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The Observer 05 November 2017

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BREXIT,
BRITAIN AND
THE RUSSIAN
CONNECTION
THE MAGAZINE
MARY J BLIGE
?Th
The last ?ve years were a disaster
disaster?
THE NEW REVIEW
PRIVATE EYE
Exclusive investigation
n
by Carole Cadwalladr
THIS SECTION
www.observer.co.uk
Sunday 5 November 2017 �00
Revealed: why the
PM forced Fallon
to quit the cabinet
�49 FOR
SUBSCRIBERS
Behind the scenes with the
satirical cartoonists
PLUS Graphic novel special
PAGE 18 �
PENNY FOR THE GUYS
? No 10 acted after writer?s account of incident
? New allegation was the last straw for May
by Jamie Doward
The dramatic circumstances of Sir
Michael Fallon?s sudden resignation
as defence secretary last week can be
revealed today by the Observer.
The cabinet heavyweight?s shock
departure on Wednesday followed a
phone call from the journalist, Jane Merrick, who informed Downing Street that
he had lunged at her and attempted to
kiss her on the lips in 2003 after they had
lunched together.
The revelation was the tipping point
for No 10, which the Observer understands had been compiling a list of
alleged incidents involving Fallon since
claims against him were ?rst made.
After Fallon?s attempt to kiss her, Merrick, then a 29-year-old junior political reporter at the Daily Mail, said she
?shrank away in horror and ran off to
my office in the Press Gallery ?. Writing in today?s Observer, she said: ?I felt
humiliated, ashamed. Was I even guilty
that maybe I had led him on in some way
by drinking with him? After years of having a drink with so many other MPs who
have not acted inappropriately towards
me, I now know I was not.?
Merrick said she decided to contact
Downing Street after becoming aware
of other, more recent allegations against
Fallon. She has written about the incident before, choosing not to identify
Fallon, but his behaviour after further
allegations last week convinced her to
ON OTHER
PAGES
Screenwriter Kay
Mellor reveals
sexual assault 5
The Westminster
sex scandal 8-10
Observer
Comment 32
name him. She writes that Fallon ?has
denied some allegations, and minimised
others as somehow acceptable because
they date from another time. His lack
of contrition has made me change my
mind.?
On Tuesday, the Sun revealed that Fallon had admitted to repeatedly touching
the journalist Julia Hartley-Brewer?s
knee at a conference dinner 15 years ago.
Merrick writes: ?The impression was
being left that this was a one-off incident
that could now be laughed off. I knew
that by failing to act I was letting down
not only my 29-year-old self, but also any
other women who may have been subjected to the same behaviour since. More
importantly, I would be failing to protect
other women in future.?
On Thursday evening, the Commons
leader, Andrea Leadsom, complained
about lewd remarks Fallon had made to
her, a claim he denied. Merrick writes:
?Once again, some were dismissing the
remarks as trivial, the sort of banter that
goes on in workplaces across the country.
By continuing to stay silent now, I was
still running away from Fallon, just as I
ran away from him in 2003.
?I decided it was time to come forward
and name him. I want him to know that,
however long ago this incident was, his
behaviour was unacceptable.?
Her approach to No 10 triggered a
swift reaction. ?At 5pm on Wednesday
afternoon, I contacted Downing Street
Continued on page 10
An effigy of President Donald Trump with North Korea?s Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un is readied for the
traditional bonfire night celebrations in Lewes, East Sussex. (Report, page 3 ) Photograph by Neil Hall/EPA
Questions over Russia in?uence on UK
by Carole Cadwalladr
and Michael Savage
Three senior past and present Foreign
Office ministers, including the foreign
secretary, Boris Johnson, were
targeted燽y individuals identi?ed by
the FBI last week as central to their
investigation into Trump-Russia
collusion, the Observer has learned.
Tom Watson, deputy leader
of the Labour party, called the
revelations ?extraordinary? and said
the government must say whether
other ministers were targeted or had
meetings. The reports from the US had
shocked MPs, he said, and it was vital
to know if the Russian state had also
sought to in?uence British politics.
ON OTHER
PAGES
The Russian
Connection:
A three-page
special
In Focus 24-26
The Observer has learned of
meetings and encounters between
British ministers and two individuals
named in FBI indictments unsealed last
week ? George Papadopoulos, a foreign
policy adviser for Donald Trump?s
campaign, and a ?London professor?
with high-level connections to the
Russian state, subsequently identi?ed
as a Maltese academic, Joseph Mifsud.
Alok Sharma, a Foreign Office
minister until June year and MP for
Reading West, con?rmed he had met
Mifsud ?a couple of times? and he had
attended a fundraising dinner in his
constituency on 19 October this year,
where he had ?brie?y greeted? him.
An email from Mifsud to a colleague,
Continued on page 13
INSIDE > WEATHER THIS SECTION PAGE 47 | CROSSWORDS SPEEDY, THIS SECTION PAGE 47; EVERYMAN PAGE 38 + AZED PAGE 39 IN THE NEW REVIEW
1 2 A
*
2 | NEWS
*
05.11.17
?Hope, courage and anger?: The Indigenous Guardians of the Forest caravan
to Bonn stops in front of the French
National Assembly in Paris last week.
Photograph by Jonathan Watts
Dispatch Paris
?For us, the land is sacred? ? on the road
with the defenders of the world?s forests
A busload of indigenous leaders have been
crossing Europe to highlight their cause
before the start of UN climate talks tomorrow
Jonathan
Watts
Of the many thousands of participants
at the Bonn climate conference which
begins tomorrow, there will arguably
be none who come with as much hope,
courage and anger as the busload of
indigenous leaders who have been
criss-crossing Europe over the past
two weeks, on their way to the former
German capital.
The 20 activists on the tour represent forest communities that have
been marginalised over centuries
but are now increasingly recognised
as important actors against climate
change through their protection of
carbon sinks.
In the run-up to the United Nations
talks, they have been visiting the UK,
France, Belgium, the Netherlands
and Germany, talking to city leaders,
environment NGOs and youth groups.
Their aim is to build support for their
role as forest defenders ? a role that
frequently puts them odds with agribusiness, mining companies and public
security. The Observer caught up with
them on the road to Paris.
?We have been looking after the
forest for thousands of years. We know
how to protect them,? said Candida
Dereck Jackson, vice president of
the National Indigenous Alliance in
Honduras, as she outlined the principal
demands of the group: respect for land
rights, recognition of crimes against
the environment, direct negotiations
over forest protection, decriminalisa-
tion of indigenous activists, and free,
prior and informed consent before any
development by outsiders.
In one sense it is part of a battle that
?rst peoples ? as many indigenous
groups refer to themselves ? have been
?ghting since their territories were colonised hundreds of years ago. But this
time the campaign is being waged from
a bus ? previously used for rock music
tours and election campaigns ? in the
context of growing concern about the
climate and environment.
This has provided some overlap with
their ancient struggle to retain ancestral land and a different set of values.
C醤dido Mez鷄 of the Mesoamerican
Alliance of Peoples and Forests said
priorities needed to shift away from outside companies who were threatening
forests and towards native communities
that supported them.
?We see with great sadness that
billions of dollars are invested in
agribusiness and the institutions that
are behind the crisis we are facing, but
there is very little interest in indigenous populations who can help with a
solution,? he said at a stop at the Royal
Society in London.
This is not just a moral argument.
Researchers at the World Resources
Institute have found that tenure-secure
indigenous forestlands provided signi?cant global carbon bene?ts. In Bolivia,
Brazil and Colombia alone they say this
is worth $25bn?$34bn over the next
20 years ? equivalent to taking between
nine million and 12.6 million passenger
vehicles off the roads for a year.
Alain Frechette of the Rights and
Resources Institute said this was the
most cost-effective way to reduce
emissions. ?Community-owned land
sequesters more carbon, has lower
levels of deforestation, greater biodi-
versity and supports more people than
public or privately owned forest,? he
told the gathering of indigenous leaders, supporters and journalists.
The contrast with more expensive
solutions was apparent at the same
venue the previous evening when
oil company executives and senior
politicians called for hundreds of billions of dollars of spending on carbon
capture and storage technology, which
? though important ? is expected to
contribute only 14% of the emissions
cuts needed for the 2C target.
Instead of such huge sums, participants in the indigenous caravan
say they could contribute more to
the ?ght against climate change if
their land rights were recognised and
states accepted the concept of crimes
against the environment. ?Money is
not important for indigenous people.
What we want, frankly, is for you to
leave us alone,? said Mina Setra of the
Indigenous Peoples? Alliance of the
?Money is not
important for us.
What we want,
frankly, is for you to
leave us alone?
Mina Setra, Borneo activist
Archipelago. ?We don?t want to be
criminalised for protecting our land.?
Setra exempli?es the pragmatic,
media-savvy approach of some in the
alliances that represent many of the
world?s 370 million indigenous peoples ? whose territories contains 20%
of the world?s tropical forest carbon.
Like other participants on the bus tour
? from as far a?eld as Brazil and Borneo
? she says communities who traditionally live in forests have a closer spiritual
connection to nature, but she gives short
shrift to developed world romanticising.
At a service station on the road to
Paris, she evokes laughter with an
impersonation of Julia Roberts playing
the role of Mother Nature in the ?lm
Nature Is Speaking, intoning ?Nature
doesn?t need humans, humans need
nature?, then switches back to her own
voice to proclaim: ?Bullshit!?
Indigenous activists want a place
at the climate negotiating table. At
Copenhagen and other previous
conferences, they were often treated
as an exotic and sometimes disruptive
diversion who turned up for photos in
traditional dress but were given scant
opportunity to participate.
This is changing, albeit slowly. The
2015 Paris Accord recognised the contribution of indigenous knowledge in
dealing with climate change. This was
the most prominent mention until now
of their role, though it failed to endorse
their land rights. First peoples have, in
turn, reversed their position on Redd+,
a programme of talks that aims to boost
?nancing of forest carbon sinks.
There is less sign of compromise
outside climate talks. Indigenous
groups are often locked in land disputes, targeted in assassinations or
criminalised by justice systems for
resisting forest clearance to make way
for cattle ranches, mines and government infrastructure.
As the bus speeds along the motorway, Mark Rivas ? a Miskito from
Nicaragua ? gazes out of the window at
the grey skies and peaceful farmlands
of northern Europe and re?ects on the
very different situation in his community. Seven Miskito have been killed so
far this year for opposing a land grab
by ranchers, he says, but none of the
killers have been brought to justice. He
too ? like many others on the bus ? has
been threatened. ?On this trip, I want to
make these problems more visible and
get outside pressure on the Nicaraguan
government to ensure our land titles
are fully recognised,? he says. ?This is a
climate issue. We don?t want to give up
the land so the forest can be cleared by
ranchers. For us it?s sacred.?
There is some recognition of this in
senior levels of government. In Paris,
the indigenous leaders met the French
ecology minister Nicolas Hulot ? who
moved from journalism to activism
to politics and played a key role in the
Paris Accord of 2015. He said the role
of indigenous leaders was important,
and not just at the Bonn talks. ?They
are perhaps the only people who can
remind us how man has alienated
himself from nature. They can bring
a conscience and soul that modern
society can aspire to,? he said.
Hulot said he would ask President
Emmanuel Macron to invite the indigenous leaders to a summit in France
next year, when progress towards the
Paris Accord goals will be assessed.
But beyond ?ne-sounding generalities, participants on the bus said
they would be looking for concrete
steps ? particularly on the question of
a planned gold and titanium mine in
French Guiana that is opposed by the
country?s indigenous groups.
Jocelyn Therese of the Kalina
people, said the open cast pit would be
blasted out of forested land between
two indigenous reserves, polluting the
rivers and requiring the construction of
a hydroelectric dam. He has appealed
to Macron to intervene. ?We want
support that will enable us to manage
the forests as the base for our economy,
rather than mining,? Therese said.
Whether the French president
listens is another matter. In the capitals
of Europe and the US, commercial
interests have trumped indigenous and
environmental concerns for centuries.
This is what funded the construction
of the grand capitals of the Old World
that the caravan participants have seen
this month ? some for the ?rst time.
Rivas ? the quiet young man from
Nicaragua ? is underwhelmed. ?All the
death and destruction that came to our
country came from Europe,? he said.
?I sense people still have a super?cial
understanding of our message. What
we want is to be able to continue our
spiritual connection with the forest.?
ON OTHER PAGES
Key satellites used to monitor global
warning to be axed, page 7
05.11.17
NEWS | 3
*
Catholics and ?Zulus? in short supply as
Lewes does bon?re night its own way
A race row averted,
the East Sussex town
celebrated the failure
of the gunpowder
plot with the biggest
bang in Britain.
Vanessa
Thorpe took
her earplugs?
?
Even by the standards of a town that sees
itself as a bastion of English Protestant
folk culture, it was a febrile lead-up to
this year?s Bon?re night in Lewes. Each
November this East Sussex town boards
up its many shop windows and closes all
surrounding roads, as tens of thousands
of spectators converge on the high street.
A huge ?rework display culminates
in a ceremonial blowing up of an image
of Pope Paul V, the pontiff when Guy
Fawkes and his band of Catholic revolutionaries came up with the gunpowder
plot in the ?rst years of the 17th century.
At the event, held last night rather
than 5 November ? to keep the Sabbath
sacred ? one of this year?s must-see
effigies was a giant, tweeting Donald
Trump, pursued by a missile-brandishing Kim Jong-un. But the 2017 version
of Guy Fawkes night has found itself
dogged by an unexpected controversy.
On Friday morning a last-minute decision was taken to end a long tradition of
?blacking-up? for the occasion among
supporters of the Borough Bonfire
Society. A threatened boycott was thus
averted, following a local campaign to
stop what many saw as the offensive
and outdated custom of dressing up as
Zulu warriors.
It took the intervention of a genuine
Zulu dancer from South Africa, who had
been invited to join in, to get the costume
plans finally changed. When Thanda
Gumede from Durban was shown
images of the black make-up used for 70
years in the Borough procession, he said
they were a ?gross misrepresentation
and unacceptable stereotype of Zulu and
black people at large?. Black face paint,
nose rings, bones and skulls were then
all dropped.
Beyond the costume row, though,
this year felt a little special. The ancient
anti-Catholic roots of the town?s bon?re night festivities had acquired extra
poke, coming so soon after Protestants
around the world marked the 500th
anniversary of Martin Luther?s doctrinal attack on the Vatican in Wittenberg.
Public interest in the original signi?cance of bon?re night has also recently
been stoked by the BBC?s lurid, bigbudget drama Gunpowder, starring Kit
Harington as the Catholic would-be terrorist Robert Catesby. This was the man
who, alongside Fawkes, had drawn up
the plot to blow up King James inside
the House of Commons in the summer
of 1605.
Last month television viewers complained that Gunpowder?s emphasis
on the gruesome torture meted out to
Catholic plotters was over the top. A
harrowing scene in the first episode
which showed a woman being crushed
by weights caused particular shockwaves. Was this suitable family viewing? Yet similar horrors of persecution
are the inspiration for the annual bon?re festivities in the comfortable dormitory town of Lewes. To be fair, the
district council is clear where it stands:
children are advised not to come.
Elderly residents do not enjoy it
much either. ?We will be indoors,? harrumphed one last night, while his neighbour warned visitors to buy earplugs
because of the peril to eardrums when
hundreds of ?recrackers are set off.
Most of us may think Britain?s legacy
of Christian religious violence belongs in
history textbooks, but in Lewes the bitter memories are alive and well. Here,
among the high street stores and dainty
coffee shops, the townspeople repeatedly avenge the earlier burning at the
stake of a group of Protestant martyrs.
In the mid-16th century, during the
reign of the Catholic Queen Mary, Richard Woodman was burnt to death along
with nine others outside the Star Inn
in Lewes, now the site of the town hall.
The citizens of
Lewes give a
grim twist to
the parade.
Photographs by
Sonja Horsman
for the
Observer;
AFP/Getty
?The black makeup
is an unacceptable
stereotype of
Zulu and black
people at large?
Thanda Gumede, Zulu dancer
This human bonfire, lit on the orders
of Edmund Bonner, Bishop of London,
was the largest of its kind to take place in
England. Woodman was a victim of what
is known as the Marian persecutions,
committed under the reign of Bloody
Mary. He had originally been arrested
for criticising a rector for changing his
sermon to suit the new Catholic monarch, Mary Tudor. As a result, Woodman was arrested and ?examined? in
London by Bonner, and by the bishop of
Chichester and others, for the crime of
daring ?to worship God as the word of
God directs?, as the martyrs? memorial
puts it.
The terrible fate of Woodman and his
fellow martyrs is now marked in Lewes
by six rival societies ? Borough, Commercial Square, Southover, Waterloo,
South Street and Cliffe, which each build
their tableaus in secret to carry to their
own bon?res.
By the end of the 16th century the tide
had turned and Protestant dominance
had been restored. Catesby?s plan to blow
up his new king, who had, against expectation, exiled all Jesuits and Catholic
priests, involved renting a cellar under the
House of Lords and storing 36 barrels of
explosives there. He told his fellow conspirator Thomas Wintour that he hoped
to light a fuse that would destroy ?the Parliament howse with Gunpowder? In that
place have they done us all the mischiefe,
and perchance God hath designed that
place for their punishment?.
Before they could act, on the night
of 4 November, Fawkes was discovered
guarding the gunpowder, and the rebel
game was up. Merging the traditional
celebration of the Catholic plotters?
demise with a commemoration of the
earlier Protestant martyrs was a relatively recent idea.
Jim Etherington, a local bon?re historian, points out that the martyrs were
only commemorated in the town after
1901. ?They brought them in to bon?re
night after a memorial to the Sussex
martyrs went up in 1901. They weren?t
any part of it before then.?
Last night, after an anniversary
year devoted to remembering Martin
Luther?s Reformation, Lewes celebrated
with as much relish as ever.
4 | NEWS
*
America misled
Britain on case
for Iraq invasion,
alleges Brown
Secret intelligence report on WMDs was not
shared with Blair cabinet, new book claims
by Michael Savage
Policy Editor
The US defence department knew that
Saddam Hussein did not have weapons
of mass destruction but kept Britain in
the dark, according to an explosive new
claim from Gordon Brown.
In an extraordinary allegation, the former prime minister states that a secret
US intelligence report into Iraq?s military
capabilities was never passed to Britain
and could have changed the course of
events. The revelation leads Brown to
conclude that the ?war could not be justi?ed as a last resort and invasion cannot
now be seen as a proportionate response?.
He adds that the evidence in question was never examined by the Chilcot
inquiry into the Iraq war, which concluded that Britain chose to join the
invasion before ?peaceful options for
disarmament? had been exhausted.
Brown?s intervention will reopen the
debate about Britain?s decision to join
the US-led invasion of Iraq. Tony Blair
used the assertion that Iraq had weapons
of mass destruction to argue that Britain
needed to join the military action.
Brown makes the claim in his new
book, My Life, Our Times, published this
week. He writes that there was a ?rush to
war? in March 2003, adding that he asks
himself ?over and over whether I could
have made more of a difference before
that fateful decision was taken?.
He said that as chancellor he had little more access to intelligence than other
cabinet ministers, but was reassured by
MI6 that evidence about WMDs was
well-founded. However, he writes that
he now believes ?we were all misled on
the existence of燱MDs?.
Brown points to a crucial set of papers
from September 2002, commissioned by
Gordon Brown with Tony Blair in 2003 ? the former chancellor claims in his book that
the Pentagon knew from early on that Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction. Getty
the then US defence secretary, Donald
Rumsfeld, and held by the US defence
department, which was leaked last year.
According to Brown, it made clear that
evidence of ?the existence of WMDs was
weak, even negligible and in key areas
nonexistent?.
?It is astonishing that none of us in
the British government ever saw this
American report,? Brown writes. ?It
conceded that US knowledge of the Iraqi
nuclear weapons programme was based
largely ? perhaps 90% of it ? on analysis
of imprecise intelligence. These assessments, the report said, relied ?heavily
on analytic assumptions and judgment
rather than hard evidence. The evidentiary base is particularly sparse for Iraqi
nuclear爌rograms.?
?The Iraqis, it was reported, ?lack the
05.11.17
precursors for sustained nerve-agent
production?, con?rming that US intelligence could not identify any Iraqi sites
producing the ?nal chemical agent. And
as for missiles and the Iraqis? ability to
target countries such as the UK with
them, which was to be the subject of
dramatic claims only a few weeks later,
Rumsfeld was informed: ?We doubt all
processes are in place to produce longerrange missiles?.
?This highly con?dential US evidence
was a refutation not only of the claim
that Iraq was producing WMDs but also
of their current capability to do so.?
Brown states that had the evidence
been shared, history could have been
different. ?I am convinced that if resolutions of the United Nations are approved
unanimously and repeatedly they have
to be upheld if we are to have a safe and
stable world order,? he writes. ?On this
basis, Saddam Hussein?s continuing failure to comply with them justi?ed international action against him.
?The question is whether it required
war in March 2003. If I am right that
somewhere within the American system the truth about Iraq?s lack of weapons was known, then we were not just
misinformed but misled on the critical
issue of WMDs.
?Given that Iraq had no usable chemical, biological or nuclear weapons that it
could deploy and was not about to attack
the coalition, then two tests of a just war
were not met: war could not be justi?ed
as a last resort and invasion cannot now
be seen as a proportionate response.?
The former prime minister also
reveals that the moment he took office
in 2007, he planned to pull British troops
out of Iraq well before the Americans.
He eventually withdrew troops in April
2009, while the US stayed until December 2011. ?At this time I made another
decision: not to use our future departure
from Iraq as an occasion to draw a contrast with Tony or score points against
him either,? he writes.
05.11.17
NEWS | 5
*
Screenwriter Kay Mellor reveals she was
sexually assaulted in TV executive?s office
The writer of Band of
Gold has kept her
secret for 30 years.
Now it?s time to
encourage others to
come forward, she
tells Sarah Hughes
Television writer Kay Mellor, the powerhouse creator of hit shows from Band of
Gold to the new Love, Lies and Records,
has spoken out for the ?rst time about
her sexual assault at the hands of a senior TV executive earlier in her career.
Mellor was in her 30s and working as a producer at Granada when the
unnamed executive, who is now dead,
expressed an interest in developing one
of her scripts, a comedy drama called
Annie?s Back.
?I got a call from his secretary who
said he would like to see you and went
up in the lift to his office on a ?oor I?d
never been to before,? Mellor told the
Observer. ?I knocked on the door and he
opened it and he said: ?Come in.? He was
very friendly, a real pillar of the community type and at ?rst everything was ?ne.
He was very positive about the project
and said all the right things about how
much it made him laugh but then the
atmosphere started to change.
?He asked if I wanted a drink. I said
no I?ve got a script conference to get back
down for. He insisted that I sat on the sofa
and then turned the conversation back to
the script. I thought he was going to say
?write up the ?rst episode and we?ll see?
but instead he sat down very close to me,
which made me uncomfortable and then
lunged at me and tried to kiss me. I pulled
away and said: ?I?m sorry this is not what
I?m doing here? and he replied: ?Oh really
? what did you come up here for then?
What did think you were doing?? I was
gobsmacked. I kept thinking have I done
something wrong here? Then just as
I was heading to open the door he said
?Kay?. I turned around and he?d exposed
himself. He stood there looking at me and
said: ?Is this what you want???
Mellor went back to her office,
slammed the door and sat there feeling stunned. ?I never mentioned it to
another living soul, not even my husband Anthony. The only people who
knew were him and me and that?s terrible to think about now ? because he was
the guilty one so why did I think that
I shared the blame? I felt soiled by the
experience as though I was a failure for
having even gone up there thinking that
it was about getting a commission.?
She decided to move on from Granada. ?I probably would have left anyway
because I wanted to write but the underlying reason was that I never wanted to
see his face again,? she said. ?I left the
company two and a half weeks after the
incident happened and I shredded the
script for Annie?s Back. It felt like a link
and I never wanted it to get made.?
Kay Mellor now regrets not reporting
her experience at the time.
Photograph by Gary Calton
for the Observer
?We need to have a
conversation about
this. We need to have
it loudly. It?s not funny
and it?s not a joke?
Mellor?s experience forms part of a
growing wave of female and male voices
talking about their experience of sexual
harassment and abuse. In addition to
the multiple accusations against Harvey
Weinstein, last week saw Dustin Hoffman
accused of two incidents of sexual harassment, Michael Fallon resign as defence
secretary over ?inappropriate behaviour?
and Scotland Yard announce an investigation into allegations of sexual assault
involving actor Kevin Spacey. Net?ix also
said it will cease working with Spacey on
its show House of Cards and is declining
to release a ?lm starring him.
The society magazine Tatler yesterday
issued an ?unreserved apology? to the
actor Daisy Lewis after a segment stated
that she was ?loud. Which makes her fun
at a party. And in bed. Probably.?
She said on Twitter: ?I?m really
shocked and upset by this. But thankfully I?m ?loud? enough to say it. Does
anyone at Tatler read the news??
Mellor says: ?I think there are probably a lot of men in all walks of life and
many different professions who are qua-
vering in their boots right now because
there is going to be an outpouring of this
stuff. This is just the beginning.?
?We need to have a conversation
about this and we need to have it loudly.
We need to talk about why it?s not OK to
use belittling language, to put your hands
on people?s knees, to lunge at women, to
abuse your position of power in any way.
It?s not funny and it?s not a joke.?
She regrets not reporting her experience at the time. ?In hindsight I should
have said something immediately but
I just felt so insulted by him. I was a
grownup with a responsible job and he
managed to make me feel sullied and
demeaned and as though this was something I should never speak about.?
Despite that, she has no wish to name
her attacker. ?Had he still been alive I
would have named him because I would
have liked to look him in the eye and said
why did you do that to me? But naming
him once he?s dead does nobody any
good. What happened could have put
me off working in this industry for life
but it didn?t. Instead I worked myself
into a powerful position so that I could
own my own company and champion
new young writers, particularly young
female writers. I worked myself into a
position where that could never happen
to me again.?
Mellor hopes that talking openly will
encourage other women to come forward. ?My biggest hope is that if any
woman or man is in the position that I
was in,reading this might enable them
to speak out themselves and that in turn
might stop the next person from being
attacked, or make the next man think
twice before doing something like this.?
ON OTHER PAGES
Week of scandal at Westminster
News, pages 8-9
How abuse can derail your life
Catherine Bennett, Comment, page 35
May must act without fear or favour
Andrew Rawnsley, Comment, page 33
A terrible, tawdry week
Jess Phillips, Comment, page 35
How Chopin?s pickled heart ?nally helped to solve riddle of his early death
Rare complication of
tuberculosis diagnosed
from heart stored in jar
of cognac for 170 years
by Robin McKie
Science Editor
The great Polish composer and pianist
Fr閐閞ic Chopin had a morbid fear of
premature burial. ?The earth is suffocating,? he told one of his sisters as he
lay on his death bed in 1849. ?Swear to
make them cut me open, so that I won?t
be buried alive.?
An autopsy was duly performed to
try to solve the mysterious cause of
the 39-year-old?s death. His heart was
removed and later stored in a jar of
cognac, then interred in a church pillar
in Poland.
Now scientists have taken advantage
of Chopin?s morbid desire. Granted a
rare opportunity to examine his pickled
heart, they have concluded the musician was a victim of pericarditis, a rare
complication of chronic tuberculosis.
The diagnosis, published in the
American Journal of Medicine last week,
is the latest and most convincing foray
into the long-running dispute over the
likely cause of Chopin?s slow decline
and death in his 30s. Other suggested
causes of his debilitation and death have
included the inherited disease cystic
?brosis; alpha-1-antitrypsin de?ciency,
a relatively rare genetic ailment that
leaves individuals prone to lung infections; and mitral stenosis, a narrowing
of the heart valves.
But when the researchers examined
the jar containing Chopin?s heart ? kept
in the crypt of the Holy Cross church in
Warsaw ? they noted the heart was covered with a ?ne coating of white ?brous
materials. In addition, small lesions
were visible, the telltale symptoms of
serious complications of tuberculosis,
concluded the team.
?We didn?t open the jar,? team leader
Professor Michael Witt of the Polish
Academy of Sciences told the Observer.
?But from the state of the heart we can
say, with high probability, that Chopin
suffered from tuberculosis while the
complication pericarditis was probably
the immediate cause of his death.?
The new study is the latest chapter
in the strange story of Chopin?s heart.
The composer died in October 1849
in Paris and the rest of his remains lie
in the city?s P鑢e Lachaise cemetery,
Fr閐閞ic Chopin, the Polish composer and
pianist, died in Paris in 1849, aged just 39.
also the last resting place of Marcel
Proust, Oscar Wilde and Jim Morrison.
However, his status as a Polish national
hero ensured his heart became
embroiled in controversy.
Shortly after he died his sister
Ludwika smuggled his heart into his
homeland past guards from Russia
(which then ruled Poland) and it was
sealed inside the Holy Cross church.
During the Warsaw uprising in 1944,
the heart was given to a high-ranking
SS officer who professed to be a Chopin
admirer. It was then kept in the local
German high command headquarters
before being returned to the church at
the end of the second world war.
The examination of the heart by Witt
and colleagues was the ?rst since 1945.
?We found it is still perfectly sealed in
the jar,? said Witt. ?Some people still
want to open it in order to take tissue
samples to do DNA tests to support
their ideas that Chopin had some kind
of genetic condition. That would be
absolutely wrong. It could destroy the
heart and in any case I am quite sure we
now know what killed Chopin.?
6 | NEWS
*
05.11.17
Hammond told to ditch ?giant? business rate rise
Business leaders claim
4% increase could make
more UK ?rms relocate
abroad before Brexit
by Toby Helm
Political Editor
Philip Hammond is under intense pressure this weekend from tens of thousands of UK companies to drop a planned
4% rise in business rates next year, amid
warnings it would be a ?tipping point?
for the economy ahead of Brexit.
The country?s leading business lobby
groups, including the British Chambers
of Commerce (BCC), Federation of Small
Businesses and British Property Federation, have joined forces in an unprecedented campaign to tell Hammond that
such a rise would seriously hit investment
and confidence, and could mean more
?rms relocating abroad in the run-up to
the UK leaving the EU in March 2019.
Businesses are already complaining
of a perfect storm of increasing costs
caused by a higher national living wage,
pension auto-enrolment and the new
apprenticeship levy, as well as higher
import costs for many. The campaign
over business rates is another headache for Hammond as he heads towards
a hugely difficult autumn budget on
22� November. The business sector is
Business rates are
now one more
headache for Philip
Hammond before
the 22 November
budget.
applying unusual levels of highly coordinated pressure on the Treasury, according to senior sources in Whitehall.
Hammond is also facing demands to
help millions of low-earning families
and needs to raise money to do so. He
is expected to announce at least a partial lifting of the cap on annual pay rises
for more than ?ve million public sector
workers. There are also strong calls
from charities and others for him to end
the freeze on in-work bene?ts, which is
hitting millions of the poorest in society.
The demands from business to forgo
a rise in business rates would limit his
room for manoeuvre. Rates are due to
rise by 3.9%, in line with inflation as
measured by the retail price index, in
April next year.
But Dr Adam Marshall, director general of the BCC, told the Observer such
a move would be a disaster for many
businesses: ?Businesses across Britain
already face huge, and growing upfront
costs, so hammering them with a giant
4% rates rise from next April would add
insult to injury.
?Given the current climate of muted
economic growth and Brexit uncer-
tainty, the chancellor needs to act ? and
make it clear that he won?t use September?s in?ation ?gures as the basis for
business rates hikes next year. Better
yet, he could abandon the uprating of
rates for the next two years to incentivise investment and boost con?dence.
?Many companies are at a tipping
point. They face mounting pressures
from a combination of costs and taxes
including rates, pensions auto-enrolment, the apprenticeship levy, insurance premium tax and the immigration skills charge, just to mention a few.
These expenses stymie the ability of
?rms to invest, recruit and grow, which
is exactly what ministers want business
to be doing right now.?
Melanie Leech, chief executive of the
British Property Federation, said: ?The
current business rates system is fundamentally un?t for purpose. With September?s RPI con?rmed at 3.9%, businesses are facing an additional �1bn tax
bill from April next year. When the UK?s
commercial property tax is far higher
than elsewhere in Europe and across
the OECD, it places British business at a
distinct disadvantage. Government must
put in place immediate measures to alleviate this damaging increase and show
that Britain is open for business.?
Mike Cherry, the national chairman
of the Federation of Small Businesses,
said: ?The budget is the chancellor?s
opportunity to show he is committed to
reforming the regressive business rates
system. That starts with putting an end
to RPI-linked bill increases.?
UK ?rms want a
Brexit transition
deal by March
by Michael Savage
Policy Editor
Most British ?rms will delay investment and cut recruitment plans unless
a Brexit transition deal is agreed early
next year, company bosses have warned.
The stark claim from Britain?s biggest
business group comes amid the strongest signs yet that the corporate world
has lost patience with cabinet in?ghting
and lack of progress in Brexit talks.
Paul Drechsler, president of the
Confederation of British Industry
(CBI), said there was ?exasperation? at
the lack of progress, and criticised the
fact that Theresa May had still not held
a full cabinet discussion on the ?nal
Brexit deal. ?I couldn?t believe that any
team of people would take on a mission
of this scale without considering it in
detail in terms of the pros, cons, costs
and bene?ts,? he said.
Drechsler said there should be no
?red lines? in the talks about the ?nal
deal, suggesting the CBI wanted to
ON OTHER PAGES
Struggling Brexit Britain can barely a?ord
this rise in interest rates
William Keegan, Business, page 40
leave open the issue of single market
membership. He said that any free
trade deal struck with Europe would
have to cover the services sector,
which makes up the bulk of the UK?s
economy. It means the CBI wants the
agreement to go way beyond the EU?s
trade deal with Canada, often cited as
a possible model but which does not
cover services.
?If we were a Germany with 30%
or 40% of the economy as goods, then
perfect ? but we?re not,? he said. ?So a
goods deal for the UK is welcome for
those who trade in goods, but for the
rest of the economy it does nothing.?
His intervention, before his speech
to the CBI?s annual conference
tomorrow, heaps pressure on May
to secure agreement for a two-year
?standstill? transition deal at a crucial
Brussels summit in December. It comes
as Tory Brexiters who favour walking
away from talks become more vocal.
Drechsler said a survey of CBI
members showed 60% would roll out
their contingency plans for crashing
out of the EU by the end of March,
unless a transition deal was secured
soon.
05.11.17
NEWS | 7
*
Spy mystery of
British sisters
who helped
Jewish refugees
?ee the Nazis
Film-makers ?nd CIA ?les on opera-loving
secretaries? missions to pre-war Germany
by Dalya Alberge
The extraordinary story of two British
sisters who became unlikely heroines in
helping Jews to ?ee Nazi persecution is
to be told on the big screen.
Ida and Louise Cook were two unassuming civil service secretaries whose
passion for opera became their pretext
for travelling repeatedly to Germany in
the 1930s. While they toured the country?s opera houses, they also secured a
safe passage for dozens of people who
would otherwise have perished in the
Holocaust.
Now a major feature ?lm, The Cooks,
is being produced by Donald Rosenfeld,
former president of Merchant Ivory
Productions, who made period classics
such as Howards End, starring Emma
Thompson.
Having worked on four productions
?For years they took
these ?ights. There?s
no way they could
a?ord it. It seems like
an operation?
Donald Rosenfeld, producer
with Thompson ? with a fifth project
already under way ? Rosenfeld would
now like to cast her as one of the Cook
sisters alongside fellow Oscar-winner
Cate Blanchett.
He paid tribute to the Cook sisters?
bravery. They were mingling with highranking Nazis at the opera, while helping people flee. Recalling the musical
about the Trapp family?s escape from
the Nazis, he described the Cooks? story
as ?the real Sound of Music?.
The problem is that, if this was a ?ctional film, it would be unbelievable.
How did two secretaries on meagre
salaries fund their visits to Germany?
In Ida?s 1950 memoir, which gave little
away, she wrote of saving up their pennies to make their ?rst trip to the opera.
The ?lm-makers suspect that the sisters were also spies for the British government. Their research has led to the
discovery of official ?les held by the CIA,
which are completely sealed. They hope
that two senators and a lawyer can get
them opened.
?The fact that there are files in the
CIA means that there are probably ?les
in MI6,? Rosenfeld said. ?It?s an incredible story of these two sisters who basically lived together. They never had
husbands or children. They provide
incredible roles for two actresses.?
Born in Sunderland, the sisters shared
a modest terraced home in Wandsworth,
south London. Coming to music late,
after Louise happened to hear some
Puccini, they funded their German
trips partly with money that Ida began
to make from writing romance novels
for Mills & Boon, under the pseudonym
Mary Burchell.
That still does not explain how they
could afford repeated flights, Rosenfeld said: ?You didn?t have an air service throughout Europe. They?re taking
these ?ights into a dictatorship which is
about to invade France. They?re doing it
for years, going to different cities where
the opera is taking place. The expense of
that alone would be insane. There?s no
way they could afford it.?
Even the cost of opera tickets would
have been huge, he added: ?There was
no internet then to pre-buy them. There
are so many impossibilities. It seems like
an absolute operation.?
Between 1937 and the outbreak of war,
the Cooks aided the escape of dozens of
people, including Lisa Basch, the daughter of German-Austrian intellectuals,
who said that the sisters saved her from
the gas chamber.
Somehow, the Cooks secured the
financial guarantees then needed for
Jewish refugees to come to Britain.
They were not allowed to leave Germany with their possessions, so the
sisters smuggled them across borders. They wore clothes bought at
Woolworth?s and looked so ordinary that customs officials never
suspected their accompanying
diamonds and other jewels
were anything other than
paste.
Isabel Vincent, an
investigative reporter, is
now delving into their
story in writing the
screenplay and a book.
She believes that the
sisters received support
Ida and Louise Cook, in an undated photograph, mixed with high-ranking Nazis at the opera and in hotels. Their contact Clemens Krauss
was a director at Berlin?s State Opera (programme below) before moving to Munich, where Hitler first led the Nazis. V&A, Popperfoto
from the highest level. These intrepid
women ? both in their 30s ? could have
picked up vital intelligence. They were
staying in the ?nest hotels, where they
saw Hermann Goering, Joseph Goebbels
and Heinrich Himmler.
Among files at the Blythe House
archive in London, Vincent saw opera
programmes the sisters saved, including one from Munich in 1938 with Nazi
insignia and an introduction by Hitler.
Another fascinating character is the
conductor Clemens Krauss. Vincent
said: ?He?s an Austrian who goes to Berlin and joins the Nazi party. He?s some
kind of double agent. [He] was setting up
programmes in cities where the sisters
needed to help people. So it?s an operation.?
She is struck by the many holes in
Ida?s memoir: ?There?s maybe two chapters about a few people that they helped,
and it?s kind of glossed over.?
On one level, the sisters were the
?ultimate groupies?, queuing for singers? autographs. The singers appreciated
their passion, inviting the sisters to their
homes. Vincent has a letter from soprano
Amelita Galli-Curci thanking them ?for
the beautiful handkerchief that you
embroidered for me?.
In ?eshing out the sisters? true story,
Vincent is now trying to identify people
they saved. In Denver, she found a nowdeceased musician from the Vienna
Philharmonic, who had written to Ida
for years. His daughter is sharing the
letters with Vincent.
The ?lm-makers have about 27 possible addresses in and around London for
other people. Rosenfeld is appealing for
anyone with a connection to the Cooks
to contact Sovereign Films, his production company.
Ida and Louise died in 1986 and 1991
respectively. In 2010 they were posthumously honoured by the government as
British heroes of the Holocaust.
Donald Trump accused of obstructing satellite research into climate change
Republican Congress
ordered destruction
of vital sea-ice probe
by Robin McKie
Science Editor
President Trump has been accused of
deliberately obstructing research on
global warming after it emerged that
a critically important technique for
investigating sea-ice cover at the poles
faces being blocked.
The row has erupted after a key
polar satellite broke down a few days
ago, leaving the US with only three
ageing ones, each operating long past
their shelf lives, to measure the Arctic?s
dwindling ice cap. Scientists say there
is no chance a new one can now be
launched until 2023 or later. None of
the current satellites will still be in
operation then.
The crisis has been worsened
because the US Congress this year
insisted that a backup sea-ice probe
had to be dismantled because it did
not want to provide funds to keep it in
storage. Congress is currently under
the control of Republicans, who are
antagonistic to climate science and the
study of global warming.
?This is like throwing away the
medical records of a sick patient,?
said David Gallaher of the National
Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder,
Colorado. ?Our world is ailing and we
have apparently decided to undermine,
quite deliberately, the effectiveness
of the records on which its recovery
might be based. It is criminal.?
The threat to the US sea-ice monitoring programme ? which supplies
data to scientists around the world ?
will trigger further accusations at this
week?s international climate talks in
Bonn that the Trump administration is
trying to block studies of global warming for ideological reasons.
Earth?s sea ice has shrunk dramatically ? particularly in the Arctic ? in
recent years as rising emissions of
greenhouse gases have warmed the
planet. Satellites have been vital in
Donald Trump
and the Republican-controlled
Congress are
hostile to climate
change science.
assessing this loss, thanks mainly to
America?s Defence Meteorological
Satellite Programme (DMSP), which
has overseen the construction of eight
F-series satellites that use microwaves
sensors to monitor sea-ice coverage.
These probes, which have lifespans
of three to ?ve years, have shown that
millions of square kilometres of sea
ice have disappeared from the Arctic
over the past 20 years, allowing less
solar energy to be re?ected back into
space ? and so further increasing global
temperatures ? while also disrupting
Inuit life and wildlife in the region.
At present three ageing satellites
? DMSP F16, F17 and F18 ? remain in
operation, though they are all beginning to drift out of their orbits over the
poles. The latest satellite in the series,
F19, began to suffer sensor malfunctions last year and ?nally broke down
a few weeks ago. It should have been
replaced with the F20 probe, which
had already been built and was being
kept in storage by the US Air Force.
