard has been played by some of New Zealand’s best concert pianists, and was once installed in the Otago Museum foyer in the hope Elton John would play it when he gave a concert in Dunedin. Mann said the instrument, weighing more than a tonne, sounded very different from normal pianos, with a deeper bass and depth resulting from its length. It will now remain in Mann’s workshop in Dunedin, where he hoped pianists from around the world would visit. ar “A lot of people approach the piano with all sorts of different ideas. I had h a pian pianist from London visit recently recen and he was rec quite pessim pessimistic sim m about the thought it was piano. He th a gimm gimmick,” mick,” sa said Mann. “But “B But when h he nished fini shed playing, he was wa as quite delighted delighte with w ith what he ccould get ge et out of it. A lot of pianists pi ianists co come along and an nd the first thing they y do iis play the bottom botto om n notes and go goodness’. It can ‘oh my yg be quite te h hard to pull people Eleanor Ainge Roy away.” Ele Elean The “world’s most useless airport” welcomed its first commercial passenger flight – five years later than planned. Environmental and geographical challenges famously delayed the opening of the airport on St Helena, one of the most isolated inhabited islands on the planet, and the project, which cost the British government £285m ($375m), was saddled with the unfortunate moniker. But last Saturday an SA Airlink aircraft touched down on the infamous runway after a six-hour flight from Johannesburg. With it arrived 68 passengers and a new chapter in the history this tiny volcanic outpost in the middle of the south Atlantic. Until now St Helena – a British overseas territory 1,900km off the coast of south-west Africa – has only been accessible by Royal Mail ship (RMS St Helena). That six-day journey from Cape Town can cost up to £4,138. So a lot is riding on the new, weekly flight. In 2010, the British (then coalition) government justified the cost of the airport arguing that the “additional short-term costs of constructing an airport are outweighed by the long-term benefits”. The island receives more than £26m in aid every year. While islanders may mourn the loss of RMS St Helena, which makes her final voyage on 5 February 2018, it is hoped an increase in tourism will boost the island’s economy. More flights will have to be added for the airport not to be deemed a white elephant. Emma Weaver Wordplay Wo Same Difference Wordpool Identify the two words the spelling of which differs only in the letters shown **Y***** (steers in air) **SS-***** (perfumes the air) Maslanka puzzles 1 I thought Pedanticus was railing about the disasters that had beset our PM, but no – a journo had spoken of “the chaos that ensued it”. Why had that resulted in a tantrum? 2 If a and b are positive whole numbers, how many solutions does 1/a + 1/b = 1/2 have? 3 Since well before Pythagoras we have all known that 32 + 42 = 52. If a and b are random digits, what are the chances 3a + 4b be a multiple of 5? Consider the three cases: a) a = b; b) a ≠ b; and a and b are independent. 4 From the catalogue of The Rogue’s Gallery, where this abomination – Reflections on A Man o’ War – hangs, I learn that it consists ts of two identical semicircles resting on the he diameter of a larger semicircle as shown, own, with a little porthole perched on n them. If the radius of a small a semicircle is R, what is the radius of the porthole? What fraction of the area of the larger jellyfish is taken up by the porthole and two little jellyfish? 5 Sheriff Einstein challenges Gullible Gus to “a game of flipping a silver dollar”. The flipping is to continue until a head follows a head (Gus wins); or a Head follows a Tail (Einstein wins). What are their chances of winning? Yes, the coin is fair. Twitter: @ChrisMaslanka Find the correct definitions: CRUMEN a) weeping from open wound b) total crumbling of political authority c) suborbital gland in some animals d) crisis in diphtheria KONIAKU a) form of leprosy b) beggar c) huge draught of Polish cognac d) giant arum E pluribus unum Rearrange the letters of PRIVATE CARE to make a single word. Missing Links 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 fish mix could be cake (fishcake & cake mix) … a) tour line b) poor ship c) ruck cloth d) mob size e) monkey hell f) Indian house ©CMM2017. For solutions see page 47 The Guardian Weekly 20.10.17 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 Our hardwired laziness means once we’ve adopted pseudo-conveniences, we won’t want to give them up T he new iPhone 8, as you probably couldn’t help learning a few weeks back, boasts “wireless charging that’s truly effortless”, meaning that instead of having to plug it into the wall, you simply place it on a special pad. Which you then plug into the wall. If you’re struggling to imagine the kind of person who finds the act of plugging a cable into their phone unacceptably inconvenient, well, that makes two of us. But