Section:GDN 1J PaGe:1 Edition Date:180407 Edition:01 Zone: Sent at 6/4/2018 16:58 cYanmaGentaYellowblac • Boris Johnson has moved from post-truth to post-shame Marina Hyde, page 3 Amazon or Trump: who do you hate most? Thomas Frank, page 4 The Saturday interview David Lammy, by Decca Aitkenhead, page 6 The Guardian Saturday 7 April 2018 Opinion and ideas Trade after Brexit will lay bare our fantasy of empire Ian Jack E arly April, 2018. In Brisbane a cheeky radio interviewer asks Prince Charles if he really does carry a personal lavatory seat on his travels, and the prince replies, “Oh, don’t believe all that crap.” Elsewhere in the Queensland capital, India win gold in the women’s weightlifting and lose to Cameroon in the men’s basketball. At Buckingham Palace, a menu is drawn up for a banquet to be attended later this month by 53 heads of state or their representatives. In Whitehall, the Department for International Trade ponders the effects on British farming of hormonetreated beef imports from Australia, which is a probable consequence of the UK’s first post-Brexit trade deal. In one way or another, the Commonwealth is responsible for all these things: for the Commonwealth Games, which demand the presence of the heir to the throne in Australia; for the Commonwealth heads of government meeting (Chogm), the 25th such conclave since 1971, which occurs in London (and Windsor Castle) on 16-20 April; and, simply by its dogged and unlikely persistence as an international grouping, for permitting the British delusion that old imperial patterns of trade can replace the present arrangements with the EU. Not that the Commonwealth itself encouraged this idea: nearly every Commonwealth republic and “realm” wanted the UK to remain inside the EU. And not that Europhobes have always prized the Commonwealth. As our present foreign secretary wrote in 2002, “It is said that the Queen has come to love the Commonwealth, partly because it supplies her with regular cheering crowds of flag-waving piccaninnies.” The Commonwealth that some Brexit campaigners had in mind was perhaps a little whiter – back to the time when it meant the British empire’s settler dominions: Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Newfoundland and South Africa, which were sovereign states, not colonies, and bound only by their loyalty to the crown. Indian independence forced Britain to be more flexible about who could be included. As India would be a republic, loyal oaths were out of the question. But Britain was keen to maintain some form of the old connection “in the mistaken belief ”, according to the Commonwealth historian Philip Murphy, “that India’s huge standing army would continue to underwrite British great-power status”. There were other reasons too. Historic sentiment, fear of American ambition, the need to protect British markets: together they led Britain to ILLUSTRATION: MATT KENYON Section:GDN 1J PaGe:2 Edition Date:180407 Edition:01 Zone: Sent at 6/4/2018 17:08 • cYanmaGentaYellowblac The Guardian Saturday 7 April 2018 2 Trade after Brexit will lay bare our fantasy of empire Ian Jack Continued from front propose a compromise. All that would be required was that India recognise the king as the head of the Commonwealth, “as the symbol of the free association of its independent member states”. Even so, the offer still flew in the face of the complete withdrawal that had been promised by leaders of the independence movement. But India’s prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, finally went along with it – realising, he said, that Commonwealth membership meant “independence plus, not independence minus”. Other countries felt the same. In his forthcoming book, The Empire’s New Clothes, Murphy argues that Britain didn’t mastermind the growth of the modern Commonwealth as part of a grand geopolitical strategy. Newly independent colonies wanted to belong, not least because their anticolonial leaders still felt a strong sense of cultural attachment to British institutions – universities mainly – that had brought them into contact with contemporaries from other parts of the world. Any thought that the Commonwealth could successfully perpetuate the empire vanished with the Suez humiliation in 1956, when India sided with Egypt over the Anglo-French assault. The ties to London began to weaken. Names changed to reflect different realities. Founded in 1930, the British Empire Games became the British Empire and Commonwealth Games in 1954, the British Commonwealth Games in 1970, and finally the Commonwealth Games in 1978. O n paper, the facts remain compelling. The countries of the Commonwealth spread across a fifth of the world’s land surface, contain nearly a third of the world’s population and produce around 15% of the world’s wealth. But how much does the Commonwealth affect the lives of the people behind these statistics? Hardly at all. The organisation defines itself as a “diverse community of 53 nations that work together to promote prosperity, democracy and peace”. Friendly politicians call it a useful talking shop. Many people in its constituent countries have never heard of it. Both its longevity and its apparent importance owe a lot to the enthusiasm of the Queen and the international affection for her. Until the run-up to Brexit, the notion that the Commonwealth offered the UK economic salvation would have been comic. In 2010, it was left to Ukip’s manifesto to promise a Commonwealth Free Trade Area, which would account for “more than 20% of all international trade and investment” and enable Britain to flourish outside the EU. The Tory manifesto for the next general election, in 2015, pledged to “further strengthen our ties with our close Commonwealth allies, Australia, Canada and New Zealand”. And by the time the referendum came around, several prominent leavers, including Boris Johnson, were happy to say the UK had “betrayed” the Commonwealth when it joined the EEC in 1973. It was time, as a Daily Telegraph headline had it, to “embrace the Commonwealth”. And in a desire to be more obviously useful – particularly to the UK, its biggest backer – the Commonwealth had begun to sell itself as a trade and investment asset. But to the Brexiteer, the Commonwealth offered more than the prospect of increased trade (from a very low base: Australia takes 1.6% of UK exports and the Commonwealth as a whole 9.5%). Before the referendum, it was also talked up as a source of betterquality immigrants. In 2013 Johnson, then London mayor, proposed a “bilateral free labour mobility zone” between the UK and Australia: “We British are more deeply connected with the Australians – culturally and emotionally – than with any other country on earth”. The Eurosceptic Tory Tim Hewish picked up the idea and extended it to Canada and New Zealand. There was no proposal, however, to include the countries of south Asia, Africa or the Caribbean – which just as many, if not more, Britons are as deeply connected to. The theme of this month’s Commonwealth heads of government meeting is “Towards a Common Future”. The host runs the risk of turning into the most unpopular guest. Founded 1821 Independently owned by the Scott Trust № 53,377 ‘Comment is free… but facts are sacred’ CP Scott US-China trade Donald Trump’s trade war threats should not become realities Trade wars do not start by accident. If the US and China contrive to launch a new era of tit-for-tat protectionism to match that last seen in the 1930s it will be because of political decisions taken in Washington and Beijing by those with a full understanding of the consequences of their action. Comparisons with the drift to war in the summer of 1914 are wide of the mark. Despite announcing plans for 25% tariffs on a small range of US imports this week, China has made clear that it wants to avoid a trade war. It will be happy to disarm if Donald Trump removes his threatened action against $50bn of Chinese goods. But Mr Trump is now threatening to escalate the battle with another $100bn of tariffs. The financial markets have been by turns spooked, then calmed, then alarmed again. China has good reason to take a measured approach. It is an export-driven economy that had a trade surplus of close to $350bn with the US in 2016. Over the past four decades, people have moved from the countryside to find jobs in fast-growing cities. A full-blown trade war with the US could easily lead to factories closing and millions of unhappy unemployed workers. The leaders of China’s Communist party would prefer to avoid that. It is perhaps more difficult to assess what Mr Trump wants to achieve. The president has made no secret of his desire to target what he considers to be China’s unfair trade practices, including currency manipulation and the need for US companies to cede intellectual property rights to Chinese partner firms in return for market access. Mr Trump is not alone in this analysis. Barack Burglars An angry public is on the side of the law; but it is not a substitute The death of Henry Vincent, a career criminal who died after being stabbed in a fight with a south-east London pensioner more than twice his age whose house he was trying to burgle, has unleashed violent public passions and arguments. Legally, the matter may be a simple one. Ever since the case of Tony Martin, the Norfolk farmer who shot in the back and killed a young thief in his isolated farmhouse in 1999, and served three years in prison for manslaughter after an outcry against his initial conviction for murder, the law has been successively rebalanced in the interests of homeowners and against intruders. Householders are now entitled to fight back – and even to deploy “disproportionate force” – in self-defence if they are attacked in their own homes. Richard OsbornBrooks, the 78-year-old pensioner involved in the fight, has been met by a wave of public sympathy, while the dead man, his family and associates, have all been the subjects of scorn and abuse from the papers. Any gang which preys on old people, as they did, deserves public obloquy as well as prison sentences. It’s difficult to imagine a crime that is more despicable and spreads more fear and distrust than stealing from pensioners. The instincts of the public in this case are entirely on the side of justice. But they are not the same thing as justice. The rush of public sympathy and understanding for Mr