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The Observer October - 15 2017

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www.observer.co.uk
Sunday 15 October 2017 �00
Children?s tsar
savages NHS
over mental
health care
TRUMP THAT: WALES HONOURS THE FORMER
US SECRETARY OF STATE WITH LAW DEGREE
�49 FOR
SUBSCRIBERS
PAGE 47 �
MPs draw up
plans to stop
May signing
?no deal? Brexit
by Toby Helm and Michael Savage
? Health service chief faces legal threat
A powerful cross-party group of MPs
is drawing up plans that would make
it impossible for Theresa May to allow
Britain to crash out of the EU without
a deal in 2019. The move comes amid
new warnings that a ?cliff-edge? Brexit
would be catastrophic for the economy.
One key aim of the group ? which
includes the former Tory chancellor Kenneth Clarke and several
? Top o?cials battle over waiting times
ON OTHER PAGES
by Jamie Doward
The children?s commissioner has
launched a savage attack on the head
of the NHS, accusing him of denigrating research that shows an ?unacceptable? lack of children?s mental health
provision.
In a highly unusual move, Anne Longfield has published an open letter to
Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS
ON OTHER PAGES
Parent anger at 44-month wait
for autism diagnosis 6
England, accusing him of ignoring young
people?s experiences of the service and
the frustrations of their parents. Laying out a list of grievances against him
and his team, she also threatens to use
the law to compel him to hand over data
on waiting times for children?s mental
health services.
Longfield made the decision to go
public with her complaints ? published
on the commissioner?s website ? after
Stevens rubbished many of the claims in
her recent report into children?s mental
health, an issue she identi?ed as her top
priority after consulting with children.
?Many told me about their desperate attempts, sometimes lasting years,
to access support, and even primary
school燾hildren raised concerns about
anxiety,? Long?eld told Stevens in the
letter. The report, published to coincide with World Mental Health Day
last week, estimated that only between
a quarter and a fifth of children with
mental health conditions received help
last year. It stated: ?Progress in improving children?s mental health services has
been unacceptably slow.?
Long?eld warned that provision for
young people was a postcode lottery and
said that ?children?s inability to access
mental health support? was leading to
a range of extra problems, ?from school
exclusions to care placements breaking
down to children ending up in the youth
justice system?.
It is highly unusual for the holders
of two important public offices to be
Continued on page 3
May must silence the deluded ?no Brexit
deal? zealots Observer Comment, 34
Andrew Rawnsley 35
Hillary Clinton, who has Welsh ancestry, was presented with an honorary doctorate at
Swansea University for promoting the rights of children. (Social media impostors are
deepening divisions in the US, pages 16-17.) Photograph by Matthew Horwood/Getty
Conservative ex-ministers, together
with prominent Labour, SNP, Liberal
Democrat and Green MPs ? is to give
parliament the ability to veto, or prevent by other legal means, a ?bad deal?
or ?no deal? outcome.
Concern over Brexit policy reached
new heights this weekend after the
prime minister told the House of
Commons that her government was
spending �0m on preparations for a
possible ?no deal? result because negotiations with Brussels had stalled.
Several hundred amendments to the
EU withdrawal bill include one tabled
by the former Tory cabinet minister
Dominic Grieve and signed by nine
other Tory MPs, together with members of all the other main parties, saying any ?nal deal must be approved by
an entirely separate act of parliament.
If passed this would give the majority of MPs who favour a soft Brexit the
binding vote on the ?nal outcome they
Continued on page 9
INSIDE > WEATHER THIS SECTION PAGE 49 | CROSSWORDS SPEEDY, THIS SECTION PAGE 49; EVERYMAN PAGE 36 + AZED PAGE 37 IN THE NEW REVIEW
*
1 2 A
*
2 | NEWS
*
15.10.17
The Bryggen
waterfront, a
world heritage
site in Bergen.
Alamy
Dispatch Bergen
Where Jo Nesb�s Snowman carried out
his grisly work, a city refashions its image
Michael Fassbender has been in town ?lming
the Scandi-noir horror. Artist Jeremy Deller is
there too, working on a very di?erent project
Vanessa
Thorpe
Bergen, with its protected historic
waterfront and romantic, low-hanging
mountain mists, is quite used to being
packaged for foreign consumption.
Long sold as ?the gateway to the
Norwegian fjords?, the Viking port
is an established stop-off for Nordic
cruises and, since the recent international literary boom in Scandi-noir
?ction, it also ?nds itself a big draw for
fans of the bestselling crime genre.
Some of its surrounding geographical features have become synonymous
with gruesome ?ctional deaths, largely
thanks to the enormously successful Norwegian writer Jo Nesb�. And
Bergen?s streets, with their processions of hooded quilted jackets, zipped
against the rain, now say only one thing
to most modern tourists: ?murder?.
The release this weekend of the
mega-budget thriller The Snowman, a
?lm starring Michael Fassbender and
based on the seventh book in Nesb�s
detective saga, should really mean that
the city is bracing itself for another icy
blast of association with grim homicide. After all, much of The Snowman
was shot on location in and around
Bergen and the popular Vidden hiking
trail between the Ulkriken and Floyen
mountains is the scene of one of the
horri?c murders detailed in the book.
Yet this weekend, the people of
Bergen are actually busy celebrating the advent of an entirely different
cultural landmark. Their gleaming new
Kunst Musikk Design (art, music and
design) faculty building, which opened
its doors to students four days ago, is
a key part of a concerted national bid
to put Bergen back on the European
cultural map. The aim is to be recognised as a destination for more than
just stately Saga cruise daytrippers or
devotees of BBC4?s hit Scandinavian
dramas. Backed by Norwegian government funds, the country?s second city is
pushing for renewed status as an international centre of creative excellence,
able to attract students and top artists
from around the world. So the founding of this �0m home for just 350
arts students at a time is a deliberately
lavish strategic move.
Applicants from abroad, Frode
Thorsen, the dean at KMD, promises,
will be welcomed with open arms.
Already about one in three of those
who receive doctorates are foreigners and some are even funded. Most
universities in Norway are state-owned
and fairly heftily endowed. Students
are supported by the kind of loans and
grants that would astonish British
freshers. Tuition fees are covered by
the government and those studying for
a PhD at Bergen University are paid
employees. What?s more, much of the
teaching is done in English.
Last week, Britain?s Turner prizewinning artist Jeremy Deller was
one of the high-pro?le guests invited
to mark the opening of the building,
now formally absorbed into Bergen
University. Talking to a central hall
full of students and lecturers about his
work, ranging from his re-enactment
of the Battle of Orgreave during the
miners? strike to his ?bouncy castle?
Stonehenge, Deller emphasised the
idea that an artist can bring their work
to the public in a variety of forms. ?I
haven?t really done any work that is
conventional art for a long time now.
Everything changed when I realised I
could work with people, with communities, instead,? he said.
It is a particularly appropriate
message for this new building, which
has been designed by the acclaimed
Norwegian architects Sn鴋etta speci?cally as a home for multi-displinary collaborations. The idea behind the KMD
building, an amalgam of six schools, is
that sculptors and ceramicists should
be able to work right alongside ?ne artists and fabric designers. It is interactions like these, said project manager
Astrid Renata Van Veen, that may spark
new ways of thinking: ?These encounters cannot be forced by an architect,
of course, but you have to create spaces
where these things might happen, to
?nd ways for students to see each other
and see their work.?
Indeed, the logo Deller has created
for the opening celebrations shows an
octopus deftly juggling several musical
instruments, a paintbrush, a camera
and knitting needles; a different artistic
tool in each tentacle.
The ?rst school of art was established in Bergen in 1772 and, while
there is some regret about leaving the
old faculty buildings, the big investment
in the new site, coupled with the multi-
Michael Fassbender as Harry Hole in
the new Jo Nesb� film The Snowman.
disciplinary dream, seems to have won
over most of the teaching staff.
For the vice-dean, Professor AnneHelen Mydland, herself a former art
student in Bergen, the value of artistic
effort is philosophically closely linked
with a political commitment to promoting democracy. She believes that by
working together, across the disciplines, the arts stand a better chance:
?Even in Norway, art is always ?ghting
for itself. Art is about allowing new
voices to be heard and it is always a
struggle to communicate how important that is. And, with everything going
on in the world now, it has never been
more important.?
So, while British art schools and
university faculties are wondering
how to cope with a future outside the
European Union, Norway, also an EU
refusenik, has been quietly orchestrating a plot twist worthy of one of
Nesb�s detective stories. A stealthy
way to survive in the choppy seas of
international markets, the government believes, is to use part of its vast
and continuing national income from
North Sea oil (�240bn since production started in the 70s) to position itself
at the vanguard of international artistic
thinking. Now, on the back of the current popularity of Scandinavian style,
the new art school will be using some
of these oil funds to remind Norway?s
larger neighbours, including Britain,
that there is more to the country?s creativity than sleek chairs and cosy rugs.
And the KMD is just one part of the
Norwegian investment programme
in the reputation of Bergen. As well
as a planned new home for the city?s
renowned music school, The Grieg
Academy, Bergen already has a pristine
new airport and is in the middle of constructing a light railway system. All this,
despite the fact the entire metropolitan
area only has a population of 420,000.
Back in the 13th century, Bergen was
Norway?s capital, before Oslo overtook
it in the 1830s. Sitting at the centre of a
lacy network of inlets on the west coast
of the country, the Vikings ?rst spotted
N O RWAY
SWEDEN
Bergen
Oslo
200 miles
D ENM AR K
its potential as a naturally sheltered
harbour. But Bergen?s historic signi?cance in Europe chie?y dates from
its glorious period, running until the
16th century, as one of the cities of the
powerful Hanseatic League, the trading federation established around the
Baltic Sea and northern Europe.
Since then, several ?res have
reduced the size of the city?s most
recognisable bit of visual branding, the
attractive waterfront Bryggen district,
a world heritage site recently crossed
by the urgent feet of Fassbender as
detective Harry Hole. Whatever the
critics may say about The Snowman, it
will doubtless attract a fresh wave of
tourism to this part of town.
But perhaps the cultural attraction
that best sums up the way Bergen now
sees itself is a place that has already
been pulling in the tourists for decades:
the hillside home of Edvard Grieg, the
composer of the Peer Gynt Suite.
A visit to the villa in Troldhaugen
that he lived in with his wife, the singer
Nina Grieg, until his death in 1907 is
charming enough. But what really
stands out is the way the Griegs used
their small home as a crucible of artistic and social activity. It was frequently
full of musicians and regularly used for
concerts, its bare wooden walls chosen
for the best acoustics and its partitioned ground-?oor rooms hosting
impromptu performances: a perfect
model for what the city of Bergen now
hopes to become in northern Europe.
15.10.17
NEWS | 3
*
The fashion world speaks out: ?Without
immigration, we?d be selling potato sacks?
Retailer Jigsaw,
whose sta? come
from 45 countries, is
the latest to stand up
for immigrants
STYLE WITHOUT BORDERS
by Zoe Wood
There is a new trend greeting shoppers
this season but it?s not billowing cords or
ruffle blouses: it?s the fashion industry?s
attempt to counter hostility towards
immigrants since the Brexit vote.
Last week the high-street chain Jigsaw put its head above the parapet as it
?lled shop windows and billboards with
posters emblazoned with ?? immigration?. In its accompanying ?manifesto?
the retailer says: ?Without
hout immigration,
we?d be selling potato sacks,? adding that
?fear, isolation, and intolerance
tolerance will hold
us back?.
Peter Ruis, chief executive
xecutive of Jigsaw,
which has a workforce
ce drawn from 45
countries, said: ?Why
hy has the word
immigrant been demonised,
monised, when it
simply means comingg to live in another
country? People who
o work for us are
leaving every day. Some
me have had abuse
in the street, either because
cause of how they
look or because of their
ir accent.?
The London mayor,
r, Sadiq Khan, and
the pro-Remain MP Anna Soubry were
among the thousands who took to social
media to applaud thee campaign. ?We
couldn?t agree more that
hat people need
to see the debt that wee owe to immigration,? said Khan.
Delhi-born designer
ner Ashish ,
whose grandparents ?
ed Pakistan
?ed
during partition, tried
d to tackle
the issue last year after
ter feeling
that he was ?not welcome?
lcome? in
the UK, despite having
ing lived
here most of his adult
lt life. In
protest he took to thee stage at
his London fashion week show
wearing a T-shirt with
ith the word
?immigrant? across the
front.
he front.
?There is a wave of racism and
xenophobia sweeping the world,
even more so now after
er the US
election,? the designer
er said at
the time.�If I can use my work
to voice my dissent, that
hat is my
way of speaking up.?
Ruis said that the reaction
to Jigsaw?s campaign
gn had
been overwhelmingly
ly supportive, with one fan
n hugging him in the street.
t. ?I?m
not trying to speak for all
my customers or the people who work for uss ?
but [I] want to start a
conversation from the
he
point of view where
re
immigration is seen as
a positive thing,? he said.
Drivers who
kill to face life
sentence
by Michael Savage and Dulcie Lee
Dangerous drivers who cause death
while using their phones or speeding
will face life in prison, ministers have
con?rmed. The decision to go ahead
with a major extension of sentences
comes after a campaign by families and
a cross-party group of MPs.
Drivers who kill while under the
in?uence of drink or drugs will also
face a life sentence. And there will be a
new offence of causing serious injury
through careless driving, as part of
renewed efforts to improve road safety.
The new measures mean such
drivers could face the same sentence
as those convicted of manslaughter,
with maximum penalties raised from
14 years to life.
Jigsaw promotes its ??
immigration? campaign on
the London underground,
above. The Delhi-born
designer Ashish at last
year?s London fashion
week, right, and a model at
a recent Prabal Gurung
show, left. Jigsaw, Ashish
Instagram, Getty
?We are all part of a vibrant, tolerant,
global Britain. These are things we
believe
believ in as a brand.?
Lor Hall, at trend forecaster
Lorna
WGSN, says: ?Artists and creative
people are reacting to the fact that
peopl
some of the rights and ideas that we
have taken
for granted are coming
t
under threat. Fashion is really sensitive to the wider world.?
In the
t wake of President Donald
Trump?s refugee travel ban, more
Trum
than 80
8 of fashion?s biggest players,
including
the designer Diane von
includ
Furstenberg and Grace CoddingFurst
ton, US Vogue?s creative director
at large,
gathered at New York
l
fashion
week to make a video
fas
diary
dia for W magazine, in which
they took turns to state: ?I am an
Last year 157 people were sentenced
for causing death by dangerous driving,
with a further 32 convicted of causing
death by careless driving while under
the in?uence of alcohol or drugs.
Tory MP Heidi Allen has been
campaigning for life sentences for
death by dangerous driving. The
South Cambridgeshire MP has been
supporting the family of a 21-yearold killed after being hit by a car. The
killer was sentenced to four years, but
released after two. Labour?s Judith
Cummins also pressed the government
on the issue in July.
Dominic Raab, the justice minister,
said: ?We?ve taken a long hard look at
driving sentences, and received 9,000
submissions to our consultation. Based
on the seriousness of the worst cases,
the anguish of victims? families, and
maximum penalties for other serious
offences, we intend to introduce life
sentences for those who wreck lives by
driving dangerously, drunk or high on
drugs. We will introduce a new offence
of causing serious injury by careless
driving, punishable by imprisonment,
to re?ect the seriousness of some
injuries suffered.?
?Lots of brands are
deciding to take a
stand because they
believe customers
would want them to?
Lorna Hall, trend analyst
immigrant.?
During the same fashion week event,
the American designer Prabal Gurung
sent his models down the runway in
T-shirts stamped with political slogans
that included ?The future is female? and
?I am an immigrant?.
In a similar vein, the actress Kathreen
Khavari attended the premiere of Big
Little Lies, the HBO series that swept the
Emmys, wearing a T-shirt dress printed
with ?my Iranian immigrant mother
teaches your kids how to read?.
?Lots of brands are deciding to take
a stand around certain things because
they believe that their customers would
want them to,? says Hall. She points to
the example of the upmarket jeweller
Tiffany & Co, which used an Instagram
post to urge Trump to keep the US in the
Paris climate agreement, as the ?disaster
of climate change is too real?.
Brexit is posing difficulties for Jigsaw,
according to Ruis. His business is struggling to ?ll vacancies, and the collapse in
the value of sterling has pushed up the
cost of imported goods. ?Everything we
buy [from overseas] is 20% more expensive and that has created a big challenge
for our business model,? he says.
But can campaigns such as Jigsaw?s
change the tenor of the immigration
debate? A recent study by academics at
the University of East Anglia found that,
while prejudice towards EU immigrants
was a powerful predictor of support for
Brexit, positive contact with immigrants
led to increased support for Remain.
?These kinds of campaigns can raise
awareness and make people have more
positive attitudes towards immigration,?
said Charles Seger, who co-authored the
UEA study. ?We know from psychology
that very subtle cues can shape people?s
attitudes even if they are not aware of it.
It?s like a classic conditioning thing. People become more accepting ? if they see
immigration in a positive, non-threatening context.
?It?s like the nudge theory guy Richard Thaler, who won the Nobel prize last
week ? small things can have big consequences further down the line.?
Children?s commissioner raps NHS boss
Continued from page 1
critical level. Theresa May has
identi?ed improving mental health
as a key issue but, ahead of the busy
winter period, there are concerns that
the NHS will struggle to cope with
demand even for what are considered
priority services, such as accident and
emergency.
Stevens?s robust criticisms that the
report contained ?basic errors? were a
powerful retort to Long?eld?s claims.
However, in a move that will ensure
that mental health provision for young
people once again becomes a major
political issue, Long?eld has hit back,
saying the report was published only
after consultation with NHS England.
?The brie?ng was prepared using the
NHS?s own data,? Long?eld writes.
?My conclusion on reading, checking
and rechecking was that the service
that exists at the moment is worryingly
poor, a conclusion I stand by.?
In a highly personalised attack,
Long?eld tells Stevens: ?I was very
disappointed that NHS England?s
response to our report, and your
own personal response in front of
the Commons health select committee, was to attempt to denigrate the
research.
?Not once did you address the
central issues raised. Instead, you
sought to undermine the important
evidence that we are putting forward
and strangely ignore the reality of children?s experiences of the service and
the frustrations of their parents.?
Long?eld suggested that Stevens?s
claims that she and her team had not
bothered to check the report were
?untrue?. Similarly, claims that NHSE
had not been given adequate time to
review the report before commenting
were also without foundation.
Stevens had indicated that NHSE
was in possession of data that could
be used to refute many of Long?eld?s
claims. However, the commissioner
said: ?If the NHS has data not in the
public domain that disputes the picture
we painted, then in the interests of
transparency and accountability NHSE
should publish it.?
She adds: ?As you will know, I am
also able to demand such data under
section 2f of the Children?s Act 2014.?
Stevens is standing his ground. In
a response to Long?eld, obtained by
the Observer, he suggests NHSE was
?bounced? into giving a response to
the report only after aspects of it were
shared with journalists. He said that
a key ?nding of the report, that ?the
government?s much-vaunted prioritisation of mental health has yet to translate into change at a local level? was
?demonstrably factually inaccurate?.
Sarah Wollaston, chair of the health
select committee, said: ?It?s very
important that there is a constructive
relationship between the Office of the
Children?s Commissioner and NHS
England. This has raised important
matters about the funding of mental
health care.?
4 | NEWS
*
15.10.17
After 10 days that shook the ?lm
brother now joins the attack on
Bob Weinstein, who co-founded
Miramax with his disgraced sibling,
says he himself was abused by Harvey
and he had begged him to seek help.
And in an emotional interview, he has
insisted that his brother should never
be allowed back in the ?lm industry
by Edward Helmore
New York
Bob Weinstein has launched an extraordinary attack on his elder brother Harvey, saying he was sickened by the disgraced ?lm executive?s apparent lack of
remorse over decades of alleged sexual
misconduct.
In an interview with the Hollywood
Reporter, the younger Weinstein ? who
co-founded Miramax with his brother ?
said: ?I want him to get the justice that
he deserves.? But he insisted that he had
had no idea about ?the type of predator
that he was?.
Bob Weinstein, 62, said he had barely
spoken to his brother in almost five
years. ?Harvey was a bully, Harvey was
arrogant, he treated people like shit all
the time. That I knew. And I had to clean
up for so many of his employee messes.
People that came in crying to my office:
?Your brother said this, that and the
other.? And I?d feel sick about it.?
The outburst came at the end of an
extraordinary 10 days for Harvey Weinstein. There has been a wave of accusations of sexual harassment by actresses
and models ever since the New York
?It?s a complicated
situation when it?s
your brother doing
the abusing to you as
well. I saw it and
asked him to get help?
Bob Weinstein
Times published its original story about
him more than a week ago. His accusers
included Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina
Jolie, Cara Delevingne, L閍 Seydoux,
Rosanna Arquette and Mira Sorvino.
Last week, his wife Georgina Chapman
announced she was leaving him.
These claims have built up a picture
of a powerful producer who has coerced
dozens of younger women ? at the start
of their careers, often in hotel rooms
and offices ? to provide him with sexual
favours. For his part, Harvey Weinstein
has admitted his behaviour has ?caused
a lot of pain? but has described many
of the allegations against him as false.
A spokesperson said ?any allegations
of non-consensual sex are unequivocally denied? and there were ?never any
acts of retaliation? against women who
turned him down.
Now his brother has joined his accusers. ?I could not take his cheating, his
lying and also his attitude toward everyone,? Bob Weinstein said. While he was
aware that his brother was unfaithful to
Chapman ? ?philandering with every
woman he could meet? ? Bob insisted he
had little idea about the repeated predatory harassment that has come to light.
?I have a brother that?s indefensible and crazy,? he said. ?I find myself
in a waking nightmare. My brother has
caused unconscionable suffering. As a
father of three girls I say this with every
bone in my body ? I am heartbroken for
the women that he has harmed.?
But he insisted that Weinstein Co, the
successor to Miramax, could survive
the fallout from the revelations despite
widespread predictions that the company would be forced to shut down or
be sold off. ?There is a plan to come out
on the other side,? he said.
During the interview, Weinstein often
became emotional when discussing
his brother and the company they cofounded, Hollywood Reporter said. He
and his brother, he explained, ran two
separate companies so he never even
met many of the people that Harvey
Weinstein did business with.
He declined to discuss specifics,
including claims that the board of directors were aware of settlements to several
of his brother?s accusers. ?The members
of the board, including myself, did not
know the extent of my brother?s actions,?
he claimed. ?I know him on a personal
level better than anyone. It?s hard to
describe how I feel that he took out the
emptiness inside of him in so many sick
and depraved ways. It?s a sickness but
not a sickness that is excusable. It?s a
sickness that?s inexcusable. And I, as a
brother, understood and was aware as a
family member, that my brother needed
help and that something was wrong.?
It was also revealed that the board
of governors of the Academy of Motion
Picture Arts and Sciences was reviewing Harvey Weinstein?s membership.
Bob Weinstein said the academy should
expel his ?sick and depraved? brother.
But while Bob Weinstein claimed
he was unaware of his brother?s sexual
harassment ? Harvey Weinstein has consistently denied harassment claims ? he
was aware of other aspects of abusive
behaviour.
Bob Weinstein also claimed that
he was a victim of his brother?s abuse,
including physical abuse. ?I do not put
myself in the category at all of those
women that he hurt. But it?s a complicated situation when it?s your brother
doing the abusing to you as well. I saw
it and I asked him to get help for many
years. And that?s the truth. He avoided
getting the help. We begged him.
?This hurts, but I don?t feel an ounce
of remorse coming from him, and that
kills me too. When I heard his written,
lame excuse ? Not an excuse. When I
heard his admission of feeling remorse
for the victims and then him cavalierly,
almost crazily saying he was going to go
out and take on the NRA, it was so disturbing to me. My daughters all felt sick
hearing this because we understood he
felt nothing. I don?t feel he feels anything
to this day. I don?t.?
However, Bob Weinstein denied leaking information that contributed to the
New York Times?s report. ?I didn?t and,
you know, Harvey is suspicious of everybody. It?s unbelievable that even to this
moment he is more concerned with who
sold him out.? Weinstein concluded saying his brother should never be allowed
back into the ?lm industry. ?He lost his
rights. He didn?t lose his rights to be
rehabilitated as a human being. But as
far as being in this town again? I mean,
give me a break.?
ON OTHER PAGES
Stop making women answer for mens?
crimes, Laura Bates, Comment, page 33
The link between abuse and ?lm content
Kate Hardie, Comment, page 33
It?s not only Hollywood?s problem
Leader, page 34
Inside the vibrant celebrity haunts
The party goes on
without Weinstein ? now
2,400 miles away at sex
addiction clinic inArizona
by Joanna Walters
New York
The atmosphere in the Tribeca Grill is
convivial. The mix of diners includes
?nance, ?lm, media and marketing
executives, with a smattering of wellbehaved tourists.
There is a buzz of conversation and
laughter, against a backdrop of subtle
music and lighting. A dozen suited
executives ?le into the upmarket bistro
and disappear through a doorway, next
to the kitchen, to a private dining area.
This is where movie mogul Harvey
Weinstein was a ?xture, using the
restaurant ? in which he was an original
investor when Robert de Niro opened
it in 1990 ? like an office cafeteria. The
headquarters of his former company
are in the same building. This is also the
place where Weinstein would invite
young models and actresses in what
turned out, by many accounts, to be a
prelude to the casting couch upstairs.
Weinstein has now been accused by
more than a dozen women of making
unwanted sexual advances. He has
said many of the details are inac-
curate and has denied accusations
of criminal sexual harassment, rape
and sexual assault. ?Any allegations
of non-consensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr Weinstein,? said
Sallie Hofmeister, a spokesperson
for the movie executive, last week.
?With respect to any women who have
made allegations on the record, Mr
Weinstein believes that all of these
relationships were consensual.?
On Thursday evening, as waiters
carried plates of seared salmon and
roasted Amish chicken to diners, there
was something missing. That something
was Weinstein, who had been ?red and
was 2,400 miles away beginning sex
addiction rehab in Arizona after explosive reports accusing him of decades
15.10.17
NEWS | 5
*
industry, Harvey Weinstein?s
the ?sick and depraved? predator
?I was blacklisted because
I got raped,? says actress
Rose McGowan told
by lawyer she would
not win a court case
by Mark Townsend
The actress Rose McGowan has said
she was ?blacklisted? because she ?got
raped?, and has vowed to chase down the
individuals in the ?lm industry who are
?aiding and abetting? sex crimes.
On Friday she publicly accused the
Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein
of raping her.
In a remarkable interview, recorded in
January 2017, obtained by the Observer
and published for the first time,
McGowan sheds more light on the allegation while explaining that she never
reported the rape to the police because
a criminal lawyer advised her that she
was unlikely to win.
?Also, I didn?t want his name next to
mine in my obituary; his name doesn?t
deserve to be mentioned in the same
breath as mine when I?m dead,? she said
in the interview.
McGowan is one of more than 30
women who have come forward since
the New York Times revealed sexual
harassment and rape allegations against
Weinstein going back decades. In a
series of tweets last week McGowan also
accused Roy Price, the head of Amazon
Studios, of having ignored her when she
made the allegation earlier.
The allegations have raised questions
over who knew about their details, with
McGowan, 44, claiming in the interview that she was directly threatened
after reporting that she had been raped.
?They threatened [me] with being blacklisted. I was blacklisted after I was raped,
because I got raped, because I said something ? but only like internally, you
know,? she said.
Following a New Yorker article published last week in which three women
accused Weinstein of rape, a spokesman
for the Hollywood producer ?unequivocally denied? the allegations.
During the interview McGowan also
said that she had between 150 and 200
people she could subpoena to support
her testimony and referred to a legal
document in relation to the alleged
attack. ?I actually have a signed document from the time of the attack, it was
settled for a very small settlement, so
that?s an admission of guilt,? she said.
Weinstein reached a settlement with
McGowan when she was 23 years old
after ?an episode in a hotel room? during
a ?lm festival, according to a New York
Times article earlier this month.
The star also suggested that she had
other physical proof. ?I had three surger-
Left: Bob and Harvey Weinstein in
1989. Actress Rose
McGowan, above, pictured in 1997, around
the time she claims
she was raped by Harvey Weinstein. Right:
Cipriani Downtown
restaurant in SoHo,
New York, where the
disgraced producer
frequently dined.
Rex; AP; Alamy
ies on my wrist and elbow, I think that?s
fair enough,? she said.
More broadly, the star of the US television series Charmed criticised the way
allegations of sexual harassment and
rape were treated by the ?lm industry,
in which the victims rather than the perpetrators were targeted.
?They blame the victim, they do all
that shit. People are bred to be scared,
they are bred to put fear into people and
that?s what they do, they?re bred to put
fear into the publishers and lawyers
and they overreach it, and I?m going to
do what I can and come out as hard as I
can,? she said.
Although the interview took place ten
months ago, McGowan correctly predicted that women from her industry
would come forward at some point with
claims of rape, sexual harassment and
unwanted physical contact. ?You can?t
really keep information any more,? she
said, referring to the allegations directed
at Bill Cosby who has been accused by
numerous women of rape, drug-facilitated sexual assault and sexual misconduct stretching back to the 1960s.
McGowan claimed that a network of
people hid the allegations against Cosby.
?It was a whole cottage industry, everyone who worked with him are aiding and
abetting a crime. Those are the fuckers
that I?m going after,? she said.
She also revealed that the late US journalist David Carr wanted to publicise the
crimes against her, but she was waiting
for the right time. ?Everyone knows who
I?m talking about, David Carr from the
New York Times was trying to break my
story for years, and I wouldn?t let him.
I said, ?It?s not time yet, the public consciousness is not there?.?
During the recording, details of
McGowan?s forthcoming book ? called
Brave and bought by the UK publishers
HarperCollins ? were discussed. She
said 85% of it had been written and that
she was prepared to use false names if
legally required in order to detail certain
incidents. ?My book is going to address a
lot of these things, it?s not a ?tell all? it?s a
?tell it how it is?,? said McGowan.
Named in the New York Times investigation as an accuser, her tweets last
Thursday were the ?rst time she publicly alleged that Weinstein raped her.
?I told the head of your studio that
HW raped me,? she wrote in a tweet to
Amazon?s chief executive, using Weinstein?s initials.
Three months before the interview
obtained by the Observer took place ?
October 2016 ? McGowan spoke about
being raped by an unnamed studio head,
but did not name Weinstein. Using the
hashtag #WhyWomenDontReport,
she explained that she never went to
the authorities with the alleged crime
because she was told that she could
never win the case.
of New York where the fallen movie mogul held court
of sexual assault and harassment of
female protegees, as ?rst revealed 10
days ago by the New York Times.
The restaurant and office building
were the cornerstones of Weinstein?s
downtown world. Here, the impresario
lumbered in and out of limousines that
whisked him from ?lm screening to
after-party, from office to restaurant,
nightclub and hotel suite, accumulating objects of attraction along the way
and encounters that ended in scandal
behind closed doors. As one former
acquaintance put it: ?Harvey Weinstein
is boorish. He is not a nice person.
That?s all I need to say.?
Just minutes away is the retro-style
Roxy Hotel, which recently changed its
name from the Tribeca Grand. It was
another haunt of the movie mogul. In
2010 Weinstein held a starry screening
there for The King?s Speech, his triumphant comeback ?lm after a creative
hiatus during several years of acrimony
after Disney bought Harvey and his
brother Bob?s original ?lm company,
Miramax. In 2015 Italian model Ambra
Battilana Gutierrez visited Weinstein
there ? wearing a police wire which
recorded her pleading with him as
he bullied and threatened her when
she wouldn?t go into his hotel room,
while he also apologised for groping
her previously, as was later revealed
in the New Yorker. Gutierrez later told
the New York Police Department that
Weinstein was groping her breasts
and trying to get his hand up her skirt.
Prosecutors reviewed the wire conversation and decided there was not
enough evidence to charge him.
Weinstein had also allegedly perpetrated a sexual assault at the offices
with aspiring actress Lucia Evans in
2004, just one of dozens of accusations
now piling up against him. Evans had
?rst met him at Cipriani Downtown,
the SoHo branch of the grand family
restaurant chain, she has said.
Where Tribeca Grill is warmly
elegant, Cipriani Downtown screams
glitz. Piercingly lit and spilling out on
to the pavement beneath a yellow awning, its patrons mainly comprise thin,
blond women and slick men in suits
with shirts opened halfway down their
chests. In 2004, in the lounge upstairs,
Evans says she was approached by
Weinstein, who ultimately invited
her to an office meeting at the then
Miramax, where he is alleged to have
forced her to give him oral sex.
A Cipriani staffer recalled Weinstein:
?Oh yes, Harvey is here all the time.
Or he was. It?s very sad. He never did
anything bad to me and he brought us
a lot of business. He?s like family, a very
good friend of the owner. We love him.?
A few blocks away is Weinstein?s
splendid townhouse in New York?s
West Village, where he moved after
marrying Georgina Chapman, 41, with
whom the 65-year-old Weinstein has a
daughter, seven, and a son, four. He has
three daughters from his ?rst marriage.
Weinstein held a glamorous fundraiser
there for Hillary Clinton during her
doomed 2016 presidential campaign.
He has known Hillary and Bill Clinton
for decades and threw a party for them
at the now-defunct artsy-establishment
restaurant Elaine?s in 2000.
Born in Flushing in Queens,
Weinstein is a proud, native New
Yorker. Apart from his college years
upstate in Buffalo, and despite blazing
trails through Los Angeles, London
and Cannes, he has loomed over New
York for decades. But for many, growing
evidence suggests, his presence was
oppressive. Back downtown, the pleasant air of calm settling over the Tribeca
Grill dining room last week could very
well have been the sign of a neighbourhood exhaling with relief.
6 | NEWS
*
Parents? anger at 44-month
wait for autism diagnosis
MPs? urgent call for Hunt
to act to curb delays
by Dulcie Lee
Parents of children with suspected
autism are having to wait at least 44
months for diagnoses, prompting a
cross-party group of more than 140 MPs
to write to the health secretary, Jeremy
Hunt, demanding urgent action.
The startling new figures, revealed
in response to a freedom of information
request, relate to children under the
age of ?ve who need a specialist autism
assessment after being referred by a GP
or other health professional.
The request, submitted by a concerned member of the public, relates to
an area of Teesside covered by the Tees,
Esk and Wear Valleys NHS foundation
trust. But Mark Lever, chief executive of
the National Autistic Society, said that
such ?unacceptable? delays were a problem in many parts the country but varied
hugely from one region to the next.
?An autism diagnosis can be life-
changing,? he said. ?It can explain years
of feeling different and help unlock
crucial advice and support. The longer
someone lives without the right support,
the higher ? and more expensive ? their
needs can become.?
The official response to the request
showed that if a child aged under ?ve
and living in Stockton was referred to
a specialist assessment team today, the
family would have to wait roughly 44
months before receiving any answer. In
neighbouring Middlesbrough the waiting time was six months.
Experts in the NHS cite several rea-
15.10.17
A 142-strong
cross-party group
of MPs wants the
health secretary,
Jeremy Hunt, to
impose maximum
waiting times.
sons for the long waiting times, including a lack of coordination between professionals throughout the assessment, as
well as a lack of resources.
The matter was taken up by the
Labour MP for Stockton South, Paul
Williams, who is also a GP. Williams has
rallied the support of 142 MPs to write
to Hunt demanding that he introduce a
maximum interval of three months from
point of referral to beginning of specialist assessment. This would bring waiting
in line with National Institute for Health
and Care Excellence (Nice) guidelines.
The letter, sent on Friday, welcomed
the Department of Health?s recent commitment to record waiting times as
?progress?, but warned: ?Recording data
alone does not tackle delays.?
Williams said: ?This is an issue of profound unfairness. While children are
waiting and their parents are struggling,
they often don?t get much-needed access
to support in school, and they fall behind
their peers.?
The Observer spoke to several parents in the area covered by the freedom
of information request, many of whom
had been on the waiting list for far longer
than the three months recommended by
Nice. Nichola Binks said she was struggling to navigate the system with her
three-year-old son, Thomas.
In a letter to Binks in January, her
local NHS trust said that the proposed
date for her son?s assessment was August
2019. ?It?s so stressful and upsetting. It?s
a postcode lottery,? she said, explaining
that those living five miles down the
road were waiting a fraction of the time.
As long as Thomas did not have a
formal diagnosis, they were unable to
access respite care, send him to a special school, or get help with his sensory
issues. She said she worried that he
would not ?nish the assessment process
before he entered primary school: ?It?s
so important for him to get the help now.
He?s never going to catch up if not.?
Dr James Cusack, director of science
at UK research charity Autistica, said
that it was possible to improve a child?s
communication skills by making early
interventions, but the average age of
diagnosis was ?avoidably high? and had
not changed in a decade: ?Late diagnosis
represents a missed opportunity.?
Tory advance
in small towns
by Michael Savage
Policy Editor
Labour is losing ground to the Tories
in Britain?s ?left behind? towns and
becoming the party of major cities,
according to a new study of the UK?s
fracturing political landscape.
Analysis by Professor Will Jennings
of the University of Southampton
for the New Economics Foundation
thinktank shows a persistent and
growing difference in political
affiliation between cities and towns.
The general election in June saw
a 10.2% swing from Conservatives to
Labour in cities. However, there was
just a 4.1% swing in small towns. Since
2005 the Tories have increased their
share of the vote in small towns from
34.5% to 48.0%, while Labour support
in small towns has remained stable.
The ?ndings will worry Labour
MPs concerned that the party is losing
touch with traditional supporters and
is too focused on metropolitan issues.
Analysis also suggested that ?the
more a place has experienced relative
decline, the worse Labour tends to
perform in electoral terms (and the
better the Conservatives do)?. At the
last election the swing to Labour was
far higher in cities than in either large
towns (+5.0) or small towns (+4.1), and
even smaller in other areas (+3.0).
Lisa Nandy, Labour MP for
Wigan, said her party needed to take
on concerns about issues such as
immigration to tackle the problem.
?The values of people who live in
towns are not re?ected in the political
debate. We see it in the real anger
about immigration.?
The New Economics Foundation
is proposing a ?manifesto for
towns?, including improved local
infrastructure, jobs and supply chains.
Will Brett, co-author of the report,
said: ?Many towns are being left high
and dry, disconnected from global
growth and sidelined by our economy.?
15.10.17
NEWS | 7
*
Rabbi urges calm in row over plan to turn
Golders Green landmark into a mosque
A famous music hall
once graced by
Marlene Dietrich is
now a focus for claims
of Islamophobia.
By Harriet Sherwood
Its audiences once thrilled to performances by Marlene Dietrich and Laurence Olivier. They sang along with Vera
Lynn, laughed with Danny La Rue, and
rocked with Status Quo.
But the Golders Green Hippodrome,
which closed its doors as a theatre in
1968 and was home to the BBC concert
orchestra until 2004, is now at the centre of a disturbing controversy after the
Grade II-listed building was bought by
an Islamic charity earlier this year.
Plans to use the venue as a Muslim
community centre and mosque have
divided the local population, which has
a large Jewish presence. Most objectors
have cited concerns about traffic congestion and parking, but a minority of comments have been Islamophobic, leading
a local rabbi to denounce ?threatening
and misleading? language that echoed
historic antisemitism.
The hippodrome was bought in July
for �25m by the Centre for Islamic
Enlightening, which serves the Shia
community in London. The centre
was delighted to have new premises in
which it could hold conferences, seminars, lectures, youth activities, English
language classes, after-school clubs and
occasional prayers, spokesman Ahmed
al-Kazemi told the Observer.
?We will welcome people regardless
of religion or background. We want to
have good links with other faiths and
integrate into the local community,? he
said.
The building had been used by an
evangelical Christian group as a church
for 10 years before the Islamic centre
bought it. Last month, the centre submitted a planning application for change of
use from ?church? to ?place of worship?,
and to extend its hours of opening.
A public consultation on the application, which closes on 26 October, has
received more than 200 objections,
while a petition focusing on congestion, air and noise pollution, parking
problems and the ?deterioration of the
quality of our lives and our safety? has
attracted more than 5,000 signatures.
However, some objections have
gone further. ?This is going to force
the Jewish population to run away, and
make this beautiful neighbourhood too
crowded with loads of burkas and veils,?
one resident wrote in a submission to the
consultation.
Another suggested that ?to place a
large Muslim institution in the heart of
one of London?s only two Jewish communities is a highly dangerous under-
The Hippodrome, top, opened in 1913; a 1948 programme; and locals signing a petition against its demolition in the 1950s. Savills
taking and one that can only result in
violence and terrorism?. Many ?undesirables? would be attracted to the area,
the complainant added.
Such sentiments have brought a sharp
rebuke from Jewish leaders. Laura
Marks, chair of the Holocaust Memorial
Day Trust, said contributions to the private chat groups had ?sent a shiver down
my spine?.
Acknowledging there were valid concerns about congestion and noise, she
said there was also ?a use of language,
and a strength of feeling, that makes me
feel this is about something more. It?s
about fear of ?the other?, and speci?cally
fear of Muslims.
?Comments such as ?we don?t know
what they are preaching as it?s all in
Arabic?, ?this will result in violence and
terrorism? and ?there is a chance of in?l-
?I?d invite people to
meet us. When they
?nd out who we
y?ll change
are, they?ll
nds?
their minds?
Ahmed
al-Kazemi,
mosque
spokesman
n
Marlene Dietrich sang at the
theatre in 1965.
tration of bombers? are Islamophobia
plain and simple,? she wrote in the Jewish Chronicle last week.
Rabbi Mark Goldsmith, of the Golders
Green Alyth Reform congregation, told
language of the comments
the paper the languag
was ?threatening and misleading?.
He added: ?I suspect it?s the same sort
p
thing said about Jews
of th
moving to Golders Green
movin
the 1920s. Golders
in th
Green is
i not entirely Jewish. It?s a sspecial place to live
in and we all get along together.
London is about.?
That?s what L
By Friday, Barnet council had
removed all but
b the most recent
comments from its consultation web page,
pa saying it had ?a
responsibility
to ensure that
responsibi
people are not using council platforms
to air views that are inappropriate?.
Al-Kazemi said he was surprised by
the objections, but not upset. ?There
might be people who don?t like us, but
we don?t feel threatened. I have lived in
Golders Green for 15 years, I have a Jewish neighbour and a Christian neighbour,
and they are my brothers.
?I would invite people who don?t
know us, and maybe have said something
nasty about us, to come and meet us, and
have a cup of tea or share a meal. When
people find out who we are and what
we do, they will change their minds.?
The centre would hold an open day in
December, he said.
The hippodrome, designed by leading
theatre architect Bertie Crewe, opened
in 1913. ?It was a place of great optimism,
with thousands of seats aimed not just at
people moving to Golders Green but also
as a hub of culture for the wider area,?
said social historian Alan Dein, who lives
nearby.
It started as a music hall and theatre, with shows as diverse as ballet and
magic. Later, it became established as a
venue for pre-West End productions and
popular dance bands of the late 1930s
and 1940s.
?Suburban theatres were signi?cant
places in those days, and its mix allowed
it to survive during the later dark years of
the 1950s and 60s,? said Dein. ?It struggled, but it hung on.?
But in February 1968, it put on its last
performance, an extravaganza featuring many stars of the day. The BBC took
over the lease and converted it for use as
a concert hall and radio studio.
As well as a venue for rock bands
including Jethro Tull, Roxy Music, the
Kinks and the Jam, BBC Radio 2?s Friday
Night is Music Night was broadcast live
from the hippodrome. ?It was a hugely
popular show, listened to by a third of
the population of Britain,? said Dein.
?But by the early 2000s, the BBC
decided enough was enough. The building was 90-odd-years-old and needed
preservation and refurbishment. Then in
2003, the auditorium ceiling collapsed,
and the decision was taken to sell.?
By then, the hippodrome had Grade
II-listed status and it took time to ?nd a
buyer. In 2007, an evangelical organisation, the El Shaddai International Christian Centre, bought it for � and occupied the site for 10 years before putting
it up for auction earlier this year.
Now, new prayer carpets have been
laid in what were the stalls, and the dress
circle has been screened off for women
attending events. But high on each side
of the stage, atop giant Doric columns,
charioteers drawn by lions still look
down on worshippers, and light ?oods
through stained-glass windows on to the
marble staircase.
?We can?t touch it, it?s listed,? Razi
Zadeh, the centre?s manager, said. ?Anything we want to do, even paint the walls,
we have to put an application in to the
council.
?But it?s very nice as it is, and we like
the lions very much.?
Hermes couriers set to rebel over company?s Christmas season workload
Parcel giant?s drivers
say they will not work
for 20 days non-stop
by Jamie Doward
Couriers working for Hermes, which
delivers for major retailers including
Amazon, Asos and Next, claim they
face pressure to work 20 days without
a break in the run-up to Christmas.
Unions say this would be illegal
under the working time directive were
the drivers not deemed to be selfemployed. Hermes rejects the claim,
insisting that the couriers can choose
when they work. It says that last year
? when concerns were raised ? nearly
two-thirds of its couriers chose not to
work on all 20 days, proving that they
could opt out.
However, this year couriers have
been alarmed by a letter from Conor
Ormsby, the ?rm?s head of courier
services, asking them to ?ensure that
a substitute or cover is available to
deliver on our normal service days
if you are unable to provide service?
during the peak period. The ?rm says it
has 4,500 couriers who provide normal
cover and has drafted in an extra 6,000
relief couriers who will be in place over
the Christmas period.
But many couriers are sceptical
and fear they will have to work 20
days consecutively if and when cover
cannot be found ? or risk losing their
contracts.
Now, in one of the ?rst signs of
workers in the ?gig economy? rebelling
against employers? working practices,
the GMB union has written a letter on
their behalf telling Hermes they are not
prepared to work such long schedules.
The letter states: ?I write to con?rm
that I will not be working 20 days non-
stop for Hermes over the upcoming
peak period. Under the Health and
Safety at Work Act 1974 (HSWA), I
have a personal duty to ensure that I
take care of my own health and safety.?
Last week, a parliamentary inquiry
was told that one driver had his
contract cancelled after being unable
to work as he was in hospital because
his wife had given birth prematurely.
The GMB is bringing a legal case
against Hermes that will be heard next
year. The union says that by classifying
its couriers as self-employed, Hermes
avoids giving them basic rights such
as holiday pay and the national living
wage. ?The reality is that Hermes are
more focused on their own pro?ts
than considering the health and safety
of their own drivers and the general
public,? said Maria Ludkin, the GMB?s
legal director.
Many of Hermes? 15,000 couriers say
they enjoy working the peak delivery
season because it means they earn
Hermes delivers parcels for clients
including Amazon, Asos and Next.
more. However, a courier who spoke
to the Observer said he expected the
amount of parcels he would deliver
each day in the peak period ? which
begins on 26 November ? to double
from around 100 to 200. He said
some couriers might expect to do
considerably more than this following
the online discount days, Black Friday
and Cyber Monday.
?We run a six-day round, but
because of Black Friday and Cyber
Monday, Hermes say they can?t cope
in their depots so they need to open on
Sundays,? he said. ?They don?t want
to use Sunday couriers, they want the
everyday couriers doing it, so it means
we have to work the middle Sunday.
We say it?s dangerous, they say ?get
cover?. Some have cover but the vast
majority don?t.?
In a statement, Hermes said: ?It is
entirely unfounded and irresponsible
to suggest Hermes would require
couriers to put themselves or the
public at risk. No courier is expected
to work longer hours, more days or
handle bigger volumes ? and there is
absolutely no penalty for choosing not
to do so.?
8 | NEWS | Brexit
*
15.10.17
?If the British economy suffers, then
May?s former security adviser spells
The pound?s slide since the EU referendum vote has already
blown a �0m hole in MoD budgets for hardware priced in
dollars. Mark Lyall Grant, who left his defence role in April,
says the government has more di?cult decisions to make
Michael
Savage
POLICY
EDITOR
Britain?s plans for a new defence
armoury of jet ?ghters, attack helicopters and maritime patrol aircraft risk
being derailed by the economic fallout
from Brexit, Theresa May?s former security chief has warned.
Mark Lyall Grant, who served as
the prime minister?s national security
adviser, said that a Brexit downturn
would have a knock-on ?impact on
UK security? and force the military to
rethink ambitious spending projects
drawn up in the past two years.
Writing in the Observer, he also warns
ministers that they may have to accept
some kind of role for the European court
of justice (ECJ) to clinch a security
deal that allows Britain to bene?t from
EU爌rogrammes.
The prime minister has repeatedly
suggested that the ECJ can have no
in?uence in Britain as part of a future
relationship with the EU.
There have been warnings that the
weakened pound has blown a hole of up
to �0m a year in spending plans since
the referendum, as expensive military
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kit is purchased from the US. Defence
insiders are privately warning that currency movements are creating ?extra
pressures? on a defence budget that
was already tight. A Whitehall review of
defence spending is under way.
