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The Guardian e-paper Journal - April 25, 2018

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Section:GDN 1J PaGe:1 Edition Date:180425 Edition:01 Zone:
Sent at 24/4/2018 18:49
cYanmaGentaYellowbla
•
The Tories' kowtowing on Windrush won't fool anyone Hugh Muir, page 3
We should treat all mothers like royalty Gaby Hinsliff, page 5
The school where food is the first lesson The alternatives, Aditya Chakrabortty, page 10
The Guardian Wednesday 25 April 2018
Opinion
and ideas
Macron is using
Trump to win
over Europe,
not the US
Natalie
Nougayrède
C
an a 40-year-old French president, who
gives sweeping speeches about Europe,
singlehandedly save the global liberal
order – and western democracy with
it – by whispering into a the ear of a
71-year-old US president who has only
contempt for the European project and
the values it is meant to uphold? To ask
the question is perhaps to answer it.
Whether in Europe or in the US, the limelight
surrounding Emmanuel Macron has produced hopes and
anxieties in almost equal measure. Liberals love him as
a poster boy for radical centrism in an age of democratic
retrenchment and rampaging populism, while extremes
on both left and right detect the threat he represents
to their worldviews, and attack him for it. Like Donald
Trump, Macron is well aware that he emerged from an
era of polarisation. But the power these two men wield
is, to say the least, very different.
Macron’s first presidential trip to the US comes,
unsurprisingly, cloaked in the narrative of French
exceptionalism – that somehow France has a unique
importance in the world – dispensed by the Élysée’s
spin doctors. There is nothing that flatters Gallic pride
more than a French president on the global stage,
alongside the leader of what remains the world's most
powerful country.
That Macron and Trump make for a truly odd couple
in both style and substance only adds more interest.
With Britain all but out of the picture, not least as a
result of Brexit, and Angela Merkel (who will in turn visit
Trump on Friday) suffering from the wear and tear of
13 years in office as well as Trump’s personal animosity,
there are obvious opportunities for a French leader who
knows how to make the most of his luck.
Whether Macron has any chance of persuading
Trump on matters connected to Iran, trade or climate
change remains an open question. Meanwhile, what’s
intriguing is the fascination this encounter has already
produced, as well as a recent swell of quasi-postmortems
written on this side of the Atlantic about Macron’s
European plans or his centrist credo – often dismissed as
doomed or disingenuous.
Recent op-eds in the US waxed lyrical about Macron’s
latest speech on Europe, in which he spoke of the danger
of “sleepwalking” into the kind of nationalism that can
foment a “form of civil war”. Liberal America’s trauma
over Trump has apparently fostered a
quest for saviours – even French ones.
Macron’s warning about the ghosts of
Emmanuel
Macron and
Donald Trump
at the White
House
PHOTOGRAPH:
ERIK S LESSER/EPA
Section:GDN 1J PaGe:2 Edition Date:180425 Edition:01 Zone:
Sent at 24/4/2018 18:49
•
cYanmaGentaYellowbla
The Guardian Wednesday 25 April 2018
2
Macron is using Trump to
win over Europe, not the US
Natalie Nougayrède
Founded 1821 Independently owned by the Scott Trust № 53,392
‘Comment is free… but facts are sacred’ CP Scott
Continued from front
Europe’s past was highly topical, and also
another attempt to claim leadership on
the continent. If, as he told Fox News halfjokingly, his aim is to make France “great again”, he
knows that this can only be achieved by making Europe
strong, and France strong within it. The stumbling
blocks are arguably fewer in France (where support for
strikes and protests against Macron's reform plans is
waning) than in Germany.
It’s likely that German doubts about his eurozone
proposals have further convinced Macron that a
European political aggiornamento (revitalisation) is
long overdue, and that he has to try to deliver it. The
deadline is not Brexit (a grandiose mess he will spend
a minimal amount of time trying to manage) but the
May 2019 European parliament elections. No one yet
knows how Macron will play his cards, especially
now that his idea of pan-EU candidate lists has been
rejected. But there is little doubt he will seek to
duplicate at a European level the “neither left nor right”
formula of political disruption that worked so well for
him in France.
A
gainst that backdrop, criticism
levelled at Macron by the far left,
like that from the far right, only
serves his interest. The more radical
those assaults, the better: they help
him appear like a rational reformer.
It also helps that, in the aftermath
of the US-French-British strikes
in Syria, the far left has been struggling to shake off
its alignment with the far right in preferring to criticise
western actions rather than those of autocrats and
mass murderers.
It’s true that Macron has little beyond speeches to
show for his efforts to reboot Europe. But watch his
manoeuvring with, say, the centrist Ciudadanos in
Spain (now much stronger than Podemos), or his tactics
aimed at dividing the European mainstream right, parts
of which flirt openly with neo-fascists in Hungary and
elsewhere. However questionable, Macron’s domestic
asylum and immigration policies are calculated to
occupy the middle ground.
This trip to the US is a boon to the French president,
and not just because of the pomp of a state dinner in
the White House. Macron is throwing himself into the
lion’s den of an American presidency that represents
a real danger to Europe. Trump is at the same time a
strategic threat (upending the Iran nuclear deal), an
economic threat (think trade wars) and an ideological
threat (remember how the Front National’s Marion
Maréchal-Le Pen appeared at a recent gathering of
US conservatives). The Macron-Trump “bromance”
makes for good headlines, but it hardly camouflages
Europe’s vulnerability to US whims. The continent’s
weakness is made worse by exposure to regional
forces it can’t control, and can only hope to address by
harnessing US might.
What all this boils down to is that Macron’s
European ambitions depend not only on his
domestic reform agenda, but also on the extent to
which he is able to raise his profile in Washington,
and draw credibility from that in Europe. Macron is
well aware that his presidency was made possible
by the 1958 Gaullist constitution, which allows the
circumventing of established parties and the rise of
an outsider (he enjoys describing himself and Trump
as “mavericks”).