Osborn-Brooks is not at all hard to appreciate or to sympathise with. If he did kill Vincent this will have been an entirely traumatic experience for him; even having to confront a burglar in the middle of the night Obama said much the same when he was president, yet had little to show for a measured approach. Mr Trump has little time for the traditional niceties of diplomacy. He prefers to adopt a strategy that is seemingly based on his own 1987 business bestseller, The Art of the Deal. This suggests that negotiators get nowhere unless they are prepared to be tough and make excessive demands that they will later modify. The early exchanges between Washington and Beijing seem consistent with that approach. Yet trade talks with China are more complicated than clinching a real-estate deal in New York City in the 1980s. Mr Trump’s own background suggests that he too would prefer not to have a trade war. As far as it is possible to tell, the US administration is adopting the classic good cop, bad cop routine. One day Mr Trump tweets something minatory; the next his chief economic adviser Larry Kudlow steps out on to the White House lawn and says that in the fullness of time a deal will be done. For now, the idea that what has happened so far is merely sabre-rattling looks a reasonable assumption. Wall Street thinks so, which is why share prices rallied when Mr Kudlow adopted an emollient tone. The US will have a quite lengthy consultation period before the threatened tariffs are implemented, which leaves plenty of time for a deal to be done. Opinion polls suggest that Mr Trump’s tough line on trade is going down well with the voters. He may be further emboldened by the fact that China’s proposed tariffs cover 40% of its imports from the US, but account for less than 2% of total American exports and only 0.3% of US GDP. They would make barely a dent in a US economy that is growing at a healthy lick. Yet a good negotiator knows when it is time to do the deal. Mr Trump may secure more trade concessions out of China than his predecessor ever did. The danger is that the man who claims “nobody knows more about trade than me” is not as good a negotiator as he thinks he is either. is shocking enough for most people. But the rush of vicarious rage which has also greeted the story is a reminder of what the law and the criminal justice system stand for. Its measured deliberations ensure a balanced approach and protect us from our own most violent instincts. Vincent may well have deserved another long prison sentence, an exceptionally grim punishment in the present state of prisons. His death was, in a sense, a foreseeable consequence of his wicked and profoundly antisocial behaviour. Nonetheless, he did not deserve to die, as his family has pointed out, and had he stood trial for breaking into an old couple’s house he would not have been sentenced to death. The passions aroused by this case are reminiscent of some of the tragic cases in the US, though fortunately without the racial angle which makes such episodes so very poisonous there. The easy availability of guns in the United States means that the American householder who feels threatened becomes a very much more dangerous person than a British pensioner. The result is not a safer country but a very much more dangerous one, with higher murder rates and much more fear and unease in the background of daily life. Which brings us back to the tragic statistic that in the first months of this year the murder rate in London exceeds that of New York; and most of these killings have involved knives. The death of Henry Vincent was not a “knife crime” in the sense that the label is usually applied. But it is a reminder of how dangerous a stab wound can be, even when inflicted by a pensioner; and it should serve as a reminder of the urgency of stopping the use of knives as a means to settle any disputes. Cases such as this one are mercifully rare. Most crimes involving knives are not fatal; many are also morally much less clear. But this one should remind us that it is the law and its enforcement which exist to keep old and vulnerable people safe, not unofficial or vigilante violence. Section:GDN 1J PaGe:3 Edition Date:180407 Edition:01 Zone: Saturday 7 April 2018 The Guardian Sent at 6/4/2018 17:18 cYanmaGentaYellowblac • Opinion 3 For a man who wears his vast vocabulary so heavily, he struggles for lexical precision when it actually matters Boris Johnson has moved from post-truth to post-shame Marina Hyde L et me be clear from the start: it was absolutely wrong to make the claims of the substance that he did. That a foreign leader broke off from allegedly fiddling his election to publicly say so might be regarded as brass neck of the worst order – but accuracy matters. The one does not excuse the other. It was entirely right that the comment was withdrawn, and the MasterChef judge Gregg Wallace going on telly to clarify what he meant about the rendang sauce/chicken skin interaction belatedly went some way to de-escalating the diplomatic fallout with, among others, the Malaysian prime minister. I know what you’re thinking: how many dodgy foreign leaders are going to accuse the Brits of substance-related disinformation this year? Are these things cheaper in bulk? All I can tell you is that, while artisan greengrocer Gregg Wallace has vaguely conceded his cock-up, artisan foreign secretary Boris Johnson is still trying to style his out in the face of having needlessly handed Russia a propaganda coup. Having previously said that “the guy” at Porton Down had told him there was “no doubt” the novichok nerve agent used in the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, was made in Russia, the Foreign Office has had to offer a more nuanced version of the evidential trail. Clearly, Boris’s needless overstatement was a gift to troll tsar Putin, whose known modus operandi is to encourage and seed multiple doubts and conspiracy theories about any Russia-related misdeeds until the factual environment is more toxically polluted than one of the reactor ghost towns the Soviets forgot to admit to. Meanwhile, the Russian ambassador to the UN was channelling former KGB bleeding-heart Putin directly on Thursday, when he posed a plangent inquiry about the Skripal pets. “What happened to these animals? Why doesn’t anyone mention them?” he mentioned, stopping just shy of demanding Ace Ventura be seconded to the OPCW investigation. What happened, alas, has just emerged. The two guinea pigs were not victims of novichok, which would have made them a guesstimated 350,001st and 350,002nd of their species to succumb to a nerve agent, though probably the first pair in a domestic setting. Instead, the poor things were killed by thirst, having been sealed inside the Skripals’ house by investigators. The cat was in such a distressed state when a vet eventually gained entry that it was euthanised, reportedly at Porton Down. This is some way from a typical case of animal neglect, though for many of Britain’s 5 million armchair Boris Johnson at a diplomatic banquet in London PHOTOGRAPH: SIMON DAWSON/ REUTERS Hans Blixes, the pets’ fate will be inexcusable. It should certainly be more than enough for Labour’s Chris Williamson to take his Lord Hawski-Hawski act on Russian TV again. Don’t worry if you missed the Derby North MP’s sombre-suited explanation that the Skripal story was the British government’s “way of diverting attention from their own difficulties over Brexit and economic policy”. It’ll be played on a grateful loop across Russian state media for days – as a way of diverting attention from their own difficulties, funnily enough. Idiots gonna idiot. It’s just a shame that foreign secretaries won’t foreign secretary. You hear a lot about post-truth these days, but with each new sack-resistant balls-up, Boris Johnson moves closer to the category of post-shame. He’s a sort of market knock-off of Prince Philip – Le Shark Sportif of not really giving a toss. The foreign secretary who feels less shame and takes less grownup responsibility for himself than Gregg Wallace. Gregg Wallace! I mean, Gregg is the guy who “couldn’t get to the bottom” of one of his former wives’ claim that he was “needy”. “I find it all weird,” he mused. “I mean, she came up to the flat in London last week to change my sheets.” O nce again it will be up to Theresa May and various Swat mandarins to change Boris’s bed after the latest shitting thereof. Obviously it would stay classified for decades, but perhaps Whitehall might undertake a time-and-motion study to evaluate precisely how much Foreign Office time is spent dealing with cock-ups by the foreign secretary. It is difficult to think of anyone more loftily dismissive of the central demands of their role, certainly since Hristo Stoichkov got the Celta Vigo job and used his unveiling to announce: “I do not believe in tactics.” His tenure … did not go well. It’s remarkable, incidentally, how often the foreign secretary is undone by language. For a man who wears his vast vocabulary so heavily, Boris struggles for lexical precision when it actually matters. He can lavish who knows how much time coming up with the mot juste for Jeremy Corbyn – “mugwump” – and then produce it like he’s James effing Joyce in every news interview for a 24-hour period. But he can’t expend quite so much care when discussing the evidence for the deployment of a nerve agent in an attempted assassination on UK soil. But on he goes. The Kremlin has duly picked up his slopfest and run with it – yet as Britain’s most shameless cynic, Boris hopes “the world will see through this shameless cynicism”. Oh dear. All we need now is Michael Gove to tell Britain to have some respect for the experts and we’ve got the full set. We are living through a political reboot of The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. Politicians who stoked distrust of expertise are now desperate for people to take the official word for things. The “ultra-patriotic” provisional wing of the leave campaign openly backs the Kremlin over the British government. And a whole lot of senior continuity remainers who are bemoaning it all have conveniently forgotten their own role in the intelligence misrepresentation that led up to the Iraq war. It’s as if two generations of political chickens have come home to roost at once, and no one in charge knows what to do