Lyall Grant, who left his post in April,
states that Ministry of Defence officials
are having to address a funding shortfall,
well before a ?nal Brexit deal. He writes
that there were several big ticket items,
ordered as a result of the 2015 strategic
defence and security review (SDSR),
that were vulnerable to the pound weakening further.
?National security cannot be divorced
from economic security,? he writes. ?Put
at its most basic, if the British economy
suffers as a result of the prospect or
reality of Brexit, then our ability to fund
the ambitious 2015 SDSR will be put at
risk, whether we continue to spend 2%
of GDP on defence or not.
?Much of the defence equipment the
government plans to buy, including F-35
?The government will
probably need to be
?exible about the
role of the European
court of justice?
Mark Lyall Grant
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?ghter aircraft, Apache helicopters and
maritime patrol aircraft from the US, is
priced in dollars.
?Already the MoD is facing a budgetary squeeze as a result of a lower pound
and unrealised efficiency savings. The
government?s current ?mini-SDSR? to
address this shortfall will have difficult
choices to make.?
MoD insiders point out that, when the
spending plans were drawn up in 2015,
those involved failed to plan for a Leave
vote. A review of defence spending is
set to be completed by the end of the
year. Options open to defence planners
include buying kit over longer periods
of time, cutting some programmes or
reducing staffing levels.
Senior military figures have also
raised concerns over the defence budget.
General Richard Barrons, who retired
last year, is among those to call for an
emergency budget increase.
The respected Royal United Services
Institute recently warned that there
were ?substantial ?nancial implications
for defence? as a result of a weakening
pound. In August it calculated that the
MoD faces extra costs of up to �0m a
year in the wake of the Brexit vote.
?Clearly, the MoD has scope for ?repro?ling?: extending the period under
which equipment will be bought. But
the basic consideration remains that, in
the decade covered by the current equipment plan, the MoD is likely to have a lot
less spending power for important elements of capability than it had before the
referendum vote on 23 June [2016],? the
institute said.
An MoD spokesman said: ?Like any
large organisation, we have precautions in place to deal with ?uctuating
exchange rates, which minimise impact
and allow our rising defence budget to
continue providing the best equipment
for our armed forces.?
While Lyall Grant states he is con?dent Britain will agree a strong security
deal with the EU, he adds that this does
not ?underestimate the legal complexity
of reaching agreement?.
?The government will probably need
to be ?exible about the role of the European court of justice; and to reassure the
commission that any data on EU citizens
transferred to the UK will be properly
protected,? he writes.
The prime minister has already made
ECJ jurisdiction in Britain a red line in
the Brexit negotiations, much to the dismay of some ministers and officials.
Lyall Grant calls for continued cooperation on a series of high-pro?le security programmes after Brexit. ?The most
important is the network of information
sharing and practical measures that help
British law enforcement and intelligence
agencies to tackle serious organised
crime, securing our borders and combating terrorism,? he writes.
?We shall want to be as closely associated as possible with [the EU intelligence agency] Europol on issues such
as serious organised crime and cybersecurity; access the Schengen and Pr黰
databases, which store DNA, ?ngerprint,
vehicle and other personal information,
to help keep track of criminals; get traveller information from the passenger
name records system; and operate the
European arrest warrant.
?All these systems are owned and run
by the EU.?
He adds: ?I am con?dent a deal will
be爎eached ? our EU partners have just as
great an interest in continuing to bene?t
from cooperation with the UK.
?Our intelligence services are recognised as the best in Europe; we爃ave the
largest defence and overseas aid budgets,
and we arrest and send back to their爋wn
countries eight times as many燛U nationals under the European arrest warrant as
we get back from the continent.?
15.10.17
Brexit | NEWS | 9
*
our defence spending will be at risk?
out the impact of Brexit downturn
EU prepared to delay detailed trade
talks after failure to break deadlock
Brussels wants more
concessions to revive
stalled discussions
by Daniel Bo?ey
Brussels
European Union member states are
preparing the ground to delay detailed
discussions with Britain on future trade
relations in December, in a sign of the
precarious position of Brexit negotiations. Leaders are expected to rule this
week at a summit in Brussels that there
has been insufficient progress on the
opening withdrawal issues ? including
Britain?s divorce bill ? to allow negotiations to move on to trade this autumn.
A draft statement from the 27
member states would promise Britain
a comprehensive EU vision for both
the future trading relationship and any
transitional phase by mid-December
? should Theresa May make a series of
concessions on the ?nancial settlement, the Irish border and EU citizens?
rights.
However, the Observer has learned
that a meeting of diplomats from EU
member states discussed making the
language about their intentions in
December more vague, to give them
greater ?exibility when they come to
reassess progress at a European council summit on 14-15 December.
EU sources fear that, by presenting something this week that could
be construed as a wish-list to the UK,
a December deadline and a cast-iron
promise of reward, EU negotiators
might box themselves in.
?How detailed do we want to be
about what we will do in December??
one EU source said. ?It emerged in the
British narrative that October was a
deadline. And it wasn?t really. Some
feel that this time maybe we should be
more general.?
The discussion suggests there is
concern that the EU might not have
detailed guidelines on a future trading relationship ready by Christmas,
although none of those involved in the
meeting suggested that was the case.
Under the draft document drawn
up by the European council president, Donald Tusk, the member states
would have committed EU leaders in
December to reassessing ?the state
of progress in the negotiations with a
view to determining whether sufficient
progress has been achieved, and, if so,
adopt additional guidelines in relation
to the framework for the future relationship and on possible transitional
arrangements which are in the interest
of the union?.
It also commits
mits the leaders, and
the EU?s chief negotiator, Michel
Barnier, to setting
ng out internally
their own vision
n of a transition
period and trade
de deal.
Multiple sources
rces said that
ambassadors att
EU negotiator
Michel Barnier
says Brexit
talks are ?in a
state of
deadlock?.
Friday?s meeting were unanimously
in favour of that move, which one of
them said was both ?prudent planning? by the EU and an attempt to
encourage the British negotiators to be
more forthcoming in the most difficult
areas of the talks. EU ministers will
redraft the wording of the European
council conclusions on Wednesday in
Luxembourg before leaders sign off on
the statement on Friday in Brussels.
The development follows a week in
which the British government was told
by Barnier that the talks were in ?a very
disturbing state of deadlock? due, he
said, mainly to Britain?s reluctance to
offer any details on what ?nancial commitments it is willing to honour.
In addition, European commission president Jean-Claude Juncker
acknowledged Europe?s debt of gratitude to the UK for its impact ?during
the war, after the war, before the war?,
but added: ?Now they have to pay.?
Meanwhile, the outgoing Dutch
?nance minister, Jeroen Dijsselbloem,
who heads the Eurogroup of memto comber states, has responded
respon
ments from the chancellor,
c
Hammond, in which
Philip Hammo
he described tthe EU as ?the
calling for solutions
enemy? by cal
name calling.
rather than na
think those kind of
?I don?t thin
are helpful, I think
etiquettes ar
situation is quite
the situ
worrisome because
worri
are stuck,? he said.
we ar
think we all realise
?I thi
that being stuck is for
UK a huge risk but
the U
could also be negative
coul
for tthe EU.?
Ex-chancellor and cross-party MPs draw up
plan to make ?no deal? Brexit impossible for May
Continued from page 1
Plans to renew defence equipment,
from Apache helicopters to the F-35
?ghter jet (pictured), could fall victim
to the Brexit-hit weaker pound. Photograph by Jack Guez/AFP/Getty
have been seeking and therefore the
ability to reject any ?cliff-edge? option.
A separate amendment tabled by
Clarke and the former Labour minister
Chris Leslie says Theresa May?s plan
for a two-year transition period after
Brexit ? which she outlined in her
recent Florence speech ? should be
written into the withdrawal bill, with
an acceptance EU rules and law would
continue to apply during that period.
If such a transition was not agreed,
the amendment says exit from the EU
should not be allowed to happen.
Stephen Doughty, a Labour MP
who has been part of the behindthe-scenes cross-party efforts to ?nd
ways to amend the bill, said: ?There is
now growing cross-party anger at the
absurd suggestion that we could crash
out of the EU without a deal.?
He said the group would continue
work to ?nd amendments around
which soft-Brexit MPs of all parties
could unite to prevent a disastrous
outcome for the country.
?In the remaining time before
committee stage starts, conversations
between MPs across the parties will
help identify common ground ? and
enshrining the transition period into
law is increasingly likely if we work
together in this way. This bill could be
the last chance for parliament to put
safeguards in place.?
Adam Marshall, the director general
of the British Chambers of Commerce,
said the business community ?want a
transition agreed in principle and trade
talks under way by the end of 2017. If
there is not that clarity we will start to
see the activation of contingency plans
and likely signi?cant impact on business investment.?
The 10 Democratic Unionist party
MPs upon whose votes May relies for
a Commons majority have made it
clear to government whips that they
would not accept a ?no deal? outcome
because it would mean a return to a
hard border between Northern Ireland
and the Republic. If May were to try to
push such an approach, the deal with
the DUP that keeps her in power could
fall.
Yesterday, in a sign of growing
desperation, it emerged that the Brexit
secretary David Davis will travel to
Brussels tomorrow for unscheduled
talks after the EU ruled last week that
insufficient progress had been made
to allow the two sides to begin future
trade talks with Britain.
A key plank of May?s Brexit policy
thus far has been her insistence that
?no deal is better than a bad deal?. She
has made clear that at the end of the
negotiations MPs will have only two
options: to accept whatever deal is on
offer or to agree there will be no deal.
Labour has also tabled a series of
amendments that would bind the
government to a transitional period
after Brexit day in March 2019, during
which the UK would effectively remain
inside the single market and customs
union. The party?s Brexit spokesman,
Keir Starmer, said: ?No deal means the
return of a hard border in Northern
Ireland. No deal means no agreement
on how we trade with Europe. No
deal means EU nationals working in
our schools and hospitals and the 1.2
million UK citizens living in the EU
will continue to be unsure about their
future. No deal means no deal on aviation, which quite literally means planes
cannot take off and land. This is not
scaremongering, it?s the grim reality.?
While anti-hard Brexit Tory MPs
have made clear they will not back any
amendments tabled by Labour?s frontbench and bearing Jeremy Corbyn?s
name, they say they would be prepared
to line up with amendments from likeminded Labour backbenchers.
The former Tory education secretary
Nicky Morgan, who has signed several
amendments, said last night that the
best way for ministers to avoid a defeat
was to agree to give MPs a binding vote
on the outcome, ?whether or not there
is a deal?. She added: ?If they test this I
think they will ?nd there is a majority
for an amendment and no majority for
a ?no deal? outcome.?
This weekend it is expected that at
least one hardline pro-Brexit Tory MP
will break cover to call for the suspension of Brexit negotiations until the EU
agrees that trade talks can begin. The
Observer has also learnt that ministers
may sanction the ?rst expenditure on
preparations for a ?no deal? Brexit as
soon as tomorrow, without the full
approval of parliament.
Meanwhile, ministers are rushing through a vote on the treatment
of nuclear material in a move that
will allow them to begin spending on
the new IT systems and inspectors
needed should Britain remain outside
Euratom, the EU-wide body that oversees strict regulation.
The spending could go ahead after
the vote despite that fact that the
legislation is far from receiving full
parliamentary approval. It comes amid
claims of another ?power grab? by
ministers over Brexit plans.
ON OTHER PAGES
Britain will always be tied to the EU on
crime and security
Mark Lyall Grant, Comment, page 38
15.10.17
NEWS | 11
*
New bene?t
system leaves
free school
meals at risk
PINTER?S WOMEN
by Michael Savage and Jamie Doward
Harold Pinter and Vivien Merchant, left;
top right, Joan Bakewell, with whom he
had an affair; Douglas Henshall and
Kristin Scott-Thomas in Betrayal.
Barcroft, Rex, Popperfoto
Harold Pinter?s best friend reveals
the playwright?s painful secrets
Memoir tells how dramatist?s tragic ?rst wife
haunted his work, writes Vanessa Thorpe
For 60 years actor Henry Woolf was the
intimate friend of Harold Pinter, the
Nobel laureate widely judged the greatest
theatrical voice Britain has produced in
the past 50 years. Now Woolf has revealed
extraordinary details of their long and
fond relationship in a memoir that tells
of the struggle the playwright once had to
be alone with broadcaster Joan Bakewell
during the love affair that inspired his
most popular play, Betrayal. It also tells of
the painful end of Pinter?s ?rst marriage.
Speaking to the ObserverWoolf, who
commissioned and directed Pinter?s ?rst
play The Room in Bristol in 1957, recalled
the ?awful shock? it had been to Vivien
Merchant, the gifted actress Pinter married in 1956, when the famous writer
later fell in love with Lady Antonia
Fraser, the second wife who remained
with him until his death at 78 on Christmas Eve, 2008. Woolf said Pinter had
worried ?all the time? about Merchant,
who is now best known for her moving
screen role in the ?lm Al?e and who died
in 1982.
?Vivien started to drink very heavily; she was determined to kill herself, I
suppose,? Woolf writes in his new book.
?Not just to punish Harold, but to escape
from an unbearable life. Perhaps modern
women don?t kill themselves for love; I
wouldn?t know. But Vivien certainly did.?
Woolf?s memoir, Barcelona is in Trouble, also describes the bus trips Woolf
was once forced to take around London
in the 1960s while Pinter and Bakewell
met clandestinely inside his rented Ken-
tish Town bedsit, a location moved to
Kilburn in the play.
?The immediate effects of their visits
was that I had to be out when they were
in. I found myself taking long bus rides to
places like Plumstead, where I had never
been before. I didn?t mind. Harold had
helped me out often enough in the past;
now it was my turn,? Woolf writes. He
spoke this weekend about the obviously
strong emotional connection the young
lovers had: ?It was a relationship one felt
somehow was of high quality, in the conviction of their emotions I mean.?
Pinter had proposed the unusual arrangement by summoning his
schoolboy pal to a London pub to meet
Bakewell. ?Look, Henry, we?re in a bit of a
?x, Joan and I. We?d like to see a bit more
of each other, if you see what I mean. But
we have nowhere to go,? Woolf recalls
Pinter explaining.
But when the amenable Woolf began
to date his future wife Susan, keeping
the secret became more complicated.
The actor told her that he sometimes
lent his bedsit out to ?star-crossed lovers?. She was later surprised to ?nd out
who they爓ere.
Woolf?s book paints a nostalgic but
unsentimental picture of his boyhood
friendship with Pinter in east London
and of the other members of the ?Hackney gang? ? a small band of ?rm friends
who met at Hackney grammar school
in the early 1940s. As Jews, Woolf and
Pinter were sometimes set upon by local
fascist thugs, Woolf recounts, but Pinter,
who was a talented schoolboy sportsman, gave as good as he got.
These memories are to be revisited
tomorrow when Woolf himself, now 87,
performs in a play about his youth which
Pinter staged at the British Library in
London. Pinter, Woolf said, valued his
friendship with his gang very highly,
staying in touch as his career progressed
and introducing them all to people he
judged interesting, such as the American
playwright Arthur Miller. Now Woolf, as
the only surviving member of the gang,
wants to celebrate Pinter?s loyalty.
Pinter captured some of the gang?s
youthful escapades in his only novel, The
Dwarfs, and the new play, Spider Love,
has been adapted from a script originally
written in 1975 by late gang member
Mick Goldstein, who had been responding to finding himself a character in
The Dwarfs. Goldstein?s son Jeremy has
reworked the play using letters between
the Hackney gang now on public record
at the British Library?s Harold Pinter
Archive. Tomorrow?s event is preceded
by a conversation between Woolf and
Henry Woolf, who knew Pinter for 60
years, was a boyhood friend in London.
the Guardian?s theatre critic and Pinter
biographer Michael Billington.
Woolf?s book features theatrical revelations including the fact that Quentin
Crisp, the eccentric writer and raconteur, was the inspiration for a key character in The Room.
Both Bakewell and Fraser have since
written of their love for Pinter. In
2003 Bakewell, now a dame, released
an autobiographical account of their
affair in her book The Centre of the Bed,
brie?y upsetting Pinter. Fraser?s own
memoir Must You Go? was largely a
tribute the happiness they had enjoyed
together.
Woolf ?s new book recalls Fraser?s
devoted care of Pinter during his long
?nal illness. Nevertheless, Woolf clearly
still feels sad about the fate of Merchant,
the mother of Pinter?s only child, Daniel.
She was, he believes, a clear in?uence on
his writing. ?One saw her so often in Harold?s plays, under different guises, different bits of herself. Ruth in The Homecoming, Kate in Old Times. He couldn?t stop
writing about her,? Woolf writes.
The old school friends had only a couple of arguments, or ?tiffs?, according to
Woolf: once when the actor felt his literary skills had been judged to have fallen
short when he was invited to complete
a couplet in a parlour game, and once
when Pinter suspected that Woolf was
critical of the difference in the social circles they came to move in.
But when the friends met for the last
time, shortly before Pinter?s death, the
shared affection was evident. Saying farewell, the pair exchanged catchphrases
from their favourite wartime radio show,
ITMA (It?s That Man Again), starring
Tommy Handley. ?TTFN [Ta-ta for now]?
were Woolf?s last words to Pinter.
Ministers are facing fresh calls to
suspend the rollout of their ?agship
welfare reform after experts warned
that a potential ?aw in the system could
end up costing an extra �0m a year.
MPs, councils and charities have
already sounded the alarm over
universal credit after mounting
evidence that new claimants were
being plunged into debt and rent
arrears, including some threatened
with eviction. However, there are now
concerns that the new system risks
causing havoc with the allocation of
free school meals, which are given to
more than a million children from lowincome families.
Under universal credit, which
combines several old bene?ts into
a single payment, the ?trigger? for
working out which families are
entitled to a free school meal has been
removed. However, the system?s design
means there is no obvious way of
putting a new trigger in place.
The Resolution Foundation
thinktank is warning that ministers
face having to either cut back free
meals or give them to all children
whose parents receive universal credit.
The latter expansion would cover an
additional 1.7 million children at a cost
of up to �0m a year.
Currently, the children of parents
who receive working tax credit are
entitled to a free meal. There is no
such threshold built into the universal
credit system. The government could
not explain how the issue would be
?xed, saying only that details would be
released ?in due course?.
David Finch, senior economic
analyst at the foundation, said:
?Implementing such an ambitious
reform was always going to be
hard, and there are bound to be
teething problems. But inevitable
implementation challenges are different
to straightforward design ?aws.
?One big question that needs
answering is the extent to which
families on universal credit will receive
free school meals. Depending on what
the government decides, it could either
mean a massive expansion of free
meals, costing around �0m a year by
the time the new system is fully rolled
out, or a scaling back of the programme,
with some working families losing their
entitlement as a result.?
He said that the free school meals
issue also risked damaging the main
aim of the reform, to ?make work pay?.
?The eligibility threshold for free
school meals will reintroduce just
the kind of cliff edge that discourages
people from entering work or
increasing how much work they do
? the barriers that universal credit
rightly seeks to remove,? he said.
?The issue of free school meals is
just one of many design issues which
should be addressed before millions of
people are moved to the new system.?
A government spokeswoman
said: ?More than 1.1 million children
currently bene?t from free school
meals, saving hardworking parents
money and, as universal credit is rolled
out, we will ensure the families who
need it most continue to receive this
support. We will put forward detailed
proposals in due course.?
Fatal drug overdoses rise most in areas where treatment cuts are deepest
by Matty Edwards
More heroin and crack users are dying
of overdoses in the areas of England
where cuts to drug treatment budgets
have been among the greatest, analysis
by the Observer shows.
The ?ndings have prompted concern
that addicts are at greater risk of dying
due to funding cuts to the public health
grant received by local councils. Over
the past four years councils in 85%
of areas that have an above average
drug mortality rate have reduced the
amount they spend on drug treatment,
a comparison of drug fatalities and
spending on addiction services shows.
Ten of the 30 councils that have cut
spending the most since 2013 have
some of the highest numbers of drug
deaths, while a further 10 had higher
than average drug mortality rates.
Annette Dale-Perera, chair of the
Advisory Council on the Misuse of
Drugs? recovery committee, told
the Observer: ?A lack of spending on
drug treatment is short-sighted and a
catalyst for disaster.? She added that
a ?world-class? treatment system was
now being ?dismantled?.
In Bristol, where there were 93
deaths between 2014 and 2016, cuts are
projected to be the harshest. Spending
in the city in 2013 was �.9m and it is
set to be �5m from next March. Other
drug death hotspots with the biggest
cuts are Gateshead (51%), Sefton (51%),
Portsmouth (38%), and Durham (38%).
High levels of investment helped
reduce drug-related deaths in the
2000s, when services were jointly
commissioned by the NHS and local
authorities. Since 2012, local councils
took over commissioning with a ringfenced grant from central government.
Drug-related deaths are now at an
all-time high: 3,744 last year compared
with 2,640 a decade ago, and drugrelated hospital admissions have also
increased by 50% over the past decade.
Another factor in rising drug
mortality, said Colin Drummond, from
the Royal College of Psychiatrists, was
the coalition government?s decision to
treat heroin users with methadone less
often and with lower doses, which he
described as ?political interference in
what is essentially a clinical issue?.
Izzi Seccombe, chair of the Local
Government Association?s community
wellbeing board, said: ?Councils have
long warned of the false economy of
the government?s cuts to the public
health grant.? There are an estimated
200,000 people getting help and a
further 100,000 who are not, she said.
Councils spend more on addiction
treatment than on any other area of
public health, she added.
12 | NEWS
*
15.10.17
After the devastation of Britain?s
Thirty years ago this weekend, high
winds felled 15 million trees, but also
prompted us to work di?erently
y
with the countryside, allowing itt
to heal itself. Dan Glaister reports
rts
It is remembered as a generation-de?ning moment, the night when ships ran
aground, London endured its ?rst blackout since the Blitz, 18 people died and
15 million trees were toppled. But the
devastation wrought by the Great Storm
of 1987 also left in its wake a startling
woodland recovery, prompting a radical reshaping of the way we work with
nature to care for the countryside.
Thirty years ago tomorrow the storm
hit south-east England after a fierce
wind swooped up from the Bay of Biscay, across a corner of northern France
before making landfall in the south-west
and sweeping through southern England to bring the full force of its 100mph
winds to bear on the south-east.
The storm did its work during the
early hours of the morning, leaving
behind a landscape that looked as if it
had been subject to the whim of a particularly malevolent giant. ?It seemed as
if someone had pulled a curtain to one
side to reveal a formless scene that bordered upon the underworld,? wrote the
German writer WG Sebald in his 1995
novel The Rings of Saturn. ?Entire tracts
of woodland were pressed down ?at as if
they had been corn?elds.?
For the then home secretary Douglas
Hurd, the storm had produced ?the most
widespread night of devastation in the
south-east since 1945?.
Ray Townsend, like most people living in the south-east at the time, vividly
remembers the morning of the storm. ?I
remember waking up at 5.30 and there
was no electricity. So I looked out of the
window and it was completely dark. It
was quite eerie.?
Townsend eventually arrived at Kew
Gardens, where he worked and where
he is now the arboretum manager. ?The
gardens at Kew had been obliterated,?
he recalls. ?The trees had gone over like
dominoes. The wind had come off the
river and the trees had gone down like
a channel, a tunnel. Within that tunnel there was tremendous devastation.
Some of the trees had been corkscrewed
by the wind, like twisting the lid off a jar.?
A few miles away, at the National
Trust?s Leith Hill site in Surrey, Paul
Redsell had just settled into his new job
as warden. He was woken at 6.30 by a
neighbour asking for help to free a horse
trapped in a stable by a fallen tree. Setting off on his motorbike to search for a
working telephone, he came across trees
laying on tracks and roads that were so
obscured by debris that the only way of
knowing where they ran was by following the raised banking on each side.
Eventually making his way to the
top of Leith Tower, he was able to gain
a view of the new landscape. ?What
was quite clear was that the storm had
THEN
Emmetts Garden, the National Trust
woodland near Sevenoaks in
Kent, lost 95% of its trees in the
Great Storm. National Trust
dipped in and out, there was devastation
but not everywhere ? there were pockets
of destruction,? he says.
Redsell, who is now countryside manager at Leith Hill, followed what was
then standard practice after a severe
storm: he started to clear up. ?Man
loves being in control,? he says. ?It was
a natural event, and at the time there
was almost a sense of urgency to go out
and clean up. Once we?d gone in with
machines and contractors and loading
bays and all the rest of it, we were causing more damage than the storm had in
some places. The urge was to remove all
the fallen trees and then plant new ones
with little plastic tubes around them.?
The clearing operations removed
trees that might have regenerated and
compacted soil that could have provided fertile ground for wild flowers.
Intervention and clearing was not prac-
tised everywhere, however. At another
National Trust site, Toys Hill, near
Sevenoaks in Kent ? which lost six of
its eponymous oaks ? 98% of the trees
fell, and while clearing work took place
across much of the site, an ?exclusion
zone? was set aside to allow nature the
opportunity to repair the damage itself.
?Scords Wood was left alone,? says
Tom Hill, the National Trust?s trees and
woodlands specialist. ?There?s been no
15.10.17
NEWS | 13
*
great storm, a triumph of nature
THE DAMAGE?
The insurance bill was �8bn, the most
expensive UK weather event in the
history of the insurance industry.
The London Fire Brigade answered 6,000
calls in 24 hours.
Three million houses were damaged.
It was the most signi?cant storm in
England since the Great Storm of 1703,
which killed more than 8,000 people.
Daniel Defoe described that event as
?the greatest, the longest in duration, the
widest in extent, of all the tempests and
storms that history gives any account of
since the beginning of time?.
The highest wind gust over the UK was
115mph, recorded at 3am on 16 October
in Shoreham-by-Sea, West Sussex. The
peak wind gust beyond British shores
NOW
Nature has been given the chance
to repair the damage on its own,
and Emmetts Garden has shown a
remarkable recovery. National Trust
?In the midst of all that
trauma what emerged
was a desire to do
something di?erent
with the landscape?
Ed Ikin, Wakehurst estate
F
DEAL OEK
THE WE
intervention at all, and it?s now a thriving
woodland in terms of its diversity.?
In nearby Knole Park, most of the
trees that fell were also left, benefiting fungi, plants and wildlife, while in
the neighbouring Emmetts Garden,
where 95% of its surrounding woodland
was lost, tree stumps and fallen specimens remain in the formal setting as a
reminder of the storm.
Hill says the storm had a profound
effect on the way we care for our woodland, with an understanding that decay
has a role in promoting new life, and that
nature is more than capable of adapting
to changed conditions, and might even
need them to survive. ?There?s a better appreciation of decay as a natural
process,? Hill says. ?Veteran trees have
decay and growth happening at the same
time. One of the biggest attitudes that
changed was the process of decay being
seen as an integrated part of life not just
something dirty or rotten.
?Storms mix things up, they allow
light to get in, which is a vital factor. Toys
Hill is like a mosaic of different habitats
and light and shade, and it has a very
diverse structure. That?s exactly what
you want if you?re seeking to maintain
healthy woodland. Destruction is very
important, and nature is self-destructive
and self-healing at the same time.?
Ed Ikin, head of landscapes at Kew
Gardens?s Wakehurst estate in West Sussex, where 20,000 trees were lost, says
the storm marked a turning point. ?It
was the end of a chapter that dated back
200 years, the curation of trees knitted
into ancient medieval woodland. People
were disorientated, facing three years
of tidying up. But in the midst of all of
that trauma, what emerged was a grand
was 136mph, recorded at Quimper in
northern France.
The Great Storm was not o?cially
designated as a hurricane as it did not
originate in the tropics.
As the storm arrived in England, the Met
O?ce warned the Ministry of Defence
that military assistance might be needed
to deal with the after-e?ects.
Met O?ce TV weatherman Michael Fish
became notorious for saying on the night
before the Great Storm that a hurricane
was not coming.
Shanklin pier on the Isle of Wight was
washed away.
Cross-channel ferry the MV Hengist was
driven ashore at Folkestone.
vision, a desire to do something different
with the wild landscape.?
That something was to promote diversity and to understand that we can learn
from nature how to protect woodland
and to adapt to extreme natural events.
?It?s hardwired into the ecology of
some areas to have this moment of
violence,? says Ikin. ?Pre-1987 we had
allowed too much of our tree stock to
get to a similar age. The storm generated horizontal tornadoes, and we had
created vertical planes of trees. Now we
promote ?shelter belts? of trees to buffer
and ?lter high winds.?
The lessons learned are starting to
bear fruit, says Ikin. ?Thirty years gives
us the ?rst real opportunity to look at
the woodland and see if it?s doing what
it was supposed to do. I think we?re starting to achieve something extraordinary.?
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14 | NEWS
*
15.10.17
No more badger culls? How radical new
TB testing could end the annual slaughter
Research at a secret
location in Devon may
eradicate the disease
in cattle ? without
a single badger being
killed, reports
Patrick Barkham
A pretty stone farmhouse sits in a
bucolic green valley, surrounded by airy
cowsheds. It looks like a timeless west
country scene but is actually a pioneering farm, where cutting-edge science
is helping to solve the hugely controversial, multimillion-pound problem of
bovine tuberculosis (bTB).
As an expanded badger cull gets under
way this autumn, in which 33,500 animals will be killed to help stop the spread
of the disease, a leading vet, Dick Sibley,
believes this Devon farm demonstrates
a way to eradicate the disease in cattle ?
without slaughtering any badgers.
Sibley?s trial, at a secret location, was
halted earlier this year when two new
tests to better identify bTB in cattle were
deemed illegal. But government regulators have now given the vet permission
to continue. His work is backed by rock
star-turned-activist Brian May, whose
Save Me Trust last week began a fouryear programme of vaccinating badgers
at the farm against bTB.
The family that owns the farm, which
has 300 milking cows, turned to Sibley in
despair after being virtually shut down
with bTB for ?ve years. Because of the
disease, their cattle cannot be sold on the
open market.
?We had nothing to lose,? said the
fourth-generation farmer, who asked to
remain anonymous out of fear of interference from extremists on both sides
of the argument. ?We want to get rid of
TB, it?s costing us a lot. Any technology
would be better than the old bTB test.?
Despite four years of badger culling,
bTB continues to rise in England, and
30,980 cows were slaughtered in the year
up to June in attempts to control it, an
increase of 4%. Farmers, as well as wildlife campaigners, are increasingly critical
of the cattle test for bTB, which misses
many cases, leaving undiagnosed cows to
spread the disease within herds. In 2015,
16% of English bTB ?breakdowns? were
only detected in abattoirs, after supposedly healthy cows had been slaughtered.
Sibley is pioneering two new tests.
The phage test, developed by microbiologist Cath Rees of Nottingham University, uses a bTB-invading virus to ?hunt?
for the live bacterium. It is detecting
bTB in cows on the Devon farm months
before they test positive with the traditional ?skin test?: 85 cows have tested
positive with the phage test despite all
being found disease-free by the conventional check.
Farmers then need to know if infected
cows are infectious. For this, Sibley uses
Badgers are being culled in greater numbers, despite no firm data linking them to the rise in bTB. Photograph by Rebecca Naden/Reuters
a second test, qPCR, developed by Liz
Wellington, life sciences professor at
Warwick University. It detects bTB in
dung, showing if a cow is ?shedding? ?
spreading ? the disease. If it is, the cow
is slaughtered even though the conventional test suggests it is healthy.
Both professors have given Sibley
free use of their new technologies, and
the tests have shown that supposedly
healthy cows are the ?hidden reservoir?
of bTB on the farm. But Sibley said that
what farms need as well as better testing is better risk management and more
resilient cows. ?I?ve never cured a cow
with a test,? he said.
The farm is an intensive dairy operation that keeps its cattle indoors once
they are fully grown and milks them
robotically ? some cows produce 15,000
litres of milk each year. ?If you don?t give
that cow everything she needs, and keep
the disease away from her, she will crash
and burn,? said Sibley. ?It?s just like athletes: if there?s a bit of E coli in the Olympic village, they all go down.?
TB ? in cows as well as humans ? is
traditionally a disease of bad living
conditions, so the farm?s barns are airy.
There are fewer cows in each barn
compared with a typical dairy farm,
walkways are cleaned three times a day,
and regularly changed drinking water
is held in ?tipping troughs? that are
kept scrubbed clean. Dung falling into
troughs is likely to be a key transmitter
of the disease.
After studying each cow?s history, Sibley believes mothers often spread the disease to their calves at birth. The farm is
combating this by building a new maternity unit with rubber ?oors that will be
disinfected after every delivery. Colostrum ? the crucial ?rst milk that boosts a
calf?s immune system ? is harvested from
each mother but pasteurised before it is
Vet Dick Sibley is
using two tests to
diagnose TB that
would have gone
undetected.
Photograph by
Jim Wileman for
the Observer
?We have to accept
that the badgers are a
risk. We either kill
them, fence them out
or vaccinate them?
Dick Sibley, vet
fed to each calf, so it won?t spread disease.
After being ?shut down? for ?ve years,
the farm had its ?rst clear test last year.
It hopes to be clear of all restrictions
within 12 months. But Sibley says that
removing the disease from cows without
tackling diseased badgers is like ?crossing the road and only looking one way?.
Farm CCTV reveals that no badgers
come close to the cattle sheds, but Wellington?s qPCR technology tested badger
latrines and found local badgers were
shedding the disease: 30% of 273 faecal
samples contained the bacterium. Young
grazing cows are potentially exposed.
?We have to accept that the badgers are
a risk,? said Sibley. ?We either kill them,
fence them out or, more constructively,
vaccinate them to reduce the risk of
infection in the environment.?
May?s Save Me Trust is funding badger
vaccination around the farm. The Queen
guitarist became a hate-?gure for some
farmers when he suggested that if bTB
was such a problem they should stop
rearing cattle. But he has been working
behind the scenes for several years to
support farmers.
?I?m very, very hopeful that Dick Sibley has the answer,? said May. ?I hope it
works out, not just for this farm but for
the whole of Britain. That would take
away this awful polarisation between
farmers and the public and animal welfare groups.?
A global shortage of BCG vaccine
stopped May vaccinating badgers last
year and he points out that the farm has
virtually banished the disease without
touching a single badger. ?If badgers are
running around with bTB and the herd
has been cleaned up with advanced
testing, that really makes you wonder
whether badgers are contributing to the
disease,? said May.
While some epidemiologists have
privately expressed frustration that the
government has not yet adopted new
cattle-testing technologies, Sibley said
the regulators move slowly. ?The authorities must have rock-solid evidence in
case they end up in court. I predict that
in ?ve years time phage and qPCR will
be in the toolbox for farmers.?
Other bTB-hit farms are interested
in Sibley?s approach and May?s charity has pledged to help meet veterinary
costs. In Wales, farms with chronic bTB
are receiving special support from the
Welsh government and could be among
the ?rst to adopt the new techniques.
Christianne Glossop, Wales?s chief vet,
said: ?I have known Dick for many years
and have great respect for his work. I am
also well aware of his current trials and
will be keeping a close eye on the results
of his pilot.?
The Devon farmer admits he has been
surprised by his success. ?This test is
showing the light at the end of the tunnel. I?m excited that it could help us get
clear of the disease and help other farmers in the future.?
?Radioactive? mud from Hinkley Point to be dumped near Cardi?
Critics say dredging of
sediment could increase
risks of contamination
by Jamie Doward
More than 300,000 tonnes of
?radioactive? mud, some of it the toxic
byproduct of Britain?s atomic weapons
programme, will be dredged to make
way for England?s newest nuclear
power station and dumped in the
Severn estuary just over a mile from
Cardiff.
Politicians have denounced the
move, with one accusing the Welsh
government of selling out to London
and the nuclear lobby. They have
called on ministers to commit to
radiological tests before giving consent
for the process, which is crucial for the
construction of Hinkley Point燙 across
the estuary in Somerset.
In 2013, an assessment by the
Centre for Environment Fisheries
and Aquaculture Sciences found that
tests on the mud, carried out under
International Atomic Energy Agency
procedures, revealed only minimal
levels of radioactivity, well within
safety guidelines. ?From radiological
considerations, there is no objection
to this material being dredged and
dumped,? the assessment concluded.
But John Thomas, leader of the Vale
of Glamorgan Council, said concerns
had been raised about the assessment.
He has called for an urgent meeting
with Natural Resources Wales, which
approved the dredging licence, and the
Welsh government.
An independent marine pollution
researcher, Tim Deere-Jones, who
is also a prominent nuclear power
critic, has warned that the dumped
sediment could re-concentrate into
more powerful radioactive material
and be washed ashore in storm surges.
?We know sediment in mud?ats can
dry out and blow ashore and that ?ne
sediment with radioactivity attached
can transfer to the land in marine
aerosols and sea spray,? Deere-Jones
said. Studies of north Wales tidal
surges, he added, had revealed that the
deposited mud and sand were heavily
contaminated with radioactivity from
Sella?eld.
The mud to be dredged contains
50-year-old deposits from Hinkley
Point燗, where radioactive material
for Britain?s atomic weapons was
produced. The dredging licence was
granted to EDF, the company building
the plant, in 2013. It gives the energy
giant the right to discharge materials
M4
Cardi?
Bristol
Westonsuper-Mare
BRISTOL CHANNEL
Hinkley Point
EXMOOR
NATIONAL PARK
M5
10 miles
at Cardiff Grounds, a sandbank in the
Bristol Channel. EDF needs to clear
the sediment to allow barges to bring in
construction materials.
Neil McEvoy, Plaid Cymru Welsh
Assembly member said dredging
should be suspended until a full
environmental assessment had been
carried out. A petition has gained
enough signatures to force the
assembly to debate the issue. ?What
we have here is big business trampling
over Wales, with a Welsh government
doffing its cap to London and the
nuclear industry,? McEvoy said. ?The
public is outraged that this material
will be dumped in Cardiff ?s waters.?
An EDF spokesman said: ?We
have undertaken assessments which
concluded the activities pose no threat
to human health or the environment.
All activities on our sites are strictly
controlled and regulated by statutory
bodies to ensure the environment and
public are protected.?
John Wheadon, of Natural
Resources Wales, said: ?There are strict
conditions in the licence to test the
sediment before it can be deposited.
We will only allow the work to start
if we?re con?dent the activity will not
harm people and the environment.?
15.10.17
| 15
*
Barbara Ellen
The warped logic
of making the
poor pay more
T
here was a grim inevitability to
the news that Department for
Work and Pensions? helplines
for people confused about
universal credit are costing many
claimants money they can?t afford, with
demands that these calls are moved to
a free 0800 number. Problems include
long waiting times, people placed
on inde?nite hold and overworked,
undertrained staff who don?t know the
answers to callers? questions.
All this is going on, with phone
charges of up to 55p a minute, as people struggle to deal with claims. This
is just more proof that there are those
who have a vested interest in turning
the welfare system into a warped, confounding mash-up of The Crystal Maze
and the 12 labours of Hercules.
It?s a disgrace, but is it a surprise?
It?s long been obvious that, all too
frequently, the poor pay more.
Nor is this con?ned to
people having to make
ludicrously expensive
phone calls so that
a bewildering bene?ts system can be
decoded, doubtless
with the kind of doggedness that used to be
reserved for, say, cracking Enigma machines at
Bletchley Park.
This poor-pay-more rule
applies to many of the most basic
aspects of life. Let?s run through just a
few.
Homes: jobless/low-income claimants can?t dream of getting a mortgage,
which can work out cheaper than renting, and means that you at least have an
asset and some security. So they rent,
often in the notoriously extortionate
private sector, at a cost their bene?ts
may not completely cover, so they have
to make up the difference.
Heating water (for baths, showers,
washing up) can mean ?nding money
for greedy meters. And heating their
homes is a luxury that many people
decide they can?t afford.
New clothes (for job interviews)
? forget it. And one of the little
acknowledged side-effects of the ?vintage? trend is that even charity shops
can get pretty expensive these days.
Nor do they tend to own washing
machines and tumble dryers, so they
use laundrettes, pay-as-you-go-style
again.
Food may be from a food bank or the
cheapest takeaway or microwaveable
ready meal they can ?nd. Even as the
pious continue to drone on about how
cheap and easy it is make a ?nourishing soup for the whole week!?, anyone
half sane has worked out something
different.
Even if they could stand this insulting hipster-slop day after day ? is it the
trendy millennial answer to workhouse
gruel? ? it would require ingredients,
a kitchen that extends beyond one
conked-out, grease-encrusted ring on a
hob, utensils and the money for the gas
or electricity to cook it.
Travel: skint people tend to live in
areas with crummy public transport,
can?t afford to own or run cars, nor
invest in the type of travelcards
that bring prices down, so
again it?s often PAYG, the
most expensive way to
get around.
Moreover, people
don?t have their own
computer or affordable, decent wi?, so
again they have to
travel for these facilities.
Mobile phones, which
most people would deem a
necessity, also tend to be PAYG
and credit would be quickly used up,
especially, for instance, if people were
to ring expensive bene?ts helplines
that blow their entire food budget for
a week.
This is just a short list ? there
must be many other ways that broke
people are ?eeced because they can?t
afford the initial outlays or access the
superior long-term deals that make life
easier and cheaper.
Instead, they have to do their best in
pressured, hand-to-mouth PAYG-lives.
A remorseless grind, where everything
you try to do costs not just money that
you haven?t got, but sometimes more
money than better-off people are paying for the same services.
In this context, overcharging struggling people just to have their bene?ts
explained to them may sound cruel and
sick, but it also makes perfect (albeit
shameful) sense.
That?s no way to
impress your
sta?, George
I
Headlines, deadlines: show some respect, George. PA
�
?He made
mistakes,
like the
rest of
us, but he
was also
one of the
kindest,
most
generous
people?
Sir Elton John
remembers
George
Michael
pages 14-20
A
Downton Abbey exhibition is
to go on a US tour, with the
aim of selling Britishness
to Americans. Fans of the
show would be able to view original
sets, costumes and unseen footage
(though none of the actors is involved).
After the tour launched in Singapore,
Michael Edelstein, president of one
of爐he organisers, NBCUniversal
International Studios, remarked: ?One
of the things we have learned is that
selling Britishness to British people
is not as interesting as bringing the
British experience to Americans.?
When he says ?interesting?, does he
mean ?lucrative??
While Downton was a phenomenal
success in Britain, Edelstein may have
a point about Americans being more
open to the idea of it being a totem of
Britishness. Brits know Anglo porn,
or stately home porn, when we see
it. Never mind now, Downton wasn?t
even representative of Britishness
back爐hen. Which may explain why
most would think it absurd to yearn
for an era when probably the most
you燾ould hope for was dying of
consumption, aged 19, just after you
?nished blacking the grate in some
toff ?s scullery.
Downton owes its success to ordinary British people having a welldeveloped sense of humour about yon
(tainted) olden days and the ability to
enjoy an upmarket soap opera without caring too much about historical
accuracy. But that?s as far as it goes.
Most people in the UK would be about
as likely to view Downton as symbolising Britishness as they would be to
call the police station about a murder,
saying: ?It was Colonel Mustard, in the
library, with the lead piping!?
In short, most Brits are able to
separate fact from ?ction, leaving it to
American Downton Abbey fans to sigh
nostalgically for a bygone Britain that
so few people got to experience.
Observer
Magazine
You thought Downton was for real?
nterviewed recently, George
Osborne was asked whether, as
chancellor of the exchequer, his
decisions played any part in ensuing global economic crashes and the
like. Osborne, editor of the London
Evening Standard, replied: ?I?m just a
journalist now.?
?Just a journalist?? I see. If George
?Gizza job!? Osborne was merely
attempting to distance himself
from errors made while in government, then that?s understandable.
(Seriously, who wouldn?t?)
However, if there?s the slightest
suggestion that this ?just a journalist? thing implies some kind of
career-downsizing or professional
slumming, then Osborne is asking for some serious ?giving of the
evils? at the Standard Christmas
do. No amount of free festive booze
could soothe the wounded hearts
of dissed hacks, though there have
been many willing to take up the
challenge.
Also, last time I checked, even
circa the Leveson inquiry, even then,
no hack was held responsible for
ushering in a new era of austerity
and all because they weren?t as good
at doing their sums as they thought
they were. Just saying, George.
16 | NEWS | Special report
*
In the 2016 presidential
election race, some
suspect Facebook
pages were subtly
partisan in supporting
Trump. AP
15.10.17
Facebook chiefs
Sheryl Sandberg
and Elliot Schrage
on Capitol Hill
this month.
Reuters
How social media ?imposters? are
From Trump?s election to sports stars
?taking the knee?, fake online accounts
have in?uenced millions of voters
and stoked tensions across America.
Where else will these digital trolls
strike? Tom McCarthy reports
For the past year, the world has reeled
at reports of how Russia ?hacked? the
2016 US presidential election, by stealing emails from the Democrats, attacking voter registration lists and voting
machines, and manipulating social media.
Such is the focus on Russian meddling
that US congressional investigators are
becoming increasingly aggressive in
asking the big technology companies to
account for how their platforms became
the staging grounds for an attack on
American democracy. Early next month
that scrutiny will intensify, with executives from Facebook, Google and Twitter
all formally invited to appear before the
House intelligence committee on Capitol Hill in Washington.
What has now been made clear is
that Russian trolls and automated software ?bots? not only promoted explicitly pro-Donald Trump messages, but
also used social media to sow social
divisions in America by stoking disagreement and division on a plethora
of controversial topics such as immigration and Islamophobia. And it is clear
that these interventions are continuing
as Russian agents fuel division about
such recent topics as white supremacist marches and NFL players ?taking a
knee? to protest against police violence
when the national anthem is played.
The overarching goal, during the election and now, analysts say, is to expand
and exploit divisions, attacking the
American social fabric where it is most
vulnerable, along lines of race, gender,
class and creed.
?The broader Russian strategy is
pretty clearly about destabilising the
country by focusing on and amplifying
existing divisions, rather than supporting any one political party,? said Jonathon Morgan, a former state department
adviser on digital responses to terrorism
whose company, New Knowledge, analy-
ses the manipulation of public discourse.
?I think it absolutely continues.?
In the last month ? mostly through
vigorous reporting and academic
research ? it has also been learned that
the impact of Russia?s Facebook in?ltration was far more widespread than
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg
claimed when Barack Obama pulled
him aside at a conference in Peru last
November to inform him he had a problem on his hands. As more evidence
emerges revealing the extent of the
Russian web invasion, it is clear that
its footprint is far larger than the tech
giants have ever conceded.
On Facebook alone, imposters linked
to Russia had hundreds of millions of
interactions with potential US voters
who believed they were talking to fellow
Americans, according to an estimate by
Jonathan Albright of Columbia University?s Tow Centre for Digital Journalism,
who broke the story with the publication
of a trove of searchable data this month.
Those interactions may have reinforced the voters? political views, or
helped to mould them, thanks to the
imposter accounts? techniques of echoing shrill opinions and presenting seemingly sympathetic views with counterintuitive, politically leading twists.
During the election, for example, an
imposter Facebook page called ?Being
Patriotic? used words such as ?illegal?,
?country? and ?American? and phrases
such as ?illegal alien?, ?sharia law? and
?welfare state?, according to an analysis
of Albright?s data. The page racked up
at least 4.4 million interactions, peaking
between mid-2016 and early 2017.
The urgency of the threat has not
been matched by the response of the
tech companies, critics say, as they have
been slow to acknowledge the problem.
A reference to Russia in a Facebook draft
report in April about election in?uence
was inexplicably cut, the Wall Street
Journal reported last week. Only last
month did Facebook acknowledge that
pages linked to Russia had bought thousands of ads on the platform.
According to the Washington Post last
week, Google has detected similar adbuying activity, of unknown scope, on
YouTube, Gmail and its search engine ?
though the company has made nothing
public. The Russian imposters have also
been detected on Instagram, Twitter and
even the game Pok閙on Go.
Facebook did not reply to repeated
requests for comment. But the gravity of
the situation, whose dimensions are still
unknown, was underscored on Thursday in an interview that Facebook?s chief
operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg, gave
to an American website. ?Things happened on our platform that shouldn?t
have happened,? Sandberg said, adding
that the company owed the American
public ?not just an apology, but determination? to address the problem.
The attackers appear to have a handy,
if unwitting, ally in Trump, who is generous in spreading bile online. In cer-
tain recent cases, social media accounts
linked to Russian in?uence operations
appear to have taken cues directly
and immediately from the @realdonaldtrump Twitter account, according to
analysis by the Washington-based Alliance for Securing Democracy, which
maintains a daily tracker of the networks
in question. After Trump criticised the
?poor leadership ability? of Carmen
Yul韓 Cruz, mayor of San Juan, Puerto
Rico, on 30燬eptember, for example, Russian-linked Twitter accounts disseminated articles with ?the primary theme
of either discrediting? Cruz ?or accusing
the media of spreading ?fake news??, the
alliance said.
The week before that, the clandestine network fuelled the ?ght picked by
Trump with the mostly African American players in the NFL who kneeled
during the national anthem in protest at
police violence. Instead of simply echoing the president?s demand for a boycott unless the players stood, however,
the Russian accounts took both sides of
the issue, spreading both the hashtags
#TakeaKnee and #BoycottNFL.
