Vol 198 No 18 £2.90 €5.50* Exclusions apply A week in the life of the world | 6-12 April 2018 South Africa’s ‘Mama Winnie’ Anti-apartheid icon dies at 81 Brexit: one year to go Reality bites as promises fade Lifting bars to o competition Iran’s female weightlifters Congo fears a new civil war Violence and political turmoil as people living in DRC are caught between rebel militias and lawless soldiers Jason Burke Masisi Justin Kapitu is dying. He does not know it yet, and the doctors treating the 22-year-old rebel fighter are unlikely to tell him soon, but his chances of surviving more than a few months are virtually nonexistent. Kapitu was wounded in a clash between his rebel group and a rival faction in December. Even in the remote valleys and hills of the far east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), where the battle took place, few paid much attention. Such scrappy, bloody confrontations have become an almost daily occurrence. Bullets shattered Kapitu’s right arm and damaged his intestines. He is being treated at the single hospital serving the half-million inhabitants of Masisi territory, about 1,600km east of Kinshasa, the capital. Kapitu weighs only 30kg, is in constant pain and can absorb just a fifth of the nutritional value of the food he can ingest. He is unsure where his family are. “I was just a foot soldier so I don’t really know why we were fighting,” he said. “There are lots of reasons I think … I don’t think the wars here will ever stop. They will probably get worse.” Kapitu’s analysis is shared by many. The vast central African country has been hit by waves of violence, rebellions, protests and political turmoil in recent months, leading to worries Sheltered … Congolese refugees, who fled across Lake Albert in fishing boats, at a UN camp in Uganda Reuters about a new civil war like that which killed 5 million people between 1997 and 2003. Across the country the security situation has deteriorated markedly as government authority has collapsed, emboldening rival militia groups that hold sway over large areas of territory, often competing for the country’s rich resources. The president, Joseph Kabila, is desperately clinging to power as various groups and individuals use violence to gain cash, territory and support before possible elections later this year. More than 13 million Congolese need humanitarian aid, twice as many as last year, and 7.7 million face severe food insecurity, up 30% from a year ago, the UN said in March. More than 4.5 million people are displaced, the highest number for more than 20 years. There are outbreaks of cholera, and the fighting is getting worse. In recent weeks, thousands of army soldiers attacked villages across the province of North Kivu, where rebel groups are based. Around the town of Beni, DRC’s army is fighting an Islamist-inspired militia blamed for killing 14 UN peacekeepers in November, the worst loss of life in a single incident for the organisation for 25 years. Though Goma, the biggest city in the east, remains calm, militias have clashed with security forces on its outskirts. Elsewhere in the east, ethnic tensions have led to massacres. Around the town of Bunia, hundreds have died. There have been fierce battles west of the town of Masisi, as government troops attacked the base of 8→ Abu Dhabi AED14.50 Bahrain BHD1.90 *Cyprus €2.50 Czech Rep CZK145 Denmark DKK39 Dubai AED14.50 Egypt EGP51 *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 ZAR50.34 Sweden SEK55 Switzerland CHF9 Turkey TRY15.50 2 The Guardian Weekly 06.04.18 World roundup FBI questions Trump campaign adviser 1 Ted Malloch, a controversial Londonbased academic, was detained by the FBI on arrival in the US and issued with a subpoena to testify before Robert Mueller, the special counsel investigating possible collusion between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin. Malloch (pictured), a US citizen, said he was interrogated by the FBI at Boston’s Logan airport. In a statement, Malloch, a former campaign adviser to Donald Trump, said the FBI also asked him about his relationship with Roger Stone, the Republican strategist, and whether he had ever visited the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where the Wikileaks founder, Julian Assange, has lived for nearly six years. In the statement Malloch denied having any Russia contacts. Cancer warning on coffee in California 4 A Los Angeles judge ruled that California law requires coffee companies to carry a cancer warning label because of a chemical produced in the roasting process. Elihu Berle, a superior court judge, wrote in a proposed ruling, in a case that began over eight years ago, that the coffee companies had failed to show that the threat from the Ireland sets abortion referendum date chemical compound was insignificant. A not-for-profit group had sued coffee roasters, distributors and retailers under a state law that requires warnings on any chemicals that can cause cancer. One of those chemicals is acrylamide, a carcinogen present in coffee. 6 Ireland will vote in a referendum on 25 May on liberalising its strict abortion laws, the government announced. Abortion has long been a divisive issue in the once strongly Catholic country. Voters will be asked if they want to repeal article 40.3.3 – known as the eighth amendment – which gives unborn foetuses and pregnant women an equal right to life, in effect enshrining a ban on abortion in the country’s constitution. More Europe news, pages 9-10 → Costa Rican voters opt for centre-left 6 1 4 2 The centre-left’s Carlos Alvarado Quesada (pictured) decisively defeated Fabricio Alvarado Muñoz, a conservative Protestant singer, in Costa Rica’s presidential runoff election by promising to allow gay marriage, protecting the country’s reputation for tolerance. A former minister and fiction writer, Alvarado Quesada, 38, gained 61% of the vote, with results in from 95% of polling stations, a bigger lead than predicted. Muñoz soon conceded, sinking to his knees in front of supporters. Former Guatemalan dictator dies at 91 3 Former Guatemalan dictator Efraín Ríos Montt, who seized power in a 1982 coup, has died aged 91. Ríos Montt, who presided over one of the bloodiest periods of the country’s civil war, as soldiers waged a scorchedearth campaign to root out Marxist guerrillas, was convicted in 2013 of genocide and crimes against humanity for the massacre of 1,771 Ixil Mayans by security forces under his command. But the ruling was swiftly set aside and a new trial ordered, dismaying human rights activists and victims who had long sought to see him punished for atrocities during his 17-month regime. Last October his trial on genocide charges resumed, after being suspended for more than a year while his lawyers argued that he was too senile to participate, with no memory and unable to make decisions. 3 2 8 5 Fire kills 78 in Venezuelan police cells 5 Distraught families demanded information from the Venezuelan authorities about how at least 78 people died in a fire while they were locked in police cells. Police fired teargas as relatives clashed with them outside the facility in Valencia, Carabobo state, after local officials would confirm only that there had been deaths in last Wednesday’s fire. The fire appears to have broken out during a disturbance at the facility – reportedly designed to hold a maximum of 60 prisoners – with gunfire heard during the riot. The UN’s human rights office said it was appalled by the fire, and called on the authorities in Venezuela to carry out a speedy investigation and provide reparations to victims’ families. Juan Miguel Matheus, a deputy in the country’s national assembly, said the information he had was that 68 men and 10 women had died. Venezuela’s attorney general, Tarek William Saab, put the number of deaths at 68 people, nearly all of them prisoners. He said four prosecutors would investigate the circumstances. A Window to Freedom, a non-profit group that monitors conditions in Venezuela’s jails and prisons, said unconfirmed information indicated that a riot began when a detainee shot an officer in the leg. Shortly afterwards, a fire broke out and grew quickly as the flames spread to mattresses in the cells, it said. Rescuers apparently had to break a hole through a prison wall to free some of the prisoners. Bahrain finds new oil and gas field 7 Bahrain announced the discovery of a “highly significant” oil and deep gas resource, which is thought to dwarf the Gulf kingdom’s current reserves. It is located in the Khaleej al-Bahrain basin, off the country’s west coast. “Initial analysis demonstrates the find is at substantial levels, capable of supporting the long-term extraction of tight oil [light crude] and deep gas,” said Bahrain’s minister of oil, Shaikh Mohamed bin Khalifa al-Khalifa. Bahrain intensified its search for new fossil fuel deposits last year. Further details of the find’s size and extraction viability are due to be released this week. More Middle East news, pages 4, 5 → The Guardian Weekly 06.04.18 3 Eyewitnessed The week’s events in pictures → Centre pages 24-25 Sierra Leone votes for new president 8 The opposition Sierra Leone People’s party claimed its candidate Julius Maada Bio had won a presidential run-off election, while the ruling party disputed that, saying it held a “comfortable lead”, as official results were delayed. Results had been due on Monday but were put back due to disagreements over the method of counting. Maada Bio and All People’s Congress candidate Samura Kamara were competing to replace outgoing president Ernest Bai Koroma. The largely peaceful election has come as a relief for the country of 7 million people, which endured a brutal, diamond-fuelled civil war in the 1990s. Islamists kill peacekeepers in Somalia 10 Islamist extremists attacked a military base, home to Ugandan soldiers, in the latest of a series of bloody strikes against peacekeepers in Somalia. Local officials said that as many as 46 Ugandan troops, part of the 22,000-strong regional force in Somalia, died in the attack by the al-Qaidaaffiliated al-Shabaab movement in the town of Bulamarer, 120km south-west of the capital, Mogadishu. Such attacks are designed to hasten the departure of Amisom, the military and policing coalition under the authority of the African Union, which has been fighting al-Shabaab for more than a decade. Call to end Dalai Lama’s long exile 12 Tibetans should redouble efforts to “reunite” the Dalai Lama (pictured) with compatriots in the Chinese-ruled region and return him to his palace in Lhasa, the prime minister of the Tibetan government-inexile has urged. He made the plea at an event in the north Indian town of Dharamsala to mark the 60th year of the spiritual leader’s exile. Lobsang Sangay said Tibet has seen 60 years of destruction of its culture and identity since the Dalai Lama fled to India in 1959. The Dalai Lama, also at the event, thanked India for sheltering him. More South Asia news, page 7 → Nauru severs court link with Australia 11 13 12 7 10 13 9 14 South Africa jails woman for racist abuse 9 A white woman was jailed in South Africa for yelling racist abuse at a black police officer. In a ruling that lawyers believed to be the first prison term imposed in South Africa for verbal racial abuse, estate agent Vicki Momberg (pictured) was sentenced by a Johannesburg court to three years, with one year suspended, for directing offensive slurs at the officer. Previously people convicted of the same crime have been fined. A video clip went viral following the incident in 2016 when the police officer tried to help Momberg after thieves broke into her car. It showed her saying she wanted to be helped by a white or ethnic Indian officer. In her rant, she several times called the policeman a “kaffir”, apartheid-era slang for a black person in South Africa. More Africa news, page 8 → Nauru severed its arrangement to allow appeals to the high court of Australia, affecting the rights of asylum seekers to challenge the refusal of refugee status. The high court has been the final appellate court for Nauru since 1976. Mathew Batsiua, a former justice minister of Nauru, who is one of 19 people charged over protests outside the Nauru parliament in 2015, told his lawyers the Nauru government had given the agreed 90-day notice of termi- nation. The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade confirmed that the 90 days ended on 12 March. Of the 16 appeals decided by the high court under the arrangement, 11 have concerned asylum seekers disputing the refusal of their refugee status. Of those, eight were allowed, two were dropped because refugee status had been granted in the meantime, and only one was dismissed. More Asia Pacific news, page 6 → Afghan clerics agree anti-polio campaign Ardern: New Zealand will be a republic 14 11 Islamic clerics agreed to work with the Afghan government to persuade militant groups in the country that vaccination programmes should be allowed in remote areas, after six new cases of polio were reported in Afghanistan this year. The vaccination programme was badly discredited when a fake campaign was used as cover in the US efforts to track down Osama bin Laden in Pakistan. New Zealand’s prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, said she expects her country could become a republic within her lifetime. In an interview before she flew to London for the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting, Ardern said there was great fondness for the members of the royal family whenever they visited New Zealand. Although she could not remember the last time a voter had asked her about the country becoming a republic and admitted it was not a priority for her administration, Ardern said New Zealand would eventually transition away from the monarchy. “When I have been asked for an opinion … within my lifetime I think it is a likelihood we will transition.” Ardern also said she had been given words of advice from Barack Obama when he visited New Zealand last month. 4 The Guardian Weekly 06.04.18 International news A risky expulsions tit-for-tat As Russia and the west kick out envoys, vital diplomatic trust is dying Ruth Michaelson Cairo Analysis Patrick Wintour Russia’s announcement that it will expel 60 US diplomats and close the American consulate in St Petersburg was a predictable response to the surprisingly tough decision by Washington to throw out 60 Russian diplomats, but left unanswered the question over how far the deterioration in western diplomatic relations with Moscow has yet to descend. The fallout from the attempted poisoning of the former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal has a pas de deux quality, with both sides appearing to know the next steps. And after the US expulsions it was inevitable that the Russian foreign ministry would punish the European countries it believes succumbed to US and UK bullying by also expelling Russian diplomats. European ambassadors were summoned one by one to the Russian foreign ministry last Friday to be informed of the individuals being expelled. That does not mean the crisis will necessarily end there. Russia, whose standing among the international community is badly damaged, is determined to go further to clear its name, or at least throw up enough chaff so that a chunk of western public opinion doubts the British account of Skripal’s poisoning. Moscow suggested a meeting of the executive of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to have “an honest conversation” about the poisoning. The OPCW is studying samples – provided by the UK – of the novichok nerve agent allegedly used, but does not have the ability to judge the Fightback … Russia has denounced a ‘provocation’ Maxim Shipenkov/EPA identity of whoever placed the agent by the door of Skripal’s house. But the Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, is determined to put the UK on the defensive, and has claimed that “if our western partners dodge the meeting, then it will be further evidence that everything that has happened is a provocation”. Russia has also responded to the apparent recovery of Yulia Skripal, who was poisoned alongside her father. The British intelligence services will be debriefing her as soon as her health permits. It would be a huge embarrassment for the UK government if it emerged she believed the Russian state was not involved. As it is, the UK government is aware that some allied leaders, despite the show of solidarity, face sceptical voters who are either against a confrontation with Vladimir Putin, or want convincing proof to be provided. The UK foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, last Wednesday waxed lyrical about how the Skripal episode represented a turning point in the west’s approach to Russia, but his officials know this mood can easily dissipate as other considerations – commerce, energy security or the Middle East – come into play. The UK will push for further measures against Russia at the June meeting of EU heads of state. It may challenge German support for Nord Stream 2, the gas pipeline from Russia that could put European energy demand at the mercy of Moscow. The great unknown is the stance of Donald Trump, despite a phone call with Theresa May last week. The US administration’s actions have been strong, but Trump has largely been silent about the episode. There is also a sense that confrontation can be a cul de sac. Wolfgang Ischinger, the German ambassador to the UK at the time of the Alexander Litvinenko poisoning in London in 2006, said last week: “There is already a massive trust deficit … We are playing with fire, and I hope that it is also clear to the Russian side that this is not in its interest. Diplomacy’s greatest asset is trust, and that is getting ruined here.” Yulia Skripal no longer in critical condition, say Salisbury doctors The condition of Yulia Skripal, who was poisoned with a nerve agent in Salisbury with her father, is improving rapidly, doctors have said. Salisbury NHS foundation trust said last Thursday the 33-year-old was no longer in a critical condition, describing her medical state as stable. Christine Blanshard, the medical director for Salisbury district hospital, said: “She has responded well to treatment but continues to receive expert clinical care 24 hours Sisi wins landside election a day. I want to take this opportunity to once again thank the staff of Salisbury district hospital for delivering such high-quality care to these patients over the last few weeks.” Her father’s condition was said to be still critical but stable. Sergei Skripal, 66, a former Russian double agent, is believed to have been the main target. Detectives said they believed the pair were poisoned with the nerve agent novichok, smeared on Sergei g Skripal’s p front door. At least 130 people could have been pe exposed expo to the chemical weapon in the aftermath we of the t poisoning, responsibility sib for which the UK government believes lies gov with the Russian state. Abou About 250 UK counterterrorism detectives are working on the investigation, which could last for months. Owen Bowcott The Egyptian president, Abdel-Fatah al-Sisi, has swept to a landslide victory after an election in which his only challenger was a supporter of his rule. Results announced on Monday gave Sisi 97.08% of valid votes on a 41.5% turnout, a slight increase in the number of votes in his favour despite a dip in turnout from the previous election in 2014. Moussa Mostafa Moussa, the other name on the ballot and whose party previously endorsed Sisi, claimed just under 3% of valid votes. Spoiled ballots accounted for 7.27% of the overall result. Sisi crushed all dissent in his bid to seek a second term in office, with five potential opponents prevented from getting on the ballot. Despite Sisi’s inevitable victory, the race also highlighted internal discontent at his rule. “I don’t think Sisi wants any kind of real politics in Egypt,” said Hamdeen Sabahi, a former two-time presidential candidate. “He put politics and politicians under siege. He hates politics. He hates other opinions.” Sabahi previously joined with a coalition of other pro-democracy figures to call for a boycott of the vote, but they were accused of attempting to overthrow the regime. Another signatory, Abdel Moneim Fotouh, was arrested and added to the country’s terror list. Mohamed Anwar al-Sadat, the nephew of Egypt’s former president who dropped out of the race citing intimidation of his supporters, said that Egypt’s president has created antipathy within the state by limiting power to a tight circle of trusted confidants. In October Sisi dismissed the former military chief of staff Gen Mahmoud Hegazy while the Ministry of Interior dismissed top security officials including the head of national security. In January, Sisi fired the intelligence chief Khaled Fawzy, replacing him with longtime aide Abbas Kamel. The former military chief of staff Sami Anan, previously the secondin-command of the supreme council of armed forces, was put in military detention after declaring his intention to run for president. The former prime minister Ahmed Shafik was deported from the United Arab Emirates before dropping out of the race. Now opponents think Sisi will seek to remove presidential term limits, but that requires a referendum to change the constitution. The Guardian Weekly 06.04.18 5 International news Violence shakes Gaza frontier Clashes could Israel rejects UN and EU calls after 16 Palestinians killed by military forces Oliver Holmes and Hazem Balousha Gaza City Israel’s defence minister has rejected United Nations and European Union calls for an investigation into the killing of more than a dozen Palestinians by the military during demonstrations on the Gaza frontier. Gaza’s coastal enclave has been shaken by the bloodiest episode in years after protests advertised as peaceful sitins turned violent, with Israeli troops firing rounds of live ammunition at crowds of stone-throwers. Hospitals in Gaza recorded hundreds of emergency admissions from the protest, and doctors have said most were for gunshot wounds. The UN secretary general, António Guterres, and the EU’s top diplomat, Federica Mogherini, called for independent inquiries into the bloodshed, which left 16 people dead. But the Israeli defence minister, Avigdor Lieberman, told Israel’s public radio last Sunday that there will not be an inquiry. “From the standpoint of the soldiers, they did what had to be done,” he said. “I think that all of our troops deserve a commendation.” Israel has accused Gaza’s rulers, Hamas, of using “violent riots to camouflage terror”. It also pointed to an attempted gun attack last Friday against soldiers along the border. Army spokespeople have said claims by the Gaza health ministry that more than 750 people were wounded by live fire are exaggerated. At the Gaza Strip’s main Shifa hospital, the digital registry of A&E admissions last Friday, seen by the Guardian, showed that from 8.45am until the end of the day, 275 people from the protest arrived. It did not specify injuries, but doctors said most had gunshot Under fire … protesting Palestinians were shot by Israeli soldiers wounds to the legs. A clerk said a further eight patients were transferred from surrounding clinics to Shifa’s operating theatres. Surgeons said many patients had large exit wounds. Last Sunday a 23-year-old man, Adam Abu Ghanima, said he had just driven to the hospital from a demonstration, which was smaller than last Friday’s. His kneecap had been pierced and blood soaked the sheets of the bed where he lay. He said he had planned to place a Palestinian flag near the frontier. “I was right next to the Israeli soldiers. Before they shot me, they fired warning shots in the air,” he said. But he kept going, he added, “to bring Jerusalem back”. Another man said he had been shot trying to lift a Palestinian flag that had fallen over on the Gazan side. Ibrahim Fathi Hasna, 22, said he and another man who had wire cutters and a Molotov cocktail had managed to cut through a fence at a protest last Saturday to breach an Israeli-controlled area. They were both shot. The other man was hit in the back, he said, and he was unsure of his condition. Asked why he had wanted to cross the fence, he replied: “I just wanted to be there.” The Great March of Return is a planned six-week demonstration calling for refugees and their descendants to be allowed back to their family homes in Israel. Backed by Hamas and other militant and political Palestinian factions, larger gatherings are expected every Friday, the holy day for Muslims. Israel did not specify exact orders to troops, but a spokesperson said anyone approaching the “hostile border” was a potential threat. “People coming towards the fence, attempting to penetrate and break into the fence, damaging the infrastructure or using that area as a staging ground could potentially be shot,” said Lt Col Peter Lerner of the Israel Defense Forces. Last Sunday Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, called Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, a “terrorist”. Netanyahu tweeted that the Israeli army “will not be lectured by those who have indiscriminately bombed civilian populations for years”, referring to Turkey. Gaza has been blockaded for a decade by Israel and Egypt, which tightly control goods and people entering the 360 sq km area. The demonstrations in Gaza appeared to be split in two, with women and children staying hundreds of metres from the perimeter fence, protesting in a festival-like atmosphere. Groups of mostly young men headed closer to throw rocks and light bottles of petrol. There have been no reports of Israeli casualties. Israel said 10 of the dead belonged to Hamas. Hamas said five members of its armed wing who participated in the protest were killed. Netanyahu suspends plan to resettle African asylum seekers despite deal Israel’s prime minister has suspended a deal made with the UN refugee agency to resettle thousands of African asylum seekers facing prison or deportation, just hours after his office announced an agreement had been reached. “I’ve decided to suspend implementation of this accord and to rethink the terms of the accord,” Benjamin Netanyahu said in a late-night message on his Facebook page. His office had earlier announced it had agreed to resettle 16,000 refugees and migrants in western countries including Canada, Italy and Germany. Israel has been criticised for a controversial deportation plan under which many asylum seekers would be sent to third countries in Africa in exchange for cash payments. The scheme had run into serious problems including Rwanda and Uganda’s refusal to accept the refugees after they learned that the deportations could happen by force. The plan was halted temporarily last month by Israel’s supreme court after challenges to its legality following a demonstration by 25,000 people in Tel Aviv. An estimated 40,000 African migrants and refugees, mainly from Eritrea and Sudan, reside in Israel and they have become the focus of a long-running and often toxic political debate about their future. Peter Beaumont and Oliver Holmes ignite regional instability Analysis Simon Tisdall T ightly wound and anticipating trouble, Israeli troops opened fire before the Gaza border protests had even begun. The Palestinian health ministry said Omar Samour, a 31-year-old farmer, was picking parsley in his field last Friday morning when he was killed. Israel’s military later confirmed its tanks had fired at “suspicious figures” on the border. As Palestinians observed a day of mourning last Saturday, both sides warned of possible escalation in the weeks ahead. But a bigger question is exercising regional analysts. Will this violent yet long-predicted rekindling of the Israel-Palestine conflict trigger a wider crisis drawing in Lebanon, Syria and Iran? Last Friday was the start of six weeks of protests leading up to the 70th anniversary of Nakba day on 15 May, literally the “catastrophe”, as Arabs see it, that followed Israel’s declaration of independence on 14 May 1948. The US will also move its embassy to Jerusalem in May, effectively recognising the city as Israel’s sovereign capital while ignoring Palestine’s claims. A season of looming flashpoints is now begun. The biggest worry is Lebanon, where Hezbollah, Israel’s sworn foe and Iran’s close ally, is the dominant force. Strains are already apparent over Israel’s erection of a Gaza-style fence on its northern border and over disputed offshore oil and gas fields. If the Gaza violence spreads, Hezbollah hardliners can be expected to try to intervene. Iran’s leadership has repeatedly warned it will directly assist Hezbollah in any fight. Israel, it says, will be “eradicated”. And Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister, has made plain, to Russia’s Vladimir Putin among others, that current efforts by Iran to create a permanent military presence in Syria and Lebanon cross an Israeli red line. Urging the Americans to step in as honest broker is a waste of breath, too. On this subject, Donald Trump has shown himself to be as ignorant as he is partisan. And here’s another incendiary date for your diary. On 12 May, Trump is expected to repudiate the Iran nuclear deal – potentially toppling the whole Middle East house of cards. 6 The Guardian Weekly 06.04.18 International news Korea summit raises hopes Senior oﬃcials pave way for Kim Jong-un to meet Moon Jae-in Lily Kuo and agencies The leaders of North and South Korea have agreed to hold a summit at a village on the border between the two countries on 27 April, only the third such meeting and another sign of a thaw in relations. Senior officials met last week to prepare for the summit, days after the nuclear-armed North’s leader, Kim Jong-un, made a surprise trip to China. Kim is due to meet the South Korean president, Moon Jae-in, at the “truce village” of Panmunjom in the demilitarised zone, followed by landmark talks with Donald Trump, which could be held as soon as May. At the Unification Pavilion on Panmunjom’s northern side, the leader of Pyongyang’s delegation, Ri Songwon, said talks were aimed at paving the way for a meeting between the two leaders – the first direct public reference to a summit by any official or media outlet of the North. “Over the past 80 days or so, many events that were unprecedented in inter-Korean relations took place,” China visit … Kim Jong-un said Ri, who is chairman of the North’s reunification committee. The rapid rapprochement on the peninsula was kicked off by the Winter Olympics in the South and comes after a year of heightened tensions over the North’s nuclear missile programme, which saw Kim and the US president engage in a fiery war of words. Events have moved quickly since then, with a flurry of official visits between the Koreas and an advance team of performers from the South heading north for K-pop concerts in Pyongyang. Analysts say the success of an inter-Korean summit will depend on the likelihood of talks between North Korea and the US. No date has been set for a meeting between Trump and Kim. Meanwhile China’s top diplomat, Yang Jiechi, was due in Seoul to brief Moon on Kim’s secretive visit to Beijing to meet the Chinese president, Xi Jinping, for the first time. It was the North Korean leader’s first foreign trip since inheriting power after the death of his father, Kim Jong-il, in 2011. China has long been the North’s key diplomatic champion and provider of trade and aid, but relations have been strained by Pyongyang’s arms programmes, with Beijing showing a new willingness to implement UN sanctions against its ally. The two leaders hailed their nations’ historic ties, with Xi accepting an invitation to visit Pyongyang. Leader comment, page 22 → China retaliates against Trump’s tariﬀs Lily Kuo China has implemented retaliatory tariffs of up to 25% on $3bn in food imports from the US, raising uncertainty over the possibility of a trade war between the two countries. China’s ministry of commerce said it would be “suspending tariff concessions” on fresh and dried fruits, almonds, pistachios and wine, all subject to an additional 15% tariff. Eight other items, including frozen pork, would be subject to a 25% tariff. The tariffs began on Monday. The tariffs were in line with a list of potential duties on $3bn worth of US products released in response to Donald Trump’s tariffs on steel and aluminium. The US president has also promised to levy 25% on $60bn worth of annual imports from China. The ministry said “a large number of people expressed their support” for the measures in order to “safeguard the interests of the country and its industry”. It added that China and the US should resolve issues through negotiation and dialogue. “As the world’s two largest economies, cooperation is the only correct option.” Analysts say the fact that China’s tariffs do not cover some of the US’s biggest exports to China, such as soya beans, is a sign Beijing wants to avoid an all-out trade war. “The amount subject to tariff is not big, which shows China is willing to ease the intensity of the trade conflict that was started by the US. Trump gave us a heavy shot, and China is giving a light shot back,” said Shi Yinhong, director of the US research centre at Renmin University in Beijing. China’s economic tsar Liu He spoke with US treasury secretary Steve Mnuchin over the phone. Mnuchin is reportedly considering a visit to China 25% China targeted 120 US products, with a levy of 25% on frozen pork. Pistachios and wine were hit by a 15% tariff to continue talks. Some in China are calling for stronger retaliatory measures on soya beans and other agricultural products as well as big-ticket US goods such as Boeing aircraft. China, the third-largest consumer of US pork, bought $1.1bn in pork products from the US last year, according to the US Meat Export Federation. The state-owned Xinhua news called Trump’s tariffs a “self-defeating gamble”. The editorial, published in English, said: “The threatening tariffs, if realised, may hurt China. Yet the damage will be done at the expense of enormous American interests.” US senator Elizabeth Warren said on a three-day visit to China that US policy towards China up to now has been “misdirected” and she was not afraid of tariffs. “We told ourselves a happy face story that never fit with the facts. Now US policymakers are starting to look more aggressively at pushing China to open up the markets without demanding a hostage price of access to US technology,” she said last Sunday in Beijing. Thai tycoon takes on the generals Hannah Ellis-Petersen Bangkok It is rare, under Thailand’s oppressive military regime, for political feathers to be publicly ruffled. Campaigning is banned. Dissidents and activists are thrown in jail. But Thai newspapers were abuzz last week with talk of democracy and political accountability thanks mainly to one man, Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit. Charismatic , Thanathorn is cofounder of