I’m sure wireless charging will catch on anyway, because Apple understands something profound about the psychology of convenience: half the time, it isn’t really about eliminating annoying or effortful chores. It’s about introducing features you “didn’t know you needed” – a fancy way of saying you didn’t need them – safe in the knowledge that once lots of other people have them, you’ll want them; and once you’ve got them, you won’t want to lose them. “I guess it’s one of those things you don’t really care about until you use it,” wrote one owner of another device with wireless charging, trying to explain the appeal. Which is also true of heroin. One culprit here is presumably the phenomenon of “loss aversion”, which describes how people are much more upset about losing, say, £10 than they are thrilled by the prospect of gaining £10. Perhaps for evolutionary reasons, we’re much more motivated to cling to what we’ve already got than to strive to obtain what we don’t yet have. Add to that our hardwired tendency toward laziness – our instinct to conserve every morsel of energy, and to avoid every expenditure of effort – and you can see why, once you can persuade people to adopt certain pseudo-conveniences, they’ll be unlikely to want to give them up. Illustration by Michele Marconi; right, Lo Cole What I’m really thinking The twentysomething divorcee Before you have wireless charging, the effort of plugging a cable into your phone seems negligible; once you have it, it’s too convenient to relinquish. And so even if, like me, you’re the kind of person who fantasises about downgrading from a smartphone to a dumbphone, you find yourself buying the new iPhone instead. The other strange implication in Silicon Valley’s obsession with “effortless” convenience is the idea that all these tiny daily hassles – plugging We’re much more motivated to cling to what we’ve already got than to strive to obtain what we don’t yet have in your phone, having to talk to a human to order a takeaway, inserting your card instead of using contactless payment – add up to a significant obstacle to a more meaningful life. But the time savings are tiny. A much bigger obstacle is making good use of what time you already have. Because even if wireless charging saved you an hour a day, rather than three seconds, the same preference for laziness means you’d be more likely to spend that hour on Facebook or Instagram – instead of writing your book, volunteering in your community or whatever. And how would you check Facebook? Why, on the same smartphone that was supposed to be freeing up all that time. I’ll admit this is all very convenient. But convenient for Apple and the rest of them – not for you. email@example.com If you invite me to your wedding or hen party, you’ll handle me in one of three ways. One: you brief everyone, so there’s no chance they’ll ask about my relationship status. Two: you shoot me a sympathetic glance when something romantic happens and tell me how tired you are of wedding planning. Three: you don’t acknowledge my divorce at all, and treat me exactly the same as every other guest. The third is my favourite. The world already gives me ample reminders that I am different from most people my age. I was married at 23, divorced by 25. Some of you were at the wedding and have revisited that day, searching for clues that the marriage was doomed. There were none; everything was wrong from the start, but we were all too young to notice, or too polite to point it out. I spent years justifying my decision to continue with the relationship. We had stopped making time for each other, and he paid very little attention to me on our wedding day. But we’d been together six years and romance doesn’t last for ever, does it? The best of you were supportive when I repeated this mantra, but there was enough scepticism in your expression to push me to start questioning it. I am now 27, and in a relationship with a man I’m even more in love with. I attend your weddings, fawn over your colour schemes, feel my heart swell with happiness when you walk down the aisle. I hope to be the sole member of the divorced club for the foreseeable future. But if I see th the warning signs in yo your marriages, I won’t hesitate to help wo w with that same kind, sceptical expressc ssion. That’s the le least I can do. Te Tell us what you’re real thinking. Email really firstname.lastname@example.org mind@ 46 The Guardian Weekly 20.10.17 Sport Football hopes to heal Colombia’s divide The guns are silent after 53 years, and what was once one of the world’s most feared rebel groups wants a professional team. Carl Worswick reports A six-hour drive south of the Colombian capital, Bogotá, across scorched plains and through twisting passes stretched along Andean peaks, a dozen men kick a battered football across a strip of land clogged with mud and stones. On the sidelines a man slumped in a wheelchair clatters his prosthetic leg against the frame. A woman standing beside him howls at the referee. She