with them all. Rendang, perhaps. But are they even trusted to know how? Section:GDN 1J PaGe:4 Edition Date:180407 Edition:01 Zone: Sent at 6/4/2018 17:17 cYanmaGentaYellowblac • 4 The Guardian Saturday 7 April 2018 Opinion Who do you despise more: Trump or Amazon? Thomas Frank P resident Trump last week resumed his campaign of critical tweets about the online retailer Amazon, which he accuses of paying too little in taxes and of getting too good a deal from the United States Postal Service, which delivers many of its packages. Along the way he also asserted that the company used the Washington Post, which is owned by Amazon’s chief executive, Jeff Bezos, to lobby for Amazon’s interests. The price of Amazon shares fell on the news. In threatening a single business because of some personal quarrel with its CEO – apparently in order to squeeze friendlier coverage out of a newspaper that the CEO happens to own – Donald Trump has clearly violated the basic rules of democratic government. But it is also important to remember that the enemy of my enemy is not necessarily my friend. Amazon has been the subject of critical reporting for a number of years; anyone who reads the Guardian or the New York Times knows about the company’s alarming labour practices and its imperial economic ambitions. Yet some critics of the president took his tweets as a signal to rally round Amazon and its chief executive. They joked about how jealous Trump must be of Bezos’s billions. They fantasised about how Bezos might Jeff Bezos, chief executive of Amazon and owner of the Washington Post PHOTOGRAPH: ABHISHEK CHINNAPPA/REUTERS Macron’s way with (English) words leaves a lot to be desired contrive to humiliate the president by buying still more media properties. They clucked over Trump’s stupidity on the matter of the postal service. They snickered at his inability to understand modern internet enterprises. Given the chance to remind the public of American liberalism’s instinctive tendency to defend cyberoligarchs like Bezos against the claims of those it sees as uncomprehending luddites, Team Liberal jumped at it. Along the way, they gave us a vivid reminder of why modern liberalism keeps generating – and losing to – unbelievably awful antagonists such as Trump. Put it this way: yes, Trump hates Amazon, and its chief executive, and his newspaper the Washington Post. But Trump’s blustering animosity doesn’t make Amazon an admirable company. Nor does it make the Washington Post a temple of objectivity, untainted by the capital’s culture of influence-peddling. Take the matter of the postal service’s contract with Amazon – the cause of so much self-assured guffawing among the know-better set. Guess what? The president’s complaint here is kind of legit. While it might be technically correct that the US postal service makes a “profit” on its current arrangement with Amazon, it would also be correct to say that it could easily be making a lot more. If you care about the postal service workforce, maybe you too might want to show some concern about the question rather than brush it off as yet more idiocy from the comb-over caudillo. Or take the larger question of Amazon’s overwhelming and unaccountable market power, which journalists and scholars have documented painstakingly and at great length – and yet which many commentators seem to have forgotten the instant Trump started bad-mouthing Bezos. “Amazon is the shining representative of a new golden age of monopoly,” is how the Atlantic journalist Franklin Foer put it in 2014, and what he said then is even truer today. Pauline Bock I C onfronting concentrated, autocratic economic power is what Democrats used to do. It was the definition of the species. They fought against monopolies in oil and food and transport that ripped off producers with one hand and consumers with the other. But now it’s Trump who, in his clumsy and authoritarian way, is trying to swipe that legacy. I am making a tricky point here, so let me be clear: I don’t like Amazon, and I don’t like Donald Trump either. I would approve enthusiastically if a president started enforcing antitrust laws, but that’s not what Trump is proposing to do. What we are being offered instead is a choice between the worst president of our lifetimes and one of the most rapacious corporate enterprises in the country. And, eagerly, we are lining up with one or the other. This in turn seems to me an almost perfect representation of the wretched choices available to Americans these days, as well as the megadoses of self-deception we are swallowing in order to make them. It is everything that is wrong with our politics, and it extends from the most sweeping matters of state right down to the individual reader. It set off my alarm bells when the would-be monopolist Bezos tangled with the book publisher Hachette in 2014, just after buying the most important news outlet in Washington – but after reading Trump’s bullying tweets on Amazon, I want to like the plucky plutocrat from Seattle. Similarly, I despise what this president is doing to the US – but after watching CNN or reading the Washington Post’s op-ed page I sometimes want to like Trump too. That’s how their transparently unfair coverage affects me. And this is where we are now in the world’s greatest democracy. We have the billionaire Republicans, with their bigotry and their war on all things public, and the billionaire Democrats, with their oblivious ideology of globe and technology. To the common people, assembled in all our majesty, the momentous question is posed: who do you hate more? Thomas Frank is the author of Listen, Liberal Pauline Bock is a UK-based French journalist n a speech on Thursday, Emmanuel Macron angered many of his compatriots by declaring: “La démocratie est le système le plus bottom up de la terre” (“Democracy is the most bottom-up system in the world”). He meant “inclusive”, “participatory” or “non-elitist”. But there is a phrase for that concept in French: it’s démocratie ascendante. There’s also one for English words in French: franglais. From “basket” and “chewing gum” to “blockbusters” and “bestsellers”, English words are common in my language. The film industry regularly “translates” English film titles using another English phrase, usually more transparent, to look “cool” (for instance, Silver Linings Playbook became Happiness Therapy). But to many French people, “bottom up” is more confusing: was Macron making a risqué joke? Was it “bottoms up” (or “cul sec” in French)? His words, coming only days after he had launched a grand plan to promote the French language, were heavily criticised. “This sentence devalues Frenchspeaking democracy,” Bernard Pivot, a fervent defender of the French language, tweeted. But Macron has never hidden his love for franglais: his campaign’s volunteers were les helpers and many on la team présidentielle refer to him as le boss. He often gives interviews in English. And it is nice, for a change, to have a president who can pronounce English words correctly, unlike his predecessors François Hollande and Nicolas Sarkozy. Macron’s overuse of English, however, his desire for an économie disruptive and a start-up nation, flirts with caricature. Then there’s the fact that his actions don’t always seem to reflect the “bottom up” rhetoric. In November, 100 members of his party, La République En Marche!, left because of a “lack of democracy”. The head of the En Marche! parliamentary group was elected by default, since he was the sole candidate. But to criticise Macron’s words, French people had to understand them first. Sure, to entrepreneurs and millennials it makes sense. But what about French people who don’t need English for work, or are simply older than the typical start-upper? I asked my family – teachers living in rural eastern France – if they understood the president. My father, 60, whose English is good because he regularly writes letters for Amnesty International, was the only one who immediately got it. My mother, 54, was confused. “Bottom up?!” she said. “I don’t know.” She goes to weekly English classes, but prepositions are tricky for beginners and expressions combining them with other words even more so. My grandfather, 86, struggled too: “‘Bottom’ is like the foot of a tree,” he said, “and ‘up’ is when it grows?” With context, and five minutes, he understood – but in a speech, he wouldn’t have done. In the end, the final say on the matter was had by my grandmother, 82: “English words in French, I hate them. I don’t understand and it pisses me off.” Section:GDN 1J PaGe:5 Edition Date:180407 Edition:01 Zone: Saturday 7 April 2018 The Guardian Sent at 6/4/2018 16:54 cYanmaGentaYellowblac • 5 You don’t read men to learn about women Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett S he was 40 but could have passed for a year younger with soft lipstick and some gentle mascara. Her dress clung to the curves of her bosom which was cupped by her bra that was under it, but over the breasts that were naked inside her clothes. She had a personality and eyes.” This is how the author Jane Casey fulfilled the challenge of describing herself as a male author would, which was set this week on Twitter by the writer Whitney Reynolds. It made me laugh out loud, as did many of the other responses. The alleged inability of men to write women has been a topic on social media before: in 2016 this memorable passage – “She breasted boobily to the stairs, and titted downwards” – went viral. Obviously, such sentences are exaggerated for comic effect, but nonetheless they contain a grain of truth: male writers do really seem to struggle to write women. My reading is interrupted relatively often because a description of a female character has been clunky, poorly conceived, or downright hilarious. Often this comes in the form of a dry laugh or an exclamation of, “How wrong can you be?” Sometimes you come across a passage where you wonder if the writer has ever met a woman at all, or is merely using his female character as a masturbatory fantasy. And yet often these novelists are widely lauded as incredible writers with a talent for conveying fundamental human truths – at least by male readers. Haruki Murakami, Jonathan Franzen and Michel Houllebecq all have notable weaknesses when it comes to female characters, as do many of the greats (Tess of the D’Urbervilles, anyone?). The question