Future Forward, formed in March after the electoral commission allowed new parties to register for the first time in five years, with a view to a possible election. Other parties also sprang up last month but few had the immediate impact of Future Forward, with its progressive agenda and a billionaire at the helm. In fact, Future Forward captured so much public attention that the ruling military junta pressed the electoral commission to void the party’s registration. Thanathorn, 49, who has drawn comparison to the French president, Emmanuel Macron, said the decision to step aside from the business world and commit himself full-time to politics in such an oppressive climate was one he had not taken lightly. “I know that by starting this party, it seriously means I might go to jail tomorrow,” he said. “But there is no other way we can make a positive change in this country until there is a new political party of the people.” Thailand has been run by the army since Prayuth Chan-ocha, a general, seized power in a bloodless coup in 2014. Prayuth’s junta enjoyed considerable public support when it took power, but criticism of its often repressive policies and lack of transparency has grown. Prayuth has promised elections next year, though previous promises have come to nothing. Thanathorn made his fortune at the Thai Summit group, which makes car parts. But, in December he met Piyabutr Saengkanokkul, one of Thailand’s most outspoken pro-democracy voices, to discuss forming the political party they had felt for years had been absent from Thai politics. Thanathorn’s idealism may have made him an appealing prospect , but there are grave doubts he could win over voters in the rural north, and his lack of experience would be no match for the military or Thaksin Shinawatra, the former prime minister deposed in 2006, who appears to be plotting a return in 2019. The Guardian Weekly 06.04.18 7 International news Mumbai beach cleanup benefits turtles Vulnerable species now comes to coastline once used as a rubbish dump Michael Safi Hatchlings from a vulnerable turtle species have been spotted for the first time in decades on a Mumbai beach rejuvenated in the past two years by a massive volunteer cleanup operation. At least 80 Olive Ridley turtles made their way into the Arabian Sea from nests on the southern end of Versova beach late last month, protected from wild dogs and birds of prey by volunteers who slept overnight in the sand to watch over them. Versova has undergone what the United Nations has called the “world’s largest beach cleanup project” over the past two years, transformed from a shin-deep dump yard for plastics and rubbish to a virtually pristine piece of coastline. The man who leads the continuing cleanup operation, the lawyer Afroz Shah, said he started anticipating the turtle hatchings two months ago when farmers on the southern end of the 3km beach reported seeing turtles in the sand. “The moment we got that news I knew something big was going to happen,” he said. Last week some of his volunteers called to say they had spotted dozens of baby Olive Ridley turtles emerging from their nests. He called the forest department and then went down to the beach with about 25 others, guarding the area while the tiny creatures hobbled across the sand, “making sure not one hatchling suffered a death”, he said. The Olive Ridley species, thought to be named for the olive-green hue of its upper shell, is the smallest Safe haven … volunteers keep an eye on arriving hatchlings of the Olive Ridley turtles Afroz Shah and most abundant sea turtle in the ocean, but is still classified as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Mothers of the species lay eggs in an enormous mass-nesting process known as arribada. In February, on the coast of the eastern Indian state of Odisha, a record 428,083 Olive Ridley turtles nested simultaneously at the Rushikulya rookery. Though they nest elsewhere in Mumbai, none had been sighted on Versova beach in decades, due to the acute pollution problem there, Shah said. “I had tears in my eyes when I saw them walking towards the ocean.” Sumedha Korgaonkar, who is completing a PhD on Olive Ridley turtles with the Wildlife Institute of India, said it was possible small numbers of the turtles had been nesting on the beach in past years. “We can’t say for sure, since regular patrolling for turtles’ nests is not done in Mumbai,” she said. “Beach cleanups definitely have a positive effect on nesting turtles. Many beaches which are major nesting sites are cleaned prior and during the nesting season by villagers, which increases the chances of getting nests [there].” For more than two years, Shah has been leading volunteers in manually picking up rubbish from Versova beach and teaching sustainable waste practices to villagers and people living in slums along the coastline and the creeks leading into it. About 55,000 people live along the beach and the waterways that feed it in the crowded mega-city. Shah said he taught them by example, offering to clean communal toilets and pick up rubbish himself before he ever sought their help. “For the first six to eight weeks, nobody joined,” he said. “Then two men approached me and said, very politely, ‘Please, sir, can we wear your gloves?’ Both of them just came and joined me. That’s when I knew it was going to be a success.” He said that the team had cleaned 13m kg of debris from the beach in the past two years and are still going, though their campaign was briefly abandoned in November because of “administrative lethargy” and harassment of volunteers. India has some of the most polluted waterways and beaches in the world due to rapid, unplanned urbanisation, overpopulation and neglectful attitudes, including to public littering. “There has been a loss of a sense of belonging,” Shah said. “You can have laws, policies, regulations in place, but if the community doesn’t have a sense of belonging you can see what happens.” Malala returns to Pakistan on ‘happiest day of my life’ Michael Safi Malala Yousafzai, the Nobel laureate and activist for girls’ education, has made an emotional return to Pakistan for the first time since she was shot in the head nearly six years ago in a Taliban assassination attempt. Yousafzai, the youngest-ever Nobel prize winner, arrived last Thursday in the capital, Islamabad, with her father and younger brother, meeting the prime minister, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, before speaking on national television. “I am very happy that, after five and a half years, I have set foot on the soil of my nation again,” she said, wiping away tears. “Today is the happiest day of my life, because I have returned to my country; I have stepped foot on my nation’s soil again and am among my own people.” The Oxford University student reflected on growing up in the Swat valley north-west of Islamabad, watching it become engulfed by militancy, and becoming conscious of “how many difficulties women and girls face in our society”. She added: “For the betterment of Pakistan, it is necessary to educate girls and empower women.” She said the charity she created in 2013, the Malala Fund, had invested $6m in girls’ education ation in the country. Yousafzai zai was 11 when she began to campaign for education rights. Her activism became me dangerous as the Pakistani tani Taliban entrenched itself tself in the Swat valley and d banned girls’ schools. In n October 2012, when she was 15, a gunman boarded her school bus and shot her, the bullet grazing herr brain and lodging in her neck. She was airlifted for surgery to Birmingham, UK, where skull. She doctors reconstructed her sk remained in the UK to finish school. Her exact itinerary in Pakistan was kept secret. secre Many in the country see her as a west. puppet of the west Her story led the UN to launch a ca campaign education; her for girls’ educat Malala, has memoir, I Am Ma sold more th than 1.8m worldwide ; copies wor and 10 No November was named by the Malala Day. UN as Mal 8 The Guardian Weekly 06.04.18 International news ‘Mother of the Nation’ dies, aged 81 Ex-wife of South Africa’s first black president fought to end apartheid Jason Burke Johannesburg Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, a hero of the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa and one of its most controversial figures, died on Monday, aged 81. The ex-wife of former South African president Nelson Mandela died at a hospital in Johannesburg after a long illness, said her personal assistant, Zodwa Zwane. Seen as the “mother of the nation” by many who admired her steely leadership, firebrand rhetoric and courageous activism against a brutal racist regime, Madikizela-Mandela was also repeatedly accused of corruption and being linked to violence. She was one of the few remaining representatives of the generation of activists who led the fight against Winnie Madikizela-Mandela apartheid. Her often negative image abroad contrast ed with her deep popularity within her homeland. Archbishop Desmond Tutu, another veteran of the struggle, said Madikizela-Mandela was “a defining symbol” of anti-apartheid whose “courageous defiance was deeply inspirational to … generations of activists”. Yet there was a sinister side. “What you have in her is both the sense of possibility and failure together; hope and disappointment,” Njabulo Ndebele, the author of a novel focused on her life, said in 2011. Born in the poor Eastern Cape province, Madikizela-Mandela’s childhood was “a blistering inferno of racial hatred”, in the words of British biographer Emma Gilbey, and she became further politicised at an early age in her job as a hospital social worker. Attractive, articulate, clever and committed, the 22-year-old Winnie caught the eye of Mandela, 18 years her elder, at a Soweto bus stop in 1957. They were married a year later. By 1960 Mandela had gone underground, was arrested in 1962 and sentenced to life imprisonment for treason. During her husband’s 27-year incarceration, Madikizela-Mandela campaigned for his release and for the rights of black South Africans, establishing a massive personal following. As the violence of the apartheid authorities reached new intensity, Madikizela-Mandela was drawn into a world of internecine betrayal, reprisals and atrocity. “We have no guns – we have only stones, boxes of matches and petrol,” she told a township crowd. “Together, hand in hand, with our boxes of matches and our necklaces we shall liberate this country.” Necklacing was the term for killing a perceived traitor with a petrol-filled burning tyre around the neck. Notoriously, Madikizela-Mandela was found guilty of ordering the kidnapping of a 14-year-old, James Seipei – also known as Stompie Moeketsi – who was beaten and had his throat slit by her personal bodyguard, one of the “Mandela United Football Club”, in 1989. Within a year she gave the clenched-fist salute of black power as she walked hand-in-hand with Mandela out of Cape Town’s Victor prison on 11 February 1990. For both it was a crowning moment that led four years later to the end of white domination when Mandela became South Africa’s first black president. Congolese flee as army intensifies battle with rebels ← Continued from page 1 a powerful local warlord known as General Delta. Among the more than 1.4 million forced from their homes in North Kivu by the recent fighting is Baraka Buira, who fled with her brother and sister when armed men attacked her village near the small town of Nyabiondo shortly after government troops launched an offensive last month. Hidden among the trees, the 14-year-old watched as men were beaten and women dragged screaming into huts. Buira saw several corpses on the ground but believes her parents also fled. She is unaware of their whereabouts. “We are suffering. This is our unhappiness,” said Buira, who carried her two smaller siblings for 48 hours to reach the relative safety of a camp for displaced people. The camp has no water and no food distribution since aid organisations withdrew. A family has allowed Buira to share their makeshift shack, but can provide little else. One of the few international NGOs still working in the area is Médecins Sans Frontières. It supports, among other projects, a hospital with more than 300 beds at Masisi, where 17,000 people received care in 2017, a health centre in Nyabiondo, a network of mobile clinics and a fleet of ambulances. In the past two months, MSF personnel have been attacked five times. It can take a day to drive the 60km from Goma to Masisi on muddy dirt tracks. There are no paved roads and many remote communities can only be reached by motorbike. The crises have been exacerbated by an absence of international forces. The UN mission is the largest and most expensive peacekeeping effort, but five UN bases near Masisi were shut last year, following a US-led push to cut costs. Major Adil Esserhir, a spokesman, said the force was now “more agile”. “The problem we are facing as a military [force] is that we must give a solution to a problem that is not military,” ary,” he said. The country has been roiled ten bloodily reby protests, often pressed, since Kabila’s second ate expired 15 electoral mandate here is a lack of months ago. “There political will to crack down on he only way the militia … The this regime can an keep intain power is to maintain h ala situation which lows them to keep ep h pillaging. Each armed group can be tied to an n Justin Kapitu, a rebel fighter since he was 14 official in Kinshasa, either in government or in the army,” said Fidel Bafilenda, an analyst in Goma. Senior officials admit the problem. “This is a country where anyone can exploit a militia. I can’t deny that there are contacts between politicians and the [armed] groups but there’s no proof that they are financing them. We are a young democracy,” said Julien Paluko, the governor of North Kivu. Paluko, a Kabila loyalist, blamed “an absence of state authority” for the problems. The army and police are demoralised, corrupt and poorly trained. An economic downturn and soaring prices have hit salaries. “It’s the law of the ju jungle. We have to do better. We have had some difficult difficu times but we’ve made a lot of progress too,” h he said. The rene renewed fighting has meant a wave w of sexual violence violence. Anastasia Icyizanye, an MSF Icyizan health worker working in Nyabiondo, said fighters from one armed group rap raped 60 women in January w when it seized a village market. MSF has recorded twice as many incidents of sexual violence each month in 2018 compared with last year. “There is systematic rape – in villages, at checkpoints on roads, wherever,” Icyizanye said. DRC observers are particularly fearful of the growing tension between ethnic communities. Despite fertile soil and plentiful water, there is fierce competition for land in the heavily populated green hills above Lake Kivu, as well as for lucrative mines where gold, coltan and other key commodities are scratched from the ground by artisanal miners. Leaders of the many local rebel groups say they are acting in selfdefence. “We are simply protecting our villages. When the government and its allies stop trying to force us off our land then we will stop fighting. Until then the wars will continue,” Faustin Misibaho, a senior officer in the Patriots’ Alliance for a Free and Sovereign Congo, said. Kapitu was 14 when he joined the rebels, seeking revenge after soldiers killed his father and grandfather during a raid on their village. “My group killed a lot of people. We were really feared and respected,” he said. “I don’t think about those I killed personally. Why should I? They wouldn’t think about me.” The Guardian Weekly 06.04.18 9 Populism pushback How to save liberal democracy → Weekly Review, pages 26-29 International news Tactics … a Fidesz poster features George Soros and other rivals holding bolt cutters after having cut a border fence Getty Fear factor: will Orbán’s relentless focus on migration sway Hungary’s voters? Miskolc diary Shaun Walker N obody in Miskolc can say with certainty that they have ever seen a migrant or a refugee in the city. A few residents think they might have seen one or two people back in 2015 but cannot be sure. Others say their friends have seen migrants in the streets but admit they have not seen any themselves. And yet, in this city of 160,000 inhabitants in north-east Hungary, a fierce election campaign is under way in which there is one overriding issue being discussed ahead of the vote on 8 April. It is not the recent series of corruption scandals involving government officials. Nor is it the depressing state of local healthcare or low wages. It is migration. The tone for the election in Miskolc – as across the country – has been set by Hungary’s prime minister, Viktor Orbán (pictured right), who is seeking to win a third consecutive term on a far-right platform of sealing Hungary’s borders to migrants. If Miskolc is not to be a place of “ghettos and no-go zones”, said Orbán on a campaign visit to the city last month, it is necessary to vote for his party, Fidesz. “There are two paths ahead for Hungary to choose from,” said Orbán. “We will either have a national government, in which case we will not become an immigrant country, or the people of George Soros form a government and Hungary will become an immigrant country.” Orbán has tried to portray opposition parties as puppets of Soros, the Hungarian-born American financier and philanthropist who has spent billions on developing civil society in post-communist countries. Posters across Hungary portray Soros as an evil puppet master, in cahoots with the opposition and desperate to flood Hungary with refugees to destroy the country. Many of Orbán’s critics say the endless migration rhetoric is merely a device to distract attention from the numerous corruption scandals in the prime minister’s circle. Media outlets belonging to Lajos Simicska, an oligarch who ho fell out with Orbán, have been running ning exposés about offshore accounts unts and criminal schemes linked d to top officials. However, the he opposition is divided ided and much of the he population is apathetic about politics. Opinion polls suggest that hat the migration rhetoric toric is probably working well enough among Orbán’s base to o win him another term. Changess that the government has made e to electoral law over the past eight years are likely to help him win. n. Recent polls in Miskolc suggest Fidesz and its candidates are polling at between 35% and 40%, which is likely to be enough to win Orbán a parliamentary majority, if opposition candidates do not unite. Even when there were hundreds of thousands of migrants and refugees passing through Hungary in 2015, few if any of them made it to Miskolc. The city has struggled to integrate its large Roma population, and tensions were inflamed when Orbán compared potential future migrants to the local Roma community. But the only real migration crisis in the city is that locals are trying to leave, either for Budapest or for other EU countries. It is estimated that over 20,000 residents have left over the past decade. On Miskolc’s Avas housing estate, known as one of the worst in the country, locals complained o of government corruption, econom economic expressed hardship and express frustration at the state sta of healthcare. Yet m migration kept coming up in conversation conversations people with local peo decisive as the decisiv factor. haven’t “I haven’ seen any migrants peomyself, but p ple who come into int the shop have,” ssaid shop a 47-year-old sh assistant who did not give her name. “I have a young daughter, so I’m pretty worried about it.” Jobbik, a far-right party that has recently moved its messaging further to the centre and is placed second in most polls, is campaigning on corruption but is also attacking Orbán for being not harsh enough on migrants. Péter Jakab, the local Jobbik candidate, admitted that migration was not a huge issue in Miskolc. However, the campaign pamphlets stacked in his office, ready for distribution, have the headline: “Orbán has already let in 2,300 migrants.” The leaflets incorrectly allege that these people were given Hungarian citizenship, voting rights and cash. Orbán shows no signs of toning down the rhetoric prior to the election, and has said he plans to take the fight to Brussels after the vote, if he wins another term, to prevent the EU from imposing redistribution quotas on member states. “Migration and the attitude towards migration is basically determining all other aspects of our lives,” said Zoltán Kovács, Orbán’s spokesman. In recent years, figures close to the government have taken control of much of the country’s media landscape, especially local newspapers and radio stations, and critics say this has helped Orbán to base the entire political agenda around migration. 10 The Guardian Weekly 06.04.18 International news Varoufakis: ‘Greece is a debtors’ prison’ Maverick former finance minister is in fighting mood with new party Helena Smith Athens Observer Yanis Varoufakis is back. He, of course, would say he never went away, but in Greece’s hurly-burly world of politics his is a name prone to triggering toxic reaction. Abroad, he is feted as the man who took on Europe’s establishment. At home, the former finance minister is seen as a reckless incarnation of all that was wrong with Greece as it struggled to stay in the eurozone. In Athens and Brussels, his confrontational style is still blamed for the price the debt-stricken country had to pay to be bailed out in the summer of 2015. Although his resignation now seems a long time ago, the sight of Varoufakis launching his own party in Greece has unleashed emotions that have run from enthusiasm to anger and disdain. Media reaction has been cool; so, too, has that of politicians. None of which seems to bother him in the least. “Nobody believes the systemic media in Greece, and they’re all Beacon of hope … Varoufakis wants to help dismantle the EU’s ‘toxic and discredited establishment’ bankrupt,” he said with typical defiance, days after announcing his new venture in a packed Athens theatre. “To those who say I cost the country, and I’ve heard €30bn [$37bn], €86bn, €100bn and even €200bn … I say I cost exactly zero. The troika [of creditors] cost Greece two generations and continue to impose cost.” At 57, in his leather bomber jacket and boots, Varoufakis clearly relishes his anti-establishment role and believes the birth of his European Realistic Disobedience Front, AKA MeRA25, is not a moment too late. Greece, almost nine years after the eurozone crisis erupted, is still condemned to being a debtors’ colony, he says. Prime minister Alexis Tsipras, and his once radical leftwing Syriza party, not only gave up the good fight; they signed up to the draconian austerity demands of Germany in exchange for a third bailout that has only exacerbated the nation’s plight. For Varoufakis, it was a huge political – and personal – betrayal. “I think Tsipras and his colleagues have seriously let themselves down. They are young people, and they have to walk the streets knowing that they have condemned this country to debt bondage for another 30 years,” he says. “I am probably the only one who did what they said they would do.” Bankruptcy and Greece’s battle to keep it at bay was the force that prompted the academic to go into politics in the first place. It was still the force that propelled him on to the stage to announce MeRA25, founded with the express purpose of not only reclaiming democracy but stopping Greece’s inexorable slide into further debt serfdom and insolvency. In a political landscape that veers from the extreme left to the extreme right, Varoufakis believes there is room for impact. “Our target is the 1 million Greeks who don’t abstain from voting due to apathy but because they are highly politicised. It’s another unique phenomenon.” Under the party’s programme, on day one banks would be nationalised and proposals advanced to radically reduce Athens’s staggering debt load – at about €320bn or 180% of GDP, by far the highest in the EU. “I wake up, and dream at night, of debt [relief]. It’s like being a prisoner of war. You have to try to escape. Our country is a debtors’ prison.” Part of the pan-European DiEM25, or Democracy in Europe Movement 2025, that he co-founded two years ago, this new alliance of leftwingers, progressives, feminists and greens already has a reported 7,000 members. DiEM25, which is active in seven countries “but spreading fast”, reportedly has more than 100,000 members and the endorsement of the likes of Naomi Klein and Noam Chomsky, the radical linguist who via video link described MeRA25 as “a beacon of hope in a troubled world”. But does Varoufakis mean trouble for Greece? After all, the new movement has set itself the goal of dismantling Europe’s “toxic, class-oriented, powerless and discredited” establishment by 2025. “We are radical Europeanists, we are in the EU but against this EU,” he says. “We are not proposing exit or disbandment. We are not recoiling into the bosom of the nation state. We want to see Europe democratised, not disintegrated.” Devil’s work Priests to be trained in exorcism The Vatican is to hold a training course in exorcism amid claims that demands for deliverance from demonic possession have greatly increased across the world. The Vatican-backed International Association of Exorcists, which represents more than 200 Catholic, Anglican and Orthodox priests, said the increase represented a “pastoral emergency”. According to a priest from Sicily, the number of people in Italy claiming to be possessed had tripled to 500,000 a year, and an Irish priest has said demand for exorcisms has “risen exponentially”. The Christian thinktank Theos reported last year that exorcisms were a “booming industry” in the UK, particularly among Pentecostal churches. But some warn that “deliverance ministry” can be a form of spiritual abuse. Critics also say LGBT people and those with mental health issues are targeted for deliverance in the belief that their sexuality or psychiatric problems are the result of demonic possession. The Vatican training course, which will be held in Rome, will focus on exorcism and the prayer of liberation, a prayer commonly used for deliverance from possession. “The fight against the evil one started at the origin of the world, and is destined to last until the end of the world,” Fr Cesare Truqui, one of the speakers, told Vatican News. Church of England guidelines say doctors, psychologists and psychiatrists should be consulted where appropriate, and deliverance should be followed up with continuing pastoral care. Anne Richards, the national adviser, says: “Exorcism in a technical sense is incredibly rare. I don’t think I’ve ever come across a case that’s been authorised.” Harriet Sherwood Photo: Getty Kenan Malik, page 18 → Vatican nears deal on China clerics Lily Kuo Beijing and the Vatican are reportedly close to an agreement on the appointment of bishops in China, a deal that could lead to the resumption of diplomatic ties severed almost 70 years ago. The secretary general of the bishops’ conference of the Catholic church in China, Guo Jincai, told state media that negotiations between the two sides had reached “the final stages” and an accord could be reached as early as the end of this month. The Catholic church and China’s atheist Communist party have long been at odds over Beijing’s refusal to recognise the pope as head of the church in the country. An agreement that recognises the Vatican’s authority but approves Beijing’s say in the appointments of bishops may now be in the offing. China, which cut off ties with the Vatican in 1951, appoints bishops through its Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association, which runs statesanctioned churches. An estimated half of China’s 10 million to 12 million Catholics worship in underground churches headed by bishops that have remained loyal to the pope. The Vatican could ask these underground bishops to serve under the bishops appointed by Beijing in exchange for influence over future appointments. The pope has reportedly agreed to accept seven bishops appointed by Beijing that the church had previously deemed illegitimate. 12 The Guardian Weekly 06.04.18 Special report One year to Brexit Reality bites amid tense talks as promises keep falling away The process of triggering Britain’s departure from the EU is now over halfway through – but many pledges made in the runup have been contradicted entirely. Jon Henley and Dan Roberts report The upside and ease of Brexit of our own borders was one of the elements we wanted in the referenThen The mechanics of departure dum, and unregulated free movewere rarely discussed during the ment [during transition] would seem referendum, but since then government bullishness has made way for a to me not to keep faith with that decision.” (Fox, 30 July 2017) sober damage-limitation exercise. “There will be no downside to Now A 21-month status quo or standBrexit, only a considerable upside.” still transition deal was provision(David Davis in the Comally agreed in March after mons, 10 October 2016) months of campaigning by “The free trade Britain’s business leaders. agreement that we will have to do with the EU ‘Implementation’ period Then Once it had should be one of the accepted the need for a easiest in human history.” transition period, the UK (Liam Fox, 20 July 2017) Easy? Liam Fox Now “Nobody has ever insisted it would serve pretended this will be easy. I have merely to implement the measalways said this negotiation will be ures that would be needed for the tough, complex and at times confron- future trade deal, which would be tational.” (Davis, 5 September 2017) completed before Brexit day. “The point of the implementation Article 50 talks sequencing period is to put in place the practical Then The UK insisted trade talks changes necessary to move to the could take place in parallel with future partnership and, in order to divorce talks. Though this wasn’t have that, you need to know what agreed before article 50 was invoked, the future partnership is going to be.” ministers were adamant they would (Theresa May, 23 October 2017) have the momentum. Now The transition period will be “How on earth do you resolve the used to negotiate as much as possible issue of the border with Northern of the future relationship, not to imIreland and the Republic of Ireland plement a relationship that is already unless you know what our general agreed. Many EU capitals in fact borders policy is, what the customs believe it will be nowhere near long agreement is, what our trade agreeenough to conclude a comprehenment is? That’ll be the row of the sive free trade agreement, and will summer.” (Davis on 14 May 2017) have to be extended yet further. Now The UK team caved in to Time limit demands for negotiations to be Then Once it had accepted the need carried out in sequenced phases by lunchtime on the first day of talks on 20 June 2017. It meant they had to make scores of concessions before they could start to discuss trade. Need for transition deal Then The UK originally saw no need for a transition period, and even once the need for one was agreed, some ministers would not accept obligations beyond 29 March 2019. “[The idea] that we’ll do a transitional arrangement where you’re still in, paying money, still with free movement of people – that we’ll do the long-term deal in slow-motion … That is plainly not what we’re after.” (Davis, 15 March 2017) “We made it clear that control for a transition period, the government argued at different times both that it should be kept short (no longer than two years), and that it should not be time limited at all. A transition period of three years is “bogus” and “not necessary”. (Davis, 29 January 2018) Now The period is fixed at 21 months, postponing until December 2020 the regulatory cliff edge that business is desperate to avoid. Even this measure of stability is uncertain, since the transition period could be rescinded if there is not wider agreement later this year. Money Then At an infamous Downing Street dinner in April 2017, Theresa May reportedly told Jean-Claude Juncker and Michel Barnier that Britain was under no legal obligation to cover any financial commitments after it left in March 2019. “Because we will no longer be members of the single market, we will not be required to pay huge sums into the EU budget.” (May, Lancaster House speech, 17 January 2017) “The sums I have seen that they propose to demand from this country seem to me to be extortionate and I think that ‘go whistle’ is an entirely appropriate expression.” (Boris Johnson, 11 July 2017) Now The UK told the EU in November 2017 it was ready to honour its financial commitments, estimated at €40-45bn ($49-$56bn), through the transition period. It has since become clear payments will continue until about 2064, and indefinitely if the UK wants to stay part of EU agencies and programmes. Trade deals Then The government was confident it would have a series of new trade deals ready on 29 March 2019 to make up for any lost access in Europe. “Within two years, before the negotiation with the EU is likely to be complete, and therefore before anything material has changed, we can negotiate a free trade area massively larger than the EU … The new trade agreements will come into force at the point of exit, but they will be fully negotiated.” (Davis, 14 July 2016) Regaining control? Now Britain has won the right to Theresa May negotiate deals with third countries during the transition period but they cannot be implemented until after December 2020. Hi-tech customs solution The UK was confident that upgraded customs infrastructure would quickly pave the way for a hi-tech solution to the problem of keeping borders frictionless. Now the prime minister is hinting this could all take much longer to implement. Then “The UK is currently implementing a new customs declaration service, which will replace the existing HMRC customs system. This is a high priority ‘Go whistle’ … project within governBoris Johnson ment and HMRC is on track to deliver by January 2019.” (Department for Exiting the European Union, 15 August 2017) Now “As we get into the detail and as we look at these arrangements, then what becomes clear is that sometimes the timetables that have originally been set are not the timetables that are necessary ... when you delve into what it is that you want to be able to achieve.” (May, 27 March 2018) The Guardian Weekly 06.04.18 13 On the website Latest Brexit news and analysis → theguardian.com EU states huddle together as they feel the chill of UK exit Analysis Jennifer Rankin A ‘No downside to Brexit’ … optimistic words from David Davis, left, ahead of negotiations with the EU’s Michel Barnier, right Virginia Mayo/AP Free movement Then The government was initially insistent that free movement would come to an end on 29 March 2019 and that EU citizens who arrived after that date would be subject to a different immigration regime from those already here. Now Free movement continues, the only difference being a registration system for newcomers, who will otherwise have the same rights as EU nationals already here. Despite the climbdown, the promise of legal certainty for millions of citizens on either side remains subject to further compromises by the UK. Rule-taking and the role of the European court of justice Then From the outset, Britain’s position was that UK law would be good enough to guarantee the rights of EU citizens in the UK and that there was no question of the ECJ being involved in that or any other area of UK policy. Britain would not accept new EU rules during any transition period. “The simple truth is we are leaving. We are going to be outside the reach of the European court.” (Davis, 14 May 2017) Now The ECJ will have full jurisdiction during the transition period and the ECJ interpretation of relevant civil rights laws is likely to be followed thereafter. In addition, the transition agreement makes clear that Britain will be “consulted” but is expected to ensure the “proper implementation and application” of all new draft EU rules and regulations during transition. Fishing Then “We will take back full control of our territorial waters and … will be able to grant fishing access for other countries on our terms.” (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs , 3 August 2017) “The UK will regain control over our domestic fisheries management rules and access to our waters.” (May, 3 March 2018) Now The EU will have continued access to UK fishing waters during the transition period and has demanded reciprocal access afterwards as a condition of any future trade deal. s the European Union counts down to Britain’s departure at midnight, Brussels time, on 29 March 2019, Brexit has proven to be an unexpected unifying force. It was not only the seismic votes of 2016 that shocked the EU into togetherness: the political turmoil in the UK and the vast bureaucratic quagmire of Brexit offer their own lessons. One senior official says diplomats often end their Brexit meetings musing on how difficult it is to leave the EU. “We often end up saying, ‘It’s cold outside.’ ” Anyone immersed in the hard slog of negotiations might forget that Brexit remains a deep blow to Europe’s geopolitical pride. “Brexit is very bad, painful and traumatic, not only for the UK, but also for the European Union,” says Luuk van Middelaar, a historian and former adviser to the previous European council president, Herman Van Rompuy. “It is going against the selfimage that Europe has of being a club of basically all European states – give or take Norway or Switzerland.” Brexit was “seen as a frontal attack” on the EU and for this reason, the historian predicts the task of keeping Europe together means a hard Brexit, because it is “by far the easiest one to negotiate”. Sweeping concessions to the UK risk eroding the value of EU membership. “The political price of a soft Brexit is higher than the economic price of a hard Brexit,” he says. Stubb, a veteran of EU negotiating tables, makes a similar point when he argues that the UK is unlikely to succeed in splitting member states by appeals to narrow interest. “What will keep a lot of the member states at bay from having bilateral type of arrangements is the fear the UK will be better off outside the European Union.” Brexit is the unlikely glue bonding the EU together, but there are plenty of other divisive issues. In Brussels, at least as much attention is devoted to the next EU budget and filling the €10-€14bn ($12.3-$17.2bn) gap left by the UK’s departure, at a time when more demands are being made to open Europe’s wallet. This time, the usual tug of war between net payers and net beneficiaries will be overlaid by deeper conflicts about the nature of the union. Some countries, such as Italy, want to tie EU funds to accepting refugees; others like France favour linking them to greater tax harmonisation. Several would like EU funds frozen when a country breaches democratic values – a point with increasing resonance amid alarm about backsliding on the rule of law in Poland, Hungary and Romania. “If there is one big issue that will cause a real crisis in the EU it is the degree to which member states will agree to forms of peer review over their democratic status,” says Rosa Balfour, a senior fellow at the German Marshall Fund. “If the EU wants to have a long-term future, this is something it must address.” More immediately, the EU is trying to reform migration rules and overhaul the eurozone to prevent a repeat of past bailout dramas. For Balfour, recent elections show that effective policies do not always translate into electoral success. “It is not about performance, it is about ‘Brexit is very bad, painful and traumatic, not only for the UK, but also for the European Union’ whether the government is seen as the establishment, in other words, as something to get rid of.” Across Europe, she sees the success of anti-EU populists as an expression of something “not functioning in our democracies, where people do not feel represented”. Despite a small uptick in pro-EU sentiment, the public remains far less enthusiastic about the European project than at the end of the cold war. Only 40% of Europeans had a positive image of the EU in 2017, compared with 70% in the year of the collapse of the Soviet Union. Restoring confidence in the EU will be an overriding priority for the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, the French president, Emmanuel Macron, and other EU leaders – especially as European elections fall in May 2019. “If you are Merkel or Macron and you are facing anti-European populists, you want to be able to say clearly that it makes a difference whether you are in or out,” says Van Middelaar. “That will also have an impact on the Brexit dynamic.” 14 The Guardian Weekly 06.04.18 Drilling down … Bunnings stores jettisoned home furnishings in favour of power tools Oleg Chernyavsky/Alamy How Bunnings botched job of buying a British DIY chain Australian retailer forced to write oﬀ A$1bn after misjudging UK market Zoe Wood It’s an Aussie institution in crisis after aggressive management led to disgrace and embarrassment overseas. It also knows a thing or two about sandpaper. This is not the country’s cricket side, but Bunnings, the Australian DIY retailer, that set out to conquer Britain by revamping Homebase but ended up writing off A$1bn ($768m) after a catalogue of major mistakes. Easter weekend was considered critical to Bunnings’ future in the UK, as the country traditionally emerges from winter to buy garden plants and materials for home projects. However, the omens were not good as heavy rain in many areas last weekend drove many British shoppers to stay at home. “Homebase is undoubtedly the most disastrous retail acquisition in the UK ever,” says GlobalData’s retail analyst, Patrick O’Brien. “I can’t think of a worse one that has made these kinds of losses so quickly.” The scale of the Homebase DIY distress became clear earlier this year when Rob Scott, parent company Wesfarmers’ managing director, announced the writedown. Perth-based Wesfarmers, one of Australia’s biggest companies, bought Homebase for £340m two years ago, but by December the losses emerging from its UK outpost had become untenable. The chain lost nearly $140m in the last six months of 2017. Scott admitted the management team led by Bunnings veteran Peter Davis had made mistakes. Perhaps the most glaring error was axing the entire Homebase senior management team and about 160 middle managers as soon as they got the keys to the stores. Scott, who inherited the acquisition signed off by his predecessor Richard Goyder, also lamented the decision to jettison the large home furnishings business. Faced with the might of UK market leader B&Q, Homebase tried to attract female shoppers with “personalised mood boards” and displays of cushions, throws and nicknacks from other brands . But almost overnight that USP disappeared as the Australians chucked out the chintz and turned its stores into no-nonsense DIY sheds. Bunnings Warehouse stores are definitely not designed with women in mind. With floor-to-ceiling shelving, the industrial chic of the recently refurbished store near Twickenham in south-west London is aimed at hardcore DIY-ers. There is a large section devoted to what looks like a breeding ground for power tools, with mitre saws nestling among an exhaustive selection of cordless drills. There are four-burner gas barbecues and log splitters. Ideal for a large spread in the Melbourne suburbs perhaps. Not so fab for the average British back garden. “There’s definitely less girlie stuff,” one shopper says. Her partner, however, is impressed by the wide choice on offer. Bunnings stocks more than 30,000 products, or 40% more than the average Homebase ever did. Wesfarmers has now moved on to its second team of bosses, replacing Davis with Damian McGloughlin, a former B&Q executive. Up to 40 stores – the ones that are losing the most money – are slated to close although industry sources suggest a more radical closure programme has also been under consideration. But even packing up and going home would be a massive headache for Wesfarmers because it is on the hook for Homebase’s rent bill over the length of its leases. In a recent note, the JP Morgan analyst Shaun Cousins calculated it would cost Wesfarmers about $842m to throw in the towel versus more than $1.1bn to finish the job. Neither option looks attractive. A third route would be to keep the 23 converted Bunnings stores open and close the rest. “The least-bad outcome is exit,” was Cousins’ stark assessment. “Bunnings wholly underestimated the complexity of the UK market,” says Richard Lim, chief executive of Retail Economics. “The shop environments didn’t live up to customers’ expectations, while product selection failed to resonate with customers. These self-inflicted wounds have been an incredibly expensive lesson for the retailer with the prospect of exiting the UK becoming a realistic scenario”. Britons’ appetite to spend money on sprucing up their homes has been muted in recent months amid Lost appeal … rising living costs and a softenHomebase had a ing housing market. more female focus Speaking in February, Scott insisted pulling out of the UK was not his first choice. “But as I’ve said earlier, all options are open. There’s value in this network and we want to make sure that we reduce the trading losses and hopefully put the business on to a path to profitability.” Few Britons will be tackling a bigger DIY project than that in the coming weeks. Finance in brief Finance • GKN, one of Britain’s oldest engineering firms, is to be taken over by a company that has been labelled an asset-stripper, prompting calls for the government to block the £8.1bn ($11.3bn) deal on national security grounds. Founded in 1759, the company succumbed to a hostile bid from Melrose after a corporate tussle that has spilled over into the political arena. Investors’ blessing for the takeover signals an end to the firm that provided the iron for Britain’s railways and produced Spitfires during the second world war. UK business secretary Greg Clark said he would consider calls to intervene on national security grounds, given GKN’s role in making components for military aircraft, including the Lockheed F-35B fighter jet. • Global mergers and acquisitions (M&A) had their strongest start ever in the first quarter of 2018, totalling $1.2tn in value, as US tax reform and faster economic growth in Europe unleashed many companies’ dealmaking instincts. While the value of M&A deals globally increased 67% year-on-year in the first quarter of 2018, the number of deals dropped by 10% to 10,338, preliminary Thomson Reuters data shows, reflecting how deals are getting bigger. • Barclays have agreed a $2bn settlement with the US justice department over the sale of mortgage-backed securities in the lead-up to the 2008 financial crisis. The settlement follows a three-year investigation into allegations that the bank caused billions of dollars of losses to investors by “engaging in a fraudulent scheme” to sell Residential MortgageBacked Securities (RMBS) between 2005 and 2007. Foreign exchanges Sterling rates Australia Canada Denmark Euro Hong Kong Japan New Zealand Norway Singapore Sweden Switzerland USA 2 Apr 1.83 1.81 8.50 1.14 11.04 149.50 1.94 11.02 1.84 11.71 1.34 1.40 26 Mar 1.84 1.83 8.54 1.14 11.16 149.45 1.95 10.95 1.86 11.66 1.34 1.42 The Guardian Weekly 06.04.18 15 UK news Have your say Share your views with readers → Reply, page 23 Rapist’s quashed release sends shock through parole system In victory for victims, high court cancels Worboys’ departure from prison Jamie Grierson, Alan Travis and Owen Bowcott Dismissed Hardwick predicts case will lead to huge changes Serial sex attacker John Worboys is to face a fresh Parole Board hearing after a decision to recommend his release was blocked in an unprecedented high court ruling that prompted the sacking of the board’s chairman. Worboys, 60, a former black cab driver, now goes by the name John Radford. He was jailed indefinitely in 2009 with a minimum term of eight years after being found guilty of 19 offences, including rape, sexual assault and drugging late-night passengers, committed against 12 victims. After the trial, police said they believed he had attacked up to 100 women. The decision by the Parole Board to release him on licence after less than a decade behind bars emerged in January. Nick Hardwick, chairman of the Parole Board, resigned after David Gauke, the justice secretary, told him his position was untenable. His removal was announced moments before Sir Brian Leveson, Mr Justice Jay and Mr Justice Garnham ruled in favour of two of Worboys’ victims who brought the challenge. The board should have undertaken “further inquiry into the circumstances of his offending”, the judges said. M a ny o f Wo r b oy s ’ v i c t i m s expressed relief at the decision. Phillippa Kaufmann QC, who represented the two women who brought the case, said Hardwick had been “scapegoated” and Gauke bore some responsibility for systematic failures. In the ruling, Leveson said that the Parole Board should have looked at “the extent to which the limited way in which he has described his offending may undermine his overall credibility”. He said Worboys’ “apparent deftness in impression management” should have raised doubts about how genuine his belated admission of guilt was. The board should have been aware that it did not have material from the police or Crown Prosecution Service to challenge his version of events. The judgment also concluded that a Parole Board rule preventing publication of the reasoning behind decisionmaking was illegal. The board makes 25,000 decisions on whether or not Nick Hardwick, former chair of the Parole Board who was sacked last week after the high court decided to block the release of John Worboys, has predicted the case will lead to welcome and wideranging changes to the system. After the high court ruled that the Parole Board “should have undertaken further inquiry into the circumstances of his offending”, before taking the controversial decision to release the sex attacker and former taxi driver, Hardwick predicted the case would lead to far-reaching reform. “It will be a better system for the challenge,” Hardwick said. “And it won’t just work for victims. I think it will be a more just system.” Hardwick (pictured below) had previously argued for reform to make the board’s processes more transparent as the debate grew about the Worboys release decision. “I think at the very least the Parole Board should be able to explain its decisions. People say, you’ll get high-profile cases and you’ll get a big row. Well, this was a high-profile case. There was no openness in this case and we got a big row.” He said he and the board had previously thought Worboys’ other alleged offences should not be considered. “What the judge said was that in this unusual and exceptional set of circumstances, the panel should have questioned him about those allegations, to tes test some of his other respons responses. We didn’t think we could co do that. The judge has said … you jud cou could have done that – and an I think probably that’s a good thing.” tha H Hardwick paid tribute to the victims of tribu Worboys. “The women Worbo in this case cas – I don’t want to call them victims, as that almost diminishes them – have been fantastic, very feisty, very determined and very brave … they will have achieved some really big changes in the parole system.” Erwin James Custody … John Worboys must face a new Parole Board hearing Rex to release inmates every year. “There are no obvious reasons why the open justice principle should not apply to the Parole Board in the context of providing information on matters of public concern,” Leveson added. The judgment has significant implications for the way the Parole Board can conduct hearings in future, requiring it to take into account far more material. One possible consequence is that fewer inmates may be released. Some key evidence that could have been gathered in Worboys’ case was not sent on in the dossier gathered by lawyers acting for the Ministry of Justice, the Parole Board pointedly said. Hardwick’s departure raises questions about the supposed independence of the Parole Board. The chair of the justice select committee, Bob Neill MP, said there should be a fundamental review of the way the board operates. Richard Burgon MP, the shadow justice secretary, called for an “end-to-end review into the whole handling of the Worboys case … to re-establish public confidence in our justice system”. Hardwick rdwick defended the release decision on, saying the three-member panel considered a dossier of 363 pages and heard evidence from four psychologists and prison and probation staff responsible for Worboys. In his resignation letter, Hardwick made it clear ar he was forced to resign. One of the two victims, known only as NBV, said she had felt “frozen in shock, disgusted and traumatised by the thought that Worboys could be on the streets so soon … News that we have won this case finally brought huge relief.” 16 The Guardian Weekly 06.04.18 UK news Teachers warn of child poverty crisis Schools buy pupils coats and shoes to fill gaps left by cuts to basic services Richard Adams Extreme child poverty is worsening across the UK, with schools increasingly forced to fill in the gaps left by councils and social services budget cuts, school leaders have said. Headteachers from schools in deprived areas of England, Wales and Northern Ireland say they are having to provide basic services such as washing school uniforms for pupils from poor households, and are even paying for budget advice and counselling services for parents. Teachers and school leaders also said they were regularly providing sanitary products for pupils, buying shoes and coats in winter, and in some cases giving emergency cash loans to families. The experiences of the school leaders are borne out by the findings of a survey published by the Child Poverty Action Group and the National Education Union (NEU), which held its annual conference this week. In the survey of 900 teachers, 60% said child poverty in schools had worsened since 2015, and one in three said it had got significantly worse. Howard Payne, the headteacher of a primary school in Portsmouth, said: “Over the last 18 months the number of child protection issues I have seen has increased fourfold – and I’m in a small school. Every single one of those issues has been related to poverty, debt, not eating enough, and that has increased dramatically.” During the snowstorms this winter, Payne said, he kept his school open when other schools in the area were Hungry to learn … but schools are now ‘a safety net’ too Dave Thompson/PA closed. “I kept ours open because I was really worried about the number of children who wouldn’t get a hot meal that day,” Payne said. “We are expected to be social workers, to be carers, doctors, we are expected to deal with every issue at the same time as doing all the other things that government wants us to do,” said Louise Regan, the head of a primary school in Nottinghamshire. “We have a food bank, so we give out food parcels, particularly on Fridays, we buy clothing, we do a lot Vast majority of teachers considered quitting in past year A poll of teachers in England has found that four out of five say they have considered quitting the profession over the past year because of the heavy workload that they have to endure. More than 80% of respondents to a question circulated by the National Education Union (NEU) said that they were thinking about other careers because of the long hours now required of classroom teachers. About 40% of those polled said they spent more than 21 hours a week working at home during evenings and weekends, to keep pace with the demands of their schools. The NEU survey’s findings tallied with those of a similar poll by the country’s other major teaching union, the NASUWT. It found 65% of respondents said they had seriously considered leaving the profession in the past 12 months. RA of buying, particularly coats in winter and shoes,” Regan said. “We’ve had children who haven’t come to school because they didn’t have shoes. We’ve gone and bought shoes, taken them to their house and brought the child into school.” The headteachers, all delegates attending the NEU’s conference, said Mondays were often the worst days, with children arriving in school hungry after a weekend with little food. Celia Dignam, an NEU official responsible for child poverty, said the union’s survey revealed the reality of 4.1 million children living in poverty. “Schools, as well as educating children, are now a safety net, particularly for children in poverty,” Dignam said, noting that the Institute for Fiscal Studies estimated that 5 million children would be living in poverty by 2021. The survey found that 55% of teachers felt free school meal provision did not come close to meeting the needs of pupils from poor backgrounds. Although child poverty sits outside of the Department for Education’s remit, the DfE has allowed pupil premium funding to be used for poverty alleviation. “We continue to support the most disadvantaged children [in England] through free school meals, the £2.5bn [$3.5bn] funding given to schools through the pupil premium to support their education and the recently announced £26m investment to kickstart or improve breakfast clubs in at least 1,700 schools,” a DfE spokesperson said. Last week the education minister Nadhim Zahawi announced funding for research into ways of supporting disadvantaged families during the school holidays, to overcome “holiday hunger”. Labour must remove ‘stain of antisemitism’, says Izzard Andrew Sparrow The comedian and activist Eddie Izzard (pictured) marked his arrival on Labour’s ruling national executive committee by saying the “stain of antisemitism” present among “a minority” of members has to be removed. He said Labour had to “make amends and repair the damage with the Jewish community”, in line with the commitment given by Jeremy Corbyn to tackle antisemitism. Izzard was promoted to the NEC after the resignation of Christine Shawcroft last weekend. Shawcroft, a Corbyn ally, had been under pressure to quit since it emerged she had opposed the suspension of a Labour councillor accused of Holocaust denial. Izzard took her place as the runner-up up in the NEC elections. He spoke out as the party dismissed the implications of a Sunday Times investigation that found 12 officials working for Corbyn or John McDonnell, the shadow chancelllor, were members of Facebook ebook groups that routinely featured antiJewish, violent or abusive messages. However, Izzard stressed his support for Corbyn, saying: “This is a very important time for the Labour party and we must stamp out completely stain of antisemitism from the stai a mi minority of members. It has no place in our party,” he said. “We must make am amends and repair the damage with the Jewdam ish community as Jeremy Corb Corbyn has promised to do.” The Sunday Times reported that a two two-month investigation into 20 of the biggest pro-Corbyn Facebook groups – headed by We Support Jeremy Corbyn, which has 67,000 members – had uncovered more than 2,000 racist, antisemitic, misogynist, violent and abusive messages. The paper said 12 Labour staffers working for Corbyn or McDonnell were members of these groups. But it did not provide evidence of any of them posting or supporting offensive messages. A party spokesman said: “These groups are not run by the Labour party or officially connected to the party in any way. The Labour party is committed to challenging and campaigning against antisemitism in all its forms.” Comment, page 21 → The Guardian Weekly 06.04.18 17 Change for the better Bottle and can return gets green light in England All drinks containers in England, plastic, glass or metal, will be covered by a deposit return scheme, the government has announced. The scheme is intended to cut the litter polluting land and sea by returning a small cash sum to consumers who return their bottles and cans. Similar schemes operate in 38 countries, and campaigners have worked for a decade for its introduction in England. Fees vary depending on the size of the bottle or can and many use “reverse vending machines” to automate the return. Once they are returned, containers must be recycled by retailers. Deposit return schemes (DRS) have increased recycling rates to more than 90% in other countries. At present just 43% of the 13bn plastic bottles sold each year in the UK are recycled, and 700,000 become litter every day. In Germany, a DRS was introduced in 2003 and 99% of plastic bottles are recycled. “We can be in no doubt that plastic is wreaking havoc on our marine environment,” said the environment secretary, Michael Gove. “It is absolutely vital we act now.” The new DRS for England announced by Gove is subject to a consultation this year and it is not yet clear whether all retailers of single-use drinks will be required to participate. The government says it “will only take forward options from the consultation which demonstrate that they offer clear benefits and are resistant to fraud, and costs on businesses, consumers and the taxpayer are proportionate”. The Campaign to Protect Rural England has lobbied for a DRS for a decade. Its litter programme director, Samantha Harding, said: “I am thrilled we will finally see the many benefits a deposit system will bring to England, not least the absence of ugly drinks containers in our beautiful countryside. Producers will now pay the full costs of their packaging, reducing the burden on the taxpayer and setting a strong precedent for other schemes where the polluter pays.” The Green party’s co-leader Caroline Lucas, a member of the environmental audit committee of MPs which backed a DRS in December, said: “After a long delay it is good to see the government moving forward on this issue. This scheme should have been introduced long ago – and it is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to reducing plastic waste. If ministers really are serious about tackling the scourge of plastic pollution, they will implement this deposit return scheme as soon as possible, then revise their utterly unambitious target of eliminating unavoidable single-use plastics by 2042.” Tanya Steele, WWF’s chief executive, said: “Plastic waste in the UK will rise by a fifth by 2030. We need to be tackling the problem on all fronts by reducing, reusing and recycling.” Damian Carrington Photo: Don Ryan/AP Biggest council tax rises in 14 years Patrick Butler Households will be hit with the steepest council tax rise in 14 years from April, with the average household in England paying £81 ($113) more at a time when most local authorities are driving though big cuts to services. The inflation-busting average 5.1% increase on band D properties in England pushes up the average bill to £1,671. Almost all councils that provide social care have opted to levy an average £30 charge to help meet the spiralling cost of adult care services. Council leaders warned that despite the steep rise, town halls would still have to reduce services. They said they had little choice but to ask residents to pay more as they struggled to balance the books since government funding had been halved since 2011. Lord Porter, the Conservative chair of the Local Government Association, said: “The reality is that many councils are now beyond the point where council tax income can be expected to plug the growing funding gaps they face. This means councils will have to continue to cut back services or stop some altogether. We … have repeatedly warned of the serious consequences of funding pressures facing services caring for the elderly and disabled, protecting children and tackling homelessness for the people that rely on them and the financial sustainability of other services councils provide.” The communities secretary, Sajid Javid, said council tax bills were 7.6% lower in real terms compared with 2010, when the Tories came into government. “Under the last Labour government council tax doubled and in Labour-run Wales it has trebled. It’s Conservative councils across the country who are delivering highquality services while managing taxpayers’ money more effectively.” Last Tuesday Javid sent in government commissioners to take over the finances and governance of Northamptonshire county council, which declared effective bankruptcy in February. The Tory-run council is putting up bills by 5.98% from April while pushing though cuts of £40m, including closing 21 of its 36 libraries. Figures show the biggest yearon-year rises of £86 are found in predominantly Conservative-run county councils, where the average bill is £1,749. The lowest, at £55, for an average bill of £1,405, are in London. The rise is the biggest since 2004-05. News in brief UK news • The director of public prosecutions, Alison Saunders, is quitting when her five-year contract finishes at the end of the year. Saunders, who has faced repeated criticism during her time as head of the Crown Prosecution Service, did not seek an extension of her contract and will leave to take up a post with a private law firm. Her departure was confirmed by the attorney general’s office. • Britain faces at least two more years of heightened terror alert, with risks from state players including Russia as well as the aftermath of the collapse of Islamic State, Whitehall sources have said. Speaking as the government launched its national security capability review, the sources said the risk level – currently at severe – could soon rise to critical, thanks to the possible return of scores of Isis fighters to the UK and the potential threat from states such as Russia, North Korea and Iran. Instability in north Africa, Yemen, Sudan and Syria were also causes of concern. • Criminal barristers in England and Wales have voted to stage mass walkouts and refuse new publicly funded cases in protest against sustained government cuts to the justice system. In a poll organised by the Criminal Bar Association, 90% of its members backed direct action from this month. They are likely to be supported by solicitors working in the criminal courts and possibly other court staff. The protest was triggered by changes to the advocates’ graduated fee scheme, which barristers claim represents a further cut to their income. • Windfarms and solar panels produced more electricity than the UK’s eight nuclear power stations for the first time at the end of last year, official figures show. Britain’s greenhouse gas emissions also continued to fall, dropping 3% in 2017, as coal use fell and the use of renewables climbed. Energy experienced the biggest drop in emissions of any UK sector, of 8%, while pollution from transport and businesses stayed flat. Britain’s greenhouse gas emissions also continued to fall, dropping 3% in 2017. 