is clutching a rabbit. A rifle peeps from the bundle of white fur. As the rain begins to lash down, the kick-and-rush played at breakneck speed continues unabated. It’s an ugly spectacle and yet, for the 200-strong crowd in this war-weary corner of Colombia, the aesthetics are not a primary concern. Most are here to witness the first steps in a historic transformation: that of the world’s first professional football team made up of former guerrilla fighters. A year ago everyone was still at war but last November a peace deal was signed and the western hemisphere’s longest-running conflict came to an end. For the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia guerrilla group, or the Farc, the Marxist struggle has taken a new direction and football is playing a lead role. “Football has always been very popular within the Farc and so we decided to start our own professional team,” Jeison Yepes says. “Everybody’s excited.” Yepes is the president of the Farc’s sports committee at the Mesetas camp, one of 26 temporary installations set up under the watch of the United Nations to facilitate the reintegration into civilian life of more than 7,000 Farc members. Weekend tournaments hosted throughout Colombia at different Farc camps have helped get former guerrilla fighters involved in sport and tap into an enthusiasm for football. These events also rs. serve to identify potential players. “There are 16 teams playing in n this tournament and so the idea is to start looking at talented players with a view to selecting one or two for regional onal est trials,” Yepes says. “The very best from every region will go on to form the team.” Hundreds of kilometress south-west in the Cauca region,, it’s a similar story. Every week-end male, female and kids’’ teams have been competing in n Farc- organised tournaments. After five decades of war, sport is helping to bring communities together. “The Farc have several teams competing here at La Elvira but we also have sides from local Afro-Colombian communities, indigenous teams and mixed sides made up of the Farc and civilians,” says a former combatant, Julian Caballero, who was once on the books of the top-flight Colombian team Deportivo Cali. As part of the government’s commitment to the reintegration process, representatives of Colombia’s sports body, Coldeportes, are running sports and physical education programmes in the camps. “We have 61 people working across the whole country,” says the project coordinator, Gisela Gómez. “Our objective is to get people involved in as many types of recreation as possible, but clearly it’s football they love the most.” Tucked in wild countryside deep in former Farc territory, La Elvira camp in Cauca has become the focal point in efforts to get a Farc team off the ground. The camp’s commander, who uses the alias Walter Mendoza, is a veteran fighter with 37 years’ service in the Farc. He was once a prized target for the government but this year he was named the Farc’s head of sport. He immediately put football at the top of his list of priorities. “Believe me, there is a lot of talent in the Farc, not just for football but also in the arts, volleyball, other sports, music and culture,” he says. “Clearly, though, football is what gets everyone excited and so that’s why we are exploring the idea of putting together a professional team to compete in the second division.” Like many Farc members, Mendoza supports Atlético Nacional, the Copa Libertadores champions and arguably Colombia’s most popular team. He lists the former international striker Faustino Asprilla as “a long-time personal Colombians united … a game at one of the 26 UN-backed camps set up to help reintegrate former Farc members back into civilian life Carl Worswick friend” and claims Asprilla, alongside other former Colombian stars, is helping collaborate with the project. That brainchild for the idea was Felix Mora. A human rights lawyer and fan of Bogotá’s biggest football team, Millonarios, he began five years ago to explore bridging both passions. “Let me be clear, this is not a Farc team,” Mora says. “This team, La Paz FC, will include ex-Farc fighters and anyone considered a victim of the conflict. They will be on the same team fighting for a common goal.” La Paz Fútbol Club began as an idea that brewed for several years. That was until the doors of peace swung open last year. Following a plebiscite on the peace deal in October that was narrowly rejected by the Colombian people, the Nobel peace prize winner Juan Manuel Santos and the Farc chief, alias Timochenko, submitted chie a revised re deal that was approved by congress. The guns fell silent after 53 con years. Suddenly people became interyea ested in Mora’s initiative. est In April Mora travelled to La Elvira to meet Mendoza and thrash E out a deal. “That was tough, having o tto go out there into the sticks and be forthright with a top Farc comb mander that this had to be a joint m project involving anyone who has p been touched by this war, as