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The Observer 29 October 2017

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IN THE MAGAZINEE
2017?S BEST
PODCASTS
KATHY
BURKE
CLASS
ACT
IN THIS SECTION
FRIDA KAHLO
SURPRISE
STYLE ICON
FROM TRUE CRIME AND POLITICS
TO POP CULTURE AND LIFESTYLE
www.observer.co.uk
Sunday 29 October 2017 �00
Tory donors warn
May to ready UK
for ?no deal? Brexit
�49 FOR
SUBSCRIBERS
PAGE 14 �
YOUNG LIONS ROAR TO WORLD CUP VICTORY
? Be prepared to walk away from EU, say Leavers
? Remain ministers ?have Stockholm syndrome?
by Michael Savage
Policy Editor
Senior Tory donors have warned that
Theresa May should walk away from
Brexit talks rather than accept an
?unsatisfactory and unfavourable deal?
that would poison relations with Europe
for another generation.
In a sign of growing frustration among
pro-Brexit Tories over the lack of progress made in talks with Brussels, one
donor said he feared some pro-Remain
cabinet ministers were suffering from
?Stockholm syndrome? ? when hostages
develop a bond with their captors.
The calls for May to be prepared to
walk away comes amid new warnings
that a ?no deal? outcome will lead to
foreign ?rms leaving, steep price rises,
widespread job losses and disaster for
the Irish economy.
In submissions to a parliamentary
inquiry seen by the Observer, retailers,
the City, universities, the freight industry, overseas investors and food suppliers all sound the alarm over the consequences of crashing out. However, some
Tory Brexiters are concerned at the slow
pace of negotiations and want the option
of walking away to be a viable one.
Michael Farmer, a Tory peer and former party treasurer who has given mil-
ON OTHER
PAGES
David Davis under
pressure to release
secret papers 6
Who will lead the
retreat? 37
Is Brexit beginning
to bite?
Business leader, 42
DID YOU
REMEMBER?
Clocks should
have been turned
back by one hour
last night to mark
the end of British
summer time.
10
11
12
1
2
3
9
8
4
7
6
5
lions to the Conservatives and the Leave
campaign, told the Observer that former
prime minister David Cameron?s failure
to secure major concessions over Britain?s EU membership before last year?s
referendum showed the dangers of
accepting a bad deal.
?It is worth recalling the paltry offer
that Cameron came back with, which
was an important factor in persuading
people to vote out,? he said. ?If another
unsatisfactory and unfavourable deal is
done with the EU negotiators, the divisive issue of Europe will not go away but
smoulder on for another generation.
?No deal would free us ? and challenge us ? to rise to and take advantage
of the many opportunities that would
become open to Britain.?
Jeremy Hosking, the Vote Leave and
Conservative donor who also ran his
own Brexit Express campaign, said that
?robust no-deal contingency planning?
was essential in light of the EU?s refusal
to move on to trade talks.
?The EU is stonewalling on the
divorce bill, increasing intolerably the
political pressure on Mrs May, and we
still have no idea whether the trade deal
will be bene?cial to the UK, or whether
they will kick us further in the teeth
when we are down,? he said. ?Clearly
Continued on page 3
Angel Gomes lifts the trophy, supported by captain Joel Latibeaudiere, after England?s 5-2 victory over Spain in
the Under-17 football World Cup final in Kolkata yesterday. (Sport, pages 1, 9) Photograph by Piyal Adhikary/EPA
Catalan leader vows to resist Madrid
by Emma Graham-Harrison,
Sam Jones and Stephen Burgen
Barcelona
Madrid claimed direct control of
Catalonia for the ?rst time in nearly
four decades yesterday, ?ring the
regional government and police chief
after a unilateral declaration of independence. But the deposed Catalan
leader immediately vowed there would
be peaceful resistance to the takeover.
Hours after the Spanish government
formally announced his dismissal, and
the replacement of his entire cabinet
by counterparts hundreds of miles
away, the Catalan president, Carles
ON OTHER
PAGES
Frayed nerves and
frustration on the
streets of
Barcelona 4-5
Observer
Comment 34
Peter Preston,
Media 43
Puigdemont, put on an ostentatious
display of normality with lunch at a
restaurant in the centre of his home
city. As he toasted friends with red
wine, posed for pictures with supporters in Girona and enjoyed the applause
of fellow diners, all broadcast live on
national TV, a pre-recorded video message went out promising to continue to
work ?to build a free nation?.
?We must do so resisting repression
and threats, without ever abandoning,
at any time, civic and peaceful conduct,? he said in the brief statement,
adding that his government did not
have or want ?the argument of force?.
Continued on page 4
INSIDE > WEATHER THIS SECTION PAGE 49 | CROSSWORDS SPEEDY, THIS SECTION PAGE 49; EVERYMAN PAGE 38 + AZED PAGE 39 IN THE NEW REVIEW
*
1 2 A
*
2 | NEWS
29.10.17
*
Muslim and Christian children at a
mixed community football match. The
event is aimed at helping bridge
Boda?s sectarian divide. Photograph
by Andy Hall for the Observer
Dispatch Boda
?We?re not ?ghters ? we just want peace?:
women cross battle lines to halt bloodshed
In the escalating battles between Muslim and
Christian militias in Central African Republic,
a million people have been displaced. Now
women are banding together to heal divisions
Rebecca
Ratcli?e
Derelict homes, swallowed up by grass
and trees, stand empty along the road
near the centre of Boda. There are
vacant patches where buildings once
stood. When deadly sectarian con?ict
spread to the town in Central African
Republic?s southern Lobaye prefecture
in 2014, homes were burned and
residents ?ed. The road became known
as the ?red zone?, a line that separated
Muslims and Christians.
Thousands were trapped without
access to food or medicine. Those who
crossed into a rival area risked their
lives: murders, decapitations, rapes and
looting were carried out with impunity.
But Boda?s women refused to obey the
town?s battle lines.
?Women are not ?ghters, women
just want peace, women are the ones
who face the crisis,? says Eiwa Djabou,
a Muslim, who gathered women of
both religions to convince the militias
to put down their arms. Together, they
entered areas beset by the con?ict.
The women were insulted,
threatened and attacked, says Zanetta
Zoumara, a Christian woman who
accompanied Djabou. ?We would
ask [those ?ghting], ?Do you see good
things in this crisis? What makes you
so angry??
?Some would say, ?Leave us alone
we don?t want to hear what you have to
say.? Some said, ?We?re going to kill you,
we?re going to cut you.??
Zoumara was left with lacerations
on her back after she was pelted with
stones while accompanying Muslim
women into a Christian area. ?I just
wanted to protect my Muslim sisters,?
she says.
The women were even threatened
by a local chief, says Alzina Daraza, a
Muslim woman who helped Djabou.
?[He] said, ?You, Muslim woman, you
are in our area now, we are free to
throw a grenade on you and kill you.?
We told him, ?You know you?re a chief,
you are like the father of the area, and
even you will hurt us today???
Con?ict broke out in late 2012, when
rebels ? mostly Muslims, and many
from Chad and Sudan ? began seizing
control of towns in the north of the
country. Known as the Seleka, they
eventually overthrew the president,
Fran鏾is Boziz�. Predominantly
Christian ?ghters, the anti-balaka,
retaliated. Thousands have died and the
UN has warned that the humanitarian
situation is deteriorating, with attacks
against communities on the rise. More
than 1.1 million people have been
displaced and two-thirds of the country
is now controlled by armed groups,
which have multiplied in number.
Boda, 60 miles west of the capital,
Bangui, is one of the few areas that
has relative stability. In August 2014
almost everyone in the town ?ed their
homes when the ?ghting broke out,
with 60% clustering in camps and
the remainder ? more than 10,000
people ? ?eeing into the bush. Today,
Muslims and Christians mix in the
market and, although the houses on the
red zone remain empty, some residents
pass along the road. But persuading
former ?ghters to disarm, and healing
divides between two communities, is a
painstaking process.
Muslims and Christians have lived
alongside one another for generations,
though not without tensions. Across
the country, the legacy of Muslim
slave traders, along with a tendency
for the Muslim minority to be slightly
wealthier, means it is often viewed
with suspicion. ?If you?re Muslim, you
have this sense that even though you?re
Central African no one ever takes you
seriously as a Central African. You?re
always called a foreigner and every
institution of government is biased
against you,? says Louisa Lombard,
assistant professor of anthropology
at Yale University, who has written
extensively about the con?ict.
In a visit to the country last week,
UN secretary general Ant髇io Guterres
warned of growing religious divides.
The UN?s peacekeeping mission,
Minusca, which is severely underresourced, is itself targeted along
sectarian lines. ?In certain parts of
the country in the east ? because the
majority of [UN] troops are Muslim ?
people are convinced that Minusca is a
plot for a Muslim takeover,? says Sara
Sywulka, acting country director for
the charity Tearfund.
?A lot of people feel very aggrieved,
they feel like they are under threat
and they feel like they are being
dispossessed,? says Lombard.
During the crisis in Boda, ?ghting
escalated as people sought revenge,
says Zoumara, citing the case of a man
driven to ?ght by the killing of his own
family. She understands the need for
justice. When con?ict erupted in Boda
she was at the market alone, while her
?ve children were on their way to meet
A young woman in Boda walks along the
?red zone? road that divides the town.
their grandmother. Amid the violence
and chaos, she became separated from
her family for two weeks. When she
found them she discovered that her
daughter, 11, had been raped ? a crime
that has been used as a weapon of
war across the country, according to
research by Human Rights Watch.
?She is solitary now, she doesn?t
really like to stay with the other kids.
Even when you look at her you can
see she is a little girl with problems,?
says Zoumara, who also lost her house
in the con?ict. As a rape survivor, her
daughter faces mockery and stigma.
Zoumara wants the man responsible
to be punished, but has no idea who he
is. Even if she did, the country?s justice
system is almost wholly dysfunctional.
Not only is there impunity for those
who committed violence, but weapons
remain in the hands of former ?ghters
and are widely available. A grenade can
be bought for the price of a cola.
Despite this, and despite the removal
of UN troops from Boda in June, the
town has remained relatively peaceful
since the summer of 2014. There
are still incidents ? two months ago
a young man threw a grenade in a
Muslim area, threatening to start a new
war ? but none have escalated.
The town?s mayor, Boniface Katta,
whose brother was decapitated during
the ?ghting three years ago, has worked
closely with Muslim and Christian
leaders, urging them to relay a message
of peace. Though ?ghters haven?t
relinquished their weapons, attitudes
have changed, according to Katta. ?Our
main objective was to make sure people
are morally disarmed because even if
you have a weapon, unless you use it, it
cannot kill anyone,? he says.
There are regular events to improve
community relations, including
Christian/Muslim football matches,
drama workshops and open church
and mosque days. Djabou and other
women also farm together through
a cooperative project supported by
Tearfund and the UK, which from
November will match donations to the
charity?s appeal for CAR.
In some towns, projects aimed
at easing community relations are
super?cial, says Yassir Baradine, vicepresident of the prefectorial council
of Boda, but in his town people want
CHAD
SUDAN
CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC
Boda
CAMEROON
500 miles
Bangui
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC
OF THE CONGO
peace. ?The two communities have
seen the consequences of the war,?
says Baradine. ?Both lost families, we
lost our houses ? it is like a personal
decision that the two communities
have decided to stop the con?ict and
live together in peace.?
?Women lost everything,? adds
Djabou. ?The ones who used to do
small trade now can?t get enough
money [to start their businesses again].
Some lost husbands and children too.?
Some families still live in the bush
because their homes were destroyed.
Daraza is one of the many who lost
her livelihood when she was forced
to ?ee her home. ?I had nothing, no
possessions. I just ran away,? she says.
?Even the birth certi?cates of my
children are lost.? Through Boda?s
women?s mutual co-operative, Daraza
now has access to affordable loans, as
well as seeds and tools for farming.
When Djabou ?rst called on Boda?s
women to help stop the violence, 50
gathered with her. There are now more
than 200. And while husbands did not
initially want their wives to take part,
claiming Djabou made their wives
stubborn, men are now encouraging
women to join the group.
?We made peace come back to
Boda,? says Djabou. ?There has been a
very big change.?
Many in Boda believe they can
prevent another major crisis in the
town, even though con?ict is escalating
elsewhere. ?We want to be an example
for others villages and towns,? says
Baradine. ?We want to show the world
that the two communities are together
in order to restore peace.?
Some names have been changed
29.10.17
NEWS | 3
*
Goodbye gore,
ghosts and
witches. Vicars
give Halloween
an upbeat image
PUTTING THE ?HALLO? INTO HALLOWEEN
In a ?ghtback against pagan rituals, churches
rebrand the scary celebration to woo public
by Jamie Doward
In the face of the sugar-saturated pagan
onslaught that is now Halloween, the
humble parish church is staging a ?ghtback in which superheroes, subversive
pumpkins, circus skills and bouncy castles have become its weapons of choice.
Rather than ignoring the annual
celebration of the macabre and the
monstrous, an increasing number of
churches now view it as a unique opportunity to market themselves in the wider
community. The Church of England?s
online support hub for parishes is offering advice on how they can mark Halloween in fun ways that connect with the
broader public.
An increasing number are staging
?light parties? at which games, fancy
dress and party food are used to deliver
an upbeat alternative to Halloween?s
horror-soaked narrative, and a reminder
of the fundamental Christian message
that there is always light to be found in
the darkness. On the Evangelical Alliance website, Chris Walton, from the
Church of the Ascension in Birmingham, enthuses that its light party last
year helped it connect with non-churchgoers. ?We held our light party on a Sunday afternoon, and about 100 people
attended ? 85 to 90 of them were people
who don?t normally come to church.?
The Scripture Union, a Christian
charity, believes light parties offer a
powerful way of connecting with the
95% of children it estimates do not go
to church. On its website it promotes a
downloadable light party advice pack
that is proving popular with churches
and youth groups.
?We?d picked up on the fact some
churches had started to do this and that
it was becoming a bit of a trend,? said
Paul Stockwell, head of fundraising and
communications at the union. ?So we
put a pack together and launched it in
2013 and it?s grown ever since. When
we started 3,000 to 4,000 people were
interested in the pack and now we?re up
to 8,000. We estimate a good 40% to 50%
of them will go on to put on a light party.?
According to market researchers
Mintel, Britons are expected to spend
�0m on Halloween this year, up 3.2%
from last year. Stockwell said the rise
of the light party was partly a reaction
to the increasing commercialisation of
the annual event. ?It?s becoming a bit of
a counter-cultural movement,? he said.
?We?re saying that at this time of year
we value the person, not the amount of
money they are going to spend on some
plastic tat. Alongside that, you?ve got the
safety issues. A lot of parents prefer to
know that their children are somewhere
where everyone has been safety checked
and they?re not wandering the streets
knocking on doors.? Rather than wearing scary costumes, children attending
light parties are encouraged to come as
their favourite superheroes, whom the
church suggests ?make a great, positive
alternative to scary witches and ghosts?.
Even the most potent Halloween symbol, the pumpkin, is being embraced,
albeit with a symbolic twist. Churches
are encouraged to promote the idea of
St Mary?s, Hemel
Hempstead, far
left, is typical of
the churches
offering a
positive spin on
Halloween with
superhero fancy
dress, left, and
smiley pumpkins,
above, replacing
the usual scary
costumes, top.
Alamy
carving a ?friendly-looking pumpkin this
Halloween, as a sign that you and your
family are going to be a force for good?.
St Mary?s Church in Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, is typical of those
churches seeking to offer an alternative
to trick-or-treating. Today, when the
town?s high street will be awash with
revellers for its popular Halloween celebrations, the church will open its doors
to become a ?beacon of warmth, light,
beauty and serenity amongst the frivolities?. Along with refreshments it intends
to offer a ?gentle message of how Jesus
is the light of the world and that nothing
dark can ever overcome it?.
Yesterday the church of St Peter and
St Paul in Flitwick, Bedfordshire, held
a Halloween party featuring pumpkins carved with hearts and Christian
symbols, glow-in-the-dark bowling
and apple-bobbing. On Halloween
itself, St Andrew?s Church in Archway,
north London, will be putting on party
games, a bouncy castle and glow crafts
while offering fairground treats and the
chance for children to learn circus skills.
However, some Christians remain
uneasy about doing anything to mark
Halloween because the night of 31 October has for centuries been seen by pagans
as a time when the boundary between
the living and the dead dissolves.
But the night has also been important
in the Christian calendar since 835. It
was then that Pope Gregory IV nominated 1 November as All Hallows? or
All Saints? day ? a feast day to celebrate
the lives of the saints. Now churches are
being encouraged to use Halloween, a
shortening of All Hallows? evening, to
promote All Saints? day, and the following All Souls? day, which is dedicated by
the Catholic Church to all those who
have died but await entrance to heaven,
and by other denominations as a chance
to remember those who have died.
Margaret Pritchard Houston, children?s mission enabler for the diocese of
St Alban?s, argues that marking Halloween in a positive way can play a crucial
role in helping children make this connection with deceased relatives and, in
so doing, overcome their fears.
?How do children come to terms
with things that scare them??, she said.
?They play, and when we play we can
take control. We can take charge of the
things that scare us and ultimately defeat
them. Halloween, when paired with All
Saints? and All Souls?, tells them that
death can be defeated, and that?s a very,
very powerful message. If we demonise
Halloween we run the risk of telling children that their fears are so scary even the
adults can?t handle them.?
Leading Conservative donors warn May: prepare the UK for a ?no-deal? Brexit
Continued from page 1
we are now in a vulnerable position
and some members of our own team,
including cabinet ministers, appear to
be keen to increase our fragility. Is it
any wonder that talk of Brexit sabotage
stalks the land? One is reminded of
Stockholm syndrome.?
The prime minister now faces a delicate decision over whether to publish
more details of the government?s prep-
arations for a ?no deal? Brexit. While
it could show Brussels that the idea is
being treated as a serious option, some
in Whitehall fear it could back?re by
highlighting the major difficulties created by leaving with no agreement.
It comes as new economic modelling
by the European parliament suggests
that a ?no deal? Brexit would increase
UK consumer prices by 4% in 2030 and
wipe 2.4% off the UK?s GDP. Ireland?s
economy would be hit even more
Theresa May
should abandon
Brexit talks rather
than agreeing a bad
deal, according to
some Tory donors.
severely. A series of submissions to the
Lords EU committee?s inquiry into the
no-deal option outline serious con-
cerns from several sectors. The British
Retail Consortium states that the average tariff on food products imported
from the EU would be 22%, with tariffs
on Irish cheddar as high as 44% and of
beef of 40%.
Financial sector advocacy group
TheCityUK warns that EU-related
?nancial services activity, worth about
�bn-20bn, could be at risk, along
with up to 35,000 jobs. The London
First business group said companies
had been forced to put investment and
recruitment decisions on hold and
revise their supply chains or were seeing ?reduced demand for products and
services?.
The Department for Exiting
the European Union said: ?We are
approaching these negotiations in a
constructive way. We are optimistic
about achieving this, but it is the duty
of a responsible government to plan for
a range of scenarios.?
4 | NEWS | Spain in crisis
*
29.10.17
Frayed nerves and frustration as
In the city?s streets, the celebrations
have ?nished and a new mood of
realism is in the air. But for supporters
of independence and sceptics alike,
there?s uncertainty about the
future after Madrid?s imposition
n
of direct rule, reports Sam Jones
es
After the real and ?gurative ?reworks,
the popping of cava corks and the tears
and flag-waving that greeted Friday?s
short-lived declaration of independence, Barcelona awoke yesterday as a fair
approximation of its old self.
The thousands of independence supporters who had jammed the streets may
have been at home licking their wounds,
nursing hangovers and mourning the
stillborn Catalan republic, but life ? and
commerce ? went on.
The only clue to the tumultuous
events of the previous day was the battery of TV cameras trained hopefully on
the facade of the government palace in
the Pla鏰 Sant Jaume.
Around the corner on the narrow Carrer del Bisbe, tourists hurried past the
beggars in wheelchairs as a busker sang
arias and hawkers laid out their fans, castanets and sel?e sticks.
Behind the business-as-usual atmosphere, however, lies uncertainty and the
sense that the political unrest of the past
six weeks is taking its toll on both pockets and nerves.
One local businessman, whose shop
on the Pla鏰 Sant Jaume sells FC Barcelona strips, statues of ?amenco dancers and bulls, was looking out on to the
square and crossing his ?ngers for a better day. ?Business is down at least 50%,?
he said. ?It?s just demo after demo here
and people can?t get into the shop.?
Given that Friday?s declaration of
independence in the Catalan parliament
was swiftly followed by the Spanish government?s imposition of direct rule, he
was hoping for a rapid return to the days
when tourists outnumbered protesters.
?I just want it all to get back to normal as soon as possible. The sooner, the
better.?
Fernando Selvaggio, who has run his
antique stall outside the cathedral for
the past 40 years, sat smoking a cigar
while he waited for customers to arrive.
Having lived through the Franco dictatorship, he was not overly concerned
by recent events ? ?If I was, I wouldn?t
be here? ? but neither was he happy with
the way the Spanish authorities have
acted. Like many Catalans, the 77-year
old is still angry over the Spanish constitutional court?s 2010 decision to hobble a statute that would have yielded the
region still greater autonomy.
?I?ve only been in favour of independence for the past six or seven years
? since they struck down the statute,?
he said. ?It was a good statute but they
squashed it. Spain has the power and
they?re using it.?
Many of the current problems, he
added, could have been avoided if the
Spanish government had agreed to a referendum instead of leaving the Catalan
government to stage a unilateral one.
?They?re not very democratic; democrats let people vote. If they?d agreed to
let people vote, it might have been a win
for the No camp.?
Jes鷖 L髉ez Rodr韌uez, a 51-yearold administrator from Barcelona, was
also feeling a little ?at. ?I was really in
the mood to celebrate something last
night, but I didn?t manage it,? he said. ?I
couldn?t enjoy the independence declaration even though it was what I wanted.
?I was curious to see what the atmosphere was like in Barcelona last night, so
I went into the centre late but I didn?t
see much euphoria; just kids drinking
and trying to have a good time. Those
of us who normally go on the marches
weren?t around.?
L髉ez Rodr韌uez, who witnessed the
violence as Spanish police officers tried
to stop the referendum on 1 October,
knows the coming weeks will be long
and difficult.
?It?s obvious that the Spanish government will start cracking down very hard.
We?ll try to resist peacefully but it?s going
to be a merry-go-round of tensions. The
Spanish government is holding the reins
and it?s all going to be very complicated.?
His bittersweet sentiments were
shared by Anna Comas, an interior
designer from Calella, a coastal town 36
miles north-east of Barcelona. Her happiness at the independence declaration
was soon tempered by the response from
Madrid.
?I was working but then I headed
into the town square to celebrate. If
I?d known what was going to happen, I
would have taken the day off. We?ve got
a lot of doubts, but I like to think things
have been properly planned.?
Although she trusts in the nowremoved government of Carles Puigdemont and its promise to make Catalonia
a sovereign country she remains trepidatious: ?I?m still a bit scared.?
But those who favour staying in Spain
see things rather differently.
Max Borrell, a 17-year-old Catalan student, has never believed in the notion of
a unilateral independence declaration.
?We?ve got a lot of
doubts. I like to think
that things have
been properly
planned ? but I?m
still a bit scared?
Anna Comas, interior designer
?By making a unilateral declaration
we have renounced the support of the
EU that we need if we are to achieve dialogue. That said, the sentiment and the
desire that motivates part of the population to leave Spain aren?t going to disappear. I think we have a long and difficult
road ahead.?
Alex Ramos, vice-president of the
pro-unity group Societat Civil Catalana,
argues that the Spanish prime minister
had no choice but to reach for article 155
of the country?s constitution.
?The independence declaration was
a disappointment and Spain, like any
other state, had to react to maintain its
territorial integrity and safeguard its
constitution,? he said. ?The Spanish
government?s reaction was intelligent
because they?re going for elections on
21 December rather than in six months?
time ? that should calm things down so
we can return to normality.?
Normality, however, remains a relative concept in Barcelona. On Saturday
morning, tourists were taking it in turns
to shoot selfies beneath the statue of
Ramon Berenguer III, the celebrated
12th-century count of Barcelona.
Separatists had decided to offer the
memorial a colourful makeover, tying
an estelada ?ag around Berenguer?s neck
like a long bib and thrusting another into
the mouth of his proud horse.
At the Arc de Triomf, the tractor protest of a fortnight ago has given way to
the bottles and marquees of the 37th
annual Catalan wine and cava show.
Its organiser, Jordi Red髇, said there
had been a roaring trade on Friday night
in people coming to buy sparkling wine
ON OTHER PAGES
Spain?s PM must avoid bullying tactics,
Catalonia?s leader should stop his
posturing , Observer Comment, 34
What Catalonia dearly needs is a neutral
press, Peter Preston, Media, 43
for the brief celebrations. But he said
future sales could be slower if people
elsewhere in Spain chose to punish proindependence Catalans for their separatist clamour. ?There could be a lowering
of sales levels in Spain if people use it as
a weapon to punish Catalans,? he said.
?But there have aways been some people who say they will boycott Catalan
products whenever there are demands
for more autonomy or a better deal. It?s a
mistake, though, as lots of Catalan products actually use a lot of ingredients from
elsewhere in Spain, like tomatoes.?
In the autumn sunshine of the cathedral square, a little removed from the
escorted groups and street sellers, two
young German tourists sat drinking coffee and trying to process exactly what
had happened on Friday.
?We booked the trip in late September
and we?d hoped that things would have
calmed down by now; we thought there
would have been dialogue,? said one.
?I didn?t expect this reaction from the
government. It was a bit weird yesterday when all the helicopters were ?ying
overhead and there were suddenly a lot
of police in the city.?
The friends had stumbled on the celebrations outside parliament and found
themselves surprised by how happy
and quiet the rally had been. ?I hope,?
she added, ?that there won?t be any
violence.?
Additional reporting by Stephen Burgen
Catalonia?s separatists pledge
peaceful resistance to Madrid
Continued from page 1
The Catalan republic that was declared
on Friday is not legal under current
Spanish law. As well as removing
Puigdemont?s existing powers, Madrid
has dissolved the Catalan parliament
that declared independence, and called
new elections for 21 December, the
earliest possible date.
Spain?s deputy prime minister,
Soraya S醗nz de Santamar韆 ? who has
managed the government?s response to
the Catalan crisis ? has been appointed
to run Catalonia on a day-to-day basis
until then. But the string of government orders published on Saturday
morning provide only the outline for
Madrid?s takeover. Spanish prime
minister Mariano Rajoy now faces the
challenge of implementing it.
The region has been officially selfgoverning since its statute of autonomy
was signed in 1979, as Spain returned to
democracy following the death of dictator General Francisco Franco in 1975.
Many of the thousands of supporters of
independence who were weeping and
celebrating in the streets of Barcelona
and other towns on Friday had pledged
peaceful resistance to Madrid?s orders
even before Puigdemont?s carefully
worded call for resistance.
Activists have offered to form human
chains around buildings to protect
officials, some of whom are expected to
face arrest and possible jail sentences
for their role in both the October
referendum and the declaration of
independence that followed.
Some of the region?s 200,000 civil
servants have said they will not accept
orders from Madrid, and one Catalan
union has also called a 10-day strike
starting tomorrow in support of the
new republic, although larger groups
have not joined them.
Josep Llu韘 Trapero, head of the
regional Mossos d?Esquadra police,
who won praise for his response to the
August terrorist attacks, has been the
only senior official to say he will comply with Madrid, accepting a demotion
to commissar.
It is not yet clear whether legislators who support the independence
declaration will be able to run for
office again, but a new election may not
29.10.17
Spain in crisis | NEWS | 5
*
Barcelona begs for normality
A dream come true at
last, or a fragile mirage?
Madrid is gambling on a
snap regional election to
rein in euphoric Catalans
COMMENTARY
Miguel-Anxo Murado
Supporters of Spanish unity stage a
protest against Catalan independence
in Plaza de Col髇, Madrid, yesterday
Photograph by Pablo Blazquez
Dominguez/Getty Images
end the challenge to Madrid. Recent
polls suggest it would return a similar
parliament to the one that has just been
dissolved, with a slim majority of seats
held by pro-independence parties,
Associated Press reported.
Barcelona was calm yesterday
with no protests by either side, and
the Spanish ?ag still ?ying from the
Catalan government palace the night
after thousands of ecstatic independence supporters had chanted for its
removal. After days of focus on the
push for independence, those Catalans
who back staying inside Spain ? often
described as a ?silent majority? ?
hoped the turmoil might spur opposition to the independence project.
Today they will hold a long-planned
march, and turnout is likely to be
watched closely as a barometer of
anti-separatist sentiment. ?A lot of
people will want to show they don?t
agree with that kind of unilateral,
illegal declaration. It has only served
to create division. Our slogan is ?We?re
all Catalonia?,? said Alex Ramos, vicepresident of pro-unity group Sociedad
Civil Catalana.
He accused local police of underestimating turnout at their last prounity march, claiming that up to a million people took to the streets rather
than the official 350,000. Numbers
were swelled by supporters from other
parts of Spain, but Ramos said 90%
were from the region. ?A lot of the people who turned out were Catalans who
had never been on a demonstration
before ? people who had been silent for
a long time. But that day, they wanted
to express themselves and say that they
were both Catalan and Spanish.?
Catalonia has long been one of
Spain?s most prosperous regions, but
the turmoil of the last months has
taken its toll. Hundreds of companies
have moved their headquarters out of
Catalonia, or are making plans to do so.
The ?edgling Catalan republic has
received little support from overseas
so far. Governments from Berlin to
Washington rallied behind Madrid,
while warning against escalation or
violence, many driven in part by concerns about secessionist movements at
home. ?I hope the Spanish government
favours force of argument, not argument of force,? said European Council
president Donald Tusk.
One of the few voices offering some
backing to Puigdemont came from
Scotland, whose external affairs minister, Fiona Hyslop, condemned Madrid.
?We understand and respect the position of the Catalan government. While
Spain has the right to oppose independence, the people of Catalonia must
have the ability to determine their own
future. The imposition of direct rule
cannot be the solution, and should be
of concern to democrats everywhere.?
During the rapturous celebrations in
Barcelona?s Sant Jaume Square following the pronouncement of Catalonia?s
independence on Friday, there was a
nagging little detail in the background.
Many demonstrators noticed it and
there were shouts of ?Fora, fora, la bandera espanyola! [Out with the Spanish
?ag!]? Indeed, even hours after the
birth of the new Catalan republic, the
?ag of what was now deemed a foreign
country kept ?ying on top of the presidential palace.
Whether this was due to a technical
difficulty or an oversight, it looked like
a Freudian slip. For those in the square,
independence was a long-held dream:
but was it now a dream come true, or
just a mirage?
Judging from their concerned looks,
the nationalist leaders seemed aware of
the fragility of their project. To secede
is not, necessarily, to succeed. To have
sovereignty, you need two things at
least: international recognition and
control over your territory.
Recognition has not been forthcoming, especially from where it
matters most. The European Union,
in its Brexit mindset, couldn?t be less
inclined to pander to a region breaking
away from a key member state such as
Spain. As for control of the territory,
the general strike set to begin tomorrow is aimed at giving the new republic
at least some semblance of that, but it
will be incomplete and temporary.
Madrid has invoked article 155 of the
Spanish constitution, which allows it
direct rule over a regional government.
But the Spanish state has little presence in the region ? Catalonia enjoys
the highest possible level of autonomy,
and to reassert itself the central government may have to act forcefully.
This is what the nationalists both
hope and fear: that in doing so Madrid
may repeat the blunder of 1 October,
when an attempt by police to preempt
an illegal referendum back?red spectacularly ? by failing in its aim and also
providing ugly scenes of violence. Now,
arresting the Catalan president and his
government for rebellion ? as the state
prosecutor has vowed to do ? and taking control of a huge, and partly hostile,
Catalan regional administration could
turn into a nightmare.
Madrid knows this, and that?s why
the prime minister, Mariano Rajoy,
has decided to make an unexpected
move: he has called a snap regional
election. This crucial vote will be held
on 21 December, the eve of Christmas
Lottery Day in Spain. It?s an aptly chosen date, for this will be a gamble.
By calling an election so soon Rajoy
hopes to spare himself most of the
nasty stuff of taking Catalonia to task
by setting up a new regional government that would do the job for him.
At the same time, he is forcing on the
nationalists a tricky conundrum: if
they take part in the vote, it will be a
depressing climbdown for them, an
admission that their independence is a
mere bluff.
At least one nationalist party,
the far-left CUP (Popular Unity
Candidacy) will boycott the vote,
which makes a unionist victory more
likely, especially with the Catalan
administration hemmed in by Madrid.
If all three of the nationalist parties
?nally shun the election, they will be
shut out from the new parliament, and
it could get cold outside.
Rajoy?s is a well-played hand, but
perhaps also a bluff that could end
in a ?op. The nationalists may ?nally
decide not to stand in the election, and
if turnout is low the new parliament?s
legitimacy will look precarious.
And if the nationalists pick up the
gauntlet and present a united list,
they could turn the election into an
undeclared plebiscite on independence. This they may win, even if
their platform for a sovereign republic will look somewhat redundant
and燾ontradictory.
Making the election happen at
all may prove as difficult as winning
it. With just over 50 days to go and
neither side in full control, accidents
can happen. Violence ? hitherto almost
completely absent ? is unlikely, but
not impossible. One good sign is that
the Catalan government seems to have
decided to leave the Catalan regional
police out of the fray, but tensions are
inevitable, and they can spiral out of
control, even if both sides intend to
exercise restraint. A lot will depend on
luck. Christmas Lottery Day is going to
be really dramatic this year.
Miguel-Anxo Murado is a Spanish
writer and journalist
THE STRUGGLE FOR INDEPENDENCE
1913 Under Enric Prat de
la Riba, Catalonia wins
limited autonomy as a
commonwealth, but this is
suppressed in 1924 by the
dictator Miguel Primo de
Rivera.
autonomy under the 1978
constitution, which received
overwhelming support from
Catalans in a referendum.
Catalan and Spanish are made
joint o?cial languages.
1931 Spain becomes
a republic and
an autonomous
Catalan regional
government,
the Generalitat, is
created under the
Esquerra Republicana
party led by Llu韘 Companys.
2006 A new Catalan
statute of autonomy
is agreed in a
referendum
and rati?ed by
the Spanish
government. The
region is described
as a ?nation? and
Catalan is given precedence
over Spanish.
1936 An uprising led by General
Franco (above) leads to civil
war. Catalonia remains loyal
to republic, as does Madrid.
Nationalist forces enter
Barcelona in 1939 and Catalans
su?er Francoist repression for
nearly 40 years.
2010 Spain?s constitutional
court amends the statute,
saying that Catalonia is not
a nation and the Catalan
language can?t have
precedence.
1977 After Franco?s death
in 1975, the Generalitat is
provisionally restored under
Josep Tarradellas. In 1979,
Catalonia is granted regional
2012 The Catalan political
class is caught o? guard when
1.5 million people march in
Barcelona against austerity
and for independence.
Support for secession surges.
Demonstrations call for a
referendum on independence.
2014 The government of
Artur Mas de?es Madrid by
holding a symbolic vote on
independence. Turnout is 37%,
but more than 80% of those
who vote are in favour.
June 2017 Regional president
Carles Puigdemont (below)
says an independence
referendum will be held on
1 October.
September 2017 The
Catalan parliament approves
referendum legislation after
a heated, 11-hour session.
Spain?s constitutional court
suspends the legislation the
following day.
20 September 2017
Police arrest 14
Catalan o?cials
suspected of
organising the
referendum
and announce
they have
seized nearly 10 million ballots
destined for the vote. Some
40,000 people protest against
the police crackdown in
Barcelona.
1 October 2017 The Catalan
government claims 900
people are injured as police try
to stop the referendum. The
Catalan government says 90%
voted for independence on a
turnout of 43%.
10 October 2017 Puigdemont
declares Catalonia an
independent republic, but then
suspends the declaration to
allow dialogue with Spain.
27 October 2017 Parliament
votes by 70 to 10 to declare
an independent republic.
Minutes later the Madrid
government imposes
direct rule, stripping the
Catalan government
of its powers, and
calls for
regional
elections on
21 December.
6 | NEWS
*
29.10.17
Self-employed ?worse off ? on universal credit
Welfare reform could put
entrepreneurs out of
business, report warns
by Michael Savage
Policy Editor
Britain?s growing army of low-paid, selfemployed workers face being more than
�000 a year worse off than employees
with the same earnings as a result of the
government?s ?agship welfare reform,
ministers have been warned.
Hundreds of thousands of selfemployed workers on low incomes who
are dependent on in-work bene?ts could
eventually be affected by unfairness built
into the universal credit system, according to a new analysis. Some could be
forced out of business altogether.
The revelation is the latest in a series
of high-profile setbacks to the programme. Earlier this month, after pressure from Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, Theresa May this month scrapped
a 55p-a-minute charge for using a universal credit helpline, but the prime
minister has so far refused to delay
the national rollout of the new system,
despite evidence of claimants falling into
rent arrears.
The new warning comes in a report
published tomorrow by the independent Low Incomes Tax Reform Group
(LITRG). It states that there is ?a very
Labour?s Debbie
Abrahams said
universal credit was
not flexible enough
to support the
self-employed.
real possibility that people will be discouraged from starting self-employment, and existing claimants may be
forced to give up their work?.
It states: ?We have modelled numerous examples that show how a selfemployed person earning the same
across a 12-month period as an employed
person can be worse off. In one example, the self-employed person received
�600 less universal credit than their
employed counterpart.?
Under universal credit, several benefits are combined into a single payment. Ministers are expected to reduce
the time claimants have to wait for their
first payment from six to four weeks
after pressure from Tory MPs. The overall budget of the programme has been
raided several times as a result of welfare
cuts imposed by the former chancellor,
George Osborne.
The LITRG expresses most concern over the ?minimum income ?oor?
(MIF), a claimant?s expected monthly
income after tax and national insurance have been deducted. It is used to
calculate universal credit payments but
can penalise low-paid workers whose
5.00
%
AER/GROSS
P.A. (VARIABLE)
FLEXCLUSIVE
REGULAR SAVER
monthly income ?uctuates, and result
in some having their entitlement to state
support severely curtailed. Documents
from the Office for Budget Responsibility suggest that the government stands to
reduce universal credit expenditure by
�5bn by 2021-22 as a result of the MIF.
Anne Fairpo, chair of the LITRG, said:
?Universal credit is gradually replacing
working tax credit as the primary welfare support for low-income workingage people. Perhaps the most concerning part of the self-employment regime
under universal credit is the minimum
income ?oor, which fails to account for
fluctuating earnings or one-off large
business expenses.?
The government has already introduced a 12-month ?start-up period?
when the MIF does not apply in an
attempt to lessen the impact on entrepreneurs. However, Andy Chamberlain,
from the Association of Independent
Professionals and the Self-Employed,
warned that it was not enough.
?The majority of the self-employed
have been operating for over 12 months,
so the start-up period does not solve the
problem,? he said.
Debbie Abrahams, the shadow work
and pensions secretary, said: ?This government programme was supposed to
make our social security system more
responsive to the modern labour market.
Yet it is not ?exible enough to properly
support the ?ve million self-employed
workers in Britain. Labour is calling on
the government to pause and ?x the programme, before millions of people are
made worse off.?
A spokeswoman for the Department
for Work and Pensions said: ?Universal
credit supports self-employed people for
up to a year while they establish their
business. If, after a year, the business
isn?t meeting the minimum income ?oor,
then they will have to either increase
their self-employed earnings or take on
additional work as part of their claimant
commitment.?
Pressure on Davis
to release secret
Brexit documents
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by Michael Savage
Policy Editor
David Davis is facing demands to allow
senior MPs to see a series of secret
Whitehall studies outlining the impact
of Brexit, after repeatedly refusing to
publish the documents.
More than 120 MPs have signed a
letter demanding the publication of the
documents, which the government is
refusing to release under the Freedom
of Information Act. The Brexit secretary argues that doing so could damage
Britain?s negotiating power.
A list of the 57 sectors covered by
the impact assessments is expected to
be published as soon as this week, but
it will not cast any light on the details
they contain. However, Davis is now
under pressure to hand the documents
to parliament?s liaison committee ?
made up of all select committee chairs.
Seema Malhotra, the Labour MP
who has been leading the charge over
the plans, has now written to Davis,
formally requesting that they are
shared.
?As I am sure you will agree, with
our economy being on the brink of the
biggest change for generations, this
could be an important part of the process for how parliament and the nation
plan together for the change ahead,?
she wrote.
The secrecy over the dossiers is
particularly awkward for Davis, who
was a champion of freedom of information laws before taking ministerial
office. ?Time and again information is
withheld from the public for no good
reason, other than to spare the blushes
of the powerful,? he said in 2015.
ON OTHER PAGES
Brexit and an unholy alliance
Carole Cadwalladr, Comment,page 37
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without tax deducted. Terms and conditions apply. Information correct at 26 October 2017.
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Who will lead the Brexit retreat?
Nick Cohen, Comment, page 37
Is it a blip or is Brexit beginning to bite?
Business Leader, page 42
29.10.17
NEWS | 7
*
Firebrand of the
general strike is
new heroine of
TV gang drama
Peaky Blinders
Birmingham-based series draws on life of
Jessie Eden, a passionate Communist trade
union activist who made history in the 1920s
by Sarah Hughes
She made headlines in 1926 when she
convinced her all-female section of
workers at the Joseph Lucas motor
components factory in Birmingham to
down tools as part of the general strike.
She went on to lead 10,000 women out
on a week?s strike in 1931, in a show of
power that was almost unprecedented
in its time.
Now the half-forgotten but fascinating life of trade union activist and British
Communist party member Jessie Eden is
set to play a key role in the much-anticipated fourth series of BBC2?s period
gang drama Peaky Blinders.
?I?m always interested in those people you see ?ashing by at the corner of
your eye,? says the show?s creator Steven
Knight. ?So much of history concentrates on the memoirs of some politician
or other but then in the middle of all that
grey there?s a ?ash of colour and that?s
?In her prime she
was an electrifying
speaker whose
con?dence in victory
was contagious?
Graham Stevenson, historian
Jessie. Being female and working class,
she had very little prospect of becoming
a household name, but she did extraordinary things.?
Peaky Blinders ?rst mentioned Eden
in the last series when Helen McCrory?s
outspoken Aunt Pol and the rest of the
Shelby women downed tools and headed
out to hear the young ?rebrand speak at
Birmingham?s Bull Ring. In this series,
however, she will play a more central
role as her desire for better conditions
for her workers puts her on a collision
course with enigmatic anti-hero Tommy
Shelby (Cillian Murphy).
?It?s always been my intention to
tackle the 1926 general strike, as it was
a time when the possibility of a genuine
revolution was in the air,? says Knight.
?Birmingham has always been a very
radical, very unionised, very leftwing
city, so it was very important for us to
have someone on the show who represented that.?
It?s true that even the briefest
glimpses of Eden in history paint a tantalising picture of a determined working-class woman whose pragmatic, honest and articulate voice speaks vibrantly
across the years. Her daughterin-law Andrea McCulloch
describes her as very strong
and committed in her beliefs.
?She was the sort of person you
might underestimate because
she was small and vulnerablelooking but then ? bang. You
didn?t want to underestimate
her. By the time I knew her she
was a sweet old lady, but her
sister-in-law Noreen told me she
could tear you off a strip if you did
something she didn?t approve of.?
That strength in her convictions can be heard in Eden?s
account of her time on the frontline of the 1926 strike. Talking to
o
the Birmingham Post in 1976 shee
said: ?One policeman put his handss
on my arms. They were telling mee
to go home,
e, but the crowd howled
d
? ?Hey, leave
ve her alone?? and some men
came and pushed the policemen away.
They didn?t
n?t do anything after that. I
think they could see there would have
been a riot. I was never frightened of the
police or the
he troops because I had the
people with
h me, you see.?
Graham
m Stevenson , convenor off
the Communist
munist History Group, knew
Eden during
ng her later life and says that
her commitment
mitment to her causes
remained undimmed.
?My memory
ry
is of a physisically frail and,
nd,
by then, small
mall
person but
her personality
nality
was still clearly
learly bold, fearless
and indomitable,?
mitable,? he says. ?People say that
at in her prime she was
an electrifying
ying speaker, who poured
out words from the heart without notes
and whose con?dence in victory was
Charlie Murphy as
Jessie Eden;
below, Eden in
1926; left, on a
Vietnam war
protest. Historical
photographs
courtesy of
Andrea McCulloch
Cillian Murphy
returns as the
Peaky Blinders?
gang leader
Tommy Shelby.
contagious. I?m sure she would be tickled pink at the attention her name has
had in recent years ? although I?d guess
her reaction to the playing with dates
and events would be similar to mine but
even爃arsher!?
Charlie Murphy, the Irish actress
who plays Eden, agrees that the young
activist?s voice feels as relevant now
as it did then. ?One of the things I ?nd
most fascinating is where she drew
that strength from,? she says. ?She?s an
extraordinary woman, very brave, very
passionate and she really put her neck
on the line, not just for women but for
everyone.?
In 1931, Eden?s passion for justice saw
her lead 10,000 women out on strike
for a week in a dispute over attempts to
link workers? pay to the speed of performance. ?They told me they were timing
me? the fact was that I?d always worked
quickly? they obviously wanted to set
the time by me and the others would
have had to keep up,? Eden said.
The strike worked and the system was
dropped but Eden found herself singled
out at work and eventually lost her job.
She would later receive victimisation pay
from the Transport and General Workers Union and a gold medal from its then
leader, Ernest Bevin. A mysterious spell
in Moscow (reportedly helping to rally
female workers in the construction of
the Moscow Metro) followed before
Eden returned to Birmingham and was
soon caught up in campaigning for better
conditions for tenants. She stood for the
Communist party in Handsworth in the
1945 general election winning 3.4% of the
vote and would continue to protest until
late in her life ? an image from the late
60s shows her marching alongside husband Walter against the war in燰ietnam.
?To the very end her one true love
seems to have been justice, fairness
and equality,? says Murphy. ?She comes
across as a very inspirational person to
be around and I?m sure that rubbed off
on so many people.?
McCulloch agrees: ?To Jessie, protest was simply the right thing to do,?
she says. ?If she knew that a character
based on her was in Peaky Blinders today
I think she would have been pleased
and really keen to have got the message
across that anyone can make a difference, if they have the drive.?
Peaky Blinders returns to BBC2 in the
week beginning 12 November
8 | NEWS
*
OBSERVER WRITERS
SHORTLISTED FOR AWARDS
Nick Cohen
Comment
Journalism
Writing today on the
retreat from Brexit
This section, page 37
Vanessa Thorpe
Arts and
Entertainment
Five Observer
writers were
named last
week on the
shortlist for
the prestigious
British
Journalism
Awards.
The winners
will be
announced in
December
Carole Cadwalladr
Technology
Journalism
Cambridge Analytica
and Leave campaign
This section, page 33
Rowan Moore
Infrastructure and
Development
Norman Foster?s
Bloomberg HQ
New Review, page 39
Emma
Graham-Harrison
Foreign A?airs
Nominated for work in
our sister paper
the Guardian
Whitehall tells EU detainees
to ?go home or go elsewhere?
by Mark Townsend
Home A?airs Editor
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29.10.17
The Home Office is warning EU nationals held in detention centres that they
should leave the UK to ?avoid becoming destitute?, in the latest instance of
a hardened tone towards citizens from
European countries.
A government letter, written on
behalf of home secretary Amber Rudd
and seen by the Observer, also advises
EU nationals that they should consider
leaving because they have the ?right to
travel freely across the EU and can visit,
live, study and in most cases work in any
other EU member state? ? an observation that appears to preempt the UK?s
departure from the union.
The letter, dated 18 October and written by officials from the Home Office?s
immigration section, tells a Romanian
national in an immigration detention
centre that his request for emergency
accommodation has been rejected and
he should consider another country. It
states: ?You could avoid becoming destitute by returning to Romania or another
EU member state where you could enjoy
access to all your ECHR [European
Convention on Human Rights] without
interference.?
The ECHR protects the human rights
and freedoms of individuals in 47 countries belonging to the Council of Europe
and prohibits a range of unfair and
harmful practices.
Detentions and enforced removals
of EU citizens from the UK have risen
sharply since the Brexit vote, prompting critics to claim that the Home Office
is deliberately targeting EU nationals
as part of the ?hostile environment ?
Theresa May pledged for those she
believes should not be in the country.
Analysis of government data shows
deportations of EU citizens are at their
highest since records began, with 5,301
removals in the year to June 2017 and a
policy of deporting European nationals
accused of sleeping rough.