He also knows that the French yearn for a leader
with authority, and that Europeans want protection. He
believes that coming under attack from both left and
right, and resisting that pressure, helps to secure his
position in Europe.
“The answer is not authoritarian democracy but the
authority of democracy,” Macron said in his Strasbourg
speech. Whether Trump fully understands any of this
is an entirely different matter, of course. In private,
Macron surely smiles about that. He believes he is
playing a weak European hand shrewdly, and he’s
confident he is only just started. It is perhaps a historical
paradox for a Frenchman, but Macron’s road to Europe
goes through Washington.
Brexit
It is the start of the crunch.
MPs must vote for customs
union membership
It may not be the crunch, but it is surely the beginning
of the crunch. Tomorrow’s Commons debate on borders
and customs regimes after Brexit is a crucial opportunity
for MPs to fire a very clear shot across the government’s
bows in favour of the softest possible Brexit. The
Commons will be debating a motion tomorrow, not a
piece of legislation – the latter opportunity will come
when the trade bill and the EU withdrawal bill are again
discussed by MPs next month. Yet this week’s motion
is anything but trivial. It supports frictionless postBrexit trade borders for manufacturers and it insists
on continuing alignments across the Irish border.
It is moved by the backbench liaison committee of
select committee chairs, so it has backing from senior
parliamentarians from Labour, the Conservatives,
the Liberal Democrats and the Scottish National party.
The outcome must send an unequivocal message that
we have reached make your mind up time.
As so often in the Brexit process, the government’s
approach is to continue to kick the can down the
proverbial road. But the end of the road is in sight.
With local elections due next week, the Conservatives
have imposed a light whip on their MPs. Some select
committees, including the Brexit committee, are
scheduled to be on overseas visits. It is important,
nevertheless, that as many pro-European MPs as
possible attend this debate and vote for the motion.
Most businesses in Britain, especially in manufacturing,
want to remain in the customs union or to join one that
is effectively the same thing after Brexit. Crucially, the
Public sculpture
Millicent Garrett Fawcett
deserves her place beside
Disraeli and Churchill
It was a joyous occasion in London’s Parliament
Square yesterday when Gillian Wearing’s sculpture of
Millicent Garrett Fawcett was unveiled, marking the
latter’s contribution not just to the extension of the
franchise, but to other causes for which she energetically
worked: women’s education, rights for sex workers,
and challenging the brutal conditions in Britain’s
concentration camps in the Boer war, among others.
The position of the new statue is important. Flanked
by the Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey and
Whitehall, and with Buckingham Palace a stone’s throw
away, Parliament Square represents the heart of British
power and the establishment. (It has been, too, the site
of some of Britain’s most remarkable acts of dissent,
notably Brian Haw’s extraordinary decade-long peace
camp erected in protest against the Iraq war.) The square
is also the home of 11 – now 12 – sculptures of notable
people. Until this week, they were all of men: Disraeli,
Churchill, Palmerston, Gandhi, Canning, Derby, Smuts,
Lincoln, Mandela, Peel and Lloyd George.
What tempered the optimism of the day was that
it has taken so long for this domination of the male in
Parliament Square to have been broken, as London’s
mayor, Sadiq Khan, noted in his speech at the unveiling.
That it happened at all is down to the campaigner
Caroline Criado Perez, who had already successfully
made the case for a portrait of Jane Austen to appear on
the Bank of England £10 note (Scotland, meanwhile, has
two women on its new polymer banknotes, poet Nan
Shepherd and scientist Mary Somerville). Fawcett would
government has also made a solemn agreement with
the EU to maintain a frictionless border in Ireland.
Both are essential. This motion must be carried.
The aim tomorrow and next month must be to
maximise the pressure on the government to make
the best possible compromise with the EU on customs
and tariffs, for the sake of both industry and Britain’s
commitments on Northern Ireland. Theresa May
prefers indecision and brinkmanship. So, at present,
does the EU, under strong pressure from France
and Germany to make sure Brexit is not rewarded.
But the principles at the heart of the argument – and
the parliamentary numbers when the bills return –
are about to become inescapable.
One further large truth, too often ignored, is that
the leavers’ trumpeted alternative of bilateral postBrexit trade deals – which would not be possible if the
UK embraced any version of the EU customs union
– is a sham. These deals simply don’t exist. Liam Fox,
the international trade secretary, has drawn an
embarrassing blank as he tours the world touting
for deregulatory deals. MPs face a choice between
a fantasy future and a solid commercially secure
future based on existing arrangements. It would be
phenomenally irresponsible to opt for the former
against the latter. It’s a no-brainer.
Some ministers have floated the idea of making
this issue a confidence vote. That shows how
vulnerable they are. It is why tomorrow’s initial
skirmish matters. MPs need to increase the pressure
on the government as the Lords amendments to the
Brexit bill pile up. Sooner or later Mrs May is going to
have to get real about the business case, the Northern
Ireland case, and the parliamentary numbers. She
also needs to get real about the compromises that will
be required with the EU if this is to be made to work.
Mrs May has got away for too long with promoting the
pyrrhic freedom of a fantasy Brexit. That no longer
washes. It is compromise time now. Mrs May can’t
duck it. And MPs must ensure that she does not.
have recognised Ms Criado Perez’s techniques: she
started with a petition, just as did Fawcett when she
began working on women’s suffrage.
It is true that quite often public statues are not
especially successful as sculpture, and British cities
are littered with some wince-inducing specimens.
It is true that there may be better ways of honouring
memories than putting up a statue. (One thinks of
Jeremy Deller’s moving centenary memorial to the
soldiers of the Somme on 1 June 2016, in which young
men, dressed in first world war uniforms, quietly
gathered in public places up and down the UK.)