18 The Guardian Weekly 06.04.18 Comment&Debate We have lost faith in God – and in reason Kenan Malik Our failure to create social movements that fill the space vacated by the church has left people feeling helpless A bandon all hope, ye who enter here. So runs the inscription above the gates of hell in Dante’s Inferno. Through those gates walks Dante with his guide Virgil: Now sighs, loud wailing, lamentation / Resounded through the starless air, / So that I too began to weep. / Unfamiliar tongues, horrendous accents, / Words of suffering, cries of rage, voices / Loud and faint, the sound of slapping hands … Inferno is the first part, or canticle, of the Divine Comedy, Dante’s great triptych of journeys through hell, purgatory and heaven. Today we read it as poetry, even if it is poetry that seems to have been touched by the divine. Seven hundred years ago it was read as a glimpse of something far more real. Dante’s imaginative recreation of both the physical and the moral universe, and of the interlacing of the two, infused medieval culture and allowed Europeans to understand both their place in the physical architecture of the cosmos and their duties in the moral architecture of Christian society. So far have we moved today from Dante’s reality that even the pope, if we are to believe the Italian journalist Eugenio Scalfari, no longer acknowledges the existence of hell. Scalfari asked Pope Francis where “bad souls” go after death. Hell, Francis supposedly replied, “doesn’t exist”. “Sinning souls” simply “disappear”. The Vatican has condemned the article, published in La Repubblica, insisting that the pope was misquoted. Whatever the truth, the controversy nevertheless points up the dilemma in which religion finds itself in the modern world. Religious values are immensely flexible over time. Christian beliefs on many issues have changed enormously in the past two millennia. Yet an institution like the Catholic church can never be truly “modern”. Christianity, like all monotheistic religions, views human desires and beliefs as unreliable guides to notions of good and bad. Values derive primarily from God, and the authority of the church rests on its claim to be able to interpret the Bible and God’s word. Were the church to modify its teaching to meet the wishes of its flock, the authority of the institution would inevitably weaken. But were it not to do so, a chasm would emerge between official teaching and actual practice. Dante’s hell may be difficult to believe in, but to jettison difficult beliefs is to question the need for religion itself. A recent pan-European survey by Stephen Bullivant, professor of theology at St Mary’s University in London, Alamy Religion is not simply a set of beliefs. It is also a means of creating a sense of community, identity and meaning showed that in a dozen countries, including Britain, a majority of young people are irreligious. And even those who identify as religious have attitudes increasingly like those of their irreligious neighbours. A survey of the social attitudes of British believers published in 2013 by Linda Woodhead, professor of sociology of religion at Lancaster University, suggested that two-thirds of Catholics accepted abortion of some kind. Half said that they are primarily guided by their own reason, intuition or feelings. Fewer than one in 10 sought guidance from the church or Bible. Meanwhile, Woodhead observes, a minority of believers have marched in the opposite direction. They possess an absolute belief in God, make moral decisions primarily on the basis of religious sources, and are deeply conservative on issues of social morality. The literalism of fundamentalist Muslims and evangelical Christians speaks to a yearning for the restoration of strong identities and moral lines. The sectarianism of fundamentalist religion is reflected also in the political sphere. Witness the rise of tribal politics and of social movements built around excluding the Other. All this poses a challenge, not just for believers but for non-believers, too. Religion is not simply a set of beliefs. It is also a means of creating a sense of community, identity and meaning. One reason for the growth of fundamentalism is that all these seem in short supply today. The world appears increasingly trapped between an atomised liberalism, on the one hand, and a sense of community created by fundamentalist religion or reactionary politics, on the other. I n his 1946 book Man’s Search for Meaning, the Austrian psychiatrist Viktor Frankl, who spent three years incarcerated in German concentration camps, meditates on that experience – a meditation on surviving hell. Frankl’s faith is a hymn not to a transcendent deity but to the human spirit that, through its own efforts, can transcend the immediacy of its being in the world. Humans, he suggests, find themselves only through creating meaning in the world. “Man is ultimately selfdetermining,” Frankl wrote. “Man does not simply exist but always decides what his existence will be.” Today it is that very capacity to “decide what our existence will be” that seems to have ebbed away. For all the material improvements in the world, life feels more precarious for millions of people. They seem to have less control in shaping the direction of their world. Liberals often laud the Enlightenment as the moment when faith was replaced by reason. The new moral vision was, however, also rooted in faith, though of a different kind – faith that humans were capable of acting rationally and morally without guidance from beyond. It was that faith upon which Frankl drew. It was expressed not just through science and technology but also through politics that helped overthrow tyranny and bring about democracy. That faith, too, has eroded, as have the movements in which it was embodied. Religion once helped provide meaning through sublimating human agency to God’s will. Not only is it less capable of doing so now, but when it does so it often takes sectarian or bigoted forms. Equally, as the optimism that once suffused the humanist impulse has ebbed away, politics, too, is less capable of providing a means through which people can express agency. The politics that now seeks to do this is also often sectarian. “God is dead,” Nietzsche wrote, before adding: “Yet his shadow still looms.” That shadow is in reality our failure to create movements and institutions that can nurture a sense of meaning and belongingness and dignity. Disbelief in God carries little weight without also a faith in ourselves as human beings. Otherwise we find ourselves in a different kind of hell. Observer The Guardian Weekly 06.04.18 19 Comment&Debate The Iraq war still poisons British national life Gary Younge From Jeremy Corbyn’s rise to Brexit and the collapse of confidence in Westminster, this is the UK’s Vietnam – a conflict seemingly without end “ Y ou can tell a true war story by the way it never seems to end,” wrote Tim O’Brien in his novel about Vietnam, The Things They Carried. “Not then, not ever. In a true war story, if there’s a moral at all, it’s like the thread that makes the cloth. You can’t tease it out. You can’t extract the meaning without unravelling the deeper meaning.” For all the ways in which US politics remain unpredictable, the presence of the Vietnam war as an episodic inflection point remains constant. Last month, after Donald Trump declared a ban on some transgender people serving in the military, it was pointed out that he avoided serving in Vietnam thanks to five deferments, the last for “bone spurs in his heels”. More than 40 years after the fall of Saigon, it continues to influence how Americans view politics at home. What has been true for Vietnam and America has become the case for Britain and Iraq. It is 15 years since Britain and the US invaded Iraq. The most important consequences of that war are, of course, in the place where it was fought, where it has left an estimated million people dead, destabilised a region and spawned far more jihadist terror, including Isis, than it could ever have thwarted. The invasion’s legality and validity have been debated constantly. But the legacy it bequeathed our political culture is less often acknowledged, even as it remains deep and enduring. Its most obvious impact has been its contribution to Labour’s current trajectory. Jeremy Corbyn’s stance on the war is a significant element of his appeal. When the largest march in British history took place against the war, he spoke from the podium. When he stood for leader he said it was illegal, that if elected he would apologise for it, and that if it were ever deemed a war crime, Tony Blair should go on trial. Iraq is also the primary and overriding reason why Blair could win three elections and yet now barely get a hearing in his own party, let alone beyond. Maintaining that he made the right decision and that the world is safer for it, he has opted to protect his legacy over restoring his credibility, and ended up sacrificing both. But the ramifications of Iraq go way beyond Labour, to a broader matter of trust between the public and the establishment. A year after the invasion, 60% said they had lost trust in ministers. Almost a decade after that, a report by the Economist Intelligence Unit argued Britain was “beset by a deep institutional crisis” with trust in government, parliament and politicians “at an all-time low”. The British Social Attitudes survey of 2013 concluded: “Those who govern Britain today have an uphill struggle to persuade the public that their hearts are in the right place.” Where politicians went in the public estimation, journalists followed. The willingness of so much of the media to uncritically accept the government’s case eroded confidence in journalism. When the government claimed Iraq could use weapons of mass destruction Eleanor Shakespeare in 45 minutes, some acted less like journalists than stenographers: “45 minutes from attack” was the London Evening Standard front-page headline. “He’s got ’em let’s get him,” wrote the Sun. Liberal and left scepticism about the mainstream media over Iraq would later spread rightwards and find different targets and justifications – some more spurious than others. But if this was not the beginning of a popular wariness that we were being fed what is now termed “fake news”, then it was at least a step-change in that direction. M The willingness of so much of the media to uncritically accept the government’s case eroded conﬁdence in journalism eanwhile, playing fast and loose with facts, misleading the public, producing dossiers full of lies and ignoring or distorting expertise – all of which were central to the war effort – helped contribute to a culture in which experts are not valued, and facts are considered optional. When the political class wonders how our discourse has become so diminished, self-destructive and coarsened that the country is capable of rejecting the warnings of economists, presidents and specialists, they could do worse than start with the war that most of them supported. “I think Iraq is connected with Brexit,” Jeremy Greenstock, a former British ambassador to the UN, told Huffington Post a few months after the EU referendum. “The linkages can be traced from the protests over Iraq in 2003 to the vote in the June 2016 referendum to leave the EU: ‘The people up there in charge just do not seem to be taking our views into account.’” There are some who believe that this obsession with a decision made 15 years ago is perverse. This is deeply misguided. First, because many are still living with the consequences. Amnesia is the privilege of the powerful. The powerless do not have the luxury of moving on, because their nations have been flattened, economies ruined and sectarian divisions deepened and weaponised as a result of a war that was prosecuted in their name. Second, it was the greatest foreign policy error of a generation or more, in which most of the political class and the media class were entirely complicit. We cannot walk away – because it has changed who we are, and so wherever we go, this dark shadow follows us. 20 The Guardian Weekly 06.04.18 Comment&Debate Young trans people need help. Will you listen? Owl Fisher Bill Bragg Studies show that society is failing transgender kids and young adults. They need society’s support, not censure W hen Paris Lees appeared on the BBC political TV discussion show Question Time last month, I and many other trans people sat at home cheering her on. When she brought up the fact that 45% of trans young people have attempted suicide the clip was shared widely online, with overwhelmingly positive reactions. This wasn’t the first time the statistic had been brought up on the programme, yet it was dispiriting, to say the least, that most of the panel seemed more concerned about the persistent myth that kids are being sent for genital surgery. Why is this crisis of mental health within the trans community not the main source of concern? These statistics reveal a deep, systemic problem, and shed light on the way trans people are mistreated in society. We’re failing trans kids, and we need to talk about why. Virtually every single study on trans adults and children arrives at a similar, alarmingly high, percentage figure for attempted suicides. In 2014, the Williams Institute and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention published research that showed 46% of trans men and 42% of trans women had attempted suicide. One of its major findings was that trans people across all demographics and ranges of experience have very high levels of attempted suicide. Two studies that specifically focus on trans youth also showed alarming figures. A study conducted in Australia in 2017 showed that up to 79% of respondents had self-harmed and up to 48% had attempted suicide. In a similar 2012 study in New Zealand, 20% of respondents had attempted suicide. And there is more. A lot more. Studies on the wellbeing of trans kids who are supported in their identities show that they have the same levels of depression and anxiety as their peers. This all leads to the same conclusion: we must support trans children. Trans people are too often bullied, stigmatised, denied access to services and mistreated by society. Yet so much of the media coverage seems concerned with trans issues only when it’s about the alleged “problems” we cause. Why aren’t we talking about the fact that up to 45% of young trans people are trying to kill themselves? Why aren’t we talking about the long waiting times that trans people have to endure in order to get access to medical services? Why aren’t we talking about Naomi, who was stabbed to death last month in London? As a trans person I am no stranger to abuse. I know the feeling of being so miserable because of the way people treated me and so full of shame about myself that taking my own life seemed like the only option. I’m fortunate to still be here, and that is why I find it shameful to see some prominent figures only bring up the suicide statistics in order to place doubt on their validity. Research clearly shows that trans children who are supported are much happier. We need to listen to, and learn from, the experiences of trans people. We need to combat stigma, discrimination and hate. We need to elevate the voices of trans people and stop giving platforms to false narratives and hateful individuals. The best way to do so is to support organisations and campaigners fighting for trans rights. Be angry for us. Speak up for us. Question false narratives that demonise trans people. Share films about our lives. Support life-saving organisations that offer help to trans youth and their families. Be an ally. Trans people are simply people, wanting to live their lives and do all the same things as other people. They pose no threat to anyone else’s rights or safety. We need your support. Are you listening? Owl Fisher is a writer, film-maker and campaigner. Suicide helplines worldwide can be found at befrienders.org More at theguardian.com/opinion Opinion In brief What would you do if you won a million? I keep my own name for a reason It’s a nice dilemma to have, and quietly devastating for the rest of us who will probably never have to face such a conundrum. A Canadian teenager who won the lottery, after buying her first ticket to celebrate her 18th birthday, was given a choice: take home an instant C$1m ($776,000); or receive C$1,000 a week for the rest of her life. After consulting a financial adviser, Charlie Lagarde chose the latter option. There’s been a lot of debate online (and in the office) about her choice. Regardless of where you lived, there would be a temptation to choose the one-off sum. But there seems to be quite a common narrative among large-sum lottery winners of excess then despair – one study even found that lottery winners are more likely to declare bankruptcy within three to five years than the average person in America. Occasionally there is an event that makes me want to punch the air joyfully, because it’s proof that some things are headed in the right direction. One of those moments came last week when British foreign secretary Boris Johnson, in an exchange with the shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry, called her by her “married” name of Lady Nugee. It was an attempt to diminish Thornberry dressed up as an acknowledgment of nothing more than the fact that she is married to a man called Sir Christopher Nugee. But Thornberry has never used anything other than her birth name. She is entitled to do that, and I have complete sympathy with her frustration at being effectively ridiculed for it. When I got married 30 years ago my husband made clear in his speech that he was not intending to be called Gary Moorhead; which rather I suppose it’s like being let loose in a really big, shiny, toyshop where everything is affordable. It must take plenty of willpower to survive such a situation. One factor may be that Lagarde is of the millennial generation, by which I mean the generation that has less economic stability than the one before it, and the one before that. The generation that works unpaid internships; can barely get on the property ladder; and is constantly derided for apparently eating too much avocado. Such a precarious situation may influence Lagarde picking economic stability over a spending spree. After some thought, I decided that I, too, would take the weekly payout. So what would you choose? And if it’s a position you do ever find yourself in, please let me know. Hannah Jane Parkinson neatly made the point, we thought, about why I would not be known by his name. But three decades on I still get letters from relatives and friends who appear not to “approve” of my decision, and who address us as Mr and Mrs. Name-changing is a hopelessly outdated legacy of a past in which women were “owned”, first by their father and then by their husband. But it’s light years from 2018; so I would challenge Meghan Markle, if she really is the feminist she tells us she is, to retain her own name on marriage, rather than allowing herself to be swallowed up into “Princess Harry” or “Duchess of X”. Keeping my own name – in all circumstances, and in every situation – is the single most important signal I have ever given the world about my expectations of my life. Joanna Moorhead The Guardian Weekly 06.04.18 21 Comment&Debate In praise of … Letting workers sleep Britain is now less than a year from the date – 29 March 2019 – when it is due to leave the European Union Corbyn must learn how to lead Helen Lewis If Labour is to finally stamp out antisemitism, its leader must learn how to act with integrity J eremy Corbyn has perfected the art of looking like a passenger in his own party, carried along by circumstance, waving graciously like a monarch from the carriage window. Last week’s fallout from his Facebook comment defending an antisemitic mural was no exception. Some of his supporters applaud his reluctance to engage, because they sense a plot (Blairite or Zionist, take your pick) to damage him before the local elections in May. “This whole row is being stirred up to attack Jeremy, as we all know,” wrote Momentum’s Christine Shawcroft in a public Facebook post on 30 March. Although Labour’s strong election performance was supposed to have ended its civil war, this narrative of St Jeremy of the Sorrows – assailed by his enemies, suffering for our sins – is never far from the surface. It colours everything. A YouGov poll of Labour members found that 47% believed antisemitism was a genuine problem, but that it had been exaggerated to damage Corbyn “or stifle criticism of Israel”. A further 30% didn’t believe it was a “serious problem at all”. The remaining group, who are deeply concerned and believe the party needs to take urgent action, were far more likely to have voted for Owen Smith than Corbyn as leader in 2016. That divide explains why the current row feels so intractable. Loyalists from Momentum and the pro-Corbyn trade unions now dominate the party’s Southside headquarters and its ruling national executive committee, but the turnover among local councillors has been slower. At the grassroots, then, there are still frequent clashes between Labour’s new membership and its old guard. Everything is a proxy war. Admittedly, for the conspiracy-minded, it must seem strange that a Facebook comment made by Jeremy Corbyn in 2012 is being debated six years later. Talk to Jewish Labour members and community leaders, however, and the opposite view emerges: they are surprised it has taken this long. The Jewish Chronicle first asked Corbyn about his defence of the mural, which depicted big-nosed bankers counting money, in 2015. The newspaper did not receive an answer. Innumerable policies exist within the workplace regarding smoking, substance abuse, ethical behaviour and injury and disease prevention. But insufficient sleep – another physically and mentally harmful factor – is commonly tolerated and even, woefully, encouraged. Many business leaders still believe that time on-task equates to productivity. It is a misguided and expensive fallacy. Early studies we have undertaken at the Center for Human Sleep Science at UC Berkeley have shown that shorter amounts of sleep predict both a lower work rate and slower completion speed of basic tasks. That is, sleepy employees are unproductive employees. Sleep-deprived individuals also generate fewer and less accurate solutions to problems. Encouraging employees, supervisors, and executives to arrive at work well rested turns them from busy-looking yet ineffective individuals to productive, honest, useful ones. Ounces of sleep offer pounds of business in return. Matthew Walker Corbyn now says that he did not see the mural properly before commenting on it. Another dramatic concept is useful here: the unreliable narrator. When Corbyn pledges zero tolerance, he wants to be taken at his word. The trouble is, for many in the Jewish community, his words are worthless. There is a disconnect between the Labour’s leader sweeping statements about opposing racism and the reluctance to act against his friends and allies. As a politician, Corbyn is loyal to a fault and here the fault is clear: excusing antisemitism. What happens next? Act Three is supposed to bring a resolution – and possibly catharsis. In the classic “hero’s journey”, the protagonist might learn something about himself and use this knowledge to resolve his original problem. But sceptical Labour MPs believe their leader still has not grasped the importance of actively confronting antisemitism on the left. Of an email sent to party members, one said: “It was not at all bad, but a week too late.” The next meeting of the parliamentary party is scheduled for 16 April and Corbyn is due to attend. Unless Corbyn and the NEC (national executive committee) can show they have a grip on the problem, some MPs say they are prepared to use parliamentary privilege to name those who haven’t done enough to combat antisemitism. What did last week reveal about the state of Labour? That Corbyn’s strengths as a speaker are matched by his weakness as an actor. That some supporters believe any criticism must be motivated by jealousy, disloyalty or factionalism. And that there is no appetite for a breakaway party or another doomed attempt to topple him. So Labour is trapped in an endless Act Two. But despite Corbyn’s martyred demeanour – and, whenever the subject is anything other than Brexit, his insistence that he is merely the voice of the membership – he is the party’s leader. Who is the protagonist in this drama, if not him? If Labour’s story is going to reach a satisfying conclusion, only he can move the plot forward. Observer Helen Lewis is deputy editor of the New Statesman 22 The Guardian Weekly 06.04.18 Comment North Korea and China Three sides in this relationship Kim Jong-un’s dramatic entrance into China by train – his first foreign trip as North Korean leader – reinforced his current message of engagement. It also marked a new step in the bilateral alliance. But in what direction? The alliance, always fraught, has deteriorated since Mr Kim took power. Chinese state media stressed the amity, but described an “unusual” relationship. One reason is that there are three of them in it, so it is a little bit crowded. Mr Kim’s father and grandfather were regular visitors to Beijing. His decision to go there only last week, more than six years after taking power, clearly relates to his pending meeting with Donald Trump, due to take place by May. Beijing, Pyongyang and Washington are trapped in a bizarre triangle, with no love lost: only suspicion and a great deal at stake. North Korea needs China’s food and energy, but chafes at its subordinate position, and has long sought talks with the US. Winning those gives Mr Kim the chance to rebalance relations with China. But meeting Xi Jinping first reassured Beijing that he is not cutting it out. It strengthens him, and offers insurance should talks go badly. Meanwhile, China doesn’t want to be sidelined. This trip has reinserted Beijing into proceedings dominated by Seoul, Pyongyang and Washington. An additional benefit for Beijing may be leverage with the US as Mr Trump slaps on trade sanctions. Beijing doesn’t like the North’s nuclear programme, but its desired outcomes are very different from America’s. It certainly doesn’t want a highly risky US military attack on its doorstep. It assumes talk of such action is intended to strong-arm Beijing into piling pressure on the North. But who can count on that with Mr Trump in power – and advised by figures such as John Bolton, who never met a war he didn’t like? In turn, the US sees China as key to making North Korea behave itself. But if it can get there without offering China a quid pro quo, all the better. And Mr Trump would love to make these talks his personal victory. The danger is that they could be a disaster. Negotiations with North Korea demand skill, patience and coordination. Mr Trump is a volatile, egotistic unilateralist marching in with a side largely shorn of expertise. There are fears that he might make critical concessions over the heads of advisers and allies – and equally that he could dismiss these talks too quickly, and warn that the only option left is force. What Mr Kim and Mr Xi discussed remains a mystery. Did China agree to dial down the pressure? How closely did they coordinate over the approaching summit? But opacity fogs the vision of the players as well as that of their audience. Each side has at best partial knowledge of the rival interests, priorities and tactics. And if Mr Trump and Mr Kim meet as planned, ignorance and misapprehensions could have truly frightening consequences. B-sides A lost serendipity Relative to other disruptions associated with the digital revolution, the demise of the B-side song hardly registers. But for analogue-raised generations, there is fondness for songs that were pressed into vinyl service as the lesser support act to hits. Sometimes these alsorun tunes achieved wonders. Rock Around the Clock by Bill Haley and His Comets, a landmark in the popularisation of rock’n’roll, was first issued in 1954 as the B-side to the deservedly forgotten Thirteen Women (And Only One Man in Town). Sixty-four years later, the closest equivalent to the B-side is the unknown song that turns up in a playlist curated by an algorithm. Instead of waiting by the radio each week to hear the charts, listeners have access to tens of millions of new songs. The amount of recorded music released last year is estimated to be around seven times greater than was released in 1960. When artists relied on music industry gatekeepers just to get into a studio the business was rife with sexism, racism, corruption and exploitation. Today fans are spoilt for choice – but that glut spoils the pleasure in choosing. It is hard to navigate the sheer volume without reliance on “smart” functions in services such as Spotify and Apple. But there is cause to lament the loss of shared musical revelations – the simultaneous opening of millions of ears to a new sound; the British ritual of Thursday nights with Top of the Pops; and of Friday mornings discussing it in the playground. The smaller volume of releases belonged to an old architecture of common cultural experience. And that is the stuff of which national identity is made. The fragmentation of cultural consumption into a digital labyrinth is not a problem on the same scale as the fragmentation of politics into mutually hostile, polarised tribes. But they are driven by the same technological processes. The clock cannot be turned back. But it is also wrong to treat the digital culture boom as all A-side, when we have no way to measure the cost of losing the B-side. Grounded-teen time for Assange as patience thins James Ball Convincing yourself, and the world, that you’re a major political player on the global stage is a tough ask when you’re confined to your bedroom. It’s an act that Julian Assange has been trying for years – and one which is starting to have consequences on the WikiLeaks founder. Assange has had his internet access cut off by Ecuador’s embassy in London for a second time – the first being a result of WikiLeaks’ intervention in the US election with the leak of emails from the Hillary Clinton campaign, and Assange’s tweets expressing political preference. Ecuador made him sign an undertaking not to get involved in the politics of other countries – only for the WikiLeaks Twitter account, and Assange’s personal account, to tweet about Catalonian independence and Britain’s expulsion of Russian diplomats. As a result, Assange has once again had his internet access stopped – and the embassy is reportedly turning away visitors. Since he entered the embassy in the summer of 2012, there has been a change in government in Quito, a change in Assange’s public image, and years of daily frustrations between a man who has been called the “world’s worst houseguest” and a country not known for respecting a free media. Assange would like to portray himself as a stateless challenger of power but has found himself in the same position as a grounded teenager: Ecuador decides who he sees, what can be in his room, even when he washes and tidies up (a regular source of friction). Additionally for someone trying to offer safety to whistleblowers around the world, he is a stationary target for the world’s intelligence agencies. Assange lives in a world of dissonance, right down to his reasons for being in the embassy. He talks of being a political prisoner due to his work for free speech. In reality, he fled from justice having decided not to face Swedish authorities over an investigation into rape and sexual assault. Reconciling Assange’s version of events with reality is an all-but impossible task. As Ecuadorian patience continues to crumble, Assange may soon find reality will come to bite. The Guardian Weekly 06.04.18 23 Reply Give May some credit Well done George Monbiot for a forthright, courageous, and above all philosophical account of his experience with prostate cancer (23 March). He’s right: the best way to cope with this is to have the positive perspective he describes. The only thing I would add, on the basis of my own excellent guidance in helping me with my current prostate cancer scare, is that there is still much to be said for continuing existing routine checks for prostate cancer despite the limitations of the PSA blood test while we are pressing for the better test that George refers to. Such checks significantly increase the odds in favour of early detection and treatment of this insidious disease. I wish George well in his future treatment and life in general. I for one look forward to reading commentary pieces from this “argumentative old git” long into the future. Terry Hewton Adelaide, South Australia I felt compelled to write when I read “The gaunt post-Brexit future towards which May is stubbornly leading us will make Britain a poorer, meaner, lonelier and shabbier place” (Leader comment, 9 March). I would like to remind the British people that, May was a campaigner for Remain. She is now faced with leading the country after the mess that Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage created. Do people realise how hard it is to sell a product that you don’t 100% believe in? Her job is not easy considering the position she is in. The British people should at least be thankful that they have a prime minister who tries to hang on despite the odds, despite what she believed in (pro-remain) because she was given the responsibility to do so. Evangeline Mañalac Oslo, Norway Pigs are treated cruelly I was disappointed that in your fivepage article about bacon (How can bacon be so bad…? 23 March) there was no mention of pigs or factory farming, nor was there a photo of a pig. People might be less willing to eat bacon or pork if they thought about the fact that most of it comes from intelligent creatures with feelings, who are treated cruelly in many ways. Piglets have their tails cut off without anaesthetic, most male pigs are castrated, again without anaesthetic or painkillers, and almost all modern pigs are forced to spend their whole life confined in small cages inside concrete buildings. If you have a strong stomach, Google “cruelty to pigs” before you eat your next piece of bacon or pork. James Webb Kyoto, Japan Another side of Nigeria Thank you to Chitra Nagarajan and the Guardian Weekly (Focus on abductions warps view of Nigeria, 9 March). I lived in north-east Nigeria Letters for publication email@example.com Please include a full postal address and a reference to the article. We may edit letters. Submission and publication of all letters is subject to our terms and conditions, see: http://gu.com/letters-terms Editorial Acting editor: Graham Snowdon Guardian Weekly, Kings Place, 90 York Way, London N1 9GU, UK Ellie Foreman-Peck On cancer and perspective for two years and find it frustrating to have so little context for the sporadic reports of abductions. The deaths of men and boys are almost expected, given that communities usually try to protect the vulnerable; yet, we hear only about the kidnappings, as if they happened by magic. I hope this opinion piece leads to more detailed reporting by The Guardian. What I really hope is that the violence and abductions cease. Judith Umbach Calgary, Alberta, Canada The mystery of David Byrne The secret to deciphering the inner David Byrne (“Is there another way to live?”, 30 March) through his corpus is, I think, that there is none – all he throws are curveballs. There are musical concepts – not as overt as Bowie’s – but which is the twitch in twitchy? Revisit his and Eno’s composition, My Life in the Bush of Ghosts, with its array of musical genres (and rhetorical spoken-word) sourced from around the planet and moulded into rock’n’roll by adding on beats and changing tempos. Yet it all works, with a spooky joie de vivre. Dorian Lynskey’s assessment of him as “a neutral observer of his own life” is key – he’s outside – a performance-artist of himself. He is a chronicler of his milieu with a lower-case “c” and meant to stay that way. Perhaps he can only be limned from the genres and spheres he has chosen to avoid. RM Fransson Wheat Ridge, Colorado, US To contact the editor directly: firstname.lastname@example.org On social media facebook.com/guardianweekly Twitter: @guardianweekly Subscriptions You can subscribe at subscribe.theguardian.com/weekly Or manage your subscription at subscribe.theguardian.com/manage Briefly • The wonderful story by Patrick Collinson (Finns are world’s happiest people, 16 March) greatly raised my spirits. With the great poverty, injustice and inequality and other problems that plague the world, it is so encouraging to know that progressive societies like Finland exist. Steven Katsineris Hurstbridge, Victoria, Australia • So “the western alliance has the nobler record of underpinning stability and spreading prosperity.” (Sergei Skripal and the sowing of discord, Leader comment, 16 March). Stability and prosperity such as in Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria … Art Campbell Ottawa, Ontario, Canada • I wish to point out that, in reality, building Stonehenge (Party like it’s 2500BC, 16 March) was a very clear employment project designed by the women to keep their men busy and out of the house for long periods. Women taking advantage of men’s proclivity for showing off feats of strength continues to this day. Nancy Scott Elora, Ontario, Canada 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 6 April 1955 Churchill resigns, to great applause Sir Winston arrived at Buckingham Palace looking more at ease than he did on the last two occasions when he came for his weekly audience with the Queen. Then he was serious, subdued, and oblivious of onlookers. Yesterday, as his car glided through the Palace gates, he took his cigar firmly in his left hand, blew out a long stream of smoke, and smiled to the crowds. They gave a small, uncertain cheer. When he emerged 45 minutes later he was alert and fully aware of the hundreds standing on the pavements and clustered round the Victoria Memorial. For a moment silence. Then a cheer such as one does not hear except at Coronations. The ranks broke and surged through the policemen and after the car. In Downing Street It was at 4:25 p.m. that the front door of 10 Downing Street was opened … A moment later Sir Winston came out on the steps, where he paused and looked at the crowd. As the crowd broke into applause, which soon turned into three prolonged cheers, Sir Winston continued to stand on the steps, looking confident and entirely possessed. He got into his car and waved as it drove slowly towards Whitehall. At 5:15 the police superintendent standing in front of No. 10 received a signal from the end of Downing Street. Three minutes later Sir Winston’s car turned into Downing Street from Whitehall. As it moved slowly up the street there was almost no noise from the crowd. For a split second the silence became almost embarrassing. But when the car stopped in front of No. 10 the silence was ended by an outburst of loud applause and prolonged cheering. Sir Winston stepped from the car and exhaled an enormous puff of cigar smoke. He waved to the crowd, moved firmly up the steps, paused on the landing, and gave the V-sign. The crowd roared its delight. Crowds remained in Downing Street all evening, singing and shouting for Sir Winston. He came to an open window at 8:45 and gave the V-sign eleven times. Then at 11:00 he again came to the window, wearing what looked like a dressing gown, gave the V-sign, and waved as though to make it clear that it was his final appearance for the night. By 11:20 the street was at last empty, except for a constable standing outside. 