Celia Clarke, director of the legal
charity Bail for Immigration Detainees
(BiD), said: ?One of the worrying aspects
of the Home Office letter refusing an EU
national entitlement to accommodation
to enable him to apply for bail to get out
of detention is its tone: effectively telling
a detainee to go home or go to another
EU country.
?If UK officials are acting in this way
towards EU nationals now, the future
of our relations with EU nationals and
countries should be a concern to us all.
The danger is that the divorce from the
EU is becoming ever more acrimonious,
?If UK o?cials are
acting in this way
now, the future of our
relations with the EU
and its nationals is a
concern to us all?
Celia Clarke, charity director
and this is re?ected in both the tone and
the practice of the Home Office.?
Despite coming under considerable
pressure, May has held off promising to
maintain EU citizens? rights until those
of UK citizens in the rest of the EU have
been secured. Last Thursday, however,
the foreign secretary, Boris Johnson,
attempted to reduce disquiet by telling a
meeting of Polish dignitaries their rights
would be ?protected whatever happens?
after Brexit.
Meanwhile, other documents spell
out a further potential headache for
May?s leadership. A letter from the
European commission?s directorategeneral for justice has indicated that it is
serious about investigating the increased
detention of EU nationals in Britain and
whether UK authorities are restricting
?their right to move and reside freely?.
It has begun the process of asking for
evidence on the issue.
The letter, dated 20 October, also
reveals that the commission is ?looking
into the amendments of UK law? that
came into force in February and have
since been routinely used to deport EU
citizens. According to the contentious
law changes, individuals found to have
been sleeping rough can now be ?subject
to administrative removal? from the UK.
?These regulations seem to have
created the conditions for a cavalier
approach towards the detention and
removal of EEA nationals,? said Clarke.
The Home Office declined to comment, saying only that the ?description
of the letter provided is not one we recognise as a Home Office document?.
29.10.17
NEWS | 9
*
Forget cod and salmon: Britons urged to
rediscover the neglected Cornish sardine
Pilchards are among
the tastiest ?sh in UK
waters ? but 90% of
our catch goes
abroad. Now a new
campaign aims to
change all that, writes
Rebecca Smithers
At close to midnight, the crew of the
Rachel Anne are surprisingly cheerful, given they have spent seven hours
fruitlessly searching the English Channel for sardines. Scanning the screens in
the wheelhouse, Richard Chamberlain,
the skipper, suddenly spots a red blob
on the echo-sounder which indicates a
sizeable shoal is close by. ?It?s looking
good,? he shouts, checking its location
and satisfied that it is a ?tight? (and
therefore plentiful) shoal, and not too
deep. ?Let?s shoot.?
The nocturnal silence off Cornwall is
shattered as a huge circular net is catapulted or ?shot? overboard by a hydraulic winch and ? engine revving ? the boat
lurches ahead in a giant curve, the net
unfurling behind.
The activity and noise intensify as
the three-strong crew ? their yellow
oilskins glinting in the moonlight ? leap
into action. They are activating a ?purse
seine? ? a whopping 420-metre circular
wall of net which encloses the shoal and
is then closed at the bottom by means of
a line rather like the string used to close
a purse.
In the darkness, floodlights illuminate the boat and screeching gulls circle
overhead as thousands of ?ailing, silvery
sardines, are brought up and put straight
to chill on ice.
It?s a typical fishing expedition off
England?s south-west coast. But also
on board to experience the drama is
Ally Dingwall, aquaculture and fisheries manager for Sainsbury?s. He has
followed at close quarters the recent
transformation of the unloved and
unfashionable pilchard into the brand
of ?Cornish sardines? ? now regarded
as among the best-tasting in the world
and deserving of protected geographical status since 2010. Dingwall is masterminding a drive to push sardines into
the premier league of British ?sh.
At a time when consumers are being
wooed by budget supermarkets offering
frozen farmed ?sh from the other side
of the world ? typically African tilapia
and pangasius from Asia ? the UK?s second largest supermarket is launching a
campaign to get shoppers to eat sustainably-caught, healthy (high in omega 3
A sardine fisherman shows his catch in Newlyn, Cornwall. A trawler in Plymouth, below, lands freshly-caught fish. Photographs by Christopher Jones/Alamy, Simon Poote
oils) species caught from British waters.
?Cornish sardines are one of the country?s great sustainable ?sh choices that
deserve more celebration,? said Dingwall. ?Sales of fresh sardines have surged
in the past year. Yet the vast majority ?
around 90% ? of sardines caught off the
Cornish coast end up being exported to
Europe, predominantly to France, Spain
and Portugal.?
Appetite for the ?sh is growing worldwide, including in Japan and China
where they are considered a delicacy,
pan-fried in panko bread crumbs.
The irony, Dingwall explains, is that
Britons go on holiday to Portugal or
Spain and enjoy freshly-grilled sardines
on barbecues and in restaurants. ?They
are eating ?sh from British waters ? wild
not farmed, and caught sustainably ?
which they can and should be enjoying
when they come home. It?s a versatile
?sh and easy to prepare and cook. We
are doing our bit to try to change that
but there?s a long way to go.?
Many of the sardines are supplied by
Inter?sh in Plymouth ? a third-generation family business and now one of the
?We?ve long been
used to mackerel and
kippers but sardines
are having their
own renaissance?
Toby Middleton, ?shing o?cial
Doctors braced for winter ?u epidemic
amid fears over effectiveness of vaccine
Numbers could match
Australia?s record of 72
deaths and 170,000 cases
by Robin McKie
Science Editor
Doctors in Britain are bracing themselves for an outbreak of ?u in the next
few weeks that could match Australia?s
recent epidemic ? one of the worst
for a decade.
At least 170,000 cases were con?rmed at the end of the Australian
winter, more than twice as many as in
2016. Federal health officials say they
logged 72 ?u-related deaths among this
year?s total.
?We know that the virus responsible for a large number of those cases
was a strain of the H3N2 in?uenza
virus,? says Professor Andrew Easton,
of Warwick University. ?A similar
viral strain was used to create part of
the vaccine that has been distributed
round Britain this month. However, we
do not know how well it will work until
this year?s ?u epidemic begins.?
The ?u outbreak that struck
Australia and New Zealand was not
particularly severe in individual
terms. Most deaths occurred among
the elderly, as is often the case with
in?uenza. One of the worst outbreaks occurred at a single nursing
home, St John?s Retirement Village in
Wangaratta in Victoria?s north-east. A
total of seven elderly people died.
However, the sheer number of cases
triggered during the outbreak was
unexpected. ?We are still not sure why
so many cases occurred this year in
Australia,? added Easton. ?It may have
been that surveillance in some areas
was better than it had been in the past.
This could have produced an apparent increase in numbers of cases. Or it
could be that there was something different, in terms of virulence, with the
H3N2 strain that affected Australia. We
should certainly be cautious.?
Professor John Oxford, of Queen
Mary University of London, said: ?It
would be common sense to be prearmed and to be as proactive as we can
in preparing to protect ourselves from
this year?s ?u outbreak.?
The main unknown is the efficacy of
the vaccine that is now being administered in the UK. Every year the World
Health Organisation reviews the main
strains of in?uenza in circulation
globally and recommends which of
these should be used as the targets for
the following season?s vaccine programme. These strains were selected
nine months ago, before the Australian
outbreak occurred.
?We know historically that ?u vaccines are usually 40% to 60% effective,?
said Richard Pebody of Public Health
England. ?That means that having the
vaccine will reduce your risk of getting
?u by 40 to 60% compared with those
not getting the vaccine.
?Children aged two to eight, health
care workers, and those over 65 should
therefore take the vaccine.?
UK?s leading processors of pelagic ?sh.
Interfish?s vessels catch 6,700 tonnes
of sardines a year on average, with 250
tonnes going directly to Sainsbury?s
customers. Firmly rooted in Cornish
history, sardines (from the Latin Sardina pilchardus) have been caught commercially off the south-west peninsula
since Elizabethan times, and modern
purse seines are based on traditional
ring nets ? minimising bycatch and with
low environmental impact.
There are no quotas but under rules
drawn up by the Cornish Sardine Management Association , a boat is not
allowed to catch more than 40 tonnes in
a 24-hour period. Cornish sardine ?shermen also recently agreed a new code
of conduct which limits the ?shery to
15 vessels ? typically small ones like the
Rachel Anne. The ?shing season starts
towards the end of July and finishes
in March, with oil content and quality
changing through the seasonal ?shing
window.
?Cornish sardines are a fantastic
British oily ?sh,? said Toby Middleton,
the Marine Stewardship Council?s pro-
gramme director, North East Atlantic.
?We?ve long been used to mackerel on
our supermarket shelves, and kippers
have a place in our hearts. But sardines
are having their own renaissance.?
Having snatched a few hours? sleep,
Dingwall is tucking into pan-fried sardines ? the ?sh he saw come out of the
water less than 12 hours previously.
Thanks to a series of campaign ? from
government ones to those promoted by
the chefs Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall
and Jamie Oliver ? consumer awareness of ?sh stocks and sustainability has
increased, says Dingwall.
In November, Sainsbury?s will launch
a new range showcasing seasonal, British-caught wild ?sh such as Dover sole,
monk?sh and whiting. The new Fishmongers? Choice range ? much of it from
Inter?sh ? will be include both fresh and
frozen and on sale in 210 of its stores.
Latest industry ?gures show that 80%
of ?sh bought by British consumers is
one of the big ?ve staples ? cod, haddock, tuna, salmon and prawns. A coming sardine revolution could be about to
change all that.
Homeowners in scramble to
remortgage as rate rise looms
by Miles Brignall
Householders have been scrambling
to grab ?xed-rate mortgages before
Thursday?s expected interest rate rise,
which would lead to the ?rst increase
in monthly loan payments in a decade.
Staff at the big mortgage brokers
have reported a ?busy last few days?,
and say they are expecting more calls
this week as householders with baserate-linked loans try to insulate themselves from the anticipated increase.
The banks and other loan providers
have been quietly dropping the best
?xed-rate deals before Thursday?s
announcement by the Bank of England.
A 0.25 percentage point base rate
increase to 0.5% would add � per
month to a typical �5,000 mortgage.
The small rise would be a milestone,
marking an end to a decade in which
payments have only fallen. One investment group has estimated that as many
as 8 million Britons have not seen an
interest rate rise in their adult lives.
Paul Welch, who runs largemortgageloans.com, which specialises in
arranging loans above �0,000, said
there had been a signi?cant jump in
remortgaging queries in the last 24
hours. One in 14 borrowers has a mortgage of more than �0,000.
?After a decade of low rates, remortgaging is becoming a hot topic again
and clients are seeking our advice on
whether to ?x their mortgage rates
now, before a prospective rate rise,?
Welch said. ?There?s still time to act
but do it as soon as possible.?
Earlier this month, UK Finance, a
trade association representing banks
and other mortgage lenders, said gross
mortgage lending in August was up
�2bn on July?s ?gure. Home movers
borrowed �4bn ? 18% more than in
July, while ?rst-time buyers borrowed
16% more in August.
ON OTHER PAGES
For and against an interest rate rise
Philip Inman, Business, pages 40-41
10 | NEWS
*
?Having an affair need
not end a marriage. In
fact, it can be healthy??
In?delity should not always lead to divorce, insists therapist Esther Perel in
her bestselling book, The State of A?airs. And though she?d never advise
cheating, it might even make the relationship stronger, she tells Lucy Rock
Esther Perel is animated, leaning forward in her chair and throwing up her
hands to reinforce a point about her specialist subject: affairs.
The renowned sex and relationship
therapist is adamant that many marriages can recover from the bombshell
of betrayal, but she is indignant that
there is a stigma today about a deceived
spouse staying with an adulterous partner. In the 1960s, Tammy Wynette singing about standing by your man and the
pain of D-I-V-O-R-C-E hit the cultural
zeitgeist, but those sentiments are out
of tune with current norms. These days,
Break Free by Ariana Grande chimes
better.
Perel, whose advice is dispensed via
TED talks, books and podcasts and has
been heard by millions worldwide, does
not necessarily see this as progress.
?It used to be divorce that carried all
the stigma,? she tells the Observer. ?Now
it?s choosing to stay when you can leave
that is the new shame.? She references
the flak that Hillary Clinton got for
sticking with Bill when she could have
walked away.
The 59-year-old is one of the biggest
?gures on the American therapy scene.
Her new book, The State of Affairs:
Rethinking Infidelity, is already a New
York Times bestseller, having just come
out in the US and the UK. She deals with
the mess and pain of fractured relationships with searing honesty, astute
observations and compassion. If your
marriage were in trouble, you?d probably
want her help, although her methods can
seem unconventional.
When Perel spoke about the new
stigma affecting partners who stay
rather than go, to an audience of 12,000
women at a conference earlier this
month, applause rang out.
?So many women wanted to feel good
and digni?ed over making that choice
to stay,? she declares, flashing plumcoloured nail varnish and delicate gold
hand chains as she gesticulates. ?When
you are shamed for staying, you are in a
double bind ? I have been betrayed by
my partner and I have to lie about it to
protect him so that other people won?t
judge him to such an extent that I will
lose them. So now I can?t talk to anybody.
That?s the new shame.?
Perel?s thinking goes like this: in the
past, women were economically and
legally dependent on men, and divorce
was rare. Now, in countries where
women have equal rights and ?nancial
independence, the culture demands
that she exercise them and throw out
the cheat. Meanwhile, men are seen as
weak if they stay with an unfaithful wife.
?It?s worse for the men,? she says
earnestly. ?I think people should be
able to determine for themselves the
choices that they will make and the
consequences thereof.
?To just push people to divorce and
to think that divorce is always the better solution when it dissolves all the
family bonds? Entire lives are intertwined with a marriage. It isn?t just
the relationship between the spouses.
It is social networks, it?s lives of chil-
dren, it?s grandchildren, it?s
economics.?
She once suggested a
wife built an altar to her
husband?s lover to remind
her of how she had reinvigorated her marriage.
Then there was the time
? featured in an episode of
her podcast ? where she
asked a husband to adopt
his alter ego, Jean-Claude,
and speak in Americanaccented French for the
PLAYING AWAY
adults admits to having
compared with 41% for
1 inhad?veanBritish
women. Men and women
a?air.
are equally likely to have had
Percentage of people who say they
an a?air. But men are slightly
33have thought about cheating.
more likely than women to
have multiple dalliances.
Percentage of those who said their
82 longest a?air lasted for more than a 37 Percentage
of men who
say they have thought
week; 7% said their a?air was shorter, and
about having an a?air, compared with
6% didn?t know or didn?t say.
49
29% of women.
Percentage of cheating men who
had had more than one a?air,
Source: YouGov survey 2015
29.10.17
session. Explaining her approach, she
says: ?In terms of how I intervene, I?m
very much not a formula person. I?m quite
creative, and responding in the moment.
?The intervention of the altar is not
meant to be taken literally. I understood
she was obsessed with that woman, and
thought: I?m going to give you power
over your obsession. If you look at it out
of context, it will make me look like I am
completely cuckoo. The moment she
laughs, she gets it. That?s when I know
it?s working. It?s called prescribing the
ordeal ? you prescribe the very thing that
people are trying to eliminate because
then it loses its power.?
The daughter of Holocaust survivors,
Perel grew up in Antwerp, studied in
Jerusalem, came to the US for graduate school and stayed. She started her
therapy practice in New York 34 years
ago, and has drawn on her wealth
of experience to write two books
and deliver lectures worldwide.
Her TED talks have garnered nearly 20 million views,
and she has a chart-topping
podcast series Where Should
We Begin? featuring counselling sessions with
real couples. A second
season has just been
released.
Pe r e l s a y s s h e
believes that a marriage
can survive an affair,
even be revitalised by
it, although she would
not recommend having one any more
than having cancer.
?Many affairs are
break-ups, but some
affairs are make-ups.
Sometimes the relationship that comes
out is stronger, and
more honest and
deeper than the one that
existed before because
people finally step
up,? she says, flicking
back her asymmetrical caramel-streaked
Esther Perel,
whose TED talks
on relationships
have had 20
million views.
Shutterstock
29.10.17
NEWS | 11
*
Ruth Wilson and
Dominic West in the
television series The
Affair, which explores
the emotional effects
of an extramarital
relationship. Showtime
Gove says sorry for Weinstein
joke that ?trivialises sex assault?
Minister under ?re after
likening being on Today
to entering the bedroom
of Harvey Weinstein
by Jamie Doward
Environment secretary Michael Gove
was forced to apologise yesterday after
he compared being interviewed by the
BBC Today programme presenter John
Humphrys to entering Harvey Weinstein?s bedroom.
The poorly judged analogy ? labelled
a ?rape joke? by critics ? was attacked
by MPs on all sides. It prompted
a furore on social media that also
engulfed the BBC?s ?agship radio
programme, with one of its presenters,
Nick Robinson, lambasted for
re-tweeting Gove?s comments without
criticism. Lord Kinnock was also
caught up in the row, having appeared
to make light of Gove?s remarks by
likening Weinstein, who faces multiple
accusations of rape and sexual abuse,
which he denies, to a ?groper?. The
extraordinary row came as concerns
about the Westminster bubble?s
?misogynstic culture? were raised by
the Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn.
Gove was being interviewed by
Humphrys in front of a live audience
at the Wigmore Hall in London to
celebrate Today?s 60th birthday. Asked
by Humphrys about appearing on
Today, he replied: ?Sometimes I think
going into the studio with you, John, is
a bit like going into Harvey Weinstein?s
bedroom. You just pray you emerge
with your dignity intact.?
Kinnock, who was being
interviewed alongside him, joined in,
?We are turning to
romantic love for a
host of needs we used
to look for in religion:
ecstasy, comfort,
meaning, wholeness
and belonging?
who is put down and intimidated by her
husband. ?She has an affair, and the man
is saying, ?You cheated on me, you slut,
you bitch.? I?m thinking, ?Mister, you may
think you have the moral high ground
because your partner breached the contract, but the contract has been breached
many times.? If we just pretend that this
betrayal tops all others ? I think we do a
disservice to honesty and to marriage.?
The context must be taken into consideration, she says, citing the situation
where someone is looking after a chronically ill partner.
?You may not be faithful but you are
loyal, and you don?t leave that person,
but you ?nd comfort and warmth and
tenderness and support in your connection with another person, and that
allows you to continue to take care of
your sick partner.?
Perel thinks we have huge
expectations of our relationships
because we have elevated our partners
to god-like positions.
?In the secularisation of the western
world, we are turning to romantic love
for a host of needs that we used to look
for in religion. We look in our partners
for transcendence, ecstasy, comfort,
meaning, wholeness, and belonging.?
Many crumble under the pressure,
and in the digital age ?it has never been
easier to cheat, and it has never been
more difficult to keep a secret?.
Research indicates a 40% jump in the
number of women having affairs since
1990, according to Perel, as economic
and social conditions have changed,
while men?s rates have held steady.
Perel says you cannot affair-proof
your marriage. Happy people still stray.
?I see people in satisfying, happy relationships. They say, ?I love my partner,
I?m having an affair.? It?s not that they
want to leave the person they are with,
it?s that they want to leave the person
they have themselves become.?
Perel has been married to Jack Saul,
a psychologist specialising in collective
trauma, for 35 years and they have two
sons. While avoiding intimate details,
she does have some thoughts on how
they?ve strengthened their relationship
over the decades, referring to three elements laid out in the book The All-orNothing Marriage by Eli J Finkel.
?The ?rst is that, over the 35 years,
we have recalibrated our expectations
? what is realistic for us, what we can
expect from each other at this stage of
our lives versus that stage.?
The second is that they have a diverse
social network that ?nurtures each of us,
together and separate?.
The third is about having new experiences together, taking risks, and maintaining a sense of curiosity and discovery
over new things.
Warming to her theme, she adds:
?Those are the main things, but it?s a lot
of things. It?s knowing to take responsibility for your part in a relationship and
owning it, and being able to see yourself
as a ?awed individual but still hold yourself in high regard.
?It?s about being able to maintain an
intimate connection that involves touch.
You can live without sex, but not without
touch.?
If all this fails and an affair blows up
your relationship, Perel would seem a
good person to go to for advice.
It?s impossible to quantify how many
marriages she has helped save, although
she has received thousands of thank you
letters over the years.
But to be clear, she adds: ?I absolutely
don?t think I?m for everyone.?
The State of Affairs: Rethinking In?delity
is published by Yellow Kite
�
?I look at
myself
in the
mirror and
think I?m
gorgeous.
It?s other
people
that tell me
I?ve got a
face like a
smacked
arse?
Actress and
comedian
Kathy Burke
interviewed
pages 14-20
Observer
Magazine
bob and ?xing me with eyes lined with
smoky black eyeliner.
Without defending adultery, she does
think that sometimes adulterers get a bad
press. ?This experience of in?delity is so
ubiquitous and so poorly understood that
I don?t think it can be reduced to good and
bad, victim and perpetrator. We need a
conversation that embraces the complexity and that is more caring and compassionate for everybody involved.
?So yes, an affair always involves
a breach of trust, and it?s an act of
betrayal. It involves lies, secrecy. But
there are all kinds of things happening
in the relationship, and betrayal sometimes comes in many forms.?
She gives the example of a woman
saying: ?John goes way past groping.
Way past groping.? On Twitter listeners
described the comments as ?revolting?
and said they were ?gobsmacked? by
the politicians? behaviour.
Labour MP Jess Phillips,
commented on Twitter: ?Michael
Gove just left the studio without his
dignity.? Actor Stephen Mangan wrote:
?Morning. Here?s a rape joke from
Michael Gove to start your day.?
Tory MP Anna Soubry tweeted that
Gove?s comments ?insulted victims
of rape & other sexual assaults &
perpetuated pathetic notion that these
crimes are not to be taken seriously.?
One of her followers responded:
?Neil Kinnock?s intervention wasn?t his
Michael Gove in
conversation with
John Humphrys at
yesterday?s event
to mark Today?s
60th anniversary.
?nest hour either.? In a tweet posted a
couple of hours after his appearance on
the programme, Gove said: ?Apologies
for my clumsy attempt at humour on
R4 Today this morning ? it wasn?t
appropriate. I?m sorry and apologise
unreservedly.?
Robinson?s decision to tweet Gove?s
comment also came under attack.
One listener wrote: ?For heavens
sake, Mr Robinson, do you really
consider a ?joke? by Michael Gove
about sexual assault to be worthy
of a tweet?? Another said: ?This is a
disgraceful comparison by Gove ? and
it?s also disgraceful to repeat it without
censure.? As the row started trending,
Labour peer Lord Adonis tweeted:
?Seriously inappropriate ?joke,? sums
up a discreditable episode of @
BBCr4today self-congratulation.?
Robinson defended his actions, but
did not offer an apology. He tweeted:
?Know many people are offended
by this. To be clear ? I tweeted a
newsworthy quote without comment.?
The row erupted at a time when
the conduct of politicians is under
intense scrutiny amid reports that
at least four have been the subject
of sexual misconduct allegations.
The MPs, two Labour and two
Conservative, have been accused of
harassing or propositioning young
women inappropriately, according to
the燭imes.
Labour backbencher Jared O?Mara
has had the party whip suspended
over a series of misogynistic and
homophobic online postings. He
has also been accused of calling a
constituent an ?ugly bitch? ? a claim
that he denies.
In a speech yesterday, Corbyn
said that a ?warped and degrading
culture? where the abuse of women is
accepted and normalised is thriving in
the corridors of power. In an address
to the Unite union?s Scottish policy
conference in Aviemore, Corbyn
pledged that Labour would ?not
tolerate any form of discrimination or
harassment?.
He added: ?The problem doesn?t
stop with those who make unwanted
advances on women ? it extends to a
culture that has tolerated abuse for far
too long.?
ON OTHER PAGES
The Today programme at 60
Observer Pro?le, page 32
The case of Jared O?Mara
Catherine Bennett, page 37
12 | NEWS
*
29.10.17
Anti-abortion group to get ?tampon tax? cash
Women?s groups and
MPs are ?disappointed?
by �0,000 award
by Ben Quinn
The government has con?rmed that it is
to award a quarter of a million pounds
from an unpopular levy on women?s
sanitary products to an anti-abortion
organisation, despite objections from
women?s groups and MPs.
There was a outcry earlier this
year after the Observer revealed that
�0,000 of the money raised from the
so-called tampon tax ? the 5% rate of
VAT that is levied on sanitary products
? would go to Life, a charity that campaigns against abortion.
The organisation also opposes plans
for the expansion of sex education in primary schools and has been at the centre
of controversy over the information provided by a network of unregulated pregnancy counselling centres.
Petitions opposing the grant gathered half a million signatures, while
under-pressure ministers subsequently
said that the speci?cs of the grant agreements had yet to be ?nalised.
However, a reply by the Department
for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
(DCMS) to a Freedom of Information
request has now revealed that the award
from a �m pot will be made, though
Protest against VAT on tampons in 2016.
Life will be ?prohibited? from spending
the money on publicity or on its controversial pregnancy counselling and education services.
Diana Johnson, one of a number of
Labour MPs who had pressed the gov-
ernment to review the grant decision,
said: ?This decision is not in keeping
with the spirit of the tampon tax fund,
which was intended to improve the lives
of disadvantaged women and girls.
?This money would be much better
spent on women?s organisations which
truly re?ect the values of this fund to
empower and support women to make
decisions about their lives, rather than
an organisation that actively promotes
restricting women?s choices.
?Many excellent women?s organisations will have lost funding bids to Life. I
am very disappointed that ministers have
made this decision in light of the public
outcry when this was ?rst put forward.?
The British Pregnancy Advisory
Service said: ?It is not ?tting for what is
ultimately a tax on women?s bodies to be
spent in this way when there are so many
other projects supporting women and
their choices which have not bene?ted .?
The government announced in March
that 70 organisations would share �m
from the tampon tax fund, which it said
would improve the lives of disadvantaged women and girls.
A longlist said Life would receive
�0,000 for ?housing, practical help,
counselling, emotional support and lifeskills training for young pregnant women
who are homeless?. The sum was among
the largest grants on the list.
The tampon tax was the focus of bitter controversy last year. Changes are
expected next year that will remove
VAT from sanitary products entirely.
The government has already reduced
the VAT rate from 20% to 5% but says it
cannot go further at present because of
EU competition rules.
Life said: ?There is no need for ?prohibition? on how the grant is used. We have
been very clear with the government in
actually specifying that the grant will not
be used for counselling or education. As
we have stated before, all funds received
from the government will be used to support vulnerable women in crisis.?
The DCMS said: ?As set out in the grant
agreement, Life will not be able to use the
tampon tax grant to fund its counselling
service, or its ?Life Matters Education
Service? and is prohibited from spending
the money on publicity or promotion.
?The grant is for a specific project
in west London to support vulnerable,
homeless or at-risk pregnant women
who ask for their help. All payments
will be made in arrears and on receipt of
a detailed monitoring report.?
Sikhs say UK
covered up its
massacre role
by Jamie Doward
The government has been accused of
covering up the full extent of the UK?s
support for India?s bloody crackdown
on Sikhs in 1984.
A new report calls for a full inquiry
into the role played by Margaret
Thatcher?s government in the events
leading up to a massacre in which hundreds, possibly thousands, of Sikhs and
Indian soldiers died.
In 2014 David Cameron ordered
a review after the accidental release
of secret documents revealed that a
British SAS officer had been drafted
in to advise the Indian authorities
on removing armed Sikh militants
from the Golden Temple at Amritsar,
Sikhism?s holiest shrine.
The documents said the plan, known
as Operation Blue Star, was carried
out with the full knowledge of the
Thatcher government.
A report, Sacri?cing Sikhs, published
by the Sikh Federation UK, described
Cameron?s review, conducted by Sir
Jeremy Heywood, as a ?whitewash?. It
claims that attempts to expose the full
facts have been thwarted by government secrecy rules and con?icts of
interest. More than half of the Foreign
Office?s ?les on India from 1984 have
been censored in whole or in part.
A week before the Golden Temple
assault, Bruce Cleghorn, a diplomat,
wrote that ?it would be dangerous? for
the UK government ?to be identi?ed?
with ?any attempt to storm the Golden
Temple in Amritsar?.
The role of the SAS officer in the
days before Operation Blue Star are
shrouded in secrecy, as are the full
extent of the fatalities. The Indian
government puts the ?gure at about
400. Sikh groups say that it was in
the爐housands.
According to the Sikh Federation?s
report, immediately after the SAS
officer carried out his reconnaissance
with an Indian special forces unit
the Sikhs pulled out of peace talks,
believing they had seen a commando
unit move into the city. The Indian
army stormed the temple in June. Four
months later India?s prime minister,
Indira Gandhi, was assassinated by one
of her Sikh bodyguards.
29.10.17
| 13
*
Barbara Ellen
When fashion
tips over the
edge into sleaze
A
number of fashion publications and brands have
announced that they will no
longer work with the photographer Terry Richardson, who has
been accused of sexually inappropriate
behaviour with young models going
back years. While celebrities have
been distancing themselves from him,
Richardson has been dropped by UK
Cond� Nast titles (US Vogue announced
it wouldn?t use him in 2014), as well as
fashion houses such as Valentino and
Bulgari.
Fashion commentator Caryn
Franklin, who has been complaining about Richardson (or trying to)
since 2013, says that, since the Harvey
Weinstein scandal, there have been concerns about brand damage. However,
prior to that, the bad experiences of
(disposable?) models were largely dismissed, as the likes of Richardson were
seen as untouchable.
There have been myriad accounts
of models arriving at Richardson?s
shoots and being coerced into performing (simulated or actual) sex
acts. Richardson suggested to one
subject, Jamie Peck, that they make
tea out of the tampon she was wearing and then egged her on into giving
him a hand job, as others in the studio
cheered. Many other models have
been pressured into engaging in sexual
activity, either with ?Uncle Terry?
or his friends. One model says that
she refused to fellate Richardson, but
another model agreed and was ejaculated upon for the photographs.
Lord knows why Richardson likes
to feature himself and his genitals so
much in his work (to my untrained
eye, he resembles Joe 90 crossed with
Albert Steptoe and that?s just his face).
But no one could deny that Richardson
has stayed very loyal to what appears
to be his one big creative idea ? turning everything into an ironic
porn shoot. Nor does Richardson
deny it ? he says that what he
does is often sexually explicit,
but it?s also consensual. While
that might be technically correct, there appears to be an
inherent power imbalTerry Richardson: Joe 90
meets Albert Steptoe.
ance. Younger models might have not
wanted to appear a ?buzzkill? in front
of the famous, in?uential (suddenly
naked) photographer and his whooping, snickering crony-enablers. I?m
going to take a wild guess that the
A-list celebrities Richardson worked
with were treated with a lot more
respect.
The other point that Richardson
and his admirers always liked to make
was that he was an ?edgy artist?. This
is where it starts to be about even more
than what happened to the models.
It becomes about the industry that
Richardson worked in and its longstanding hunger for ?edgy?, which, in
turn, relates to a wider cultural appetite for ?edgy?.
Sometimes, edgy can mean a valid
pushing of artistic boundaries. At other
times, it?s just the routine sexing-up of
a product ? pretty much every bottle of
perfume/aftershave/?zzy pop has the
?edgiest? ad campaign that manufacturers can get away with. Then there?s
the dark side of edgy that Richardson
seemed to specialise in, which
amounted to the legitimising of placing
young females into lewd, disorienting
situations in the name of art. Indeed,
looking at Richardson?s work, as well
as making everything a porn shoot, he
also appears to have dealt in a bizarre
form of what could be termed largescale revenge porn, taking images that
left many of his subjects so compromised that many would have had no
choice but to try to brazen it out or at
least stay silent.
The general rule seems to be that
because it was ?edgy?, anything
was allowed. Perhaps this explains
how, despite the grotty stories about
Richardson, he continued to be
indulged and feted, industry-wide, for
so long. It seems that clients either
wanted to buy into his brand of ?ultraedgy? or were terri?ed that not
using him would mean that they
might end up labelled ?not edgy
enough?. Perhaps this is a wakeup call, not just for the circles
that Richardson moved in, but
for society as a whole. Sometimes,
edgy really does mean edgy,
but at other times it could
serve as camou?age for a
particular vile mentality.
What a Shining
example to child
stars of today
O
Overlooked: Danny Lloyd as the boy with the tricycle in Kubrick?s film. Rex/Shuttercock
�
?Breathe
is less a
labour of
love than a
celebration
of life?
Mark
Kermode
on Andy
Serkis?s
directorial
debut
pages 26-27
A
n ?Amazon Key? service is
being trialled in parts of the
US, where Amazon delivery
drivers have a key to your
home, in order to leave your parcel
inside the property in a designated
?safe spot?, all of which would be
recorded on a camera connected to
Amazon?s Cloud Cam. The US service costs $250, but presumably there
would be a slight refund if you scream
really loudly when you return home
to ?nd an爑nderpaid, overworked delivery driver napping on the sofa in your
dressing gown.
Amazon Key, which also proposes
services such as cleaning and letting
Airbnb tenants in, appears to be offering a home services deal, but with a
camera, so that the homeowners would
always know what was going on.
How interesting, but I have a few
quibbles. I?d agree that there are drawbacks to the current Amazon delivery
system, which sometimes comprises
??inging customer parcel in general
direction of property? or ?propping
customer parcel in the doorway, in
a manner that seems to whisper to
passers-by, ?Go on, steal me, you might
as well??. However, couldn?t these
problems have been solved with an
outside, lockable safe-box?
Then there are all the strangers
suddenly sauntering around your
home. Surely this wouldn?t only make
customers nervous, it could also lead to
Amazon workers being accused of all
sorts of impropriety? As for the Cloud
Cam merrily uploading images of the
inside of your property, would this be
similar to the cloud that kept all those
naked images of Hollywood stars, such
as Jennifer Lawrence, so ?safe and
secure? a few years ago? (And yes, I am
being a tad sarcastic.) Perhaps these
minor concerns need to be allayed
before what sounds like an Amazonpatented Hackers? Paradise is brought
to the UK?
The New
Review
Deliver me from Amazon?s lunacy
ne reason to love Halloween
is that one of my favourite
?lms, Stanley Kubrick?s
The Shining, will be shown
across the country (accompanied by
Matt Wells?s Work & Play: A Short
Film About The燬hining).
Danny Lloyd, who played Danny
Torrance, the boy zooming around
the Overlook hotel on the tricycle, has also given an interview.
Now 45 and a biology professor
in Kentucky, Lloyd, a regular kid
when cast, says that he has many
great memories and one sad one ? a
broken promise that he?d be given
the tricycle at the end of ?lming
(?Redrum!? indeed).
Lloyd also said that, although he
got no further with acting, he always
felt that he?d ?won the lottery? with
The燬hining and didn?t envy child
stars of today.
What a great attitude and also
what a contrast. In 1980, Lloyd was
pining for a tricycle; these days, a
breakthrough child star would be
eyeing up a Net?ix series at least.
And good luck to them, but I?m with
Lloyd. He wasn?t in any old ?lm, he
was in the ?lm ? a masterpiece that
is still remembered nearly 40 years
later; as of course is he.
14 | NEWS |
*
Virtual reality
headsets could
put children?s
health at risk
29.10.17
Players are
immersing
themselves in
their computer
games by
wearing VR
headsets, posing
a risk to their
health, say
scientists. Alamy
Total immersion in games triggers potential
eyesight and balance problems, says study
by Robin McKie
Science Editor
Researchers have warned that virtual
reality headsets could pose risks to
users, particularly children. The scientists, based at Leeds University, believe
continued use of VR sets could trigger eyesight and balance problems in
young people unless changes are made
to devices.
The warning comes as major companies including Facebook and Google outline plans to expand heavily in the ?eld,
while hardware companies have started
promoting devices that turn mobile
phones into head-mounted VR viewers.
The study by the Leeds researchers ? who have been working in close
collaboration with British VR companies
? is one of the ?rst to be carried out into
the impact of virtual reality sets on users.
?In a VR device, a virtual threedimensional world is displayed on a
2D screen and that places strain on the
human visual system,? said Mark MonWilliams, professor of cognitive psychology at Leeds University. ?In adults,
that can lead to headaches and sore eyes.
But with children, the long-term consequences are simply unknown.?
In their study, the Leeds team ? led by
Faisal Mushtaq, an expert in human performance research ? looked at 20 children aged between eight and 12 as they
played a 20-minute game that involved
immersing themselves in a virtual reality world. The children were examined
after the game.
The researchers found no child experienced serious deterioration in their
eyesight. However, in two cases their
stereo-acuity ? the ability to detect differences in distances ? was disrupted,
while another child showed a ?drastic
worsening? of balance immediately after
finishing the VR game. These effects
were short-lived but were nevertheless
noticeable, even though the children
were immersed for only a short time in
their virtual reality world.
?This study presents one of the ?rst
ever investigations into the impact of
VR use on children?s vision and balance,? said Mushtaq. ?Establishing the
scienti?c evidence base on safe usage is
important if we want to ensure that children bene?t from all the exciting possibilities that VR has to offer.?
Failure to address the issues could
lead to physiological damage in children, which in turn could limit take-up
of VR devices. Virtual reality is expected
to be a dominant force in domestic and
industrial technology over the coming decades as engineers and scientists
envisage a future in which people interact through headsets that appear to offer
three-dimensional views.
Hundreds of companies are now making VR games and apps. Film-makers are
exploring the potential for documenta-
?We should tackle
these problems now
? so that they do
not cause vision or
balance problems?
Professor Mark Mon-Williams
ries and animation, and Facebook and
YouTube have jumped on the bandwagon with 360-degree videos. Computer games such as Call of Duty are
now being enjoyed increasingly by players who immerse themselves completely
into their games by wearing VR headsets
rather than watching the game unfold on
a television screen or computer.
The use of VR is also expanding signi?cantly in higher education. Dental
students at Leeds are trained to examine teeth that appear before them in VR
headsets, for example. Similarly, medical
students can study tumours and wounds
that are screened this way.
?You can put on VR headsets and go
on cycle races ? exercise bikes fitted
with devices that measure the effort
you are putting into the race,? said MonWilliams. ?You can train for tennis or for
golf. And further into the future, we can
expect to replace computer terminals
with VR headsets. The keyboard and
the mouse will become things of the past
and we will assemble sentences by waving our hands at words and assembling
them rather like Tom Cruise?s character
handles symbols on screen in the ?lm
Minority Report.?
But the current rapid expansion of
the ?eld should not simply be based on
the creation of ever faster computers
and better screens, particularly when
dealing with children?s use of devices,
he added: ?There needs to be an understanding of how children interact with a
virtual world: how they focus on objects
and how they make sense of distances
in that world. The crucial point is that
we should tackle these problems now by
designing VR devices so that they do not
cause vision or balance problems.
?There may be some fairly simple
solutions to the problems we have
uncovered. We want to make sure that it
is implemented correctly from the start
and, to be fair, so does the VR industry.?
29.10.17
*
NEWS | 15
THREE-PAGE
SPECIAL
REPORT
COLOMBIA
BATTLE FOR THE
MOTHER LAND
Members of the
indigenous
Kokonuco
community
confront riot police
at Aguas Tibias
the day after
E?genia V醩quez
was killed.
PHOTOGRAPHS
BY TOM LAFFAY
FOR THE
OBSERVER
The 50-year civil war between the Farc and
the government is over, but now the
indigenous Nasa people?s struggle to win
back ancestral territories from sugar
plantations has reignited. Jonathan Watts
reports from the Cauca Valley,
frontline of the deadly ?ght against
militias, drug gangs and riot police
A
green-and-red ?ag ?ies over a
cluster of bamboo and tarpaulin tents on the frontline of an
increasingly deadly struggle
for land and the environment
in Colombia?s Cauca Valley.
It is the banner for what indigenous
activists are calling the ?liberation of
Mother Earth?, a movement to reclaim
ancestral land from sugar plantations,
farms and tourist resorts that has
gained momentum in the vacuum left
by last year?s peace accord between
the government and the paramilitaries who once dominated the region
? ending, in turn, the world?s longestrunning civil war.
The ragtag outpost in Corinto has
been hacked out of a sugar plantation,
destroyed by riot police, then reoccu-
pied by the activists, who want to stop
supplying coca (the main ingredient
for cocaine) to drug traffickers in the
mountains by cultivating vegetables on
the plains instead.
Despite two deaths in the past year,
the Nasa Indians ? the biggest, most
organised and most militant of the
20 indigenous groups in the valley ?
have staged waves of monoculture
clearance and occupation operations.
Almost every other week hundreds,
sometimes thousands, of machetebearing activists join these communal
actions, known as minga, which involve
burning and hacking down swaths of
sugar cane, then erecting camps and
planting traditional crops including
maize and cassava.
The Nasa see this in historical,
spiritual terms. For them, it is the
latest phase in a centuries-old struggle for land and a clash between two
contrasting world views: one that seeks
harmony with nature, and one interested only in extracting as much pro?t
as possible, regardless of the impact on
the people and the environment.
?Liberating the earth means
defending the land,? says Jos� Rene
Guetio, a Nasa elder. ?You can see the
blood that has been spilled in the cause
for better land and a better future for
our children.?
Environmental concerns are also
among the motivations. The Nasa say
they should not be living in such large
numbers near sacred sites in the hills,
Continued overleaf
16 | NEWS | Special report
*
29.10.17
Kokonuko women
accompany the
co?n of journalist
E?genia V醩quez,
killed during the
community?s
struggle for
ancestral lands.
?We?re betting on peace, but
it makes us a target of those
who bene?ted from war?
Continued from page 13
particularly lakes, wetlands and waterfalls. ?There are too many of us in the
mountains. That?s not good because
we are destroying our water source,?
said Eduin Mauricio Capaz, human
rights coordinator for the Association
of Indigenous Councils of Northern
Cauca (Acin). But this position has pitted them against the law, state security
and some of Colombia?s biggest property owners and global sugar suppliers.
The Colombian government sees
things differently. It says the state
has a responsibility to protect legally
recognised property ownership and
that indigenous land issues should
not be confused with environmental
protection. However, it acknowledges
that peace has brought a destructive
surge into land previously deemed
off-limits because of occupation by the
Farc. Deforestation in Colombia rose
44% last year. Coca production has also
risen rapidly. To tackle this, President
Juan Santos has demarcated more
conservation areas and promised to use
the army and work with former Farc
combatants to protect forests.
The minister for the environment and sustainable development,
Luis Murillo, said the state?s security
apparatus was the answer to environmental problems, not the problem. ?We
need to move very quickly to establish
a presence in areas where we didn?t
have a presence before,? he told the
Observer, noting that the government is
working on measures to protect human
rights and environmental defenders.
T
he Cauca Valley has long been
the base of operations for many
of the most belligerent paramilitary groups in the country. Even
with the demobilisation of the biggest
organisation, the Farc, 12 other armed
groups are still active in the valley,
which stretches for several hundred
kilometres. Some are armed rebels,
such as the National Liberation Army,
but others are little more than death
squads that charge two million pesos
(�,000) per killing.
Drug gangs, militias and private
security ?rms ? which often overlap ?
have made this one of the most dangerous places in the world for indigenous
rights campaigners, environmental
defenders and journalists. Last year
a record 37 activists were murdered
in Colombia, which is second only
to Brazil in a world ranking of such
killings, according to the NGO Global
Witness. This year looks set to be a
similar story, with 28 fatalities so far.
The worst clashes have occurred
at Corinto, which is about an hour?s
drive from Cali airport. This is where
activists from the Nasa have stepped
up their efforts to occupy land within a
vast plantation owned by Carlos Ardila
L黮le, a billionaire sugar, bottling and
media tycoon.
On 9 May, 17-year-old Daniel Felipe
Castro was killed and several others
injured when police allegedly opened
?re during a minga. ?We were cutting
down cane when police drove up in a
pick-up truck and opened ?re. It was as
though they were trying to fumigate us
with bullets. Those who didn?t get on
the ground fast enough were hit,? said
a relative of the dead teenager, who
asked to remain anonymous. ?They
don?t want us here and we won?t move,
so they are trying to kill us.?
The Observer spoke to three other
activists who said police have been
using live rounds. One showed a scar
near his shoulder blade where he said
he was shot last month. The bullet,
still lodged in his body, could be felt
beneath the skin on his back.
Hermes Pilicue, a Nasa elder, blamed
the violence on the rising pressure
for land now that the peace deal has
opened up the region. ?Colombia is
supposed to be in the midst of peace,
but in our territories the con?ict
continues,? he said at Acin?s head office
in Santander de Quilichao. ?The peace
agreement has made our lives more
difficult. More people are entering our
territory to claim land, partly because
the government is granting more concessions for mining and water use.?
A 2,000-strong guarda ind韌ena
formed from the 20 native communities in the valley has already closed
down several mines despite threats
from militias who are alleged to be in
the employ of the owners. The volunteer force, dressed in green-and-red
uniforms, is armed only with wooden
staffs decorated with coloured tassels.
Now that the Farc has laid down its
weapons, the guarda are becoming
more assertive.
Article one of the peace accord
guarantees agrarian reform and states
that land taken during the con?ict will
be given back to its rightful owners.
The authorities do not specify what
this means, but indigenous groups have
interpreted this as a prompt to reclaim
ancestral territory. ?Until recently,
the Cxhab Wala Kiwe (Nasa people)
were absorbed in simply saving our
community from war and preventing
paramilitary groups from recruiting
our children,? said Capaz, who is also
a senior member of the indigenous
guard. ?Now there is no war, we can
focus more on the liberation of Mother
Earth. Extractive industries and
monocultures are contrary to our belief
25 miles
Cali
Monte Redondo
Corinto
Santander de
Quilichao
CO LOO M B I A
Popay醤
pay
pay
ay
C con
Coconuco
o
on
o
Purac�
system. People here are aware of what
is going on elsewhere in the world. We
know how the climate is changing. We
know about contamination of the land.
We don?t want that.?
Their campaign to carve out territory between the coca and the sugar
cane challenges the colonial hierarchies in the valley. After the white
Europeans pushed the indigenous
people into the mountains, they built
homes in the foothills and brought in
African slaves to work on sugar plantations on the plains. Today, mostly black
cane workers joke among themselves
as they wait for a bus home after a
harvesting shift that has ?lled a giant
?ve-carriage truck. They express a mix
of old prejudice and new admiration
FARC: HALF A CENTURY OF CONFLICT
May 1964 A group of communists at
odds with the government resettle in
the countryside following a decade of
civil war. After clashes with the army, 50
guerrillas form an organised force under
the leadership of Manuel Marulanda.
Another leftwing group forms the
National Liberation Army (ELN).
May 1966 Marulanda and other guerrilla
leaders create the Revolutionary Armed
Forces of Colombia (Farc). They begin
kidnappings and cocaine tra?cking.
1982 The Farc modi?es its name to add
the words ?People?s Army? and begins
hesitant peace talks with President
Belisario Betancur.
1986 The Patriotic Union (UP), a political
party co-founded by elements of the
Farc, wins a series of elections, but party
leaders are targeted by rightwing forces.
Thousands are killed in clashes.
1997 Three brothers whose father was
murdered by the Farc form the United
Self-Defence Forces of Colombia (AUC).
It is believed to have killed thousands of
supposed Farc sympathisers.
1999 The war reaches a new peak, as the
guerrillas kidnap about 3,000 people.
June 2016 A cease?re promises to end
a 52-year war that has killed more than
220,000 people and displaced six million.
October 2016: The peace deal is rejected
by the Colombian people in a referendum.
November 2016 The Farc and the
government sign a modi?ed deal in Cuba.
June 2017: Farc rebels hand in 7,000
weapons, ending their insurgency.
for the indigenous groups who want to
clear their workplace.
?The Indians have land, but they
don?t work hard on it. They are coming
down from the hills because the price
of coca and marijuana has collapsed,?
said Jos� Milton Mosqueira. ?But they
are making such a commotion that I
guess they must feel like they have a
genuine claim to the land.?
As he and his colleagues talk, dusk
darkens the sky and lights start to
appear on the distant slopes. First
just one or two strings, then 10, then
100, until ?nally the hillsides are
illuminated like a giant Christmas
tree. Every bulb is a grow-lamp for
marijuana crops ? evidence of the
continued reliance of small farmers on
the drugs trade.
After agrarian reform and the
demobilisation of the paramilitaries,
the eradication of coca and marijuana
crops was one of the key tenets of the
peace accord. All three have hit snags
that have added to violence and pressure on the land. The tension is evident
in the once small coca-growing community of Monte Redondo. Here the
locals ? a mix of Nasa and mixed-race
farmers ? are signing up to a cropreplacement scheme, with the government promising compensation if they
switch from drugs to citrus or coffee.