It is true that sculptures of past worthies can fade
into the background of an urban experience, rather
than forming its focus – half-remembered military
men, many of them the representing beliefs that
would hardly be applauded today, abound in the UK’s
municipal spaces.
But as Mr Khan argued, statues do provide
a barometer of the values of a time and a place.
Putting them up – and taking them down – can
become acts freighted with significance, arousing
fierce passions. In the American south, the erection
of confederate statues during the era of the civil
rights movement reflected a desire to uphold notions
of white supremacy. Footage of the toppling of
the statue of Saddam Hussein in Baghdad in April
2003 flashed around the world – at the time, it was
invoked as symbol of the swift victory of the US
and its allies, but later came to signify the bathetic
overreach of their ambition. Recent arguments over
the commemoration of Cecil Rhodes have been
bitter. Whether to commemorate Sylvia Pankhurst –
suffragette, anti-colonialist, radical – in a sculpture in
London is the subject of a current debate.
The sculptures that adorn our public spaces matter.
It is time for women – and not just the semi-naked
women who are sculpted as allegories for Justice or
Peace – to become part of the grammar of our streets.
Ms Wearing’s accomplished bronze makes a good start.
Section:GDN 1J PaGe:3 Edition Date:180425 Edition:01 Zone:
Wednesday 25 April 2018 The Guardian
Sent at 24/4/2018 17:48
cYanmaGentaYellowbla
•
Opinion
3
What we see
is not a
government that’s
responsive to the
public mood, agile in
thought. It’s a study
in rush and chaos
Tories are now
kowtowing on
Windrush. It
doesn’t fool us
Hugh
Muir
A
faraway scene comes to mind when
I think about the Conservatives and
black Britain – and it should trouble
Theresa May as she surveys the
wreckage of the Windrush fiasco.
It is of a man who lives in my father’s
Jamaican village, at the top of the
hill, who each day has to come down
to the village square to fill plastic barrels with standpipe
water. Once I tried to help him carry just one of them
and almost suffered a hernia. He is the epitome of what
brought the Windrushers to Britain. The social services
are minimal; the communal provision is patchy. They
are people who know that, by and large, what they
need they must eke out for themselves.
Margaret Thatcher, had she not been gripped by a
dread of “alien cultures”, would have liked their way of
thinking. Certainly her party today should benefit from
a younger generation whose political thinking has been
inspired by can-do forebears, especially as they move
into higher income and social demographic groups.
The reason it does not is that, through words and
deeds, the Conservative party presents to a critical mass
of black people as racist. Think of the Commonwealth
Immigrants Act 1962, custom-built to restrict black
migration and condemned by Hugh Gaitskell as
“cruel and brutal anti-colour legislation”. Think of
the 1964 Smethwick election, with its unofficial Tory
candidate slogan: “If you want a nigger for a neighbour,
vote Labour.” Think Enoch Powell. Think Thatcher’s
Powellesque warnings about the country being
“swamped by people with a different culture”.
Give David Cameron his due. He may now be depicted
as the most disastrous prime minister since Anthony
Eden, but at least he understood how damaging it was that
his party had made itself repellent to growing sections of
the electorate. Goaded by research from former deputy
party chairman Lord Ashcroft that showed the depth
of minority antipathy to the Tories, he sought to rewrite
the narrative – and did so, with some success.
In 2015 the Conservatives received 33% of black and
ethnic minority votes (1 million). This was less than
Labour – who captured 52% – but way up from 2010,
when the Tories got just 16% of the BAME vote. This is
the progress that May has trashed with her pandering to
ILLUSTRATION:
SÉBASTIEN THIBAULT
Brexiter rednecks, with her pathological, longstanding
obsession with immigration, and her acceptance of –
perhaps connivance with – the unthinking bureaucracy
that led inevitably to the Windrush scandal.
And so we encounter a familiar sight: that of the
prime minister and her lieutenants, shovel in hand,
frantically digging themselves out of a hole. If you bow
at all, bow low, says the Chinese proverb. On Monday
the home secretary, Amber Rudd, followed that advice
to its extremes. Guaranteed citizenship for any of the
mistreated Windrush generation, compensation for
their often “heartbreaking” treatment, fees waived,
no requirement for applicants to take the obligatory
knowledge test on language and life in the UK. A new
customer support centre. After months of disdain and
indifference to their plight, goodwill abounds.
And suddenly the new mood, this government’s
cultural glasnost, reaches into other areas. While
Rudd bows low, May, fresh from the memorial service
marking 25 years since the death of Stephen Lawrence,
unveils an annual national day of commemoration for
him. Within days, we have lurched from famine to feast.
It doesn’t pay to be too cynical. The Windrushers
deserve to be fairly treated. The Guardian, through
the reporting of Amelia Gentleman, has been seeking
that outcome for months. Of course Stephen Lawrence
deserves a day. The commemoration of what the
Lawrences and their supporters did for equality and
social justice in Britain deserves a slew of days.
B
ut what we see is not a government
responsive to the public mood, agile
in thought, decisive in action, sound
in judgment. It’s a study in rush and
chaos. There is no method. Its rallying
cry is the alarm behind the broken
glass. It resists, and when resistance
becomes futile, it reacts. Neither
position seems the result of much thought. There is no
programme, no coherent philosophy, just responses to
chatter and evasive action to fend off the impending
calamity of the hour, whether by belatedly addressing it
or by doing something else to divert attention.
Plastic bags, Grenfell, modern slavery, social
disparity, housing shortages, apprenticeships: the
list of issues the May government has flapped at in
a now characteristic half-hearted way grows daily.
She promises to tackle racial inequalities. She makes
a totem of it. Next stop, Windrush scandal. Her
government cannot buckle down and govern in any
measured, coherent sense. It is giddy, confused,
arrogant, afraid; terrified of threats from a resurgent
Labour without and careerist mutineers within – and
buffeted throughout its flight by the wild turbulence of
Brexit. How can it do anything other than stagger the
length of the aircraft applying sticking plasters?