However it had to be destroyed, on
the orders of the US Congress, on the
grounds that its storage was too costly.
Many scientists say this decision was
made for purely ideological reasons.
They also warn that many other projects for monitoring climate change,
including several satellite missions,
face similar threats from the Trump
administration and Congress.
Such losses have serious consequences, say researchers. ?Sea-ice data
provided by satellites is essential for
initiating climate models and validating them,? said Andrew Fleming
of the British Antarctic Survey. ?We
will be very much the poorer without
that爄nformation.?
8 | NEWS | Abuse scandal
*
05.11.17
Why a tide of sexual allegations
A cabinet minister has resigned. Tory
and Labour MPs face party inquiries.
What is wrong with parliament that
makes it so susceptible to scandal?
And how will the country be run while
paralysis grips its rulers? Report by
Michael Savage and Toby Helm
As politicians and journalists sipped
champagne and prepared to take their
seats last Wednesday evening for the
Spectator magazine?s annual parliamentary awards at the Rosewood hotel
in central London, there was only one
topic of conversation. Eyes were ?xed
on mobile phones as the extraordinary
bombshell news broke. Theresa May had
been due to present the awards, but had
pulled out.
The judges were chatting among
themselves, keen not to give away who
the winners were. In 2013 they had presented the award of minister of the year
to one Sir Michael Fallon, who at that
time was at the department for business. The judges expressed relief to one
another that they had not selected the
now ex-secretary of state for defence for
another glittering prize, four years on.
Back at Downing Street, May had been
kept informed throughout Wednesday
afternoon and early evening by senior
aides of the latest allegations that were
surfacing ? both in the media and being
fed to them through discreet channels ?
not just about Fallon but other Tory MPs
and ministers. For more than a week
Westminster had been awash with allegations of inappropriate behaviour by
both Conservative and Labour MPs ?
many vehemently denied by those concerned. The ripple effects of the Harvey
Weinstein scandal had reached our parliament and no one knew quite how farreaching the repercussions would be.
Fallon?s name had first come to the
fore last Monday when he admitted having repeatedly put his hands on journalist
Julia Hartley-Brewer?s knee at a dinner
15 years before. She admonished him at
?It?s common for
MPs to approach
whips for help, and
the con?ict of interest
that creates needs to
be considered?
Lisa Nandy, MP
the time, and he had apologised promptly
then. Hartley-Brewer made it clear several times last week that she considered
the matter entirely closed and relatively
minor. But Downing Street and the Tory
whips office were far less relaxed. Strikingly, when asked if the prime minister had full con?dence in Fallon, No 10
declined to give the usual unequivocal
backing. Its silence spoke volumes.
May?s aides were being made aware of
new information day by day. The leader
of the house, Andrea Leadsom, had told
party high command, after the HartleyBrewer episode became public and it
was brushed off by some as trivial, of an
incident in which Fallon had allegedly
made lewd remarks to her after she had
complained of having cold hands. Fallon is alleged to have told her: ?I know
where you can put them to warm them
up.? Leadsom insisted she was not making a formal complaint, and was adamant
that she did not want the information
made public, but she felt it important
that it be noted. Fallon denies ever having made such a remark.
Leadsom?s claim was just one that
No� was made aware of last week. The
?le on the defence secretary was getting
thicker as May prepared a jokey speech
for the Spectator event. Then, late on
Wednesday afternoon came more information (see Jane Merrick?s article, right)
from a female journalist. It was quickly
referred to the prime minister.
Some time between 5pm and 6pm on
Wednesday, May decided that enough
was enough. She called in Fallon and
they agreed that he had to resign. The
Spectator appearance was called off and
Michael Gove went instead. In his resignation statements, Fallon said his behaviour had on occasions ?fallen short? of
the standards expected in the armed
forces. He would leave the government.
If anyone thought this would stem the
tide, they were wrong. There continue to
be questions about the future of Damian
Green, ?rst secretary of state. The Times
ran an article by journalist and academic
Kate Maltby in which she claimed that
Green, May?s closest ally, had made an
inappropriate advance to her and sent
her a suggestive text that had made her
feel very uncomfortable. Green vehemently denies the allegation. But a formal
investigation by cabinet secretary Sir Jeremy Heywood was swiftly announced.
On Friday came allegations against
Tory and Labour MPs. Senior Labour
MP Kelvin Hopkins, a 76 -year-old
former member of Jeremy Corbyn?s
shadow cabinet, was suspended by the
party after a 27-year-old party activist,
Ava Etemadzadeh, claimed he hugged
her and rubbed himself against her, and
sent her an inappropriate text message.
The allegations were lodged with party
whips and referred to the leader?s office
by them in 2016, but Hopkins was later
elevated to the shadow cabinet. Hopkins
vehemently denies the claims. Then on
Friday evening the Tory MP for Dover,
Charlie Elphicke, was suspended over
allegations that the new chief whip
Julian Smith said were ?serious? and
which had been referred to the police.
Elphicke also denies any wrongdoing.
The ?ood of allegations and a swirl of
rumours have preoccupied Westminster
over the last week, distracting Tory ministers and MPs from the business of running the country, and Labour ones from
the vital task of holding the government
to account. This weekend ? in another
unseemly sideshow ? Tory cabinet ministers are at war over who is to blame
for Fallon?s fall. The government should
be focusing on Brexit negotiations but
instead is looking in on itself. Cabinet
colleagues are at each other?s throats.
Leadsom is furious that her con?dential
information about Fallon was leaked by
one of the handful of very senior people
who were told about it. Fingers are being
pointed at the new defence secretary,
Gavin Williamson, who until Thursday
was chief whip. Some Tory MPs believe
he leaked the information because he
was being of accused of stabbing Fallon in the back to get his job and wanted
someone else to take the heat.
Searching questions have been asked
about what is wrong with parliament.
Is it the hothouse atmosphere, the late
hours, the concentration of so many
powerful and ambitious people in one
place? Or the way it runs on party lines,
with loyalty being all-important and the
interests of individuals subsumed. The
secrecy of the whips? office system is
seen by many MPs as a major structural
?aw. MPs go to the whips? office if they
run into trouble and fear being exposed,
and are often advised how to keep things
quiet. The big fear among those running
parties is not damage to individual reputations or victims, but damage to the
party. Whips hold information and use it
against individuals only if and when they
need to do so, to maintain MPs? loyalty
along party lines.
Labour MP Lisa Nandy is angry
that nothing has been done to sort out
the whips? office since she demanded
change three years ago. ?The whips are
both enforcers of party discipline and a
supportive ear for MPs. It?s very common for MPs to approach their whips
IN THE EYE OF THE STORM
KELVIN HOPKINS
Labour MP denies
that he ?rubbed
himself? against a
young party activist. PA
IVAN LEWIS
The Labour MP denies
claims he sexually
harassed a teenage
girl but apologised
if he has made any
female colleagues
feel ?uncomfortable?.
LNP/Rex
DAMIAN GREEN
First secretary of
state denies ?inappropriate advance?
to woman. Getty
for help, especially when there is very
little in the way of HR support, and the
con?ict of interest that creates urgently
needs to be considered,? she said. ?Three
years after May set up an inquiry into
child abuse it has yet to begin investigating sexual abuse within Westminster,
and no work has been done to locate the
whips? records or to clarify whether the
inquiry can demand them.?
Every MP employs his and her own
staff and there is a wholly inadequate
HR system if staff need someone to
convey complaints to. The main parties have all been asked by May and the
speaker to draw up new codes of conduct and procedures. The prime ministers will meet other party leaders to
discuss the way forward.
On Wednesday the Tory MP Gary
Streeter likened the atmosphere to the
1990s and the ?back to basics? scandals
under John Major. ?Feels increasingly
like 92-97 parl: no majority, no money,
ripping ourselves apart over EU. That
lasted 5 years. Oh dear.?
Even before the sexual harassment
scandal hit Westminster, Theresa May?s
chances of keeping her government
together for ?ve years looked slim. Now
the prospect of hanging on that looks
more remote. If Brexit threatens to split
it in two, scandals could blow it out of
the water. The only crumb of comfort,
however, is that it is not just the Tories
who are in deep trouble. So too is Labour.
They are all in it together.
I won?t keep my silence:
Jane Merrick explains
why she felt compelled
e MP
to identify the
who left her
nd
humiliated and
ashamed
When the story ?rst broke last weekend that a secret list of ?sex pest?
Conservative MPs and cabinet ministers
drawn up by researchers was circulating
in Westminster, I decided to talk about
my own experience of being lunged at
by a Tory MP. By publicly discussing
how it felt to be in that position, and
how it was not acceptable, I thought it
would help others to come forward to
report sexual harassment. Yet because
my incident happened 14爕ears ago, I
decided not to name the MP in question.
A week on, things have changed.
The MP has denied some allegations
against him, and minimised others
as somehow acceptable because they
date from another time. His lack of
contrition has made me change my
mind. It is time for me to say publicly
that the MP who lunged at me was
Sir燤ichael燜allon.
At the time, I was a 29-year-old junior political reporter at the Daily Mail.
He was a Conservative backbencher
in his 50s and, as a member of the
Treasury select committee and a former minister under Margaret Thatcher
and John Major, a useful contact to
take out for lunch. As a political journalist, I went out for lunch with MPs
as often as three times a week. It was
part of the job. But, over the hundreds
of these encounters over my 14 years
in the lobby, this was the only time an
MP crossed the line ? and that is why
I爎emember it so vividly.
We ate at Quirinale, an upmarket yet
friendly Italian restaurant ?ve minutes?
walk from the Commons. We gossiped
about rising Tory stars David Cameron
and George Osborne. We drank wine
? a couple of glasses at most. On the
walk back to parliament, we had to
cut through a quiet ante-room just off
Westminster Hall before going to our
offices. It was here that Fallon lunged
at me. This was not a farewell peck on
the cheek, but a direct lunge at my lips.
When I have previously written about
this incident (referring to an unnamed
05.11.17
Abuse scandal | NEWS | 9
*
has swept through Westminster
A MONTH OF SHAME
5 Oct The New York
Times reveals decades
of sexual harassment
allegations against
Harvey Weinstein,
including accusations that he forced
women to massage him and watch
him naked.
6 Oct onwards Over the next few
weeks more women speak out
against Weinstein, including detailing
accusations of rape, which the ?lm
producer strongly denies.
CLIVE LEWIS
Former frontbencher
denies claims he groped a
woman at the Labour pa
party
conference in Septemb
September.
Yui Mok/PA
CHARLIE EL
ELPHICKE
The Conserv
Conservative MP
for Dover was
w stripped
d of
the party whip
w on Friday
ay
evening ove
over ?serious?
allegations. He denies
any wrongd
wrongdoing. PA
23 Oct Labour MP
Jared O?Mara resigns
from the women
and equalities committee
after it was revealed
that he posted homophobic and sexist
comments online.
25 Oct Labour suspends O?Mara,
while an investigation takes place into
his behaviour.
26 Oct Women working in Westminster
set up a secret WhatsApp group to
share horror stories and name MPs to
avoid, branding some of them ?not safe?
and ?very handsy?.
28 Oct The Mail on Sunday reveals
that minister Mark Garnier will be
investigated after he admitted calling his
secretary ?sugar tits? and getting her to
buy sex toys for him.
SIR MICHAEL
FALLON
The defence secretary resigned on
Wednesday saying
that he had ?fallen
below the high
standards of the
armed forces?.
30 Oct Defence secretary Michael Fallon
admits to repeatedly touching female
journalist Julia Hartley-Brewer?s knee
15 years ago.
31 Oct Labour activist
Bex Bailey says that
she was raped at a party
event and discouraged
from reporting it by
a party o?cial.
1 Nov Fallon resigns, saying his
behaviour has ?fallen short? of the
standards expected by the UK military.
1 Nov Theresa May orders an
investigation into her deputy,
Damian Green, who allegedly made
inappropriate advances to party
activist Kate Maltby, including sending
?suggestive? text messages.
MARK GARNIER
Conservative minister has
admitted that he asked an
assistant to buy him sex
toys in 2010. AFP/Getty
1 Nov Labour MP Lisa
Nandy claims during
prime minister?s
questions that May
repeatedly failed to
act on evidence of whips using sexual
abuse information to demand party
loyalty from MPs.
Michael Fallon lunged at me after our lunch
MP) I have described it as a ?kiss? ? but
a kiss suggests something romantic,
consensual. This was anything but. I
shrank away in horror and ran off to my
office in the press gallery. I felt humiliated, ashamed. Was I even guilty that
maybe I had led him on in some way
by drinking with him? After years of
having a drink with so many other MPs
who have not acted inappropriately
towards me, I now know I was not.
I did not report Fallon to the
Conservative whips, because I ? as
someone who had only been in the
lobby for two years ? was worried I
would be blacklisted as untrustworthy.
In Westminster, where power and
loyalties are hard currency, I feared
making enemies. Whenever I saw
Fallon after the incident he did not
act inappropriately again, but I knew
that his previous behaviour, and my
silence, had changed utterly the power
dynamic between us. He had violated
what should have been a healthy
working relationship, turning it into
something seedy and unpleasant.
Fourteen years on, I agonised over
whether to come forward. It was an old
incident, but I heard about more recent
allegations involving Fallon. Having
spoken generally about an unidenti?ed
Tory MP, I was already being criticised by some for not just giving him a
slap. Then, on Tuesday the Sun broke
the story that Fallon had admitted to
repeatedly touching the journalist Julia
Hartley-Brewer?s knee at a conference
dinner 15 years ago. I do not want to
criticise another woman?s response
to harassment, but, in the ensuing
coverage the impression was being left
that this was a one-off incident that
could now be laughed off. I knew that
by failing to act I was letting down
not only my 29-year-old self, but also
any other women who may have been
subjected to the same behaviour since.
More importantly, I would be failing to
protect other women in爁uture.
When the Westminster harassment
story had ?rst broken ?ve days earlier,
I was hopeful we were going to have
the same catharsis as Hollywood in the
wake of the Harvey Weinstein revelations. I was in awe of the bravery of the
young Labour activist Bex Bailey who
had come forward to reveal she had
been raped by a man at a Labour event.
But the debate about the so-called
?grey areas? ? the groping of knees, the
unwanted lunges ? was turning into a
trivialised farce about ?kneegate?, as if
everything up to rape was not something
to get upset about. Fallon seemed to
be getting off the hook. And so, at 5pm
on Wednesday afternoon, I contacted
Downing Street to report the 2003
incident to one of the prime minister?s
aides. By 7.30pm, Fallon had resigned,
admitting his behaviour towards women
in the past had ?fallen short? of the high
standards of the armed forces.
In my conversations with No 10, I
asked for a commitment that my name
would not be revealed, which they
respected. I still feared recriminations,
not only from Fallon?s supporters in the
Conservative party but from parts of
the media. I watched in horror at the
character assassination by the Daily
Mail of Kate Maltby, the journalist and
academic who had shown bravery and
dignity in coming forward to make
allegations about the ?rst secretary
of state, Damian Green, whih he has
strenuously denied.
But I was also appalled that, in an
interview with the BBC?s political editor, Laura Kuenssberg, on Wednesday
evening, Fallon showed little contrition. Asked if he would apologise for
his past behaviour, he said all MPs
would have to look back at themselves.
He said that ?what might have been
acceptable 10, 15 years ago is clearly not
acceptable now?. But just because my
response 14 years ago was to run away,
rather than telling him off, it does not
mean I found it acceptable. Even his
comment about the high standards of
the forces seemed to minimise what he
had done, as if he was somehow having
to meet a higher bar than fellow MPs
who could get away with it.
When it emerged, late on Thursday,
that the Commons leader Andrea
Leadsom had complained about lewd
remarks Fallon had made, the former
defence secretary denied it. Once again,
some were dismissing the remarks as
trivial, the sort of banter that goes on
in workplaces across the country. By
continuing to stay silent now, I was still
running away from Fallon, just as I ran
away from him in 2003. I decided it
was time to come forward. I want him
to know that, however long ago this
incident was, his behaviour was unacceptable. All I wanted was to be treated
with respect. But even if he feels he cannot apologise to me, by coming forward
I have redressed the power imbalance
between us. I am taking back control.
Jane Merrick is a freelance writer
and the former political editor of the
Independent on Sunday
2 Nov Newspapers claim that Fallon
was forced to resign after environment
secretary Andrea Leadsom reported
inappropriate comments aimed at her.
In fact his departure came after further
revelations about his behaviour in the
past (see left).
3 Nov Labour suspends MP Kelvin
Hopkins after allegations of sexual
harassment against a party activist
three years ago, including sending
inappropriate text messages and
making inappropriate physical contact
while hugging her.
3 Nov Tory MP Charlie Elphicke is
suspended after ?serious allegations?
that were referred to the police by the
party. He denies any wrongdoing.
3 Nov The Labour party begins
investigating Clive Lewis MP over
claims that he grabbed a woman?s
bottom during an event at party
conference in September. He denies
the allegation.
3 Nov May introduces a
code of conduct for the
Tory party in the wake
of the allegations in
Westminster.
6 Nov Party leaders will hold a crisis
meeting to discuss plans for tackling
sexual harassment in Westminster.
10 | NEWS | Abuse scandal
*
Corbyn pledges
to make a stand
on ?degrading?
abuse culture
05.11.17
Jeremy Corbyn
says perpetrators
of harassment
have been ?hiding in
plain sight?, and a
culture change is
needed at
Westminster.
Photograph by
Peter Jolly/Rex/
Shutterstock
Labour leader will acknowledge party?s past
failings and call for ?moment of real change?
by Michael Savage and Toby Helm
Jeremy Corbyn will today vow to overturn the ?warped and degrading culture?
that has led to claims of sexual misconduct in Westminster, as he concedes that
Labour may have seriously mishandled
past allegations.
In an attempt to seize control of the
abuse crisis that has hit both the Tories
and Labour, he will vow to be part of a
campaign to ?stand up and say: no more?.
He will say that perpetrators of harassment have been ?hiding in plain
sight?, but warn that a culture change
is needed in Westminster, the media,
schools and workplaces across the country. The Labour leader will add that the
?urry of sexual harassment claims heralds ?a moment of real change?.
Corbyn will also admit his party has
failed in the past, after revelations that
prominent activist Bex Bailey was told
by a party official that reporting she had
been raped at a Labour event could damage her career.
?It is not enough to say: this is wrong,
then only tinker with procedures,? the
Labour leader will tell the party?s northwest regional conference today. ?How
we respond to this moment will shape
the way we live our lives. We need to
make a fundamental shift in the balance
of power, and transform the way our
society works.
?Labour is committed not just to challenging a warped and degrading culture
in Westminster, and across society, but to
overturning it. This week we appointed
a leading barrister to investigate if and
how the party got it so painfully wrong in
the case of Bex Bailey. We are not afraid
to turn the spotlight on ourselves.?
His intervention will be welcomed
by senior MPs, who have been keen
to see Corbyn make a clear statement
that there would be a zero-tolerance
approach to harassment claims. Some
had been concerned about his reluctance to answer questions about claims
against Kelvin Hopkins, an ally of Corbyn who has been suspended after
allegations of misconduct were made
against him.
The allegations were made by Ava
Etemadzadeh. She said that following a
Labour event in 2013, the MP hugged her
very tightly and rubbed himself against
her. Hopkins strongly denies the allegations.It is understood the complaints
were handed to the Labour whips? office
in 2015, when Rosie Winterton was chief
whip. Winterton subsequently made the
leader?s office aware of the claims. However, when Corbyn appointed Hopkins
ON OTHER PAGES
How abuse can derail your life
Catherine Bennett, Comment, page 35
Westminster needs a complete overhaul
of its procedures and culture
Observer Comment, page 32
May must act without fear or favour
Andrew Rawnsley, Comment, page 33
A terrible, tawdry week
Jess Phillips, Comment, page 35
to the shadow cabinet last year, the
whips were not asked their opinion.
One senior Labour ?gure said: ?I don?t
doubt that Jeremy and the leader?s office
now fully realise the seriousness of this,
but it would appear it was not taken suf?ciently seriously at the time.?
The Observer has also been told by
several sources that another Corbyn ally
bragged about how his friendship with
the Labour leader allowed him to get
closer to women. There were also multiple claims that he asked a senior female
party ?gure whether she would ?twerk
against him?. However, no official complaint has been made to the party.
Jess Phillips, chair of the women?s
parliamentary Labour party, said she
wanted Corbyn to be ?front and centre?
in condemning abuse and taking action.
?He needs to be clear that there will
be zero tolerance of this kind of behaviour to show there is no fear or favour of
either members of parliament of members of the Labour movement,? she said.
While the Tories are suffering resignations over sexual misconduct, Labour
has been unable to take any advantage
due to a number of allegations against its
own MPs. These started with claims that
Jared O?Mara, MP for Sheffield Hallam,
had verbally abused women.
The serious allegations lodged by Bailey, together with a behind the scenes
campaign by senior female MPs, has led
to the announcement of a more robust
system for supporting the victims of
harassment within the party. Under the
plans, an independent specialist organisation will offer advice and support to
anyone affected. The body will also offer
people a ??rst step? for reporting any allegations and navigating the party?s procedures. Staff and members of the party?s
national executive committee will receive
formal training in dealing with the cases.
MPs are keen that the new system
gets up and running quickly. However,
some in the party believe it does not go
far enough because complaints will not
be investigated by an independent body.
Meanwhile, Clive Lewis, seen as a
potential future leader, has denied a
claim that he groped a woman at the
Labour conference in September. The
party is investigating a formal complaint
against him. Former Foreign Office minister Ivan Lewis, MP for Bury South, has
denied he had made non-consensual
sexual advances toward women.
Why Michael Fallon was forced
by May to quit the cabinet
Continued from page 1
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to report the 2003 incident to one of
the prime minister?s aides,? Merrick
writes. ?By 7.30pm, Fallon had
resigned, admitting his behaviour
towards women in the past had ?fallen
short? of the high standards of the
Armed Forces.?
Messages left seeking comment from
Fallon went unreturned. However, he
told the Times yesterday: ?I?ve already
accepted that I have behaved inappropriately in the past.?
Merrick?s account offers a corrective to the suggestion that Fallon was
forced out because of his alleged comments to Leadsom. Rather, it seems
a pattern of allegedly unacceptable
behaviour over the course of many
years was the real reason for his spectacular fall.
Leadsom told No 10 and the whips?
office about Fallon?s alleged comments
early last week. However, the Observer
understands she insisted on anonymity and did not want to make a formal
complaint. When her allegations
leaked, ?ngers were pointed at the
former chief whip, Gavin Williamson,
who replaced Fallon. Williamson?s
office has denied that he had any role
in the leak.
Theresa May can ill afford suggestions of a power struggle between the
leader of the house and the defence
secretary as the drip-feed of allegations threatens to engulf the government while it is supposed to be focused
on Brexit. The toxic claims, which
include an allegation that May?s closest
ally, Damian Green, behaved inappropriately with a female journalist, a
claim he denies, have dismayed many
of the Tory old guard who fear what it
could do to the party.
Tory MP Sir Roger Gale yesterday
warned of a witch-hunt as accusations
of sexual harassment continue to swirl
around parliament. He said MPs and
others were on a ?hiding to nothing?
as it was difficult to refute claims
from years ago. His comments were
swiftly rejected by Labour MP Harriet
Harman, who told the BBC: ?No, it?s
not a witch-hunt; it?s long overdue.?
Gale was speaking after the Tory
MP Charlie Elphicke said he was
unaware of the nature of ?serious
allegations? against him, which the
Tory party says it has passed to police.
The chief whip, Julian Smith, has
con?rmed that Elphicke has been
suspended but would not elaborate
further. The Dover and Deal MP has
denied any wrongdoing and complained that the media had been told
of his suspension before he had.
Meanwhile, a string of Labour
MPs have had to respond to accusations: Clive Lewis denied a claim that
he groped a woman at conference in
September; former Foreign Office minister Ivan Lewis rejected claims he had
made non-consensual sexual advances
towards women; Kelvin Hopkins
?categorically? denied allegations of
inappropriate conduct made by activist
Ava Etemadzadeh.
Shadow chancellor John McDonnell
called for party leaders to agree new
procedures when they meet later this
week. ?We have had sexual harassment
across all the political parties by the
looks of it. So we have got to tackle it,?
he said.
Lord Bew, chairman of the committee on standards in public life, said
outside bodies needed to be involved
in investigating the claims. ?It is vital
there are people outside parliament
in cases of harassment, who can give
some reassurance to the public that
this is not another cover-up,? he said.
05.11.17
NEWS | 11
*
Tories demand bailout for
care agencies in pay crisis
�0m backpay bill
may lead to closures
without state aid,
warn campaigners
by Michael Savage
Policy Editor
Senior Tory MPs have joined calls for a
government bailout of social care providers, after warnings that some will go
bust as a result of a crisis over a �0m
bill for back pay. Former cabinet ministers are among those concerned about
the government?s failure last week to
guarantee ?nancial aid to those affected.
It comes at a time when the social care
sector is already under extraordinary
?nancial pressure.
The crisis arose after a court ruled
that carers staying overnight, known
as sleep-in shifts, were entitled to the
minimum wage, rather than a ?at-rate
� which had been paid by care providers. Charities say they had been wrongly
advised by government guidance. It
means some face bills for back pay covering up to six years, with many saying
they will simply fold without a bailout.
After months of delay, the government announced a scheme that would
give providers 15 months to calculate
the amount they think they owe their
workers. However, it did not give any
guarantees that state support would be
available to help them pay it. The concession has been criticised as inadequate
by councils and charities facing big bills,
while Tory MPs are also concerned.
Some are demanding urgent action in
the chancellor?s budget later this month.
Sarah Wollaston, chairwoman of the
health select committee, said: ?Unless
there is government funding for the
backpay bill, many providers will go to
the wall, and there is also a huge issue
here for those individuals who receive
direct payments. I hope this will be
addressed in the budget.?
Peter Aldous, Tory MP for Waveney,
said ministers had ?not addressed the
problem? and called for ?nancial help:
?The government?s announcement just
adds to the uncertainty overhanging
the sector,? he said. ?I?m minded that
the government has said they wanted to
work with the sector and providers to
?nd a solution, and I do think they need
?One charity
supporting 85 people
calculates the liability
comes to �5m. Its
reserves total �4m?
Tim Cooper, LD Voices
to get back to that discussion. So far, we
are not at that point. To be fair to this
government, it is an issue that has landed
on their watch so I have some sympathy.
But the parties have to sit round the
table, and there may need to be a ?nancial package put down,? he added.
Kevin Hollinrake, Tory MP for Thirsk
and Malton, said: ?This needs resolving.
Charities and other providers thought
they were applying the rules correctly
and now ?nd they weren?t, so it is very
unfortunate and puts them in a very dif?cult situation. This could cost the sector, to their reckoning, �0m, which
would put some of them out of the work
of providing care. It?s horrendous. We
need a permanent solution.? Labour is
also pushing the government to draw up
a ?nancial package to ensure social care
providers are not forced out of business.
Government officials say that ministers are still considering what action to
take and whether ?nancial aid should
be made available. They said that EU
state aid rules need to be investigated
to determine whether any support, if
deemed necessary, would be allowed.
Tim Cooper, co-chair of the LD Voices
coalition of care providers, said no providers would ?come out unscathed?.
?One charity supporting 85 people
have calculated that if they have to fund
the liability, that comes to �5m,? he
said. ?Their reserves total �4m, including properties and cash. Unless they get
assistance, it is the end of the road. That
is just one example of a number of charities in that position.?
Derek Lewis, chair of the charity
Mencap, said: ?The government has also
kicked into the long grass the decision
over whether or not it will give ?nancial support for the sector. It is having
immense consequences. At Royal Mencap, as one of the stronger organisations,
we have had to put a stop on investment
in new programmes, IT and employment. Staff are concerned. Some are sitting there in uncertainty. It is a massively
destabilising situation to be in.?
A government spokesman said: ?This
scheme helps get workers the wages
they are owed, while maintaining vital
social care services for people in our
communities. We have listened to the
concerns of care providers and this
scheme gives them clear time-scales and
support to identify what they owe and
need to pay their workers.?
POLAR OPPOSITES
A protester dressed as a polar bear challenges Donald Trump?s support of the coal
industry yesterday at a rally in Bonn before the UN climate change conference that
begins tomorrow in the city. Photograph by Wolfgang Rattay/Reuters
12 | NEWS | Interview
*
05.11.17
Writer Sathnam Sanghera with his
mother, Surjit, in a fabric shop on
Dudley Road in Wolverhampton.
Photograph by Andrew Fox
for the Observer
?Mum cried while she told our story. As the
boy with the topknot, I cried as I wrote it?
Sathnam Sanghera?s bestselling memoir of
a British Sikh family?s struggle with mental
illness has now been adapted for TV.
Emine Saner meets the author ? and
his mother ? in Wolverhampton
It is a near-universal truth that no
matter how old and accomplished you
are ? Sathnam Sanghera is 41 and a successful journalist and author ? in the
presence of one?s parent, you can still
glimpse the teenager.
Sanghera guides his mother Surjit
inside, out of the murky Wolverhampton drizzle. He is sweetly protective,
but a bit awkward too (he asks if his
mum can answer questions ?rst so
she can get home; only after she has
gone does he seem to relax). We sit in a
restaurant on Dudley Road, the centre
of the city?s Sikh community. A few
hundred yards away was the hairdresser?s where Sanghera went, aged 14
and without his mother?s knowledge, to
get his topknot cut off. Across the road
is the clothing shop where the family did the wedding shopping for his
two sisters. Surjit, who seems to know
everyone, stops to speak to two women
on the way in. And she makes sure we
all have food. ?She?s worried about your
wellbeing,? says Sanghera.
Surjit?s story is at the heart of the
BBC adaptation of Sanghera?s memoir
The Boy with the Topknot, which stars
Sacha Dhawan and will be broadcast
later this month.
Surjit understands English but
isn?t con?dent speaking it (Sanghera
translates from Punjabi), and she
doesn?t read it. She knows, of course,
what was in her son?s book, subtitled
A Memoir of Love, Secrets and Lies in
Wolverhampton, because she spent
months talking to Sanghera, who
had left his job as a journalist at the
Financial Times to move back home
and unravel his family?s history.
It had started as a way of explaining
to his family ? especially his mother ?
why he wasn?t going to marry a Sikh
girl. His three older siblings had been
married by the time they were 21; at the
time he was writing the book he was
approaching 30 and living a secret life
in London (he had had white girlfriends) and the stress of keeping his
two lives apart was becoming too much.
But then the book became something
else ? he discovered that his father,
Jagjit, had been living with schizophrenia, and he later realised that so too was
his eldest sister, Puli. How could he
have not realised, he thought.
What unfolds in the book is a
compelling and deeply moving family history in which Surjit emerges
as nothing short of heroic. She was
brought to Britain as a teenager in 1969
to marry Jagjit, a man she soon realised
was mentally ill (none of those around
him realised). His illness made him
violent and she bore the worst of it. On
top of that, she was blamed for it ? his
superstitious family claimed she had
put some kind of curse on him.
Later, Jagjit was stabilised with
medication and became the kind,
gentle man that Sanghera knows, but
his father was unable to work. Surjit
worked as a seamstress at home, and
then in a factory, to support the family
and raise their four children.
If the journey for Sanghera, the
youngest, from a decaying house
in Wolverhampton to Cambridge
University via grammar school, and
now a job at the Times, was dizzying,
then it was equally momentous for his
mother, a farm girl from rural Punjab.
What was it like to tell her son about
the painful early years of her marriage?
She speaks to Sanghera in a steady
voice. ?She said she cried while she
told the story, and I cried while I wrote
it,? says Sanghera. ?That?s true. She
said she cried when she watched the
?lm as well. She?s saying it?s very painful to watch her daughter being taken
away.? Puli, who had been diagnosed
with schizophrenia but not told, had
stopped taking her medication and was
hospitalised for several weeks. ?That
was the hardest bit for me as well.? He
walked out of the read-through of the
script, he says, and also the ?rst time
he watched the ?lm. Surjit wipes tears
away from her eyes.
What kept her going? ?No one
got divorced then,? says Sanghera,
translating. ?She?s saying her mother
and father would say: once you go to
another household, the only way you
leave it is in your funeral box. It was
all about pride.? Surjit continues to
talk for a while. ?She?s saying when
things were really bad and my dad was
violent, a lot of the family got together
and said ?we?ll send her back to India?.
She said she?d rather die than go back
because she knew it would kill her parents.? Her faith helped her cope, she
says, as did knowing that her husband?s
behaviour was caused by illness. ?She
says she knew from the beginning he
wasn?t a bad person.?
Answering Sanghera?s questions
for his book was the ?rst time she had
talked about it for many years, and
the ?rst time she had told one of her
children. ?She says it?s like she had a
book inside her and it all came out. In
a way I felt like my mum wrote it, and
it?s interesting she says that phrase. My
mum?s always been an amazing storyteller and I feel like the way she told
me slowly over months, she structured
the book. That?s why I feel it was her
thing.? She is pleased, he says, that the
TV adaptation will reach a larger audience. ?She says it might help people.?
I ask her how the experience of her
son writing the book changed their
relationship and Sanghera laughs.
?That?s a very un-Punjabi question.
To talk about feelings, I don?t know
how to do that.? He starts speaking to
her, then stops. ?I don?t even know the
vocabulary for that.? Surjit smiles at
him. ?She?s saying it is really satisfying
that people now know what happened,
given how she was blamed. I feel weird
saying this ? she says people say that
it?s a beautiful thing, that your son will
be the one who vindicates you.?
It is time for Surjit to go. She clasps
my hands before making her goodbyes
with just about everyone else in the
restaurant. ?Phew,? says Sanghera,
exaggeratedly comic. Awkward? ?It?s
awkward, but great. It?s only in this
sort of situation that we talk about it.
I spent a year and a half asking lots of
questions, and when I stopped writing
the book she carried on telling me stuff.
I was ready to draw a line. So we?ve
become more touchy-feely, I think. But
also it?s nice to go back to normal.?
Sikh Punjabi culture, he says, ?is
not very ?talky?. We?re kind of farmers and soldiers by heritage. No one
talks about their feelings. When I was
looking up other memoirs for inspiration, I don?t think I found more than
Sacha Dhawan plays
the adult Sathnam
Sanghera and
Himmut Singh Dhatt
plays him as a
12-year-old in the
BBC2 adaptation of
The Boy with the
Topknot.
one or two Indian family memoirs. It?s
a very western form. To apply that to
an Indian family, who by de?nition are
very secretive ? I think I only did it
because of my education.?
It was difficult to get people to talk
to him, he says. ?Just practically to get
them to sit down. And there is a real
thing about pride. Loads of families
went through stuff like we did, they
just hid it, they don?t talk about it and
I think that?s one way of coping.? This
isn?t just ?an Asian thing?, he says. ?It?s
an English thing, a class thing and a
Midlands thing ? I hope people connect to it on a universal level. Families
and secrets, we all have them.?
If the stigma around mental illness
is breaking down, it is happening
more slowly in some communities,
he says. ?Loads of people have family
with schizophrenia and they don?t talk
about it for several reasons ? the symptoms are often very difficult, sometimes
there is violence, and there is serious
shame with that. But in the Indian
community, you?ve got the superstition ? this idea of black magic.? After
his book came out, he was criticised by
people who told him he had brought
shame on the community.
As for Sanghera, there is no longer
any secret double life. It worked, he
says of the letter he ?nally wrote to his
mother explaining how he felt. He has
taken non-Sikh girlfriends home. What
was that like? ?Amazing. And it wasn?t
just amazing for me ? my nephew,
who hadn?t read the book, could barely
speak because he was so shocked that
I had brought home a girl who wasn?t
Sikh, and everyone was being so nice
about it. I just suddenly felt less lonely.
It felt like a massive relief.?
Just before she left, I had asked
Surjit how she?d felt the ?rst time her
son had brought a girlfriend home and
Sanghera had laughed with embarrassment. ?Times change,? Surjit said
in English, then turned to her son
and spoke Punjabi. ?She was really
pleased,? says Sanghera. ?The point is, I
could be free. She?s saying I?m free. She
just says she?s happy.?
The Boy with the Topknot is on BBC2 on
13 Nov at 9pm.
05.11.17
NEWS | 13
*
Art de?es taboos on periods, sex and fertility
by Catherine Pepinster
It is an integral part of every woman?s
life, a natural function ? and yet still
often seen as a taboo subject. Now an
unusual exhibition and multi-art form
exhibition is examining the natural
rhythms of women?s bodies and the
menstrual cycle.
Called Period Piece, the show opens
on Tuesday with explorations of women?s bodies and their periods, involving
poetry, ?lm, art, holograms and a specially commissioned piece of music. It
forms part of a series of pop-up events on
the theme of blood being held at the new
Science Gallery London, near London
Bridge. The pop-ups are previewing the
gallery?s work, which aims to encourage a dialogue between art and science,
before it formally opens in 2018.
Period Piece is the brainchild of modern historian Alana Harris who is based
at King?s College London. Harris wanted
to explore the natural rhythms of women?s bodies and how people try to control them by working with them or using
technology to manipulate them. She is
particularly struck that the efforts of
previous generations to control women?s
reproduction ? whether through basic
technology such as condoms or a more
complex, chemical methods such as the
pill ? are being increasingly rejected by
young people, who are turning to fertility apps, which monitor temperature
changes in the body caused by ovulation.
?The pill was once seen as liberation
for women,? said Harris, ?but my students are turning their back on it, concerned about its impact on their physical and mental health. It?s part of a new
focus on clean eating and living.?
Fertility apps require women to use a
thermometer to check their temperature
?The pill was once
seen as liberation for
women but my
students are turning
their back on it?
Alana Harris, historian
each day and enter other information
such as details of periods. Data analytics
then create an ovulation cycle forecast.
It can be used by women who want to
work out the best time of each month to
conceive, as well as by those who want to
avoid getting pregnant.
It is a turnaround in the fortunes
of what used to be called the rhythm
method ? or Vatican roulette ? as a birth
control method approved by the Catholic church, which opposes arti?cial birth
control such as the pill. But without the
algorithms of an app, it was highly risky.
One of the highlights of the show is
a piece of specially composed music,
written by Ion Marmarinos and animated by Stephanie Bickford-Smith. It
was created from daily temperatures
charted by four women, temperatures
that ?uctuate according to their ovulation cycles. Marmarinos then translated
the plotted measurements into musical
notes, harmonies and cadences, creating
melodies based on the interior rhythms
of the women?s bodies.
The women also made a ?wordle?, or
word cloud, from reactions to the document Humanae Vitae ? the 1968 papal
document that banned the pill and urged
Catholics to use the rhythm method ?
and poet Audrey Ardern-Jones turned
the words into poetry.
The exhibition, at the Haemotel,
Collingwood Street, Southwark from
Tuesday 7 to Monday 13 November, will
be accompanied by discussions on contraception and reproduction.
Questions
over Russia?s
UK in?uence
5.00
Continued from page 1
seen by the Observer and uncovered by
Byline, the crowdfunded independent
journalism site, revealed Mifsud had
told a colleague he would be ?meeting
Boris Johnson for dinner re Brexit? on
that date. Sharma con?rmed Johnson
was the guest speaker at the event.
A Foreign Office source said: ?The
foreign secretary has not knowingly
met this person, planned to meet this
person, or heard of this person before.?
Sharma said: ?I did not introduce
him to Boris Johnson and I don?t
think anyone else did either.? But
indications of Russian efforts to make
contacts with British officials could
prove embarrassing for Johnson,
who was asked about possible foreign
interference in Britain last week and
replied: ?I haven?t seen a sausage.?
The revelation comes as the Observer
investigation into foreign in?uence
places him in a web of relationships
between a known Russian spy, Sergey
Nalobin, expelled from Britain in 2015,
and Matthew Elliott, the chief executive
of Vote Leave, the official Leave
campaign headed by Johnson.
Watson said: ?We?re starting to have
a much clearer picture from America
of how the Russian state sought to
in?uence the US election and I think
there are multiple questions to be
asked about how and in what ways the
Russian state may have been exerting
in?uence in British politics. Given the
gravity of the allegations against Mr
Papadopoulos, the government should
make public any meetings these two
individuals had with British officials
and what was discussed.?
Even more questions are raised by a
meeting the Observer has discovered
between Papadopoulos and Tobias
Ellwood, then a senior minister in
the Foreign Office, at the UN general
assembly in September 2016.
This was when Papadopoulos was
still working for the Trump campaign
and, according to the FBI?s documents,
had made multiple contacts through
his intermediary ? the ?London
professor? ? with ?high-level Russian
officials?. Ellwood?s meeting occurred
after Papadopoulos had discovered
in April that the Russians had ?dirt
on Hillary [Clinton]? in the form of
?thousands of emails? but before
WikiLeaks started publishing her
emails in October.
Ben Bradshaw, the MP who has
been one of the few voices asking
questions about possible Russian
interference in British democracy, said
the Foreign Office?s explanation was
implausible. ?In my experience, it is
not normal for a minister to meet party
campaign operatives while on official
government business.? He added: ?If
Mr Papadopoulos?s role was as junior
as Trump has been claiming, I would
be surprised that a minister as senior
and experienced as Mr Ellwood would
agree to meet him.?
Tom Brake, the Liberal Democrat
spokesman for Brexit, said it was time
to launch a formal inquiry. ?With
concerns emerging about possible
Russian interference here in the
EU referendum, the intelligence
and security committee needs to be
reconstituted as a matter of urgency.?
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14 | NEWS
*
05.11.17
Fears over betting lobby?s influence on MPs
Leaked document shows bookmakers? sway
on ?xed-odds terminals debate in parliament
by Jamie Doward
A new row over ?xed-odds betting has
erupted, amid claims that potential conflicts of interest are distorting parliamentary debate on the issue.