T
he farmers do not need much
persuading. Economic forces are
driving people away from drugs
and towards the plains. The price
of coca ? which was never high at this
bottom rung of the narco industry ?
has plunged. Growers say they are now
selling for 1,000 pesos per pound ? less
than half the price before the peace
deal. Many farmers are tired of the violence and disruption associated with
the drug business, so about 95% are
willing to switch despite intimidation
by narco gangs who have murdered
advocates of crop substitution.
?Even though they are afraid, people
are signing up because they want a
change,? said Briceida Lemos Ribera,
a leader of the cocaleros (coca growers). ?We are betting on peace, but it
has made us a target of the people who
bene?ted from war.?
The risks take many forms in this
period of transition as former adversaries are now living in close proximity.
Monte Redondo used to be a no-go
area for the authorities because it was
29.10.17
Special report | NEWS | 17
*
Kokonuko men,
some with
homemade
shields, hurl back
teargas canisters
?red at them by
riot police in the
Cauca Valley.
Two girls from
the Kokonuko
community, below,
walk in the funeral
procession for
the shot radio
journalist E?genia
V醩quez.
Members of the
police?s rural
special operations
group fortify their
camp in the Cauca
Valley with nets
and sandbags after
three o?cers died
in an ambush.
controlled by drug cartels and paramilitaries. Now it is home to three new
encampments that sit almost side by
side on the road: a police base piled
high with sandbags; an army outpost
with a dozen green tents; and rows of
prefabricated housing for demobilised
Farc guerrillas.
?If an area isn?t occupied, armed
groups will move in,? said an officer in
the military camp. ?We are operating
in areas where the state hasn?t been
before. We are just a small part and we
are taking turtle steps.?
But the peace is fragile. The week
before the Observer?s visit, three
police officers were killed in a grenade
ambush. Former Farc warriors say
the tension has increased, though in
the long term they express optimism
about the future. They see the peace
as a victory for their long campaign for
agrarian reform and fairer distribution
of land.
?We?d like land. We want to have a
farm,? said Oscar Arag髇, who has just
been released from prison, where he
served six months for collaborating
with the Farc.
?I want to be a cowboy and raise
cattle,? former Farc combatant Henry
Men閦ez tells the Observer. After seven
years in the jungle, he says he would
like to write a book about his experiences and his future work to build a
new community. Eight days later, he is
murdered in what is rumoured to be
?The peace accord has
made our lives more
di?cult. More people
are entering our
territory to claim land?
Hermes Pilicue, Nasa elder
Nasa elder Jose Rene
Guetio: ?Liberating
the earth means
defending the land.?
a revenge attack for the ambush of the
three policemen.
While that killing is a hangover from
the civil war, others are connected to
the renewed Mother Earth campaign.
Ultimately, however, despite the
plethora of con?icts and militias, the
fundamental cause is the same as it
has been for centuries ? land ? and the
victims are those who defend it.
At the other end of the Cauca Valley,
a crack of thunder rumbles through
the hills as a crowd of mourners joins
a funeral procession for the latest
indigenous victim of the campaign to
liberate Mother Earth.
E?genia V醩quez, a radio and video
journalist from the Kokonuko community ? which is allied to the Nasa
? was shot in Purac� on 8 October as
she recorded an attempted occupation of Aguas Tibias, a farm and
hot-spring resort inside the
indigenous reserve, owned by a
former general. The Kokonuko
activists were driven back
by riot police. There was an
exchange of teargas, stones and,
from somewhere, a gun. V醩quez
was hit twice and died later in
hospital. Her colleagues at the
Renacer Kokonuko radio
station say she was aware
of the dangers, but was
determined to cover a
con?ict that was the
central concern of
her community. ?She used to say ?the
family grows, but the land doesn?t. We
must take back the land of our ancestors?,? recalled Marcela Abirama, who
was with V醩quez in hospital when she
died. ?Eight days earlier, she told me
we must cover the Mother Earth campaign even if we might get killed.?
Who ?red the gun is disputed. The
Kokonuko blame the police, who they
say wanted to silence the community
and scare them away from the land.
During the funeral procession, the
mourners express de?ance as well as
sadness. ?Adelante compa馿ro (forward, comrade),? they sing, then stop
outside the police station to taunt the
officers inside: ?You kill our women,
we continue our struggle. You kill our
journalists, we continue our struggle.
Until when? Until forever!?
The authorities have a different
version of events. A police officer said
V醩quez was probably the accidental
victim of a homemade gun used by
Kokonuko renegades to ?re clusters
of ball bearings. He showed a video
clip on his phone of what he said was
indigenous protesters using such a
weapon on the day V醩quez died.
T
here are multiple images of them
using what looks like a crude
ri?e, but the friendly-?re theory
does not account for the fact that
two other members of the community
were shot and wounded on the same
day at different places and different
times. The father of one of them ?
Wilmar Yace ? said a bullet entered
one of his son?s cheeks and exited the
other ? a wound that is more likely to
be caused by a high-calibre ri?e than a
makeshift ball-bearing gun.
The journalist?s death has resonated internationally. The director
general of Unesco, Irina Bokova,
denounced the killing and called for
an inquiry. V醩quez?s parents hope
her death can raise awareness of the
indigenous cause.
?She became a journalist so she
could be a voice for the voiceless,? said
her mother, Hilda Mar韆 Astudillo.
?She was always campaigning for her
family and her children so they could
live in peace when they grow up.?
But the peace V醩quez hoped for
remains more elusive than ever. After
the burial, the Kokonuko crafted
shields from plastic barrels sawn in
half. Others collected bottles and fuel
for petrol bombs. The following morning, the battle for Aguas Tibias recommenced. Several hundred Kokonuko
men descended on the beautiful site
from all sides of the valley. They were
met with volleys of teargas from about
80 riot police camped at the farm who
had been ?ghting off encroachments
for four days.
The activists charged forward carrying a large wooden door as a shield
against rubber bullets, so they could
get close enough to throw ?rebombs
at the police. Behind them, young and
old used slingshots and a makeshift
catapult to hurl stones, which were
collected in satchels from the road and
stacked by the Kokonuko women. The
police also threw stones and bolts as
their arsenal ran low.
On this occasion there were no guns,
no deaths, no serious injuries, but the
campaign to liberate Mother Earth
shows just how violent Colombia?s
peace has become.
?After 50 years of war, we still have
this,? said a local government official,
who was turned away as she attempted
to take supplies to the besieged police
officers. She departed with a warning.
?If we are not allowed through, the
army will get involved. They will be
coming soon.?
18 | NEWS
*
29.10.17
Joshua brings
crowds back ?
but fan violence
throws shadow
over boxing
Drugs and alcohol blamed as brawls outside
the ring rise at bouts across the country
by Ben Quinn
These are heady times for boxing.
Crossover stars such as Anthony Joshua
are broadening its appeal beyond traditional audiences, sending interest soaring. Last night saw another record fall
when Joshua took on Carlos Takam in
an extravaganza at Cardiff ?s Principality Stadium in front of the largest ever
crowd for an indoor boxing event.
Yet outside the ring shadows have
been cast by a spate of violent episodes
among spectators, including what police
describe as ?large scale disorder? outside
one event this month where a young
man was stabbed to death.
On the eve of Joshua?s fight, 250
miles to the north, the ?rst bell has just
sounded for a rather different evening at
Hull City Hall. Billed as the ?City Hall
Brawl? in promotional material decorated with blood-spattered wording, this
is boxing without the primetime glamour, even if the passions of the audience
are not in doubt.
Despite the gory imagery, it also turns
out to be an efficiently run, peaceful
evening enjoyed by several hundred
mainly male spectators, along with a few
dozen women and young boys.
?A police presence is needed,? said
promoter Kalle Sauerland, who warned
that brawling among crowds was an
emerging trend. In some cases, he said,
football hooligan ?firms? were clashing at boxing fixtures not subject to
the security measures that have largely
made conflicts at football matches a
thing of the past. ?Boxing is certainly
now a national sport and its popularity
is gaining thanks to people like Anthony
Joshua and the Olympic gold medallists.
You see the demand for it on television.
It?s a big national sport. We need to provide a safe space.?
Others who admit that violence is a
problem cite alcohol consumption and
the prevalence of cocaine. Also looming
large is the threatening and often graphically violent language some ?ghters use
to ratchet up tensions that then ?nd a
24-hour echo chamber on social media.
?It is hugely disappointing when people say things they shouldn?t say,? said
Robert Smith, general secretary of the
British Boxing Board of Control, who
pointed to recent fines for comments
and behaviour, including a �,000
Joshua, left,
and Takam
weigh in for
the big fight at
Cardiff. Left:
fans clash as
George Groves
fights Jamie Cox.
Inset: boxing
minus the
glamour at Hull
City Hall.
Main photograph
by Stephen
McCarthy/Getty
penalty for David Haye and �,000 for
Dereck燙hisora.
?I think there is a responsibility on the
media as well. I think sometimes that
these people ? men and women ? are put
in positions they should not be in. We all
have a responsibility but ultimately they
are the ones who say these things and we
do ?ne them and discipline people.?
In the case of Chisora ? ?ned for hurling a table at Dillian Whyte at a press
conference for their bout last December ? the fight was still allowed to go
ahead on the same bill as Joshua and
Eric Molin. When Whyte won on a split
decision, it was the cue for a brawl at
the Manchester Arena as groups of men
pummelled each other to the sound of
Sweet Caroline on the PA system.
Incidents since have included a
mass brawl on 8� July at the Copper
Box Arena in east London when Sam
McNess, a West Ham fan with a large
local following, was beaten by Asinia
By?eld. By some accounts, the brawling
started when By?eld appeared to goad
the McNess fans by making an ?Irons?
gesture ? a reference to one of West
Ham?s traditional nicknames. On video,
an announcer can be heard appealing
for those involved to sit down, adding:
?Gentlemen, this is boxing, not爁ootball.?
More serious violence in the crowd
erupted less than two months later in
front of women and children at the same
venue, where the owners say that procedures have been reviewed.
Last month was particularly violent,
with fighting in Stuttgart on 8� October between British and German fans
at Chris Eubank Jr?s bout with Avni
Yildirim, followed by violence six days
later at Wembley Arena during George
Groves?s knockout win over Jamie Cox.
On the same night, 19-year-old Reagan
Asbury was fatally stabbed in the neck
after ?ghting among spectators at a bout
between Luke Paddock and Myron Mills
at Walsall town hall.
Inside Hull City Hall on Friday night,
however, there was bemusement that
anyone would want to upstage the combatants inside the ring. ?It?s just not
something that would happen here,?
said Lee Walgate as he watched with
a plastic pint glass in hand through
the doorway from the bar area, where
notices informed patrons that alcohol
could not be brought through to the
seating area around the ring. Women in
Hull city council sweatshirts occasionally swooped to retrieve a glass from an
errant spectator wandering in.
?Maybe if some lads came over from
Leeds though ?? joked his friend Gareth
Fernie, who spoke passionately about
the growth in boxing?s popularity in the
city ? helped by the Olympic gold medallist Luke Campbell ? and its chances
of becoming Britain?s number two sport.
Both men agreed that the bloody City
Hall Brawl promotional material might
not have been wise ? ?it also just seems
a bit amateurish?
? but any onlooker
would have been
hard pressed to view
this as a disorderly
crowd. ?It?s mainly
family and friends
here tonight, or people who genuinely
enjoy boxing itself as part of the local
scene,? said Jamie Waltham, owner of
the O?Rileys venue where boxing regularly attracts crowds of several hundred.
Elsewhere, however, violence has
been making a ?transition? from football
events to boxing for some time, according to close observers such as Craig
Scott, editor of the Fight Talk website,
who said the problem was only now
being noticed by the media.
?Boxers are now being aligned to local
football teams in order to broaden their
support. I would question whether this
actually helps the venue, promoter or
broadcaster, or whether it?s seen as a
quick fix when shifting tickets,? said
Scott, who spoke of watching groups
of up to 40 men at a time erupt into violence last month at the Wembley Arena.
He believes that alcohol may play a
part but said regulating it would be tricky
and audiences now expected drink to be
available. As for other substances, he
added: ?Anyone who has been in attendance at a boxing event recently will tell
you cocaine is everywhere.?
Authority figures from the British
Boxing Board of Control such as Robert Smith admit that cocaine use among
some of those attending events has
become a concern.
?Unfortunately in today?s society, this
is not just a boxing issue. It?s a societal
one, and unfortunately it?s not just alco-
?We need a police
presence. Boxing is
gaining in popularity
now and it has to
provide a safe space?
Kelle Sauerland, promoter
hol any more,? he said. But he added
that the problem of violence should be
viewed in context. Some 250 events took
place last year and 260 will have taken
place by the end of this year. The percentage of contests that involved trouble
was small.
That said, while he believed that
policing was not always the answer,
concerns about terrorism are already
stretching security at major events. If
promoters wanted an increased police
presence then they could always pay for
it out of their own pocket, Smith said.
Back in Hull, one of the biggest cheers
of the night came for the victory of Evaldas Korsakas, a Lithuanian adopted by
the Hull boxing faithful as one of their
own in a city that voted heavily for Brexit
last year. ?There might be poverty here
but the divisions are just not as great
as in the south,? said Danny Shenton, a
local musician and part-time boxer, as
around him there was loud cheering
from local fans and a group of men waving a Lithuanian ?ag.
Boxing, Shenton added, helped to
break down what barriers there might
be. ?You can see how popular Evaldas is
? we have big hopes for爃im.?
29.10.17
NEWS | 19
*
MEXICAN WAVE
From left: Frida
Kahlo wears
flowers picked
from her garden in
Mexico; Beyonc�
as the artist on
Halloween; clothes
at the Frida Kahlo
museum in
Mexico; Theresa
May?s bracelet.
Getty, Splash
News, Alamy, Rex
Sel?e queen, feminist, queer icon ? why
Frida Kahlo is the style muse of the year
It?s the artist?s attitude as much as her work
that inspires today?s designers (not to mention
Theresa May), writes Ellie Violet Bramley
What is it about Frida Kahlo? More than
60 years after her death the radical Mexican artist, who is remembered above all
for her searing self-portraits, is being
celebrated on the catwalk and setting
the cultural agenda. When a bracelet
with the artist?s face on it is spotted on
the wrist of Theresa May, as happened
at the recent Conservative party conference, Kahlo-mania can safely be said to
have entered the mainstream.
In high fashion, Kahlo?s in?uence can
be felt in the maximalism of Alessandro
Michele?s heady Gucci aesthetic. For
autumn/winter 2017 that meant ?orals
and bold bows, ruffles and clashing, all
in keeping with Kahlo?s love of excess;
rings, ?owers and embroidery.
Her in?uence was also there in the
sparkly red hearts, lace and horticultural
prints at Dolce & Gabbana and in the
hot pink on catwalks from Balenciaga to
Burberry. The boxy, mannish tailoring
? a key look this season ? at C閘ine and
Isabel Marant recalls a family portrait
from 1926, in which Kahlo is wearing
her father?s suit.
It?s no coincidence that one of the
UK?s most high-pro?le cultural institutions, the V&A, will host an exhibition
that will look at her through the prism
of her most intimate belongings. This
will be the ?rst time these belongings
have left La Casa Azul in Mexico City,
where after Kahlo?s death in 1954 they
were locked in a room by her husband
Diego Rivera and only released in 2004.
Susana Mart韓ez Vidal, the author of
Frida Kahlo: Fashion as the Art of Being,
says the reason designers look to her is
more about her spirit than her clothes:
?The designers aren?t just focusing on
the skirt, the blouse, the indigenous look,
they could have taken that from anywhere. What they really focused on was
her personality and the way she wore
those clothes.? For Vidal, she ?de?ned
one of fashion?s magic words? attitude?.
No wonder pop stars have channelled
her aesthetic ? from Madonna and her
1990 Blonde Ambition tour corset to
Rihanna?s ANTI album and the style of�
FKA Twigs.
Circe Henestrosa, curator of the Frida
Kahlo museum?s exhibition Appearances Can Be Deceiving: The Dresses
of Frida Kahlo, currently showing in
Mexico City, thinks the fact that she was
ahead of her time is key to her relevance.
Her attitudes towards gender were progressive ? her relationships with women
and men, and her penchant for suits,
mean she has been hailed as a modern
queer icon.
Her influence also reverberates
beyond high fashion. On Etsy her face
decorates yoga pants, skater skirts and
hand-knitted jumpers; and her aesthetic is nodded to in the watermelons
and cacti motifs of this year?s ubiquitous fashion kitsch. Kahlo was a ??ower
power pioneer? who ?anticipated the
hippie movement and Coachella?,
according to Vidal ? look to the craze for
?ower crowns, piled high, often on top
of Kahlo-esque plaits. While today?s are
more likely to be from Claire?s Accessories, Kahlo made hers with dahlias, bougainvilleas and peonies from her garden.
Of course, Kahlo has in?uenced fashion before now, even in her lifetime.
When she visited France in 1938, Elsa
Schiaparelli honoured her by designing
a dress named La Robe Madame Rivera.
Kahlo?s corsets, worn after a bus crash
in 1925 that left her with a broken spinal
column, are among the most consistently
referenced elements of her attire ? from
Rei Kawakubo?s spring/summer 2012
collection to Riccardo Tisci?s Givenchy
haute couture collection of autumn/
winter 2010. For his spring 1998 collection, Jean Paul Gaultier created a dress
that mirrors Kahlo?s in her 1944 painting
The Broken Column.
But why is she proving so potent a
muse in 2017?
At a time when diversity is finally
being celebrated in fashion, Kahlo?s
emphasis on her own mixed heritage
feels prescient. She celebrated her identity as mestizaje (mixed European and
Mexican) by wearing traditional garments. While the women she mixed with
were dressing in European styles, she
made the Tehuana dress, which comes
from a matriarchal culture of Oaxaca,
her signature style. British designer
Osman Ousefzada, who referenced
Kahlo for his spring/summer 2016 collection, says that she?s ?not your average
Wasp, western Trump-type?.
There?s something that feels very
current about her brand of activism,
too. ?She was one of the ?rst women to
use fashion to broadcast a feminist message of independence, work and equality,? says Vidal. Feminism has spawned
many recent statement T-shirts, so it?s
?She was her own best
work of art. Today,
she would be a real
in?uencer with
legions of followers?
Susana Mart韓ez Vidal
no surprise that Etsy is home to many
where Frida?s feminism is teamed with
the contemporary vernacular: on one
T-shirt she sits above the word ??erce?.
Seller Garth Heckel thinks it sells so
well because she is ?seen as a strong
feminist爄con?.
To some people it might seem that
she has become what Che Guevara was
to the 90s; her commodi?cation just as
ironic given her politics. But she created a personal brand, which also feels
very now, and sheds some light on why
she might be so appreciated by selfie
aficionados such as Kim Kardashian,
who in 2015 channelled Kahlo?s heavily
laced look from Me Twice, and Beyonc�,
who dressed as her for Halloween the
year before. She was the ?original sel?e
queen?, says Vida. ?Nearly a century
earlier than today?s global obsession she
detected and compulsively exploited
this human need to share one?s image to
feel less alone.? She was, Vidal adds, her
?own best work of art? and if she were
alive today she would ?be a real in?uencer ? with a legion of followers?. As
Frida herself put it, ?I am my own muse,
I am the subject I know the best.?
Her belief in the idea of jolie laide, or
beautiful ugly, feels very of the moment,
too. Look to the interesting beauty of
models favoured by brands such as
Vetements and Balenciaga for reference. Kahlo was all about accepting
her natural looks ? as Vidal puts it, she
?highlighted her ?aws to vindicate the
beauty of imperfections?, pencilling her
monobrow darker with Revlon eyeliner.
Her monobrow and upper-lip hair are
a blueprint in this age of #bodypositivity ? and feel radical given the case of a
model recently bombarded with rape
and death threats after appearing in an
Adidas advert with hairy legs.
Kahlo?s is a look for this season, but
expect Frida-mania to carry on long
beyond spring. She might have died
more than 60 years ago but, as Kahlo
herself said: ?The only ones who die are
those who never lived. And whoever
lives on燼fter death produces in those
who come afterwards new sensations,
longings and desires.? Lucky for us, she?s
proved herself right.
Alarm sounded over rising police brutality against Calais child refugees ? report
by Mark Townsend
Police violence towards refugees in
Calais has intensi?ed to ?excessive and
life-threatening? levels, according to a
new report, and the overall situation for
unaccompanied minors has deteriorated markedly, a year after the refugee
camp there was razed.
The report by the Refugee Rights
Data Project (RRDP) says French
police tactics against the estimated 700
refugees at the port are alleged to have
included driving unaccompanied girls
to remote spots and abandoning them.
Researchers used interpreters to interview 233 refugees, including 94 children as young as 12, and found repeated
?disproportionate and indiscriminate?
accounts of police brutality including
beatings severe enough to break limbs.
The RRDP report, to be published
tomorrow, says French and British
authorities have effectively abandoned them and a lack of protection
has allowed recurrent and gratuitous
attacks from local racists as well as
police.
Several hundred child refugees are in
the Calais area, many of them believed
to be eligible for entry to the UK. Of
the unaccompanied minors questioned
by RRDP researchers, many sleeping
rough in forests or ?elds around Calais,
40% said they had family in the UK.
The high-pro?le destruction of the
so-called Jungle camp in Calais a year
ago was meant to stop the accumulation of refugees hoping to start a new
life in the UK by dispersing its inhabitants across France. Yet the port is still
a magnet for many despite a ?hostile
and violent environment? that the
report says manifests itself in a failure
to ensure refugees have access to food,
water and other basic needs. Researchers also documented numerous
accounts of police targeting individuals
with pepper spray as they slept, and
con?scating blankets and even shoes.
RRDP founder Marta Welander said:
?The current state approach of police
brutality and intimidation does little to
resolve the unsustainable situation.?
Of those questioned, nine in 10 said
they did not feel safe, and the same
proportion said they had experienced
police violence, compared with 75% of
respondents during clashes last year.
A 16-year-old Eritrean told researchers of a baton attack so sustained he
thought the victim would be killed:
?I didn?t think he would survive: the
kid didn?t look physically strong.? In
another account, a 17-year-old Eritrean
girl told how police detained her, then
drove her to a remote location at 6pm,
where they abandoned her to walk
three hours back to Calais.
The child refugees also told of 4am
police raids which, according to them,
always involved tear gas or pepper
spray, with most saying their sleeping
bags were sprayed to make them unusable. A 16-year-old boy from Afghani-
stan said: ?They [the police] spray tear
gas in my face. They take my blanket,
sometimes my shoes, then they beat us
with sticks and we run away.?
Last Monday a report by the French
administration and security forces?
internal investigations departments
detailed evidence of excessive police
force and abuses against refugees in
Calais. Yet such reports have been
rejected by authorities: Vincent Berton,
the deputy prefect for Calais, dismissed
them as ?allegations, individuals? declarations, not based on fact?.
The RRDP report says the situation
is magni?ed by allegations of violence
from local people, with 82.4% of refugees questioned reporting abuse including animal sounds and racial slurs.
29.10.17
NEWS | 21
*
How distress of
family dementia
turned Line of
Duty?s star into
a campaigner
Vicky McClure
may now create
her own drama
about dementia. Photograph
by Jake Walters
for the Observer
Vicky McClure knew she had to take on a new
role after her grandmother was diagnosed
by Rachel Ellis
When the Bafta award-winning actress
Vicky McClure agreed to open a small
fundraising event for dementia seven
years ago, she knew very little about the
condition. A year later, her grandmother
was diagnosed with it and the suffering
it caused over the next three years had
a far-reaching impact on McClure, best
known for her role as detective sergeant
Kate Fleming in the BBC police drama
Line of Duty.
McClure, 34, from Nottingham, is
now using her experience, personally
and professionally. She supports the
Alzheimer?s Society charity, attending
its annual Memory Walks that raise millions across the country. And she has
appeared in dementia-friendly theatre
performances. There is even a hint she
is creating her own drama on the subject.
?It?s important that
the stories relating to
this horri?c disease
represent reality
and are told with love?
Vicky McClure
?When I first opened the Memory
Walk in Nottingham seven years ago,
300 people took part and I didn?t really
know anything about dementia,? she
says. ?Then, a year later, my nana was
diagnosed with the vascular form of the
disease at the age of 75. To begin with, it
wasn?t obvious she had dementia, which
is one of the scary things about the condition. She started acting slightly differently and her personality changed
? accusing people of stealing because
she thought she had money in her purse
when she didn?t, and putting the chicken
in the oven with the cellophane on.
?It was a really confusing and complicated time because it was a slow-burning
process for my nana; there was not a dramatic change, but every time you went
round something small was different.?
As the disease took hold, McClure says
there would be times when her grandmother would scream all day because
she had lost her ability to communicate.
?It was very distressing to see and really
affected me. In the end, the only way we
could communicate was singing nursery
rhymes together like Humpty Dumpty
and Baa Baa Black Sheep. Before she
died of the disease, she no longer knew
who we were.?
With her acting career ?rmly established (she won a Bafta for her role in
the TV series This is England and has
also appeared in Broadchurch and The
Replacement), McClure is now determined to take on roles that both interest her and incorporate her commitment to campaigning about dementia.
Earlier this year she appeared in the
second world war stage drama Touched
at Nottingham Playhouse, including a
dementia-friendly performance. ?We
do the performance with the house
lights on and, if there are ?ashing lights
or big noises, you tone them down or
amend them to make sure there isn?t
anything in the performance that will
startle people,? she says. ?Members of
the audience do wander around during
the performance but all the actors are
well prepped.?
Because the play was a period drama,
it was perfect for a dementia showing.
?With dementia, sometimes what happens with the brain is that you refer back
to an old kettle rather than a modern kettle ? and you have no idea what a mobile
phone is.?
Making theatres dementia-friendly
allows people with the condition to go
out, participate and bene?t from the arts,
says McClure, rather than the alternative, which is that they become socially
isolated because they are worried about
what others will think.
She hopes to include dementia in her
future work. ?I have plans to use the
platform I have in telling stories relating
to this horri?c disease. It?s important to
me that they represent reality and are
told with a lot of love too.?
More needs to be done about the
disease, she says. It is estimated that
850,000 people in the UK have some
form of dementia (Alzheimer?s is the
most common form, affecting 62% of
those diagnosed) a figure expected to
rise to more than a million by 2025.
Last year it became the leading
cause of death in England and Wales,
accounting for almost 12% of all deaths
registered, according to the Office for
National Statistics. There is no cure in
sight, and in 2012 dementia research
received only a sixth of the funding given
�
?The
custards
should
quiver
when
gently
shaken?
Nigel Slater
cooks
lemongrass
cr鑝e
caramel
pages
42-45
by Ben Quinn
The National Trust may be challenged
in the courts over the way it conducted
a members? ballot on whether to ban
trail hunting on its land.
The motion was defeated by a tiny
margin at its annual meeting this
month but now hundreds of members
are claiming they were disenfranchised
through not receiving ballot papers or
getting adequate warning of the vote,
according to Keep the Ban, which
campaigns against bloodsports.
Trail hunting ? when hounds and
riders follow a scent path laid earlier
? is regarded by many as a means of
circumventing the 2004 Hunting Act.
In the National Trust?s ballot, 30,686
members voted for a ban, while 30,985
voted against ? a margin of 299 votes.
The Labour MP Andrew Gwynne is
one member who says he was denied a
vote. ?The National Trust now needs
to re?ect on the deep concern of its
members on how it has handled this
issue,? he said.
Keep the Ban has engaged a
barrister who advised it to petition
the election courts over alleged voting
irregularities. ?Since last weekend we
have been inundated with National
Trust members informing us that they
did not get an opportunity to vote or
did not receive the magazine which
contained the ballot papers,? said Keep
the Ban?s director, Jon Proctor.
A spokesman for the trust said
members had been told of the vote
in the charity?s magazine. The AGM
booklet, which includes ballot papers,
is always mailed to members with the
autumn magazine and published on
the charity?s website, he added. ?All
members were invited to vote and the
voting process was overseen by an
independent scrutineer.?
Observer
Magazine
National Trust faces legal challenge
over ?irregularities? in trail hunting poll
to cancer, according to a report by the
Stroke Association.
?I know things are happening and
there are lots of warm words from
the government about dementia but
there has got to be a bigger push,? says
McClure. ?Dementia is like cancer now,
and we need to be giving it the same
attention. We also need to look after
people living with dementia.?The volunteers, care workers and charities do
an incredible job , but they are not being
given the support they need.?
The Alzheimer?s Society is calling on
people to unite against dementia by
registering for the 2018 Memory Walks:
memorywalk.org.uk
22 | NEWS
*
Deaths in custody ?should be
treated like murder inquiry?
Speedier action urged
as Home O?ce report
backs major shakeup
by Mark Townsend
Home A?airs Editor
Deaths in custody should be investigated
with the same urgency as murder inquiries, says a long-awaited report that aims
to restore trust in the police.
The report, to be unveiled by home
secretary Amber Rudd tomorrow following a 15-month delay that angered
families of those who died in custody,
says agencies such as the Independent
Police Complaints Commission (IPCC)
need to handle deaths following contact
with officers with the same haste and
mindset as homicides.
Critics say the current approach,
where it is not unusual for families to
wait for more than five years only to
see officers cleared of wrongdoing, can
mean that witnesses have trouble recalling events and increases the chance of
vital evidence being lost. The report contains more than 100 recommendations
that would profoundly rede?ne policecommunity relations if implemented.
Commissioned by Theresa May in
July 2015 while she was still home secretary to alleviate the ?pain and suffering
of families still looking for answers?, the
independent report says it is imperative
to tackle the drawn-out process facing
loved ones seeking justice.
By contrast, murder investigations
rely on the ?golden hour,? the period
immediately following a murder in
which securing the testimony of wit-
29.10.17
The family of Rashan
Charles, whose death
sparked protests,
were ?advised to
remain quiet and
wait?. Twitter
nesses or the retrieval of evidence such
as CCTV footage before it is erased is
deemed vital by detectives. ?Speeding up
the process is essential to restoring con?dence and trust among families,? said
a source close to the report, which was
overseen by Dame Elish Angiolini QC.
Two recent high-pro?le cases, both
involving the deaths of black men, have
been cited as proof by campaigners
that the system needs speeding up. On
4燨ctober three officers were found not
guilty of lying under oath over the death
of Kingsley Burrell, 29, who died shortly
after being detained by police more than
six years ago. Days later six officers were
cleared of misconduct at a disciplinary
hearing following the death of Olaseni
?Seni? Lewis in 2010.
One current case concerns Rashan
Charles, 20, whose death after being
restrained by police in July sparked
protests in east London. His family have
expressed disappointment with the initial approach by the Metropolitan police
and the IPCC.
Rashan?s great-uncle Rod Charles,
a former Met chief inspector, recently
lamented the ?slow, closed and secretive [process of ] justice? and the fact
that the family were ?advised to remain
quiet and directed to wait until the end
of an investigative process that will not
conclude imminently?.
Omar Khan, director of the race equality thinktank Runnymede Trust, said:
?It doesn?t send a vote of con?dence to
families that these sort of delays become
routine. Also, the fact that [police] statements look like they have been drafted
in such similar ways, or get lost, reformulated or are so out of line with what
victims or families say happened. Trust
and con?dence in the police is already
low, so there?s a duty to be extra transparent, extra procedurally accountable.?
Other recommendations from the
report include creating a closer working
relationship between the Crown Prosecution Service and the IPCC .
The campaign group Inquest says
more than 1,000 people have died in
police custody since 1990, with not a single officer convicted in a criminal court.
The introduction of a national oversight body is also recommended to make
sure that coroners? reports aimed at preventing future deaths are acted upon.
Elsewhere the report calls on the
IPCC to challenge racial bias and condemns ?victim blaming ? through media
leaks, a move that creates ?false narratives? which de?ect scrutiny away from
the actions of the police. The family
of Rashan Charles were horrified by
initial� suggestions that he had swallowed drugs, a claim that was later
proved to be false.
The report also backs the introduction
of body cameras for frontline officers.
Loophole in child
support closed
by Michael Savage
Policy Editor
Parents will no longer be able to use a
legal loophole to dodge paying child
maintenance under new rules to be
rolled out within months.
Ministers are to overhaul laws that
mean parents can avoid supporting
their child by holding their money in
a joint account with a new partner.
Current rules mean only money held
in a sole account can be seized for
payment. Under new rules that will
come into force early next year, the
Department for Work and Pensions
will ensure that money held in a joint
account can also be liable for maintenance payments.
Ministers believe that closing this
loophole could lead to more than
�0,000 of additional child maintenance being collected.
Safeguards will be put in place to
ensure that only funds belonging to the
paying parent will be targeted. Joint
accounts will be used only when the
parent in question does not have their
own account, or their account does not
have enough to cover what they owe.
Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage, the
minister for child maintenance, said:
?Our priority is for children to get the
support they need.
?Only a small minority of parents
try to cheat their way out of paying
towards their children and this new
power will be another tool to tackle
those who do.?
29.10.17
| 23
*
World
Police confront rioters in Nairobi?s shanty town district, where ethnic groups battled it out with machetes and firearms after the rerun of presidential elections. Photograph by Thomas Mukoya/Reuters
Amid rising ethnic tensions, Kenyans
fear poll could trigger fresh violence
Calls for action to avert bloodshed as Kenyatta
heads for a landslide in election boycotted by
the opposition, writes Jason Burke in Nairobi
Fears of bloodshed in Kenya are growing after violent clashes between ethnic
groups and a hardening of divisive rhetoric following the contentious rerun of
presidential elections last week.
With a series of ?ashpoints looming
in coming days, civil society groups and
some leading politicians are making
increasingly desperate efforts to lower
tensions.
Although votes are still being counted
in the poll, local media have put Uhuru
Kenyatta, the incumbent, ahead, winning 98 per cent of ballots燾ast.
The opposition, led by Raila Odinga,
boycotted the election, which was
marred by violent protests in the country?s western region, an opposition
stronghold, and in Nairobi?s volatile
slum neighbourhoods.
Analysts say only a deal between the
two men could end the political crisis
and avert much broader con?ict.
?The longer this drags on the more
bellicose the rhetoric gets among politicians and the more animosity there
is among rising ethnic identities,? said
Murithi Mutiga, an expert with the
International Crisis Group in Nairobi.
In 2007, more than a thousand people
were killed in ethnic violence following
elections which Odinga also claimed had
been rigged.
Kenya is a patchwork of different
ethnic communities and groups. There
has long been simmering resentment
between those that are more in?uential
? such as the Kikuyu ? and those that
see themselves as marginalised ? such
as the Luo or the Luhya. Kenyatta, 55, is
a Kikuyu. Odinga, 72, is a Luo.
?It is true that we have not seen neighbour turning on neighbour but what we
saw in [parts of Nairobi] on Friday night
was close.
?There is a new constitution and vast
improvements since 2007 but it is not a
big leap to imagine that you could quickly
go back to the old days,? Mutiga said.
Police were deployed to the poor
neighbourhood of Kawangware early
on Friday evening to disperse opposition protesters. Fighting during
the night involved gangs armed with
machetes, clubs and ?rearms. Several
businesses were burnt down and at
least three people died.
Residents of Kawangware and police
officers said the clashes had pitted two
local communities ? Kikuyu and mainly
Luo ? against each other. Members of
each group accused the other of calling
reinforcements from elsewhere.
One casualty was Boniface Mutiga,
who was hit outside his home of wood
and corrugated iron by a stray bullet.
?It was chaos. We were frightened
for our lives,? said Tabitha Tiemo, 31, a
neighbour.
In areas on the outskirts of Nairobi,
leaflets have been circulated warning
members of speci?c ethnic communities
to leave their homes ?due to the destruction of our properties by [opposition]
supporters?.
In Kibera, another poor neighbourhood which is an opposition stronghold, and where violent protests also
?ared last week, mediators supported by
Mercy Corps, an American charity, are
attempting to bring leaders from both
sides in the con?ict together.
?We tell them there is no alternative
A supporter of
opposition
party Nasa in
Kawangware,
where violent
clashes took
place on Friday.
Dai Kurokawa/
EPA
to peace. Just anarchy, and then everyone loses everything? said Caleb Wanga,
coordinator of the project.
The increasingly chaotic political drama in Kenya began when the
supreme court overturned Kenyatta?s
victory in the 8 August election. It cited
irregularities and mismanagement by
the electoral commission. The turnout
for that poll was 80%.
Odinga then withdrew from the rerun
election, saying he believed it would be
marred by the same ?aws as the August
vote. The low proportion of voters who
turned out for the rerun ? possibly only
35% ? will undermine the credibility
of any mandate Kenyatta may claim
and� will be seen as a victory by the
opposition.
So far this year, between 50 and 70
people have died in election-related violence. ?From past experience, sporadic
incidents of violence quickly burst into a
con?agration with tragic consequences.
We are likely to go this direction unless
quick action is taken,? a leading article in
the Daily Nation newspaper said.
A second newspaper, the Standard,
spoke of ?60 days of acrimony, threats,
accusations and counter-accusations
that have threatened the very foundation
of our country?.
In some areas, especially in the western Nyanza region where most of the
deaths occurred, the election could not
take place at all after opposition supporters prevented hundreds of polling
stations from opening.
Plans to restage elections in the region
on Saturday were again delayed after the
election chief Wafula Chebukati said he
feared for the safety of his staff.
Odinga has vowed to wage a campaign
of ?civil disobedience? and is demanding
another election be held within 90 days.
He has said he will issue further instructions to supporters tomorrow. Last week
Kenyatta said Kenya faced ?a problem
of tribalism? which was ?an issue that
we must ? ?ght with as we continue to
develop our country.?
Opposition MPs on Friday accused
the government of conducting a ?genocidal pogrom?.
?Categorically genocide is what Kenyatta is doing. It is an ethnically motivated plot,? Millie Odhiambo, an MP
?Categorically,
genocide is what
Kenyatta is doing.
It is an ethnically
motivated plot?
Millie Odhiambo, MP
known for her uncompromising views,
told the Observer. In Mathare north,
a third major poor neighbourhood in
Nairobi, one family is in mourning after
violent protests last week. Paul Omena,
a 29-year-old vegetable seller, died
instantly when he was shot in the head
on election day.
Yesterday his 24-year-old wife and
two small children were being comforted by neighbours and relatives in
the family?s single rented room on the
?fth-?oor of a run-down, over crowded
tenement in the slum.
?If there was no rerun, no election,
nothing like this would have happened.
It is very difficult,? said Grace Achieng,
26, the widow?s sister. ?We are just hoping that the politicians will sort everything out and then we can go back to our
normal lives.?
24 | NEWS | WORLD
*
29.10.17
Burmese stand by their heroine as fears
grow of a return to rule by military junta
Criticism of Aung
San Suu Kyi in the
west is angering and
mobilising supporters
in her homeland.
Poppy McPherson
reports from Yangon
On the top ?oor of the Myanmar Traditional Artists and Artisans Association
in Yangon, the organisation?s vice-president stands behind his latest creation.
It is a towering portrait of Aung San
Suu Kyi, robed in pink and white, a
concerned expression on her face. ?If
Oxford University takes down one portrait of her, we want to create 2,000
more,? says the painter, who goes by the
name K Kyaw.
Days earlier he had joined dozens of
others at the gallery to protest against
the decision of St Hugh?s college to take
down a painting of Myanmar?s leader by
making their own.
The college, where Aung San Suu Kyi
studied politics, philosophy and economics in the 1960s, is among several
British institutions to have stripped the
Nobel laureate of honours as the world
reacts in shock to the brutal violence
meted out against stateless Rohingya
Muslims in the country she leads.
More than 600,000 Rohingya have
fled the northern Rakhine state since
August, trekking for days to overburdened refugee camps in Bangladesh,
bringing with them stories of gang rape,
indiscriminate killing and mass arson
at the hands of soldiers and local Buddhists. The United Nations has said the
campaign of violence is ethnic cleansing. Others call it genocide. Pressure is
mounting on global leaders to act.
In Myanmar, the condemnations
are being met with both indignation
and pleas for patience. It has been less
than two years since Aung San Suu Kyi?s
National League for Democracy swept to
power in a landslide election, ending half
a century of junta rule.
As longtime democracy activists fear
a return to international isolation and
military dominance, diplomats are torn
between the need to stand on the right
side of history and fear that stronger
rebukes, such as sanctions, will further
imperil the country?s fragile democratic爐ransition.
?The Rohingya crisis has put Myanmar?s reform process on a knife edge,?
says a former senior diplomat based in
the country, who like others interviewed
asked to remain anonymous.
?The country and its business people
are pulled in two directions: openness,
and a desire for international standards,
clean government and human rights ?
but with the attendant accountability
and scrutiny ? or nationalism? and a
reliance on support from China. The lack
of government capacity and the poorly
Portraits of Aung San Suu Kyi,
pictured left last week, were
displayed at a rally of her supporters in the capital Naypyidaw.
Photographs by Aung Shine Oo/AP
educated population heightens the risk
that the military, still the only truly functioning institution, will return, and even
be welcomed in some quarters.?
For decades, Aung San Suu Kyi has
been the living embodiment of Myanmar?s democratic aspirations, both
inside the country and overseas. The
72-year-old, who sacrificed her freedom and family in the struggle to bring
democracy to Myanmar, enjoys unparalleled adoration and has not anointed
a successor. Personal attacks by Oxford
and others have led to rallies being held
around the country, with crowds chanting her name.
At an interfaith gathering attended
by thousands in Yangon, many clutched
photographs of the painting removed by
St Hugh?s. Myanmar?s Catholic cardinal,
Charles Maung Bo, one of the few public ?gures who has been willing to speak
out for the Rohingya but who has been
less vocal in recent months, took to the
stage to appeal on behalf of Aung San
Suu Kyi. ?In her fragile hands she holds
the dreams of millions,? he said.
The hope instilled in Aung San Suu
Kyi ? and fear of the alternative ? has
driven western policy towards Myanmar for years. It is why allies refused to
condemn her when she did not speak out
in 2012, when tens of thousands of Rohingya were driven from their homes and
herded into displacement camps where
they remain, ?ve years on.
They indulged her when she failed to
?eld a single Muslim candidate in the
2015 election, which the NLD won by a
landslide. ?It?s easy for people overseas
to ask why she?s not doing more,? one
diplomat said earlier this year. ?Then the
military take over and they?re like, ?Oh,
we lost Burma again!? The consequences
for her could be more severe.?
?The transition is
much more fragile
than people assume
and the government?s
freedom narrower?
Sean Turnell, adviser
But now, with Rohingya continuing to
?ee daily, relations between the leader
and her erstwhile allies have been at
their lowest ebb. Views of the situation
inside Myanmar ? where the Rohingya
are widely reviled as illegal immigrants
and terrorists, as attacks by Rohingya
militants preceded the crackdown ?
and outside the country are diametrically爋pposed.
The state counsellor has been criticised for mulling over long-term solutions while neglecting to address the
immediate crisis. Both publicly and privately, she is said to have echoed army
rhetoric. According to observers, she
does not like to admit the military is not
under her control.
The frustrations run both ways. Aung
San Suu Kyi, widely characterised as
intolerant of criticism, has been pushing
her former allies away. UN human rights
investigators have not been allowed
access to Rakhine to produce a report
on alleged atrocities. ?There is a growing distancing,? said one diplomat in
Yangon. ?The UN is persona non grata.?
Inside the country, rumours have
swirled about tussles between the civilian government and the military over
the handling of the crisis. The relationship between Aung San Suu Kyi and the
commander-in-chief, Min Aung Hlaing,
was already poor, diplomats say.
Days before the European Union was
due to make decisions on Myanmar, an
unnamed adviser claiming to speak with
Aung San Suu Kyi?s authority briefed
foreign reporters on the creation of a
civilian-led body to distribute international aid to the Rohingya, saying that
the state counsellor felt under threat of
being overthrown by the army.
Senior members of the NLD have long
insisted that there are military hardliners trying to undermine the transition,
and the army has made intermittent
pronouncements reminding the public
of the constitutional clause that allows
it to take back power.
The assassination in January of Ko Ni,
a prominent Muslim lawyer who was
advising Aung San Suu Kyi on amending that constitution, remains unsolved.
Local media have reported on shadowy
threats to her security. ?Myanmar?s transition is much more fragile than people
assume, and the government?s freedom
to move much narrower than supposed
as a consequence,? says Sean Turnell, an
economic adviser to the state counsellor. And Myanmar has had democracy
pulled out of its grasp before. In 1990 the
generals annulled a massive election win
by the NLD and kept Aung San Suu Kyi
under house arrest.
Myat San, a former student democracy activist who spent 20 years behind
bars, says the defeat persuaded her to
avoid antagonising the military. ?She
believes only dialogue and practising
peaceful efforts can solve the political
crisis,? says Myat San, a confidant of
the state counsellor whom he calls ?the
Lady?, like many in Myanmar.
?In the current situation, what the
international community are doing is not
supporting this government, what they
are doing is putting the country back into
the hands of authoritarian rule,? he says.
?They are pushing the Lady and the military closer and closer.?
29.10.17
WORLD | NEWS | 25
*
Preeety good?
Not this time, as
America curbs
its enthusiasm
for Larry David
JB Smoove plays
Leon Black, Larry
David?s layabout
friend, in season
nine of the show,
and below, David in
a scene from
season one, aired in
2000. HBO
The comedy?s playful assaults on political
correctness made it cult viewing. But in the
Trump era, the joke isn?t as funny any more
America?s enthusiasm for Larry David
appears to be wearing pretty, pretty thin.
The return of his long-running comedy
Curb Your Enthusiasm earlier this month
was met with a mixed reception, as some
critics praised the show?s taboo-breaking approach while others described it
as beginning to resemble a ?fourth-rate
Benny Hill?.
At the heart of the debate is whether
or not a show about the travails of a privileged white man who operates without
a filter has lost its appeal in Trump?s
America ? a place where ?it feels as if
all of public life is its own grim kind of
cringe comedy?.
David took six years to consider
whether to revive Curb, a project that
started as an inventive stand-up special
for HBO in 1999 and blossomed into a
second hit for the man who found success late in life as the co-creator of Seinfeld. It was the controversial ending of
that show which gave him pause about
reanimating Curb for a ninth season.
?I got so much grief from the
Seinfeld finale, which a lot of
people intensely disliked, that
I no longer feel a need to wrap
things up,? David said in
2014. ?I wouldn?t say I?m
mad about it, but it taught
me a lesson that if I ever
did another show, I wasn?t
gonna wrap it up.? But he
did decide to come back,
and this season?s story arc ? in
which David receives a death
threat from the Ayatollah after
writing a musical called Fatwa
? has been called a ?throwback in a bad way?. Ratings
have been good, but not startling. It
managed 1.54爉illion viewers in the US
on its debut, a dip of around 25% compared with the season eight ?nale. To put
that in context with other comedies, it?s
quite a way off the mainstream appeal of
Modern Family (which pulls in around
seven million viewers) but noticeably
better than the Emmys favourite, Veep
(580,000).
It?s not all been bad for David though.
Many have praised his decision to keep
the show controversial and to include a
diverse cast, which doesn?t attempt to
talk down to its audience but instead
assumes they?re in on the joke.
Kenny Herzog, a TV critic who recaps
Curb Your Enthusiasm for New York
magazine?s Vulture, sees the reception
the show has received as revealing more
about the contemporary debate around
political correctness than Curb itself. ?It
is inevitable that the return of the show
wasn?t going to have the luxury of standing on its legacy and its merits,? he says.
?It was going to have to rise to a new
standard that a lot of people have about
being delicate towards certain subjects
and people, even when you?re being
funny. If you over-think it you?re
going to end up making a show that
doesn?t resonate with people because
it doesn?t have anything to say
and it doesn?t have any balls.?
But the problem may be
what the show is saying. Larry?s relationship with Leon
Black ? his layabout housemate played by JB Smoove ?
has also become a focal point
for critics, with some suggesting a lazy black character
Jerry Seinfeld has hit out at the
?PC nonsense? of some critics.
?People in their late
teens or 20s who are
just coming to the
show can be
surprised by how
confrontational it is?
Kenny Herzog, TV critic
reiterates racist stereotypes and others
saying it?s knowingly cartoonish and has
endeared David to black America.
There is an argument that it?s not
David who has changed, but instead
his audience has shifted. In the time it?s
been off screen there has been a change
in public opinion about political correctness ? with vocal student-led movements and social activists such as Black
Lives Matter challenging how power
works in all parts of American society,
including comedy.