Even a prime minister with the appropriate skillset
of vision, efficiency and empathy would struggle.
Theresa May, lacking all three, doesn’t stand a chance.
The result is what we have witnessed. Her government,
until it was shamed by the media and the public, did
not have the wit or ability to address the Windrush
issue until it raged around them – even though it had
half a year to see it coming. That should worry us.
And that failure has widened a chasm between the
Tories and the voters they need and should be able to
engage with, many of whom now live in Conservative
suburban marginals. That really should worry them.
Section:GDN 1J PaGe:4 Edition Date:180425 Edition:01 Zone:
Sent at 24/4/2018 18:41
cYanmaGentaYellowbla
•
4
Opinion
To the boy who
stabbed me: I
still don’t know
why you did it
Jo
Phillips
Y
ou couldn’t have been much older
than my 14-year-old grandson is now,
when you stabbed me in the neck
with a screwdriver. That was 10 years
ago, and I’ve often wondered what
happened to you. The last image I
have is of a skinny kid running down
the road with my red handbag – which
looked faintly ridiculous.
You never spoke, but the bigger boy, who was
egging you on, urged “Stab her, stab her” almost like
a dare. Was it a test to allow you to join his gang? If it
was, I wonder where that took you – to more attacks,
moving from a screwdriver to a knife, from mugging to
murder, to prison? Or to you being the one “blooding”
new recruits, or a victim of violence yourself? Perhaps
you managed to take a different path and feel regret or
remorse. Maybe you’ve simply forgotten what you did
that night. I haven’t.
While I was in intensive care, you or your mates were
playing on my phone, using my bank cards to steal more
than £1,000, had my keys, address, driving licence and
other personal effects. The red handbag was found
dumped a day or so later but I never used it again.
I didn’t die and I have only a small scar that is barely
visible. That’s on the outside, but on the inside is
something else. The fear inside me takes a lot of patient
unravelling, like a piece of rope that inexplicably tangles
PHOTOGRAPH: LEWIS WHYLD/PA
The Guardian Wednesday 25 April 2018
It’s OK to give
up on a book
(unless it’s
one of mine)
into a tight knot. It comes when I’m walking along a
street in the dark, when I’m in an empty train carriage,
when I see a couple of youths hanging about. I avoid
alleyways and subways, eye contact and arguments,
politely decline evening invitations and have sobbed, a
shaking wreck, after being startled by an innocent jogger
or someone walking behind me. After the attack, I would
run the short distance from the bus stop to my home
with tears pouring down my face and heart pounding.
Eventually I moved away.
I am wary of dark places where people like you can
hide and pounce. I curse myself for not being stronger
and braver to fight back. I ask myself over and over
again what I could have done to avoid being stabbed and
always come up with the same answer – nothing.
The police were supportive, efficient and kind.
They drove me round in an unmarked car to places
where gangs and young offenders were known to hang
out. I was shown ring binders full of page after page
of photographs of possible suspects. Young men and
youths who could have been in a football club or school
photo – but the images just reinforced my sense of
vulnerability, knowing that so many people thought
capable of such an attack were on the streets. A board
at the end of the road where it happened appealed for
witnesses, as did the local paper, but no arrests were
made. CCTV footage of cash withdrawals made with
my stolen cards yielded nothing but images of a person
whose face was concealed by a hood.
Politicians and police argue over the policies and
practices that are to blame for the shocking rise in
violent crime that has claimed so many lives this year.
Distraught mothers and devastated communities
plead for an end to the stabbings and shootings while
another slew of initiatives are announced. Experts offer
advice, analysis and condemnation, but through a prism
that distorts this as a crisis affecting predominantly
young, black people in London, and caused at least in
part by gang culture.
Stephanie
Merritt
B
T
his makes it all too easy to think the
problem is restricted to a particular
community, culture or area. There is
still, albeit unspoken, a view that if
gangs are fighting each other, then it’s
not anything for the rest of us to worry
about. That has disturbing echoes of
the bizarre notion that the Krays and
their ilk actually kept crime under control and their
neighbourhoods safe.
Ten years on from my attack, deadly weapons are
more readily available, social media more prevalent and
pernicious; and too many people have been killed and
maimed, with families and lives destroyed. Tougher
sentences for carrying a knife wouldn’t have stopped
a boy with a screwdriver. There can hardly be a more
painful platitude for victims and families to hear than
that they were “in the wrong place at the wrong time”.
I now have a deep-rooted fearfulness that was never
apparent before I was stabbed, but the recent spate of
violent crime helps to breed a collective and wider fear
that has terrible implications. It stops people intervening
over antisocial behaviour; raising concerns about
domestic abuse, child neglect or disruptive neighbours;
or blowing the whistle on your employers. Fear at a
primal level keeps us alive, but it’s also what allows us to
avert our eyes from bad stuff.
Fear also stops adults challenging children,
particularly when those children are bigger and
stronger than them; when there is no alternative but to
live, go to school and walk the same streets as the bad
kids. Fear makes children think they need to be armed,
to do what others urge them to do even though they
know it’s wrong. Were you frightened when that other
boy told you to “Stab her, stab her”? Was your mother
too frightened to ask where you were that night, or
why you’d suddenly got money or new things? Have
you got children of your own now, and do you ask them
those questions?
When I spoke to the Guardian after my attack, I said
I wanted to know why you stabbed me after I’d already
handed over my handbag. Ten years on, I still don’t
know. Do you?