a way of uniting Colombians.” Colombia has 36 professional teams split into two divisions. To enter, La Paz FC have two options: to buy out one of the existing teams or to persuade the country’s main football body, the División Mayor del Fútbol Profesional Colombiano (Dimayor) to expand the league. If the first option is problematic because of the huge sums needed to obtain a team’s licence, not to mention finding a club interested in selling, the second idea is even trickier. Dimayor remains full of autocratic club presidents deeply hostile to the Farc. In order to change Dimayor rules and allow extra teams, this tightly knit old boys’ club has to take a majority vote and the chances of 19 or more presidents voting in favour look slim. Over the past few weeks Mora has sought to spark debate about the project, so much so that even the former Colombian president Álvaro Uribe stormed into the debate. “It would be an embarrassment,” Uribe said. “After all Colombia’s efforts to rid drug trafficking from football, the Farc are now going to have their own team. It’s nonsense.” Uribe’s description of La Paz FC as a uniquely Farc team has become The Guardian Weekly 20.10.17 47 Sport in brief • Qualifying rounds for football’s 2018 World Cup finals moved into their final stages, with all but a few places in Russia still to be decided. In South America, Argentina squeaked through after beating Ecuador, but Copa América champions Chile missed out altogether. The United States will also be missing after they lost 2-1 to Trinidad & Tobago in their final game, while a late Panamanian winner against Costa Rica saw them to their first finals. In a major shock in Europe, three-times World Cup finalists Holland finished outside the qualifying places. Qualifiers: Europe Russia (hosts), Belgium, Germany, England, Spain, Poland, Serbia, Iceland, France, Portugal. Qualified for play-offs: Switzerland, Italy, Croatia, Denmark; Northern Ireland, Sweden, Republic of Ireland, Greece (ties to be determined; held from 9-14 November). South America Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina, Colombia. North and Central America Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama. Asia Iran, Japan, South Korea, Saudi Arabia. Africa Nigeria, Egypt (three other places still to be decided). Intercontinental play-offs: Peru v New Zealand; Honduras v Australia (ties to be held from 6-14 Nov). Winning ways … Maria Sharapova • Cricket’s governing body has approved a nine-team, two-year Test world championship series to begin in 2019. The teams will play six series over the new championship with the two-highest ranked sides contesting a final in June 2021. The ICC also approved the trial of fourday Test matches but all Test championship matches will be five-day contests. The ICC has also approved a 13-team one-day international league, which will begin in 2020 and lead to World Cup qualification. Chess Leonard Barden After his terrible start at the Isle of Man Open last month, Vladimir Kramnik declared that he would take the fight with Fabiano Caruana and Wesley So down to the wire by playing not just in the current European Club Cup in Turkey, but also the European national teams championship in November. But Kramnik sat out rounds one, two and four in Antalya. Is he, then, out of the Candidates? Not quite. Though the tournament is in Berlin, the likely sponsors are Russian as they were in 2016, so Kramnik could yet be awarded the final wildcard place. The two English teams in the Eurocup, 3Cs and White Rose, were the highest available finishers in last season’s national 4NCL league. Daniel Abbas, 18, is top board for 3Cs. The Manchester Grammar schoolboy, one of the best English juniors, had a baptism of fire in this week’s game against the 2016 European champion. His play below was a touch too passive. At move 13, a4-a5 is a more active plan, while 16 Qc1? loses the thread where 16 Ng3 Qf7 17 Nxh5 Qxh5 18 f4 keeps White in the game. As played, GM Inarkiev • Maria Sharapova clinched her first WTA tennis title since returning from a drugs ban after beating Aryna Sabalenka to win the Tianjin Open, while Roger Federer defeated Rafael Nadal in the final of the Shanghai Masters. Sharapova, a tournament wildcard who made her comeback in April, defeated the Belarusian teenager Sabalenka 7-5, 7-6 to secure her first title since the Italian Open in May 2015. Sharapova served a 15-month ban after testing positive for the banned substance meldonium. In Shanghai, Federer delivered a masterclass to defeat the world No 1 Nadal 6-4, 6-3 for his sixth title of the year. It was the 36-year-old Swiss’s fourth victory against his rival in as many matches this season. Maslanka solutions 3516 Sergey Volkov v Nils Grandelius, Stockholm 2014. White to move and win. built up a remorseless attack that eventually broke through for mate. Daniel Abbas v Ernesto Inarkiev 1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 g6 4 Bxc6 dxc6 5 d3 Bg7 6 h3 b6 7 Nc3 e5 8 Be3 Qe7 9 0-0 Nf6 