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The Guardian e-paper Journal - April 24, 2018

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Section:GDN 1J PaGe:1 Edition Date:180424 Edition:01 Zone:
Sent at 23/4/2018 17:35
May has to face facts – she can’t deliver the fantasy Brexit Rafael Behr, page 3
Capita: don’t call it outsourcing. Call it spivvery Aditya Chakrabortty, page 5
The rise of Russia’s neo-Nazi football hooligans The long read, page 9
The Guardian Tuesday 24 April 2018
and ideas
Turn our anger
into action with
a summer of
he sense of fury is quite familiar, while
its locus becomes more extreme: we
were outraged in 2013 by Theresa
May’s racist vans; furious about David
Cameron’s 2015 minimum income
requirement for British citizens wishing
to live with their spouse in their own
country. I could reach back to 2005
and briefly reignite the dismay at Michael Howard’s sly,
sinister and failed election campaign, whose rhetorical
question – “Are you thinking what we’re thinking?” –
asked the nation to reimagine itself as a place where
everyone was a secret furnace of boiling resentment
towards the Polish delicatessen, just waiting for a sign.
We have been sickened by the Grenfell fire and
appalled by the abject failure of Kensington and Chelsea
council, which this week was revealed to have left twothirds of its victims still homeless, while £21m has sat in
the bank, earmarked for “affordable” housing. From the
Windrush scandal to the deliberate disenfranchisement
caused by ID requirements at local elections, every act
has that disorienting quality of being simultaneously
shocking and inevitable.
How could a government bound by the rule of law
and the universal values of respectability and fairness
do these things? And yet, how could a government
whose fall-back position was always to demonise and
smear those it considered the least powerful behave any
other way?
There is no shortage of anger, but if anger is an energy
this is solar: generative, comprehensible, human in scale,
but much more useful if you could store it. The only thing
that turns rage into resistance is stamina. In a formula
that has probably inspired a pop-psychology diagram on
Facebook, the further away you are from an injustice, the
faster it fades. Initially, everyone is indignant; within a
month, that has whittled down geographically, reduced
to the people who live among those affected; within six
months, it’s down to their acquaintances until, finally,
only a hardcore, such as the Hillsborough families, are
left, fighting a wrong that never went away, that only
increased as scrutiny mapped its dimensions.
Often, when justice is finally won, it’s because the
law has stepped in where casual fellow-feeling has
proved inadequate, immune to considerations of
boredom and a bigger crisis coming along. A court is
able to concentrate on an issue for long enough to get
some retribution, as the Lawrences found.
Peopled, nevertheless, by people, it also
tends naturally towards the case for the
A protest in
support of
the Windrush
in Windrush
Square, Brixton,
south London
Section:GDN 1J PaGe:2 Edition Date:180424 Edition:01 Zone:
Sent at 23/4/2018 18:08
The Guardian Tuesday 24 April 2018
Turn our anger into action with a
summer of solidarity
Zoe Williams
Continued from front
Founded 1821 Independently owned by the Scott Trust № 53,391
‘Comment is free… but facts are sacred’ CP Scott
establishment, unless that case is mortally
weak. You cannot devolve your citizenly
responsibility to the high court.
If we want to end the “hostile environment”, and
end any possibility of a government explicitly setting
out to perpetrate hostile acts against its own people; if
we want compensation for the Windrush victims and
the proper attribution of responsibility to the people
who set out to destroy their lives; if we want to express
in some permanent way how abhorrent it has been
to see “send ’em back” transmute from a BNP slogan
to a Conservative policy, we need radical solidarity.
Solidarity with staying power, muster points, real-life
expression: solidarity with a plan.
There’s a precedent in the Black Lives Matter
movement. Before it, American racism followed a loop.
A police officer or white vigilante would kill an innocent
black man; aspersions would be heaped on the black
man’s character and activities, and then disproved.
A court would acquit the white man regardless, and
protest would follow, to a greater or lesser degree,
depending on the energy of the victim’s family; and the
event would recede until its anniversary caused it to be
culturally memorialised in essay, discussion or film.
Black Lives Matter hasn’t ended police brutality – far
from it. Still less has it eradicated racism. But it has
spored a connected response to each injustice. From
this a pattern can be established, and beneath that a
worldview. It has smoked out the “all lives matter”
brigade – people who object to any suggestion that black
people may be victimised by the authorities, regardless
of the evidence, but previously never had to be explicit
in that. It has delved into endemic and less dramatic
racism – disenfranchisement, black people in custody
– and it has created the moral framework for grassroots
unity on the left.
It’s difficult to make a practical and broad-based case
against Donald Trump, for instance, when your starting
point is the Occupy movement. An abstract critique
of the system works best when yoked to a concrete
critique of its figurehead: that he is a person to whom
some lives demonstrably matter more than others.
Macron in Washington
hat we need to emulate is
not the slogan so much –
though slogans help – as
the practical execution;
to plan a summer of civil
activity that is connected,
visible and impossible to
ignore. The local elections in
England on 3 May are vital, and not just for a generalised
expression of opposition to the government. Five pilot
projects – in Bromley, Gosport, Swindon, Watford
and Woking – will be demanding identification from
voters at the polling booths, in a move that the Equality
and Human Rights Commission has warned will
disenfranchise migrants.
What would solidarity look like in this situation?
Would you tell your neighbour that their vote
mattered and that if returning officers had been turned
overnight into border guards, you’d be watching?
What would you do with what you saw? How do you
make Watford your business ahead of election day?
What are the Brexit flashpoints of the coming months,
and how could the key issues – specifically, freedom
of movement and the notion of EU citizens as actual
people – be connected to fighting racism at the heart of
government? When the anniversary of the Grenfell fire
arrives, how do we express on a national level that these
tragedies are all linked?
Unhelpfully, I have no answers: locked in an itchscratch-itch cycle of protest and disillusionment, my
mind goes inexorably to demonstrations and placards
and, once there, is foxed. I know marching doesn’t
do much, yet imaginative alternatives never suggest
themselves. But one fortification of solidarity is to
know that it doesn’t start, let alone end, with the limits
of one’s own creativity. As the people closest to an
injustice will fight it the longest, so their answers will
be the most developed. The important thing for all of us
is to stay on side. Don’t wander off. The wandering-off
years are over.
Ad tech
France needs to show
concrete results from its
courting of Donald Trump
A young European leader flies to Washington on an
official visit. He is a modernising charmer from the
progressive wing of politics, articulate and comfortable
with the media. He arrives to meet an American
president whose politics are emphatically not his, and
whose election has dismayed US liberals, disrupted the
transatlantic alliance and alienated European opinion.
The new US president is an American exceptionalist.
He is no respecter of human rights and international
institutions. But the European leader has decided to
hug him close in the hope of influencing his decisions.
Washington rolls out the red carpet. It is captivated by
the visitor’s eloquence and charisma, such contrasts to
their own leader’s bombast. Improbably, the two men
find themselves starting to make big plans together.
For anyone whose memory goes back to the run-up to
the Iraq war, this is a sobering vision. When Tony Blair
first visited George W Bush in 2001, he began a process
that would end, among other things, in the wreck of
his own reputation, the collapse of his party’s electoral
ascendancy and the undermining of his country’s moral
and international standing, all of which continue in
some degree to this day. Whether Emmanuel Macron,
who arrived in Washington yesterday for a two-day state
visit to Donald Trump, will give way to a Blair-like hubris
in his dealings with the White House is too early to say.
There are sound, serious reasons for thinking history will
not repeat itself. But the risk is undoubtedly there.
Mr Macron’s courting of Mr Trump is not an end
in itself, as Britain’s often abject obsession with the
Online advertising is
the responsibility of
humans, not programs
Martin Lewis, the consumer advice and money-saving
expert, is suing Facebook in a case that threatens
the dominant business model of publishing on the
internet. It raises in a very sharp form the question of
responsibility for what appears on a user’s screen: is
the owner of the site responsible for the content that
appears there, even though no human eye may ever
have seen it? Facebook and in fact all the ad-supported
businesses on the internet maintain that they are
platforms, not publishers. Their responsibility extends
only to content they know about. Is this enough?
Should they also be responsible for content they might
reasonably anticipate?
Facebook’s defence is that it has taken down
individual adverts as they are reported; Lewis counter
charges that they are soon, predictably, replaced with
almost identical ones. It does appear odd that Facebook,
which is extremely keen on facial recognition and
can label the people in friends’ photograph feed with
sometimes disconcerting accuracy, is apparently unable
to recognise the face of a television personality made as
recognisable as possible or to kill automatically any ad
in which it appears. In a similar way, YouTube, owned by
Google, is far more successful at keeping pornography
off the site than it is at keeping off incitements to hatred
or bullying. All that really frightens them is the thought
of driving advertisers away.
There is a technical defence in these cases: the
advertising business on the web is almost entirely
automated, and human judgment appears to play
so-called special relationship can be. It forms part of
a coherent, but controversial, attempt to relaunch
France, at home and abroad, as what he calls a startup
nation. Mr Macron wants France to reassert itself
on the international stage as a necessary ally, claim
global leadership on issues like climate change, and
renew its military role while leveraging France’s huge
soft-power assets. This will come to little if he fails to
win his current confrontations with French unions.
But American isolationism, German caution,
EU divisions and a distracted Britain have created
large openings for a determined leader who has
often made his own luck.