is, can you really be considered a great novelist when, in writing characters of a gender that makes up 50% of the population, you consistently fail? Female authors do not seem to have the same problem with male characters, at least not as frequently. Perhaps it is because we grow up reading novel after novel offering insight into the male psyche – or at least an outward performance of it – books that are hailed as classics, their place in the canon secure. Meanwhile, the books interrogating the experience of being a woman are dismissed and ignored by many male readers and are not given the same cultural status. Who can forget VS Naipaul’s comments a few years ago about female writers’ tendency towards sentimentality? Women’s stories are not considered important, or at least have not been in the past, and so they fall by the wayside. Couple this with an ego that perhaps does not quite recognise women as fully rounded human beings, and you end up with shoddy female characters. But I think there are other factors at play here. It would be easy to buy into the empathic/systematising gender dichotomy here as providing an answer – men just aren’t as good at seeing things from the point of view of others, the argument would go. And that is why male writers don’t get the nuances of womanhood. Such an argument amounts, to my mind, to a get-out-of-jailfree card. It isn’t that these male authors are unable to empathise, it is that they haven’t bothered, or needed to. You can still have your novel hailed as a work of heartbreaking genius that is somehow universal despite such a major deficiency, so why try? There is something else at work too. There is a theory that the Italian novelist Elena Ferrante, who hides her real identity, is in fact male. Any woman reading Ferrante knows that’s laughable. They know they are reading the work of a woman. Why? Because so much of femininity is unspoken. Moving through the world as a woman – the way you are viewed and treated, your emotions, your approach to your body – involves subtleties and complexities that are often unarticulated, sometimes even between women themselves. There are great male writers out there who have written brilliant female characters: Kazuo Ishiguro, Leo Tolstoy, Gustave Flaubert, Colm Tóibín and Graham Swift are just some who came to mind, or were singled out by other Twitter users when I asked for recommendations. But they remain exceptions. A lack of imagination and a tendency to objectify certainly play a part. Little interest in female stories, which are not given the same status as male ones? Absolutely. But the taboo aspects of womanhood, especially when it comes to our bodies, must surely also be a reason. When faced with such complexities, these writers take refuge in descriptions of cleavage, believing it is enough. It is not enough. We are right to mock them. Maybe as a result they’ll try harder next time. Section:GDN 1J PaGe:6 Edition Date:180407 Edition:01 Zone: Sent at 6/4/2018 16:13 • 6 Interview After a week of shocking violence in London, MP David Lammy is calling for politicians to admit the ‘war on drugs’ has failed and that black lives matter: ‘Why do I have to start every debate? Kids are getting killed. Where is the prime minister? Where is Sadiq Khan?’ Interview by ad Decca Aitkenhead D Interviewer of the year avid Lammy is one of those politicians whose public profile has never correlated with his position in his party, or converted into frontbench power, and this sort of maverick celebrity operator tends to attract suspicion. Elected to represent Tottenham 18 years ago, the 46-year-old has at various key moments – the Grenfell fire, the London riots – distinguished himself in the public’s affection by seizing individual ownership of the agenda. To some, particularly in Westminster, this highly personalised brand of political identity is opportunistic self-promotion, artfully disguised as heroism. To me, his politics look sincere and principled, I’ve just never been entirely sure what they are. He used to joke: “I’m not Blair, I’m not Brown, I’m just black.” And he has successfully eluded all association with any ideological faction with such dexterity that he can sometimes look a bit slippery, as if his public persona is contingent on whatever strategy he has devised to please his audience. We meet in the Bernie Grant Arts Centre in Tottenham on Thursday, to discuss the violent crime surge that has cost 51 lives in London this year. More than half of the victims have been young – in their 20s and younger – and poor. I am not expecting much more than for Lammy to offer carefully calibrated, bland reassurances. It takes less than five minutes to see how wrong I am. Lammy woke up on Tuesday to a text informing him that Tanesha Melbourne-Blake, a 17-year-old girl, had been gunned down in a drive-by shooting in his constituency. This time, he decided, he would not let the murder go unnoticed. “To be honest,” he says, “I was shocked that four weeks ago, when a moped and pillion passenger gunned down a young man standing outside the cinema in Wood Green, that there was not more national attention on that shooting.” How does he explain the apparent indifference? “Because he was black.” He delivers this with such force, his words ring out across the cafe. “Because he was black,” he repeats. “And I think we’ve got to ask ourselves, do black lives matter?” For the next hour, Lammy barely draws breath. Only twice does he pause to consider the impact of what he is about to say. Even in private, I have never heard a politician hold forth with such utter disregard for his or her audience. The first thing Lammy wants us to understand is the blameless ease with which a child who goes home to an empty council estate flat because his mum can’t afford childcare while she’s at work, can become a gang member. All it takes is a gift of new trainers, he says, for which in return the child is soon asked to carry a little package round the corner, and before long, the 12-yearold is earning more in one week than his parents make in a year. The white middle-class market for cocaine is booming, Lammy says, citing reports by Interpol and Europol, and he has seen for himself how easy it is to service because dealers in Tottenham have shown him. “People are ordering drugs on WhatsApp, Snapchat. It’s easy.” One young constituent was caught selling cocaine in Aberdeen: dealers in London now operate what are known as “county lines”, supplying cocaine to every region of the country. Do middle-class customers safe in neighbourhoods far away from Tottenham’s turf wars have blood on their hands? For a moment he pauses. “I think they have got to make the connection between their drug use and what is happening with that drug. But actually,” he goes on impatiently, “there are much bigger questions. It’s bigger than just making people feel guilty. There are big public policy questions about what to do about this, but there is no major public discourse about what we’re going to do. Most people think the war on drugs has not worked – but nothing has replaced it. There is some debate about decriminalisation, particularly of marijuana, and it is happening in some parts of the world, but it’s not reached our shores yet. This is not currently being discussed in the mainstream.” Surely, then, I say, this is the time for the political courage to stand up and admit the “war on drugs” has failed? Far from protecting us, our drug laws have delivered an £11bn cocaine industry into the hands of teenagers, putting all of us in danger. “Yes,” he agrees. “Yes. I think it is.” The heavy flatness of his tone suggests he finds no pleasure in concluding that prohibition has I think we’ve come to normalise it – we think of gun and knife crime among teenagers as normal. And it is not cYanmaGentaYellowblac The Guardian Saturday 7 April 2018 Section:GDN 1J PaGe:7 Edition Date:180407 Edition:01 Zone: Saturday 7 April 2018 The Guardian Sent at 6/4/2018 18:04 cYanmaGentaYellowblac • 7 GRAEME ROBERTSON FOR THE GUARDIAN been a terrible mistake. Does culpability therefore rest, ultimately, with the legislators responsible for passing and perpetuating those laws? “Yes. That’s right. I think that is basically right.” Looking suddenly anxious, he adds: “Look, all I’m saying is that there is no debate at all going on in this country about it.” He could start one himself, I suggest. A Christian ex-barrister, born to inner-city, working-class Guyanese immigrants, his credibility confers an authority that spans council estates and the Commons, and makes him an ideal candidate to introduce a radical rethink. I’m not expecting the suggestion to fly him into a rage, so am a bit taken aback when his arms begin to swoop like an angry swan and his voice rises to a shout. “Look, why have I got to start everything? No, I mean it. Why have I got to fucking start everything?” He is furious. “You know, I’m here in this constituency, it’s bloody tough. Why is there a political vacuum? Where is the prime minister? Where is the home secretary? Where is Sadiq Khan? There’s a riot, everyone’s on holiday? David? Kids get killed? David? “So I have to start every debate. I have to be in every discussion. It’s very frustrating. I want other people to step up to leadership. I can’t do this all on my own. Quite rightly, folk on the street are pretty pissed off, they’re really frustrated with politicians, they want action. I hear: ‘David, can you do this? ‘David, can you do that?’ I’m trying, but I can’t.” He sighs. “I find it slightly odd that I am asked to be the urban guru. I haven’t got a budget. I’m a legislator, but it’s hard to legislate when my party’s out of power. I can convene and knock heads together, I have some influence and can speak to the media. So I’m doing what I can do. But I have no pocket of cash.” Earlier that morning, Lammy, had broadcast his bewilderment on Radio 4’s Today programme that neither the home secretary nor the mayor had taken the trouble to phone him, when four of his constituents had been murdered. Unsurprisingly, both offices get in touch before the end of the day, but why it took them so long perplexes Lammy. “Sadiq and I have a good relationship,” he says, but the only reason he can think of to explain why Khan didn’t call is also his greatest fear: “I think it’s that we’ve come to normalise it. We think of gun and knife crime among teenagers as normal. And it is not.” To Lammy, the rise in London murders feels ominously different to previous surges of violence. “I am more worried about this spike because the profile of the people getting caught up in it is younger. The callousness of shooting into a crowd outside a cinema, shooting at young women, the normalisation – never mind the ramping up by social media – all of that makes me alarmed and worried. I am pretty confident that we’re not going to get over this problem unless there is a proper political consensus. This is not going to self-correct.” What does Lammy say to people who hold inadequate or dysfunctional parents entirely to blame? His face screws up in disgust. “If any of my children picked up a knife or a gun, I would be horrified. I would feel I had failed. But you know, I’ve got resources and means to pay for stuff when my wife and I are at work, and to keep my kids busy. The middle classes use boarding schools and all sorts of clubs, and can bus their kids from X to Y. They have got cars. Their children aren’t having to navigate spaces on their own. So I’m just saying, of course it comes back to parents and moral choices. Of course it takes Mum and Dad, but it also takes a village. And it has to take you paying your taxes to – ”. He falters, on the verge of breaking down. “I’m getting emotional because I am tired,” he says, but looks wholly unembarrassed. “It has to take you paying your taxes to pay for youth services, to pay for support for the more vulnerable in society. There is no way you can expect that single mother to do it all on her own.” If he had to identify the single biggest cause of the violence, would it be austerity? Six seconds of silence fall, before he replies unhappily: “I don’t want to be the cliched Labour politician who says that it is all down to cuts. I really don’t want to be that. But I think we have to be clear: neighbourhood policing has vanished. It’s gone. Then if you also take out 40% from the local authority and you cut youth services, you do effectively It comes back to parents. But it also takes you paying taxes to pay for youth services. You can’t expect that single mum to do it all leave communities to their own devices.” Does he agree with Met police commissioner Cressida Dick that social media also plays a major part? “I think it’s a big influence,” he nods. “Some of this comes back to pride, ego, respect. I see the way in which slights turn into: ‘I’m going to go and kill you.’ But the truth is,” he adds, that “we are living in a world in which presidents of countries are living in this way. Why do we think that’s not going to affect young people, who are vulnerable and suggestible, to take that to a different conclusion? That’s what’s going on, yes.” I’m puzzled by Lammy’s failure, under four successive Labour leaders, to secure his position on the frontbenches, so ask if he can explain it. With a pointed stare, “No,” he says flatly. “Go and ask the white men who run my party. That’s all I’m going to say.” I say that sounds like an eloquent answer. “Go and ask them,” he says testily. “Don’t come to me and ask me why I haven’t been chosen. Ask them about who they’ve chosen.” Lammy nominated Jeremy Corbyn in the leadership election, so I ask if this was because he wanted Corbyn to become leader. “No. I nominated him because I’m his friend.” Why he isn’t a key player in Corbyn’s inner circle seems confusing, but when I say this, he looks cross. “You know what? You know what? I’m so bored of tribal politics. That’s part of the problem.” His voice rising, he repeats: “I’m so bored of it. I’m not a tribalist. That’s not what turns me on. So if I don’t present sufficiently as part of the clique, then so be it. I am very happy influencing change in the way I’m influencing change. I have long given up crawling up political backsides in order to float to the top.” We’re winding up, about to say goodbye, when I remember one last question. Lammy tweeted a eulogy of unequivocal praise for Winnie Mandela, after her death this week, and I wondered – in view of the violence in Tottenham – if he was at all worried that it might be read as a tacit message that violence is a forgivable, perhaps even legitimate, response to racial oppression. He stares at me in silence for around eight seconds, and his eyes begin to redden and well. “I tweeted about Winnie Mandela,” he begins, his voice cracking, “because I remember being 13 or 14, growing up in this constituency” – the voice falters again – “with Margaret Thatcher doing deals with Botha, and not pursuing sanctions. Riots, Nelson Mandela in prison.” Tears begin streaming down his cheeks. “And she was our hero.” He pauses to steady his voice. “No one is perfect, and I have not had to put up with the humiliations, the tortures, the nightmare of your husband being in prison for 27 years. She has died, and I know enough South Africans to know that for them, Winnie Mandela is a hero. And I stand with them. “I’m not going to be cowed by the rampant racism, the organised racism, that comes from parts of the altright.” His voice rises as his anger swells. “That seeks to put down every single tweet I make. I’m standing with Winnie. And I don’t give a damn. It’s as simple as that. I’m not running in the opposite direction. That’s why I tweeted. This is where I’m from.” He bangs the table. “I grew up just a few roads away. This is where I’m from. I speak for the people I represent. And we are proud of Winnie Mandela – faults and all. We look around at our national politicians, we do not see national politicians who are without fault. And, actually, we see quite a lot who get very far – let’s take Boris Johnson – with,” and through his tears he spits out the words: “Considerable. White. Privilege. Failure after failure after failure rewarded. So don’t preach to me about Winnie Mandela.” Section:GDN 1J PaGe:8 Edition Date:180407 Edition:01 Zone: Sent at 6/4/2018 16:35 • 8 Amelia Gentleman (Angry about the pay gap, 3 April) was helpful in separating out the various reasons for unequal pay, together with ideas for women to tackle the problem. But where is the advice to employers that unequal pay is often the result of unequal opportunities? Many jobs advertised as full-time could be done by part-timers or as job shares. There are easy-tofind organisations out there with experience in advising about this. Where are the talent spotters, identifying women in their companies with the capacity to learn and do more, enabling them to move into the higher-paid maledominated areas. And let’s not forget the responsibility of government. Years after these issues were first raised, we still have too few girls choosing Stem subjects, a well understood avenue to well-paid employment. Childcare? Often affordable for parents of one child, out of reach for more than one. Hence the exodus of women from decently paid full-time jobs with prospects into part-time work, almost always at the bottom of the pay and opportunities ladder. Exposure of the gender pay gap is of course helpful, but only actions and commitment to solutions will start to solve the problem. Margaret Prosser Labour, House of Lords • The figures so far are fairly crude and open to a degree of interpretation (as some people will not be included in the calculations), but the pattern is clear. Most companies report a pay disparity in favour of men, and the construction and finance sectors seem to be the worst offenders. The real reason for the pay gap is not necessarily that women are getting paid less for the same work as men, but more likely that they are not getting into the higher-paid positions. And if companies want to reduce their gender pay gap, this is the area that would make a difference. It will be interesting to see what happens next. The reasons given by companies for their pay gap suggests a tendency to make excuses. The obligation to report is an annual one, so we will need to wait another year to see if progress is being made. Amy Richardson Brighton • Theresa May’s gender pay gap data, however imperfect, does shed a little light. For all their criticism of Gary Lineker’s pay, the Guardian (11.3%), Associated Newspapers (19.6%), Times Newspapers (14.3%), Express Newspapers (17%), Channel 4 Television (28.6%), and ITV (18%) all have larger average pay gaps than the BBC (10.7%). BT (-0.7%), where women earn a little more on average than men, is an example to the likes of HSBC (59%) and Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust (32.1%). Perhaps the Labour party (2.5%) could press Theresa for even more information next time. Philip Kerridge Bodmin, Cornwall Fight the power of the frackers by changing energy supplier The news from Lancashire (Fracking firm Cuadrilla finishes drilling UK’s first horizontal well, 4 April) came as a disappointment, particularly in the wake of the Observer business leader that suggested fracking companies were running into difficulties in the UK (Fracking industry blows hot and cold amid fuel shortages and false starts, 11 March). Perhaps the easiest method of thwarting them would be for millions of energy customers to switch their accounts away from the big six and other suppliers of shale gas, and towards the smaller, often local energy companies who only supply gas from renewable sources and unfracked gas. There are a number of such companies in the Bristol area, for example, and they are easily identifiable on their websites as The Guardian Saturday 7 April 2018 Letters Actions louder than words on the pay gap they tend to trumpet their green credentials, whereas the firms trafficking shale gas do not mention the source of their gas. The green companies also tend to be cheaper for the consumer. Given the drilling companies’ current problems with governmental checks on their finances, local authorities blocking them and local mass protests, the prospect of a significant desertion of account holders might be the final straw in deterring them from pursuing drilling in the UK. Howard Hardman Bristol • Cuadrilla reports “signs” of a “sizeable quantity of shale gas” in Lancashire and claims its tests indicate that each of the four wells for which it has planning permission could “extract enough gas to power cYanmaGentaYellowblac • Reading Boswell’s life of Dr Johnson, I came upon the following entry on 11 April 1773. “I put a question to