?The ads and accounts appeared to
focus on amplifying divisive social and
political messages across the ideological spectrum ? touching on topics from
LGBT matters to race issues to immigration to gun rights,? said Alex Stamos, the
chief security officer at Facebook, in the
?rst public statement the company made
on the matter.
Albright?s data encompasses six Facebook pages previously linked by media
investigations to Russia. The pages
were not clumsily partisan, pro-Trump
or anti-Hillary Clinton. Instead they
worked by crafting identities around
sensitive issues in US politics, and by
wielding sympathy, in some cases, with
causes seen as antithetical to Trump,
such as LGBTQ pride and opposing
police violence.
?There?s some really intricate
manoeuvring going on,? said Albright.
?It?s definitely set up not to directly
force issues but to identify people that
fall into the wedge categories that can
be used to in?uence others or to push
conversations elsewhere.? The imposter
pages included Secured Borders, an anti-
Too little, too late: social media giants face battle to
ANALYSIS
Jamie Doward
Facebook may be a bete noire of US
regulators and legislators, alarmed
that social media platforms are being
used to sow division across an already
fractious American society, but it is just
one of several new media giants who
now ?nd themselves in the dock.
After years of subjecting them to
relatively little scrutiny on both sides
of the Atlantic, politicians are now
turning their ire on tech corporations,
having become suspicious of their
business models and the sometimes
saccharine claims made for how they
are improving the world.
True, toxic issues, from their
perceived reluctance to pay tax to
the way their disruptive technologies
threaten to monopolise markets, have
seen the ?rms come under sustained
?re in recent years. But growing fury
over the apparent roles they played in
disrupting the political process, chie?y
the presidential election and the UK?s
referendum, has seen them subject to a
whole new level of opprobrium.
Hillary Clinton tells today?s Andrew
Marr Show how the role the online
world played in promoting fake news
before the referendum needs urgent
attention. ?We?ve got some thinking
to do,? Clinton said. ?There has to be
some basic level of fact and evidence in
our politics.?
The Information Commissioner?s
Office announced in May that it was
launching an investigation into the
Russian influence runs deep online.
way UK political parties target voters
through social media, warning they
could be breaking the law.
In the US, allegations that the
Kremlin exploited the platforms to
in?uence the presidential election are
the subject of multiple investigations.
Last week, Google?s parent company,
Alphabet Inc, confronted these charges
head on, con?rming Russian-linked
accounts had used its advertising
network to interfere in the Trump/
Clinton race. Twitter has provided
legislators with advertisements by RT,
a TV network funded by the Russian
government, that have appeared on its
platform.
Bloomberg reported that Twitter
has been in frequent contact with the
committees and investigators before a
1 November showdown in Washington,
when its executives will join those
from Google and Facebook in giving
public testimony. But it is already clear
that many in Washington believe the
?rms are dragging their heels. Axios.
com reported that after Twitter briefed
the Senate Intelligence Committee
15.10.17
Special report | NEWS | 17
*
As demonstrators
marched in Washington, imposter
pages intervened in
the Black Lives Matter debate. Alamy
A march for
Muslim rights in
New York; another
social faultline
the trolls exploit.
Getty
deepening divisions in the US
limit the damage
staff, Mark Warner, a Democrat, said
its brie?ng was ?frankly inadequate on
almost every level?.
The likes of Google are attracting
enemies across the political spectrum.
It is an impressive feat to unite both
Steve Bannon, Trump?s former chief
strategist, and Senator Elizabeth
Warren, a liberal Democrat from
Massachusetts, in the belief the tech
?rms need to have their wings clipped.
US media report that the tech ?rms
have hired crisis public relations
?rms while their senior executives
have personally lobbied politicians to
make the case against regulation. They
have made promises of transparency
and pledged to hire hundreds more
employees to help them sniff out
when their platforms are being used
for propaganda or other nefarious
intentions. These are the classic
defensive tactics for any corporation
smelling trouble. They may like to talk
of new paradigms but in regulators
and lawmakers, the tech ?rms ?nd
themselves ?ghting very old foes. And
there?s no algorithm for that.
observing interactions such as ?likes?,
comments or merely views, gather
information about genuine American
Facebook users, and potential voters.
Those voters could then be targeted
with political content that appealed to
some of their most closely held sympathies. The strategy was highly effective, in terms of penetration. Albright?s
research showed that the six Russialinked Facebook pages had generated
more than 18爉illion interactions ? a
conservative estimate, he said ? before
Facebook shut them down. But those
were just six accounts among ?dozens and dozens and dozens of pages?
that bore obvious markings shared by
other accounts linked with Russia, said
Albright.
?Those 18 million interactions are only
for those six pages, just on Facebook?
and not Instagram or other social media,
Albright said. ?So what are we talking
about here, overall? We?re talking about
hundreds of millions of interactions.?
The accounts and others have since
been removed by Facebook. ?I don?t
think they?ve even begun to ?nd all the
imposter accounts,? Albright said.
Morgan, the former state department
adviser, called the response so far by the
big tech companies to the Russian presence on their platforms a ?mis?re?.
?What I see is Facebook and Twitter
and Google trying to de?ne this problem
narrowly as about political advertising,
and I think that that misses the mark,?
he said. ?Because the next group of people that are going to be vulnerable is
American industry, especially industry
that?s foundational to how our society
operates. So the energy industry and the
?nancial industry ? they can be manipulated just like our electoral process.
?I think a narrow focus on political
advertising is ultimately going to miss
the forest for the trees.?
Albright agreed that ?there needs to be
some kind of oversight?. ?It doesn?t fall
completely on Facebook,? he said. ?The
scale at which this is happening is concerning enough that something needs to
happen. We need to rethink a lot of this,
because it?s de?nitely not working.?
Everyone in the know, from the
bipartisan heads of the Senate intelligence committee on down, agrees with
the researchers that more pressure needs
to be applied at every level ? in the tech
world and in Moscow ? to ?gure out what
happened and what is still happening.
Everyone ? but with one notable
exception.
�
?He made
mistakes,
like the
rest of
us, but he
was also
one of the
kindest,
most
generous
people?
Sir Elton John
remembers
George
Michael
pages 14-20
Observer
Magazine
immigrant account that grew to 133,000
followers; Texas Rebels, which parroted
Lone Star state pride while criticising
Clinton; Being Patriotic, which attacked
refugees while defending the Confederate battle ?ag; LGBT United, which
espoused ?traditional? family values;
and Blacktivists, a faux satellite of the
Black Lives Matter movement.
?It seems Americans should be wary
of police brutality more than of Isis terrorists,? read a typical Blacktivists post,
which was ?liked? thousands of times.
?Why there?s so many privileges and
bene?ts for refugee kids, but American
kids forced to grow up in poverty?? asked
one September 2016 post by Secured
Borders. ?That?s absolutely unacceptable!!?
?More than 300,000 vets died awaiting care,? read a post on Being Patriotic.
?Do liberals still think it is better to
accept thousands of Syrian refugees than
to help our veterans??
Owners of the imposter pages could
post controversial ? or seemingly sympathetic ? messages or event announcements, and then, by inviting and
prices
15.10.17
NEWS | 19
*
Sweet pork, rich cheese ? neolithic man?s
feast after a hard day building Stonehenge
Analysis of bones and
pottery fragments
shows special foods
were consumed at
the ancient site
Prehistoric party
food: a new
exhibition at the
Stonehenge visitor
centre reveals a
surprising
diet. English
Heritage
by Robin McKie
Science Editor
Britons? Stone Age ancestors possessed
some unexpected talents, scientists
have discovered. On top of their prowess in constructing great monoliths such
as Stonehenge, they were also adept at
staging ?rst-rate parties.
Roast sweetened pork consumed with
a range of rich dairy products including
cheese and butter appears to have been
commonplace at feasts ? according to
an English Heritage exhibition, Feeding
Stonehenge, which will open this week
at the stone circle?s visitor centre.
?More than 4,500 years have passed
since the main part of Stonehenge was
constructed,? said curator Susan Greaney. ?But thanks to the sophistication of
techniques we now have for dating and
identifying chemicals, we can deduce
? from food fragments left in pots and
from the bones left in the ground ? what
meals were being consumed there.?
Stonehenge was constructed in several stages. However, the most important
period was around 2500BC, when the
great sarsen blocks that form the main
ring were erected, said Greaney. ?Recent
analysis suggests this construction was
completed over a period of about 50
years,? she added.
Scientists have also dated the occupancy of the neolithic village of Durrington Walls ? which lies about a mile
and a half north-east of Stonehenge ? to
a 50-year period, also around 2500BC.
?From this, we have drawn the conclusion that Durrington Walls was the
place where the builders of Stonehenge
lived and where they held celebrations
connected with the great edifice they
were building,? said Greaney.
The question is: what sustained
these workers during the titanic task
they had undertaken? What foods did
they consume? ?When we dug at Durrington Walls we found pits and middens filled with bits of pottery and
bones of animals left over from feasts,?
said Stonehenge researcher Professor
Oliver Craig, of York University. ?These
have provided an immense amount of
information.?
From the pot fragments, scientists
were able to pinpoint fats, waxes and
oils from the food cooked in these vessels. These fats, which seeped into the
pottery, can now be analysed by a technique known as lipid analysis.
?We found the larger pots contained
mainly pork,? said Craig. ?However,
smaller pots ? which were found at different parts of the Durrington Walls site
? contained dairy products. We think
these milk-based foodstuffs had special
signi?cance. They may have been associated with purity or fertility, for example,
and were consumed in a special area.?
The presence of dairy food poses a
puzzle. Genetic evidence indicates that
Britons at this time were lactose intolerant. Drinking milk would have made
them ill. Yet dairy foods appear to have
had widespread use.
This has led Craig and other scientists
to argue that cow?s milk would not have
been consumed directly but would have
been turned into cheese and yoghurt ?
which would not have triggered lactose
intolerance reactions. In other words,
people gathering for these festivals
would have been eating protein-rich
?They were stringing
animals up and eating
them on a massive
scale. It must have
been quite a show?
Susan Greaney, curator
dishes of butter and cheese and other
processed dairy products.
As for the meat that was consumed,
by far the most popular animal was the
pig. ?There are bits of pig skeleton, dated
from this period, all over the place,? said
Greaney. ?And when you look at the teeth
of these animals, it is noticeable that
there are strong signs of decay ? which
suggests they were being fattened up on
fairly sweet diets, possibly using honey.
So honey-sweetened pork could well
have been on the menu at these feasts.?
All the signs point to the fact that
Stonehenge and Durrington Walls were
associated with some very lavish celebrations. For example, at most other
archaeological sites where animal bones
have been left behind after being eaten,
little is left unconsumed. This was not
the case at Durrington Walls, where
half-eaten chops were left discarded in
many places.
?This could have been the country?s
?rst throw-away culture,? said Greaney.
This point was underlined by Craig.
?People were killing animals, stringing
them up and eating them on a massive
scale,? he said. ?It must have been quite
a show.?
However, this high-protein intake
of meat and cheeses was probably not
typical of Stone Age meals, he added. ?I
think people in those days would also
have been eating vegetables and fruit,
but not here. Pork and beef and cheese
? that was special festive fare ? and that
is what was consumed at Stonehenge.?
But the identity of any beverages that
were consumed remains a mystery. ?People always ask me: were our forebears
consuming wine or beer or some other
kind of alcoholic drink?? said Craig.
?The answer is that we do not know.
They may well have been, but we do not
have the techniques or the evidence yet
to say what that drink might be. That is
for future research.?
Tougher sentences for viewing terror UK uses Eurovision viewers
content will back?re, Rudd warned to ?ght Russia?s ?infowars?
Expert says changes will
lead to radicalisation in
jail ?breeding grounds?
by Daniel Bo?ey
Brussels
The home secretary, Amber Rudd, risks
radicalising impressionable minds if
she pursues her plan to impose 15-year
prison sentences on people who view
terrorist content online, a former head
of counter-terrorism at the Foreign
Office has warned.
Britain?s overpopulated prisons have
proved a ?breeding ground for terror?,
according to Sir Ivor Roberts, who also
suggested that the proposal would be
ruinously expensive for the Treasury.
Writing on guardian.com, the former
mer
official said it would cost �0,000 per
inmate given the full sentence, and that
hat
the government should be focusing its
efforts on forcing online hosts, such
as Facebook and Twitter, to remove
dangerous content.
?Our prisons are brimful and can be
a breeding ground for terror, which
few would dispute,? Roberts wrote.
?In fact, jailing impressionable but
unconverted viewers of terrorist
content could hasten their radicalisaaed
tion by introducing them in a con?ned
environment to more committed, and
nd
potentially persuasive, extremists.?
Following the UK terror attacks,
Rudd has proposed expanding the
existing counter-terrorism offence of
possessing information likely to be
useful to a terrorist to include material
that is viewed repeatedly or streamed
online. Currently, the power applies
only to online material that has been
downloaded and stored on the offender?s computer, or is printed.
However, with two-thirds of prisons
overcrowded, plus a penal system
plagued by ?budget cuts and understaffing?, there are grave risks to the
home secretary?s proposal, Roberts
said. A taskforce was created in April
this year to address the challenge of
radicalisation in prisons.
The former ambassador to Ireland,
Italy and Yugoslavia, who now sits
on the advisory board of the Counter
Extremism Project (CEP), a thinktank,
said ministers should force tech companies to ful?l their responsibilities.
An isis fighter in
Aleppo 2013.
A YouTube search carried out by
CEP in late August delivered more
than 70,000 results for the well-known
Isis propagandist Anwar al-Awlaki,
?including his most incendiary lectures
urging Muslims to embrace violence?.
A Home Office analysis shows that
since 1 September 2016, Isis supporters
have published almost 67,000 tweets in
English, promoting online links to their
propaganda on a range of platforms.
English speakers are second only to
Arabic speakers as the most important
audience for supporters of Isis.
Roberts said: ?Options must be
assessed, and the risk of incarceration
may well deter some from seeking terrorist content online. But the starting
point should be to prevent access to
such material in the ?rst place.
?If tech companies and other
platforms ? or even the state ? can
detect who is viewing this content,
then surely, we should ?rst and foremost focus on removing it. A second
step爓ould be to require Facebook,
step
Google, Microsoft and Twitter, as well
Goog
as sm
smaller online platforms, to employ
technology and human monitors in
techn
sufficcient numbers to quickly remove
illega
illegal content.?
He added: ?Before jailing individuwe should compel tech companies
als, w
to implement
im
strong, targeted and
tran
transparent policies for removing
extremist and terrorist content so
ext
tha
that people such as Awlaki cannot
co
continue to stoke hatred and violence,
even in death.?
le
by Ben Quinn
Britain is seeking to counter a cold
war-style ?information war? by
investing in a range of projects, from
?rebranding? Ukraine to in?uencing
Russian speakers in Baltic states.
The UK?s efforts have included
hiring M&C Saatchi ? the advertising agency synonymous with Tory
election campaigns ? to run a project
with the Foreign Office to rehabilitate
Britain?s ally Ukraine, including using
social media to target viewers of the
Eurovision Song Contest, which was
hosted by Kiev this summer.
The Foreign Office is also funding
nascent programmes to identify how
Britain can in?uence Russian-speaking
minorities in Baltic states ? regarded
as a potential ?ashpoint between Nato
and a resurgent Russia. Another initiative will invite Russian journalists to
?themed tours? of the UK.
The funding is a response to an
increasingly muscular ?infowars?
campaign in which Russia-backed
media outlets have been accused of
seeking to meddle in the EU referendum as well as elections in the US,
France and Germany.
Tim Duffy, UK group chairman of
M&C Saatchi, said it was company
policy not to comment on government
contracts. However, partially redacted
documents give an insight into the
�0,000 contract, under which the
agency works with Foreign Office
teams, Britain?s embassy in Kiev and
Ukrainian government officials.
English-speaking tourists, investors
and media, including CNN and the
BBC, were listed as the intended audience for the project to rehabilitate
Ukraine?s reputation, which opinion
polls said tended to be negative.
Britain?s broader package of assistance to Ukraine, which is engaged
not just in a bitter con?ict with
Russian-backed separatists but also
a propaganda war with the Kremlin,
included �4m to help the Kiev
Tim Duffy, UK group
chairman of M&C
Saatchi, which has
been hired by the
Foreign Office to
run a campaign.
government improve its communications爏trategy.
The Observer has established that
the money came from the �n-plus
con?ict, stability and security fund
(CSSF), a source so secret that a
committee of senior MPs and peers
meant to be scrutinising it have been
denied access to the names of the 40
countries where it is spent. Other
CSSF-funded projects in eastern
Europe this year included nearly �
on ?target audience analysis? aimed
at Russian-speaking minorities in
Baltic爏tates.
15.10.17
| 21
*
World
I was wrong to
back boycott of
Hamas after its
election victory,
admits Blair
Tony Blair begins his
Middle East peace
initiative in Ramallah
in 2004. Two years
later Hamas
celebrated an
election win in Gaza,
above. AP
Former prime minister now says the west
should have negotiated with Islamic faction in
Gaza in 2006, reports Donald Macintyre
Tony Blair has said for the ?rst time that
he and other world leaders were wrong
to yield to Israeli pressure to impose an
immediate boycott of Hamas after the
Islamic faction won Palestinian elections in 2006.
As prime minister at the time, Blair
offered strong support for the decision
? driven by the George W Bush White
House ? to halt aid to, and cut off relations with, the newly elected Hamas-led
Palestinian Authority unless it agreed to
recognise Israel, renounce violence and
abide by previous agreements between
its Fatah predecessors and Israel. The
?We should, right at
the beginning, have
tried to pull Hamas
into a dialogue and
shifted its position?
Tony Blair
ultimatum was rejected by Hamas. The
elections were judged free and fair by
international monitors.
Blair, who became envoy of the Middle East quartet ? composed of the US,
EU, UN and Russia ? after leaving Downing Street, now says the international
community should have tried to ?pull
Hamas into a dialogue?. The boycott
and Israel?s economic blockade of Gaza,
which began the following year, are still
in force today. A UN report two years ago
said the combined effects of the blockade and the three military offensives
conducted in Gaza by Israel since 2009
could make the territory ?uninhabitable? by 2020.
Interviewed for a new book Gaza: Preparing for Dawn, out later this month,
Blair said: ?In retrospect I think we
should have, right at the very beginning,
tried to pull [Hamas] into a dialogue
and shifted their positions. I think that?s
where I would be in retrospect.
?But obviously it was very difficult, the
Israelis were very opposed to it. But you
know we could have probably worked
out a way whereby we did ? which in fact
we ended up doing anyway, informally.?
Blair did not elaborate on subsequent
?informal? dealings with Hamas but
he appears to be referring to clandestine contacts between MI6 and Hamas
representatives during and possibly
after the kidnap of BBC journalist Alan
Johnston by an extreme fundamentalist
group in 2007. The kidnappers eventually released Johnston after heavy pressure from the Hamas de facto government.
Since leaving his Quartet post, Blair
has held at least six lengthy private
meetings with Khaled Meshaal, the
Hamas political bureau chief until earlier this year, and his successor Ismail
Haniyeh, partly to explore a possible
long-term cease?re between Israel and
Hamas. But the international block on
official contacts with Hamas has eroded
western leverage in the region, increased
the isolation and suffering of the Gaza
public, and helped to drive the faction
into the arms of Iran ? all without dislodging it from its dominance of Gaza,
say critics.
Blair?s rare rethink of a key foreign
policy issue has surfaced as Hamas and
Fatah embark on a new Egypt-brokered
effort to end the schism between the
two factions after a preliminary reconciliation agreement signed in Cairo last
week. The split was triggered by the brief
but bloody 2007 civil war in Gaza which
left a victorious Hamas in charge of the
coastal enclave and President Mahmoud
Abbas running the West Bank-based,
Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority
Also interviewed in the book, Jonathan Powell, Blair?s former chief of staff
at Downing Street, goes further, saying
the Quartet strategy was ?a terrible mistake?. Negotiations with Fatah alone ?
long promoted by the US ? meant that
?you have to make a concession to Fatah,
then you have to make a new concession
to Hamas afterwards. You want to have
one negotiation, not two ? If you got a
united Palestinian team to negotiate
with, then life would have been a whole
lot easier.?
The book also cites internal Whitehall
documents from January 2006, obtained
under the Freedom of Information Act,
which warned immediately after the
Palestinian elections against ostracising
the new Hamas-led authority. A heavily edited minute from the Department
for International Development points
out that Israel and Hamas were already
co-operating at a municipal level, and
suggested it would be difficult in the
short-term for Hamas to renounce ?its
commitment to the destruction of Israel
and its support for terrorism?. Instead,
it suggested that ?ultimately Hamas?s
participation in the realities of political responsibility might bring about
Hamas?s transformation to a political
rather than terrorist organisation?.
A Foreign Office ?e-gram? from Brussels quotes a senior European commission official saying that a million Palestinians relied directly and indirectly
on EU funding. The report added: ?To
withdraw it would have dramatic consequences and could lead to violence.
The EU was under no obligations to
align its position on ?nancial support
with that of the US and Israel. The EU
had not done so in the past. The wider
region was watching the EU response
to these elections. If we seemed, by our
actions, to be rejecting the results then
our claims to promoting democracy
would be undermined.?
ON OTHER PAGES
Beauty behind the wire ? how art is
blooming amid the Gaza wasteland
In Focus, page 31
White House generals avert disaster on Iran deal but Trump juggernaut rolls on
ANALYSIS
Simon Tisdall
Donald Trump?s unilateral decision
to renege on the 2015 UN-approved
nuclear deal with Iran was roundly
condemned yesterday by friends
and foes alike. Britain joined France
and Germany in declaring continued
support for the agreement as written.
Iran was backed by China and
Russia in deploring Trump?s move as
dangerously destabilising.
That Trump does not much care
what others think has been plain all
along. But what looks on the outside
like a diplomatic disaster could have
been much worse. Trump had been
expected to withdraw from the deal
completely, demand harsh sanctions,
and take other steps to demonise Iran
as the world?s leading ?terrorist state?.
The fact that Trump stepped back
was the result of high-level lobbying.
Pressure was applied by senior White
House officials, departmental chiefs
and close allies such as Theresa May,
who personally intervened by phone.
The outcome: Trump?s worst instincts
on Iran were curbed, at least for now.
Leading the campaign were three
former generals ? John Kelly, Trump?s
chief of staff; Jim Mattis, his defence
secretary; and HR McMaster, his
national security adviser. All three
men served in Iraq and, unlike the
president, know what it means to be
on the sharp end. Their intervention
meant Trump?s speech, while
strategically misjudged, bellicose in
tone, and historically and factually
inaccurate, was not quite the unlucky
cataclysm that had been predicted.
Whether Trump?s principal advisers
and handlers, egged on by friendly
overseas leaders, can pull off the same
trick in future is an open question. But
an important precedent has been set.
The biggest concern is North Korea,
where the US leader has threatened
to rain down death and destruction on
bumptious Kim Jong-un in response to
the regime?s nuclear weapons build-up.
Congress has belatedly woken up to the
fact that the president has the power
to launch a nuclear strike without
any meaningful prior consultation.
Legislation to curb that authority is
now mooted. But for the time being,
Generals Kelly, Mattis and McMaster
? are probably the best, last defence
preventing Trump from starting the
third world war.
European allies will be grati?ed
that their lobbying in?uenced the
Iran decision. But their joy is not
uncon?ned. Trump made clear he
remained ready to wreck the accord
at any point ? and in practice, if not
in theory, he has the means to do so,
due to American domination of global
banking and currency systems.
ms.
ll for
If Congress accepts his call
additional criteria by which to
measure Iran?s compliance,
including extraneous, nonnuclear issues such as its ballistic
listic
missile programme, and renewed
ewed
US sanctions, an Iranian
repudiation and the collapse of
the deal may be months away.
y.
All the same, Friday?s
modest clipping of Trump?s
wings raises hopes that,
Trump?s ?worst instincts?
have been curbed ? for now.
for example, the international Paris
climate accord, which he arbitrarily
renounced in June, could yet be
repaired. McMaster and Rex Tillerson,
the secretary of state, indicated last
month that the decision could be
reversed. Many US states and cities
are in any case ignoring Trump and
keeping faith with the Paris targets.
If lobbying and pressure, carefully
applied, can be effective in turning
around the Trump juggernaut, the
opposite also holds true. Assiduous
courting by the governments of Israel
Arabia, not least during his
and Saudi Arabi
high-pro?le visit
visi to the two countries
in May, has played
play to his worst,
confrontational
confrontation instincts. They were
congr
swift to congratulate
him yesterday.
The unfort
unfortunate effects of this
include the US giving
wooing in
the S
Saudis a free hand in
Yemen (with disastrous
Yem
results);
turning a blind
resu
eye to Riyadh?s human
rights
rig record (every bit
as bad as Iran?s); and a
U
US green light for new
Jewish settlements
Je
and annexations in the
an
occupied territories (thereby further
undermining the moribund peace
process).
The Saudis and Israelis have also
been successful in convincing Trump
that Iran?s regional in?uence-peddling
poses an additional threat to US
interests. Congressional Republicans
and Democrats who bene?t from
campaign contributions or defence
contracts are disinclined to challenge
such thinking.
The irony, wholly lost on the
historically ignorant Trump, is that
in expanding its regional sway, Iran
is behaving in much the same way as
the US has done in Central and South
America and, since 1945, in western
Europe. The aim of such policies,
purposefully pursued by both, is to
enhance national security, political
capital, and economic interests.
In this very familiar ambition, Iran
has been assisted immeasurably by
American policy that, for example,
delivered up Tehran?s old rival, Iraq, on
a plate after the 2003 invasion. When
it comes to Iran, America is its own
worst enemy. Know-nothing Trump is
maintaining that tradition.
22 | NEWS | WORLD
*
15.10.17
He?s domineering, swaggering,
his country?s poor, Chairman
This week the Communist elite gathers
to hail the midpoint of Xi Jinping?s
10-year term in charge. There are
misgivings abroad about his
actions, but in the villages of
Hainan Tom Phillips ?nds little
but a?ection for the leader
Like most residents of the sun-kissed
fishing village of Tanmen, Huang Jie
will never forget the day China?s ?chairman of everything? came to town. It
was the afternoon of 8 April 2013 ? just
a few months after Xi Jinping had taken
power ? and he was using one of his ?rst
presidential trips to pay a morale-boosting visit to the sailors on the frontline
of Beijing?s quest to control the South
China Sea.
?He was just over there,? reminisced
Huang, the 45-year-old owner of a harbour-side equipment shop, motioning
excitedly into the street to where Xi?s
motorcade passed by. ?The window was
half open and he looked out at us and
smiled. When he waved, it was as if it
was in slow motion ? he didn?t say a single word, but I felt so excited.?
Almost five years after his tour of
Tanmen, Xi is celebrating what should
be the mid-point of a 10-year stint at the
helm of the world?s second largest economy. China?s political elite will descend
on Beijing on Wednesday to salute a
64-year-old strongman who is now so
powerful that a new body of ideology
may be written into the constitution,
putting him in the same political league
as the nation?s founder, Mao Zedong.
For critics, foremost among them
liberal intellectuals and human rights
activists, Xi?s first term has proved
calamitous. Some had hoped he would
prove a political reformer. Instead
China?s authoritarian leader has waged
war on dissent with unexpected ferocity, throwing some opponents in jail and
forcing others overseas. Hardcore objectors call him ?Xitler?.
Abroad, Xi has also accrued detractors, irking nations large and small for his
assertive ? some say domineering ? foreign policy initiatives. Perhaps nowhere
has that swagger manifested itself more
clearly than in the politically charged
waters around Tanmen, where Beijing is
using ?maritime militia? groups to push
controversial sovereignty claims over
about 90% of the South China Sea.
But as Xi completes his ?rst term,
experts say that many of China?s
1.4� billion citizens see him in a far
more favourable light.
?Whatever people may have to say
about Xi Jinping, he has been a popular
leader,? said Steve Tsang, head of the
China Institute at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London. ?The
economy remains strong ? corruption
RISE OF XI JINPING
15 June 1953 Born into well-connected
political family. His father, Xi Zhongxun,
fell out of favour in the Cultural
Revolution but was later rehabilitated.
1987 Marries folk singer Peng Liyuan.
1999-2007 Becomes governor of Fujian
province and later party secretary of
neighbouring Zhejiang province.
November 2012 Appointed general
secretary of Communist party and in
2013 president of China. Led aggressive
campaigns over territorial claims on
South China Sea.
October 2017 The Economist declares Xi
the most powerful man in the world.
has been contained ? China is internationally much more accepted as being
in the top league and is calling the shots
? In Trumpian terms, he?s managed to
make China look great again.?
Cheng Li, director of the Brookings
Institution?s John L Thornton China
Centre in Washington, said Xi?s popularity is stronger among poorer citizens.
?Of course, there is a lot of criticism
from intellectuals about the personality
cult and the tight control,? he said. ?But
Xi Jinping?s popularity is solid among
the laobaixing [common folk]. They see
him as a strong leader ? He gets things
done. He makes Chinese people proud.
There is a tendency to view him as the
third great leader since Mao, Deng and
then Xi.?
In Tanmen, on the eastern coast of
Hainan ? an eye-shaped tropical island
some call China?s Hawaii ? some go even
further. ?In 5,000 years of Chinese history not a single national leader has set
foot in Tanmen. It?s something we could
never have dreamed ? We are grateful to
Chairman Xi,? beamed Zhong Wenfeng,
the owner of a waterfront souvenir shop
that sells conches and star?sh plucked
from the South China Sea.
Part of the adulation expressed here
seems drawn almost verbatim from the
?I suspect many
Chinese feel a certain
pride that their
country is now able to
speak, even throw its
weight around a little?
Orville Schell, China expert
intense and inescapable propaganda
with which China bombards its citizens. ?Chairman Xi is a world leader.
His book on governance has sold out
in many countries across the world,?
Zhong gushed, parroting the unashamedly hagiographic bulletins in which the
party news agency Xinhua excels.
Outside his shop, a portrait of Xi ? his
hands clasped together ? captured the
image spin doctors have tried to curate of
their commander-in-chief: a sagacious
and omnipotent father ?gure leading his
subjects towards ?The China Dream?.
An accompanying slogan stated: ?The
Dream of a Powerful Country. The Rejuvenation of China. The Happiness of the
People. The Wealth of the Nation.?
Yet there seems to be heartfelt
affection, too. Over and over Tanmen
residents used the same adjectives
to describe their most famous guest:
ci爔iang (kindly) and he ai ke qin (affable). ?He treats people well ? He seems
like a good guy to us,? said Shi Jiquan, a
54-year-old ?sherman. ?He seems like a
very easy-going and warm person,? said
Zhong. ?In our hearts and in our minds
he is better than previous leaders,?
agreed Huang.
Observers say that Xi?s domestic veneration is largely the result of his populist anti-corruption crusade. In January
2013, Xi declared war on thieving tigers
and flies ? top officials and low-rank
bureaucrats ? describing their crimes as
an existential threat to the Communist
party?s grip on power. Dozens of top officials ? often Xi?s rivals ? have since been
felled, including the former security
chief, Zhou Yongkang, the army?s second
most senior officer, Xu Caihou, and Sun
Zhengcai, who some tipped as a future
president. ?Xi might not have people?s
admiration, but he has certainly got their
respect,? said Kerry Brown, the head of
the China Institute at King?s College
London. ?In a multiparty democracy,
I think he would probably be in a good
position to be re-elected.?
Orville Schell, a veteran China expert
from New York?s Asia Society, said he
sensed ?a cauldron of disaffection?
bubbling beneath the surface towards
China?s political leaders. But many
citizens applauded how Xi was strutting China?s stuff on the world stage. ?I
suspect that on a surface level ? but an
important level ? many Chinese feel a
certain amount of pride that their country is now able to speak, even throw its
weight around a little, and be heeded in
the world,? he said.
The Qionghai 09045 fishing boat that Xi Jinping boarded during his 2013 visit to Tanmen
in Hainan receives a fresh lick of paint. Photograph by Tom Phillips for the Observer
15.10.17
WORLD | NEWS | 23
*
and has crushed dissent. But to
Xi is making China great again
Photographs by
Mikhail Svetlov/
Getty
Tsang said there was particular delight
at how Xi appeared to be winning the
geopolitical arm-wrestle with Donald
Trump, who swept to power vowing to
challenge Beijing on everything from
trade to Taiwan, North Korea and the
South China Sea, but has so far failed to
match those threats with actions.
Xi had ceded almost no ground to
Trump on any of these issues, Tsang said.
?And what have the Americans done?
Nothing! So you can see why the average
Chinese citizen might think Xi Jinping
was doing really well.?
At Tanmen?s docks, Qin Huaishu,
another of the president?s fans, was giving a new lick of paint to Qionghai 09045,
a weathered fishing vessel that was
turned into a permanent ?oating monument to Xi after he clambered on board
during his 2013 visit.
?Xi chatted with the ?shermen about
their lives and went downstairs to check
the engine,? recalled Qin, a 55-year-old
workman. ?Xi told the ?shermen: ?Go out
and be bold. We support you all?.?
At Tanmen?s fishermen association,
there were further tributes. Just inside
the door hung a framed photograph
memorialising the day Xi visited. A copy
of Xi?s tome, The Governance of China, sat
in pride of place on the desk of the association?s president, Ding Zhile.
Speaking to a local Communist party
newspaper at the time, Ding boasted that
Xi had shaken his hand on two separate
occasions. Five years on, however, he
refused to share his memories of the
afternoon. ?We?re not talking to any
foreign media, no matter who you are,?
he snapped. ?Please put yourself in my
shoes. I have problems of my own.?
The ?chairman of everything? looked
down from the wall behind him in an
immaculately ironed blue shirt.
Additional reporting by Wang Zhen
Beijing struggles to curb poverty and pollution
while keeping its markets open to competition
ANALYSIS
Phillip Inman
Economics editor
There is a steel toboggan run offering rides down the side of the Great
Wall of China that would fail the UK?s
most basic health and safety tests. It
could be a metaphor for the Chinese
economy if, as many people believe,
Communist party leaders allow a
credit bubble to run out of control in
a desperate attempt to maintain an
electrifying 7% growth rate.
The Chinese are not alone when
they turn a blind eye to excessive borrowing. Most nations depend on large
and growing amounts of borrowing
to fund everything from investment
to the most basic services. In China?s
case much of the debt is being used to
offset爐he transition from a state that
manufactures iron, steel and cheap
electronics, textiles and consumer
goods to one that embraces hi-tech
industries attuned to environmental
concerns. This creates millions of
losers in traditional smoke-stack
industries, lots of them in the north
and west of the country.
It?s a story that is familiar in Europe,
where governments spent the 1980s
racking up huge debts to support dying
industries while the UK spent its oil
revenues funding the unemployment
bene?ts of steelworkers and miners.
But the scale of China?s industries is
such that when a transition is under
way, the borrowing is colossal and
the threat to the rest of the world is
unnerving.
The International Monetary
Fund warned last week that the debt
building up in China?s state-owned
industries was a threat to the country?s stability. Private debts are also
stratospheric, mainly from a property
boom that has left many people with
sky-high monthly mortgage payments
or dizzying rents. Erik Britton, director
of Fathom Consulting, an economic
consultancy, says he is concerned that
China?s debt-fuelled growth is building
towards a major crash some time in the
next ?ve years.
Diana Choyleva, a China expert who
runs Enodo Economics, a consultancy,
says that in answer to the growing
crisis the Communist party is exerting greater in?uence over indebted
state-owned industries, ending a long
period when competition with foreign
companies was considered a solution.
In August, Reuters reported that
more than a dozen top European
companies operating in China had
met to discuss their concerns about
the growing role of the party in joint
ventures with state-owned enterprises.
One executive told the news agency
that party officials wanted state-owned
enterprises to have the ?nal say in joint
decisions and allow the local party secretary to be the joint venture chairman.
Choyleva believes that Beijing?s
challenge over the next couple of years
is to exert more control to deal with
bad debts built up by state-owned
enterprises without scaring off foreign
banks and joint venture partners,
which could take on some of the debt
themselves.
Keith Burnett, vice-chancellor of
Sheffield University, is a regular visitor
to China and a mainstay of UK delegations to Beijing. He says he is struggling
to persuade UK businesses to enter
joint ventures with Chinese partners,
despite the obvious opportunities of
selling to a country of 1.4 billion people.
?There is a real push at senior levels
in Beijing to get manufacturing higher
up the value chain. They know they
need to expand in aerospace, electric
cars, pharmaceuticals. This is coupled
with a worry that many people are
Shoppers on the streets of Shanghai. Beyond the state sector, private debt is also high,
largely as the result of a property boom. Photograph by Chandan Khanna/AFP
being left behind in steelworks and
basic manufacturing plants.
?British companies are fearful they
will lose their intellectual property.
They are happy to sell their wares in
China, but they say ?we don?t want to
share information with you if it means
losing our crown jewels?,? he says.
Chinese officials argue that the 19th
national congress of the Communist
party on Wednesday, when President
Xi Jinping is expected to be re-elected
leader, will reinforce their anti-corruption drive and strengthen the independence of the judiciary, so foreign
businesses can pursue intellectualproperty disputes through the courts
with more success.
However, a courts system that offers
an independent arbitration service
seems a distant prospect. Companies
remain sceptical about their hopes of
pursuing intellectual-property theft
claims; foreign investors are wary of
buying the shares and bonds of compa-
�
?The
chicken
gravy
has you
wondering
whether
you can
lap at it
like a cat?
Jay Rayner
dines at Salt
in Stratfordupon-Avon
pages
38-39
Observer
Magazine
Xi Jinping and
his wife, Peng
Liyuan, at the
G20 summit
in Hamburg in
July. Although
a controlling
strongman, he
is seen by many
Chinese as
better than the
country?s previous leaders.
nies that might arbitrarily be declared
bankrupt. It is the courts that hear
bankruptcy petitions, and Choyleva
says there is little consistency over
why爏ome are declared bankrupt and
others not.
In 2013 the party?s third plenum
reform statement said the market should play a ?decisive? role in
resource allocation, while reaffirming that the state must play a ?leading
role? in the economy. It seems clear
that, as the population gets older and
generating previous levels of growth
gets harder, the state is grabbing back
key levers of power. The market is still
useful, but difficult times and competing aims call for more direction from
the centre. Somehow Xi must keep
raising 10爉illion people a year out
of poverty, promote a green economy
and open Chinese markets to foreign
competition and collaboration. It
appears that the ?rst two are incompatible with the third.
15.10.17
WORLD | NEWS | 25
*
Dignity in chains: stark macaque portrait
shines light on animals? plight in Indonesia
Images of Sulawesi?s
endangered species
among the
nominations in the
2017 Wildlife
Photographer of the
Year awards, writes
Robin McKie
Nona is a Sulawesi crested black
macaque. Photographed here by Stefano Unterthiner, she is seen chained
to a chair outside the house where she
is kept as a pet. The scene is made particularly poignant because Unterthiner
has included in his image the shadow of
Nona, her chain and a tree, thus underlining the freedom that the little animal
has lost. At the same time, the owner of
Nona ? which means ?miss? ? stands
relaxing in the early morning sun.
It is illegal to keep this critically
endangered animal in captivity. Yet the
law is rarely enforced, particularly in
remote areas. Hence the grim picture
? though far worse was taken by Unterthiner, an Italian wildlife photographer,
during his visit to the Indonesian island
of Sulawesi. Hunting, the live-animal
trade and forest clearance have caused
the animal?s population on the island to
?The macaques are
being killed for
bushmeat, hunted as
pets and having their
forests ripped down
around them?
Stefano Unterthiner
crash by 90% in the past 30 years. Only
a few thousand are left there.
?Things are become desperate for
the macaque,? said Unterthiner. ?They
are being killed for bushmeat, hunted
as pets and having their forests ripped
down around them.?
Local people like to keep these
macaques ? which they call yaki ?
because they look particularly cute as
babies. Often they are adopted when
their mothers are shot by bushmeat
hunters. However, as they get older, kept
in cramped conditions and poorly fed,
they become less manageable and are
themselves sold as bushmeat.
It is a deeply disturbing situation,
captured by Unterthiner in a series of
images that have earned him a place as
a ?nalist in the wildlife photojournalist
category in the prestigious Wildlife Pho-
Crested black macaque Nona chained to her chair: a ban on keeping such species as pets is rarely enforced in Sulawesi. Photographs by Stefano Unterthiner/National Geographic
tographer of the Year awards, which will
be announced this week at the Natural
History Museum in London.
?I first became aware of the crisis
facing the Sulawesi macaque when I
visited the island seven years ago,? he
told the Observer. He has made several
more trips and returned last year for a
two-month investigation. He found the
bushmeat market ? the main cause of the
macaques? plight ? had become a ?nightmare of blood and burnt animals?.
Another of his set of disturbing
images shows a local bushmeat dealer
called No? Raranta. He is seen wheeling the carcass of a Sulawesi warty pig,
another threatened animal, across his
yard; propped against a wall is the body
of a Gorontalo macaque, closely related
to the crested black species.
Macaque meat is popular at weddings
and festivals in Sulawesi, although trade
in it is also illegal. Again, there is little
fear of prosecution. ?I feel sympathy for
No? but he needs to sell something else,?
said Unterthiner.
The crested black macaque is noted
for its fascination with its own image.
Often they will sit on scooters, the main
form of transport in Sulawesi, and peer
at their own reflections in handlebar
mirrors ? as Unterthiner highlights in
another shot from his portfolio.
Several years ago this self-absorption led one female macaque to take an
unattended camera from another photographer in order to stare at her own
Picnickers at a
nature reserve
share food with a
macaque. Sulawesi
macaque numbers
have fallen 90% in
30 years due to
hunting, bushmeat
trade and a loss
of habitat.
reflection in the lens. She then accidently pressed the shutter and took the
?rst macaque sel?e. It made headlines
around the world and led to a bizarre
court case, launched by animal rights
activists, over the copyright of the picture, that was settled only last month.
Sulawesi was once covered in rich
forests but these have been stripped
away to provide land for farming.
Plantations of coconuts and mangoes
have replaced them. And as the forest
shrinks, so does the macaques? feeding
area, forcing them to venture further
from cover and into villages and plantations, where their risk of being killed ?
either by villagers who want to protect
their plantations, or by bushmeat hunters ? increases dangerously.
The Wildlife Photographer of the Year
exhibition opens at the Natural History
Museum, London SW7 on Friday
Catalonia calls for talks but warns Madrid against direct rule
In an interview, regional foreign minister says
Spain must acknowledge right to decide fate
by Sam Jones
Madrid
The Catalan government has renewed
its calls for dialogue to solve the
independence crisis ? but warned
the rest of Europe that the issue will
not disappear, even if the Spanish
government makes good its threat to
impose direct rule this week.
In an interview with the Observer,
Catalonia?s foreign minister, Ra黮
Romeva, said the government was
ready for unconditional talks to ?nd
a way out of the impasse. ?What we
need is dialogue with the Spanish
state,? he said.
?We need to sit down at the table
without any preconditions. But the
Spanish state needs to respond to this:
if it doesn?t want to, it needs to explain
why not. We?ve always said that if
there?s a way to do it, either directly or
through mediation, we?re prepared to
sit down and talk. I think that?s the way
you do things in politics.?
The unilateral independence
referendum held on 1 October has
pitched Spain into its worst political
upheaval since the country returned
to democracy four decades ago.
Although the Catalan president,
Carles Puigdemont, pulled the region
back from the brink on Tuesday
by proposing that the effects of the
ndence be
declaration of independence
suspended for a few weeks to allow
for dialogue, the Spanish
nish government
ger tolerate
has said it will no longer
Puigdemont?s disobedience
dience nor his
?outing of the constitution
tution and the
tional court.
rulings of its constitutional
In an ultimatum issued
sued in
the Spanish parliament
nt on
Wednesday, the primee
minister, Mariano
Rajoy, said
Puigdemont had until Monday to
con?rm whether the region had made
a unilateral independence declaration
and until Thursday to rectify the
situation and return Catalonia to
?constitutional order?.
Failure to do so, said Rajoy, would
result in the invocation of article 155 of
Spain?s 1978 constitution, which allows
the government to take control of an
autonomous region if it ?does not ful?l
the obligations imposed upon it by the
constitution or other laws, or acts in a
way that is seriously prejudicial to the
general interest of Spain?.
Romeva dismissed
Ro
the
th threat, saying
t Spanish
the
government
had effectively
activated the
article already.
?The problem
is that the Spanish
government is
go
already applying
alre
Ra黮 Romeva: Catalonia
wants talks with Madrid.
155,? he said. ?That?s the trap: they
threaten to apply 155 when they?re
already applying it illegally ? They?re
already intervening in our ?nances
but they?re doing it by the back door.
And the presence in Catalonia of the
Guardia Civil and the national police
is illegal. They?re saying they?re
defending the rules but they?re the
ones breaking their own rules.?
He also rejected suggestions that
the crisis could be solved by means of a
commission on constitutional reform.
Last week, Rajoy and Pedro S醤chez,
the leader of Spain?s Socialist party
(PSOE), appeared to offer the Catalan
government a way out of the standoff
by announcing a deal to establish a
commission to examine the possibility
of changing the way the country?s
autonomous regions are governed
through constitutional reform.
But Romeva said the initiative was
designed to de?ect attention from the
wishes of the overwhelming majority
of Catalans, who have said they want to
be allowed to vote in a mutually agreed
independence referendum.
?What 80% of the Catalan
population is asking is that they
have the right to decide. That?s what
they?ve been saying very clearly ? and
peacefully ? for years. I have yet to see
any concrete proposal. I?ve heard some
ideas on how we could begin to study
the possibility that in the future there
could be a commission. That?s not a
concrete proposal.?
Romeva refused to speculate on
what would happen on Monday, saying
only: ?We?re always talking. We?ll see
what happens on Monday.?
However, Puigdemont?s government
is under internal and external pressure
to show its hand. Its junior coalition
partners, the far-left separatist
party CUP, were not happy that the
president stopped short of an outright
independence declaration and are
urging him to ignore the Spanish
government and make a de?nitive
proclamation of independence.
The Catalan national assembly,
a powerful pro-independence civil
society group, has also said that it
no longer makes sense ?to keep the
suspension of the independence
declaration?.
* 15.10.17
In Focus
BREXIT
SPECIAL
REPORT
WILL JOBS BE LOST?
Tens of thousands of jobs are linked to
seamless trade with the European Union.
Multinational ?rms ?y sta? to Ireland,
France, Germany and the low countries
without interference from border
control o?cials.
Then there is the example of the
crankshaft used in the BMW Mini, which
crosses the Channel three times in a
2,000-mile journey before the ?nished
car rolls o? the production line. It is one
of the classic trips made by hundreds
of car parts that would be stopped
at the border in the event of a
no-deal Brexit.
Northern Ireland would be one of
the worst-a?ected regions, as food
manufacturers use ingredients from
Axed ?ights, soaring
unemployment,
rampant in?ation.
Is this the grim
reality Britain could
look forward to after
a ?no deal? Brexit?
Just a year ago, Tory ministers David Davis and Liam Fox
were adamant that leaving the EU would be easy. But
ut
with talks mired in deadlock, a divorce without
ly.
agreement suddenly seems increasingly likely.
eans
Political Editor Toby Helm explains what it means
A
little over a year ago, David
Davis was con?dent that
Brexit Britain would soon
strike new trade deals
across the world. They
could be negotiated and
agreed without the difficulties and
delays of which Remainers warned. All
parts of the global trade jigsaw would
fall quickly and neatly into place. ?So be
under no doubt,? the Brexit secretary
wrote in an article for the ConservativeHome website in July 2016, ?we
can do deals with our trading partners,
and we can do them quickly... I would
expect that the negotiation phase of
most of them to be concluded within
between 12 and 24 months. Trade deals
with the US and China alone will give
us a trade area almost twice the size
of the EU, and we will also be seeking
deals with Hong Kong, Canada, Australia, India, Japan ? and many others.?
Around the same time, international
trade secretary Liam Fox predicted that
a free-trade deal with the EU, giving us
south of the border and sell the ?nal
product in the republic too.
The CBI gives the example of a
Northern Irish bread-maker that buys
?our from Ireland, makes the product
in the north, and then transports bread
to Dublin. Even if the UK continues to
recognise the EU HGV licence used by
the Polish driver (for example) and the
EU food standards that determine the
bread?s shelf life, after Brexit the loaf could
be inedible by the time it has reached its
destination or so expensive that local
bakeries quickly step in and win the day.
Nissan is among the carmakers to say
that they have already started getting
their parts from the UK to o?set the
e?ects of a hard Brexit that involves
restrictions on immigrant labour and tight
border controls. But its scenario-planning
cannot cope without a deal of some sort.
continued access to EU markets after
Brexit, ?should be one of the easiest in
human history?. His fellow Tory, the
hardline Eurosceptic John Redwood,
also saw no problems in realising this
great recon?guration of British interests around the world. ?Getting out of
the EU can be quick and easy ? the UK
holds most of the cards,? he declared.