French public opinion likes its leaders to play a
global role. But it is as hostile to Mr Trump as any
in Europe. Mr Macron needs something more than
White House and Capitol Hill plaudits this week if
his pragmatic approach is to convince at home. Thus
far, his record is not impressive. Mr Macron has not
hidden his disagreements with Mr Trump. He has
pressed the US president to reverse his abandonment
of the Paris climate accord, to keep the US engaged in
Syria to constrain the Assad regime, to hold off on his
wish to pull out of the Iran nuclear accord and to pull
back from his planned tariffs on EU goods.
None of these has succeeded. If he can shift
Mr Trump on any of them, Iran in particular, it would
be a surprise and a coup. The epiphenomena of the
visit – the handshakes, tweets, pouts, talk of bromance
and the fact it will overshadow Angela Merkel’s visit
at the end of the week – will inevitably dominate this
week’s headlines. That also happened when Mr Blair
went to Washington in 2001 for a meeting that seemed
at the time to be merely about toothpaste and sweaters.
But beyond the symbolism of yesterday’s dinner at
George Washington’s home, where the key to the
Bastille, a gift to the first president from the Marquis de
Lafayette, hangs in the entrance hall, the substance of
the Macron visit needs to be real. If that happens, the
rest of Europe would owe a debt to the French leader.
no part at all. Every time you load a page on an
ad-supported site an invisible auction is conducted
between competing programs in microseconds to
sell the advertising slots on it, based on everything
that is known about you from all across the internet
and indeed elsewhere.
That is why the harvesting of enormous quantities
of data is so important to all these companies: not
just for the personal information that you know you
are giving up, but for the further information that
can be extracted by looking for patterns across tens
of millions of other users. This means, in theory,
that advertisers can search across the whole of the
internet for the cheapest place to reach the audience
they have in mind, while publishers can deliver the
most exquisitely segmented audiences.
In practice it works less smoothly. Hundreds of
companies are involved in an ecosystem whose
details are almost impossible to grasp even for
those involved. At every step money is shaved off,
so that as much as 70% of an advertiser’s budget
goes to people other than the publishers on whose
site the ad finally appears. Procter & Gamble recently
knocked $100m off its online advertising budget
without seeing any loss of sales. Quite often, ads are
displayed without any human intervention solely
for the delectation of robots.
The Guardian, too, is enmeshed in this system, just
as every other newspaper is. Nonetheless, it’s clear
that the complexity of the technologies involved
can’t be used to remove all human or corporate
responsibility. The participants in an ad-funded
online world are to some extent publishers as well as
platforms. The software they use did not write itself.
Algorithms are not acts of God or nature. They are the
product of human ingenuity and, as such, there have
to be humans or corporations held responsible for
their actions. This principle is obvious when it comes
to the software that drives cars. Why should the
software that drives advertising be any different?
Section:GDN 1J PaGe:3 Edition Date:180424 Edition:01 Zone:
Tuesday 24 April 2018 The Guardian
Sent at 23/4/2018 18:06
It wouldn’t
have been
easy to sell a 52:48
Brexit. Tories
seeking a pure Brexit
are the least satiable
people in politics
May must face
the truth – she
can’t deliver the
fantasy Brexit
ho can say, hand on heart,
that the customs union was
uppermost in their mind in the
polling booth on referendum
day? Each vote contained a
multitude of motives, and
the subtleties of the EU’s
common external tariff were
in the mix somewhere, but as obscure chemical elements
in a complex electoral compound. The only certain
description we have of that substance, sometimes called
the will of the people, is that it is made up of 52 parts
leave to 48 remain. Views on what Brexit means beyond
that express preferences, not facts.
Theresa May wants it to mean no customs union,
although that might not even be her personal preference.
It is borrowed from Tory MPs who believe total
autonomy, when striking future trade deals, is the
supreme goal to which all other economic considerations
are subordinate. That faction was incensed by reports
that the prime minister was amenable to compromise.
Following the usual pattern, Downing Street quickly
nursed their distemper with reassurance that the old red
lines are unmoved.
This skirmish has flared up for two reasons. First,
the Lords last week amended the Brexit withdrawal bill
with a clause advocating a customs union. Then reports
emerged of a demolition job by European commission
negotiators on solutions offered by UK officials to the
problem of maintaining an invisible border in Northern
Ireland without a customs union. What Downing Street
thought to be an ingenious technical workaround looked
in Brussels about as feasible as deploying herds of
unicorns to check rules of origin and stop smugglers.
May has been sent back to the drawing board with
little time to spare. Meanwhile, MPs are sketching out
the fall-back option. On Thursday the Commons will
vote on a nonbinding resolution backing a customs
union. There will then be a more consequential vote on
the Lords’ amendment next month.
This is all part of the longer struggle between May
and parliament for control over Brexit. A crucial battle
will be fought next week over another withdrawal bill
amendment, introduced in the Lords with cross-party
support, but brokered by Keir Starmer, the shadow Brexit
secretary. The proposal addresses a scenario whereby
May’s final Brexit package is rejected by parliament. As
things stand, the default would be a tumble towards the
exit with no deal. That proposition is too horrendous for
most MPs to contemplate, which is why the government
wants it to be the only alternative to its offer.
The amendment would weave a safety net, forcing
ministers to take instruction from MPs on what to do next
if May’s deal is defeated. How that would work in practice
is mysterious but, in theory, it removes some of the
jeopardy from the autumn showdown. And May needs
maximum jeopardy to impose discipline on her party.
In particular, she needs the Tories to dread a sequence
of events that somehow triggers a general election and
propels Jeremy Corbyn into No 10. (There are Labour MPs
who aren’t much less alarmed by that prospect.)
In an effort to ramp up the stakes, Downing Street
yesterday morning hinted that votes on the customs
union might be escalated to matters of confidence in
the government, although it isn’t clear how that fits into
the strictures of the Fixed-term Parliaments Act. The
implied threat to put the government’s survival in the
balance had receded by lunchtime but the underlying
tension isn’t going away. The parliamentary timetable
resembles a densely embroiled chess game where
multiple pieces are all threatening and protecting each
other – pawns on knights on bishops on more pawns on
rooks. No one in Westminster can see enough moves
ahead to know where the advantage will lie in the
endgame, after the board has thinned out.
May is no grandmaster. The customs union trap was
not hard to spot. To the EU she promised an invisible
Irish border, and to Tory backbenchers she pledged
freedom to diverge from European regulation. Those
two things contradict one another.
ut May’s big blunder was earlier,
when she became prime minister, in
her Brexit-means-Brexit phase. She
chose not to engage with the hidden
complexities of a project made to
look easy by the binary referendum
question. She did not accept that there
were ways to leave the EU other than
the hardest, steepest path. She might have considered
staying in the single market, the European Economic
Area or the European Free Trade Association. Those
are bona fide Brexits, but better calibrated to the
52:48 people’s ratio. Instead May was persuaded that
democracy demanded a formula closer to 100:0. That is
the least stable compound of all.
It wouldn’t have been easy to sell a 52:48 Brexit.
Some leavers would feel it sullied the ideal of
immaculate separation. Hardcore remainers would pine
for full integration. But disappointment is built into any
Brexit model because the technocratic grind of ending
EU membership cannot satisfy the heroic promises of
national renewal made by the leave campaign. And
those Tories with an appetite for 100% pure Brexit are
the least satiable people in politics. May could storm out
of Brussels tomorrow and they would complain that she
hadn’t slammed the door hard enough.
May faced a choice between a fantasy Brexit,
designed only to gratify a minority who are immune to
gratification, and real Brexits that require compromise
on every side. It wasn’t an appealing decision, but nor
was it a hard one. Still she chose poorly. It wouldn’t be
easy for her to change course now. But nor is it too late.
Section:GDN 1J PaGe:4 Edition Date:180424 Edition:01 Zone:
Sent at 23/4/2018 19:23
The Guardian Tuesday 24 April 2018
Labour’s far left
needs to tame
itself to root out
would like to think that today’s meeting
between Jeremy Corbyn and Jennie Formby,
the Labour party general secretary, and a
delegation from the Board of Deputies of British
Jews and the Jewish Leadership Council, will
mark a turning point in the party’s troubles
over antisemitism. Last week’s speeches
in parliament by Luciana Berger and Ruth
Smeeth, among others, detailing the antisemitic and
misogynistic abuse they had received, demonstrated
the need for such a turning point.
Since the demonstration against antisemitism in
Parliament Square at the end of March, there have been
some signs of progress. The letters exchanged between
Corbyn and the Board of Deputies and the Leadership
Council that paved the way for the meeting were
measured and serious. Influential voices on the left of
the party, including Jon Lansman and John McDonnell,
have also acknowledged that antisemitism within the
Labour party is a serious issue.
No one is under any illusions as to the difficulty of
the challenge ahead. The anger in much of the Jewish
community is such that the delegation will not be
appeased by tea and sympathy. Other organisations,
such as the Campaign Against Antisemitism favour a
much more aggressive approach.
Many of Corbyn’s supporters will be encouraging him
to give no ground, and Jewish Voice for Labour (JVL)
will remind him that the Board of Deputies and Jewish
Jeremy Corbyn unveils Labour’s report into antisemitism,
Museums are
still in denial
about their
imperialist past
Leadership Council do not represent them. In fact, the
planned presence of the JVL at a separate “roundtable”
organised by Formby led the Board, the Council and other
Jewish groups to decline the invitation. The roundtable
now appears to have been called off.
Some progress might be made on a few items on the
Board and the Council’s agenda. One key demand, that
outstanding disciplinary cases on antisemitism should
be resolved quickly, is surely in everyone’s interests. It
is hard, however, to see Corbyn agreeing to the demand
that “the party will seek to understand and engage
with the Jewish community via its main representative
groups, and not through fringe organisations who wish
to obstruct the party’s efforts to tackle antisemitism”.