David?s long-time collaborator Jerry
Seinfeld has been one of the loudest
voices shouting down opponents of
offensive jokes and comedy. ?They just
want to use these words: ?That?s racist?;
?That?s sexist?; ?That?s prejudice?. They
don?t even know what the fuck they?re
talking about,? Seinfeld said in 2015,
when asked about why certain comics no
longer perform on university campuses
in the US. ?I have no interest in gender or
Barbuda PM calls for help from Britain
to rebuild island devastated by hurricane
by Kate Lyons
Antigua and Barbuda
Independent islands in the Caribbean
are fearful that their infrastructure will
be left in ruins as countries such as the
UK focus relief and aid efforts on their
own overseas territories.
Gaston Browne, prime minster of
Antigua and Barbuda, said his country
was being overlooked in relief efforts
because it was an independent island
and had a higher per capita income
than some Caribbean countries.
?Technically, the Queen is still our
head of state, which means there
should be some empathy,? he said. ?But
I think because we are independent,
and they?re looking at some arti?cial
per capita income criteria, we are
being overlooked.?
The island of Barbuda was
devastated by Hurricane Irma in
September, with 95% of all properties
on the island destroyed. When it was
feared Barbuda would be struck again
by Hurricane Jose a few days later, all
2,000 residents were evacuated to the
larger sister island of Antigua.
The evacuees are living with friends
and family on Antigua, or in large
shelters run by the government in
technical colleges, churches and a
cricket stadium. People have begun
to return to the island for a few
days at a time to start the clear-up,
often sleeping in tents on their
lawns. Barbuda still has no water or
electricity. Browne praised developing
countries that had offered help, naming
Cuba, Venezuela and the Dominican
Republic, as well as Qatar, China and
India. Even the small Caribbean island
of Dominica pledged $250,000 before
Dominica itself was hit and devastated
by Hurricane Maria, Browne said.
?We reciprocated afterwards by
pledging $300,000,? he added ?Even
among countries that were devastated,
there is a form of human cooperation
to help each other.?
However, Browne said the
response from developed nations was
?minimal?: his country had received
donations of roughly $200,000 from
Canada and $100,000 from the US,
but he was not aware of any donations
from the UK or the EU.
The UK?s Department for
International Development (DfID)
has pledged �m in emergency relief
for Caribbean countries affected by
hurricanes Irma and Maria. While
� of this will go to the island of
Dominica, it has not said how the rest
of the money has been divided up.
However, Michael Joseph, president of
the Antiguan and Barbudan Red Cross,
said his organisation had received
$300,000 from the DfID.
Browne said rebuilding Barbuda will
cost an estimated $250m, roughly the
entire annual government budget. The
hurricane has already greatly affected
the country?s economy, he added, with
airport closures and people cancelling
holidays to Antigua under the mistaken
belief that it, too, had been destroyed
by the hurricane.
Shadow international development
secretary Kate Osamor said that if
the British government did not assist
Antigua and Barbuda in its rebuilding
efforts, this would be a ?slap in the
face? for the country.
Browne said that wealthy countries
had a particular responsibility to help
with rebuilding efforts, given that
in his view the hurricanes that have
devastated Caribbean islands over the
past few months were the result of
climate change.
race or anything like that. But everyone
else is kind of, with their calculating ?
is this the exact right mix? I think that
to me it?s anti-comedy. It?s more about
PC-nonsense.? Herzog sees that societal
shift when it comes to what is deemed
funny and what is wantonly offensive,
as the core of the debate about Curb?s
lost appeal. ?There might be people ?rst
coming to the show just based on its
reputation having never seen it, and they
may be in their 20s or late teens and have
come of age in an era of self-conscious
political correctness,? he says. ?They can
be surprised at how confrontational the
show is.?
The other major change has come in
the White House with Donald Trump?s
�
?I remember
trying to
drive his
Jeep with
a photographer
draped
across the
bonnet?
Michael
Hutchence?s
friend
Catherine
Mayer on his
hounding by
the paparazzi
pages 22-29
Observer
Magazine
by Lanre Bakare
presidency ushering in an era where, as
the New Yorker put it: ?Unbridled egotism and rampant hairsplitting rule the
airwaves; the unrivalled callousness of
a rich, old, out-of-touch white guy is a
daily ?xture.? That landscape has made
the show?s premise harder to swallow
for some, but Herzog points out that it?s
people like Trump that the show is lampooning. ?You?ve got to pick your allies
and pick your adversaries and I don?t
think Larry David is really on the wrong
side,? he says. ?They?re on the right side
of progressivism and you?ve got to have
a sense of humour. If you ?nd any of the
new series offensive that means you
need to go back and ?nd the entire show
offensive.?
* 29.10.17
In Focus
THREE-PAGE
US POLITICS
SPECIAL
Between Trump,
Breitbart and the
Old Guard? who will
win the coming battle
for the soul of the
Republican party?
A PARTY DIVIDED
?We must
stop
pretending
that the
degradation
of our politics
and the
conduct of
some in our
executive
branch are
normal?
?To abandon
the ideals
we advanced
around the
globe ? for
half-baked
nationalism is
as unpatriotic
as an
attachment
to any other
tired dogma?
?When his
term is over,
the debasing
of our nation,
the constant
non-truth
telling, the
name calling
is what
Trump will be
remembered
most for?
Je? Flake
John McCain
Bob Corker
An unpredictable president and his ?alt-right? allies
are now squaring up for a political civil war. Ranged
ged
against them are party traditionalists who wantt
to turn away from the appeal of nationalism.
Report by Sabrina Siddiqui in Washington
TRUMP AND THE REPUBLICANS
D
onald Trump had barely left
the US Capitol on Tuesday after a meeting with
Republican senators when
Jeff Flake took to the Senate
?oor with a barnstorming speech that excoriated the state
of the the party under the president?s
stewardship. Reports that Flake, from
Arizona, would not seek re-election
had sent shockwaves across Washington just moments before.
From his vantage point, the writing
was on the wall: despite boasting a reliably conservative record, his willingness to speak out about the controversial behaviour of a divisive president
had rendered him a man without a
party. This was Trump?s party, Flake
said, and there was no room for him
within it.
?It is time for our complicity and our
accommodation for the unacceptable
to end,? Flake warned in explosive
remarks instantly labelled as a historic
act of de?ance. ?There are times when
we must risk our careers in favour of
our principles. Now is such a time.?
Flake went on to deliver a 17-minute
speech framing the moment as an existential crisis for the Republican party,
taking direct aim at Trump?s conduct
and what his presidency symbolised. It
was an extraordinary event that would
have otherwise been regarded as a
major breach of decorum. But this was
Trump?s Washington. The norms had
already been broken.
A handful of colleagues sat stonyfaced as he implored Republicans not
to acquiesce on core principles in the
pursuit of appeasing Trump?s angry,
nationalist base. ?We must stop pretending the degradation of our politics
and the conduct of some in our executive branch are normal,? Flake said.
He went on, thrusting the knife even
further into Trump, though avoiding
naming him: ?Reckless, outrageous,
and undigni?ed behaviour has become
excused and countenanced as ?telling
it like it is? when it is actually just reckless, outrageous and undigni?ed.?
Among those who bore witness to
Flake?s remarks was John McCain, the
senior senator from Arizona who just
a week earlier had blasted ?half-baked,
spurious nationalism? in a coded
attack on so-called Trumpism. Mitch
McConnell, the Senate majority leader,
looked on stoically. As the speech
reached its conclusion, a singular
round of applause rang out from Ben
Sasse, a Republican from Nebraska
who, like Flake, declined to endorse
Trump in the presidential election.
Many of the Senate?s 52 Republicans
were nowhere to be found. They had
just left a closed-door lunch with the
president, dining over chicken marsala,
green beans and Trump?s favourite,
meatloaf, before a major Republicanled push to overhaul the tax code.
Much of the meeting featured
Trump characteristically singing his
own praises, according to some who
were there. There was general discussion of taxes, but few speci?cs from
a president who takes little interest
in policy details. It was nonetheless
cordial, by Trump?s unpredictable
standards. As senator John Kennedy
of Louisiana put it: ?Nobody called
anyone an ignorant slut.?
Flake?s sudden exit was a stark
reminder that the relationship
between Republicans and their party
head was anything but congenial. Last
November?s election did not put an
end to the civil war ? a chasm between
the establishment in Washington and
grassroots activists that deepened amid
the rise of the Tea Party movement of
2009. Trump?s victory only ampli?ed
and emboldened it.
Flake, after all, was not alone in his
criticism. All week a war of words had
taken place between Trump and Bob
Corker, the Republican who chairs the
Senate foreign relations committee,
soaring to new heights that culminated
in Corker issuing his own stunning
rebuke of the commander-in-chief.
?When his term is over ? the constant
non-truth-telling, the name-calling,
the debasement of our nation, will be
what he will be remembered most for,?
Corker told CNN.
Corker announced his own retirement last month, joining the ranks
of a small but growing number of
Republicans who have come to see
Trump?s presidency as a moment of
reckoning. On one side is the most
unpopular president in modern US
history, ushered in by a grassroots
movement with Steve Bannon, the
former White House chief strategist, at
its helm. On the other is the old guard
of Republican leaders, struggling to
distance themselves from Trump?s
toxicity and a party base that he
increasingly drives by racially motivated nationalism.
Critics such as Flake, Corker and
McCain subscribe to the conventional
wisdom espoused by Republican presidents dating back to Ronald Reagan ? a
belief in limited government, moderate views on immigration and trade
? but Bannonites have waged war on
?globalists? and used race and class to
drive a wedge between the establishment and white Republicans who have
felt unmoored by the economic and
cultural dislocation visited on them
over the past 15 to 20 years.
The friction has set the stage for a
battle for the soul of the Republican
party, with rami?cations that could
linger well beyond Trump?s reign. A
strategist aligned with Bannon said
Trump?s victory unleashed an insurgent movement that has set its sights
on replacing the party?s establishment in Washington: ?The strategy
is to爉ake everyone look over their
shoulders so they understand that
they are no longer in charge of the
Republican party.?
BANNON?S WAR
As reports of Flake?s retirement
surfaced, a Bannon ally celebrated
the news by claiming ?another scalp?.
The departure of one more moderate
senator ? moderate at least within the
con?nes of the current Republican
party ? marked the latest conquest
in Bannon?s mission to reshape the
conservative movement. Although he
did not formally join Trump?s campaign until August last year, Bannon
spent years cultivating his in?uence
as the executive chairman of Breitbart
News. A platform for the ?alt-right?,
the website publishes what is often
vitriolic content about immigrants and
Muslims, and once published stories
under the tag ?Black crime?.
The seeds of racial anxiety sown
by Breitbart?s vast reach were not
simply fodder for rightwing readers,
but were intended as markers laying
down expectations for Republicans in
elected office. The message was clear:
if Republicans did not adhere to protectionism they risked being vili?ed as
part of the establishment.
To longtime political observers,
this insurgency is the culmination of
the Tea Party movement that rose up
against Barack Obama?s presidency and
swept Republicans to regain control of
the House of Representatives in 2010
and the Senate four years later.
If the bombast of Sarah Palin as
McCain?s 2008 running mate foreshadowed the uprising, the die was
cast in the 2012 election. Although
establishment choice Mitt Romney
survived a bruising primary and went
on to win the Republican nomination, the centrist former governor of
Massachusetts failed to placate the
right wing. Romney was vili?ed ?rst
by his Republican opponents and then
by the Democrats as an out-of-touch
plutocrat at a time when the American
economy was still recovering from
the worst ?nancial collapse since the
Depression. In some ways, he was the
antithesis of what the Tea Party insurgency was seeking.
Instead, the Republican mainstream nominee was left with abysmal
numbers among Hispanic, African
American, women and young voters,
resulting in a 100-page ?autopsy? commissioned by the Republican national
committee that recommended a dramatic change in direction to broaden
appeal. Little did party leaders suspect
Trump would come along and render
that autopsy irrelevant.
His support was fuelled, in part, by
Breitbart, which during the Obama
years shaped the debate on the right
over issues ranging from immigration reform and healthcare repeal to
?scal policy, never giving an inch to
compromise. Bannon?s swift return
?The strategy is to
make everyone look
over their shoulders
so they understand
that they are no
longer in charge of
the Republican party?
Bannon-aligned strategist
29.10.17
| 27
*
LESSONS FROM
THE KALAHARI
Hunter-gatherers: the
model for a sustainable
society, page 31
?If I can take
a little ri? on
Plutarch and
Shakespeare,
up on Capitol
Hill, it?s like
the Ides of
March. The
only question
? is who?s
going to
be Brutus?
Steve Bannon
to the website after standing down as
chief strategist at the White House in
August suggested the take no prisoners war was only just beginning, and
could soon reach the West Wing if
Trump moved away from the nationalist, ?America ?rst? agenda upon which
he campaigned. Republican leaders in
Congress continue to be the top targets
of Breitbart?s ideological crusade.
The website has been so ruthless
in its attacks against House speaker
Paul Ryan that it not only promoted his
primary challenger last year but also
ran a story criticising him for having a
fence around his home in Wisconsin
but not being sufficiently supportive
of a wall along the US-Mexico border. Speaking at an annual gathering
of conservative activists this month,
Bannon declared ?a season of war?
against the Republican establishment.
?Nobody can run and hide on this one,
these folks are coming for you,? he said.
HEATED PRIMARIES
For some Republicans facing a tough
road towards re-election next year,
and perhaps beyond, the Bannon-led
insurgency has already proved too
daunting. A ?urry of high-pro?le
retirements have been announced in
recent months, with many hailing from
districts being eyed by Democrats as
potential pick-up opportunities.
?You?re going to see more retirements,? Michael Steele, the former
chairman of the Republican national
committee, said. ?It speaks to a growing frustration with the way politics
have played out in Washington. The
forces on the right and the left have
pushed subject matter and content so
far to the edges that you can?t have a
discussion around solving problems.?
If Bannon has his way, the party
will not simply transform itself. It will
instead create a new establishment, led
by what Bannon dubbed as ?the populist, nationalist, conservative revolt
that?s going on, that drove Donald
Trump to victory?.
Flake?s exit appeared to usher in a
turning point for Republican leaders
in Washington. The Senate Leadership
Fund, a political action committee
aligned with McConnell and given
the爅ob of preserving a Republican
majority in the upper chamber,
revealed plans last week to meet
Bannon?s ?ght with ?re.
The Washington Post reported that
McConnell?s allies would tie Bannon to
white nationalism in a bid to undermine the former White House chief
strategist and his roster of outsider
candidates. The McConnell-allied
group will reportedly commit millions
of dollars toward the cause, while supporting more orthodox Republicans.
It is poised to be a nasty battle that will likely cost tens of millions of dollars. The stage is set for
an unprecedented battle within the
Republican party. On the opposite
side to McConnell are hedge fund
executive Robert Mercer and his
daughter Rebekah, who are ready to
assist Bannon. Rightwing commentators such as Sean Hannity and Rush
Limbaugh have already begun to
trumpet Bannon?s anti-establishment
message to millions of loyal followers,
forcing orthodox Republicans to tilt
towards darker forces in order to see
off the Bannonite attacks.
In some ways, the decisions by Flake
and Corker to step aside signalled the
uphill climb ahead. Flake confessed
he would have to run a campaign he
would not be proud of to fend off a
challenge from the right.
The attacks levied at Trump by his
Republican opponents in last year?s
campaign went far beyond the norms
of primary jostling, with some declaring him ?un?t? and going so far as
to say he could not be trusted with
the nuclear codes. But when voters
selected Trump as the Republican
nominee, critics lined up behind him,
insisting their allegiance was to the
party and anyone would be better than
Hillary Clinton.
David Jolly, a former Republican
congressman from Florida, said such
thinking was shortsighted. ?We?re not
going to win a long-term governing
majority by endorsing those kind of
candidates,? he said.
?We might win a few races here
and there in the short term, but we?re
not winning the hearts and minds of
the American people and independent voters looking at a party that they
don?t爎ecognise.?
REPUBLICAN AGENDA
For Republicans in Washington,
capitulating to Trump has often meant
ignoring the unprecedented ways in
which he has tested the institutions,
incited racial resentment and governed
in 140 characters or fewer via Twitter.
From Trump?s feuds with military
families and his treatment of US allies
to attacks on members of his own
party and his divisive remarks after the
Charlottesville death of an anti-racist
protester, Republican lawmakers on
Capitol Hill have taken to meeting the
daily controversies with a shrug of the
shoulders. ?I?m not going to comment on the tweets of the day,? Ryan
says nearly every week, while ?elding
questions from reporters on Capitol
Hill that are often driven by Trump?s
twitchy Twitter thumbs and the shock
factor that ensues.
There is a growing sense in
Washington that more and more
Republicans are willing to hold their
nose at Trump?s toxicity in the hope
that they manage to pass tax reform (or
more likely, tax-cutting) legislation.
Despite engaging in his own war
of words with Trump this summer,
McConnell has similarly sought to
project a show of unity this month
as Republicans navigate the complex
?[Flake] is one
of my most
detested
politicians ?
Of the 14
Republicans
who voted for
[an amnesty
on illegal
immigration]
?ve are gone?
Ann Coulter,
rightwing author
issue of tax. Compounding pressure on
Republican leaders is that nine months
have passed without a major legislative accomplishment. Republicans
exhausted three months, only for their
efforts to dismantle affordable healthcare to fall short, thwarted by opposition within their own party.
Observers say Republicans will be
cruci?ed by constituents if they are
left with nothing to run on next year
despite controlling both chambers of
Congress and the White House.
Trump critics such as Charlie Sykes,
a conservative talk radio host who
wrote the book How the Right Lost
Its Mind, have resigned themselves to
believing the Republicans have been
?thoroughly Trumpi?ed?. ?The capacity of the Republican party to rationalise and capitulate to Donald Trump is
extraordinary,? Sykes said, ?and their
capacity for surrender has not yet been
exhausted. How many times have we
said, ?Surely, this will be enough???
Sykes predicted the dysfunction
that created Trump would live on well
after his exit from the political stage,
bolstered by a ?post-truth conservative
media?, until and unless Republicans
provided a clear, electoral alternative.
?Candidates more in line with
mainstream conservative thinking and
basic human decency would have to
come forward,? Sykes said. He paused
and chuckled, before adding with a
sigh: ?But I also want a unicorn for
Christmas.?
28 | IN FOCUS
*
US politics special
29.10.17
?Tough, scary
and further to
the right than
Trump?: meet
the latest star
of Fox News
The talk radio host Laura Ingraham?s
elevation suggests Rupert Murdoch
has picked a side in the simmering
Republican war, writes Lucia Graves
TRUMP AND THE MEDIA
A
t the ?Breitbart Embassy?
mansion on Capitol Hill
in Washington last week,
Steve Bannon, former chief
strategist to Donald Trump,
and the Breitbart news
website were throwing a book party
for Laura Ingraham, the conservative
talk radio star poised to ascend to one
of the top spots in US cable television.
When she debuts tomorrow evening in
primetime on Rupert Murdoch?s news
network, much of America?s media and
political establishment will be scrutinising her to see what it means for Fox
and US politics. In hiring her, it already
seems clear that Fox News has just
picked a side in the long-simmering
Republican party civil war.
When she takes over the cable network?s 10pm slot with The Ingraham
Angle, it will be a marker of the
direction Fox is heading in and how
closely it intends to side with Trump
in a looming battle with ?establishment? Republicans. Asked recently
if she would be bringing Breitbart
(Bannon?s ?alt-right? website) over to
Fox she replied, tellingly: ?I don?t call it
Breitbart, I call it American.?
Ingraham might be considered
an activist as much as an anchor. As
longtime conservative radio host
Charlie Sykes put it: ?She?s as hardcore
a Trumpist as you?re going to ?nd on
the air.?
In the recent Alabama Senate
primary race, for instance, Ingraham
threw her support behind Roy Moore,
the rightwing insurgent candi-
date, even as rumours swirled that
Washington had pressured Trump
into backing an alternative candidate. Ingraham asked Moore on her
radio show if he thought Trump was
disconnected from his core constituency. ?I think that he may be,? Moore
replied. ?And I think that he?s being
badly advised out of the White House.?
Moore duly won.
Ingraham has fashioned herself
as something of an honest broker. A
prominent radio personality and wellconnected in Washington, she comes
with her own following and a reputation that has held up over time.
She also, it bears mentioning, offers
Fox female star power at a time when
the network sorely needs it. Beyond the
barrage of sexual harassment claims,
Fox recently lost star anchor Megyn
Kelly to NBC after she antagonised
Trump during the election campaign
with a tough line of questioning about
his treatment of women.
Ingraham, whose mother was a
waitress in Connecticut, graduated
from the University of Virginia law
school and worked for the supreme
court judge Clarence Thomas. But it
was in the world of conservative talk
radio that she found her path. Now a
popular commentator, she lives in a
big house on a leafy street in Virginia.
She may not seem like an obvious
choice to channel America?s heartland.
But, she says, she has never forgot her
working class roots. Along the way she
published half a dozen books, including, most recently, Billionaire at the
Barricades: The Populist Revolution
from Reagan to Trump.
Fox boss Rupert Murdoch appears to
be opening his arms to the rising anti-
CONSERVATIVE VOICES
Megyn Kelly, right, was
riding high as a brainy
conservative pin-up on
Fox News until she jumped
ship to centrist NBC.
Lara Trump, who is married to middle
son Eric, has a Facebook broadcast
that celebrates her father-in-law?s
accomplishments. McClatchy News
predicts she will be the face of Trump?s
2020 campaign.
Kimberly Ann Guilfoyle is a co-host on
Fox who was reportedly being considered
as White House press secretary but
turned the job down.
Ann Coulter was at the coal face of
conservatism in the mid-90s; her latest
book is titled In Trump We Trust.
Tucker Carlson is modelled from the
cast of an old-school, bowtie-wearing
conservative. He took over Kelly?s 9pm
weekday Fox slot. Beneath his image lies
an ideologue who says it is ?unknowable?
if humans are behind climate change.
Glenn Beck?s bizarre outbursts, often
including ranting and tears, contributed
to Fox News?s problems with being taken
seriously as a news outlet.
Sean Hannity , left,
is conservative media?s
Trump whisperer and
the reliable go-tosupporter of the extreme
shifts in the president?s
thinking. There?s hardly a conservative
conspiracy theory that Hannity has
not at one time embraced.
Ingraham and her
children after the
announcement she
would be joining
Fox. Left, at the
Republican
convention in
2016. Washington
Post, Getty
establishment forces ? and Breitbart is
in the vanguard of that effort ? which
are set on destroying the establishment
Republican party, often characterised
as globalists who no longer have the
interests of America?s white working
class at heart.
The Fox boss?s choice of Ingraham
comes at a febrile time within the party,
with concerns about the president and
what he stands for spilling into public
view. Republicans Jeff Flake and Bob
Corker have resigned from the Senate,
citing distress with Trump?s behaviour, while the Senate?s Republican
leader, Mitch McConnell, and his allies
declared open warfare on Bannon
and his wing. Bannon, in turn, had
already declared war on McConnell,
and has pledged to take the ?ght to all
Republicans who don?t sign up to his
particular brand of ethno-nationalism.
Ingraham says she won?t soft-pedal
coverage of the president. She claims to
be all about dismantling the establishment and to not be attached to Trump,
suggesting in a recent interview he
would be ?irked? by her coverage
of him. She has been called ?Trump
before Trump? and where she does
depart from him it?s typically to move
the discussion even further right.
It?s a different model than that of
Trump-pleasing anchors such as Sean
Hannity. And, according to Media
Matters president Angelo Carusone,
it?s straight out of Bannon?s playbook.
?When you think, ?Wow, she?s just said
something that was not 100% in step
with the president,? you see what she
said was燼ctually worse and scarier and
more extreme.?
Ingraham?s new post in Fox primetime illustrates how transparent the
alliance between conservative media
and the president has become. ?There?s
actually a long history of journalistic
commentators climbing in and out
of bed with politicians,? said veteran
investigative journalist Mark Feldstein,
recalling, by way of example, how the
Washington Post?s publisher helped
broker John F Kennedy?s choice of
Lyndon Johnson as his vice-president.
?What?s interesting,? Feldstein said,
?is how open this is.? (In her pro?le in
the New York Times, Ingraham refers
to the president as a friend.)
As Trump loyalists dominate mainstream political coverage, more traditional conservative voices are often
con?ned to the margins. Publications
such as the National Review and Weekly
Standard, once instrumental in shaping party politics, have been sidelined
?Hiring her is a way
to keep Trump?s base
happy and engaged.
And the president,
for that matter?
Mark Feldstein, journalist
in recent years ? and even within
that diminished realm of in?uence,
Trump has made inroads at the likes of
Murdoch?s Wall Street Journal.
Ingraham might well be the pundit of
Trump?s dreams. In the wake of white
nationalist violence in Charlottesville,
Virginia, she purported to take issue
with the president?s conduct ? not
with his blaming of ?both sides? for the
violence, but because that conversation
had ?sidetracked? the country from
what she saw as Trump?s more important agenda for the day: infrastructure.
Her real target was not Trump, but the
media. In Ingraham ? known for her
sharp elbows and combative tone ? Fox
may have found the perfect instrument
to reach the Trump base.
Whatever you make of her punditry,
there is little doubt about her effectiveness. ?I think Laura Ingraham is
remarkably talented, exceptionally
articulate and passionately eloquent,
but she taps into that aggrieved sense
of resentment,? said Frank Sesno, a former CNN anchor who runs the school
of media and public affairs at George
Washington University. Such coverage
can make for good viewing, he added.
But it also re?ects and contributes to
the rancorous national mood.
The good news for Ingraham is her
brand of burn-it-down punditry is very
much in the ascendant. A longtime
contributor to Fox, in recent years
she has developed a close working
relationship with Bannon, joining him
in 2014 in the endorsement of David
Brat, the upstart Tea Party opponent of
Eric Cantor, the Republicans? majority
leader in the House of Representatives;
she was reportedly won over to the
cause by former Breitbart writer Julia
Hahn, now in Trump?s White House.
If ties to Bannon were once a liability
in Washington, in 2017 they appear
to have become an asset. The subtext,
says Feldstein, now a professor at the
University of Maryland, is that Fox
sees Trump?s base as its core audience.
?Hiring her is a way to keep those
viewers happy, engaged and watching,?
he said. ?And the president himself, for
that matter.?
29.10.17
VIEWPOINT | 29
*
The photographer who created ?porn
chic? and moulded the look of an era
Terry Richardson,
now ostracised by the
fashion industry after
allegations of sexual
harassment, shaped
an aesthetic of
n,
exploitation,
rd
says Richard
Benson
T
here?s a kind of natural urge to
show off your body and sexuality and record it,? the photographer Terry Richardson told
me in the autumn of 2000.
?We all have our own internal
porn star, and technology has allowed it
to develop. You know, people ?ash the
camera when they?re drunk at parties,
there are couples ?lming themselves
with camcorders, it?s like instant porn.
That genuine, raw sexuality is breaking
the veneer of polite behaviour all the
time. I爐ry to capture those moments.?
The words sound sinister after a
week of re-reading the many allegations of sexual harassment and assault
made against Richardson since 2001.
One man?s ?genuine, raw sexuality?, we
have been reminded, was for several
women an exposed erect penis being
waved in their faces.
And yet his proselytising was once
taken seriously, and not only by the
fashion industry. Curators at ?ne art
galleries, broadsheet newspaper editors and highbrow book publishers
all nodded along sagely. In 2000 I was
interviewing him for a long story about
pornography?s in?uence on fashion
for the Daily Telegraph. I had been
well placed to watch the phenomenon
develop, having in the mid-90s edited
the Face magazine, which ran some
of his early pictures. Some of the less
obvious reasons for the fashion industry?s delayed reaction to the allegations
might be buried in that period.
I met him three times, all before the
?rst harassment allegation against him,
in 2001 and, so far as I?m aware, before
he started publishing photographs of
himself having sex with models. There
was gossip about his shoots, but mostly
concerning celebrities; I recall stylists
recounting rumours of a bisexual orgy
with supermodels in his New York
studio, and jokingly referring to his
pictures of this carry on as ?Terry?s
pension?. The truth of that tale has not
been proven, but I think the men on
the staff wanted it to be true because
it brightened his aura of interesting
glamour.
Richardson felt like an exciting
person to work with. His father, Bob,
had helped to invent modern fashion
photography in the 60s, and when
Terry was four, Bob left his mother for
Anjelica Huston. Terry?s mother then
went out with Jimi Hendrix and, later,
Keith Richards. Terry had grown up in
Los Angeles, and had good stories.
Plus, he seemed endearingly humble
and funny. I don?t know if that lasted
(?I was a shy kid and now I?m this
powerful guy with a boner, dominating
all these girls,? he would tell an interviewer years later) but at the time all
these qualities and connections meant
he had an allure, to men at least. He has
since said that he was using heroin and
drinking heavily before 2001. I can only
say that it didn?t seem apparent to me,
and I didn?t hear it mentioned.
It also helped his cause that he could
talk about his work as a social and
artistic project, with a unifying aim and
purpose. ?I?m interested in trying to
capture something spontaneous,? he
said. ?Trying to capture those unpremeditated moments when people?s
sexualities come up to the surface.? He
talked about his images being ?fashion pictures that mix art and erotic
photography?, and about his shoots as
Mario Sorrenti?s 1993 image of
Kate Moss for Calvin Klein typifies
the era?s porn-cool aesthetic, which
Richardson helped to create;
below, Richardson with the designer
Stella McCartney in June this year.
Photograph by Joe Schildhorn/Rex
The model Gisele B黱dchen with
Terry Richardson in 2013.
Photograph by Jamie McCarthy/
Getty Images
artistic ?happenings? that he facilitated
while other people actually pressed the
camera shutter. His tongue may have
been partly in his cheek, but part of
him seemed to believe it.
Benedikt Taschen, the German
gallery owner and publisher of art,
photography and erotica books, bought
in to this, publishing the infamous
2004 Terryworld book, with its images
of Richardson having sex with models
(?Who took 1970s porn aesthetic and
made it fashion chic?? asked the blurb).
Jenna Sauers, who wrote about the
accusations in Jezebel, claims she was
contacted by an anonymous model
who said: ?I mean, his assistants were
like, ?Do you think all these celebrities
would take pictures with him if it was
porn??? ?Which all meant,? one fashion
journalist who spent time with him
and his people in the 2000s told me,
?that he could do what he wanted with
girls, and if they said they didn?t like
it, he could say: well, you don?t get it,
do you? You?re dull. That alone can be
quite persuasive and manipulative.?
Richardson seemed part of ? though
not de?ned by ? a trend for referencing
grainy, low-budget 70s pornography
that originated with photographers
?He could do what he
wanted with girls,
and if they said they
didn?t like it, he could
say: well, you?re dull?
Fashion journalist
including Juergen Teller and Steven
Meisel, and extended to ?ne art,
Hollywood, pop music and advertising.
One of Richardson?s early catalogues
for Sisley was based on a story about
male porn stars and their girlfriends;
Terryworld was edited by Dian Hanson,
a well-known editor Taschen recruited
from porn magazines. The trend was
partly driven by a desire to create a
raw visual style, as opposed to the good
taste of the 80s, but it went along with
a sort of detached, ironic attitude that
purported to see porn as consequencefree images.
In reality, it meant it was easier to
ask models to take their tops off, and
porn mags could be scattered around
bars and offices, which was intimidating for women. It shows what happens when women don?t feel they can
speak out and be listened to, and, as the
actress Kate Hardie recently pointed
out in these pages, the need for men to
recognise connections between product content and workplace experience.
At the start of the 2000s, Richardson?s own aesthetic and reputation
really took off as, partly under his in?uence, fashionable young urban people
adopted what the critic Mark Greif
calls the white hipster style. As Greif
has pointed out, this look ? trucker
caps, cap-sleeve T-shirts, Aviators, tattoos, porny moustaches, cheap tinned
beer as a style statement ? appropriated the taste of 1970s American white
suburbs and ?trailer trash?. And while
this culture could seem terribly ironic
and kitsch, it served as a cover for some
70s-style racism and sexism.
This was, after all, the heyday of Vice,
for which Richardson was now shooting
and de?ning a visual style. Vice ? which
in 2009 published pictures of one of
its interns who had been persuaded
to be photographed naked by Ryan
McGinley ? was co-founded by Gavin
McInnes, now a prominent ?gure on
the US alt-right who founded the Proud
Boys men?s organisation. This year he
used his slot on the rightwing Rebel
Media website to blame the death of
civil rights activist Heather Heyer at
Charlottesville on ?feminism?. He was
also credited as an author of Taschen?s
25th edition of Terryworld.
I have no idea whether McInnes?s
political ideas are connected with
Richardson?s work, but it raises
questions about the risks of ironic
detachment and ?consequence-free?
aesthetics. There was little wondering
at the time because, with his noughties
ascendency, Richardson became that
most prized thing in fashion ? someone
who, in an industry where billions of
dollars ride on six-monthly shifts in
taste, in?uenced and even determined
those tastes.
There is another point. In the
Face?s office in the 1990s, issues were
sometimes raised about the treatment
of young models in Paris and Milan.
In 1997 we ran a cover story in which
the model Karen Elson spoke frankly
about her experiences and those of
her friends. Of working in Milan, she
said: ?There are a lot of blond hair, blue
eyes, very stunningly beautiful girls out
there, and these men just say the most
hideous things. Literally pull the pants
down, do the thing, say ?Amore ? watch
this.? There were little 15- or 14-year-
olds from Poland or from England
or wherever, and they?d be out with
these playboys in Italy, being taken out,
wined and dined. And then guess what
they expected in return??
The story attracted angry complaints from Elson?s agency, Models
One, and at one point during the
interviews we had the impression that
it was trying to sabotage it. The agency
was angry, chie?y because we had said
that it had repeatedly lied to us during
the arrangements, but didn?t mention
Elson?s complaints. And while agencies often protested that they couldn?t
protect models all the time, they could
get pretty protective when their own
reputations were threatened.
If ?everyone knew? about the Richardson allegations, so did the agencies
who continued to send young women
to his castings without ? say the
women ? adequately preparing them.
Most people in the industry agree that
in recent years agencies? responsibilities have been taken more seriously,
particularly in London. However,
there are still stories of predators in
Milanese bars and Parisian nightclubs.
Unknown sleazebags and women from
Gdansk are less sexy for the media
than stories in which you can show
pictures of Miley on her wrecking ball,
or weird Uncle Terry gurning with
Barack Obama. It would be heartening if, rather than acting as if Cond�
Nast distancing itself from Richardson
will purge such problems, the debate
moved on to some of that.
The author was editor of the Face from
1995-98
*
30 | VIEWPOINT
29.10.17
Regeneration ? or excluding the poor?
Labour divides in bitter housing battle
A London council?s
controversial
regeneration deal
goes to the heart of a
national debate - and
tests Jeremy Corbyn,
ousing
argues housing
tator
commentator
Dave Hill
B
ig city redevelopments often
divide opinion. But few
have done so in such a ?erce
and symbolic way ? or been
watched as closely by other
communities grappling with
housing shortages and gentri?cation ?
as the plans put forward by one London
council to rejuvenate some of the country?s most deprived neighbourhoods.
The north London borough of
Haringey?s is planning to form a joint
venture company with an international property developer, and commit
tens of millions of pounds? worth of
its land and buildings ? including a
housing estate close to Tottenham
Hotspur football club, and its own civic
centre ? to a massive transformation
programme. This has opened a new
frontier in the already fraught debate
about the capital?s regeneration, and
sharpened divisions in local Labour
politics that mirror the wider struggles
over what the party should stand for.
The council leadership?s case is
blunt. Haringey has more than 9,000
households seeking council homes and
more than 3,000 people in temporary
accommodation, while even in the
borough?s poorest areas would-be ?rsttime buyers are faced with prices for
two-bedroom ?ats of around �0,000.
There is no point tinkering at the
edges. Their radical solution envisages
building more than 5,000 homes for
sale or rent, 40% of them priced below
market levels, plus a library, a school, a
health centre and town centre offices
and shops. The leadership says the
plan would create 7,000 jobs and make
money for the council too.
This ?ts with a 2014 election pledge
to ??nd new and different ways to generate income?, to ?promote economic
growth? and provide ?decent, affordable homes for all?. Yet the Labour
politicians of Haringey council who
have come up with the plan are the
targets of venomous opposition ? especially from their own party.
Why? At its heart lie basic con?icts
about the role of private ?nance, the
use of public land, the functions of
local government and the principles
that should guide the spatial development of urban areas all over the
country. It has become a microcosm of
a debate that rages across the country,
drawing in beleaguered councils, property developers, social housing tenants,
lower middle classes anxious to remain
in gentri?ed neighbourhoods, and the
growing army of homeless. And it is
also about Jeremy Corbyn.
The origins of the plan lie back in
2015, but ructions began in earnest
in February. Council leader Claire
Kober and her cabinet announced the
council?s intention to go into business
with multinational property developer
Lendlease to transform the borough
on ?an unprecedented scale?. The idea
was to form a joint-venture company
for that purpose called the Haringey
Development Vehicle.
This would be half owned by the
developer and half by the council.
Lendlease would provide things
local authorities no longer have: lots
of money and construction expertise. Haringey would provide the
stuff developers can?t get enough of:
precious, priceless land. Kober and
supportive colleagues argued that
improving lives in the poor parts of
? Campaigners
march through
Haringey last month
in protest against
plans to transfer
council land and
property to the
private developer
Landlease.
Photograph by Mark
Kerrison/Alamy
A speciality
coffee shop in
Tottenham.
Haringey council
says the HDV plan
will be a huge boost
to local business.
Alamy
Haringey, notably Tottenham where
the 2011 riots began, and Wood Green,
required huge physical changes that
only the HDV could provide.
The balloon went up. All over
London, Labour memberships had
swollen with the advent of Corbyn as
leader. Meanwhile, a populist narrative, simplistic yet seductive, had
taken root in the public mind: ordinary
Londoners were being ?pushed out?
by ?rich foreign investors? wanting
?luxury ?ats?. This has often focused
on the ?regeneration? of councilowned housing estates, their demolition held to facilitate a more general
?displacement? of the poor. The term
?social cleansing?, shockingly emotive, has become common currency,
including among the liberal intelligentsia that forms the bedrock of Labour?s
membership surge. Haringey Labour
moderates mirthlessly claim that the
most strident militants are some of the
most middle class ? owners of valuable
homes in gentri?ed Crouch End and
?You can go for an
ambitious solution or
decide ideological
purity matters. I know
which I think is right?
Claire Kober, council leader
Muswell Hill.
Resistance to demolition, with its
concomitant complaints about privatisation and global capital ?ows, has
obvious attractions for a protest politician like Corbyn. He was a councillor
in Haringey until 1983. The HDV was
bound to excite the ire of his followers
there, along with others with whom
they have made common cause: Green
and Socialist Workers party activists,
anarchists and Liberal Democrats, who
form the council chamber opposition.
Even local Labour MPs David
Lammy and Catherine West have
publicly urged the council to hold off.
Yet in one sense the consternation is
incongruous. As Kober often underlines, the HDV retains a 50% council
stake in the land and the properties
built on it, avoiding straight sell-offs.
Variations on this approach are being
practiced by Transport for London
with similar aims.
But Lendlease?s involvement raises
the stakes. Southwark council partnered with the ?rm to knock down the
Heygate estate in Elephant and Castle,
held by some to be a mistreated gem
of postwar municipal provision but by
others as a ?sink? blot, best expunged.
The ?nancial crisis intervened, promises were broken and the small number
of social rented homes to be resupplied
on the Heygate site has sealed its status
as a cause celebre.
Haringey intends to initially transfer
a former care home, council offices
and the library in Wood Green, various
commercial properties and the civic
centre where the decision to form the
joint venture was formalised ? plus the
1,300-dwelling Northumberland Park
estate. Later on, the Broadwater Farm
estate, forever scarred by association
with the 1985 riot, could be included.
The council?s business case says the
HDV could last for 20 years and that
?Tottenham alone is capable of delivering 10,000 new homes and 5,000 new
jobs by 2025? as Haringey emerges as
?London?s next big growth opportunity?. Transformative indeed.
None of this persuades the Stop HDV
campaign. Spokesman Phil Rose, a
former chair of Haringey Momentum,
thinks it is unlikely to help the worst
off. He says Lendlease is getting the
best of the deal and is sceptical about
the council?s promise that estate residents will be able to exercise a ?right
to return? to a new home on the same
terms. He takes particular exception
to what he sees as the HDV?s implications for democracy: ?The 50:50 takes
away the right of veto. You can?t have a
council run by a private company.?
Kober disputes this: ?It doesn?t take
away a veto. It?s about retaining control, not ceding it.? Rose would have
preferred the council to form a wholly
owned housing company as others
have, enabling it to borrow more cash
than it is allowed to as a local author-
ity but without any private sector
tie-in. This view is shared by Patrick
Berryman, one of a sizable minority of
Labour councillors who are unhappy
with the HDV. For him, the priority
should be homes for traditional social
rent, not the mix of various kinds of
?affordable? and market-priced homes
the HDV envisages. And he wouldn?t
knock down Northumberland Park.
?If we have land as a Labour council,
our job is to provide an alternative to
private rent for people who need it,?
he says.
But Kober is adamant that bigger
thinking is needed and that Haringey
residents, including those on estates,
agree. ?I talked to hundreds of people
over the summer and I hardly heard
a word against the HDV. Mostly, they
want to know how soon it will start.
In a borough like this, where so many
children and families don?t even have
a secure place to live, you have two
options: you can go for an ambitious
solution that will make a real difference or you can decide that ideological
purity matters more. As a Labour politician, I know which I think is right.?
How much ice that cuts with local
members remains to be seen. Ward
branches are soon to start selecting
candidates for May. All across the borough, Momentum-backed slates have
taken command of them, along with
both of Haringey?s constituency parties. The same thing has happened in
other parts of London, but those tides
have yet to see waves of sitting councillors being de-selected. Haringey could
be different.
As for the HDV itself, that is still
rolling forward. A judicial review of it
was heard at the high court last week
but, whatever the outcome, unpicking
it would be no small undertaking at
this stage, even if Kober and her allies
were deposed. Would that be the most
productive use of council time? One
current member, resigned to de-selection, fears the worst: ?None of the hard
left are even thinking about how to get
more homes built. They will just allow
the situation to get worse while they
wait for a Corbyn government that
might never arrive. That will be their
legacy to Haringey.?
ON OTHER PAGES
Be like Neville Chamberlain, and start
building houses Mr Hammond
Andrew Rawnsley, page 35
29.10.17
Anthropology
*
IN FOCUS | 31
The Ju/?hoansi people have
become marginalised after
50 years of land dispossession.
Photograph by James Suzman
Why the Kalahari ?Bushmen? are
Earth?s most successful civilisation
They have survived 150,000 years - but now
ns
have to eke out a living on the margins
d be
of society. Yet their way of life should
an
a model for us all, says James Suzman
D
uring the 1960s, the
Ju/?hoansi ?Bushmen?
of the Kalahari desert
became famous for turning
established views of social
evolution on their head. But
their contribution to our understanding of the human story may well be far
more important than simply making us
rethink our past.
Until then it was widely believed
that hunter-gatherers endured a near
constant battle against starvation. But
when a young Canadian anthropologist, Richard B Lee, conducted a series
of simple economic analyses of the
Ju/?hoansi as they went about their
daily lives, he revealed that not only did
they make a good living but they did
so while working only 15 hours each
week. On the strength of this, anthropologists described hunter-gatherers
as ?the original affluent society?.
I started working with the
Ju/?hoansi in the early 1990s. By then
more than a half century of land dispossession meant that except in a few
remote areas they had become highly
marginalised, eking out a living on the
dismal fringes of an ever-expanding
global economy. I have been documenting their often traumatic encounters with modernity ever since.
Recent genomic and archaeological discoveries show that the broader
Bushman population (referred to collectively as Khoisan) are far older than
we had ever imagined and have been
hunting and gathering in southern
Africa for well over 150,000 years.
If the success of a civilisation is
judged by its endurance over time,
that means the Khoisan are by far the
most successful, stable and sustainable
civilisation in human history.
The speed of the Ju/?hoansi?s
transformation from an isolated group
of hunter-gatherers to a marginalised
minority in a rapidly developing nation
state is without parallel in modern
history. As bewildering as this process
has been for them, it offers us a unique
double perspective: their experience
of being part of a modern, globalised
economy yet excluded from full participation in it, and having to engage
with modernity with the hands and
minds of a hunter-gatherer.
This offers us new insights into
some of the most pressing social,
economic and environmental sustainability challenges we face today. For
example, it appears that we are almost
certainly hard-wired to respond viscerally to inequality and that coping
with apparently sel?sh traits such as
envy ? through which we express our
discontent with inequality ? helped
build the social cohesion that enabled
hunter-gatherers like the Ju/?hoansi to
thrive as long as they did.
In part their affluence was based
on their unyielding con?dence in the
providence of their environments and
their skills at exploiting this bounty.
Ju/?hoansi still make use of well over
150 plant species and have the knowledge to hunt and trap pretty much any
animal they choose. As a result they
only ever worked to meet their immediate needs, did not store surpluses and
never harvested more than they could
eat in the short term. After all, what
point was there in storing food when
you could procure what you needed
with a few hours of effort?
What modern economics calls ?the
problem of scarcity? was simply not
relevant. For where the problem of
scarcity holds that it is human nature
to have in?nite wants and limited
means, Ju/?hoansi had few wants that
were simply met. This was possible
because, above all, Ju/?hoansi were
?ercely egalitarian. They could not
abide inequality or showing off and
had no formalised leadership institutions. Men and women enjoyed equal
decision-making powers, children
played largely non-competitive games
in mixed age groups and the elderly,
while treated with great affection, were
not afforded any special privileges.
This in turn meant that no爋ne bothered to accumulate wealth or in?uence
or tried to over-exploit their marginal
environment.
There is no question that this
dynamic was effective. Over and above
their extraordinary longevity, genomic
evidence reveals that not only were the
Khoisan the most numerous people
on the planet until a little over 20,000
years ago, they also remain the most
genetically diverse. What this tells us is
that over their long history the Khoisan
suffered far fewer of the catastrophic
population bottlenecks as a result of
famine, war and disease that afflicted
human populations elsewhere.
Crucially, their success was based
not on their ability to expand and grow
into new lands, or develop new productive technologies, but on the fact
that they mastered the art of making
a good living where they were. It is no
coincidence that the continent with
the evidence of the longest continuous human habitation is the only place
that was not affected by the extinction events that put paid to 75% of the
megafauna species such as mammoths,
cave bears and sabre-tooth cats when
UNDER THREAT
? Bushmen have lived in southern
Africa for tens of thousands of years.
Today about 100,000 remain, mostly in
Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and
Angola. Their languages use unique click
sounds similar to English ?tsk? sounds
? Following the discovery of diamonds
in the Central Kalahari game reserve
- created to protect their traditional
territory - hundreds of Bushmen
families have been evicted.
? They won the right to return in a
2006 court case, but the Botswana
government has been criticised for
failing to respect the ruling.
Homo sapiens expanded into Europe,
Asia and the Americas. But how did a
society with no formalised leaders such
as the Ju/?hoansi manage to maintain
their egalitarian approach?
The Ju/?hoansi are unequivocal in
their answer to this. It had nothing to
do with 20th-century Marxism or the
starry-eyed idealism of New Age ?communalism?. In Ju/?hoan society envy
functioned like the ?invisible hand?
famously imagined by the economist
Adam Smith, ensuring the most equitable ?distribution of the necessaries of
life? and creating the most sustainable
economic model in modern history.
How it worked was best exempli?ed in the customary ?insulting? of a
hunter?s meat. A particularly spectacular kill was always cause for celebration, but the hunter responsible was
not praised. Instead he was insulted.
Regardless of the size or condition of
the carcass, those due a share of the
meat would complain that the kill was
tri?ing, that it was barely worth the
effort of carrying it back to camp, or
that there wouldn?t be enough meat to
go around. For his part, the hunter was
expected to be almost apologetic when
he presented the carcass.
Of course, everyone knew the difference between a scrawny kill and a good
one, but they nonetheless continued to
pass insults even while they were busy
?lling their bellies with meat ? the
most highly prized of all foods.
A Ju/?hoan man provided Lee with
an eloquent explanation: ?When a
young man kills much meat he comes
to think of himself as a chief or a big
man and he thinks of the rest of us
as his servants or inferiors. We can?t
accept this ? So we always speak of his
meat as worthless. This way we cool
his heart and make him gentle.?
They did this because they felt envy
for those who got more than they did
or who exercised too much in?uence
as a result of their productivity.