This weekend, 16 months on from
Leave?s narrow referendum win, the
talk is no longer of quick deals, or
smooth routes out. Instead, Theresa
May and her cabinet are preparing
the country for the possibility of ?no
deal? at all being reached with Brussels before the UK leaves at the end of
March 2019. No deal would also mean
no two-year transition of the kind that
May said would be so important in
her recent Florence speech. Many of
the hardline Brexiters have changed
their tune, and now cheer on the
prospect of ?no deal? as the only way
to break free. None of the trade deals
they envisaged have been done and
15.10.17
| 27
*
FRESH FACES OF
BRITISH FILM
Rungano Nyoni leads
a new generation of
UK directors Page 29
WILL I BE ABLE TO TAKE
OUT CASH ABROAD?
Banks were among the ?rst to plan for
a hard Brexit that might deny them the
?passporting? rights that allow money
transfers and derivatives transactions to
happen seamlessly across borders.
The last year has seen a succession of
UK banks and insurers set up o?shoots
in what will remain of the EU, allowing
them to bypass Britain if they need
to. Foreign banks that have based
their European HQs in London have
done likewise.
This level of contingency planning
means that it is most likely that British
travellers will be able to withdraw funds
abroad and transfer money the day after
Brexit, whatever the outcome. But a
last-minute decision to crash out of the
One of the aims of free-market supporters
in the Brexit camp is to cut the cost of
goods in stores. They believe the EU is a
closed shop that protects expensive EU
food and consumer goods with tari?s on
cheaper alternatives from outside the
single market or customs union.
This is what lies behind international
trade secretary Liam Fox?s aim of sealing
tari?-free-trade deals with as many
countries as possible.
But if the UK crashes out of the
European Union without a deal, the
months immediately afterwards could
see trade damaged, unless border
checks are dropped ? which is unlikely
when the fallout from open borders is
uncontrolled immigration.
none are in sight. (It is not possible
to enter into them until we leave the
customs union).
The EU is refusing even to begin to
talk about post-Brexit trade arrangements with the UK because other
issues, such as the divorce bill for leaving, are still deadlocked. In the House
of Commons on Monday, May con?rmed that negotiations, rather than
progressing, had stalled and reality was
dawning. She told MPs that ?while it
is profoundly in all our interests for
the negotiations to succeed, it is also
our responsibility as a government to
prepare for every eventuality, so that is
exactly what we are doing?. By which
she meant: ?Get ready for no deal?.
In evidence to the Treasury select
committee on Wednesday, chancellor Philip Hammond declared that the
possible ?no deal? outcome could come
about in one of two ways. The ?rst would
be quite friendly. But the other would
involve a ?bad-tempered breakdown?.
?If it is [that we move to] a World
Trade would be hit because most
large supermarket chains have supply
chains that allow sta? to place orders
from depots on the continent and have
them ful?lled within hours. Ports such
as Rotterdam and Zeebrugge dispatch
containers at a moment?s notice across
the North Sea or through the Channel to
satisfy next-day deliveries. More than
twice as much agricultural produce is
imported as the UK exports, much of it
from the Netherlands, making it a real
possibility that supermarket shelves will
be empty within days.
So without partners in the EU prepared
to agree the legal terms of trade and the
level of insurance needed before an order
is agreed, no amount of contingency
planning, whether it involves vast lorry
parks or storage facilities, would remove
the risk of shortages or spiralling prices.
?Bluntly, we have to
consider the
possibility of a
bad-tempered
breakdown in
negotiations?
Chancellor Philip Hammond
ON OTHER PAGES
Is the smart money on Philip Hammond?
Pro?le, page 32
This dangeroud deadlock is a delight to
Brextremists Andrew Rawnsley, page 35
Stop being so polite, Remainers
Catherine Bennett, page 37
Clegg?s call to stop Brexit will stir up more
xenophopia Letters, page 38
?WILL PLANES STILL FLY?
Alamy; Getty; PA
WILL PRICES GO UP?
Ask Ryanair?s chief executive, Michael
O?Leary, and the answer will be no. He says
that without a deal at least six months
before the March 2019 deadline, there will
be chaos at British airports.
O?Leary said at best he would need
to place ?health warnings? on ?ights. At
worst he will be forced to rejig routes so
that they bypass UK airports altogether.
?If Britain gets pushed out of the EU, it
Trade Organisation regime with no
deal, there are then two further potential levels that you have to consider.
One is no deal ? WTO ? but a friendly
agreement that we are not going to
reach a deal, but we will work together
to cooperate to make things run as
smoothly as possible,? Hammond said.
?But, bluntly, we also have to consider the possibility of a bad-tempered
breakdown in negotiations where we
have non-cooperation, and, worst-case
scenario, even a situation where people
are not necessarily acting in their own
economic self-interest. So we need to
prepare for a wide range of scenarios.?
That sounded like an ugly trade war.
Hammond insisted it was too early for
him to be committing hundreds of millions of pounds to preparations for this
?no deal? scenario ? as hardline Brexiters were saying he now should ? only
to be slapped down hours later by May,
who told MPs that �0m was being
allocated to government departments
to help do just that. The cabinet ? split
is absolutely the legal position that ?ights
must stop. You?ve got to negotiate that
bilaterally,? he has said. ?If we don?t know
the legal basis for which they?re being
operated, we?ll be forced to cancel those
?ights by December 2018, so we can put
those ?ights on sale in Europe.?
There are Tory backbenchers who treat
his comments as scaremongering, but
the recent collapse of Monarch is held
up as a good example of the threat to
aviation when the paperwork and legal
niceties get in the way of business.
from top to bottom about what kind
of Brexit deal it wants ? was even split
about whether, and how, to prepare for
the potentially disastrous outcome of
not getting an EU deal at all.
If there is no UK-EU deal before
March 2019, the consequences would
be huge and immediate. The return of
customs checks would mean a return to
the hard border between Northern Ireland and the republic. For trade, the UK
would default to WTO rules, meaning
tariffs would be imposed on goods leaving the UK for the EU and on those sold
into the UK market by the remaining
27 member states. The government has
said it wants the continuation of ?frictionless? trade with EU countries. But a
WTO regime would, by contrast, mean
tariffs of between 2% and 3% on many
industrial goods. They would be far
higher in others sectors: 10% for cars
and 20% to 40% for many agricultural
products. The British Chambers of
Commerce and other business groups
are warning that some British compa-
EU is likely to send the pound tumbling,
meaning that Brits abroad will ?nd the
ATM gives them a fraction of what they
expected. And there could be extra
charges to compensate for the higher
administration costs faced by banks.
Other service industries are unlikely
to be quite as prepared, even though
they collectively account for 40% of EU
trade, up from 23% in 1999. And to show
its importance to UK ?rms, this rise of
almost a quarter compares with a 6%
increase in non-EU trade over the same
time period.
The CBI says: ?Exports of business
services, such as design, advertising
and architecture, together with ?nancial
services, account for over half of the
UK?s overall growth in services exports.
And these sectors may be particularly
vulnerable to a sudden re-emergence of
trade barriers with the EU.?
Monarch passengers asked why the
collapsed company?s grounded planes
couldn?t take them home from their
holiday destinations. The answer was that
they were in the hands of administrators,
and legal ?ight information on them was
therefore invalid.
O?Leary is saying that without a
reciprocal deal, a ?ight from the UK to
France would be in breach of French and EU
rules, leaving itself open to being sued by
the authorities and passengers.
Phillip Inman
nies will consider moving abroad and
that investment in the UK could suffer.
Hammond said last week that there
was also a prospect of ?ights between
UK and EU airports being grounded as
the UK would no longer fall inside the
EU?s aviation regulatory regime. The
right of EU nationals to stay in the UK
could also disappear, as would those of
UK citizens living in EU countries.
The hard-Brexit supporting right
wing of the Tory party was arguing
only a year ago that Brexit would be
relatively smooth and simple. Now that
it has proved to be anything but, and
talks with Brussels have hit the buffers,
many of them are encouraging this ?no
deal? option as somehow a pure form
of Brexit. It means a clean break. They
blame the EU and the Remainers for
blocking the way to the kind of future
they sold to the British people.
The big question now is whether the
public take the same attitude, or begin
to coalesce more around the view that
?no deal? is a very bad deal for them.
28 | IN FOCUS
*
Interview
15.10.17
Richard Ratcliffe, Nazanin
Zaghari-Ratcliffe and their
daughter Gabriella. Getty
?I love you, Daddy ? the only phrase
my daughter can still say in English?
In his ?rst newspaper interview since learning
his wife Nazanin could face 16 years in an
Iranian prison on ?crazy? new charges,
Richard Ratcli?e tells Donna Ferguson
of the strain of separation on his family
R
ichard Ratcliffe is recalling
the moment, last Sunday, he
discovered his wife Nazanin
could face an additional 16
years in an Iranian prison on
fresh charges of attempting
to overthrow the Islamic Republic.
?I was really shocked. Different
Iranian officials had been signalling
she?d be eligible for early release next
month.? Sometimes, he says, it?s hard to
understand what?s going on. Then he
corrects himself: ?Actually, it?s always
hard to understand what?s going on.
But everything that?s happened has
clearly had a political timing to it.?
Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a BritishIranian charity worker, was about to
return to the UK from a holiday visiting
her parents with her 22-month-old
daughter Gabriella when she was
arrested 18 months ago ? shortly after
economic sanctions on Iran were lifted
as part of a landmark nuclear deal. Along
with academics and international workers from other western countries who
were detained around the same time,
she was accused of espionage by members of Iran?s Revolutionary Guard, then
separated from her daughter, placed in
solitary con?nement and sentenced to
?ve years in prison.
Gabriella, who has sole British citizenship, was prevented from returning
to her father in the UK and placed in
the care of her Iranian family, her passport con?scated. ?She would wake up
in the night, crying,? Ratcliffe says. ?She
kept going to the door and pointing at
photos of us, asking for her mummy
and daddy ? particularly her mummy.
The ?rst visit she had in prison, she
didn?t say anything. She just sat on
Nazanin?s lap, stroking her face for 15
minutes and looking at her.?
An appeal to overturn 38-year-old
Nazanin?s sentence was refused in
January, and Ratcliffe has been denied
a visa to visit his wife and daughter:
?The basic cruelty of splitting up a
family is quite breathtaking.?
It feels like the Iranian government is
torturing his family, he says. ?Nazanin
was promised she would be released
several times and each time it was taken
away. At the beginning I thought: is it
incoherent? Is it just someone promising sincerely and then being overruled?
Now, I think: no, it?s a casual cruelty
? and it?s systemic. There?s a deliberate
process of trying to pacify the families
of political prisoners, to keep them
hopeful so they don?t do anything.?
Iranian officials have complained
to Foreign Office officials ? who meet
Ratcliffe every three weeks ? that his
behaviour is unreasonable, and the
British government has advised him
to scale back his campaigning in the
public eye, he says. But he?s not going to
stop. ?I?m really clear: I?m going to keep
campaigning until they?re home. And
I?m going to get louder and louder. I?m
going to step up and step up.? His message to the Iranian government is: ?If
you create these crazy new charges, I?m
going to tell you they?re crazy. If you
want this to end, get them home.?
He draws his strength from the
messages of support he receives from
the public. ?Lots of people, old and
young, will post lovely comments,
and that really sustains me. Most are
just ordinary people, sometimes not
with anything to say except: we care.?
His Change.org petition has attracted
almost a million signatures. ?That
genuine reaching out that people do,
that kindness, is really nurturing. It
keeps me going.?
He plans to show all the messages
to Nazanin one day. ?It?s almost like a
photo album of other people caring,
and part of my campaigning is about
her having something to come back to.
It?s making it clear to the outside world
that she?s innocent, that this is a mockery ? it?s political and it?s got nothing to
do with anything she?s done.?
Ratcliffe, 42, is trying to hold down
a job as an accountant, and so we meet
at lunchtime at the Barbican, near his
central London office. He should blend
in with other City workers in grey suits,
but the strain he has been suffering is
palpable. ?I look a fair bit older than
I did last spring. I completely lost the
ability to sleep and to work at ?rst.?
There have been a few moments
when he?s allowed himself to cry ?
such as when he discovered Nazanin?s
appeal had been rejected ? but most of
the time he tries to stay in ?campaign
mode? and focus on the future. ?It?s in
Richard Ratcliffe,
centre, at a vigil in
Parliament Square
last Wednesday.
Photograph by
Paul Davey/
Barcroft
the quiet moments that the feelings rise
up and wash over you. There is a way
in which it?s still easier for me to battle
on and not really unpick all the feelings, because I?m not sure that?s really
helpful.?
It is the separation from Gabriella
that he ?nds the hardest. ?A baby went
out there and a little girl will come
back. That bit in the middle is gone for
ever.? It?s particularly painful, he says,
that Gabriella now only speaks Farsi,
which he doesn?t understand. ?Emotionally, what Daddy meant before
and what Daddy means now are two
different things. Now, Daddy is just the
guy who speaks to her in English on the
phone.?
The one phrase she can still say in
English is ?I love you?. ?She makes a
?I?ve been to the park
near our ?at, just to
remember Gabriella
solemnly going up
and down the slide
again and again?
heart with her hands when she says it.?
Big enough now to articulate that she
misses him, she asks: when am I going
to see you? ?But a lot of the ways you
would reassure a three-year-old, I can?t
do. There will need to be a long process
once she?s back to make sure she
knows, deep down, her parents didn?t
abandon her.?
Twice a week, Gabriella is now
allowed to have a 45-minute visit with
her mother, who was only taken out of
solitary con?nement at the beginning
of this year and has since been diagnosed with advanced depression. ?At
one point, Nazanin was suicidal. She
felt it would be better for everyone if
she just killed herself.? The debilitating
psychological effects have had physical consequences. ?There was a period
when she was having regular panic
attacks, couldn?t walk, couldn?t lift
things up. Her hair was falling out. She
regularly loses her appetite.?
She tries to cope, Ratcliffe says, by
remembering her life in the UK. ?It?s
part of keeping herself mentally active.
Even things like: can she remember
what?s on the kitchen work surface,
what?s near the pots? She always says
on the phone: please do whatever you
can to get me home.?
The visits from Gabriella are her
lifeline, and he has promised he will
never take their daughter back to
Britain without her consent. ?It was
really important to promise that to her
when she was in solitary con?nement.?
But the return of Gabriella?s passport in
June gave them hope that their cause
was moving forward. ?I was feeling like
we were at the beginning of the end ? so
last week?s news was a big surprise.?
He has taken hope from a statement
the Iranian embassy in London put
out to the Iranian press, saying there
might be a mistake about the length of
Nazanin?s new sentence because the
prisoner?s husband ?often gets things
confused?. But he believes the Revolutionary Guard is using Nazanin as a
pawn to embarrass the Iranian and British governments and will not give her
up unless it gets something in return.
Despite his best efforts, there are
moments when the situation gets to
him. Sometimes, when he wants to feel
close to Gabriella, he visits the slide
in the park she used to play on, near
their ?at in north London. ?I?ve been
there a few times, just to remember her
solemnly going up and down the slide
again and again.?
He tries, as much as he can, to focus
on the future, imagining what they will
do together when they are all reunited.
?I?m looking forward to the Saturdays
when we?d all go to the park, feed the
ducks, or take a day trip to the beach.
That?s what?s in my head, that?s what?s
waiting.? He hesitates, and for the ?rst
time his voice wobbles. ?Yeah. And I?d
probably just hold them,? he whispers.
Even now, he won?t allow himself to
believe Nazanin won?t be released soon.
?There?s no reason it couldn?t all be
over, because it is all nonsense. So what
I?ve experienced is: she?s not going to
be home for Christmas ... or she?s much
less likely to be home for Christmas ...
but I?m hesitating to even articulate
that. I won?t accept it. I have faith that
in the end, sunlight clears injustice.
And I?ll carry on until it does.?
15.10.17
*
Cinema
Fresh, diverse
and earthy:
2017?s great
debuts from
UK directors
DAPHNE
Emily Beecham
stars in Pete
Mackie Burns?s
tale of modern
London life.
Photograph
by Agatha
A Nitecka
I AM NOT
A WITCH
Maggie
Mulubwa plays
a Zambian girl
banished from
her village in
Rungano
Nyoni?s eerie
satire.
As the London Film Festival reaches its
climax, Ryan Gilbey examines the rise
of a new generation of ?lm-makers
E
ver since the late Colin
Welland collected his
screenwriting Oscar for
Chariots of Fire in 1982 and
declared with a most unBritish triumphalism that
?The British are coming!?, such public
displays of con?dence in the country?s
?lm industry have been uncommon,
even frowned upon. Perhaps it is time
to amend Welland?s cry this year and
state the obvious: the British are here.
In 2017, there have been more distinctive homegrown debut features funded,
made and released, displaying a greater
diversity of theme and focus, than in
any other year in recent memory.
Previously it has been possible
to identify small, localised pockets
of new talent: think of 2006, when
both Andrea Arnold (Red Road)
and Paul Andrew Williams (London
to Brighton) made their debuts, or
2008, which brought forth Steve
McQueen (Hunger) and Joanna Hogg
(Unrelated). This year feels more like
an explosion. It isn?t only that promising new ?lm-makers have emerged; it?s
also the way in which their ?lms have
challenged and disrupted preconceptions about what British cinema and
British stories might be.
The London Film Festival, which
?nishes its 10-day run tonight, has
provided a focus for this crop of new
British directors, three of whom were
competing last night for the festival?s
First Feature prize. Michael Pearce?s
Beast is a tense Jersey-set thriller about
the passionate romance between two
outcasts, both damaged in their own
way, one of whom may be a serial killer;
at times it has the feral texture of a
Bruno Dumont drama, at others it is
closer to a rural Jagged Edge ? Jersey
Edge, perhaps. Also in competition
was Apostasy, the Mancunian director Daniel Kokotajlo?s coiled study
of life in a community of Jehovah?s
Witnesses. Meanwhile, I Am Not a
Witch, by the Welsh-Zambian newcomer Rungano Nyoni, veers between
eerie, moving and satirical as it tells of a
nine-year-old girl in a Zambian village
forced to choose between admitting
she is a witch, thereby dooming herself
to the captive life of a tourist attraction,
or being turned into a goat and set free.
These debuts come at the end of a
thrilling year for new British cinema
in which rural stories have predominated. Three acclaimed ?rst features
have been set far from the metropolitan whiff of sourdough and miles
from the nearest yoga studio.
Francis Lee?s ?lm God?s Own
Country is an earthy gay
love story about a taciturn
young farmer who falls for a
Romanian labourer; William
Oldroyd?s Lady Macbeth is
a period drama in which a
put-upon young woman
responds with murderous
fury to the deprivaRungano Nyoni?s debut
film, I Am Not a Witch,
is set in Zambia.
tions of married life, while Hope
Dickson Leach?s The Levelling is set
in the aftermath of the 2014 Somerset
?oods. Leach, who was raised in Hong
Kong before moving to Edinburgh, has
blamed the concentration of capital for
the former London bias of the British
?lm industry. ?I think rich, middleclass people tend to live in London,?
she said. ?They tend to be the people
who make ?lms ? and also go to see
them. So there?s a lack of belief that
anyone would be interested in rural
stories.? Happily, the box office is proving her wrong: God?s Own Country and
Lady Macbeth have been commercial
hits, with the former also winning
prizes at the Edinburgh and Dinard
?lm festivals.
Even those debut directors who
haven?t abandoned city life altogether
are still ?nding innovative ways to tell
their stories. Spaceship, directed by
Alex Taylor and released earlier this
year, is a beguiling tale of suspected
extraterrestrial abduction in Aldershot,
full of hallucinatory visuals on a shoestring budget. And the recent Daphne,
BEAST
Jessie Buckley
and Johnny
Flynn in Michael
Pearce?s tense
Jersey thriller.
GOD?S OWN
COUNTRY
?They?re all concerned
with returning
to something
fundamental about
where we came from?
Alec Secareanu,
left, and Josh
O?Connor in
Francis Lee?s
love story about
a taciturn
farmer who falls
for a Romanian
labourer.
Photograph
by Agatha
A Nitecka
Michael Pearce, director
directed by the Scottish ?lmmaker
Peter Mackie Burns, is a ?nely-detailed
character study of a woman in her
early thirties failing conspicuously to
hold her life together after witnessing a
stabbing. ?I wanted to look at what you
do when you become the person you?ve
been pretending to be,? Burns tells me.
?Daphne is too cool for school but now
she?s reached the age where she?s too
old for that and the ?lm is about her
coming to this realisation.?
Burns is no new kid on the block
himself ? he turned 50 this year (two
years older than fellow ?rst-timer,
Francis Lee) and has already had two
previous features fall at the ?nal hurdle, the ?rst in 2008 when funding collapsed after the ?nancial crisis. ?I had
to believe it would happen eventually.
Otherwise what would I do?? Daphne,
which he expanded from a short ?lm
made with the same writer (Nico
Mensinga) and star (Emily Beecham),
came together quickly when the
production company The Bureau,
which specialises in working with
emerging ?lm-makers, was looking
for a feature to ?ll a schedule hole.
?The stars were in alignment,?
Burns notes. ?The fact we could
say, ?Here?s the short, the star, the
character and the ?rst draft? really
helped us.? The ?lm?s unique tone,
with scenes that weave unpredictably through comedy,
melancholy and menace,
was also intact.
Part of the ?lm?s
IN FOCUS | 29
funding came from the BFI, which distributes National Lottery money and
instigated diversity directives in 2014
to establish a plurality of stories, perspectives and talent. The ?three ticks?
initiative, set up to ?recognise and
acknowledge the quality and value of
difference?, asked a series of questions
of all productions seeking funding,
such as, ?Is the project telling us something we do not already know?? and,
?Does the project have the potential
to open doors which have historically
been closed?? The directives have been
rolled out to other UK funding bodies,
including Creative England, F?lm
Cymru Wales and Northern Ireland
Screen, and has had a demonstrable
effect in the representation of gender,
ethnicity, sexuality, disability and geography, though Burns chuckles gently
when I raise the subject.
?Diversity was certainly discussed
in terms of cast and crew on Daphne.
But we were shooting in Elephant
and Castle [in south London] so we
couldn?t really avoid telling a diverse
story, you know??
Pearce also received BFI money
for Beast. ?There?s been a desire for
diversity for a long time,? he says.
?And when you look at a lot of the
current directors ? Rungano grew up
in Zambia and Wales, Francis in West
Yorkshire, Dan who did Apostasy was
born in Manchester, me in Jersey.
?Some are autobiographical, but
they?re all concerned with returning to something fundamental about
where we came from.? That informed
the visual sweep of Beast, in which
the bristly landscape feels indivisible
from the characters. Pearce agrees that
this extends to his own feelings about
growing up in Jersey. ?I always had this
impression of the duality of the place
as a child. There was this idea that it
could be a beautiful playground but
also sti?ing and suffocating.?
That is as good a description as any
for Britain in the shadow of Brexit. The
next batch of diverse British ?lms may
already on its way to the screen ? the
thriller Retreat, directed by Ted Evans,
a deaf ?lm-maker, will be the ?rst
British feature entirely in sign language, while Dawn Of The Dark Fox is
co-written and co-directed by Michael
Smith, who is on the autistic spectrum.
But the wave after that will surely be
the one to deal with the issue of Brexit.
?It has thrown up such big questions,? Pearce says. ?What is this
great divide between people who felt
European and those who felt distinctly
British? I?m expecting ?lm-makers to
look into that divide ? what is it and
when did it become so big? It might
not be as literal as dramatising Brexit,
it might be some of us go further back,
try to ?gure out what this Anglo-Saxon
identity is and what it means now we
live in such interconnected times.?
Daphne and God?s Own Country are
on release. I Am Not a Witch opens
on Friday. Apostasy and Beast will be
released next year.
30 | IN FOCUS
*
Literature
15.10.17
READER CHOICES
MASTERPIECE OF SATIRE
GREATEST WORK ON POLITICS
HE?D HAVE US EXECUTED
THE ULTIMATE REFERENCE
GENIUS ON STILTS
THE CASE FOR FEMINISM
Our writers listed 100 political books
that shaped the world. Here are yours
Last Sunday we published our picks. Over
the past week, you have responded in droves
on our website with your own favourites
The best political books I?ve read are
Francis Fukuyama?s later works, The
Origins of Political Order and Political
Order and Political Decay. The slight
embarrassment of predicting the ?end
of history? based on transient events,
only for history to just keep on truckin?,
seems to have pushed him into
developing a far more comprehensive,
objective and anthropological theory
of politics. stupidcar
Michael Foot?s two-volume biography of Nye Bevan, which tells how
Bevan was marginalised by the Labour
party establishment. And, of course,
Gramsci?s Prison Notebooks. I am sure
Margaret Thatcher studied this book,
as she knew far more about the practice of hegemony than any left-wing
government. Sean20
How about The Churchill Factor by
Boris Johnson? A book about one of
our greatest politicians and orators by
someone who thinks he is both of those
things and fails to be so miserably in
every respect ? though he entertains
the nation, whereas Churchill merely
saved it. Tamizdat
The Republican Noise Machine: RightWing Media and How It Corrupts
Democracy by David Brock is an excellent analysis about how the right-wing
corrupted US politics and gave us
the insanity we now take for granted.
MereMortal
Denis Healey?s The Time of My Life
was one of the greatest political
memoirs of the past 40 years or so.
His generation had seen at ?rst hand
the absolute pity of war, so had real
world experience. Healey?s erudition
was also exceptional, and few politicians today could deploy, with such
effortless literary brio, the ancient
classics or Romantic poetry, and still
articulate the principle of nuclear
deterrence or cold war military stratagems. MemorySpeak
Zola?s Son Excellence Eug鑞e Rougon,
set in the France of the 1850s-60s, is
the best novel about politics ? for its
amorality, its leeching hangers-on, its
windbaggery, its cowardly hesitations,
its lack of cultural depth among the
ambitious, its thin-skinned responses
to mockery, its crawling before the
main power in a government.
zuftawov943
I would include Philip Tetlock?s study
of punditry, Expert Political Judgment:
How Good Is It? How Can We Know?
The original work demolished the idea
experts can predict the future, yet the
relentless ?ood of expert bloviating ?
spectacularly wrong too often ? makes
one wonder if Tetlock?s empirically
grounded conclusions shouldn?t be on
every editor?s reading list. DREID01
From Jonathan Swift?s Gulliver?s Travels: ?His majesty, in another audience,
was at the pains to recapitulate the
sum of all I had spoken; compared the
questions he made with the answers I
had given ... ?My little friend Grildrig,
you have made a most admirable
panegyric upon your country; you have
clearly proved, that ignorance, idleness, and vice, are the proper ingredients for qualifying a legislator; that
laws are best explained, interpreted,
and applied, by those whose interest
and abilities lie in perverting, confounding, and eluding them ... I cannot
but conclude the bulk of your natives
to be the most pernicious race of little
odious vermin that nature ever suffered to crawl upon the surface of the
earth.? Imagine if we had to attempt
to extol to the King the virtues of our
present. He would probably have us
executed as a precautionary measure.
Lagado
Fear and Loathing on the Campaign
Trail ?72 by Hunter S Thompson. Frank
Mankiewicz, who ?gures large in the
book, said it was ?the least factual,
most accurate account? of that election. A masterpiece of truth, satire and
comedy. Pseudaletia
Ibn Khaldun?s Muqaddimah. It?s
important to include his work because
living in the feudal era he is proof that
a vibrant Arab political and economic
theory existed prior to the so-called
European Enlightenment. His work
was used by many 19th-century
European intellectuals, including
RH Tawney and 蒻ile Durkheim.
tony2014
Sue Lloyd-Roberts?s The War on
Women: And the Brave Ones Who Fight
Back, in which her observations of how
women are treated around the world
are as convincing as any theoretical
text in putting the case for feminism.
The Women?s Room by Marilyn French,
Alice Walker?s The Color Purple,
most爋f Margaret Forster?s, Doris
Lessing?s, Elizabeth Taylor?s and
Penelope Lively?s work also speak to
me. Dorothy Granville
Frantz Fanon, possibly the most in?uential thinker in post-colonial African
studies. PGappah
I am sure that David Olusoga?s own
book Black and British: A Forgotten
History would be a candidate here but
for modesty. I read it after watching
the BBC documentary series. He uses
a similar argument to Michel-Rolph
Trouillot?s in Silencing the Past: Power
and the Production of History. That
history can be silenced at the four
stages of making of sources, archives,
narratives and ?nal versions. This
appreciation is needed to understand
how false consciousnesses have been
created and maintained. SleepingDog
I Write What I Like by Steve Biko,
especially as Mandela?s autobiography
is included in the 100 list. For South
Africans, Biko is the ultimate reference
on black consciousness. ID7310413
Badiou et al?s What is the People, a
fascinating set of short essays on the
idea of ?the people? and the critique of
old-style liberal democracy. tony2014
Insane Clown President by Matt Taibbi
is worth a read. It shows the path of
Donald Trump?s unlikely rise to power
as America?s commander-in-chief and
how he almost turned the Republican
candidacy into a reality TV show, using
popularity/unpopularity to his advantage. baronvonchuck
Africa Works by Chabal and Daloz was
important for me as a member and
bene?ciary of the welfare state, making
me realise that most states don?t give a
fuck about the welfare of their citizens,
and that the Nordic model is really not
a model to strive for, for the majority of
leaders. drinkspernod
I can heartily recommend Stalin: The
Court of the Red Tsar by Simon Sebag
Monte?ore, which has some brilliant
insights and a great pace. s2goon
kpostle1
The Sceptical Feminist
ministt by Janet RadRad
cliffe Richards was
as really useful
ow to argue
in highlighting how
effectively even within a
itionally
mainstream, traditionally
sophical
patriarchal, philosophical
eater
tradition. Diana Jeater
Reading Little Women
omen by
Louisa May Alcott
tt when
I was eight set mee on
ism.
the path to feminism.
Susan Sontag is
?eloquent and
precise? in Against
Interpretation and
in Styles of the
Radical Will.
Neither popular choices, I suspect,
but Breaking the Code: Westminster
1992-1997, Gyles BranDiaries 1992
dreth?s di
diary of the Major
governm
government, is informative
as well aas funny, while Piers
Morgan
Morgan?s The Insider is
the sam
same, particularly his
relationrather strained
st
ship w
with Cherie Blair.
MeltonMowbray
Mel
Th Wisdom of
The
Cr
Crowds
, by James
Surowiecki,
changed
Su
my life. Before, I used
to think
that humant
ity should be led by
its most intelligent
me
members.
After, I
rea
realised
that the IQ of
LAST WEEK?S LIST
Founding texts, as chosen by Rohan
McWilliam: The Republic, Plato; The Prince,
Machiavelli; Leviathan, Thomas Hobbes;
Two Treatises of Government, John
Locke; The Social Contract, Jean-Jacques
Rousseau; The Wealth of Nations,
Adam Smith; The Federalist Papers,
Alexander Hamilton, James Madison,
John Jay; Rights of Man, Thomas Paine;
Democracy in America, Alexis de
Tocqueville; On Liberty, John Stuart Mill
. Manifestos and tracts, Will Hutton:
Common Sense, Thomas Paine;
Re?ections on the Revolution in France, Edmund
Burke; A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, Mary
Wollstonecraft; The Communist Manifesto, Karl Marx
and Friedrich Engels; What Is To Be Done?, Vladimir
Lenin; The Beveridge Report, William Beveridge;
The Road to Serfdom, Friedrich Hayek; Animal Farm,
George Orwell; Silent Spring, Rachel Carson; Little
Red Book, Chairman Mao . Politics in ?ction, Tim
Adams: Native Son, Richard Wright; The Good Soldier
?vejk, Jaroslav Ha?ek; Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand; The
Handmaid?s Tale, Margaret Atwood; The RaggedTrousered Philanthropists, Robert Tressell; What a
Carve Up!, Jonathan Coe; Things Fall Apart, Chinua
Achebe; Middlemarch, George Eliot; Midnight?s
Children, Salman Rushdie; The Way We Live Now,
Anthony Trollope. Plays, Robert McCrum: King
Richard III, William Shakespeare ; Mother Courage and
Her Children, Bertolt Brecht; Soldiers, Rolf Hochhuth;
Top Girls, Caryl Churchill; Mountain Language, Harold
Pinter. Biographies, Steve Richards: Margaret
Thatcher, Charles Moore; Harold Wilson, Ben Pimlott;
Churchill, Roy Jenkins; Roy Jenkins, John Campbell;
Aneurin Bevan, Michael Foot; Team of Rivals, Doris
Kearns Goodwin; Lyndon Johnson, Robert Caro;
Disraeli, Robert Blake; Citizen Clem, John Bew; Jeremy
Thorpe, Michael Bloch. Diaries, Gaby Hinsli?e: The
Benn Diaries, Tony Benn; Diaries: In Power, Alan
Clark; A View from the Foothills, Chris Mullin; Diaries,
Volumes One to Six, Alastair Campbell; House
Music, Oona King. Feminist texts, Barbara Ellen:
The Second Sex, Simone de Beauvoir; The Feminine
Mystique, Betty Friedan; Sexual Politics, Kate Millett;
The Female Eunuch, Germaine Greer; Against Our
Will: Men. Women and Rape, Susan Brownmiller;
Beyond the Fragments, Sheila Rowbotham, Lynne
Segal and Hilary Wainwright; Ain?t I a Woman: Black
Women and Feminism, bell hooks; Intercourse,
Andrea Dworkin; The Beauty Myth, Naomi Wolf;
Bad Feminist, Roxane Gay. International struggle,
Nesrine Malik: Orientalism, Edward Said; Islam and
the West, Bernard Lewis; From the Ruins of Empire,
Pankaj Mishra ; The Endtimes of Human Rights,
Stephen Hopgood; Factory Girls: Voices From the
Heart of Modern China, Leslie T Chang; The Looming
Tower: Al-Qaeda?s Road to 9/11, Lawrence Wright;
Decolonising the Mind: The Politics of Language
in African Literature, Ngugi Wa Thiong?o; Fiasco:
The American Military Adventure in Iraq, Thomas E
Ricks; The Great Partition, Yasmin Khan; A Theory of
Liberation, Gustavo Guti閞rez Merino. The politics
of the here and now, Julian Coman: All Out War,
Tim Shipman; Revolt on the Right, Robert Ford and
Matthew Goodwin; Le Cr閜uscule de la France
d?en Haut, Christophe Guilluy; Hillbilly Elegy: A
Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis, JD Vance;
The Road to Somewhere, David Goodhart; Corbyn:
The Strange Rebirth of Radical Politics, Richard
Seymour; Between the World and Me, Ta-Nehisi
Coates; Adults in the Room: My Battle With Europe?s
Deep Establishment, Yanis Varoufakis; Capital in the
Twenty-First Century, Thomas Piketty; How Will
Capitalism End?, Wolfgang Streek. British Politics,
Jane Merrick: The Strange Death of Liberal England,
George Danger?eld; In Defence of Politics; Bernard
Crick, The State in Capitalist Society, Ralph Miliband;
The Politics of Thatcherism, Stuart Hall; Whitehall,
Peter Hennessy; The State We?re In, Will Hutton;
Political Recruitment: Gender, Race and Class in the
British Parliament, Pippa Norris and Joni Lovenduski;
Unjust Rewards: Exposing Greed and Inequality
in Britain Today, Polly Toynbee and David Walker;
The End of the Party, Andrew Rawnsley; After the
Coalition: A Conservative Agenda for Britain, Kwasi
Kwarteng, Priti Patel, Dominic Raab, Chris Skidmore
and Liz Truss . Black consciousness, David Olusoga:
The Fire Next Time, James Baldwin; Discourse on
Colonialism, Aim� C閟aire; The Black Atlantic, Paul
Gilroy; Roots, Alex Haley; The New Jim Crow: Mass
Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, Michelle
Alexander; The History of White People, Nell Irvin
Painter; Race Matters, Cornel West; Staying Power:
The History of Black People in Britain, Peter Fryer;
The Autobiography of Malcolm X, Alex Haley; Long
Walk to Freedom, Nelson Mandela
individuals is unimportant; the scienti?c research presented by Surowiecki
showed that randomly selected
diverse groups of people,
with the right type and range
of爄nformation made available to them, are capable of
more accurate and intelligent
prognoses and decisions than
an individual expert. AliStein
Not a biography as such but one
of the greatest books on politics
The Moro Affair by the爂reat
Sicilian novelist Leonardo Sciascia tells
how the former營talian prime minister
was kidnapped by the Red Brigades,
abandoned by his political colleagues
and then left to die. herero
To understand the inner workings of
the Thatcher court, look no further
than The Journals of Woodrow Wyatt.
Wyatt was the ?voice of reason?, the
twice-weekly phone call to Number 10
to give ?advice and reassurance? when
Margaret Thatcher needed geeing up.
What is so revealing from these often
wildly indiscreet chronicles is how
much power Rupert Murdoch wielded
behind the scenes. Kaikoura
A non-western political biography
I?d heartily recommend for reading
is From Third World To First by Lee
Kuan Yew, documenting the rise of
Singapore燼s an independent city-state
in South East Asia. Lots of prescient lessons in his book for the world.
TheWindsOfWinter93
Susan Sontag?s Against Interpretation and Styles of the Radical Will. She
refused to be categorised, yet, because
of how she brought together aesthetics,
history, politics and philosophy is, in
my view, still relevant, however people
tend to get weary of that kind of hermeneutics. Eloquent and precise, while at
it. AnAmusingAnecdote
SCUM Manifesto by Valerie Solanas.
The opening lines: ??Life? in this ?society? being, at best, an utter bore and no
aspect of ?society? being at all relevant
to women, there remains to civicminded, responsible, thrill-seeking
females only to overthrow the government, eliminate the money system,
institute complete automation and
eliminate the male sex.? d?c1999
Max Frisch, Biedermann und die
Brandstifter (aka The Fire Raisers or
The Arsonists) is the theatrical version
of the meme with the dog saying ?This
Is Fine? while the room is burning
all around it, and as good a warning
against ?normalising? extremism as
you can ?nd. d?c1999
The Master and the Margarita by
Bulgakov. Genius on stilts, with
humour thrown in. gavernism
North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell.
Unlike George Eliot, Gaskell had actually lived in the industrial north and
knew the conditions of the workers
there ? she inspired Dickens to write
Hard Times. whitehorsehill
15.10.17
*
Arts
IN FOCUS | 31
Beauty behind the wire ... how art is
blooming amid the Gaza wasteland
From ?lm
festivals to
Shakespeare,
exquisite paintings
to piano virtuosos,
the Palestinian
enclave is producing
top class culture.
In this extract from
his new book,
Donald Macintyre
meets some of the
beleaguered artists
Maha al-Daya, left,
refused to be a war
artist. Much of her
work shows
seascapes of Gaza,
below right. Below
left, a painting by
her husband,
Ayman Eissa.
A
handsome poster of James
Barry?s 18th-century painting King Lear Weeping over
the Dead Body of Cordelia
advertised a video performance by school students
in the Nuseirat refugee camp, an overcrowded and impoverished sprawl in
the middle of the Gaza Strip.
True, Cordelia?s (very modest)
decolletage had been Photoshopped to
leave an orange blur, but this was the
only concession to the socially conservative sensibilities of Hamas, at whose
education ministry?s cultural centre
the show was taking place.
It was an imaginatively produced
series of drawn and photographic
tableaux with a voiceover in faultless
English by the high-school pupils and
some arresting visual effects. The aged
king?s palace was Blenheim, while
Regan?s home was Buckingham Palace,
complete with ceremonial troop of
Grenadier Guards standing in for her
visiting father?s unwelcome entourage. There were no Arabic subtitles.
But as the show was condensed into
31 minutes ? with every plot development intact ? none of the parents who
had loyally turned out for the evening
seemed to mind.
It might seem incongruous to ?nd an
event commemorating the quatercentenary of Shakespeare?s death in an isolated enclave corralled by electronically
monitored fences, ruled by an armed
and proscribed Islamic faction, and
succinctly dismissed by Condoleezza
Rice as a ?terrorist wasteland?. But it
was part of a long history of cultural life
and heritage, easily overlooked amid a
decade-long economic siege and three
devastating wars.
In his introduction to the Book of
Gaza, a collection of short stories,
novelist Atef Abu Saif writes that Gaza
has been a ?centre of civilisation?
since Canaanite times. He points out
that Imam al-Sha??i, the great eighthcentury Islamic jurist, was also a poet,
and that in the latter part of the 20th
century Gaza writers turned increasingly to novellas and short stories to get
around Israeli printing and publishing
restrictions. Short stories are now a
staple of the Strip?s literature.
The artist Maha al-Daya and her
husband Ayman Eissa, also a painter,
lived, when I ?rst met them in 2009,
in a prematurely ageing apartment
block overlooking a desolate stretch
of wasteland on the edge of Jabalya.
The climb up the grimy stairs to their
fourth-?oor apartment wound around
a lift shaft with no lift. It was a shock
to ?nd elegant decor and furnishings
inside. The walls were covered with
their paintings: a haunting portrait of
a naked child by Ayman; Maha?s own
vibrant land and seascapes that chronicle an ever-changing city and its coast.
The table on which she served coffee
was covered with a red and black cloth
she had hand-stitched in the pattern of
a chess board.
Maha refused to be a war artist.
During Operation Cast Lead in 2008-09,
Sara had exceptional
talent but had to wait
seven years for a
piano because of the
blockade. She had to
play on a toy keyboard
she saw the white phosphorus used in
the bombing of nearby Atatra: a ?ball
of ?re, like an octopus?. But though
this powerful image testi?ed to her
painter?s eye, she did not commit it to
canvas. ?I couldn?t draw anything,? she
explained. ?I was living in a depression
during and after the war.? When she
?nally picked up a brush again, two
months after that war, her ?rst painting
was of recovery, the repair of one of her
characteristic ?shing boats on the Gaza
City beach.
Seven years later the couple had
started to enjoy success, even though,
thanks to the economy, the local art
market was next to zero and decent
paints were still hard to come by. Both
had exhibited abroad; and they had
moved to an elegant ?rst-?oor apartment with a small conservatory which
was a riot of ?owers, house plants,
fruit, cacti: material for 100 still lifes.
There had been another war, during
which Maha had once again felt unable
to pick up a brush. She continued to
paint Gaza landscapes and meticulously executed abstracts built around
complex symmetrical patterns, which
characterise some Islamic art. Ayman?s
works were of people, although as
Maha was quick to point out, laughing:
?Ayman doesn?t just paint people, he
paints women.? His subjects are often
voluptuous but all in a highly distinctive style, usually clothed but some
nude, which he can hardly exhibit
without a backlash from Gaza?s social
conservatives. When he showed one
of his female portraits in 2002, it was
vandalised by an irate religious sheikh.
Cinema is also ?nally on the rise in
Gaza. The ?rst two Gaza ?lm festivals needed careful negotiations with
the reluctant Hamas authorities. The
screening?s organiser was obliged to
sign a ministry of interior document
prohibiting the ?intermingling? of
women and men in the audience. In
the 2016 premiere of a ?lm that could
hardly have been closer to its audience?s
hearts, this was rigorously enacted by
keeping the lights on in the auditorium. The Idol, the story of Mohammed
Assaf?s success in Arab Idol, the Middle
East?s equivalent of Pop Idol, had drawn
a capacity crowd in 2013 to the Shawa
Centre?s auditorium. Assaf, a young
man from Gaza?s Khan Younis refugee camp, with charm, an impressive
voice, a wonderfully Gazan backstory
and massive determination, had been
propelled to international fame by his
use clapped
win. A packed house
and cheered the key
ey moments
in Hany Abu-Assad?s
ad?s glossy
he Hamas
feelgood biopic: the
emigration officer at the
Rafah crossing who,
ho,
when Assaf arrivess
with fake papers,
o
lets him through to
ng
Egypt after hearing
him sing; Assaf
scaling a high
wall to get into
the hotel where
?rst-round audiMohammed Assaf won
the TV talent show
nd is
Arab Idol in 2013, and
now the subject of
a feelgood biopic.
tions were being held when he arrived
without the right ID; a fellow Gazan
competitor, who recognises Assaf?s
star potential, giving up his place in the
queue.
Before the gala showing, a 16-yearold pianist from the Edward Said
Conservatory, played for the audience. The story of Sara Akel, one of
the Strip?s greatest cultural assets, is
typical of Gaza ? exceptional talent
overcoming obstacles that few of her
peer group elsewhere could imagine. She had to wait seven years for a
second-hand piano at home because
of the shortage of the instruments in
Gaza during the blockade. She ?rst
played on a toy keyboard, then mostly
practised on a Yamaha ?virtual piano?.
Before taking part in her ?rst national
Palestinian competition, she had to
learn to use pedals at the conservatory.
Moreover, she could only participate
by video because she and her fellow
competitors from Gaza had not been
allowed out to the West Bank ? an all
too familiar enforcement of Israel?s
determined separati
separation of Gaza from
the West Bank. The year before, Sara
had obtained a perm
permit to leave through
Israel for an ?awes
?awesome? two-week
ensemble training course in the UK,
which included a m
masterclass at the
Royal Academy of Music. That was
difficult enough, but, as it turned
tha getting out of
out, easier than
Gaza to play in the West
Bank. ?We
didn?t get per?
mits. And
A this thing just
keeps on happening,? she
m
told me.
T reason that the
The
enterprising
Nuseirat
ent
hig school students
high
had chosen Lear for
the commemoratheir
v
tive video
last year was
w a set text for
that it was
the all-important Palestinian tawjihi
or matriculation exam. A week or so
before the screening, I sat in on Leyla
Abdul Rahim?s English class at the
Bashir Al Rayyes high school for girls
in Gaza City. The 30 students were
enjoying themselves. Hands shot up
and there were repeated cries of ?Miss,
Miss? whenever Mrs Abdul Rahim
tested her 17- and 18-year-old charges.
?Goneril is now in love with Edmund.
He?s evil. He?s like her exactly. Do you
think Goneril respects her husband??
(Chorus of ?no?.) When she ended the
lesson, the girls spontaneously burst
into applause. After the class, Khulud
al-Masharawi said in English that she
liked the play because ?Lear began to
feel sorry for people other than himself. He thought about people who had
no home, or are on their own.?
I had been taken to Mrs Abdul
Rahim?s class by one of her Englishteaching colleagues, Jehan al-Okka.
Last year, Mrs al-Okka was thrilled
to be awarded a place on a US
government-backed international
six-week excellence and achievement
programme for teachers at Bowling
Green University, Ohio followed by
a trip to Washington DC. Among the
programme?s aims was the building
of ?lasting relationships that promote
mutual understanding and collaboration between the United States and
international teachers and students?.
But in a crushing disappointment all
too familiar to Palestinians imprisoned
in Gaza, Mrs al-Okka was refused by
both Israel and Jordan the permits
necessary for her to be able to leave.
Staying true to its heritage as a four
millennia-old civilisation in the face
of wars and blockade is a task Gaza
has to ful?l without external help. The
honouring of Shakespeare in his quatercentenary was without any encouragement from the anglophone world.
Before the high school students? video
performance at Nuseirat began, I asked
the education ministry?s local head of
English whether the British Council
had been involved in the event, as it
would have been elsewhere. No, he said
sadly. The ministry?s contact with the
British Council had stopped in 2006,
when Hamas was elected. The 11-year
international political and economic
boycott ? one that has in?icted protracted suffering on Gaza?s two million
inhabitants without dislodging their
rulers, and is increasingly recognised by
western diplomats as
a failure ? is a cultural
boycott, too.
Donald Macintyre?s
Gaza: Preparing
for Dawn is published
by Oneworld on
26 October
*
32 | THE OBSERVER PROFILE
15.10.17
Philip Hammond
Defeatist Eeyore
or the measured
voice of reason?
Once regarded as a safe pair of hands, his
commitment to a soft Brexit has unleashed
a furious reaction, with opponents calling
him a ?saboteur?. Anne McElvoy weighs
the chancellor?s chances of survival
O
f all the characters at the
government?s ?ssiparous
top these days, the chancellor, Philip Hammond,
looks the least likely to
end up at the heart of
temper-fraying spats. Box Office Phil
was a nickname that came with a
bucketload of irony. Nowadays, Hammond has found himself in the middle
of a series of toxic dramas de?ning the
government.
Accused of something ?close to sabotage? by Nigel Lawson, the pro-Brexit
former Tory chancellor, and earning
a front page in the Daily Mail and a
leader slamming him as a ?dismal,
defeatist, relentlessly negative? Eeyore,
the chancellor in?icted an own goal by
calling EU negotiators ?the enemy?.
(He has since apologised for the ?poor
choice of words?.)
The chancellor is walking on
eggshells. Few at Westminster think
his grip on the job is secure. If the
disaster-prone Tory conference turned
into demands on Theresa May to
?sack Boris? to restore con?dence in
her leadership, calls to reshuffle the
top tier of her cabinet now focus on
Hammond.