Even if both parties reach a clear understanding
acceptable to all, monumental difficulties remain that
may be beyond the capacity of any of them to address.
The central problem is that much (although by no means
all) of the antisemitism in the Labour party has emerged
from the online-fuelled grassroots movement that has
been a major factor in sustaining Corbyn’s leadership.
By its very nature, this movement resists control.
The passion that drives it is not conducive to careful
speech. Antisemitism is more than just carelessness and
it is more than just speech, but any attempt to address
it must begin with serious attention to language in an
age in which communication – on any issue – constantly
threatens to spiral out of control.
While many in the Labour party are aware of the
problems that unrestrained speech can cause, there
are few practical suggestions as to what to do about
it. The Guardian columnist Owen Jones has called for
a mass “political education” campaign, but it will be
difficult to corral Labour supporters into the institutional
frameworks necessary for this. In any case, antisemitism
is one symptom of a wider culture of tit-for-tat purging
and abuse that has permeated the party for decades.
orbyn has repeatedly condemned
abuse, antisemitic or otherwise,
although he rarely goes into specifics.
Yet his supporters tend to ignore his less
convenient pronouncements. He does
not wield his authority with an iron fist
and is unlikely to have the will to lead a
mass disciplining of unruly voices.
While no one who sees themselves as part of the
grassroots Labour movement really knows how to
draw on its productive energies without its dark side,
there is another section of the Labour left that does
understand discipline and control. Parts of the trade
union movement – and those, such as McDonnell, who
are close to it – have considerable experience in these
political arts. Formby’s appointment, backed by Unite,
and the failure of the bid by the Momentum founder
Lansman were a demonstration of the vulnerability of
grassroots politics against machine politics.
Cynics might therefore suggest that Jewish
organisations that want antisemitism within Labour
addressed should concentrate on building ties with
Formby, McDonnell and the unions. Although some of the
party’s more authoritarian leftists have themselves been
accused of antisemitism, they are also pragmatic, and
they have the ruthlessness to rid the party of antisemites
and the message-discipline to refrain from hateful
language – should they feel it’s in their interests to do so.
Of course, not only am I not advocating such an
alliance, no appetite exists for it on either side. For
one thing, ties between the Jewish community and
beleaguered Labour centrists, including the centristleaning Jewish Labour Movement, are strong and
deep. But the prospect of the decentralised grassroots
Labour left eventually being subjugated by its
centralising cousins is a very real one, whether or not it is
antisemitism that provokes it.
Those who value the idealistic passion that
permeates the Labour grassroots (including, with much
ambivalence, myself) need to grapple with how its
abusive, uncontrollable tendencies can be curbed, since
these invite its suppression. Facing up to antisemitism
and to the wider issue of abuse on the left isn’t just the
right thing to do for its own sake, it is the key to ensuring
the resilience of the movement.
is a sociologist
and the author
of Judaism: All
That Matters
Alice Procter
is an art
n the past few days I’ve been written about
in the Times and splashed across the pages
of the Daily Mail. An MP has called my work
“sensationalist”. Apparently, applying modern
understanding to the past is unscholarly,
childish and disrespectful. When I started
leading my Uncomfortable Art Tours around
London museums last summer, the goal was
to give an alternative view of imperialism, and look
at the ways the British empire is represented by Tate
Britain, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the National
Gallery and others. I am not affiliated to the institutions
I guide in, so I’m free to interrogate their histories in a
way that staff often can’t. We look at art commissioned
by those on both sides of the abolitionist movement,
unpack the subtle agendas in portraits, and examine
the role of museums in creating hierarchies of
“civilised” and “savage”.
Most importantly, we talk. Being physically in a
gallery, a space that privileges some experiences over
others, and critiquing this, is a form of dissent. It’s
a way of opening up the debate about whose stories
deserve to be told – and whose faces seen – when we
talk about Britishness and nationhood. Museums are
institutions of memory – they must stop pretending
there’s only one version of events, and be willing to
own up to their role in shaping the way we see the past.
There is no such thing as neutrality or objectivity.
Every label in a gallery was written by a person. Every
object was placed, every room was designed. Those
people are reflecting their backgrounds in the choices
they make, consciously or not.
I make “Display It Like You Stole It” badges for
people to wear on the tours. It’s a slogan designed to
push museums and visitors to rethink the politics of
presentation in galleries. On most text panels there’s
little or no mention of how objects came to be there.
Euphemistic language of “acquisition” obscures
the truth. I don’t believe most visitors to the British
Museum’s Benin and South Pacific collections, for
example, or the V&A’s Indian collections, come away
understanding that these are largely the spoils of war.
Short of actually repatriating these objects – which
I believe museums should do – they must at least be
open about their histories. You can look at the Gweagal
shield in the British Museum and have no idea that it
is considered crucial to the story of Indigenous and
settler relations in Australia, that its position in the
museum is extremely controversial, and it’s sought by
Gweagal people today. The display and potential longterm loan to Ethiopia of the Maqdala treasures by the
V&A hints at an overdue shift towards self-awareness,
and a willingness to sit with the enduring shame and
pain of empire. But it’s just a hint.
My tours, and projects like them, will continue until
museums engage fully with their imperial legacies
without needing to be prompted. I don’t know when
that will happen, but it must.
Section:GDN 1J PaGe:5 Edition Date:180424 Edition:01 Zone:
Tuesday 24 April 2018 The Guardian
Don’t call it
outsourcing –
call it spivvery
Sent at 23/4/2018 17:17
he crisis at Capita will today be
treated like a business story, with a
big company shooting up distress
flares and launching an urgent
£700m whip-round. But this story
is far larger than that. It holds up a
mirror to how the British state is now
locked in a sick co-dependency with
outsourcing companies, the very business model of
which drives them both into financial precariousness
and service failure.
The first episode aired in January, when Carillion
collapsed. Capita, however, is on a different scale.
It employs almost twice the number of people
as Carillion did. From issuing parking tickets to
evaluating disability benefits, Capita has done it all
– just as Carillion did anything from tunnels for HS2 to
school dinners in Greater Manchester. Nothing connects
these jobs – because the only real specialism these
giant outsourcing firms have is to bid for contracts. The
salesmen in David Mamet’s Glengarry Glen Ross knew
their business wasn’t real estate – it was to “always be
closing”. So it is with the outsourcers: they win business;
what happens afterwards is a roll of the dice.
At the 2012 London Olympics, G4S could not provide
the security guards it was paid for – so the army was
drafted in. In 2014, Capita racked up such a backlog of
assessments for personal independence payments that
the government had to send in civil servants. Later that
same year, NHS trusts across Britain began withdrawing
their payroll and IT services from Capita.
But the most remarkable Capita story is in local
government. The Tory councillors of Barnet aimed to
turn the borough into a no-frills “easyCouncil”. And by
far the biggest 10-year contracts – everything from HR to
highways – ended up with Capita. Less than five years
since the outsourcing began, Barnet has paid £327m to
Capita – and the problems keep mounting up. Bins haven’t
been collected; when the snow fell a couple of months
ago, gritting trucks weren’t on the road; a few months
before that, Capita failed to do the council’s accounts on
time. The outsourcing was meant to save Barnet money;
last week it was announced that the council would need
to make more cuts to close a “budget gap” of £39.5m.
This is spivvery: for which you and I pay billions extra
just to get minimal services. It can also lead to a financial
fragility at the heart of the firms on which Britain now
relies. As noted by Adam Leaver, professor of accounting
at Sheffield University, Carillion repeatedly pulled
forward hundreds of millions on profits expected from
future work, and paid that cash out to shareholders.
Since the huge profits it was booking did not exist, it
had to borrow the cash it paid out to shareholders –
and the debt was secured against goodwill: its brand
name, and relations with customers and staff. However
hard such things are to value, Carillion reckoned they
were worth a tidy £1.57bn. As MPs discovered to their
amazement in January, “goodwill” was Carillion’s single
biggest asset.
Of Britain’s five biggest outsourcers, Capita has an
even higher proportion of goodwill on its books when
set against its assets. Back in February, Leaver observed
that were the firm’s executives to write down just 25%
of the value of that goodwill, they “would wipe out the
firm’s equity”.
As they have grown, the giant outsourcers’ business
model has relied more and more on the public
sector playing the role of useful idiot – talking up the
importance of private-sector efficiency and never
batting an eyelid when the likes of Capita tap them up
for some expensive loophole in the contract. That is
clearly changing: Labour councils such as Preston want
primarily to contract out to local businesses, while at
Westminster Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell want
to bring more of the state back in-house. The problem
for the state is that, having tied itself to the outsourcers
through a thousand binding contracts, it is hard to see
how it frees itself in a hurry.
All this underlines that outsourcing is a political
as well as a business issue. It is also now an electoral
one. The ructions in Haringey were about outsourcing
housing and planning to a joint venture with the
multinational developer Lendlease. In Barnet last
week, an ordinary meeting of the audit committee of
the council ended with the extraordinary scene of a
former Tory councillor lashing “the disastrous Capita
contracts” and claiming that “residents are being
fleeced”. He ended by calling on locals to vote Labour.
Imagine that: Margaret Thatcher’s true-blue backyard
turning red because of Capita.