Last week, MPs debated proposed
reforms that include reducing the stakes
on the electronic games of roulette and
blackjack played on ?xed-odds betting
terminals (FOBTs) in betting shops. The
terminals are a huge source of pro?t for
bookmakers but have been described as
the ?crack cocaine of gambling? because
of their addictive qualities.
A document leaked prior to the
debate revealed that numerous questions drafted for the MPs were pushing arguments made by lobbyists for
the bookmakers. Some highlighted the
steps betting shops are taking to tackle
problem gambling. Others stressed the
importance of the shops as employers,
or urged tougher action against online
gambling sites that are eating into the
There are now about 34,000 fixed-odds
betting machines in operation in the UK.
shops? profits. Versions of many of
the questions made their way into the
debate. The revelation has prompted
fears that some MPs ? especially those
who have bene?ted from lavish hospitality provided by the big bookmakers
? could be overly in?uenced.
?I have been campaigning against
?xed-odds betting terminals for many
years now, and everyone who has been
involved in this campaign is well aware
that the gambling lobby is a very powerful and well-resourced organisation with
friends in parliament who are keen to
protect their interests and pro?ts,? said
Labour MP David Lammy. ?The damage
caused by these machines has been tolerated for far too long, aided and abetted
by this lobbying.?
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About 34,000 FOBTs are currently in
operation in the UK, generating about
�4bn in profits every year for bookmakers, who are now preparing lengthy
responses to the government?s call for
evidence, following its announcement
of a review of gambling machines last
week.
?In my own constituency, the growth
and proliferation of bookies on Tottenham High Road has been funded by the
vast pro?ts pulled in from FOBTs, with
no regard shown for the misery and broken lives that they have left behind in my
community,? Lammy said. ?It is therefore deeply disappointing that gambling
companies and their supporters are still
organising in this cynical manner, and
in my view the government needs to be
clear that they care more about the huge
harm caused by FOBTs than the pro?ts
of big business.?
There are also fears that a limited
clampdown on bookmakers? terminals
may simply drive business elsewhere.
Officials at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS)
privately acknowledge that limiting
proposals to betting shops may favour
amusement arcades, bingo halls and pub
chains that have vocally lobbied against
betting shop terminals.
The arcades, bingo halls and pubs
fund the all-party parliamentary group
that has led the ?ght to clamp down on
betting shop terminals. But they have
their own types of gaming terminal that
fall under what the government terms
a B3 licence, on which punters can lose
almost as much money as playing those
in betting shops.
A report commissioned by the
Responsible Gambling Trust (GambleAware), shared with the Observer, suggests punters can lose an average of
about �0 an hour on the B3 terminals,
compared with just �72 an hour on the
betting shop machines if the maximum
stake was cut from the current �0 to
just � as the all-party parliamentary
group demands.
?Restrictions on stake size alone fail to
adequately address concerns in relation
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Victoria Coren-Mitchell, writing in the
Observer on 27 August, presented the
case against ?xed-odds terminals.
to cost of play,? said the report?s author,
Dr Jonathan Parke, an expert on gambling behaviour. ?A stake-only approach
ignores the role of game speed, game
volatility and return-to-player.?
Data provided by GambleAware ?
which receives money from the bookmakers ? indicates that more than 2.5bn
bets are placed on amusement arcade,
bingo hall and pub machines every year,
compared with 1.9m bets on the betting
shop terminals.
In a submission to the government,
the campaign group Gambling Reform
& Society Perception said: ?Through
accounts given by players, we are
increasingly aware that B3 machine play
is a signi?cant contributor to problem
gambling, especially among those playing in bingo halls.?
Parke said FOBTs were con?gured in
a way that made them one of the highest risk gambling products available in
Britain, but added: ?Even if campaigners are successful in securing a �stake
through the DCMS consultation, we will
still have gaming machines on the high
street where people can lose hundreds
of pounds an hour.?
Lammy said any reforms should also
acknowledge the emergence of social
media.
?Gambling regulation has not kept up
with modern technology, particularly
the rapidly growing online casino gambling sector, and also the exploitative
marketing ploys used by gambling companies and affiliates who sign up users
through introductory offers promoted
on social media.?
05.11.17
| 15
*
Barbara Ellen
Don?t condemn
sound judgment
as PC behaviour
I
s it ?political correctness gone mad?
to question the value of promoting a
child murderer in the city where she
operated ? or to suggest that white
people stop blacking up to represent
Zulu warriors at a bon?re parade?
A stage production of Derek
Jarman?s 1978 ?lm, Jubilee, has had
lines removed where a character
expresses admiration for Myra Hindley
and says that those who couldn?t
comprehend her crimes merely lacked
imagination. The play?s director, Chris
Goode, said that while he initially
resisted, he agreed to excise the
Hindley references for the performances at the Royal Exchange theatre
in Manchester. Goode said that he
hadn?t fully understood how much the
crimes still resonated in the area, but
he would consider reinstating the lines
when the play moved to London.
As far as this Londoner is concerned, Goode needn?t bother ? it?s
not as though revulsion at the Moors
murderers? crimes evaporate on the
M1 southbound. Moreover, while it?s
valid to argue for keeping Jarman?s
text complete, it might also condemn
it to being a period piece. Toyah
Willcox, who was in the ?lm, and
now appears in the play, was against
retaining the lines and made the point
that Jarman would have originally
included them for shock value.
Precisely. Jubilee came out of punk,
at a time when society needed a good
shocking. Such lines might now just
come across as offensive, in a grotty,
lame, unnecessary way that becomes
little more than an exercise in cheap
provocation.
In the same week, a different but
similar scene was playing out with the
Lewes Borough Bon?re Society, where
the famous parade includes a group
dressed as Zulu warriors, who for
decades have blacked up. This year,
Thanda Gumede, head of visiting
Zulu dance troupe, Zulu Tradition,
requested that the group stop
using blackface and also stereotypical costume decorations
ons such
as skulls, nose-rings and dead
monkeys. To its credit, thee
society listened and agreed,
ed,
Toyah Willcox said Derek
Jarman had wanted to shock.
ck.
although it couldn?t promise that everybody would comply.
It?s great that the suggestions were
taken on board, but where was the
common sense before? Who thought,
last year, or even last decade, that it was
still a groovy idea to black up? Some
people argued that the blackface was
meant as a homage to the courage of
Zulu warriors. Really? In that case,
maybe The Black and White Minstrel
Show should be rede?ned as an homage to black people?s singing and dancing skills? A case of offensive stereotyping is OK, so long as you throw ?em a bit
of a compliment?
This time, the PC-disconnect was
about how, for some people, intent is
more important than content. If the
people doing it didn?t intend their
blacking up to be racist, therefore (tada!) it wasn?t and anybody who said
otherwise was misunderstanding and
overreacting. My view on this is that
non-whites tend to know a little bit
about racism, what with being, mostly,
the targets, and all ? maybe ( just
maybe!), their insights into something
being offensive or inoffensive are quite
valuable.
In both cases, perhaps the message
is that the particular brand of political
incorrectness that views itself as primarily rebellious can?t afford to be too
complacent. Setting out to provoke or
stir things up, or refuse to be sti?ed and
the rest, is all very laudable, but even
well-intentioned political incorrectness can date.
Sometimes, even very daring art
needs the context of its times. At other
times, a ?homage? is, in truth, anything
but. While the emphasis is usually on
the perils of over-zealous political correctness (?What?s it up to??; ?What?s it
stopping??; ?What are the killjoys and
nit-pickers ttrying to ban now??),
there?s a brand of politiclearly the
incorrectness that needs
cal incorr
to check iits factory settings.
Sometimes, it?s not just about
Sometime
blindly ?gghting against things
disallowed, it?s about
being dis
proving they deserve to
provin
be aallowed. Otherwise,
what?s really happenwh
ing except a fauxin
libertarian roar into
li
the
th void?
Raining kiwis?
Best watch your
song titles, Harry
P
Harry Styles need to be careful what he wishes for. Rex Shutterstock
�
?Cartoons
are mostly
people
looking
blankly at
absurdity?
Inside the
world of
Private Eye?s
cartoonists
page 18
A
West Midlands secondary
school, Summerhill, is under
?re for installing CCTV in
the area of pupils? lavatories.
Summerhill says that the cameras are
not directed anywhere near urinals
or cubicles. However, parents say that
children are refusing to use the lavatories, to the point of almost wetting
themselves, and are even ringing their
parents to be taken home to use the
loos at home.
One doesn?t have to be Sigmund
Freud to ponder the dangers of
making children inhibited about
using the lavatory. You can see where
Summerhill is coming from ? school
loos are hotbeds of activity, including
bullying. Indeed, the CCTV was only
installed because of problems with
student behaviour. However, it?s
been pointed out that, for instance, a
prefect, or two, could be put on duty in
the vicinity.
Nor does recording pupils coming
and going require cameras inside
actual lavatories. This isn?t about
children being especially sensitive ?
most people prefer public lavatories
of any kind to be as private as
possible. Some might recall the mass
incredulity when communal loos
were featured on the television show,
Ally McBeal. Billed as the ?future of
the workplace toilet?, the mixed sex
loo never caught on ? it transpired
that most didn?t agree that it was the
zenith of corporate team spirit for
men and women to grimly mingle at
the gummed-up liquid soap dispenser.
Well, who?d have guessed it?
In the same way, it?s somewhat
unsurprising that kids don?t like the
idea of cameras in their lavatories.
Give them a break. Quite apart from
anything else, school is a big, noisy,
active, uber-communal space. The
lavatories are probably one of the few
zones of near-privacy a pupil has left,
and should remain sacrosanct.
The New
Review
Keep cameras out of lavatories
ity poor Harry Styles. His song
Kiwi has inspired fans to pelt
him with kiwi fruit at concerts. At a London concert, he
trod on one, skidding into the splits, in
what could have resulted in a terrible
bruising of his own kiwis. A Manchester Asda promptly banned under25s from buying kiwis in a deadpan
attempt to ?avoid slippery situations?
at Styles?s forthcoming gig in the city.
Did Styles (and One Direction,
the boy band that he was in) come
third on The X Factor for this? Not
to rub it in, but Styles made a rookie
celebrity error. As a teen heartthrob,
he should have known that, if you
mention anything, in a song, or even
an interview, you?re going to end up
being bombarded with it.
According to a rumour I just
made up, Matt and Luke Goss, of
Bros fame, are at present surviving
solely by eating their way through
a mountain of out-of-date Wagon
Wheels accumulated after casually
mentioning that they liked them back
in 1988.
Clearly, the trick is to mention high
value items that you can ?og later
on eBay. In this spirit, I con?dently
predict that Styles?s next songs will be
called ?iPhone X? and ?Porsche?.
05.11.17
NEWS | 17
*
How Kipling
helped quell an
Indian mutiny
in the trenches
Jungle Book author rewrote soldiers? letters
to ?ght German propaganda in ?rst world war
by Jamie Doward
He was one of Britain?s most celebrated
writers of the 20th century, the Nobel
prizewinning author of The Jungle Book.
But Rudyard Kipling?s work for British
intelligence during the ?rst world war
has been lost in the mists of time.
Now new research has highlighted the
extraordinary role the author of Kim and
the poem If played in pushing out proempire propaganda designed to temper
the threat of an insurrection amongg
Indian soldiers ?ghting
ng in France.
Dr Gajendra Singh,, a historian at
Exeter University, hass been combing the archives of British intelligence for his forthcoming
oming book,
Spectres of Violence. Hee has revealed
how, in the second decade
cade of the
20th century, some 14,000
Indians living in thee US
were becoming an acute
cute
concern for the secret
cret
services. Drenched in
pre-Bolshevik ideallism, many were plottting revolution and thee
overthrow of the Raj.
j.
A powerful clandestine German intelligence unit ? known as the Information
Centre for the East ? saw them as useful pawns and tried to manipulate them
with anti-British propaganda.
?Around half of the expats return
to India in 1914 to sow insurrection, to
smuggle arms and explosives, and to
develop cellular networks,? Singh said.
?They are responsible for a near insurrection in the early months of 1915. What
causes most concern among the British
is that these guys are pensioned soldiers.
Theyy know what they?re doing. They
the Ghadar movement ?
call themselves
themsel
Urdu for
fo mutiny or rebellion ? and
they are
ar constantly harking back to
1857.? This
T was the year of a bloody
but unsuccessful
uprising against
un
the East
Eas India Company ? an event
that the
th British authorities were
desperate
despera to ensure would not be
repeated.
repe
British
intelligence was also
B
worried
about the thousands
wo
of troops
India had sent to ?ght
t
in France. Agents were moniR
Rudyard
Kipling, whose son
John was killed in 1915.
Indian soldiers
serving in France
at the start of the
first world war in
1914. Underwood
Archives/Rex
toring their letters home to record any
anti-British sentiment that could possibly mutate into insurrection. At the
same time there was growing collusion
between Irish and Indian revolutionaries, fostered by German intelligence,
which spread stories about how poorly
Indian soldiers were being treated.
?Kipling was recruited by British
intelligence in the first world war to
write for American journals under his
own name, to show the British in a positive light and undermine Indian nationalists,? Singh said.
?In 1917 he?s asked by a branch of British intelligence to write a form of ?ctional Indian correspondence. He was
given real letters sent home by Indian
soldiers and asked to write his own version in order to spread propaganda in the
United States.?
Kipling was already making regular
visits to Ireland to recruit troops for the
war effort. Devastated by the death of his
only son, 18-year-old John, in the battle
of Loos in 1915, Kipling acted out of patriotism, Singh believes.
?By this stage he?s a major literary ?gure,? Singh said. ?His son has just died
and he?s engaging in these tours to bolster recruitment in Ireland. He does it as
a way to salvage his son?s memory, to do
what he can for the war effort.?
It was the era of pulp ?ction, when
weekly magazines were popular, and
Kipling?s letters were read avidly by
audiences around the world. The letters sought to capture the essence of
the Indian soldier abroad and painted
his relationship with Britain in glowing,
paternalistic terms.
?He writes them to show how infused
with loyalty and deference the Indian
soldiers were to the British,? Singh said.
A soldier who is recovering in Hampshire recounts how ?when the emperor
commanded me to his palace to receive
a medal I saw all the wonders and entertainments of the city of London?.
He talks about visiting a ?palace ?lled
with carpets, gilt furniture, marble, silks,
mirrors, velvets?, and which had ?hot
water [that] ran in silver pipes?.
?The idea is to try to construct the
good Indian against the bad,? Singh said.
?Britain wants to show that the majority
of Indian opinion is on our side and that
these Indians [plotting insurrection]
aren?t representative of the whole.?
Kipling?s role in spinning for the
empire is unlikely to surprise his critics.
George Orwell described him as a ?jingo
imperialist?. ?He?s not terribly fashionable now,? Singh said. ?It?s a bit unfair as
his work is far more ambiguous than it is
being read now.?
18 | NEWS
*
05.11.17
A step beyond organic or free-range: Dutch
farmer?s chickens lay carbon-neutral eggs
Poultry owner claims
his new approach has
the highest welfare
standards and lowest
cost to environment
Ruud Zanders, below,
says the Kipster farm,
near the Dutch city of
Venray left, allows
chickens to live more
naturally.
Photographs by Bart
von Overbeeke for
the Observer
by Daniel Bo?ey
Venray
? but again at a cost to the wider environment, feeding the chickens expensive
imported corn that could be better used
to feed people.
?It makes no sense for us to be competing with animals for food,? Zanders
said. ?And 70% of the carbon footprint
in eggs is accounted for by the feed for
the chickens.?
The 44-year-old, who once ran his
father?s low-cost, high-production egg
business, with a ?45m annual turnover,
believes he has hit the sweet spot with
his new venture, home to 24,000 chickens, whose eggs recently went on sale
in Dutch Lidl stores in packaging made
from potato starch.
Zanders?s selling point is that his farm
has the highest welfare standards ? as
endorsed by Dutch animal activist group
Animals Awake ? matched with the lowest possible environmental cost. This
�
?My
mother
had to
live with
strangers
knowing
intimate
stu? about
her life.
She wasn?t
happy?
Alison
Bechdel
on making
her life into
a graphic
memoir
page 8
second point is supported by Wageningen University, which has been examining the farm?s carbon footprint and ?ne
dust emissions. The eggs, meanwhile,
are sold at a more affordable price as the
farm is not seeking to live up to some of
what Zanders believes are the less sensible strictures necessary to describe his
product as free-range or organic.
Every day at 10am, the shutters
between the hens? sleeping quarters
and a covered courtyard at the Kipster
farm slowly lift. With a ?urry of feathers,
thousands of birds venture out into the
daylight to climb, hide and bustle among
the trees scattered over their play area
until the shutters close again at 7.30pm.
The hens are not technically freerange, because there are not 10 hectares
of open land for them to run around on,
as demanded by law. But Zanders says
chickens are naturally wood-living creatures and so a smaller outdoor area along
with the covered courtyard provides the
best setting. ?Every free-range farmer
knows that if you have 10 hectares, the
chickens will only use nine,? he said. ?We
have 6.7 hens per square metre. A freerange farm would typically have nine
hens per square metre.?
Above the courtyard is an irregular
triangle of ceiling, a third of which is
clear glass allowing daylight in while the
remainder is frosted due to the farm?s
1,078 solar panels that provide enough
electricity to keep the building running
while selling power back to the grid.
Meanwhile, the chickens are fed a
diet of broken biscuits, rice cakes and
other ?residual ?ows? (the edible stuff
we throw away) collected from bakeries
in the area and made into feed. The eggs
produced are not organic because the
feed is not organic, but the animal is ?tting into the food chain rather than competing with humans for corn, Zanders
said. By using waste food as feed, the
farm is also cutting its carbon footprint.
?By reducing our carbon footprint,
and making energy from the solar panels
to be sold on, we are laying carbon-neutral eggs,? Zanders said. ?If anything suggests that is not the case as time goes on,
we will invest in solar panels elsewhere
to make sure we reduce CO2 emissions?.
After 70 weeks the hens are slaughtered but not, as is often the case in
northern Europe, dumped on the African meat market, which undermines any
hopes of poultry farmers there running a
pro?table business. Instead they will be
turned into chicken burgers and nuggets
to be sold on the local market.
The Kipster farm has also struck an
agreement with the chicken-rearing
farm that provides the hens. In northern Europe, chicken farmers breeding
for egg-laying farms tend to gas the
male chicks when they hatch ? 350 million a year across the continent. These
are then used for feed in zoos or thrown
away. ?Ours will be reared for 17 weeks
before they are slaughtered, and then we
will make rooster burgers,? Zanders said.
Blood plasma infusions from
young may arrest Alzheimer?s
by Robin McKie
Science Editor
The New
Review
There?s the much-criticised battery hen
egg, and then the pricier organic and
free-range varieties. But for the truly
ethically committed, how about the carbon-neutral egg, laid in what has been
billed as the world?s most environmentally friendly farm?
Dutch stores are now selling so-called
?Kipster eggs? laid at a shiny new farm
near the south-eastern city of Venray.
?Kip? means chicken in Dutch, ?ster?
means star. The intention is to rethink
the place of animals in the food chain,
according to Ruud Zanders, the poultry
farmer and university lecturer behind
the farm, which includes a visitor centre
and corporate meeting room.
Mass-producing farms, even those
that have moved on from cages, produce
extremely cheap eggs at a heavy cost to
the environment and the welfare of the
animals laying them. The cost-cutting
model is blamed by many for the regular
food scares in northern Europe, including the recent enforced destruction of
millions of eggs due to contamination
by the toxic insecticide ?pronil.
The organic and free-range varieties,
where farmers prioritise the welfare of
the chickens, often sell at a higher price
Regular infusions of blood plasma from
young donors could be used to treat
patients with Alzheimer?s disease, a
medical conference in Boston was told
yesterday.
Researchers said that their study
showed transfusions were safe, had
no serious side effects and hinted that
infusions could lead to bene?ts in
patients? memory and thinking.
Infusions of blood plasma ? the
liquid, cell-free part of blood ? are used
in surgery and to treat conditions such
as liver disease. In addition, research
on mice has shown that regular plasma
infusions from young mice improves
memory in older mice.
The new trial, sponsored by Stanford
University, was set up to build on these
?ndings and to test the safety and feasibility of administering blood plasma
from younger people to those living
with Alzheimer?s disease.
The team, who were speaking at the
Clinical Trials on Alzheimer?s Disease
conference in Boston, revealed that
they worked with 18 volunteers with
mild to moderate Alzheimer?s disease
who received four weekly infusions
of either a placebo saline solution
or blood plasma from donors aged
between 18 and 30. Then there was a
six week ?wash-out? period during
which participants did not receive
either infusion. The researchers then
switched the infusions that participants received so that those who previously had plasma received the placebo
and vice versa. The participants also
took part in memory and thinking tests
and assessments of their ability to carry
out everyday tasks.
?The research points to potential
signs of improvement but we need
to see much larger studies before we
can tell if this approach could help
improve the lives of people living with
Alzheimer?s,? said Dr Carol Routledge,
director of research at Alzheimer?s
Research UK. ?Alzheimer?s is the most
common cause of dementia, affecting
half a million people in the UK, and we
urgently need treatments capable of
stopping the disease in its tracks.?
20 | NEWS
*
05.11.17
Desperate plight of millions not on living wage
Poll exposes struggle of
low earners as austerity
continues to hit home
by Jamie Doward
More than a third of people who earn
less than the ?real living wage? have
reported regularly skipping meals to
save money, according to a report.
The real living wage (RLW), which
is promoted by the Living Wage Foundation and is voluntarily paid by more
than 3,500 UK employers, is based on
what people need to live a decent and
healthy lifestyle as determined by a
panel of experts. It is currently �45
across the UK and �75 in London. It
differs from the government?s national
living wage, which is �50 an hour for
those 25 or older.
A poll carried out for the Living Wage
Foundation also found that more than a
third of people earning less than this had
topped up their monthly income with a
credit card or loan in the last year, while
more than one in ?ve reported using a
payday loan to cover essentials. More
than half ? 55% ? had declined a social
invitation due to lack of money, and just
over half had borrowed money from a
friend or relative.
?This is the sad reality of life for people who are in working poverty in the
UK,? said Katherine Chapman, director
?It?s more important
than ever that
employers commit
to paying the living
wage,? says
Katherine Chapman.
at Living Wage Foundation. ?We?ve seen
the increasing use of food banks and
other worrying trends. That?s why it?s
more important than ever that employers are showing leadership and standing
up and making a public commitment to
paying the living wage.?
The foundation, which tomorrow
will announce the new hourly living
wage rate, said that with the cost of liv-
ing rising at its fastest pace in four years,
the need for a living wage has become
paramount.
A third of FTSE 100 companies as well
as Google, Everton, Liverpool and Chelsea football clubs pay the RLW, and more
than 150,000 employees have received a
pay rise as a result of the campaign. More
than �0m has been paid to workers
since it began in earnest in 2011.
?In the last couple of years we?ve seen
certain sectors, like retail, really grow,?
Chapman said. ?Ikea signing up a couple
of years ago was huge. The movement
has grown from strength to strength.
In the past year alone we?ve accredited
more than a thousand employers.?
However, a separate poll for consultancy giant KPMG before this week?s
living wage week found that more
than one in ?ve people in the UK are
still earning below the RLW. While
the number has dropped by 100,000 to
around 5.5 million since last year, the
?rst reduction in ?ve years, it means a
million more people earning below the
RLW than in 2012.
Part-time workers are particularly
vulnerable to low pay. Around 3.1 million part-time employees earn less than
the RLW compared with 2.4 million fulltime workers, according to KPMG.
The KPMG research found that a
deep gender divide continues to operate. One in four ? 26% ? of women earn
less than the RLW, compared with 16%
of men.
Almost three-?fths of those earning
below the RLW said they had experienced a sharp increase in the cost of
living. There is also acute regional variation. Some 26% of workers in Northern
Ireland earn below the RLW, the highest proportion in the UK, and a quarter
of workers in the East Midlands, Yorkshire and Humber, Wales and the West
Midlands are also earning below the
threshold.
Andy Bagnall, director at KPMG UK,
said that, historically, some businesses
believed that paying the real living wage
would hit them ?nancially. But he suggested there was evidence to the contrary. ?In the past, many businesses were
worried that increased wages would hit
their bottom line, but there is ample evidence to suggest otherwise.
?By paying the real living wage since
2006, KPMG has seen improved staff
morale, a rise in service standards,
improved retention of staff and increased
productivity. More importantly, it has
been an enabler for social mobility.?
ON OTHER PAGES
A fair, decent society demands a real
living wage for its workers
Yvonne Roberts, In Focus, page 29
National Trust
accused of hiding
trail hunt details
by Ben Quinn
The National Trust has been accused
of backtracking on a promise to publish
routes used for trail hunts on its lands,
after the charity said it did not want to
encourage ?a climate of confrontation?
between hunt followers and protesters.
A motion to ban trust land from
being used for trail hunting was narrowly defeated at the charity?s annual
meeting last month. The motion had
been opposed by the board, which
pledged to publish routes used by
hunts in future, stating: ?We will ask
for all speci?ed routes and dates of trail
hunts in advance and these will be published on our website.?
However, there was anger among
members after the trust said on
Facebook that it would not be publishing routes or meeting points, following
discussions with the police and others.
Helen Beynon, who tabled the
motion to halt the issuing of licences
for trail hunting or the exercise by
hunts of their hounds on trust land,
accused the trust of lying to members.
Initially, the trust had bowed to pressure from members and agreed on the
need to review how it oversaw hunting
on its lands, she said. But there were
still questions about what should be
used to create trails used by hunts and
whether any scent was being used.
?You have absolutely misled your
members before and during the
debate,? she said. ?Please explain
how giving simply a map of an area to
anyone interested gives them any idea
where the hunt might be at any one
time. Clearly, this has been done so
hunts can avoid scrutiny.?
A trust spokesperson said it would
provide details of hunting areas on its
website. ?However, we do not want to
encourage or create a climate of confrontation between trail hunt followers
or protesters. Following advice from the
police in September, we took the decision not to publish details of speci?c
routes after concerns were raised over
public safety and potential for disorder.?
05.11.17
WORLD | NEWS | 21
*
World
?For freedom and the republic? ? Catalan
leader urges independence parties to unite
Deposed president
wants all secessionist
politicians to stand
together in December
election to create a
?second referendum?
by Emma Graham-Harrison
and Daniel Bo?ey Brussels
The ousted Catalan leader, Carles Puigdemont, has called for separatist parties
across the political spectrum in Catalonia to form a united front in December?s
regional elections, effectively turning
the polls into a de facto referendum on
his drive for independence.
Tweeting from self-imposed exile in
Brussels, the deposed regional president
launched an online petition yesterday to
establish a broad secessionist coalition,
the day after Spain issued an international warrant for his arrest.
?It is the moment for all democrats to
unite. For Catalonia, for the freedom of
political prisoners, and for the republic,?
he said, adding that the elections offered
voters a decisive choice ?between
democracy and imposition?. By midday
there were more than 30,000 signatures.
A fractious and ideologically diverse
coalition of parties triggered the current
crisis when they used a slim majority in
the regional parliament to plan an illegal referendum on breaking away from
Spain and then unilaterally declaring
independence last month. If they can
unite again and win back that majority
in next month?s vote, it would be a huge
setback for Madrid?s efforts to defuse the
biggest constitutional challenge Spain
has faced in nearly four decades.
The central government voted to suspend self-rule and take back control of
Catalonia just minutes after the ?eeting
republic was declared in Barcelona on
27 October. The Spanish prime minister,
Mariano Rajoy, then set a new round of
regional elections for the earliest legally
possible date, 21 December.
It looked like an astute political move,
allowing the central government to
deflect accusations it was trampling
on Catalan democracy, while sowing
division among pro-independence parties. With a registration deadline of this
Tuesday, they were immediately thrust
into bitter disputes about whether they
should take part in the election or not.
Hardliners insisted that running candidates meant implicitly accepting
Madrid?s authority and acknowledging
that the Catalan republic had been stillborn. Moderates argued that sitting out
the election meant losing both political
authority and the government funds that
are vital to their ?ght for a separate state.
Separatists demonstrate in Barcelona for the release of former Catalan ministers arrested on charges including rebellion and sedition. Photograph by Matthias Oesterle/Rex
But now all major parties have said
they will take part, and there is a real
chance that Rajoy could face another
separatist parliament at Christmas. The
latest polls suggest pro-independence
parties could control the legislature
again, if they are once more willing to
put their battles with Madrid ahead of
all other political priorities. The last
separatist coalition brought together
groups ranging from Puigdemont?s own
centre-right party to the radical left CUP
(Popular Unity Candidacy). The central
government?s handling of the crisis has
angered many in Catalonia, even those
who do not support
port independence,
and could bolster
er support for
pro-independence
ce parties.
A particular flashpoint
lashpoint has
been the arrest and jailing of
separatist leaders,
ers, including
several members of Puigdemont?s
cabinet. They could face
charges for crimes
mes including rebellion, sedition
dition and
embezzlement for their
part in pushing for secession. The jailed
d politiPuigdemont: will stay
tay in
Brussels for election.
on.
cians, who have mostly been denied bail
ahead of trial on the grounds they are a
?ight risk, say their cases are political
persecution. The ousted vice-president,
Oriol Junqueras, shared a de?ant message from his prison cell via Twitter:
?We are never going to renounce freedom, even if the price is prison?. A lawyer for the prisoners went public with
complaints of ?humiliating? treatment,
including strip searches.
Their imprisonment has prompted
unease abroad, including among allies
who have been broadly supportive of
the Spanish government and critical
moveof the Catalan independence
i
ment. The Nobel
Nobe peace prize winner
international negotiator Martti
and internatio
Ahtisaari is among
those concerned.
am
He condemned the separatists? independence bid as a ?stupid gamble?
that had
h ?caused problems
for a llot of others?, but said
Spain?s
Spain response was too
aggressive. ?Now there
aggr
will be an election, and all
of the
th members of Catalonia?s government that now
have left the area have to
be given
the opportunity
g
take part [in the election]
to tak
as a candidate,? he told the EU Observer
website.
Puigdemont suggested he planned to
take part from Brussels, telling a local TV
channel: ?I can run a campaign from anywhere in the world, as we are in living in
a globalised world.? He had already sig-
?I can run a campaign
from anywhere
in the world, as
we are in living in a
globalised world?
Carles Puigdemont
nalled his intention to stay in Brussels
as long as possible, retaining a defence
lawyer and saying he believed the Spanish courts were politicised, although he
has ruled out claiming political asylum.
Puigdemont also made a hollowsounding promise that he would not
seek to cause the Belgian prime minister further problems. ?I will be careful
about Belgian politics. I am not here to
mix with Belgian politics nor to Belgianise Catalan politics,? he said.
The justice minister moved fast to distance the Belgian administration from
the Catalan leader?s fate. Unlike other
international extradition processes, the
European arrest warrant (EAW) lies
entirely in the hands of the courts, Koen
Geens said. ?The executive power does
not play any role in the EAW procedure.
Everything goes through direct contact
between the justice authorities,? the
Associated Press quoted him as saying.
Yet for all that the Belgian government has sought to depoliticise the issue,
and insist that it is a matter for the independent judiciary, Puigdemont?s arrival
has already stirred up domestic political
tensions.
The prime minister, Charles Michel,
was forced to reprimand his Flemish
nationalist minister of migration and
asylum, Theo Francken, after he suggested that it was not ?unrealistic? to
think that Puigdemont could be given
political asylum in Belgium. Other
MPs attacked him for undermining
the country. ?Mr Francken created the
impression that he was in collusion,?
said Olivier Maingain, the president of
the francophone liberal party, D镕I, who
added: ?This will weaken the European
role of Belgium.?
China?s patriotic crackdown: three years in jail for ?disrespecting? national anthem
by Emma Graham-Harrison
China has made disrespect of the
national anthem a crime punishable by
up to three years in jail, as it focuses on
cementing the patriotic ?China dream?
of its increasingly authoritarian president, Xi Jinping.
The new law is likely to alarm citizens of Hong Kong and Macau, where
the March of the Volunteers has been
a ?ashpoint for unrest, amid growing concerns about Beijing?s efforts to
exert its control over the city states.
Some Hong Kong football fans have
booed the anthem during World Cup
quali?ers and other matches.
Pro-democracy activists fear the law
will be used to undermine freedom of
speech and protest, after a punishing
year of setbacks including the jailing of
prominent members of the democracy
movement for their roles in anti-government protests.
Citizens of Hong Kong and Macau
are not directly subject to the law,
passed yesterday by China?s rubberstamp parliament, because they have
their own legal systems. But a separate
decree mandating 15 days in jail for disrespect of the ?ag was also written into
their constitutions, or Basic Law.
Senior lawmakers said that the new
rule would be taken seriously, with
people expected to get to their feet
President Xi?s new
law has alarmed
activists in Hong
Kong who fear it
will be used to stifle
freedom of speech.
at social events, and anyone walking
along the street required to stand still.
?Sometimes when the anthem is
played at the Jockey Club, many people
do not stand up,? Li Fei, chair of the
Basic Law committee, was quoted as
saying by the South China Morning
Post. ?This must change after the legislation comes into effect.?
The new law is aimed at anyone
found to be ?seriously? disrespecting the national anthem including by
reworking its lyrics, although there are
few if any reports of the anthem being
used for protests within China itself.
The national ?ag and emblem were
already protected by a similar law.
The move comes after Xi last month
cemented his position as the country?s most powerful leader since Mao
Zedong, and was appointed to a second
?ve-year term as party leader.
He has put the ?China dream? for a
more prosperous and powerful nation
at the heart of his political vision,
promising to extend prosperity and
restore international prestige. But at
home he has enforced a narrow vision
of progress, cultivating a personality
cult and cracking down on dissent.
22 | NEWS | WORLD
*
05.11.17
Refugees trapped on hostile Greek island
where only the sick or pregnant can leave
Thousands who have
?ed across the
Aegean from war
zones are banned by
the EU from travelling
on to the mainland
by Giorgos Christides
and Olga Stefatou
Samos
Eida was two months pregnant when
she had a miscarriage. A month later
the 18-year-old Syrian refugee still feels
angry and despondent. Pregnancy had
been her ticket off the Greek island of
Samos ? and out of a squalid, barren,
barbed-wire camp.
The young woman is one of around
3,000 refugees on Samos, one of five
Greek ?hotspot? islands in the eastern
Aegean Sea designated by the EU to act
as a barricade against massive uncontrolled migrant arrivals from Turkey.
Since March 2016, when Brussels
concluded a controversial agreement
with Ankara to curb migrant ?ows, only
vulnerable cases have been transferred
from the hotspots to the Greek mainland. Eida had hoped to be among them.
The rest are left to languish under
deplorable conditions in the camps
until their asylum claims are examined,
or pay local smuggling networks ?1,000
or more to get ferried to the mainland.
Anastasia Theodoridou, head of
social services at Samos state hospital,
deals with cases like Eida?s every day.
?Dozens of women come to the hospital
desperate to ?nd out they are pregnant,?
she says. ?Other refugees are eager for a
diagnosis of any serious condition. And
if there is nothing wrong with them,
they bring their spouses and children.
Maybe one of them might have a chance
of a燿iagnosis.?
According to internal documents, the
Samos hospital has handled 7,857 visits
by refugees since the start of the year.
The paradox of refugees hoping to fall
ill to get favourable treatment contrasts
with the EU?s narrative about the success of its response to the refugee crisis.
The rosy outlook from Brussels is often
based on statistics that show a sharp
reduction in the number of daily crossings and deaths in the Aegean.
As a result, international interest in
the crisis has waned: journalists have
long since gone home, NGOs are packing
up, volunteers are few and far between,
and official funding has been cut back.
But despite substantial EU support
to Athens ? ?430m has been scheduled,
according to the European commission ?
conditions at the Greek hotspots remain
appalling. And although the focus has
now shifted to refugees crossing the
Mediterranean from Libya, Tunisia or
Algeria, the situation on Samos is still no
less dramatic than a year ago.
The terrible conditions are immediately apparent at the camp at Vathy,
a town of 6,200 people built like an
amphitheatre to overlook a beautiful
port. The camp is just 200 metres from
the town proper and was designed to
house 700 people. Now that the number
of refugees is more than four times the
Harsh conditions inside the camps have forced many refugee families to set up their own makeshift settlements in nearby woods. Photograph by Costas Baltas/Reuters
camp?s capacity, hundreds of them are
forced to sleep rough or inside ?imsy
tents.
A second, makeshift camp has
emerged, which becomes engulfed by
sand and dirt whenever the wind blows
and could be easily swept away in the
?rst heavy rainfall. ?We feel abandoned,?
says Diab, a 23-year-old from Homs,
Syria, who points to a lack of medicines,
clothes, supplies, good food, hygiene.
Diab is here with his family, which
includes a six-year-old boy who hides
behind his mother at the first loud
noise or sight of a stranger ? he was
traumatised by the bombing in Syria,
Diab� explains. They live outside the
main camp, in a small tent in the woods,
which provides little protection from the
elements and was recently ?ooded after
a brief spell of rain.
The only clothes they have are the
ones they are wearing. In the morning
they line up at the single fountain to get
running water. But they avoid using the
toilets inside the camp. For good reason:
they are few and ?lthy.
Refugees and international agencies
such as UNHCR, Amnesty International
and M閐ecins Sans Fronti鑢es are worried about the arrival of winter and urging authorities to move faster with their
?winterisation? efforts. But refugees say
that when they ask for winter clothes
and blankets, the answer is always the
same: ?Tomorrow, tomorrow?.
?Decongestion? is a word you hear
everywhere in Samos. Almost everyone wants to see the refugees off the
island. That includes activists, leftwing
politicians and NGO workers. They say
refugees must be properly housed on
the爉ainland. But they also fear that
if they remain on the island in such
Eida, 18, was pregnant and hoping to leave
the island, but she had a miscarriage.
numbers and under such conditions,
extremists who are already exploiting
the fears of local people will shift Samos
to the far爎ight.
Samos could prove fertile ground. The
island is only a mile from Greece?s traditional arch rival Turkey, separated by the
narrow Mycale strait. Its 32,000 inhabitants remain fiercely patriotic. Many
local people have a hard time accepting
the continuing presence of large numbers of refugees. They are becoming
increasingly agitated. Police officers
recall quiet days long gone, before the
refugee crisis. Stories about migrant
criminality abound, even though only
minor offences have ever been reported
to the authorities.
Local politicians and media, even the
island?s powerful church, are justifying, if not actively feeding, the resentment. Eusebius of Samos and Ikaria, the
local bishop, recently sent a letter to the
prime minister, Alexis Tsipras, warning that the situation on the island was
?dramatic? and describing new arrivals
as an�onslaught?.
In this climate, any government initiative to alleviate the situation triggers
?erce, even hostile opposition. Thoughts
of creating a second ?hotspot? have
foundered. Efforts to expand a programme that places refugees in rented
homes are also going nowhere, although
there is no shortage of empty houses
in some of the island?s sparsely populated villages. Violent clashes broke out
recently between residents of one village, when NGO employees and homeowners willing to rent to refugee families were jostled by outraged protesters.
Perhaps nowhere is the anti-migrant
sentiment so pronounced as in Mytilinioi, a beautiful, lush village of 2,000
AFGHANISTAN
FRANCE
VENEZUELA
ZIMBABWE
Regulator blocks online messaging services
Hundreds run in honour of
murdered woman jogger
Opposition activists freed
after a year in prison
American woman in court
over Mugabe ?insult? online
Hundreds of people took part in a run
through Paris yesterday to pay tribute
to a murdered jogger and to denounce
sex abuse and violence against women.
The event was prompted by the
recent killing of Alexia Daval, whose
burned body was found near where she
had gone running in Dijon, east France.
While the circumstances of her death
remain unclear, more French women
have been speaking out about violence
against women amid sexual abuse allegations against Harvey Weinstein. AP
Venezuela?s government has released
two opposition activists it has held for
more than a year, one of them a Spanish
citizen, as President Nicol醩 Maduro
aims to ease international pressure
following months of unrest. Yon
Goicoechea and Delson Guarate, freed
late on Friday night, had both been
held by the Sebin intelligence police
without a trial. Authorities had ordered
the release of Goicoechea, who was
granted Spanish citizenship while
jailed, more than a year ago. AP
An American woman, charged with
subversion in Zimbabwe for allegedly
insulting President Robert Mugabe on
Twitter as a ?sick man?, made her ?rst
court appearance yesterday, facing up
to 20 years in prison if found guilty.
The arrest of 25-year-old Martha
O?Donovan is the ?rst since Mugabe
appointed a cybersecurity minister last
month, a move criticised by activists as
targeting social media. O?Donovan has
denied the allegations as ?baseless and
malicious?. AP
?They come to hospital
eager for a diagnosis of
any serious condition
in them, their spouses
or their children?
Samos social services chief
GREECE
Samos
Athens
T UR KEY
200 miles
souls, six miles south-west of Vathy.
The community president, Giorgos
Eleftheroglou, is one of the most outspoken critics of refugees on the island. And
that is saying something. More than 70
years old but still nimble, Eleftheroglou
says any attempt to bring refugees to his
village will be met with resistance. Perhaps even armed resistance.
?We will take our rifles and stand
against the NGOs or anyone else who
tries to impose them on us,? he says. He
is careful to add that he does not intend
to shoot at refugees. Still, he has assembled a small team of aspiring vigilantes
he calls his ?assault group?.
Eleftheroglou poses a rhetorical question: ?What if the migrants cause public
disorder, or set something on ?re? I have
no ?re service, no police here, nothing.
What am I supposed to do? Let my village burn?? He is the president, after all.
?I have a duty to do whatever it takes.?
Giorgos Christides and Olga Stefatou
work for the German weekly Der Spiegel.
This article is part of a series by Politiken,
Le Monde, El Pa韘, La Stampa, Der Spiegel
and the Observer
WORLD IN BRIEF
Afghanistan?s telecoms regulator wrote
to internet service providers last week
ordering them to block the messaging
services WhatsApp and Telegram, but
it was not immediately clear whether
they had complied.