him upon a fact in common life, which he could not answer, nor have I found any one else who could. What is the reason that women servants, though obliged to be at the expense of purchasing their own clothes, have much lower wages than men servants, to whom a great proportion of that article is furnished, and when in fact our female house servants work much harder than the male?” What answer would Boswell get today? Jim Baillie Sale, Cheshire • Danny Dorling rhetorically asks (Letters, 3 April) whether the Oxford Diocesan School Trust is paying part-timers less per hour than full timers, and if that is the explanation for their large gender pay gap. The answer is obviously yes. The gender pay gap being reported currently is the total, unadjusted, one; of all men and women in work and it’s around 18%. The pay gap, unadjusted for any other factor, among full-timers only is 9.6% by the same ONS figures. That part-timers get lower pay per hour is thus the explanation for some half of that gender pay The obligation to report is an annual one, so we will need to wait another year to see if progress is being made Amy Richardson 5,000 homes for 30 years”. Cuadrilla CEO Francis Egan further claims the drilling is “a major milestone towards getting Lancashire gas flowing into Lancashire homes”. Given that there are over 650,000 homes in the county, that means the four wells together might provide about a year’s worth of gas for each one – not much of a return for a sizeable intrusion of the Lancashire environment. Austen Lynch Garstang, Lancashire • Your article on the Swansea energy scheme (Tidal lagoon jobs at risk after delay to funding agreement, 3 April) quoted business secretary Greg Clark’s January letter to the Welsh first minister, describing tidal lagoons as “an untried technology with high capital costs and significant uncertainties”. The world’s first tidal power station was in France, opened in 1966, paid for itself in 20 years, and is still producing enough to power 130,000 houses. Mr Clark seems to be stranded on the mud of ignorance. Neil Anderson Cambridge gap currently being reported, isn’t it? Across the entire economy, it will be higher in those fields and organisations which employ more than the average proportion of parttimers. This is such a well known fact that even those in their ivory towers should grasp it. Tim Worstall Senior fellow, Adam Smith Institute • While Theresa May is probably happy to contribute to the anger about the pay-gap issue, it is a welcome distraction for her: a blue herring (Men paid more at 80% of firms, 5 April). The real battle over women’s pay should focus on the gap at the bottom end, where millions of workers are paid less than a living wage or even below the legal minimum wage, and most of them are women. The government could take two easy steps now to improve matters for working women: first, make firms obey the minimum wage law or, better yet, ensure that all employees get paid a real living wage, giving them enough to live on without benefits. If companies were made to pay decent wages, the Tory austerity agenda could be shelved, and millions of lives would be improved; it really is that simple. David Reed London • I was buying something and couldn’t decide between two purchases. I decided to look at each company’s gender pay gap and choose the one that paid women the fairest. If other women consult the pay gap before deciding where to spend their money, we could perhaps move this thing along a bit more speedily. Let’s start a “spend where it’s fair” movement. Janet Graves Mellor, Cheshire Justice for gay men killed in Chechnya One year ago this week, news broke of a wave of terrifying, state-sponsored violence in Chechnya against men perceived to be gay or bisexual. In scenes that would not have been out of place in Nazi Germany, innocent men were rounded up and removed to illegal detention centres. Men like Maxim Lapunov, who spent 12 days in a blood-soaked cell just because he is gay, but who today is bravely speaking out for justice. Men like the singer Zelim Bakaev, who disappeared last August during the round-ups and has not been seen since. Prisoners were held in appalling conditions: starved, humiliated, beaten and subjected to extreme torture. Some did not get out alive. The authorities also outed many of the men to their families, directly inciting relatives to carry out honour killings against their sons, brothers and fathers. Ramzan Kadyrov, the Chechen leader, has both denied the existence of LGBT people in his country and said that gay people should move to Canada “to purify our blood”. But it is Vladimir Putin and the Russian government who have the final say on what happens in Chechnya. Russia has failed to conduct any meaningful investigations into the appalling abuses. Nobody has been brought to justice. This is unacceptable. Today, All Out, its members and partners will come together at 2pm outside the Russian embassy in London and in cities around the world to honour our gay and bisexual brothers murdered in Chechnya. We will stand in solidarity with men like Maxim who survived the torture camps. We will make sure the world does not forget about what happened in Chechnya. We will tell the Russian government “we are watching you”. We won’t rest until we get justice for Maxim, for Zelim and for the dozens of other men tortured and murdered in Chechnya. Matt Beard Executive director, All Out Section:GDN 1J PaGe:9 Edition Date:180407 Edition:01 Zone: Saturday 7 April 2018 The Guardian Sent at 6/4/2018 16:34 cYanmaGentaYellowblac • 9 email@example.com @guardianletters Fading industry ‘Redcar beach. The old steelworks was just visible in the mist in the distance. Someone had left some crab creels on the sand, which I thought made an interesting foreground.’ WENDY WILKINSON/ GUARDIANWITNESS Share your photographs at gu.com/ letters-pics Corrections and clarifications • Our gender pay gap coverage used NWN Media data that had been entered in the government database incorrectly. The entry has been changed to show a median gap of 85.2% in favour of women, not men (When do companies stop paying women in 2018?, 5 April, page 12). • The Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency sets driving tests, not the Driver & Vehicle Licensing Agency (Adult learner, 31 March, page 69, Weekend). Editorial complaints and corrections can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org or The readers’ editor, King’s Place, 90 York Way, London N1 9GU; alternatively call 020 3353 4736 from 10am to 1pm Monday to Friday excluding public holidays Ray had clever feet and a clever mind We do not publish letters where only an email address is supplied; please include a full postal address, a reference to the article and a daytime phone number. We may edit letters. Submission and publication of all letters is subject to our terms and conditions: see gu.com/ letters-terms There is no space for extremist views in Polish Saturday schools Reading your article (Polish schools in UK accused of links to far-right associates, 2 April) one can get the impression that a number of Polish Saturday schools are exposed to farright organisations. I am not aware of any confirmed cases where such a school has developed a serious connection with this kind of group or individual – and if such a case arises I will do everything I can to prevent the spread of this narrative. Your article creates an incomplete picture of Saturday schools and damages the hard work of parents, schools and the Polish Educational Society, all aiming to ensure the next generation of Polish children are aware of their identity, roots and the values of honesty, tolerance and respect for others. The PES works tirelessly to deliver a Polish curriculum that truly reflects our culture and history. We appreciate the tremendous work of everyone involved in the Polish educational system in the UK. This does not mean that we should not address, and if necessary counter, attempts at influencing these schools by any form of extremism and intolerance. Arkady Rzegocki Polish ambassador to the UK • We take the disturbing allegations about links between some far-right organisations and Polish Saturday schools extremely seriously as we strongly believe there is no space for radical and extremist views of any sort in any of our schools. Following the publication of the article, we have requested further and detailed explanations from two of the schools named in the report. The third, in Southampton, has never been registered with the Polish Educational Society as a member school. Polish Saturday schools have for decades offered a safe space for all children of Polish heritage to learn more about Poland and its language, literature, and history, playing a pivotal role in the life of generations of Polish-British children. As of 2018 there are over 130 schools, regularly attended by some 20,000 pupils. We have distributed guidance asking all headteachers to review their procedures regarding external engagement and tighten them up, if necessary, to rule out any future cooperation with organisations representing radical and extremist views. We also reminded them of the importance of working closely with local authorities, including local councillors and police, and their responsibility to report any activity in the broader Polish community that might not be conducive to the public good or could jeopardise community relations. We are committed to ensuring that all Polish Saturday schools are free of harassment, hate speech, or radicalism of any sort. Krystyna Olliffe Chair, Polish Educational Society When is someone going to notice that gang violence only occurs where there is acute poverty (Police ‘have lost control of the streets’, 6 April)? Kit Jackson London • Martin Kettle (Britain is closer to Ireland than ever. We must not forget why, 5 April) forgets to mention Mo Mowlam, without whose warm and engaging personality it may be doubted if Blair would ever have been in a position to claim her credit. Mary Cawley Carlton Husthwaite, North Yorkshire • In 1990 QPR played Peterborough United in a cup game. We repeatedly heard Ray Wilkins instruct defenders to “isolate him”. This was the first time we had ever heard a footballer use a word containing more than two syllables (Obituary, 5 April). Toby Wood Peterborough • In suggesting (Letters, 5 April) the