Jo Phillips
is a journalist
Stephanie
Merritt
is an author
ook block” sounds like one of
those invented modern conditions
that you make up as a pseudopathologised excuse for not having
any willpower, which could be
easily remedied in one fell swoop
by just putting the phone in another
room while you finish the damned
book. But it is, apparently, a real and serious problem
that’s “paralysing” 35 million Britons, according
to a survey by the Reading Agency published to
coincide with this year’s World Book Night.
Of the readers surveyed, 54% regularly struggle with
a book for an average of three months, feeling costive
and guilty. The point of these revelatory statistics is
to encourage us to throw off the puritanical shackles
of literary obligation and skip through books with the
kind of insouciance we save for scrolling through the
Sky box – a revolution the Reading Agency has jauntily
named “quit-lit”. “I’m quit-litting!”, you might now
announce to your family, tossing the reproachful halfread book over your shoulder, where once you would
have just kicked it a bit further under the sofa.
As a writer, I have mixed feelings about the quit-lit
idea. On the one hand, if you’ve bought my book then
I thank you, and it’s up to you what you do with it after
that. On the other, every author wants to have written
the book that readers can’t put down, rather than the
one they prop open at the same page for their entire
commute while looking at their phone: it’s our job
to come up with a story that’s compelling enough to
compete with the multiple potential distractions.
You should always give books a chance, my mother
impressed on me as a child, because not everything is
immediately rewarding, and something that appears
hard work can often yield the greatest insight. I hear
myself repeating this to my teenage son when he
complains that he’s bored with a book, especially if
it’s a so-called classic, and fear that I’m reinforcing
this bizarre retrograde notion that books should
be regarded in the same way as eating vegetables –
necessary and improving, but not really to be enjoyed.
There are glimmers of hope: the survey also
revealed that the book most people have failed to finish
is not Wolf Hall but Fifty Shades of Grey, which argues
for a healthy level of discernment among the reading
public. But perhaps we need to question what we mean
when we talk about “enjoying” books.
Over half the respondents said they would avoid or
give up on a book if it made them sad, on the grounds
that there’s enough to be upset about in the world – an
approach that might account for the growing trend
in what publishers are calling “up-lit”. But 49% also
agreed that reading improves our ability to empathise
and understand, and maybe we can’t have it both ways.
Reading to connect with other lives might often require
us to feel uncomfortable or distressed, and that’s not
something to quit in a hurry.
Section:GDN 1J PaGe:5 Edition Date:180425 Edition:01 Zone:
Wednesday 25 April 2018 The Guardian
cYanmaGentaYellowbla
•
Let’s treat all
new mothers
like royalty
Gaby
Hinsliff
A
Sent at 24/4/2018 18:18
woman has had a baby. I know!
Amazing, really. It’s baby-shaped,
as far as we can tell under the
blanket, and appears more than
capable of doing things newborn
babies generally do, such as lying
there. It may do other baby-like
things soon, such as having a name.
More as we get it.
And yet let’s not be churlish here. The reason
pictures of the Duchess of Cambridge on the hospital
steps resonate for so many – achingly fashionable as it
is to wish the whole circus would just go away – isn’t
just that they evoke fond parental memories. It’s
that being pregnant and having a baby, even of the
non-royal variety, is such a weirdly visible thing to
5
do. Everyone feels a sense of ownership when you’re
pregnant. Everyone feels the need to ask inappropriately
intimate questions or pat the bump or offer advice
about going back to work, plus in some cases barefaced nagging dressed up as attempts to be helpful. The
world’s cameras may not literally be trained on every
new mother, but at times it damned well feels like it.
The day the Duchess of Cambridge gave birth,
pregnant women could look forward to side-eye in
Starbucks amid reports that drinking more than one
coffee a day might be bad for the baby (never mind that
it is based on one study from Norway describing a very
slightly elevated risk of having an overweight child, and
the causation has been described as “weak”).
Then over that guilty flat white, they could read all
about how one in four hospitals now refuses women’s
requests for a caesarean delivery for anything other
than clinical reasons. This is despite guidance from the
National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence
that says women should have a choice, even if they
have endured grim vaginal deliveries previously, or are
terrified of the process, or even if they are just grown
adults who, having read up on all the risks, were mad
enough to imagine they might have some say.
NHS patients quite properly make choices all the
time about which form of medical intervention suits
them, yet nobody is ever described as being Too Posh To
Choose Conservative Management Over Radical Surgery
For Slow Growing Cancer; it is only the routine choices
that women make over childbirth that attract such
intense public debate and censure.
Yet at times parenthood comes to feel like one long
process of being invited to defend and explain choices
that aren’t really anybody else’s business. If a grown
woman is confident wearing heels when pregnant, in
the full and certain knowledge that there might be an
infinitesimal risk of falling over in them, then who are
you to stand between her and the pleasure of dressing
at least one part of her body in something recognisable
from a previous life? Who cares which bit of your body
the baby came out of, so long as everyone’s alive and
well at the end?
Performative parenting of the achingly middle-class
kind – the sort that involves dragging an oblivious
toddler round a museum, talking at the top of your
voice about educational things just so everyone knows
what an excellent parent you are – may be exceptionally
irritating to witness, but it’s a defence mechanism deep
down, an insecure reaction to that feeling of being
silently judged.
There have been endless calls for royal births to
be treated more like the ordinary, mundane events
they really are; to be politely ignored, not plastered all
over rolling news. But honestly, there is a reasonable
argument that it should be the other way round, and
that every single woman who has given birth deserves
to come out of hospital to the works: a faux town crier
and Kay Burley in full cry and someone reverently
erecting a golden easel outside the house, which anyone
who will be spending the next three weeks sitting on a
rubber ring knows damn well they have earned.
But given the practical difficulties of granting
everyone their own 16-page commemorative tabloid
pullout, many new parents would settle for the other
thing royal mothers now get from the media: a very
particular sort of scrutiny from strangers, which at least
bends over backwards to be kind. One that focuses
chiefly on how well the children behave at weddings,
considering their age, or how sweet they look in their
dressing gowns; and one which is increasingly afraid of
being hammered on social media if it’s seen to judge too
harshly or harp on about when mum is losing the baby
weight. The Duchess of Cambridge isn’t the only one
who deserves a break.