Social media users and civil rights
groups reacted with outrage to initial
reports of the move and the letter
sent by telecoms regulator ATRA was
widely shared on social media.
Some media reports, citing unidenti?ed sources, said the move had been
ordered by the National Directorate
for Security to thwart the use of the
encrypted messaging services by the
Taliban and other insurgent groups.
It was not immediately possible
to con?rm the reports. The acting
minister for telecommunications,
Shahzad Aryobee, posted a message
on Facebook saying the regulator had
been ordered to put a gradual block
on the services after complaints about
their functioning. ?The government is
committed to freedom of speech and
knows that it is a basic civil right for
our people,? he wrote. Reuters
05.11.17
WORLD | NEWS | 23
*
?JUST LIKE MAMMA USED TO MAKE?
Italy has produced a
number of male
celebrity chefs such
as Giorgio Locatelli,
left. But for women,
says Michelinstarred chef Cristina
Bowerman, ?people
have an issue with
worlds overlapping
? how can you be a
professional, wife
and mother??
Photographs by Pal
Hansen for the
Observer and G
DiLisciandro
Italy?s female chefs cry out for a Nigella or
a Nadiya to give them pro?le they deserve
Italy boasts more Michelin-star women chefs
than any other country, but there are still no
female celebrities in a male-led cookery world
by Angela Giu?rida
Orvieto
Just before lunchtime, Valentina Santanicchio is moving purposefully around
the kitchen of her restaurant, Capitano
Del Popolo, in Orvieto, a hilltop town in
the central Italian region of Umbria. In
the middle of conjuring up a new menu
for winter, she slams a wooden ladle on
to a slab of meat in frustration. ?I?m waiting for a food delivery, ingredients that
I need right now ? but it?s over an hour
late,? she tells the Observer.
As the lunch orders roll in, the delivery man eventually turns up, pushing a
trolley stacked high with supplies. Some
of Santanicchio?s anger comes from a
previous encounter with the same man.
?He would come into the kitchen and
greet my male colleague by saying, ?Good
morning, chef?! As if he was the boss. I
told him I am the boss. He never made
the same mistake again.?
Despite being one of the acknowledged gastronomic centres of the world
which has produced celebrity chefs such
as Giorgio Locatelli, Italy does not yet
have a Nadiya Hussain or a Nigella Lawson to inspire and promote the cause
of female cooking, which remains, in
the public domain, an uphill struggle.
Adapted versions of British shows such
as MasterChef, The Great British Bake Off
and Hell?s Kitchen have arrived in Italy,
and there have been two female winners
of MasterChef Italia since 2011, and two
of Bake Off since 2014.
But, said Santanicchio, ?these are just
games. Even though there are usually an
equal number of male and female participants, it doesn?t re?ect the real world.
Ninety per cent of people in the cooking
world in Italy are men, whether as chefs
or suppliers. Women have to work hard,
and appear strong enough to do the job,
to be credible.?
Italian women are revered as cooks at
home and they also play a huge role in
promoting Italian food ?just like mamma
used to make?. Around the world, idealised images of women cooking for their
brood feature in adverts selling everything from olive oil to pasta. But that?s
as far as their TV appearances go ? there
is no such thing as a female celebrity
chef in Italy, at least not one akin to their
UK counterparts. And while plenty of
women work in the kitchens of trattorias, for the most part they are invisible
across the higher echelons of professional cooking.
There are noteworthy successes. At
45, Italy boasts the highest number of
female chefs with Michelin stars in the
world, and about 4,000 women belong
to the Federation of Italian Chefs (FIC).
But the pro?le remains low.
?Women working in kitchens are busy
getting on with their job,? said Alessandra Baruzzi, a coordinator for Lady Chef,
a unit of FIC. ?Many have families and
so don?t have time to move around and
develop themselves ? whereas men do.
Unfortunately, that?s how it is.?
Cristina Bowerman, originally from
the southern region of Puglia, gained a
Michelin star for Glass Hostaria, one of
her two restaurants in Rome, in 2009.
The former lawyer used to live in the
US, where she switched careers in her
mid-30s, gaining a degree in culinary
art before moving home in the
he late
1990s.
Alongside two busy restaurants
urants
and a street food stand at Rome?s
ome?s
Testaccio market, Bowerman,
n, a
mother-of-one, now managess a
staff of 130. Such is her entreepreneurial flair, the 51-year-old is also the subject of a case
study that forms part of the
curriculum at Milan?s prestigious Bocconi University. Butt
she hasn?t always been taken seriously as
a business woman. ?People who I dealt
with in the past, who I wanted to buy
from or learn from, didn?t give me the
time of day,? she said. ?Now they are all
after me because I have big purchasing
power.? Bowerman explained that the
problems for female chefs in Italy arise
when they enter the professional realm.
?If you go to a trattoria or an average
restaurant in Italy, you will ?nd women
in the kitchen doing 200 covers like
nobody?s business. But that?s labour.
People in Italy have an issue with the
two worlds overlapping ? how can you
be a professional, a wife and a mother??
Santanicchio said that she was in an
abusive relationship during the years
in which she ran her first restaurant,
constantly being told by her former boyfriend that she was incapable of doing
the job. ?Day by day, he destroyed me. I
had to ?ght him but also others who told
me that, as a woman, I was not strong
enough for this type of work,? she
said.
However,
she managed to defy
How
her detractors,
recently advancde
ing herself
in a TV cooking show.
he
Among
her initial mentors
Am
was
w Iside De Cesare, who
rruns the Michelin-starred
La Parolina restaurant in
L
Trevinano, a nearby hamT
Italy does not yet have its
It
ow
own Nadiya Hussain.
let in Umbria. De Cesare studied to be
an engineer, but later decided to go to
cooking school, crossing paths with
prominent chefs including Heinz Beck, a
German who heads the three-Michelinstarred La Pergola restaurant in Rome,
where she trained for two years.
On top of working long hours, she has
the pressure of maintaining the standards that come with having a Michelin
?People in Italy have
an issue with worlds
overlapping ? How
can you be a chef, a
wife and a mother??
Cristina Bowerman, chef
accolade, something that involves constantly learning and upgrading her skills,
as well as looking after her two children.
She said the main drawback for
female chefs has been the cultural attitude towards women simply going out to
work, but she is hopeful that things are
gradually changing. ?I collaborate with
cooking schools and have noticed a high
presence of women,? she said.
?When I ?rst started out, it felt as if I
was the only woman. Slowly but surely
things are changing, and now I feel part
of the generation that helped to open up
the path.?
Lebanon PM quits, putting the blame on Iranian in?uence and assassination fears
Surprise move comes as
Saudis and US step up
challenge to Tehran
by Martin Chulov
Beirut
Saad Hariri unexpectedly quit as
Lebanese prime minister yesterday, citing Iranian in?uence across the region,
and claiming that he feared the same
fate as his assassinated father, Ra?k
Hariri, if he remained as leader.
In a speech delivered in Riyadh,
Hariri blindsided his government,
bringing a dramatic end to an 11-month
administration that largely failed to
impose authority on a parliament split
along regional lines, or on an economy
weighed down by debt and corruption.
The timing and place of the
announcement suggested more was
at stake than the immediate future of
Lebanon. Saudi Arabia ? a patron of
Hariri ? has in recent weeks been rallying support to challenge its arch-rival
Iran, which it believes is months away
from securing unprecedented in?uence throughout the region. It also
follows sharpened anti-Iran rhetoric
from Washington, and the release last
week of documents seized from Osama
bin Laden?s hideout in 2011, which
appear to suggest that his organisation
received support from Iranian officials.
Hariri said the Islamic republic ?has
a desire to destroy the Arab world and
has boasted of its control of the decisions in all the Arab capitals. Hezbollah
[a Shia militant group] imposed a reality in Lebanon through force of arms.?
Before Hariri?s resignation, several
Obama administration officials had
warned that coordinated messages in
Washington and Riyadh were building a case for military confrontation
with Iran. The announcement will
increase fears of another clash between
Hezbollah and Israel, which fought a
devastating war in 2006.
The CIA chief, Mike Pompeo, has
been one of the Trump administration?s most hawkish ?gures on Iran,
and declassifying the documents was
seen as a step towards winding back
the nuclear deal. Pompeo and Donald
Trump?s national security advisers
Saad Hariri, who
announced his
resignation in
Riyadh, had been
Lebanon?s PM
since late 2016.
have warned that Iran has made significant gains in the ?ght against Islamic
State, and through its support for the
Syrian leader, Bashar al-Assad.
Iranian-backed forces took the Iraqi
town of Qaim from Isis yesterday after
a series of victories along the border.
Iraqi paramilitary commanders and
regional intelligence chiefs say Iranian
proxies are now perhaps two months
away from securing a land corridor
across Iraq and Syria, which will eventually reach the Mediterranean.
Hezbollah has played a prominent
role in securing Assad in Syria and
clearing the borders of Lebanon ?
ostensibly from an extremist threat.
The net effect has been a consolidation
of Iran?s in?uence along the length
of the corridor, and an increase in its
role in political and military affairs in
Baghdad, Damascus and Beirut.
Saudi officials, led by Crown Prince
Mohammed bin Salman, and Hariri
met repeatedly last week before the
Lebanese leader?s surprise announcement in Riyadh, where he spent much
of his time between leaving Lebanon in
2011 and returning to form a government last year.
Hariri returned to Lebanon to form
a government after falling out with his
hosts in Riyadh, who had demanded
he do more to curb Hezbollah. He had
also been hit heavily by the downturn
in the Saudi construction sector, with
a company he chaired, Saudi Oger,
unable to pay its debts to the kingdom.
During his brief second reign as
prime minister, there was an increase
in Hezbollah?s dominance of the
Lebanese body politic. Saudi officials
and Hariri claim the group effectively
controls most instruments of state.
Additional reporting: Nadia al-Faour
* 05.11.17
In Focus
THE RUSSIAN CONNECTION: A THREE-PAGE SPECIAL
KEY CHARACTERS
JOSEPH
MIFSUD
ALOK
SHARMA
BORIS
JOHNSON
?London professor?
mentioned in FBI
indictment: met
Sharma and went to
?dine with Johnson?.
MP and former
Foreign O?ce
minister: con?rmed
to have met Mifsud
several times.
Mifsud and the
foreign secretary
both attended a
fundraising dinner
two weeks ago.
The ministers, the professor and the
The indictment against a former Trump aide revealed last
week shocked the US. It also shed new light on a
complex web of links between Russia, Brexit and
the Foreign O?ce. Carole Cadwalladr reports
THE BRITISH LINK
O
n ?or about? 25 April
2016, a member of Donald
Trump?s campaign team
emailed his line manager
with good news. His
efforts to make contact
with the highest levels of power in
Moscow had borne fruit: ?The Russian
government has an open invitation by
Putin for Mr Trump to meet him when
he is ready.?
This was George Papadopoulos, a
30-year-old foreign policy adviser for
the Trump campaign who was arrested
by the FBI in July, it was revealed last
week, after lying about a series of meetings with a man the FBI described as ?a
professor based in London?.
The next sentence in his email
added a line of explanation: ?The
advantage of being in London is that
these governments tend to speak a bit
more openly in ?neutral cities?.?
The Papadopoulos indictment is a
riveting read ? a sober, tautly worded
document whose contents may have
exploded across the news cycle like
a dirty bomb, but which sticks to the
facts. In doing so, it could provide not
just evidence of collusion between the
Trump campaign and the Putin regime,
but also the ?rst cold, hard evidence of
Britain?s central role.
This is a political scandal in which
the stakes keep rising. Evidence of
Russian in?uence keeps mounting.
And in Britain, hard questions are only
just starting to be asked despite the
dramatic developments in the US. Last
week also saw two US Senate committees hauling Facebook, Google and
Twitter before them. Russian-sourced
US election ads they had run had been
paid for in roubles, a senator pointed
out. Why didn?t Facebook spot that?
But on Brexit, Facebook has said
nothing. Not a word. No ads have been
scrutinised. Nothing ? even though Ben
Nimmo of the Atlantic Council thinktank, asked to testify before the senate
intelligence committee last week, says
evidence of Russian interference online
is now ?incontrovertible?. He says: ?It
is frankly implausible to think that we
weren?t targeted too.?
Last weekend, the Observer asked
why Nigel Farage has not been questioned about his connections to the
Trump-Russia investigation, particularly regarding his relationship to
Julian Assange, whose WikiLeaks website published thousands of internal
Democratic party emails in the run-up
to the US election. But last week?s revelations introduce a whole new cast of
characters. And at the centre of it all is
London ? this ?neutral city? ? playing
the same strategic role that Vienna did
during the cold war.
?The entire city is a nest of spies,?
a British intelligence source told the
Observer this year. ?There?s more espionage activity here now than there was
even at the height of the cold war.?
On 25 April 2016, the world had no
clue about Papadopoulos, about Trump
and Russia, or about the man quickly
identi?ed as the ?London professor? ? a
57-year-old Maltese academic, Joseph
Mifsud. Reached by journalists, Mifsud
con?rmed that the US indictment
refers to him but denied any knowledge
of its claims about links to the Kremlin,
or of knowing about ?dirt on Hillary? in
?thousands of emails?.
But what the document does not
spell out ? and what the Observer has
learned ? is that both Mifsud and Papadopoulos also had links into the heart
of the British government.
We publish evidence today of several
con?rmed meetings between Mifsud
and Alok Sharma, the MP for Reading
West and a Foreign Office minister until
June this year. It was this relationship
between Mifsud and Sharma that put
the ?London professor? directly into
the orbit of the foreign secretary, Boris
Johnson, two weeks ago ? at a fundraising dinner attended by both Johnson
and Mifsud, with Mifsud telling a
colleague he was returning to London
from Rome to ?have dinner with Boris
Johnson ? re Brexit?.
The Foreign Office has con?rmed
that a third minister, Tobias Ellwood,
met Papadopoulos at the UN general
assembly in September 2016. Ellwood ignored multiple attempts by
the Observer to contact him and has
refused to comment on how the contact
was made or what was discussed.
Three Foreign Office ministers
approached in three different ways.
Yet when asked last week if there was
any evidence of Russian interference in
British politics, Johnson said: ?I haven?t
seen a sausage.?
Johnson cannot have been looking
very hard. He is far from the ?rst senior
politician to be targeted ? a group that
includes some of his closest colleagues
in the Leave campaign. Because what
the Observer and Guardian?s investigation into foreign in?uence in the
EU referendum is starting to reveal
is that the tentacles of US in?uence
and money, and Russian in?uence and
money, reach much deeper and further
into the British political establishment
than we have yet understood.
In Britain, on 25 April 2016, the news
was dominated by the forthcoming
vote. ?EU referendum: Boris Johnson
claims ?elites want to remain in Europe
to keep hold of power?? said the headline in the Independent. The referendum was less than two months away
and Johnson was the ?gurehead of the
official Vote Leave campaign.
The surprise announcement last
week from the Electoral Commission
of an inquiry into ?the true source
of donations? to Leave campaigners is focused on Arron Banks ? the
main燿onor behind Farage?s fringe
Leave.EU campaign. But Johnson was
at the head of the ?official? campaign ?
the commission designated Vote Leave
as the government-approved campaign,
an honour that meant it got to spend
�, including �0,000 of taxpayers?
money. And although he was still mayor
of London, Johnson was Vote Leave?s
show pony ? the charismatic ?gurehead
who led from the front.
He was not the legal head of the
campaign. That was Matthew Elliott,
39, a political strategist who had registered Vote Leave Ltd at Companies
House and ?led the legal documents
with the commission. In 2004, Elliott
had founded the TaxPayers? Alliance,
a rightwing pressure group advocating
low taxes and minimal government,
and he had worked his way up the
political ladder to win one of the most
coveted and responsible jobs of 2016:
chief executive of Vote Leave.
If Johnson wanted to understand
how the Russian government had
deliberately targeted British political
?gures and spent years cultivating relationships with key individuals, he could
have looked to the man responsible for
leading his own campaign.
In 2012 ? or possibly earlier ? Matthew Elliott was targeted by a man
the Home Office now believes was a
Russian spy. Sergey Nalobin was the
?rst secretary in the Russian embassy?s
political section in London when Elliott
met him ? a man who, according to a
Daily Telegraph report, ?was tasked
05.11.17
| 25
*
BRINGING POIROT
BACK TO LIFE ?
Writer Sophie Hannah on
Agatha Christie?s brilliant
Belgian detective 27
MATTHEW
ELLIOTT
GEORGE
PAPADOPOULOS
SERGEY
NALOBIN
Head of Vote Lea
Leave,
ave,
former member o
of
Conservative Friends
Friends
of Russia. Target
ed
Targeted
by Nalobin.
Trump campaign
adviser indicted
by FBI; lied about
his relationship
to Mifsud.
Central ?gure in
Conservative Friends
of Russia. Expelled
from UK on suspicion
of espionage in 2015.
spy: how Russia pulls strings in UK
with building relations with MPs [and]
a regular ?xture on the Westminster
drinks circuit and at political party
conferences?.
Nalobin was also a man who, in
August 2015, had his permission to
stay in Britain suddenly revoked. The
Home Office refused to renew the visas
of four Russian diplomats, normally
a rubber-stamping exercise, Nalobin
among them. The timing was not a
coincidence: a week earlier, the inquiry
into the death of Alexander Litvinenko
concluded he was ?probably murdered
on the personal orders of Putin?.
Nalobin had long been a person of
interest. In 2012, he was the key ?gure
at the heart of an organisation called
Conservative Friends of Russia, a highpro?le new group that threw a highpro?le launch in the Russian ambassador?s garden ? the same ambassador,
Alexander Yakovenko, who was named
last week in the FBI documents ? and
that attracted the endorsement of
senior politicians including, initially,
Malcolm Rifkind, until he resigned.
Rifkind was then chair of the Commons
intelligence and security committee.
But the Conservative Friends of
Russia was not what it seemed, and nor
was Nalobin. A series of reports by the
Guardian?s Luke Harding and others
revealed that Nalobin was intimately
connected to the FSB, and that the
Conservative Friends of Russia was a
Moscow in?uence operation.
Sergei Cristo, a Russian-born
?nancier and long-time Conservative
activist who helped expose the organisation, told the Observer last week how
he was targeted ?rst by Nalobin but
quickly became aware that there was
something very wrong. ?He was trying
very hard to ?nd an entry route into
the Conservative party, and initially he
thought that would be me. I met with
him several times and he told me how
he could help with fundraising. He said:
?We have companies. We have Russian
companies here in London willing to
donate to the party.? I knew this was
illegal, of course. I went away thinking,
?I wish I was wired.??
This, he said, was about six months
before the group?s launch.
Cristo reveals an even more extraordinary detail ? a detail that he ?rst told
to a journalist in 2013 so which has not
been in?ected by more recent events:
?The most pressing question Nalobin
asked was whether or not there really
?London is a nest of
spies. There?s more
espionage activity
now than at the
height of the cold war?
British intelligence source
was a personal rivalry between David
Cameron and Boris Johnson.?
At the time, Cristo thought, ?it was
completely trivial?. ?It was all chatty,
chatty, chatty. It was only question he
pressed me on. ?Do you think it?s personal?? he kept on asking.
?I think he was trying to work out if
it was a deep-seated alpha-male-type
thing. I do wonder now if they were
looking to exploit that antipathy even
way back then. It?s very interesting,
given the crucial role that Boris played
in Brexit.?
Matthew Elliott has never made
his association with the Conservative
Friends of Russia public. In 2012, he
was not publicly known. Since the
referendum, he has launched a new
organisation, Brexit Central, and the
Times reported last week that he was
being lined up for a senior role at the
head of the party ? most likely vicechairman, as a reassuring ?signal of
intent on Brexit? for the hardliners.
But photographs from 2012 reveal
that he was a founding member of
the group and later that year went
on a 10-day trip to Moscow with all
expenses paid by the Russian government. No names were ever released but
on 11 September, Elliott tweeted: ?New
photos on my Facebook page from my
recent trip to Moscow, here?s a teaser!
Back to the grind ??
Most extraordinary of all, when he
announced his engagement on Twitter
on 10 January 2014, the ?rst person to
congratulate him was Sergey Nalobin.
?@matthew_elliott @SarahBSmithVA
congratulations, guys! All the best in
the long-long journey.? Sarah Smith ?
now Elliott?s wife ? responded warmly:
?thank you!! I?m excited to have a great
partner next to me :)?
Just over 18 months later, Nalobin
was ?expelled? from Britain. And yesterday, Elliott declined to answer any
questions from the Observer about his
relationship with Nalobin or Conservative Friends of Russia. He declined also
to explain the nature of the political
work he claims to have done in Ukraine
in some official biographies.
Did Johnson know of Elliott?s
connections to a Russian operative?
Probably ? because he also knew
Nalobin. They are photographed at
Russian embassy events together. Did
the British intelligence services? An
intelligence source told the Observer
of ?enormous sensitivity? around any
investigation of politicians. And Elliott
was not an MP, but in 2016 he did hold
an official position ? designated by an
official body, the Electoral Commission.
Was his relationship to Nalobin ?agged
by the security services? If so, by whom,
to who? If not, why not?
Will the FBI?s revelations last week
?nally shine some light on Russia?s relationship with Britain? And if so, what
else will we ?nd out? Because it is clear
that the relationships and meetings the
Observer has uncovered between Papadopoulos, Mifsud and British ministers
are likely to be the tip of the iceberg.
Which other ministers were
contacted? Who else met them? Are
the Conservatives, and indeed other
parties, ready to start examining their
relationships with Russian individuals and companies, going back years?
And who is going to take a stand and
force Facebook, Google and Twitter to
face parliament and start answering
questions?
Bill Browder, an Anglo-American
businessman who is leading a global
campaign for a ?Magnitsky Act? ?
aimed at punishing Russia for the
murder of his lawyer, Sergei Magnitsky, in Moscow in 2009 ? said he was
unsurprised by Britain?s role.
?London is one of the main outposts
for Russian ?nancial and political
in?uence programmes in the west. It?s
?oating on a tide of dirty money. All
the oligarchs have bases there. They
all have homes. All the professional
service ?rms are in London ? lawyers,
investigations agencies ? all running
private in?uence ops on behalf of the
oligarchs who are working on behalf
of Putin. There?s a huge reluctance in
Britain to strangle the golden goose.
Because a lot of people very close the
centre of power are ?nancially bene?ting.?
The question is who? And how?
Speaking to the Observer about the
inquiry into the sources of funds for his
Leave.EU campaign, Banks complained
about the focus on him. ?There should
be an inquiry into all the campaigns,
not just us.? And later: ?What about
Vote Leave??
What about Vote Leave? And what
about the new man in the Russian
embassy? Some of the suspicion that has
encircled Banks has been a result of his
Russian wife, Katya, his vocal support
of Putin, and the fact that in his memoir,
The Bad Boys of Brexit, he is quite open
about his Russian contacts, describing
how he met a man called ?Oleg? in Doncaster at the Ukip conference.
?He was introduced to us as the ?rst
secretary at the embassy ? in other
words, the KGB?s man in London.?
?Oleg? then introduced him to a ?gure
now of signi?cant interest to the FBI
? Alexander Yakovenko, the Russian
ambassador to London.
Ukip?s power is all but spent in
Britain. It is the Conservatives who
now hold the keys to the kingdom. And
Sergei Cristo tells me he met another
senior Russian diplomat at this year?s
Conservative party conference.
Cristo is not a man out to discredit
the Conservatives. He is a committed
supporter of the party. But he?s also a
close friend of Marina Litvinenko, the
widow of the man murdered on Putin?s
orders. The problem, he says, is that
so many MPs and party officials are
?hopelessly naive and uneducated? on
the subject of Russia.
The rest of us too, perhaps?
26 | IN FOCUS
*
The Russian connection
05.11.17
PAUL
MANAFORT
Donald Trump?s
former election
campaign chief denied
12 charges in court
last week. Getty
Is this the man who could link the
Kremlin to Trump?s White House?
The charges against Paul Manafort raised the
stakes in the Mueller investigation.
This is just the start of a long haul,
reports David Smith in Washington
THE US LINK
F
or a moment in court, the
inscrutable mask slipped. Paul
Manafort glanced at his lawyer
and smirked, like a TV ma?a
boss with reason to be con?dent. It was the look of a man
who, after decades of work as a lobbyist
for murderous dictators in Africa and
Asia, was not about to be rattled by the
prospect of house arrest.
But less than a mile away, another
man displayed rather less equanimity. Donald Trump woke before dawn
on Monday and, instead of heading to
the Oval Office, lingered in the White
House residence. ?Trump clicked on
the television and spent the morning
playing fuming media critic, legal analyst and crisis communications strategist, according to several people close
to him,? the Washington Post reported.
Until that moment the justice
department?s investigation into his
election campaign?s alleged collusion
with Russia had seemed theoretical, dismissible by Trump as a ?hoax?
and ?witch hunt?. But here was the
concrete of the courthouse, with the
accused being escorted in by marshals,
standing before a robed judge, swearing on oath and pleading for their
liberty. Suddenly, Trump understood
that the ?ve-month investigation by
special counsel Robert Mueller ? probing whether the president had been
compromised by a foreign power ? had
entered a new and dangerous phase.
?Overall, this week what we learned
is that Bob Mueller knows a lot more
about what happened during the presidential campaign than anyone on the
outside thought he did,? said Matthew
Miller, a partner at strategic advisory
?rm Vianovo and former director of
public affairs at the justice department.
?We have an incomplete picture and
we don?t know what the ?nal picture
might look like.?
Manafort, who served ?ve months
as Trump?s campaign chairman, and
his business associate Rick Gates, who
also played a role in the campaign,
were indicted on 12 counts, including
conspiracy against the US, conspiracy
to launder money, acting as an unregistered foreign agent, making false statements, and failing to report foreign
bank and ?nancial accounts.
There was a silver lining for the
president: the indictment did not refer
to the Trump campaign or co-ordination with Russia. But it did allege a
criminal conspiracy was continuing
into February this year, after Trump
had taken office, and that the pair
funnelled payments through foreign
companies and bank accounts as part
of their work for Ukraine?s pro-Russia
former president, Viktor Yanukovych.
Frank Figliuzzi, former assistant
director for counterintelligence at the
FBI, told the MSNBC
NBC channel: ?If you
look at this through
gh a counterintelligence lens, you see
ee the ?ngerprints of the Russian
an government ... He [Manafort]
fort] got a
primer on how thee Russians can
in?uence a campaign
ign when he
andirepresented the candidate [Yanukovych]] and
he saw what Russia
ia
nce
could do to in?uence
a campaign. And he
liked it.?
re
Appearing before
a packed public
gallery, Manafort
d
and Gates pleaded
not guilty and
were released
on multimilliondollar bonds, but
con?ned to their
homes. Lawyers
ho
for Manafort ? who
was also among
the participants at a 2016 meeting at
Trump Tower with a Kremlin-linked
lawyer after Donald Trump Jr was
promised ?dirt? on Hillary Clinton
? defended him in a court ?ling on
Thursday as a ?successful, international political consultant?, who was
necessarily involved in foreign ?nancial transactions. US district judge Amy
Berman Jackson has set a possible date
of 7 May for the trial.
Mueller, evidently, is carrying his
investigation out in stages, as if taking
on an organised crime family. He may
delve into Trump?s personal ?nances,
too. John Sipher, a national security
analyst and former member of the
CIA?s National Clandestine Service,
said: ?The fact the Mueller investigation would be willing to bring charges
on everything from money-laundering
to tax evasion against Manafort is a big
deal and suggests to me there?s a lot
more there.?
Trump said on Twitter that the
alleged crimes were ?years ago?, and
insisted there was ?NO COLLUSION?
between his associates and Russia.
He characteristically sought to shift
attention to his Democratic opponent,
tweeting: ?Why aren?t Crooked Hillary
& the Dems the focus??????
get a very favourable deal? ? I think
[Papadopoulos] probably won?t go to
jail ? ?If you lie and obstruct, I?m going
to throw the book at you and you?re
looking at years in jail.?
Alarmingly for the White House,
Papadopoulos is now cooperating with
Mueller?s investigators and, some have
speculated, may have been wearing a
wire. The White House sought to distance itself from him. Trump tweeted:
?Few people knew the young, low-level
volunteer named George, who has
already proven to be a liar.?
But a photograph posted on
Trump?s Instagram account shows
Papadopoulos sitting at a table with
him, as well as Jeff Sessions, now the
attorney general, and other foreign
policy advisers in March last year.
According to the court documents,
Papadopoulos told the meeting that
?Manafort got a
primer ? He saw what
Russia could do to
in?uence a campaign.
And he liked it?
Frank Figliuzzi, ex-FBI director
The Manafort story broke just before
8am. In normal circumstances, charges
against the former campaign chairman of a sitting president
would be
p
devastating eno
enough. But then, around
10.30am, came
cam a bolt from the blue.
An unsealed indictment revealed
that former T
Trump campaign
adviser George
Geor Papadopoulos
had pleaded
pleade guilty to an offence:
lying to FBI agents about
contacts with people
con
who claimed to have
wh
ti to Russian officials
ties
aand who were offering
??dirt? on Clinton.
The special counsel?s
one-two punch
s
was deliberate, Miller
w
believes. ?He did the
two together to send
a very clear message to everyone in
the Trump orbit. ?If
you cooperate, you?ll
Trump hit back on Twitter
Tr
after the Manafort charges.
aft
?he had connections that could help
arrange a meeting between then-candidate Trump and President Putin?.
A New York Times report quoted
a participant as saying that Sessions
?shut George down?, ruled there
should be no meeting with Putin, and
ordered those present ?not to speak
about this again?. CNN also said Carter
Page, another former Trump campaign
adviser, informed the House intelligence committee on Thursday that he
had told Sessions of a forthcoming July
2016 trip to Russia.
Yet in testimony to the Senate judiciary committee in June, the attorney
general had denied knowing anything
about contacts between the campaign
and Russians. Now Senate Democrats
are calling for him to testify again.
Trump ? who last week claimed to
have ?one of the great memories of
all time? ? was vague on the details of
the Papadopoulos meeting. As he set
off for a 13-day tour of Asia on Friday,
he told reporters: ?I don?t remember
much about that meeting. It was a very
unimportant meeting. It took place a
long time ago ? All I can tell you is this:
there was no collusion. There was no
nothing. It?s a disgrace, frankly, that
they continue.?
As is his wont, Trump argued that
the justice department should look
into Clinton and her campaign. But as
the ?rst anniversary of his victory over
Clinton approaches, it is clear that the
Russia affair will hover over most, if
not all, of his presidency. Last week,
appearing before three congressional
committees, executives from Facebook,
Twitter and Google admitted that their
platforms had been abused by Russia to
in?ame existing divisions over issues
such as immigration and gun control.
Investigators released a batch of
Facebook and Twitter ads that demonstrated America?s social media companies had been weaponised against
it. One promoted an event to ?Support
Hillary. Save American Muslims!? with
a picture of a woman in a hijab beside
Clinton. Another for a group called
?Stop A.I.? urged viewers to ?like and
share if you want burqa banned in
America,? implying that the garment
could be hiding a terrorist.
Democrats in particular sought to
clip the wings of the tech companies.
Senator Al Franken demanded: ?How
did Facebook ? somehow not make the
connection that electoral ads paid for
in roubles were coming from Russia??
However, that was not conclusive
proof that Moscow had conspired on
behalf of Trump alone. Facebook?s
general counsel, Colin Stretch, testi?ed
that Russian activity had continued
after the election ?fomenting discord
about the validity? of Trump?s victory. Some commentators have also
suggested that the developments in
the Mueller investigation were not as
brutal for Trump as they ?rst appeared.
What is certain, however, is that
these are merely the ?rst pieces in a
sprawling puzzle.
Is the Russia investigation closer to
bringing down Trump than it was a
week ago? Sipher notes that his demise
has been widely predicted before, yet
somehow he manages to survive ? until
the day he doesn?t.
?It?s like hitting a boulder with a
hammer 1,000 times and it doesn?t
break. Then you hit it the 1,001st time
and it smashes to pieces. It?s hard to
predict.?
05.11.17
FIRST PERSON | 27
*
Poirot is a show-o?, but he?s brilliant.
That?s why I brought him back to life
As Murder on the
Orient Express brings
vintage Agatha
Christie back to our
cinemas, novelist
Sophie Hannah tells
how she resurrected
the brilliant Belgian
n
detective on
the page
W
hen I heard that
Kenneth Branagh
was to star as Hercule Poirot in a new
Hollywood ?lm of
Murder on the Orient
Express, I was quietly pleased. Branagh
is brilliant and I had a sense that he
would be a great Poirot. There have
already been several ? David Suchet,
Peter Ustinov and Albert Finney were
excellent in their different ways ? and I
looked forward to seeing Branagh.
Well, on Thursday night I did, at the
Royal Albert Hall, for the movie?s world
premiere. It was an impressive and lavish event attended by thousands. The
smartest character, of course, was the
immaculately dressed Belgian genius,
Hercule Poirot. I soon saw that I?d been
right to trust Branagh. His portrayal of
Agatha Christie?s most loved character is superb. It isn?t so much that his
moustache is luxurious and resplendent (though it is both); it is simply that
he feels like a real, proper Poirot. That,
for me, was the most important thing.
What counts as a real, proper Poirot
and what doesn?t is a question I?ve
spent a lot of time thinking about since
I was commissioned in 2013 to write a
continuation novel starring the greatest
?ctional detective. I was honoured to
be asked by Christie?s grandson and
great-grandson, Mathew and James
Prichard, to continue the character in
new mystery novels.
Christie is my favourite crime writer.
She?s the bestselling novelist in history,
with sales exceeding 2 billion, and only
the Bible and Shakespeare have sold
better. She is also Britain?s most successful female playwright, a fact rarely
mentioned despite the 65-year run (and
counting) of The Mousetrap.
My ?rst Poirot novel, The Monogram
Murders, in 2014 was followed by
Closed Casket in 2016. I?m working on
a third, which will be published next
year, and there will be a fourth in 2020.
Before I agreed to write any, however, I
had to ask myself one crucial question:
could I, notable for my comprehensive
and eternal inability to be, or ever to
become, Agatha Christie, write real,
proper Poirot? If I couldn?t, it would
surely be sensible to write no Poirot.
There?s a name for novels like my
Poirots and others of their kind: con-
THE POIROT FILE
Poirot appeared in 33 novels, one
play and more than 50 short stories
between 1920 and 1975.
He has been portrayed by 21 actors
including Kenneth Branagh, Albert
Finney, Ian Holm, John Mo?att, Alfred
Molina, Tony Randall, Austin Trevor,
Peter Ustinov, Orson Welles. Most
famously, David Suchet played the role
for 25 years.
The ITV series Agatha Christie?s Poirot
features 1,124 actors, including Peter
Capaldi and Damian Lewis.
Agatha Christie?s books sell between 2
and 4 million copies each year globally.
In total, she wrote 80 murder mysteries.
tinuation novels. Often, at my events,
people tentatively ask me things like:
?So, are you Agatha Christie now??.
They don?t know the correct term for
what I?m doing. No, I?m not Christie,
and so I decided very early on that
I would not in any way try to copy
her writing. No writer can or should
ever爐ry to mimic the prose style of
another, unless they are writing a
parody or a pastiche.
I soon realised that if I was to write
real, proper Poirot, then I needed
to write about Christie?s Poirot, not
to change or add to him in order to
?make him my own?. Absolutely not, I
thought. He is not my own. He belongs
to Christie and to her billions of fans.
My task ? should I choose to accept
it, which I soon did, because concocting a baffling mystery for the brilliant
Belgian sleuth to solve was the most
exciting creative challenge I had ever
faced ? was to bring the Poirot we all
know and love a new case that would
frustrate and puzzle him right up
until he worked out the solution. I
decided that the best approach would
be to create a new sidekick for Poirot,
who would be his co-star as well as
the narrator of my stories. So I created Inspector Edward Catchpool
of Scotland Yard, who narrates The
Monogram Murders, Closed Casket and
the one I?m writing now (title embargoed until further notice!). In many
of Christie?s Poirot novels, Captain
Hastings is the sidekick and the teller of
the story, but, much as I love Hastings,
I knew I didn?t want to include him in
my Poirot mysteries.
It felt important to me to use only
Poirot from Christie?s cast list, although
George the valet makes a brief appearance in the one I?m writing now. To use
Hastings would have made me feel that
I was writing faux-Christie, rather than
my own original Poirot novels. A new
sidekick and narrator felt like a sensible
way of mirroring the situation I was in,
as a new person writing about a wellknown person. Catchpool, like me, is
a fresh voice writing about the legend
that is Hercule Poirot.
There were some things about
Agatha Christie?s writing that I did
want to emulate: not the prose style
itself, but her blueprint for what the
ideal crime novel should be and do.
She often started with an outlandish, almost impossible-seeming plot
premise that cranked up the suspense
level to maximum right from the start;
The film stars Kenneth Branagh as Poirot,
top, with Olivia Colman, above left, and Judi
Dench. Left: Agatha Christie, the queen of
crime, at home. Alamy, Popperfoto
her stories have the strongest bone
structure of any I?ve ever read, with the
brilliantly elegant story-shape sticking
out pleasingly at every possible point;
she made the clues extremely obvious,
to play fair with the reader, but always
safe in the knowledge that her imagination was so ambitious and unpredictable that nobody would ever guess the
solution.
All of these key elements of Christie?s
brilliance I have tried to emulate, and
I have been trying to do so since I
wrote my ?rst crime novel, Little Face
in 2004. I have always been a crime
writer in the Christie mould, though
the surface texture of each contemporary thriller is very different from that
of a Christie novel. Being asked to write
The Monogram Murders felt like being
invited to come out of a closet, in a way.
Other key decisions had to be made:
when should the book be set? Not after
the action of Curtain (1975) ? Poirot is
dead and can?t come back to life. It was
suggested that I should write a prequel,
set, perhaps, in 1910, before the action
of The Mysterious Affair at Styles. But
that felt wrong: it is the ?rst Poirot
novel and it must remain so. Luckily,
there were four years, in the heart of
the golden age, in which Christie didn?t
set any Poirot novels: 1928 to 1932.
Poirot was unaccounted for during that
period, so that?s the one I chose.
He b
belongs
l
to Christie
Ch i i
and her billions of
fans: my task was
to bring Poirot a
new case to frustrate
and puzzle him
ON OTHER PAGES
Simran Hans?s verdict on the ?lm
The New Review, page 24
And the choice to make the detective Poirot himself, rather than Miss
Marple, was not a foregone conclusion.
Mathew and James Prichard asked me
which of Christie?s characters I most
wanted to write about. I love Poirot
and Marple equally as a reader, but by
the time we were having this conversation, I?d already had an idea, which
became The Monogram Murders.
It felt to me like a case that would be
perfect for Poirot, who likes to demonstrate his cleverness in front of an audience and make a bit of a production out
of it, whereas Miss Marple?s brilliance
is less ostentatious. My idea for a clever
and twisty plot felt almost show-off-ish
so it felt perfect for Poirot ? and the
Christie estate agreed that this was the
best way forward. My friendship with
Mathew and James has been one of
the nicest things about working with
Poirot and the family ? they have both
been endlessly supportive and enthusiastic. They are a delight to work with,
and, so far, we haven?t disagreed about
anything.
Not everybody approves of continuation novels. I have had the odd sniffy
email since I started writing Poirot.
Why, I?ve been asked, did I need to pen
more Poirot novels when Christie has
already written so many, and when
I?m not her? I didn?t need to, I tell such
people. I was asked to and I found that I
really, really wanted to.
My Poirot novels are my love letters
to my favourite writer and inspiration,
the queen of crime. And, since 2014,
I?ve received hundreds of emails from
Christie and Poirot fans worldwide,
saying, ?Thank you for bringing him
back?. These are the words I wanted
to say after the movie premiere: Thank
you, Kenneth Branagh, for bringing
Poirot back.
28 | IN FOCUS
*
Society
05.11.17
THE MATCHMAKER AND THE MARRIAGES
SAFFIYA & ADAM
ADEEM YOUNIS FOUNDER
AHMED & CELINA
He set up SingleMuslim.com as a
student 17 years ago after being
pressed by his mother to find a wife.
How one daring Yorkshire dating
site transformed Muslim love lives
SingleMuslim.com hit the headlines last week as matchmaker
to two terror suspects ? although their relationship
p
took a dark turn on other platforms. Tim Adams
?nds that after 17 years and 50,000 weddings, the
groundbreaking site has opened up romantic horizons
ons
T
he business books tell you
to follow your heart. It is 17
years since Adeem Younis
took that advice and set up
SingleMuslim.com. He was
20 and a design student at
Wake?eld College in Yorkshire with a
passion for IT. Besides a desire to be his
own boss, there was a more urgentimperative.
?I would go home and there would
be a big photo of my ?rst cousin in
Pakistan on the mantelpiece,? he said.
?Mum would tell me this cousin was
great at making chapatis and all that.
The idea was we would get married.?
Younis?s grandfather had settled
in Yorkshire after he had fought for
the British army in the second world
war and his daughter had an arranged
marriage to Younis?s father, her ?rst
cousin. The assumption was that
Younis would do that, too.
When he suggested he wanted to
follow a different path, his mother, he
recalls, asked anxiously, ?you know, if
you are not going to marry your cousin,
who are you going to marry?? As a
respectful young Muslim man in want
of a wife, he realised he was not alone
in being asked that question. ?It was
at a time when a lot of forced arranged
marriages were happening and it was
causing a huge amount of tension and
turmoil,? he says. ?I believed we could
resolve a lot of these problems by
giving people more options.?
Younis was working part-time in a
pizza place at the bottom of Westgate,
where the traditional uphill Wake?eld
pub crawl begins of a Saturday night.
In exchange for a couple of extra
shifts he persuaded his boss to give
him office space above the restaurant
and he set up a rudimentary Muslim
marriage website with a friend.