Section:GDN 1J PaGe:6 Edition Date:180424 Edition:01 Zone:
Sent at 23/4/2018 17:50
“Never was so much owed by so
many to so few.” This wartime
quote by Winston Churchill, who
was also prime minister during
the first waves of West Indian
migrants to Britain, is to me the
most apt way of expressing the
gratitude of the Caricom high
commissioners and the West Indian
diaspora for the incredible work by
Amelia Gentleman on the issues
confronting elderly, Caribbeanborn, long-term, UK residents.
In less than a week, a story
that was for too long begging for
attention became front-page news
and in the process won the hearts of
a nation and engaged the mind of a
government. I want to recognise this
seminal work by Amelia in almost
singlehandedly leading the charge.
The Caribbean owes her an
immeasurable debt of gratitude,
and I commend her for an immense
dedication to her craft and
outstanding service to the people
of the Caribbean.
While we are not there yet,
I am now optimistic that soon,
in large part because of Amelia’s
work, those elderly West Indians
who lived in fear will be able to
embrace their loved ones and join
hands and sing, in the words of the
old Negro spiritual, “Free at last,
Free at last, Thank God almighty,
We are free at last.”
Guy Hewitt
High commissioner for Barbados to
the United Kingdom
MP – for the brilliant exposure
of the gut-wrenching Windrush
scandal. But among the rightful
condemnation of the “hostile
environment” brought in by
Theresa May and reinforced by
Amber Rudd, we must not overlook
the responsibility of those who
have implemented the policy.
The destruction of the lives of a
generation of hard-working British
citizens would not have happened
without the active collusion of
a range of bodies who should be
profoundly ashamed of their actions
as a mindless immigration police
force. Why did they target a selective
group of longstanding employees,
NHS patients, tenants, service users?
Proactively complying with
the law in such an obviously
discriminatory manner has resulted
in these heartless actions that are
central to one of the most graphic
examples of institutionalised racism
since the Stephen Lawrence case.
As history has taught us, “simply
obeying orders” is a profoundly
slippery slope. The 2014 Immigration
Act enshrining the “hostile
environment” must certainly be
repealed. Until then, leaders and
managers of mainstream institutions
must use common sense, decency
and judgment, and refuse to be
collaborators in this system of
appalling racial and social injustice.
Gideon Ben-Tovim
Senior fellow in sociology,
University of Liverpool
• Congratulations to the
Guardian – and to David Lammy
• Can we please stop demanding
apologies, or resignations, or,
If only the motives for Syria
strikes were more principled
Peter Beaumont says of chemical
weapons that “the idea that other
weapons are equally deadly misses
the point, which is that we have
decided that this class of killing – like
the wanton murder of civilians and
shooting prisoners – is beyond the
pale” (Poison gas has been taboo for a
century. It must remain so, 19 April).
However, he misses a wider context
himself – that the world order is one
in which stronger nations use their
military and economic power to
subdue weaker ones with impunity.
As long as this is the case, less strong
countries will use whatever means
come to hand to try to level the
playing field; much like a resistance
movement does to a foreign
occupier. We don’t, for instance,
condemn the Maquis their second
world war excesses in murdering
captured German soldiers.
The obvious answer to stopping
The Guardian Tuesday 24 April 2018
Gratitude for Windrush
work – but fight goes on
the use of chemical weapons is to
strengthen global multilateral bodies
like the UN, and give them greater
powers to regulate and conciliate
international disputes. Donald
Trump wants to degrade the UN and
starve it of funds. The US will no
doubt have much greater “success”
in its anti-UN endeavour than its
token strikes against supposed
chemical weapons facilities in Syria
will have in stopping the proliferation
and further use of chemical weapons.
Joe McCarthy
Dublin, Ireland
• Why are three of the world’s
biggest exporters of arms so obsessed
with the taboo on chemical weapons?
They invoke the inhumanity
of chemical weapons to justify
intervention in Syria. Yet they have
no compunction about other horrible
materials that they continue to
worse still, independent inquiries,
into the harm done by the “hostile
environment” (Government knew
of risk to Windrush generation,
23 April). What is needed is a
prompt decision by the government
to suspend the operation of the
“hostile environment” measures
introduced in the Immigration
Acts 2014 and 2016, a reduction in
immigration application fees, and
a decision by the Home Office to
prioritise careful decision-making
in accordance with the law, and cut
delays for applicants.
I write as an immigration solicitor
at Kent Law Clinic. Following the
2012 loss of legal aid, I have been the
only solicitor in Kent providing a free
service for non-asylum immigration
clients. The clinic acts for many
non-“Windrush” clients also facing
loss of accommodation, work,
benefits and family life because
of the “hostile environment”.
To me and many other immigration
practitioners, it was clear as
soon as Theresa May made her
announcement in 2013 that,
although directed against “illegal
immigrants”, people here lawfully
would be affected.
It has been clear since the
2006 and 2013 declarations by
two different home secretaries
(John Reid and Theresa May)
that the Home Office immigration
department was “not fit for
I want to recognise
this seminal work by
Amelia Gentleman in
almost singlehandedly
leading the charge
Guy Hewitt
develop and produce, including the
worst of them all, nuclear weapons.
Recent amendments to the Rome
statute of the international criminal
court reinforce prohibitions on
various inhumane weapons when
used in internal conflicts. It seems
ironic that neither Britain nor France
have ratified these amendments.
Could it be that among the
“humanitarian” motives of Donald
Trump and his myrmidons in
Britain and France in enforcing
the taboo on chemical weapons is
a desire to prevent proliferation of
the “poor man’s weapons of mass
destruction” so as to better preserve
the monopoly of a few states over
nuclear weapons, the rich man’s
weapon of mass destruction?
William Schabas
Professor of international law,
Middlesex University London
• One of your correspondents
(Letters, 19 April) argued that “if in
2011 we had sided with Russia and
supported the legitimate and stable
government of Syria”, it would have
saved the immense loss of life and
purpose” and that concentrating on
rooting out “illegal migrants” has for
many years been a losing as well as
a spiteful strategy. It should be clear
now that the “hostile environment”
is itself creating illegality among
ordinary individuals and families,
and should be abandoned forthwith.
Sheona York
Kent Law Clinic, University of Kent
• Today I read yet another
account of the human cost of the
hostile environment policy on the
Windrush generation (Left destitute:
‘I had to beg for money to pay for
electricity’, 23 April). In 2014 Trevor
Johnson was told wrongly by the
Home Office that he was in the UK
illegally, and not allowed to work or
claim benefits.
The predictable consequences
were that he was threatened with
deportation, his benefits were
stopped and he and his family faced
destitution and eviction. Just the
year before, in April 2013, the Legal
Aid, Sentencing and Punishment
of Offenders Act (Laspo) came into
force. Laspo removed from the scope
of legal aid each of those areas of
law: immigration, welfare benefits,
debt and early housing advice.
Laspo did not just mean that
private practice solicitors could not
advise on certain legal problems
but also slashed the capacity of Law
Centres, Citizens Advice Bureaux
and Shelter housing aid centres to
provide specialist help to people
facing the harsh, and unlawful,
decisions of public bodies.
The government is currently
undertaking a post-implementation
review of Laspo. Let us hope that,
like Amelia Gentleman’s superb
journalism, the focus of the review
is the effect the Laspo has had on the
lives of people like Trevor Johnson.
Diane Astin
destruction of the country. He blames
us all as “willing accessories” to
this destruction. His description
of the regime gives the game away:
legitimate and stable. Certainly
it was internationally recognised
and until 2011 stable. But it was a
dictatorship based on the subjection
of the great majority of Syrians to a
small minority. Its stability had come
from “a peace of the dead” following
the brutal suppression of the
majority Sunnis by Hafez al-Assad at
Hama in 1982.
This majority had a legitimate
right to demonstrate for freedom
and democracy. Sadly, the
Assad regime replied with brutal
repression and not surprisingly
some Syrians reacted with violence.
The destruction of Syria was caused
by the persistent refusal of the
Assad regime, backed by Russia, to
negotiate a settlement and its cynical
fostering of extreme jihadist groups
in order to discredit the opposition.
Keith Morris
• More online at
Army of Generals
and the British
through the legs
of the conductor
rehearse their
parts for The
Anatomy of
the Orchestra,
a live sound
installation on
all three levels
of Bristol’s
Colston Hall
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Poignant plot of
Frasier episode
Your obituary to the wonderful
David Ogden Stiers (21 April) makes
mention of his appearance in a 2003
episode of Frasier. You say that in
many ways his snobbish Winchester
(in the TV series of M*A*S*H) was
an antecedent of Frasier. But the
central point of the episode was that
Marty Crane starts to question if he
is the father of Frasier and Niles,
because they share so many things
in common with Leland, who had
been very close to their mother.
When Marty confronts Leland with
his suspicions Leland says the reason
he was so close to Marty’s wife was
because she was the only person
he could tell he was gay. How sad,
therefore, that it should be another
six years (at the age of 67) before the
actor himself felt able to come out
publicly and say he was gay.
Bob Wood
Section:GDN 1J PaGe:7 Edition Date:180424 Edition:01 Zone:
Tuesday 24 April 2018 The Guardian
Sent at 23/4/2018 17:51
 @guardianletters
Corrections and
• The clue for 23 across and 1 and 5
down in Saturday’s prize crossword
had the wrong letter count. It should
have been: 3,3,3,5,2,4, not 6,8,6 (No
27,489, 21 April, page 12, Journal).
• A comma inserted during the
editing process changed the plot of
Billy Liar, meaning that we said Tom
Courtenay’s “angry young man in
Yorkshire ducks off, taking a fateful
train to London and freedom”.