Similar insults were meted out
to anyone who got too big for their
leather sandals. Everyone in Ju/?hoan
bands scrutinised everybody else all
the time. They took careful note of
what others ate, what others owned,
what others received or gave as gifts,
whether or not they were sufficiently
generous in return and whether they
had received a fair share. The net
result of this was that everyone went
to considerable lengths to avoid being
singled out for sel?shness or selfimportance ? so much so that good
hunters usually hunted less than poor
ones (even if they enjoyed it). This created an atmosphere that was generally
harmonious and co-operative, in which
even those with the natural charisma
and character to ?lead? exercised it
with great circumspection.
This kind of insight helps us
understand why apparently corrosive
vices such as envy survived the mill of
natural selection. It also helps us to see
why we take pleasure in tearing down
tall poppies and why demagogues do so
well when they position ?elites? as the
architects of inequality.
The lessons of how hunter-gatherers
enjoyed lives of ?primitive affluence?
extend well beyond understating traits
such as envy. They remind us that our
current preoccupation with produc-
Their success is not
based on an abilit
to expand, but on
mastering the art of
making a good living
where they were
tivity and growth is not an indelible
part of our nature and that for most
of human history our species was not
held hostage to the problem of scarcity.
This is important because, as environmental economists constantly remind
us, our preoccupation with economic
growth risks cannibalising our species?
future. And while even the Ju/?hoansi
are unwilling to forgo many of the
obvious bene?ts of modernity such as
antibiotics, understanding how these
hunter-gatherers thrived for so long
may help us identify some of the broad
principles necessary to ensure a more
sustainable future for our species.
Dealing with inequality might be a
good place to start.
James Suzman is the author of Affluence
without Abundance: The Disappearing
World of the Bushmen (Bloomsbury, �)
*
32 | THE OBSERVER PROFILE
29.10.17
Today at 60
Wake up, tune in ? and be irritated?
Radio 4?s news
ating
?agship is celebrating
hday
y,
a signi?cant birthday,
which you can
hardly have
failed to notice.
This popular,
w
provocative show
and its deeply
middle-class
listeners are
made for one
another, says
Andrew Anthony
y
T
here are, it is said, people
ople iin
n
the remoter parts of Burkina
Bur
u kina
Faso who are unaware
re that
mmee?s
it is the Today programme?s
60th anniversary. If so,
o,
lt o
that can only be a fault
off
y. Fo
Forr
technology rather than publicity.
o its
seldom has the BBC, no strangerr to
own promotion, put such a prolonged
on
nge
ged
campaign of self-celebration together
gethe
h r
as that heralding this landmark of late
ing life.
middle age in Today?s broadcasting
Last week, it was the turn of fo
former
orm
mer
Today presenter Michael Parkinson
nson
o
he
to give his critical appraisal of the
show on the show, when he was grilled
gri
r llled
d
by Garry Richardson on what Today
oda
ay
meant to him.
?It stands as the example of great
r at
re
radio journalism,? Parky declared.
?The beacon in current affairs journalism.? And before listeners had the
opportunity to locate the nearest sick
bag, he went on to note that veteran
host John Humphrys is the ?perfect
craftsman? and the ?entire team is
wonderful?. There was a sense that
perhaps the editors were trying to get a
message across, namely that the Today
programme is radio?s greatest invention since Marconi patented wireless
telegraphy.
Yesterday?s birthday programme,
a festival of self-congratulation, was
overshadowed by an attempt by environment secretary Michael Gove to
make a joke about Harvey Weinstein,
for which he was later forced to apologise after a wave of indignation swept
Twitter.
Perhaps the celebrations are partly
in response to the criticism the programme has received in recent months,
under the stewardship of the new editor, Sarah Sands. She has been accused
of taking it in a ?lightweight? direction
that failed to set the day?s all-important
news agenda.
But someone is always complaining
about the Today programme, mostly,
although not always, its listeners.
That?s one of its attractions ? it?s something to focus annoyance on in those
difficult early hours of the day.
Today is, after all, a lot like many
of its listeners. For a start, it?s 60. The
average age of the Radio 4 listener is
around 55 and Today speaks to that
generation through Nick Robinson,54,
Justin Webb, 56, and, for those who
appreciate the curmudgeon?s perspective, John Humphrys, 74. Sarah
Montague, 51, and Mishal Husain, 44,
help bring the average presenter age
back down to near that of its audience.
But the Today programme is not
just in late middle age, it?s also ?rmly
middle class and if there is one abiding
characteristic of members of the middle class it?s their desire to talk about
themselves.
If the job of the media is to hold a
mirror up to society, then the role of
the middle classes is to push themselves in front of that mirror. In this
sense, the Today programme and its
listeners are truly made for each other.
Brian Redhead, who presented the
programme from 1975 to 1993, used
to say that it was the place ?to drop a
word in the ear of the nation?. It?s an
image that suggests an almost conspiratorial intimacy, but the chattering
classes are not known for their passive
willingness to listen and not talk back.
And with Today there is a strong
sense of audience possessiveness, the
idea that the programme is owned and
protected by its listeners. It?s one reason that any change to the format, even
of the limited kind Sands has instituted, is met with ?ery protestations
that handcarts are being methodically
loaded up and sent to hell.
How else to explain the continued
existence of Thought for the Day?
That?s a question that is more of a brain
teaser than the programme?s recently
arrived daily puzzle. These two minutes of queasily religious broadcasting
have been under threat of disappearing almost as long as the Church of
England. But they survive and can
routinely turn even the most docile
listener into someone who wants to
throw the radio across the room and
then jump on it until its insides spill
out like Ian Holm?s wires in the ?lm
Alien.
But we digress. Sixty years ago
yesterday, Today was launched on the
BBC?s Home Service. It started out
as two 20-minute sections encasing a
pre-existing show of news bulletins,
religious and musical items. Six years
later, it was subsumed by the BBC?s
current affairs department and became
more newsy. By the end of the 1960s,
Like Britain at large,
the Today programme
is undergoing
something of a minor
identity crisis
it had ballooned into a two-hour
show, including the religious chat that
became Thought for the Day in 1970;
through 47 years of reports on war,
famine, coups and revolutions, religion
has still managed to get a message
across.
Despite the popular belief that its
constituent parts and outlook have
been set in stone since its inception,
the programme has undergone many
incarnations of tone and content. Until
Redhead, a forthright character not
given to concealing his opinion, teamed
up with John Timpson in 1978, it was
known for its leisurely, slightly eccentric style that Timpson characterised
as items on ?prize pumpkins and folk
who ate light bulbs and spiders?.
In 1977, it was brie?y cut back again
to two slots, this time of 30 minutes.
The move was deeply unpopular, not
least with presenters, one of whom,
Peter Donaldson, signalled his derision by announcing himself as Donald
Peterson.
Restored to its two-hour format, it
?ourished under editors Ken Goudie
and then Julian Holland. For a while,
the broadcast was alternated between
London and Manchester. But perhaps
what really made the show the agenda-
setting start to the day on which its
reputation now rests was not a journalist, but a politician: Margaret Thatcher.
It wasn?t so much that she let it be
known that she was a (critical) listener
that did the trick, but more that she
personi?ed an age of confrontational
politics. Very soon, presenters and
senior cabinet members were having
rumbustious set-tos on live radio.
There was Redhead?s spat with
the then chancellor, Nigel Lawson, in
which, challenged over the budget,
Lawson accused the presenter of being
a life-long Labour supporter. Redhead
called for a minute?s silence: ?One for
you to apologise for daring to suggest
that you know how I vote and second
perhaps in memory of monetarism,
which you?ve now discarded.?
I
t was in this tense atmosphere that
Humphrys established himself as a
combative inquisitor of politicians.
He and the more circumlocutory
Jim Naughtie made for an oddly
complementary pair ? for some,
only insofar that listening to one made
them long for the other.
It was Naughtie who brightened the
spirits of the nation by mispronouncing the surname of the then cultural,
Jeremy Hunt, so that it began not with
an ?H? but a ?C?. People bandy around
the word ?hero? these days, but how
Naughtie made it without laughing
to the news bulletin after that slip
remains one of the heroic feats of modern broadcast journalism.
Naughtie bowed out a couple of
years ago, but Humphrys sails ever on.
THE TODAY FILE
Born 28 October 1957 on the BBC?s Home
Service. Its founders were Isa Benzie, who
gave it its name, and Janet Quigley.
Best of times In 2005, Today was voted
the most in?uential programme in a
Broadcast magazine survey.
Worst of times In 2003, reporter Andrew
Gilligan said an in a live interview with
Humphrys that the government ?probably
knew? that one of the main claims in its
Iraq dossier was wrong. The source for
this information was revealed as David
Kelly, who later killed himself. In the Hutton
inquiry that followed, the BBC was heavily
criticised, leading to the resignations of its
chairman, director general and Gilligan.
What they say ?Most mornings at some
point I think, ?God, this is fun?. Don?t tell
them, but I would do it for nothing.?
Presenter John Humphrys, who earns
more than �0,000 a year.
What others say Labour MP Barry
Sheerman says Today is no longer ?the
premier morning news source?.
Over the years, the politicians have
grown more colourless, rehearsed and
evasive, but Humphrys seems only to
have got angrier. Nowadays, his aggression has hardened into something like
self-caricature, as his recent dismissive
approach to interviewing ex-Vogue editor Alexandra Shulman conspicuously
demonstrated.
And so, like Britain at large, the
Today programme is undergoing
something of a minor identity crisis.
Everything continues as before but
there?s a neurotic feeling that it has lost
its way or point or purpose. Instead of
asking vital questions about the world,
it?s preoccupied by fundamental questions about itself.
To a large extent, this is an illusion.
If it has run a few more interviews with
cultural ?gures in place of deadening
face-offs with whatever minor politicians they can persuade to submit to
being slapped around by Humphrys,
then no news agenda worth its salt has
suffered a setback. On the contrary,
there are reasons to be positive: Husain
and Robinson have proved highly able
additions to the team.
Naturally, not everyone will
agree with that assessment. Indeed,
Robinson is a towering hate ?gure
among social media Corbynistas
surpassed only by his successor as
the BBC?s political editor, Laura
Kuenssberg. And when both appear
on Today it would be easy to get the
impression from Facebook revolutionaries that the running dog lackeys
of neoliberalism had taken control of
state media.
In the end, though, it?s a remarkably
slick and professional news programme that lasts three hours when
most of us are still attempting to wake
up and not spill our breakfast down
our shirts. Doing that for 60 years is an
achievement worthy of marking, if not
quite at such length as Today deems
appropriate.
Let?s hope that at 60, it?s not heading
for retirement. Because, as anyone
who has spent any time in Burkina
Faso knows, if there?s one thing more
guaranteed to frustrate you than listening to Today, it?s not being able to hear
it at all.
29.10.17
| 33
*
Comment
CATHERINE
BENNETT
If only it were so easy to
forgive Jared O?Mara?s sins
Page 37
Trump, Assange, Bannon, Farage?
bound together in an unholy alliance
The Wikileaks founder?s astonishing admission should prompt MPs ?nally to start asking questions
Carole
Cadwalladr
@carolecadwalla
L
ast Wednesday, 11 months into Donald
Trump?s new world order, in the ?rst year
of normalisation, a sudden unblurring of
lines took place. A shift. A door of perception swung open.
Because that was the day that the dramatis
personae of two separate Trump-Russia scandals
smashed headlong into one another. A high-speed
news car crash between Cambridge Analytica and
Wikileaks, the two organisations that arguably
had the most impact on 2016, coming together last
week in one head-spinning scoop.
That day, we learned that Alexander Nix, the
CEO of Cambridge Analytica, the controversial
data ?rm that helped Trump to power, had
contacted Julian Assange to ask him if he wanted
?help? with Wikileaks?s stash of stolen emails.
That?s the stash of stolen emails that had
such a devastating impact on Hillary Clinton in
the last months of the campaign. And this story
brought Wikileaks, which the head of the CIA
describes as a ?hostile intelligence service?,
directly together with the Trump campaign for
which Cambridge Analytica worked. This is an
amazing plot twist for the company, owned by US
billionaire Robert Mercer, which is already the
subject of investigations by the House intelligence
committee, the Senate intelligence committee, the
FBI and, it was announced late on Friday night, the
Senate judiciary committee.
So far, so American. These are US scandals
involving US politics and the news made the
headlines in US bulletins across US networks.
But it?s also Cambridge Analytica, the data
analytics company, which has its headquarters
in central London and that, following a series of
articles about its role in Brexit in the Guardian
and the Observer, is also being investigated, by
the Electoral Commission and the Information
Commissioner?s Office. The company that was
spun out of a British military contractor, is headed
by an old Etonian and that responded to our stories
earlier this year by threatening to sue us. It?s our
Cambridge it?s named after, not the American one,
and it was here that it processed the voter ?les of
240 million US citizens.
It?s also here that this ?hostile intelligence
service? ? Wikileaks ? is based. The Ecuadorian
embassy is just a few miles, as the crow ?ies, from
Cambridge Analytica?s head office. Because this
is not just about America. It?s about Britain, too.
This is transatlantic. It?s not possible to separate
Britain and the US in this whole sorry mess ? and I
say this as someone who has spent months trying.
Where we see this most clearly is in that other
weird Wikileaks connection: Nigel Farage. Because
that moment in March when Farage was caught
tripping down the steps of the Ecuadorian embassy
was the last moment the lines suddenly became
visible. That the ideological overlaps between
Wikileaks and Trump and Brexit were revealed to
be not just lines, but a channel of communication.
Because if there?s one person who?s in the
middle of all of this, but who has escaped any
proper scrutiny, it?s Nigel Farage. That?s Nigel
Farage, who led the Leave.EU campaign, which is
being investigated by the Electoral Commission
alongside Cambridge Analytica, about whether
the latter made an ?impermissible donation? of
services to the Leave campaign. Nigel Farage who
visited Donald Trump and then Julian Assange.
Who is friends with Steve Bannon and Robert
Mercer. Who headed an organisation ? Ukip ?
which has multiple, public, visible but almost
entirely unreported Russian connections. Who is
paid by the Russian state via the broadcaster RT,
which was banned last week from Twitter. And
who appears like clockwork on British television
without any word of this.
This is a power network that involves Wikileaks
and Farage, and Cambridge Analytica and Farage,
and Robert Mercer and Farage. Steve Bannon,
former vice president of Cambridge Analytica, and
Farage. It?s Nigel Farage and Brexit and Trump
and Cambridge Analytica and Wikileaks? and, if
the Senate intelligence committee and the House
intelligence committee and the FBI are on to
anything at all, somewhere in the middle of all that,
Russia.
Try to follow this on a daily basis and it?s one
long headspin: a spider?s web of relationships and
networks of power and patronage and alliances
that spans the Atlantic and embraces data
?rms, thinktanks and media outlets. It is about
complicated corporate structures in obscure
jurisdictions, involving offshore funds funnelled
through the black-box algorithms of the platform
tech monopolists. That it?s eye-wateringly
complicated and geographically diffuse is not a
coincidence. Confusion is the charlatan?s friend,
noise its accessory. The babble on Twitter is a
convenient cloak of darkness.
Yet it?s also quite simple. In a well-functioning
democracy, a well-functioning press and a
well-functioning parliament would help a wellfunctioning judiciary do its job. Britain is not that
country. There is a vacuum where questions should
be, the committees, the inquiries, the headlines
on the TV bulletins. What was Nigel Farage doing
in the Ecuadorian embassy? More to the point:
why has no public official asked him? Why is he
giving speeches ? for money ? in the US? Who?s
paying him? I know this because my weirdest new
hobby of 2017 is to harry Arron Banks, the Bristol
businessman who was Ukip and Leave.EU?s main
funder, and Andy Wigmore, Leave.EU?s comms
Confusion
is the
charlatan?s
friend,
noise its
accessory.
The babble
on Twitter is
a convenient
cloak of
darkness
man and Belize?s trade attache to the US, across
the internet late at night. Wigmore told me about
this new US venture ? an offshore-based political
consultancy working on Steve Bannon-related
projects ? in a series of tweets. Is it true? Who
knows? Leave.EU has learned from its Trumpian
friends that black is white and white is black and
these half-facts are a convenient way of diffusing
scandal and obscuring truth.
The links between
Cambridge Analytica
and Wikileaks became
clearer last week, tying
Trump, Assange and
Farage ever closer.
Photograps AP/PA
W
hat on earth was Farage doing
advancing Calexit ? Californian
Brexit? And why did I ?nd a photo of
him hanging out with Dana Rohrabacher, the Californian known in the US press as
?Putin?s favourite congressman?? The same Dana
Rohrabacher who?s met with Don Trump Jr?s Russian lawyer and ? wait for it ? also visited Julian
Assange in the Ecuadorian embassy. And who is
now interceding on his behalf to obtain a pardon
from Don Trump Junior?s dad.
(You got this? Farage visited Trump, then
Assange, then Rohrabacher. Rohrabacher
met Don Trump?s Russian lawyer, Natalia
Veselnitskaya. Then Assange. And is now trying to
close the circle with Trump.)
In these post-truth times, journalists are
?ghting the equivalent of a ?restorm with a
bottle of water and a wet hankie. We desperately
need help. We need public pressure. We need
parliament to step up and start asking proper
questions. There may be innocent answers to all
these questions. Let?s please just ask them.
Shakespeare out and Shaggy in at Cambridge? Don?t be silly
Nish
Kumar
@MrNishKumar
T
wo key examples of irresponsible journalism have dogged
the papers. First, the Telegraph
published a photograph of a
Cambridge student, Lola Olufemi, who
had written an open letter calling for
more BAME writers to be included in
the syllabus, under the misleading headline ?Student forces Cambridge to drop
white authors?. The second is my return
as an Observer columnist, journalism?s
true nadir. The person who founded
the Observer is probably rolling in his
grave. Whatever his name was. I燾an?t be
bothered to look it up.
Priyamvada Gopal, a Cambridge
lecturer, accused the papers of ?what
to me looks like incitement to race
war?. Strong words, but when you
consider the facts she may have a point.
The Telegraph essentially published
a picture of a young black woman
under a headline that may as well have
read: ?This woman wants to replace
Shakespeare with Shaggy. Are you going
to stand for it?? But then I would say
that, given that I was accused in the
press as the host of BBC2?s The Mash
Report of delivering ?pious PC sermons? in a format the writer described
as ?balls-achingly predictable?. I?ve
been doing comedy in various forms
(standup, sketch, bad) for more than a
decade and had no idea it was possible
for a joke to be so obvious that it would
induce testicular discomfort.
But at the risk of further bruising
for my accuser, let me just say this: the
proposals seem reasonable. The letter
merely suggests extending the syllabus
to ensure ?at least a minimal engagement with colonial, postcolonial and
ethnic minority authors?. Having spent
half my time at university studying
English literature, I know from experience that reading lists often contain
more white men than Jacob ReesMogg?s last birthday party.
People often ask me: ?What did you
do the with the other half of your time
at university, Nish? I imagine it was
spent captaining the kissing team.? My
answer is always the same ? history.
The Telegraph claimed this proposal
?could lead to existing authors being
downgraded or dropped altogether?.
This is yet another example of a request
for equality being interpreted as an
attack on the majority. The Telegraph
may as well have been trying to get
?#allbooksmatter? trending on Twitter.
The proposals were recommendations and there are no plans to replace
white authors with black ones. I know
that because I read a Telegraph correction a day later. Having published
Olufemi?s photograph and opened
her to a barrage of abuse online, there
wasn?t even an apology in its admission
that the central thesis of the article and
headline was baseless speculation.
Some people might condemn this as
reckless journalism and evidence of the
hostility faced by high-pro?le women of
colour in our current political climate.
But my attitude is ?if you can?t beat
them, join them?. The ?nal paragraph
will be me acknowledging the errors in
this article with no apology and in the
hope that no one reads this far.
I know the Observer was ?rst
published by WS Bourne; I was trying to look cool. I would prefer it if
Shakespeare were replaced with Shaggy
as it takes ages to learn quotes from
Hamlet and I know all the words to Mr
Boombastic by heart. No one has ever
assumed I was on my university?s ?kissing team? and even if one had existed,
I爓ould have been, at best, an unused
sub. And, perhaps most damningly,
I爓as trying to hurt that guy?s balls.
34 | COMMENT
*
29.10.17
Established in 1791
Issue No 11,788
Kings Place, 90 York Way, London N1 9GU. Telephone: 020 3353 2000 Fax: 020 3353 3189
email: editor@observer.co.uk
DIRECT RULE
Spain?s PM must avoid bullying tactics.
Catalonia?s leader should stop his posturing
T
he imposition of direct rule in Catalonia is, at best, a stopgap measure
that will do little to resolve, and may
seriously aggravate, the long-standing
problem of the region?s troubled and rivalrous
relationship with Madrid. Mariano Rajoy,
Spain?s prime minister, says that, in the end, he
had no choice but to take the ?nuclear option?
of sacking Catalonia?s government and placing
himself and his ministers in charge. But while
his actions may calm the situation in the short
term ? and the tense days to come will be
determine whether that is the case ? Rajoy has
set a time bomb ticking that could ultimately
explode in his face.
The fresh regional elections Rajoy has scheduled for 21 December promise to be a titanic
battle of wills between those who passionately
believe in Catalonia?s future as a sovereign
republic and those who are equally passionate
about upholding the union with Spain. The
polls will, in effect, become the referendum on
Catalan independence that the Madrid government has fought so hard to prevent. The
regional election in 2015 was cast in a similar light by Artur Mas, the then leader of the
independence forces, but he failed to secure an
absolute majority. In December, his successors
will hope for a more decisive outcome.
One of many problems with this scenario
is the as yet unanswered question of whether
Carles Puigdemont, the current Catalan
president, and other senior ?gures in his
pro-independence coalition will contest, or be
allowed to contest, the election. Prosecutors in
Madrid are planning to ?le charges of rebellion against Puigdemont that carry a penalty
of up to 30 years in jail. Prompted by Rajoy,
Spain?s constitutional court is expected to rule
that last Friday?s declaration of independence
by the Catalan assembly was illegal. All 70
MPs who voted for it potentially face arrest, as
do civil servants or police officers who reject
direct rule.
How can Rajoy hope to mount a free, fair
and credible election if his principal opponents are in jail or on the run? How can there
be an open, democratic debate if television and
radio stations and newspapers deemed to be
biased in favour of independence are brought
under state control? Who in Catalonia, or
internationally, would credit the results of
such a poll? If the Madrid authorities persist
in their apparent determination to punish the
secessionist leadership, an election that may
represent their best chance of ending the crisis
will be condemned as a travesty. It would certainly be boycotted by many Catalans. It will
be doomed from the start.
Such considerations are but one reason,
among many, why Rajoy must now tread very
carefully ? or risk blowing himself up. Dialogue, not retribution, should be his aim. It is
far from clear whether Puigdemont and his
leftwing allies, specialists in rash, provocative
and in?ammatory behaviour, will quietly give
themselves up to a Spanish justice system they
understandably distrust. It is unclear whether
Catalan public sector workers, security forces,
labour unions and university students will
tamely submit to Madrid?s diktats. Although
the immediate reaction to Rajoy?s d閙arche has
been muted, there are calls for a general strike
tomorrow. Tensions could quickly escalate.
The great nightmare, for both sides, is the
possibility that the attempt to enforce central
government authority, gathering pace in the
coming days amid widening civil disobedience
and resistance on the streets, will trigger a
descent into violence. Rajoy and Puigdemont
both have a duty to prevent such a deterioration. Both need to exhibit a responsible
judiciousness and sense of proportion that
has爐oo爁requently been lacking.
This means, for Rajoy, no more incendiary
arrests of key opponents or police crackdowns,
no acts of political revenge and no playing to the
hardline unionist gallery in Madrid. Now that
the high point of the crisis has arrived, he must
make a courageous, practical commitment to
openly discuss the best way forward.
For his part, Puigdemont must eschew
the gesture politics and vainglorious posturing that have characterised his approach.
Independence for Catalonia is a respectable
ambition. But it cannot be conjured into
existence by otiose declarations, specious
parliamentary manoeuvres, media manipulation and spin, misuse of public funds and the
intimidation of ordinary citizens. To become
a reality, independence requires the clear
majority in favour within Catalonia that it
presently lacks, the maximum possible degree
of agreement with the Spanish state and
people and the support of the international
community. These conditions have not yet
been met. The case has not yet been made. It
could be. If Puigdemont cannot make the leap
from agitator to statesman, he should not wait
for the knock on the door. He must step aside
and let somebody else try.
T
he stakes for Catalonia, Spain and
Europe are incredibly high. If
meaningful elections do take place
in December, they could produce
another pro-independence administration
in Barcelona with an enhanced majority and
an undeniable mandate for secession. Such
an outcome could spell the end of Rajoy?s
premiership ? and of Spain as a uni?ed state.
Alternatively, a majority of Catalans could
vote to remain, in?uenced by the ever more
obvious economic consequences of secession,
as banks, businesses and investors relocate
and Spaniards boycott Catalan products. Yet
would the struggle for independence then be
over? Not at all. It would merely be deferred.
The Catalan dilemma is one, dramatic,
illustration of a bigger problem for the many
European nation states that face secessionist
pressures, namely, the unresolved question
of the right to self-determination. Respect for
the equal rights of national minorities is one
of the European Union?s core values, incorporated in the EU?s founding treaty and charter
of fundamental rights. The UN charter plainly
states that a people has the right to freely
choose their sovereignty and international
status without interference. But nowhere in
international law is it laid down how such a
decision is properly made, what it entails (for
example, autonomy, federation or outright
independence) or, indeed, what in this context
constitutes ?a people?.
Given the existential reluctance of established states to yield territory and power, this
conundrum has no easy solution, whether it
is played out in Scotland, Corsica or Upper
Silesia (or in the American colonies in 1776).
But where the law fails, common sense should
prevail. Catalonia is, by most measures, a
prosperous and successful place. Its people
do not suffer hunger, preventable diseases or
military oppression. They are not murdered,
raped or displaced (unlike millions in recently
independent South Sudan). Catalans, on the
whole, like Spaniards, on the whole, lead a
fortunate, peaceful, privileged existence.
Barcelona, like London, is a model international city, where divisions of nationality,
race, colour and creed increasingly belong to
the past. In such propitious circumstances, it
is surely not beyond the wit of Catalans and
Spaniards to work out a form of amicable
association that both can live with. To ?ght
would be self-indulgent foolishness.
CULTURE
The coarsening of our national debate has
disturbing consequences. Just ask Lola Olufemi
L
ast week, a 21-year-old black student, Lola
Olufemi, found her photo splashed on a
newspaper front page, accompanied by
accusations that she had forced Cambridge
University to drop white authors from its literature syllabus. The story was widely followed by
other media outlets and Olufemi has spoken out
about how her online accounts were ?ooded with
racist and sexist abuse as a result. A correction
was later issued that made clear that the key facts
in the report, which should have been easily veri?able, were simply wrong.
The tone of our political discourse has coarsened
in recent years, on both left and right. Words爏uch
as enemy and traitor are too easily tossed into the
debate; since the Brexit referendum, toxic headlines such as ?Crush the Saboteurs? and ?Enemies
of the People? crop up more often. But Olufemi?s
treatment has the hallmarks of a new low: unveri?ed accusations levelled against a young black
student, not a public ?gure, in a way that was sure
to create a public backlash against her.
We cherish our right to freedom of speech. That
right means it is entirely possible to say and imply
some hateful things that can cause an individual
signi?cant harm, all while treading on the right
side of the law. But being on the right side of the
law does not mean that those who take part in the
political debate are absolved of any responsibility for thinking about the consequences of their
actions. We all have the power to contribute to
a culture and discourse that makes hatred and
abuse more likely. Verbal abuse, in turn, can
increase the risk of physical violence.
The tone of contemporary political discourse
does Britons an injustice, because it does not
re?ect who we are as a society. Follow the headlines, listen in on political debates, and it might
seem as though Britain is becoming a more polarised country, more hostile to outsiders.
But this ignores the fact that Britain is on the
whole a tolerant and successful multicultural
society. Research from Hope not Hate suggests
that we have become more, not less, tolerant since
2011. Openly racist attitudes, as measured by surveys, have fallen signi?cantly in recent decades.
Yes, there are the concerns about immigration
that were undoubtedly a factor in the vote for
Brexit. But most of these concerns are driven by
economic and cultural worries rather than open
hostility to people of different ethnicities, nationalities and religions. The proportion of the English
population whose hostilities to immigration are
primarily driven along these lines, many of whom
believe violence is an acceptable consequences of
standing up for ?what?s right?, has fallen from 13%
to 5% in the past six years.
This must not lead to complacency. We may not
be getting more extreme or intolerant as a whole
society but there remains a small minority of the
population who are open to messages of hate and
toxic nationalism. And there are worrying signs
that the intolerance of this very small minority is
making itself more felt.
T
he number of hate crimes recorded by the
police spiked after the Brexit referendum.
Terrorist incidents at London Bridge and
in Manchester this year triggered a signi?cant increase in Islamophobic attacks, exactly the
sort of division they are intended to create. Antisemitic hate crime is at record levels. Public ?gures
and politicians from all sides, especially women
and ethnic minorities, have spoken out about the
abuse and threats they receive online.
This is unfolding against the backdrop of a
volatile political context. As we get ready to leave
the European Union, there is the potential for
growing public anger if the bene?ts promised by
politicians ? falls in immigration, more resources
for the NHS ? do not come to pass. The longer
politicians fail to admit that it is very likely
there will be difficult trade-offs, the greater the
risk that this will materialise. There is a farright nationalist movement, led by the likes of
Anne Marie Waters, the failed Ukip leadership
contender who now has her own party, and
the English Defence League founder, Tommy
Robinson, which will attempt to capitalise on it if
it does. Almost one in three referrals to Prevent,
the government?s anti-extremism programme, is
for people believed to be at risk of perpetrating
far-right terrorism. There is no more terrible
reminder of the dreadful consequences this can
have than the tragic murder of the MP Jo Cox by a
far-right terrorist 14 months ago.
We mustn?t allow the anger generated by the
Brexit debate to obscure the fact that Britain is,
on the whole, a liberal, tolerant and successfully
multicultural country. But neither must we be
complacent about the risks of the far-right nationalism that, in ?nding appeal among a tiny minority, could potentially jeopardise this. That means
there?s an ever-greater burden of responsibility on
those who partake in our political discourse to do
so responsibly, with respect for consequences they
may not always be able to predict.
29.10.17
COMMENT | 35
*
SIMONDS?S VIEW
Be like Chamberlain and start
building homes, Mr Hammond
The chancellor must overcome his own caution and the resistance of the Treasury and do something bold
Andrew
ew
nsley
Rawnsley
@andrewrawnsley
awnsley
N
eville Chamberlain is the prime minister
no other prime minister wants to be seen
with. Don?t compare me to him. Anyone
but Chamberlain. That is the little prayer
that our leaders whisper to the gods of history.
Munich. Hitler. Piece of paper. Peace for our time.
Appeasement. The swallowing of Czechoslovakia.
The invasion of Poland. The fall of Norway. Ousted.
Some revisionists argue that he has been misunderstood, but nothing is going to change the role that
he plays in the story that Britain tells about its past.
The wing-collared, homburg-hatted and mustachioed man with the brolly is ever condemned to be
the grey calamity who was mercifully followed by
the vivid glories of Winston Churchill.
The interesting question for today is how such
a failure became prime minister in the ?rst place.
The answer is that he was once a success. He
rose to the top on the back of a great reputation
as a Tory social reformer. One thing he was
particularly good at was housing. Planning for
housing. Improving housing. Promoting social
housing. Stimulating housebuilding by the private
sector. He made his national name in the 1920s as
health minister, a position he used to revolutionise
planning, expand provision for the poor and get
more homes built. His preoccupation with bricks
and mortar began as mayor of Birmingham and
continued when he was chancellor. The number
of houses built during his time at the Treasury rose
dramatically. Many of them are the 1930s semidetached homes that still put a roof over the head
of hundreds of thousands of people, particularly
around London and southern England.
I commend that successful Chamberlain to
Theresa May and Philip Hammond. As they
wrangle with each other and cabinet colleagues
about what to do with next month?s budget, the
prime minister and chancellor should emulate
what the Tory with the brolly did about housing.
Everyone agrees that we have a crisis and I
suppose this is some sort of progress for those
of us who have been banging on about this
subject for years. The lack of affordable housing
holds back the economy. It makes a lot of people
extremely miserable. It corrodes society by setting
generations against each other and widening the
gap between those who inherit wealth and those
who don?t. Most brutally, it divides us between
those who have somewhere to live and those who
don?t. The problem is so acute that Sajid Javid, the
communities secretary, gives interviews in which
he makes unprompted references to the ?housing
crisis?. That is unusual. Ministers are usually
loathe to associate the word ?crisis? with their own
portfolio; the man responsible for housing goes out
of his way to say that the situation is critical.
Philip Hammond has an opportunity to do
something big in the budget. He ought to take it,
because his room for manoeuvre in other respects
is totally cramped. A lot of his colleagues are
clamouring for the head of the chancellor they
disparage as ?Eeyore?. If he fails to spend more in
politically sensitive areas, he will be bludgeoned
by one Tory faction. If he puts up taxes, he will be
blasted by another. The many uncertainties around
Brexit will render most of his economic projections
so unreliable that you?d ?nd better clues about the
future in the entrails of a chicken.
The chancellor could do something for his
country, his reputation and his standing with his
party if he unveiled genuinely effective reforms to
get more houses built. In so much as there is unity
about anything within the Tory party, there is a lot
of agreement that the budget needs to show that
they are responding to their unpopularity among
younger voters. A few crumbs on tuition fees won?t
persuade millennials to swoon gratefully into the
arms of the Conservatives. More affordable homes
to buy and rent might at least induce younger
voters to give a hearing to the Tories ? or so they
hope. The ?broken generational contract? has
become a common trope with the more thoughtful
sort of Conservative. They have noted that housing
costs are the single most important source of
pessimism among younger people when asked why
they think they have poorer prospects than their
parents. It is also feeding the anger about intergenerational injustices.
A study by the Resolution Foundation found
that a family headed by a 30-year-old today is half
as likely to be a homeowner as their parents were
at the same age. The biggest squeezer of living
standards has been the ever rising proportion of
income consumed by housing costs, especially for
those who rent. One senior Tory puts it this starkly:
?If we don?t do something about housing, we won?t
just lose an election, we will lose a generation.?
The爌olitical imperative to act is clear. The
question is whether they have the political wit and
the political will. Those hoping for boldness from
Mr Hammond will be disappointed by what has
so far leaked out about his budget thinking. One
suggestion is that he will announce a discount on
stamp duty for younger buyers. This is the sort of
short-term stimulatory tickle that George Osborne
liked. Good for rousing a Tory cheer on budget day;
useless as a long-term remedy for the crisis.
While stamp duty relief might be welcome to
those who are already in a position to buy, it will be
of no help at all to the many more for whom it will
make no difference. It will utterly fail to address
the fundamental problem ? the shortage of supply.
So Mr Javid has been lobbying for more radical
measures to ?x what he calls ?a broken market?.
He has publicly suggested a �bn housing
investment fund to be ?nanced from borrowing.
That?s quite a conversion to state intervention and
Brexit will render his
projections so unreliable
that you?d ?nd better
clues about the future in
the entrails of a chicken
borrowing to invest from a man who used to be the
driest Thatcherite in any room.
He and other Tories who urge boldness are
up against four main obstacles. One is the belief
creeping into some parts of government that the
crisis might be softening because house prices
are entering a period of stagnation and perhaps
decline. If they are, this would not be a surprise. On
the latest official ?gures, the average house price is
now 7.6 times the average annual salary, more than
double the ?gure for 20 years ago. In the priciest
parts of London, the ratio is nudging 40.
A market correction is overdue. Even if it turns
out to be a sharp one, an affordable home would
remain way out of the reach of many, many people
because demand is so far ahead of supply. We
need about 260,000 new homes a year merely to
keep up with household formation. Last year was
one of the better recent ones and Britain still fell
about 100,000 short. It is not like this is a sudden
emergency. Building has been mostly declining
since the 1960s. This decade has seen the lowest
levels of peacetime construction since the early
1920s, when Chamberlain came in.
A second obstacle is nimbyism. One cabinet
minister who represents a very leafy bit of England
recently remarked to me that ?even my people are
beginning to say that we have to do something?.
Tory members and voters have children and
grandchildren. They have noticed how horribly
expensive housing has become, especially in areas
of England where there are high concentrations
of Tory members and voters. Yet there is still a
powerful strain of resistance to easing planning
laws. I am told that Theresa May gets particularly
jumpy about this. The prime minister grew up in
rural Oxfordshire and twitches to the instinctive
fears of shire Tories about being more permissive
about housebuilding.
T
he third blockage concerns social housing.
This was regarded with disdain during
the Thatcher period when council houses
were sold off to their tenants without
the stock being replenished. Social housing was
treated with neglect during the New Labour years.
It is a sort of progress that you now hear Tories say
that the crisis can?t be solved by just relying on the
private sector. But the 25,000 units of social housing announced at the time of their party conference isn?t going to cut it when there are more than
a million folk on waiting lists.
The most stubborn roadblock to radical action
is the Treasury. Which is unfortunate because it
owns the budget. It is not a new idea to empower
local authorities to issue bonds to raise funds to
invest in housing and infrastructure. The Lib Dems
agitated for that during the coalition years. It is
quite common in other countries. Chamberlain
practised a version of it. Treasury traditionalists
don?t like it because extra borrowing, even to
create assets, adds to the national headline ?gure.
Still less do they like permitting borrowing by
local government because it is borrowing that the
Treasury doesn?t completely control.
To be as bold on housing, as the challenge
requires and many of his colleagues desire, Mr
Hammond will have to get his prime minister on
board. He will have to ?nd his creative side, if he
has one. And then he will have to overcome the
institutional resistance of his own department.
Chamberlain did that. Be a Chamberlain, Mr
Hammond. You too, Mrs May. Make like the man
with the brolly. The gods of history might even
?ash you a smile.
36 | COMMENT
*
29.10.17
Leftie? Yes, and proud to be among
those upholding Enlightenment values
The Mail?s attack on universities is typical of a campaign denigrating those who dare to question Brexit
members of the white working class, is so fearful
about the impact of mass immigration on their
sense of identity that Enlightenment values can
go hang. There are fertile ground for the populist
right everywhere ? from eastern Europe to the
American midwest, including the poorer regions
of England.
Brexit was an anti-Enlightenment project. It
was won on lies, unachievable promises and open
distrust of knowledge imparted by ?experts?. But
crucially, as Nigel Farage always understood, it
was also about repudiating the impact of immigration, brilliantly captured in the neutral ? so as
not to court any charge of even subliminal racism
? catchphrase ?take back control?.
It was a protest by a forgotten, white working class against a status quo underwritten by
Enlightenment values. And although it wasn?t
overwhelming or decisive, the need to describe it
as such springs from the same need that Donald
Trump spoke to when he declared that America
doesn?t have victories any more. The anti-Enlightenment, pro-Brexit right in league with the white
working class could for the ?rst time unambiguously claim the scalp of their liberal tormentors.
Will
Hutton
@williamnnhutton
A
cademic freedom is the soil in which
knowledge ?ourishes. The freedom to
research, to follow where evidence leads,
to argue, to be challenged, to exchange
ideas freely and to disseminate the results lie at the
heart of academic life. Immanuel Kant captured
the spirit that animates universities when he said
that knowledge was a process in which human
beings dared to know. The great advances in science and medicine over the past 250 years, along
with the breakthrough understandings offered by
social sciences and the humanities, would have
been impossible without this Enlightenment
mindset. It is these freedoms, entrenched because
of universities? constitutional autonomy, that have
allowed our civilisation to achieve what it has.
Yet all this is now under attack. Last week?s
clumsy letter from the Tory whip Chris HeatonHarris, a passionate Brexiter, asking universities
for names of staff lecturing on Brexit, along with
syllabuses, comes from an opposite mindset of
closure and censure. The unstated but obvious
message was that too many students and too many
academics had not heeded the message of the referendum: we live in a new country where to assess
Brexit in any other way but positively is intellectually off-limits because the people have spoken
?overwhelmingly?. The defence that the letter was
to aid research for a book fooled no one: for what
kind of book, pray, is such information necessary?
Besides, that should have been in the ?rst sentence
of the letter if that was the intent.
It took the Daily Mail, coming as it thought to
the aid of the criticised Heaton-Harris, to blow his
thin cover. Universities were hotbeds of Remain
bias, declared the paper; university leaders and
academics were abusing their position by arguing to stay in the EU, so brainwashing student
innocents. And to ram the point home, Oxbridge
colleges were run by ?leftie? Remain sympathisers,
including one Will Hutton.
The strident attack was part of a pattern:
three judges, the Mail declared, were ?Enemies
of the People? because they had ruled that the
government had to win parliamentary consent
to launch leaving the EU. Liam Fox and Angela
Leadsom have criticised the BBC for not getting
behind Brexit. Lord Lawson has called for Philip
Hammond?s resignation because he risks sabotag-
T
The Daily Mail railed against ?leftie? heads of Oxbridge colleges last week.
ing the whole process by not ?nancing preparations for an alternative should the talks fail.
The intensity of the attacks betrays the fragility
of the Brexit position. A 52% ? 48% result is not
overwhelming. Few of the country?s key interest groups ? business lobby organisations, trade
unions, universities, the City, the security, defence
and foreign policy communities, the creative
industries and even the property world ? supported Leave. But, more importantly, there is and
was little support in Britain?s culture.
We expect our judges to be independent, our
press to be free, facts to be true, science to be
evidence-led and our universities to entrench
academic freedom. The country of Darwin,
Shakespeare and Wilberforce is not instinctively
hostile to foreigners. The hazards of exiting the
greatest free trade area in the world to embrace
the phantom of ? global Britain?, so completing the
Thatcherite revolution, require powerful cultural
support: it does not exist.
There is lack of cultural and economic support
for Brexit, which will deepen as the economy
craters in the years ahead and rightwing attacks
become more strident and menacing. I expect
a growing majority to emerge, not just for soft
Brexit but to stay in the EU as this reality grows.
But as Ivan Krastev argues in his brilliant book
After Europe, immigration and the refugee crisis
have changed the rules of the game. A signi?cant element in western electorates, particularly
among the less well-educated and unskilled
hus the viciousness and growing intensity
of the witch-hunts against academics,
judges and journalists, extending to business people and diplomats, judged to be
Remoaners, who contest the victory. But it is a
victory that can?t be sustained. Events are going
to prove EU withdrawal will be a disaster. And we
believers in the Enlightenment tradition will carry
on daring to know, believing in the rule of law and
defending academic and media freedoms to the
last. To do otherwise is to invite a serfdom of the
mind and a betrayal of Britishness.
Yet if and when there is a change of heart,
and Britain stays inside the EU or its wider
architecture, because anything else is wilfully
self-destructive, the rage against immigration
and Enlightenment values is not going to evaporate. Events, along with the implosion of the
Conservative party, may convert a small majority to
the merits of staying inside the EU. But to seal the
deal, there has to be a credible offer of change to
the left-behind, white working class and the parts
of the country in which they live and recognition of
the vital need to shore up threatened identities.
If Remain had done that ? and fought as a crossparty coalition putting Britain and its great values
above party affiliation ? it would have won in June
last year. If disaster is to be averted, it must learn
the lesson ? or leave the ?eld to an increasingly
vicious right and decades of fury and self-examination as the country asks how ever it was led to such
severe self-harm.
Victoria Coren Mitchell Casinos gamble on their credibility
If you?re too
o
smart for
gaming houses
uses
they?ll ?nd a way
to stop you
u
- but more
e
fool them
I
t is rare to see Phil Ivey, the greatest
poker player of our time, losing seriously. This man is a genius. He can
get inside other people?s heads.
The ?rst time I played poker against
him, I think he found me a little unsettling. People do, the ?rst time. In Phil?s
case, I don?t think it?s just that I was
female ? which is what throws most
people ? but that I was female and
making jokes.
God knows he?s not the only person
to be rattled by that (as anyone who
reads the online comments after some
of my columns will attest), but it was
rather thrilling for a fan. The confusion
in his eyes, as he wondered how
seriously he was supposed to take this
impertinent little person? I felt like a
mischievous water bird hopping on the
back of a crocodile.
?Phil Ivey doesn?t know what to
make of me!? I thought gleefully.
?He can?t read my mind! There?s
interference in the force!?
As I chattered and quipped, Phil
stared coolly across the baize. ?What
is all this high-pitched noise?? I could
hear him thinking. ?Is she ill? Is she
mad? Is this some sort of complicated
bluff ??
And then? gradually? ?Oh! I think
she means to be funny.?
It was pretty much an exact rerun of
the ?rst time I went on a panel show.
Meh, people expect what they?re used
to; you have to give them time.
It took Phil about half an hour. Then
he laughed, relaxed and ? although he
continued to regard me throughout
the match the way you might an
oddly爏potted woodpecker ? I didn?t
win another hand off him for the rest
of the day.
Don?t get me wrong, I?m a good
poker player. But I?m a sort of Tim
Henman to Phil Ivey?s Roger Federer.
He?s a magical player, a sparkling
player. He makes performance art out
of the equation between maths and
psychology. It?s like he can see your
cards.
Let me be clear: he can?t see your
cards. He isn?t a cheat. Sadly, that?s
not what ?ve supreme court judges
found last Wednesday, as they ruled
that Crockfords casino did not have to
pay Phil the �7m that he won playing
punto banco there in 2012.
The casino chain, the media and the
internet have all made a lot of noise
about Phil Ivey?s defeat here. They call
it a triumph for the house.
But is it so simple? Once again,
as happens so often with Phil Ivey
(it happened with the Crockfords
croupier, many poker opponents
and certainly the two gamblers of
my acquaintance who boasted about
how much they were winning off him
at golf, before he had secret lessons
and went on to take them for �), I
suspect he is being underestimated.
Has he really lost? Does he ever
lose? I?m going to think this through
like a poker hand. I may not be Roger
Federer, but hey, Tim Henman could
beat most people.
It so happened that
the cleverest person
in the room was
Phil Ivey. As usual
First, what is cheating? Phil and
his partner noticed that Crockfords
was using cards with an asymmetrical
pattern on the back. (Like, duh.)
Persuading the croupier to turn some
of them upside down ?for luck? ?
which was eagerly agreed, as the house
anticipated fat losses from this pair of
visiting rubes ? he could basically tell
what was coming off the deck.
No touching, smuggling or bribing;
he acted openly. Any clever person
could see the situation. It just so
happened that the cleverest person
in the room was Phil Ivey. As usual.
As I?ve written before: in my view,
he didn?t so much cheat the casino as
outwit it.
Am I right? Who knows?! These
things are subjective. I was once asked
to be the expert witness in a trial
where somebody was suing a casino
for failing to protect him from cheats.
The evidence was messy, because the
allegations ranged from masseuses
peeking at cards and signalling (which
I would de?nitely consider cheating)
to the game itself being too volatile a
variant of poker (which I wouldn?t).
I said I couldn?t do the job, the knots
could not be untangled. I struggle to
believe that the eminent judges who
have heard Phil Ivey?s case over the last
few years are more con?dently certain
of correct card game etiquette.
Certainly, the comments of Lord
Justice Hughes that ?if he had secretly
gained access to the shoe of cards
and personally rearranged them, that
would be considered cheating. He
accomplished the same results by
directing the actions of the croupier?
sounded ? with all due respect to His
Lordship ? like the words of a man who
has not spent a great deal of time on a
casino ?oor.
The point is, Phil Ivey didn?t lose
money in Crockfords that night. They
just refused to pay his winnings. Now:
what if he realised, back in the summer
of 2012, that he?d never get the money?
It happens quite often in gaming
circles; most people just swallow it and
move on.
Suppose Phil Ivey chose not to
swallow it. Well, he still doesn?t have
the money. But he?s had three different
phases of court action, all of which
resulted in headlines telling the world
that the casino didn?t pay him. He?s
helped millions of people to see that
you?re not allowed to be cleverer than
the casino. He?s got the casino chain
thinking it was wise to make a long,
detailed public statement expressing
their ?delight? at not having to pay
him. He?s got them basically bellowing
into the ears of their target market:
stop dreaming of that winning system!
There is no such thing! It can?t ?be
you?!
So who?s got the better of whom, in
the end?
All I?ll say is: a lot of people have
thought they could beat Phil Ivey. None
of them has been right yet.
29.10.17
COMMENT | 37
*
If only it were so
easy to forgive
Jared O?Mara?s sins
Labour expects his She?eld constituents to forget his
sexist and homophobic past. Why should they?