Guardian should print photographs of newborn lambs only if accompanied by pictures of “what happens to them next”, Elizabeth Hill may consider the effect on cookery articles showing culinary creations if there needs to be photographs of how that same food will look post-digestion. Angus Thomson Streatley-on-Thames, Berkshire • Easter bunnies are no better off. Gassing, diseases, roadkill and natural predation take a horrible toll. It really isn’t nice out there at all. Iain Climie Whitchurch, Hampshire • By reducing the size of the quick crossword (Letters, 4 April), we could have a return of kakuro at least one day a week. After all, it is superior to sudoku. Pamela Leemeijer Northleach, Gloucestershire Established 1906 Country diary Garsdale, Cumbria A few days ago I was asked if I was a birder and apparently I pulled an indecisive face. Now I’m proving the point. The air quivers with curlew music, but I am walking head down. In my defence, drizzle is gusting up the valley, and I’m looking for water vole feeding signs, hoping for evidence to match some promising burrows a little way downstream. There are plenty of clumps of rush, the stems trimmed at 45 degree angles, but droppings are elusive – washed away or disintegrated by the rain, I suppose. If I hadn’t been focusing down, I might not have seen the dipper, dead in the rushes. Worse, I might have trodden on it. It’s noticeably heavy and for a moment I think it must be saturated, but then I remember. Dippers are aquanauts as much as aeronauts and, uniquely among songbirds, their bones are solid, for ballast. Even more than me, their habitual focus is down, and in, not up or out. I open the short, triangular wings. No wonder there’s something of the bumblebee in a live dipper’s whirring trajectory from rock to branch, branch to bank, and bank back to rock. In the water, the wings are both oars and hydrofoils, angled to harness the flow and surf the body down. The feet are large, with long, loose-jointed toes that curl around my little finger. They have small dimpled pads, and the grapplehook points of the claws are slightly blunted from anchoring the bird to the streambed while it probes for mayfly nymphs, caddis larvae and shrimp with a beak like a pair of needle-nosed pliers. The feathers on the head are so fine they merge in what looks like a small serving of whipped chocolate mousse. One underwater-seeing eye is open. It is so nearly alive that I feel complicit – my inability to revive a crass excuse for my urge to possess. The next morning I see another, bobbing and impeccable in its white bib and russet cummerbund. It calls and zips downstream like a wind-up toy released, more miraculous for the remembered dead weight of its cousin, the feet, the cocoa-feather drysuit. Amy-Jane Beer Twitter: @gdncountrydiary ILLUSTRATION: CLIFFORD HARPER Section:GDN 1J PaGe:10 Edition Date:180407 Edition:01 Zone: Sent at 6/4/2018 16:44 • 10 W hen a new Cornish outpost of the Tate Gallery was commissioned in 1989, hoping to attract 70,000 visitors a year, the idea of building an important cultural attraction to stimulate the local economy was barely understood. A competition for the old gasworks site was won by the life/work partnership of Eldred Evans and David Shalev, who based their design on the site’s old foundations to keep within budget. The Guardian Saturday 7 April 2018 Obituaries David Shalev Architect of Tate St Ives whose work balanced modernism with classical references A circular entrance reused the footings of the gasholder. It was large because the cost of flooring-in the broad drum was too expensive, but the full-height windows gave stunning views across Porthmeor beach and the architects knew that a similar drum had worked well at the Cardiff National Museum. Carefully proportioned galleries, likened by Shalev, who has died aged 83, to a series of artists’ studios, balanced modernism with classical references more overt than those in the accompanying art. While surprising many visitors, they indicated the architects’ grounding in the work of the US architect Louis Kahn, whose creations inspired cYanmaGentaYellowbla modernists, postmodernists and those such as Evans and Shalev who steered a middle path. Opened in 1993, Tate St Ives attracted 250,000 visitors a year and, far from the entrance being too big, the rest of the building proved too small. Evans and Shalev returned to fill in a circular courtyard with an education space, completed in late 2017 in a programme led by Jamie Fobert, whose own extension is respectful of the earlier building. Evans and Shalev had been confirmed as one of Britain’s most distinguished architectural practices by an earlier building in Cornwall. When Michael Heseltine, the environment secretary, instituted a series of competitions to improve public sector architecture, they won that for a library at the Royal Military College of Science at Shrivenham, only for the project to be axed in 1982 when military budgets were diverted to the Falklands war. In compensation, Heseltine commissioned them to design the law courts at Truro. An entrance portico was a first hint that their evolution had embraced classicism, giving dignity without the building dominating the little city. It won the RIBA Building of the Year for 1988, a forerunner of the Stirling prize. Subsequent commissions included the Bede Museum in Jarrow (1993-2001) and a library and residential block at Jesus College, Cambridge (1994-2000), naturally lit from above and a balance of classical motifs with details from Charles Rennie Mackintosh. These were belated triumphs for one of Britain’s unluckiest architectural practices. Evans, who was described by her student contemporary Richard (now Lord) Rogers as “the brightest student … a goddess”, had won a competition for a civic centre at Lincoln with her graduate thesis, a triumph for a 23-year-old woman in any era, but which in 1961 seemed to herald an awakening of new ideas and belief in youth. But the council had problems and abandoned the scheme in 1965. Evans’s student friends Rem and Ada Karmi, by then working in Israel for their architect father Dov Karmi, asked her to look after a colleague who was coming to London. Evans thus met Shalev. He brought stability, organisational skills and an architectural brilliance to match her own. Small architectural practices often find work by entering competitions, either open to all-comers or limited to invited practices. They can make their reputations, while providing prize money and the chance to build. Together Evans and Shalev entered 60 competitions, winning 18 and gaining places in 20 more. Even when working separately in different rooms they came up with similar ideas. Coffered ceilings, concrete blocks and a strong grid became ingredients of all their work, regardless of stylistic details. Yet nothing was built until 196972, when they finally realised a large comprehensive school, Bettws high school near Newport, Gwent. The school was big and the students came from very mixed backgrounds, so Evans and Shalev subdivided the plan into friendlier house units with their own dining areas. The building became neglected and was demolished in 2003. A children’s centre and a home for young people with disabilities on awkward sites in Camden have been altered. A house for the Taoiseach in Phoenix Park, Dublin (1979), scrupulously incorporated the ancient tower house on the site, but remained unbuilt. Instead, Shalev made his reputation as a tutor, with stints Section:GDN 1J PaGe:11 Edition Date:180407 Edition:01 Zone: Saturday 7 April 2018 The Guardian Sent at 6/4/2018 16:49 cYanmaGentaYellowbla • 11 email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org @guardianobits Tate St Ives, which opened in 1993, before its recent extension Interior of the law courts at Truro, featuring a naturally lit atrium ▼ Interior of the Bede Museum at Jarrow Hall on Tyneside at the Architectural Association between 1963 and 1980 inspiring two generations to grasp the problems of designing in three dimensions. Architects such as Gordon Benson and David Chipperfield embraced his ideas of planning round a rooflit central void, which proved particularly dramatic on the small scale of a private house. Shalev then taught at Bath University from 1995 until 2001. He was born in Jerusalem soon after his parents, Lotte (nee Mühsam) and Gunther Friedlander, fled Germany. His mother was a social worker; his father, a pharmacist, went on to found Teva Pharmaceuticals, for whom Evans and Shalev designed a factory in Jerusalem, again unbuilt. Shalev, who changed his name after leaving school, thought of becoming a painter, but studied architecture on his father’s advice, gaining additional qualifications in engineering and planning when he graduated from the Haifa Technion in 1960. He is survived by Eldred, whom he married in 2001, and by their daughter, Elantha Evans; and by a son, Oren, from his first marriage, which ended in divorce. Elain Harwood David Shalev, architect, born 3 September 1934; died 6 January 2018 Eric Bristow The ‘Crafty Cockney’ who was ﬁve times world darts champion D uring the 1980s darts was in its golden age, fuelled by new sponsorship deals and lucrative television contracts. Presiding over it all was the “Crafty Cockney”, Eric Bristow, world champion five times between 1980 and 1986 and a character whose gaudy charisma was central to the sport’s colonisation of the post-pub TV schedules. Bristow, who has died of a heart attack at the age of 60, was supremely confident, flash but intensely professional, and though there were plenty of talented rivals such as Jocky Wilson and John Lowe, at his best he was unbeatable. When he won his third world title, in 1984, the commentator Sid Waddell, renowned for his flights of verbal fancy, declared, “When Alexander of Macedonia was 33, he cried salt tears because there were no more worlds to conquer. Bristow’s only 27.” While his delivery was slightly camp, little finger daintily crooked, there was an abrasive edge to Bristow’s wide-boy persona. He loved to wind up opponents with frowns and mocking gestures and he developed what was often a lovehate relationship with the crowds. During one big match in 1982 he came under what a darts magazine called “the most sustained barrage of jeering witnessed at a darts match”. Each volley of abuse was followed by a