Courtenay’s character didn’t
take that journey in the film (‘It’s
incredible! I’ve got all this colour in
my life’, 20 April, page 11, G2).
Editorial complaints and corrections can be sent to or The readers’ editor,
King’s Place, 90 York Way, London N1 9GU; alternatively
call 020 3353 4736 from 10am to 1pm Monday to Friday
excluding public holidays. The Guardian’s policy is to correct
significant errors as soon as possible. For more information
on the readers’ editor’s office and the Guardian editorial
code, see Find contacts for other
Guardian departments and staff at
Sometimes it’s hard
to be a woman…
Re “like” (Letters, 23 April), when and
why did women almost universally
become “ladies”? Is it because
“woman” includes “man”? I am with
the apocryphal bloke who answered
an inquiry with “that’s no ‘lady’,
that’s my wife”. I may in time become
a Lady (though I am not holding my
breath) but until that time I am happy
to be and prefer to remain a woman.
Salley Vickers
Let’s talk about
cancer treatment
It is astonishing that “cancer
diaries” (Why I live in dread of
another cancer confessional,
18 April) have proliferated to
the extent that some of your
correspondents (As a cancer
patient, I needed distraction,
Letters, Anne Hay, 23 April)
can describe them as cliches or
tediously omnipresent.
Perhaps there has been a trend
towards “oversharing”, but on
the whole this is surely a corrective
to the dreadful mandatory silence
that surrounded cancer not so
long ago.
When my mother developed
terminal breast cancer in the
1960s, one of the most frightening
aspects of the experience for the
family was the sense – picked
up from everyone around us
including doctors and teachers –
that we could not even utter the
awful name of her illness nor talk
about her predicament, even to one
another. We lived in an oppressive
silence which isolated us and served
no good purpose. If the pendulum
has swung the other way it is
probably a good thing.
Susan Tomes
• As a cancer survivor I totally
agree with Anne Hay. I stopped
going to Macmillan events because
speakers keep banging on about
“my cancer journey”.
As a patient, what I need is
practical advice about how to
get quicker appointments, what
I can copy from better treatment
offered in other countries, and
someone to campaign for better
UK cancer treatment; it is currently
the worst in Europe.
If we campaign together we can
improve. If anyone wants to join me
to start campaigning (the postcode
lottery is my first target) contact me
Verite Reily Collins
Dorchester-on-Thames, Oxfordshire
Much ado about
playing with the text
In Much Ado About Nothing,
Benedick is tricked into thinking
Beatrice loves him. Michael Billington
notes in his review of the Rose
Theatre’s production (20 April) that
Benedick reacts with a line that is
said as if written: “Love me? Why?
It must be requited.” Benedick is
asking “why?” in bewilderment:
“Why on earth should she love me?”
But the line as written is: “Love me?
Why it must be requited.” The sense
is “She loves me? Well then, it must
be requited.” This use of “why” to
mean “well then” is very common
in Shakespeare. The “why on earth”
interpretation is funny, but wrong.
Yes, it’s all good fun of course, and no
reason for indignation. But why, with
so much humour there in the drama,
is it necessary to play with the text
to add in jokes that aren’t there?
Emeritus Professor Keith Johnson
Sedbergh, Cumbria
• The report of the Manchester
United v Tottenham FA Cup semifinal named Spurs’ Christian Eriksen
as man of the match (Football, 23
April). On the same page, United’s
Alexis Sánchez was named as player
of the weekend. How does that work? Mike Pender
• Polly Toynbee (Journal, 23 April),
aptly quotes John Donne: “No man
is an island…” There is another bit,
slightly further into Meditation XVII,
that says it all: “If a clod be washed
away by the sea, Europe is the less.”
I think it was the mention of Michael
Gove that put this into my mind.
John D Walsh
Swindon, Wiltshire
• Re Richard III’s trial (Letters,
23 April), I hope that among the
books consulted by the prosecution
will be Alison Weir’s The Princes in
the Tower, which, without naming
Josephine Tey, refutes all of her
arguments for Richard’s innocence.
Hugh Brogan
University of Essex
• Scorchio (Letters, 21 April)!
Ian Grieve
Gordon Bennett, Shropshire Union
canal (nr Hack Green nuclear bunker)
Established 1906
Country diary
Ferry Meadows,
Spring arrives on many small wings.
During the winter insects could
be accused of having resorted to
being life in the undergrowth,
but the freezing easterlies have
passed and the gentle warmth of
the sun releases the bees and flies
from their deep slumbers to again
become life in the air.
Ferry Meadows is busy with
families enjoying the open air
and strolls around the meadows
and flooded gravel pits. A young
girl and boy, engrossed in play, pick
a few daffodil heads and marsh
marigold flowers and cast them
on to the surface of a pond.
The spring flowers are as
attractive to us as they have been
to pollinators for 80m years –
although in truth some of the less
conspicuous flowers are the most
appealing to the emerging bees.
The bumblebees – the common
carder bees (Bombus pascuorum)
in their golden fleeces and the big
bumbling buff-tails (B terrestris) –
favour the dead nettles and sallow
blossom, while the various fluffy
brown mining bees (Andrena
spp) frequent dandelions and
blackthorn blossom.
The mining bees could
be mistaken for small, hairy
honeybees, but the green furrow
bee (Lasioglossum morio) could
not be confused with a honeybee.
She is less than 6mm long, not at all
furry, and glistens metallic green.
Despite being common, the little
furrow bees are rarely observed,
and most people are surprised
to see how small a bee can be.
This lack of familiarity is a pity as
they exhibit plenty of endearing
beeish behaviour. This one allows
me to watch up close as she ferrets
about in a daisy for her pollen and
nectar sustenance.
Nearby there must be an area of
bare ground where she and her kin
will soon start to dig their nesting
burrows. Although each female
furrow bee builds her own nest into
which she will lay eggs and place
provisions, the bees nest close
together and cooperate, sharing
foraging and nest protection duties.
Her first offspring will be all female,
which enables a deepening of
their egalitarian society when her
daughters then help their mother
to provision their next brood.
Matt Shardlow
Twitter: @gdncountrydiary
Section:GDN 1J PaGe:8 Edition Date:180424 Edition:01 Zone:
Sent at 23/4/2018 18:02
The Guardian Tuesday 24 April 2018
 @guardianobits
Raimund Herincx
Bass-baritone who
enjoyed great success
playing operatic villains
he bass-baritone
Raimund Herincx,
who has died aged
90, was a tall, imposing man who made
the most of his
physical attributes
by incarnating a
range of characters from Count
Almaviva (in The Marriage of Figaro)
to Wotan in Wagner’s Ring – but
he enjoyed particular success with
villains such as Pizarro (Fidelio),
Scarpia (Tosca) and Mephistopheles
in Gounod’s Faust.
It was, in fact, as the title
character, Mefistofele, in Boito’s
opera that he had an early success
with the Welsh National Opera
(WNO) in 1957, going on to sing
Germont (La Traviata) and the lead
in Verdi’s Nabucco as well as Pizarro
and Scarpia with that company.
He was a Sadler’s Wells regular,
too, from 1957 to 1967, taking more
than 40 parts, the most notable of
which were the dual roles of Creon
and the Messenger in Oedipus Rex,
the Count in The Marriage of Figaro
and Nick Shadow in The Rake’s
Progress. At Covent Garden, his
roles included Escamillo (Carmen),
Alfio (Cavalleria Rusticana) and
Macbeth. His Metropolitan debut
came in 1977 as Mathisen in
Meyerbeer’s Le Prophète – and
Herincx in a
of Lohengrin at
the San Francisco
opera house
in the late 1970s
he sang frequently in Seattle, San
Francisco and at other US houses.
He also excelled in contemporary
repertoire, creating the roles of
Segura in Malcolm Williamson’s Our
Man in Havana (Sadler’s Wells, 1963),
Faber in Michael Tippett’s The Knot
Garden (Royal Opera House, 1970),
the White Abbot in Peter Maxwell
Davies’s Taverner (ROH, 1972) and
the Governor in Hans Werner Henze’s
We Come to the River (ROH, 1976).
Raimund was born in London to
Florent Herincx, a Flemish tailor
who had settled in Britain after the
first world war, and his wife, Marie
(nee Cheal). Following vocal studies
in Belgium and Milan, Raimund
based his career in the UK.
He made his stage debut with
WNO in 1950 as Mozart’s Figaro – and
by 1959 he was attracting attention
as a striking Count Almaviva in
the same opera, in a production
at Sadler’s Wells. Andrew Porter
in Opera magazine described his
visual appearance as “patrician,
charming, but dangerous, not
a man to be trifled with”, while
vocally the performance was
“beautifully decisive, clearly
focused, and admirable in tone”.
Porter concluded that this was an
outstanding Count “who could
surely hold his own at Glyndebourne
or in Vienna”.
He held his own, too, at English
National Opera in appearances
around Britain as Wotan and Hagen
in Reginald Goodall’s Ring. His
amplitude of tone stood him in good
stead, as did his fine stage presence
and superb diction. He sang Wagner
roles in Seattle between 1977 and
1981, having previously appeared
under Herbert von Karajan as
Pogner in Die Meistersinger von
Nürnberg and Fafner in the Ring
at the Salzburg Easter festival
(1973-74). Other outstanding
roles included Baron Prus in the
British premiere of Janáček’s The
Makropulos Affair under Charles
Mackerras in 1964.
Fellow singers remember him
as a larger than life but collegial
presence. Jill Gomez, brought in
at short notice to play the part of
Flora, the ward of Herincx’s business
tycoon Faber in the Royal Opera
premiere of The Knot Garden, recalls
the wicked sense of humour with
which he lightened the atmosphere
among the cast grappling with the
opera’s seemingly impossible score.