Catherine
Bennett
@Bennett_C_
?B
y the age of 30,? wrote the psychologist
William James, ?the character has set
like plaster and will never soften again.?
If it has yet to be proved, James?s point
is something the voters of Sheffield Hallam might
want to bear in mind when they come to pick their
next MP. For now, unless he resigns, their hopes
of effective representation appear to rest with the
recently suspended MP Jared O?Mara, who earlier
struck Labour?s national executive committee, correctly as it turned out, as a worthy opponent for the
anti-Brexit Nick Clegg.
The Liberal Democrat?s quali?cations could
not compete, for Sheffield Hallam, with those
of the 35-year-old journalism graduate whose
principal quali?cation appears to have been his
superior sensitivity. ?Having a disability,? O?Mara
said, ?can make us more passionate, resilient,
empathetic and hard working than non-disabled
candidates by virtue of everything being harder
for us in life.?
But for reasons that remain obscure, O?Mara
did not warn his patrons that he had, presumably
before his empathy had fully developed, shared
online a variety of homophobic, sexist and otherwise degrading comments and ditties, eg: ?I wish
I were a misogynist�/ I?d smash her in her face.?
If these might well have delighted like-minded
members of Ukip, or his fellow satirists on the
Commons women and equalities committee,
they would be harder ? at least in principle ? for
O?Mara to reconcile with a career in the party
currently advertising ?a transformative vision of a
better Britain?.
To be fair, maybe Mr O?Mara had simply studied the Labour party?s attitudes towards women
during the Alastair Campbell and John Prescott
years and ?gured his own contribution to progressive bants was not so much a cultural anomaly as extended homage. Or perhaps Momentum?s
favoured candidate was never asked, in the haste
of a snap election, if anything in his past might
concern those of us he once taunted as ?slags? or,
no less culpably to Labour?s hardworking equalities expert, ?fat?.
It is less easy to understand, however, after
his insults were reported on the Guido Fawkes
website, why senior Labour party allies were so
ready to endorse O?Mara?s chosen exculpation
? the allegedly vast gulf between his 22-year-old
self and the reformed character still planning
his debut (four months after the election) in the
House of Commons. ?I made the comments as a
young man,? he wrote, ?at a particularly difficult
time in my life, but that is no excuse.?
The shadow attorney general, Shami
Chakrabarti, explained why gay people in
Sheffield should be represented by someone
who used to address them as ?fudge packers?
and ?poofters?. It?s because O?Mara deserves
it. ?I爐hink in relation to things that happened
15 years ago people should be given a second
chance.? Even if further complaints, of brutish
behaviour towards women, had not preceded
this homily, an age-based pardon for the now
contrite O?Mara sets an awkward precedent for
any Labour campaigners who still think it worth
mentioning, say, Nigel Farage?s schoolboy fascism,
Boris Johnson?s early period fabrications, the
exceptionally stubborn stain that is membership
of Oxford?s Bullingdon Club.
Even without various compelling aidesmemoire in the shape of Posh, Laura Wade?s play,
then ?lm, and a number of regularly exhumed
photographs, it seems improbable that opponents
of Boris Johnson, David Cameron and George
Osborne would respond favourably to excuses
that involvement in this always ghastly all-male
institution was a forgivable folly committed by
young people with immature frontal lobes, who
deserve a second chance.
Not unlike the O?Mara apologists protesting
that any prospective MP could have gone through
a phase of repeatedly posting obscene sexist and
homophobic comments they would later regret,
Osborne has hinted at the exodus that might
result if we banned all the naive young men ?
blessed with the required subscription and interest in posing ? who have ever joined a club historically dedicated to the persecution of waiting
O?Mara: ?I made the comments as a young man? but
that is no excuse.? Photograph by Antonio Olmos
staff. ?I hazard a guess,? said Osborne, who may
of course genuinely believe the Bullingdon to
have become a franchised operation welcoming
vandals from all backgrounds, ?that quite a lot of
people in the country who do things at university
now say, ?Ooh, I?m not sure that was the most
sensible thing to do.??
N
one of Cameron?s more energetic acts
of contrition, from Pringles on a budget
airline to self-?agellation on the BBC ?
?We do things when we are young that we
deeply regret? ? ever fully expunged Bullingdonrelated suspicions about his true nature. Given his
recent leisure choices, public scepticism about sudden character discontinuities looks well-founded.
Anyone who believes the child to be father of the
man, the fascist to be father of the Farage, the
preening prat to be father of the incompetent grandee with a �,000 shepherd?s hut may well have
had their theory con?rmed by Cameron?s recent
return, following his well-documented journey
towards normal persondom, to both pheasant
shooting and the dining room at White?s. Both were
ostentatiously set aside while he was ushering his
country towards international ignominy.
Even if O?Mara is willing to put more lasting
effort into his reinvention than either Cameron
or, more recently, Harvey Weinstein ? cured of
Genuine alterations of
character, though they
are possible, require time
or commitment
molestation in a week by redemption specialists ?
constituents could argue that genuine alterations
of character, though they are possible, require time
or commitment that may not easily ?t round duties
as a sitting MP. Couldn?t O?Mara just get re-elected
when he?s not reported to have said or done anything insulting to women for, say, six weeks?
But if some of O?Mara?s supporters are correct, his visible re-education is not just possible
but more edifying to the masses, like Christ?s one
sinner that repenteth, than would be his party?s
unequivocal statement on decent conduct. On
that basis, Johnson could yet do us a favour ? if his
party ever stopped being ?ne with it ? by showing
the route to rehabilitation for all other colluders
in GBH who were only 26 at the time.
Respect for one individual?s commitment
to change is not, however, inconsistent with
respect for thousands of constituents and their
right to representation by a political activist
who, even with a standard trail of embarrassing
juvenilia, has somehow resisted the temptation to post homophobic and sexist insults. Are
these paragons so rare? Without knowing the
intricacies of O?Mara?s appointment, it is hard
to believe there was no such competition and,
on the evidence of his parliamentary activity, his
replacement with a convincing non-misogynist is
something the people of Sheffield Hallam might
conceivably endure.
The alternative, if O?Mara stays, even supposing political constituencies should double
as therapeutic institutions for the exemplary
reform of super?cially guilt-stricken sexists, is
that Labour again demonstrates how unwilling
it is to grasp ? even after Weinstein ? the extent,
and the impact on women, of the O?Mara-like
mindset. If, as some conclude from this episode,
historical online activity could constitute a fresh
obstacle to young women?s political ambitions, it
cannot come close to that already represented by
Westminster?s living enforcers of the status quo.
Where are the heroes who will lead the Brexit retreat?
Nick
Cohen
I
n 1972, Idi Amin ordered the expulsion of Ugandan Asians from his
blood-drenched, post-colonial
kingdom. In culture, origins and
appearance, they were clearly separate
from Africans. They were also notably
wealthier. Amin legitimised his rule by
exploiting both race and class hatred,
always a useful strategy for demagogues on the make. ?I am going to ask
Britain,? he boomed as he took back
control, ?to take over responsibility
for all the Asians in Uganda because
they are sabotaging the economy of
the燾ountry.?
Suppose that in 2017 Britain even
considered stripping the survivors of
the 27,000 Asians who settled in Britain
of their rights and leaving their children
in limbo. As well as facing international
accusations of racism and the targeting
of minorities, the government would
have to cope with uproar at home.
In 1973, the year after the Ugandan
Asians arrived, Britain joined what
became the European Union. EU
nationals won the right to settle in
Britain and vice versa. As the French
singer and football writer, Philippe
Auclair, says, the authorities don?t
treat him and his fellow Europeans in
Britain as members of an ethnic minority or series of ethnic minorities. Yet
from nowhere they have been hit with
the old combination of class hatred
? you?ve made money at our expense
? and race hatred ? you?ve no right to
be here.
But, but, I can hear respectable
voices spluttering, there is no comparison. This is Britain, after all. We
don?t have dictators with death squads
at their command blaring out threats.
The British character is moderate and
tolerant, even if we say so ourselves,
while the whole world acknowledges
our famous sense of humour.
I don?t know about you, but I?ve
found our willingness to do anything
for a laugh has started to grate since
the Brexit referendum. With the left
banning speakers from universities and
the right trying to police what academics think and say, our reputation for
tolerance is not what it once was either.
As for moderation, Theresa May
and Boris Johnson make cooing noises
as they appear to offer ?rm commitments to EU citizens. So they should,
as they must know it would wreck the
economy if Europeans left in signi?cant numbers. But they never ?nd the
guts to spell out Britain?s dependence
to Tory England. Meanwhile, migrants
and their children look in vain to ?nd
hard guarantees beyond the soft words.
There can be no guarantees because
all promises to EU migrants in Britain
and vice versa will be meaningless
if we crash out of the EU. As will all
promises that jobs, living standards,
peace in Ireland, trade and workplace
and environmental standards will be
protected.
A Brexit collapse would not only
bring chaos but represent the worst
abdication of political leadership in
memory. Sooner or later, the public
would realise that everyone with
prominence in Westminster had
been lying. Jeremy Corbyn and John
McDonnell spent their careers opposing the EU on the infantile-leftist
grounds that it was a capitalist club.
Cunningly, they have kept middleclass support by pretending that their
antipathy to Europe is less extreme
than the antipathy on the Tory right.
Readers tempted to believe the spin
should remember Corbyn was so keen
on yanking us out he advocated invoking article 50 the day after the referendum, an act of folly even Theresa May
has not matched. Although she has
come close.
May campaigned for Remain and
even today cannot bring herself to say
she would vote to leave the EU if the
British had a second referendum. Her
convictions notwithstanding, she still
made herself the prisoner of the Tory
right. A willing prisoner, I should add,
a prisoner who locked herself up and
threw away the key when she said
we must leave the single market and
customs union and, for good measure,
made compromise impossible by adding that we should ignore European
law. We should pause to re?ect here
the honesty that the direct democracy
of a referendum was meant to bring to
public life has resulted in an outbreak
of lying without precedent in British
political history.
T
here are deeper reasons for the
breakdown of politics, which
makes less comfortable reading.
Labour MPs from northern
England and Wales and Tory MPs who
campaigned for Remain are not backing
Leave now because they respect their
leaders. Nor have they converted to
the view that Brexit will enrich their
constituents. They can see what liberals have missed: despite in?ation and
the fall in living standards, support for
Brexit remains resilient. Until the polls
move towards Remain with strides
rather than baby steps, the politicians
won?t move. And by the time they move,
it may be too late.
In 1989, after the fall of the communist dictatorships in the Soviet empire
and the fascistic dictatorships in Spain,
Portugal and Greece, the German poet
Hans Magnus Enzensberger wrote an
essay entitled The Heroes of Retreat.
The standard hero ?ghts for a glorious
cause, he said; they are men or women
of unimpeachable integrity whose lives
are celebrated. As essential are the far
grubbier heroes of the retreat. No one
will make a biopic on FW de Klerk?s
slippery career in apartheid South
Africa or the ambiguities in the lives
of General Jaruzelski in communist
Poland and Adolfo Su醨ez in Franco?s
Spain. They had risen to the top by
being complicit in state crimes. But
when the moment of choice came they
found the strength to tell their supporters that the game was up and their old
slogans were now just meaningless
noise. They called off the troops when
they might have ordered them to ?re
and let their countries move forward.
?It was Clausewitz, that classic strategic thinker, who showed that retreat
is the most difficult of all military
operations,? concluded Enzensberger.
Only horribly compromised politicians
?who belonged to [the] innermost circle of power? were in a position to back
away from dictatorship.
Where are Britain?s leaders who will
tell 17.4m voters that the Brexit they
were promised cannot be cashed? That
the misery of migrants, the damage
to the economy and our standing in
the world will be for naught? Where
are our prime minister and leader
of the opposition? Where are their
cabinet and shadow cabinet? We do
not have men and women who can say,
with regret, that whatever they once
thought a hard Brexit is not working
and was never going to work. It?s too
much to hope for shining heroes who
can lead us forward. But Britain doesn?t
even have the heroes of the retreat.
38 | COMMENT
*
Letters+emails
THE BIG ISSUE UNIVERSITIES
Oxbridge only has itself to
blame for its lack of diversity
Priyamvada Gopal?s arguments for the
need for a conversation about ?wider
deprivation and systemic inequality?
and a ?two-tiered education structure?
merely de?ect from the unassailable
truth about Oxbridge?s appalling admissions processes (?Oxbridge bashing is
an empty ritual if we ignore wider social
inequities?, Comment, last week).
She sounds too much like the Oxford
apologist who, when the ?gures were
released to David Lammy, claimed
that rectifying the problem was ?a long
journey?, needing a ?huge, joined-up
effort across society?. This is echoed
by Gopal blaming the existence of
private schools for Oxbridge?s bias
towards them. Why, when the ?gure for
attendance at private schools is 7%, do
Oxbridge colleges recruit 40% from the
independent sector, when research at
Cardiff and Oxford Brookes universities
proved students from state schools gain
better degrees than the independently
educated with the same A-level grades?
Is it any wonder that few high-attaining black or working-class students
are attracted to apply to Oxford or
Cambridge, when they do so little to
disprove the myths that surround them?�
Bernie Evans
Liverpool
The obvious way to loosen the stranglehold of private schools is to abolish
their charity tax status. Fees would rise,
most of the middle-class intake would
be priced out and, as has been shown,
state schools ?ourish and attain high
standards for everybody when patronised by the middle classes. When I was
at Oxford in 1961-4, there was a roughly
Priya Gopal?s article last week.
50% private/state intake. I was one
of the latter (and wouldn?t have been
without a state scholarship). This is not
possible now, but what about reduction,
or abolition, of fees for the poorest?
Gill Peters
Walmer, Kent
Priyamvada Gopal asks: ?Who would
be willing to call for the abolition of
private schooling?? Obviously not the
Conservatives, but why don?t Labour or
the Liberal Democrats grasp this nettle?
Dr Peter Slade
Guildford
Rich parents get what they?ve paid for
when their children move from public
schools to university. Oxbridge, Eton,
Winchester etc are historic partners in
the preparation of privileged youngsters for professions, church and
state. In such a setting, there can be no
culturally neutral admission conversation (?Solving the riddle of getting into
Oxford?, Comment, 15 October).
Effective redress in the student and
staff mix requires a radical overhaul
of two-tier secondary schooling and
a levelling of social inequality. Gopal
FOR THE RECORD
Confusion crept into a graphic
last week setting out results of an
Opinium/Observer poll on the Brexit
negotiations (News, page 9). A colour
code denoting grey (all respondents),
blue (Remainers) and red (Leavers),
applied only to the ?rst section, which
posed questions about the nature of
any future deal. Two further sections,
which asked for approval ratings
for the prime minister and opinion
on whether leaving the EU would
ultimately be good or bad for the UK,
detailed results from all respondents
and, despite being coloured grey, blue
and red, did not relate to voting behaviour at the referendum. Apologies.
Naming names: we mistakenly gave the
prominent Brexit MP John Redwood a
acknowledges how much she learns
from a slightly widened Cambridge
student mix and how much students
learn from each other. For me, this came
before and after university, in mainly
manual jobs. Once at Oxford, I was
disheartened by the aridity of politics,
philosophy and economics and thoughtless conformity among teachers and
students. What I learned from people of
other classes and races was how much
I?d missed. For all my acquired ?uency
in words and argument, I often didn?t
know what I was talking about.
Greg Wilkinson
Swansea
Is it not time that our heavily subsidised
universities restricted entry to those students who have passed through the state
education system? Let those who pay for
private secondary education also pay for
private university education.
Alan G Stow
Tring
We must remember that Oxford and
Cambridge are still the centres of a vast
network of privilege that excludes most
of the nation?s talent and distorts the
whole education system.
The main symptom, apart from the
domination of public life by the 7%, is
the chronic mismanagement and underfunding of further and adult education,
the system on which the life chances
of those who don?t go to university
depend. The 7% don?t use the system
and don?t understand it. Unfortunately,
they do control the education system.
Jeremy Cushing
Exeter
TOP 10 ONLINE LAST WEEK
knighthood last week (?They?re back,
as wrong as ever. Enough of Lawson
and his band of 80s ultras?, Comment,
page 34) and Brass Eye targeted the
DJ Bruno Brookes, not Brooks (?Chris
Morris?s genius lives on?, In Focus, last
week, page 27).
The children crossing the border into
the United States, whose stories are
chronicled in the book Tell Me How It
Ends, are not solely ?undocumented
Mexicans?. This error was not the
author?s. (New Review, last week,
page 37).
Write to Stephen Pritchard, Readers?
Editor, the Observer, 90 York Way,
London N1 9GU, email observer.readers
@observer.co.uk tel 020 3353 4656
Read them at observer.co.uk
1. Hollywood? It?s ?nished, claims
Oscar-winning director
2. My kids are grown up and my husband
is leaving ? I?m scared Dear Mariella
3. Willem Dafoe: ?I?ve thought about
murder many times?
4. Grace Jones: ?Size zero is like the
walking dead. Not sexy at all?
5. Catalonia crisis escalates
6. Collapsing academy trust ?assetstripped its schools of millions?
7. Rise and fall of Isis: its dream of a
caliphate is over, so what now?
8. Kaleb and Kordale: meet America?s
new model family
9. Is Richard Branson?s high-speed train
in a pneumatic tube pie in the sky?
10. Hudders?eld send United crashing
29.10.17
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
Will universal credit payments
arrive in time for Christmas?
We can get a sofa made ?in time for
Christmas? and broadband companies
are offering upgrades to cope with
Black Friday (God help us). Yes, the
hell that is the commercial run-up to
Christmas is upon us.
Nothing demonstrates to me the
vast gulf between our government and
the most impoverished and excluded
members of society than its decision to
roll out the new six-weeks-in-arrears
universal credit bene?t exactly now.
Did the dreadful timing (rubbing
people?s noses in this exclusion) occur
to anybody in authority? (Editorial, last
week).
I understand the pressure to give
your family the best Christmas or,
indeed, any Christmas. Parents know
how those who don?t get the right ? or
any ? gift can be mocked or bullied by
their better-off peers on their return
to school. We hear the siren calls of
the short-term loan TV ads, featuring
interest rates over 1,000%, to ?restore
some order? to our lives.
Sadly, for far too many, this will not
be the happy time it is supposed to be,
but a new circle of hell in which they
may still be paying for this Christmas
by the time the next one comes along.
Janet Sa?ron
Montgomery, Powys
Fighting against NHS cuts
In drawing timely attention to the
effects of an underfunded National
Health Service (Editorial, last week),
you understandably conclude that ?the
worst could yet be to come??. There
are, however, welcome signs that local
campaigning against the government?s
cuts is obliging Conservative MPs to
think twice before voting for further
austerity.
A positive development is the
nationwide Health Campaigns
Together conference in London on
Saturday 4 November. Mrs May has
already been forced once (when meeting the demands of the DUP) to reveal
the existence of her ?magic money
tree??. We must now all oblige her to
shake it again on behalf of the NHS.
Francis Prideaux
London W9
I am not clear why smokers and the
overweight should be given equal
priority for healthcare to those who
take responsibility by not smoking and
keeping their weight down.
David Bradnack
Oxford
Stopping the Tory zombies
It was good to read Will Hutton blazing against Nigel Lawson, now seeking
to disinter the putre?ed remains of
Thatcherism in the context of Brexit.
(?They?re back, as wrong as ever.
Enough of Lawson and his band of 80s
ultras?, Comment, last week). With
such zombie acolytes as Redwood,
Lilley and Lamont, and in the wider
context of cabinet ineptitude, the
myth-making sorcerers of the Tory
right are again on the rampage.
Draining the lingering Thatcher/
Lawson poison from our political and
social bloodstream, however, now
requires a move beyond the rehearsal
of the many individual policy areas
through which it has undermined progress and cohesion in our society.
It?s time for these damaging, high
social-cost factors to be seen not
merely as regrettable elements of
policy, but as the inescapable outcomes
of the overarching, quasi-religious
orthodoxies that have blighted much of
our hard-won freedoms since 1979.
Michael Sandel put it most cogently
in his 2012 What Money Can?t Buy: The
Moral Limits of Markets: ?As a result,
without quite realising it, without ever
deciding to do so, we have drifted from
having a market economy into being a
market society.? We must not allow reentry to Lawson and his acolytes.
Ralph Windle
Witney, Oxfordshire
Regulating the press
Peter Preston complains that in a
recent article I ?zealously? pursued
?events of 2003-7? and dwelt on ?a
sleazy episode from a decade ago?
(phone hacking) (?Phone hacking was
terrible, but there are greater threats
online?, Media, last week). This is
strange, since the article in question
made no reference to either 2003-7
or phone hacking. Instead, it sought
to correct several factual errors made
just this month by Karen Bradley, the
media secretary, as she tried to justify
plans to overturn parliament?s backing
for the effective, independent regulation of news publishing.
Preston is right about one thing: the
future matters most. As it happens,
high-standard, truly independent
regulation offers the best hope for the
future of journalism, counteracting
fake news and shoddy practice by making publishers genuinely accountable
for inaccuracies, whether in print or
online. In this way, it can help rebuild
precious trust among readers, something that will never be achieved by
sham regulation or by sweeping yesterday?s failures under the carpet.
Prof Brian Cathcart
Kingston University
London
Make way for netball
Last week, Victoria Coren Mitchell
wrote a witty and welcome critique
of the ludicrous suggestion that pole
dancing could be included as an
Olympic sport. (?Faster, higher, twerkier??, Comment). Around the world,
in 80 countries and on ?ve continents,
20爉illion people play netball ? with
more than 100,000 women playing
each week in England. When will our
sport be taken seriously?
Chris Thackray
Swindon
Are these the living dead? No, they?re just the cabinet bunglers
Frankie
e
Boyle
@frankieboyle
T
he Tories are at pains to make
sure that Brexit is being done by
the book; sadly, that book is Lord
of the Flies. If the EU had created
Brexit as a deliberate The Producersstyle disaster to demonstrate how difficult it was to leave, they?d probably have
been tempted to tone down the casting.
The key players include Liam Fox,
a man who looks like he could ?nish
a steak while looking at footage from
Hiroshima; Boris Johnson, who for
the ?rst time ?nds himself in a cabinet
without it involving someone saying:
?Quick! My husband?s home early!?,
and David Davis, Sid James after a This
Morning makeover and a half-hearted
tilt at therapy.
Davis has suggested that MPs will
have a vote on Brexit but only after
Britain has left the EU. What a great
country we are. So con?dent in our
democracy that we?re willing to have
a vote about an event that happened
months before. But then the English do
like to do things out of order. They celebrate winning the World Cup in the
months leading up to the tournament
and only concede defeat 20 minutes
into the ?rst match.
Jean-Claude Juncker denies that Mrs
May begged for help at their recent dinner in Brussels. She may well have been
?tormented, anxious and despondent?,
but to be fair I?d have thought these
feeling are perfectly normal for people
obliged to have dinner with Mr Juncker.
I bet his wife feels like that every morning before going down to face him over
breakfast. I suppose the real surprise
is that the leaked story didn?t describe
May trying to get through to an artery
with a soup spoon. Who hasn?t had a
couple of bottles of wine and a cognac
and not begged for something? Sex, possibly. Or more cognac.
The EU is probably broadly supportive of May. It?s good to have a weak,
embattled PM, as the less capable
they look of being able to handle
negotiations, the greater the domestic
panic and the easier it will be to justify
a divorce bill to the public. It seems that
everybody wants Theresa May to be
prime minister, with the exception of a
majority of the electorate, and herself.
Chris Heaton-Harris MP has sent
letters to universities asking them
to list the names of the people who
lecture on Brexit. He?s been accused of
McCarthyism, but defended his move,
saying he was only looking for information as he was planning to write a book,
presumably entitled something like
First Up Against the Wall.
Brexiters have always been keen on
rooting out heretics. Jacob Rees-Mogg
called the Bank of England governor,
Mark Carney, ?an enemy of Brexit?.
Rees-Mogg?s other enemies include
the Jacobites, the concept of Progress
and Velcro. Rees-Mogg is an imperial C-3PO, PG Wodehouse?s ?irtation
with fascism given physical form, and
it?s tempting to write him off as one
of those broad characters who arrives
late in the life of a dying sitcom. Yet he
serves a sinister purpose: as an outlier
to provide a context in which Johnson
seems a plausible prime minister. Many
voters are complacent about ReesMogg, maybe because they feel like any
minute now he?s going to be arrested
by Poirot.
I
ndeed, one of the consolations of
Brexit for the Tories is that it has
drawn the eye away from one of the
more ghoulish cabinets in recent history, packed with ?gures who are able
to go out on Halloween as themselves.
Philip Hammond is incredibly dull
even for a chancellor of the exchequer.
It?s only the red box that lets you know
you?re not looking at a black-and-white
photograph. Then again, the bulk of the
cabinet are so grey that when Theresa
meets them she must feel like Dorothy before the twister hit. May herself
cuts a comparatively rakish ?gure in
makeup that looks like it was applied by
a colour-blind embalmer and that big
shiny neck chain that makes her look
like the worst prize on a hoopla stall
run by the Wu-Tang Clan.
Most things a corporatist government does involve transferring assets
from public to private ownership, so
its decisions are eagerly delivered by
the private sector. Since New Labour,
private interests are often involved with
government at every stage; from lobbying for a reform in the ?rst place, to
drafting of the bill, to implementation.
This is another reason governments
like wars ? there?s very little for them
to do: delivery is entirely performed
by someone else. Also, consequences
usually have a kind of time-lapse. PFI
contracts, or even the destabilisation
of Iraq, might take a decade or more to
become truly toxic, by which time the
politicians involved will hope to have
moved into the private sector.
With Brexit, the whole country
might implode within about nine
months. This is why the Tories are
behaving like a besieged rat colony:
they actually have to doing something
and are being confronted with the
novelty of immediate consequences.
It?s stating the obvious, but the con?ict
in negotiations is not a clash of national
temperaments, but the atmosphere
created when gung-ho carpetbaggers
come up against patrician bureaucrats.
29.10.17
*
Contact us Email financial@theguardian.com
Phone 020 3353 4791 Fax 020 3353 3196
| 39
Business
Agenda Hanging on Wolfson?s words
MAKING THE NEWS
Keep on spending? UK
shoppers aren?t sold
What?s happening on the high street?
Last week?s retail survey by the CBI
painted a grim picture, showing
sales falling at their fastest since the
2009 recession. The CBI?s survey is
small but it fed into broader concerns
about consumers? willingness to keep
spending as wages are squeezed and
Brexit uncertainty looms.
We may get some more clarity when
Next updates the City on Wednesday.
The fashion retailer is regarded as
a barometer of retail activity and its
reporting is commendably clear. Chief
executive Simon Wolfson was fairly
upbeat in mid-September when Next
published ?rst-half results. Things
looked better than at the start of the
year and Next?s autumn range was
going down well with shoppers.
But conditions are, as Next?s rival
Debenhams said last week, volatile.
Could trading have dipped sharply
in seven weeks ? and if so how much
of any decline is due to the weather?
October has been unusually warm,
which isn?t good news for sales of
jumpers and coats. Next sells clothes,
furniture and homewares, but not food.
Morrisons, which reports on trading
the following day, will provide some
insight into how the grocery sector is
doing ahead of the crucial Christmas
trading period. The supermarket chain
is on the up, registering the strongest
growth of the big four food retailers in
a recent survey.
Simon Wolfson: upbeat at Next.
FCA chief Bailey in for
grilling by MPs over RBS
Andrew Bailey probably hasn?t had the
most relaxing weekend. If he?s sensible,
the Financial Conduct Authority chief
executive will have been mugging
up before questions at the Treasury
committee on Tuesday. He could be in
for a rough ride.
Last Monday, the FCA reluctantly
B SEAN
BY
FA
FARRELL
PITCH BATTLE FOR BT
published a summary of a report into
how Royal Bank of Scotland treated its
small business customers. It was more
critical of RBS than was suggested
by a list of bullet points released by
the FCA a year ago. The Treasury
committee has hired a barrister to
check for consistency between last
week?s summary and the full report. He
handed over his ?ndings last week. The
FCA also revealed it was considering
taking action against RBS. The MPs
will want more detail, which Bailey
may be unwilling to give.
Then there is the matter of Saudi
Aramco?s mooted ?otation in London.
This month, Bailey admitted he met
officials from Saudi?s state oil company
before publishing plans to soften listing
rules to attract the giant �5 trillion
listing. Bailey would also be wise to
bring ?gures about diversity in the
upper ranks of the FCA. The MPs want
fewer white men at the top of ?nance.
Oil ?rms need to stop
crude focus on pro?ts
At the start of last year, Britain?s big
oil companies, Shell and BP, appeared
to be in crisis. A slump in the price of
Brent crude ? from more than $110
a barrel in 2014 to less than $30 in
January 2016 ? sent pro?ts tumbling
and appeared to threaten dividends.
After painful cost cuts and a partial
recovery in the oil price to near $60,
the pressure has eased and both are
expected to report solid ?rst-half
results this week.
BP goes ?rst, on Tuesday, with Shell,
the stronger of the two, on Thursday.
The commotion over the oil slump
diverted some attention from their
commitments to low-carbon energy.
To much fanfare, both companies?
boards supported resolutions at their
2015 annual meetings that required
clearer reporting of emissions,
business risks and efforts to develop
green energy sources.
But last week, ShareAction, which
campaigned for the resolutions,
criticised BP and Shell for inaction.
Their capital spending on low-carbon
energy sources (1.3% at BP and 3%
by 2020 for Shell) was unconvincing,
ShareAction argued. Cannily, the group
couched its criticism in terms of the
threat to pensions if BP and Shell ?nd
themselves extinct. With the day-today crisis averted maybe it?s time to
refocus on the long term.
BT?s shares hit a four-year low last week
after City analysts said it might have to cut
its dividend. Analysts at Jefferies reckon
the telecoms company, which reports
first-half results on Thursday, needs to
spend money on its broadband network to
repair relations with the regulator, Ofcom.
BT and Ofcom have been at loggerheads over the proposed separation of
VITAL STATISTIC
Quote of the week goes to Josef Stadler,
UBS?s head of global ultra-high net worth,
who reports a ?second gilded age? for the
world?s super-rich: ?Wealth concentration
is as high as in 1905. This is something
billionaires are concerned about.?
Share price, pence
800
600
2013
2014
2015
have to give. An obvious saving might be
opting out of the bidding for English Premier League TV rights early next year, but
the analysts argue football is too important to BT?s customers.
If the dividend is cut, it won?t go down
well with more than a million BT small
shareholders, many of whom have held the
shares since privatisation in the 1980s.
PEOPLE
HSBC
400
BT?s infrastructure arm, Openreach, and
in March, Ofcom slapped a record �m
fine on BT for failings at Openreach, which
provides the network BT?s rivals rely on for
broadband. Last week, BT agreed big cuts
to landline-only bills after criticism from
Ofcom. At the same time, Jefferies says,
BT?s everyday business is finding revenue
harder to come by, and something may
2016
2017
HSBC was in the doldrums 18 months ago
as investors fretted about banks, but look
at it now. Shares in the global lender,
which is to publish a trading update
tomorrow, are up 60% since then.
A good week for Jo
Jenkins, leaving her
job as director of
clothing and beauty at Marks & Spencer
to be boss of White Stu?, the privately
owned chain. After 20 years at M&S and
Next, Jenkins gets to be the boss. Not
good news for M&S, though. Jenkins was
meant to support Jill McDonald in reviving
M&S clothing. McDonald has no hands-on
experience in fashion. White Stu? will have
to wait for Jenkins: M&S wants her to work
her six months? notice.
A bad week for
Jes Staley, head
of Barclays. The
regulator is looking
into his stance on whistleblowers. Now
third-quarter pro?ts are down 15% at its
investment bank, the business Staley is
pinning his hopes on to increase returns.
Barclays?s shares fell 7%.
Postscript The high price of poverty
COMPANIES
Skinny pro?ts at Costa
make Brittain look bad
Car sales stuck in low
gear amid Brexit ?fog?
Only a few months ago, Britain?s car
industry appeared to be ?ring on all
cylinders, but activity has now stalled.
Pendragon, the country?s biggest car
dealer, issued a pro?t warning last
Monday. It blamed a dip in demand for
new cars that it expects to continue
into 2018. This probably shouldn?t have
come as a surprise after an industry
report showed new car registrations
falling for the sixth month running.
Last Wednesday, ?gures for September
showed a 14% fall in cars built for
the UK market as manufacturers
responded by cutting supply.
On that day, Toyota called on
the government to ?lift the fog? on
Brexit and secure a deal to support
Toyota: demanding a deal for Burnaston.
the Japanese company?s plant in
Burnaston, Derbyshire. About 80%
of cars made at the factory go to
continental Europe, so extra tariffs will
affect competitiveness.
Brexit isn?t the only reason for the
reversal in the industry?s fortunes
but production is so interwoven
across Europe that anything short of
a miraculously good deal will surely
cause damage in the long run.
The average boss of a top public
company sticks around for about ?ve
years, so success is often about timing
as much as strategic genius. Is Alison
Brittain on the wrong side of events
at Whitbread? The former Lloyds
banker took over in January 2016 after
a spectacular run for the shares as her
predecessor, Andy Harrison, carpeted
the UK in Costa Coffee shops to meet
seemingly unquenchable demand for
hot drinks. Since then, Whitbread?s
shares have fallen 14% while the FTSE
100 has gained 25%. Growth at Costa?s
established branches stagnated in the
quarter to the end of August, sending
the shares down last week despite good
news from Premier Inn, Whitbread?s
biggest business. Looks like Brittain
will have to rely on strategic acumen.
ECONOMICS
BrightHouse, the hire purchase
retailer, agreed last week to pay almost
�m in refunds and compensation to 249,000 customers after the
Financial Conduct Authority found it
hadn?t acted responsibly when lending to ?nancially vulnerable ? poor
? people. Through its 280 branches,
BrightHouse sells TVs, furniture and
BrightHouse: almost 70% a year interest.
white goods on credit, typically charging 69.9% a year in interest. The payments are advertised as a few pounds a
week, but customers end up paying far
more than the basic price.
Like Provident Financial, the doorstep lender that charges � to borrow
�0 for three months, BrightHouse
is an example of what economists
call the poverty premium: those least
able to afford it pay the most for the
basics of life. As Annie Quick, inequality specialist at the New Economics
Foundation (NEF), says: ?It is very
expensive being poor.?
NEF has called for tighter regulation
of lending to the vulnerable but also
for the government to support credit
unions and other responsible lenders rooted in communities. Financial
education must have a role, too. The
FCA has said it is worried about levels
of debt ? but it will take more than
hand-wringing to break the cycle that
traps Britain?s poorest families.
*
40 | BUSINESS
Twist or stick?
The two sides of a
vital interest rate
decision for UK
29.10.17
WHERE THE BANK OF ENGLAND?S MONETARY POLI
After a decade of ultra-low rates, many predict a rise this
week. It?s essential to control in?ation and save Bank chief
Mark Carney?s face, say the hawks. A terrible idea in a weak
economy, argue doves. Phillip Inman looks at both sides
M
arkets have a tendency to
panic when central banks
threaten to raise interest rates. In 2014, the US
Federal Reserve and its
then boss, Ben Bernanke,
sent traders across the world into a spin
when he merely hinted that the era of
almost zero rates might be ending.
It?s been a decade since the Bank of
England last increased the cost of borrowing, so it is no surprise that this
week?s vote by the monetary policy committee, which Threadneedle Street has
sketched out as a good moment for a rise,
is being closely watched.
Nine committee members hold the
key to unlocking 10 years of ultra-low
rates ? with ?ve drawn from the Bank?s
payroll and four external members from
industry and the City. The latter serve a
three-year stint, which is often extended
to six years.
Bank of England governor Mark
Carney is among many on the MPC to
have hinted that 2 November will be the
day the Bank should at least reverse its
emergency 0.25% set in August 2016,
which was designed to ensure that the
economy did not take a dive in the wake
of the Brexit vote. And having listened
to one carefully coded hint after another
in recent months from what is clearly
a majority of members, markets have
judged that an increase is now almost
nailed on ? with a 90% probability.
However, the case for a rate rise, as
Carney and his colleagues always stress,
is finely balanced and could go either
way once they have sieved through all
the economic data. Here we consider
the arguments for raising them versus
the reasons to hold steady.
The case for higher rates
The Bank of England was set two targets when it was reconstituted by Gordon Brown in the late 1990s and granted
the power to set interest rates independently: to maintain in?ation at around
2% and to make sure that monetary policy kept the economy?s wheels turning.
In the past 10 years these have proved
to be con?icting aims, because to raise
rates has been seen as an almost certain
way to kill off growth. That wouldn?t be
the case in more normal times, but in
the aftermath of the banking crash, with
lenders initially strapped for funds and
regulators concerned to keep the ?nancial sector on a tight rein, low interest
rates were seen as the only way to keep
money flowing around the economy.
And that is especially true when so
much household spending is based on
borrowed money.
So the second concern ? to keep GDP
expanding ? has won out over the imperative to maintain in?ation steady at 2%,
and in?ation has been allowed to soar to
5% ? as it did in 2012, when the Bank sat
?rmly on its hands and did nothing.
Forecasts for inflation don?t show
it going back to 2012 levels, but with a
rate of 3% recorded in September and
predictions of rises for at least the next
couple of months, the Bank must consider increasing the cost of borrowing
to reduce the demand for goods and services, and calm price rises.
Further price increases could already
be in the pipeline, according to some
MPC members, following the fall in
unemployment to 4.3% in the three
months to August. As Howard Archer,
chief economic adviser to the EY Item
Club, says, the joblessness rate is at its
lowest since 1975 and well below the
4.5% equilibrium rate the Bank believes
determines full employment and is the
trigger for higher wages. With more
money in their pockets, workers could
be tempted to borrow and spend even
more, adding to the pressure on prices.
It?s not just jobs: the economy has held
up much better than most forecasters,
including the Bank, predicted following
the Brexit vote. It has grown throughout
the year ? when many thought it could
fall into recession ? after three previous
years of growth. If the Bank won?t raise
rates against this backdrop, then when?
Some economists also believe the
bank should take the opportunity to
raise rates now because it may need to
cut them again the future. At 0.25%, the
bank has no real leeway for a cut that
would act as a stimulus. By raising rates
? maybe once, maybe more ? Threadneedle Street starts to rebuild its ammunition for use in a crisis.
And then there is the question of
pride. This is a huge factor after months
during which the Bank has prepared the
ground for a rate rise. As Archer says: ?If
it fails again to follow through with a rate
hike, it will risk losing credibility.?
It would also probably prompt a fall in
the pound ? which would stoke in?ation
even further.
Carney?s reputation as a modern-day
Grand Old Duke of York is under particular scrutiny. He has used speeches
and reports in the past to tell businesses
and households that higher borrowing
costs are imminent ? only to retreat back
down the mountain. It could be that his
in?uence will wane should he refuse to
make good on yet another threat.
The case for the status quo
The economy may have grown for
almost four straight years, but the rate of
growth has declined since its initial burst
in late 2013 and is now the lowest of all
major economies. Next year, the OECD
says Italy and Japan, often derided as
the zombie economies of the developed
world, will grow faster than the UK.
Last week the Office for National Sta-
tistics said Britain grew by 0.4% in the
third quarter of the year, compared with
0.3% in the ?rst two quarters.
The MPC?s newest recruit, Sir David
Ramsden, formerly the Treasury?s chief
economic adviser, said in his con?rmation hearing that given rates of growth
almost half what they were in 2015, the
economy was too weak to withstand
higher borrowing costs.
With the government seeking to cut
New chief at Channel 4 will
have to hit the ground running
by Mark Sweney
If timing is everything, then Alex
Mahon?s arrival in her new job as chief
executive of Channel 4 on the eve of
the ?nal of The Great British Bake Off
could not have been planned better.
The new-look show?s critical and commercial success has more than justi?ed
the �m spent taking it from the BBC.
Mahon, who turns 44 this weekend,
joins Channel 4 from the special effects
company behind the ?lms Gravity and
Guardians of the Galaxy. Her inbox
includes pressure from the government
for a move out of London, arresting
a decline in TV viewing, a volatile ad
market and hiring a new chief creative officer to spearhead Channel 4?s
�0m programming budget.
BAKE OFF IS A SHOWSTOPPER
Before the summer launch of Bake
Off, the audience ?gures for Channel
4?s eponymous ?agship network this
year had been abysmal. Among 16- to
34-year-olds ? the broadcaster?s core
audience, highly prized by advertisers
? viewing was down 15% year on year.
Viewing among all adults was down
5%. Since the new Bake Off debuted on
29 August, Channel 4?s youth audience has rebounded, with almost 14%
growth year-on-year. Adults are up 2%.
Bake Off can lay claim to being the
most popular series on UK TV among
16- to 34-year-olds, ahead of Britain?s
Got Talent, Love Island, The X Factor
and Saturday Night Takeaway.
?This is an incredible turnaround
in fortunes,? said Phil Hall, associate director at media buying agency
MediaCom. ?While Channel 4?s
schedule has had plenty of good shows
that have helped, the biggest factor has
been the one with a great big tent in the
middle of a ?eld. It makes the �m-ayear they paid look very good value.?
Channel 4 says the show has
exceeded all targets, and that the six
million average live audience is about
double what it needed to break even,
making for its biggest commercial
franchise since Big Brother departed
for Channel�in 2010.
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION
Mahon?s tenure as chief executive will
ultimately be judged on the outcome
of the fractious battle with government over the proposed relocation of
Channel 4 outside the capital. Its former chief executive, David Abraham,
and current chairman, Charles
Gurassa, have argued that a full-scale
relocation would be catastrophic.
Giving up a base in the capital
would, they say, cause 60% to 80%
of staff to leave. They point out that
29.10.17
BUSINESS | 41
*
MMITTEE STANDS
IAN
MCCAFFERTY
MICHAEL
SAUNDERS
GERTJAN
VLIEGHE
MARK
CARNEY
External member
External member
External member
Governor
The former chief economic
adviser at the CBI voted in July to
raise the base rate from 0.25% to
0.5%. He has voted for a rise ever
since, arguing that the ?pick-up
in in?ation is not something we
can just ignore?, especially when
the ?healthy performance of
businesses in the past year shows
the UK economy could cope with
higher interest rates?.
Former Citibank economist
Saunders voted for a rise in
September, to dampen looming
price pressures. In August he said:
?Our foot no longer needs to be
quite so ?rmly on the accelerator
in my view. A modest rise in rates
would help ensure a sustainable
return of in?ation to target.?
A former hedge fund economist,
Vlieghe, an external member of
the MPC, said in August: ?This is an
environment where a premature
hike would be a bigger mistake
than one that turns out to be
slightly late.? Last month he said
the mood was changing: ?The
appropriate time for a rise in bank
rate may be as early as in the
coming months.?
Carney is expected to vote for a
rise after saying in September
that the ?possibility has de?nitely
increased?. To give a little more
context to his decision, he said:
?The majority of committee
members, myself included,
see that that balancing act is
beginning to shift, and that ... to
return in?ation to that 2% target in
a sustainable manner, there may
need to be some adjustment of
interest rates.?
DOVE (0) OR HAWK (10)?
DOVE OR HAWK?
DOVE OR HAWK?
DOVE OR HAWK?
ANDREW
HALDANE
BEN
BROADBENT
SILVANA
TENREYRO
JON
CUNLIFFE
DAVID
RAMSDEN
Chief economist
Deputy governor
External member
Deputy governor
Deputy governor
Haldane was once a fervent
supporter of low interest rates,
but in the summer hinted that
he was more inclined to start
pushing them higher. In June, he
said a partial withdrawal of the
emergency post-Brexit package
of an interest rate cut and an
extra �bn of quantitative
easing ?would be prudent
relatively soon?.
Responsible for monetary policy,
Broadbent is a close con?dant of
Carney and keeps his cards close
to his chest. In July he stressed
the weakness of the economic
outlook, saying: ?It is a bit tricky
at the moment to make a decision
[to raise rates]. I am not ready to
do it yet.?
A former professor at the London
School of Economics, Tenreyro is a
new appointee. At her ?rst public
engagement last month, she said:
?We are approaching a tipping
point when we will need to reduce
some of that stimulus.? She added
that unemployment still needed to
be lower: ?A premature increase
might be very contractionary,
so a mistake there might be
very costly.?
In charge of ?nancial stability
at the Bank, Cunli?e is one of
the committee?s most riskaverse members. Last month
he told the Western Mail that
the UK economy had ?clearly
slowed?, and that any rate rises
would be gradual. As he put it:
?The exact timing of when that
starts? Well, that for me is a more
open question.?
In charge of markets and banking,
the former Treasury economist
says slowing growth and declining
real wages mean now is not
the time for a rate rise. He said
last month: ?Despite continued
robust growth in employment,
there is no sign of second-round
e?ects [demands for higher
pay] on to wages from higher
recent in?ation.?
DOVE OR HAWK?
DOVE OR HAWK?
DOVE OR HAWK?
DOVE OR HAWK?
DOVE OR HAWK?
back on borrowing, and large corporations hoarding enough cash to avoid the
need to borrow, driving up the cost of
loans to consumers and small businesses
could push the economy further towards
zero growth.
Brexit is another reason to err on the
side of caution and keep rates where they
are. Consumers have already become
more circumspect with their spending.
High street surveys show consumers
The successful
launch of Channel
4?s version of The
Great British Bake
Off, left, reversed
a decline in
viewing figures
for new C4 chief
Mahon, above.
almost all Channel 4?s advertisers are
based in London, as well as rivals and
partners such as Net?ix. The broadcaster is willing to spend more money
with TV producers based outside
London, and move a small proportion
of its 800 staff.
Last week, the culture secretary,
Karen Bradley, raised the temperature
when she published a report that said
a full move, combined with increased
spending on programme-making
outside of London, could create nearly
7,500 jobs and �0m in economic
bene?ts annually.
London-born, Edinburgh-raised
keeping their wallets shut unless there
is a good reason to open them. The CBI?s
latest ?gures showed the steepest fall in
retail spending since the depths of the
post-banking crisis recession in 2009.
High street bellwethers John Lewis and
Debenhams have both warned of challenging trading. Car sales have already
plummeted, as have sales of furniture.
According to the Halifax, con?dence in
the housing market is at a ?ve-year low.
Chris Williamson of economics consultancy IHS Insight says the ?slow erosion of growth? may continue. He points
out that across all sectors of the economy, in?ows of new business in September were at their lowest for 13 months,
suggesting that demand for goods and
services ?has waned again?.
Business optimism is weak, he adds,
which is another indication that businesses are about to suffer a further drop
Mahon, who has already worked
closely with the culture department as
a member of the advisory panel on the
renewal of the BBC?s royal charter, is
likely to agree with the strategic assessment of her predecessor and the board.
Both sides have said they are keen to
reach an agreement by Christmas ?
against a backdrop of furious lobbying
from cities such as Birmingham, Leeds
and Manchester ? and Mahon will
have to hit the ground running.
who also applied for the top job, is
likely to want additional responsibility.
HIRING THE A-TEAM
Her biggest immediate task is to ?ll the
post of chief creative officer vacated
by Jay Hunt, who abruptly resigned in
June after missing out on the top job.
Hunt?s credits included the big Bake
Off bet, delivering the London 2012
Paralympics, commissioning shows
such as Humans, Gogglebox and Black
Mirror and importing Homeland and
The Handmaid?s Tale.
Candidates linked with the role
include Ralph Lee, Hunt?s wellregarded deputy, and the BBC3
controller Damian Kavanagh, who has
impressed with commissions including teen drama Thirteen and comedy
Fleabag. Ian Katz, the editor of BBC?s
Newsnight, is another name mentioned. Jonathan Allan, responsible for
Channel 4?s �2bn ad sales operation,
THE NETFLIX EFFECT
Mahon is facing some difficult strategic
decisions to secure the long-term
commercial future of the advertisingfunded public service broadcaster.
About 90% of Channel 4?s revenues
are from TV advertising, at a time
when youth audiences are switching
off in favour of online services such as
Net?ix. One issue is that Channel 4?s
remit from the government does not
allow it to build a TV production division, as rivals such as ITV have done, to
diversify and strengthen its business.
Channel 4 has said that advertising
revenue this year will be �0m less
than predicted before the Brexit vote.
?Bake Off hasn?t solved Channel 4?s
problems,? says Hall. ?They are still
staring down the barrel of a bad year.?
Ever-bullish Allan says that, with a
strong schedule for the rest of the year,
the broadcaster could be looking at
a creditable ?at year-on-year performance for 2017 against rivals in its
share of viewing.
?In terms of advertising revenues
for the fourth quarter, we might well
be up year on year ? the ?rst time since
Brexit,? he says. ?That is a good signal
for next year.?
in activity and that the economy will
slow ?towards stagnation at best?.