It?s a curious situation for a technocrat, who earned the job on the
grounds that he had the business
experience to read a balance sheet (an
earlier reputation for number-crunching drew the lugubrious moniker
Spreadsheet Phil). But anyone waiting
for Hammond to step on the next
banana skin out of the Treasury should
be careful what they wish for.
Despite recent ?urries, Hammond is
one of the few remaining step-by-step
technocrats in a government where
Brexit is delivered either by True
Believers, who view success simply
as the moment of departure, and sore
Remainers, without much hope of
the elusive second referendum or any
other exit from Brexit. ?Hammond is
the prime punchbag, soaking it all up,?
observes a prominent Remain colleague in cabinet. ?If he goes, the battles will spread and draw in everyone
else. He?s doing TM a favour by putting
up with it all, not the other way round.?
May has known Hammond since
they turned up at Oxford in 1974, both
from state schools, his in Essex. May
made her way steadily through local
politics into parliament, courting little
controversy along the way. Hammond,
exhilarated by the entrepreneurial
culture of the Thatcher years, excelled
at PPE (gaining a ?rst) and set out on
a business career. He bought and sold
Ford cars as a starter job, worked for a
medical supplies-based conglomerate
called Speywood, bought a subsidiary
when it ran into trouble and spent an
unglamorous time working from his
parents? home in Billericay.
If that sounds a bit Del Boy, it
certainly was ? the companies did
not thrive and a succession of slightly
random entrepreneurial ideas ?aked.
But the experience gave him ?uency
with accounts and the risks of business,
which relatively few senior politicians
have. His dream of ?nancial success
?nally paid off when he became a
property developer, with other prop-
erty investments attached. Alongside
Jeremy Hunt (a possible replacement
if May loses patience with Hammond),
he is one of the wealthiest individuals
in cabinet, though not given to ?aunting his wealth. His wife, Susan, organises social events for political spouses
and their three children have been kept
?rmly out of the limelight.
The May-Hammond alliance is
based on interdependence rather than
warmth. In the Cameron era, he made
clear he would support her, rather than
an overt moderniser, as the next leader.
She in turn delivered him the role he
had always coveted ? to Number 11
after the departure of George Osborne,
and after his ?safe hands? stints at the
Foreign Office, Defence and Transport.
But relations soon soured. In
essence, the PM desired someone to
replicate her own position ? noncommittal on the ?nal form of Brexit. The
replicant rebelled. In a series of private
meetings three months after he took
the job, his aversion to her tilt towards
a harder Brexit strategy became clear.
She responded by giving him tepid support when under ?re from Leavers.
Her subsequent refusal to say
?He has made up his
mind on how we
do Brexit and that
annoys everyone else
who is on the fence?
whether she would keep him as
chancellor during the election infuriated him. Rumoured to have texted
Boris Johnson in the hours after
the disappointing election result to
offer support if Johnson ran for PM,
Hammond had effectively cut his ties
with his oldest political ally with some
ruthlessness. When the story emerged
in Tim Shipman?s book on the Brexit
wars, he barely bothered to disclaim
it. The underlying cause of rancour is
Hammond?s adherence to a soft Brexit,
remaining as closely tied to the EU
single market as possible and a gradual
transition, lasting up to four years.
Control of the purse strings, in the
run-up to the budget next month, is
his most powerful card. It is also the
role that most impresses other ?nance
ministers in Europe, who may berate
Britain for leaving, but are concerned
about a looming gap in strapped EU
budgets after departure.
May has tried to avoid collisions by
fudging the hard/soft Brexit divide,
telling MPs anxious for funds to be
committed to facilitate a ?no deal
option? that ?if money needs to be
spent it will be spent? . Hammond,
however, has told Number 10 that any
sense of a move towards hard Brexit
as a likely outcome would endanger
Britain?s ?nancial services.
Hammond?s style is privately wry
(he?s a better ?date? for incisive political gossip then his ascetic appearance
suggests). But an aloof manner at the
cabinet table can irk colleagues. The
lofty remark that earmarking expenditure was ?potentially nugatory? infuriated pro Brexiter colleagues, with its
strong hint that he does not take a nodeal option seriously. Senior Treasury
people are made ?very aware that it
is the outcome he wishes to avoid?,
con?des one of their number.
I
nstead, Hammond is adamant that
he needs to focus on a transition
deal, to be agreed by the ?rst quarter of 2018. For all the pratfalls, he
still believes that this is the most
likely option and that building up
a war chest for a no-deal outcome is a
waste of political and ?nancial capital.
There is principle in the muddle.
He truly believes that endangering the future of Britain?s ?nancial
services is the outcome of Brexit to
be most urgently avoided. That has
put him on a collision course with the
Brexit secretary, David Davis, who
thinks the argument is oversold and
may also have an eye on the chancellor?s seat.
As low as shares in the Hammond
brand have fallen these days, he is taking punishment on his stance that other
Remainers prefer to duck. According to
one of a handful of senior allies: ?The
problem Hammond presents is that
he has made up his mind on how we
should do Brexit and that annoys everyone else who is on the fence.?
Hard Brexit, to his mind, is a code for
THE HAMMOND FILE
Born Philip Anthony Hammond, 4
December 1955, in Epping, Essex. Studied
PPE at Oxford. Married with two daughters
and a son.
Best of times Has acquired plenty of high
o?ce experience in a short amount of
time - serving as secretary of state for
defence and foreign and commonwealth
a?airs before becoming chancellor.
Worst of times It?s possible that it could
also be described as a great challenge and
honour, but trying to chart a path through
the cabinet?s warring factions on Brexit
cannot be much fun.
What he says ?Britain is one of the
world?s most open economies. More
dependent on trade than any other major
country. Our success depends on our
competitiveness and our competitiveness
depends on raising our productivity, as our
competitors are raising theirs.?
What they say ?He looked like Johnny
Depp back in his pomp and used to arrive
in class in a leather trench coat with the
Guardian under his arm.?
Richard Madeley, who was at school with
Hammond.
chaos. That has become a powerful wedge issue in cabinet, with
Boris Johnson, now ensconced
in Hammond?s old Foreign Office
role, leading the counter-charge.
The two could not be more different
in style. Hammond dealt diligently
with budget reorganisation at the
MoD and enjoyed grating away
on British input into the Iran deal,
as well as the legal and ethical knots
of how far to push for the return of
Guant醤amo detainees. His response
to difficult issues tends to be to make
the language as boring as possible. But
a gathering tide of discontent after
the poor summer election result has
undermined such practised managerialism.
If the ?enemy? line was a blooper ?
?for a safe pair of hands, he does tend
to drop things quite a lot,? groans a
cabinet colleague ? it springs from a
desire to show more hardline colleagues that he does see negotiations as
a real tussle and that being in favour of
soft Brexit is not the same as caving in
to Brussels.
Last week, May was being urged
by some senior backbenchers to sack
Johnson and Hammond and promote
Michael Fallon, her most loyal cabinet
supporter, and the health secretary,
Jeremy Hunt, to the posts. In the short
term, Hammond will probably hang
on to the Treasury red box. A dismissal
in the immediate run-up to a budget
would be another dent to economic
con?dence in battered Blighty plc ? and
unleash another bout of warfare May
would be unlikely to survive.
The looming irony of his dramatic
time in office is that Hammond has
achievements under his belt. He persuaded May to relax spending targets
fast, giving him more room for manoeuvre on balancing spending outside
London. Inward investment is healthy
and an elusive transitional EU deal is
still within his grasp. In ordinary times,
that would look like a modestly good
record for the Number 11 incumbent.
Instead, Box Office Phil has inherited a
horror show.
Anne McElvoy is senior editor at the
Economist
15.10.17
| 33
*
Comment
CATHERINE
BENNETT
It?s time we stopped
being so polite. Let?s
start stomping Page 37
After Weinstein, let?s stop asking women
to answer for their sex predator?s crimes
Why didn?t they respond di?erently has been a regular response to victims? stories. As if that changes things
subsequently dropped by the platform. (Price has
been put on leave by Amazon Studios amidst the
allegations, with new claims also emerging that
he himself sexually harassed the producer of one
of its best-known shows).
Laura
Bates
@EverydaySexism
?Why didn?t she fight back??
Lucia Stoller, now Lucia Evans, has accused
Weinstein of forcing her to perform oral sex on
him in a hotel room at a meeting about ?lm scripts
in 2004. She says she tried to get away, telling him
over and over ?I don?t want to do this, stop, don?t.?
She told the New Yorker she was unsuccessful
because: ?I didn?t want to kick him or ?ght him?
he?s a big guy. He overpowered me.? The failure of
her attempt left her blaming herself for what had
happened. ?I just sort of gave up. That?s the most
horrible part of it, and that?s why he?s been able to
do this for so long to so many women: people give
up, and then they feel like it?s their fault.?
I
n cases of workplace sexual harassment, we
are ready to blame almost anybody except the
perpetrator. Why didn?t others in the industry
blow the whistle? Why didn?t somebody stand
up to him? And most of all, the common narrative
goes, why didn?t the women do something?
In the wake of a series of allegations of sexual
harassment, assault and rape against ?lm executive Harvey Weinstein, all the usual questions
have been directed at his victims. Commentators
have questioned their stories, their motives, their
timing, their responses, their actions, their inaction, their silence and even their clothing.
This is exactly why most women don?t report
workplace sexual harassment. The result is a barrage of buts, carefully designed to pin the blame
on the victim herself. No such corresponding
interrogation exists for perpetrators.
We do not ask why, or how, or with what possible motive men sexually harass and assault
women. We focus on their victims, as if the abuse
befell them by chance rather than by design, and
could have been avoided with just a little more
effort on their part. ?But why didn?t you do this,
or that, or the other, which might have prevented
or resolved the situation?? women are repeatedly
asked. The man at the centre of it all slips out of
the frame altogether.
But even if women were to react in the various
ways these unhelpful interrogators suggest, even
if they followed the retrospective advice to the
letter, the problem would remain unsolved. The
issue is not one of imperfect victims, but of power
imbalance and deeply ingrained misogyny.
As if to prove this point, Harvey Weinstein?s
accusers have described a broad array of different responses to similar alleged experiences of
being pressured into sexual acts, cornered in
hotel rooms or subjected to unwanted advances.
Together they prove conclusively, once and for all
that it is ridiculous to suggest the ?right? victim
response could somehow magically solve this
problem.
?Why didn?t she speak out??
The actress Sophie Dix told the Guardian she did
speak out, and loudly. She says: ?I was very, very
vocal about it at the time. I didn?t want to own it. I
wanted people to take it away from me. But I was
met with a wall of silence ? people in the industry
?Why didn?t she just submit??
The Italian actress Asia Argento says she eventually submitted to Weinstein?s sexual advances in
a desperate attempt to end the non-consensual
encounter. Though she says she initially repeatedly
told him to stop, she explained that the incident
became a ?horrible trauma? because she later
berated herself that ?if I were a strong woman, I
would have kicked him in the balls and run away.
But I didn?t. And so I felt responsible.?
?Why didn?t she get mad??
The many faces of Harvey Weinstein, accused of a series of assaults. Composite image by Sam Morris/Getty
For every person who
asks: ?Why didn?t she??
there is a woman who
can answer: ?I did?
didn?t want to know about it, they didn?t want to
hear.? She believes her nascent ?lm career was
ruined as a result.
?Why didn?t she say no??
Rosanna Arquette did just that. She has described
Weinstein trying to force her into touching his
erect penis when she went to his room to collect a
?lm script. When she told him ?I?ll never do that?,
she says he warned her she was making a huge
mistake, claiming he had advanced the careers of
other women who had given in to his advances.
She told the New Yorker she feels her ?lm career
suffered deeply as a result.
?Why didn?t she deflect the situation??
Cara Delevingne says she did so when Weinstein
tried to make her kiss another woman, starting
to sing instead in a desperate attempt to turn the
incident into an audition. She got the role and
was deeply disturbed by the idea that Weinstein?s
advances were the reason why, terri?ed to tell
anyone in case they blamed her and consumed by
guilt that she had ?done something wrong?.
?Why didn?t she stay away from him??
Angelina Jolie did, saying she chose never to
work with Weinstein again after a bad experience
in her youth, a move that probably harmed her
career and may have taken her out of the running
for a great number of potential roles.
When Rose McGowan vented her rage about
Hollywood abuse and male complicity on Twitter
after the recent allegations came to light, and she
found herself temporarily suspended from the
platform for violating its rules. While it wasn?t
immediately clear what had caused the suspension, Twitter later claimed she had tweeted a
private phone number.
?Why didn?t she go to the police??
The Filipina-Italian model Ambra Battilana
Gutierrez immediately attended a police station
to report assault when Harvey Weinstein grabbed
her breasts and tried to put his hand up her skirt
at a meeting in 2015. A resulting NYPD undercover operation obtained an audio recording of
Weinstein admitting to the assault, and pressuring
her to join him in his hotel room while he showered. Yet Gutierrez was subsequently smeared in
the press, and the Manhattan district attorney?s
office failed to ?le charges.
?Why didn?t she report him??
Rose McGowan has described how she told
Roy Price, the head of Amazon?s video content
service, that Weinstein had raped her. She says
his response was to ignore her complaints, telling her there was no proof, and her show was
For every person who asks: ?Why didn?t
she??, there is a woman who can answer: ?I did.?
Criticising victim?s responses will never solve this
problem. It is time to stop asking: ?Why didn?t
she?? and start asking: ?Why didn?t we??
We should wake up to the link between abuse and ?lm content
Kate
Hardie
@KateHardie2
2
M
any creative men have come
out since the Weinstein allegations, making it clear that
they do not agree with sexual
abuse. I wasn?t aware there was any
doubt that sexual abuse was a bad thing,
but it?s good to have it clari?ed. (Forgive
the sarcasm. It?s been a long week.)
But so far, very few have been brave
enough to start a conversation about
the subtler, yet no less urgent, subject
of the content of their own work, to
examine their own record regarding
the treatment and the representation of
women. The focus is quite rightly on the
horrendous sexual abuse that Weinstein
is alleged to have committed. But to
focus on that alone is to miss the point
that the portrayal of women ? of their
lives, their feelings, their sexuality and
their bodies ? is nearly always decided
upon and ?ltered through male eyes.
Nearly every actress will tell you about
scripts that included scenes of female
nudity that seem to have no apparent
reason for being there and that are often
degrading.
You only have to turn on most police
dramas to ?nd the obligatory image
of a battered, naked ? but beautiful ?
young female corpse. (Apart from the
ones written by Sally Wainwright: will
someone please put Sally Wainwright in
charge of everything for a while?) You
don?t have to be talking about consent
and abuse to be morti?ed by many
female roles.
I worked on a job last year and before
the read-through I spoke to two young
actresses involved: both on their ?rst
TV jobs, both playing roles that required
them to be naked, both confused as to
why the scenes were there, both not
wanting to do them. But they were also
too scared of the all-male creative team,
a set of hugely powerful, award-winning
men, to say anything.�
I am 49, so I do not get asked to
be naked any more. (That is another
thing the male-dominated industry is
not keen on ? women over 40 having any kind of satisfactory sex life or,
indeed, bodies.) But when I was 17, I
had become so used to being required
to appear naked that I asked for a
no-nudity clause to be written into a
contract. I was ?red by the male director because, despite there being no
nudity in his script, he felt the clause
curbed his creativity should he, on a
whim, decide he needed me to remove
my clothes. (This director, ?ttingly was
given his break by Weinstein.)
I knew the nudity these actresses
were being asked to do was not integral
to the story and so did nearly every
other woman, and a few of the men, on
that production. I tried suggesting to
the actresses they could say no ? but of
course I understood why they felt afraid
to. We proceeded to read the scripts;
the room was full of women ? a casting
director and assistant director included.
A male producer was reading out the
stage directions, his voice hardly faltering in tone as he read out: ?He rips open
her shirt and we see her tits.?
W
hen we ?nished, it was
announced that anyone
who wasn?t an executive producer, producer,
writer, director or the director of
photography had to leave so that those
left behind could make important decisions. I watched as the room emptied of
women. I wondered to myself whether
any of the men would have noticed just
how incongruous the nude scenes were.
Or would have ?inched as much as I had
on hearing them read aloud and would
have felt as saddened and slightly scared
by the use of the dismissive and slightly
aggressive word ?tits?. Whether any of
them understood the experience they
were about to put the actresses through;
whether any of them thought about how
hugely difficult it was for the women to
question their choices without fearing
we might lose our jobs.
I wonder whether the powerful creative men making it so clear that they
know that Harvey Weinstein is a sexual
predator ? and that sexual predators are
wrong ? will also take time to truly look
at all the other ways, overt and subtle, in
which their male power dominates our
industry.
Kate Hardie is an actress, writer and
director
34 | COMMENT
*
15.10.17
Established in 1791
Issue No 11,786
Kings Place, 90 York Way, London N1 9GU. Telephone: 020 3353 2000 Fax: 020 3353 3189
email: editor@observer.co.uk
EUROPE
Theresa May must silence the deluded
?no Brexit deal? zealots in her party
T
he grim declaration last week by
Michel Barnier, the EU?s chief negotiator, that the Brexit negotiations are
at an impasse has sparked renewed
talk in government and parliamentary circles
about the feasibility of Britain crashing out of
the EU in March 2019 without any deal on its
future relationship. This frightful prospect
should be sti?ed once and for all. It encourages the dangerous illusion that the UK can
somehow unilaterally sever its EU ties without paying an intolerably high price, and not
only ?nancially. And it is wholly irresponsible
in plain political terms. Neither in the 2016
referendum nor in last June?s election did
voters give Theresa May a mandate to sacri?ce Britain?s economic security on the altar of
Conservative party unity.
Why are we even talking again about a ?nodeal? outcome? Having repeatedly spouted
her ?no deal is better than a bad deal? mantra,
May eventually dropped it because it was so
self-evidently untrue. Since Brexit became
their party?s official policy, the Tories have
followed a painful learning curve about what it
actually entails. A deluded rump of hard Tory
Brexiters remains in stubborn denial. They
inhabit a lost world where Britain still rules
the waves, Johnny Foreigner bends the knee,
the Daily Mail and Rudyard Kipling articulate
the nation?s superior values and hard times,
especially when experienced by the lower
orders, are character-forming.
At least these relics are consistent in their
wrong-headedness. In contrast, a majority
of Tory MPs voted Remain, then swallowed
their objections for the sake of party unity and
continued power. They knew ditching the EU
was a bad idea and now, after slowly coming to
understand the consequences, they know their
?rst instinct was right. What aspect of this
accelerating disaster need we call in evidence?
The ongoing loss in value of the pound in your
pocket is one sobering measure. The rise in
in?ation, consequent on higher import costs,
is another. Or look at the damaging slump
in productivity and GDP growth relative to
nearly all 27 EU members and resulting wage
stagnation and falling living standards.
These damaging effects of the downward
spiral into Brexit will only intensify should a
?no-deal? exit occur. The immediate imposition, for example, of EU tariffs on British
exports, ranging from 4% to 40%, would be
massively disruptive. Among the hardest hit
would be the car industry, the UK?s fastestgrowing exporter of manufactured goods,
according to a study by the Centre for European Reform. Sir Martin Donnelly, former permanent secretary at the Department for International Trade, was clear in a BBC interview
that Britain?s services exports, dependent on
European markets, will suffer disproportionately should ?no deal? occur. Business leaders
and City analysts are already predicting a jobs
and investment exodus, starting in January, if
there is no agreement by then on a transition
period. Imagine the panic if a ?no-deal? outcome is still being ?oated in the out-of-touch
Westminster bubble come next spring.
?No deal? means the trashing of European
and British citizens? rights, plus potential
mayhem at Britain?s borders, ports and airports ? and not only on the faultline between
Northern Ireland and the Republic. ?No
deal? is the trigger for the mayhem, perhaps
temporary, perhaps not, that would ensue
once it was realised that many UK products
were no longer accredited for sale across the
EU, British-based airlines could no longer ?y
European routes, EU doctors and nurses in the
NHS had lost their legal status and common
regulatory standards covering basic banking,
?nancial services and medicines had lapsed.
It is a nightmare scenario ? and totally
avoidable. So let us dismiss this foolish talk
about ?no deal? and recognise instead the
real, shabby reason why the notion bubbled
up again last week. The reason is the embarrassing, breathtaking incompetence of May
and her ministers, who cannot agree basic
negotiating positions from one day to the next,
fall out in public, pursue personal vendettas
through the newspapers (the latest targeting
the ?saboteur? chancellor, Philip Hammond)
and refuse to publish damning internal reports
on Brexit?s negative impact on key industries.
For all David Davis?s bluster, he has made
almost zero progress in Brussels. Yet in a vain
attempt to hide their divisions, doubts and
indecision, ministers blame their European
counterparts and suggest throwing in the
towel. Hammond?s description of the EU as
the ?enemy? shows how desperate even more
sensible ministers are becoming.
A
more accurate picture of the state
of the negotiations looks like this:
Barnier is a sincere if dour interlocutor who is increasingly frustrated
with British dithering. His hands are, for the
large part, tied by the tight stage one parameters set by the council of ministers (the 27
national governments). Even if he wanted to
move beyond the three initial issues of money,
citizens? rights and Northern Ireland, he
has no mandate to do so. When Barnier says
insufficient progress has been made, he is
largely correct. Britain could have settled the
questions of citizens? rights at the outset, but
May chose, foolishly, to use it as a negotiating
lever. This has back?red. Nobody seems to
have a clue what to do about the Irish border.
And as for the divorce bill, the reality is that
the government knows it will have to pay a
substantial sum eventually, maybe �bn over,
say, three transitional years. So why not give
the required cash assurances now (with the
usual caveats about unforeseen factors) and
move on?
The mortifying answer is that May is scared
about how Boris Johnson, the Daily Mail and
the hard Brexiters might react.
The EU?s approach to the negotiations has
been far from perfect. There are divisions
there, too, including elements in Paris and in
Brussels, around the commission?s unhelpful
president, Jean-Claude Juncker, which want
Brexit to be painful and expensive. It is clear
that, as ever, EU decision-making is ponderous and unwieldy. Getting all 27 governments
to agree that talks on future trade relations can
begin, as Britain had hoped would happen this
month, is a big task, hampered by the usual
inertia and absence of consensus.
But make no bones about it: the fault for the
current stalemate lies mostly on this side of
the Channel. When, for example, will the hard
Tory Brexiters get it through their heads that
Angela Merkel?s weakened German government is not suddenly going to cave in to British
demands because its car manufacturers fear
a short-term loss of sales? They have grossly
overestimated British leverage. When will
they drop their insulting, puerile cliches about
the British lion and the Spit?re nation? Most
of all, they must stop telling the public you can
jump off a cliff and not get hurt. People are not
daft, even if our leaders are. ?No deal? is not an
option. May and her ministers must accept the
consequences of their pro-Brexit actions, stop
squabbling and ?nd a way to make the negotiations work.
WEINSTEIN
Let?s not pretend that the sexual harassment and abuse
of young women is a problem particular to Hollywood
I
t would be all too easy to see Harvey
Weinstein?s spectacular and overdue fall
from grace as a uniquely Hollywood tale. The
accounts of alleged sexual harassment and
assault at the hands of the producer are growing in
number every day. They paint an alarming picture
of the global ?lm industry: power concentrated in
the hands of a small group of men, some of whom
were all too willing to abuse their capacity to make
or break the careers and reputations of vulnerable young women competing for a tiny number
of roles.
Weinstein?s behaviour has been described as
an ?open secret? in Hollywood. By all accounts,
he created an intensely toxic culture for women
working in his industry. It affected not just those
who tried to speak out about what they experienced, and subsequently saw their careers
curtailed, but also provoked rumours about those
who achieved success in the ?lms he produced.
?Congratulations,? joked the comedian Seth
MacFarlane at the 2013 Oscar nominations
announcement for the best supporting actress
category, ?you ?ve ladies no longer have to pretend to be attracted to Harvey Weinstein.?
But the huge traction this story has achieved in
the past week is not just a product of our obsession with the glitz and glamour of Hollywood. On
the contrary: it is because the dynamics between
powerful men on the one hand and vulnerable
women and children on the other are far from a
Hollywood idiosyncrasy. Most women will have
either experienced sexual harassment in the
workplace or domestic violence at home or know
someone who has. In one Trades Union Congress
survey in 2016, more than half of women said
they had experienced sexual harassment at work.
For these women, the accounts of those bravely
coming forward to identify Weinstein are not
tales from some exotic, unimaginable world ?
they chime with far too many women?s everyday
experience.
Yes, there are unique aspects to this particular
story. But the power imbalance at its heart has
been recreated countless times across geography
and history: from the BBC to the Catholic church
to the towns and cities where the authorities
looked the other way when gangs of men abused
young girls, many in the care of the state.
The differences between these cases cannot
be allowed to obscure what they have in common. The accounts of Weinstein?s victims bear
hallmarks that repeat themselves over and over
again in cases of sexual assault, rape and domestic
violence. Women and children being made to feel
complicit by their abuser. The entirely rational
fear of not being believed. The humiliation of coming forwards with an account of what happened.
The knowledge that reporting an abuser ? given
the power he wields not just over the victim but
those around them ? may only make things worse.
T
he allegations against Weinstein are so
seismic it is difficult to imagine how they
could fail to alter permanently Hollywood?s endemic culture of misogyny. But
complacency would be foolish and misplaced. One
note of caution is that the narcissistic men who
perpetrate this sort of behaviour are quite likely to
carry on thinking they are beyond reach. It is no
coincidence that women have felt able to go on the
record in greater numbers now Weinstein?s grip
on Hollywood is starting to loosen.
And we must face head on the reality that
Hollywood is a product of wider society. It?s not
just the prevalence of sexual harassment at work.
The charity SafeLives reveals that almost one in
10 women has suffered domestic violence. And
evidence suggests that patterns of gendered violence are setting in earlier and earlier. Reporting
of incidents of children sexually assaulting other
children has increased by more than 70% in the
last four years. A recent survey for Girlguiding
UK suggests 64% of girls aged 13-21 have experienced sexual harassment at school, up from 59%
in 2014. The accounts of girls who have reported
it show just how young they are when they ?rst
learn that speaking out is often futile. And yet the
government has only just reluctantly made sex
and relationships education compulsory in all
schools. There remains a dearth of training for
teachers and schools on how to prevent and deal
with sexual assault in the playground. These are
the signs of a society that is far off understanding
how to prevent gendered assault and violence.
The uncomfortable truth is that Weinstein?s
behaviour sits at the extreme end of a spectrum
that starts with low-level verbal abuse on the
street and inappropriately sexual office ?banter?.
Fail to challenge the catcalls and the lewd
jokes and we enable a chain of behaviours that
somewhere, at some point, leads to a Harvey
Weinstein.
Hollywood isn?t a world apart ? it holds up
a mirror to who we are. ?This has been part of
women?s worlds since time immemorial,? Emma
Thompson told Newsnight last Thursday. She?s
right. Condemning Weinstein now he?s been
outed as a sexual predator is the easy bit. The
much more difficult question is what are we going
to do about it?
15.10.17
COMMENT | 35
*
RIDDELL?S VIEW
This dangerous deadlock is a
delight to the Brextremists
Cabinet ministers who still hope for the best are now tight in the larynx when they try to sound optimistic
Andrew
ew
nsley
Rawnsley
@andrewrawnsley
wnsley
T
he British are great most of all in their
pragmatism ? or so much of the world
once thought. The European Union?s
supreme talent is for compromise ? or so
it was widely assumed. Both sides have much to
lose from a ruinous version of Brexit and for that
reason it will be avoided. This logic was the basis
for believing that it could be managed in a way that
contained the damage to trade, jobs and investment
from extracting one of its largest members from the
world?s most prosperous bloc.
The EU27 will suffer from a traumatically
severe Brexit. For Britain, the consequences of
departing without a deal would be several times
more calamitous. The chief executive of one of our
biggest ports recently told a private dinner that if
the government was serious about planning for a
?no deal? scenario and a hard trade border it would
have to invest in 20 square kilometres of lorry
parking at each major port. Rational minds must
thus prevail. Some sort of bargain has to be struck.
It will be just about OK in the end. This is the case
I have often heard from the pragmatic majority in
the cabinet when they have sought to persuade me
that it will be sort of all right on the night.
That hope has not evaporated, but it is becoming
increasingly less comfortable to be any sort of optimist about Brexit. The outlook is darkening. The
sand is running through the hourglass. I hear more
and more businesses say that they are contingency
planning for a bad Brexit. Those ministers who
still hope for the best now sound tight in the larynx
when they try to voice reasons to remain cheerful.
It is more than six months since Theresa May
dispatched her divorce letter. There have been
?ve rounds of jaw-jaw in Brussels. The bargaining
has still not advanced beyond square one. Michel
Barnier, the EU?s main negotiator, describes a ?very
disturbing? deadlock. Philip Hammond publicly
expresses fears of ?a bad-tempered breakdown?,
an outcome the chancellor then makes more likely
when he clumsily characterises the EU as ?the
enemy?, an insult not much softened by his subsequent retraction. Mrs May once thought she would
be travelling to this week?s Brussels summit to
come away with an agreement that the talks could
progress from the terms of the divorce settlement
to negotiations about Britain?s future relationship
with the EU27. This is not going to happen. Most
diplomats on both sides think that the best she
might get from the EU27 is some sort of agreement
that they will start talking among themselves about
what kind of transition arrangement they might be
prepared to accept. December has become the new
target month for concluding the ?rst phase of the
negotiations. This slippage prolongs the uncertainty for companies about the prospects for doing
business in a post-Brexit Britain and encourages
more employers to prepare for an ugly outcome.
More boards will decide to switch investment and
jobs away from Britain to less risky locations.
Who is to blame for this stalemate? The answer
you get depends on where you put the question.
From EU capitals, you hear the understandable
contention that it is extremely hard to negotiate
with Britain when its riven government hasn?t
?nished negotiating with itself. It doesn?t help that
Mrs May is desperately weak. Recent events have
compounded the impression that she is a lame
duck, one crisis away from having the last crutch
kicked from under her. Her hapless party conference speech was almost universally reported in the
continental media as a metaphor for her enfeebled
premiership. The daily tests of her authority by
various Tory factions add to the impression of
chronic debilitation. EU capitals noticed when
Boris Johnson brazenly trampled over collective
responsibility by publishing his own version of a
hardline Brexit that openly contradicted the prime
minister?s position. They further noticed that the
foreign secretary didn?t get sacked for his impudent freelancing.
EU capitals also notice when senior Tories join
more junior ones in demanding the head of Philip
Hammond, one of the few in Mrs May?s cabinet to
talk realistically about the hard choices that have to
be faced to avoid plunging the economy into chaos.
To anyone looking in on Britain from outside, it is
another sign of Mrs May?s fragility that the government has been forced to postpone the committee
stage of the withdrawal legislation, in this case
because of the threat of rebellion on multiple fronts
by pro-European Tory MPs.
None of this incentivises the EU to be terribly
serious about the negotiations. All of it reinforces
the view, in some European capitals and some
elements of the commission, that it is essentially
futile to try to ?nd a way forward because Mrs May
isn?t capable of enforcing any deal on her quarrelling cabinet and splintered party. Would you buy
a car from someone who can?t describe what the
car looks like, nor convince you that they actually
own it? Key European players ask why they should
spend any of their political capital trying to progress the negotiations when they can?t be con?dent
that Mrs May will still be sitting on the other side
of the table come Christmas.
By taking that attitude, they make her weaker.
They chip at her authority over her party and her
credibility with her country. They compound the
problem of which they complain. People around
the prime minister counter that it is the EU that is
behaving with unreasonable rigidity and, in some
respects, they have a point. One reason the negotiations can?t move on to trade is because they haven?t
reached an agreement on the border between
Northern Ireland and the Republic. But the status
of the Irish border can only be settled once the
The most powerful
naysayer is Germany,
which confounds the
belief that Angela Merkel
would ride to the rescue
future trading relationship is established. Which
the EU won?t yet discuss. Catch-22.
A similar stalemate has frozen progress about
Britain?s bill for checking out. As is so often the
case in divorces, even breakups conducted with
more goodwill than this painful separation, money
is the biggest barrier to moving forward. Mrs May
thought she had offered a substantial concession
when she made her recent speech in Florence. She
promised that Britain would meet its ?nancial obligations to the EU and implied that there would be
further payments in return for continued access to
the single market on frictionless terms. Advisers to
Mrs May argue that this speech demonstrated that
she was being responsive to the EU and showed
that she was a ?grown-up? about the compromises
that will be necessary to secure a deal.
She has also recognised that Britain will have to
submit to adjudications by the European court of
justice during a transition period, as well as accepting the continuation of freedom of movement for at
least two years after 2019. Having taken these steps,
at the risk of enraging the hard Brexiters in her
party, the prime minister is hugely frustrated that
there has been little reciprocation from the EU.
An important reason for that is an emerging
split in the EU. Very credible sources report that
Mr Barnier wanted to progress the talks, but has
been blocked by some member states. The most
powerful naysayer is Germany, which confounds
the belief of some in the British government that
Angela Merkel would ride to the rescue.
People intimately familiar with the state of the
negotiations say that they have become jammed in
a chicken and egg situation. The Germans aren?t
prepared to move on trade until the British are
more speci?c about the money. Mrs May can?t offer
anything more on the money until the EU is prepared to respond with some movement on trade.
Catch-22. Again.
T
he Germans would be wise to take note
that the people most delighted with this
deadlock are the Brexit zealots in the Conservative party who have always wanted,
and continue to agitate for, the severest form of
rupture with the EU. The Brextremists would love
to kill off any transition period. They fear that the
longer that Britain sits in a departure lounge, half
in and half out of the EU, the more chance there
could be that the country might change its mind
about leaving or end up agreeing some kind of
associate membership.
The Brexit fanatics crave a bad-tempered
breakdown in the negotiations in the hope that
this will be the precursor to the most stark
form of departure. They want a breakdown to
be blamed not on their own delusions and the
fantasies that they peddled during the referendum. They want the guilty men to be Remainer
saboteurs at home and dastardly continentals
in Brussels and Berlin. The Germans might take
note of that as well.
There is no majority in Britain for an extreme
Brexit that hurls this country into the vortex. Nor
is there a majority for an economically disastrous
Brexit in parliament. A car-crash Brexit would be
massively disruptive for much of the continent. It
wouldn?t be a benign outcome for the EU either.
So the logical man still says that cool heads
ought to prevail and a deal should be struck in the
end. The ?aw in the reasoning of the logical man is
to assume that the world is always sane. Were you
searching for ways to describe how we got here,
your word of ?rst choice would not be rational.
36 | COMMENT
*
15.10.17
What do we tell our children about
the chaos that grips Catalonia?
As politicians break the law and the police take sides, ordinary life seems a long way o?
even one of them realised that they were using a
public space that belongs to us all. This is a pretty
futile question these days.
However, these spaces of confrontation do not
exist in private settings. For the whole of the last
week, the expensive international school next to
our house has been open as usual. Private schools
in Catalonia, where presumably most political
leaders send their kids, offer families the chance
to receive an education in their mother tongue,
whether Catalan, Spanish, German or English,
accepting a streaming that is absent in public
schools. It is pretty amazing how some groups
and places bear the costs of political and social
divisions much more than others.
Marga
Le髇
@leon_marga
I
arrived in Catalonia in the summer of 2010,
during the tough years of the economic crisis
? bad timing after 15 good years in England
and Italy. My homeland is Alicante, a mediumsize city further south, with no strong patriotic
sentiments, at least as far as I remember. I have a
Spanish passport and we speak Spanish at home,
so that might make me a Spaniard.
My ties to this place are good friends and colleagues, the Mediterranean woods that we so
frequently walk, tasty tomatoes, bright skies and
a blue sea. We are a family of four, with four different countries of birth. Home is where we live.
Home changes. I am also a leftist. I endorse the
universal values of equality, justice and solidarity. There is little merit in this, I admit, but I try
to live my life accordingly. My kids go to a state
school, we use public transport and are frequent
visitors to public libraries and parks.
Two weeks ago, I did not vote. I was in sheer
disagreement with the way in which the coalition
government in Catalonia (a very strange blend
of right-wing status quo and anarchism) moved
forward to approve a referendum and the subsequent unilateral declaration of independence.
This did not respect the institutional and legal
rules of the game, not just those of Spain, but also
of the Catalan ?estatut? which requires a twothirds majority in parliament.
The referendum had not ? could not have ? the
minimum democratic guarantees. On this point,
different political parties of different stripes, even
the main party holding a pro-referendum stance,
agreed. There then followed the spectacle of
judges and police being sent to Barcelona looking
for ballot papers and ballot boxes. The scenes
were pretty pathetic and would have had a comical air, if it weren?t so serious.
In this complex context, those of us holding a
critical view on the doings and sayings of both the
Catalan and central governments were increasingly left with no ?in between? space and forced
to take sides.
My youngest daughter, aged seven, asked me
the other day who I supported. It is now virtually
impossible to leave the children aside. Finding it
difficult to use words, I tried with a rope. ?Hold it
loose,? I said. ?It?s a swing,? she replied.
?Now hold it tight and tell me what happens
T
I confronted
the school
head for
involving
the kids in
a political
act, for
putting
unbearable
pressure
on them
to those swinging.? ?They fall,? she said. She had
understood. Perhaps too well.
It is much harder with older children. This
month, my eldest daughter?s peers at her secondary school ? she is 14 ? signed a piece of paper
proposing a strike to defend ?the universal rights
of Catalans to celebrate a referendum to decide
over the future of their country?. I asked her not
to sign. She did not go out that afternoon to join
her friends who, wrapped in the revolutionarylooking ?ag, were marching in Barcelona for
democracy and the right to vote.
I confronted the school head for involving the
kids in a political act, for not respecting diversity
of opinions, for putting unbearable pressure on
them. His response was that the governing body
did nothing, the institution was neutral and that
he could not be held responsible for what other
teachers say or do in their classrooms. Of course.
Primary schools, including ours, were being
occupied by families who wanted to vote. I confronted no one this time, I even sympathised with
the way in which they were mocking the rules in
a peaceful and ingenious way. But I did wonder if
?Leave the children in
peace? says a banner at a
unity rally in Barcelona,
held to protest against
Catalan independence.
Photograph by
Jeff J Mitchell/Getty
he narrative that has emerged on local TV
over the past weeks has been pure nationalism. The Spanish state was con?rmed to
be a repressive state. The main public TV
channel in Catalonia rushed to explain to children
what happened in terms of the bad Spanish cops
versus the good Catalan cops.
Is this the best way to condemn the use of
force, I wondered. I showed to my kids very
similar images of police in identical uniforms in
Washington DC, Hamburg, Genoa or Barcelona a
few years ago. They looked puzzled and it was a
painful thing to do, but how else can we aspire to
collectively reject this shameful manifestation of
power by authorities?
How tempting it is to explain what is happening in the language of children?s cartoons. How
easy life seems when we simply repeat slogans
without an understanding of the meaning these
convey; when highly complex realities are pinned
down to simple binary and mutually exclusive
terms. Concepts stop being the units of thinking
when feelings are running so high. The sequence
of events explained to us, and especially to our
children, always build to the same unanimous
narrative ? a powerful and magnetic narrative
that has no counterforce.
I do not know what will happen next. At the
moment of writing, the future looks as uncertain
as over the past weeks, although many of us are
desperate to see signs of de-escalation so we can
carry on with our lives, to have our family dinners
back, to have time to care, to think and sleep. I do
not wish this territorial con?ict to continue stealing time, space and energy away from ?ghting
poverty, unemployment or social inequalities.
We should soon be able to lift our heads to
realise how very little it rains; how extraordinarily warm the weather is for the time of year.
Marga Le髇 is associate professor of political
science at the Autonomous University of Barcelona
Alex Preston Solving the riddle of getting into Oxford
It?s hard to cheat
eat
the university?ss
interview
process, which
h
seeks to spot
independent
thought
J
ust as pictures emerged of Malala
Yousafzai attending her ?rst lecture at Oxford last week, the university released its annual sample
of interview questions, always a titillating glimpse into the rare?ed reaches
of academia. It was all a bit much for
some on my Twitter feed, who saw
the arcane, theoretical nature of the
questions as yet another example of the
institution?s exclusivity and self-regard,
nothing more than a secret handshake
between the privileged few.
The thing about these interviews, of
course, is that you can?t prep for them,
notwithstanding the endless sites
offering online advice, the numerous books that have been published
promising to give applicants a cutting
edge, the hothouse tutors who auction
themselves off to those with enough
money to pay their in?ated fees.
Oxford and Cambridge can be
accused of many things, but I feel
there?s a democratic instinct at the
heart of the interview process. The
questions are designed to preclude
preparation; instead, they seek to show
the shape of a student?s mind, the ?rst
?ickerings of critical thought.
I was prepared for my interview by
the genial headmaster of the Sussex
comprehensive I attended. We met
most mornings in the weeks leading
up to that fateful October day and he?d
?re questions at me about Eliot, Pound,
Woolf and Joyce, my specialist subjects
in what felt increasingly like a gameshow whose prize was my future. In
the end, I wasn?t able to roll out any of
the dozen quotes I?d learned by heart
? the three dons (that?s what I called
them in my head) quizzed me about an
early 19th-century nature poem. I came
out thankful only that I?d managed not
to soil myself.
With a little perspective, I can see
two things about that interview. The
?rst is that it was only partly aimed at
testing me. It also offered me a glimpse
of life within the tutorial system, of
the kind of questions I?d be faced with
during my time at university. I also
realised that the interview was about
my potential tutors deciding whether
I was a pupil who would manage to
stick out the three years of essays
and exams, whether I?d bore them in
tutorials, or infuriate them, or perhaps
even surprise them with a few original
thoughts.
The English literature question in
this year?s sample was set by one of
those who interviewed me 18 years ago,
Emma Smith. In it, she asks students
to consider the difference between
JK Rowling?s writing for children
and adults. The choice of author is a
conscious one, Smith says. ?I worry
that not all candidates might have the
same access to a wide range of literature and I am careful to judge them
on what they know, not on what they
don?t know.? At a time when Oxford is
seeking to be more inclusive and representative in its choice of students, the
idea is to ?nd out how students think
about literature, rather than whether
they?ve been forced to wade through
Areopagitica. ?Mainly,? Smith says, ?I
?A democratic instinct?: Oxford University.
?The best thing to do is
stay calm and use the
one thing that will get
you in: your brain?
always want to know that whatever
they are reading, candidates are reading thoughtfully and self-consciously
and are able to think as literary critics
about all the books they read.?
Other questions on this year?s
sample asked law students: ?If the
punishment for parking on double
yellow lines were death, and therefore
nobody did it, would that be a just and
effective law??; philosophy candidates
had to consider if violence was always
political; music students to design a
new musical instrument and describe
its sound. None was quite as ?endish
as the (sometimes apocryphal) tales
we were told in the run-up to our own
interviews: of bricks lobbed through
windows, of students asked to change
a fuse in a kettle, of an interviewer who
sat in total silence for 20 minutes, then
told the student they could leave.
I
?m occasionally asked when speaking at secondary schools what advice
I?d give to those facing Oxbridge
interviews. First, I point them
towards the lectures that Oxford has on
its podcast station on Apple Podcasts
(formerly iTunes U). Emma Smith?s
talks on Shakespeare are brilliantly
approachable and entertaining, but
the anarchic, counterintuitive, critical
approach they take to the plays is the
perfect illustration of the difference
between school and university. I also
suggest they read The Silk Roads by
Peter Frankopan. This book, which is
subtitled A New History of the World,
seeks to de-westernise our ideas of history, unlearns so much of what we?ve
learned about the way the world was
put together. Again, it?s about pushing students to question everything, to
challenge received ideas, whatever ?eld
they?re in. It also helps that Frankopan
is professor of global history at Oxford
and a fellow at Worcester College.
I emailed Frankopan to ask him for
the inside line on the interview process
and I?ll leave you with his response,
which strikes me as decent counsel
whether you?re sitting an Oxford
interview or not. ?My advice is simple:
listen and think. These interviews are
not about catching out applicants or
stretching them to see who breaks and
who doesn?t. They are about getting
candidates to think. Some turn up with
pre-packaged ?greatest hits? of things
they want to talk about in the hope of
impressing the interviewers; others
think that agreeing with the questions
will do the trick. (There are always a
few who think that violently disagreeing
with any premise will show ?independent thinking?). The best thing to do is to
stay calm and use the one thing that will
get you into Oxford: your brain. We are
not expecting you to solve the riddles of
the universe. Just the potential that you
might do that one day.?
Alex Preston?s latest book is
As King?shers Catch Fire
15.10.17
COMMENT | 37
*
It?s time we stopped
being so polite.
Let?s start stomping
Eminem pulled no punches in expressing his disgust for
irresponsible leadership. Britain needs to do the same
Catherine
Bennett
@Bennett_C_
I
f public protest is any guide to public feeling, what can we learn from the Autumn of
Discontent? That, for anyone in doubt, is the
series of anti-Brexit demonstrations that began
in London in September, and were due to continue
yesterday with regional rallies in each of the UK?s
12 European parliament constituencies.
For sense and civility, the remainers? approach
has, as always, much to teach the idiot rhetoricians of Brexit, recently heard blithering about a
?tiger in the tank?. The latest round of anti-Brexit
rallies will, say the organisers of the Cambridge
event, ?send a message to all our political representatives that the time has come to rethink the
damaging path that the UK is now on, and say to
them that we can and we must stop Brexit?.
Presumably, political representatives who
insist that 52% of an advisory vote on an unknown
outcome represents the settled will of the people
are nonetheless believed ? if they notice it?s
happening ? to be capable of a rally-induced
epiphany. Possibly, even without the added
magic of an Alastair Campbell or an AC Grayling,
regional rallies can change hearts and minds.
Perhaps the sort of people who have committed
to this catastrophe could still contemplate a mildlooking crowd with interesting banners and feel
something other than relief, that British disgust
for irresponsible leadership expresses itself so
differently from Eminem?s.
Is this the worst that can happen? Not Eminem?s
?Fuck walkin? on eggshells, I came to stomp? but,
in the words of the remainers? self-styled saviour
Vince Cable, ?We accept the negotiations are taking place, but at the end of it we want the British
people to have a say.? Not ?I?m drawing in the sand
a line: you?re either for or against?, but a sequence
of walks with a title referencing the opening line of
Shakespeare?s Richard III.
For any Brexit-engineers with the emotional
wherewithal to fear the scale of the public
backlash ? supposing the blame for their failures
cannot be passed on ? there may be actual consolation in these marches. There?s even something
very British, for people who like to keep things
very British, about activism that maintains the
old protest tradition of being utterly disregarded.
If media bias explains, up to a point, why the
most prominently reported demonstration at the
party conferences was Rees-Mogg- rather than
Brexit-related, it?s also possible that anti-Brexit
protesting, for all the energy and commitment of
its participants, needs work.
Somewhere between the poll tax riots and
hand-coloured signs saying ?Don?t go Brexit my
heart?, there must be non-violent forms of protest
that demonstrate, less ignorably than rallies,
that almost half the population ? assuming it
has not lapsed en masse into the approved ?just
get on with it? mindset ? is feeling something
stronger than piqued. If remainers can?t borrow
the American musicians who have transformed
mockery of Donald Trump into a ubiquitous art
form, it shouldn?t be impossible for the inventiveness that creates playful signs on British marches
to evolve into something more ambitious ? and of
more enduring embarrassment to its targets.
But since time for effective Brexit-shaming is,
as Michel Barnier regularly reminds the British,
running out, some protesting plagiarism could
be unavoidable. Leaving until last a general strike
by non-emergency-service remainers, it could be
worth bearing in mind that, at 222 miles ? according to Google Maps ? the walk from Trafalgar
Square to the European commission?s Berlaymont
building in Brussels is not much shorter than
the distance (240 miles) covered in Mahatma
Gandhi?s 1930 Salt March, one of the most successful protests in history. That?s 66 hours start
to ?nish, excluding breaks and the ferry. A Brexit
version of Gandhi?s satyagraha, all the more forceful if it were completed by people under 30, would
have the advantage, as with the Eminem video, of
reminding the world how much of the country is
being traduced, in our case by the Conservatives?
little battalion of thrill-seekers.
Then again, one possible explanation for the
level of apparent Brexit resignation, among
young爄ndividuals with most to lose from it, is
that so many of them have committed, above
Clockwise from top: Eminem?s video; Vietnam war
referendum poster, ¦hitney Museum of American
Art; Gandhi leads the Salt March; Brexit protest.
all, to Jeremy Corbyn, whose negligence helped
make it happen. Either way, the NUS website is
currently prioritising the campaign ?Say NO to
single-use straws?. The recent unsympathetic
treatment of a young British remainer, Madeleina
Kay, protesting as Supergirl, also hints at possible
security issues in Brussels were several thousand
more to arrive.