With his wife, Astra Blair, a
mezzo-soprano whom he married
in 1954, he devoted considerable
time and energy to helping children
with special needs and disabilities.
Gomez remembers how “they
converted a large barn on their
Bedfordshire estate to function as
a gym, a concert hall and a space
where the children were introduced
to every clanging instrument they
could lay their hands on.”
Herincx and his wife also founded
the Quinville Concerts Trust.
Musicians, singers and actors took
part in its activities, raising funds to
provide equipment and holidays for
children with disabilities. They also
had three children of their own.
In the 1970s and 80s, Herincx
became involved in a bizarre
association with the pianist John
Prof Ron Arad,
architect and
designer, 67;
Raymond Burns
(“Captain Sensible”), musician,
64; Tommy
Docherty, football
manager, 90;
David Foot,
journalist, 89;
Piers Gough,
architect, 72;
Enda Kenny,
former Taoiseach
of Ireland, 67;
Lady (Denise)
Kingsmill, Labour
politician, 71;
Gabby Logan,
45; Shirley
MacLaine, actor,
84; Lord (Brian)
Paddick, Lib
Dem politician,
60; Roxanna
composer, 50;
Stuart Pearce,
football manager,
56; Hella Pick,
former Guardian
editor, 89; Lt-Gen
Sir Hew Pike,
Falklands war
75; Bridget
Riley, painter,
87; Richard
professor of
Cardiff University,
62; Barbra
Streisand, actor
and singer, 76;
Sachin Tendulkar, cricketer,
45; Tony Visconti, record
producer, 74;
John Williams,
guitarist, 77.
Ogdon, whose mental health
began to deteriorate sharply in
1973, leading to a breakdown and
an eventual diagnosis of bipolar
disorder. Some years after a telephone conversation between the
two, in which Ogdon asked for a fee
for a charity concert, there occurred
a series of encounters in the course
of which Ogdon came to believe
that Herincx was at the centre of a
conspiracy to destroy his career. He
even considered bringing a lawsuit,
but Herincx too threatened to sue
Ogdon if he did not desist from the
obsessive accusations he made.
Charles Beauclerk, who details
this extraordinary episode in his
2014 biography of Ogdon, describes
Herincx as a tall, somewhat dominating figure, even in his 80s (when
Beauclerk interviewed him): “A
Falstaffian raconteur, prone to comic
exaggeration.” The relationship was
not without its positive aspects,
however, in that Ogdon, noting
Herincx’s success in The Knot
Garden, encouraged him to tackle
more contemporary repertoire.
Herincx taught for 30 years at the
North East of Scotland Music School
in Aberdeen, Trinity College and the
Royal Academy of Music in London,
and in Cardiff and the US.
His recordings included Oedipus
Rex, Offenbach’s Les Contes
d’Hoffmann, and Tippett’s The
Midsummer Marriage. In the Tippett
recording, based on the 1968 Covent
Garden revival under Colin Davis, in
which he had made his house debut,
he was suitably forceful as the
blustering King Fisher. He featured
also in recordings of unfamiliar
British repertory such as Vaughan
Williams’s operas The Pilgrim’s
Progress and Sir John in Love, The
Olympians by Arthur Bliss and
Koanga by Delius.
Herincx is survived by Astra, their
children, Nikki, Gemma and Gareth,
and three grandchildren, Sam,
James and Jack.
Barry Millington
Raimund Herincx, singer, born 23
August 1927; died 10 February 2018
He had a
fine stage
and superb
Section:GDN 1J PaGe:9 Edition Date:180424 Edition:01 Zone:
Tuesday 24 April 2018 The Guardian
Sent at 23/4/2018 18:26
The long read
The rise of
Russia’s neo-Nazi
football hooligans
For the past two decades the Russian state has encouraged groups of violent far-right
fans. As the World Cup approaches, it is struggling to tame them. By Simon Parkin
Fans at a
match between
Moscow and
he day that Denis Nikitin, a Russian
neo-Nazi who claims he kept a framed
photograph of Joseph Goebbels in his
bedroom, took part in his first street
fight, his mother made him a packed
lunch. During the past 12 years, the
Moscow-based MMA fighter has
become a rising star of the far right, after
brawling his way up through the ranks of one of Russia’s
top hooligan firms. On that day in 2006, however, he was
like a schoolboy on his first field trip; his mother, who
thought her 22-year-old son was going to watch a football
match, filled his rucksack with food and warm clothes.
Nikitin took a six-hour bus ride to the match, but he
had not bought a ticket. (His fellow hooligans joke that,
in the past decade, he has been inside a football stadium
fewer than five times.) Since his family had moved from
Moscow to Germany a few years earlier, his interests had
narrowed to far-right politics and violence. Nikitin’s local
“team” was visiting Hamburg to face St Pauli – whose
leftwing supporters were a favourite target of the farright Cologne hooligans. Nikitin’s hobbies just happened
to intersect at football.
At around midnight, as two buses carrying Cologne’s
supporters approached Hamburg, someone shouted:
“They’re here.” Through the window, Nikitin saw around
30 St Pauli supporters in front of the vehicle. It seemed
odd – the 90-odd Cologne hooligans on the buses greatly
outnumbered the men outside. It would not be a fair
fight. Nikitin disembarked, ran to a nearby bush, and set
his rucksack beneath the branches. Then he looked up.
On the guardrail of an overlooking footbridge he saw a
line of silhouettes – at least 70 men, to add to the 30 in
front of the coaches. An ambush, then.
Nikitin remembers running toward the St Pauli
hooligans. He picked out his first target and, from
behind, landed a flying punch. As the man twisted in
shock, Nikitin realised he had struck one of his own
side. “Oh, fuck,” he shouted, “sorry, sorry, sorry, man.”
The fight was chaotic; in the dark it was difficult to pick
out team colours, badges or scarves. With the panic of
a person who wants to immediately put right a wrong
after it is made, Nikitin jumped on another silhouette
and began striking him in the head. This, too, was a
Cologne supporter.
Blushing under his balaclava, Nikitin waited for
some kind of sign. Moments later it came. One of the
St Pauli hooligans came running at him, screaming
abuse. Nikitin, wearing gloves lined with metal pellets,
landed a sucker punch on the screamer. As the man
fell to the ground, Nikitin readied a follow-up blow.
Before it connected, a rival supporter pulled off Nikitin’s
balaclava, and began pummelling his face. Nikitin broke
free and started running for the buses. Back at the road,
only one vehicle remained; the other driver had fled.
As the overcrowded bus pulled away, Nikitin looked
at the men around him, their faces streaked with blood,
and felt a surge of survivor’s euphoria. It had not gone
unnoticed that he was one of the last men to reboard.
In his leaders’ nodding approval, Nikitin experienced
the first flush, not just of belonging, but of something
close to a calling. “The media pretends that people like
me will end up alone in prison, or as an alcoholic, or
depressed,” he told me last year. “It is a lie.”
In the summer of 2016, the Russian football hooligan,
previously a provincial sort of bogeyman, padded on to
the international stage at the European Championship
in France. On 10 June, an estimated 150 Russians
descended on Marseille’s Old Port. They moved in
orderly phalanxes, greeting any England supporters
they ran into with extravagant violence.
“It was like nothing I’ve ever seen before,” Ch Supt
Steve Neill, of Northumbria police, one of several
officers deployed from England to aid French police
that day, told Sky News. “We saw football hooliganism
on a different level.”
Some Russian politicians claimed their
Section:GDN 1J PaGe:10 Edition Date:180424 Edition:01 Zone:
Sent at 23/4/2018 18:26
The Guardian Tuesday 24 April 2018
Hooliganism came
late to Russia,
emerging in the early
1990s as a copy of the
English example
country had been disproportionately singled out by
the media and authorities (two English fans were
jailed for their part in the violence). The deputy prime
minister, Vitaly Mutko, then Russia’s sports minister,
went so far as to call it a “set-up”. Other Russian
public figures praised the hooligans for promoting
a powerful, unassailable vision of their country to
the world. “I don’t see anything wrong with the fans
fighting,” tweeted Igor Lebedev, deputy chairman of
the Russian parliament. “Quite the opposite: well done
lads, keep it up!”
At first, Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, smirkingly
questioned how 200 Russian supporters could see off
“a few thousand Englishmen”. But the Kremlin was
also aware that these same men could embarrass the
nation if mass violence erupts at the 2018 World Cup,
a tournament Russia will host for the first time – and
the government belatedly tried to distance itself from
the hooligans. After a meeting with the leaders of his
own security agencies, Putin publicly stressed “the
need to learn from the French experience”. Russian
police gained new powers that class even minor
offences, such as setting off fireworks at football games,
as acts of terrorism.
According to Russian newspaper reports, in
December 2016, more than 100 police officers and
members of the FSB, Russia’s security service, raided
hooligans’ homes. Arrests duly followed, including
that of Alexei Yerunov, the leader of the FC Lokomotiv
firm Vikings, who had already spent several months in
a French prison before returning to Russia. In all, more
than 200 hooligans have been issued with court orders
banning them from all football matches till the end of
the World Cup.