Archer of the EY Item Club believes
in?ation is set to fall back markedly from
around the turn of the year as the impact
of past sharp falls in sterling fade. The
weak pound has seen many businesses
suffering a large rise in import costs,
which a number have absorbed through
lower pro?t margins and passed on to
workers through sub-inflation wage
rises. Nevertheless, prices have crept up.
Without further falls in sterling, prices
will stabilise on their own. An interest
rate rise in this situation could make a
bad situation worse.
It?s a danger Ramsden has been explicit
about wanting to avoid. But pushing
an already struggling economy, dogged
by Brexit-related uncertainty, towards
recession is not something any MPC
member will want to be remembered for.
42 | BUSINESS
*
Analysis
29.10.17
From cars to coats, consumers appear loth to
spend. Is it a blip, or Brexit beginning to bite?
Barclays has little
choice but to
keep faith with
Staley?s strategy
BUSINESS LEADER
T
E
conomists tend to be sniffy
about the CBI?s distributive trades survey ? the one
that this week reported the
?steepest drop? in retail sales
since the depths of the recession in 2009. The report describes only
a two-week snapshot of trading, they
say, and thus is volatile and unreliable.
The size of the sample is too small, they
also argue, because only 49 retailers
participate and half of them employ
fewer than 100 people.
These are fair points, and economists
are paid to be fussy. But sometimes
even a statistically dodgy survey chimes
with common sense and the mood
music from the front line. The overwhelming evidence suggests a storm is
gathering over the retail sector.
Exhibit A is John Lewis, almost the
de?nition of a high street bellwether.
Sales fell by 4.7% in the week before
last. Warm autumn weather isn?t helping, of course, because clothing rails
are stocked with winter fashions, but
this weak run is looking alarmingly
long. Over three weeks, same-store
sales at John Lewis are estimated to be
4.5% behind last year. And that?s hefty.
Then there is last week?s pro?ts
warning from Pendragon, the car
dealer behind the Evan Halshaw and
Stratstone brands. Again, it may be that
special factors are at work, in this case
the slump in sales of diesel cars and
overproduction by car manufacturers.
But neither of those pressures is new.
The bottom line is that, at the beginning of August, Pendragon expected
to make a �m pro?t in 2017; now it
thinks the ?gure will be �m. Perhaps
nervous consumers are deciding this
is not the moment to make a big-ticket
commitment like a new car.
That would ?t with earnings data
from the Office for National Statistics.
Latest estimates show that, when
in?ation is taken into account, average
real wages for employees fell by 0.4%
in the period from June to August
compared with the previous year. And
the squeeze on incomes has probably
intensi?ed since then. In?ation, as
Going up? Prices of basic good are rising but sales at John Lewis are down year on year. Photograph by Sarah Lee for the Observer
measured by the retail prices index,
rose to 3.9% in September.
The strain is showing in consumers?
wallets. UK Finance, a trade body for
banks and credit card issuers, said borrowing on credit cards from high street
banks was 5.5% higher than a year ago.
Meanwhile, applications for individual
voluntary arrangements ? a means of
managing personal debt ? are soaring.
The picture of maxed-out consumers struggling to save, and running on
more credit, is clear.
So is the in?uence of Brexit ? or,
more strictly, of a weaker pound ? on
disposable incomes. In the months
immediately after the June 2016 referendum, nothing happened. Prices in
shops didn?t change and supermarkets
could defer price rises on imported
foods because they had locked in supplies at the old exchange rate. Now
those ?nancial hedges have ?nished
and prices of basic goods in shops are
rising. Another exchange rate effect
may also be at work: retailers suspect
consumers who took a summer holiday
in the eurozone were surprised by the
size of the credit card bill and have
taken an autumn pledge of austerity.
The question for retailers is whether
Christmas will improve matters.
Predictions of dire pre-Christmas trading have been confounded many times
in recent years. The bleak October may
turn out to be a blip, and the picture
may be distorted by the shift to online
shopping. The script could yet come
good for shopkeepers, especially food
retailers, if consumers decide a quick
way to save is to avoid restaurants.
Yet things feel different. Real
incomes have fallen for the ?rst time
since 2014, con?dence in house prices
stands at a ?ve-year low, and next week
the Bank of England is likely to raise
interest rates for the ?rst time in a decade. Yes, the CBI survey, which showed
a dramatic swing from boom to gloom
between September and October, may
be an exaggeration. But the direction
of travel seems correct: 16 months
after the fall in sterling, consumers feel
poorer because they are poorer.
Dammit, Janet looks set to survive for another Fed term
P
resident Donald Trump is
expected to announce who will
chair the US central bank for the
next four years in the coming
week. But after months of speculation involving various potential new
appointees to run the Federal Reserve,
analysts now expect he will give the
incumbent, Janet Yellen, another term.
No one should be surprised when a
senior official who was once derided
suddenly becomes the president?s
new燽est friend. It seems to happen to
so many.
In the summer, Trump said he was
minded to replace Yellen, and put
forward the names of ?ve economists.
Later he narrowed the ?eld to two:
Jerome Powell, a Fed official with a
voting record that mimics Yellen?s;
and John Taylor, a Stanford University
economist who ranks among the Fed?s
?ercest critics.
One of Trump?s concerns was that
savers were being short-changed by
low interest rates. But now that Yellen
is raising rates, she is back in favour
and he has moved on to other battles,
giving monetary policy some muchneeded stability.
he ?rst time Barclays wanted
Jes Staley it got scared off.
Appointing the American investment banker as chief executive
in 2012 would have been too racy at a
time when the bank was mired in the
Libor rate-rigging scandal. Instead, the
internal candidate Antony Jenkins got
the job, until he was ?red for being just
a bit too safe. So, Barclays got Staley the
second time around in 2015 ? and he
came with a big promise. John McFarlane, the loose-tongued chairman, let
it be known that the ousting of Jenkins
would give the bank a chance to double
its share price in three years.
That was July 2015 and the share
price was 260p. If McFarlane does
not rue the day he made that promise,
Staley must. More than two years later,
the shares are at 180p after taking a
pounding following disappointing
nine-month results last week.
Staley cannot get momentum behind
his vision for a transatlantic bank with
centres in London and New York, and
now freed from its once-prized African
operations. True, he cannot be blamed
for the Brexit-induced shock that
rocked the markets last year. Yet that
does not explain the malaise surrounding the bank.
Anxiety looms large about Staley?s
strategy to expand the investment
bank, which has been through numerous incarnations in recent years. The
business is cyclical ? and currently in
the wrong part of the cycle to support
his case to plough resources into an
operation so hated by his predecessor.
There is also uncertainty about
Staley himself. Weighing heavily on the
stock is an investigation by regulators
on both sides of the Atlantic into his
attempts to unmask a whistleblower.
A damning ?nding could force Staley
out ? and leave Barclays looking for yet
another chief executive.
Yet here?s the rub. A new boss is
probably not what Barclays needs as
it implements the Vickers reforms to
ringfence its high street arm from its
investment bank, or braces for Brexit.
Staley?s strategy may be unproven but
it?s the only one on the table.
All hail British banks: self-absorbed, short-termist and spivvy
ECONOMICS
Phillip
Inman
W
hen everyone around you
sits on their hands, it?s
tempting to take control.
While companies refuse
to invest and Whitehall is paralysed by
Brexit, why not legislate and nationalise to get something done?
Britain is in the midst of an investment crisis, a productivity crisis, an
income crisis and an inequality crisis ?
and all are so entrenched that they are
beyond policies that tinker or No 10?s
?nudge unit?.
Nudge economics, despite the award
this year of a Nobel prize to its main
proponent, the American Richard
Thaler, is a pathetically weak tool given
the scale of the problem.
What?s more, so many of the government?s current policies, nudge or
otherwise, are just plain bad. A case
in point is the �bn allocated to the
help to buy programme, which is a rare
example of big money being thrown at
a situation, in this case the one affecting housebuilding.
Help to buy works by giving homebuyers an interest-free government
loan worth up to 20% of the value of a
new-build property. It was designed by
the Treasury and backed by the Bank of
England as a way to spur housebuilding across the country.
But a report by Morgan Stanley has
found that almost all of the �bn has
gone into the pockets of housebuildding ?rms, with little evidence that the
rate of housebuilding has increased.
Shares in the big building companies have soared, as you might
imagine, and the promise of �bn
more from Philip Hammond in next
month?s budget has of sent their
market values even higher. A year ago,
the price of a share in Persimmon, the
UK?s second-largest housebuilder,
stood at �. Now it stands just below
�, a 55% rise.
And this obsession with private
property goes deeper, as the IPPR
Commission on Social Justice found
in its report ? Financing investment:
Reforming Finance Markets for the
Long Term. The commission is a crossparty group that includes business people ? who run airports, departments
stores and investment funds ? alongside ?gures from civil society such
as Archbishop of Canterbury Justin
Welby, members of charity Citizens UK
and a smattering of academics.
It?s not only the government that
is obsessed with lending to prop up
property owners and developers ? the
banking sector is keen, too. The report
sets out the way UK banks mostly lend
abroad, with loans to UK businesses
accounting for just 5% of total UK bank
assets, compared with 11% in France,
12% in Germany and 14% on average
across the rest of the eurozone.
Property loans to businesses and
individuals in the UK account for more
than 78% of all loans to individuals
and non-?nancial businesses ? which
means those outside the Square Mile.
After stripping out real estate, loans to
UK businesses account for just 3% of
all banking assets.
As a transmission mechanism for
As a mechanism for
diverting our savings
into worthwhile,
productive businesses
banks fail miserably
diverting the nation?s savings into
worthwhile, productive businesses, the
banks fail miserably.
And the rest of the ?nancial sector
is just as bad. The IPPR report accused
hedge funds, proprietary traders
(which use investment bank cash) and
high-frequency traders ? a group that
collectively makes up 72% of trades
in on the London market ? of paying
themselves depending on performance
against rivals and over short timescales, ?not long-term value creation?.
This spivvy trading arena has the
knock-on effect of making shortterm demands on the boards of listed
companies. Such is the pressure to
avoid being caught in traders? headlights that in a survey of more than 400
executives, some 75% said they ?would
sacri?ce positive economic outcomes?
if it helped smooth their pro?t ?gures
from one quarter to the next.
The report argues that this selfabsorbed world of stock market trading
needs to support longer-term investment in a way that also bene?ts savers
and business owners.
Some of the solutions it puts forward
are all well worth pursuing, including a move to scrap the little-known
?market maker? relief on stamp duty
reserve tax. This would effectively be
a ?rst step towards a ?nancial transac-
tions tax to reduce short-term speculative trading, while also raising at least
�2bn a year by 2020.
The commission goes on to say that
the funds raised should be used to
introduce new reliefs in capital gains
tax and corporation tax to encourage
the longer-term ownership of shares.
Yet, that �2bn quali?es as not much
more than a nudge in the right direction. It won?t satisfy those who demand
that a leftist government should go
beyond encouragement and nationalise the commanding heights of the
economy, from the energy companies
to the railway franchise holders, and
tackle the banking sector by funding
new investment vehicles, national and
regional, to bridge the gap between
high ?nance and small and mediumsized businesses.
Labour already has many of these
policies in its manifesto, and some at
the top of the party plan to go further.
Fortune favours the brave, they say.
Could it be though, that while the
commission appears timid, its aim of
achieving a broad consensus for policy
initiatives means it has a better chance
of long-term success? It is frustratingly
accurate when it portrays Britain?s
economy as a supertanker. Hoping it
will react like a dinghy to a hard push
on the tiller is wishful thinking.
29.10.17
Media
*
What Catalonia
dearly needs is
a neutral press
PRESS AND
BROADCASTING
Peter
Preston
H
ere?s a stinker of a question,
the whole concept of press
freedom tangled in its own
contradictions. If you run a
government-?nanced broadcasting system (say Catalan
radio and TV) can some higher authority (say the Spanish state) take control of
you when it steps in to run everything?
Maybe an easy problem if we?re
talking about independent, truthseeking newsrooms. But what if that
is not exactly possible? See the shades
of grey爂ather. Here?s the EU head of
Reporters Sans Fronti鑢es, quoted in a
new report on the Catalan imbroglio:
?The climate for the free exercise of
journalism has been tremendously
corrupted by extreme polarisation
in Catalan politics and society. The
regional government?s eagerness to
impose its own narrative on to the local,
Spanish and international press has
crossed red lines, and the intimidating
manoeuvres of the central Spanish government have certainly not爃elped.?
Here?s the boss of TV3, the main
Catalan channel: ?The legality for the
director of television in Catalonia is
the legality that emanates from the
parliament of Catalonia.? His staff
?will爋ppose? the national government?s intervention. He believes that
?the parliamentary majority? for
Catalan independence ?represents a
majority social feeling? that overrides
Spanish legalities.
Catalan TV and radio ? perhaps
especially radio ? are not negligible
forces. They account for 31% of all
regional broadcasting money spent in
Spain. And television meshes with print
and online activity. TV3 stalwarts燼re on
the board of Ara, the biggest Catalanonly paper in the region (with an online
audience close to 2.5爉illion). President
Carles Puigdemont is a journalist who
worked for El Punt in Girona, one of the
staunchest pro-independence areas.
Last year, according to the Madrid
paper El Mundo, the Catalan Generalitat
gave ?7m in grants to chosen media,
with well over a million going to Ara
and El Punt. There?s been a forest of
magic money trees before that.
So much for background. What
about the future ? including regional
elections promised on 21 December?
How can they be held fairly in a toxic
media climate ? which, of course,
won?t be helped by the countervailing bias of Madrid?s public service
media? Does Madrid impose discipline,
censorship by another name? Or does
it let the vituperation roll ? and abide
by the non-intervention initiatives of
Rajoy?s socialist partners? Go one way
and all those Franco memories will get
another airing. Go the other and the
vote may be fatally compromised.
The difficulty is that the two paths
are equally fraught. But when in doubt,
always choose less rather than more
repression, no matter how difficult it
is. See the stick given to the followers
of the Spanish prime minister, Mariano
Rajoy, only a few weeks ago, when they
took down Catalan websites.
There will be neutral monitors
when the election comes, and there
ought to be neutral media voices in
play before that. Let them report regularly and openly. Ask Catalan newspapers, websites and broadcasters
to carry their verdicts on events as a
voluntary running commentary. Begin
transparent work towards a better
appointments system for editors and
directors. Keep parliament and press
freedoms at arm?s length.
But leave your heavy boots in the
hall. Tread softly. ?Both sides should
understand that the best sign of a
democracy is a free press, with journalists who seek truthful information and
feel no need to self-censor,? says the
RSF director. It will be infernally dif?cult after the shambles of the last few
days. But it?s a ?ag on the battle?eld
that must still be saluted.
BUSINESS | 43
What austerity?
In football rights
and TV shows,
the only way is up
T
Relaxed half-hour: Nick Ferrari and Emma Barnett, presenters of After the News. ITV
ITV?s new chatshow is no Newsnight
S
o After the News, ITV?s newsy
night chat show, is running
100,000 viewers or so ahead of
Newsnight. It doesn?t matter: it?s
about as sensible as saying the Daily
Express sells more than爐he FT.
After the News has one thing going
for it: a relaxed half-hour of not very
challenging discussion that doesn?t
cut restlessly from item to item. It?s
cheap as chips. Indeed, it might be
just as good on radio, where its two
presenters, Nick Ferrari and Emma
Barnett, ?ourish. (At least, then, we
wouldn?t have to see Nick writhing unhappily inside an expensive
black爏uit.)
Newsnight, by contrast, ranges far
and wide. It has truly expert cor-
respondents such as Mark Urban. It
presents social policy issues with a
?ne analytical ?ourish (Chris Cook).
Its main man, Evan Davis, often knows
more about economics than the politicians he interrogates. There?s a budget
that allows innovation. In the context
of BBC news, it?s a continuing boon.
Did Newsnight make a mistake in
August when it let Ferrari do a presentation gig in place of LBC?s James
O?Brien? Of course. Added confusion.
Barnett asks poised questions.
Ferrari is an in?nitely experienced old
bludgeon from the Tabloid University
of Hard Knocks. After the News may
?nd a niche. But it needs taking on its
own terms, not as some kind of nocturnal monster threatening the BBC.
Mail Online can?t have it both ways
A
t the start of last week Oxford
University was getting a tousing. Only 15% of places for students from the north. Thirteen
colleges had made no offer to a black
student six years in a row. ?Social apartheid,? cried the Mail Online. But scroll
forward a few days and everything
changes. ?Why is every new Oxbridge
head a leftie?? wails the Mail, putting
Alan Rusbridger, Helena Kennedy,
Mark Damazer and Will Hutton ?rst in
some sinister Remainer ?ring line.
You can run the apartheid course
? or you can trip over your Brexit bootlaces. But you really need to choose.
here?s no squeeze being felt in at
least two succulent media areas,
Brexit or no Brexit. Indeed, the
cash registers are beating out a
euphoric tune.
There?s TV and the Premier League,
just coming up for its next three-year
rights renewal. Only seven years ago,
the going rate for the whole shooting
match was �4m. Today ? fuelled by
the 2013 entry of BT into a suddenly
competitive market ? it?s �712m, and
expected to go up by at least 40% in the
next bidding round.
BT is already paying more for its top
matches than Sky spent on the whole
of its sports coverage a decade ago.
Hyperin?ation.
But it could all get much worse (or
better) as the second media joy story
kicks in. Jay Hunt, one of the most
successful creative minds in British
TV, is to become the European driving
force for Apple as it puts an initial
$1bn into streaming shows, ready to
compete with Amazon (currently
spending $4.5bn) and Net?ix ($6bn
heading for seven). Content, content.
For the moment, ?lm- and video-makers have struck gold.
Quake, then, if you?re Sky or BT,
fearing a new soccer bidder on the
block as prices take off again. There?s
only one consolation. When Enders
Analysis examined this scene, it
reckoned that any serious sports rights
newcomer would need $10bn for starters. Even insanity has its price.
Why does Nigel Lawson keep
cropping up on perfunctory
BBC interviews about climate
change or Brexit? Because he?s
Lord Rent of Impartial-moment,
ever ready to balance Remain
voices or keen environmentalists.
But what happens when Lawson
gets his global warming ?gures
in a twist? The BBC has to apologise to everyone for not setting
him爏traight.
Oh blessed irony! Your token
?fairness? chap blows the house of
balance down and you?re left
re-assembling the pieces. Count
Nigel out for the future. Soon the
desperate list of impartiality
mongers on BBC standby will be
a very short one: with just Nigel 2
(Farage) left.
44 | CASH
*
Personal ?nance
Ombudsmen
are a ?shambles?,
campaigner
Martin Lewis
to warn MPs
29.10.17
Martin Lewis says
people need to
have confidence in
the ombudsman
system.
Photograph by
Martin Godwin for
the Observer
MoneySavingExpert?s founder will this week
tell an all-party group that complaints services
are in dire need of reform. Anna Tims reports
M
ichael Hernon was startled to be told that his
British Gas account
was �6 in the red. His
statement the previous
month showed that he
was �6 in credit. British Gas explained
that the sum related to an earlier bill
which, because of an error, had never
been sent. Hernon asked to see the bill
and when British Gas failed to oblige, he
turned to the Energy Ombudsman.
It ruled that the bill should be sent.
That was in April 2016. Hernon has still
not received proof of what he owes and
is unable to transfer his account until
the sum is paid. Yet the ombudsman has
closed the case and refused to communicate further.
?The information provided by the
ombudsman states that, once a review
is accepted by the customer, its terms
become binding on the company,? he
says. ?It has failed to implement its own
policy and British Gas continues to hold
my account hostage on the highest possible tariff.?
Hernon?s frustration is echoed by
Sarah Fowler of York, who complained
to the Energy Ombudsman when she
found that Extra Energy had confused
her metric meter with an imperial one
and tripled her bills. The ombudsman
ruled Extra Energy should refund the
�300 she had overpaid and, when
the money hadn?t arrived three months
later, it closed her case. ?They explained
that they must remain independent and
unbiased and have no authority over
Extra Energy,? she says. The refund was
only paid when the Observer contacted
the company, which explained that the
delay was due to human error.
Ombudsman schemes investigate and
resolve complaints against a company or
a public body when deadlock is reached,
and their decisions are supposed to
be binding. However, over the years,
numerous readers have contacted the
Observer claiming it has allowed ?rms
to ignore its own rulings.
?Consumer feedback has been very
poor,? says Martin Lewis, founder of the
campaign website MoneySavingExpert.
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the web
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latest
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and savings
best buys
go online
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com, which is presenting a review on
ombudsman schemes in parliament this
week. ?One of the biggest problems is
that remedies are not being implemented,
mainly because most ombudsman services lack the powers to enforce them.?
The ?ombudsman? title is a loose term
covering three tiers of dispute resolution. Statutory schemes ? such as the
Financial Ombudsman Service and the
Legal Ombudsman ? have compulsory
jurisdiction over certain regulated sectors, and decisions can be enforced by a
court. Those, like the Energy Ombudsman, are underpinned by statute. It is
compulsory for companies within that
sector to be members of a scheme but it
does not actually give the ombudsman
any more legal powers. If a company
ignores their remedies, all they can do is
suggest the customer takes court action
or, in serious breaches, report it to the
relevant爎egulator.
Then there are voluntary schemes,
established by a trade association, which
are essentially unregulated arbitration
with no legal powers, and companies
can choose whether or not to cooperate.
Lewis, whose review was commissioned by an all-party parliamentary
group, says the system is a shambles.
?Ombudsman schemes should be the
premier league of alternative dispute
resolution, and it?s time to crack down
on the use of the term. Consumers need
to have con?dence that any body bearing
the ?ombudsman? brand will investigate
impartially, and companies will have to
abide by their decision.?
He wants all ombudsmen to be created or underpinned by statute and given
greater powers to enforce their rulings.
In Hernon and Fowler?s cases the
Energy Ombudsman ? part of the private, not-for-pro?t company Ombudsman Services Ltd ? ignored the powers
that it already has.
It tells the Observer that remedies
must be implemented within 28 days
unless the company requests extra
time with good reason and, failing that,
that it would support the customer in
civil action. It fails to comment on why
Fowler was let down.
Hernon, meanwhile, was told in a
letter from the deputy chief executive,
Simon Morris, that it ?can only take at
face value? a company?s assurance that it
has complied and that it did not discuss
the non-compliance with British Gas.
In a single day Hernon received two
letters from the ombudsman, one declaring that British Gas had still not completed its remedies and that it would
report it to the regulator Ofgem and
open a new case into its failings. The
other stated that British Gas had fully
complied with its obligations and the
case was now closed.
Nearly a year on, it admitted it had
never contacted the regulator and told
Hernon that he had to open a new case.
Ombudsman Services says only 509 of
its 38,000 decisions in the 12 months to
July 2017 remained unful?lled after 28
days, but it admits that, in Hernon?s case
?it is clear there have been some shortfalls and we have committed to undertake a review of the handling of the case?.
British Gas says the disputed bill had
been cancelled and could not be regenerated, but that it supplied ?gures showing
gas usage to the ombudsman, and considers it has ful?lled its requirements.
At least the energy sector has an
ombudsman, which last year secured
customer payouts totalling �3m. In
2015 the government missed an opportunity when it enacted the EU directive on consumer alternative dispute
resolution (ADR). It stipulated that all
EU consumers should have access to an
ADR scheme if they have an unresolved
complaint about goods or services.
In fact, UK legislation only requires
companies to ?ag up a relevant scheme,
not to cooperate with one.
There was no move to expand and
consolidate the powers of official
ombudsman services, or even to ensure
that they exist for different sectors.
The Ombudsman Association, which
represents ombudsman and complainthandling bodies, says that the new legislation has encouraged competition
which confuses consumers, and allows
member companies to withdraw funding from one scheme and then sign up
to a cheaper, potentially less impartial爎ival.
There are now 147 such schemes in
operation, many overlapping and with
63% without official approval. ?The
association?s long-standing position is
that there should be a single ombudsman
within each sector, and one competent
authority to set standards,? says its director, Donal Galligan. ?The establishment
of more than one within an industry creates risks [of ] uneven standards of investigation and redress. There can also be a
risk of a race to the bottom.?
Martin Lewis believes that, ultimately, there should be a single compulsory ombudsman overseeing multiple
sectors so that consumers can call one
number and be put through to the relevant branch. He is also calling for an
end to the rule that forces consumers to
wait eight weeks before they can refer an
unresolved complaint to an ombudsman.
?If you are in debt and have a dispute
with a payday lender, that two-month
wait could cripple you,? he says. ?It dates
back to snail mail and now, with digital
communications, it makes no sense.?
HOW TO RESOLVE A DISPUTE
Alternative dispute resolution refers to
ways consumers can seek independent
redress from a trader if they feel they
are in breach of contract. Although
they are funded by the industry they
represent, they are expected to have an
independent board of non-executive
directors with only a minority from the
member companies. Schemes use a
range of processes to resolve disputes
and distinctions between them are
blurred. The main ADR processes are:
? Mediation A con?dential process
where an independent third party helps
disputing parties reach an agreement.
? Conciliation Similar to mediation, but
the independent third party has a more
active role in suggesting what agreement
should be reached.
? Arbitration An independent third party
evaluates a dispute and decides how it
should be resolved. The decision is binding
on both parties.
? Adjudication Similar to arbitration,
but the decision is only binding on the
business, not the consumer, who can still
take their case to a civil court.
? Ombudsman schemes Independent
third parties who consider complaints and
usually combine investigation, mediation,
and adjudication.
? Court Formal legal action is usually the
last resort employed by consumers to
obtain redress. Consumers can, however,
take legal action without going through
the above routes if they wish.
29.10.17
Personal
Your problems
?nance
*
MORTGAGES
Anna Tims
Etihad treated
my wheelchair as
mere lost luggage
when it?s my legs
Last autumn I booked a round trip
from London Heathrow via Abu
Dhabi and Tokyo Narita to Sydney
with Etihad Airways. During the
booking, I noti?ed Etihad, through
my travel agent, that I was a wheelchair user, and gave them a detailed
description of the type of assistance I
required.
At the departure gate at Heathrow
I found I had not been allocated
an aisle chair (a small wheelchair
designed to transfer passengers with
reduced mobility to their seat).
I had a two-hour wait for a connecting ?ight at Abu Dhabi where
there was no sign of my wheelchair.
I was assured it would be waiting
for me at Tokyo, but once there, I
learned that it had been left in Abu
Dhabi.
Moreover, special assistance was
not available to get me off the plane
at Tokyo, as requested, so a crew
member ? who had no clue how to
help me into the aisle chair ? had to
stand in.
It took 24 hours for my wheelchair
to be restored and I could not rent
one since it was Sunday and everything was closed. The airport let me
borrow a wheelchair as far as the station, and I had to make the two-hour
train journey from the airport to
Tokyo unable to move, then borrow
another chair from the station to get
me to a taxi.
I was due to give a presentation at
a conference the following day and it
was only because hotel staff found a
spare chair that I reached my engagement. Since I could no longer trust
Etihad, I refused to ?y with them on
the return journey and bought alternative tickets with British Airways.
The airline initially refused to
compensate me. Then, in January,
they relented. For the next three
months they gave me all kinds of
excuses as to why the money was not
in my account.
In April they stopped responding to emails. I took the case to the
Aviation Dispute Resolution but
Etihad did not respond. I was then
advised to complain to the Civil
Aviation Authority, but it told me
that Etihad had not responded to
them either. In their replies Etihad
talks as though my wheelchair was
mere luggage that had been delayed
when, in fact, it?s my legs.
LD, Warwick
Under EC regulations all airlines
departing or arriving at an EU airport
should provide special assistance to
passengers with disabilities if it has
been requested more than 48 hours
in advance. Etihad seems to have a
worrying disregard for the rules.
Moreover, it has not signed up to an
alternative dispute resolution scheme
so is not bound to cooperate with its
investigations. After the Observer
wades in, it takes a further month of
toing and froing before Etihad ?nally
coughs up the �8 cost of the BA
?ight and adds �0 in goodwill.
It blames incomplete information
from the travel agent. ?We apologise to
LD, and are sorry that, on this occasion,
we fell below the high standards we
have for customer service, especially
CASH | 45
for passengers with reduced mobility,?
it says. Asked whether it plans to
join an ADR scheme so passengers
with unresolved complaints can seek
arbitration, it remains cagey, replying
simply that it?s ?evaluating options?.
Mystery landlord collects our
rent in cash from our bedroom
I am 18 and have just moved into
a houseshare where the landlord
asks for the rent in cash. All bills are
included and I was wondering if this
is legal. I consequently have no proof
I?m living here. I?ve never met the
landlord ? we leave the cash in our
bedrooms and he goes in and collects it.
CW, London
Cash payments are certainly not ideal
as the landlord is likely to be using
them to dodge tax and because you
have no proof of payment or, indeed,
what you are paying for, unless he
is issuing invoices for the services
included and signed receipts.
Certainly the landlord should not
be entering bedrooms to collect the
rent and you need to request that payments are made outside the property,
according to Ralph Bullivant, partner
in the property litigation team at Hill
Dickinson LLP. As for the proof of
residency, he says, you should have
been given a tenancy agreement (normally an assured shorthold tenancy
agreement). If it was not provided, the
landlord can be obliged to provide a
statement of terms of your tenancy,
including his name and address, and it
must be provided within 28 days.
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.
Lender
Type
Rate %
Term
Max
LTV %
Fee �
Contact
Hanley Economic Building Society
?xed
1.09
31/12/2019
60
725
0845 070 5090
Hanley Economic Building Society
?xed
1.12
31/12/2019
75
745
0845 070 5090
AA
?xed
1.33
30/11/2019
85
995
0800 169 6010
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
AA
?xed
2.03
30/11/2022
85
995
0800 169 6010
Newcastle Building Society
?xed
3.39
28/2/2020
95
999
0345 606 4488
HSBC
bbr tracker + 0.74%
0.99
2 years
60
999
0800 030 4640
HSBC
bbr tracker + 0.84%
1.09
2 years
75
999
0800 030 4640
HSBC
bbr tracker + 0.99%
1.24
2 years
85
999
0800 030 4640
Barclays
o?set bbr tracker + 1.34%
1.59
2 years
75
999
0845 070 5090
Coventry Building Society
o?set ?xed
1.55
31/12/2019
75
999
0800 121 8899
SAVINGS
Provider
Account
NatWest
Savings Builder
1
Santander
123 Current Account
1
Bank of Cyprus UK
Online Easy-Access Account
Gross
AER %
Min �
Notice
Notes
Contact
1.50
1.50 &
�per
month
easy access
BATI
0800 255 200
easy access
AICD
0800 218 2352
1
1.28
easy access
I
bankofcyprus.co.uk
I
rcibank.co.uk
AP
0800 387 704
RCI Bank
Freedom Savings Account
100
1.30
Harrods Bank Limited
120-Day Notice Account 9
20,000
1.46
Regular Savings Account 3
The Access Bank UK Limited Sensible Savings 1-Year Fixed
Term Savings Bond
Axis Bank UK Ltd
2-Year Fixed Deposit
25
3.00
easy access
120 days
notice
easy access
AR
03451 220 022
5,000
1.85
1 year
PIF
01606 815 440
1,000
2.05
2 years
AIF
0207 397 2520
Ikano Bank
Fixed 3-Year Saver
1,000
2.21
3 years
IF
ikano.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
Charter Savings Bank
2-Year Fixed Rate Cash Isa
1,000
1.72
2 years
NS&I
NS&I
Direct Isa
3-Year Investment Gtee
Growth Bond
NS&I
Junior Isa
Kent Reliance
IF chartersavingsbank.
co.uk
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.
CREDIT CARDS
Provider card name
0% O?ers
Type
Sainsbury?s Bank Nectar
31 months Purchases
Purchase
Tesco Bank Clubcard
30 months Purchases
Purchase
Santander All in One
39 months Balance
Transfer
39 months Balance
Transfer
Balance
Transfer
Balance
Transfer
Tesco Bank Clubcard BT
Transfer
fee %
Repr
APR
Cashback
Contact
na
18.9
Not Available
sainsburysbank.co.uk
na
18.9
Not Available
tescobank.com
0.00
21.7
Not Available
santander.co.uk
2.69
18.9
American Express Platinum None
Cashback
na
28.2
American Express Platinum
None
Cashback Everyday
Cashback
na
22.9
Not Available
1.0% Standard +
Intro Bonus
0.5% Standard +
Intro Bonus
Pathognomonic
americanexpress.com
americanexpress.com
For the latest best buys on mortgages and savings check out our Money deals at http://theguardian.com/money
Table compiled 27/10/17. In case of late changes, always check rates and terms before transacting.
All above ?gures from independent ?nancial research company Defaqto (defaqto.com)
29.10.17
46 | TRAVEL
Five of the best Horror ?lm locations to visit
1. Belchite Spain
1
4
A ghost town in Zaragoza, and a stark
reminder of the devastation of the
Spanish civil war. While a new town
now exists, the ruins of the buildings
destroyed in 1937 remain as a harrowing memorial to the con?ict. It?s a
haunting place to visit, and the location
was used in the chilling 2006 Spanish
?lm Pan?s Labyrinth, which ties fantasy
with the brutal reality of Franco?s rule.
Belchite can only be visited with a
guide from the local tourist board.
4. Stanley Hotel Colorado
A huge colonial revival hotel in the
Rocky Mountain national park was
the inspiration for the Overlook Hotel
in Stephen King?s novel, The Shining.
King spent a night here with his wife
in the 1970s, and discovered they were
the only guests in the 142-room hotel,
eating alone in an empty dining room
and wandering through empty corridors. The hotel (which offers ghost
tours) was used for the 1997 TV series
The Shining, but not Stanley Kubrick?s
classic ?lm; for that, Timberline Lodge
in Oregon acted as the exterior of the
Overlook, while most of the ?lm was
shot at Elstree studios in Hertfordshire.
2. Mount Mihara Japan
An active volcano on the island of Izu
?shima, Mount Mihara is a stunning
spot about 100km south of Tokyo. The
volcano was used as a location in 1998?s
Ringu (The Ring), which tells the tale
of a great psychic, Shizuko Yamamura,
who predicts a volcano?s eruptions
and, later, throws herself into its crater;
and in 1984 Japanese ?lm The Return
of Godzilla, with the vast crater being
used as a prison for the monster. The
volcano is 758 metres high, and visitors
can walk around the rim of the crater.
2
5. Osea island Essex
5
3. Various Scotland
Horror classic The Wicker Man follows
a policeman as he attempts to solve
the mystery of a missing girl in a pagan
community on the remote Scottish
island of Summerisle. The 1973 ?lm
was shot across a range of locations
on the mainland. Lord Summerisle?s
mansion house is Culzean Castle, near
Ayr, and is open to the public. St Ninian?s Cave ? to where the cop tracks
the missing person ? is on the Machars
peninsula in Galloway. The village of
Anwoth, in Dumfries and Galloway, is
the home of the church ruins featured
TRAVEL CLASSIFIED
in the ?lm, as well as the schoolhouse.
It?s a beautiful part of the UK, home
also sacred and pagan sites.
3
A tiny, privately owned island in the
Blackwater estuary in Essex, Osea has
an enchanting air. It has long drawn
artists and musicians seeking solitude,
but what gives it a sense of mystery is a
narrow pebble tidal causeway, passable
only every seven hours. It was featured
prominently in the ?lm adaptation of
The Woman in Black.
Words: Will Coldwell
Photographs: Allstar/Momentum
Pictures; Moviestore/Rex; Higehiro
Ono/Getty Images; Alamy
To see the full list of horror movie
locations, and thousands more
tops on everything from the
world?s best restaurants and
hotels to walks and beaches, visit
theguardian.com/ravel
29.10.17
OBSERVER CLASSIFIED| 47
48 | OBSERVER CLASSIFIED
29.10.17
29.10.17
1028
(30.36)
9AM TODAY
1024
1020
(30.24) (30.12)
3PM TODAY
1020
(30.12)
1016
(30.00)
13
7
Aberdeen
Orkney
1028
(30.36)
(49F)
MODERATE
6
Glasgow
MODERATE
9
12
(43F)
(48F)
23
Edinburgh
Glasgow
MODERATE
6
20
Edinburgh
9
(43F)
10
SLIGHT
Newcastle
MODERATE
Newcastle
(50F)
Belfast
Belfast
9
11
(48F) Hull
11 Fair
11 Rain
10 Rain
Birmingham 10 Fair
13 Cloudy
13 Showers 12 Cloudy
12 Cloudy
11 Fair
Bristol
9 Fair
13 Cloudy
12 Fair
11 Fair
13 Rain
10 Fair
Cardiff
10 Fair
14 Cloudy
13 Fair
12 Fair
13 Rain
12 Rain
Edinburgh
10 Rain
14 Showers 14 Showers 10 Fair
11 Cloudy
11 Sunny
Glasgow
10 Rain
14 Rain
11 Rain
10 Rain
14 Showers 14 Showers 12 Cloudy
12 Rain
10 Fair
11 Rain
9 Fair
HEAVY
Dublin
Manchester
10
10
(51F)
10 Fair
15 Cloudy
14 Showers 12 Cloudy
12 Rain
London
11 Fair
14 Fair
14 Fair
14 Showers 13 Rain
(52F)
Norwich
Norwich
Birmingham
Birmingham
13
13
(55F)
14
Gloucester
Cardi?
Bristol
(56F)
9 Fair
14 Cloudy
13 Showers 12 Cloudy
11 Cloudy
Newcastle
9 Rain
13 Showers 13 Showers 10 Cloudy
11 Cloudy
10 Fair
11 Fair
13 Cloudy
13 Cloudy
12 Rain
Oxford
11 Fair
13 Cloudy
14 Fair
12 Cloudy
14 Cloudy
11 Rain
Plymouth
12 Fair
14 Fair
13 Fair
14 Fair
14 Showers 13 Fair
Swansea
11 Fair
14 Cloudy
13 Fair
12 Cloudy
12
13
Bristol
SLIGHT
London
13
Cardi?
(55F)
SLIGHT
12
(54F)
London
Brighton
14
Plymouth
(55F)
Brighton
Plymouth
(57F)
23
SLIGHT
MODERATE
16
UK TODAY
Channel Is, Cent S England, SW England, W Midlands, Wales: Mostly cloudy
in the morning with the odd shower in the south, then sunny breaks in the
afternoon. A light to moderate northerly wind. Max 11-16C (52-61F). Generally
dry tonight with increasing cloud. Min -1 to 6C (30-43F).
SE England, London, E Anglia, E Midlands: Mostly cloudy in the morning, then
sunny breaks in the afternoon with the odd shower along the eastern coast. A
moderate northerly wind. Max 12-15C (54-59F). Dry tonight with clear intervals in the east. Min 1-7C (34-45F).
Lincolnshire, Yorkshire, NW England: Generally dry today with mostly cloudy
skies in the morning, then sunny breaks in the afternoon. A light to moderate northerly wind. Max 8-12C (46-54F). Staying dry tonight with increasing
cloud. Min -1 to 4C (30-39F).
992
(29.29)
Reykjavik
H
OCCLUDED FRONT
Helsinki
1032
(30.47)
Stockholm
L
976
(28.82)
976
L
(28.82)
1016
(30.00)
Berlin
3
Belgrade
Madrid
Athens
6
7
10
11
12
14
15
16
17
SOLUTION NO. 1,151
18
19
20
22
21
23
ACROSS
1 Remorseful (8)
5 Skin complaint (4)
9 Broom of twigs (5)
10 Overshadow, obscure (7)
11 Run out of steam (5,2,1,4)
13 Nonplus (6)
14 Accompany, chaperon (6)
17 Eventually (2,3,4,3)
20 Current (7)
21 Fine tune (5)
22 Water jug (4)
23 Prolonged feud (8)
G
O
O
D
S
A
M
A
R
I
T
A
N
Anglesey
Belfast
11 Rain
10 Fair
ABROAD YESTERDAY
癈
癈
癈
Manchester 15 sh
Algiers
23
f
Nairobi
26
f
14 w
Newcastle
15 w
Bangkok
33
f
New York
21
s
15
c
Norwich
16
f
Beijing
15
c
Perth
20
f
Birmingham 15
f
Nottingham 15
f
Beirut
25
f
Rio de Jan
35 st
f
Oxford
16
f
Cairo
27
s
Riyadh
31
s
Bournem?th 16
f
Plymouth
14
c
Harare
21
c
San Fran
21
s
Brighton
17
f
Ronaldsway 15
c
Hong Kong 28
f
Santiago
21
f
Bristol
16
c
S?hampton 16
f
Istanbul
18
c
Sao Paulo
27 st
Cardiff
14
c
Scarbr?gh
17
f
Jeddah
34
s
Seychelles
30 st
Carlisle
13
c
Southport
14 w
Jerusalem
22
f
Singapore
33 st
Edinburgh
15 w
Stornoway 14
r
Jo?burg
14
c
Sydney
26
Exeter
15
Swanage
17
f
Karachi
34
s
Taipei
26
r
Glasgow
15 sh
Teignmouth 15
c
L Angeles
30
s
Tenerife
26
f
Inverness
14 w
Tenby
14
c
Manila
31
f
Toronto
10
r
Jersey
13
Torquay
16
c
Miami
27
r
Vancouver
14
s
Liverpool
15 w
Mombasa
33
f
Washington 22
f
14 sh
c
f
Weymouth 16 w
f
U S T
S T R
M
D
U
P E N A I R
L
W
N
A T E D
A N
L
B
I S C E L L A
A
I
U N D OWN
D
P
D
A B L E
E F
A
R
Y
O G O A R E A
I P P E R
N
O
H
C U R L Y
O
T
T
G U I S H
C
M
N E O U S
O
E
T O P I C
I
A
T
F E N D I
Y
I
O
S C A N
DOWN
1 Geometrical solid (4)
2 Simple, remedy (7)
3 Memoir (12)
4 Formal agreement (6)
6 Dried coconut kernels (5)
7 Toothless (8)
8 Perspicacious (5-7)
12 Aniseed ?avoured liqueur (8)
15 Wealthy (7)
16 Breed of dog (6)
18 Tropical sun hat (5)
19 Ladies? ?ngers (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
1430
Full Moon
4 Nov
Sunniest: Catterick, North
2
2
2
2
Low
Low
Low
Low
0%
50%
100%
WEATHER VIEW
Glasgow
London
Manchester
Newcastle
2
2
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
Rome
5
16
14 Rain
13 Cloudy
EUROPE SIX-DAY FORECAST
1016
(30.00)
Pressure in millibars,
(inches in brackets)
London
8
13
TROUGH
C
31?40?
F
87?104
26?30?
80?86
Paris
4
9
984
(29.06)
Warsaw
SPEEDY CROSSWORD NO. 1,152
2
Belfast
Birmingham
Bristol
Cardiff
WARM
1000
(29.53)
1032
(30.47)
H
14 Showers 14 Showers 12 Cloudy
AIR POLLUTION
COLD
1008
(29.77)
1024
(30.24)
Aberdeen
Moon rises
KEY
1016
(30.00)
14 Showers 13 Cloudy
11 Rain
London
17 f
N Orleans 16 f
York
16 f
Wellington 17 s
NE England, SE Scotland, SW Scotland, NE Scotland: Mostly cloudy in the
morning, then decreasing cloud in the afternoon with the odd shower along the Key: c=cloud, dr=drizzle, ds=dust storm, f=fair, fg=fog, g=gales, h=hail, m=mist, r=rain,
sh=showers, sl=sleet, sn=snow, s=sun, th=thunder, w=windy. Forecast/readings for noon
eastern coast. A moderate northerly wind. Max 0-11C (32-52F). Clear periods
tonight with the odd shower along the coast. Min -4 to 6C (25-43F).
SUNSET TO SUNRISE
WEATHER STATISTICS
W Isles, N Isles, NW Scotland: Largely dry today with sunny periods. A light
Birmingham
16.43
to
07.00
Weather last week
Weather this week
to moderate northerly wind. Max -2 to 11C (28-52F). Staying generally dry
Bristol
16.49
to
07.01
Warmest by day:
London
Chance of rain
tonight with increasing cloud in the south; otherwise, clear periods. Min -5 to
Dublin
16.58
to
07.20
Southampton, Hampshire
Glasgow
16.44
to
07.20
(Weds) 22.0C
4C (23-39F).
Glasgow
Leeds
16.38
to
07.03
Coldest by night:
Northern Ireland, Ireland: Mostly cloudy with the odd shower in the south this
Lochnagar, Aberdeenshire
London
16.40
to
06.52
(Friday)
-1.0C
morning, then sunny breaks in the afternoon. A light north-easterly wind. Max Manchester
16.42
to
07.04
Dublin
Wettest: Dunkeswell
16.35
to
07.07
11-15C (52-59F). Staying dry tonight with areas of fog after midnight. Min 1-9C Newcastle
Aerodrome, Devon
Sun rises
0650
Moon sets none
(Monday) 46mm
(34-48F).
EUROPE TODAY
A windstorm will be centered in
eastern Poland and western Belarus
today, with storm to hurricane-force
wind gusts across Germany, Poland,
Czech Republic, Slovakia, Austria and
Hungary. Snow will fall across the
Carpathian Mountains that could have
blizzardlike conditions at times. This
system will also bring outbreaks of
rain to Belarus to southern Germany
and western Ukraine. Snow will fall at
times across southern Finland with a
northerly wind that will bring rain to
the coast of the Baltic States. Showers will come o? the North Sea into
northern Germany, Netherlands and
Belgium by the afternoon. It will be
mainly dry across much of southern
Europe, including Spain and Portugal,
while it will become dry across the
British Isles by the late morning.
9 Fair
Blackpool
Gloucester
13 Fair
Manchester
癈
11
(53F)
(50F)
10 Sunny
Liverpool
Manchester
11
13 Showers 11 Fair
HOME YESTERDAY
(51F) Hull
HEAVY
Sat
14 Showers 13 Showers 11 Cloudy
York
Dublin
Fri
13 Showers 14 Showers 10 Sunny
Norwich
(49F)
10
(49F)
Thu
8 Rain
Leeds
17
Wed
11 Cloudy
Belfast
10
1024
(30.24)
(45F)
Tue
癈 Weather (Maximum temperature and overall daytime weather conditions)
Orkney
MODERATE
SIX-DAY FORECAST
Mon
18
1
TRAVEL | 49
WEATHER
Your forecast for the week ahead
*
Amsterdam
11 f
13 c
14 f
14 c
13 c
13 r
Athens
21 f
19 f
18 sh
19 s
20 c
21 f
Barcelona
20 f
18 f
20 f
21 f
21 f
21 sh
11 f
Berlin
8 f
9 sh
11 sh
11 sh
11 f
Copenhagen
8 f
10 sh
13 sh
12 sh
11 f
10 c
Geneva
10 f
11 s
14 s
16 f
15 f
15 c
20 f
20 f
19 r
19 f
21?25?
69?79
16?20?
60?68
Madrid
21 s
20 s
11?15?
51?59
Oslo
6 f
6 f
6?10?
42?50
Paris
12 f
12 f
1?5?
33?41
-20?0?
-4?32
8 sh
14 f
10 sh
15 f
8 s
6 r
15 f
14 r
Prague
7 f
7 c
9 f
12 sh
10 f
10 f
Rome
21 st
20 s
19 s
19 f
20 f
20 f
Venice
15 f
14 f
13 s
13 f
14 s
15 c
A deer in the autumn sunshine in Dublin?s
Phoenix park on Friday. PA
Forecasts and graphics provided
by AccuWeather, Inc �17
RADO.COM
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TIME IS THE ESSENCE WE ARE MADE OF
unition for use in a crisis.
And then there is the question of
pride. This is a huge factor after months
during which the Bank has prepared the
ground for a rate rise. As Archer says: ?If
it fails again to follow through with a rate
hike, it will risk losing credibility.?
It would also probably prompt a fall in
the pound ? which would stoke in?ation
even further.
Carney?s reputation as a modern-day
Grand Old Duke of York is under particular scrutiny. He has used speeches
and reports in the past to tell businesses
and households that higher borrowing
costs are imminent ? only to retreat back
down the mountain. It could be that his
in?uence will wane should he refuse to
make good on yet another threat.
The case for the status quo
The economy may have grown for
almost four straight years, but the rate of
growth has declined since its initial burst
in late 2013 and is now the lowest of all
major economies. Next year, the OECD
says Italy and Japan, often derided as
the zombie economies of the developed
world, will grow faster than the UK.
Last week the Office for National Sta-
tistics said Britain grew by 0.4% in the
third quarter of the year, compared with
0.3% in the ?rst two quarters.