10 Qd2 h6 11 b3 Nh5 12 Ne2 Bd7 13 Nh2?! f5 14 exf5 gxf5 15 Rae1 0-0-0 16 Qc1? Rhg8 17 Kh1 Be6 18 f3 Bf6 19 a4 Bh4 20 Bf2 Bxf2 21 Rxf2 Qh4 22 Ref1 f4 23 Qe1 Rg5 24 Rg1 Rdg8 25 Rff1 Ng3+ 26 Nxg3 fxg3 27 f4 Rh5 28 Qe4 Bd5 29 Nf3 Qg4 30 Qxe5 Rxh3+ 31 gxh3 Qxh3 mate. 3516 Not 1 Rd8?? Qxa6 2 c8Q Qa1+ 3 Kg2 Qf1 mate. But 1 Rc1! Qxa6 2 Rxc4! bxc4 3 Qh3! a common theme. While undermining Mora’s attempts to build a team including all actors in the conflict, this focus also antagonised the Farc, which felt Mora was speaking on its behalf without authorisation. A rupture was imminent. Following weeks of silence, the Farc appointed Edgar Cortes, a former director at the nine-times Colombian champions Santa Fe, as the group’s spokesperson for sport. He wasted no time in dissolving the partnership. “We have decided to rule out the possibility of working with this team La Paz FC. It’s a project that didn’t take into account what we wanted,” Cortes said. “We will instead be focusing on developing our own football project.” Provisionally labelled Fútbol Paz Farc, the new plan is to set up coaching schools in rural areas long abandoned by the state. While the goal of competing professionally in the Colombian league remains, Cortes argues the Farc must first show they can perform at regional level. Football alone will not provide all the answers to building a brighter Colombia, but in setting an example of how former enemies may put their differences aside and move on, it could help reconciliation. Not so long ago the Farc was one of the most feared rebel groups in the world. Now, former fighters muse that the only shots fired will be on goal. • In the United States, the baseball season hurtled toward its climax. In the American League, the Houston Astros held a 2-0 lead over the New York Yankees in their best-of-seven series. In the National League, the Los Angeles Dodgers held a similar advantage over last year’s champs, the Chicago Cubs. The two winners are due to meet in the World Series, beginning next week. 1 Some verbs can only be transitive (they need an object!); some are intransitive (wouldn’t be seen dead with an object!) and some swing both ways. Ensue has lost its archaic transitive usage. “Seek peace and ensue it” falls weirdly on our modern ear, and the cognate words ensuable and ensuant have also fallen into desuetude. It is nowadays used intransitively to mean “happen after”. What is right once might not be what is right now. 2 Two (truly distinct) solutions). [1/a + 1/b = 1/2 —> (a + b)/ab = 1/2 —> ab/(a + b) = 2 —> ab = 2(a + b) —> (a – 2)(b – 2) – 4 = 0 —> (a – 2) (b – 2) = 4. Now 4 = 1 X 4; or 2 X 2, leading to the two solutions: (a, b) = (3, 6) (and (a, b) = (6, 3); and (a, b) = (4, 4).] 3 The last digits of the powers of 3 as a goes from 0 to 9 inclusive are (1, 3, 9, 7, 1, 3, 9, 7, 1, 3); the corresponding last digits for the powers of 4 are: (1, 4, 6, 4, 6, 4, 6, 4, 6, 4). If a number ends on 5 or 0 it is a multiple of 5. If a = b, we need a = 2, or 6 to get a terminal 5; so 20%; if a ≠ b, we need a = 0, 4 or 8 and b = 1, 3, 5, 7 or 9 (prob = (3/10)(5/9)); or a = 2, with b = 4, 6, or 8 (prob (1/10)(3/9)); or a = 6, with b = 2, 4 or 8 (prob ((1/10)(3/9)), giving a net probability of 21/90. If a and b are random, then a = 0, 4 or 8, and b odd (prob (3/10)(5/10)); or a = 2 or 6 and b = 2, 4, 6 or 8 (prob (2/10)(4/10)); so net probability of 23%. 4 The height of the big semicircle = 2R. It also equals [(R + r)2 – R2]½ + r; r so (2R – r) = (r2 + 2Rr)½; r squaring both sides: 4R2 + r2 – 4Rr = r2 + 2Rr. R After some housework: R R(2R – 3r) = 0, whence r = (⅔)R. The two little jellyfish and porthole fill 13/18 of the area of the large jellyfish. 5 Consider the first two flips. HH wins for Gus, TH for Einstein. But TT & HT must eventually be Einstein’s as you must get a single H before you can get a double H. So: Einstein ¾, Gus ¼. Wordpool c), d) EPU PREVARICATE Same Difference JOYSTICK, JOSS-STICK Missing Links a) tour/guide/line b) poor/ relation/ship c) ruck/sack/cloth d) mob/cap/size e) monkey/nuts/hell f) Indian/summer/house 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 GPC. 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 Building a brand Denmark’s Lego House is a delight for fans of all ages Culture, pages 38-39 David Harewood I feel no shame over the breakdown I suﬀered as a young actor, struggling with the pressures of my identity. It helped make me who I am and gave me enormous strength produced in London in the 1960s it caused a scandal and I leapt at the chance of the central role. What I didn’t realise was that I was venturing into the treacherous waters of representation, and the question of how, as a black actor, one is supposed to represent blackness. Sloane is a scheming, murderous, sexual deviant who ends up in servitude to two highly dysfunctional characters, and maybe I should have seen how my blackness could be seen to add a racial element to an already inflammatory set-up. The play was funny. Press night was