Section:GDN 1J PaGe:6 Edition Date:180425 Edition:01 Zone:
Sent at 24/4/2018 19:49
•
6
How sad yet reassuring
(Newspapers: The only winner in
this sorry game of monopoly is the
wholesaler, 23 April) to read that
we are not the only long-suffering
readers of the Guardian owing to
irregular deliveries to our newsagent.
Several times a year our local
newsagent is on the phone to Smiths
News chasing non-deliveries. This
cannot be news to the Guardian as
I have phoned to complain about
this to the news desk on at least two
occasions in the past 12 months.
The office at the local Birmingham
distributor will not take calls from
customers and will only talk to
the newsagent. He is often kept
hanging on a thread with unreliable
information as the papers in
question rarely turn up if they are
not delivered at the correct time.
As stated in the article, he still has
to pay for the delivery which has
not taken place. He is also losing
customers as they know that the
papers are always reliably delivered
to the local supermarkets.
We have lived in Warwick for 38
years and have only had this problem
When readership is
falling, how ironic
that newsagents and
papers are let down by
haphazard deliveries
Ian Bartlett
in recent years. The inefficiency of
this aspect of the gig economy is
clearly to blame. Our newsagent is a
super guy who is always helpful and,
unlike the sloppy system he relies
on, provides brilliant service to us
in west Warwick.
Can anything be done about this
apart from deserting the local shop
and going to Sainsbury’s instead?
Peta and Mike Chambers
Warwick
• Roy Greenslade is right to highlight
the failings of the monopolistic and
complacent newspaper distribution
system. At a time when readership is
falling and even our embattled prime
minister is concerned for the future of
the press, how ironic that the papers
and their newsagent outlets are let
down by haphazard deliveries and
lousy service from their wholesalers.
And with the closure of newsagents
will come another nail in the high
street coffin and another tear in the
social fabric.
Ian Bartlett
East Molesey, Surrey
• The problems with the monopoly
in news trade distribution are
replicated at the other end of the
ecosystem. Try being a reputed but
inevitably relatively small circulation
specialist magazine required to pay a
four-figure sum per issue to guarantee
visible placement on the shelves
of larger news outlets operated by
that well-known national news
chain. And then checking up on a
selection of said shops to find that the
magazine is still nowhere to be seen,
Bill should cover drunken sexual
assault of emergency workers
As leading health bodies and
members of the Alcohol Health
Alliance UK, we write insupport of
Chris Bryant’s private member’s bill
on assaults on emergency workers,
and specifically his amendment to
extend this bill to sexual assault.
The bill will already make offences,
including malicious wounding and
grievous or actual bodily harm,
aggravated when perpetrated
against emergency workers. But
it does not offer any additional
protection against sexual assault.
Research from the Institute
of Alcohol Studies shows that
between a third and a half of
service people have experienced
sexual harassment or abuse at the
hands of intoxicated members of
the public: over half of ambulance
service workers reported that they
had been the victim of intoxicated
sexual harassment or assault,
The Guardian Wednesday 25 April 2018
Letters
Newsagents’ problems
another threat to press
as did 41% of police staff, 35% of
emergency department consultants
and 34% of fire and rescue staff.
The evidence makes the case for
including sexual assault in this bill.
We cannot be in a situation where
physically assaulting an emergency
worker is recognised in law as being
serious, but sexually assaulting
them is not. We understand the
government is resisting this
amendment on the grounds of
not wanting to create “two tiers
of victims” of sexual assault.
However, the bill does not give
new rights to emergency workers
who are assaulted; instead, it offers
protection to those people who are
put at greater risk of being assaulted.
It recognises that these workers
would not be in the position of being
assaulted were it not for their jobs –
so it is right that we make assaulting
these workers an aggravating
cYanmaGentaYellowbla
only then to be informed that it’s still
“down to the discretion of individual
store managers”. In the music
business, paying to be the support
act is frowned upon and viewed as
a scummy practise, but at least the
support act then gets to perform.
Ian Anderson
Bristol
• There is still a newsagent next to
my block of flats, but he is no longer
my newsagent. Very reluctantly, he
stopped taking my vouchers because
Smiths News didn’t or wouldn’t
refund them. I involved the Guardian
in this and they tried to take it forward
but then seemed to give up – and
my newsagent has lost a significant
amount of money. Definitely time to
break the monopoly.
Janet Lewis
London
• After graduating, I moved to North
Cheshire to start work and wished
to continue my habit of reading
Private Eye magazine but I found that
no local newsagents sold it. Why?
Because the local wholesalers, WH
Smith (now known as Smiths News),
refused to handle it. So I subscribed
to Private Eye and I’m pleased to say
that now, best part of 50 pleasurable
years of reading later, I still subscribe
so have to thank Smiths, but for all the
wrong reasons.
Bernard Brownsword
Whaley Bridge, Derbyshire
• I was disappointed when my local
newsagent recently discontinued its
paper delivery service, its explanation
being problems with the wholesaler.
But it means pensioners like me now
have to walk to the shop to collect the
paper. I suppose I can take comfort
that the exercise is as good for the
body as the Guardian is for the mind.
Ian Arnott
Peterborough
factor when cases are prosecuted.
The bill has cross-party support,
and we appreciate the support the
government has shown. We now
ask the government to reconsider
its opposition to including sexual
assault, and to support Mr Bryant’s
amendment on Friday.