24 The Guardian Weekly 06.04.18 Eyewitnessed A photograph, showing riot damage in Washington DC after the assassination of black rights campaigner Martin Luther King Jr on 4 April 1968, is displayed on the now-rebuilt street corner. Even The view from inside the cockpit of a United States C-130 Hercules aircraft as it comes in to land at Bagram airfield near Kabul, Afghanistan Reuters French president Emmanuel Macron pays respects to Gendarme Colonel Arnaud Beltrame at a state funeral for the police officer who died following a terrorist siege in Trèbes Chesnot/Getty The Guardian Weekly 06.04.18 25 nts took place this week to mark the 50th anniversary of King’s death Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP A newborn wombat named Apari peers out from his mother’s pouch at Duisburg zoo, Germany, which had been trying to breed wombats for 40 years Martin Meissner/AP A woman sifts through discarded religious offerings in the Ganges river, following the Chaitra Navratri Hindu festival in Kolkata, India Rupak De Chowdhuri/Reuters A couple take a photograph as they enjoy Hanami, the traditional spring pastime of viewing cherry blossom, as the trees in Tokyo reach their full glory Toru Hanai/Reuters 26 The Guardian Weekly 06.04.18 The Guardian Weekly 06.04.18 27 Bye bye Beijing A correspondent’s departing view → Weekly Review, page 31 Could a populist moment become the populist age? Authoritarians are on the rise, and electorates are being seduced by extremes. To ﬁght back and answer its critics, liberal democracy must rebuild its moral foundations, argues Yascha Mounk Carsten Koall; James Arthur Gekiere; Carl Court; Ozan Kose/Getty; Kayhan Ozer/AP; Dan Kitwood/PA T here are long decades in which history seems to slow to a crawl. Elections are won and lost, laws adopted and repealed, new stars born and legends carried to their graves. But for all the ordinary business of time passing, the lodestars of culture, society and politics remain the same. Then there are those short years in which everything changes all at once. Political newcomers storm the stage. Voters clamour for policies that were unthinkable until yesterday. Social tensions that had long simmered under the surface erupt into terrifying explosions. A system of government that had seemed immutable looks as though it might come apart. This is the kind of moment in which we now find ourselves. Until recently, liberal democracy reigned triumphant. For all its shortcomings, most citizens seemed committed to their form of government. The economy was growing. Radical parties were insignificant. Political scientists thought that democracy in places like France or the United States had long ago been set in stone, and would change little in the years to come. Politically speaking, it seemed, the future would not be much different from the past. Then the future came – and turned out to be very different indeed. Citizens have long been disillusioned with politics; now, they have grown restless, angry, even disdainful. Party systems have long seemed frozen; now, authoritarian populists are on the rise, from America to Europe, and from Asia to Australia. Voters have long disliked particular parties, politicians or governments; now, many of them have become fed up with liberal democracy itself. Donald Trump’s election to the White House has been the most striking manifestation of democracy’s crisis. But it is hardly an isolated incident. In Russia and Turkey, elected strongmen have succeeded in turning fledgling democracies into electoral dictatorships. In Poland and Hungary, populist leaders are using that same playbook to destroy the free media, to undermine independent institutions and to muzzle the opposition. More countries may soon follow. In Austria, a far-right candidate nearly won the country’s presidency. In France, a rapidly changing political landscape is providing new openings for both the far left and the far right. In Spain and Greece, established party systems are disintegrating with breathtaking speed. Even in the supposedly stable and tolerant democracies of Sweden, Germany and the Netherlands, extremists are celebrating unprecedented successes. There can no longer be any doubt that we are going through a populist moment. The question is whether this populist moment will turn into a populist age – and cast the very survival of liberal democracy in doubt. When democracy is stable, it is in good part because all major political actors are willing to adhere to the basic rules of the democratic game most of the time. Some of these rules are formal. A president or prime minister allows the judiciary to investigate wrongdoing by members of his government instead of firing the prosecutor. He puts up with critical coverage in the press instead of shutting down newspapers or persecuting journalists. When he loses an election, he leaves office peacefully instead of clinging to power. But many of these rules are informal, making it less clearcut when they are violated. The government does not rewrite electoral rules months before an election to maximise its chance of winning. Political insurgents do not glorify authoritarian rulers of the past, threaten to lock up their opponents or set out to violate the rights of ethnic and religious minorities. The losers of an election refrain from limiting the scope of an office to which an adversary has been elected in their last days in the job. The opposition confirms a competent judge whose ideology it dislikes rather than leaving a seat on the highest court in the land vacant, and strikes an imperfect compromise about the budget rather than letting the government shut down. In short, politicians with a real stake in the system may think of politics as a contact sport in which all participants are hustling to gain an advantage over their adversaries. But they are also keenly aware that there need to be some limits on the pursuit of their partisan interests; that winning an important election or passing an urgent law is less important than preserving the system; and that democratic politics must never degenerate into all-out war. “For democracies to work,” Michael Ignatieff, the political theorist and former leader of the Liberal party of Canada, wrote a few years ago, “politicians need to respect the difference between an enemy and an adversary. An adversary is someone you want to defeat. An enemy is someone you have to destroy.” In the US, and in many other countries, that is no longer how democratic politics works. As Ignatieff sees it, we are increasingly “seeing what happens when a politics of enemies supplants a politics of adversaries”. And the Continued on page 28 → 28 The Guardian Weekly 06.04.18 Weekly review ← Continued from page 27 new crop of populists who have stormed the political stage over the past decades shoulder a lot of the blame for this. The rise of political newcomers is as likely to be a sign of democratic vitality as it is of impending sickness. Political systems benefit from competition of ideas and from a regular substitution of one ruling elite for another. New parties can help in both ways. By forcing long-neglected issues on to the political agenda, they increase the representativeness of the political system. And by catapulting a new crop of politicians into office, they inject the system with fresh blood. Even so, there is good reason to think that the recent thawing of the party system is far from benign. For many of the new parties do not just provide ideological alternatives within the democratic system – they challenge key rules and norms of the system itself. One of the earliest populists to rise to prominence was Austria’s Jörg Haider, a slick, charismatic politician. But the degree to which he was willing to undermine core norms of liberal democracy became apparent whenever he engaged in a sly revaluation of Austria’s Nazi past. Speaking to an audience including many former SS officers, Haider claimed that “our soldiers were not criminals; at most, they were victims”. Breaking political norms is also a speciality of Geert Wilders, the leader of the Dutch Freedom party (PVV). Islam, he has argued, is “a dangerous totalitarian ideology”. While other populists have sought to outlaw minarets or burkinis, Wilders, determined not to be outdone, has gone so far as to demand a ban on the Qur’an. By comparison to Haider and Wilders, a figure like Beppe Grillo seems far more benign at first blush, promising to take power from a self-serving and geriatric “political caste”, and to fight for a more modern and tolerant Italy. But once the Five Star Movement gained in popularity, it quickly took on an antisystem hue. Its attacks on the corruption of individual politicians slowly morphed into a radical rejection of key aspects of the political system, including parliament itself. Angerr against the political establishment was sustained ained by a growing willingness to engage in conspiracy theories or to tell outright lies es about political opponents. The reason why populists and political newcomers are so willing to challenge enge basic democratic norms is in part tactical: cal: whenever populists break such norms, s, they attract the univocal condemnation n of the political establishment. And this his of course proves that, as advertised, d, the populists really do represent nt a clean break from the status quo. o. There is thus something performaative about populists’ tendency to o break democratic norms: while e their most provocative statements ts are often considered gaffes by politiical observers, their very willingness ss to commit such gaffes is a big part rt of their appeal. But their recklesssness is no less dangerous for all of that. Once some members of the e political system are willing to break ak the rules, others have a big incentive ive to follow suit. And that, increasingly, ngly, is what they do. While some of the e most spectacular attacks on basic democratic mocratic norms have come from political newcomers, the representatives of old, established stablished parties have also become increasingly ngly willing to undermine the basic rules of the e game. At times, established parties on the left have given in to the temptation of violating democratic norms. During the Obama presidency, the executive continued to expand its role in some worrying ways, prosecuting a record number of journalists for handling classified information and using executive orders to bypass Congress in policy areas from the environment to immigration. Even so, most political scientists agree that the Republicans are now, by far, the best example for a concerted attack on democratic norms perpetrated by a nominally establishment party. Just take what happened in the wake of the 2016 gubernatorial elections in North Carolina. Roy Cooper, the Democratic candidate, won a highly contentious election by an extremely narrow margin. But instead of recognising that this gave him a mandate to rule for the next four years, Republicans rewrote his job description. North Carolina’s governor used to be responsible for appointing 1,500 gubernatorial staffers; according to a law passed by the outgoing Republican legislature, he would henceforth be permitted to appoint only 425. The governor had previously been charged with appointing up to 66 trustees to the school boards of the University of North Carolina; now, he would be permitted to appoint none. The naked partisanship of these actions is undeniable. So is their import: Republicans in North Carolina have effectively rejected the notion that we resolve political differences by free and fair elections and are willing to submit to the rule of our political rivals when we lose. Citizens are less committed to democracy than they once were; while more than two-thirds of older Americans say that it is essential to them to live in a democracy, for example, less than a third of younger Americans do. They are also more open to authoritarian alternatives; two decades ago, for example, 25% of Britons said that they liked the idea of “a strongman ruler who does not have to bother with parliament and elections”; today, 50% of them do. And these attitudes are increasingly reflected in our politics: from Britain to the US, and from Germany to Hungary, respect for dem democratic rules and norms has precipitously decline declined. No longer the only game in town, democracy is now deconsolidating. That conclusion, conclusion I know, is hard to swallow. We like to think of the world as getting better over time, and of li liberal democracy as deepening its roots with every passing year. That is why, of all my claims, the one perhaps w that has elicited the most scepticism that young people have is the idea i especially critical of demobeen e cracy. Americans and the British cracy find it especially hard to believe that young people are most disaffe ected. After all, young people heavily leaned toward Hillary hea Clinton, the candidate of contiClin nuity, in the last US elections: nu among voters below the age am of 30, 55% supported Clinton while only 37% supported w Trump. The story of Brexit T was very similar. Whereas w two-thirds of pension-age Brits tw voted to leave the European vot Union, two-thirds of millennials Unio voted for tthe status quo. But the attraction of the young to political extremes has grown grow over time. In countries like Germ Germany, the UK and the US, for example, the t number of young people who locate them themselves on the radical left or the radical right has h roughly doubled over the two decades; in Sweden, it has course of the past tw increased by more than threefold. Polling data for populist parties bears out this story as well. While young people were less likely to vote for Trump or Brexit, they are much more likely to vote for antisystem parties in many countries around the world. Marine Le Pen, for example, can count young people as some of her most fervent supporters. In this, France is hardly an exception. On the contrary, polls have found similar results in countries as varied as Austria, Greece, Finland and Hungary. One possible explanation for why a lot of young people are disenchanted with democracy is that they have little conception of what it would mean to live in a different political system. People born in the 1930s and 40s experienced the threat of fascism as children or were raised by people who actively fought it. They spent their formative years during the cold war, when fears of Soviet expansionism drove the reality of communism home to them. The rise of political newcomers is as likely to be a sign of vitality as it is of impending sickness The Guardian Weekly 06.04.18 29 Age of extremes … the post-millennium political landscape has seen the rise of politicians such as Marine Le Pen in France (left); Austria’s Jörg Haider (below left); and Donald Trump Chesnot/ Getty; Daniel Raunig/Getty; Chris Kleponis/EPA When they are asked whether it is important to them to live in a democracy, they have some sense of what the alternative might mean. Millennials in countries such as the UK or the US, by contrast, barely experienced the cold war and may not even know anybody who fought fascism. To them, the question of whether it is important to live in a democracy is more abstract. Doesn’t this imply that, if they were actually faced with a threat to their system, they would be sure to rally to its defence? The very fact that young people have little idea of what it would mean to live in a system other than their own may make them willing to engage in political experimentation. Used to seeing and criticising the (real) injustices and hypocrisies of the system in which they grew up, many of them have mistakenly started to take its positive aspects for granted. Ever since philosophers began to think about the concept of self-rule, they have put particular emphasis on civic education. From Plato to Cicero, and from Machiavelli to Rousseau, all of them were obsessed with the question of how to instil political virtue in the youth. It is hardly surprising, then, that the small band of patriots who dared establish a new republic in America also thought hard about how to convey their values to the generations that would come after them. What, George Washington asked in his Eighth Annual Address, could be more important than to pass civic values down to “the future guardians of the liberties of the country”? “A people who mean to be their own Governors,” James Madison echoed a few years later, “must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.” His fears about what would happen to America if it neglected this crucial task sound oddly apposite today: “A popular Government, without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a Prologue to a Farce or a Tragedy; or, perhaps both.” For the first centuries of the republic’s existence, this emphasis on civic education shaped the country. Parents sought to raise tomorrow’s citizens, competing with each other to see whose four-yearold could name more presidents. Schools across the US devoted ample time to teaching students “How a Bill Becomes a Law”. Civic education in all its forms stood at the core of the American project – as it also did in, say, Britain, Germany and Scandinavia. Then, amid an era of unprecedented peace and prosperity, the idea that support for self-government had to be won anew with every passing generation started to fade. Today, it is all but extinct. Many conservative thinkers have suggested a simple remedy to these complex ills. As David Brooks put the point in a recent New York Times column, the history of western civilisation should be taught in a “confidently progressive” manner: “There were certain great figures, like Socrates, Erasmus, Montesquieu and Rousseau, who helped fitfully propel the nations to higher reaches of the humanistic ideal.” Brooks is right to emphasise the importance of civic education. But he is wrong to suggest that the future of civics ivics should consist in quite so hagiographic an account of the past. For all of its flaws, there re is, after all, a kernel of truth to the critiques ritiques that parts of the academic mic left level against liberal democracy. ocracy. Even though they aspired to universality, many Enlightenment nment thinkers ended up excluding ding large groups from moral cononsideration. Even though they ey have huge accomplishments nts to their name, many of the he “great men” of history commitmmitted horrifying misdeeds. And even though the ideal of liberall democracy is very much worth defending, its current practice continues tinues to tolerate some shameful injustices. ustices. Both the history of the Enlightenment and the reality off liberal democracy are complex. Any attempt to present them in uncritical terms is bound to run counter to the basic Enlightenment nt value of veracity, and to undermine ermine the basic democratic principle ciple of striving toward political equality. quality. It is the recognition of these se facts – as well as understandable e anger at the blithe dismissal of them hem on large parts of the right – thatt makes it so tempting for many off today’s journalists and academics cs to settle into a pose of pure and persistent critique. But an exclusive focus on today’s injustices is no more intellectually honest than an unthinking exhortation of the greatness of western civilisation. To be true to its own ideals, civic education thus needs to feature both the real injustices and the great achievements of liberal democracy – and strive to make students as determined to rectify the former as they are to defend the latter. One integral part of this education should be an account of the reasons why the principles of liberal democracy retain a special appeal. Teachers and professors should spend much more time pointing out that ideological alternatives to liberal democracy, from fascism to communism, and from autocracy to theocracy, remain as repellent today as they have been in the past. And they should also be much more clear about the fact that the right response to hypocrisy is not to dismiss appealing principles that are often invoked insincerely but rather to work even harder for them to be put into practice at long last. As I argue in my book, The People vs. Democracy, we will only be able to contain the rise of populism if we ensure that the political system overcomes the very real shortcomings that have fuelled it. Ordinary people have long felt that politicians don’t listen to them when they make their decisions. They are sceptical for a reason: the rich and powerful really have had a worrying degree of influence over public policy for a very long time. The revolving door between lobbyists and legislators, the outsized role of private money in campaign finance, and the tight links between politics and industry really have undermined the degree to which the popular will steers public policy. All of this has had a large impact on the government’s ability to deliver for ordinary people. The living standards of ordinary people have, in many North American and western European countries, been stagnating for decades. And the growing frustration about a lack of material prohelped to fuel a massive culgress has, in turn, he tural backlash aga against the ideals of an equal, multi-ethnic socie society. These shortcomings shortcom can only be addressed through substantia substantial reform. Institutions need uence of money on politics and to curb the influenc find new ways to a allow citizens to have a say. Politicians need nee to recover the will and the imagination imaginatio to ensure that the fruits of globalisation globalisat and free trade are dismuch more equally. And cititributed mu zens – which is to say all of us – need to work even harder h to build an inclusive patriotism that protects vulnerable minorities against discrimination minoriti while emphasising e what unites rather than what divides us. But the project of saving Bu liberal democracy also calls liber for something more highminded . Populists have mi only been able to celebrate on such astounding successes su because the moral foundabe tions of our system are far tio more brittle than we realised. And so anybody who wh seeks to make a contribution to rev revitalising democracy must first help to rebuild it on a more stable ideological footing. Observer Yascha Mounk Mou is a lecturer on government at Ha Harvard and the author of The People v vs. Democracy: Why Our Freedom is in i Danger and How to Save It 30 The Guardian Weekly 06.04.18 Weekly review Iranian girls lift bars to competition A child’s tears ended up helping female athletes in their quest for equality, writes Brian Oliver I f you are good at weightlifting in Iran, you can become as rich as a Premier League footballer. The country boasts 300 professional weightlifters, dedicated arenas in every sizable town, and full-time officials in all 31 provinces. When an Olympic champion got married in 2006, his wedding made national television news. “Weightlifting is more popular in Iran than in any other country,” said Mohammad Barkhah, the national team’s head coach. Only football is more popular and, as with football, the sport has historically been an overwhelmingly male domain – until now. Four teenagers are set to become the first female weightlifters to represent Iran – in a competition in Uzbekistan this month. The young women have the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo in their sights, and weightlifting has become an unlikely vehicle of female empowerment. The change has come about thanks in part to a remarkable alliance between Iran and the US, and the efforts of an eight-year-old girl who won nationwide support for the women’s cause last month. Aysan Adib was in tears when security men enforced a ban on females entering the arena for a men’s international competition, the Fajr Cup, in Ahvaz, south-west Iran. Religious leaders in Khuzestan province had given permission for the ban to be relaxed but, because the signed paperwork was not presented, the security guards refused them entry. Aysan, and six-year-old Yeganeh Bandeh Khodo, thus missed a unique chance to show off their skills in a demonstration scheduled for the penultimate day of the event. The result was a passionate protest that rapidly went viral. Ursula Garza Papandrea, one of the most senior women in the sport, who headed a US delegation of three to the competition, joined the exiled girls outside. ‘I’ll wear whatever we have to wear, anywhere, if it will help to further women’s weightlifting’ The Americans were in Ahvaz to help launch Iran’s female weightlifting programme, making sporting history along the way. Garza Papandrea, a highly qualified coach who is president of USA Weightlifting and vice-president of the sport’s global governing body, the International Weightlifting Federation, became the first woman to coach a man in an Iranian competition when she helped Derrick Johnson to victory in the Fajr Cup 62kg class on the first day. Sally Van de Water, a technical official who is also state folklorist for Pennsylvania, was the first woman to referee in a men’s competition. The Americans have forged a strong relationship with Iran – “this is above politics,” said Garza Papandrea. They were feted by dignitaries everywhere they went, photographed, interviewed and plied with gifts. The exclusion of the two girls was therefore embarrassing for Iran – and big news. Power display … Aysan Adib, aged eight, prepares to lift; above, with Ursula Garza Papandrea and Sally Van de Water That news spread fast after pictures of a tearful Aysan appeared on social media. Khuzestan’s provincial governor, Gholamreza Shariati, stepped in and, a day later, led Aysan, Yeganeh and the vice-president of Iran’s women’s weightlifting programme, Reyhaneh Tarighat, into the arena. There were also women among the spectators, on the results and media desks and, to the visible disgust of one of the security men, even in the VIP seats. Aysan and Yeganeh gave their performance a day late, when the men had finished. As the crowd cheered they became the first female weightlifters to appear on Iranian television, live on state-owned Channel 3, after which they were surrounded by media men and – another first – women. The story made the front page of the national daily newspaper Hamshahri, which has nearly a million readers. A call to “let them in” went up as the issue of women in sport became a hot topic in the Iranian media. Shahrokh Shahnazi, the secretary general of Iran’s Olympic committee, said the body would be supporting the women and could one day bid to host the weightlifting world championships, which have not been held in Iran in more than half a century. The brains behind the women’s programme is Ali Moradi, the influential president of the Iranian weightlifting federation. He became convinced of the need for change at the Rio Olympics as he watched a teenager in a hijab, Sara Ahmed, become the first Egyptian woman to win an Olympic weightlifting medal. “We cannot make any progress without the support of men,” said Tarighat, who has a vision that the female contingent will become “even better than the men’s team”. Big challenges remain. Women’s sport is barely ever shown on television in Iran, and women are forbidden to watch men compete, may not perform without a hijab, and their kit must conform to Islamic dress code. A newly designed weightlifting costume was sent to the authorities earlier this month: a verdict is due soon. Iran’s top female footballer, Niloufar Ardalan, was unable to play international matches in 2015 when her husband would not give the approval she needed, under Islamic law, to travel outside Iran. She contacted Garza Papandrea to thank her for her support in weightlifting, and said she wished somebody would do the same in football. “There are issues in sport and gender that are experienced only in Iran,” said Bahman Baktiari, an American-Iranian academic who is executive director of the International Foundation for Civil Society. He added: “Islamic restrictions take away the competitiveness of sport in Iran.” Garza Papandrea, who lecture s in political science in Austin, Texas, said she had been blown away by the reaction: “Of all the many women’s projects I have supported over the years, this one is the most significant.” She and Van de Water wore headscarves for their week in Ahvaz. “I’ll wear whatever we have to wear, anywhere, if it will help to further women’s weightlifting – and I don’t think that is true of all the feminists in our sport,” she said. “We’re talking about developing a long-term relationship with Iran. If we can help Iranian women to compete internationally, of course we want to help. I’m so proud to see what is happening here.” Observer The Guardian Weekly 06.04.18 31 Weekly review Good riddance, Guardian Outgoing Beijing correspondent Tom Phillips reflects on the trials of reporting under surveillance “ Y ou don’t work out, do you?” inquired one of the officers who had summoned me to my hotel lobby in China’s pre-eminent police state. We had only checked in 10 minutes earlier and, after an exhausting week reporting along Xinjiang’s spectacular high-altitude border with Pakistan, I was desperate for a hot shower and a snooze. But “Mike” and his partner “Max” – two Uighur police officers tasked with thwarting the slightest hint of hostile foreign journalism in this repressive region of western China – were insistent. Could I pop down for a chat? Over afternoon tea in the lobby of Kashgar’s Radisson Blu, we pondered my spindly, gymdeprived physique and Mike’s love of Flamenco music and his impeccable American English. White armoured personnel carriers trundled past the hotel’s fortified entrance and, finally, we came to the point. Without the express permission of local authorities, reporting was strictly forbidden in these troubled parts, Mike informed me. Not only did I lack biceps, it seemed, but I lacked that too. That warning delivered, we ended our meeting with forced smiles and needlessly firm handshakes. “You are being watched,” one passerby later whispered into my ear after observing my bizarre hotel lobby date with Mike and Max. “Every call you make. Every place you go.” Covering China’s slide back towards one-man rule has been an unnerving and surreal mission. Since I touched down here in the summer of 2012 the political climate has soured dramatically with the rise of Xi Jinping, a strongman leader so powerful some call him the “chairman of everything”. So too has the experience of reporting here, particularly for those of us tasked with documenting the human cost of China’s authoritarian tack. Kicking off his second term last October with a speech from which foreign “troublemakers” including the Guardian, the New York Times and the BBC were barred, Xi encouraged reporters to roam far and wide across China: “It is better to see once than to hear a hundred times.” In reality, many correspondents face increasing enmity and intimidation, although conditions remain far freer than during the darkest periods of contemporary Chinese history when even speaking to locals was impossible. The poisonous atmosphere was obvious in July 2015 when I attempted to visit the Beijing home of Xu Yonghai, an underground preacher and human rights activist, for a Guardian project on the persecution of Christians around the world. Days earlier, security forces had launched a now notorious “war on law” crackdown on human rights lawyers, rounding up hundreds of attorneys and activists, some of whom have yet to emerge from secret detention and have, supporters claim, been brutally tortured. Within seconds of arriving outside the pastor’s building, we were intercepted by agents and ordered into a cramped shed equipped with CCTV equipment that was apparently being used to keep tabs on Xu. A few days later, after Xu had been forced to travel to the Guardian’s bureau to be interviewed, I described the experience in an email to Beijing’s Foreign Correspondents’ Club, which monitors and compiles increasingly bleak annual reports on reporting conditions. “We were held in a small room by three men – one a uniformed cop, the other two in civilian clothes – with a large stick on the table beside us. It was unpleasant,” I wrote, explaining how we had eventually been freed after I called China’s foreign ministry and asked them to intervene. “The man in police uniform at one point grinned at me and said: ‘You know as well as I do what is going on here’.” As the weeks and months went by, and Xi’s crackdown intensified, sucking in academics, novelists, feminists, foreign activists and even booksellers from Hong Kong, it was indeed becoming more and more obvious what was going on – and it was not a pretty sight. Last August we travelled to Tanmen, a South China Sea fishing community Xi had visited on one of his first presidential visits. Our plan was to interview locals who had met China’s leader four years earlier, and as we walked into the office of Ding Zhile, the head of Tanmen’s fisherman’s association and one of Xi’s hosts, we seemed to Centre stage … Chinese leader Xi Jinping speaks at the Communist party conference; below, Tom Phillips’s fraught encounter with Mike and Max Kevin Frayer/Getty have the perfect guy. A copy of one of Xi’s now numerous books, The Governance of China, occupied pride of place on Ding’s desk. A photograph of Xi standing just metres from where we now stood hung just inside the door. Ding, however, was in no mood to talk. “The way I see things, the Guardian is not a good newspaper,” he scowled. Could he spare just five minutes to describe his afternoon with Chairman Xi? Not a chance. “Please put yourself in my shoes,” Ding grumbled, pointing to the door. Ding’s dislike of the Guardian’s coverage of Xi’s China has, I sense, been shared by Chinese authorities who have complained repeatedly of the “bad atmosphere” my stories have created. In my six years here, state media, from whom Xi has demanded “absolute loyalty”, have called me a reckless gossip fiend, an unscientific barbarian, an arrogant rumour-monger and, most recently, a sharply voiced up-to-no-good attacker. Those insults pale into insignificance compared with the growing restrictions and threats faced by Chinese journalists, the subject of one of the most dispiriting reports of my time in Beijing. But they do, I think, shed some light on the dramatic and troubling changes now sweeping the world’s wealthiest and most powerful authoritarian nation and on the Communist party’s deep unease and anger at the outsiders attempting to chronicle them. When I informed my government handler I had been appointed the Guardian’s Latin America correspondent and would soon be moving to Mexico City, he offered his congratulations. “That’s a ... mysterious land,” he said. “Remote and far!” Alas, when it comes to this unscientific barbarian, I suspect even Mexico may not be far enough. 