Immediately after it went live they got
their ?rst registration. The business
started to grow slowly through word
of mouth, mostly through student
societies. During the marches against
the invasion of Iraq, Younis turned up
shouting, inevitably, ?Make love not
war? and giving out lea?ets about the
website to any Muslim he encountered.
In the years since, SingleMuslim.
com has grown to be the dominant
player in what has become a
competitive market. ?The demand is
just humungous,? says Malik Khan,
the company?s chief operating officer,
who believes it is driven by the fact
that in western cultures, dating often
takes place in pubs and clubs, limiting
places that observant Muslims can
meet a future partner. The UK site
boasts nearly a million UK active
users and the company is expanding
internationally. Because it is in effect a
marriage site rather than a dating site,
it also claims a high rate of success.
There have been 50,000 SingleMuslim.
com weddings, and counting.
Half a mile up the road from that
pizza restaurant, the company?s
headquarters is spread over three
?oors of a grand Victorian civic
building opposite Wake?eld town hall.
It has a staff of more than 30. ?When
people come here they expect it is
going to be three Muslim guys in hats,?
Khan says. On Friday afternoon half
the staff are out at prayers, the rest are
winding down to go to the pub.
The rich data that is one result of
the company?s website has enabled
Younis to establish other ventures.
Most notable is the humanitarian
charity Penny Appeal, which last
year raised nearly �m, mostly from
members of the marriage website,
and now operates in disaster relief
efforts, from Grenfell Tower to Haiti.
In partnership with the entrepreneur
and former Dragons? Den star James
Caan, Younis is about to launch a �
fund that will provide seed capital
for tech ventures. In July Younis, at
37, was named Yorkshire and North
East young director of the year by the
Institute of Directors, for his work at
Penny Appeal.
Unfortunately the most prominent
headlines featuring SingleMuslim.
com came last week during the trial of
a couple accused of plotting an Islamic
State-inspired attack with a homemade
bomb. The Old Bailey heard how
Munir Mohammed, a British citizen
of Sudanese origin, living in Derby,
allegedly enlisted the help of Rowaida
El-Hassan, a pharmacy graduate, for
her knowledge of chemicals needed to
make an explosive.
The pair, it was noted in court,
and in the papers, had ?rst met on
SingleMuslim.com. On the site, Munir
Mohammed had described himself
as looking for a wife and partner with
whom to start a family. El-Hassan
referred to having a master?s degree in
pharmacy in her pro?le, and said: ?I
am looking for a simple, very simple,
honest and straightforward man who
fears Allah before anything else.?
Having made their connection on
the website, between 2015 and 2016
the couple were in regular contact on
WhatsApp, jurors heard.
Khan and Younis have been aware
that the case was coming to court
for a while. When Mohammed and
El-Hassan were ?rst arrested the
police asked to see what record
of their relationship the company
held. ?Obviously,? Khan says, ?we
immediately printed off all of their
logins and messages. Their behaviour
was quite normal on the site. They
exchanged a few lovey-dovey messages
and then they swapped WhatsApp
addresses and that was that.?
The case is, of course, Younis says,
?the last thing we need or want?. They
have, they believe, done all they can to
prevent any such radicalised liaisons.
?You can?t share videos or external
links,? Khan says. If a membership
request comes in from an unstable
country, Nigeria or Yemen, say, it is
automatically blocked for vetting.
SingleMuslim.com subscribers pay
� a month (or �0 for a year) and
05.11.17
*
Society
IN FOCUS | 29
A fair, decent society
demands a real living
wage for its workers
The campaign for decent pay has grown as
employers see the economic advantages
NISHA & YOUSAF
Yvonne
Roberts
NAS & ZAF
much of that money is invested, Khan
nsists, in making the platform a safe
space. ?You can?t even swear on our
site. We automate as much as we can,
but if there is anything at all doubtful a
human will always look at it upstairs.?
Any time there is a terrorist attack
n Europe the site will be bombarded
by what Khan calls ?drunken pro?les?,
hate-?lled messages targeted at users
on the site, as well as cyber-attacks.
Most are automatically ?ltered out; but
they respond by adding manpower to
the moderating of the site.
Do they imagine that the security
services will now be paying them
more燼ttention?
?We have no problem helping the
police with any requests,? Khan says.
?But it is only once in a blue moon they
are in touch ? in the past there have
been a few immigration issues we have
been asked to provide information
over. And then we share intelligence in
terms of spammers and scammers ??
When Younis originally set up his
The site and the mobile app now have
almost a million active users in Britain.
website, the problems came from
fundamentalists. ?Back in the day
we used to have death threats,? he
says. ?All from anonymous keyboard
warriors. They would be like ?it
is haram [forbidden] to display
photographs of women?. People would
have seen their sister on there.?
Younis was unfazed. Now, he says,
he doesn?t hear of anyone who is
against what they are doing, mainly
because, he believes, ?everyone knows
someone the site has helped?.
Not long after he founded the site,
a ?community auntie? called him
round to her house for a meeting. He
sat on her sofa and she ?blasted him?
about the website. Six months later,
Younis says, the same auntie invited
him back, this time he was offered
tea and biscuits: ??Younis, you?ve got
that machine, there is a brother in the
community perhaps you can help??
Sure enough,? he says, ?six months
later we had this guy married.?
You don?t have to spend very long
on SingleMuslim.com to realise it is
not Tinder. The options in creating
a pro?le on the site require users
to select their level of piety (Very
religious/Somewhat religious/Prefer
not to say) their sect (Shia/Sunni/Just
Muslim) and appearance preferences
(Hijab? Beard?).
?What we are not is this kind of
swipe right, one-night stand kind of
service,? Younis says. ?People call it
?halal dating? and that?s ?ne. Halal
means being wholesome and right in
your faith.?
About 10% of members join as a
family. In those cases, traditionally
the mums or the grannies use the
site to do the matchmaking, Khan
explains. What the company mostly
promotes, though, is the opportunity
to broaden that search as far as
possible. The case studies on the site
highlight couples who have crossed
national and racial barriers to marry.
?We are not SingleShia.com or
SinglePakistanimuslim.com,? Younis
suggests. There is an empowering
impulse in this ? and in the insistence
that photographs must be full face.
?Females who are fully covered don?t
get in our galleries,? Khan says. ?There
is no point in having an image where
you just see the eyes.?
In their boardroom, along with a
red telephone box (?we are a very
British company?) there is a wall of silk
?owers on which some of the happy
couples are framed. One photograph
that is not on that wall is Younis?s own
? though it could be. His business idea
did eventually provide the answer to
?Back in the day we got
death threats from
keyboard warriors.
People would see
their sister on there?
Adeem Younis, founder
the mother?s question ? ?If not your
cousin, then who are you going to
marry?? ? with which it began. One
morning in 2005 after a bit of trial
and error he arrived in the office to
announce. ?Guys I?ve met the one!?
His colleagues looked up from their
keyboards, in mock alarm. ?Right, boss.
Shall we close the website now??
Far from being the end of the
business his marriage, Younis argues,
has inspired what has followed.
?My wife?s a GP, she grew up in the
Midlands, different community.
Ordinarily we would never have got
together.? They now have four kids,
a daily reminder of the magic of his
algorithm. His plan is to have that
magic spread: ?Wake?eld and then
the world.? They have a growing
membership in the US and Canada, the
next push is into India and Pakistan.
?Remember a Muslim wedding
costs on average �,000,? Younis
says. ?Multiply that by 50,000 and
you see what effect we can have on
an爀conomy.?
Tia?s plea was simple and direct. If
her mother Sandra was paid the living wage, she wouldn?t have to work
around the clock to make ends meet,
Tia would be able to see her in the evenings; they could have a family life.
Tia Sanchez made her plea as she
stood alongside her mother, and her
grandmother Martha ? both cleaners
in Whitehall, both obliged to travel to
work at dawn each morning ? before
hundreds of members of Citizens UK,
a community organisation, and guest
speakers Gordon Brown, then prime
minister, and the leader of the opposition, David Cameron, both coming to
the end of a general election campaign.
Brown was visibly moved by Tia?s
testimony. And Cameron responded
positively. The call ? for an income
based on the amount an individual
needs to earn to cover the basic costs
of living ? was, he said, an idea whose
time had come. That was 2010. A
year later the ?rst living wage week
was held, given cross-party support,
and the Living Wage Foundation was
established to advise, encourage and
give accreditation to companies paying
the voluntary living wage, then set at
�30 in London, �20 outside the city,
compared to a national minimum wage
of �08 for over-18-year-olds.
By 2012, 432 companies had signed
up to pay the living wage, including a
pioneer, the giant auditor, KPMG, in
2006. The number had grown to more
than 1,000 by 2014, including local
authorities, unions and universities.
Last week Liverpool became the ?rst
Premier League club to commit to
paying all employees, including casuals
on match days, the real living wage,
costing the club around � extra a
year. (The Premier League has a staggering �6bn turnover, so the shame is
that the entire league isn?t doing what
is decent).
Tomorrow sees the launch of the
sixth living wage week with 3,600
companies signed up, including Ikea,
Oliver Bonas, Lidl and Lush, and a
third of FTSE 100 companies, paying
a real living wage of �45 an hour to
everyone over 18 outside London and
�75 in London.
The Observer has campaigned for
the living wage for ?ve years. The quiet
heroes of the movement are the chambermaids, cleaners, security guards,
carers, cooks and shop staff who have
told their stories, battling to stretch a
pitiful wage, often subjected to bullying and intimidation in the workplace,
rotten conditions, stress and exhaustion. That?s why the Real Living Wage
campaign has never been simply about
wage packets but always, also, about
the rules of engagement that ought to
prevail in a decent, fair society.
Robert Reich, the US labour secretary in the Bill Clinton administration,
writes in Saving Capitalism, For the
Many Not the Few: ?The vast majority of the nation?s citizens do have the
power to alter the rules of the market
to meet their needs. But to exercise
The Observer, November 2014 ? the
paper has been at the forefront of the
campaign for a living wage for five years.
that power, they must understand
what is happening and where their
interests lie, and join together.?
Joining together, investing in community organisation, reviving what it
means to be an active civic society, has
always been at the heart of Citizens
UK, and its commitment to a living
wage. Its roots lie in community organisations in London?s East End coming
together at the millennium because
they knew people were working in two,
and sometimes three, jobs, destroying their family life and still unable to
afford to pay for essentials ? sometimes
even including burying their dead.
Now the campaign is undergoing
a surge. Why? Partly because there is
increasing evidence that paying a real
living wage doesn?t just have an ethical
dimension, it also makes good business
sense (staff retained, morale better,
productivity improved, attractive to
consumers). In addition, the disaster
that is the British economy and the
highest rate of employment for more
than 40 years has created a mutuality
of experience: everybody knows somebody who is living frugally and working ?at out and it?s still not enough.
A series of new reports sketches
the vast landscape of in-work poverty.
Gordon Brown with Tia Sanchez after her
speech calling for a living wage in 2010.
A report by KPMG published today
says one in ?ve people are struggling to escape from low pay. Among
women, one in four earn less than the
real living wage. That means skipping
meals, living in debt, using payday
loans, eaten up by worry. In London,
according to new analysis by the charity foundation Trust for London and
the thinktank New Policy Institute,
one in ?ve Londoners are low-paid. In
London and England, the bottom 20%
of employees saw wage growth of 7%
and� respectively in 2017 compared
with 2015. But like Oliver Twist, the
demand to the chancellor still has to
be: ?I want some more.?
In 2016 George Osborne, then the
chancellor, brie?y left campaigners
?ghting for a decent income dazed
and confused when he established the
national living wage ? now at �50, an
increase of 45p an hour on the minimum wage for employees aged 25 and
over. While it has improved the lot of
some of the lowest paid, its limitations
? unlike the real living wage ? have
become obvious.
The national living wage is calculated at 55% of the median wage; it is
compulsory on employers, it offers no
London weighting, it excludes younger
earners ? and it is not enough. Last
year the Living Wage Commission
reported that spiralling rents and
snail-like wage growth mean that the
national living wage is ?failing to provide basic needs for the lowest paid?.
By contrast, the real living wage
is calculated on the cost of living; it
does have London weighting and,
crucially, for employers it is voluntary.
?Businesses like to say they are paying
the real living wage because it?s the
right thing to do,? says Neil Jamieson,
head of Citizens UK, the driving force
behind the living wage campaign.
?Six years from now, I hope they are
paying it because it?s what everybody
is doing.?
*
30 | THE OBSERVER PROFILE
05.11.17
Hugh Grant
Reluctant he may
be ? but talented
he certainly is
Almost since he started acting, he has
sought other purposes, including as a press
abuse campaigner. But a brilliant turn in the
new Paddington Bear ?lm is set to herald an
acting renaissance. By Ryan Gilbey
T
here is no shortage of joyous
moments during Paddington
2, the sequel to the 2014
surprise hit, and many of
them revolve around a lipsmacking performance by
Hugh Grant. He plays the villainous
Phoenix Buchanan, a washed-up,
narcissistic actor reduced to making
dog food commercials, who spots a
chance to ?nance his one-man show
by stealing an antique book. The role
gives the 57-year-old Grant a chance
to don a variety of absurd disguises
(among them a homeless man, a nun
and a bishop) in his nefarious pursuit
of riches. Grant appears to be enjoying himself enormously, which has not
always been the case in recent times, on
screen or off.
The actor is showing every sign
of undergoing a renaissance. Last
year, he gave one of his most nuanced
performances, radiating warmth as
the devoted husband of the world?s
worst singer (played by Meryl Streep)
in Florence Foster Jenkins. Protecting
his wife from criticisms that littered
her path like broken paving stones, he
suggested not merely uxoriousness but
tactical skill; he could turn an insult
into a compliment or a damning notice
into a rave, simply by inclining his head
this way or that.
No wonder Grant is putting himself
back in the hands of that ?lm?s director,
Stephen Frears, for the three-part
BBC drama A Very English Scandal,
written by Russell T Davies. He will
play the MP Jeremy Thorpe, with Ben
Whishaw as Norman Scott, the lover
he tried to have murdered. For an actor
who chooses not to work often (Grant
has been seen in only seven ?lms in
the past decade), it is important to
work well; an obvious lesson, perhaps,
but one which Grant has not always
appeared to heed. ?I?ve always thought
that he was clever,? said Frears last
year. ?I don?t know why he makes the
?lms that he makes ? not that I?ve seen
them.?
His appearance in Paddington 2 has
a whiff of self-mockery about it. Seeing
him as a luvvie consumed with hate,
seething at a world whose applause he
simultaneously craves, it?s tempting
to recall the character sketch given of
him by Drew Barrymore, his co-star
in the expertly frothy 2007 romantic
comedy Music & Lyrics. ?He is like
a complete cynic, self-tortured and
dark,? she observed. ?You?d go into his
trailer and he?d be sitting there on the
couch, chopping salad alone, an angry
Englishman.?
In one of the quieter moments in
Paddington 2, the camera pans around
Phoenix?s luxurious living room and
catches sight of his display of framed
photographs of himself. Right at the
front is a black-and-white portrait
of the old Hugh Grant or, rather, the
young one: the early 1990s incarnation
with which audiences ?rst fell in love,
with his melted, faintly pleading eyes
and his lips poised in preparation
for an apology or a self-deprecating
remark. And that hair, all that hair,
simultaneously sculpted and ?oppy;
meticulously styled to suggest the
appearance of spontaneity. If ever
a hairstyle embodied a man, it was
this. He doesn?t look carefree in that
photograph exactly (he was never that)
but nor does he yet seem disappointed
with life. It must have been taken just
after Four Weddings had converted a
career marked by the ludicrous (Ken
Russell?s The Lair of the White Worm,
Roman Polanski?s laughable Bitter
Moon) into one in which he seemed to
have some chance of following in the
footsteps of Cary Grant.
This turned out to be slightly wide
of the mark. Unlike his half-namesake,
Hugh Grant?s brand of levity and
charm was not easily transferable to
other contexts. You would have to be
exceptionally generous, or a member
of Grant?s immediate family, to regard
the mediocre mob comedy Mickey Blue
Eyes or the thriller Extreme Measures,
both produced by his then girlfriend,
Elizabeth Hurley, as any kind of
modern-day counterparts to Charade
and North By Northwest.
There was always the sense that
Grant wanted more than the narrow
range of options dictated by celebrity.
He has been at his most interesting
when leaning toward his caddish
side, exploiting the cruelty and sense
of entitlement that are latent in
his physical features: he can play it
cartoonishly, as in Woody Allen?s Small
Time Crooks, or with poignancy, as in
About a Boy, but it is when toying with
these dislikable qualities that he seems
happiest.
He ?rst hinted excitingly at the
extent of his range 20 years ago as a
bitchy theatre director in An Awfully
Big Adventure, opposite Alan Rickman
as the company?s star actor. It was
one of the early signs that Grant was
cha?ng against the limitations of his
Four Weddings image and what the
public might expect of him. (Being
caught with a prostitute in his car on
Sunset Boulevard in 1995, just as he
was launching his charm offensive on
the US public with the comedy Nine
Months, was another.)
And though he pushed on through
several more confections by his Four
Weddings writer, Richard Curtis,
including Notting Hill and Love
Actually, it was possible to see the joy
and mischief leaking away. His was
not merely that standard discomfort
at being a public ?gure (though he has
plenty of that too) but dissatisfaction at
a deeper level.
So intense was it, in fact, that he was
moved to announce his retirement in
2004. ?There?s not much excitement
any more. I just lost interest, to tell the
?I never felt Hugh was
at ease an an actor, he
doesn?t think of it as a
proper job. But he does
want to be perfect at it?
truth. I don?t return my agent?s calls.
I don?t read scripts. I was never a very
committed actor. Now I can just stop.
This is the last ?lm I will ever make.?
In fairness, he was talking about the
?rst Bridget Jones sequel, The Edge of
Reason, a ?lm so poor it could cause the
most committed performer to throw in
the towel.
However, he carried on making
movies. There may not have been many
of them but the quality control was
low enough (Did You Hear About the
Morgans?, The Man From UNCLE) to
make his admirers wish he wouldn?t
bother.
If the spark seemed to have gone
out of his acting, that may be because
he had found one of his best roles off
screen, as one of the ?gureheads of
the Hacked Off movement for press
regulation. Grant, along with many
other celebrities whose voicemails
had been hacked, had reason enough
to bring legal action but it was the
discovery that employees of News
International had hacked into and
deleted the messages of the murdered
teenager Milly Dowler that gave the
movement serious momentum.
T
hen, in late 2010, he had an
accidental encounter with
a former paparazzo, Paul
McMullan, one of the men
who had ?rst blown the
whistle on phone hacking.
McMullan happened to be driving past
in the Kent countryside when he saw
Grant and his broken-down Ferrari at
the side of the road; he offered the actor
a lift, after ?rst taking his photograph.
McMullan sold his account of the
meeting to the Mail on Sunday for
�000; Grant returned the favour by
THE GRANT FILES
Born Hugh John Mungo Grant in
Hammersmith, London, on 9 September
1960 to Fynvola, a teacher, and James,
manager of a carpet ?rm.
Best of times A run of ?lms written by
Richard Curtis, notably Four Weddings and
a Funeral (1994) and Notting Hill (1999),
not only made Grant a star but cemented
his persona as the ultimate di?dent but
charming Englishman. In recent years, he
has emerged as one of the ?gureheads of
Hacked O?.
Worst of times Arrested in Los Angeles
for ?indecent conduct? with Divine Brown,
a prostitute, to which he pleaded ?no
contest?. Also arrested for assault in 2007
against a paparazzo, for which charges
were later dropped.
What he says ?The only reason that I?ve
had a career is because I was good at
recognising and prioritising what was
entertaining. A lot of actors look at scripts
and think, how will this stretch me as an
actor? But I always thought, do I want to
turn the page, is this going to make people
laugh??
What they say ?He can insult you and
you?re laughing. Then you go, wait a minute.
He insulted me.? Drew Barrymore.
setting up another conversation with
him, which he recorded secretly and
then wrote up for the New Statesman,
in which McMullan made allegations
of uncomfortably close links between
the press, police and politicians. Out of
nowhere, this actor, who had seemed
languid, even dissolute, found himself
riding the crest of a story, motivated
like never before.
His outspokenness has given
his energies a new outlet and has
guaranteed him, if nothing else, a lifelong enmity from sections of Britain?s
press.
Unsurprisingly, some papers have
responded to his criticisms of their
practices with concentrated attacks
on everything from his personal
life (he has four children by three
women) and his career (when he
received his BFI fellowship in 2016,
the Mail ran a mocking list of his ?ops
and failure) to the fact that he has
had the temerity to age: a spread of
un?attering long-lens snaps of him on
holiday was headlined ?Four bellies
and a turkey neck?.
What this adds up to is not only
one of the most curious episodes
in Grant?s life but something more
fascinating than any of the films he
had been seen in throughout the
preceding decade. And now that
sense of risk-taking seems to be
spilling back into his work.
?I never felt Hugh was entirely
comfortable in an actor?s skin,? said
Sharon Maguire, who directed him in
Bridget Jones?s Diary. ?Acting for him
wasn?t a religion. I don?t even think
he thinks of it as a proper job. But that
doesn?t mean he doesn?t want to be
perfect at it.?
For the ?rst time in his career, that
may be a possibility.
05.11.17
| 31
*
Comment
JESS
PHILLIPS
PHIL
A terrible,
terribl toxic week at
Westminster Page 35
Westmi
Once Britain?s culture wielded global
power. Now France shows us the way
The new ?Louvre in the Sand?, opening in Abu Dhabi, marks a shift in the European balance of cultural in?uence
Tristram
Hunt
@TristramHuntVA
I
n 1798, Napoleon Bonaparte invaded Egypt
in France?s grandest display of its mission
civilisatrice, that revolutionary desire to spread
the Enlightenment principles of European
civilisation. Accompanying Napoleon?s troops
was a battalion of scientists, historians, artists and
archaeologists with clear instructions to collect
Egypt?s ancient riches for display and study back
in Paris. Collecting the artefacts of the Middle
East was part of conquering it.
This week, the wheel of history turns full
circle as President Macron (another French
leader with imperial ambitions) ?ies to the Gulf
to open Louvre Abu Dhabi and, two centuries
on, now offers up France?s cultural treasures for
display and study. While Napoleon?s invasion
was hard power, Macron?s visit is all about
the long-term insinuation of soft power. Yet it
signals a hard truth: if Brexit Britain is going
to ?nd its feet as a global player, we need to be
thinking about similarly ambitious displays of
cultural bravado.
What the French and Emirati curators have
built is a thing of great beauty. As you drive past
the cranes of Port Zayed and cross the highway
on to Saadiyat Island, you catch your ?rst glimpse
of Jean Nouvel?s subtle, silvery museum dome
amid the sand and construction sites. In contrast
to the skyscrapers and faux Mughal aesthetic,
the low-hung building is neither bombastic nor
derivative.
It has a liminal feel between land and water,
while its 180m diameter roof is crisscrossed with
thousands of star shapes turning the beating
sunlight into shards of rain. This is more than
a museum development; it is a mini-medina of
galleries, cafes and children?s centres, with the
cooling breeze and blue expanse of the Gulf
visible at either end.
The real magic is what sits inside the airconditioned gallery pods: a trove of early
17th-century Portuguese screens, ancient
Egyptian hippopotamus ?gurines and
15th-century Ottoman turban helmets alongside
Van Gogh self-portraits, Rodin bronzes and
Giacometti statues. The collection is the product
of a series of loans from France?s leading national
museums and 15 years of auction house purchases
by the emirate?s wealth funds. This is not a branch
office of the Parisian Louvre, but a genuinely
shared endeavour.
As the ?rst universal museum to open in the
Arab world, Louvre Abu Dhabi?s ambition is
This
extension
of French
cultural
prowess is
happening
in a part of
the world
that has
strong
British ties
to showcase ?the shared human stories across
civilisations and cultures?. From jewellery to
statuary, medieval maps to opaque watercolours,
the galleries aim to draw out the universal
human experience of family, divinity, commerce,
exploration and death.
In contrast to a familiar European account
of such ?shared civilisations?, the project has
produced a genuinely global response devoid
of obvious western weighting. ?The opening of
Louvre Abu Dhabi will mark a seismic shift of
the global museum network towards the south,?
writes the commentator Sultan Al Qassemi.
Louvre director Jean-Luc Martinez similarly
thinks the museum ?is helping us to change
perspective? we are obliged to see the world
differently, with Europe or America in the
periphery and no longer at the centre?. The
experience is stunning: scholarly yet exciting,
beautiful yet informative and, above all, in its
con?dent array of Chinese with Egyptian with
Italian artefacts, intellectually provocative.
F
or the United Arab Emirates, the new Louvre is a big deal. On the one hand, it is part
of a commercial strategy to think beyond
petroleum and attract high-end tourism,
with the museum sitting alongside beach resorts
and smart hotels. More importantly, the development signi?es the rise of the nation, from struggling pearl ?shing settlement to major geopolitical
player.
It isn?t simply the cachet of the partnership
(which has come at quite a price), but the
broader message of global, cultural exchange
at the heart of which sits the Gulf. ?Louvre
Abu Dhabi is an instrument to express what we
believe the UAE can bring to the world,? is how
one sheikh puts it.
For the museum sector, this is a dramatic escalation of our diplomatic function. Twenty years
ago, the opening of the Guggenheim in Bilbao
signalled a new role for cultural institutions in
promoting urban regeneration. Today, Louvre
Abu Dhabi suggests the task has expanded into
nation-building as established arts institutions,
such as the Pompidou and Guggenheim, leverage
their cultural capital to support forward-looking
administrations. And it seems to work when it is
not simply a lucrative franchise deal by a western
brand but a considered partnership predicated on
shared learning and cultural exchange.
In the case of the UAE, this remarkable
extension of French cultural prowess is happening
in a part of the world that, since the late 19th century, has had strong British ties. Traditionally, we
have been told that soft power has to be divorced
from the state: the power of Hollywood or the
reach of the BBC are sustained by their independence from Washington or Westminster. But the
sheer might of Louvre Abu Dhabi is revealing the
need for much more strategic state support. None
of which is to suggest we are slouches. From the
World Service to Harry Potter to Downton Abbey
to Harry Styles, the British creative industries are
an export phenomenon. Next week, the British
Museum will unveil a major new partnership
with museums in Mumbai exploring Indian religious culture. At the V&A, some 1.8 million people
have seen our David Bowie Is exhibition, while
in December we will be opening a new gallery
in Shenzhen to put our storehouse of design and
innovation at the heart of the booming Pearl River
delta.
The government has supported these programmes through tax-relief schemes, but with
the budgets of the BBC, British Council and Arts
Council all under pressure, it is going to prove a
real challenge to retain our in?uence.
The French press likes to patronise the Abu
Dhabi initiative as ?the Louvre of the Sand?. But
I think, in the words of Iris Murdoch, ?anything
which alters consciousness in the direction of
unsel?shness, objectivity and realism? is an act
of great virtue. For Jean Nouvel?s building?s real
brilliance is to upend Napoleon.
The Louvre?s landing on Saadiyat Island is a
signal renunciation of Bonapartist colonialism
and western cultural appropriation. It is an end
to orientalism. And, to my mind, it is a template
for the mix of ingenuity, vision and spirit of
collaboration which post-Brexit Britain will need
to display on the world stage.
Louvre Abu Dhabi?s
exterior with the Abu
Dhabi skyline at night.
� Louvre Abu Dhabi
Photography by
Mohamed Somji
Tristram Hunt is director of the V&A
In Spain, democracy and law are being reduced to hollow shells
Kenan
Malik
@kenanmalik
E
ight former ministers of the
ousted Catalonian government
are in prison, awaiting charges
of sedition and rebellion. A
European arrest warrant has been
issued for the apprehension of former
Catalan president, Carles Puigdemont,
now holed up in Brussels.
For supporters of the government,
such strong-arm tactics in response
to Catalonia?s declaration of
independence is a necessary defence
of the rule of law. For supporters of
Catalan independence, it is a mortal
attack on democracy. In reality, both
sides have reduced democracy and law
to hollow shells.
The actions of the Catalan government were contrary to the provisions of
the Spanish constitution but the issue
cannot be reduced to legal formalism.
What is being played out in Catalonia is
a confrontation over political legitimacy. Whatever the legal issues, it can
only be resolved at a political level.
The problem with the actions of the
Catalan government is that they were
undemocratic. Polls have consistently
shown that only a minority of Catalans
support independence; over the past
three years, support has remained at 4045%. A slightly higher percentage, but
still a minority, oppose independence.
Catalonia is split down the middle.
The action of the Catalan government in declaring independence was,
at best, foolish. Its reason ? that 90%
of voters backed independence in last
month?s referendum ? ignores that fact
that only 43% had been able to, or willing to, take part. The parliamentary vote
on independence was pushed through
in a late-night session that most of the
opposition boycotted. Independence
was less about respecting democracy
than about political machinations.
Puigdemont, having declared independence, promptly ?ed to Brussels.
Rather than face up to the consequences of his actions or engage in a
political debate inside Spain, he simply
vacated the arena. He seemed more
interested in making high-stakes gestures than in furthering democracy.
But if the actions of the Catalan
government are hardly those of politicians respecting democracy, those of
the Madrid government are equally
unpalatable. From police brutality in
response to the referendum, to the
imprisoning of democratically elected
politicians, Madrid has sought to
address the political issues raised by
the question of Catalan independence
through force and coercion.
While only a minority of Catalans
support independence, there is mounting disaffection with rule from Madrid.
The numbers backing secession have
nearly doubled since 2010. Under a
third want to maintain the status quo.
It is not just in Catalonia that there
exists such disaffection with central
government. Harsh austerity policies,
soaring unemployment and a sense of
mainstream institutions deaf to people?s needs have stoked popular grievances throughout Spain. The irony is
that Catalonia is its richest region and
anger often takes the form of resentment at ?bailing out? the rest of Spain.
Whatever the roots of the anger, it
needs to be addressed, which Madrid
has failed to do. In imprisoning politicians, Madrid is effectively criminalising political dissent. The ?rule of law?
has become a cloak for a refusal to
engage in a political debate in socially
fragmented Spain. Democracy and
the rule of law depend upon political
legitimacy. That is what neither side
possesses.
32 | COMMENT
*
05.11.17
Established in 1791
Issue No 11,789
Kings Place, 90 York Way, London N1 9GU. Telephone: 020 3353 2000 Fax: 020 3353 3189
email: editor@observer.co.uk
SEXUAL HARASSMENT
I
Parliament?s response is shameful but
abuse problems are embedded in society
t has taken less than a month for the assault
and harassment scandal that has engulfed
Hollywood to spread to Westminster. In
the past few days, our political system has
become paralysed by allegations of assault and
harassment by male MPs. Instead of a sober,
swift and professional response, we have
witnessed the spectacle of political parties
desperately scrabbling to produce an adequate
reaction and ministers clumsily ?ghting for
their political lives.
There is a real risk the gravity of the crisis
that has consumed Westminster is judged
super?cially by the number of political scalps
it claims. In the wake of a sexual harassment
scandal that has highlighted the abuses of
power that can take place in the shadowy corridors of Westminster, this cannot be allowed
to happen.
As in Hollywood, our political parties have
long operated along cultural norms that not
only make the abuse of power possible, but,
as the MP Anna Soubry argues, actually offer
protection to abusers. Thanks to their contacts
and in?uence, MPs and ministers can wield
great in?uence over aspiring political careers.
Each MP acts as their own employer, giving
staff little access to independent guidance and
support should they experience harassment.
Such incidents are often treated as indiscretions to be reported to the whips? office, to be
hoarded as future leverage against rebellious
MPs. In a world seen through the lens of tribal
party allegiances, coming forward with a complaint is viewed as a sign of disloyalty.
Some have argued this scandal risks turning
into a media ?witch-hunt?. It is critical that
due process is followed. But what has been
exposed so starkly in the past week is that
procedures have never existed in our political
system to address allegations of sexual harass-
ment and assault. Bex Bailey showed immense
bravery in speaking out about how she was
warned by a senior Labour party official that
if she reported the rape she says she was
subjected to two years earlier at a party event,
it could damage her career. Another woman
who says she was sexually assaulted by an MP
last year has described how she and a senior
colleague tried and failed to get parliamentary authorities to investigate, after the police
said they were not able to because the alleged
assault happened abroad. When she reported
it to her party, it took no action at all.
The response of our political parties has
been completely inadequate. The women who
anonymously set up the website LabourToo
have set out the standards that they believe
parties need to meet: specialist and independent support for people coming forward to
report abuse; an independent process that
allow allegations to be investigated without
prejudice and in con?dence; and input from
independent advisers into the internal party
panels with decision-making power.
Last week, Labour circulated an updated
sexual harassment policy that fell well short
of this standard, although the party at least
made a welcome announcement that it will
appoint independent specialists to support
those coming forward. The Conservative party
did not have a policy until it hastily published
a code of conduct for elected and appointed
officials on Friday. Like Labour?s policy, it
lacks independence: any people coming
forward to report harassment or assault must
do so in the knowledge that any investigation
into their complaint may be put in the hands of
colleagues and acquaintances of their alleged
harasser.
And the response of some senior MPs
has betrayed a lack of understanding. Gavin
Williamson, the newly promoted defence
secretary, said while still chief whip last week
that all allegations of illegal allegations must
be reported to the police straight away. But
there are many good reasons why women do
not want to report an assault to the police;
it should almost always be up to the victim
whether they choose to do so. Reporting to the
police without consent would create another
barrier to people coming forward. Soubry has
also said she believes someone leaked Andrea
Leadsom?s con?dential complaint about
Michael Fallon, opening her up to vicious
attacks in some parts of the press. If true, this
is toxic: it undermines any con?dence in party
procedures and will also act as a deterrence to
reporting.
I
nstituting better procedures is necessary
but insufficient. Unless all of our political leaders are committed to reform, the
processes will change, but the culture will
not. Neither will forcing resignations achieve
much by itself: people should be held to
account for their behaviour, but there is a risk
that Westminster?s obsession with runners
and riders will de?ect from the more fundamental question of how to bring about change.
Age-old, predictable arguments have been
advanced in the past week that the real risk
is in over- rather than underreaction. We are
supposed to believe that boundaries have
become so over-policed that men cannot
engage in consensual ?irting or harmless
physical contact in the workplace. But there
is a clear legal de?nition of harassment and it
should not be difficult for men to avoid behaviour that is construed as such. There are also
those who argue this crisis has unhelpfully
con?ated rape and serious sexual assault with
low-level sexual harassment. It is so obvious that there is a spectrum of inappropriate
sexual behaviour in the workplace, with rape
at the far end, that it should not need spelling out. But low-level harassment is far from
cost-free for those who suffer it. And allowing
low-level inappropriate banter and advances
to go unaddressed creates cultures that enable
the more serious offending that would horrify
those who think there?s no harm in the odd
lewd comment.
This is a story only partly set in Westminster. The power dynamics that create the
opportunity for assault and harassment replicate themselves in workplaces up and down
the country. A survey for the Young Women?s
Trust found one in eight large employers
admits they are aware of sexual harassment
that has gone unreported. More than half of
women say they have experienced sexual harassment at work, rising to nearly two-thirds
of women aged 18-24. Women who work in
low-paid sectors characterised by insecure
working patterns, such as hospitality and bar
work, are particularly at risk.
Gendered patterns of harassment and abuse
can set in from an early age, but schools are illequipped to deal with them. A Girlguiding UK
survey suggests two in three girls aged 13-21
have experienced sexual harassment at school,
a rise on four years ago. Yet the government
has only just reluctantly made sex and relationship education compulsory in all schools.
The temptation in the wake of a scandal
such as this is to make it primarily about toppling a few high-pro?le politicians. While
individuals should be held accountable for any
wrongdoing through due process, it cannot
stop there. We need a deeper cultural change:
that applies to society as much as it does to
Westminster.
ASIA VISIT
China is changing the power balance in Asia.
Can Trump rise to the challenge?
T
he phrase ?bull in a china shop? might have
been coined to describe this week?s tour of
Asia by Donald Trump. During last year?s
presidential election campaign, he raged
against China, terming it an ?enemy? and accusing
Beijing of ?raping? America with predatory trade
practices. With characteristic insensitivity, he
suggested Japan should acquire nuclear weapons
and South Korea should pay more for its defence.
He promised to tear up the multilateral TransPaci?c Partnership, a promise he then ful?lled. And
he vowed to eliminate the threat posed by North
Korea by any means, including military action.
Trump?s behaviour in office has proved to be
every bit as destabilising for the Asia-Paci?c region
partly because of what he has not done. His White
House has singularly failed to enunciate a vision
and a policy for a region that all agree is central to
America?s 21st-century prosperity and security.
Trump claimed Barack Obama?s ?pivot to Asia?
had failed in its primary aim of managing and
channelling China?s expanding geopolitical in?uence. But he has put nothing in its place. Long-time
allies no longer know with certainty where the
US stands. What Trump did do was introduce fear
and confusion. His escalating war of words with
Kim Jong-un, North Korea?s dictator, has pushed
Pyongyang into accelerating its efforts to build
nuclear-armed missiles capable of striking the
US mainland. Trump?s threat to ?totally destroy?
the country conjured the spectre of nuclear war,
alarming friends and foes alike. Yet Trump?s acute
need for Beijing?s help in sanctioning Kim has
drawn him into an improbably fawning relationship with Xi Jinping, China?s strongman president,
who he will meet. His pledge to shift the bilateral
relationship radically in America?s favour has given
way to unhealthy obsequiousness. He recently
referred to Xi as the ?king of China?.
Trump?s lack of a clear vision, his studied
ignorance of key policy issues, his vanity and
gullibility, plus his tendency to ?y off the handle,
present his Chinese hosts with a problem. It should
not be difficult to get the better, diplomatically
speaking, of such a ?awed interlocutor. On the
other hand, sending Trump home empty-handed
would be to risk more unpredictable explosions.
That is why observers predict Xi will offer some
high-pro?le but essentially cosmetic concessions
on trade, to satisfy Trump?s ?America ? agenda and
allow him to boast of a big success. There may be
Chinese promises to help pressure North Korea.
But they will not go much beyond current measures. This is the narrow script tacitly agreed by
Trump advisers.
Such an outcome would leave critical issues
unaddressed that, if allowed to fester, could ultimately move US-China relations from competition
to direct confrontation. One is the uncomfortable
reality, for the American economy and workforce,
that China continues to export three times more
goods to the US than it imports. This gaping trade
imbalance is highly symbolic of China?s rise and
America?s relative fall. Another salient issue is
Trump?s failure to seriously tackle Chinese military
expansionism in the East and South China seas or
understand its negative implications for continued con?dence in US backing for Japan, Taiwan,
Indonesia and others.
C
hina under Xi, who was crowned de facto
leader for life at last month?s Communist party congress, poses an even more
fundamental challenge. Its disdain for open,
democratic governance, free elections, civil rights,
independent judges and freedom of speech and
religion is deeply undermining of western values.
Beijing?s ruthless treatment of pro-democracy
campaigners in Hong Kong and its persecution of
dissenting writers are cases in point. Its contempt
for human rights, broadly de?ned, de?es the system of universal standards created through the UN
after 1945. And it is not merely a domestic problem.
Through its rising global pro?le and, for example,
its increased use of soft power tools such as investment and peace building in South Sudan and the
Horn of Africa, China is effectively exporting its
governance model to the world.
A study by the Atlantic Council, a Washington
thinktank, notes the Asia-Paci?c region will be
the world?s most economically dynamic by 2050
and that regional states are already spending more
than Europe on defence. A fundamental power
shift is under way, it says, and the rules-based
international order is fraying. The US response
should be a strengthening of existing security alliances in tandem with ?hard-headed engagement?
with Beijing. It should promote ?fundamental
values? across the region, while always seeking
common ground, where possible, with China. But
Washington should not be in any doubt, the study
says: the ?Trans-Paci?c Century? has begun.
Will a man like Donald Trump listen to such
sensible advice? Does he even accept the premise,
namely, that the era of American dominance is
ending? It?s unlikely. The best that can be hoped is
that Trump will forgo more verbal rampages this
week and stick to the script. If, as some predict,
North Korea waves a red rag and ?res off another
missile by way of greeting, his handlers may just
have to tie him down.
05.11.17
COMMENT | 33
*
RIDDELL?S VIEW
May could be the ideal woman to
lead the clean-up of Westminster
However fragile her government, the prime minister must tackle this scandal without fear or favour
Andrew
ew
nsley
Rawnsley
@andrewrawnsley
wnsley
I
t is important to understand why Sir Michael
Fallon is no longer secretary of state for defence.
He went not because he placed an uninvited
hand on the knee of a female journalist at
a boozy party conference dinner 15 years ago.
Julia Hartley-Brewer, the target of his unwanted
advances, says that losing his seat in the cabinet
would be a ?ridiculous? penalty for that. Anyone
with an IQ in double ?gures can twig that this is
not why he quit. Nor did he go because he made a
lewd remark to Angela Leadsom, though it didn?t
help his cause when she brought this complaint to
the prime minister?s inner circle when they were
debating his fate. According to the most convincing
accounts of the events that led to his departure, the
prime minister had come to her own conclusion
that he couldn?t remain in office. As she writes in
the Observer today, the journalist Jane Merrick
had been in touch with the prime minister?s office
shortly before he quit, to tell them that Sir Michael
had ?lunged at? her.
So I?m doubtful whether ?resign? is the correct word for his departure. This has the smell
of a sacking dressed up to look like a resignation.
There?s a clue in the cool tone of the letters that
he exchanged with Theresa May. He expressed
his ?utmost admiration? for the armed forces and
pledged to ?support the government?; he said not
a word in esteem of the prime minister and made
no promise to continue to support her personally.
He had not responded to Ms Merrick?s account at
the time of writing. He has says other accusations
against him are false.