Hooliganism came relatively late to Russian football,
emerging in the early 1990s as a self-conscious copy
of the decades-old English example – with its firms,
favoured clothing labels and racist chants. In a country
emerging from the Soviet gloom in search of a new,
assertive identity, hooliganism seemed to offer young
men like Nikitin a shot of steadying nationalism, as
well as a hypermasculine community that provided
status and belonging. Hooliganism also presented
something of a career path through the ruins of the
post-Soviet economy. Politicians, especially on the
far right, saw Moscow’s football thugs as a possibly
forceful group of disenfranchised voters – and began
to court these young men, laying on free transport to
away games, paying members to work as bodyguards
or street muscle, and even offering the occasional wellpaid role as a party official.
Over time, imitation of the English gave way to a new
culture of thuggery. In Among the Thugs, the defining
book on England’s hooliganism, published in 1990,
the writer Bill Buford characterised the football yob
as the “fatty manifestation of gallons and gallons of
lager and incalculable quantities of bacon-flavoured
crisps”. The Russians, by contrast, set down their
beers and began training in earnest, not only at the
gym, but also in covert fights staged in local forests,
where young hooligans from rival teams would scrap in
the dawn mist.
It was at one of these gatherings, after an invitation
from a fellow gym-goer, that Nikitin met his first
hooligans, and began to learn the art of the mob brawl,
first through observation, then participation. Like many
of his peers, as Nikitin grew in confidence, he began
to compete in and even organise MMA tournaments.
Collectively, the Russian hooligans were becoming
more professional. “At some point, Russian hooliganism
shifted away from amateurism,” he told me when we
met last autumn. In turn, fights away from the forest
became more deadly: in November 2017 a 30-year-old
man died after his neck was broken during a clash
between hooligans affiliated to teams Sibir Novosibirsk
and Yenisey Krasnoyarsk.
It was this well-trained force that debuted with such
brutality on the international stage in Marseilles. And
as the World Cup draws closer, pressure on Russian
hooligans has intensified further. The Kremlin panicked
after the broadcast of a BBC documentary last year
called Russia’s Hooligan Army – in which the thenleader of the Spartak firm, Gladiators, Vasily “The
Killer” Stepanov, was secretly filmed saying that the
Moscow hooligans were Putin’s foot soldiers. Some
of the men interviewed for the programme said it
contained factual errors – but in Russia, as one senior
hooligan told me, it was “like a bomb had gone off ”.
Russian police issued a call for anyone featured on the
documentary to report to local stations in order to sign
forms stating that they were coerced by the BBC to lie on
camera. (At a match the following month, Spartak fans
unfurled a panoramic banner that mimicked the BBC
logo, alongside the words “Blah Blah Channel”.) Last
year, the Kremlin assigned an FSB agent to each of the
11 clubs in Moscow, where they work with a fan liaison
officer – usually a senior hooligan from each firm – in an
attempt to control their members.
For hooligans who have for years had the backing of
the authorities, both tacit and explicit, this reversal feels
like a betrayal. “For 10 years we were supported by the
government,” said 39-year-old Alexander Shprygin, who
took part in hooligan fights starting in 1994, and who
chartered a plane and flew a cadre of Russian hooligans
to Marseille in 2016. “After France, the government
stopped supporting us.”
But the obsessive focus on violence at the World Cup
– not least from UK tabloids – has overshadowed the real
significance of Russian hooliganism. For two decades,
Russia’s firms have been a uniquely effective machine
for recruiting and radicalising young men to the far right,
which has seeded racist ideology at the centre of the
country’s football culture. They may have been forced
underground, but Russia’s powerful firms are not likely
to vanish – and their influence will take decades to erase.
“After the summer,” Shprygin told me, “everybody will
forget about us.”
Fans watch
second team
Shprygin was turned away from his first football match
at the age of nine. He had come to watch his team, FC
Dynamo, play at the Central Dynamo Stadium in Moscow, but unaccompanied children were denied entry.
So the next week, he convinced an older man outside
the gates to pose as his father. Once inside, he recalled,
Shprygin was immediately attracted to the loudest and
most fanatical supporters – the ultras – and began to
regularly sit among them.
Young, isolated and with few career prospects,
Shprygin was the ideal hooligan recruit. In August 1993,
when he was 14, one of the older men approached him
with news of a plan to found one of Russia’s first firms:
Blue White Dynamite. As its membership grew, BWD’s
members began to seek out and attack rival ultras. At
first, these clashes, usually staged in Moscow’s vaulted
subway stations, were modest. But when fans of Moscow’s best-known club, Spartak, formed a rival firm,
the violence escalated in both severity and scope;
skirmishes sometimes involved 500 participants. “By
1995, every Moscow football club had a firm,” recalled
Shprygin. “The fights became much larger.”
As the numbers swelled, smaller firms broke off
from the larger groups, creating a network of distinct,
yet interlinked gangs. Today, the largest of the Russian
capital’s 11 football clubs, Spartak Moscow, has three
major firms – Union, Shkola and Gladiators – each with
an associated youth division. Beyond these, a constellation of smaller splinter groups operate under the
Spartak umbrella. One senior hooligan estimates that
there are as many as 500 active members of Spartakaffiliated firms. By collaborating with one another as the
need arises, Spartak’s firms are able to raise a small army
under their team’s banner.
This collective power was first demonstrated in 1999,
when Spartak played against Saturn Ramenskoye. When
Spartak conceded its first goal, jostling grew into a fullscale riot. For the first time in Russian football history,
the match was stopped due to fighting in the stands.
In August 1998, Shprygin, who was by then editor of
Dynamo’s fan magazine, claims he received a message
on his pager asking him to call a mysterious number.
It was a meeting request from a prominent rightwing
opposition politician. The next day Shprygin claims he
visited the State Duma, the lower house of the federal
assembly of Russia. In the lobby, he saw one of the
hooligan leaders from Spartak Moscow. The pair were
ushered into the politician’s office and offered jobs as his
Shprygin’s role was to act as a liaison between the
politician and the firm, who would routinely provide security for his party. “We were never fists of
the party, per se,” Shprygin explained, when we met
in a football-themed pub in Moscow. But, he claims,
they would provide the politician with security, and
in return, his party would pay for buses and trains to
take the hooligans to away fixtures. No money changed
hands, but Shprygin says the expectation was clear: the
fans would thereafter vote for the party in elections, and
fight when called upon.
The arrangement proved useful for Shprygin’s career.
In 2007, at the behest of the FSB, he founded a group
called the Union of Russian Fans. Despite his rising
fortunes in politics at the time (Shprygin has been photographed with Putin on at least three separate occasions, before his alleged involvement in the Marseille
violence led to his arrest) Shprygin continued to be
actively involved in street violence. Shortly after
founding the union, Shprygin and other members of
his firm were invited by a far-right group of skinheads
to meet up in a local park. The plan, it was explained,
was to attack hip-hop concertgoers as they left a venue.
“Rap is black music,” Shprygin told me, by way of explanation. “So we went to the park and we waited.” That
night he took part in his first street violence aimed at
people outside of football.
Shprygin’s progression is common. “Many ultras are
sympathetic to radical nationalists and some even take
part in their activities,” said Mikhail Akhmetiev, a professor at Sova, a Moscow-based thinktank that studies
nationalism and racism in Russia. For young men who,
like Shprygin, become entranced by the older fans at
matches, the route to radicalisation is quick and clear,
and there has been no shortage of political entities eager
to co-opt and leverage these fans.
For Nikitin, hooliganism is inextricable from farright activism. After he returned to Russia in the 2000s,
hardened and radicalised by his time fighting in German
hooligan circles, he became increasingly involved in
violence against immigrants. He split his time between
fighting hooligans and attacking minorities in the
streets. When, during one of our meetings in Moscow
last year, I asked Nikitin whether there was a difference
between hooligan violence and racist violence, he told
me to switch off my recorder. “If we kill one immigrant
every day, that’s 365 immigrants in a year,” he said, after
agreeing that I could record again. “But tens of thousands more will come anyway. I realised we were fighting the consequence, but not the underlying reason. So
now we fight for minds, not on the street, but on social
Football, with its tribal communities and martial symbolism, has long been a battleground for minds. A draft
Home Office paper on English football hooliganism,
published in October 2000, described the atmosphere at
England’s international fixtures as like “watching a football match during a Nuremberg rally” – a hostile climate
that was decades in the making. In 1981, for example,
the National Front published a magazine about music
and sport that included a section titled the League
of Louts, in which football hooligans were invited to
Section:GDN 1J PaGe:11 Edition Date:180424 Edition:01 Zone:
Tuesday 24 April 2018 The Guardian
Sent at 23/4/2018 18:26
Hooligans, with the
backing of government,
have promoted and
normalised the racism of
the far right
compete to have their club labelled the most racist in
Britain. Readers were encouraged to hurl bananas on to
the pitch whenever a black player was fielded. As Derek
Holland, an organiser for the far-right group, once put it,
the aim of targeting football fans was to “win the hearts
and minds of young people”.
“The old National Front thing was that you didn’t
count England goals that were scored by black players,”
explains Mark Perryman, a British academic and author
of Hooligan Wars. “In the 70s there was a generalised
racism and xenophobia which was a reflection of the
popularity of the National Front, which had a strong
base in certain clubs.” It was only following sustained
anti-fascist campaigns at English clubs that racist violence around football began to subside.
In Russia, hooligan racism did not generally face this
kind of organised ideological opposition. “There were
far more of them than there were of us,” says Maxim
Solopov, a journalist who took part in anti-fascist
clashes with Russian hooligans between 2006 and 2010.
Without the intervention of police, anti-fascists like
Solopov took the fight to the streets, placing informants
in each of the different fan groups. “They would tell us
where their groups were going to appear,” he said. “The
first rule was to engage first. We were always trying to
instigate the fights, to give us an advantage.”