32 The Guardian Weekly 06.04.18 Discovery Why microbes may be key to our health Conditions from obesity to anxiety appear to be linked to the microbes inside us, says Nicola Davis What are microbiomes? Inside and out, our bodies harbour a huge array of micro-organisms. While bacteria are the biggest players, we also host single-celled organisms known as archaea, as well as fungi, viruses and other microbes – including viruses that attack bacteria. Together these are dubbed the human microbiota. Your body’s microbiome is all the genes your microbiota contains, however colloquially the two terms are often used interchangeably. have cautioned parents against attempting to seed babies born by c-section with vaginal bacteria. Our gut microbiome changes quickly over our first year or two, shaped by microbes in breast milk, the environment and other factors, and stabilises by the time we are about three years old. But our environment, our long-term diet, stress and the drugs we take, such as antibiotics, continue to play a role as we age, meaning our microbiome can change throughout our life. Hang on, aren’t microbes meant to be dangerous? It’s a bit of a spectrum: some are pathogens, but others only become harmful if they get in the wrong place or boom in number, and some are very useful to the body – such as by helping to break down the array of sugars found in human breast milk. “These sugars are not broken down by the infant,” said Prof John Cryan, a neuropharmacologist and microbiome expert from University College Cork. Instead, microbes in the baby’s gut do the job. Other key roles of our microbes include programming the immune system, providing nutrients for our cells and preventing colonisation by harmful bacteria and viruses. It seems like microbes are everywhere – how many are we talking about? The figure that has been bandied out since the 1970s is that microbes outnumber our own cells by about 10 to one. But a study from 2016 suggests that in fact microbial cells and human cells coexist in somewhere around a 1.3 to one ratio – suggesting they only slightly outnumber our own cells, although that doesn’t count viruses and viral particles. Where do my gut microbes come from? Do I just pick them up from my surroundings? Partly. But it is more complicated than that. “It is still a little bit controversial but for the most part it is thought that we are sterile when we are in utero, and as we are being born, as we emerge through the birth canal from our mums, we get this handover bacteria,” said Cryan. “It is like a gulp at birth. Those bacteria are really important for starting the whole process.” Cryan notes that during pregnancy a mother’s microbiome shifts, apparently to an optimum mix for offspring. “If you are not born by vaginal delivery, but are born by [caesarean] section, things start off being different,” he said. Indeed, studies have suggested that these differences could be one of the reasons why babies born by caesarean section have a higher risk of conditions including asthma and type yp 1 diabetes. That said,, doctors Does this mean I am not human? Some say we should be seen as a holobiont, a term that reflects the intimate, co-dependent relationship humans have with microbes. “I tell this joke that the next time someone goes to the bathroom and they get rid of some of their microbes they are becoming more human,” said Cryan. But Ellen Clarke, a philosopher of biology at the University of Leeds, is not convinced. “It all depends on what you mean by ‘human’ in the first place,” she said. “If you think that a human is a collection of cells that all share copies of the same chromosomes, then it is shocking to be told that our bodies contain cells with bacterial DNA.” But as Clarke points out, human cells don’t just contain chromosomes, but also carry DNA within our cellular powerhouses, mitochondria, which are evolutionary descendants of bacteria. Our genome also contains stretches of genetic material called transposons that, at least in some cases, are thought to have been introduced long ago by viruses. “I prefer to define a human in evolutionary terms, and if we do this then mitochondria are parts of a human, and so are transposons, but gut microbes are not, and neither are prosthetic limbs nor unborn foetuses,” said Clarke, pointing out that microbes can escape the body and live without us. Are microbes the same in my gut as on my skin? No, different parts of the body – the skin, vagina, gut – all have very different, distinct communities of microbes. While gut microbes have gained a lot of attention, microbes elsewhere are also important: in recent studies, scientists have found that bacteria commonly found on the skin might help to protect against skin cancer. Microbiomes also differ from person to person. “When you look at the overall active microbiomes between two healthy people, even if they are living in the same city, you see a tremendous amount of disagreement in their microbiome,” said Rob Knight, professor of paediatrics, computer science and engineering at the University of California San Diego and an expert on the human microbiome. Why has the microbiome become such a hot topic? Over recent years the gut microbiome in particular has been linked to a plethora of diseases and conditions, from diabetes to autism and anxiety to obesity. The gut microbiome has also been linked to how individuals respond to certain drugs, including how cancer patients respond to chemotherapy, and it has even, tentatively, been suggested that it could be linked with how well we sleep. Illustrations by Pete Gamlen The Guardian Weekly 06.04.18 33 Is it that particular microbes are important, or is it about the microbial community as a whole? This is the knotty issue. In some experiments, particular strains of bacteria have been linked to particular effects or conditions, while others have shown that the diversity of the microbiome, or relative abundances of species, is important. “It is a bit like a rainforest: you might have a very nice fern that is very happy but if that is the only thing in your rainforest and you don’t have a diversity it is not going to be good [for the] soil,” said Tim Spector, professor of genetic epidemiology at King’s College London. When it comes to the microbiome, “it’s having the right community of bacteria that are working together and together producing the right chemicals for your body.” So might microbes be affecting our weight, or even our brains? When it comes to obesity, there are several ways gut microbes might influence matters, including through appetite, production of gases, efficiency of using food, and impact on the immune system and inflammation. When it comes to affecting mood, there are also several mechanisms. One is via the vagus nerve, a two-way highway that runs from our brain to various organs in the body, including the gut. With the microbiome linked to so many conditions, does tinkering with it promise a whole range of new treatments? It is worth being cautious: many studies show associations rather than cause and effect, and some are based only on studies in germ-free mice and have not been explored in humans. Even in mice things aren’t straightforward – effects are not always the same for both sexes and can differ for different strains of mice. Do recent discoveries actually affect patients? Up to a point. The field has already led to advances in the treatment of C difficile – an infection that causes serious diarrhoea and can prove deadly. Patients can now receive faecal transplants from a donor with a healthy microbiome to “reset” their inner community – a procedure that has been shown to rapidly cure the condition. Some researchers, including Cryan, believe microbiome research could lead to the development of new mental health therapies. Meanwhile, a range of studies have raised the importance of other aspects of our microbiome, including that the vaginal microbiome is important in whether an HIV-prevention drug applied to the vagina is effective. Why do we think the microbiome is linked to all these conditions? While some links have come from comparing the microbiomes of different groups of people, such as those with a particular disease compared with healthy individuals, a big player in microbiome research is the germ-free mouse. This organism is raised in a sterile environment and can then be exposed to particular microbes, or groups of microbes, to explore their impact. Such studies have been key in raising possible links between the gut microbiome and numerous aspects of our health, including mood and obesity. What can I do to keep my microbiome healthy? This is where prebiotics and probiotics come in: the former are substances, such as the fibre inulin, on which useful microbes can thrive, while the latter are microbes themselves that are thought to be beneficial for health, such as the Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium species. While prebiotics and probiotics can be taken as supplements, whether you should shell out for them is another matter: there is little advice on which prebiotics or probiotics people should consume for a particular situation. What next? The spotlight is on unpicking the mechanisms by which microbes are linked to human health. Among the conundrums is how and why the different strains of bacteria have different effects, while researchers are also developing studies to explore how the microbiome influences our response to food, and how different diets can tweak the microbiome. There is also a need to take more of the exciting findings from mouse studies and probe them in humans. MRSA-busting antibiotic raises medical hopes Ian Sample The discovery of a new class of antibiotics that can wipe out persistent infections of the hospital superbug MRSA has raised fresh hopes for progress in the fight against antimicrobial resistance. Health officials around the world have seen a steady rise in bacterial infections that no longer respond to routine antibiotics. With resistance emerging faster than new drugs can be developed, the World Health Organization has called for urgent action to combat the problem. In the latest research, US scientists focused on a group of recurrent infections, which are driven by bacteria that evade antibiotics by lying dormant in the body. The infections tend to affect people with medical implants, or with particular conditions such as cystic fibrosis. Led by a team at Rhode Island Hospital, scientists tested the effects of 82,000 lab-made molecules on roundworms infected with MRSA, or methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. From the 185 compounds that showed some effect, they selected two of the most promising. Both belonged to a family of molecules known as retinoids. The tests, combined with computer modelling, showed that the compounds killed not only normal MRSA cells, but dormant, or “persister”, cells too. There was, however, a downside. The drugs were not effective against an entire group of harmful bacteria for which new antibiotics are badly needed. Responsible for urinary tract infections, stomach bugs, gonorrhoea, pneumonia and the plague, among other diseases, these include Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Neisseria gonorrhoeae, Klebsiella pneumoniae and Yersinia pestis. However, the drugs still hold promise for treating persistent MRSA infections. Writing in the journal Nature, the scientists describe how they tweaked one of the retinoid compounds to make it less toxic, and then injected it into a mouse with a treatmentresistant MRSA infection. The drug cleared the infection without any apparent side-effects. The rise of drug-resistant infections is a direct consequence of evolution as some of the bacteria the drugs are meant to kill may survive because they have chance mutations that protect them. Over generations, these mutations become more dominant and the bacteria more resistant. To make matters worse, bacteria of different species can swap protective genes with one another. To combat antibiotic resistance, doctors and farmers have been urged to use antibiotics far more sparingly than in the past, but last week separate research revealed that antibiotic use worldwide has increased by more than 65% since 2000. In an article accompanying lead scientist Eleftherios Mylonakis’s study, Julian Hurdle and Aditi Deshpande – who examine antibiotic resistance at Texas A&M Health Science Center in Houston – wrote that, in an era when the development of antibiotics is struggling to keep pace with the spread of resistant bacteria, the identification of the drugs “could help researchers to win victories in the long fight against bacterial infectious diseases”. 34 The Guardian Weekly 06.04.18 Books From satanic mills to an era of shared Ian Jack is engrossed by the stories of social change linked to almost 300 years of factories Behemoth: A History of the Factory and the Making of the Modern World by Joshua B Freeman Norton, 448pp The demise of the factory in the western world ranks high among the explanations for Brexit and Donald Trump. With it came the geographic isolation of the old factory lands from national prosperity, and the alienation of the former factory classes from the mainstream of British and American life. Industrial towns and cities grew ruinous – far too grand for the little business they contained. People were poorer and felt that governments didn’t care. The US lost roughly 5m manufacturing jobs between 2000 and 2016, while the UK lost 619,000 from 2006 to 2016 – adding in each country to the millions that had vanished in the previous three or four decades. An idea of the future also disappeared. These were regarded as “good jobs”: well paid (when they were skilled), secure, with regular hours, subsidised canteens and paid holidays. “The unionised giant factory helped create what many Americans look back at as a golden era of shared prosperity,” writes Joshua B Freeman of a recent time “when children did better than their parents and expected their children to do better than themselves.” That factories could be sites of optimism sits uneasily with our ideas of the Dickensian 19th century and Blake’s satanic mills. To Engels, factory work was “nothing less than torture of the severest kind … in the service of a machine that never stops”. In Das Kapital, Marx wrote that while in handicrafts “the workman makes use of a tool, the factory makes use of him”. And yet ever since the Lombe brothers opened their silk mill in Derby in 1721, a brighter view of the factory has always persisted. The Derby mill was probably the first successful prototype, with a square, prison-like appearance that marked many thousands of its successors, buildings that in Freeman’s definition of a factory contained “a large workforce engaged in coordinated production using powered machinery”. Daniel Defoe saw this mill as a modern marvel, reacting to a visit there with a great explosion of facts (the machinery had 26,586 wheels and could produce 318,504,960 yards of silk thread every 24 hours), starting a tradition of awe-inspiring numbers that continues to this day in China, where it can take an hour to walk from one side of a factory to the other, and where, in 2016, at peaks of production, 350,000 workers were employed to make iPhones in a factory complex in Zhengzhou. After Defoe came a long line of factory tourists, including Anthony Trollope who noticed that visitors like himself came to see “the triumphant perfection of British mechanism” rather than the exhausted children who worked nearby. But the truth was that factories produced a kind of dualism – a love-hate relationship – in the public mind. As Freeman points out, Marx’s critique of the generality of capitalism had specific roots in the booming textile factories of northern England, where the exploitation of workers outraged him. Other writers, however, saw well-regulated factories as agents of social progress. It was the factory worker, after all, who drew the concern of politicians – parliament passed five Factory Acts between 1802 and 1831 – while the often harsher conditions of agricultural labourers, domestic servants and coal miners went ignored. Factories were easier places to control and improve – they concentrated employment in a single building, where workers had to obey almost military standards of discipline – and so, Freeman writes, they became the vehicle “for not only visions of ever-greater productivity and material bounty but also for the notion that a more humane version of the economic system soon to be dubbed capitalism was possible”. Freeman has written a superb account of how the material world in his phrase became “factory made”. It spans the factory’s social, cultural, economic and political effects, as well as its technical progress. Almost every page contains a memorable fact or an intriguing thought and, by treating factories as a global phenomenon, Freeman has freed them from the cliches of the purely national narrative. Women have a prominent place in this story, most notably after the factory crossed the Atlantic to New England, where cotton mills were set up on riverbanks that were often far from any large settlement. Separated from urban temptation and powered by water – coal deposits were inconveniently located – until after the civil war, they enjoyed a more wholesome reputation than their smoky British ancestors. Like British textile factories, these factories depended on female labour to operate the machinery. However, unlike the typical Lancashire factory girl, the American workforce tended to be the literate daughters of farmers who returned to the homestead during downturns in trade rather than staying in their factory lodgings and making trouble; and thereby, as Freeman writes, “avoiding the discontent and disorder that came in England with the creation of a permanent proletariat”. Paternalistic mill owners did their best to create an improving atmosphere; the Lowell mills in Massachusetts even published a magazine of poetry and fiction for its workers. But what did more to change the lives of the mill women was money – that and an interval of self-discovery between daughterhood and wifehood. “The mills … provided an escape from families, rural life, boredom and isolation, a chance to experience a new, more cosmopolitan world of The Guardian Weekly 06.04.18 35 prosperity Dirty cold-war secret brought into the light The Killing Season: A History of the Indonesian Massacres 1965-66 by Geoffrey Robinson Princeton, 456pp The Army and the Indonesian Genocide: Mechanics of Mass Murder by Jess Melvin Routledge, 322pp Julia Lovell Enduring love and hate … attitudes to factories have been mixed since the first examples opened three centuries ago Chronicle/Alamy independent living, consumer goods and intense sociability,” Freeman writes, quoting a woman who remembered how a worker’s first wages could effect an enormous transformation: from “depressed, modest, mincing” girls into women who looked you in the face and “sang blithely among their looms”. This was the factory effect at its gentlest. As the 19th century wore on, it showed its more brutal side, when the magnates such as Andrew Carnegie and Henry Clay Frick refused to improve the hellish conditions of their steel mills and broke up strikes ruthlessly and brutally. Freeman argues that mainstream ideology is mistaken when it associates the achievements of the industrial revolution with individual liberty and the free market. Factories often did best in the opposite conditions, growing up in a climate of denied political rights. If more examples are needed to support Freeman’s argument, look no further than China’s role as factory to the world. Taylorism, Fordism, fascism: Freeman shows how our love-hate relationship with the factory blossomed once again in the 1920s and 30s – the production line hell of Chaplin’s Modern Times on the one hand and Diego Rivera’s heroic Detroit murals on the other. The author’s sympathy, insight and exemplary anecdotes make this a marvellous book. Joshua Oppenheimer’s 2012 documentary The Act of Killing follows a cabal of ageing hoodlums around the city of Medan, in north-west Indonesia. Between 1965 and 1966, they had enthusiastically joined militias that garrotted, stabbed and mutilated to death at least half a million suspected leftists. Almost half a century later, they bragged about their exploits to Oppenheimer. This polemically cinematic film – the first of two he made about the massacres – has transformed awareness of these events in the west and galvanised debate within Indonesia. Oppenheimer felt, as he amassed the film’s footage, as if he had “wandered into Germany 40 years after the Holocaust, only to find the Nazis still in power”. His films have raised consciousness of the killings, but do not address their historical context. Only a few brief on-screen paragraphs sketch the key events: the imposition of military dictatorship in late 1965, the crackdown on the Indonesian left, the murder of perhaps as many as a million “communists” by the army and civilian death squads, the killers’ enjoyment of impunity in Indonesia since. Two new books, one by Geoffrey Robinson and the other by Jess Melvin, now fill out this history. Before he became a history professor, Robinson was Amnesty International’s head of research for Indonesia, and his book skilfully combines a human rights advocate’s anger with academic rigour. He adjudicates carefully between divergent interpretations of one of the most confusing events of the cold war: the alleged coup of 1 October 1965, in which six Indonesian generals were kidnapped and killed under mysterious circumstances. General Suharto – the second president, architect of the military crackdown of 1965-66 and of the dictatorial New Order that ruled Indonesia between 1966 and 1998 – accused the Indonesian Communist party of orchestrating the attempted coup and used this allegation to justify exterminating the Communists. Though the scope of her book – which focuses on Aceh in north Sumatra – is narrower than Robinson’s, Melvin makes an essential point about the violence. Suharto’s New Order government taught Indonesians that the killings were a “spontaneous” uprising “by the people”. Through hard work and a stroke of archival luck (a box of documents that the Indonesian intelligence agency carelessly gave her), Melvin shatters Suharto’s propaganda story. The “Indonesian genocide files”, as she calls the archive, confirm a narrative of army culpability. Robinson agrees that “without the army’s logistical and organisational leadership … the mass killings could not have happened”. But he is also concerned with wider culpability and points the finger particularly at the US and UK governments which – for reasons of cold war realpolitik – facilitated the crackdown. Robinson and Melvin demolish Indonesian state orthodoxy on the country’s modern history. But these two books have an importance beyond Indonesian studies. They revise our definition of genocide, draw conclusions about the close links between militarism and mass violence, and remind us forcefully of the nefarious interventions of western powers at cold war turning points. Urban anatomy class A Walk Through Paris by Eric Hazan, translated by David Fernbach Verso, 208pp Lauren Elkin Eric Hazan’s politically engaged books on Paris reveal not a museum city but a loud, lively, chaotic metropolis, relevant and revolutionary even in the 21st century. France’s capital is, like any other big city, a place with a radical spread of haves and have nots. What it looks like now, the nature of its living history and how it is under threat from gentrification and other market forces are the subjects of Hazan’s study, which follows a walk across Paris from south to north, along “the Paris meridian”. In a review of Hazan’s essential and encyclopedic The Invention of Paris, published in 2002, Julian Barnes described the author as a “bookish psycho geographer, rescuing historian and committed Benjaminic flâneur; he is memory, conscience and scourge”. But where The Invention of Paris stayed within the périphérique that contains the 20 arrondissements of Paris, this book begins and ends in the banlieue, or suburbs, on a long walk from one community bookshop in Ivry in the south to another in Saint-Denis in the north. Though he walks it end to end, even through the very heart of the historic city, Hazan manages to remain in predominantly working-class areas. As he wrote in his 2011 Paris Sous Tension (Paris Under Stress), the revolutionary quality of Paris is unchanged; the city remains “the great field of battle of the civil war in France between the aristocrats and sans-culottes – no matter what we may call them today”. What does the working class city look like today? The cafes and restaurants are not part of chains, but places where you can chat with the owner. The Métro stations are dirty and dilapidated; there are a lot of police and few ATMs. Shops where you can wire money are plentiful, as are cheap supermarkets. Above all, the people you see come from the many corners of the Earth: “The cafes are Kabyle, the tabacs are Chinese, and the PMU betting shops always packed. On Wednesdays, groups of children set out on excursions, and whites are a minority in their multicoloured ranks.” The people, Hazan concludes, “have not lost the battle of Paris.” Though he provides a wonderful array of primary sources describing the various uprisings the city has seen, Hazan’s other points of reference are overwhelmingly male Continued on page 36 → 36 The Guardian Weekly 06.04.18 Books Middle-aged anger ← Continued from page 35 (and white). He is aware of it: “Breton, Benjamin, Nerval, Balzac, Chateaubriand – perhaps my references lack variety. But there is nothing I can do about it, this is my paper family, as good as any other.” This kind of excuse doesn’t fit with his politics, which are otherwise devoted to the downtrodden and the underdog. Hazan doesn’t seem to realise that he is replicating a form of power that makes those authors the go-to people when writing about Paris, and the bourgeois male viewpoint on the city the dominant one. The best moments in this book are those of personal writing, in which Hazan remembers when he worked as a cardiovascular surgeon. This backstory lends his walk a delightful specificity. Perhaps this scientific background explains why this is not a lyrical walk: Hazan rarely stops to analyse or ruminate. He is stacking up observations. An ardent student of the anatomy of the city, Hazan is a keen observer with a remarkable memory: despite his limitations, he has written an unmissable account of Paris’s unique and defiant physiognomy. Dead Men’s Trousers by Irvine Welsh Jonathan Cape, 432pp Anthony Cummins Observer Fighting spirit A Hero Born: Legends of the Condor Heroes, Volume 1 by Jin Yong, translated by Anna Holmwood MacLehose, 416pp Marcel Theroux Jin Yong is an unfamiliar name in the English-speaking world but a superstar in the Chinese-speaking one. Since his first novels were published in serial form in Hong Kong during the 1950s, Jin Yong – the pen name of Louis Cha Leung-yung – has become the most widely read Chinese writer alive. His books have been adapted into TV series, films and video games, and his dense, immersive world inspires the kind of adoration bestowed on those created by writers like western worldbuilders such as JRR Tolkien, JK Rowling and George RR Martin. Now 94, Jin is the most famous literary exponent of the wuxia genre, the world of kung fu chivalry we know through Chinese martial arts movies. A Hero Born is the first book of Jin’s 12-volume epic Legends of the Condor Heroes. Set in 13th-century China, this novel follows the fortunes of its hero, Guo Jing, from birth to adolescence. It begins with Guo in utero, when his father is murdered by forces loyal to the occupying Jin army and his pregnant mother flees to Mongolia. Guo grows up among Genghis Khan’s nomadic warriors, while the Seven Heroes of the South, who have sworn an oath to train him in martial arts, scour the country to find him. A plot summary barely conveys the extraordinary energy of this book. It blends real and fictional characters, teems with incident – reversals, unexpected meetings, betrayals, cliffhangers – and, most of all, dwells for page after page on lovingly described combat. To paraphrase Miss Jean Brodie: for those of us who like this sort of thing, this is the sort of thing we like. As martial artists square off, evocatively named strikes are responded to with equally evocatively named parries: Search the Sea, Behead the Dragon; Seize the Basket by the Handle; and, only to be used in extremis, the desperation move: Sword of Mutual Demise. The novel gives us the Immersive world … Jin Yong’s books have made him the most widely read Chinese writer alive history of strange martial techniques, assesses the merits of different schools of kung fu, and describes the mysterious internal alchemy that gives rise to the most devastating physical force. Guo is naive and not particularly gifted – a wink, perhaps, at the idea of the uncarved block in the Tao Te Ching: the natural object of unlimited potential. But his innocent goodheartedness – another Taoist ideal – makes him a captivating hero. He’s surrounded by a galaxy of colourful minor characters. These include Ke Zhen’e, a blind martial artist who shoots his signature weapon – iron devilnuts – by orienting himself according to directions from the I Ching; Lotus Huang, a brilliant young female fighter travelling the country in disguise, and a terrifying female villain called Twice Foul Dark Wind, who is the greatest exponent of Nine Yin Skeleton Claw kung fu, a martial discipline that is nastier than it sounds. Everybody is kung fu fighting, but the violence is cartoonish rather than graphic and there is a sense – as with Rowling and Tolkien – that despite the strangeness of the world, we are guided by a compassionate writer whose heart is in the right place. Jin Yong is not the first wuxia writer: its roots go back centuries. Writing his books, he has drawn on Chinese history and also on the examples of less celebrated writers, such as the novelist and martial artist Xiang Kairan. Fortified by this tradition and written with unselfconscious energy, A Hero Born channels mythic archetypes that resonate across cultures As I read Anna Holmwood’s vibrant translation – gripped by the unashamed narrative zest and primary-coloured fairytale world – I felt a slight regret that I was coming to this novel in my fifth decade. My one quibble is that as the heroes swept back and forth across China and the Mongolian steppe, this reader’s pleasure would have been greatly enhanced by a map. Irvine Welsh’s style is so pulpy now that it’s hard to imagine Booker prize judges losing time arguing over his sexual politics, as they are said to have done before ruling out his 1993 debut, Trainspotting, for the misogyny of its heroin-addicted protagonist, Renton, and his fellow Edinburgh low-lifes, Begbie, Sick Boy and Spud. Welsh has since softened the cynicism of that novel for preachier, more farcical capers that take care to turn the tables on their unreconstructed male leads (while still relying on them for tang). Somewhere along the way, though, the prose has grown uneven: much of Dead Men’s Trousers – a fifth and apparently last hurrah for Renton and company, now in middle age – unfolds in the kind of airportthriller gush (champagne is a “bubbling elixir”; people don’t wear clothes but “sport” them) that’s now nearly as much a Welsh hallmark as his X-rated Scots (“Ah fuckin hate the way some American cunts call lassies cunts. Fuckin offensive, that shite”). Set in the run-in to the Brexit vote, the plot turns on the guilt of Renton, now a jet-setting DJ promoter, over cash he once stole from Begbie – who for his part has put thug life behind him to become a celebrated sculptor, albeit one prone to deadly rage if his doting wife and daughters aren’t around to witness it (as shown in 2016’s The Blade Artist). Sick Boy, meanwhile, has a new app-accessible escort agency to front his exploitation of underage girls; and Spud, dirt-poor, is ready to accept a job offer that involves smuggling a kidney to Germany via Istanbul. The scene where he winds up in a disused warehouse being operated on by Sick Boy, with only a YouTube tutorial for instruction – running on a laptop that’s low on power, with no charger – is one of several impressively hairy set pieces (others variously involve a samurai sword, an assault rifle and a sex tape unveiled over Christmas lunch). Yet, overall, jeopardy fizzles out as Welsh – a little in love with his own voice – swamps the action with rants about “neoliberal planet-rapists” and “monarchy-worshipping paedophile bastards”; more entertaining, at least, than gripes about longhaul flight – Welsh now lives in Miami – and online banking. Still, the grumpy-old-raver vibe does produce probably the book’s most blackly funny exchange, when Sick Boy – a pimp, remember – is aghast that Renton, whose star client wants to be the next David Guetta, should be “coining it in fae they fucking shit EDM DJs”. Like a superhero franchise, the Trainspotting universe gets a new origin story with every reboot. The tweak in Dead Men’s Trousers implies that Trainspotting was only published after Renton stole the manuscript from Spud and passed it off as his own. This nicely muddies Renton’s claim to be a reformed character – but only at the time-warping expense of having us believe that the original book was published in 2017 (and not 1993). It’s ultimately a mark of Welsh’s magic in having created such memorable characters in the first place that they survive this cartoonish revision. 