The removal of her defence secretary suggests
that Mrs May has a better appreciation of the
seriousness of the storm over sexual harassment
and abuse that now swirls around Westminster
than some of her colleagues. When the ?Weinstein
effect? ?rst began to blow through London SW1,
the response of some of its denizens was to contend that there was no legitimate reason for anyone
to get outraged. It was even, in some quarters,
being treated as a bit of a giggle. ?Kneegate?, they
chortled. Getting a proper focus on the mean-
ing of this moment hasn?t been helped by the
?spreadsheet of shame? that has done the rounds.
This lists allegations of assault and behaviour that
are nasty but not illegal and con?ates those with
tittle-tattle about consensual relationships and
the sexual peccadilloes of some parliamentarians.
The appellation ?Palace of Pestminster? trivialises.
?Sexminster? won?t do either. This is not an oldfashioned ?sex scandal? of the type that felled Tory
ministers during Sir John Major?s time at Number
10, when the tabloids exposed their relationships
with women who were not their wives.
The gravest accusation has come from a Labour
activist. Bex Bailey says she was raped at the age
of 19 by a senior colleague at a party event and told
by another party official not to report it. No party
is unstained and the leaders of both the main parties are under pressure. Kelvin Hopkins, a veteran
comrade of Jeremy Corbyn, has been suspended
while there is an investigation of complaints about
his conduct. Mr Corbyn has yet to explain why he
had Mr Hopkins, who admits to sending a suggestive text to a woman nearly ?ve decades younger,
but denies everything else, in the shadow cabinet
in spite of warnings about the sexual harassment
claim against him.
This is trouble for all the parties, but the fallout
will be almost certainly more consequential for
the government because it is the government. The
more so because, before this storm broke, it was
already an extremely brittle and riven government.
Two more of Mrs May?s ministers ? Mark Garnier
and Damian Green ? are being investigated by the
Cabinet Office. It is especially nightmarish for her
that one of them is Mr Green, her de facto deputy,
the chairman of a host of key cabinet committees,
one of her oldest friends in politics and someone
she has depended on very heavily since she lost her
majority at the election.
Mr Green has been instrumental in keeping
the May show just about on the road. He denies
inappropriate behaviour towards a much younger
woman and has tooled up with libel lawyers. His
case will be investigated by Sue Gray, the director general of propriety and ethics at the Cabinet
Office. Ms Gray has enormous experience ? she
was there for the expenses scandal ? and has a high
reputation. But to the outside world it will look
mighty strange that a civil servant who works at the
Cabinet Office is investigating the politician who is
in charge of the Cabinet Office. Once again, we are
faced with the ancient question, which parliament
has often struggled with and never satisfactorily
resolved, of who polices the politicians, who judges
the lawmakers. It is true that abuses of power can
and do happen in any kind of workplace, not just
Hollywood and Westminster. What makes politics
and showbusiness different is that both are trades
in which there is an extremely high premium on
personal connections and patronage. This greatly
ampli?es the opportunities for abusers to exploit
power imbalances. MPs operate like small businesses, employers in their own right, in charge
of the hiring and ?ring of their own staff. Those
staff, very often people with their own political
ambitions, are frequently much younger than
the employers who can make or break careers.
Safeguards for staff that have become a routine part
of the company architecture in businesses do not
exist at Westminster.
That structural defect is compounded by a cultural one. When confronted with scandal, the ?rst
impulse of politics is to hush it up. Ms Bailey says
she was told to keep quiet on the grounds that pur-
An environment in
which sexual predators
and bullies think they
can behave disgustingly
and get away with it
suing her case would damage her career. Victims
of sexual harassment, abuse and assault have been
encouraged to stay silent because going public will
hurt the tribe. Political parties are not incentivised
to root out and deal with bad conduct within their
own ranks. The clannish instinct is to cover up
rather than give ammunition to opponents and the
media. This has contributed to an environment in
which sexual predators and bullies think they can
behave disgustingly ? in the most serious cases,
criminally ? and get away with it.
It is now well known that the Tory whips
used to keep ?a little black book?, in which were
detailed the character defects of their MPs. Labour
whips did much the same. Information is power
in politics and personal information can be the
most potent weapon of all. Secrets are a valuable
currency at Westminster. Knowledge of misconduct could be used to coerce parliamentarians to
vote the way their leaders wanted them to vote.
It was sometimes ? to use plain language ? a tool
of political blackmail. Both parties will insist that
this practice doesn?t go on any more, but it remains
the case that whips often know things about MPs
that the parliamentarians wouldn?t want to have
to explain either to their families or in front of a
television camera. This is useful leverage and the
more so when the parliamentary arithmetic is as
precarious as it is today. It is a tool parties will not
gladly relinquish, but whips cannot go on being
enforcers of loyalty and keepers of secrets at the
same time as supposedly being a sort of human
resources department.
A
helpline for abused or harassed staff has
already been announced. New codes of
conduct are being written. Mrs May will
meet other party leaders tomorrow to
discuss further action. All have an incentive to deal
with this before it becomes any more corrosive to
the reputation of parliament. There is now great
pressure to establish a mechanism, independent
of partisan and self-interested party meddling, for
dealing with complaints about sexual predation
and bullying. This will only work if victims can have
con?dence in it.
Loads of new rules won?t be worth much unless
they are accompanied by a determination to
enforce them. The most important thing to look
for is a cultural shift in which abusive behaviour is
no longer tolerated and hushed up, but faced and
dealt with. Mrs May could be the right woman at
the right time in the right office to lead that. From
what I know of this prime minister, she will have
a visceral disgust of predatory men who prey on
younger people. She ?rst made her name telling her fellow Tories that they had to stop being
?the nasty party?. Her immediate responses have
drawn compliments from unexpected quarters.
Harriet Harman, Labour?s former deputy leader,
does not lightly praise a Tory. She has commended
Mrs May for being robust. The prime minister?s
best instincts will be with Ruth Davidson, the Tory
leader in Scotland, when she declares that they
must ?clean out the stables?.
This would be easier advice to follow if Mrs May
was a stronger prime minister. Her desire to do the
right thing will be in contention with the brittle
context in which she is operating. More revelations and more resignations will threaten further
destabilisation of an already fragile and factionalised government. It could make a weak leader even
weaker. Not acting will run exactly the same risk.
Mrs May should follow her best instincts. If she
needs to swing the axe again, she ought to do so.
34 | COMMENT
*
05.11.17
We bailed out the bankers. It?s a disgrace
that care workers are left out of pocket
Sta? on sleep-ins are owed �0m ? we need their skills more than ever and must treat them fairly
Sonia
Sodha
@soniasodha
I
t should have been a big victory for care
workers. For years, those on overnight ?sleepin? shifts in the homes of disabled adults and
older people have been paid a ?at rate, typically
between � and � a night. But in 2013, the
Employment Appeal Tribunal ruled that a care
worker was entitled to the minimum wage for
the time spent sleeping on a camp bed in a living
room in order to be on hand to provide overnight
support to young adults with Down?s syndrome
should they need it.
Speak to a carer doing these shifts and you
understand why. Ahmed, 27, has worked for the
disability charity Mencap since 2014, supporting
adults with disabilities such as epilepsy. He
regularly works sleep-in shifts sandwiched
between two care shifts. He could see how
someone might see this as getting paid for sleeping. ?But it?s not at all like sleeping at home,? he
says. ?I?m half-awake all the time, so I hear any
movement that indicates I?m needed; it?s my duty
of care.?
However, 2013?s legal victory has proved
bittersweet. Despite the government changing
its guidance late last year to make clear sleep-in
carers should be paid the minimum wage, many
carers aren?t being paid what they?re owed. What
is going on?
At heart, this is a case of shameful buckpassing by the government. A large proportion
of sleep-in care is funded by the state, but it
subcontracts charities and private companies
to provide it. There are rising cost pressures
on providers; despite our ageing population,
council budgets for care have fallen by up to 30%
in some areas.
At the same time, the costs of care have risen
as a result of the increasing minimum wage and
increased regulatory standards. The government has made some extra funding available, but
nowhere near enough to close the gap.
Mencap says half of local authorities simply
aren?t building the higher costs of sleep-in shifts
into their contracts. This leaves charities and
private providers in an impossible position. Do
they pull out of contracts in which the numbers
don?t add up, making carers redundant and
uprooting the care of vulnerable people? Or do
they carry on operating for as long as they can,
at a loss?
?It?s not at all
like sleeping
at home. I?m
half-awake
all the time,
so I hear any
movement
indicating
I?m needed:
it?s my duty
of care?
There?s also the six years of back pay owed
to care workers, estimated to be up to �0m.
From the perspective of natural justice, the bulk
of this tab should surely be picked up by the
state, which did not allow for these costs in its
contracts. But because the government didn?t
employ these carers, the buck stops with the
providers.
C
harities are worried that meeting this bill
could leave them insolvent, which would
have terrible consequences for care workers and the people they provide care for.
Even worse is the situation for people who get a
cash budget from their local authority to spend
with whoever they choose. Legally, they employ
their carers themselves, meaning vulnerable
people who followed government guidance could
?nd themselves personally liable for back pay of
up to �,000.
The government?s solution? Instead of doing
what it should ? setting up a fund to cover these
costs ? it has repeatedly instructed HMRC to
delay any enforcement action, leaving care workers without the pay they are owed and charities and people who need care in a situation of
intolerable uncertainty.
The contrast with the multibillion-pound bailout of the banks could not be more stark. Then,
the government stepped in to prevent people
A young disabled women
hangs out her washing
with help from her carer.
Alamy
losing thousands of pounds in savings and to
avoid economic catastrophe. Now, it seems to be
prepared to let the charities that people depend
on fold and vulnerable individuals to go bankrupt
as a result of its own mistakes.
There are two things to take away from this
sorry mess. Over the years, we?ve seen some big
employers develop increasingly sophisticated
ways of passing employment risk and insecurity
on to workers: from the subcontracting of lowpaid work to agencies distant from global brands,
to insisting gig economy workers class themselves
as self-employed.
This story shows that even as government criticises these tactics, it is far from above them itself.
Charities that deliver government contracts are
left with an impossible quandary: do they do the
government?s dirty work for it or do they clear the
decks, making way for less scrupulous providers
to enter the market?
Second, that the government is able to get away
with this is a damning indicator of just how far
social care funding has sunk down the political
agenda. It should be a priority, given our ageing population, the huge variation in the quality of care services and serious questions about
the sector?s ?nancial sustainability. But despite
review after review of care funding in the last
two decades, we have moved further away from a
long-term solution. Ideas get mooted by politicians, only to be kicked into the long grass or
swiftly dropped.
And so we struggle on with a system in which
a million older people aren?t getting the support
they need, with the deeply unfair anomaly that if
you get cancer, the costs of your care are covered
by the state, but if you get Alzheimer?s, you?re on
your own unless you qualify for means-tested
support.
Care funding is often presented as a generational issue, as if it?s part of a trade-off between
spending limited resources on the young and the
old. But this is the wrong way to look at it: the low
pay and low status of care affects not just the people who need it, but those who work in it. Care
will be a growth sector of the future, not just as a
result of population ageing, but because increasing automation in the workplace means jobs that
require uniquely human skills and attributes,
such as care and empathy, will only grow in their
economic importance.
The irony is that culturally we value these
?feminine? skills less, not more, than the ones that
might one day be ?lled by robots. That needs to
change, for the sake of the growing numbers of
young people who will ?nd themselves working
in care, as well as for the older people who need
it. But the way the government has got away with
disregarding the rights of sleep-in carers shows
just how distant that prospect is.
Victoria Coren Mitchell Why are the police copping ?ak?
Don?t damn
n
o?cers forr a
Halloween prank
? law and order
ow
should show
it has bit off
heart
I
t is possible that I have many things
in common with Fenland police. You
can?t do Only Connect for as long as I
have without knowing that one thing
can always be linked to another. Four
things can be a challenge, but a simple
pair, such as Fenland police and me?
off the top of my head: we both like to
wear blue, we?ve both dealt with a lot
of drunks and neither of us has managed to stamp out hare-coursing in the
county of Cambridgeshire.
And here?s another: we both tweeted
pictures of ourselves dressed up for
Halloween.
In mine, I was in a gingham dress
with a bloody plastic rib cage glued to
my chest. You?ll know at once which
classic Halloween character I was.
That?s right. ?Zombie Country Girl.?
So it said on the box, anyway. I
buy my fancy dress from a company
whose costumes are beautifully cheap
but somewhat tangential to popular
culture. They?re like clothes made by
25th-century aliens trying to recreate
Halloween from random fragments
of our lost civilisation. One year, I was
?Vampire Pumpkin?. Another time,
?Cobweb Gunman?. A couple of years
back, my husband was ?The Ghostly
Gentleman?. The Ghostly Gentleman?
Oh yes. That guy.
So, if you ?nd this column a bit below
par, you may conclude that?s because
I?ve wasted important thinking time
tweeting pictures of myself as Zombie
Country Girl.
As it happens, it didn?t take long.
I?m the wrong generation to spend an
hour doing different pouts at my phone
before Instagramming the poutiest.
It was, perhaps, four minutes out of
my week to stand in front of a door, do
three snaps, pick one and tweet it.
Nevertheless, you may feel that
were it not for those trivial and selfindulgent four minutes, this column
would have been a masterpiece of
modern journalism: sweeping, incisive,
laying bare the state of the nation while
magically offending nobody.
If so, you would share a world
view with the tabloid press and
everyone on the internet who damned
Cambridgeshire Constabulary (Fenland
police branch) for tweeting pictures of
an officer in a Halloween mask ?instead
of catching burglars?. The implication
being, presumably, that it was a direct
choice for the officers concerned:
desperate burglee on the phone, stripyjumpered miscreant still ri?ing through
the jewels, Twitter page just loading,
what?s a copper to do?
There has been a spate of this sort
of story lately. A spree, if you will.
Humberside police got into hot water
when officers patrolling Hull Fair were
spotted on the dodgems. Avon and
Somerset police were given hell when
officers painted their nails to mark
anti-slavery day. The Sun gave the story
a front page, it was so furious (or so
pleased with its headline, ?THE BOYS
IN BLUE NAIL VARNISH?).
But this stuff is all lovely. Regular
readers will know I?m a big fan of
remembering Robert Peel?s maxim:
?The police are the public and the
public are the police.?
Most people say they would like
more bobbies on the beat. If you?d
rather see a ?ak-vested heavy with a
submachine gun than a cheery fellow
on the bumper cars in a hi-vis jacket,
then you and I will never be friends.
Halloween humour from Fenland police.
Problems with actual law enforcement
come down to slashed budgets and
swingeing cuts, which is not the fault of
individual officers who put their lives
on the line whenever they stand up in
their distinctive uniforms.
Limited resources call for creative
thinking ? and surely nobody denies
that we?ve had a problem with racism
in the force, leaving large parts of
the population feeling alienated and
victimised ? so hurray for those officers
who see bonding with the community
as a key part of their job.
The Cambs and Fenland police
Twitter feeds, alongside genuinely
funny pictures of that Halloweenmasked officer sitting in the cells, are
clearly trying to forge links and make
themselves seem approachable rather
than authoritarian.
At this year?s Hull Fair, where the
police contingent whirled round in
dodgem cars and a female officer was
?lmed dancing, there were only four
arrests over eight days. Is that because
the police were too busy arsing about
to notice all the crime? Or is it, perhaps,
because a peaceful and friendly police
presence, joining in with ?the general
public? that they also are themselves,
keeps people behaving nicely?
I was sorry to see the Daily Mail
report that Cambridgeshire police
have ?admitted? the Halloween photos
were ?not an appropriate use of time?.
I hope that?s not true ? the photos are
still up online, so perhaps it isn?t. Don?t
apologise, Cambridgeshire! You may be
doing a world of good and certainly no
harm.
As for the nail varnish in Avon
and Somerset, that was a campaign
to raise awareness of the number
of modern slaves trafficked into the
UK who work in nail bars. The Sun,
below its incredulous scoffing at the
stupid pansy policemen who took
part, reported that ?signs of slavery
at nail bars include workers looking
withdrawn; appearing younger than
a customer would expect, seeming
frightened, being unable to speak
English and showing a resistance to
being paid directly?, alongside the
Modern Slavery helpline number
(08000 121 700). And all it took was a
lick of nail paint to get that information
put in front of millions of Sun readers!
What brilliant, efficient policing!
Yet hundreds complained. And David
Davies MP commented: ?There?s no
way I would have painted my nails ? it?s
not going to help you catch enslavers,
is it??
Well it might, David, if people learn
how to spot and report trafficking.
But what would really help catch
enslavers, and other criminals, is
proper police funding. And your party
is in government. So why don?t you
concentrate on that, ?ower, and stop
worrying about what other people do
with their hands?
Except your parliamentary
colleagues, of course.
05.11.17
COMMENT | 35
*
Heard too much on
sexual harassment?
No, not yet enough
As I now add my story of an abuse of power, the truth
is that the ?bandwagon? has much further to go
Catherine
Bennett
@Bennett_C_
H
as it already, to learn from some of the
country?s senior thinkers, ?gone too far??
Is it too late to join the witch hunt, jump
on the bandwagon, succumb to the mass
hysteria, swell the mob, sign up for the moral panic,
add fervour to an atmosphere repeatedly described
as ?febrile? and thereby lose ? in the still more
popular phrase when prominent men pronounce
on complaints about sexual misdemeanours that
fell short of actual rape ? all sense of proportion?
I do hope not.
As tiresome as it must be, for men who feel,
about Westminster, much as Martin Amis does
on Harvey Weinstein, that current levels of
?public wrath? exceed those they would normally
recommend for mishaps that scarcely compare
with lifelong concubinage in a seraglio; the strong
suspicion of many, admittedly inexpert, women, is:
it hardly begins to re?ect private disquiet.
Given, that is, the extent to which this male
misuse of power extends far beyond politics,
notwithstanding recent insider comment on the
very speci?c climatic conditions that apparently
increase the risk of being jumped on by a
charismatic risk-taker who?s missing his partner
and kiddies, the poor chap, you ought to see the
way some of those attractive women carry on.
It?s possible, of course, that guided by the kind
of men who see the funny side of Weinstein jokes,
women will shortly become aware of how foolish
and obsessed they appear, when they go on (and
on) about sexual assaults that fell way short of
them being trafficked into modern slavery in a
German industrial park by brutal pimps who took
away their passports. Nag, nag, nag. We heard you
the ?rst time, love.
Certainly the speed with which ?witch hunt?
? an ignorant mob?s pursuit of innocent women
charged with imaginary offences ? has become
a favoured term for the reporting, by women, of
incidents of harassment by real men, is unlikely
to dispel the reticence that deters many from
describing their experiences. It?s a tricky thing,
its targets have learned, to get right. Don?t report
an incident to the non-existent authorities in an
unsympathetic era and Peter Hitchens will one
day accuse you of being a failed feminist. Do report
it later, in the hope of changing things, and his
colleagues will shake their heads over bandwagons
or revenge served too cold, or maybe wonder, if
they are women left unscathed,why others are so
much less resourceful than their younger selves.
Just how many examples of unreported
molestation, and of what gravity and vintage, it
would be helpful to know for the future, would be
most likely to persuade doubters that something
is badly wrong? As opposed to con?rming, to men
who say they have women?s interests at heart,
that the current tide of complaints is a product of
female hysteria, probably triggered by an unholy
collision of raging oestrogen and excess political
correctness.
The massive response to the hashtag #MeToo,
which has prompted women, around the world,
painfully to speak about incidents they may have
suppressed for years, was instantly converted by
self-styled guardians of the sensible perspective,
uniting behind the gaslighting banner, as the
very reason to dismiss it. In fact, the popular
criticism ? ?has it all gone too far?? ? has exposed,
almost comically, the degree to which many men
genuinely believe a level of unwelcome sexualised
engagement ? ?sugar tits?, knee touching, office sex
toys ? should be as tolerable to a younger woman as
it is natural to its male initiators: a social norm.
Challenge that, and it?s men, such as
?honourable?, ?competent? ? dirty talking and
groping ? Michael Fallon, who are suddenly the
victims; their uncooperative targets, not the sexual
opportunists, are the ones who present ?a danger?,
even to national stability. The proposal that these
men should just stop? Plainly hysterical and the
death knell to all romance.
So even if it is too late, too witchy and too
bandwaggony, Fallon?s self-serving bollocks
about what is ?clearly not acceptable now? ?nally
prompts me to pipe up that I?m yet another
woman who can attest to what a certain kind of
man in authority will do to juniors, even outside
Westminster, in a society that tells him he has the
Illustration by Dominic McKenzie
right. I know, for certain, that when I was a student
of 19, being assaulted by a tutor who had devised
some pretext to get into my college room, was not,
all those millions of years ago, something that I,
or the very few people I told, felt was acceptable,
even in the crazy era of Abba?s Dancing Queen.
Why, to quote our sense-of-proportion minded
commentators, ?dredge?, ?exhume? or ?dig it
up? now ? with all the risks to harmless ?irtation
posed by these noisome grudges? Because, for
those persuaded by Fallon?s line in exculpation, the
experience was as shocking and distasteful to me
then as it would be to anyone today.
A
s, I now realise, following Anne Robinson?s robust comments on sexual politics,
a pathetically fragile young person, I
failed to overcome the absence of any
system for exposing such behaviour, along with
the fear of not being believed and the repugnance
of talking about it (even to my own family), asked
to change my degree course, and left the scholarly
perpetrator behind.
And that?s probably enough about my own
leading perv, who will now be old enough
and, I hope, frail enough, to be past creating
I am yet another woman
who can attest to what
a certain kind of man in
authority can do to juniors
opportunities to force his tongue into
undergraduate mouths. Among the deterrents to
reporting molestation, some powerfully detailed
in Ronan Farrow?s latest New Yorker piece, is that
it can feel like giving the abuser a prominent role
in his (sorry, or her!) victim?s biography. You don?t
have to have big ideas about your own obsequies
to understand why, for instance, Rose McGowan,
who alleges rape by Weinstein, had earlier signed
a settlement and stayed silent. ?I didn?t want his
name next to mine in my obituary.?
A shared unwillingness to assign lasting
in?uence to sexual aggressors possibly unites,
despite overtly contrasting responses,women
who make light of sexual harassment and women
who bury it. Some of us, when studying or
working in places dominated by hostile, proudly
unreconstructed men, will have tried both. To
report molestation, in anything other than a
jocular way, would have meant being humourless
and difficult; to become practised in indifference
fostered the belief that younger women should
do the same. As with Fay Weldon on rape, so with
the Daily Mail?s crack team of snow?ake assassins:
resilience is one strategy for denying male control
? except, we?ve learned, it just perpetuates it.
Ideally, action on unwanted male attention
would not have required a single British #MeToo
report, its prevalence being as obvious as Savile?s
iniquity. Among those recently perving in plain
sight were Alan Clark, the Nazi-sympathising
predator; Lord Rennard, the Lib Dems? pet groper;
John Prescott, Tony Blair?s ithyphallic deputy;
Richard Branson, grinning juggler of random
female bodies ? all protected by the culture that
now demands of people wanting progress: has it
gone too far? It?s only just begun.
A terrible, toxic week at Westminster
Jess
Phillips
@jessphillips
T
he atmosphere in parliament last
week was so toxic, so noxious
that I choked. In the past, I?ve
been accused of wanting to murder people because I?ve used the phrase
?stab in the back?. What can I say? Some
people are stupid and disappointing.
This time, I am speaking literally.
I arrived home after a longer-thannormal week away in Westminster. I
walked to a restaurant where we planned
to celebrate my son?s postponed ninth
birthday dinner. I switched off my phone
and greeted my family. In that moment of
release, all of a sudden I couldn?t breathe,
I couldn?t focus and I was burning up.
I ?ed and had to sit outside in the cold
November night and try desperately to
take in the air of my home town.
My week was not fun and before I
dive into the detail of it I want to offer a
disclaimer: I am not playing the victim.
I am not a victim. I was not triggered. I
am not a snow?ake ? I am an avalanche.
To the bystander, a steady stream of
accusations popped up as the week
unfolded. For me and a few others, it
was constant. Like a patriarchal tin-
nitus. Almost all the allegations that
hit the headlines, from my side at least,
were as revelatory as the winner of this
year?s Bake Off ?nal.
People often say it is hard to get victims to come forward, but I have never
found this to be the case. If you make
yourself open, non-judgmental and if
you know what you are talking about,
people come and tell you when crap is
happening to them. I have been lining
up pro bono lawyers, making referrals,
listening to stories, reading over statements, arranging meetings for disclosure, helping people to report into this
or that process.
I have acted like a heavy and a nursemaid within the same half hour. Then,
in a moment of quiet, I?d nip down
from my office to grab a cup of tea and
walk past some of the men I knew were
lawyering up or trip over the chair of
the man we all know had been sexting
a teenager who came to him for a job.
There he was, keeping his diary
appointments, while I cancelled all
of mine to try to mop up their mess.
His diary appointments were probably with fancy bloody businesses or,
I don?t know, chats about how he?s
hopeful he?ll still win beard of the year.
I?m pleased he didn?t miss them; I am
sorry to all those I cancelled. I am sorry
to the victims of violence who needed
help in my constituency office where
I would normally be on a Thursday
and Friday. I am sorry to the people
whose emails I just haven?t got around
to answering. Perhaps I?ll forward last
week?s casework to Stephen Crabb for
him to handle ? he seems to be cracking
on. But, then again, probably best not:
I?m not sure the people with problem
neighbours want bothering with sexts.
I suppose we can say one thing for
the revelations so far ? there seems to
a grubby pairing system forming ? one
of ours lost the whip and so did one of
theirs. So worry not, good people of
the UK, the votes in parliament will
remain the same.
Most of the men I saw around
Westminster last week expressed solidarity and asked what they could do to
help. Some have been a brilliant support, giving both space and, where it
was needed, credibility to the women?s
voices. Some of my colleagues ? of both
sexes and most parties ? have, however,
plumped for the subtle discrediting of
the allegations. They have been acting
out pantomime dame levels of pearl
clutching: ?Must we be locked away
behind screens?? Or: ?I?d pass you the
milk, but I don?t want to be accused of
invading your space.?
Then there is the ?whataboutery?
of people wanting an exhaustive list
of exactly what is and isn?t acceptable. It?s as if every single public and
voluntary sector employer in the land
doesn?t already have a perfectly simple
safeguarding policy in place. Where
did these people come from? Add to
this a layer of newspapers and pundits,
shouting ?hysteria? and ?witch-hunt?
and the inevitable Twitter propaganda
bots, making out that caring about
sexual harassment when it happens
on your own side makes you a traitor
ready for the gulag. Plus: the women
telling us that a bit of knee touching
should be dismissed and expected
and we should jolly well toughen up.
Bingo ? you?ve got yourself a backlash.
So boring in its predictability, so toxic
in its effectiveness. But it wasn?t knee
touching that did it for Michael Fallon
was it? It was alleged sexual assault.
There was one positive to the week and
that was sorority. It happened cross
party, with Tory women ringing me
up to express dismay and seeking help
for their own woes. Others stepped up
to cover things while I met victims or
officials. The minister Anne Milton said
from the dispatch box, in a timely debate
on sexual harassment in our schools,
that parliament ?smelt of boys?. Theresa
May missed a trick (which seems to
be her party piece) when she picked
her new chief whip. If there was ever a
time she needed a woman such as Anne
Milton cracking the whip, it is now.
That said, the women of the Labour
party rocked last week. Without any
need for co-ordination, a feminist sixth
sense kicked in and we got it together.
Bex Bailey?s alleged rape and the news
of how the Labour party didn?t handle
it stepped up our long battle to improve
the sexual harassment policy in the
party.
Last week, a group of Labour MPs,
councillors and activists all spoke with
one voice in our demands for a robust,
independent system for handling
sexual harassment. Never would one
of us appear without pushing our goal.
Stella Creasy, whose office is opposite
mine, had a sort of WWF wrestling
tag team thing going on. We would tag
each other into the battle as we also
tried to carry on with our actual jobs.
She burst into my office at one point,
when I was with some visitors, and we
managed to have a whole campaign
planning ?conversation? without either
of us actually speaking. Feminist semaphore or femaphore.
There was the sharing out, among
many female MPs and the activists who
were pushing with us, of the gruelling
media rounds to get the message out
and constant contact with the party,
the leader?s office. Every evening,
some emergency meeting; every late
night, a conversation with one woman
or another about what the next steps
were for the following eight hours.
It felt like the politics and the practice
I came into parliament for. Alas, it was
in response to the politics and the practice I came in to stop. Reader, we won.
See you this week for more of the爏ame.
Jess Phillips is MP for Birmingham
Yardley
36 | COMMENT
*
Letters+emails
THE BIG ISSUE SOCIAL HOUSING
The Haringey Development Vehicle
(HDV), a joint venture between the
council and a multinational property
developer, addresses the needs of
9,000 households for council homes,
according to Dave Hill (?Regeneration
? or excluding the poor? Labour
divides in bitter housing battle?,
Viewpoint, last week), but the ?gures
don?t add up.
Only 2,000 of the 5,000 new units
to be built will be ?affordable?, when
what is needed is social housing at
50-60% of market value, and the plan
to bulldoze the Northumberland Park
estate will displace a further 1,300
households, so where is the bene?t to
council tenants?
Who will ensure the tenants?
interests in a 50-50 joint venture
deal with a multinational developer?
The current council administration
handed over Hornsey town hall and its
back lot for a mere �5m even when
the foreign buyer, FEC, had forecast
pro?ts of �m with its planning
application.
Last week, residents learned �5m
is now to be handed back to FEC as
an incentive for the building of 11
?affordable? units, yet Claire Kober,
the leader of the council, professed to
know nothing about it.
How can this team be trusted with
HDV, a gamble involving �n of our
public assets?
There are alternatives. In
neighbouring Hackney, a huge
regeneration project will deliver 2,760
homes and more than 30% are for
social rent.
Opposition to HDV has nothing to
Last week?s article by Dave Hill.
do with alleged ?ideological purity?. It
is about informed concern that poorer
citizens of Haringey have a home, now
and in future.
Holly Aylett
Haringey
Both as a Haringey resident and as
a professor of urban development
economics, I object to Dave Hill?s
article for its supercilious ad hominem
style and for being so wrong in its
judgments.
It is pretty clear that those
on housing lists have a better
chance of homes they can afford if
?regeneration? is minimised.
And with a more progressive
government now on the cards, it?s
bizarre to make a 20-year commitment
to the kind of property development
represented by the HDV and
Lendlease.
Michael Edwards
UCL Bartlett School of Planning,
London N4
FOR THE RECORD
An ambiguous paragraph in a piece on a
London council?s housing regeneration
scheme may have given the impression
that the opposition in Haringey?s
council chamber is made up of Green
and Socialist Workers party activists,
anarchists and Liberal Democrats. To
be clear: Labour has 49 councillors on
the council; eight Liberal Democrat
councillors form the opposition
(?Regeneration ? or excluding the
poor? Labour divides in bitter housing
battle?, Viewpoint, page 30).
A piece on digital disruption (?Trump,
Assange, Bannon, Farage? bound
together in an unholy alliance?,
Comment, last week, page 33), said
that the broadcaster RT, formerly
known as Russia Today, ?was banned
How does a wholly owned vehicle
work?
State aid rules dictate that it has
to repay a loan at a commercial rate.
So the new vehicle will need to make
decent margins on new developments
to meet the costs.
This will necessitate a mix of
to-buy properties and enough rent
revenue to cover costs.
It would be interesting to see what
proportion of social rent homes
would be ?nancially viable in such a
scheme. Hopefully, more than 30%,
but de?nitely not 100%.
So the council-owned vehicle will
also face hard choices in providing
social rent homes within mixed
developments.
There would also be the issue
of land. If councillors such as
Pat Berryman want to keep
Northumberland Park as it is, where
else would you build?
And is he really happy with the
stock that currently exists there, most
of which are two- bedroom homes at
best, I believe? Plus that?s an awful lot
of risk borne totally by the council.
So, yes, it can be done, but there are
many risks and questions, very few of
which I have heard answered.
Of course, the council could ?nance
a couple of hundred units but that
doesn?t come close to demand.
Or we can tell everyone to sit tight
and wait for a Labour government
to come along and legislate to allow
councils to borrow to build, which is
by far the most sensible solution to
the problem.
Posted online
TOP 10 ONLINE LAST WEEK
last week from Twitter?. The ban
extends only to its advertising, which
Twitter announced it was excluding
following its investigations and the US
intelligence community?s conclusion
that RT attempted to interfere with
the election on behalf of the Russian
government.
Usage corner: ?? risking plenty in
order to affect change ??: affect (alter);
effect (bring about). (First paragraph,
?A year on from Trump?s pussy grab,
nothing has changed?, Magazine, last
week, page 3).
Write to Stephen Pritchard, Readers?
Editor, the Observer, 90 York Way,
London N1 9GU, email observer.
readers@observer.co.uk tel 0203 353 4656
WRITE TO US
Letters, which may be edited, should include a full name and postal address and be sent to:
Letters to the Editor, The Observer, Kings Place, 90 York Way, London N1 9GU (to be received by
noon Thursday). Fax: 020 3353 3189. Email: observer.letters@observer.co.uk (please insert
Letters to the Editor in subject ?eld). For conditions go to http://gu.com/letters-terms
Our universities betray both
reason and humanity
Joint ventures leave poorest at
mercy of property developers
Read them at observer.co.uk
1. Home O?ce letter tells EU citizen to
?go home or go elsewhere?
2. Trump, Assange, Bannon, Farage? an
unholy alliance Carole Cadwalladr
3. Night of the living dead? Frankie Boyle
4. Trump breaks Twitter?s rules, so why
not ban him? Hannah Jane Parkinson
5. Kathy Burke: ?Lifelong member of
the non-pretty working classes?
6. How Terry Richardson created porn
?chic? and moulded the look of an era
7. My bridesmaid keeps being nasty.
Should I uninvite her? Dear Mariella
8. Tory donors tell May: no deal is better
than a bad Brexit
9. England Under-17s? World Cup win
10. Michael Hutchence: in the eye of
the storm
05.11.17
I admire Will Hutton?s writings
enormously, but I have to disagree
when he holds up our universities as
centres of enlightenment (?Leftie?
Yes, and proud to be among those
upholding Enlightenment values?,
Comment, last week).
For more than 40 years, I have
argued that universities, as at present
constituted, betray both reason
and humanity. If universities really
devoted reason to the task of helping
to promote human welfare they would
give absolute intellectual priority to
improving the articulation of our grave
global problems and proposing and
critically assessing possible solutions.
Intelligent public education about
what our problems are, and what we
should do about them, would be a
primary academic task. The pursuit of
knowledge would be important, but
secondary. The basic intellectual aim
would be not specialised knowledge
but social wisdom.
That is not how our universities
are organised or what they seek to
do. Much worse, even though the
argument that they betray both reason
and humanity has been in the public
domain for more than 40 years, it has
been ignored.
Nicholas Maxwell
Emeritus reader, University College
London
Barbuda must pay its way
Barbuda seems to have been
particularly badly hit by Hurricane
Irma and is demanding that the UK
taxpayer give large amounts towards
its reconstruction (News, last week).
The UK has already pledged �m in
addition to the cost of the relief efforts
to help tax havens in the Caribbean hit
by the hurricane.
These are places where extremely
wealthy individuals and companies
register in order not to contribute to
the UK community. It is not right that
they should now be subsidised by
UK taxpayers while we, apparently,
cannot even afford to fund our own
public services. It is right to help in an
emergency, but these places must now
tax these people properly and they
should fund any reconstruction.
Tax avoiders must not be allowed
to freeload off UK taxpayers. Both
governments should wake up.
C Terry
London SW18
Super?cial observation
Lucy Rock?s interview with Esther
Perel (?Having an affair need not end
a marriage. In fact, it can be healthy?,
News, last week) managed to include
the lines ?... she declares, ?ashing plum
coloured nail varnish and delicate
gold hand chains as she gesticulates?
and ?... she says, ?icking back her
asymmetrical caramel-streaked bob
and ?xing me with eyes lined with
smoky black eyeliner?. Horror. A
fashionable, successful woman wears
nail varnish, has a decent hairstyle
and knows how to apply eye make-up.
Come on, you can do better.
Marion Redfern
Bromborugh, Wirral
Perils of being an immigrant
Nick Cohen?s call that Brexit is a crisis
of citizenship is more signi?cant than
he suggests (?Where are the heroes
who will lead the Brexit retreat??,
Comment, last week).
Most of the ?Ugandan Asians?
who Idi Amin sought to expel in 1972
were British citizens. The 27,000 who
subsequently settled here had the
right to do so under the 1948 British
Nationality Act. That Britain wished to
refuse them entry was a consequence
of Commonwealth Immigration
Acts, which gradually stripped rights
away from darker citizens within the
Commonwealth.
The wish to exclude EU citizens
from the body politic is, thus, not
new; it builds on previous exclusions
by which Britain turned citizens
into migrants and made their rights
precarious.
Prof Gurminder K Bhambra
University of Sussex
No cure for bumptious bores!
David Bradnack (Letters, last
week)says it is not clear why smokers
and the overweight should receive
equal priority in healthcare. Why stop
at that? Why not deprioritise anyone
who crosses the road, participates
in sports, ventures out in the rain or
any of a thousand risky behaviours?
Oh, and what about self-righteous,
pompous, judgmental bores?
Andy Cook
Holm?rth
Monarch pensions are safe
I was disappointed by your article
?Monarch collapse leaves yet another
pension fund up in the air? (Business,
15 October). The Monarch pension
fund is not ?up in the air?. The scheme
transferred to the PPF in 2016. All
members are protected and there are
no implications for them following
the recent insolvency. The article also
incorrectly implies that companies are
able to ?dump? their pensions into the
PPF. We and the Pensions Regulator
have a hard line on this.
The PPF is in a ?nancially strong
position with reserves of �1bn.
Our Funding Strategy shows we are
on course to meet all current and
future claims with a high degree of
certainty. Before we existed, people
who had worked all their lives saving
for retirement were sometimes left
with nothing when their employer
went bust. We need to avoid wrongly
creating fear that the situation might
be returning.
Alan Rubenstein
Chief Executive, Pension Protection Fund
The rise in child poverty is frightening as well as shocking
Darren
ey
McGarvey
@lokiscottishrap
T
he study by the Institute for
Fiscal Studies predicting a sharp
rise in child poverty will provoke the usual, commendable,
shrieks of indignation. When news
that more children than ever before
are soon to be con?ned to economic
deprivation, it?s sure to inspire a slew of
robust dinner party debates.
The overriding emotion anyone
should be feeling at news that in excess
of a third of British children will soon
be growing up in relative poverty is
fear. The tidal wave of social problems
racing towards all of us because of this
unsustainable inequality has the potential to overwhelm society.
The cracks are already beginning to
show. Take the various constitutional
crises gripping Europe. Regardless of
the political composition of the movement, the grievance that provokes is
invariably the same: political and economic marginalisation underscored by
the most galling wealth polarisation.
I?m one of those formerly ?poor
people? vomited up from the gaping
class wound at the heart of British
society to offer ?shocking?, ?inspiring?
testimony about the adversity they
have since transcended. You might
?nd me recounting the day my drunk
mum chased me with a knife or see me
on television looking very bored as I
explain, yet again, that I managed to
avoid smoking crack because somebody knocked on the front door as the
pipe was being passed to me.
I?m one of structural poverty?s most
comforting cultural tropes: the survivor who lived to tell the tale.
It?s now commonplace to point out
the correlation between poverty and
nearly every other social problem you
care to mention. Not just economic
hardship, but poverty of the sort that
fertilises cultures of abuse. This problem transcends left/right politics and
will eventually overwhelm any society
that refuses to deal with it.
When these problems ?are up, they
are rarely contained within a household or a community. Instead, they
spill into our society and multiply,
at a massive cost to us all. They spill
into overcrowded casualty and highdependency hospital wards. They spill
into six-month waiting lists to access
clinical psychologists and psychiatric
counselling facilities. They spill into
overrun social work departments and
inundated supported accommodation
projects barely keeping their heads
above water. They spill into stressful
housing offices, packed to capacity
crisis centres and outmoded addictions services. And, for some, they spill
into police stations, courts, children?s
homes, secure units, young offender
institutions and prisons.
Poverty is not only about a lack of
employment or opportunity but about
having no margin for error while
living in constant stress and emotional
unpredictability. For many children
growing up in the chaos, deprivation
leaves them emotionally dis?gured
and physiologically primed for chronic
health problems.
What do you think is driving
many of our current social problems
where crime, violence, homelessness, addiction and the mental health
epidemic are concerned? It all begins
with a child living in social deprivation.
And when it comes to the scourge of
child neglect and abuse, poverty is the
factory ?oor.
For now, the problems remain contained, con?ned only to the communities we call ?deprived?, where the poor
can be monitored, surveyed, policed
and punished. But only for so long.
Action on poverty will require a farreaching, long-term political consensus. It will require compromises and
excruciating levels of humility from
all of us, including the poor. This may
require us to become willing to admit
we may be wrong about some things
and that there are no easy solutions or
clear villains.
In other words, the situation can
seem hopeless.
A great irony of British life is that
lower-class people are often regarded,
by their affluent superiors, as being
a little coarse and unsophisticated,
rough around the edges ? when the
true vulgarity on display is the apathy
of many of those who regard themselves as educated and insightful; those
who blindly believe, from the comfort
of their economically gated communities, that this untenable status quo,
built on sand, won?t soon collapse in on
itself, as the coming wave of social dysfunction crashes aground and washes
us all away.
Darren McGarvey?s Poverty Tourism
has just been published
05.11.17
*
| 37
Contact us Email financial@theguardian.com
Phone 020 3353 4791 Fax 020 3353 3196
Business
Agenda Seasonal uncertainty
MAKING THE NEWS
Santa may be coming to
town, but are shoppers?
Christmas is still seven weeks away,
but, unsurprisingly, that does not stop
retailers getting into the festive spirit
early in the hope to attract crowds to
the tills. On Tuesday, singer Rita Ora
will turn on the Christmas lights on
Oxford Street to mark the beginning
of the festivities, close to Marks &
Spencer?s Marble Arch branch. But will
it be a merry Christmas for retailers?