Without any concerted challenge from clubs, rightwing extremism in Russian football has endured. Nazi
imagery remains rife on the terraces, according to a 2017
report from Football Against Racism in Europe (Fare),
a network of groups set up to combat discrimination in
and around the game.
The same report notes that, during the 2015-16
season, xenophobic attacks at matches “increased
significantly”. In May 2017, the head of the Russian
Football Union disciplinary committee, Artur Grigoryants, claimed there had been “no racist manifestations”
during the 2016-17 season – but the authors of the Fare
report clarified that “in fact he meant that there were
no monkey chants”. (If true, even that moratorium
was short-lived: last month there were monkey chants
directed toward black French players at a friendly match
in St Petersburg.)
To change the international perception of Russian
football fans, the Kremlin has hired PR agencies that
have planted so-called gentle fans who distribute
sweets, warm tea and blankets at matches and post
cheery selfies on Instagram. Despite these public displays, some believe that the government continues
to support hooligans in private. “It’s true that the
government is trying to clean up the image of football
ahead of the World Cup,” says Solopov. “But they are
far more concerned that something like the Ukrainian
revolution might happen here, and that, if it does, the
rightwing hooligans will take to the streets against the
authorities. So in private, they still support violent fan
groups. I believe that political power remains in the
hands of the rightwing fans.”
The appointment of a so-called fan liaison officer in
every club shows that the Kremlin believes it can control the hooligans. But it may be difficult for the state to
control what it earlier turned a blind eye toward. “The
state believed that [hooligan groups] were an organised force that could be used to maintain order,” said
Yuri Abrashov, a former police colonel who is now the
executive director of Event Safety, a government body
that organises stewarding at sporting events. “But these
groups made promises that were not being fulfilled.”
Despite the FSB monitoring, the bans and other
efforts to crack down on far-right hooligan activity,
there is still a legitimate risk of violence at the World
Cup. “There might not be any pre-planned organised
attacks because the hooligans are afraid of the security
services,” says Pavel Klymenko, who works for Fare.
“But the way their structures work means it is not that
easy to control everyone.”
On a drenched October afternoon, 40 minutes outside
the centre of Moscow, near the dour Rostokino train
station, I accompanied Nikitin along the railway tracks
and down a slicked incline, into the woods, to a popular
location for hooligan forest fights. Though bareknuckle
fistfights were outlawed by the Bolsheviks in 1917, in
recent years hooligans have resurrected the nationalistic
tradition of Russian forest fighting, known as Stenka nu
Stenka. The practice, which provides a relatively lowrisk entry point for young fighters to join the hooligan
ecosystem, has spread throughout Europe, and forest
fights are now part of hooligan culture from Ukraine
to Switzerland. “You sometimes hear of fatalities,”
says Nikitin. “But I don’t believe anyone has died. That
said, I recently had to help a guy whose lung had been
When Nikitin first heard about forest fights, he had
no interest in football or violence (he was, he admits,
“into breakdancing”). “It seemed so stupid, he says.
“Surely it’s just idiots who have nothing better to do.”
Then, when he was 23, a friend at his local gym invited
Nikitin to a forest fight. “He seemed like a normal guy,
so I become interested. I started asking him questions
and he told me that it’s the best hobby anyone can pursue.” Nikitin, who says he rarely fought at school, was
a natural. “I liked the atmosphere, the adrenaline, the
need to be alert.”
An anti-BBC
banner at
a match in
Moscow, 2017.
Simon Parkin
is a regular
contributor to
the long read
Nikitin is broad-set and with a network of scars on
his forehead. As we walked, he kept one hand in the
chest pocket of his bomber jacket, where he kept a
knife. We tripped along a mud path till eventually, a few
hundred metres past the treeline, Nikitin stopped and
gestured toward the clearing we had come to look at.
Here, Nikitin explained, every few weeks in the
early morning, 30 or so men will gather. They arrive in
separate groups, divided according to the football team
they each support (in chaotic street fights the hooligans
use a codeword to show which side they are on), and
huddle at either end of the clearing to discuss tactics.
After a while, the men form two opposing lines, 20
metres apart.
A whistle blows and the two groups pad toward each
other. They move slowly at first, clapping their hands
to show that they are not carrying weapons, before
speeding to a sprint. The lines smash into each other,
before peeling off into one-on-one skirmishes. Some
fighters go down easily, perhaps hoping to avoid serious
damage. Their lack of ambition is noted by the watching scouts; they will never again be invited back. Others
crumple with real injuries. After just a few minutes, it
becomes clear which side still has fighters standing,
and has won. Some limp home or off to hospital. Those
who have proven their talent for violence in the forest
may be invited into the firm, and, from this boot camp,
on to the street.
When his family returned to Russia in the late 2000s,
Nikitin began to look for a new team and firm. The
owner of a clothing store, to whom Nikitin sold Thor
Steinar clothing, a German label closely associated with
neo-Nazi groups, asked if he would like to join a Spartak firm, which was due to fight another team from St
Petersburg. “But before that fight took place, another of
my friends invited me to fight for another team, CSKA,”
he recalled. “So I just started fighting for the other side.
I never gave a shit about football teams, you know?”
Once a hooligan has chosen his team, however,
there can be no switching. When one Spartak hooligan switched sides a few years ago, his previous firm
threateningly unfurled a giant banner bearing his name
and face at the next match. At CSKA, Nikitin soon
began to rise through the ranks. In 2016, he received his
pin, a badge of honour awarded for long and effective
service that, he estimates, only 20% of the team’s hooligans have received.
While we waited for a car back to central Moscow,
as night fell with the rain, Nikitin claimed that a forest
fight would often be the mere start of the day’s violence. “After a forest fight, I would often say to the
guys: ‘OK, who wants to go kick some immigrants?’”
he recalled. “Most of them would reply: ‘Yeah, we can
do that.’”
A few days later, at a Viking-themed restaurant in
central Moscow, his knife resting on the table, Nikitin
explained that, in recent months, his interest in street
violence has lessened as he has come to realise it is
an ineffective way to disseminate and implement his
views. “Across Europe hooliganism is on the extreme
rise right now,” he says. “But in Russia, it’s in decline”
– thanks in part to the unwanted attention of this summer’s World Cup.
Just as racism’s grip on English football has slowly
loosened since the 1990s, attitudes may eventually
shift in Russia as well, but it could take decades to undo
what the hooligans have helped create. A few people
suggested to me that attitudes among the youngest
fans may already be starting to change. “Some are losing interest in the rightwing movement,” says Solopov,
the former anti-fascist demonstrator turned journalist. “They want to just follow football. It’s happening
slowly, but they are becoming apolitical.”
But these young fans will grow up in a footballing
culture steeped in nationalist racism and promiscuous
violence. The present crackdown on Moscow’s hooligans may halt the violence that put Russia’s firms in the
spotlight. But the obsessive fixation on whether English
fans will be met by gangs in Volgograd risks missing the
much larger story: the hooligans, with the opportunistic backing of the government that’s now trying to bring
them under control, have promoted and normalised
the racism of the far right.•
Section:GDN 1J PaGe:12 Edition Date:180424 Edition:01 Zone:
Sent at 23/4/2018 14:02
The Guardian Tuesday 24 April 2018
Killer Sudoku
Each letter of the alphabet makes at least one appearance in the grid,
and is represented by the same number wherever it appears. The letters
decoded should help you to identify other letters and words in the grid.
Killer Sudoku
The normal rules of
Sudoku apply: fill each
row, column and 3x3 box
with all the numbers from
1 to 9. In addition, the
digits in each inner shape
(marked by dots) must
add up to the number in
the top corner of that box.
No digit can be repeated
within an inner shape.
Cryptic crossword
Solution No. 27,490
Guardian cryptic crossword No 27,491 set by Philistine
Stuck? For help call 0906 200 83 83.
Calls cost £1.10 per minute, plus your
phone company’s access charge.
Service supplied by ATS.
Call 0330 333 6946 for customer
service (charged at standard rate).
Want more? Get access to more than
4,000 puzzles at
crossword. To buy puzzle books, visit or call
0330 333 6846.
9 Not aware of manifest covering
intelligence centre (9)
10 Getting rid of some dire habits (5)
11 Containers used without a design
for meat pies (7)
12 Late heading to Dover, slips to
face EU backlash (7)
13 People switch political allegiance
on Trident (4)
14 Seats from this property (5,5)
16 Knock and Cork possibly have
kinship (7)
17 Surprisingly agile in very loud
minimal clothing (3,4)
19 Halfback lads in rout take valour
for humour of sorts (10)
22 Political alliance rejected cola’s
follower? (4)
24 Plant nonsense in power hub
arbitration (7)
25 Endlessly sexy, this piece is for
show (7)
26 Low pay mostly for bread (5)
27 Secret of gin and tonic? Mix with
love (9)
1 Transplant donor pool — my free
way to a quick buck (5,3,3,4)
2 Change of decision afoot? (4-4)
3 Shape of nothing and
nothingness (5)
4 The best manna? (4,4)
5 Deposits on land (6)
6 Anger may be, but not battery
7 Shell colours (6)
8 Dehumanising, if CIA somehow
infiltrates dissent (15)
15 Entrance in which some light is
showing (9)
17 Sergeant may be led by lover in
dance (8)
18 This book belongs to teacher,
up supporting LibDem now,
presumably (2,6)
20 Jumps over roofs (6)
21 Updike’s quartet talk (6)
23 Skirt edge raised to see it (5)
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