J
ust when it might be needed, there?s further
inspiration in an exhibition at New York?s
Whitney Museum, An Incomplete History
of Protest, which greets visitors with WH
Auden?s poem September 1, 1939: ?The enlightenment driven away,�/ The habit-forming pain,�/
Mismanagement and grief:�/ We must suffer
them all again.? Along with political art exhibits,
the show details how artists have removed their
work from galleries in protest, or demanded that
it be shown only if accompanied by a speci?ed
text. In爐he case of the American artist Al Held,
protesting against the Vietnam war in 1970, a
black-bordered sign, 18in by 24in, was to read:
?ART FOR LIFE ? STOP THE WAR?. His point,
he told the gallery, ?is that paintings, rather than
being removed, should be used affirmatively?.
Anti-Brexit musicians and other performers
There?s something very
British about activism that
maintains the tradition of
being utterly disregarded
might want to build, if it wouldn?t destroy their
careers, on the more recent affirmative actions of
the New York Hamilton cast when they addressed
Mike Pence, and of Daniel Barenboim, at this
summer?s BBC Proms. The threat posed by Brexit
to British orchestras was no excuse, the Sun
indicated, for an intervention by this ?anti-Brexit
fanatic? on European culture. Not only that, his
shameless conducting of Elgar was, you gathered,
the Proms equivalent of taking a knee. A Spectator
writer reeled from ?the sheer discourtesy? and
?left profoundly disappointed in him?.
Splendid. If they are to remind politicians ?
British and European ? of their undiminished
opposition to Brexit, Britain?s 48% or so need
actively to generate this sort of intervention,
along with equally discourteous activism by thousands of individuals not easily ridiculed as intellectuals, snow?akes or experts, and who won?t
? unlike the Mail?s detested luvvies and metropolitan deplorables ? just make things worse. In
the absence of national representation the option
is to surrender, or to protest with such gentility,
or behind such clapped-out ?gureheads, that no
one even notices. True, any observable passivity
might be a faithful re?ection of genuine indifference. Alternatively, the very size and variety of
the remainer vote could be what militates against
effective organising, including of sustained
pressure on local MPs.
Activism, as Malcolm Gladwell once argued in
a New Yorker article that exposed the limitations
of social media, is hard work. ?The civil rights
movement was more like a military campaign
than like a contagion.? That was in 2010: before
the NFL protests, the bringing down of confederate statues, and a profusion of creative savagery
of which Eminem?s is only the latest, if most
triumphant, example. The preference here for
planning petitions and Saturday marches does
not, mercifully, have to be the end of it.
The right?s propaganda is an a?ront to democracy
Nick
Cohen
@NickCohen4
I
t?s easy to dismiss the Tory right as
stupid: too easy if you wish to stop
Brexit or limit the damage it will
cause. As insults go, it is mild. The
right has no plan beyond a desire to
turn Britain into a Randian dystopia
where regulations vanish and the state
withers. It has no policy beyond a nostalgic hope that Britain will sail across
the wide blue oceans and conquer new
markets as our imperial ancestors conquered them before.
The right offers religion, not politics.
Its faith is without blemish, the gospel
runs. If Brexit fails, that is not because
the faith is false but because heretical
traitors, judges, civil servants and EU
governments have schemed to defeat
it. ?He that doubteth is damned,? said
St Paul. ?For whatsoever is not of faith
is sin.? Boris Johnson agrees.
Thatcherism, Britain?s last revolt
of the right, was preceded by years
of hard planning in the Centre
for Policy Studies and Institute of
Economic Affairs. If you were around
in the 1970s, you might have loved
or loathed it. But you could not deny
the right had built a programme for
government. Today, there is no plan,
no programme, no nothing. Instead
of being populated by serious thinkers, Brexit?s thinktanks are ?lled
with propagandists, tabloid hacks
and tax-exile newspaper proprietors.
Boris Johnson and Michael Gove are
columnists turned politicians. The
Sun, Telegraph, Mail and Express do
not just cheer on the cause while the
grown-ups make the real decisions,
as they did in Margaret Thatcher?s
day. They are what brains the Brexit
campaign possesses.
Dominic Cummings, the director
of燰ote Leave, demonstrated the frivolity of the enterprise last year when
he wiped his own campaign?s website
after the referendum. It as if he was
admitting the promises Johnson and
Gove had made to 17.4 million voters
were worthless. Now the heist had
been pulled, he would destroy the
incriminating evidence.
A global movement against overmighty states in Ronald Reagan?s
America and Mikhail Gorbachev ?s
Soviet Union sustained the Thatcher
government. The Brexiters have no one
beyond Donald Trump and they don?t
really have him. Along with all his
other faults ? the racism, the narcissism, the incessant mendacity ? Trump
is an ?America ?rst? protectionist. He
will never give us a sweetheart deal to
make up for lost European markets,
even if Congress let him (which it
would not).
The Brexiters have no allies, only
enemies. Men such as Daniel Hannan
and Bernard Jenkin have been ?ghting
their opponents in the Tory party for
30 years. The wounds are too deep,
the scars are too thick, for them to
admit now the other side may have a
point. If they once had a conception
of Britain?s interests and the welfare
of its citizens, they forgot it long
ago. Beyond the desire to create an
isolated state in the Atlantic, where
welfare and regulations are slashed
and climate change denied, is a more
primal impulse. They cannot concede an inch to enemies, who have
belittled them for 爉ost of their adult
lives. Compromise in these psychological circumstances feels like a
betrayal, even if the only compromise
demanded of them is a compromise
with reality.
So be my guest and say that Brexit
is a movement of organised stupidity.
But accept that as propagandists the
Brexiters are anything but stupid. They
have been the most brilliantly successful manipulators of public opinion in
modern British history.
From the point of propaganda, their
vices are virtues. During the referendum, the Remain campaign mocked
Brexiters? inability to offer the British
a coherent account of our future. But
laughter was misplaced. The inability to level with the public made the
Leave燾ampaign a moving target that
never offered its opponents a clear line
of attack.
The religious insistence that
supporting Brexit is a matter of
faith, not reason, has the propaganda
bene?t of keeping supporters in line.
Despite the collapse in the pound and
living standards, despite the descent
of the negotiations into the mire, not
one prominent supporter of Brexit
has admitted to the smallest doubt.
The normal arguments of politics
no more exist on the right than they
do in the Church of Scientology.
Who will break ranks when they
know a movement run by vicious
hacks will denounce them as traitors? Newspaper proprietors have
power without responsibility, Stanley
Baldwin said, the ?prerogative of the
harlot throughout the ages?.
T
he harlot?s prerogative ensured
that when Liam Fox said negotiating a deal with the EU will be
?the easiest thing in human history?, or when David Davis promised in
2016 that by now we would have ?trade
deals with the US and China?, or when
Johnson and Gove swore there would
be �0m a week for the NHS, they
never expected to be held to account.
True democratic politicians are responsible for their words. The Brexit right
never is.
Last week, the right showed how it is
always two steps ahead of its opponents. It demanded the punishment of
Phillip Hammond for refusing to shake
the magic money tree and spend on
new quangos and custom and excise
bureaucracies in case we cannot reach
a deal. It was a revealing tantrum. They
know Brexit is going wrong. When it is
revealed to be a bloody mess, they want
to be able to say: ?It?s not our fault. If
only the government had listened to us
in October 2017 we would be prosperous and free.?
The failure of Jeremy Corbyn and
the Labour frontbench to challenge the
right is as irresponsible as the right?s
failure to protect the national interest.
Instead of listening to them, listen to
the men and women who are prepared
to ?ght in the Liberal Democrats,
Scottish Nationalists and on the
Labour backbenches. They know the
best tactic is the simplest. ?They hate
it when you throw their words in their
faces,? Labour?s Chuka Umunna told
me. ?They start shouting, ?You want to
re?ght the referendum?.?
To which the only response is, you
promised to cut immigration, boost
prosperity, secure global trade deals
and restore parliamentary sovereignty.
You can?t just wipe that off the web and
pretend it never happened.
You do not win by treating 17.4
million people as stupid. You win by
treating them as democratic citizens
with the right to punish the men who
made impossible promises. Once it is
clear they will never be kept and were
never meant to be kept, the question
arises: is it time to think again?
38 | COMMENT
*
Letters+emails
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
THE BIG ISSUE EU MEMBERSHIP
Without good transport links,
islands will continue to decline
Clegg?s call to stop Brexit will
stir up yet more xenophobia
Nick Clegg wilfully ignores one fact of
political life (?You can stop Brexit by
joining the Labour party ? or even the
Tories?, Comment, last week). Leave
voters believe that the EU is a club
like any other. Simply stop paying the
subscriptions and you lose the bene?ts,
but you stop having to obey the rules.
So we can keep foreigners out and the
rebalance of supply and demand in the
labour market will force employers
to pay proper British wages to proper
British people for jobs from strawberry
picking to neurosurgery, and all will be
sweetness and light.
The government?s blundering
negotiations are feeding Brexiters?
fury and conspiracy theories that the
whole thing is a Euro/establishment
betrayal. The remainers? mantra of ?it?s
the economy, stupid? doesn?t address
the rejection of politics-as-usual by
people who don?t live their lives at the
macroeconomic level, and wheeling
out plutocrats and bureaucrats to give
the big business and Brussels case for it
is worse than counter-productive.
In such a fervid climate, calls to go
on voting until you get it right will just
stir up hostility and xenophobia.
Nik Wood
London E9
Nick Clegg is invariably a powerful
advocate for a united Europe and for
stopping Brexit, but the key message in
his latest foray into the ?eld is based on
a completely false assumption.
The error is to believe that by joining
a party you thereby have in?uence. In
fact, perhaps perversely, by signing
on and thus signalling your continued
Last week?s article
by Nick Clegg.
electoral support, you reduce your
in?uence and do not have to be
assuaged. Clegg forgets the cardinal
rule that the only thing that frightens
Conservative and Labour politicians is
the fear of losing their seats.
The biggest impact that all those
who support a united Europe can
have is to join the only party that
resolutely believes in the UK remaining within the EU. A massive surge
in Liberal Democrat membership,
Liberal Democrat electoral support
in the opinion polls and in byelection
seats gained would terrify both parties.
Nothing else will.
Michael Meadowcraft
Leeds
It?s a great pity that Nick Clegg didn?t
mention the one issue that could make
MPs from both remain and leave constituencies vote against a Brexit deal
(or no deal), ie allowing immigration
controls in the EU.
This is a strange omission, since
earlier this year he told Andrew Marr
that politicians across the EU were
now calling for a change to freedom of
movement and that there was scope for
FOR THE RECORD
An article on antibiotics included this
quote from England?s chief medical
officer, Sally Davies: ?In the Ganges
during pilgrimage season, there are
levels of antibiotics in the river that we
try to achieve in the bloodstream of
patients.? Dame Sally had inadvertently
con?ated two studies: one on bacteria
levels in the Ganges and another on
industrial discharges in the Hyderabad
area. The latter found that effluent from
a treatment plant had concentrations
of antibiotics higher than bloodstream
levels (?The world is facing an antibiotic
apocalypse?, News, last week, pages
8-9). An accompanying commentary
piece confused neonatal mortality ?gures when it said incorrectly that globally almost half of newborns would die
before they reached 28 days. To clarify:
a Europe-wide approach to achieving
this. Were this shift to become increasingly evident, it could then allow
Jeremy Corbyn to become overtly
anti-Brexit, since realistic fears of losing remain seats at the next election
would be mitigated. Those who don?t
want Brexit should therefore not just
follow Nick Clegg?s advice to in?uence
political parties here, they should also
urge their European contacts to push
for such a change.
For those Labour supporters still
calling for the maintenance of free
movement ? the opposite of what the
majority want ? they should ponder
how this would give a desperate and
vulnerable Tory party the ability to
mount a successful campaign hammering ?open borders Labour?.
This could help ensure a Brexit
majority in any parliamentary debate
and indeed the possibility of their
eventual election victory condemning the rest of us to a Conservative
?race爐o the bottom Brexit? and interminable燼usterity.
Colin Hines
Author of Progressive Protectionism
Twickenham
TOP 10 ONLINE LAST WEEK
each year, almost half (45%) of the 5.9m
global deaths of children under ?ve are
babies younger than 28 days old.
Our radio review last week lamented
the departure of Edith Bowman from
Virgin Radio, saying she had ?walked or
been binned by the powers that be?. Ms
Bowman tells us it was her decision to
leave (New Review, last week, page 26).
?? the line Lear says to Ophelia??
(New Review, last week, page 25). That
would be Cordelia.
Write to Stephen Pritchard, Readers?
Editor, the Observer, Kings Place 90
York Way, London N1 9GU, email
observer.readers@observer.co.uk
tel 020 3353 4656
15.10.17
Read them at observer.co.uk
1. Theresa May under pressure over
?secret advice? on halting Brexit
2. ?Antibiotic apocalypse?: doctors
sound alarm over drug resistance
3. Rape and slavery was lure for UK Isis
recruits with history of sexual violence
4. Belgian ports batten down the
hatches for Brexit trade shock
5. Blade Runner 2049 review
6. Is the writing on the wall for Theresa
May and Britain? David Mitchell
7. Outrageous good fortune smiles once
again on Theresa May Andrew Rawnsley
8. Pro-unity Catalans take to the
streets to condemn ?sel?sh revolution?
9. Matt Lucas: ?Losing my hair at the age
of six shaped my life?
10. Axe old guard, senior Tories tell May
The depopulation of the Scottish
islands is linked to their poor transport infrastructure (?Saving Scotland?s
islands?, Special report, last week).
Compared with Norway, let alone
the Faroe Islands, the UK is tinkering at the edges. Compared with our
continental neighbours, even southern
England has a dearth of road tunnels, so the A41 scythes though the
Chilterns, and the M3 slices though
Twyford Down.
Like Bute, Millport, Mull and
even Orkney, the Isle of Wight, with
signi?cant deprivation, remains
impoverished without a ?xed link to
mainland Britain. Thanks to higher
taxes and support from Denmark, most
of the Faroe Islands, with a growing
population of 49,179, has an expanding network of tunnels and bridges.
Further sub-sea tunnels are under construction, with a 10.6km tunnel linking
T髍shavn and the island of Sandoy, and
another connecting the southern ends
of two peninsulas on Eysturoy.
It would be possible for tunnels to
link Millport and Bute and reduce
the isolation of the Kintyre peninsula. Although there is something
magical about the ferry to Iona from
Fionnphort, Mull and the Morvern
peninsular should be linked.
David Nowell
New Barnet, Hertfordshire
Animals breeding resistance
Congratulations on your article ?The
world is facing an antibiotic apocalypse? (News, last week). However,
as a GP, I would like to explore some
of the points. According to NHS
Improvement, in 2015-16, GPs cut
antibiotic use by 7.3%. Some 2.7m
fewer antibiotics were prescribed. The
unnecessary use of broad spectrum
antibiotics, used in the treatment of
severe infection, fell by 16%. Some
80% of antibiotics handed out are
prescribed by GPs, who recognise the
problems of antibiotic resistance.
In farming, the overuse of antibiotics
in food animals is leading to a crisis in
resistance. In the US, 80% of all antibiotics used are given to food animals.
Globally, animals receive almost three
times as many antibiotics as people.
The use of antibiotics in food animals is
often not medically necessary. They are
used to promote growth and prevent
illnesses that result from severe overcrowding and ?lthy living conditions.
Dr Chris Woods
Bury, Lancashire
Gun lobby?s lethal cant
Once again, after the mass shootings
in Las Vegas, the US gun lobby and its
apologists defend their constitutional
right to ?bear arms?. Apparently, daily
shootings and occasional mass carnage
is the price US citizens will have to
pay. (?After Vegas, why do we still treat
the US as a civilised state??, Catherine
Bennett, last week). Listening to the
specious arguments peddled on behalf
of the ?rearms industry reminded me of
a quote by the US author Upton Sinclair:
?It is difficult to get a man to understand
something, when his salary depends
upon his not understanding it.?
Barry Solomons
Manchester
Nuclear power still too costly
The section on nuclear power in ?How
green is Britain?s record on renewable
energy supply?? (Business, last week)
gave a wrong impression. It gave the
percentage of electricity generated by
nuclear power as 23.6% in April and
June this year and an EDF prediction
for that percentage by 2035 as ?around
a third?. The article lists the requirements ? completion of Hinkley Point C
and three other power stations ? without raising the probability that will not
happen, partly because of the massive
subsidies which would be required.
Many planned renewable power
installations are costed as producing
electricity at half the projected cost of
nuclear, and likely to decrease, whereas
nuclear costs are projected to increase.
Renewables could efficiently provide
for our needs without the need for
expensive nuclear power.
Richard Wells
Aberystwyth
It?s us against the EU
David Goodhart?s conclusion (?Britons
need to rediscover the ties that bind?,
Comment, last week) concurred with
my thinking: the EU isn?t negotiating in
good faith, but willing failure.
David Davis ingeniously met the
EU?s insistence on keeping the Irish
border porous, only to be rebuffed.
There was a refusal to enter into negotiations on even a transitional agreement on trade in goods and services.
The EU wants its citizens to have more
rights here than ours. Its attitude is so
self-important and condescending that
it?s beginning to justify our coming out.
Because of the EU?s intransigence,
we are coming together, willing to
make a success of the hard Brexit
in prospect. It will be unity against
the EU and, I suspect, under a Tory
government come the next election. I
cannot conceive our admitting to the
EU that we?ve made a mistake and
asking permission to crawl back in, on
whatever conditions it lays down.
John Cairns
Richmond upon Thames
Tory humbug
Jacob Rees-Mogg doesn?t stand a cat
in hell?s chance of becoming Tory
leader (?On the trail of the pinstripe
pretender?, New Review, last week). In
times of his party?s malaise, he is comfort food, a liquorice allsort, aniseed
ball or humbug ? ?eetingly toothsome,
but not a sustaining diet.
Toby Wood
Peterborough
Britain will always be tied to the EU on crime and security
Mark
Lyall Grant
nt
@Lyall Grant
T
he government?s 2015 strategic
defence and security review
identi?ed four major threats
and challenges to UK national
security: terrorism and extremism;
state-based threats; cyber threats and
the erosion of the rules-based international order. Despite the extraordinary
political upheavals of the last two years,
including the Brexit referendum and
election of President Trump, events
have starkly vindicated that analysis.
Take just two examples. The
so-called Islamic State is all but
defeated in Iraq and Syria. But its
affiliates across the world and the
extremism it promotes still pose a
major threat to this country. In the ?ve
years until the end of last year, only
one British national was killed in an
act of terrorism in the UK, compared
with 60 British nationals overseas.
This year, we have already seen ?ve
major terrorist attacks in London and
Manchester, four of them deadly.
As for state-based threats, last
month?s massive Zapad war exercises
in Belarus were a reminder that Russia
has become more aggressive and
nationalistic, increasingly de?ning
itself in opposition to the west, while
North Korea?s nuclear antics have
rarely been off the front pages.
Nor does the prospect of Brexit
fundamentally change this assessment.
It was clear to me as national security
adviser that national security would
be less directly affected by Brexit
than many other policy areas. This is
because security has always been the
responsibility of individual member
states. That is not to say that there
are no implications. There are, and
they need to be addressed in the
negotiations. The most important is the
network of information sharing and
practical measures that help British law
enforcement and intelligence agencies
to tackle organised crime, securing our
borders and combating terrorism.
We shall want to be as closely
associated as possible with Europol
on serious organised crime and
cyber security; access the Schengen
and Pr黰 databases ? which store
DNA, ?ngerprint, vehicle and other
personal information ? to keep track
of criminals; get traveller information
from the passenger name record
system; and operate the European
arrest warrant. All these systems are
owned and run by the EU.
We need to ?nd a way of maintaining
the common travel area with Ireland,
minimising disruption to the movement
of people and goods, while operating
increased security and customs checks.
And we have to decide how much to be
involved in the EU?s external security
and defence missions.
We currently participate fully
in operations against piracy in the
Red Sea, illegal migration in the
Mediterranean and in promoting
stability in Bosnia. These missions are
open to non-EU members, but they
have very little say in the decisionmaking process.
The UK has a strong national
security interest in reaching agreement
on all these issues so cooperation can
continue after Brexit. In the last few
weeks, the government has suggested
a special security treaty, which would
closely mirror existing arrangements
for security, law enforcement and
criminal justice, but without a role for
the European Court of Justice.
I do not underestimate the legal
complexity of reaching agreement
on this ambitious approach. The
government will probably need to be
?exible about the role of the European
Court of Justice. But I am con?dent
that a deal will be reached. This is
because our EU partners have just
as great an interest in continuing to
bene?t from cooperation with the
UK. Our intelligence services are
recognised as the best in Europe, we
have the largest defence and overseas
aid budgets, and we arrest and send
back to their countries eight times
as many EU nationals under the
European arrest warrant as we get
back from the continent. There are
wider potential consequences of Brexit,
which could affect UK security. In
particular, national security cannot be
divorced from economic security.
Put at its most basic, if the British
economy suffers as a result of the
prospect or reality of Brexit, then our
ability to fund the ambitious 2015
strategic defence and security review
will be put at risk, whether we continue
to spend 2% of GDP on defence or not.
Much of the defence equipment the
government plans to buy, including F35
?ghter aircraft, Apache helicopters and
maritime patrol aircraft from the US, is
priced in dollars. Already, the MoD is
facing a budgetary squeeze as a result of
a lower pound and unrealised efficiency
savings. The government?s current
?mini-strategic defence and security
review? to address this shortfall will
face difficult choices, even before Brexit
negotiations conclude.
Sir Mark Lyall Grant was national
security adviser from 2015 to 2017
15.10.17
*
| 39
Contact us Email financial@theguardian.com
Phone 020 3353 4791 Fax 020 3353 3196
Business
Agenda Cross questioning
MAKING THE NEWS
Bank chief happy that
Mogg has been put out
Mark Carney faces a revamped
Treasury committee on Tuesday. The
Bank of England governor will no
doubt be relieved by the departure of
Jacob Rees-Mogg, who criticised the
Bank?s comments during the Brexit
referendum campaign, to Carney?s
evident irritation.
Labour?s ultra-direct John Mann
is still there but former chairman
Andrew Tyrie, who stood down as
an MP in June, has been replaced
by Nicky Morgan. The Conservative
former education secretary has big
shoes to ?ll ? Tyrie built a reputation as
a forensic, independent inquisitor.
Early signs are promising. Philip
Hammond?s remarks at last week?s
session, Morgan?s ?rst in the chair,
in?amed Brexit fanatics and Morgan
has spent the summer making
demands of regulators and the
government. So Carney should be on
his guard. Economists will leap on any
remarks he makes about interest rates.
The BoE has hinted that it will increase
rates next month for the ?rst time
since the start of the ?nancial crisis.
In?ation ?gures for September will
be published the morning of Carney?s
appearance. Prices rose at an annual
rate of 2.9% in August, helping prompt
talk of a rate rise. But consumers are
stretched, banks are tightening lending
and Brexit looks perilous for the
economy. What does it all mean? Over
to you, governor.
Nicky Morgan is the new commitee chair.
See you in court, Lloyds
investors tell ex-bosses
If it sometimes feels like the ?nancial
crisis never really ended, get ready
for a court case featuring some
familiar characters. A group of Lloyds
shareholders are suing the bank and
its former management for �0m
in losses they allege were caused by
its rescue acquisition of HBOS at the
B SEAN
BY
FA
FARRELL
ASOS MARCHES ON
VITAL STATISTIC
FTSE 100
height of the crisis. The case, due to
start on Wednesday, is expected to
force ?ve ex-directors to give evidence.
They include Sir Victor Blank, who
was chairman at the time of the deal,
and Eric Daniels, his chief executive.
The shareholders ? about 5,700
individuals and 300 companies ? argue
they would not have approved the
takeover if they had known that HBOS
was being propped up by the Bank of
England and the US Federal Reserve.
Lloyds agreed to buy HBOS, the
parent of Halifax and Bank of Scotland,
in September 2008 in a deal brokered
by Gordon Brown, then prime minister.
The government took a 43% stake in
the combined bank that has now been
sold off.
Fred Goodwin, the former Royal
Bank of Scotland boss, escaped the
witness box in June when RBS settled
with shareholders. Blank and Daniels
must hope the same happens to them.
7,400
7,000
6,600
N
D
J
F
M
A
M
J
J
A
S
PEOPLE
Quote of the week goes to Nigel Lawson.
You don?t have to agree with the Tory peer
and former chancellor to appreciate the
pungency of his comment about Philip
Hammond, the current chancellor: ?He may
not intend it but in practice what he is doing
is very close to sabotage.?
A good week for
James Murdoch, the
chairman of Sky and
chief executive of 21st
Century Fox. At Sky?s annual meeting 51.6%
of independent shareholders voted for his
reappointment. Fox?s 39% stake in Sky,
which it is trying to buy outright, meant the
overall vote wasn?t in doubt but securing
a majority of independents, however slim,
was symbolic. Several shareholder advisory
groups had urged opposition to Murdoch
on the grounds that he was not su?ciently
independent to chair the broadcaster.
Sky said the board had approved the Fox
takeover in the interests of all shareholders
and had held talks without Murdoch.
Energy companies to
feel the heat over bills
Parliament?s select committees
have become a valuable source of
information about business and the
economy. Committees? powers to
punish witnesses who mislead or
withhold information aren?t clear, but
most cough up what they are asked for.
On Tuesday the business, energy
and industrial strategy committee
will seek answers on high household
energy bills. Among the witnesses will
be Sarwjit Sambhi, who runs British
Gas?s home business, and Dermot
Nolan, chief executive of the energy
regulator Ofgem.
On Thursday the government?s
draft bill announced an absolute cap
on 12m standard variable tariffs rather
than one set at a percentage over the
cheapest ?xed deal. Some campaigners
argued this would push all prices up
towards the cap. The legislation is
unlikely to take effect until next winter.
A record 163,000 customers left
the big six providers in September,
prompting the industry to claim
competition was ?ourishing. But
Rachel Reeves, who chairs the
committee, warned: ?We want to probe
energy companies and the regulator
about these proposals and ensure that
the reality of a price cap can match
the rhetoric by delivering lower bills
for consumers and ?xing the broken
energy market.?
O
The FTSE 100 hit a new high on Thursday,
when Brexit talks appeared stalled.
Traders bet the falling pound would make
overseas earnings ? which make up 75%
of the index ? more valuable.
When Asos reports full-year results on
Tuesday the focus will be on international
growth prospects for the online fashion
retailer. In the first half of the year, international sales of �8m made up about
60% of the total and were growing at three
times the pace of revenues in the UK.
The pound?s heavy decline since last
year?s Brexit vote has helped but investors
reckon Asos is the future. Its market value
of almost �n is hovering just below that
of once-mighty Marks & Spencer after
only 17 years of trading. Asos?s clothes
have become favourites for fashionable
figures including Michelle Obama, Taylor
Swift and Jessica Alba.
Progress hasn?t always been smooth.
A fire at the company?s main warehouse in
Barnsley damaged stock and halted deliveries in 2014, and it faced questions last
year about working practices at the site.
A week ago Asos joined the anti-slavery
watchdog in calling for improvements to
working conditions at garment factories in
Leicester. The shares have risen 19% this
year and closed at �.85 on Friday.
A bad week for Andrew Bailey, chief
executive of the Financial Conduct
Authority. MPs have increased pressure
on the FCA to release its report into Royal
Bank of Scotland?s treatment of struggling
companies by hiring a barrister to check if
the published summary re?ects the main
report. Bailey has
also admitted he
met o?cials from
Saudi Aramco
before the FCA
published plans
to dilute London?s
listing rules
in an
attempt
to secure
the oil
giant?s
�5tn
?otation.
Postscript Opportunity knocks
Money has never
been so exciting
COMPANIES
Flint will need nerves of
steel to clean up HSBC
HSBC announced its new chief
executive on Thursday. Anyone
hoping for a colourful appointment
was disappointed. John Flint, the
successful candidate, is a steady HSBC
lifer who has spent the past few years
running retail banking. But that is
surely the idea. Britain?s biggest bank
has had an unusually turbulent recent
history, including revelations that
its Swiss private bank helped clients
dodge taxes and conceal assets and that
its Mexican business laundered billions
of dollars of drug money. An internal
memo introducing Flint as the new
boss suggests he will be a less spiky
character than Stuart Gulliver, the
former investment banker whose office
John Flint: new chief executive at HSBC.
Flint ran for a year. Where Gulliver
remained a trader at heart, Flint
reckons running the retail bank was
the highlight of his career. In fairness
to Gulliver, he has had to clear up the
mess caused by past dodgy aqcuisitions
and lax management. No wonder Flint
told staff: ?It?s really important to
gather information from every level of
the organisation to know what?s really
going, what?s working and what isn?t.?
It was quite a week for
cryptocurrencies. On Monday, Kenneth
Rogoff, the former International
Monetary Fund chief economist,
predicted an eventual collapse in
the value of bitcoin. That didn?t stop
the price of a single bitcoin breaking
through the $5,000 barrier after
starting the year at $966. On Thursday,
Christine Lagarde, the IMF?s managing
director, said that cryptocurrencies
could disrupt the ?nancial system.
Who better to join the fray than
Harry Redknapp, the former football
manager and self-confessed ?nancial
and technological simpleton?
Redknapp tweeted that he was
?proper excited? about a new British
cryptocurrency, Electroneum. ?I?m in,
get involved,? he urged. Buyer beware.
ECONOMICS
Congratulations to Richard Thaler,
who won the Nobel prize for economics on Monday. Thaler is a man, so no
surprise there. The only woman to win
the prize since it was ?rst awarded in
1969 was Elinor Ostrom in 2009.
The supposed lack of senior female
economists came up again when
Philip Hammond gave evidence to the
Charlotte Hogg: difficult to replace.
Treasury committee on Tuesday. The
chancellor suggested the Treasury was
struggling to ?nd a replacement for
Charlotte Hogg that would bring the
number of women up to two on the
Bank of England?s nine-strong monetary policy committee. The problem,
he said, was that typical MPC members
were well into their careers, with an
international reputation.
Well, up to a point. Of the current
crop, Gertjan Vlieghe is a relatively
youthful 46 and wasn?t a global name
before he was appointed. Hammond?s
special economic adviser, Karen Ward,
was chief European economist at
HSBC and could do the job ? though he
is unlikely to want to lose her. So could
Sarah Hewin, chief European economist at Standard Chartered.
There are many more. The government is pushing big companies to have
25% female board representation.
What?s different about the MPC? Come
on, Phil. There?s no excuse.
*
40 | BUSINESS
15.10.17
In the contactless payment era,
It?s never been easier to pay without
using real money, and yet the value of
banknotes and coins in the economy
is rising at a rapid rate. Austerity, fear
of a looming Brexit apocalypse, or
growing criminality may all be
behind it, writes Richard Partington
A
s we enjoy an era of contactless payment, credit cards
and bitcoin, today appears
set to signal another blow to
the longevity of cash. From
midnight, the round pound
coin, a British institution dating back to
1983, will pass its use-by date. Is cold,
hard money going the way of the chequebook and the high-street bank燽ranch?
Certainly, the old pound coin as we
knew it is for the scrap heap. It will lose
its legal tender status and no longer
be accepted in restaurants and shops
except for a few including Tesco, Aldi
and Poundland, which say they will take
it for a little while longer. Approximately
�0m worth of the coins are believed to
still be in circulation.
That is a lot of loose change. But official ?gures show the value of hard cash
in the economy is increasing at a rapid
rate. Annual growth in the run-up to last
Christmas was the fastest in a decade,
and the total value of all banknotes and
coins has now surged to almost �bn.
That?s more than �200 in cash for
every man, woman and child in the UK.
Research shows the average person has
about � in cash in their purse, pocket
and at home. However, an increasing
number have much more squirrelled
away safely. And most of it is in �
notes, which account for more than half
of the total.
But this is not a peculiar quirk of the
British character. There are mountains
of cash around the world ? although
you would struggle to see them. There
were $1.5tn (�1tn) of US dollars in circulation last year, an increase of 6% on
2015, with more than a trillion made up
of $100 notes. There were ?1.1tn (�n)
of euro notes in circulation in August,
up by 6% on a year ago. Millions of mattresses are being stuffed with notes
around the globe.
Mass cash stashing might signal a
widespread fear of a looming apocalypse ? or, more prosaically, it could signal rampant illegality. The rapid growth
in cash sloshing around the UK could be
a warning sign for the economy, as banknotes can facilitate crime and tax evasion. In a nod to the doom-mongers, the
Bank of England estimates some people
could be hoarding money for a rainy day.
Brexit could be one such downpour,
according to economists at the consultancy Pantheon Macroeconomics. Samuel Tombs, chief UK economist, suggests
the growth in cash in the economy and
the fall in the value of the pound since
the referendum might not be coincidental. And even a decade after the ?nancial
crisis, Bank of England analysis shows
some people prefer not to store money
at high street banks.
David Fagleman, policy and research
manager at Cash Services UK, which
helps to coordinate the movement of
money between banks, said: ?We are
certainly aware that in previous times
of economic uncertainty, people have
gone back to cash. So it could well be
something that happens again over the
coming years.?
Growing levels of ?nancial instability
for households squeezed by state bene?t
cuts, sluggish wage growth and the rising cost of living could be encouraging
the usage of cash too. British banks are
also planning the biggest squeeze on
consumer credit since late 2008, potentially exacerbating the squeeze.
The statistics point to a significant
section of the population for whom
putting spare cash under the bed is
unthinkable. Around 2.7 million people
in Britain relied mainly on cash in 2016,
an increase of 1.1 million in the past
three years. More than 1.5 million people do not have a bank account, while
the latest available figures from the
Joseph Rowntree Foundation suggest
13.5 million people lived in low-income
households in 2015. For these Britons,
cash is not a hoardable unit of insurance
but a day-to-day necessity that vanishes
like water.
Victoria Cleland, the Bank of England?s chief cashier, said: ?It tends to be
that people who are less well-off will
use cash as a budgeting technique. If
you were in a situation where you saw
more people were struggling, you would
expect to see a higher demand for cash.?
But back to the bigger picture. Cash
usage in general is falling because of the
rise in technology, such as contactless
payment methods. The proportion of
payments using physical currency has
declined from 62% of all transactions in
2006, to about 40% last year, with a further fall to about 21% expected by 2026.
Carl Packman, research manager at
the poverty charity Toynbee Hall, said:
?In the rush towards better digital payments it would be an error to reduce
access to cash. Cash is a great leveller:
regardless of age and income demographics, keeping cash is a way of taking visual control of money and avoiding
unwanted situations like problem debt.?
Part of Threadneedle Street?s reasoning for replacing the three decadeold pound coin was to counter fraud,
with as many as one in 30 of the coins
thought to be a fake. The new 12-sided
coin, which resembles the old three-
penny bit and ?rst entered circulation
in March , has high-tech features to
thwart counterfeiters.
Suitcases full of banknotes conjure
images of organised crime for good reason. The Bank found in 2015 that at least
half of all UK banknotes were either held
VALUE OF BANKNOTES IN CIRCULATION
Sterling, billions
Euros, billions
US dollars, billions
100
1,250
1,500
80
1,000
1,200
60
750
900
40
500
600
20
250
300
SOURCE: BANK OF ENGLAND
0
2005
2010
2015
SOURCE: EUROPEAN CENTRAL BANK
0
2005
2010
2015
SOURCE: FEDERAL RESERVE
0
2005
2010
2015
Romania is poor man of the EU
no more as economy booms
by Kit Gillet Bucharest
A
t a sleek new office in the heart
of Bucharest, Fitbit chief executive James Park explains why
the smartwear giant is rapidly
expanding its operations in Romania
? and following the lead of a host of
multinationals. ?The tech talent here is
amazing. Romania and other countries
in central and eastern Europe have
great existing talent, and also great
universities,? he says.
The US company, which bought
Romanian smartwatch brand Vector
Watches for a reported $15m (�.4m)
last year, has just opened its largest
research and development centre outside the US, in the Romanian capital.
It?s not alone: in recent years, global
companies such as Siemens, Ford and
Bosch have set up or expanded operations in Romania, boosting an economy
that?s already growing at speed.
While many see Romania as a
country of migrants ?ocking abroad
to ?nd work, back home the economy
is booming. The services sector is
expanding at pace, along with exports
and manufacturing. Meanwhile,
private consumption ? from clothes
to furniture and cars ? hit a nine-year
high in 2016, and increased a further
8% in the ?rst half of this year.
The economy grew 5.7% year-onyear in the second quarter of 2017, the
fastest rate in the EU, where the average growth rate was 2.4%. This was
on the back of a GDP rise of 4.8% in
2016 and 3.9% in 2015; during the same
period the UK economy grew by a
more placid 1.8% and 2.2%. According
to the International Monetary Fund,
Romania?s economy is expected to
grow by 5.5% for the whole of 2017.
The tech sector, in particular, is
expanding fast, built on a communistera legacy of excellence in science,
mathematics and technical education,
as well as strong language skills, which
have long made it a hub for IT out-
Bucharest is attractive to multinationals.
sourcing. According to industry insiders, the tech sector ?which employs
about 150,000 people ? is expected to
double its share of GDP to 12% by 2025,
aided by one of the fastest broadband
internet speeds in the world.
Elsewhere, Ford has announced
plans to hire almost 1,000 workers for
its plant in Craiova, 180km west of the
capital, adding to its current workforce
of 2,715. The automotive giant has
invested more than ?1.2bn (�1bn)
in its Romanian manufacturing
operations since 2008. Renault-owned
Dacia, a former communist stateowned giant, remains the largest company based on revenue, with a turnover
15.10.17
BUSINESS | 41
*
why has cash made a comeback?
ALTERNATIVES TO CASH
While cash represented 40% of all
payments made in Britain last year, its
usage is expected to decline to 21% of all
transactions by 2026. Beyond debit cards
and contactless payments, there are
plenty of other ways to pay:
New 12-sided pound coins. �0m
of the old coins are thought still to
be in circulation. Photograph by Aled
Llewelyn/Athena Pictures
BITCOIN Rising from obscurity but
increasingly mainstream, bitcoin is the
?rst and the biggest ?cryptocurrency?
? a tradable asset that allows people to
bypass banks and traditional payment
processes to pay for goods and services.
Unlike currencies controlled by
governments and central banks, bitcoins
are created by its network of users by
?mining? new bitcoins. Miners use vast
computing power to solve maths problems,
and are given new bitcoins as a reward.
Regulators and banks are growing
concerned about this new money: the
City watchdog has warned investors in
new cryptocurrencies should be prepared
to lose all their money; the boss of
JP Morgan, the biggest bank in the US, say
he would ?re any trader working for the
bank who invests in bitcoin; Vladimir Putin
has also warned they need regulating.
They pose huge problems for tracing
transactions and collecting taxes and
are regularly associated with money
laundering and online crime because
transactions take place anonymously.
The currency is also volatile, having
recently soared to more than $5,800
before dipping back to $5,600 on the
same day. But it is growing in popularity.
A London property company says it will
take residential rents paid in bitcoin by the
end of this year ? and another property
developer says they will accept them in
payment for apartments in Dubai.
ETHEREUM The second-largest
cryptocurrency behind bitcoin, ethereum
is also a peer-to-peer software platform
used for the development of computer
applications and transfer of contracts.
Both bitcoin and ethereum are built
using blockchain technology. This is a type
abroad or being used for illicit purposes
? from drug dealing to prostitution and
dodgy business deals. The study followed earlier research which showed at
least 11% of UK banknotes in general circulation are contaminated with cocaine.
Peter Sands, the former boss of the
Asia-focused UK bank, Standard Chartered, suggests scrapping the highest
denomination notes because they are
more likely to be used in crime. The
European Central Bank is removing
the ?500 note, which is nicknamed the
?Bin Laden? due to its association with
money laundering and terror ?nancing.
Wads of shredded ?500 notes were discovered stuffed down the sewer system
of a branch of Swiss bank UBS.
The links between notes and crime
are forcing central banks to raise their
?People who are less
well-o? use cash to
budget. If people were
struggling, you
would see a higher
demand for cash?
of �1bn in 2016. Joining the EU in
2007 clearly had an impact, while more
recent government measures have also
boosted the economy.
?The government in 2015 decided
to cut taxation for consumption,? says
Ionut Dumitru, chief economist at
Raiffeisen Bank Romania and chairman
of Romania?s ?scal council. ?They cut
VAT from 24% to 20%, and now 19%,
and extended the reduced VAT rate for
food and some other items. This was a
very strong stimulus for consumption.
?The government has also doubled
the minimum wage in four years. And
it?s not only the minimum wage that
has increased but public sector wages.?
Wages in Romania remain far below
the EU average, making it an enticing
option for outsourcing; the minimum
monthly wage is around �3 ? only
Bulgaria?s is lower within the EU.
However, lower wages have stopped
many Romanians returning home, leaving companies short of workers ? in
2016, the unemployment rate dropped
to an historic low of 5.9% compared
with an EU average of 8.6%, amid predictions it will drop to 5.4% this year.
Uncertainty over Brexit is having
an impact, with companies looking at
alternatives within the EU in case the
UK pursues an exit that restricts trade.
?We?re getting inquiries from UK
companies on a weekly basis since
the referendum,? says Shajjad Rizvi,
the director of the British Romanian
Chamber of Commerce in the northern
Victoria Cleland, BoE
ROMANIA'S GDP SURGE
Q2, 2016
Q2, 2017
5.7 5.7
4.4
3.4
1.5
0.8
Italy
1.2
1.7
France
2.3
1.7 1.7
1.9 2.1
1.7
UK
Germany
Euro area
1.9
3.1
3.0
2.4
EU
Spain
Poland
Romania
game. The Bank of England is ?ghting
financial crime with polymer notes,
which it expects will be harder to counterfeit. The new �, featuring a portrait of Jane Austen, was launched last
month, following the introduction of the
�featuring Winston Churchill earlier
this year. The Bank plans to launch a
� featuring the artist JMW Turner in
2020, while it has yet to decide whether
to introduce a new � polymer note.
And if British cash is not being hidden away in houses, it is being kept
away from the taxman. Paying a gardener, window cleaner or childminder
in cash could be depriving the British tax system of as much as �2bn,
according to official figures on the
country?s ?hidden economy? ? which
encompasses people carrying on busi-
city of Cluj, one of the largest tech centres in central and eastern Europe.
But there are also serious challenges.
Romania has long been considered
one of the most corrupt nations in the
EU. In February, the country experienced the largest protests in decades
after the government pushed through
legislation that would have effectively
decriminalised low-level corruption.
The government backed down, but has
yet to regain public trust.
Transportation infrastructure is
also poor. Romania came 128 out
of 138 countries for the quality of
its road infrastructure in the latest World Economic Forum Global
Competitiveness Report; the railway
system came in slightly better at 79.
There is also concern about the
rising de?cit. In 2016 the government
de?cit ? the gap between state income
and spending ? rose to 3% of GDP, up
from 0.8% in 2015, due to increased
spending and tax cuts.
Even so, Romania?s economy looks
set to continue to expand in the near
future. ?It?s hard to sustain more than
5% growth,? says Dumitru. ?Most
analysts are predicting closer to 4% for
next year. But even 4% will probably
be one of the highest growth rates in
Europe, so it?s not bad at all.?
The M-Pesa phone transfer system has been a big success in Africa. Getty
of decentralised digital ledger of encoded
information, which exists on a network
and cannot be controlled by one of the
machines plugged into it alone.
DIGITAL WALLET The rise of online
shopping has led to the development of
digital wallets, which are online places
to park money outside the traditional
banking system. Paypal was an early
version of this type of tool, most popularly
used in conjunction with shopping on eBay.
However, digital wallets can be used for
spending elsewhere ? online and o?ine.
TOTNES POUND A far more basic idea:
the Devonshire town of Totnes, together
with several other places in Britain such
as Bristol and Brixton, has introduced local
currencies. Part of the Transition Town
movement, the currency is designed to
keep money within the local economy for
the bene?t of the local community, small
businesses and customers.
APPLE PAY AND ANDROID PAY Apple
and Google both operate contactless
payment systems via their smartphones.
They are in e?ect digital wallets, allowing
consumers to connect their traditional
bank accounts to the payment system.
While both allow consumers to make
contactless payments of up to � using
their mobile phones, they also enable
payments online.
M-PESA Launched by Vodafone?s
Kenyan associate, Safaricom, in March
2007, M-Pesa is a mobile phone-based
money transfer system. It is hugely
successful in Kenya and growing fast in
other countries ? including Afghanistan,
Egypt, Albania and Tanzania -where
access to traditional banking services
can be limited. The service, now live in
10 countries, enables users to deposit
money into an account stored on a
mobile phone, as well as to send money
to others and make payments and
withdrawals. It also cuts street crime
and corruption. RP
ness without telling HM Revenue and
Customs. It?s the biggest behavioural
aspect behind unpaid taxes, which total
as much as �bn, or 6.5% of theoretical total tax liabilities.
Attempts to tackle the problem
elsewhere have not impressed. India
scrapped some higher denomination
bills overnight last year, to try to catch
criminals and tax evaders off guard. The
move is thought to have damaged GDP
growth, while underlining how some
financial practices are so hard-wired
into an economy that trying to remove
them immediately can cause harm.
It is possible that signs of overheating
in the UK economy ? record low unemployment and rising inflation ? could
deliver the answer instead by triggering
an increase in Britain?s anaemic bor-
rowing costs. The record low interest
rate of 0.25% means savers are offered
lousy rewards by high street banks for
depositing money in accounts. The average monthly interest paid on an instant
access account including bonuses was
0.14% in September. Having sounded
warnings in recent months that the
economy might be due a rate increase,
Threadneedle Street may increase the
cost of borrowing for the ?rst time in a
decade from as early as November.
Cleland estimates a 1% increase in
rates would reduce cash demand by 2%,
with the clearest effects seen by the �
and � notes. ?If you saw a signi?cant
change, that might alter behaviour and
you think about the bene?ts of having
money under the bed rather than in the
bank,? she said.
42 | BUSINESS
*
Analysis
15.10.17
Corbyn has a Washington ally over raising
taxes on the rich. But no, it?s not Trump
Climate change
plan demands
bold action, not
just ?ne words
BUSINESS LEADER
L
T
he International Monetary
Fund has been on quite a journey from the days when it was
seen as the provisional wing
of the Washington consensus.
These days the IMF is less
likely to harp on about the joys of liberalised capital ?ows than it is to warn of the
dangers of ever-greater inequality.
The fund?s latest foray into the
realms of progressive economics came
last week when it used its half-yearly
?scal monitor ? normally a dry-asdust publication ? to make the case for
higher taxes on the super-rich.
Make no mistake, this is a signi?cant
moment. For almost 40 years, since
the arrival of Margaret Thatcher in
Downing Street and Ronald Reagan
in the White House, the economic
orthodoxy on taxation has been that
higher taxes for the 1% are selfdefeating. Soaking the rich, it was said,
would punish initiative and lead to
lower levels of innovation, investment,
growth and, therefore, reduced
revenue for the state.
As the Conservative party
conference showed, this line of
argument is still popular. Minister after
minister took to the stage to warn that
Jeremy Corbyn?s tax plans would lead
to a 1970s-style brain drain.
The IMF agrees that a return to
the income tax levels seen in Britain
during the 1970s would have an impact
on growth. But that was when the
top rate was 83%, and Corbyn?s plans
are far more modest. Indeed, it is a
sign of how difficult it has become
to have a grown-up debate about tax
that Labour?s call for a 50% tax band
on those earning more than �3,000
and 45% for those earning more than
�,000 should be seen as con?scatory.
The IMF?s analysis does something
to redress the balance, making two
important points. First, it says that tax
systems should have become more
progressive in recent years in order to
help offset growing inequality, but have
actually become less so.
Second, it ?nds no evidence for the
argument that attempts to make the
The IMF?s analysis finds no evidence that cutting tax for the top 1% boosts the rest of the economy. Getty
rich pay more tax would lead to lower
growth. There is nothing especially
surprising about either of the IMF?s
conclusions: in fact, the real surprise is
that it has taken so long for the penny
to drop.
Growth rates have not picked up as
taxes have been cut for the top 1%. On
the contrary, they are much weaker
than they were in the immediate
postwar decades, when the rich
could expect to pay at least half their
incomes ? and often substantially more
than half ? to the taxman. If trickledown theory worked, there would be
a strong correlation between growth
and countries with low marginal tax
rates for the rich. There is no such
correlation and, as the IMF rightly
concludes, ?there would appear to be
scope for increasing the progressivity
of income taxation without
signi?cantly hurting growth for
countries wishing to enhance income
redistribution?.
With a nod to the work of the French
economist Thomas Piketty, the ?scal
monitor also says that countries should
consider wealth taxes for the rich, to be
levied on land and property.
The IMF?s ?ndings on tax provide
ample and welcome political cover
for Corbyn and John McDonnell,
the shadow chancellor, as they seek
to convince voters that Labour?s tax
plans are not just equitable but also
economically workable. By contrast,
the study challenges President Donald
Trump to rethink tax plans that would
give an average tax cut of more than
$200,000 a year for someone earning
more than $900,000. The response
from the US administration was
predictable: mind your own business.
The IMF is not naive. It knows
it is one thing to make the case for
higher taxes on the rich but another
altogether to get governments to
implement them, because better-off
individuals have more political clout.