a success, so I dared a peek at the reviews. I’d heard they were generally positive – and they were. Only the journalist from the local black newspaper had given it the thumbs down, and he wasn’t holding back on naming names. “Mr Harewood should seriously examine his choices as an actor,” he wrote. Here I was, struggling with my black identity in a white world, and rejected by people who looked just like me. It was a confusing time. I began to lose confidence on stage. I started drinking, before and after shows. Manically throwing myself into performances was the only way I could block out what was happening in my head. But it was my next job that pushed me over the edge. I was cast as the “fool for interracial love” in a touring production of a very flawed play about black identity. It was a disaster, made even worse by the unwanted sexual advances of another Ben Jennings F or World Mental Health Day on 10 October I was encouraged by a friend to tweet a word of support to help raise awareness of an issue that affects so many people in different ways. I picked up my phone and tweeted about my experience, 20-odd years ago, when I suffered a breakdown and was sectioned under the Mental Health Act. In truth I didn’t think what I’d written was a big deal. So I was astonished at the reaction: 36,000 people all over the world liked or shared the post. My own breakdown started shortly after I left drama school. Despite a successful start, within a couple of years of becoming professional I found myself deeply unhappy. It is fitting that I am writing this in the same week that UK government figures revealed the huge effects of ethnicity on life chances in Britain, because my own breakdown had everything to do with identity. Outside drama school, in the world of acting, I was being forced to get to grips with the reality that I was no longer just another actor. I was a black actor. Perhaps I was naive, but at no point during my time studying at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art did the colour of my skin cross my mind. I was a comprehensive school kid from Birmingham; I’d never heard of Bertolt Brecht. I’d read Othello and cried at a production of King Lear when I was at school, so I knew Shakespeare was kinda special. But that was about my limit. Suddenly, at drama school, I was exposed to all these amazing plays by astonishing writers. I played King Lear in my second year. But in the real world I was never going to play those roles. Outside Rada, those opportunities weren’t open to actors of colour, and leading roles were rare, particularly on television. I very quickly had to adjust my sails for shallower waters. It was immensely frustrating, since I knew I was capable of much more. But my blackness had trumped my talent. Things came to a head when I played the part of Sloane in Joe Orton’s Entertaining Mr Sloane at Derby Playhouse. When the play was first member of the company. I couldn’t wait to get back to London, to see my friends and be happy again. But it was already too late. I haven’t got enough space in this article to tell you what happened between then and the day I was sectioned at the Whittington psychiatric hospital in Archway, north London, but I will say this: I had the most extraordinary time. Much of it I don’t remember, but I have vague memories of travelling around London, performing “street theatre” and bursting into song on the tube. Help arrived when I had an audition and turned up three hours late. The casting director, who later became a dear friend, recognised something was wrong and called my agent. The first time I realised I was in serious trouble was when I tried to get out of the hospital ward I was on but I couldn’t because the doors were locked. I’d been sectioned. I had amazing support from friends and family, who visited me often and stressed to everyone at the hospital that although I appeared to be a scary big black guy prone to outbursts of song and verse, I was in fact an actor experiencing a nervous breakdown of some kind. My brother Paul offered me the best advice: “Dave … I know you’re flying a bit but if you wanna get out of here you’ve got to tone it down and start acting normal.” I took his advice. I resolved to start taking control and cutting out the outbursts. Eventually, with rest and the amazing care of my mother, I got myself out of there, and within six to eight months was back at work. I’ve never had a repeat of what happened, and although many of the issues and pressures of identity and blackness are still with me, I’m much better at coping with them now. I’m reasonably secure in who I am and how I fit in. Personally, I believe that episode has given me enormous strength. I’ve never been ashamed to talk about it – it’s my go-to pub anecdote – so I’m not sure why it’s taken so long to say it publicly. If you’ve ever experienced or are experiencing some form of mental illness, I’d urge you to get some support and wish you the best of luck. It’s more common than you think.