The MPC?s newest recruit, Sir David
Ramsden, formerly the Treasury?s chief
economic adviser, said in his con?rmation hearing that given rates of growth
almost half what they were in 2015, the
economy was too weak to withstand
higher borrowing costs.
With the government seeking to cut
New chief at Channel 4 will
have to hit the ground running
by Mark Sweney
If timing is everything, then Alex
Mahon?s arrival in her new job as chief
executive of Channel 4 on the eve of
the ?nal of The Great British Bake Off
could not have been planned better.
The new-look show?s critical and commercial success has more than justi?ed
the �m spent taking it from the BBC.
Mahon, who turns 44 this weekend,
joins Channel 4 from the special effects
company behind the ?lms Gravity and
Guardians of the Galaxy. Her inbox
includes pressure from the government
for a move out of London, arresting
a decline in TV viewing, a volatile ad
market and hiring a new chief creative officer to spearhead Channel 4?s
�0m programming budget.
BAKE OFF IS A SHOWSTOPPER
Before the summer launch of Bake
Off, the audience ?gures for Channel
4?s eponymous ?agship network this
year had been abysmal. Among 16- to
34-year-olds ? the broadcaster?s core
audience, highly prized by advertisers
? viewing was down 15% year on year.
Viewing among all adults was down
5%. Since the new Bake Off debuted on
29 August, Channel 4?s youth audience has rebounded, with almost 14%
growth year-on-year. Adults are up 2%.
Bake Off can lay claim to being the
most popular series on UK TV among
16- to 34-year-olds, ahead of Britain?s
Got Talent, Love Island, The X Factor
and Saturday Night Takeaway.
?This is an incredible turnaround
in fortunes,? said Phil Hall, associate director at media buying agency
MediaCom. ?While Channel 4?s
schedule has had plenty of good shows
that have helped, the biggest factor has
been the one with a great big tent in the
middle of a ?eld. It makes the �m-ayear they paid look very good value.?
Channel 4 says the show has
exceeded all targets, and that the six
million average live audience is about
double what it needed to break even,
making for its biggest commercial
franchise since Big Brother departed
for Channel�in 2010.
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION
Mahon?s tenure as chief executive will
ultimately be judged on the outcome
of the fractious battle with government over the proposed relocation of
Channel 4 outside the capital. Its former chief executive, David Abraham,
and current chairman, Charles
Gurassa, have argued that a full-scale
relocation would be catastrophic.
Giving up a base in the capital
would, they say, cause 60% to 80%
of staff to leave. They point out that
29.10.17
BUSINESS | 41
*
MMITTEE STANDS
IAN
MCCAFFERTY
MICHAEL
SAUNDERS
GERTJAN
VLIEGHE
MARK
CARNEY
External member
External member
External member
Governor
The former chief economic
adviser at the CBI voted in July to
raise the base rate from 0.25% to
0.5%. He has voted for a rise ever
since, arguing that the ?pick-up
in in?ation is not something we
can just ignore?, especially when
the ?healthy performance of
businesses in the past year shows
the UK economy could cope with
higher interest rates?.
Former Citibank economist
Saunders voted for a rise in
September, to dampen looming
price pressures. In August he said:
?Our foot no longer needs to be
quite so ?rmly on the accelerator
in my view. A modest rise in rates
would help ensure a sustainable
return of in?ation to target.?
A former hedge fund economist,
Vlieghe, an external member of
the MPC, said in August: ?This is an
environment where a premature
hike would be a bigger mistake
than one that turns out to be
slightly late.? Last month he said
the mood was changing: ?The
appropriate time for a rise in bank
rate may be as early as in the
coming months.?
Carney is expected to vote for a
rise after saying in September
that the ?possibility has de?nitely
increased?. To give a little more
context to his decision, he said:
?The majority of committee
members, myself included,
see that that balancing act is
beginning to shift, and that ... to
return in?ation to that 2% target in
a sustainable manner, there may
need to be some adjustment of
interest rates.?
DOVE (0) OR HAWK (10)?
DOVE OR HAWK?
DOVE OR HAWK?
DOVE OR HAWK?
ANDREW
HALDANE
BEN
BROADBENT
SILVANA
TENREYRO
JON
CUNLIFFE
DAVID
RAMSDEN
Chief economist
Deputy governor
External member
Deputy governor
Deputy governor
Haldane was once a fervent
supporter of low interest rates,
but in the summer hinted that
he was more inclined to start
pushing them higher. In June, he
said a partial withdrawal of the
emergency post-Brexit package
of an interest rate cut and an
extra �bn of quantitative
easing ?would be prudent
relatively soon?.
Responsible for monetary policy,
Broadbent is a close con?dant of
Carney and keeps his cards close
to his chest. In July he stressed
the weakness of the economic
outlook, saying: ?It is a bit tricky
at the moment to make a decision
[to raise rates]. I am not ready to
do it yet.?
A former professor at the London
School of Economics, Tenreyro is a
new appointee. At her ?rst public
engagement last month, she said:
?We are approaching a tipping
point when we will need to reduce
some of that stimulus.? She added
that unemployment still needed to
be lower: ?A premature increase
might be very contractionary,
so a mistake there might be
very costly.?
In charge of ?nancial stability
at the Bank, Cunli?e is one of
the committee?s most riskaverse members. Last month
he told the Western Mail that
the UK economy had ?clearly
slowed?, and that any rate rises
would be gradual. As he put it:
?The exact timing of when that
starts? Well, that for me is a more
open question.?
In charge of markets and banking,
the former Treasury economist
says slowing growth and declining
real wages mean now is not
the time for a rate rise. He said
last month: ?Despite continued
robust growth in employment,
there is no sign of second-round
e?ects [demands for higher
pay] on to wages from higher
recent in?ation.?
DOVE OR HAWK?
DOVE OR HAWK?
DOVE OR HAWK?
DOVE OR HAWK?
DOVE OR HAWK?
back on borrowing, and large corporations hoarding enough cash to avoid the
need to borrow, driving up the cost of
loans to consumers and small businesses
could push the economy further towards
zero growth.
Brexit is another reason to err on the
side of caution and keep rates where they
are. Consumers have already become
more circumspect with their spending.
High street surveys show consumers
The successful
launch of Channel
4?s version of The
Great British Bake
Off, left, reversed
a decline in
viewing figures
for new C4 chief
Mahon, above.
almost all Channel 4?s advertisers are
based in London, as well as rivals and
partners such as Net?ix. The broadcaster is willing to spend more money
with TV producers based outside
London, and move a small proportion
of its 800 staff.
Last week, the culture secretary,
Karen Bradley, raised the temperature
when she published a report that said
a full move, combined with increased
spending on programme-making
outside of London, could create nearly
7,500 jobs and �0m in economic
bene?ts annually.
London-born, Edinburgh-raised
keeping their wallets shut unless there
is a good reason to open them. The CBI?s
latest ?gures showed the steepest fall in
retail spending since the depths of the
post-banking crisis recession in 2009.
High street bellwethers John Lewis and
Debenhams have both warned of challenging trading. Car sales have already
plummeted, as have sales of furniture.
According to the Halifax, con?dence in
the housing market is at a ?ve-year low.
Chris Williamson of economics consultancy IHS Insight says the ?slow erosion of growth? may continue. He points
out that across all sectors of the economy, in?ows of new business in September were at their lowest for 13 months,
suggesting that demand for goods and
services ?has waned again?.
Business optimism is weak, he adds,
which is another indication that businesses are about to suffer a further drop
Mahon, who has already worked
closely with the culture department as
a member of the advisory panel on the
renewal of the BBC?s royal charter, is
likely to agree with the strategic assessment of her predecessor and the board.
Both sides have said they are keen to
reach an agreement by Christmas ?
against a backdrop of furious lobbying
from cities such as Birmingham, Leeds
and Manchester ? and Mahon will
have to hit the ground running.
who also applied for the top job, is
likely to want additional responsibility.
HIRING THE A-TEAM
Her biggest immediate task is to ?ll the
post of chief creative officer vacated
by Jay Hunt, who abruptly resigned in
June after missing out on the top job.
Hunt?s credits included the big Bake
Off bet, delivering the London 2012
Paralympics, commissioning shows
such as Humans, Gogglebox and Black
Mirror and importing Homeland and
The Handmaid?s Tale.
Candidates linked with the role
include Ralph Lee, Hunt?s wellregarded deputy, and the BBC3
controller Damian Kavanagh, who has
impressed with commissions including teen drama Thirteen and comedy
Fleabag. Ian Katz, the editor of BBC?s
Newsnight, is another name mentioned. Jonathan Allan, responsible for
Channel 4?s �2bn ad sales operation,
THE NETFLIX EFFECT
Mahon is facing some difficult strategic
decisions to secure the long-term
commercial future of the advertisingfunded public service broadcaster.
About 90% of Channel 4?s revenues
are from TV advertising, at a time
when youth audiences are switching
off in favour of online services such as
Net?ix. One issue is that Channel 4?s
remit from the government does not
allow it to build a TV production division, as rivals such as ITV have done, to
diversify and strengthen its business.
Channel 4 has said that advertising
revenue this year will be �0m less
than predicted before the Brexit vote.
?Bake Off hasn?t solved Channel 4?s
problems,? says Hall. ?They are still
staring down the barrel of a bad year.?
Ever-bullish Allan says that, with a
strong schedule for the rest of the year,
the broadcaster could be looking at
a creditable ?at year-on-year performance for 2017 against rivals in its
share of viewing.
?In terms of advertising revenues
for the fourth quarter, we might well
be up year on year ? the ?rst time since
Brexit,? he says. ?That is a good signal
for next year.?
in activity and that the economy will
slow ?towards stagnation at best?.
Archer of the EY Item Club believes
in?ation is set to fall back markedly from
around the turn of the year as the impact
of past sharp falls in sterling fade. The
weak pound has seen many businesses
suffering a large rise in import costs,
which a number have absorbed through
lower pro?t margins and passed on to
workers through sub-inflation wage
rises. Nevertheless, prices have crept up.
Without further falls in sterling, prices
will stabilise on their own. An interest
rate rise in this situation could make a
bad situation worse.
It?s a danger Ramsden has been explicit
about wanting to avoid. But pushing
an already struggling economy, dogged
by Brexit-related uncertainty, towards
recession is not something any MPC
member will want to be remembered for.
42 | BUSINESS
*
Analysis
29.10.17
From cars to coats, consumers appear loth to
spend. Is it a blip, or Brexit beginning to bite?
Barclays has little
choice but to
keep faith with
Staley?s strategy
BUSINESS LEADER
T
E
conomists tend to be sniffy
about the CBI?s distributive trades survey ? the one
that this week reported the
?steepest drop? in retail sales
since the depths of the recession in 2009. The report describes only
a two-week snapshot of trading, they
say, and thus is volatile and unreliable.
The size of the sample is too small, they
also argue, because only 49 retailers
participate and half of them employ
fewer than 100 people.
These are fair points, and economists
are paid to be fussy. But sometimes
even a statistically dodgy survey chimes
with common sense and the mood
music from the front line. The overwhelming evidence suggests a storm is
gathering over the retail sector.
Exhibit A is John Lewis, almost the
de?nition of a high street bellwether.
Sales fell by 4.7% in the week before
last. Warm autumn weather isn?t helping, of course, because clothing rails
are stocked with winter fashions, but
this weak run is looking alarmingly
long. Over three weeks, same-store
sales at John Lewis are estimated to be
4.5% behind last year. And that?s hefty.
Then there is last week?s pro?ts
warning from Pendragon, the car
dealer behind the Evan Halshaw and
Stratstone brands. Again, it may be that
special factors are at work, in this case
the slump in sales of diesel cars and
overproduction by car manufacturers.
But neither of those pressures is new.
The bottom line is that, at the beginning of August, Pendragon expected
to make a �m pro?t in 2017; now it
thinks the ?gure will be �m. Perhaps
nervous consumers are deciding this
is not the moment to make a big-ticket
commitment like a new car.
That would ?t with earnings data
from the Office for National Statistics.
Latest estimates show that, when
in?ation is taken into account, average
real wages for employees fell by 0.4%
in the period from June to August
compared with the previous year. And
the squeeze on incomes has probably
intensi?ed since then. In?ation, as
Going up? Prices of basic good are rising but sales at John Lewis are down year on year. Photograph by Sarah Lee for the Observer
measured by the retail prices index,
rose to 3.9% in September.
The strain is showing in consumers?
wallets. UK Finance, a trade body for
banks and credit card issuers, said borrowing on credit cards from high street
banks was 5.5% higher than a year ago.
Meanwhile, applications for individual
voluntary arrangements ? a means of
managing personal debt ? are soaring.
The picture of maxed-out consumers struggling to save, and running on
more credit, is clear.
So is the in?uence of Brexit ? or,
more strictly, of a weaker pound ? on
disposable incomes. In the months
immediately after the June 2016 referendum, nothing happened. Prices in
shops didn?t change and supermarkets
could defer price rises on imported
foods because they had locked in supplies at the old exchange rate. Now
those ?nancial hedges have ?nished
and prices of basic goods in shops are
rising. Another exchange rate effect
may also be at work: retailers suspect
consumers who took a summer holiday
in the eurozone were surprised by the
size of the credit card bill and have
taken an autumn pledge of austerity.
The question for retailers is whether
Christmas will improve matters.
Predictions of dire pre-Christmas trading have been confounded many times
in recent years. The bleak October may
turn out to be a blip, and the picture
may be distorted by the shift to online
shopping. The script could yet come
good for shopkeepers, especially food
retailers, if consumers decide a quick
way to save is to avoid restaurants.
Yet things feel different. Real
incomes have fallen for the ?rst time
since 2014, con?dence in house prices
stands at a ?ve-year low, and next week
the Bank of England is likely to raise
interest rates for the ?rst time in a decade. Yes, the CBI survey, which showed
a dramatic swing from boom to gloom
between September and October, may
be an exaggeration. But the direction
of travel seems correct: 16 months
after the fall in sterling, consumers feel
poorer because they are poorer.
Dammit, Janet looks set to survive for another Fed term
P
resident Donald Trump is
expected to announce who will
chair the US central bank for the
next four years in the coming
week. But after months of speculation involving various potential new
appointees to run the Federal Reserve,
analysts now expect he will give the
incumbent, Janet Yellen, another term.
No one should be surprised when a
senior official who was once derided
suddenly becomes the president?s
new燽est friend. It seems to happen to
so many.
In the summer, Trump said he was
minded to replace Yellen, and put
forward the names of ?ve economists.
Later he narrowed the ?eld to two:
Jerome Powell, a Fed official with a
voting record that mimics Yellen?s;
and John Taylor, a Stanford University
economist who ranks among the Fed?s
?ercest critics.
One of Trump?s concerns was that
savers were being short-changed by
low interest rates. But now that Yellen
is raising rates, she is back in favour
and he has moved on to other battles,
giving monetary policy some muchneeded stability.
he ?rst time Barclays wanted
Jes Staley it got scared off.
Appointing the American investment banker as chief executive
in 2012 would have been too racy at a
time when the bank was mired in the
Libor rate-rigging scandal. Instead, the
internal candidate Antony Jenkins got
the job, until he was ?red for being just
a bit too safe. So, Barclays got Staley the
second time around in 2015 ? and he
came with a big promise. John McFarlane, the loose-tongued chairman, let
it be known that the ousting of Jenkins
would give the bank a chance to double
its share price in three years.
That was July 2015 and the share
price was 260p. If McFarlane does
not rue the day he made that promise,
Staley must. More than two years later,
the shares are at 180p after taking a
pounding following disappointing
nine-month results last week.
Staley cannot get momentum behind
his vision for a transatlantic bank with
centres in London and New York, and
now freed from its once-prized African
operations. True, he cannot be blamed
for the Brexit-induced shock that
rocked the markets last year. Yet that
does not explain the malaise surrounding the bank.
Anxiety looms large about Staley?s
strategy to expand the investment
bank, which has been through numerous incarnations in recent years. The
business is cyclical ? and currently in
the wrong part of the cycle to support
his case to plough resources into an
operation so hated by his predecessor.
There is also uncertainty about
Staley himself. Weighing heavily on the
stock is an investigation by regulators
on both sides of the Atlantic into his
attempts to unmask a whistleblower.
A damning ?nding could force Staley
out ? and leave Barclays looking for yet
another chief executive.
Yet here?s the rub. A new boss is
probably not what Barclays needs as
it implements the Vickers reforms to
ringfence its high street arm from its
investment bank, or braces for Brexit.
Staley?s strategy may be unproven but
it?s the only one on the table.
All hail British banks: self-absorbed, short-termist and spivvy
ECONOMICS
Phillip
Inman
W
hen everyone around you
sits on their hands, it?s
tempting to take control.
While companies refuse
to invest and Whitehall is paralysed by
Brexit, why not legislate and nationalise to get something done?
Britain is in the midst of an investment crisis, a productivity crisis, an
income crisis and an inequality crisis ?
and all are so entrenched that they are
beyond policies that tinker or No 10?s
?nudge unit?.
Nudge economics, despite the award
this year of a Nobel prize to its main
proponent, the American Richard
Thaler, is a pathetically weak tool given
the scale of the problem.
What?s more, so many of the government?s current policies, nudge or
otherwise, are just plain bad. A case
in point is the �bn allocated to the
help to buy programme, which is a rare
example of big money being thrown at
a situation, in this case the one affecting housebuilding.
Help to buy works by giving homebuyers an interest-free government
loan worth up to 20% of the value of a
new-build property. It was designed by
the Treasury and backed by the Bank of
England as a way to spur housebuilding across the country.
But a report by Morgan Stanley has
found that almost all of the �bn has
gone into the pockets of housebuildding ?rms, with little evidence that the
rate of housebuilding has increased.
Shares in the big building companies have soared, as you might
imagine, and the promise of �bn
more from Philip Hammond in next
month?s budget has of sent their
market values even higher. A year ago,
the price of a share in Persimmon, the
UK?s second-largest housebuilder,
stood at �. Now it stands just below
�, a 55% rise.
And this obsession with private
property goes deeper, as the IPPR
Commission on Social Justice found
in its report ? Financing investment:
Reforming Finance Markets for the
Long Term. The commission is a crossparty group that includes business people ? who run airports, departments
stores and investment funds ? alongside ?gures from civil society such
as Archbishop of Canterbury Justin
Welby, members of charity Citizens UK
and a smattering of academics.
It?s not only the government that
is obsessed with lending to prop up
property owners and developers ? the
banking sector is keen, too. The report
sets out the way UK banks mostly lend
abroad, with loans to UK businesses
accounting for just 5% of total UK bank
assets, compared with 11% in France,
12% in Germany and 14% on average
across the rest of the eurozone.
Property loans to businesses and
individuals in the UK account for more
than 78% of all loans to individuals
and non-?nancial businesses ? which
means those outside the Square Mile.
After stripping out real estate, loans to
UK businesses account for just 3% of
all banking assets.
As a transmission mechanism for
As a mechanism for
diverting our savings
into worthwhile,
productive businesses
banks fail miserably
diverting the nation?s savings into
worthwhile, productive businesses, the
banks fail miserably.
And the rest of the ?nancial sector
is just as bad. The IPPR report accused
hedge funds, proprietary traders
(which use investment bank cash) and
high-frequency traders ? a group that
collectively makes up 72% of trades
in on the London market ? of paying
themselves depending on performance
against rivals and over short timescales, ?not long-term value creation?.
This spivvy trading arena has the
knock-on effect of making shortterm demands on the boards of listed
companies. Such is the pressure to
avoid being caught in traders? headlights that in a survey of more than 400
executives, some 75% said they ?would
sacri?ce positive economic outcomes?
if it helped smooth their pro?t ?gures
from one quarter to the next.
The report argues that this selfabsorbed world of stock market trading
needs to support longer-term investment in a way that also bene?ts savers
and business owners.
Some of the solutions it puts forward
are all well worth pursuing, including a move to scrap the little-known
?market maker? relief on stamp duty
reserve tax. This would effectively be
a ?rst step towards a ?nancial transac-
tions tax to reduce short-term speculative trading, while also raising at least
�2bn a year by 2020.
The commission goes on to say that
the funds raised should be used to
introduce new reliefs in capital gains
tax and corporation tax to encourage
the longer-term ownership of shares.
Yet, that �2bn quali?es as not much
more than a nudge in the right direction. It won?t satisfy those who demand
that a leftist government should go
beyond encouragement and nationalise the commanding heights of the
economy, from the energy companies
to the railway franchise holders, and
tackle the banking sector by funding
new investment vehicles, national and
regional, to bridge the gap between
high ?nance and small and mediumsized businesses.
Labour already has many of these
policies in its manifesto, and some at
the top of the party plan to go further.
Fortune favours the brave, they say.
Could it be though, that while the
commission appears timid, its aim of
achieving a broad consensus for policy
initiatives means it has a better chance
of long-term success? It is frustratingly
accurate when it portrays Britain?s
economy as a supertanker. Hoping it
will react like a dinghy to a hard push
on the tiller is wishful thinking.
29.10.17
Media
*
What Catalonia
dearly needs is
a neutral press
PRESS AND
BROADCASTING
Peter
Preston
H
ere?s a stinker of a question,
the whole concept of press
freedom tangled in its own
contradictions. If you run a
government-?nanced broadcasting system (say Catalan
radio and TV) can some higher authority (say the Spanish state) take control of
you when it steps in to run everything?
Maybe an easy problem if we?re
talking about independent, truthseeking newsrooms. But what if that
is not exactly possible? See the shades
of grey爂ather. Here?s the EU head of
Reporters Sans Fronti鑢es, quoted in a
new report on the Catalan imbroglio:
?The climate for the free exercise of
journalism has been tremendously
corrupted by extreme polarisation
in Catalan politics and society. The
regional government?s eagerness to
impose its own narrative on to the local,
Spanish and international press has
crossed red lines, and the intimidating
manoeuvres of the central Spanish government have certainly not爃elped.?
Here?s the boss of TV3, the main
Catalan channel: ?The legality for the
director of television in Catalonia is
the legality that emanates from the
parliament of Catalonia.? His staff
?will爋ppose? the national government?s intervention. He believes that
?the parliamentary majority? for
Catalan independence ?represents a
majority social feeling? that overrides
Spanish legalities.
Catalan TV and radio ? perhaps
especially radio ? are not negligible
forces. They account for 31% of all
regional broadcasting money spent in
Spain. And television meshes with print
and online activity. TV3 stalwarts燼re on
the board of Ara, the biggest Catalanonly paper in the region (with an online
audience close to 2.5爉illion). President
Carles Puigdemont is a journalist who
worked for El Punt in Girona, one of the
staunchest pro-independence areas.
Last year, according to the Madrid
paper El Mundo, the Catalan Generalitat
gave ?7m in grants to chosen media,
with well over a million going to Ara
and El Punt. There?s been a forest of
magic money trees before that.
So much for background. What
about the future ? including regional
elections promised on 21 December?
How can they be held fairly in a toxic
media climate ? which, of course,
won?t be helped by the countervailing bias of Madrid?s public service
media? Does Madrid impose discipline,
censorship by another name? Or does
it let the vituperation roll ? and abide
by the non-intervention initiatives of
Rajoy?s socialist partners? Go one way
and all those Franco memories will get
another airing. Go the other and the
vote may be fatally compromised.
The difficulty is that the two paths
are equally fraught. But when in doubt,
always choose less rather than more
repression, no matter how difficult it
is. See the stick given to the followers
of the Spanish prime minister, Mariano
Rajoy, only a few weeks ago, when they
took down Catalan websites.
There will be neutral monitors
when the election comes, and there
ought to be neutral media voices in
play before that. Let them report regularly and openly. Ask Catalan newspapers, websites and broadcasters
to carry their verdicts on events as a
voluntary running commentary. Begin
transparent work towards a better
appointments system for editors and
directors. Keep parliament and press
freedoms at arm?s length.
But leave your heavy boots in the
hall. Tread softly. ?Both sides should
understand that the best sign of a
democracy is a free press, with journalists who seek truthful information and
feel no need to self-censor,? says the
RSF director. It will be infernally dif?cult after the shambles of the last few
days. But it?s a ?ag on the battle?eld
that must still be saluted.
BUSINESS | 43
What austerity?
In football rights
and TV shows,
the only way is up
T
Relaxed half-hour: Nick Ferrari and Emma Barnett, presenters of After the News. ITV
ITV?s new chatshow is no Newsnight
S
o After the News, ITV?s newsy
night chat show, is running
100,000 viewers or so ahead of
Newsnight. It doesn?t matter: it?s
about as sensible as saying the Daily
Express sells more than爐he FT.
After the News has one thing going
for it: a relaxed half-hour of not very
challenging discussion that doesn?t
cut restlessly from item to item. It?s
cheap as chips. Indeed, it might be
just as good on radio, where its two
presenters, Nick Ferrari and Emma
Barnett, ?ourish. (At least, then, we
wouldn?t have to see Nick writhing unhappily inside an expensive
black爏uit.)
Newsnight, by contrast, ranges far
and wide. It has truly expert cor-
respondents such as Mark Urban. It
presents social policy issues with a
?ne analytical ?ourish (Chris Cook).
Its main man, Evan Davis, often knows
more about economics than the politicians he interrogates. There?s a budget
that allows innovation. In the context
of BBC news, it?s a continuing boon.
Did Newsnight make a mistake in
August when it let Ferrari do a presentation gig in place of LBC?s James
O?Brien? Of course. Added confusion.
Barnett asks poised questions.
Ferrari is an in?nitely experienced old
bludgeon from the Tabloid University
of Hard Knocks. After the News may
?nd a niche. But it needs taking on its
own terms, not as some kind of nocturnal monster threatening the BBC.
Mail Online can?t have it both ways
A
t the start of last week Oxford
University was getting a tousing. Only 15% of places for students from the north. Thirteen
colleges had made no offer to a black
student six years in a row. ?Social apartheid,? cried the Mail Online. But scroll
forward a few days and everything
changes. ?Why is every new Oxbridge
head a leftie?? wails the Mail, putting
Alan Rusbridger, Helena Kennedy,
Mark Damazer and Will Hutton ?rst in
some sinister Remainer ?ring line.
You can run the apartheid course
? or you can trip over your Brexit bootlaces. But you really need to choose.
here?s no squeeze being felt in at
least two succulent media areas,
Brexit or no Brexit. Indeed, the
cash registers are beating out a
euphoric tune.
There?s TV and the Premier League,
just coming up for its next three-year
rights renewal. Only seven years ago,
the going rate for the whole shooting
match was �4m. Today ? fuelled by
the 2013 entry of BT into a suddenly
competitive market ? it?s �712m, and
expected to go up by at least 40% in the
next bidding round.
BT is already paying more for its top
matches than Sky spent on the whole
of its sports coverage a decade ago.
Hyperin?ation.
But it could all get much worse (or
better) as the second media joy story
kicks in. Jay Hunt, one of the most
successful creative minds in British
TV, is to become the European driving
force for Apple as it puts an initial
$1bn into streaming shows, ready to
compete with Amazon (currently
spending $4.5bn) and Net?ix ($6bn
heading for seven). Content, content.
For the moment, ?lm- and video-makers have struck gold.
Quake, then, if you?re Sky or BT,
fearing a new soccer bidder on the
block as prices take off again. There?s
only one consolation. When Enders
Analysis examined this scene, it
reckoned that any serious sports rights
newcomer would need $10bn for starters. Even insanity has its price.
Why does Nigel Lawson keep
cropping up on perfunctory
BBC interviews about climate
change or Brexit? Because he?s
Lord Rent of Impartial-moment,
ever ready to balance Remain
voices or keen environmentalists.
But what happens when Lawson
gets his global warming ?gures
in a twist? The BBC has to apologise to everyone for not setting
him爏traight.
Oh blessed irony! Your token
?fairness? chap blows the house of
balance down and you?re left
re-assembling the pieces. Count
Nigel out for the future. Soon the
desperate list of impartiality
mongers on BBC standby will be
a very short one: with just Nigel 2
(Farage) left.
44 | CASH
*
Personal ?nance
Ombudsmen
are a ?shambles?,
campaigner
Martin Lewis
to warn MPs
29.10.17
Martin Lewis says
people need to
have confidence in
the ombudsman
system.
Photograph by
Martin Godwin for
the Observer
MoneySavingExpert?s founder will this week
tell an all-party group that complaints services
are in dire need of reform. Anna Tims reports
M
ichael Hernon was startled to be told that his
British Gas account
was �6 in the red. His
statement the previous
month showed that he
was �6 in credit. British Gas explained
that the sum related to an earlier bill
which, because of an error, had never
been sent. Hernon asked to see the bill
and when British Gas failed to oblige, he
turned to the Energy Ombudsman.
It ruled that the bill should be sent.
That was in April 2016. Hernon has still
not received proof of what he owes and
is unable to transfer his account until
the sum is paid. Yet the ombudsman has
closed the case and refused to communicate further.
?The information provided by the
ombudsman states that, once a review
is accepted by the customer, its terms
become binding on the company,? he
says. ?It has failed to implement its own
policy and British Gas continues to hold
my account hostage on the highest possible tariff.?
Hernon?s frustration is echoed by
Sarah Fowler of York, who complained
to the Energy Ombudsman when she
found that Extra Energy had confused
her metric meter with an imperial one
and tripled her bills. The ombudsman
ruled Extra Energy should refund the
�300 she had overpaid and, when
the money hadn?t arrived three months
later, it closed her case. ?They explained
that they must remain independent and
unbiased and have no authority over
Extra Energy,? she says. The refund was
only paid when the Observer contacted
the company, which explained that the
delay was due to human error.
Ombudsman schemes investigate and
resolve complaints against a company or
a public body when deadlock is reached,
and their decisions are supposed to
be binding. However, over the years,
numerous readers have contacted the
Observer claiming it has allowed ?rms
to ignore its own rulings.
?Consumer feedback has been very
poor,? says Martin Lewis, founder of the
campaign website MoneySavingExpert.
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com, which is presenting a review on
ombudsman schemes in parliament this
week. ?One of the biggest problems is
that remedies are not being implemented,
mainly because most ombudsman services lack the powers to enforce them.?
The ?ombudsman? title is a loose term
covering three tiers of dispute resolution. Statutory schemes ? such as the
Financial Ombudsman Service and the
Legal Ombudsman ? have compulsory
jurisdiction over certain regulated sectors, and decisions can be enforced by a
court. Those, like the Energy Ombudsman, are underpinned by statute. It is
compulsory for companies within that
sector to be members of a scheme but it
does not actually give the ombudsman
any more legal powers. If a company
ignores their remedies, all they can do is
suggest the customer takes court action
or, in serious breaches, report it to the
relevant爎egulator.
Then there are voluntary schemes,
established by a trade association, which
are essentially unregulated arbitration
with no legal powers, and companies
can choose whether or not to cooperate.
Lewis, whose review was commissioned by an all-party parliamentary
group, says the system is a shambles.
?Ombudsman schemes should be the
premier league of alternative dispute
resolution, and it?s time to crack down
on the use of the term. Consumers need
to have con?dence that any body bearing
the ?ombudsman? brand will investigate
impartially, and companies will have to
abide by their decision.?
He wants all ombudsmen to be created or underpinned by statute and given
greater powers to enforce their rulings.
In Hernon and Fowler?s cases the
Energy Ombudsman ? part of the private, not-for-pro?t company Ombudsman Services Ltd ? ignored the powers
that it already has.
It tells the Observer that remedies
must be implemented within 28 days
unless the company requests extra
time with good reason and, failing that,
that it would support the customer in
civil action. It fails to comment on why
Fowler was let down.
Hernon, meanwhile, was told in a
letter from the deputy chief executive,
Simon Morris, that it ?can only take at
face value? a company?s assurance that it
has complied and that it did not discuss
the non-compliance with British Gas.
In a single day Hernon received two
letters from the ombudsman, one declaring that British Gas had still not completed its remedies and that it would
report it to the regulator Ofgem and
open a new case into its failings. The
other stated that British Gas had fully
complied with its obligations and the
case was now closed.
Nearly a year on, it admitted it had
never contacted the regulator and told
Hernon that he had to open a new case.
Ombudsman Services says only 509 of
its 38,000 decisions in the 12 months to
July 2017 remained unful?lled after 28
days, but it admits that, in Hernon?s case
?it is clear there have been some shortfalls and we have committed to undertake a review of the handling of the case?.
British Gas says the disputed bill had
been cancelled and could not be regenerated, but that it supplied ?gures showing
gas usage to the ombudsman, and considers it has ful?lled its requirements.
At least the energy sector has an
ombudsman, which last year secured
customer payouts totalling �3m. In
2015 the government missed an opportunity when it enacted the EU directive on consumer alternative dispute
resolution (ADR). It stipulated that all
EU consumers should have access to an
ADR scheme if they have an unresolved
complaint about goods or services.
In fact, UK legislation only requires
companies to ?ag up a relevant scheme,
not to cooperate with one.
There was no move to expand and
consolidate the powers of official
ombudsman services, or even to ensure
that they exist for different sectors.
The Ombudsman Association, which
represents ombudsman and complainthandling bodies, says that the new legislation has encouraged competition
which confuses consumers, and allows
member companies to withdraw funding from one scheme and then sign up
to a cheaper, potentially less impartial爎ival.
There are now 147 such schemes in
operation, many overlapping and with
63% without official approval. ?The
association?s long-standing position is
that there should be a single ombudsman
within each sector, and one competent
authority to set standards,? says its director, Donal Galligan. ?The establishment
of more than one within an industry creates risks [of ] uneven standards of investigation and redress. There can also be a
risk of a race to the bottom.?
Martin Lewis believes that, ultimately, there should be a single compulsory ombudsman overseeing multiple
sectors so that consumers can call one
number and be put through to the relevant branch. He is also calling for an
end to the rule that forces consumers to
wait eight weeks before they can refer an
unresolved complaint to an ombudsman.
?If you are in debt and have a dispute
with a payday lender, that two-month
wait could cripple you,? he says. ?It dates
back to snail mail and now, with digital
communications, it makes no sense.?
HOW TO RESOLVE A DISPUTE
Alternative dispute resolution refers to
ways consumers can seek independent
redress from a trader if they feel they
are in breach of contract. Although
they are funded by the industry they
represent, they are expected to have an
independent board of non-executive
directors with only a minority from the
member companies. Schemes use a
range of processes to resolve disputes
and distinctions between them are
blurred. The main ADR processes are:
? Mediation A con?dential process
where an independent third party helps
disputing parties reach an agreement.
? Conciliation Similar to mediation, but
the independent third party has a more
active role in suggesting what agreement
should be reached.
? Arbitration An independent third party
evaluates a dispute and decides how it
should be resolved. The decision is binding
on both parties.
? Adjudication Similar to arbitration,
but the decision is only binding on the
business, not the consumer, who can still
take their case to a civil court.
? Ombudsman schemes Independent
third parties who consider complaints and
usually combine investigation, mediation,
and adjudication.
? Court Formal legal action is usually the
last resort employed by consumers to
obtain redress. Consumers can, however,
take legal action without going through
the above routes if they wish.
29.10.17
Personal
Your problems
?nance
*
MORTGAGES
Anna Tims
Etihad treated
my wheelchair as
mere lost luggage
when it?s my legs
Last autumn I booked a round trip
from London Heathrow via Abu
Dhabi and Tokyo Narita to Sydney
with Etihad Airways. During the
booking, I noti?ed Etihad, through
my travel agent, that I was a wheelchair user, and gave them a detailed
description of the type of assistance I
required.
At the departure gate at Heathrow
I found I had not been allocated
an aisle chair (a small wheelchair
designed to transfer passengers with
reduced mobility to their seat).
I had a two-hour wait for a connecting ?ight at Abu Dhabi where
there was no sign of my wheelchair.
I was assured it would be waiting
for me at Tokyo, but once there, I
learned that it had been left in Abu
Dhabi.
Moreover, special assistance was
not available to get me off the plane
at Tokyo, as requested, so a crew
member ? who had no clue how to
help me into the aisle chair ? had to
stand in.
It took 24 hours for my wheelchair
to be restored and I could not rent
one since it was Sunday and everything was closed. The airport let me
borrow a wheelchair as far as the station, and I had to make the two-hour
train journey from the airport to
Tokyo unable to move, then borrow
another chair from the station to get
me to a taxi.
I was due to give a presentation at
a conference the following day and it
was only because hotel staff found a
spare chair that I reached my engagement. Since I could no longer trust
Etihad, I refused to ?y with them on
the return journey and bought alternative tickets with British Airways.
The airline initially refused to
compensate me. Then, in January,
they relented. For the next three
months they gave me all kinds of
excuses as to why the money was not
in my account.
In April they stopped responding to emails. I took the case to the
Aviation Dispute Resolution but
Etihad did not respond. I was then
advised to complain to the Civil
Aviation Authority, but it told me
that Etihad had not responded to
them either. In their replies Etihad
talks as though my wheelchair was
mere luggage that had been delayed
when, in fact, it?s my legs.
LD, Warwick
Under EC regulations all airlines
departing or arriving at an EU airport
should provide special assistance to
passengers with disabilities if it has
been requested more than 48 hours
in advance. Etihad seems to have a
worrying disregard for the rules.
Moreover, it has not signed up to an
alternative dispute resolution scheme
so is not bound to cooperate with its
investigations. After the Observer
wades in, it takes a further month of
toing and froing before Etihad ?nally
coughs up the �8 cost of the BA
?ight and adds �0 in goodwill.
It blames incomplete information
from the travel agent. ?We apologise to
LD, and are sorry that, on this occasion,
we fell below the high standards we
have for customer service, especially
CASH | 45
for passengers with reduced mobility,?
it says. Asked whether it plans to
join an ADR scheme so passengers
with unresolved complaints can seek
arbitration, it remains cagey, replying
simply that it?s ?evaluating options?.
Mystery landlord collects our
rent in cash from our bedroom
I am 18 and have just moved into
a houseshare where the landlord
asks for the rent in cash. All bills are
included and I was wondering if this
is legal. I consequently have no proof
I?m living here. I?ve never met the
landlord ? we leave the cash in our
bedrooms and he goes in and collects it.
CW, London
Cash payments are certainly not ideal
as the landlord is likely to be using
them to dodge tax and because you
have no proof of payment or, indeed,
what you are paying for, unless he
is issuing invoices for the services
included and signed receipts.
Certainly the landlord should not
be entering bedrooms to collect the
rent and you need to request that payments are made outside the property,
according to Ralph Bullivant, partner
in the property litigation team at Hill
Dickinson LLP. As for the proof of
residency, he says, you should have
been given a tenancy agreement (normally an assured shorthold tenancy
agreement). If it was not provided, the
landlord can be obliged to provide a
statement of terms of your tenancy,
including his name and address, and it
must be provided within 28 days.
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.
Lender
Type
Rate %
Term
Max
LTV %
Fee �
Contact
Hanley Economic Building Society
?xed
1.09
31/12/2019
60
725
0845 070 5090
Hanley Economic Building Society
?xed
1.12
31/12/2019
75
745
0845 070 5090
AA
?xed
1.33
30/11/2019
85
995
0800 169 6010
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
AA
?xed
2.03
30/11/2022
85
995
0800 169 6010
Newcastle Building Society
?xed
3.39
28/2/2020
95
999
0345 606 4488
HSBC
bbr tracker + 0.74%
0.99
2 years
60
999
0800 030 4640
HSBC
bbr tracker + 0.84%
1.09
2 years
75
999
0800 030 4640
HSBC
bbr tracker + 0.99%
1.24
2 years
85
999
0800 030 4640
Barclays
o?set bbr tracker + 1.34%
1.59
2 years
75
999
0845 070 5090
Coventry Building Society
o?set ?xed
1.55
31/12/2019
75
999
0800 121 8899
SAVINGS
Provider
Account
NatWest
Savings Builder
1
Santander
123 Current Account
1
Bank of Cyprus UK
Online Easy-Access Account
Gross
AER %
Min �
Notice
Notes
Contact
1.50
1.50 &
�per
month
easy access
BATI
0800 255 200
easy access
AICD
0800 218 2352
1
1.28
easy access
I
bankofcyprus.co.uk
I
rcibank.co.uk
AP
0800 387 704
RCI Bank
Freedom Savings Account
100
1.30
Harrods Bank Limited
120-Day Notice Account 9
20,000
1.46
Regular Savings Account 3
The Access Bank UK Limited Sensible Savings 1-Year Fixed
Term Savings Bond
Axis Bank UK Ltd
2-Year Fixed Deposit
25
3.00
easy access
120 days
notice
easy access
AR
03451 220 022
5,000
1.85
1 year
PIF
01606 815 440
1,000
2.05
2 years
AIF
0207 397 2520
Ikano Bank
Fixed 3-Year Saver
1,000
2.21
3 years
IF
ikano.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
Charter Savings Bank
2-Year Fixed Rate Cash Isa
1,000
1.72
2 years
NS&I
NS&I
Direct Isa
3-Year Investment Gtee
Growth Bond
NS&I
Junior Isa
Kent Reliance
IF chartersavingsbank.
co.uk
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.
CREDIT CARDS
Provider card name
0% O?ers
Type
Sainsbury?s Bank Nectar
31 months Purchases
Purchase
Tesco Bank Clubcard
30 months Purchases
Purchase
Santander All in One
39 months Balance
Transfer
39 months Balance
Transfer
Balance
Transfer
Balance
Transfer
Tesco Bank Clubcard BT
Transfer
fee %
Repr
APR
Cashback
Contact
na
18.9
Not Available
sainsburysbank.co.uk
na
18.9
Not Available
tescobank.com
0.00
21.7
Not Available
santander.co.uk
2.69
18.9
American Express Platinum None
Cashback
na
28.2
American Express Platinum
None
Cashback Everyday
Cashback
na
22.9
Not Available
1.0% Standard +
Intro Bonus
0.5% Standard +
Intro Bonus
Pathognomonic
americanexpress.com
americanexpress.com
For the latest best buys on mortgages and savings check out our Money deals at http://theguardian.com/money
Table compiled 27/10/17. In case of late changes, always check rates and terms before transacting.
All above ?gures from independent ?nancial research company Defaqto (defaqto.com)
29.10.17
46 | TRAVEL
Five of the best Horror ?lm locations to visit
1. Belchite Spain
1
4
A ghost town in Zaragoza, and a stark
reminder of the devastation of the
Spanish civil war. While a new town
now exists, the ruins of the buildings
destroyed in 1937 remain as a harrowing memorial to the con?ict. It?s a
haunting place to visit, and the location
was used in the chilling 2006 Spanish
?lm Pan?s Labyrinth, which ties fantasy
with the brutal reality of Franco?s rule.
Belchite can only be visited with a
guide from the local tourist board.
4. Stanley Hotel Colorado
A huge colonial revival hotel in the
Rocky Mountain national park was
the inspiration for the Overlook Hotel
in Stephen King?s novel, The Shining.
King spent a night here with his wife
in the 1970s, and discovered they were
the only guests in the 142-room hotel,
eating alone in an empty dining room
and wandering through empty corridors. The hotel (which offers ghost
tours) was used for the 1997 TV series
The Shining, but not Stanley Kubrick?s
classic ?lm; for that, Timberline Lodge
in Oregon acted as the exterior of the
Overlook, while most of the ?lm was
shot at Elstree studios in Hertfordshire.
2. Mount Mihara Japan
An active volcano on the island of Izu
?shima, Mount Mihara is a stunning
spot about 100km south of Tokyo. The
volcano was used as a location in 1998?s
Ringu (The Ring), which tells the tale
of a great psychic, Shizuko Yamamura,
who predicts a volcano?s eruptions
and, later, throws herself into its crater;
and in 1984 Japanese ?lm The Return
of Godzilla, with the vast crater being
used as a prison for the monster. The
volcano is 758 metres high, and visitors
can walk around the rim of the crater.
2
5. Osea island Essex
5
3. Various Scotland
Horror classic The Wicker Man follows
a policeman as he attempts to solve
the mystery of a missing girl in a pagan
community on the remote Scottish
island of Summerisle. The 1973 ?lm
was shot across a range of locations
on the mainland. Lord Summerisle?s
mansion house is Culzean Castle, near
Ayr, and is open to the public. St Ninian?s Cave ? to where the cop tracks
the missing person ? is on the Machars
peninsula in Galloway. The village of
Anwoth, in Dumfries and Galloway, is
the home of the church ruins featured
TRAVEL CLASSIFIED
in the ?lm, as well as the schoolhouse.
It?s a beautiful part of the UK, home
also sacred and pagan sites.
3
A tiny, privately owned island in the
Blackwater estuary in Essex, Osea has
an enchanting air. It has long drawn
artists and musicians seeking solitude,
but what gives it a sense of mystery is a
narrow pebble tidal causeway, passable
only every seven hours. It was featured
prominently in the ?lm adaptation of
The Woman in Black.
Words: Will Coldwell
Photographs: Allstar/Momentum
Pictures; Moviestore/Rex; Higehiro
Ono/Getty Images; Alamy
To see the full list of horror movie
locations, and thousands more
tops on everything from the
world?s best restaurants and
hotels to walks and beaches, visit
theguardian.com/ravel
29.10.17
OBSERVER CLASSIFIED| 47
48 | OBSERVER CLASSIFIED
29.10.17
29.10.17
1028
(30.36)
9AM TODAY
1024
1020
(30.24) (30.12)
3PM TODAY
1020
(30.12)
1016
(30.00)
13
7
Aberdeen
Orkney
1028
(30.36)
(49F)
MODERATE
6
Glasgow
MODERATE
9
12
(43F)
(48F)
23
Edinburgh
Glasgow
MODERATE
6
20
Edinburgh
9
(43F)
10
SLIGHT
Newcastle
MODERATE
Newcastle
(50F)
Belfast
Belfast
9
11
(48F) Hull
11 Fair
11 Rain
10 Rain
Birmingham 10 Fair
13 Cloudy
13 Showers 12 Cloudy
12 Cloudy
11 Fair
Bristol
9 Fair
13 Cloudy
12 Fair
11 Fair
13 Rain
10 Fair
Cardiff
10 Fair
14 Cloudy
13 Fair
12 Fair
13 Rain
12 Rain
Edinburgh
10 Rain
14 Showers 14 Showers 10 Fair
11 Cloudy
11 Sunny
Glasgow
10 Rain
14 Rain
11 Rain
10 Rain
14 Showers 14 Showers 12 Cloudy
12 Rain
10 Fair
11 Rain
9 Fair
HEAVY
Dublin
Manchester
10
10
(51F)
10 Fair
15 Cloudy
14 Showers 12 Cloudy
12 Rain
London
11 Fair
14 Fair
14 Fair
14 Showers 13 Rain
(52F)
Norwich
Norwich
Birmingham
Birmingham
13
13
(55F)
14
Gloucester
Cardi?
Bristol
(56F)
9 Fair
14 Cloudy
13 Showers 12 Cloudy
11 Cloudy
Newcastle
9 Rain
13 Showers 13 Showers 10 Cloudy
11 Cloudy
10 Fair
11 Fair
13 Cloudy
13 Cloudy
12 Rain
Oxford
11 Fair
13 Cloudy
14 Fair
12 Cloudy
14 Cloudy
11 Rain
Plymouth
12 Fair
14 Fair
13 Fair
14 Fair
14 Showers 13 Fair
Swansea
11 Fair
14 Cloudy
13 Fair
12 Cloudy
12
13
Bristol
SLIGHT
London
13
Cardi?
(55F)
SLIGHT
12
(54F)
London
Brighton
14
Plymouth
(55F)
Brighton
Plymouth
(57F)
23
SLIGHT
MODERATE
16
UK TODAY
Channel Is, Cent S England, SW England, W Midlands, Wales: Mostly cloudy
in the morning with the odd shower in the south, then sunny breaks in the
afternoon. A light to moderate northerly wind. Max 11-16C (52-61F). Generally
dry tonight with increasing cloud. Min -1 to 6C (30-43F).
SE England, London, E Anglia, E Midlands: Mostly cloudy in the morning, then
sunny breaks in the afternoon with the odd shower along the eastern coast. A
moderate northerly wind. Max 12-15C (54-59F). Dry tonight with clear intervals in the east. Min 1-7C (34-45F).
Lincolnshire, Yorkshire, NW England: Generally dry today with mostly cloudy
skies in the morning, then sunny breaks in the afternoon. A light to moderate northerly wind. Max 8-12C (46-54F). Staying dry tonight with increasing
cloud. Min -1 to 4C (30-39F).
992
(29.29)
Reykjavik
H
OCCLUDED FRONT
Helsinki
1032
(30.47)
Stockholm
L
976
(28.82)
976
L
(28.82)
1016
(30.00
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