The argument that what is good for
the super-rich is good for the rest of us
has been demolished, but don?t expect
the top 1% to give up without a ?ght.
Redknapp is a fan but cryptocurrency could miss target
C
lassic descriptions of ?nancial bubbles usually describe
the ?nal pre-pop stage as the
moment when the general
public is attracted by the whiff of easy
money. In the 21st century, we should
not be surprised that social media and
celebrity are also part of the story.
That is the context in which to view
a tweet by football manager Harry
Redknapp, which grabbed attention last
week. ?Proper excited about Mobile
Cryptocurrency! I?m in, get involved!?
Redknapp might have read the cryptocurrency warning from the Financial
Conduct Authority that any investor
backing an initial coin offering should
be ready to lose the whole investment.
But it seems equally possible that
the 750% surge in the past year in the
value in bitcoin, the original cryptocurrency, has provoked a mania that feeds
off itself. Electroneum, the venture that
excites Redknapp, reported that four
Premier League footballers had got in
touch within hours of Harry?s tweet.
Oh dear.
ooking at Theresa May?s energy
price cap for the answer to
reining in your electricity and gas
bills? Then you were watching
the wrong government announcement
last week.
The solution to making energy
affordable lies not in the draft legislation for the cap, which is a short-term
stopgap that will do nothing to make
prices fairer in the long term, but in a
climate change masterplan launched
by ministers at the Olympic Park in
London. While the clean growth strategy is short on detail for a 164-page
tome, it should be praised for putting
energy efficiency front and centre.
The plan?s bright idea is an aspiration to bring all homes in England and
Wales up to a minimum of energy band
C, by ?tting new boilers, insulation
and more efficient appliances. The
potential savings on bills are enormous.
Someone in an E-rated home would
save �0 a year if it was overhauled to
a C-rating. What?s missing are the sort
of bold measures to make the aspiration a reality.
There are good reasons that people
don?t both with insulation. ?For some,
upfront costs and hassle can be high.
The payback period from lower energy
bills can be longer than the time people
expect to stay in their home,? the
National Infrastructure Commission
said this week.
As the commission pointed out, the
market hasn?t delivered: so government intervention is needed. Ministers?
last attempt to kickstart improvements
was a disaster. More radical policies are
required ? and fortunately there is no
shortage of ideas.
Lower stamp duty for energy-efficient homes, discounts on council tax
and allowing people to take out bigger
mortgages on greener homes (an idea
that government is exploring) have
all been mooted. Such steps are a big
ask because they would require the
Treasury?s buy-in.
But the imperative for upgrading
Britain?s leaky, draughty housing stock
has never been greater ? not just for
our wallets, but for the planet too.
Monarch crisis leaves yet another pension fund up in the air
ECONOMICS
Phillip
Inman
P
ensions are the tail wagging the
economic dog ? sometimes in
the strangest ways. Take the
high-pro?le collapse at Monarch
Airlines. It?s a sorry story of corporate
raiders facing accusations of assetstripping one of the country?s largest
holiday airline businesses and leaving
taxpayers to pick up the tab. The once
strong, if slightly dated, brand was
taken over by private equity ?nanciers
to try to make it into another Ryanair.
When that failed, it appears the owners could still walk away with a pro?t,
following a sophisticated offloading of
the debts, including the ailing pension fund ? once a major creditor to
the business. The fund, which is in the
state-sponsored Pension Protection
Fund (PPF), may have been left short
when it ?rst collapsed in 2014.
The Labour MP Frank Field, the
indomitable head of the work and pensions select committee, has called for
an investigation. His judgment is ?nely
tuned after his battle with Sir Philip
Green and the businessman Dominic
Chappell, who bought BHS from Green
before its collapse.
Years of asset-stripping had left
BHS with its shelves stacked high with
clothes no one wanted to wear, and
ditching the pension fund was one of
the main methods of saving cash from
the wreckage. For its part, Monarch?s
owner, Greybull Capital, said it had
been talking to the PPF since 2014 and
had not taken out loan repayments,
dividends or interest in the past three
years. Furthermore, Greybull said
it expected a �5m loan note from
Monarch to the PPF to be repaid in full.
But the PPF is creaking under the
weight of ?nal-salary schemes that
have discovered their sponsoring companies can, for whatever reason, no
longer support them. Today UK ?nalsalary pension schemes have �6tn
of liabilities and a �4bn de?cit.
Worryingly, the de?cits of the worstaffected schemes are only getting into
deeper trouble.
So what could be better than to ?nd
a way to offload a debilitating pensions de?cit into a fund that was set
up by the government, that is osten-
sibly independent and funded by the
remaining ?good? employers, but will
most likely fall into the taxpayer?s lap
some time in the future, limiting complaints from retirees?
In the world of unintended consequences, another problem is that
companies freed from their pension
de?cit are more attractive to corporate ?nanciers. It could be argued that
one of the chief defence mechanisms
against corporate raiders over the past
15 years, in the absence of any protection from government, has been the
deterrent effect of pension de?cits.
Why would a buyer want a juicy
business when to bite into its balance
sheet is to hit the sour taste of its heavily indebted retirement fund? That has
almost certainly been a key factor in
keeping British Telecom, Unilever and
Marks & Spencer from being snapped
up by a foreign rival. Likewise all our
best engineering ?rms, most of them
What could be better
than to o?oad a
pensions de?cit into
a fund set up by
the government?
founded 50 or 60 years ago and with
big fat pension de?cits, have been safeguarded by their whopping liabilities.
But this is an isolated example of the
good that a pension fund does for the
long-term health of the economy. For
example, most strikes since the crash
of 2008 have not been about the failure
of employers to pay a decent wage or
the shift to a casualised workforce, as
exempli?ed by the rise of zero-hours
contracts. Most have been organised by
shop stewards in their 50s and an ageing, unionised workforce in an effort to
save their pensions.
Never mind that the entitlements
awarded more than 40 or 50 years
ago and gold-plated by a naive Major
government in the 1995 Pensions Act
are unaffordably generous.
The Communication Workers Union
said that its planned strike action at
Royal Mail ?was sparked by the company?s attack on the pension rights of
hard-working postmen and women?
before going on to say it was also about
pay, working hours, job security and
?growing the service?.
It?s easy to sympathise with Royal
Mail workers when their business has
been asset-stripped by the government
for decades before privatisation, and
managers have feathered their nests
before asking the shop ?oor for sacri-
?ces. But huge amounts of energy are
being spent by both sides ?ghting over
pensions when they could have been
saving the postal service.
The pension fund gap also provides
an answer, at least in part, to the productivity puzzle and why companies
have invested so little in equipment
and processes since 2008.
Another reason for the lack of
investment is the demand from shareholders to ?ll their boots. And who
are the shareholders? Yes, it?s those
de?cit-riddled pension funds that have
increasingly forced companies to pay
monster dividends or fund huge share
buybacks before they even think about
funding new equipment so UK workers
can compete with the best in the world.
It?s true that UK pension funds have
in recent years diverted away from
the London stock market in favour
of foreign stock and bond markets.
However, they remain a force, and one
that promotes short-termism over
long-term investment.
The conclusion must be that
Britain?s occupational pensions should
all be tipped into the PPF in exchange
for some state protection from foreign
takeovers. Then business leaders might
usefully deploy some of their revenues
for investment and not just to ?ll baby
boomers? retirement funds.
15.10.17
*
Media
Catalan dreams
were incubated in
a media cocoon
PRESS AND
BROADCASTING
Peter
Preston
W
e know what happens ?rst when
coup leaders strike.
They take control
of the state TV and
radio station. We
know what the SNP would have done
if they?d won their referendum. Set up
a Scottish Broadcasting Corporation
on the grave of the BBC. So here?s one
additional factor to note after Spain?s
tumultuous爓eek.
Catalonia has had its own television
and radio services since 1983, delivering Catalan-only language programmes
and ? guess what? ? paid for by the
same government that declared quasi
independence a few days ago.
Bias comes naturally, perhaps inevitably, in the reporting of poor anti-separatist demonstrations, in the constant
?ashbacks to civil guard police wielding batons and throughout the hours of
political discussion. Two regular participants in those discussions ? voices
against independence, hired in the
supposed name of fairness and balance
? wrote an article for El燩a韘 the other
day, explaining why they wouldn?t be
appearing any longer.
?The official thesis in Catalonia is
that this is a natural, essentially good
nation that for at least three centuries
has been living in a situation of unsustainable colonial oppression within an
arti?cial, per?dious Spain, from which
we must escape,? Joan L髉ez Alegre
and Nacho Mart韓 Blanco declared.
?But when reality is reduced to a
single theme, secession? then the
presence of a single voice opposed to
the thesis of the talk ? facing three or
four participants plus to the moderator
? only serves to project the idea that it
is a minority position, even a marginal
one in Catalan society. Goodbye. We?ve
been ?useful fools? too long.?
Their argument can be pursued in
two ways. One, ?lled with the emotion
that surrounds the independence vote;
the other more re?ectively. Let?s take
the high road.
Language is a wild card when you
try to de?ne nationhood. The areas of
inland Catalonia most committed to
independence are also the likeliest to
use Catalan as their ?rst, and sometimes only language. They depend on
TV3 and its four sister channels for
their news, soaps and drama series, and
rely on Catalan radio. The algorithms
of their social media follow the same
route. And the picture they?ve drawn
for all of this is often at odds with the
complexities you ?nd in Barcelona.
They have lived in a media cocoon
of settled opinion, convinced that the
EU will welcome their new nation into
its midst, that the economic outlook is
untroubled, that ?taking control? will
solve all problems. Passion becomes
ingrained. No need to draw parallel
conclusions closer to home, but this
mingling of fact and conviction crosses
many borders. If you can make the
rest of the world go away, then doubt
becomes a stranger.
No one watching Spanish TV
through this crisis should pretend that
it?s not had its own biases. Nor should
anyone believe that the BBC, charting
its lugubrious, legally mandated way
through the thickets of bias, can ever
achieve consensual calm.
The more open the windows, the
easier it is to breathe. Scotland?s own
cocoon of devolution has weakened
because SNP and now Tory success ? as
represented in parliament ? make the
national picture more relevant again.
Brexit, too, is gradually opening eyes
and horizons. But the language factor
comes with an added twist. How did
Catalonia wander so close to the edge
of a cliff ? Because ? on screen, on the
airwaves, in print ? there was no real
debate. Because (think Fox News) the
semblance of real debate was quite
enough, thank you. Think of the little
boxes of diversity; then think adversity.
BUSINESS | 43
Charlotte Moore,
currently head
of BBC content.
Photograph by
Graham Turner
for the Observer
Harding?s exit puts Moore in front for next BBC boss
O
f course, it is entirely possible
that James Harding had no
ambitions to become director general of the BBC, that
the allure of heading his own, as yet
unde?ned, news startup company was
overwhelming. But let?s not get carried
away. Tony Hall, a former BBC head of
news, was summoned back from the
Royal Opera House to run the corporation in crisis. He was already Lord燞
of Birkenhead, his distinguished
career running towards retirement.
He was summoned back, in extremis,
to save a sinking ship and secure a new
Royal燙harter.
That job was done last year. Hall is
66. Perhaps, in true May mode, he?ll go
on and on, as the briefers say; neverthe-
less, he?s on the ?nal lap of his tenure.
But who comes next? There were
three obvious contenders: Charlotte
Moore, head of content (which intrinsically means BBC1 and 2); James Purnell,
head of radio and education; and James
Harding. And perhaps you?d put Anne
Bulford, deputy DG, and Tim Davie,
head of Worldwide, on a secondary list.
See, though, how quickly the possibilities shrink. Purnell is a former
Labour cabinet minister. Cue Westminster thunder. Davie was acting DG
?ve years ago. Why come back to him
now? Bulford is a superb accountant
and ?nance director, not a programmemaker. James Harding has gone.
Surely he knew he was out of the
running. Surely, too, the sheer weight of
Studied silence on sleazy Weinstein
A
pplause for the New York
Times, the New Yorker and for
a sudden ?ood of witnesses
putting Harvey Weinstein out
of seedy, personal business. But Ryan
Holiday in the New York Observer asks
a cruel question. ?How did the collective press ? the Hollywood, media, gossip, and business journalists who follow
every move of these power players as
part of their job ? miss out so badly??
His answer: they didn?t, they were
just ?too cowardly? to print it, with
examples of studied silence going back
to 2000 and 2004, never mind NBC this
year. What he doesn?t quite say ? the
Jimmy Savile memorial lecture ? is that
10, 20 or 30 years makes a huge difference to what society will tolerate in the
momentum of exposure. Nothing to be
proud of. But that was then, and this
outbreak of revulsion is now.
admin was weighing him down. Harding, remember, left the top chair at the
Times rather abruptly because Rupert
Murdoch didn?t like his management
style, including salary and headcount
in?ation (pure pot and kettle joy).
Is he now being held responsible for
the shambles of top pay and the toil and
trouble involved in sorting it out? Does
his search for a ?different kind of news?
mean something smaller and more
manageable, where he doesn?t have to
spend long days smoothing over hurt
feelings or playing company PR?
We?ll see. Meanwhile nip down
to Paddy Power and put a few bob
on DG燤oore, a splendidly talented
woman in what?s rapidly becoming a
woman?s world.
Think of an edited account of
press coverage like the Week. It?s
a magazine and subject to all the
regulation that goes with that status.
Then think of Google News or any
Facebook news coverage you care to
name. They?re ?platforms?, not publications, or so the tech giants claim.
It?s becoming a difference without a
meaning (as the chair of Ofcom told
MPs last week). Regulation on an
equal footing is becoming inevitable.
46 | CASH
*
Personal ?nance
15.10.17
Gap year guide:
canny ways
to satisfy your
wanderlust and
stay quids in
Careful planning and hard work can result in a
great life experience that bolsters your CV
while paying its own way, writes Harvey Jones
T
aking a gap year either side of
university may be the adventure of a lifetime, but you
don?t want it to plunge you
into a lifetime of debt. With a
bit of hard work and careful
planning you gain a great experience
that will shore up your CV while paying
your own way ? or at least part of it.
The average gap year costs about
�000, according to research from
Charter Savings Bank, which also
found that one in three ?gappers?
plan to raise the necessary funds by
working爓hile they are away. Europe is
the top destination, attracting 48% of
travellers under 25, with 17% going to
Australia and New Zealand.
So how can you do it?
Work abroad ? eventually
Unless you can dip into the Bank of
Mum and Dad, you will need a UK job
to earn enough to fund the upfront
elements of your trip, including ?ights,
visas and any volunteering project fees.
Andreas Kornevall, co-founder of
WorkingAbroad.com, says this will give
you practical experience in working
and budgeting, but he adds that you
don?t need to save heaps of money to
begin with. ?You might not need as
much as you think. For example, you
could live in Ecuador for three months
on �500, plus return ?ights.?
Britons are free to work across the
EU ? which could change after Brexit
? but need working visas for most
other countries. ?You cannot turn up
on a tourist visa and start searching for
work, so look for a speci?c overseas
programme,? Kornevall says.
The best volunteering options
You can apply for volunteering through
schemes such as Voluntary Service
Overseas or the British Council.
Alternatively, try privately run volunteering and internship organisations
such as WorkingAbroad, Bunac, GVI,
Year Out Group, OysterWorldwide.
com or Gap360.com, which have
projects across Asia, Africa, Australasia
and South America. Animal care,
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It?s best to earn some money at home to pay for flights and visas and any fees before you jet off to more exotic places. Alamy
conservation, social and youth work,
sports coaching, medicine, the arts and
teaching are just some of your options.
Kornevall says that in effect you
work for free and pay for bed and
board. ?Make sure you learn relevant
skills rather than simply picking
grapes. If you are interested in becoming a marine biologist or working on a
wildlife reserve, try volunteering ?rst.?
Stefan Wathan, chief executive of
the Year Out Group, says structured
experiences are cheaper the longer
you go for. ?You can pay between �0
and �0 for a week, between �000
and �000 for four to six weeks, while
three to 12 months would cost from
�000-�000.?
The best paying overseas jobs
For those who want to ?nd paying
work while away, Australia, New
Zealand, Canada, Thailand and China
offer some of the best opportunities.
David Stitt, managing director of
Gap360, says Australian working
holidays are popular. ?You can get a
working holiday visa for up to two
years provided you work on a farm
at some point for three months. New
Zealand also offers working holiday
visas though the money isn?t as good.?
Canada issues a limited number of
working holiday visas each year that
tend to be massively oversubscribed.
Stitt says getting paid work in the US
is hard. ?You need someone to sponsor
your visa and it isn?t easy.?
Roger Salwey, director of Oyster
Worldwide, says teaching English in
Thailand is popular, though you need
to be a graduate. ?You also need a minimum four-week Te? course, but can
earn a good wage by local standards.?
You can earn from �500 a month
?You cannot turn up
on a tourist visa and
start searching for
work, so look for a
speci?c programme?
Andreas Kornevall
teaching English in Chinese cities such
as Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen, but
must be a graduate with Te? training.
Other paid options include working
as a ski or snowboard guide in the
Alps, a windsur?ng instructor in the
Mediterranean, working on cruise
ships or even as a house or pet sitter.
Check out jobsabroadbulletin.co.uk,
seasonworkers.com and goabroad.com.
Alternatively, you could take a year
out working in the UK either before or
after university and get paid for it. The
Year in Industry gap year scheme run
by the Engineering Development Trust
helps students ?nd a paid placement,
typically for a year.
Salwey says your gap year will
teach you life skills and help you in job
interviews. ?Given the amount of debt
students now graduate with, another
�000 could be a good investment.?
Experts warn against taking out a
loan to fund your trip, while funding it
on a credit card is also risky.
A going-away checklist
You have to plan ahead carefully to
make sure your gap year dream does
not end in a ?nancial nightmare.
? Only go on ?ights and packages with
Atol or Abta protection.
? Book your ?ight and other advance
tickets with a credit card to bene?t
from protection under section 75 of the
Consumer Credit Act.
? Sort out proper gap year travel
insurance. ?Backpacker insurance
for a year abroad may cost less than
50p a day and provide � of medical
expenses cover plus personal liability
and baggage and belongings,? says Matt
Sanders at GoCompare. You should
research gap year policies on comparison sites such as Travelsupermarket.
com, Gocompare.com, and Money.
co.uk, or try student insurer Endsleigh.
? Annual multi-trip travel insurance
is not suitable for a gap year. Most of
these policies set a single trip maximum of just 30 days, says Sanders. ?If
you plan to work, or do adventurous activities such as scuba diving or
whitewater rafting, make sure the
policy covers you,? he says. Also check
whether items such as smartphones
and tablets are covered, as many policies set a maximum of �0 or less for
single items or may not cover them.
? Check all expiry dates before leaving, such as credit cards and passport.
? Get the right card for spending
abroad. Most conventional bank cards
apply extra charges for overseas use,
which can add up to 3% on everything you buy. The Creation Everyday,
Santander Zero and Halifax Clarity
cards have no foreign use charges
anywhere in the world, including
cash withdrawals. Always tell your
bank you are travelling because if it
suddenly spots transactions in exotic
destinations it may block your card as a
precaution against fraud.
? Consider loading money on to a
prepaid travel money card. You can
check your balance online and family
members can top it up if you are running low on cash.
TAKING A LEAP OF FAITH
Adam Wiltshire has shown it is possible to
take a year out without plunging yourself
into a world of debt.
Adam, now 31, took a gap year in
autumn 2005 before starting his degree in
economics and politics at the University of
She?eld. ?Knowing I had a degree lined up
gave me the con?dence to do it.?
He earned enough from his bar job
in a local golf club to fund three months?
travel through China, Tibet, Hong Kong,
Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and Bali,
followed by Christmas in Australia and
?nally New Zealand.
Crucially, Adam and his travel buddy
Andy Gill had earned enough to pay for
their ?ights back from New Zealand ?
Adam at work high above Auckland.
essential to secure a working holiday visa.
Adam found bar work in Auckland and
also got a job for a base jumping operation,
where his interview involved jumping 192
metres o? the Sky Tower. ?I ended up
jumping 201 times o? that tower to show
customers what it was like.?
Adam worked for about �an hour in
his bar job, but it was fun and with few
outgoings he and Andy raised enough to
drive around New Zealand for a month,
then spend two weeks in the Cook Islands.
Adam, who now works in digital
marketing, recommends having a positive
attitude and going for long enough to get
a job. ?Get your paperwork in order and
be charming and persistent. Work where
there is better money and travel for longer
in cheaper locations.?
Harvey Jones
15.10.17
*
MORTGAGES
Anna Tims
Endsleigh made
me pay after a
car next to mine
burst into ?ames
I am a 20-year-old student in
Aberdeen and have lost my no-claims
bonus, paid an excess of �0 and
face an increased premium on my car
insurance, through no fault of my own.
One night last December a car
parked near mine burst into ?ames.
My car suffered scorch marks and a
few small light ?ttings were melted.
My insurer, Endsleigh, paid promptly
to have the paintwork repaired but
was uninterested in reclaiming the
cost from the insurer of the burntout car. Endsleigh only contacted
the insurer six months later when I
pressured them, and it wasn?t until
August that they managed to obtain
incident reports. These, apparently,
failed to identify the cause of the ?re.
Since the other owner was not
at fault, their insurer refuses to
reimburse Endsleigh. Parked cars
do not combust in the middle of the
night for no reason, and there was
suggestion of a manufacturing defect.
Endsleigh, however, has not contacted
the manufacturer to see if it was a
known fault. I am not well-off ? I
only have a car because I was given
it by my grandfather, and I don?t see
why I should bear the loss. Endsleigh
is the insurer recommended by the
National Union of Students, but has
no interest in helping a student in this
predicament ? and took eight months
to tell me it intends to do nothing.
IF, Edinburgh
CASH | 47
Personal
Your problems
?nance
Given the repairs only amounted
to about �0, it was cheaper for
Endsleigh to absorb the cost and raise
your premium than to start a lengthy
investigation. It now admits that its
delays have caused you ?trouble and
inconvenience?, and acknowledges
that it only started making enquiries
after you asked it to. ?On being
contacted by the customer we made
the relevant investigations and, in
this case, were unable to de?nitively
prove that any other party had acted
negligently, so the other insurance
company involved rightly refused our
claim,? it says.
In view of the eight months you
had to wait for an answer ? or, rather,
the publicity about its tardiness ? it is
now proposing to refund you the �0
excess, restore your no-claims bonus
and reduce your policy premiums to
the pre-claim level.
Photobucket?s hosting charge
holds web users to ransom
For the past 10 years I?ve been
using the photo-sharing website
Photobucket to host the pictures
featured on my three blogs. In June,
Photobucket deleted all the photos
and said that I (and millions of other
users) would have to pay $400 (�2)
a year to ?release? them. I?d happily pay a reasonable sum, but this is
extortionate. One solution would be
to download my photo library, but
Photobucket has said a bug makes it
impossible for users to do so (other
than at the laborious rate of one picture at a time). I?m not out of pocket,
but the blogs represent 10 years? work.
KM, London
Photobucket, which claims to have
100 million users, allows photos
uploaded on to its site to be embedded
on multiple third-party websites.
Until this summer its service used by
thousands of Amazon and eBay sellers
was free, funded only by advertising
revenue. The US-based company says
it informed users by email 30 days
before the new charge kicked in, but
you ? along with other customers who
have taken to social media ? insist you
received no such warning.
In June, the company posted a brief
note on its website advising users to
read its updated terms and conditions,
and only those who had read through
the ?rst 500 words of small print
would have encountered a paragraph
about fees. As a result of the change,
photos across Amazon and other
websites were replaced by graphics
stating that the Photobucket account
needed to be updated, and many
bloggers like you complain that years
of work have been held to ransom.
Photobucket says that while none
of your photos will appear on your
websites until you pay up, you can still
access your archives and take them
elsewhere. Yet its customer services
admitted to you in August that a
known technical issue was obstructing
downloads. Customers have understandably complained that the charge
is steep and that it has affected photos
embedded in good faith over 14 years
instead of only future uploads.
Photobucket is entitled to charge
for its service if it wants to, but it has
not handled this well. From now on, be
wary of committing your life?s work to
a free hosting service.
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.
Rate %
Term
Max
LTV %
Fee �
Contact
?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
Post O?ce Money
?xed
1.27
30/11/2019
85
995
0800 077 8033
Sainsbury?s Bank
?xed
1.59
31/12/2022
60
745
0345 111 8010
Sainsbury?s Bank
?xed
1.69
31/12/2022
75
745
0345 111 8010
AA
?xed
2.03
30/11/2022
85
995
0800 169 6010
Yorkshire Building Society
?xed
3.30
30/11/2019
95
995
0345 120 0874
HSBC
bbr tracker plus 0.74%
0.99
2 years
60
999
0800 030 4640
HSBC
bbr tracker plus 0.84%
1.09
2 years
75
999
0800 030 4640
HSBC
bbr tracker plus 0.99%
1.24
2 years
85
999
0800 030 4640
Barclays
o?set bbr tracker plus 1.34%
1.59
2 years
75
999
0845 070 5090
Yorkshire Building Society
o?set ?xed
1.33
30/11/2019
75
995
0345 120 0874
Lender
Type
Hanley Economic Building Society
SAVINGS
Provider
Account
NatWest
Savings Builder
Min �
Gross
AER %
1
1.50
1.50 and
0
�per
month
100
1.30
Santander
123 Current Account
RCI Bank
Freedom Savings Account
Bank of Cyprus
Online Easy Access Account
Paragon
Kent Reliance
Charter Savings Bank
1 Year Fixed Rate Deposit
Harrods Bank Ltd
NS&I
2 Year Fixed Rate Deposit 21
3 Year Investment Guaranteed
Growth Bond
Vanquis Bank
Notice Notes
Contact
easy access BATI
0800 255 200
easy access AICD
0800 218 2352
easy access
I
rcibank.co.uk
BI
bankofcyprus.co.uk
paragonbank.co.uk
1
1.28
easy access
120 Day Notice Account (7)
500
1.45
120 days notice
I
Regular Savings Account 3
25
3
easy access
AR
0345 122 0022
1,000
1.77
1 year
IF
chartersavings
bank.co.uk
020 7332 4250
20,000
2.05
2 years APIF
100
2.20
3 years
IF
nsandi.com
4 Year Savings Bond
1,000
2.35
4 years
IF
vanquis
savings.co.uk
Paragon
5 Year Fixed Rate
1,000
2.45
5 years
IF
paragonbank.co.uk
Post O?ce Money
Online Isa (Easy Access 11)
100
1.07
easy access
I
posto?ce.co.uk
Charter Savings Bank
2 Year Fixed Rate Cash Isa
1,000
1.65
2 years
IF
chartersavings
bank.co.uk
NS&I
Direct Isa
1
0.75
easy access
TI
nsandi.com
NS&I
Income Bond
500
0.75
PTI
0500 500 000
NS&I
Junior Isa
1
2
easy access
No withdrawal
until 18 years
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
Transfer
fee %
Repr
APR
Cashback
Contact
Purchase
na
18.9
na
sainsburysbank.co.uk
30 months
Purchase
na
18.9
na
tescobank.com
39 months
Balance
transfer
Balance
transfer
0
21.7
na
santander.co.uk
Provider card name
0% O?ers
Type
Sainsbury?s Bank Nectar
32 months
Tesco Bank Clubcard
Santander All in One
MBNA Platinum
39 months
1.99
19.9
mbna.co.uk
American Express Platinum None
Cashback
na
28.2
americanexpress.com
American Express
Platinum Everyday
Cashback
na
None
na
1% standard
plus intro
bonus
0.5% standard
22.9
plus intro
bonus
americanexpress.com
Table compiled 13/10/17. In case of late changes, always check rates and terms before transacting.
All above ?gures from ?nancial information business Defaqto (defaqto.com)
15.10.17
48 | TRAVEL
Five of the best Alternative things to do in Cambridge
1. Drink
Thirsty
1
4
?Essentially, it?s an off-licence with a
bit of seating,? says Alex Rushmer, the
Cambridge-based chef and 2010 Masterchef ?nalist. ?The co-owner, Sam
Owens, right, has a four-tap growler
system for re?lls of UK craft beers and
an amazing selection of small-producer
wines. There?s a different food truck
at Thirsty every night, and Sam also
runs a beer garden, Thirsty Riverside
at Cambridge Museum of Technology,
where there?s loads going on from DJs
to open-air cinema.?
wearethirsty.co.uk
2. Culture
Cambridge Arts Theatre
We may be approaching panto season
but it?s worth examining this theatre?s
listings because it still offers plenty of
intellectually provocative stuff, be it
David Starkey?s forthcoming Henry
VIII: The First Brexiteer? (12 November) or People, Places and Things (21-25
November), acclaimed in its run at the
National Theatre. Also in Cambridge,
look out for In Situ, a group that specialises in taking cutting-edge performances out of the theatre and into
unusual spaces.
cambridgeartstheatre.com
3. Music
The Portland Arms
?Legendary in Cambridge,? declares
Harry Sword, who writes about music
for the Quietus and Vice. ?It?s a traditional pub that has kept its regulars but
it?s also a successful venue and supportive of everything from folk and indie or
live hip-hop to weird electronic stuff.?
It has been this way for decades, too,
TRAVEL CLASSIFIED
although the days when the separate
rear space was ?small and sweaty, a bit
stuck together with gaffer-tape? are
gone. In 2012, it was modernised and
extended to a 200-capacity venue.
theportlandarms.co.uk
4. Nightlife
Cambridge Junction
In the mid 1980s, the police closed a
squatted venue in Cambridge, which
led to a mass protest by the city?s bored
youth. A panicked council backed the
launch of a new venue: Cambridge
Junction, which was opened on Valentine?s Day 1990 by John Peel. Today,
this social enterprise comprises three
venues that cover all bases in music,
dance, theatre, spoken word and comedy. The Junction is a favourite, says
music promoter Simon Baker, with big
acts looking for somewhere to warm up
before large tours.
junction.co.uk
2
5
3
5. Food
Aromi
?This place does a really good slice of
Sicilian-style pizza, which is thicker
then some and slightly spongy, almost
like topped focaccia ? and the toppings
are very generous,? says Rushmer. ?It?s
my on-the-run snack option. There
are three shops around Cambridge, so
you?re never far from good pizza.?
aromi.co.uk
Tony Naylor
To see the full alt guide to
Cambridge, and thousands of top
10 lists on everything from the
world?s best restaurants and
hotels to walks and beaches, visit
theguardian.com/travel
15.10.17
OBSERVER CLASSIFIED| 49
15.10.17
9AM TODAY
*
1004
(29.65)
3PM TODAY
1000
(29.53)
1000
(29.53)
SIX-DAY FORECAST
Mon
17
18
Orkney
14
(57F)
MODERATE
13
1008
(29.77)
(55F)
MODERATE
1008
(29.77)
1004
(29.65)
14
28
Glasgow
MODERATE
17
19
(58F)
(62F)
18
Edinburgh
Glasgow
MODERATE
14
15
(56F)
(60F)
14
16
MODERATE
Newcastle
(57F)
18
Edinburgh
MODERATE
Newcastle
(60F)
Belfast
Belfast
14
20
(58F) Hull
SLIGHT
Dublin
Manchester
(65F)
Norwich
Norwich
Birmingham
Birmingham
14
(57F)
22
Cardi?
Gloucester
Bristol
19
1020
(30.12)
16
(66F)
21
1012
(29.88)
Gloucester
Bristol
London
14
Cardi?
(61F)
HEAVY
20
(68F)
London
HEAVY
Brighton
17
Plymouth
(56F)
Brighton
Plymouth
(63F)
17
SLIGHT
1016
(30.00)
SLIGHT
1012
(29.88)
14
1016
(30.00)
UK TODAY
2
COLD
WARM
Reykjavik
1000
(29.53)
OCCLUDED FRONT
1000
L
(29.53)
Helsinki
Stockholm
Berlin
H
1024
(30.24)
Rome
H
Athens
992 L
(29.29)
1008
1000
(29.77)
(29.53)
10
5
11
12
14
15
16
SOLUTION NO. 1,149
17
18
19
21
ACROSS
1 Prophetess (9)
8 Drive out (5)
9 Graceful (7)
10 Buried waste (8)
11 Burden (4)
13 Environment (6)
14 Passionate (6)
16 Flying saucers? (4)
17 Particular (8)
19 Escapologist (7)
20 Pass-out (5)
21 Beach vehicle (4,5)
Belgrade
Madrid
4
20
12 Fair
13 Rain
12 Rain
13 Cloudy
Birmingham 22 Storms
16 Fair
15 Rain
15 Rain
14 Rain
15 Fair
Bristol
19 Storms
15 Fair
14 Showers 14 Rain
13 Rain
18 Fair
Cardiff
20 Storms
16 Fair
15 Rain
15 Rain
15 Fair
Edinburgh
15 Rain
14 Showers 14 Rain
13 Showers 13 Cloudy
13 Rain
Glasgow
15 Rain
14 Showers 14 Rain
13 Showers 13 Cloudy
13 Rain
Leeds
21 Storms
15 Windy
15 Rain
14 Rain
13 Rain
14 Fair
Liverpool
21 Storms
16 Showers 15 Rain
15 Rain
14 Rain
14 Fair
London
23 Fair
17 Fair
17 Showers 16 Rain
16 Rain
17 Fair
Manchester 22 Storms
16 Fair
14 Rain
14 Rain
13 Rain
Newcastle
15 Windy
14 Rain
14 Showers 13 Rain
18 Storms
14 Rain
16 Rain
14 Fair
13 Sunny
Norwich
23 Fair
17 Fair
16 Showers 16 Rain
15 Cloudy
Oxford
22 Fair
17 Fair
16 Showers 15 Rain
14 Fair
19 Fair
Plymouth
18 Storms
16 Fair
15 Showers 16 Rain
15 Fair
16 Cloudy
Swansea
19 Storms
16 Fair
15 Rain
15 Rain
14 Rain
17 Cloudy
York
22 Storms
16 Windy
15 Rain
15 Rain
13 Cloudy
16 Fair
16 Fair
ABROAD YESTERDAY
癈
癈
Aberdeen
14
Anglesey
16 sh
Newcastle
Belfast
16
r
Norwich
Birmingham 20
Blackpool
17
癈
Algiers
29
s
Nairobi
26
18 sh
Bangkok
32
r
New York
22
r
20
f
Beijing
15
r
Perth
27
s
f
Nottingham 20
f
Beirut
27
f
Rio de Jan
33
f
r
Oxford
19
f
Cairo
28
s
Riyadh
36
s
Bournem?th 18
f
Plymouth
16
f
Harare
28
f
San Fran
24
h
Brighton
19
f
Ronaldsway 16 sh
Hong Kong 29
c
Santiago
28
s
Bristol
18
r
S?hampton 18
Istanbul
19 sh
Sao Paulo
29 st
Cardiff
18
f
Scarbr?gh
19 w
Jeddah
35
s
Seychelles
30
f
Carlisle
16
r
Southport
18
r
Jerusalem
24
s
Singapore
32
c
Edinburgh
15
f
Stornoway 14
r
Jo?burg
25
s
Sydney
19
c
Exeter
18
f
Swanage
20
f
Karachi
37
s
Taipei
30
r
Glasgow
15
r
Teignmouth 18
f
L Angeles
31
s
Tenerife
31
f
Inverness
14
f
Tenby
17
c
Manila
30 st
Toronto
20
r
Jersey
18
s
Torquay
18
f
Miami
31 st
Vancouver
11
c
Liverpool
20
f
Weymouth 18
f
Mombasa
30
Washington 25 sh
f
Manchester 20
f
f
f
c
S Y S T E M
T
A
P
R O N D O
C
E
G
C
A
WO R S H I P
N
I
A
A V U N C
O
M
I
R E C A P
O
P
H
T
U
H E I R E S S
A
L
E
N Y L O N S
I B
O
U R
S
T
A
U L
V E
Y
R
I
M E
I D E M
I
A
T S E Y
C
F
R O L L
Y
A R
E
O
R A C T
D
I
H I N O
N
S
A G R E
DOWN
1 Apprehensiveness (4,4)
2 Becoming (6)
3 So be it (4)
4 Be reluctant (4,4,4)
5 Validate (12)
6 Insincere (5-7)
7 Backbone (6,6)
12 Dishes, plates etc. (8)
15 Shoot forth (6)
18 Member (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
0202
New Moon
19 Oct
2
3
3
3
Low
Low
Low
Low
0%
50%
100%
WEATHERVIEW
Glasgow
London
Manchester
Newcastle
2
3
2
2
Low
Low
Low
Low
Plymouth
Aberdeen
Leeds
Oxford
3
2
2
3
Low
Low
Low
Low
Mon
Tue
Wed
Thu
Fri
Sat
癈 Wthr (Maximum temperature and overall condition)
Amsterdam
23 s
17 s
17 sh
16 r
15 sh
16 s
Athens
26 s
25 s
26 f
25 f
25 s
25 s
Barcelona
23 f
23 sh
23 st
23 f
24 f
24 s
Berlin
21 s
21 s
19 s
18 sh
15 f
16 c
Copenhagen
17 f
16 sh
14 sh
14 sh
13 r
13 r
Geneva
23 f
23 f
21 f
19 st
20 f
20 f
21 f
24 s
26 f
C
31?40?
F
87?104
26?30?
80?86
21?25?
69?79
16?20?
60?68
Madrid
27 s
20 st
18 st
11?15?
51?59
Oslo
16 f
10 sh
13 r
8 c
9 r
6?10?
42?50
Paris
25 s
22 f
20 sh
18 r
17 c
18 f
Prague
22 f
21 f
17 f
17 f
15 r
15 f
Rome
24 s
23 f
22 f
23 f
23 s
23 s
Venice
21 f
20 f
19 f
19 f
20 c
20 f
Warsaw
London
Paris
3
12 Showers 12 Rain
13 Showers 13 Rain
EUROPE SIX-DAY FORECAST
1016
(30.00)
Moscow
9
13
TROUGH
Pressure in millibars,
(inches in brackets)
1016
(30.00)
7
8
Belfast
Birmingham
Bristol
Cardiff
1000
(29.53)
SPEEDY CROSSWORD NO. 1,150
1
15 Rain
16 Rain
AIR POLLUTION
KEY
1016
(30.00)
13 Rain
Moon rises
EUROPE TODAY
1008
(29.77)
Sat
19 f
N Orleans 32 s
York
21 f
Wellington 14 f
NE England, SE Scotland, SW Scotland, NE Scotland: Mostly cloudy today with London
Key: c=cloud, dr=drizzle, ds=dust storm, f=fair, fg=fog, g=gales, h=hail, m=mist, r=rain,
spells of rain in the afternoon across Scotland. A moderate to fresh southsh=showers, sl=sleet, sn=snow, s=sun, th=thunder, w=windy. Forecast/readings for noon
westerly wind. Max 13-21C (55-70F). Overcast tonight with rainy spells mainly
in Scotland. Min 2-14C (36-57F).
SUNSET TO SUNRISE
WEATHER STATISTICS
W Isles, N Isles, NW Scotland: Mostly cloudy today with periods of rain. A modBirmingham
18.12
to
07.34
Weather last week
Weather this week
erate to light north-westerly to westerly wind. Max 9-16C (48-61F). Overcast Bristol
18.17
to
07.37
Warmest by day: Bedford,
London
Chance of rain
tonight with periods of rain, mainly in the south-west. A light westerly wind.
Dublin
18.28
to
07.54
Bedfordshire (Friday) 21.0C
Glasgow
18.17
to
07.51
Coldest by night: Aonach,
Min 0-11C (32-52F).
Glasgow
Leeds
18.09
to
07.36
Highland (Tuesday) -2.0C
Northern Ireland, Ireland: Mostly cloudy today with periods of rain. A moderWettest: Capel Curig,
London
18.08
to
07.28
Clwyd (Friday) 54mm
ate south-westerly to north-westerly wind. Max 11-18C (52-64F). Overcast
Manchester
18.13
to
07.38
Dublin
Sunniest: Birmingham,
Newcastle
18.07
to
07.38
tonight with spells of rain in the evening. Rain from Ophelia arrives late in the
West Midlands (Tuesday)
Sun rises
0726
Moon sets 1641
south-west. Min 4-15C (39-59F).
8.9hrs.
Channel Is, Cent S England, SW England, W Midlands, Wales: Largely dry today
and becoming sunny by noon. A moderate southerly wind. Max 16-21C (6170F). Becoming overcast and mild tonight with a few showery spells in Wales. A
light and variable wind. Min 11-15C (52-59F).
SE England, London, E Anglia, E Midlands: Generally dry and mild today with
sunny spells. A moderate southerly wind. Max 19-22C (66-72F). Increasing
cloud after midnight, but still mild and largely dry. A light south to south-westerly wind. Min 13-16C (55-61F).
Lincolnshire, Yorkshire, NW England: Decreasing cloud today with scattered
showers, mainly at the coast. A moderate to fresh south-westerly wind. Max
15-19C (59-66F). Becoming overcast tonight with a few more showers around,
mainly late. Min 11-14C (52-57F).
A cold front will slowly move eastward
across the western and northern
British Isles today with periods of rain.
Rain from Tropical Rainstorm Ophelia
will arrive in south-western Ireland
after midnight tonight. Low pressure
departing from Scotland will approach
south-western Norway with outbreaks
of rain for the coastal areas. Snow will
fall in the higher terrain. Showers will
move into central Sweden late in the
day. An area of low pressure in western
Russia will have a cold front that will be
working southward across Ukraine with
showery spells. High pressure centered
over Hungary will keep the rest of
Europe generally dry. Areas of fog
and misty spells will be around in the
morning across southern Germany into
Slovakia and across the southern coast
of France into eastern coastal Spain.
Fri
Belfast
癈
18
(63F)
(59F)
Thu
Aberdeen
Manchester
17
15
(58F)
Wed
HOME YESTERDAY
(68F) Hull
MODERATE
Dublin
15
Tue
癈 Weather (Maximum temperature and overall daytime weather conditions)
Orkney
6
TRAVEL | 51
WEATHER
Your forecast for the week ahead
1?5?
33?41
-20?0?
-4?32
9 sh
Punting in Cambridge ? warm weather is
expected across the south of England today.
Forecasts and graphics provided
by AccuWeather, Inc �17
Toby Campion and Laurie Ogden, poets
�0 for you,
�0 for a friend
If you?re a Nationwide member, recommend us
to a friend and if they switch their current account
to us within 90 days, you?ll share �0.
15 million members building society, nationwide
You?re a Nationwide member if you have a current account, savings account or mortgage with us. All the friend
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Nationwide Building Society. Head Of?ce: Nationwide House, Pipers Way, Swindon, Wiltshire SN38 1NW.
ese Britons,
cash is not a hoardable unit of insurance
but a day-to-day necessity that vanishes
like water.
Victoria Cleland, the Bank of England?s chief cashier, said: ?It tends to be
that people who are less well-off will
use cash as a budgeting technique. If
you were in a situation where you saw
more people were struggling, you would
expect to see a higher demand for cash.?
But back to the bigger picture. Cash
usage in general is falling because of the
rise in technology, such as contactless
payment methods. The proportion of
payments using physical currency has
declined from 62% of all transactions in
2006, to about 40% last year, with a further fall to about 21% expected by 2026.
Carl Packman, research manager at
the poverty charity Toynbee Hall, said:
?In the rush towards better digital payments it would be an error to reduce
access to cash. Cash is a great leveller:
regardless of age and income demographics, keeping cash is a way of taking visual control of money and avoiding
unwanted situations like problem debt.?
Part of Threadneedle Street?s reasoning for replacing the three decadeold pound coin was to counter fraud,
with as many as one in 30 of the coins
thought to be a fake. The new 12-sided
coin, which resembles the old three-
penny bit and ?rst entered circulation
in March , has high-tech features to
thwart counterfeiters.
Suitcases full of banknotes conjure
images of organised crime for good reason. The Bank found in 2015 that at least
half of all UK banknotes were either held
VALUE OF BANKNOTES IN CIRCULATION
Sterling, billions
Euros, billions
US dollars, billions
100
1,250
1,500
80
1,000
1,200
60
750
900
40
500
600
20
250
300
SOURCE: BANK OF ENGLAND
0
2005
2010
2015
SOURCE: EUROPEAN CENTRAL BANK
0
2005
2010
2015
SOURCE: FEDERAL RESERVE
0
2005
2010
2015
Romania is poor man of the EU
no more as economy booms
by Kit Gillet Bucharest
A
t a sleek new office in the heart
of Bucharest, Fitbit chief executive James Park explains why
the smartwear giant is rapidly
expanding its operations in Romania
? and following the lead of a host of
multinationals. ?The tech talent here is
amazing. Romania and other countries
in central and eastern Europe have
great existing talent, and also great
universities,? he says.
The US company, which bought
Romanian smartwatch brand Vector
Watches for a reported $15m (�.4m)
last year, has just opened its largest
research and development centre outside the US, in the Romanian capital.
It?s not alone: in recent years, global
companies such as Siemens, Ford and
Bosch have set up or expanded operations in Romania, boosting an economy
that?s already growing at speed.
While many see Romania as a
country of migrants ?ocking abroad
to ?nd work, back home the economy
is booming. The services sector is
expanding at pace, along with exports
and manufacturing. Meanwhile,
private consumption ? from clothes
to furniture and cars ? hit a nine-year
high in 2016, and increased a further
8% in the ?rst half of this year.
The economy grew 5.7% year-onyear in the second quarter of 2017, the
fastest rate in the EU, where the average growth rate was 2.4%. This was
on the back of a GDP rise of 4.8% in
2016 and 3.9% in 2015; during the same
period the UK economy grew by a
more placid 1.8% and 2.2%. According
to the International Monetary Fund,
Romania?s economy is expected to
grow by 5.5% for the whole of 2017.
The tech sector, in particular, is
expanding fast, built on a communistera legacy of excellence in science,
mathematics and technical education,
as well as strong language skills, which
have long made it a hub for IT out-
Bucharest is attractive to multinationals.
sourcing. According to industry insiders, the tech sector ?which employs
about 150,000 people ? is expected to
double its share of GDP to 12% by 2025,
aided by one of the fastest broadband
internet speeds in the world.
Elsewhere, Ford has announced
plans to hire almost 1,000 workers for
its plant in Craiova, 180km west of the
capital, adding to its current workforce
of 2,715. The automotive giant has
invested more than ?1.2bn (�1bn)
in its Romanian manufacturing
operations since 2008. Renault-owned
Dacia, a former communist stateowned giant, remains the largest company based on revenue, with a turnover
15.10.17
BUSINESS | 41
*
why has cash made a comeback?
ALTERNATIVES TO CASH
While cash represented 40% of all
payments made in Britain last year, its
usage is expected to decline to 21% of all
transactions by 2026. Beyond debit cards
and contactless payments, there are
plenty of other ways to pay:
New 12-sided pound coins. �0m
of the old coins are thought still to
be in circulation. Photograph by Aled
Llewelyn/Athena Pictures
BITCOIN Rising from obscurity but
increasingly mainstream, bitcoin is the
?rst and the biggest ?cryptocurrency?
? a tradable asset that allows people to
bypass banks and traditional payment
processes to pay for goods and services.
Unlike currencies controlled by
governments and central banks, bitcoins
are created by its network of users by
?mining? new bitcoins. Miners use vast
computing power to solve maths problems,
and are given new bitcoins as a reward.
Regulators and banks are growing
concerned about this new money: the
City watchdog has warned investors in
new cryptocurrencies should be prepared
to lose all their money; the boss of
JP Morgan, the biggest bank in the US, say
he would ?re any trader working for the
bank who invests in bitcoin; Vladimir Putin
has also warned they need regulating.
They pose huge problems for tracing
transactions and collecting taxes and
are regularly associated with money
laundering and online crime because
transactions take place anonymously.
The currency is also volatile, having
recently soared to more than $5,800
before dipping back to $5,600 on the
same day. But it is growing in popularity.
A London property company says it will
take residential rents paid in bitcoin by the
end of this year ? and another property
developer says they will accept them in
payment for apartments in Dubai.
ETHEREUM The second-largest
cryptocurrency behind bitcoin, ethereum
is also a peer-to-peer software platform
used for the development of computer
applications and transfer of contracts.
Both bitcoin and ethereum are built
using blockchain technology. This is a type
abroad or being used for illicit purposes
? from drug dealing to prostitution and
dodgy business deals. The study followed earlier research which showed at
least 11% of UK banknotes in general circulation are contaminated with cocaine.
Peter Sands, the former boss of the
Asia-focused UK bank, Standard Chartered, suggests scrapping the highest
denomination notes because they are
more likely to be used in crime. The
European Central Bank is removing
the ?500 note, which is nicknamed the
?Bin Laden? due to its association with
money laundering and terror ?nancing.
Wads of shredded ?500 notes were discovered stuffed down the sewer system
of a branch of Swiss bank UBS.
The links between notes and crime
are forcing central banks to raise their
?People who are less
well-o? use cash to
budget. If people were
struggling, you
would see a higher
demand for cash?
of �1bn in 2016. Joining the EU in
2007 clearly had an impact, while more
recent government measures have also
boosted the economy.