38 The Guardian Weekly 06.04.18 Culture Musical-theatre geniuses next door Frozen writers Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez remain humble, finds Alexis Soloski A little while before Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez collected their second shared Oscar, they went skiing. You might think the man who co-wrote Let It Go for the animated smash hit Frozen would know his way around some fresh powder. But this was Lopez’s first time staring down a snowy mountain. According to his wife, the mountain won. “He hated it,” she says. “I didn’t hate it,” he protests. “I’m just scared of heights.” One of the most acclaimed musical theatre artists of our time, Lopez earned a couple of Emmys, a Grammy, an Oscar and three Tonys by the age of 39, becoming the youngest person to achieve “EGOT” status. When the Lopezes won the Oscar for Remember Me from Pixar’s Coco, about a Mexican boy stuck in the Land of the Dead, he became the only person to rank as a double EGOT. Anderson-Lopez, who co-wrote the 2016 Broadway musical In Transit, has two Oscars and two Grammys. So she isn’t doing so badly herself. I meet the Lopezes, both round-cheeked brunettes, at an Italian restaurant in New York, a few blocks from where the Broadway musical version of Frozen has begun previews. It includes the seven and a half songs they wrote for the 2013 animated film (Reindeers Are Better Than People is the half) and 12 new ones for the stage version. “Everything that was a closeup or action scene needed to become a song,” Lopez says. Though they’d written and discarded 26 extra songs while creating the movie, only eight bars of a hand-clap chant have been salvaged from all that. Frozen has a rumoured budget of $50m. A lot is riding on its cold shoulders. But its composers are warm, goofy and unfailingly unpretentious. (At the Oscars, Anderson-Lopez strode glamorously to the podium and then pulled an acceptance speech out of her bra.) They’re the board game-playing, movieloving, Star Wars-obsessed musical theatre geniuses next door. When they arrive for lunch looking uncharacteristically glitzy – a suede coat for him, a red dress and lavish mascara for her – AndersonLopez immediately apologises. They’ve just come from a photo shoot, she explains. Asked about his awards, Lopez doesn’t reply in the first person. “We just don’t want to play it up,” he says. “It’s not a thing that is very meaningful to us.” If he deserves an award, he says, it’s for choosing his collaborators wisely. “There’s not one award that I won alone.” So yes, the humility is genuine. So is the nerdiness. Name another big-league songwriting pair who would have dreamed up a line like, “My soul is spiralling in frozen fractals all around.” But the modesty masks remarkable craft and frank subversion. Avenue Q, which Lopez composed with Jeff Marx, and Book of Mormon, written with Trey Parker and Matt Stone, are buoyant, mischievous works. One features puppet sex and had audiences humming Everyone’s a Little Bit Racist and The Internet Is for Porn. The other includes a number with a multilingual chorus of “Fuck you God!” (The “Fuck you in Dancing fractals … Frozen on stage; below, the Lopezes collect their Oscars Deen van Meer the eye!” lyric is an uncredited Anderson-Lopez contribution.) Even Frozen, arguably less sacrilegious, disrupts the Disney formula with a primary relationship that is between two sisters, rather than between a princess and whatever man happens to pass by. The Lopezes met years ago in the BMI (Broadcast Music Inc) workshop for budding musical theatre writers. He was a few years ahead of her. One day she saw him put on a wig and sing like a girl, and she knew she wanted to marry him. And she hoped he wasn’t gay. Because they write together and live together – in a handsome Brooklyn limestone with their two school-age daughters – they work almost all the time. They’ve had breakthrough moments in diners, atop picnic tables, on the subway. If they some day write a chart-topper about ravioli and iced tea, know that it all began right here. “We’re always pretending and playing together,” she says. “Sometimes I’m like, ‘I just got an idea!’ and that’s when Bobby is like, ‘No. Tell me tomorrow.’” “I love going to sleep and if I start to think about a writing problem right before bed, then I have to stay awake all night,” he explains. “So sometimes I feel like I’m playing a little bit of defence in our marriage.” They’ve both learned to keep down work talk around their daughters. “We now kind of know: don’t pitch an idea in the middle of a hike on our family vacation,” she says. ‘We now kind nd of know: don’tt pitch he an idea in the middle of a hike on our family vacation’ And yet, it’s their family life that underlies all of their best work. Take Avenue Q’s There’s a Fine, Fine Line, a direct quote from a premarital fight, or Let It Go, which materialised during a walk in the park when they started asking each other how it would feel to stop striving for perfection and instead “just binge-watch The Bachelor and drink an entire bottle of chardonnay”. For Coco’s Remember Me, they drew on the guilt they feel whenever they have to leave their kids for work-related travel. The song begins as a lullaby sung to a baby, in part because whenever they go away they leave custom lullabies for their daughters, a lot of them kitten-centred. To keep the girls close, they took them to the Oscars this year, despite Lopez’s worry that it might have “fundamentally messed them up”. The girls handled it fine. They know that their songs will evolve in listeners’ heads. Let It Go has been adopted as an LGBTQ anthem. As Lopez says, “a lot of songs from musicals become that”. But the score begins with what’s in their hearts. It’s never been as simple as him writing the music and her writing the lyrics or as she once suggested, her dreaming up the big ideas and him figuring out the key changes. Neither is sure who came up with that fractals line, but they’re proud that the astronomer Neil deGrasse Tyson now uses it in a PowerPoint P slideshow. Whatever their methods, they w work – the groaning awards cabinet says so. so Success has made them financially comfortable, com though they’re “not to overdo anything”, still careful “ Lopez says. And their reputation means they can pick tio and choose their projects, a tthough as Lopez says, he’s always done that. Not Anderson-Lopez: “I’ve had to hustle a little more than you, boy wonder,” she says affectionately. The Guardian Weekly 06.04.18 39 Culture Uncovering detail behind the devilry Forensic Architecture reconstruct sites to highlight war crimes and rights abuses, finds Rowan Moore I n 2006 a man walked into an internet cafe in Kassel, Germany, and shot dead Halit Yozgat, a 21-year-old member of the Turkish-German family who owned it. It was the ninth in a series of racist killings by neo-Nazis, the motivation for which the police persistently refused to admit. A striking fact of Yozgat’s murder was that Andreas Temme, an intelligence agent for the state of Hessen, was in the cafe at the time, logged on to a dating website in a back room. If there’s one thing a secret agent should be able to do, you might have thought, it would be to notice a killing in the next room, but Temme claimed he did not. He took part in a police video reconstruction in which he is seen placing his payment for his internet access on the reception table, unaware of the corpse on the floor behind it. That might have been that, were it not that Forensic Architecture investigated the case and exhibited their findings at the 2017 edition of Documenta, Kassel’s five-yearly art fair. Through creating a full-scale mock-up of the cafe interior, and analysing the sound of the two shots (loud enough, even with a silencer), the dispersal of their smoke and the sightlines of the agent – a tall man – as he put money on the table behind which the young victim was sprawled, it was demonstrated that Temme could not possibly have failed to hear, smell and see the crime. Forensic Architecture, whose work is going on show this month at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London, is an agency based at Goldsmiths, University of London. The organisation’s founder and director is Eyal Weizman, a British-Israeli architect. Its primary mission is research, to “develop evidentiary systems in relation to specific cases”; in so doing, it acts as “an architectural detective agency”, working with NGOs and human rights lawyers to uncover facts that confound the stories told by police, military, states and corporations. They use whatever means they can to reconstruct a hybrid of physical and virtual space – the metadata surrounding phone calls and phone-camera videos, meteorology, eyewitness accounts, reconstructions. They might scrape thousands of images of a bombing off social media and match them with material facts to fix facts in space and time, as if with the coordinates of a multidimensional map. The material is harrowing: to see, for example, from several CCTV camera positions, life in an Aleppo hospital in the seconds before it is obliterated by pro-regime forces. “You never get used to it,” says Weizman. The work is also compelling, both in the inventiveness, precision and patience of the processes and the crystalline outcomes. It might take a year to reconstruct a day, as it did with the events of Black Friday, 1 August 2014, when 2,000 Israeli bombs, missiles and shells were dropped on the city of Rafah. But Forensic Architecture’s research into that day contributed to the cancellation of the “Hannibal Directive”, a classified policy whereby the Israeli military might kill their own soldiers if they are taken prisoner, rather than allow them to become hostages. This is not where most architecture students expect to end up. After studying at the Architectural Association in London, Weizman set up a practice in a conventional enough way for young architects in Tel Aviv. What changed everything was his decision to do a PhD on the ways in which town planning in the occupied territories was used to divide and suppress. “I was trying to show that there could be human rights violation by architecture and planning,” he says, “and that architects can be complicit.” Asked to contribute to an exhibit of young Israeli architects in Berlin in 2002, he presented a show on settlements, which led to the Israel Association of United Architects cancelling the exhibition and destroying the catalogues. Like much censorship, it made the name of its target, and that year Weizman managed to exhibit his work at the Israeli pavilion in the Venice architecture biennale. From there he “accelerated from the slow violence of architecture and planning” to the rapid violence of warfare and displacement. He founded Forensic Architecture in 2011, their areas of interest gradually expanding beyond Israel and Palestine to wherever they might be needed: Kassel, Syria, the disappearance of students in Iguala in Mexico, a lethal factory fire in Karachi, a detention centre in Cameroon where torture and executions took place with the apparent connivance of US personnel based there. They are “on the side of civil society” and won’t take commissions from government or corporations, but don’t take political sides. This has given them a wide range of enemies and detractors, and have been dismissed by Germany’s ruling CDU party as factually challenged artists, by Bashar al-Assad as Qatari stooges, by the Kremlin-backed RT TV network as supporters of Islamic State. In Israel they get called “Pallywood”, as in Palestinian Hollywood. Weizman also still considers Forensic’s activities to be a way of practising architecture. “A bomb cloud is everything a building was,” he says, “in gas form: plaster, concrete, wood, flesh. It’s horrible, horrible, devilish dust.” But you can “reconstruct its force fields out of its form”. Every cloud has a “fingerprint”, a moving one, which means you can pinpoint the place and time from which a photograph was taken from the shape of the cloud. In Rafah their evidence made a convincing case that the object of the onslaught was to kill an Israeli officer who had been captured that morning, who the military believed was in an underground tunnel. That there was huge collateral damage to civilians didn’t seem to be much regretted. It was a particularly aggressive interpretation of the Hannibal Directive that was in due course cancelled or at least clarified – a triumph of which Forensic was part. Clear-cut victories in this business seem to be rare – it’s still not known, for example, why Temme was in the fatal cafe and why he claimed not to have noticed the shooting. But in the constant struggle to protect truth from becoming a casualty, Forensic’s version of architecture is a powerful weapon. Observer Counter Investigations: Forensic Architecture is at the ICA, London, until 6 May ‘You never get used to it’ … reconstruction of Black Friday in 2014, when 2,000 Israeli bombs, missiles and shells rained on Rafah Forensic Architecture 40 The Guardian Weekly 06.04.18 Culture ‘No one else can understand me. That’s magical’ After doing Lord of the Dance in Vegas, Gwenno Saunders made what could be the world’s ﬁrst Cornish-language concept album. Alexis Petridis met her I n the glamorous confines of a tiny back room in her record company’s office, her chair wedged between boxes of CDs, Gwenno Saunders is expounding on the joy of singing in a language that only 600 people in the world are supposed to be fluent in. “Tonally,” she says, “Cornish is a dark language, very close to Breton, a lot more Zs and Ks and Vs, which gives it a very different texture. It probably reflects the harsh landscape of Cornwall. And it’s almost like an emotional shield. Singing in Cornish, I thought, ‘Wow, no one understands me!’ I can get lost, and everyone else has to get lost, because what else can they do? It allows me to escape and find freedom in music. There’s something magical about that.” To that end, Saunders has just recorded her second solo album entirely in Cornish, the language she learned as a child. The follow-up to 2014’s Welsh-language Y Dydd Olaf (The Last Day), which won the Welsh Music prize, Le Kov (The Place of Memory) would be a fantastic album whatever it was sung in – spacey, strange and richly melodic – but there’s no doubt that the language gives it an added sense of purpose. Without wishing to make any rash claims, it seems likely that it’s the first ever Cornish electronic psych-pop concept album. Indeed, it seems likely it’s the first ever Cornish rock album full stop. There has been a vibrant Cornish-language folk scene for decades. The late singer and poet Brenda Wootton was its best-known exemplar, while Saunders has a soft spot for a band called Bucca, who released a solitary album, An Tol Yn Pen An Telynyor, in 1980. But Cornish’s solitary appearance in something approaching pop was on Aphex Twin’s 2001 album Drukqs, the tracklisting of which contains a few Cornish titles, albeit frequently misspelt and easy to miss among the titles comprising entirely made-up words. Aphex Twin actually turns up on Le Kov, one of an array of real-life figures who haunt the album’s songs. They are the inhabitants of the titular imaginary city “where Cornish is spoken by everybody”: Peter Lanyon, a painter of abstract landscapes from St Ives who died after crashing the glider that he flew to “get a more complete knowledge of the landscape”; Michael An Gof, commander of the doomed Cornish rebellion of 1497; and Georg Sauerwein, a 19th-century German linguist who was the first person to write a letter in Cornish for a century, the words of which inspired the song Koweth Ker. As she discusses the album, Saunders flits from Brexit to JG Ballard, from Constant Nieuwenhuys, a Dutch artist who imagined an anti-capitalist utopia where no one had to work, to cheese. (One of the few surviving traditional sayings in the Cornish language is “Eus keus?” or “Is there cheese?”) Saunders says the album was partly inspired by the government’s decision to cut its meagre funding for the Cornish language in 2016. “There’s that argument that I think is really stupid: why do you have to learn Cornish or Welsh, why don’t you learn Mandarin? It’s like everything you do has to have monetary value. I think you have to find the nonmonetary value in things.” But mostly it’s rooted in something more personal: her desire to “accept what I actually am – and my upbringing, which always felt slightly at odds with other people’s”. It certainly sounds unconventional. Saunders is the child of a Cornish poet and a Welsh language activist who was imprisoned “a couple of times for vandalising the Welsh Office”. She elaborates: “My mum was always complaining about being in the house and having to look after the kids, so I think she really quite looked forward to going to prison, just to get a break.” In her house, Anglo-American culture and the English language were forbidden, the TV was turned down if S4C wasn’t broadcasting, and everyone spoke Cornish, a language that virtually died out in 1770, before undergoing a minor – but ongoing – revival 150 years later. “It was like living in a sort of cult of four people, in Riverside in Cardiff,” she says. “Years later, I said to my mum, ‘Why didn’t you tell me about David Bowie or people like that?’ And she said that it was all just around, that I was always going to find out about that stuff myself. But it was really annoying for a while, ‘I was like: my parents made me learn this thing that’s quite uncommon, so I’m going to own it’ ‘Like living in a cult of four people’ … Gwenno Saunders grew up in a house where Anglo-American culture and speaking English were both forbidden David Levene because I’d meet people and have no idea what they were talking about – you know, ‘Who are Pavement?’” She left school at 16 and – thanks to her talents as an Irish dancer – got a job with Michael Flatley’s Lord of the Dance show and moved to Las Vegas. “It was utterly bizarre. Obviously, it was the antithesis of Wales in terms of landscape and driving factors in the economy.” On her return, she elected to start making music that attempted to meld the two extremes of her life experience. “I’d got really into electronic music in Las Vegas – going out to clubs and dancing all night was my only release. Trance music was really big at the time, so I thought doing that was a good idea, with vocals in Cornish and Welsh. I was doing a quite Kylie-type thing, with sparkly outfits. I ended up doing tours of schools and pubs in Cornwall, doing choreographed dance moves in a sparkly top.” She released a couple of EPs on the Welshlanguage label Crai . But for some reason, the public didn’t take to a Kylie-esque teenager singing trance-influenced pop in a language that Unesco had declared extinct. Saunders moved on, joining acclaimed latterday girl group the Pipettes before embarking on an acclaimed second solo career as a purveyor of synthy psychedelia. But the idea of singing in Cornish continued “itching away”. At the end of her solo debut album, she slipped in a song called Amser, its lyrics a poem in Cornish written by her father. “Otherwise it was just going to be this thing that was my parents’ interest that I carry around for the rest of my life. I was like, ‘You made me learn this thing that’s quite uncommon, so I’m going to own it.’” She doesn’t know whether she’s going to make another Cornish album – “I just follow my nose” – but it seems likely. After all, there’s a reason beyond her childhood memories. “When you have minoritised cultures,” she says, “there’s this real desire to keep creating in them. Because no one’s going to do it for you, which is a really nice motivation to have.” Le Kov by Gwenno is out now on Heavenly The Guardian Weekly 06.04.18 41 Culture Reviews Rock & pop Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters Film A Wrinkle in Time A va DuVernay’s film is a surreal and primary-coloured children’s story: good-natured, unworldly, a bit ungainly, not a masterpiece, but amiable and generous in spirit. Knowing absolutely nothing of the 1962 novel by Madeleine L’Engle on which it’s based, or the Disney TV movie of 2003, I had no fanbase-proprietary claims. Yet A Wrinkle in Time has been coolly received by critics, who have indicated that they cannot necessarily submit to its updated credentials as a story about empowerment and young people of colour. Maybe stories about male superheroes are much more eligible for acclaim on this basis, or any basis, than stories about girls. The movie centres on Meg Murry (newcomer Storm Reid, above right), a clever, shy, mixedrace teenager. Her younger brother Charles Wallace (Deric McCabe), is even cleverer. Their parents are both scientists. Gugu Mbatha-Raw plays their mother, a particle physicist, and Dad is Chris Pine, whose work appears to lie between theoretical physics and pure mathematics. One afternoon Meg’s dad gives a lecture at which he reveals his belief in mind-controlled travel through time and space. Two points on the space-time continuum, he suggests, can be pinched together: all that is needed is a fold or Exhibition Damien Hirst I n the servant’s hall, two dead hares in vitrines look perfectly at home among the antler trophies. No, wait – they are at home. These are not artworks by Damien Hirst but a small part of the atmospheric decor of one of England’s most astounding stately homes. It is just one more victory for Houghton Hall in its head-to-head aesthetic contest with our wealthiest living artist. Hirst plays the house and the house wins. However surreal and attentiongrabbing his efforts, Houghton Hall consistently outdoes them, absorbing outsized anatomical statues into the dreamlike expanse of its landscaped estate, putting spot paintings in the shade with rococo tapestries and fairytale beds. Atsushi Nishijima R a wrinkle. Everyone is aghast. Humiliation is heaped on his family then he disappears. All of Meg’s teachers and perhaps even her mother have come to believe that he succumbed to a mental breakdown – of which this “wrinkle in time” stuff was a first symptom – and ran away. But Meg keeps the faith, believing that her father has gone on a hyperspace journey. She sets out to find him, along with her brother Charles, and Calvin (Levi Miller), who is not-so-secretly in love with Meg. She is also helped by three wise women: Mrs Who (Mindy Kaling), Mrs Whatsit (Reese Witherspoon, above left) and Mrs Which (Oprah Winfrey). These women take the children to a hyperreal, bucolic landscape. The children go on to encounter various strange figures, such as the Happy Medium (Zach Galifianakis) and Red (Michael Peña), as they approach the truth about their absent father. This is a film that is always aware of its own value system, if not preachy then hen a bit teachy, bearing the same reverence forr women’s education and cultural diversity ty as the Narnia stories had for Christianity. Yett for all its avowed modernity and rebooted ed engagement with contemporary issues, es, A Wrinkle in Time does seem like a product uct of the Disney 60s: a wacky fantasy family amily adventure. Peter Bradshaw On general release That’s the trouble Hirst – or any artist – has in putting on an exhibition hibition in such a history-laden house: its vivid atmosphere turns his works into nto mere decorations. As such they are fine. As a sculptor, Hirst is entertaining even when he’s utterly kitsch. Unfortunately, ely, he also shows paintings. Whatever er the ideas behind Hirst’s new abstract paintings, intings, brilliant or inane, they have no o life, no poetry. In a foolhardy move, Houghton ughton has removed every single oil painting ing from its state rooms and replaced them hem all with Hirst’s spots. No matter – there’s plenty to look at in this 18th-century entury wonderland. Jonathan Jones At Houghton Hall, Norfolk, until il 15 July obert Plant has, rightly, won lots of plaudits for reinventing himself in the past couple of decades, morphing from rock dinosaur to a thoughtful artist happy to embrace world music, country and electronica. So it’s a bit of surprise – though a wonderful one – when he and his band stroll on to the stage at the Sydney Opera House and ease into the Led Zeppelin classic, What Is and What Should Never Be. As the song builds to its thunderous climax, some of the audience can’t contain their excitement at the unleashing of this music of primordial power; the bloke beside me punches the air and plays air guitar; others are cheering and yelping their frenzied appreciation. We’re all hooked. As for the man himself, he still has all the magnetic charisma and presence that made him the frontman of the band that more or less created rock music as we know it. He might be gnarled and a bit hunched these days but he’s still full of regal swagger, flipping his microphone stand nonchalantly, smirking and teasing the audience with the old moves. As his musicians rip into their work, he pulls faces of mock amazement as the solos screech around him. At moments he appears very actorly, so much so that at times he resembles a Shakespearean king surrounded by his courtiers. They crowd around him in choreographed fashion, bowing and fawning before him, pleasing him with their instrumental virtuosity. With his wild mane he could be Lear, but there is nothing mad about what he’s doing here. Plant has worked hard not to be a prisoner of the past and, as he says early in the show, he’s trying to create music for the future. Although the naming of one of those new tracks, May Queen, evokes a character from one of his most celebrated former glories, Stairway to Heaven, they succeed in sustaining the interest and keep the pace rattling along. Carry Fire, the title ttrack of his new album, also a thrilling version is a standout, and there’s a of Please Read the L Letter, a Plant-Page song recorded in his co collaboration with the singer Alison Krauss. bluegrass singe On that alb album, Raising Sand, the workout but here song is a gentle ge monster and receives a it is a rock m twist when whe the British folk artist Lakeman – the night’s Seth Lak support act – appears on stage to reel o off what can only be describe described as a rock violin solo. Plant’s voice is not quite Plant what it w was in his princely pomp, of course, and there’s a little bit too to much soloing for my liking, but it is still a treat to see one of mu music’s genuine legends all he’s got on the Led giving it al Zep tracks Going to California and Babe II’m Gonna Leave You. Finally, the powerdriver riff of Whole Lotta L Love speaks for brings back the air itself and b all parts of the house. guitar to a Martin Fa Farrer On tour in Australia, North Ame America and Europe September until 16 Sep 42 The Guardian Weekly 06.04.18 Diversions Notes & Queries Nature watch Carpenter’s Lodge One foot after another works like a sieve not necessarily good for us. Think hemlock, arsenic, strychnine. Sarah Klenbort, Bronte, NSW, Australia What clutters up the mind, and how do you remove it? If it was true in the 19th century that “the world is too much with us,” how much more cluttered are our lives now, with the drivel-drizzle of social media, junk mail, endless blogs, etc. How to remove it? Just pull the plug, if you remember where it is. John Geffroy, Las Vegas, New Mexico, US • What clutters up the mind is the constant activity of our amazing human brain and the only truly uncluttered mind is a dead one! Learning mindful meditation can bring some order to the clutter and a calmness that comes with self-acceptance. Margaret Wilkes, Perth, Western Australia • Some days it’s just the “stuff ” of daily life clutters my mind. My best way to remove it is to walk or jog, on the beach if possible. One foot after another works like a sieve – the dross goes through and only the good stuff remains. Elaine James, Nairn, Scotland • Thinking can both clutter and remove clutter from the mind. Just think about that. Edward P Wolfers, Austinmer, NSW, Australia • We were born “au naturel” and looked cute, but for heaven’s sake put your clothes on when using public transport. Marilyn Hamilton, Perth, Western Australia Blooming glory Clear the decks … clutter requires order • After a hard day’s work, the brain becomes a wasteland of used neurotransmitters; a good night’s sleep is the only way to sweep it clean. Charlie Bamforth, Davis, California, US • Glorifying the past clogs the mind. Living in the present is the best remedy. Jenefer Warwick James, Paddington, NSW, Australia Is there a special garden plant or shrub that is extra special for you? In Vancouver and Seattle at this time of year, the camellias come into bloom. The shrubs flower profusely, in white, pink or red, offset perfectly by their dark green foliage. On the other hand, the local deer are enamoured by my cherry laurel that they use as a salad bar. Anthony Walter, Surrey, British Columbia, Canada More Notes & Queries See additional answers online bit.ly/notesandqueries Any answers? Greenwash? What hogwash • Being self-obsessed; start thinking of others. Rhys Winterburn, Perth, Western Australia Why is ‘all natural’ not always ‘all natural’? Although some try and deny it, not all natural disasters are free of human agency. Or because it’s been greenwashed. And some products will have been metabolised, pasteurised or irradiated. David Tucker, Halle, Germany • Thinking inside the box and escaping in a pine one. Anthony Walter, Surrey, British Columbia, Canada • It’s not that “all natural” isn’t “all natural”, but rather that what is natural – and food companies love to brag about this on their labels – is Is there a difference between ‘Everything which is not compulsory is forbidden,’ and ‘Everything which is not forbidden is compulsory ? John Pusey, Oxford, UK Why does a certain poem come to mind, so easily and so often? William Emigh, British Columbia, Canada Send answers to weekly.nandq@ theguardian.com or Guardian Weekly, Kings Place, 90 York Way, London N1 9GU, UK Good to meet you Gaynor McGrath Long ago, working near Hampstead Heath in London, I would climb up great trees on the Heath at lunchtimes, and settle down on a comfortable branch to read my Manchester Guardian. As a wide-ranging Aussie world traveller in the 70s, I would indulge in one of those delightful fine-paper Guardian Weeklies, until back in Australia a good friend bought me a subscription, till I was in a position to subscribe myself. I have loved all the GW reincarnations, and still get a thrill when I take my Weekly out of the letterbox. The international news is brilliantly presented, the challenge of the crosswords and sudokus eagerly The climbing bend of an overpass, in a frigid easterly wind, early. I’ve come because of an eye-hook bird I’ve often seen hovering here. A kestrel – static in the air as if on a pole, above this corner in precisely the same place. More recently, I’ve seen a red kite showing interest too, wheeling and listing and riding the wind like its namesake. If it was a child’s kite, its line would have been tied to the barrier of this bend. I’ve seen the kestrel for years, usually at dusk, against the sunset sky like a mad little spatter of dirt on a west-facing window. Wings frantic, head down, tail splayed. Watching. Why was a bird of prey so fixedly interested in the scrubby, rising corner of a small rural overpass built of steep earth and concrete, crossing the busiest road in the county? Yes, Kestrels are the “roadside raptor”, the “motorway falcon”, famously, distinctively awaited, as are those futoshikis that fall like dominoes. I love articles on the environment and the arts, book and film reviews, long in-depth articles, the letters to the editor and especially George Monbiot. The GW not only supports my worldview, but enlarges and challenges it. My six-year-old grandson is as eager as me for each new GW. He opens it up to the treasure of the middle pages and together, we make up stories to go with the photos. He then starts from the front and studies every photo and drawing, and asks me all about them. My three-year-old grandson (pictured) will raid my little pile of GWs, awaiting their next home, if he needs to line a dam in the sandpit. I’ve told him to use the local paper, but he says it is just not as good. If you would like to appear in this space, send a brief note to firstname.lastname@example.org so. Close verge grass gives rodents less cover, traffic noise more fright – ideal hunting ground. But why this spot, so tenaciously? The overpass is new, less than a decade old. Snow from the weekend’s fall is still here, harder in the direction of the wind. I climb the barrier and down the slope beyond, the bit with its back to the roads, the bit the birds watch. Ranks of saplings planted when the overpass was built tell a chronology of a decade’s growthrace: luxuriant spruce, gaunt birch, thickety thorn. The ground is hummocky grass turned yellow by the winter. The slope is moated by a trench, then a fence. I wasn’t expecting a revelation over the barrier. Teeming voles? No. I do get an unexpected one: what this overpass has done is put a hill where there wasn’t one. Ten metres in a flat landscape gives a long view. Just the lines of fields and a big sky, but an unfamiliar take nonetheless. As I turn to go there’s a snap and a quick movement down there: two rabbits, under the fence, down a hole; enough, perhaps, to catch the eye of the bird that catches mine. Simon Ingram Read more Nature watch online bit.ly/naturewatch The Guardian Weekly 06.04.18 43 Quick crossword 1 2 Cryptic crossword by Pan 3 8 4 5 6 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 Across 1 Cite as evidence (6) 4 Obliterate (6) 8 Brazilian dance (5) 9 Substance of which teeth are mainly composed (7) 10 Own up (7) 11 The way to get married in church? (5) 12 Fat (9) 17 Theme park attractions (5) 19 Individual performer (7) 21 Go on (7) 22 Small wood (5) 23 More than enough (6) 24 Limassol’s island (6) 1 2 3 5 Across 7 Down French wine region (6) Devilish (7) Desist (5) Short ceremonial tune for trumpets (7) 6 Goodbye to Spain (5) 7 County town and cathedral city of Devon (6) 9 Talked about (9) 13 Esteem (7) 14 Someone on an excursion (7) 15 Underpin (4,2) 16 Fish-eating mammals (6) 18 Male honeybee (5) 20 Fortunate (5) P A C I F I S T L A L A L I R A N I C E Y L T I U J S E L E C E M P O I G W E L L I N G T O N S P O C L A R N D Y C P L O I V E A N R I M E M A I T