This week both M&S and Sainsbury?s
will announce half-year results at an
uncertain time for the high street. A
recent survey from the CBI showed
high street sales falling at their fastest
rate since the height of the recession in
2009 as in?ation causes households to
put the brakes on spending. The cost of
groceries, clothes and electronics has
been rising since the Brexit vote last
year, piling pressure on shoppers.
Recently, Asda?s income tracker
found that there has been a slump on
the spending power of the average
household, while research from Lloyds
Bank found that families are feeling
the strain of the rising costs of living
compared with a year ago.
All of which could add up to a grim
Christmas for retailers as shoppers
struggle to deal with the post-Brexit
economy. A further warning was
sounded last week when Next reported
a fall in October high street sales.
Retailers will be hoping that Rita Ora
will be able to instil some festive cheer
to start off the shopping season.
How we do: Rita Ora to light up London.
Former Lloyds boss to
face music over HBOS
The former chief executive of Lloyds
Banking Group is expected to take
the stand in the high court this week
in the ongoing case surrounding the
B SHANE
BY
H
HICKEY
LAP OF LUXURY
VITAL STATISTIC
HOUSE PRICE FORECAST
circumstances that led to the rescue
of HBOS at the height of the ?nancial
crash in 2008. Some 6,000 Lloyds
investors, both private and corporate,
are claiming �0m in compensation
on the basis that they were not told
about loans made to struggling HBOS
? by the Bank of England as well as
Lloyds ? when they voted through the
takeover in November 2008.
The claim is against Lloyds and ?ve
of its former directors ? including
former chairman Sir Victor Blank
and former chief executive Eric
Daniels ? who are all contesting the
action. Daniels is due to take the stand
tomorrow, and the case is expected to
last into the new year.
Lloyds announced the HBOS deal
in September 2008, just days after the
collapse of Lehman Brothers, marking
the beginning of the ?nancial crash.
At the opening of the case last month,
lawyers for the shareholders claimed
that they had been ?mugged? by the
bank and its former directors. Lloyds,
which is also representing the former
directors, is contesting the action.
UK average
5%
4
2018-2022
7.1%
3
14.2%
2
1
0
-1
-2
2017
2018
2019
2020
2021
2022
London house price growth is forecast to
lag well behind other regions over the
next five years, reversing a trend
stretching back decades, according to a
new report from estate agent Savills.
PEOPLE
Quote of the week goes to Donald Trump.
?He?s strong, he?s committed, he?s smart,?
said the US president when he named
Jerome ?Jay? Powell as the new head of the
Federal Reserve.
A good week for Apple
chief executive Tim
Cook. On Thursday,
Apple shook o?
production problems with its latest iPhone
to report a 19% rise in pro?ts and recordsetting pre-sales of the iPhone X, the day
before its release. The company?s shares
hit a new high on the news, moving Apple,
now worth more than $868bn, closer to
becoming the world?s ?rst trillion-dollar
?rm. The tech company sold 46.7 million
of its ?agship iPhones in the last three
months, beating analysts? expectations
and generating revenues of $28.5m ? more
than half the $52.6bn it earned over the
quarter, which included the launch of the
iPhone 8 at the end of September.
Two pints of lager and a
packet of Brexit, please
Investors in the Wetherspoons pub
chain will be hitting the boozer
early this week for the AGM of
JD燱etherspoon. Of its 1,000
outlets, the company has chosen an
appropriate venue ? the Crosse Keys, a
former bank in the City ? but the 9am
start may be a little early for a pint.
Founder and chairman Tim Martin,
an eager Brexiter, told shareholders
that the new early start was to satisfy
calls from institutional investors for
more chance to ask questions. And this
year there will be a lot to discuss. In
September, Martin said the company
might have to switch to suppliers from
outside the EU as a result of Brexit, and
that the strong start to its ?nancial year
could not be sustained.
Drinkers in Wetherspoons pubs
cannot get away from the topic,
whether they want to or not. Last
week, the chain put 500,000 new
beer mats in its pubs, detailing the
?Wetherspoon Manifesto? of policies
the company believes the UK should
adopt. These include granting rights
of citizenship to legal EU immigrants,
eliminating import taxes on food from
outside the EU, and stopping ?paying
the EU �0m per week?.
Greater London
2018-2022
Cara Delevingne leads
the way at a Burberry
show. Getty
The new chief executive of Burberry,
Marco Gobbetti, can expect some questions this week about the departure of
Christopher Bailey from the fashion chain.
The company is set to unveil interim
results on Thursday, just over a week
after news that Bailey - who was credited
with transforming Burberry from a small
UK company into a global fashion brand
- would be leaving at the end of the year,
with a payout of up to �m. Gobbetti was
appointed as chief executive after inves-
tors grew uneasy about Bailey?s dual role
- chief creative designer and chief executive amid flagging sales - and his pay
packet. Gobbetti has been with the luxury
retailer since January and formally took
over as chief executive in July, when Bailey was given the title of president to go
with his creative title. Bailey will receive
his salary, pension and contractual cash
allowance and non-cash benefits until the
end of 2018, but no cash bonus will be paid
for the period after March.
A bad week for Sean Clarke, chief
executive of Asda. The
supermarket chain
has parted company
with him after only
18 months, despite
recent signs that a
trend of falling sales,
amid a price war with
Aldi and Lidl, was
being arrested. He
will be replaced by his
deputy Roger Burnley
when he steps down in December. The
move comes as established supermarkets
struggle to cope with the rapid expansion
of Aldi and Lidl in the UK. Asda, which had
bene?ted from a reputation for bargains,
has su?ered more than most from the
emergence of the German discounters.
Postscript A shock to the system
HOUSING
Ryanair shakes o? its
rostering problems
Unprecedented scenes
as interest rates ? rise
A whole generation of homeowners
experienced something they had never
encountered last week, when the Bank
of England announced the ?rst interest
rate rise in more than a decade.
The bank increased rates to 0.5%
from 0.25% on Thursday, reversing
emergency action taken in the
immediate aftermath of the Brexit
referendum. The move will cost the
average homeowner ? one with a
typical �5,000 mortgage ? about �
a month. Bank of England governor
Mark Carney said it was time ?to
ease our foot off the accelerator? but
sought to reassure both consumers and
businesses that this was not the start of
a sustained upward trend.
The monthly mortgage bill will rise �.
It is expected that there will be two
further quarter-point increases in rates
by the end of the decade, which will
leave them at 1%. While it will be costly
for those with mortgages, the rise will
be a long-awaited relief for savers, with
some banks immediately saying that
they would increase savings account
rates as a result. The government
has said that it expects to see the rise
passed on to savers.
Ryanair?s troubled recent history,
where a problem with rosters led to
a shortage of pilots, has failed to dent
its ?nancial performance. The airline
reported that pro?ts had risen 11% to
?1.29bn in the six months to the end of
September.
The airline said it had responded
quickly to the crisis which enveloped
it recently, and which could cost up
to ?50m and add about ?100m to its
annual wage bill.
Ryanair fares dipped by 5% over the
?rst half of the year but passengers
opting to pay for extras such as
reserved seating and priority boarding
helped offset this decline. Fares for the
full year are expected to fall by 4% to
6%, partly because the failure of rival
airlines has cut competition.
BREXIT
The immediate effect of Britain?s leaving the EU on the jobs market have
been detailed by the Bank of England,
which has warned that 10,000 jobs
could leave the City on ?day one?.
Sam Woods, a deputy governor of
the Bank, said that forecasts of 75,000
job losses over the long term were
?plausible? at an appearance before
Could 75,000 jobs go in financial services?
peers on the Lords EU ?nancial affairs
sub-committee on Wednesday.
The ?day one? losses are based on
responses Woods received from 400
banks and ?nancial ?rms required to
provide him with their contingency
plans for a hard Brexit. The estimate of
75,000 job losses was made by consultancy Oliver Wyman, and based on the
assumption that the UK would be left
to rely on WTO rules with no transition period after March 2019.
This estimate includes the knock-on
effect of fewer City jobs to other parts
of the economy. Woods said this was
not a Bank of England estimate, but
described it as being within a plausible
range of job losses that would happen
in the long term if the UK left the EU
without a trade deal. He said the actual
number was a ?moving feast? and that
the initial impact of about 10,000 roles
amounted to 2% of the total employed
in bank and insurance jobs, or less than
1% of ?nancial services jobs.
*
38 | BUSINESS
05.11.17
Sony comes back from the brink
After losing more than �n in 2012,
Japan?s tech giant is ?ghting back to
record pro?ts under Kazuo Hirai,
partly by working with Apple rather
than trying to beat it. Investments in
PlayStation and TV production have
also helped, writes Mark Sweney
S
ix years after reporting its
biggest-ever loss, Sony is no
longer a conglomerate in freefall. Last week the Japanese
group behind the Bravia TV
set, the PlayStation, Beyonc�
and the Spider-Man ?lms said it was on
track to set a new annual pro?t record ?
expecting to beat its previous corporate
best of �6bn (�5bn) by 20%.
It has been a long journey for the
group after years of underperformance
and missed targets, including most
recently a �0m writedown of its Sony
Pictures ?lm division. But at last week?s
quarterly results update, the company
stated that the ?lm unit was one of the
company?s strongest performers and
would help it beat the record pro?ts it
made in 1997-98: the year it released Men
in Black, and when Steve Jobs had yet to
release the Walkman-killing iPod.
Now, Sony is expected to make fullyear profits of �2bn. If the forecast
proves correct, it will be the fruit of
extensive restructuring efforts launched
by Kazuo Hirai, who took over as chief
executive from Sir Howard Stringer in
2012, in the wake of Sony reporting the
biggest loss in its 71-year history, of more
than �n.
For years a symbol of Japan?s technological prowess, Sony had paid the price
for being wrong-footed by rivals quicker
to invest and develop new technology,
such as South Korea?s Samsung in smart
TVs and Apple in devices such as the
iPod and iPhone.
?Consumer electronics went through
a difficult phase when traditional [Sony]
product categories like analogue TV and
Walkmans were disrupted by new
products with better capabilities
provided by new companies that
took market share,? said Damian
Thong, a Japan-based analyst for
investment bank Macquarie.
?Sony was slow to respond
to these threats ? And when
they did there was an ongoing debate about how they
should address it. The company used a lot of resources
and wasted significant
opportunities. They took
their eye off the ball. For
many years, Sony saw its
traditional leading presence in consumer electronics slip away.?
In stepped Hirai, who had been a
major force in the success of the PlayStation game console, which remains
Sony?s crown jewel. The lifelong Sony
employee decided to emulate Steve
Jobs?s strategy for turning around an ailing Apple when he rejoined the company
in the late 1990s: less is more.
He took the axe to Sony?s sprawling
consumer electronics business, focusing only on areas in which it had a realistic chance of competing. It pulled out
of areas such as personal computers,
lithium batteries for phones and niche
hard-to-justify ventures such as digital
alarm clocks. As a result, products like
the Bravia TV have ?ourished under a
less distracted management.
?The company wanted to focus
resource on producing the best possible products,? says Thong. ?Make a
few products but make them very good.
This is what Apple did in its turnaround
phase. Sony wasn?t as extreme as Apple,
but look at the line of new products in
the past few years: examples include one
of the best TVs out there, and cameras.?
While Sony?s own smartphone business has continued to shrink in the face
of ?erce competition (sales have fallen
from 33 million units in 2012 to just 14.6
million last year), Hirai cleverly moved
into providing the smartphone image
sensors ? which help cameras focus
and increase image quality ? found in all
mobile phones.
Now Apple, with its popular iPhone,
is now one of Sony?s most valuable partners, helping drive revenues for the division from zero to �89bn in a few
years. Macquarie estimates Sony
has captured half of the global
market for this technology. With
an eye on the next opportunity,
Sony is upping its investment in
image sensors for driverless cars.
Hirai?s other major
focus has been to keep
the PlayStation juggernaut on track. Sales of
the PS4 will reach 80
Hirai with Sony?s robot
?entertainment dog?, Aibo.
million units this year, and the games
division, including its online PlayStation
network of 70 million paying users, is the
single biggest contributor to Sony?s revenue. This year the division will account
for 24% of revenue and almost 29% of
operating pro?t.
?It has sold faster than any other PlayStation, accounts for almost a third of
pro?ts and has outsold Microsoft?s Xbox
by a factor of two,? said Thong.
Business is also looking up for Sony
Pictures, which is set for its best year at
the box office since 2014 thanks to ?lms
such as Spider-Man: Homecoming, Baby
Driver and Blade Runner 2049. Renewed
optimism over the ?lm unit comes only
months after a $1bn writedown, fuelling
speculation that it could be sold.
Until recently the studio was hampered by the blockbuster-driven nature
of Hollywood success: Spider-Man is
its only global franchise, with the latest ?lm pulling in $900m globally. But
the rise of high-end TV production has
proved a boon: Sony?s TV arm is a coproducer of Net?ix?s �0m epic The
Crown and other credits include Breaking Bad and US hit The Blacklist.
?In 2012, ?lm was more than 60% of
the ?lm and TV division revenues; by
the end of last year it accounted for less
than half,? says Richard Broughton, of
Ampere Analysis, who adds that selling
content to streaming businesses like
Net?ix and Amazon has become a key
earner for Sony.
?TV and ?lm licensing, to Sky, Netflix, Amazon or whoever are an increasingly important, stable and growing
revenue stream. Over a third of Sony?s
revenues are from gaming and television/?lm.?
Sony Music, whose artists include
Beyonc�, Shakira and AC/DC, has bene?ted from the rise of digital services
such as Spotify and Apple Music. Earlier
this week, the company raised its rev-
enue target for 2017 by 16% to �89bn,
in part thanks to the rapid growth in
streaming sales.
However, analysts said that another
contributor to the division?s strong performance is the runaway success of a
smartphone role-playing game called
Fate/Grand Order, which was developed
by an arm of Sony Music. The online
game has become a surprise mega-hit in
Japan, making about $300m of pro?t a
year, according to Macquarie.
Its con?dence regained, Sony is now
looking for its next big hit and, like all
its tech peers, has identified artificial
intelligence as a potential breakthrough
area. Last week Hirai made a public
statement of Sony?s intent to continue
to invest and innovate by reincarnating
its cuddly Aibo robo-dog from the 1990s
as a 21st-century AI-infused hound. The
?rst batch sold out online in 30 minutes
? further proof that Sony and Hirai could
be on the right track.
Airbus braces for a di?cult landing after a year
of allegations, investigations and confessions
by David Pegg and Rob Evans
?Prepare for turbulent and confusing
times? is rarely a reassuring injunction,
least of all in an all-staff email from
the boss. But those were the words
of Thomas Enders, chief executive
of Airbus, as he warned employees
in October that they would soon be
reading about yet another allegation of
corruption in the morning papers.
Within days the German magazine
Der Spiegel had published a lengthy
investigative piece alleging that
Europe?s largest aerospace multinational had operated a London slush
fund, distributing millions of dollars
to accounts held by companies in tax
havens. Before the month was out, the
?rm would reveal to investors that it
had reported itself to authorities in the
US, this time over potentially breaching regulations on the use of agents to
sell sensitive weapons technology.
Two damaging corruption allegations in one month might seem like
remarkably bad luck. But for Airbus,
which employs 15,000 people at factories in the UK, they are simply the
latest developments in what has been a
remarkably difficult year.
The company?s legal woes are a
result of its use of ?commercial agents?
? intermediaries who specialise in ?dif?cult? territories where they can assist
multinationals in securing contracts.
Often characterised as consultancy,
such work can be legitimate where
it involves technical advice, such as
regulatory best practice when bidding
for a government contract. In other
instances, it is nothing more than a
euphemism for knowing who to bribe.
Illicit dealings with intermediaries
lay behind the record-breaking �1m
?ne issued to Rolls-Royce earlier this
year, after it admitted using agents to
pay bribes in 11 countries. By agreeing
the settlement, the company escaped a
prosecution, which could have borne
potentially lethal consequences since
many countries refuse to do business
with any entity with a corruption
conviction. Such a fate may still await
Rolls-Royce?s senior management, who
remain under criminal investigation by
the Serious Fraud Office.
Enders?s hope is that Airbus can
secure a similar outcome ? punishment that is severe, but not capital ? by
pursuing a similar policy of proactively
reporting past offences. According
to the company, that plan originated
in 2014, when a review of payments
to suppliers uncovered ?a number
of compliance red ?ags, including
misstatements and omissions to UK
government agencies?.
Known investigations into the company?s conduct include:
A UK Serious Fraud Office probe
into allegedly misleading statements
made by Airbus to UK Export Finance,
the government department that
provides commercial support for major
deals. The investigation concerns
whether Airbus lied to the government about its use of intermediaries.
It is understood that Airbus has not
received any further support from
05.11.17
BUSINESS | 39
*
? and it?s not all down to Spidey
Sony stalwarts:
(clockwise from
main) the latest
Spider-Man film
made it $900m;
the Walkman,
which was killed
off by the iPod; the
PS4 is set to sell
80m units this
year; and the
iPhone X has Sony
image sensors.
Columbia Pictures
MORE TALES OF JAPANESE WOE
Sony is not the only Japanese company
to face corporate di?culties in the past
decade. For some, such as Nintendo, the
problem was market pressures but others,
such as Toyota, Toshiba, Kobe Steel and
Olympus, have had to deal with scandals
that almost destroyed them.
the largest ever imposed on a carmaker,
to end a US criminal investigation, and last
month, criminal charges were dismissed.
By 2012 Toyota had regained its position
as the world?s biggest car manufacturer, a
title it held for four years, relinquishing it to
Volkswagen last year.
Toyota
In 2009, Toyota?s reputation was
severely tarnished in the aftermath of
its recall of 9 million vehicles because of
accelerator pedal, brake, seat belt and
exhaust problems that caused a number
of deaths. Leaked emails showed Toyota
sta? boasting about how they had saved
the company $100m by persuading
US regulators that they did not need to
implement a full recall.
In 2014, Toyota agreed to a $1.2bn ?ne,
Kobe Steel
Japan?s third-biggest steelmaker is
embroiled in a deepening scandal
over the quality of its products,
including aluminium and copper
used in cars, aircraft, rockets
and defence equipment. It
has admitted falsifying data,
a?ecting more than 200
customers - including Nissan,
Ford, Toyota, Honda and Boeing.
Kobe Steel?s shares fell more
UKEF since it was informed of the
allegations in April last year.
An investigation by the Parquet
National Financier, the French equivalent of the SFO, into the same allegations. France?s and Germany?s export
credit agencies (partner departments
to UKEF) are also investigating the
extent of the problems, a situation
complicated by the fact that the two
governments each own 11% of Airbus.
An internal investigation that
the company is understood to have
launched after the Guardian uncovered
a series of curious transactions involving an exchange of shares between two
companies that it secretly controlled.
Chief executive Thomas Enders warned
staff of ?turbulent and confusing times?.
An Austrian investigation into allegations of fraud and wilful deception
over a $2bn deal for the purchase of
Euro?ghter warplanes. The underlying
allegations are unconnected to the selfreporting strategy and Airbus denies
any wrongdoing. It commissioned a
review of the allegations by the law
?rm Clifford Chance in 2012, which it
says found no evidence of corruption
involving the sale.
The US disclosures are the latest
to augur potential damage. During a
conference call with shareholders last
Tuesday, the company revealed that
it had informed the US state department about inaccuracies discovered
in historical regulatory ?lings about
its use of commercial agents. The ?lings related to the US International
traffic in arms regulations, which are
intended to preserve American control
over sensitive weapons technology.
Airbus continues to permit the use of
commercial agents to secure contracts,
though privately insists that they operate with strict controls.
Prominent anti-corruption organisations are demanding that the company
pay a severe price for its past transgressions. ?Airbus?s regulatory woes get
worse by the day. It is time for Airbus
to come fully clean about the scale of
any wrongdoing and to properly clear
than 40%, and boss Hiroya Kawasaki has
conceded that the company now has
?zero credibility?.
Olympus
Michael Woodford, Olympus?s ?rst nonJapanese boss, was ?red two weeks into
the job in 2011 after he blew the whistle
on one of the biggest cover-ups of
losses in Japanese corporate history.
The 13-year cover-up, involving
unexplained payments worth
around $1.7bn, prompted
an 82% share price dive
and almost destroyed
the 98-year-old camera
maker. In 2013, the
company and three former
executives pleaded guilty to
cover-up charges.
out its stables,? said Sue Hawley of
Corruption Watch.
?Airbus?s alleged wrongdoing is now
global in scope and egregious in nature.
It is essential that law enforcement
and regulators around the world take
a robust line with Airbus and that the
victims of any alleged wrongdoing,
particularly in poorer countries, are
properly compensated.?
Shareholders ? for the time being
? appear to be more sanguine. Credit
Suisse issued a memo earlier this
week advising that, until the scope of
any ?nancial penalties were known,
it considered the principal risk for
shareholders was merely ?a likely delay
in any decision to increase shareholder爎eturns?.
Enders appears to enjoy the support of the Airbus board, which has
issued a public statement backing his
strategy of proactive self-reporting.
In his letter to all Airbus employees,
Enders warned them that the corruption investigations were going to take
a long time to complete, but implored
them to ?focus on your work? or, in
good British tradition, keep calm and
carry on?.
If you would like to pass on information
in con?dence, you can send a message
via our SecureDrop service.
Toshiba
In July 2015, chief executive Hisao Tanaka
resigned over a scandal relating to $1.2bn
in overstated operating pro?ts. A report
found that the pro?t manipulation dated
back seven years: a pressurised culture
imposed by two other chief executives led
business heads to manipulate ?gures in
order to hit targets.
The Japanese government said the
scandal threatened to undermine investor
con?dence in the country. ?I see this as the
most damaging event for our brand in the
company?s 140-year history,? Tanaka said
as he resigned.
Nintendo
Nintendo has experienced more ups and
downs than Mario (right) in the company?s
best-selling video game franchise. In the
noughties the company found its share of
the console market squeezed by Sony?s
PlayStation and Microsoft?s Xbox. In 2006,
the launch of the Nintendo Wii, which
targeted casual players ignored by rivals
with products such as Wii Sport and Wii Fit,
revived its fortunes.
Six years later its successor, the
Wii U, failed abysmally at a time when
smartphone games started to pose a
major threat to Nintendo?s casual gaming
audience. However, earlier this year,
Nintendo?s share price hit a seven-year
high and brie?y overtook Sony?s market
value thanks to the arrival of the Switch.
The bestselling device, a hybrid of a
traditional home console and a handheld
gaming machine, has stemmed an eightyear sales decline and doubled annual
operating pro?t.
40 | BUSINESS
*
Analysis
05.11.17
We?ve got the boring choice for chairman
of the Fed, but these are interesting times
Oil is up: but what
would really help
renewables is
costlier carbon
BUSINESS LEADER
H
J
erome Powell was Wall Street?s
choice to run the Federal Reserve.
Given Donald Trump?s record on
doing the unexpected, there was
always the chance the president
would pick another candidate, but
for once he did not make waves.
Powell was the business-as-usual
candidate. Nothing he has said or done
since he ?rst joined the Fed?s board ?ve
years ago suggests he intends to make
life difficult for Trump or rattle the
?nancial markets. Well, not deliberately at least, for while Powell is the
boring choice, he may not necessarily
prove to be the safe choice.
Clearly, the safest choice would
have been for Trump to appoint Janet
Yellen for a second term as chair of
the world?s most powerful central
bank. After all, she has presided over
a period in which the US economy
has grown, unemployment has fallen
steadily and in?ation has remained
below its target. What?s more, without
any real tremors, she took the ?rst
steps towards the normalisation of
monetary policy by edging up interest
rates and starting to unwind the Fed?s
quantitative easing programme.
This is quite a task, because all
central banks are to an extent ?ying
blind. Their models tell them that falling unemployment should by now have
led to a signi?cant pick-up in wage
in?ation, but that?s not happening. The
chances of policy error are high.
Washington politics explains why
Powell has a seat on the board. Barack
Obama wanted Jeremy Stein to ?ll one
of two vacancies, but thought his nominee might be blocked by a Republicandominated Senate. Needing a
Republican makeweight to ease Stein?s
passage, Obama chose Powell.
Nothing that has happened since
suggested that Powell was destined
for greater things. His boilerplate
speeches have tended to focus on
regulation, and when straying into the
realm of monetary policy he has been
careful not to deviate from whatever
the current Fed orthodoxy might be.
Had Trump lost the presidential race,
Jerome Powell with Donald Trump: the president wanted a chair with a softly, softly approach. Photograph by Michael Reynolds/EPA
there would not have been the slightest chance of Powell getting the top
job. Churchill?s put-down of Attlee ? a
modest man with much to be modest
about ? summed him up.
Churchill was, of course, wrong
about Attlee, and it is possible that
Powell will go on to be one of the alltime great Fed chairmen. But it seems
unlikely. Trump did not want Yellen
because she was a Democrat. He didn?t
want John Taylor or Kevin Warsh
because they think the Fed needs to get
ahead of the curve on in?ation by raising interest rates more quickly.
What the president wanted was a
Republican without particularly strong
views on monetary policy, someone
who would continue with Yellen?s
softly, softly approach to raising rates
but would be ready to roll back some of
the post-crisis regulations imposed on
the ?nancial sector. By those criteria,
Powell was the perfect choice.
And, in the right circumstances, he
may do just ?ne. If monetary policy
is all about the occasional tweak to
interest rates ? as it was in the Great
Moderation of the 1990s ? there will be
little to fear. Things will get trickier if
it proves harder than the Fed thinks to
steer the US economy between recession and in?ation, or if a crisis arrives
from an unexpected quarter.
Unlike Yellen or her predecessor Ben Bernanke, Powell is not an
economist. He is a lawyer by training,
and has worked in investment banking and private equity. Being a trained
economist is not everything. There
have been trained economists ? Arthur
Burns in the 1970s, for example ? who
have made a right pig?s ear of running
the Fed.
But equally there are times ? such
as when Mario Draghi rescued the
euro from its existential crisis in 2012
? when being a journeyman is not suf?cient. And there is nothing in Powell?s
CV or his time at the Fed to suggest he
is anything more than that.
Low fares help to keep Ryanair ?ying as high as ever
R
yanair bosses chose not to
face the press last week when
announcing half-yearly results�
an absence surely unrelated to a
decision in September to cancel thousands of ?ights due to lack of pilots.
Yet what the airline had to report
was bulging pro?ts, followed by news
of its busiest October, cancellations
or not. Plenty of pilots remain
disgruntled, despite the airline?s deep
delve into its pockets to prevent an
exodus to competitors.
The rotas ?asco was never likely
to be a ?Ratners moment? for chief
executive Michael O?Leary, a man who
had long made an art of upsetting his
customers. But Ryanair looks to have
been barely jolted by the turbulence
? and now, as competitors fall by the
wayside, it forecasts higher revenues
for the winter.
Not that much higher, though:
this autumn?s lesson will reaffirm
O?Leary?s conviction that the only
way Ryanair could lose its passengers
would be by raising fares.
igh oil prices are a boon for the
renewables industry. The higher
the price of consuming black
gold, the more consumers will
be prepared to try alternatives, from
solar to wind. So the industry might
have been expected to cheer the surge
last week in Brent crude prices to near
a two-year high of $60 a barrel.
Yet the steep cuts in the cost of
offshore wind and especially solar
electricity generation mean that the
economics are already running in their
favour. In some countries, wind and
solar power are now cost-competitive
with oil, coal and natural gas-?red
power plants, even when carbon
emissions are not priced in.
That leaves the momentum with
renewables, even when the oil price
falls ? as it did in 2014, when the price
of a barrel tumbled from around
$115 over 18 months to less than $40
in January 2016. And that?s just as
well, since oil prices are unlikely to
rise much more, despite the public
statements from Opec and Russia that
they will hold back about 1.8m barrels
per day until next spring in an attempt
to push prices higher.
There is more to come from the
Americans, who mothballed many of
their derricks before hurricane Harvey
hit the Gulf. So US production, despite
hitting its highest level for at least
three decades, is likely to rise further.
That?s not to say governments
can relax and watch renewables win
the day. Putting a price on carbon
emissions remains important when
global temperatures are rising fast.
Unfortunately, the European system
of carbon credits, which is supposed
to tax heavy carbon users, is mired
in controversy after several years
of handing out credits that make it
cheaper to belch out CO2 than invest in
environmentally friendly alternatives.
The market price for credits is ?6 a
tonne when it needs to be nearer ?50.
The remedy is for governments to
sidestep the failed market in carbon
credits and impose a steeper cost on
users. That would help much more
than a rise in oil prices.
Struggling Brexit Britain can barely a?ord this rise in rates
IN MY VIEW
EW
W
William
Keegan
Y
ou can look at it two ways. After
ten years of inertia, Bank rate
has doubled. Or: after 10 years
of inertia, Bank rate has been
raised by one quarter of one per cent, to
half of one per cent. Big deal!
Of course, for most businesses
and individuals, the official rate
is meaningless. It is the rate to
which everything else is geared, but
everything else is usually a lot higher
than 0.25% or 0.5%. We read reports
daily of how so many desperate
borrowers ?nd themselves struggling
to pay the usurious interest rates
associated with credit card debt.
Personally, had I been a member of
the Bank?s monetary policy committee,
I should not have voted for an increase
at this juncture. The combination
of austerity and the impact of the
referendum-induced 15% devaluation
of the pound is having a manifest
impact on real incomes and retailing.
The recent CBI news on the trend of
retail sales was, well, terrible.
I agree with Governor Carney and
the colleagues who do not like to be out
of step with him that official rates look
absurdly low by historical standards.
In an ideal world, they should be
?normalised?. But we are where we
are: a British economy which, unlike
many others, is in the doldrums and
which ? as the governor, to his credit,
repeatedly points out ? is heading from
the doldrums into stormy waters if
Brexit goes ahead.
Monetary policy has, these last
10 years, been aimed at trying to
counteract the deleterious impact of
a seriously misconceived policy of
austerity, which has had the effect of
not only damaging so many people?s
living standards but also dampening
con?dence and the investment that
would help to boost productivity. And
now the prospect of Brexit!
Michael Bloomberg, with, perhaps, a
touch of hyperbole, recently described
Brexit as ?the single stupidest thing
any country has ever done?. He later
added: ?I did say that I thought it
was the single stupidest thing any
country has ever done, but then we [the
Americans] Trumped it.?
It has become a commonplace for
people to say: ?At least the Americans
can get rid of Trump in four years?
time, whereas the damage from Brexit
will be long-lasting.?
The case for reversing the
referendum decision becomes more
and more obvious as the problems
mount. It is increasingly clear that
the government is in the process of
disintegration. One of the former
Remainer Theresa May?s many
mistakes was to place herself at the
mercy of the a small core of Brexit
ideologues, nearly all of whom think
they are doing the work that their
great爃eroine Margaret Thatcher
would have done.
It was therefore an important
contribution to the debate when Sir
Charles Powell, the Foreign Office
civil servant who could read the
former prime minister?s mind as well
as anyone, gave a lecture recently on
In an ideal world, rates
should be normalised.
But we are where we
are: a British economy
in the doldrums
?Margaret Thatcher and Europe?.
Powell worked directly for Thatcher
from 1983 to 1991, and remained in
touch with her thereafter. As he said: ?I
attended every European meeting, and
every bilateral meeting with European
leaders, that she held.?
For a start, she would not have held
a referendum. In common with her
great predecessor Clement Attlee,
she regarded them as instruments
of dictators, popular with Hitler and
Mussolini. A lawyer herself, she had no
problems with the role of the European
court of justice, the institution with
which Brexiters who go on about
?sovereignty? are so obsessed.
Powell referred to her famous
Bruges speech of 1988. That speech
has been misrepresented as ?the
Eurosceptic charter?. The key
passage conveniently overlooked
by Eurosceptics reads as follows:
?Britain does not dream of some cosy
isolated existence on the fringes of the
European community. Our destiny is
in Europe as part of the community ?
I want to see us work more closely on
the things we can do better together
than alone.?
Of course she did not want us
to become part of a superstate.
But the uncomfortable truth for
the disingenuous extreme-right
Eurosceptics who seem to have
entrapped May with their hard-Brexit
propaganda is that there is no reason
that, by remaining in the EU, we should
become part of a superstate. Thatcher,
her successor John Major, followed
by Tony Blair and Gordon Brown,
fought their corner on our behalf. They
succeeded in getting almost everything
we needed out of the EU, and
eschewing the parts we didn?t want to
reach us, such as the eurozone and the
Schengen treaty.
As Powell said: ?Margaret Thatcher?s
thinking moved ever more on to the
models and formulae for keeping
Britain in the European community
without our being full participants
? variable-geometry Europe, inner
and outer circles, opt-outs, a bespoke
membership, and the like.?
This is what we have, and this
arrangement is what the others are
happy with. The idea that unless
we leave we will lose our identity
is a pernicious lie. As for these wild
accusations that we Remainers should
be considered ?traitors? ? they smack
of panic in the ranks of Brexiters,
who may be beginning to realise that
they are being found out. It is not we
who are the traitors: it is the extreme
Brexiters who are intent on selling this
country down the river.
05.11.17
*
Media
Due process is
essential, even for
Commons sleaze
PRESS AND
BROADCASTING
Peter
Preston
O
ver a decade ago in Dar es
Salaam, I was running a
British Council seminar
for journalists ? a dozen or
so men, half that number
of women ? from seven
southern African countries. One afternoon we got round to work, sex and the
whole murky drama now being played
out on stages from Hollywood to the
Palace of Westminster. And the women
didn?t hold back.
?Look,? cried one Tanzanian freelance feature writer. ?I want to get a
piece published so I have to sleep with
the editor. Then I want to be paid and I
have to sleep with the cashier.? She was
on her feet, blazing anger and cheered
on by the other women ? while the men
skulked in silence.
They didn?t deny; they didn?t mutter
formula phrases about ?inappropriate
behaviour?. They just took punishment. It was a brilliant, chastening
spectacle. And I loved the ?re and fury.
Which, in every sense, seems a long
way from where we are now in the
handsy world of touched knees and
Michael Fallon?s warm places.
?The trouble with sexual harassment
is that it isn?t as cut and dried as, say,
burglary, because it?s not simply about
what the perpetrator did,? writes Gaby
Hinsliff in the Guardian.
?Like other harassment offences,
its legal de?nition relies on the victim
feeling intimidated or humiliated ?
feelings that might in turn depend
on her age, life stage, con?dence and
temperament but also, crucially, on the
power dynamic.?
In short, it?s a movable feast of
indifference or outrage: and there is
no single answer, no single set of rules
(or benign Commons investigatory
offices) that can deal completely with
something so personal or malleable. It?s
about many things, including age and
changing attitudes.
Older women grow nervous, writes
Janice Turner in the Times (as she
looks at some of the earlier crop of
allegations) ?because it is mob justice, hearsay that is impossible for a
wronged man to refute; it con?ates a
genuine abuse with a clumsy pass; we
fear the backlash will be hideous when
it comes?. Sarah Vine in the Mail, aka
Mrs Michael Gove, sees ?a hysterical
Westminster witch hunt? ? ?if this is
what a world run by women looks like,
count me out?.
But both Turner and Vine remember
the Julia Hartley-Brewer age, decades back, when ?nding a Fallon hand
on your knee was ?mildly amusing?.
No爋ne, though, should expect the
remotest consensus today.
Take that ?witch hunt? line, says
Suzanne Moore in the Guardian. ?Any
Social media is a
morass of names and
lurid details. Print
journalism, as usual,
follows on behind
woman who does not want to be groped
has no sense of humour. So they had
to run out of a hotel room while the
man they work for pleasured himself?
They should take it in their stride. Men
are the victims here. Look at all the big
names accused of stuff they don?t even
remember doing. The poor, persecuted爏limeballs.?
Tough, unrelenting stuff. But also
curiously insular in a Westminster
sense. Harassment didn?t begin with
Harvey Weinstein. In the States, this
time around, it began with Roger Ailes
and Bill O?Reilly at Fox News, many
millions of hush payments ago. It began
with Donald J Trump: ?I moved on her
and I failed. I?ll admit it ? I did try and
fuck her. She was married. And I moved
BUSINESS | 41
Katz among the
pigeons: why the
dismay at new
C4 appointment?
A
Julia Hartley-Brewer: incident from a different age. Photograph by David Mirzoe?/PA
on her very heavily ? I moved on her
like a bitch, but I couldn?t get there.?
But Fox News is still America?s top
cable news channel, and Donald is still
president of the US, the most powerful man in the world. Little Britain and
Little Westminster aren?t high on this
scale of international ignominy (while
the US berates Spacey and Hoffman).
Who do we blame as our legislators
squirm in a squall of dodgy dossiers?
How does our media make sense of
the爁urore?
There have been many good articles
by women (some of them quoted
above). There?s been very little from
men. The BBC, which might have
soft-pedalled issues like this in former
times, has led the charge full throttle,
maybe too eagerly at times. Social
media, as usual, is a morass of names
and lurid details: Westminster gossip
turned digital. Print journalism, as
usual, follows on behind, stuck with
imperatives like accuracy, regulation
and libel law.
But the basics of some kind of calm
are pretty clear. Some rough agreement
on the revised order. ?Flirting great.
Asking for dates great. Assault, harassment, groping, rape, not great. Some
men need to learn the difference?,
tweets Jenni Russell of the Times. Some
gentler, respected way of handling and
mediating cases. And some resolve to
?nd peace in the gender wars. Oh! and
some sense of perspective, too.
It?s only a year or so since the commissioner of the Metropolitan police
apologised to the wife of Leon Brittan
for an investigation turned rancid. It?s
only a few months since Lord Macdonald, a former DPP, told the Times that
the police inquiry into Ted Heath was
a ?tragicomedy of incompetence?. It?ll
probably be only a minute or two more
before we discover more holes in that
dubious dossier.
This doesn?t invalidate the stream
of sad testimony. But it is also crucial
for all involved ? including the media ?
that there is some sense of due process
and due seriousness here in the weird
new world of Tinder and tribulation.
There need to be new lines in the sand
after all this milling, lip-smacking distress. A life wasted on whatever side of
the divide is still a life destroyed.
mbitious, talented Ian Katz was
for years effectively day-to-day
editor of the print Guardian,
responsible for everything from
political news to sport and arts. The
Newsnight he has run for the past four
years has often been pleasantly eclectic.
So why should Channel 4 contenders
be quite so miffed that Katz ? no true
TV man apparently ? should be the
chosen successor to Jay Hunt as director of programmes?
The real point here is that Alex
Mahon ? C4?s new boss, once head of
the very successful Shine independent production company ? is perfectly
quali?ed to be director of programmes
herself. She has a keen creative edge,
but she also doesn?t want to get spheres
of in?uence confused.
Katz brings many things to the party,
including hard news experience. He?ll
be creative with a fresh eye. Mahon
can guide if necessary, but will mostly
be concerned with grittier issues ? like
the government?s continuing desire to
move C4 to Birmingham.
Meanwhile, after James Harding?s
departure as BBC head of news, there
are many who see Katz?s loss as a severe
talent drain. No crisis, in fact: there?s a
strong line-up to take Harding?s place.
But with the increasing problem of cuts
and government-imposed targets to
make life difficult, there is still a sense
of gathering gloom.
Divided region handle with care
W
hen you write about Catalonia and its media, you get
stacks of responses. But
one message from Barcelona made me pause. ?Do the people
running Catalan TV and radio realise
the harm they can do in a region where
divisions often run down the middle of
families, between husbands and wives,
parents and children? Catalonia is split
down the middle on independence but
how, often within a household, do you
cope with broadcasters calling one half
of us Franco-lovers? It?s malignant and
corrosive. It shatters love and friendship. And I thought local broadcasters
were supposed to serve all of their
listeners, not just factions.?
42 | CASH
Personal ?nance
*
05.11.17
Acting editor: Shane Hickey cash@observer.co.uk
Meet the twentysomethings priced out
of London, leaving for a new life elsewhere
Starting over in a
di?erent part of the
UK is the choice of an
ever-growing number
of younger people.
Suzanne Bearne looks
at why they moved
?The capital just
wasn?t worth it?
Anna Hepton, 25, decamped from
London in 2015 after just over two years
living in Putney, where she paid �0
plus bills every month for a small room in
a three-bed houseshare.
?The capital is one of the most
expensive cities in the world so my
disposable income was pretty much
non-existent, and my job took up
most of my time,? says Hepton, who
now works for a design and marketing
agency in Leeds. ?That, combined with
a rubbish commute didn?t bode too well
for a raving social life. With little money
I never really had a chance to fully enjoy
and experience London.
?I?d graduated from university but
began to feel like I was still a student
living in a room you could not swing a cat
in. London, in the end, just wasn?t worth
it for me.?
Hepton gave up on the city and
decided to move back in with her
parents in Leeds, paying them �0 per
month. ?I don?t have to worry about my
?nances and manage to save roughly
�0 or so a month. I can eat out
whenever I like, I have bought a car and
a road bike, and I joined the gym, which I
couldn?t a?ord in London.?
Her move also allowed for something
which living in the capital did not. ?This
year I?ve been away to the French Alps,
Croatia and Prague. In London I didn?t
manage to save for one holiday.?
Suzanne Bearne
A
?I felt it was merely a
playground for the
rich ? I didn?t have the
money to experience
what makes it great?
Violet Myers
�
Cash on
the web
For all the
latest
mortgages
and savings
best buys
go online
theguardian.com/money
nyone standing in a
lengthy queue waiting for
a sandwich at lunchtime in
London would be forgiven
for daydreaming about the
prospect of a quieter life,
running their own coffee shop by the
sea, or opening an antique shop selling
vintage classics. It is of little surprise,
then, that Londoners are increasingly
moving out of the city as they buy up
cheaper homes and start families in
areas like Bristol, Leeds and Margate.