?The government in 2015 decided
to cut taxation for consumption,? says
Ionut Dumitru, chief economist at
Raiffeisen Bank Romania and chairman
of Romania?s ?scal council. ?They cut
VAT from 24% to 20%, and now 19%,
and extended the reduced VAT rate for
food and some other items. This was a
very strong stimulus for consumption.
?The government has also doubled
the minimum wage in four years. And
it?s not only the minimum wage that
has increased but public sector wages.?
Wages in Romania remain far below
the EU average, making it an enticing
option for outsourcing; the minimum
monthly wage is around �3 ? only
Bulgaria?s is lower within the EU.
However, lower wages have stopped
many Romanians returning home, leaving companies short of workers ? in
2016, the unemployment rate dropped
to an historic low of 5.9% compared
with an EU average of 8.6%, amid predictions it will drop to 5.4% this year.
Uncertainty over Brexit is having
an impact, with companies looking at
alternatives within the EU in case the
UK pursues an exit that restricts trade.
?We?re getting inquiries from UK
companies on a weekly basis since
the referendum,? says Shajjad Rizvi,
the director of the British Romanian
Chamber of Commerce in the northern
Victoria Cleland, BoE
ROMANIA'S GDP SURGE
Q2, 2016
Q2, 2017
5.7 5.7
4.4
3.4
1.5
0.8
Italy
1.2
1.7
France
2.3
1.7 1.7
1.9 2.1
1.7
UK
Germany
Euro area
1.9
3.1
3.0
2.4
EU
Spain
Poland
Romania
game. The Bank of England is ?ghting
financial crime with polymer notes,
which it expects will be harder to counterfeit. The new �, featuring a portrait of Jane Austen, was launched last
month, following the introduction of the
�featuring Winston Churchill earlier
this year. The Bank plans to launch a
� featuring the artist JMW Turner in
2020, while it has yet to decide whether
to introduce a new � polymer note.
And if British cash is not being hidden away in houses, it is being kept
away from the taxman. Paying a gardener, window cleaner or childminder
in cash could be depriving the British tax system of as much as �2bn,
according to official figures on the
country?s ?hidden economy? ? which
encompasses people carrying on busi-
city of Cluj, one of the largest tech centres in central and eastern Europe.
But there are also serious challenges.
Romania has long been considered
one of the most corrupt nations in the
EU. In February, the country experienced the largest protests in decades
after the government pushed through
legislation that would have effectively
decriminalised low-level corruption.
The government backed down, but has
yet to regain public trust.
Transportation infrastructure is
also poor. Romania came 128 out
of 138 countries for the quality of
its road infrastructure in the latest World Economic Forum Global
Competitiveness Report; the railway
system came in slightly better at 79.
There is also concern about the
rising de?cit. In 2016 the government
de?cit ? the gap between state income
and spending ? rose to 3% of GDP, up
from 0.8% in 2015, due to increased
spending and tax cuts.
Even so, Romania?s economy looks
set to continue to expand in the near
future. ?It?s hard to sustain more than
5% growth,? says Dumitru. ?Most
analysts are predicting closer to 4% for
next year. But even 4% will probably
be one of the highest growth rates in
Europe, so it?s not bad at all.?
The M-Pesa phone transfer system has been a big success in Africa. Getty
of decentralised digital ledger of encoded
information, which exists on a network
and cannot be controlled by one of the
machines plugged into it alone.
DIGITAL WALLET The rise of online
shopping has led to the development of
digital wallets, which are online places
to park money outside the traditional
banking system. Paypal was an early
version of this type of tool, most popularly
used in conjunction with shopping on eBay.
However, digital wallets can be used for
spending elsewhere ? online and o?ine.
TOTNES POUND A far more basic idea:
the Devonshire town of Totnes, together
with several other places in Britain such
as Bristol and Brixton, has introduced local
currencies. Part of the Transition Town
movement, the currency is designed to
keep money within the local economy for
the bene?t of the local community, small
businesses and customers.
APPLE PAY AND ANDROID PAY Apple
and Google both operate contactless
payment systems via their smartphones.
They are in e?ect digital wallets, allowing
consumers to connect their traditional
bank accounts to the payment system.
While both allow consumers to make
contactless payments of up to � using
their mobile phones, they also enable
payments online.
M-PESA Launched by Vodafone?s
Kenyan associate, Safaricom, in March
2007, M-Pesa is a mobile phone-based
money transfer system. It is hugely
successful in Kenya and growing fast in
other countries ? including Afghanistan,
Egypt, Albania and Tanzania -where
access to traditional banking services
can be limited. The service, now live in
10 countries, enables users to deposit
money into an account stored on a
mobile phone, as well as to send money
to others and make payments and
withdrawals. It also cuts street crime
and corruption. RP
ness without telling HM Revenue and
Customs. It?s the biggest behavioural
aspect behind unpaid taxes, which total
as much as �bn, or 6.5% of theoretical total tax liabilities.
Attempts to tackle the problem
elsewhere have not impressed. India
scrapped some higher denomination
bills overnight last year, to try to catch
criminals and tax evaders off guard. The
move is thought to have damaged GDP
growth, while underlining how some
financial practices are so hard-wired
into an economy that trying to remove
them immediately can cause harm.
It is possible that signs of overheating
in the UK economy ? record low unemployment and rising inflation ? could
deliver the answer instead by triggering
an increase in Britain?s anaemic bor-
rowing costs. The record low interest
rate of 0.25% means savers are offered
lousy rewards by high street banks for
depositing money in accounts. The average monthly interest paid on an instant
access account including bonuses was
0.14% in September. Having sounded
warnings in recent months that the
economy might be due a rate increase,
Threadneedle Street may increase the
cost of borrowing for the ?rst time in a
decade from as early as November.
Cleland estimates a 1% increase in
rates would reduce cash demand by 2%,
with the clearest effects seen by the �
and � notes. ?If you saw a signi?cant
change, that might alter behaviour and
you think about the bene?ts of having
money under the bed rather than in the
bank,? she said.
42 | BUSINESS
*
Analysis
15.10.17
Corbyn has a Washington ally over raising
taxes on the rich. But no, it?s not Trump
Climate change
plan demands
bold action, not
just ?ne words
BUSINESS LEADER
L
T
he International Monetary
Fund has been on quite a journey from the days when it was
seen as the provisional wing
of the Washington consensus.
These days the IMF is less
likely to harp on about the joys of liberalised capital ?ows than it is to warn of the
dangers of ever-greater inequality.
The fund?s latest foray into the
realms of progressive economics came
last week when it used its half-yearly
?scal monitor ? normally a dry-asdust publication ? to make the case for
higher taxes on the super-rich.
Make no mistake, this is a signi?cant
moment. For almost 40 years, since
the arrival of Margaret Thatcher in
Downing Street and Ronald Reagan
in the White House, the economic
orthodoxy on taxation has been that
higher taxes for the 1% are selfdefeating. Soaking the rich, it was said,
would punish initiative and lead to
lower levels of innovation, investment,
growth and, therefore, reduced
revenue for the state.
As the Conservative party
conference showed, this line of
argument is still popular. Minister after
minister took to the stage to warn that
Jeremy Corbyn?s tax plans would lead
to a 1970s-style brain drain.
The IMF agrees that a return to
the income tax levels seen in Britain
during the 1970s would have an impact
on growth. But that was when the
top rate was 83%, and Corbyn?s plans
are far more modest. Indeed, it is a
sign of how difficult it has become
to have a grown-up debate about tax
that Labour?s call for a 50% tax band
on those earning more than �3,000
and 45% for those earning more than
�,000 should be seen as con?scatory.
The IMF?s analysis does something
to redress the balance, making two
important points. First, it says that tax
systems should have become more
progressive in recent years in order to
help offset growing inequality, but have
actually become less so.
Second, it ?nds no evidence for the
argument that attempts to make the
The IMF?s analysis finds no evidence that cutting tax for the top 1% boosts the rest of the economy. Getty
rich pay more tax would lead to lower
growth. There is nothing especially
surprising about either of the IMF?s
conclusions: in fact, the real surprise is
that it has taken so long for the penny
to drop.
Growth rates have not picked up as
taxes have been cut for the top 1%. On
the contrary, they are much weaker
than they were in the immediate
postwar decades, when the rich
could expect to pay at least half their
incomes ? and often substantially more
than half ? to the taxman. If trickledown theory worked, there would be
a strong correlation between growth
and countries with low marginal tax
rates for the rich. There is no such
correlation and, as the IMF rightly
concludes, ?there would appear to be
scope for increasing the progressivity
of income taxation without
signi?cantly hurting growth for
countries wishing to enhance income
redistribution?.
With a nod to the work of the French
economist Thomas Piketty, the ?scal
monitor also says that countries should
consider wealth taxes for the rich, to be
levied on land and property.
The IMF?s ?ndings on tax provide
ample and welcome political cover
for Corbyn and John McDonnell,
the shadow chancellor, as they seek
to convince voters that Labour?s tax
plans are not just equitable but also
economically workable. By contrast,
the study challenges President Donald
Trump to rethink tax plans that would
give an average tax cut of more than
$200,000 a year for someone earning
more than $900,000. The response
from the US administration was
predictable: mind your own business.
The IMF is not naive. It knows
it is one thing to make the case for
higher taxes on the rich but another
altogether to get governments to
implement them, because better-off
individuals have more political clout.
The argument that what is good for
the super-rich is good for the rest of us
has been demolished, but don?t expect
the top 1% to give up without a ?ght.
Redknapp is a fan but cryptocurrency could miss target
C
lassic descriptions of ?nancial bubbles usually describe
the ?nal pre-pop stage as the
moment when the general
public is attracted by the whiff of easy
money. In the 21st century, we should
not be surprised that social media and
celebrity are also part of the story.
That is the context in which to view
a tweet by football manager Harry
Redknapp, which grabbed attention last
week. ?Proper excited about Mobile
Cryptocurrency! I?m in, get involved!?
Redknapp might have read the cryptocurrency warning from the Financial
Conduct Authority that any investor
backing an initial coin offering should
be ready to lose the whole investment.
But it seems equally possible that
the 750% surge in the past year in the
value in bitcoin, the original cryptocurrency, has provoked a mania that feeds
off itself. Electroneum, the venture that
excites Redknapp, reported that four
Premier League footballers had got in
touch within hours of Harry?s tweet.
Oh dear.
ooking at Theresa May?s energy
price cap for the answer to
reining in your electricity and gas
bills? Then you were watching
the wrong government announcement
last week.
The solution to making energy
affordable lies not in the draft legislation for the cap, which is a short-term
stopgap that will do nothing to make
prices fairer in the long term, but in a
climate change masterplan launched
by ministers at the Olympic Park in
London. While the clean growth strategy is short on detail for a 164-page
tome, it should be praised for putting
energy efficiency front and centre.
The plan?s bright idea is an aspiration to bring all homes in England and
Wales up to a minimum of energy band
C, by ?tting new boilers, insulation
and more efficient appliances. The
potential savings on bills are enormous.
Someone in an E-rated home would
save �0 a year if it was overhauled to
a C-rating. What?s missing are the sort
of bold measures to make the aspiration a reality.
There are good reasons that people
don?t both with insulation. ?For some,
upfront costs and hassle can be high.
The payback period from lower energy
bills can be longer than the time people
expect to stay in their home,? the
National Infrastructure Commission
said this week.
As the commission pointed out, the
market hasn?t delivered: so government intervention is needed. Ministers?
last attempt to kickstart improvements
was a disaster. More radical policies are
required ? and fortunately there is no
shortage of ideas.
Lower stamp duty for energy-efficient homes, discounts on council tax
and allowing people to take out bigger
mortgages on greener homes (an idea
that government is exploring) have
all been mooted. Such steps are a big
ask because they would require the
Treasury?s buy-in.
But the imperative for upgrading
Britain?s leaky, draughty housing stock
has never been greater ? not just for
our wallets, but for the planet too.
Monarch crisis leaves yet another pension fund up in the air
ECONOMICS
Phillip
Inman
P
ensions are the tail wagging the
economic dog ? sometimes in
the strangest ways. Take the
high-pro?le collapse at Monarch
Airlines. It?s a sorry story of corporate
raiders facing accusations of assetstripping one of the country?s largest
holiday airline businesses and leaving
taxpayers to pick up the tab. The once
strong, if slightly dated, brand was
taken over by private equity ?nanciers
to try to make it into another Ryanair.
When that failed, it appears the owners could still walk away with a pro?t,
following a sophisticated offloading of
the debts, including the ailing pension fund ? once a major creditor to
the business. The fund, which is in the
state-sponsored Pension Protection
Fund (PPF), may have been left short
when it ?rst collapsed in 2014.
The Labour MP Frank Field, the
indomitable head of the work and pensions select committee, has called for
an investigation. His judgment is ?nely
tuned after his battle with Sir Philip
Green and the businessman Dominic
Chappell, who bought BHS from Green
before its collapse.
Years of asset-stripping had left
BHS with its shelves stacked high with
clothes no one wanted to wear, and
ditching the pension fund was one of
the main methods of saving cash from
the wreckage. For its part, Monarch?s
owner, Greybull Capital, said it had
been talking to the PPF since 2014 and
had not taken out loan repayments,
dividends or interest in the past three
years. Furthermore, Greybull said
it expected a �5m loan note from
Monarch to the PPF to be repaid in full.
But the PPF is creaking under the
weight of ?nal-salary schemes that
have discovered their sponsoring companies can, for whatever reason, no
longer support them. Today UK ?nalsalary pension schemes have �6tn
of liabilities and a �4bn de?cit.
Worryingly, the de?cits of the worstaffected schemes are only getting into
deeper trouble.
So what could be better than to ?nd
a way to offload a debilitating pensions de?cit into a fund that was set
up by the government, that is osten-
sibly independent and funded by the
remaining ?good? employers, but will
most likely fall into the taxpayer?s lap
some time in the future, limiting complaints from retirees?
In the world of unintended consequences, another problem is that
companies freed from their pension
de?cit are more attractive to corporate ?nanciers. It could be argued that
one of the chief defence mechanisms
against corporate raiders over the past
15 years, in the absence of any protection from government, has been the
deterrent effect of pension de?cits.
Why would a buyer want a juicy
business when to bite into its balance
sheet is to hit the sour taste of its heavily indebted retirement fund? That has
almost certainly been a key factor in
keeping British Telecom, Unilever and
Marks & Spencer from being snapped
up by a foreign rival. Likewise all our
best engineering ?rms, most of them
What could be better
than to o?oad a
pensions de?cit into
a fund set up by
the government?
founded 50 or 60 years ago and with
big fat pension de?cits, have been safeguarded by their whopping liabilities.
But this is an isolated example of the
good that a pension fund does for the
long-term health of the economy. For
example, most strikes since the crash
of 2008 have not been about the failure
of employers to pay a decent wage or
the shift to a casualised workforce, as
exempli?ed by the rise of zero-hours
contracts. Most have been organised by
shop stewards in their 50s and an ageing, unionised workforce in an effort to
save their pensions.
Never mind that the entitlements
awarded more than 40 or 50 years
ago and gold-plated by a naive Major
government in the 1995 Pensions Act
are unaffordably generous.
The Communication Workers Union
said that its planned strike action at
Royal Mail ?was sparked by the company?s attack on the pension rights of
hard-working postmen and women?
before going on to say it was also about
pay, working hours, job security and
?growing the service?.
It?s easy to sympathise with Royal
Mail workers when their business has
been asset-stripped by the government
for decades before privatisation, and
managers have feathered their nests
before asking the shop ?oor for sacri-
?ces. But huge amounts of energy are
being spent by both sides ?ghting over
pensions when they could have been
saving the postal service.
The pension fund gap also provides
an answer, at least in part, to the productivity puzzle and why companies
have invested so little in equipment
and processes since 2008.
Another reason for the lack of
investment is the demand from shareholders to ?ll their boots. And who
are the shareholders? Yes, it?s those
de?cit-riddled pension funds that have
increasingly forced companies to pay
monster dividends or fund huge share
buybacks before they even think about
funding new equipment so UK workers
can compete with the best in the world.
It?s true that UK pension funds have
in recent years diverted away from
the London stock market in favour
of foreign stock and bond markets.
However, they remain a force, and one
that promotes short-termism over
long-term investment.
The conclusion must be that
Britain?s occupational pensions should
all be tipped into the PPF in exchange
for some state protection from foreign
takeovers. Then business leaders might
usefully deploy some of their revenues
for investment and not just to ?ll baby
boomers? retirement funds.
15.10.17
*
Media
Catalan dreams
were incubated in
a media cocoon
PRESS AND
BROADCASTING
Peter
Preston
W
e know what happens ?rst when
coup leaders strike.
They take control
of the state TV and
radio station. We
know what the SNP would have done
if they?d won their referendum. Set up
a Scottish Broadcasting Corporation
on the grave of the BBC. So here?s one
additional factor to note after Spain?s
tumultuous爓eek.
Catalonia has had its own television
and radio services since 1983, delivering Catalan-only language programmes
and ? guess what? ? paid for by the
same government that declared quasi
independence a few days ago.
Bias comes naturally, perhaps inevitably, in the reporting of poor anti-separatist demonstrations, in the constant
?ashbacks to civil guard police wielding batons and throughout the hours of
political discussion. Two regular participants in those discussions ? voices
against independence, hired in the
supposed name of fairness and balance
? wrote an article for El燩a韘 the other
day, explaining why they wouldn?t be
appearing any longer.
?The official thesis in Catalonia is
that this is a natural, essentially good
nation that for at least three centuries
has been living in a situation of unsustainable colonial oppression within an
arti?cial, per?dious Spain, from which
we must escape,? Joan L髉ez Alegre
and Nacho Mart韓 Blanco declared.
?But when reality is reduced to a
single theme, secession? then the
presence of a single voice opposed to
the thesis of the talk ? facing three or
four participants plus to the moderator
? only serves to project the idea that it
is a minority position, even a marginal
one in Catalan society. Goodbye. We?ve
been ?useful fools? too long.?
Their argument can be pursued in
two ways. One, ?lled with the emotion
that surrounds the independence vote;
the other more re?ectively. Let?s take
the high road.
Language is a wild card when you
try to de?ne nationhood. The areas of
inland Catalonia most committed to
independence are also the likeliest to
use Catalan as their ?rst, and sometimes only language. They depend on
TV3 and its four sister channels for
their news, soaps and drama series, and
rely on Catalan radio. The algorithms
of their social media follow the same
route. And the picture they?ve drawn
for all of this is often at odds with the
complexities you ?nd in Barcelona.
They have lived in a media cocoon
of settled opinion, convinced that the
EU will welcome their new nation into
its midst, that the economic outlook is
untroubled, that ?taking control? will
solve all problems. Passion becomes
ingrained. No need to draw parallel
conclusions closer to home, but this
mingling of fact and conviction crosses
many borders. If you can make the
rest of the world go away, then doubt
becomes a stranger.
No one watching Spanish TV
through this crisis should pretend that
it?s not had its own biases. Nor should
anyone believe that the BBC, charting
its lugubrious, legally mandated way
through the thickets of bias, can ever
achieve consensual calm.
The more open the windows, the
easier it is to breathe. Scotland?s own
cocoon of devolution has weakened
because SNP and now Tory success ? as
represented in parliament ? make the
national picture more relevant again.
Brexit, too, is gradually opening eyes
and horizons. But the language factor
comes with an added twist. How did
Catalonia wander so close to the edge
of a cliff ? Because ? on screen, on the
airwaves, in print ? there was no real
debate. Because (think Fox News) the
semblance of real debate was quite
enough, thank you. Think of the little
boxes of diversity; then think adversity.
BUSINESS | 43
Charlotte Moore,
currently head
of BBC content.
Photograph by
Graham Turner
for the Observer
Harding?s exit puts Moore in front for next BBC boss
O
f course, it is entirely possible
that James Harding had no
ambitions to become director general of the BBC, that
the allure of heading his own, as yet
unde?ned, news startup company was
overwhelming. But let?s not get carried
away. Tony Hall, a former BBC head of
news, was summoned back from the
Royal Opera House to run the corporation in crisis. He was already Lord燞
of Birkenhead, his distinguished
career running towards retirement.
He was summoned back, in extremis,
to save a sinking ship and secure a new
Royal燙harter.
That job was done last year. Hall is
66. Perhaps, in true May mode, he?ll go
on and on, as the briefers say; neverthe-
less, he?s on the ?nal lap of his tenure.
But who comes next? There were
three obvious contenders: Charlotte
Moore, head of content (which intrinsically means BBC1 and 2); James Purnell,
head of radio and education; and James
Harding. And perhaps you?d put Anne
Bulford, deputy DG, and Tim Davie,
head of Worldwide, on a secondary list.
See, though, how quickly the possibilities shrink. Purnell is a former
Labour cabinet minister. Cue Westminster thunder. Davie was acting DG
?ve years ago. Why come back to him
now? Bulford is a superb accountant
and ?nance director, not a programmemaker. James Harding has gone.
Surely he knew he was out of the
running. Surely, too, the sheer weight of
Studied silence on sleazy Weinstein
A
pplause for the New York
Times, the New Yorker and for
a sudden ?ood of witnesses
putting Harvey Weinstein out
of seedy, personal business. But Ryan
Holiday in the New York Observer asks
a cruel question. ?How did the collective press ? the Hollywood, media, gossip, and business journalists who follow
every move of these power players as
part of their job ? miss out so badly??
His answer: they didn?t, they were
just ?too cowardly? to print it, with
examples of studied silence going back
to 2000 and 2004, never mind NBC this
year. What he doesn?t quite say ? the
Jimmy Savile memorial lecture ? is that
10, 20 or 30 years makes a huge difference to what society will tolerate in the
momentum of exposure. Nothing to be
proud of. But that was then, and this
outbreak of revulsion is now.
admin was weighing him down. Harding, remember, left the top chair at the
Times rather abruptly because Rupert
Murdoch didn?t like his management
style, including salary and headcount
in?ation (pure pot and kettle joy).
Is he now being held responsible for
the shambles of top pay and the toil and
trouble involved in sorting it out? Does
his search for a ?different kind of news?
mean something smaller and more
manageable, where he doesn?t have to
spend long days smoothing over hurt
feelings or playing company PR?
We?ll see. Meanwhile nip down
to Paddy Power and put a few bob
on DG燤oore, a splendidly talented
woman in what?s rapidly becoming a
woman?s world.
Think of an edited account of
press coverage like the Week. It?s
a magazine and subject to all the
regulation that goes with that status.
Then think of Google News or any
Facebook news coverage you care to
name. They?re ?platforms?, not publications, or so the tech giants claim.
It?s becoming a difference without a
meaning (as the chair of Ofcom told
MPs last week). Regulation on an
equal footing is becoming inevitable.
46 | CASH
*
Personal ?nance
15.10.17
Gap year guide:
canny ways
to satisfy your
wanderlust and
stay quids in
Careful planning and hard work can result in a
great life experience that bolsters your CV
while paying its own way, writes Harvey Jones
T
aking a gap year either side of
university may be the adventure of a lifetime, but you
don?t want it to plunge you
into a lifetime of debt. With a
bit of hard work and careful
planning you gain a great experience
that will shore up your CV while paying
your own way ? or at least part of it.
The average gap year costs about
�000, according to research from
Charter Savings Bank, which also
found that one in three ?gappers?
plan to raise the necessary funds by
working爓hile they are away. Europe is
the top destination, attracting 48% of
travellers under 25, with 17% going to
Australia and New Zealand.
So how can you do it?
Work abroad ? eventually
Unless you can dip into the Bank of
Mum and Dad, you will need a UK job
to earn enough to fund the upfront
elements of your trip, including ?ights,
visas and any volunteering project fees.
Andreas Kornevall, co-founder of
WorkingAbroad.com, says this will give
you practical experience in working
and budgeting, but he adds that you
don?t need to save heaps of money to
begin with. ?You might not need as
much as you think. For example, you
could live in Ecuador for three months
on �500, plus return ?ights.?
Britons are free to work across the
EU ? which could change after Brexit
? but need working visas for most
other countries. ?You cannot turn up
on a tourist visa and start searching for
work, so look for a speci?c overseas
programme,? Kornevall says.
The best volunteering options
You can apply for volunteering through
schemes such as Voluntary Service
Overseas or the British Council.
Alternatively, try privately run volunteering and internship organisations
such as WorkingAbroad, Bunac, GVI,
Year Out Group, OysterWorldwide.
com or Gap360.com, which have
projects across Asia, Africa, Australasia
and South America. Animal care,
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latest
mortgages
and savings
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It?s best to earn some money at home to pay for flights and visas and any fees before you jet off to more exotic places. Alamy
conservation, social and youth work,
sports coaching, medicine, the arts and
teaching are just some of your options.
Kornevall says that in effect you
work for free and pay for bed and
board. ?Make sure you learn relevant
skills rather than simply picking
grapes. If you are interested in becoming a marine biologist or working on a
wildlife reserve, try volunteering ?rst.?
Stefan Wathan, chief executive of
the Year Out Group, says structured
experiences are cheaper the longer
you go for. ?You can pay between �0
and �0 for a week, between �000
and �000 for four to six weeks, while
three to 12 months would cost from
�000-�000.?
The best paying overseas jobs
For those who want to ?nd paying
work while away, Australia, New
Zealand, Canada, Thailand and China
offer some of the best opportunities.
David Stitt, managing director of
Gap360, says Australian working
holidays are popular. ?You can get a
working holiday visa for up to two
years provided you work on a farm
at some point for three months. New
Zealand also offers working holiday
visas though the money isn?t as good.?
Canada issues a limited number of
working holiday visas each year that
tend to be massively oversubscribed.
Stitt says getting paid work in the US
is hard. ?You need someone to sponsor
your visa and it isn?t easy.?
Roger Salwey, director of Oyster
Worldwide, says teaching English in
Thailand is popular, though you need
to be a graduate. ?You also need a minimum four-week Te? course, but can
earn a good wage by local standards.?
You can earn from �500 a month
?You cannot turn up
on a tourist visa and
start searching for
work, so look for a
speci?c programme?
Andreas Kornevall
teaching English in Chinese cities such
as Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen, but
must be a graduate with Te? training.
Other paid options include working
as a ski or snowboard guide in the
Alps, a windsur?ng instructor in the
Mediterranean, working on cruise
ships or even as a house or pet sitter.
Check out jobsabroadbulletin.co.uk,
seasonworkers.com and goabroad.com.
Alternatively, you could take a year
out working in the UK either before or
after university and get paid for it. The
Year in Industry gap year scheme run
by the Engineering Development Trust
helps students ?nd a paid placement,
typically for a year.
Salwey says your gap year will
teach you life skills and help you in job
interviews. ?Given the amount of debt
students now graduate with, another
�000 could be a good investment.?
Experts warn against taking out a
loan to fund your trip, while funding it
on a credit card is also risky.
A going-away checklist
You have to plan ahead carefully to
make sure your gap year dream does
not end in a ?nancial nightmare.
? Only go on ?ights and packages with
Atol or Abta protection.
? Book your ?ight and other advance
tickets with a credit card to bene?t
from protection under section 75 of the
Consumer Credit Act.
? Sort out proper gap year travel
insurance. ?Backpacker insurance
for a year abroad may cost less than
50p a day and provide � of medical
expenses cover plus personal liability
and baggage and belongings,? says Matt
Sanders at GoCompare. You should
research gap year policies on comparison sites such as Travelsupermarket.
com, Gocompare.com, and Money.
co.uk, or try student insurer Endsleigh.
? Annual multi-trip travel insurance
is not suitable for a gap year. Most of
these policies set a single trip maximum of just 30 days, says Sanders. ?If
you plan to work, or do adventurous activities such as scuba diving or
whitewater rafting, make sure the
policy covers you,? he says. Also check
whether items such as smartphones
and tablets are covered, as many policies set a maximum of �0 or less for
single items or may not cover them.
? Check all expiry dates before leaving, such as credit cards and passport.
? Get the right card for spending
abroad. Most conventional bank cards
apply extra charges for overseas use,
which can add up to 3% on everything you buy. The Creation Everyday,
Santander Zero and Halifax Clarity
cards have no foreign use charges
anywhere in the world, including
cash withdrawals. Always tell your
bank you are travelling because if it
suddenly spots transactions in exotic
destinations it may block your card as a
precaution against fraud.
? Consider loading money on to a
prepaid travel money card. You can
check your balance online and family
members can top it up if you are running low on cash.
TAKING A LEAP OF FAITH
Adam Wiltshire has shown it is possible to
take a year out without plunging yourself
into a world of debt.
Adam, now 31, took a gap year in
autumn 2005 before starting his degree in
economics and politics at the University of
She?eld. ?Knowing I had a degree lined up
gave me the con?dence to do it.?
He earned enough from his bar job
in a local golf club to fund three months?
travel through China, Tibet, Hong Kong,
Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and Bali,
followed by Christmas in Australia and
?nally New Zealand.
Crucially, Adam and his travel buddy
Andy Gill had earned enough to pay for
their ?ights back from New Zealand ?
Adam at work high above Auckland.
essential to secure a working holiday visa.
Adam found bar work in Auckland and
also got a job for a base jumping operation,
where his interview involved jumping 192
metres o? the Sky Tower. ?I ended up
jumping 201 times o? that tower to show
customers what it was like.?
Adam worked for about �an hour in
his bar job, but it was fun and with few
outgoings he and Andy raised enough to
drive around New Zealand for a month,
then spend two weeks in the Cook Islands.
Adam, who now works in digital
marketing, recommends having a positive
attitude and going for long enough to get
a job. ?Get your paperwork in order and
be charming and persistent. Work where
there is better money and travel for longer
in cheaper locations.?
Harvey Jones
15.10.17
*
MORTGAGES
Anna Tims
Endsleigh made
me pay after a
car next to mine
burst into ?ames
I am a 20-year-old student in
Aberdeen and have lost my no-claims
bonus, paid an excess of �0 and
face an increased premium on my car
insurance, through no fault of my own.
One night last December a car
parked near mine burst into ?ames.
My car suffered scorch marks and a
few small light ?ttings were melted.
My insurer, Endsleigh, paid promptly
to have the paintwork repaired but
was uninterested in reclaiming the
cost from the insurer of the burntout car. Endsleigh only contacted
the insurer six months later when I
pressured them, and it wasn?t until
August that they managed to obtain
incident reports. These, apparently,
failed to identify the cause of the ?re.
Since the other owner was not
at fault, their insurer refuses to
reimburse Endsleigh. Parked cars
do not combust in the middle of the
night for no reason, and there was
suggestion of a manufacturing defect.
Endsleigh, however, has not contacted
the manufacturer to see if it was a
known fault. I am not well-off ? I
only have a car because I was given
it by my grandfather, and I don?t see
why I should bear the loss. Endsleigh
is the insurer recommended by the
National Union of Students, but has
no interest in helping a student in this
predicament ? and took eight months
to tell me it intends to do nothing.
IF, Edinburgh
CASH | 47
Personal
Your problems
?nance
Given the repairs only amounted
to about �0, it was cheaper for
Endsleigh to absorb the cost and raise
your premium than to start a lengthy
investigation. It now admits that its
delays have caused you ?trouble and
inconvenience?, and acknowledges
that it only started making enquiries
after you asked it to. ?On being
contacted by the customer we made
the relevant investigations and, in
this case, were unable to de?nitively
prove that any other party had acted
negligently, so the other insurance
company involved rightly refused our
claim,? it says.
In view of the eight months you
had to wait for an answer ? or, rather,
the publicity about its tardiness ? it is
now proposing to refund you the �0
excess, restore your no-claims bonus
and reduce your policy premiums to
the pre-claim level.
Photobucket?s hosting charge
holds web users to ransom
For the past 10 years I?ve been
using the photo-sharing website
Photobucket to host the pictures
featured on my three blogs. In June,
Photobucket deleted all the photos
and said that I (and millions of other
users) would have to pay $400 (�2)
a year to ?release? them. I?d happily pay a reasonable sum, but this is
extortionate. One solution would be
to download my photo library, but
Photobucket has said a bug makes it
impossible for users to do so (other
than at the laborious rate of one picture at a time). I?m not out of pocket,
but the blogs represent 10 years? work.
KM, London
Photobucket, which claims to have
100 million users, allows photos
uploaded on to its site to be embedded
on multiple third-party websites.
Until this summer its service used by
thousands of Amazon and eBay sellers
was free, funded only by advertising
revenue. The US-based company says
it informed users by email 30 days
before the new charge kicked in, but
you ? along with other customers who
have taken to social media ? insist you
received no such warning.
In June, the company posted a brief
note on its website advising users to
read its updated terms and conditions,
and only those who had read through
the ?rst 500 words of small print
would have encountered a paragraph
about fees. As a result of the change,
photos across Amazon and other
websites were replaced by graphics
stating that the Photobucket account
needed to be updated, and many
bloggers like you complain that years
of work have been held to ransom.
Photobucket says that while none
of your photos will appear on your
websites until you pay up, you can still
access your archives and take them
elsewhere. Yet its customer services
admitted to you in August that a
known technical issue was obstructing
downloads. Customers have understandably complained that the charge
is steep and that it has affected photos
embedded in good faith over 14 years
instead of only future uploads.
Photobucket is entitled to charge
for its service if it wants to, but it has
not handled this well. From now on, be
wary of committing your life?s work to
a free hosting service.
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.
Rate %
Term
Max
LTV %
Fee �
Contact
?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
Post O?ce Money
?xed
1.27
30/11/2019
85
995
0800 077 8033
Sainsbury?s Bank
?xed
1.59
31/12/2022
60
745
0345 111 8010
Sainsbury?s Bank
?xed
1.69
31/12/2022
75
745
0345 111 8010
AA
?xed
2.03
30/11/2022
85
995
0800 169 6010
Yorkshire Building Society
?xed
3.30
30/11/2019
95
995
0345 120 0874
HSBC
bbr tracker plus 0.74%
0.99
2 years
60
999
0800 030 4640
HSBC
bbr tracker plus 0.84%
1.09
2 years
75
999
0800 030 4640
HSBC
bbr tracker plus 0.99%
1.24
2 years
85
999
0800 030 4640
Barclays
o?set bbr tracker plus 1.34%
1.59
2 years
75
999
0845 070 5090
Yorkshire Building Society
o?set ?xed
1.33
30/11/2019
75
995
0345 120 0874
Lender
Type
Hanley Economic Building Society
SAVINGS
Provider
Account
NatWest
Savings Builder
Min �
Gross
AER %
1
1.50
1.50 and
0
�per
month
100
1.30
Santander
123 Current Account
RCI Bank
Freedom Savings Account
Bank of Cyprus
Online Easy Access Account
Paragon
Kent Reliance
Charter Savings Bank
1 Year Fixed Rate Deposit
Harrods Bank Ltd
NS&I
2 Year Fixed Rate Deposit 21
3 Year Investment Guaranteed
Growth Bond
Vanquis Bank
Notice Notes
Contact
easy access BATI
0800 255 200
easy access AICD
0800 218 2352
easy access
I
rcibank.co.uk
BI
bankofcyprus.co.uk
paragonbank.co.uk
1
1.28
easy access
120 Day Notice Account (7)
500
1.45
120 days notice
I
Regular Savings Account 3
25
3
easy access
AR
0345 122 0022
1,000
1.77
1 year
IF
chartersavings
bank.co.uk
020 7332 4250
20,000
2.05
2 years APIF
100
2.20
3 years
IF
nsandi.com
4 Year Savings Bond
1,000
2.35
4 years
IF
vanquis
savings.co.uk
Paragon
5 Year Fixed Rate
1,000
2.45
5 years
IF
paragonbank.co.uk
Post O?ce Money
Online Isa (Easy Access 11)
100
1.07
easy access
I
posto?ce.co.uk
Charter Savings Bank
2 Year Fixed Rate Cash Isa
1,000
1.65
2 years
IF
chartersavings
bank.co.uk
NS&I
Direct Isa
1
0.75
easy access
TI
nsandi.com
NS&I
Income Bond
500
0.75
PTI
0500 500 000
NS&I
Junior Isa
1
2
easy access
No withdrawal
until 18 years
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
Transfer
fee %
Repr
APR
Cashback
Contact
Purchase
na
18.9
na
sainsburysbank.co.uk
30 months
Purchase
na
18.9
na
tescobank.com
39 months
Balance
transfer
Balance
transfer
0
21.7
na
santander.co.uk
Provider card name
0% O?ers
Type
Sainsbury?s Bank Nectar
32 months
Tesco Bank Clubcard
Santander All in One
MBNA Platinum
39 months
1.99
19.9
mbna.co.uk
American Express Platinum None
Cashback
na
28.2
americanexpress.com
American Express
Platinum Everyday
Cashback
na
None
na
1% standard
plus intro
bonus
0.5% standard
22.9
plus intro
bonus
americanexpress.com
Table compiled 13/10/17. In case of late changes, always check rates and terms before transacting.
All above ?gures from ?nancial information business Defaqto (defaqto.com)
15.10.17
48 | TRAVEL
Five of the best Alternative things to do in Cambridge
1. Drink
Thirsty
1
4
?Essentially, it?s an off-licence with a
bit of seating,? says Alex Rushmer, the
Cambridge-based chef and 2010 Masterchef ?nalist. ?The co-owner, Sam
Owens, right, has a four-tap growler
system for re?lls of UK craft beers and
an amazing selection of small-producer
wines. There?s a different food truck
at Thirsty every night, and Sam also
runs a beer garden, Thirsty Riverside
at Cambridge Museum of Technology,
where there?s loads going on from DJs
to open-air cinema.?
wearethirsty.co.uk
2. Culture
Cambridge Arts Theatre
We may be approaching panto season
but it?s worth examining this theatre?s
listings because it still offers plenty of
intellectually provocative stuff, be it
David Starkey?s forthcoming Henry
VIII: The First Brexiteer? (12 November) or People, Places and Things (21-25
November), acclaimed in its run at the
National Theatre. Also in Cambridge,
look out for In Situ, a group that specialises in taking cutting-edge performances out of the theatre and into
unusual spaces.
cambridgeartstheatre.com
3. Music
The Portland Arms
?Legendary in Cambridge,? declares
Harry Sword, who writes about music
for the Quietus and Vice. ?It?s a traditional pub that has kept its regulars but
it?s also a successful venue and supportive of everything from folk and indie or
live hip-hop to weird electronic stuff.?
It has been this way for decades, too,
TRAVEL CLASSIFIED
although the days when the separate
rear space was ?small and sweaty, a bit
stuck together with gaffer-tape? are
gone. In 2012, it was modernised and
extended to a 200-capacity venue.
theportlandarms.co.uk
4. Nightlife
Cambridge Junction
In the mid 1980s, the police closed a
squatted venue in Cambridge, which
led to a mass protest by the city?s bored
youth. A panicked council backed the
launch of a new venue: Cambridge
Junction, which was opened on Valentine?s Day 1990 by John Peel. Today,
this social enterprise comprises three
venues that cover all bases in music,
dance, theatre, spoken word and comedy. The Junction is a favourite, says
music promoter Simon Baker, with big
acts looking for somewhere to warm up
before large tours.
junction.co.uk
2
5
3
5. Food
Aromi
?This place does a really good slice of
Sicilian-style pizza, which is thicker
then some and slightly spongy, almost
like topped focaccia ? and the toppings
are very generous,? says Rushmer. ?It?s
my on-the-run snack option. There
are three shops around Cambridge, so
you?re never far from good pizza.?
aromi.co.uk
Tony Naylor
To see the full alt guide to
Cambridge, and thousands of top
10 lists on everything from the
world?s best restaurants and
hotels to walks and beaches, visit
theguardian.com/travel
15.10.17
OBSERVER CLASSIFIED| 49
15.10.17
9AM TODAY
*
1004
(29.65)
3PM TODAY
1000
(29.53)
1000
(29.53)
SIX-DAY FORECAST
Mon
17
18
Orkney
14
(57F)
MODERATE
13
1008
(29.77)
(55F)
MODERATE
1008
(29.77)
1004
(29.65)
14
28
Glasgow
MODERATE
17
19
(58F)
(62F)
18
Edinburgh
Glasgow
MODERATE
14
15
(56F)
(60F)
14
16
MODERATE
Newcastle
(57F)
18
Edinburgh
MODERATE
Newcastle
(60F)
Belfast
Belfast
14
20
(58F) Hull
SLIGHT
Dublin
Manchester
(65F)
Norwich
Norwich
Birmingham
Birmingham
14
(57F)
22
Cardi?
Gloucester
Bristol
19
1020
(30.12)
16
(66F)
21
1012
(29.88)
Gloucester
Bristol
London
14
Cardi?
(61F)
HEAVY
20
(68F)
London
HEAVY
Brighton
17
Plymouth
(56F)
Brighton
Plymouth
(63F)
17
SLIGHT
1016
(30.00)
SLIGHT
1012
(29.88)
14
1016
(30.00)
UK TODAY
2
COLD
WARM
Reykjavik
1000
(29.53)
OCCLUDED FRONT
1000
L
(29.53)
Helsinki
Stockholm
Berlin
H
1024
(30.24)
Rome
H
Athens
992 L
(29.29)
1008
1000
(29.77)
(29.53)
10
5
11
12
14
15
16
SOLUTION NO. 1,149
17
18
19
21
ACROSS
1 Prophetess (9)
8 Drive out (5)
9 Graceful (7)
10 Buried waste (8)
11 Burden (4)
13 Environment (6)
14 Passionate (6)
16 Flying saucers? (4)
17 Particular (8)
19 Escapologist (7)
20 Pass-out (5)
21 Beach vehicle (4,5)
Belgrade
Madrid
4
20
12 Fair
13 Rain
12 Rain
13 Cloudy
Birmingham 22 Storms
16 Fair
15 Rain
15 Rain
14 Rain
15 Fair
Bristol
19 Storms
15 Fair
14 Showers 14 Rain
13 Rain
18 Fair
Cardiff
20 Storms
16 Fair
15 Rain
15 Rain
15 Fair
Edinburgh
15 Rain
14 Showers 14 Rain
13 Showers 13 Cloudy
13 Rain
Glasgow
15 Rain
14 Showers 14 Rain
13 Showers 13 Cloudy
13 Rain
Leeds
21 Storms
15 Windy
15 Rain
14 Rain
13 Rain
14 Fair
Liverpool
21 Storms
16 Showers 15 Rain
15 Rain
14 Rain
14 Fair
London
23 Fair
17 Fair
17 Showers 16 Rain
16 Rain
17 Fair
Manchester 22 Storms
16 Fair
14 Rain
14 Rain
13 Rain
Newcastle
15 Windy
14 Rain
14 Showers 13 Rain
18 Storms
14 Rain
16 Rain
14 Fair
13 Sunny
Norwich
23 Fair
17 Fair
16 Showers 16 Rain
15 Cloudy
Oxford
22 Fair
17 Fair
16 Showers 15 Rain
14 Fair
19 Fair
Plymouth
18 Storms
16 Fair
15 Showers 16 Rain
15 Fair
16 Cloudy
Swansea
19 Storms
16 Fair
15 Rain
15 Rain
14 Rain
17 Cloudy
York
22 Storms
16 Windy
15 Rain
15 Rain
13 Cloudy
16 Fair
16 Fair
ABROAD YESTERDAY
癈
癈
Aberdeen
14
Anglesey
16 sh
Newcastle
Belfast
16
r
Norwich
Birmingham 20
Blackpool
17
癈
Algiers
29
s
Nairobi
26
18 sh
Bangkok
32
r
New York
22
r
20
f
Beijing
15
r
Perth
27
s
f
Nottingham 20
f
Beirut
27
f
Rio de Jan
33
f
r
Oxford
19
f
Cairo
28
s
Riyadh
36
s
Bournem?th 18
f
Plymouth
16
f
Harare
28
f
San Fran
24
h
Brighton
19
f
Ronaldsway 16 sh
Hong Kong 29
c
Santiago
28
s
Bristol
18
r
S?hampton 18
Istanbul
19 sh
Sao Paulo
29 st
Cardiff
18
f
Scarbr?gh
19 w
Jeddah
35
s
Seychelles
30
f
Carlisle
16
r
Southport
18
r
Jerusalem
24
s
Singapore
32
c
Edinburgh
15
f
Stornoway 14
r
Jo?burg
25
s
Sydney
19
c
Exeter
18
f
Swanage
20
f
Karachi
37
s
Taipei
30
r
Glasgow
15
r
Teignmouth 18
f
L Angeles
31
s
Tenerife
31
f
Inverness
14
f
Tenby
17
c
Manila
30 st
Toronto
20
r
Jersey
18
s
Torquay
18
f
Miami
31 st
Vancouver
11
c
Liverpool
20
f
Weymouth 18
f
Mombasa
30
Washington 25 sh
f
Manchester 20
f
f
f
c
S Y S T E M
T
A
P
R O N D O
C
E
G
C
A
WO R S H I P
N
I
A
A V U N C
O
M
I
R E C A P
O
P
H
T
U
H E I R E S S
A
L
E
N Y L O N S
I B
O
U R
S
T
A
U L
V E
Y
R
I
M E
I D E M
I
A
T S E Y
C
F
R O L L
Y
A R
E
O
R A C T
D
I
H I N O
N
S
A G R E
DOWN
1 Apprehensiveness (4,4)
2 Becoming (6)
3 So be it (4)
4 Be reluctant (4,4,4)
5 Validate (12)
6 Insincere (5-7)
7 Backbone (6,6)
12 Dishes, plates etc. (8)
15 Shoot forth (6)
18 Member (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
0202
New Moon
19 Oct
2
3
3
3
Low
Low
Low
Low
0%
50%
100%
WEATHERVIEW
Glasgow
London
Manchester
Newcastle
2
3
2
2
Low
Low
Low
Low
Plymouth
Aberdeen
Leeds
Oxford
3
2
2
3
Low
Low
Low
Low
Mon
Tue
Wed
Thu
Fri
Sat
癈 Wthr (Maximum temperature and overall condition)
Amsterdam
23 s
17 s
17 sh
16 r
15 sh
16 s
Athens
26 s
25 s
26 f
25 f
25 s
25 s
Barcelona
23 f
23 sh
23 st
23 f
24 f
24 s
Berlin
21 s
21 s
19 s
18 sh
15 f
16 c
Copenhagen
17 f
16 sh
14 sh
14 sh
13 r
13 r
Geneva
23 f
23 f
21 f
19 st
20 f
20 f
21 f
24 s
26 f
C
31?40?
F
87?104
26?30?
80?86
21?25?
69?79
16?20?
60?68
Madrid
27 s
20 st
18 st
11?15?
51?59
Oslo
16 f
10 sh
13 r
8 c
9 r
6?10?
42?50
Paris
25 s
22 f
20 sh
18 r
17 c
18 f
Prague
22 f
21 f
17 f
17 f
15 r
15 f
Rome
24 s
23 f
22 f
23 f
23 s
23 s
Venice
21 f
20 f
19 f
19 f
20 c
20 f
Warsaw
London
Paris
3
12 Showers 12 Rain
13 Showers 13 Rain
EUROPE SIX-DAY FORECAST
1016
(30.00)
Moscow
9
13
TROUGH
Pressure in millibars,
(inches in brackets)
1016
(30.00)
7
8
Belfast
Birmingham
Bristol
Cardiff
1000
(29.53)
SPEEDY CROSSWORD NO. 1,150
1
15 Rain
16 Rain
AIR POLLUTION
KEY
1016
(30.00)
13 Rain
Moon rises
EUROPE TODAY
1008
(29.77)
Sat
19 f
N Orleans 32 s
York
21 f
Wellington 14 f
NE England, SE Scotland, SW Scotland, NE Scotland: Mostly cloudy today with London
Key: c=cloud, dr=drizzle, ds=dust storm, f=fair, fg=fog, g=gales, h=hail, m=mist, r=rain,
spells of rain in the afternoon across Scotland. A moderate to fresh southsh=showers, sl=sleet, sn=snow, s=sun, th=thunder, w=windy. Forecast/readings for noon
westerly wind. Max 13-21C (55-70F). Overcast tonight with rainy spells mainly
in Scotland. Min 2-14C (36-57F).
SUNSET TO SUNRISE
WEATHER STATISTICS
W Isles, N Isles, NW Scotland: Mostly cloudy today with periods of rain. A modBirmingham
18.12
to
07.34
Weather last week
Weather this week
erate to light north-westerly to westerly wind. Max 9-16C (48-61F). Overcast Bristol
18.17
to
07.37
Warmest by day: Bedford,
London
Chance of rain
tonight with periods of rain, mainly in the south-west. A light westerly wind.
Dublin
18.28
to
07.54
Bedfordshire (Friday) 21.0C
Glasgow
18.17
to
07.51
Coldest by night: Aonach,
Min 0-11C (32-52F).
Glasgow
Leeds
18.09
to
07.36
Highland (Tuesday) -2.0C
Northern Ireland, Ireland: Mostly cloudy today with periods of rain. A moderWettest:
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The Observer, journal
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