E C R I E A L E T N G U A T S Y I O M M S A T P U R L E U P U I S H P E R A N T T L L E W D Last week’s solution, No 14,910 First published in the Guardian 27 March 2018, No 14,916 Down 1 Mate taking money into shelter (8) 2 Pole in charge of sticky stuff (6) 3 Real centre of democracy on Greek island (8) 4 Minor embracing exercise is not in good shape (6) 5 Dish found in scenery outside Globe (6) 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. ©Clarity Media Ltd 1 4 ∧ 5 2 3 3 > 2 < 4 ∧ > 1 5 3 2 ∨ ∧ 4 > 2 1 < 3 ∨ ∧ < 3 < 4 5 1 ∨ 2 1 4 < 5 ∧ ∧ 2 3 5 4 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 18 17 19 20 22 21 23 24 7 Setter leaving injured American’s treatment for bruises (6) 8 Old German revolutionary tucked into dish of fruit (11) 14 Philosopher stops working to get hold of Socrates’ second book (8) 15 Difficult universal and timeless tale is deceptive (8) 16 Ski lodge in Switzerland rented out after the beginning of April (6) 17 Problems in editions? (6) 19 Cloth covering unacceptable stew (6) First published in the Guardian 1 March 2018, No 27,445 25 20 Flipping badger eating root of brassica plant (6) P U M P E R N I C K E L U M I I S C G O U O N T O S N F I E X U O P A S T R U I T R A N S E O T R I P S E E V E N T O E R E E C A O L D C I S I S T E N E X E R A T O A N S A C L A O L A T I N Y A D I N T O I C O O S U A X P U L S I P D O L D F I R W S T I A L I E R N R F O G T G D T O U M B L V E W S H A S M M G Y Last week’s solution, No 27,439 Sudoku classic Easy > < ∧ 5 Last week’s solution 1 5 Work hard on a new catchphrase (6) 6 Composition for soprano working with Australian tenor and alto (6) 9 Heartless publisher to get rid of French author (6) 10 Oscar trophy found in tin by actor’s third tenant (8) 11 Buffet always includes dairy product (4) 12 Unpleasant character found by retired cops merrymaking in empty clink (6,4) 13 Beaten miner agreed with the police (11) 18 Italian woman cautious about wine (10) 21 Juicy drink (4) 22 Bullets containing iron used by tribal leader in hardfought battle (8) 23 Save soldiers with special signal (6) 24 Pout about extremely expensive hair product (6) 25 Crafty poet married Iris (6) ∧ > ∨ ∧ < > ∧ ∧ < > 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 Last week’s solution 44 The Guardian Weekly 06.04.18 Diversions Shortcuts Art bank gives itself licence to print money A London-based enterprise that is part art installation, part stunt and part charitable endeavour started to print its own money, sell it for real tender and now intends to use the proceeds to buy back debt. Hilary Powell and Dan Edelstyn took over an old on a high street in Walthamstow, north-east London, for two weeks and printed money featuring the faces of people behind four local services – a primary school, a foodbank, a youth project and a soup kitchen. As well as raising money for those projects, Hoe Street Central Bank aims to raise enough money to buy out £1m ($1.4m) of debt owned by people within the E17 postcode, in a London borough ranked 35th most-deprived in the country. One of the delightful ironies of the undertaking is that the “bank” could only have to raise as little as £20,000 to buy out £1m of local debt, because bad loans are often written down to a fraction of their face value in the secondary market. “The system forces people into debt for basic needs,” says Powell. “We are the forerunners of what we hope will be a bigger movement for debt abolition.” The husband and wife creative partnership were influenced by the Strike Debt and Rolling Jubilee initiatives in the US, which started to buy debt and abolish it for ethical reasons. In 2014, Strike Debt bought $3.8m worth of students’ loans, and spawned other ad hoc initiatives: in 2016 TV host John Oliver bought and wrote off $15m of medical debt held by 9,000 people. The Rolling Jubilee campaign has raised over $700,000 – enough to buy over $30m of debt. One of the artists who worked as a money printer at the Walthamstow “bank” (paid at the London living wage) was drawn to it because he’s local and had personal experience of debt. “My parents lost their home during the recession,” said Alistair Gentry. “Anyone can get into debt. It doesn’t matter how rich you are to start with ... It feels really good to roll up your sleeves and literally get inky, but also metaphorically, to do something about it. Not just sit around and having a moan.” Anna Leach Rubber duck not your bathtime best friend Rubber ducks used as bathtime toys are a haven for bacteria that could spread diseases, Swiss and American researchers have found. The study by the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology, ETH Zurich and the University of Illinois, counted microbes swimming inside the yellow toys and found the murky liquid released when ducks were ned “potentially squeezed contained eria” in four out pathogenic bacteria” of the five toys studied. tudied. The bacteria found ella included Legionella and Pseudomonas as aerrium uginosa, a bacterium that is “often implicated in d hospital-acquired infections”, researchers said. The study, published in the journal Biofilms and Microbiomes, s, said the scientists discovered a strikingly high volume of up to 75m cells per square centimetre and a variety of bacteria and fungus in the ducks. The scientists, who received funding from the Swiss government as part of broader research into household objects, said using higher-quality polymers to make the ducks could prevent bacterial and fungal growth. Jamie Grierson Vive la difference, pleads ‘rude’ waiter Navigating the subtleties of the English language when you are foreign is a near full-time job; after almost a decade of doing it, I am yet to fully grasp all the vagaries. I have, as a result, some sympathy for Guillaume Rey, the French waiter who got fired from a restaurant in Vancouver for being rude. He is now trying to argue that he is not rude – he’s just French, and French culture “tends to be more direct and expressive”. Although there isn’t enough information about th the case to decide if his defence is ou outrageously cocky or simply a bit bold bold, Rey’s argument does highlight so some important cultural differences. Language is, o of course, one of them, but expectation is another: when going to a another restaurant in France, getrestaur ting barked bar at by a waiter is part o of the experience as is being be terrified by the possibility of a knowing frown a k when ordering w the wrong wine th with the wrong wi course. This doesn’t cou mean it always happens, but if it does, there’s no point in batting an eyelid: waiters are there to bring you food, not become your best friend. Marie Le Conte A very expensive aubergine riles court An Italian man has finally been acquitted of stealing an aubergine nine years after being charged, ending a legal wrangle that cost taxpayers thousands. The man, then 49, had the aubergine in his bucket when police caught him trying to escape through a privately owned field near Lecce, in the southern region of Puglia, in 2009. While being taken away, he pleaded with the police that he had tried to steal it because he was unemployed and desperate to feed his child. However, the courts initially showed no mercy, sentencing him to five months in prison and ordering him to pay a €500 ($620) fine. That punishment was reduced on appeal to two months in jail and €120. The man’s legal counsel was still not satisfied and took the case to the court of cassation in Rome, Italy’s highest appeals court, where the defendant was acquitted nearly a decade after he was arrested. The court criticised the lower courts in Lecce for not taking into account the extreme weakness of the prosecution’s case given the man’s financial situation. It also lamented the amount of public money spent on the case, with €7,000-€8,000 going towards legal fees as the man was too poor to pay for his own defence, La Repubblica reported. Agence France Press Maslanka puzzles 1 As I entered No 123, I had to duck a DAB radio being kicked down the corridor. Pedanticus was yelling “Borges, you philistine!” and then “Hove! Hove! Hove!” What might have set this off ? 2 “I see that 219 is the first power of 2 that ends in two 8s,” remarked Andy to Candy as they pored over tables of powers. “Yes,” said Candy, “It’s 524288. So does 259. It equals 576460752303423488.” Could there be a power of 2 between them also ending in 88? 3 “Oh look,” said Punnish, “the odometer shows a palindromic reading: 01310.” If an odometer number is a string of digits (which ©CMM2018. For solutions see page 47 may begin with any number of zeroes, unlike our conventional way of writing numbers) how many different palindromic readings are there for an odometer showing n digits? Twitter: @ChrisMaslanka Wordplay Wordpool In each of the following cases find the correct definition: LIMNOLOGY a) study of lakes and inland waterways b) snail collection c) painting d) study of borders GAFFIOT a) one who makes many gaffes b) one whose job is to cut down gallows birds c) French 19th century philologist and dictionary writer d) ice-cream wafer BLEB a) small bubble-like inclusion b) low type c) catchy slogan d) squeal Near Misses Find another word that might belong to this unusual set: GOOD TAN MORON IRAN RAMON LEAP E pluribus unum Rearrange the letters of ROPE CORAL to make a single word. Dropouts Replace each * by a letter to solve the clue: What a B*O*A*T should be? Missing Links Find a word to follow the first word in the clue and precede the second, in each case making a fresh word or phrase ... a) home load b) miracle bee c) pipe dancer d) hard line e) cold pad f) rocket bar The Guardian Weekly 06.04.18 45 Mind&Relationships A letter to … My wife, who died of cancer Illustration by Michele Marconi M Oliver Burkeman I’ve decided not to decide how I feel about the advice of controversial self-help guru Jordan B Peterson spend three minutes on Twitter, or read the comment below our articles, if you think it’s only us. This attitude is especially badly suited to evaluating life advice of the kind that Peterson dispenses. It makes little sense to reject an insight that strikes you as useful because the source is wrong about other things or you dislike their politics. For instance, Peterson’s counsel to “treat yourself as if you were someone you were responsible for helping” gets more profound the more Pledging allegiance to a guru’s every word is pathetic, but rejecting every word on principle is patheticness inverted you reflect on it, I think. And his tips for digging g f: yourself out of a rut are splendid: “Ask yourself: ‘Is there one thing that exists in disarray in your life or your situation that you could, and would, set straight?’ Then ask yourself, ‘What could I do, that I would do, that would accomplish that, and what small thing would I like as a er reward?’” Cheesy, perhaps. But would you rather mock the cheesiness, or get out of that rut? Pledging undying allegiance to a guru’s every word is pathetic, but rejecting his every word on principle is the same patheticness inverted. Are you really so weak-willed that you fear you’ll tumble headlong into the cult if you dip into his work? As Peterson might put it:: have some damned self-respect! email@example.com Illustration by Lo Cole S o: Jordan B Peterson. This column has resisted comment so far on the biggest self-help sensation in years – the subject of approximately a gazillion media profiles – because I don’t know what to think. Clearly, Peterson’s got some obnoxious followers, including those who spat misogynistic venom at Channel 4’s Cathy Newman after she subjected their hero to an ordinarily aggressive British TV interview. He’s also too fond of explaining differences between men and women in terms of evolution, no matter how flimsy the evidence. On the other hand, it’s equally clear that many of his detractors have barely opened his bestseller, 12 Rules for Life, a sprawling, often brilliant, sometimes infuriating book built around the core message that life works best if you take responsibility instead of blaming others, tell the truth, pursue meaning over fleeting pleasure, give your day some structure and tidy your room. If rudderless young men are flocking to him in droves, that’s hardly a bad thing. I hope they follow his advice: we’d all be better off. But lately, my wishy-washy ambivalence about Peterson has hardened into defiance: why the hell should I be obliged to decide, as seemingly every writer who encounters his work thinks they are, whether Canada’s most controversial professor is A Good Thing or A Bad Thing? This sort of pressure isn’t limited to Peterson, of course. It’s a symptom of our hyper-partisan times, in which everything is politics – every film, book and sporting event, plus regular politics – and it’s your responsibility, as a good citizen, to adopt and feverishly defend one sharply defined, absolutist viewpoint, come what may. Journalists are among the worst offenders, undoubtedly. But y dearest angel, I promised to keep you safe and protect you for as long as I lived, but I feel I have failed in my duty. You left me in April and I feel so cheated by life. You were my entire life. You fought cancer twice, and I remember you saying the only reason you put up with all the treatment was for me. I was terrified of losing you the first time round. You had the most beautiful hair and it pained me to have to shave it when you were undergoing chemotherapy. When the treatment was completed, all I wanted to do was hold you and not let you go. This time, when the doctors informed us that there was nothing they could do, I was shattered. You could see that I was lost and it affected you. I am so sorry that I was not strong enough to help you cope. We dreamed of growing old together, but little did I know that all our plans would come to nothing. I hate coming back to the house with you no longer here; it is no longer my home, it’s just a place I come to lie down before I go back to work the next day. I dread the weekends, when I have to be in the house with the memory of your illness. Nothing makes sense any more. I will always cherish the 20 years we were together – the best years of my life. While going through some things on your laptop, I found a recording of your voice and I play it every time I feel alone. The memories of us together are all I have. My greatest fear is that I will start to lose those. When you were w here, I took it for you would be at home granted that yo Here to give me when I came back. ba a hug and ask m me how my day was. Now that I have lost you I feel so and I wonder how empty a long I ca can go on without you. I miss y you so much. You were my best friend and my soulmate. Friends tell me time will help me adjust, but I do not want adjust that. I want to remember until the day I meet you un wherever that is. you again, ag Nobod Nobody will ever take your place iin my heart. I will each day as it comes. live ea Where Wherever you are, I know you are ar watching and I will tr try to live by your p principles. Until we meet again, my love. m 46 The Guardian Weekly 06.04.18 Sport Baseball conflicted in the age of Trump Latin-Americans make up 31% of professional players, but many team owners endorse policies seen as hostile Mike Elk and Karina Moreno Brandenton, Florida In between rounds of batting practice in the Florida sun, the Venezuelan-born Minnesota Twins catcher Willians Astudillo comes over and takes off his catcher’s mask, revealing a mess of blond-highlighted curly hair. For nearly 130 years, young men like Astudillo have been trying to break into the big leagues in baseball at spring training – their annual chance to impress the owners of Major League Baseball (MLB) clubs, and for the fans a chance to check out talent before the season opened last week. The 26-year-old Astudillo has been a star of the minor leagues, which act as training grounds for the big g teams, ping for for the last few years and is hoping wins this a permanent spot with the Twins year. But as the new season n begins, ct Astudillo says one subject w is on the mind of his fellow ubLatino ball players in the clubion house – Trump’s immigration policies. “We are conscious us of d the everything happening, and rently situation this country is currently in. It is regrettable,” said Astudillo udillo. He’s particularly worried about Trump’s much-litigated travel ban that includes some people ople from Venezuela. Baseball has long played yed a key role in conversations ons on racial equality in the United States. Jackie Robinson integrated the Major Leagues nearly eight years before Brown v Board of Education integrated public schools. The Oakland A’s president, David Kazal, said his team was holding its first ever Cesar Chavez Day this weekend – celebrating the labour leader as part of Opening Day weekend festivities as a way to continue to use baseball as an integrating force. However, the Trump-supporting political spending of many MLB owners and their push to exempt the increasingly Latino minor leagues from US minimum wage laws has raised questions about how committed they are to their Latino players and their growing Latino fanbase. Last year immigrant players made up a record high percentage of professional opening day rosters. About 31% of all professional baseball players and approximately 50% of all minor leaguers are Latinos. Throughout Latin America, all 30 MLB teams run dormitory-style academies that offer free room and board to boys as young as 13, who drop out of school to pursue their dream. When clubs sign players in Latin America, they are able to sskirt the league’s draft rules on minimum minim as 16 age, signing them up as young a without representation. Often, tthey get only a few thousand dollars ssigning bonus, and a minim minimum wage of only $1,10 $1,100 a mere month to work for a m five months a year year; in contrast US-b US-born picks top draft pi of comparable compara signed talent are sig for bonuses worth million millions. Despite b basebeing a ball bein $10bn-a-y $10bn-a-year Swing shift … (clockwise from main) Willians Astudillo playing in Mexico; another Venezuelan, José Altuve, in action for Houston Astros; Puerto Rican icon Roberto Clemente, who played in Pittsburgh for 17 years; Donald Trump at the White House industry, the Save America’s Pastime Act signed by the Trump administration last week will permanently exempt minor league players from federal minimum wage laws. “I would see eight Latino guys piled into a two-bedroom apartment,” said Garrett Broshuis, a former minor league pitcher turned lawyer, who is leading a class-action wage theft lawsuit on behalf of minor league ballplayers. Baseball increasingly depends on Latino fans. As the sport loses its popularity among black and white millennial audiences, profits have been buoyed by growing Latino viewership. Many clubs go to great lengths to market themselves to Latino fans domestically and overseas. Pittsburgh Pirates renamed the bridge that fans cross over before games the Roberto Clemente Bridge, after the Latino superstar. Yet last month, the Pittsburgh Pirates president, Frank Coonelly, spoke at the annual Lincoln Day fundraiser for the Allegheny county Republican party featuring the Trump aide Kellyanne Conway and the antiimmigrant Republican candidate Rick Saccone before the Pennsylvania 18th congressional district special election. Coonelly dismissed any suggestion that he was there to campaign for Saccone or his anti-immigrant agenda. Elsewhere, the Chicago Cubs co-owner Joe Ricketts also ran multimillion-dollar ads accusing the Democrat Conor Lamb, who won the race, of being in favour of “sanctuary cities”. Cricket Australia bans fail to cover up need for more questions Inside sport Andy Bull T he harder you step in mess, the more it spreads. Cricket Australia found a flaming bag of the stuff on its doorstep and decided the best way to put it out was to stamp right down on it. It has banned Steve Smith and David Warner from all state and international cricket for a year, Cameron Bancroft for nine months, and ordered all three to do 100 hours of community service. Smith will not be eligible for any kind of leadership role in the Australian team for another two years, Warner ever again. The crime was petty, the coverup clumsy, the punishment swift and vicious. Warner and Smith have both been cut from this year’s Indian Premier League, too. Outside of the treatment given to match fixers, there is no precedent in cricket for such heavy sentences. They are certainly not in line with those given to the other players who have been caught ball-tampering in recent years. Sympathy for the three banned players is tempered by the sorry details. Warner came up with the plan to cheat, taught Bancroft how to do it, Smith (pictured) signed it off, and then all three tried to cover it up. Worse, Smith and Bancroft had lied in their confessional press conference, when they insisted Bancroft had not been using sandpaper but sticky tape. Hard questions have not been answered by these bans. It is not clear why the players decided to change their story about the sandpaper, or why the lie stood for three days. Nor why, if this was really the first time the team had cheated in this The Guardian Weekly 06.04.18 47 Sport in brief While the Golden State Warriors did not go to the White House after winning the 2017 NBA championship to show their opposition to Trump’s policies, the Houston Astros gladly agreed to a photo op with Trump, featuring several all-star Latino players, including current American League Most Valuable Player José Altuve. Arizona congressman Raúl Grijalva said: “Like it or not, despite what owners are doing in terms of shoring up and propping up Donald Trump … Resistance will be there because immigrants have been exploited in every work sector in this country.” It’s a sentiment that many in baseball share in the age of Trump. “We aren’t perfect,” said the Oakland A’s Kaval. “But we have to continue to strive to make those contributions.” Karina Moreno is an assistant professor at Long Island University way, the South African cameramen say they were tipped off to keep an eye out, or Warner felt he had to get Bancroft to do the tampering. It is not clear why, if CA was really “sick of Warner’s bullshit” as one report put it, that it was tolerated for so long. And it is not clear why it took all this for the coach, Darren Lehmann – who has also resigned – to realise something was so wrong with his team. Of course all the answers will be in a wide-ranging review when, no doubt, CA’s chief executive, James Sutherland, will be just as tough on himself as the governing body has been on Smith, Warner, and Bancroft. • England’s Test cricket side fought hard in the second Test in Christchurch but were unable to force a victory as New Zealand clung on for a draw. Stuart Broad took two wickets with his first two balls of the day as the tourists, needing to bowl New Zealand out on the last day, reduced the hosts to 91 for 4 in the first hour. But the hosts finished the day on 256 for 8 to secure the draw and win the two-match series 1-0. Triple champion … Anthony Joshua, right • England’s women cricketers suffered a 57-run defeat to Australia in the final of the Tri-Nation T20 series in India as a run of poor results continued. Following successive defeats to the same opponents and the hosts in the group stages, England were always up against it in Mumbai. Chasing Australia’s 209 for four, a record score for women’s T20 internationals, England never recovered from the double early losses of Bryony Smith and Tammy Beaumont for ducks, and were eventually restricted to 152 for nine off their 20 overs. Chess • Alan Pardew left his job as English Premier League side West Bromwich Albion’s manager after just over four months. The club said it was a mutually agreed decision, which followed nine straight defeats. West Brom won only one Premier League match in 18 attempts under Pardew and are 10 points adrift of safety at the bottom of the table with six games remaining. In Greece, meanwhile, the PAOK Salonika president Ivan Savvidis was banned from football stadiums for three years for storming on to the pitch with a gun in his waistband during a domestic game on 11 March. The Greek league also stripped the club, who lie second, of three points, dealing a blow to their title chances. • Leinster extinguished English interest in rugby union’s European Champions Cup by inflicting a 30-19 defeat on reigning champions Saracens at the Aviva Stadium. The tournament top seeds face the Scarlets in the semi-finals at the same ground after completing a conclusive victory in Dublin. In last weekend’s other quarter-final, Racing 92 beat Clermont 28-17 to set up a semi-final against Munster in Bordeaux. Maslanka solutions Leonard Barden 8 By winning last month’s candidates tournament in Berlin, the 25-yearold American Fabiano Caruana has qualified for a 12-game world title series against Norway’s Magnus Carlsen in November. It was going to be in London with a €1m ($1.2m) prize fund, but now there are rumours of an attempted venue switch and some tricky negotiations. The first American-born challenger since Bobby Fischer defeated Boris Spassky in 1972 lives in St Louis, which has become a renowned global chess centre hosting, inter alia, the US championship and an annual elite event in which both Carlsen and Caruana compete. The billionaire Rex Sinquefield bankrolls it all and was financially responsible for Caruana, who has dual nationality, electing to represent the US rather than Italy from 2015. Caruana’s penultimate round win over Levon Aronian, who was the pre-tournament favourite but ended up last, became a complex struggle, decided by a few key moments. 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 a b c d e f g h 3560 White mates in three moves (by Fritz Giegold, 1970) Fabiano Caruana v Levon Aronian 1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 a6 4 Ba4 Nf6 5 O-O Be7 6 Re1 b5 7 Bb3 O-O 8 d3 d6 9 Bd2!? Bg4 10 c3 d5 11 h3 Bh5 12 Qe2 Rb8 13 Bg5 dxe4 14 dxe4 h6 15 Bc1 Bg6 16 Nbd2 Nh5 17 Nf1 Bc5 18 g3 Kh7 19 Kg2 Qe7 20 Bc2 Rfd8 21 b4 Bb6 22 a4 Nf6 23 Nh4 Qe6 24 Bd3 Bh5 25 g4 Bxg4!? 26 hxg4 Nxg4 27 Nf5 Nxf2!? 28 Bc2 g6 29 N1e3? gxf5 30 exf5 Qf6 31 Qxf2 e4? 32 Rh1 Rd6 33 Bxe4 Rg8+ 34 Kf1 Ne5 35 Qf4 c6 36 axb5 Rg5 37 bxa6 Qd8 38 f6+ Ng6 39 Rxh6+! 1-0 3560 1 Kc1! f5 2 Rgd7! Bxf4+ 3 R7d2 mate. Ulises Ruiz/AFP/Getty; Harry How/Focus on Sport/Olivier Douliery/AFP/Getty • Anthony Joshua, taken the distance for the first time in 21 boxing bouts, collected a third major heavyweight world title belt when he cruised to a convincing if dramafree win over the WBO champion, Joseph Parker, and looks in good shape to raise his game for what will be a more demanding assignment against Deontay Wilder. Two of the judges saw it 118-110, and the third had it 119-109, which was perhaps a bit harsh on the New Zealander. But the verdict was, overall, fair. Afterwards, Joshua said: “This is boxing. It’s what we do. Forget the hype. Joseph Parker is a good world champion. As I said before, this would be about boxing. The main thing now is I am the unified heavyweight champion of the world.” 1 More solecisms on our favourite network radio station. It seems that some expert bolstering her case with the sacred name of Borges pronounced it to rhyme with Orge (the river in France). Bozhe moi! My advice to folk appearing on quibbly “not necessarily, professor”-type programmes is to check the pronunciation of the authors of the quotes you pluck so freely. This was followed by a presenter (no names, no packdrill) saying that another one was “hoving into view”. It’s not difficult: I heave into view today; I hove into view yesterday. O mores! Sent in by too many to mention. 2 The terminal digits of powers recur cyclically. For example, the powers of 2 have endings 2, 4, 8, 6, 2, 4, 8, 6 … in cycles of the 4 digits [2, 4, 8, 6]. If 219 is the first power of 2 to end in two 8s (-88) Candy argued that we expect a period of at least 19 for -88 (is that logical?); so the only other possible candidate is 239. But that ends in three 8s: 549755813888. 3 The number of palindromes with n digits (n odd) equals the number with n + 1 digits. If n is odd we have 10(n + 1)/2; if even, 10n/2. Point to Ponder: Can you unite these into a single formula? Wordpool a), c), a). Near Misses These are all words obtainable by changing the name of an element of the periodic table by one letter. E Pluribus Unum CORPOREAL Dropouts BUOYANT Missing Links a) home/work/load; b) miracle/worker/bee; c) pipe/line/dancer; d) hard/border/line; e) cold/shoulder/pad; f) rocket/salad/bar. Guardian News & Media Ltd. All rights reserved. Published by Guardian News & Media Ltd., Kings Place, 90 York Way, London N1 9GU, UK. Acting editor: Graham Snowdon. Printed by Trinity Mirror Printing Ltd, Watford. Registered as a newspaper at the Post Office. Annual subscription rates (in local currencies): UK £120; Europe €196; Rest of World £192; US $240; Canada $240; Australia $312; NZ $392 Quarterly subscription rates: UK £30; Europe €49; Rest of World £48; US $60; Canada $60; Australia $78; NZ $98 To subscribe visit gu.com/subscribe/weekly Gut feelings From obesity to anxiety, could the key be in our microbes? Discovery, pages 32-33 Gaby Hinsliff Delayed parenthood is often laid at the door of women wanting to build a career before motherhood, but is insecure housing the real culprit? difficulty of feeling torn between an all-absorbing career and a ticking biological clock, but in a sense they’re the lucky ones; generations of women before us would have killed to have such choices. What does worry me, however, is whether for some of them later motherhood is becoming a warning sign of underlying economic distress. For as the UK Office of National Statistics puts it, delayed parenthood isn’t just about what it calls the “opportunity costs of childbearing”, or what is more popularly referred to as women putting their careers first. (Where do men put their careers, one wonders, for the whole of their 20s? Is the argument that they’re all secretly dying to change nappies, if only their girlfriends would just settle down?) Of course anxiety about whether parenthood will be the death of your career still looms depressingly large, even though in some ways it should never have been easier to pull off that particular conjuring trick. A young woman starting out in my old job now wouldn’t have the same sinking feeling of looking round the office and wondering where all the women of childbearing age went; at least she’d have the right to ask for part-time hours, and the option of her partner The last time birthrates among UK women over 35 rose this high was in the late 1940s Ellie Foreman-Peck N obody is ever really ready to have a baby. You think you are, eventually, but it’s not until you actually become a parent that it becomes clear how preposterous that notion is. I can still remember, even at the ripe old age of 35, hesitating on the way out of the maternity ward, half-waiting for some sort of grownup to rush out and stop us. Surely they weren’t just going to let a pair of hapless amateurs leave with an actual live baby? But it turns out the essence of parenthood, and arguably of grownup life in general, is never really feeling ready for any of it and muddling through all the same. It’s like being kicked upstairs through a series of wholly undeserved promotions, feigning breezy competence in front of management all the way from the toddler years to the teens, and praying they don’t notice that you’re hopelessly out of your depth. So in some ways it’s hardly a surprise, still less a crisis, that the average age of parenthood should be creeping up and up; that the birthrate is falling now in all age groups except the over-40s, according to official UK statistics released last week, and that within a year or so births to women in their 30s are expected to outnumber those to women in their 20s. There’s so much to be said for doing a bit of living first, for taking romantic or professional risks while you can and coming to parenthood older and wiser and resigned to the inevitable death of a social life – or, indeed, making a considered decision not to come to it at all. Older parenthood is now becoming the norm not just for the graduate middle classes, who have always left it late, but increasingly across the spectrum; the peak age for conceiving among women in the lowest-skilled jobs is now in their late rather than early 20s. And arguably, so what? If millennials are making a choice to grow up more slowly, to put parenthood off until they’re ready, in the full knowledge that leaving it too late carries a risk that it might never happen, then all power to them. I don’t for one moment underestimate the taking some paternity leave too. Then again, she’d arguably be lucky now to have got my old job in the first place. More likely she’d be freelancing instead, and all too uncomfortably aware that the path to paid maternity leave is hardly easy. This must be partly what the ONS means by citing “uncertainty in the labour market” as a hidden force behind falling fertility rates. But the other new culprit on the block is what it calls “housing factors”: what most of us would call the fierce desire to nest; to feel settled in a home, not hopping from rented flat to rented flat and constantly worrying about school catchments. Push that secure state further and further out of reach for young couples and it’s not surprising if they delay starting a family. Britain’s housing market is, as we learned last week, beginning to seize up even for those lucky enough to have scraped into it. Homeowners are moving less often, either because they’re elderly or because the cost of trading up – say, from a one-bed starter flat to somewhere with room for a nursery – is increasingly prohibitive not just in the expensive hotspots but in cold ones, where people aren’t building up enough equity to rise up the ladder. The lucky ones just stay put and extend the loft, but the unlucky will struggle to make the physical space for a family. A survey by the housing charity Shelter in 2016, the same year covered by the latest birthrate statistics, found that one in five people were putting off starting a family because of housing pressures. Tellingly, the last time birthrates among women over 35 rose this high was in the late 1940s, when so many younger couples’ plans to start a family would have been delayed by the war. What we’re experiencing now is obviously a much milder peacetime variant, something shaped as much by raised expectations of what’s needed to raise a family as by harsh economics. But all the same, there’s something deeply uncomfortable about the idea of lives being placed on pause for such avoidable reasons. If we must have a moral panic about fertility, don’t let it be over young women choosing to live a little before they have kids. Let it be over the ones who may be running out of choices.