Prof Sir Ian Gilmore Alcohol Health
Alliance, Colin Shevills Balance, the
North East Alcohol Office, Katherine
Brown Institute of Alcohol Studies, Dr
Zul Mirza Royal College of Emergency
Medicine, Dr Adrian Boyle Royal
College of Emergency Medicine and
21 others (full list at gu.com/letters
• The £6m package of measures
designed to help the estimated
200,000 children in England living
with alcohol-dependent parents is
£30 per child (New £6m fund and
dedicated minister will help children
of alcoholics, 23 April). I doubt much
can and will be provided at that rate.
How about the drinks industry cough
up more of their profits to properly
fund decent services?
Emma Tait
London
Special
moment
‘Hung around
Exeter city centre
to celebrate
spring, these
umbrellas make a
vivid backdrop to
the high street’s
maples bursting
back into life.
The trees coming
into leaf is a
special, fleeting
moment – for me,
the true start of
spring. It’s been
a treat this year
for its coinciding
with magnificent
weather, bringing
out the vibrant
colours.’ Taken
on 20 April
ANDY THATCHER/
GUARDIANWITNESS
Share your
photographs
at gu.com/
letters-pics
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publish letters
where only an
email address is
supplied; please
include a full
postal address,
a reference to
the article and a
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number. We
may edit letters.
Submission of all
letters is subject
to our terms
and conditions:
see gu.com/
letters-terms
Let’s keep pressure
on over Windrush
“Heartbreaking” rings hollow in
the House of Commons while the
suffering of the Windrush generation
continues (Report, 24 April). Four
weeks ago I read the story of Albert
Thompson – who after 44 years in
the UK had his immigration status
called into question and was denied
the radiotherapy he needs to treat
prostate cancer. He is yet to receive
an adequate response, despite being
used by Theresa May as a political
pawn to shush the outcries.
Having been a primary carer for
loved ones with cancer, I know it
doesn’t wait. That’s why I launched a
public campaign. I’ve since realised
I’m not the only one who cares:
416,000 have signed a petition on
Change.org and I’ve raised £45k so far
in case Albert is still denied treatment.
A Home Office source tells me that
the vast numbers of people behind
my campaign helped the government
realise this wouldn’t go away. The
scandal of the handling of Windrush
cases is now being treated with the
seriousness it deserves after months
of investigation by Amelia Gentleman
and the work of David Lammy.
A taskforce has been created, but I
worry that people will be left behind.
The Home Office speaks of those who
came to the UK before 1973, yet there
are thousands who came between
then and 1988, including Albert. They
remain in turmoil.
Albert’s case could set a precedent.
Petition signers over the weekend
sent letters to the taskforce to get his
case dealt with. Each day, I wonder
what we can do next to add pressure.
I don’t yet know what the future
holds, but I do know that during a
horrendous time, people power has
given Albert strength by showing the
humanity in the British public is there
for all to see. The government needs
to weed out the institutional racism
inherent in its systems and try and
reflect at least some of our humanity.
Until it does, we won’t stop.
Jacqueline Culleton
London
Section:GDN 1J PaGe:7 Edition Date:180425 Edition:01 Zone:
Wednesday 25 April 2018 The Guardian
Sent at 24/4/2018 18:06
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•
7
 guardian.letters@theguardian.com
 @guardianletters
Corrections and
clarifications
• An article looking forward to next
week’s elections in the Sheffield city
region said that “unlike Sheffield and
Rotherham, Barnsley and Doncaster
are not holding council elections
in May”. Council elections will be
held in Sheffield and Barnsley, and
not in Rotherham and Doncaster
(With powers for new mayor still
uncertain, candidates press on,
23 April, page 15).
Editorial complaints and corrections can be sent to
guardian.readers@theguardian.com 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.
After fake news,
it’s fake clues
A Middle East country kills children
at a wedding using aerial weapons
in breach of all human rights (At
least 20 die in Saudi-led airstrike,
24 April). Yet from the trio of selfappointed world policemen (the US,
France and UK) there is not a peep;
certainly no airstrikes. Something to
do with the nature of the aggressor
and the depth of its pockets?
Dr Neil Denby
Huddersfield
• What’s this sizeism (Report, 23
April)? You refer to the “diminutive
figure of John Biggs, the directly
elected mayor of Tower Hamlets”. I
have yet to see any disparagement in
your pages of the exceptional height
of New York mayor Bill de Blasio.
Cynthia Hay
London
What future for British fishing?
We agree with Polly Toynbee
that fishing is “deep-dyed in the
national identity” (Opinion, 23
April). The UK is in the middle of
some of the best fishing grounds in
the world. Where she is wrong is in
making two assertions: firstly, that
taking back control of our waters
“is not going to happen, because
it can’t”; and secondly, that the
problem is that UK skippers sold
their quotas to foreigners.
On the first, actually it can. The
United Nations convention on the
law of the sea awards sovereign
rights over and responsibilities for
the natural resources to coastal
states in their own exclusive
economic zones. That will be us
on Brexit, and there are a couple
of pre-packed examples of the
benefits in the EEZs of our near
neighbours. Iceland catches 90% of
the seafood resource in its EEZ and
Norway some 85%. For us, under
the rules in the common fisheries
policy, we catch 40%. It certainly
can change, and according to the
prime minister, it will change. It will
be a negotiation, but if, as Polly says,
the referendum was actually won
on fishing sentiment, then public
support will see the negotiations
move in the right direction.
On the second issue, foreign
ownership, I am amazed by Tom
Appleby’s assertion that “Britain
could and should have banned the
sale of its quotas”. He’s missed the
fact that the UK sought to do just
that in the Factortame case 19892000, but was prevented from doing
so by EU law. As long as we are in the
EU, it is illegal to require UK majority
ownership of a UK fishing vessel.
Polly is right that 0.5% of GDP
is the oft-quoted figure, but that
represents about £1bn at landings
value. Doubling that, for the direct
benefit of our coastal communities
is no small thing. Returning to the
idea that fishing is deep-dyed in our
national identity, it’s simply the right
thing to do.