treble 20. He acquired his Crafty Cockney nickname after visiting an Englishstyle pub of that name in Santa Monica, California, and his first world title soon followed. As well as the darts circuit at home in the UK there were foreign tours, including a trip to the Falklands to entertain the troops. He revelled in his cheeky manof-the-people image. When he was appointed MBE in 1989 he accidentally broke protocol by turning his back on the Queen as he retreated. Remembering royal etiquette, he wheeled round and said, “Sorry, darling.” She burst out laughing, he reported. He was born in Hackney, north London, in 1957, the only child of George Bristow, a plasterer, and Pamela, a telephonist, and had a happy childhood in Stoke Newington. George was a sports lover who exposed his son to golf, snooker and pool before buying a dartboard when Eric was 11. Bristow passed his 11-plus and attended Hackney Downs grammar school. Though he was good at mathematics – handy for calculating check-outs – he was not a model pupil and left at 14, later admitting to criminal activity such as joy-riding and burglary. Darts soon took over, and he was playing for a local team by the age of 14. Within a year he was making more in prize money than the £12 a week from his job as a proofreader in the City – “I was earning £120 a weekend,” he recalled – and he gave up work to concentrate on darts. He threw for England just before his 18th birthday and won his first world title in 1980. But his career stalled towards the end of the decade when he began to suffer from dartitis, a condition similar to the yips in golf: at the critical moment, the player is unable to release the dart and follow through. He was afflicted for eight years, and although he briefly regained his No 1 world ranking he had been replaced at the summit of the sport by Phil “the Power” Taylor, whose own rise owed much to Bristow. During his time out of the game, Bristow had mentored and coached Taylor, sponsoring him to the tune of £10,000. Taylor would go on to win 16 world titles, and Bristow later joked, “I ended up creating a monster.” In 1990 the monster beat his creator in the world championship final. In 1993 Bristow was one of the leaders of a 16-man breakaway that saw the sport split in two, but his last big occasion on the oche was an epic world championship semifinal defeat to Taylor in 1997. He finally retired from competition in 2007, devoting himself to exhibition matches and roadshows, and in 2012 he finished fourth in the jungle on I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here. In 2008 he published an autobiography, The Crafty Cockney, but his career as an acerbic and often controversial pundit was derailed in 2016 when he was sacked by Sky after tweeting insensitively about the sexual abuse scandal in football. For several years from the late 70s Bristow was in a relationship with Maureen Flowers, at that time the UK’s top women’s darts player. Then in 1989 he married Jane, with whom he had two children, Louise and James. They divorced in 2005 and he was latterly in a relationship with Becky Gadd, whom he had met at a roadshow. She survives him along with his children. Chris Maume Eric Bristow, darts player, born 25 April 1957; died 5 April 2018 Birthdays Today’s birthdays: Dennis Amiss, cricketer, 75; Lady Angela Bonallack, golfer, 81; Francis Ford Coppola, film director, screenwriter, 79; Gerry Cottle, circus proprietor, 73; Russell Crowe, actor, 54; Jon Cruddas, Labour MP, 56; Prof Sir Graeme Davies, metallurgist, 81; James “Buster” Douglas, boxer, 58; Peter Fluck, puppet-maker and satirist, 77; Nick Herbert, Conservative MP, 55; Lady Patty Hopkins, architect, 76; Alison Lapper, artist, 53; Sir Martyn Lewis, broadcaster, 73; John Oates, musician, 70; Tim Peake, astronaut, 46; Jane Priestman, industrial designer, 88; Joël Robuchon, Michelin-starred chef, 73; Gerhard Schröder, former German chancellor, 74. Tomorrow’s birthdays: Lady (Ros) Altmann, former pensions minister, 62; Kofi Annan, former UN secretary general, 80; Sir John Arbuthnott, microbiologist, 79; Mark Blundell, racing driver, 52; Chris Burns, chief operating officer, BBC, 56; Dr Lisa Cameron, SNP MP, 46; Evan Davis, broadcaster and journalist, 56; Barbara Kingsolver, author, 63; Juliet Lyon, chair, Independent Advisory Panel on Deaths in Custody, 68; Biz Markie, rapper, 54; Brian McDermott, football manager, 57; Prof Chris Orr, artist and printmaker, 75; David Pickard, director, BBC Proms, 58; Joe Royle, football manager, 69; Alec Stewart, cricketer, former England captain, 55; Dame Vivienne Westwood, fashion designer, 77; Robin Wright, actor, 52; Lady (Barbara) Young of Old Scone, chair, Woodland Trust, 70. Announcements Bristow, aged 21, practising at the 1978 British Open PETER JOHNS/THE GUARDIAN Section:GDN 1J PaGe:12 Edition Date:180407 Edition:01 Zone: Sent at 6/4/2018 14:29 • cYanmaGentaYellowbla The Guardian Saturday 7 April 2018 12 Puzzles Yesterday’s solutions Killer Sudoku Chris Maslanka’s archive puzzles Hard No 600 Pyrgic puzzles Killer Sudoku Easy 1 “It would be wrong to raise the issue of German reparations during the current economic crisis or it would look as if Greece was looking for an alibi,” opined a spokesperson on our flagship radio station. Pedanticus crushed his radio with a sledgehammer. Why? 2 An equilateral triangle can be made by cutting 2 identical hexagons into 3 big identical pieces. Now perform the same feat by cutting them instead into 2 identical big pieces and 4 identical small pieces. 3 Three glasses were each supposed to contain the same amount. I poured a half of the first glass into the second, then a third of The normal rules of Sudoku apply: fill each row, column and 3x3 box with all the numbers from 1 to 9. In addition, the digits in each inner shape (marked by dots) must add up to the number in the top corner of that box. No digit can be repeated within an inner shape. Medium Wordplay Futoshiki > Easy No 600 Codeword 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. ∨ ∧ ∨ Cryptic crossword Solution No. 27,476 ROB E R T S CONBR I O D V A J Z O O LOVE PRE T END I NG R N R T K Y I T A T TOO P R I NC E S S T O R S U E S E X S YMBO L B R I D E P P E DREAD BUTTERCUP A N E L Y N NYG I ANTS P I RATE G A I I I E R OUT RAGEOUS T RUE N D M N T R S A SUSUA L E S POUS E < > ∨ ∧ < 2 < > > ∧ 4 ∧ 4 Wordcentre Identify this 10-letter word with the centre shown: ***ONGH*** Twitter: @ChrisMaslanka E pluribus unum Rearrange the letters of OTTER CANOES to make a single word Uncle Rebus (4, 3, 2, 5) Missing Links Find a word which follows the first word in the clue and precedes the second in each case making a fresh word or phrase. E.g. the answer to fish mix could be cake (fishcake & cake mix) and to bat man it could be he (bathe & he-man)... a) stone room b) rolling cube c) human horse d) window station e) grape gun f) pork ties © CMM 2010. Solutions on Page 62 Guardian cryptic crossword No 27,477 set by Paul 1 2 3 4 9 5 6 7 8 19 20 10 11 12 13 14 16 15 17 18 21 22 23 24 25 27 Want more? Get access to more than 4,000 puzzles at theguardian.com/ crossword. To buy puzzle books, visit guardianbookshop.com or call 0330 333 6846. Wordpool In each case find the correct definition: ARUNDINACEOUS a) pertaining to snails b) crumbly c) Learian nonce word d) reedy MYSOPHOBIA a) fear of mice b) fear of musicians c) fear of dirt d) severe allergy to moulds ARCHINE a) pediment b) old Russian unit of length c) in common law, unmodified d) pertaining to ladybirds the second into the third and finally a quarter of the third back into the first. Now they each contained 12ccs. How much did they start out with? 4 In the football results all the home teams scored 4 goals and all the away teams scored only 1 consolation goal – apart from just one away team whch managed to equalise in their fixture with 4 goals. With what pithy phrase was this summarised in the headline? 5 Insert what signs you like (brackets, +, X and so on) into the string 1234456789 to make 2010. 6 The first multiplicative magic number is 6, since 1 x 2 x 3 = 6. N is magic if and only if the product of all its factors smaller than itself equals N. Prove that the number of multipicatively magic numbers is infinite. 26 28 The first five correct entries drawn each week win Can You Solve My Problems? Entries to: The Guardian Crossword No 27,477, P.O. Box 6603, Birmingham, B26 3PR, or Fax to 0121-742 1313 by first post on Friday. Solution and winners in the Guardian on Monday 16 April. Across 1 Admirer pulling sausage skin from dish of game? (7) 5 Into loveless jive/salsa dancing, am I potty? (7) 9 A success for Lloyd Webber, somewhat inevitably (5) 10 See 25 11 Daughter inspired by the influence of granny, perhaps, after heading for shower to get cleaner (4,6) 12 Avian that’s smoked (4) 14 Gloucestershire opener in desperate chase dropping catches — players get lessons here (5,6) 18 Fine lifesaver having stepped down, one in the majority (8,3) 21 Head shaved in bed, that’s proved painful! (4) 22 Man offering personal advice, lunacy gone mad! (5,5) 25,10 Feeling initially around letter bag, need letters for children’s favourite game? (9,9) 26 Sweet thing hard to forget in ancient Chinese text (5) 27 Little jerk inspiring one to beat giant (7) 28 No explosive energy for runner (7) Down 1 See 4 2 Welcome in outskirts of Ontario, an American statesman (6) 3 Best thing to bury a spy, so desperate to feign death (4,6) 4,1 Joint declaration of nation, great effort (5,6) 5 Fickle type appeared to welcome leadership of Hitler and Trotsky (9) 6 Womaniser’s tool (4) 7 Point put in to ham about right for butcher’s device (4,4) 8 Single weapon briefly in contact with a Roman emperor (8) 13 Cruise too flipping grand for PC travel (10) 15 In eating badly, chips primarily causing immune response (9) 16 Weak figure entering testament in support of the devil (8) 17 Intellectually threaten to push city’s outsiders around (5,3) 19 Fighting, it arises during a party (6) 20 Beginning to brag, bird hunter (6) 23 Stretcher on after awful injury, demolition all ends up (5) 24 New painting lifted hero (4) Name □ Tick here if you do not wish to receive further information from the Guardian Media Group or other companies screened by us. Address Postcode Telephone number How many times a week do you buy the Guardian? How many times a month do you buy the Observer?