More surprising, however, is the number of people still in their 20s who are
choosing to leave the capital.
Fed up with extortionate rents and
hoping to improve their quality of life,
many 20-somethings are bucking the
tradition of enjoying big city life during
their younger years and instead moving
to cheaper areas where they can work
remotely while enjoying lunchtime
swims and midweek days off.
?For the same cost as taking a share
in a three-bed in Camden you could
rent a two- or a three-bed property in
more affordable markets such as Bristol, Manchester and Leeds,? says Lawrence Bowles, a research analyst at
Savills. ?Obviously, the cost of renting
isn?t the only factor. But with growing
numbers of high-value job opportunities in regional cities, being able to rent
more space for less money can only add
to the appeal.?
There are staggering savings to be
made by changing postcode: according to Rightmove the average asking
rent for a property in Greater London
is �920, compared to �9 nationally.
One of the towns synonymous with this
shift has been Margate in Kent.
Sam Bristow, 25, moved there last
September after a friend suggested they
both test out the coastal town. ?I?d been
living in London for three years and
become tired of it,? says the freelance
graphic designer and illustrator. He
swapped his room in a seven-person/
five-bed houseshare in Camberwell,
that set him back �0 plus bills every
month, for a room in a large four-bed
houseshare at �0 plus bills. ?Obviously there are events in London and
it?s a brilliant place, but no one I knew
was going out as they couldn?t afford
to,? he says.
But like many others who move to
Margate, it is not just the affordable
rents that attracted them, it?s the change
in lifestyle. ?I like the quietness, and the
air is fresh,? says Bristow. ?It also feels
like you can do whatever you want here
- such as open a shop. It?s given me more
free time to do other things. I work less
? I take Wednesdays off.?
Like many other 20-somethings
exiting London, cost was the most in?uential factor in spurring Violet Myers,
27, to leave. The copywriter and� her
boyfriend had lived in the capital for
seven years, but soon after returning from travelling around Asia they
decided that the cost of moving into
a� one-bed flat together was just too
extortionate.
?I felt like it was merely a playground
for the rich and that I didn?t really
belong there because I didn?t have the
money to experience everything that
makes it great,? says Myers. ?In the end
I was working and going home to stay
in, with the odd night out with mates. I
started thinking, ?wait, maybe I can do
that anywhere?.?
After hearing friends rave about Bristol, the couple upped sticks to the city
in September. They now pay �0 for
a two-bed ?at, less than the �0 they
paid for a room in a two-bed shared
house in Kilburn. Not only has the
move meant they can now save �000
a month, but it?s enabling Myers to follow some of her interests.
?One of the biggest annoyances
was� not being able to try new hobbies. Everything seems to be �-�
a session in London, say for yoga or
pilates, so I felt even though I earned
a pretty good wage, my life was forced
to� be a bit small. Here classes are
cheaper - and less busy - so I can try
some new things.?
Dan Wilson Craw, director of campaign group Generation Rent, says this
trend highlights the difficulties of living in London. ?It seems like there are
more pressures on people in their 20s
and 30s ? it?s challenging ? there?s so
much struggle with housing costs.?
Wilson Craw also believes the wave
of 20-somethings leaving London
reflects changes in the economy.
?Certainly, places like Manchester are
seeing improvements in the job markets which means relocating is more
viable,? he adds. ?It also re?ects wider
patterns, such as people being able to
work remotely and businesses moving
to those areas as they realise it?s more
cost effective to have an office up north.?
Digital product manager Emily
Norval quit London 18 months ago for
Leeds after living in the capital for more
than four years. She insists she wasn?t
unhappy but just craved a change.
?There are so many people in London
looking for jobs that I think it?s harder
to move across industries without
SAM BRISTOW, 25
?London is a brilliant place, but no one I
knew could a?ord to go out.?
VIOLET MYERS, 27
?In the end, I was working and going
home to stay in.?
EMILY NORVAL, 28
?I?m able to save money every month for
the ?rst time, which is a great feeling.?
having to virtually start your career all
over again,? says the former journalist.
?With so many big companies opening
in places like Leeds and Manchester,
they?re more open to searching for people with transferable skills.?
While she spent almost half of her
wages on a double room in a ?atshare
in London, she now spends less than a
third on a one-bed ?at and has access to
an on-site gym and concierge.
?I?m able to save money every month
for the ?rst time, which is a great feeling,? says the 28-year-old. ?Saving for a
mortgage wasn?t likely in London, but
here I?m putting aside money for the
future, as well as a holiday fund,? she
adds, having just returned from Indonesia ? her ?rst two-week holiday in
three years.
London has lost many of its highprofile nightclubs in recent years as
property development takes over the
city, but in Margate the nightlife is
being revived, with ex-Londoners Amy
Redmond ? co-founder of Sink The
Pink club nights ? and her set designer
husband Luke Vandenburg launching
Margate Arts Club, which holds regular DJ sessions.
However, while cheap rents, more
space and avoiding the tube are part
of the allure of escaping the capital,
there are noteworthy downsides to
leaving. London remains a global multinational mega city with huge offices
from major worldwide players such as
UBS, Google, and Deutsche Bank. With
many industries ? such as publishing
and ?nance ? centred there, job opportunities in certain sectors may be less
fruitful in the regions, and so may be the
potential to thrive .
Also, as soon as you exit the M25
earnings start to fall. While median
earnings for full-time employees in
London reached �1 a week in 2016,
according to the Office for National
Statistics, across the whole of the UK it
fell to �9.
This did not deter Sarah Richardson, 27, who moved to Manchester just
over a year ago after spending only 18
months living in London. ?I felt like a
hamster on a wheel. Plus it took 40 minutes at least to get anywhere,? she says.
?Now I can walk to work in 15 minutes,
I earn the same salary as in London,
and營 was able to buy a place in Salford
this爕ear.
? I thought I might be missing out,
but I still visit London and when I do
meet up with my friends there it?s
often the ?rst time they?ve got together
because they?re all busy.?
05.11.17
*
MORTGAGES
Anna Tims
Energy switch
sparked a mystery
�4 debt I ?owed?
to Scottish Power
While changing energy suppliers I
sent my meter readings to my existing supplier, Scottish Power, and was
told that I owed �4.
I have never missed a payment and
my direct debits had been increased
substantially to �9 a month, which
is what prompted me to switch.
I was twice told by different customer advisers that the Department
for Work and Pensions had put a
charge on my account of �709.13
and that I had to sort it out directly
with them. As I am not in receipt of
any bene?ts, I couldn?t understand
how this could have happened. The
DWP con?rmed they were not trying
to recover any debt from me.
Scottish Power then changed
its story and told me that in 2015
it had paid �009.52 into my bank
account as my account was in credit.
However, in error, someone at the
?rm made an additional payment of
�711.61.
Since then my direct debit payments have been increased to pay
back this second sum, although I was
never informed of the overpayment
or of the fact that I was repaying this
debt every month.
The �4 is the amount I still
owe.燬urely Scottish Power should
have told me of the error and
discussed with me how the money
should be repaid.
JH, London
CASH | 43
Personal
Your problems
?nance
This is a bizarre story, not least because
you didn?t notice that four-?gure windfall two years ago. It was in 2015, you
explain, that you inadvertently ticked
an online box and triggered paperless
bank statements which meant that,
as you rarely use online banking, you
forgot to check.
Your oversight does not, however,
excuse Scottish Power?s extraordinary
ineptitude, ?rst in paying you such a
large sum in error and then clawing it
back without mentioning it.
Scottish Power tells me the erroneous payment was the larger sum of
�09.52; you were only owed �11.61
in 2015. ?This is a highly unusual case
and would normally have been picked
up by our people who would have noti?ed the customer,? it says.
It will take up the mystifying tale of
the DWP with the customer service
agents who concocted it and is paying
you �0 compensation. But you still
have to pay the outstanding balance
and have agreed a repayment plan.
Black Tie puts the bar up
on returning our deposit
We were married in July and hired
Cardiff-based Black Tie Bartenders
to run the bar. It asked for a �0
deposit, refunded as long as the bar
took more than �000. Owain, the
owner, was helpful and professional
and we were happy with the service.
A few days later I emailed Owain to
check whether the deposit would be
returned and received no reply.
My husband phoned at the
beginning of August and Owain
apologised and said he thought his
accountant had already transferred
the money. Over the next month
we sent two more messages. By this
point, Owain?s phone number was
Lender
Type
Yorkshire Building Society
?xed
Rate %
Term
Max
LTV %
Fee �
Contact
1.21
29/2/2020
65
495
0345 120 0874
AA
?xed
1.34
31/12/2019
75
495
0800 169 6010
Post O?ce Money
?xed
1.43
31/12/2019
85
995
0800 077 8033
First Direct
?xed
1.74
5 years
60
725
08456 100 103
Yorkshire Building Society
?xed
1.83
28/2/2023
75
995
0345 120 0874
disconnected but the Facebook page
shows they are still running events.
AA
?xed
2.09
31/12/2022
85
995
0800 169 6010
Newcastle Building Society
?xed
3.39
28/2/2020
95
999
0345 606 4488
RH, Bristol
HSBC
bbr tracker + 0.74%
1.24
2 years
60
999
0800 030 4640
HSBC
bbr tracker + 0.84%
1.34
2 years
75
999
0800 030 4640
HSBC
bbr tracker + 0.99%
1.49
2 years
85
999
0800 030 4640
Barclays
o?set bbr tracker + 1.34%
1.84
2 years
75
999
0845 070 5090
Black Tie Bartenders fails to respond
to a request for a comment, but within
two days of The Observer getting in
touch ? and three months after the
wedding ? the deposit is returned.
You did not sign a contract when you
hired the ?rm. In future, when buying
a service insist on an agreement in
writing so you have the evidence if the
?rm is in breach of contract.
How our credit note with
Sports Direct just faded away
In March 2016 I returned a pair of
wellies to Sports Direct in Penzance
and received a credit note for �99.
It had a two-year expiry date.
Recently, while clearing out my purse,
I came across it again. The printing
had almost entirely faded although
you could just about make out the
amount and expiry date. In store an
assistant tried in vain to decipher the
barcode. Customer support told her
it was unusable.
Surely the ink on an agreement
should last for as long as it is valid.
SAVINGS
Provider
Account
Min �
Gross AER %
Notice
Notes
Contact
NatWest
Savings Builder
1
1.50
easy access
BATI
0800 255 200
Santander
123 Current Account
1
1.50 & �per
month
easy access
AICD
0800 218 2352
Bank of Cyprus UK
Online Easy-Access Account
1
1.28
easy access
I
bankofcyprus.co.uk
RCI Bank
Freedom Savings Account
100
1.30
I
rcibank.co.uk
Harrods Bank Limited 120-Day Notice Account 9
20,000
1.46
AP
0800 387 704
AR
03451 220 022
IF
vanquis
savings.co.uk
25
3.00
easy access
120 days
notice
easy access
1,000
1.86
1 year
Kent Reliance
Regular Savings Account 3
Vanquis Bank Ltd
1-Year Savings Bond
Paragon
2-Year Fixed Rate Cash Isa
1,000
2.05
2 years
IF
paragonbank.co.uk
Vanquis Bank Ltd
3-Year Savings Bond
1,000
2.25
3 years
IF
vanquis
savings.co.uk
Ikano Bank
Fixed 4-Year Saver
1,000
2.36
4 years
IF
ikano.co.uk
Ikano Bank
Fixed 5-Year Saver
1,000
2.46
5 years
IF
ikano.co.uk
Post O?ce Money
Online Isa (Easy-Access 11)
100
1.07
easy access
BI
posto?ce.co.uk
1,000
1.72
2 years
IF
chartersavingsbank.
co.uk
Charter Savings Bank 2-Year Fixed-Rate Cash Isa
NS&I
NS&I
Direct Isa
3-Year Investment Gtee Growth
Bond
NS&I
Junior Isa
1
0.75
easy access
TI
nsandi.com
100
2.20
3 years
IF
nsandi.com
1
2.00
No wdls until
18 yrs old
I
nsandi.com
A branch opening; B rate includes bonus; C monthly fee applies; D based on �0 monthly spend; F ?xed rate; I internet
opening; P postal opening; R save �to �0 every month; T telephone opening. Please check rates before investing.
JO, Penzance
You?re right, while the sum is small the
principle is important and receipts and
vouchers should be of durable quality.
Sports Direct declines to comment
but says it will reimburse you. Two
weeks on, however, you have yet to
hear from them.
If you need help email Anna Tims at
your.problems@observer.co.uk or write
to Your Problems, The Observer, Kings
Place, 90 York Way, London N1 9GU.
Include an address and phone number
CREDIT CARDS
Provider card name
0% O?ers
Sainsbury?s Bank Nectar
31 months Purchases Purchase
Santander Everyday
30 months Purchases Purchase
Santander All in One
39 months Balance
Transfer
38 months Balance
Transfer
Barclaycard Platinum
Type
Balance
Transfer
Balance
Transfer
Transfer
fee %
Repr APR
Cashback
Contact
na
18.9
Not Available
sainsburys
bank.co.uk
santander.co.uk
na
18.9
Not Available
0.00
21.7
Not Available
santander.co.uk
1.40
19.9
Not Available
barclaycard.co.uk
1.0% Standard
+ Intro Bonus
0.5% Standard
+ Intro Bonus
american
express.com
american
express.com
American Express Platinum
None
Cashback
na
28.2
American Express
Platinum Everyday
None
Cashback
na
22.9
Table compiled 03/11/17. In case of late changes, always check rates and terms before transacting.
All above ?gures from ?nancial information business Defaqto (defaqto.com)
05.11.17
44 | TRAVEL
Five of the best Contemporary art spaces in south-east Asia
1. Ne?-Na Thailand
Ne?-Na offers two spaces in Chiang
Mai for artists in residence, including
studios and plenty of room for exhibits, performance art and site-speci?c
installations. The space shared with
Lanna living arts museum Monfai is
closer to town, while Mae Rim, 20km
from the city centre, offers a lush,
rustic backdrop. Ne?-Na was born of a
collaboration between Thai and Swedish artists in 1998, and fosters unique
exchanges across cultures and media.
Filmmakers, choreographers, photographers, composers, children?s book
writers and many more have all found
inspiration here.
nena-artspace.com
1
4
engage in dialogue with visitors. There
is also a cafe, cocktail bar and restaurant.
factoryartscentre.com
4. The Substation Singapore
This building dates back to 1926 and
once housed an electric power substation. Since 1990, it has played host to
alternative exhibits and performances,
making it the grandfather of independent art spaces in the city-space. The
108-seat theatre hosts local bands,
poetry readings and ?lm screenings,
while installations and site-speci?c
performances can ?ll the entire building. Upstairs, classrooms give the public a place to hone their creative talents.
substation.org
2
2. Romcheick Pram Cambodia
5. Hin Bus Depot Malaysia
What started out in 2011 as four simple
huts to give local artists a roof and a
space to create has grown to include
a gallery that highlights visual artists in sleepy Battambang, seen by
many as the capital of contemporary
arts in Cambodia. Today, Romcheick
still hosts several artists in residence,
and in a country where no one?s life is
untouched by violence and exploitation, a painter like Hour Seyha has
found a platform to tell new and different stories. A permanent museum of
modern art is due to open here in 2018.
On Facebook
Hin Bus Depot opened in Penang with
renowned Lithuanian street artist
Ernest Zacharevic?s ?rst solo show
in 2014, in what was then a neglected
corner of historic George Town, and
they?ve never looked back. Hin aims
to be the face of the neighbourhood?s
gentle gentri?cation, promoting shows
from local and international artists and
performers, workshops, weekly art
house ?lms on the covered deck, and
a busy Sunday market. There is also a
vegan cafe, urban farm and yoga studio.
hinbusdepot.com
5
3
Words by Vincent Vichit-Vadakan.
Photo by ChrisP
3. The Factory Vietnam
In Ho Chi Minh City, this is Vietnam?s
?rst purpose-built contemporary art
space, with over 500 square metres for
exhibitions. Its mission is to showcase
experimental art and emerging artists
whose work is neither commercial nor
official ? staff known as ?agents of art?
TRAVEL CLASSIFIED
To see the full list of south-east
Asia?s 10 best independent art
spaces, and thousands more top
10s on everything from the
world?s best restaurants and
hotels to walks and beaches, visit
theguardian.com/travel
5.11.17
OBSERVER CLASSIFIED| 45
46 | OBSERVER CLASSIFIED
5.11.17
05.11.17
*
9AM TODAY
1008
(29.77)
1012
(29.88)
1016
(30.00)
3PM TODAY
1004
(29.65)
1012
(29.88)
1016
(30.00)
1008
(29.77)
SIX-DAY FORECAST
Mon
27
18
Orkney
6
7
(42F)
MODERATE
(45F)
MODERATE
1020
(30.12)
4
24
8
13
(40F)
Tue
(46F)
27
SLIGHT
Glasgow
Glasgow
MODERATE
5
8
(41F)
(46F)
6
8
MODERATE
Newcastle
(43F)
27
Edinburgh
MODERATE
Belfast
6
9
(43F) Hull
MODERATE
Manchester
6
9 Rain
10 Fair
11 Cloudy
8 Rain
10 Showers 10 Fair
12 Showers 11 Fair
6
(42F)
11 Rain
10 Fair
11 Fair
12 Rain
10 Fair
10 Rain
9 Fair
11 Fair
11 Rain
10 Fair
Cardiff
11 Cloudy
11 Rain
11 Fair
12 Fair
13 Rain
12 Fair
Edinburgh
12 Cloudy
9 Rain
10 Fair
10 Showers 12 Rain
Glasgow
12 Rain
9 Rain
11 Showers 11 Showers 12 Showers 10 Fair
(47F)
Norwich
Norwich
Birmingham
Birmingham
7
9
(45F)
27
(49F)
Gloucester
Cardi?
Bristol
20
6
London
7
Gloucester
Bristol
(42F)
HEAVY
1024
(30.24)
Cardi?
10
(49F)
London
HEAVY
Brighton
10
Plymouth
(45F)
Brighton
Plymouth
(50F)
22
22
MODERATE
MODERATE
UK TODAY
10 Fair
11 Rain
10 Fair
11 Fair
13 Rain
9 Rain
Liverpool
11 Cloudy
11 Rain
11 Fair
11 Fair
13 Rain
11 Rain
London
11 Sunny
12 Rain
10 Fair
12 Fair
12 Rain
12 Fair
10 Rain
10 Fair
10 Fair
11 Showers 10 Rain
COLD
WARM
Reykjavik
L
OCCLUDED FRONT
1000
(29.53)
1008
(29.77)
Helsinki
Stockholm
L
TROUGH
992
(29.29)
1000
(29.53)
Berlin
Paris
1032
(30.47)
1016
(30.00)
Belgrade
L
Rome
Madrid
3
Athens
1024
(30.24)
4
6
5
7
9
8
10
11
12
13
14
15
SOLUTION NO. 1,152
16
17
19
20
21
22
ACROSS
1 Bad apple (5,5)
6 Exhilaration (7)
7 Stagger (5)
9 At leisure (4)
10 Balderdash (8)
12 Blase, unimpressed (6)
14 Large ?otilla (6)
16 Maladroit (8)
17 Large seabird (4)
20 Greek Muse (5)
21 Badly brought up (3-4)
22 Fear of heights (10)
18
C O N T R
U
O
E
B E S O M
E
T
I
G R I N
A
U
I
B E M U S
S
C
I N T H E
N
O
N
T O P I C
H
E
E
E W E R
I T
R
E
A
D T
Y
E
C
L O
L
A L
I
V E
E
C
C L
E
O A
R
E S
I
N G
H
T
E
N D
C
31?40?
F
87?104
26?30?
80?86
Warsaw
London
L
10 Fair
10 Fair
12 Showers 10 Sunny
10 Fair
11 Fair
12 Rain
11 Rain
Oxford
10 Fair
12 Rain
10 Fair
12 Fair
12 Rain
11 Fair
Plymouth
13 Cloudy
11 Rain
12 Fair
13 Fair
13 Rain
13 Cloudy
Swansea
12 Cloudy
11 Rain
11 Fair
12 Fair
13 Rain
12 Rain
York
10 Fair
11 Rain
10 Fair
11 Fair
14 Rain
10 Rain
ABROAD YESTERDAY
癈
癈
癈
Aberdeen
12
s
Manchester 11
r
Algiers
26
s
Nairobi
24
Anglesey
9
f
Newcastle
10
r
Bangkok
31
f
New York
14
f
Belfast
8
sh
Norwich
13
r
Beijing
15
s
Perth
30
s
Birmingham 11 sh
Nottingham 11
r
Beirut
24 sh
Rio de Jan
35
f
Blackpool
Oxford
11
r
Cairo
24
s
Riyadh
31
s
r
11 sh
c
Bournem?th 13
r
Plymouth
12
r
Harare
30
s
San Fran
16
Brighton
13
r
Ronaldsway 10
f
Hong Kong 27
c
Santiago
19
r
Bristol
12
r
S?hampton 12
r
Istanbul
15
r
Sao Paulo
28
c
Cardiff
11
f
Scarbr?gh
12
r
Jeddah
33
s
Seychelles
29
f
Carlisle
11
r
Southport
11 sh
Jerusalem
20
s
Singapore
31
f
Edinburgh
9
f
Stornoway 8
st
Jo?burg
30
s
Sydney
19 sh
Exeter
13
f
Swanage
13
r
Karachi
36
s
Taipei
21
r
Glasgow
8
f
Teignmouth 12
r
L Angeles
22
c
Tenerife
19
f
Inverness
9
f
Tenby
11
f
Manila
29
c
Toronto
8
c
Jersey
14
r
Torquay
12
r
Miami
30
c
Vancouver
4
c
Liverpool
11
r
Weymouth 13
r
Mombasa
27 st
Washington 15 sh
A C N E
O
D
I P S E
R
N
H A L T
A
C O R T
P
E
R U N
L
O
W E A K
N
R
E T T A
DOWN
1 Scu?e, unseemly ?ght (5)
2 Similar (4)
3 Ignite (6)
4 Landing pad (8)
5 Heart of Sta?ordshire?s pottery
industry (7)
6 Code of behaviour (9)
8 Random (9)
11 A?uent (4-2-2)
13 Obsolete (7)
15 Old Testament prophet (6)
18 Fate (5)
19 Insincere, facile (4)
Stuck? For help call 0906 200 83 83 or text OBSERVERQ followed by a space, the day and date the crossword appeared another space
and the CLUE reference (e.g OBSERVERQ Sunday5 Across7) to 88010. Calls cost �10 a minute, plus your telephone company?s access
charge. Texts cost �per clue plus standard network charges. Service supplied by ATS. Call 0330 333 6946 for customer service (charged
at standard rate).
Ankara
1750
Full Moon
4 Nov
8.6hrs.
2
2
2
2
Low
Low
Low
Low
0%
50%
100%
WEATHER VIEW
Glasgow
London
Manchester
Newcastle
2
1
2
2
Low
Low
Low
Low
Plymouth
Aberdeen
Leeds
Oxford
2
2
2
2
Low
Low
Low
Low
Mon
Tue
Wed
Thu
Fri
Sat
癈 Wthr (Maximum temperature and overall condition)
Moscow
H
10 Rain
11 Rain
EUROPE SIX-DAY FORECAST
1016
(30.00)
Pressure in millibars,
(inches in brackets)
SPEEDY CROSSWORD NO. 1,153
2
Belfast
Birmingham
Bristol
Cardiff
1016
(30.00)
976
(28.82)
9 Sunny
AIR POLLUTION
KEY
984
(29.06)
10 Fair
Moon rises
EUROPE TODAY
1008
(29.77)
10 Showers
London
13 r
N Orleans 28 f
York
12 r
Wellington 17 f
NE England, SE Scotland, SW Scotland, NE Scotland: The odd shower across
Key: c=cloud, dr=drizzle, ds=dust storm, f=fair, fg=fog, g=gales, h=hail, m=mist, r=rain,
the eastern coast today; otherwise, sunny spells. A light to moderate northsh=showers, sl=sleet, sn=snow, s=sun, th=thunder, w=windy. Forecast/readings for noon
westerly wind. Max 3-10C (37-50F). Largely dry tonight with clear spells in the
evening, then increasing cloud. Min -4 to 1C (25-34F).
SUNSET TO SUNRISE
WEATHER STATISTICS
W Isles, N Isles, NW Scotland: A few showers today with snow showers in the
Birmingham
16.30
to
07.12
Weather last week
Weather this week
higher terrain. A light north-westerly wind. Max -4 to 9C (25-48F). The odd
Bristol
16.37
to
07.13
Warmest by day:
London
Chance of rain
shower, some wintry in the evening along the coast, becoming overcast late.
Dublin
16.45
to
07.34
Barnstaple, Devon
Glasgow
16.29
to
07.35
(Thursday) 17.0C
Min -7 to 0C (19-32F).
Glasgow
Leeds
16.25
to
07.17
Coldest by night: Aonach,
Northern Ireland, Ireland: The odd shower in Northern Ireland today with
Highland (Monday) -7.0C
London
16.28
to
07.04
Wettest: Loch Glascarnoch,
patchy cloud. A light north-westerly wind. Max 1-11C (34-52F). Clear spells
Manchester
16.29
to
07.17
Dublin
Highland (Weds) 43mm
16.21
to
07.21
this evening, then becoming overcast with rain arriving after midnight along the Newcastle
Sunniest: Odiham,
Sun rises
0703
Moon sets 0809
western coast. Min -2 to 8C (28-46F).
Hampshire (Monday)
Channel Is, Cent S England, SW England, W Midlands, Wales: Sunny spells
today with the odd shower. A moderate north-westerly wind. Max 7-10C
(45-50F). The odd shower in northern Wales in the evening; otherwise, chilly
tonight with clear spells. Min -1 to 6C (30-43F).
SE England, London, E Anglia, E Midlands: The odd shower across the eastern
coast today; otherwise, sunny spells by the afternoon. A light to moderate
north-westerly wind. Max 8-11C (46-52F). Generally dry and chilly tonight
with clear spells, areas of frost. Min -2 to 2C (28-36F).
Lincolnshire, Yorkshire, NW England: Largely dry and seasonably chilly today
with patchy cloud. A light to moderate north-westerly wind. Max 5-10C
(41-50F). Still dry tonight with clear spells in the evening, then increasing after
midnight. Min -2 to 4C (28-39F).
A very potent storm system over Italy
will bring periods of rain to southeastern France into central Germany
and across northern Italy. Snow will
fall, heavy at times and the snow will
not just be con?ned to the higher
peaks, but will be in some of the lower
mountains. Thundery showers from
this system will be across central Italy.
Rain and thunderstorms will be heavy
at times, which will lead to a threat
for ?ooding. North-westerly winds
will bring rain to the northern coast of
Spain and along the Spanish-French
border. It will be generally dry across
much of eastern Europe with high
pressure located in south-western
Russia. The odd shower will be across
the coastal locations of the British Isles, though it will be mainly dry
across much of the England.
11 Rain
Leeds
癈
8
(48F)
(43F)
9 Sunny
Bristol
Manchester
9
10 Showers 10 Rain
Birmingham 10 Fair
HOME YESTERDAY
(48F) Hull
MODERATE
Dublin
1024
(30.24)
Sat
11 Cloudy
Norwich
1020
(30.12)
Dublin
Fri
Belfast
Newcastle
Newcastle
(47F)
Belfast
Thu
Aberdeen
Manchester 10 Fair
Edinburgh
Wed
癈 Weather (Maximum temperature and overall daytime weather conditions)
Orkney
1
TRAVEL | 47
WEATHER
Your forecast for the week ahead
Amsterdam
11 s
9 s
9 sh
Athens
19 s
20 f
Barcelona
17 s
Berlin
11 sh
12 r
12 f
20 st
20 f
20 f
20 sh
15 s
17 f
17 f
17 f
19 s
9 f
9 f
10 c
8 c
9 r
9 r
Copenhagen
9 s
9 f
9 sh
9 sh
Geneva
8 c
7 f
7 sh
8 f
9 c
9 r
15 f
17 s
18 s
21?25?
69?79
16?20?
60?68
Madrid
15 s
17 s
11?15?
51?59
Oslo
6 s
8 c
6?10?
42?50
Paris
10 s
9 f
Prague
7 r
9 f
Rome
17 st
Venice
14 r
1?5?
33?41
-20?0?
-4?32
16 f
6 sh
9 sh
6 s
2 c
10 f
12 c
11 r
8 sh
8 f
8 c
8 c
16 st
17 sh
16 st
18 s
18 c
13 r
13 sh
13 sh
14 s
13 f
10 f
7 sh
10 f
The splendour of autumn at Greys Court House,
near Henley, Oxfordshire, on Friday afternoon.
Photograph by Geoffrey Swaine/Rex
Forecasts and graphics provided
by AccuWeather, Inc �17
company
stated that the ?lm unit was one of the
company?s strongest performers and
would help it beat the record pro?ts it
made in 1997-98: the year it released Men
in Black, and when Steve Jobs had yet to
release the Walkman-killing iPod.
Now, Sony is expected to make fullyear profits of �2bn. If the forecast
proves correct, it will be the fruit of
extensive restructuring efforts launched
by Kazuo Hirai, who took over as chief
executive from Sir Howard Stringer in
2012, in the wake of Sony reporting the
biggest loss in its 71-year history, of more
than �n.
For years a symbol of Japan?s technological prowess, Sony had paid the price
for being wrong-footed by rivals quicker
to invest and develop new technology,
such as South Korea?s Samsung in smart
TVs and Apple in devices such as the
iPod and iPhone.
?Consumer electronics went through
a difficult phase when traditional [Sony]
product categories like analogue TV and
Walkmans were disrupted by new
products with better capabilities
provided by new companies that
took market share,? said Damian
Thong, a Japan-based analyst for
investment bank Macquarie.
?Sony was slow to respond
to these threats ? And when
they did there was an ongoing debate about how they
should address it. The company used a lot of resources
and wasted significant
opportunities. They took
their eye off the ball. For
many years, Sony saw its
traditional leading presence in consumer electronics slip away.?
In stepped Hirai, who had been a
major force in the success of the PlayStation game console, which remains
Sony?s crown jewel. The lifelong Sony
employee decided to emulate Steve
Jobs?s strategy for turning around an ailing Apple when he rejoined the company
in the late 1990s: less is more.
He took the axe to Sony?s sprawling
consumer electronics business, focusing only on areas in which it had a realistic chance of competing. It pulled out
of areas such as personal computers,
lithium batteries for phones and niche
hard-to-justify ventures such as digital
alarm clocks. As a result, products like
the Bravia TV have ?ourished under a
less distracted management.
?The company wanted to focus
resource on producing the best possible products,? says Thong. ?Make a
few products but make them very good.
This is what Apple did in its turnaround
phase. Sony wasn?t as extreme as Apple,
but look at the line of new products in
the past few years: examples include one
of the best TVs out there, and cameras.?
While Sony?s own smartphone business has continued to shrink in the face
of ?erce competition (sales have fallen
from 33 million units in 2012 to just 14.6
million last year), Hirai cleverly moved
into providing the smartphone image
sensors ? which help cameras focus
and increase image quality ? found in all
mobile phones.
Now Apple, with its popular iPhone,
is now one of Sony?s most valuable partners, helping drive revenues for the division from zero to �89bn in a few
years. Macquarie estimates Sony
has captured half of the global
market for this technology. With
an eye on the next opportunity,
Sony is upping its investment in
image sensors for driverless cars.
Hirai?s other major
focus has been to keep
the PlayStation juggernaut on track. Sales of
the PS4 will reach 80
Hirai with Sony?s robot
?entertainment dog?, Aibo.
million units this year, and the games
division, including its online PlayStation
network of 70 million paying users, is the
single biggest contributor to Sony?s revenue. This year the division will account
for 24% of revenue and almost 29% of
operating pro?t.
?It has sold faster than any other PlayStation, accounts for almost a third of
pro?ts and has outsold Microsoft?s Xbox
by a factor of two,? said Thong.
Business is also looking up for Sony
Pictures, which is set for its best year at
the box office since 2014 thanks to ?lms
such as Spider-Man: Homecoming, Baby
Driver and Blade Runner 2049. Renewed
optimism over the ?lm unit comes only
months after a $1bn writedown, fuelling
speculation that it could be sold.
Until recently the studio was hampered by the blockbuster-driven nature
of Hollywood success: Spider-Man is
its only global franchise, with the latest ?lm pulling in $900m globally. But
the rise of high-end TV production has
proved a boon: Sony?s TV arm is a coproducer of Net?ix?s �0m epic The
Crown and other credits include Breaking Bad and US hit The Blacklist.
?In 2012, ?lm was more than 60% of
the ?lm and TV division revenues; by
the end of last year it accounted for less
than half,? says Richard Broughton, of
Ampere Analysis, who adds that selling
content to streaming businesses like
Net?ix and Amazon has become a key
earner for Sony.
?TV and ?lm licensing, to Sky, Netflix, Amazon or whoever are an increasingly important, stable and growing
revenue stream. Over a third of Sony?s
revenues are from gaming and television/?lm.?
Sony Music, whose artists include
Beyonc�, Shakira and AC/DC, has bene?ted from the rise of digital services
such as Spotify and Apple Music. Earlier
this week, the company raised its rev-
enue target for 2017 by 16% to �89bn,
in part thanks to the rapid growth in
streaming sales.
However, analysts said that another
contributor to the division?s strong performance is the runaway success of a
smartphone role-playing game called
Fate/Grand Order, which was developed
by an arm of Sony Music. The online
game has become a surprise mega-hit in
Japan, making about $300m of pro?t a
year, according to Macquarie.
Its con?dence regained, Sony is now
looking for its next big hit and, like all
its tech peers, has identified artificial
intelligence as a potential breakthrough
area. Last week Hirai made a public
statement of Sony?s intent to continue
to invest and innovate by reincarnating
its cuddly Aibo robo-dog from the 1990s
as a 21st-century AI-infused hound. The
?rst batch sold out online in 30 minutes
? further proof that Sony and Hirai could
be on the right track.
Airbus braces for a di?cult landing after a year
of allegations, investigations and confessions
by David Pegg and Rob Evans
?Prepare for turbulent and confusing
times? is rarely a reassuring injunction,
least of all in an all-staff email from
the boss. But those were the words
of Thomas Enders, chief executive
of Airbus, as he warned employees
in October that they would soon be
reading about yet another allegation of
corruption in the morning papers.
Within days the German magazine
Der Spiegel had published a lengthy
investigative piece alleging that
Europe?s largest aerospace multinational had operated a London slush
fund, distributing millions of dollars
to accounts held by companies in tax
havens. Before the month was out, the
?rm would reveal to investors that it
had reported itself to authorities in the
US, this time over potentially breaching regulations on the use of agents to
sell sensitive weapons technology.
Two damaging corruption allegations in one month might seem like
remarkably bad luck. But for Airbus,
which employs 15,000 people at factories in the UK, they are simply the
latest developments in what has been a
remarkably difficult year.
The company?s legal woes are a
result of its use of ?commercial agents?
? intermediaries who specialise in ?dif?cult? territories where they can assist
multinationals in securing contracts.
Often characterised as consultancy,
such work can be legitimate where
it involves technical advice, such as
regulatory best practice when bidding
for a government contract. In other
instances, it is nothing more than a
euphemism for knowing who to bribe.
Illicit dealings with intermediaries
lay behind the record-breaking �1m
?ne issued to Rolls-Royce earlier this
year, after it admitted using agents to
pay bribes in 11 countries. By agreeing
the settlement, the company escaped a
prosecution, which could have borne
potentially lethal consequences since
many countries refuse to do business
with any entity with a corruption
conviction. Such a fate may still await
Rolls-Royce?s senior management, who
remain under criminal investigation by
the Serious Fraud Office.
Enders?s hope is that Airbus can
secure a similar outcome ? punishment that is severe, but not capital ? by
pursuing a similar policy of proactively
reporting past offences. According
to the company, that plan originated
in 2014, when a review of payments
to suppliers uncovered ?a number
of compliance red ?ags, including
misstatements and omissions to UK
government agencies?.
Known investigations into the company?s conduct include:
A UK Serious Fraud Office probe
into allegedly misleading statements
made by Airbus to UK Export Finance,
the government department that
provides commercial support for major
deals. The investigation concerns
whether Airbus lied to the government about its use of intermediaries.
It is understood that Airbus has not
received any further support from
05.11.17
BUSINESS | 39
*
? and it?s not all down to Spidey
Sony stalwarts:
(clockwise from
main) the latest
Spider-Man film
made it $900m;
the Walkman,
which was killed
off by the iPod; the
PS4 is set to sell
80m units this
year; and the
iPhone X has Sony
image sensors.
Columbia Pictures
MORE TALES OF JAPANESE WOE
Sony is not the only Japanese company
to face corporate di?culties in the past
decade. For some, such as Nintendo, the
problem was market pressures but others,
such as Toyota, Toshiba, Kobe Steel and
Olympus, have had to deal with scandals
that almost destroyed them.
the largest ever imposed on a carmaker,
to end a US criminal investigation, and last
month, criminal charges were dismissed.
By 2012 Toyota had regained its position
as the world?s biggest car manufacturer, a
title it held for four years, relinquishing it to
Volkswagen last year.
Toyota
In 2009, Toyota?s reputation was
severely tarnished in the aftermath of
its recall of 9 million vehicles because of
accelerator pedal, brake, seat belt and
exhaust problems that caused a number
of deaths. Leaked emails showed Toyota
sta? boasting about how they had saved
the company $100m by persuading
US regulators that they did not need to
implement a full recall.
In 2014, Toyota agreed to a $1.2bn ?ne,
Kobe Steel
Japan?s third-biggest steelmaker is
embroiled in a deepening scandal
over the quality of its products,
including aluminium and copper
used in cars, aircraft, rockets
and defence equipment. It
has admitted falsifying data,
a?ecting more than 200
customers - including Nissan,
Ford, Toyota, Honda and Boeing.
Kobe Steel?s shares fell more
UKEF since it was informed of the
allegations in April last year.
An investigation by the Parquet
National Financier, the French equivalent of the SFO, into the same allegations. France?s and Germany?s export
credit agencies (partner departments
to UKEF) are also investigating the
extent of the problems, a situation
complicated by the fact that the two
governments each own 11% of Airbus.
An internal investigation that
the company is understood to have
launched after the Guardian uncovered
a series of curious transactions involving an exchange of shares between two
companies that it secretly controlled.
Chief executive Thomas Enders warned
staff of ?turbulent and confusing times?.
An Austrian investigation into allegations of fraud and wilful deception
over a $2bn deal for the purchase of
Euro?ghter warplanes. The underlying
allegations are unconnected to the selfreporting strategy and Airbus denies
any wrongdoing. It commissioned a
review of the allegations by the law
?rm Clifford Chance in 2012, which it
says found no evidence of corruption
involving the sale.
The US disclosures are the latest
to augur potential damage. During a
conference call with shareholders last
Tuesday, the company revealed that
it had informed the US state department about inaccuracies discovered
in historical regulatory ?lings about
its use of commercial agents. The ?lings related to the US International
traffic in arms regulations, which are
intended to preserve American control
over sensitive weapons technology.
Airbus continues to permit the use of
commercial agents to secure contracts,
though privately insists that they operate with strict controls.
Prominent anti-corruption organisations are demanding that the company
pay a severe price for its past transgressions. ?Airbus?s regulatory woes get
worse by the day. It is time for Airbus
to come fully clean about the scale of
any wrongdoing and to properly clear
than 40%, and boss Hiroya Kawasaki has
conceded that the company now has
?zero credibility?.
Olympus
Michael Woodford, Olympus?s ?rst nonJapanese boss, was ?red two weeks into
the job in 2011 after he blew the whistle
on one of the biggest cover-ups of
losses in Japanese corporate history.
The 13-year cover-up, involving
unexplained payments worth
around $1.7bn, prompted
an 82% share price dive
and almost destroyed
the 98-year-old camera
maker. In 2013, the
company and three former
executives pleaded guilty to
cover-up charges.
out its stables,? said Sue Hawley of
Corruption Watch.
?Airbus?s alleged wrongdoing is now
global in scope and egregious in nature.
It is essential that law enforcement
and regulators around the world take
a robust line with Airbus and that the
victims of any alleged wrongdoing,
particularly in poorer countries, are
properly compensated.?
Shareholders ? for the time being
? appear to be more sanguine. Credit
Suisse issued a memo earlier this
week advising that, until the scope of
any ?nancial penalties were known,
it considered the principal risk for
shareholders was merely ?a likely delay
in any decision to increase shareholder爎eturns?.
Enders appears to enjoy the support of the Airbus board, which has
issued a public statement backing his
strategy of proactive self-reporting.
In his letter to all Airbus employees,
Enders warned them that the corruption investigations were going to take
a long time to complete, but implored
them to ?focus on your work? or, in
good British tradition, keep calm and
carry on?.
If you would like to pass on information
in con?dence, you can send a message
via our SecureDrop service.
Toshiba
In July 2015, chief executive Hisao Tanaka
resigned over a scandal relating to $1.2bn
in overstated operating pro?ts. A report
found that the pro?t manipulation dated
back seven years: a pressurised culture
imposed by two other chief executives led
business heads to manipulate ?gures in
order to hit targets.
The Japanese government said the
scandal threatened to undermine investor
con?dence in the country. ?I see this as the
most damaging event for our brand in the
company?s 140-year history,? Tanaka said
as he resigned.
Nintendo
Nintendo has experienced more ups and
downs than Mario (right) in the company?s
best-selling video game franchise. In the
noughties the company found its share of
the console market squeezed by Sony?s
PlayStation and Microsoft?s Xbox. In 2006,
the launch of the Nintendo Wii, which
targeted casual players ignored by rivals
with products such as Wii Sport and Wii Fit,
revived its fortunes.
Six years later its successor, the
Wii U, failed abysmally at a time when
smartphone games started to pose a
major threat to Nintendo
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