Bertie Armstrong
Chief executive, Scottish Fishermen’s
Federation
• Polly Toynbee describes the near
hopeless position of the small British
fishing boats as epitomised in the
Hastings fleet. The first and most
important stage in this sell-out by
the establishment took place in 1973,
when Britain joined the EEC. The
Tory government did a deal with
the existing EEC whereby British
farmers (ie, many Tory MPs) would
be given large grants, while British
well-stocked fishing waters would be
opened up to the Euro fishing fleets.
No Tory MPs owned a fishing boat.
Hastings had a Tory MP in 1973, as it
does now (Amber Rudd). All Hastings
MPs since 1973 have promised a better
deal for the local fishing industry,
but the situation has steadily
deteriorated, and shows all signs of
continuing to do so under Brexit.
Steve Peak
Author of Fishermen of Hastings,
Hastings, East Sussex
• Another day, another mistake in
the cryptic crossword (Corrections,
24 April). A reflection of the times,
I suppose: fake clues.
Mike Hine
Kingston on Thames, Surrey
• Predating Rick Nelson by six
years, The Everly Brothers Sing Great
Country Hits (1963) is surely a better
contender for kickstarting country
rock (Letters, 23 April).
Phil Rhoden
Kidderminster, Worcestershire
• Jürgen Klopp may not want to be
chancellor of Germany (Sport, 24
April), but when he leaves Liverpool
could we have him as our prime
minister, please?
Rev Dr Peter Phillips
Swansea
Established 1906
Country diary
Wenlock Edge,
Shropshire
“How could a purse / squeeze under
the rickety door and sit, / full of
satisfaction, in a man’s house?” wrote
the poet Norman MacCaig in Toad.
This toad, a soft yellow-brown and
ornamentally purse-like, had come
through the back door somehow
and was squatting defiantly on
quarry tiles. It was seeking asylum
from an extraordinarily brilliant
morning, unfamiliar heat and
ultraviolet light that the weather
forecast said was moderate but to
toadskin was extreme radiation.
It did not seem full of satisfaction to
me but then Bufo bufo’s narrowing
eyes with horizontal pupils and
that broad enigmatic smile may be
mistaken for smugness.
The place in the toad’s head
that myth says contains a jewel is
hidden by an inscrutable mask that
is somewhere between divine and
reprobate. The bulging paratoid
glands on its head, the warty skin
excrescences that secrete toxins,
and the sumo stance, all suggest
repulsion but its soft yellowishness
is the colour of fading daffs, with
hints of celandine, primrose, agate
and potting sand. Toads can control
their skin tone and this was being
dressed to “a-wooing go”.
Perhaps the toad was migrating
back at night to its natal pond and,
in the absence of any seductive
croaking, wandered awkwardly
around a party that hadn’t started
yet, hesitating until it had to take
cover from the fierce morning light.
As MacCaig did, I picked the toad
up in “my purse hand”, and put it
down next to the pond. There was
a very green, duckweedy silence
to the water and a line across the
surface that may have been drawn
by a grass snake.
All around, the April song was
filled with dunnock, chaffinch,
blackcap and chiffchaff finding their
rhythm. Queen bumblebees crashed
through the air, investigating holes,
bundling through open windows
and getting evicted. The air was
fizzing with courtship, with all its
rules and codes and the making
of spaces for instincts to create
the next wave of life. The toad
seemed reluctant to submit to any
amphibious impulses and, with
dignity, the sage walked away from
the water and under the shed,
“a tiny radiance in a dark place”.
Paul Evans
• I’ve suddenly become a Liverpool
fan. Hoping we win.
Steve Lupton
Manchester
• No state benefits for a third child
(Duke and Duchess show off new
son, 24 April)?
Peter Caswell
Warrington
Twitter: @gdncountrydiary
ILLUSTRATION: CLIFFORD HARPER
Section:GDN 1J PaGe:8 Edition Date:180425 Edition:01 Zone:
Sent at 24/4/2018 17:43
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•
8
The Guardian Wednesday 25 April 2018
Obituaries
Livia Gollancz
Professional musician
who became one of the
first women to head a
publishing company
L
ivia Gollancz, who
has died aged 97,
was one of the
first women to
head a publishing
company, serving
for 17 years as
managing director
of Victor Gollancz. But it was
her earlier career as a French
horn player, working with many
leading conductors, including
John Barbirolli, Thomas Beecham
and Adrian Boult, that captured
her heart. Her 15 years as a
professional musician were brought
to an end only by dental problems
exacerbated by horn-playing.
In 1953, out of desperation
rather than desire, she accepted
her father’s invitation to join the
family firm. The change in lifestyle
was a tremendous shock at first.
Describing herself at that time as
“like a drowning person grasping at
a raft”, she planned to stay for only
a couple of months, but remained
with the company for 36 years.
She started “right at the bottom”,
making coffee, typing labels and
laying out adverts. After two years
she edited her first book: Journey
into a Fog by Margareta BergerHamerschlag, an art teacher’s account
of her work with young people in a
deprived part of London. Over the
next decade Livia’s father taught
her the workings of the industry,
grooming her as his successor.
Her position as the boss’s
daughter caused resentment at
times: one of the casualties of her
advancement was her cousin, Hilary
Rubinstein, who left the firm and
became a literary agent. When
Victor suffered a serious stroke in
1966, Livia took over as managing
director, and ended her time with
the company as chairman (1983-89).
Professionally, if not emotionally,
she was deeply committed to
publishing. Her list of authors
included Ivy Compton-Burnett,
Daphne du Maurier, Michael Innes/
JIM Stewart, Terence de Vere White
and the spy thriller writer Anthony
Price, whom she claimed to have
discovered. As well as the thriller list
at Gollancz, she took on all the music
books and the mountaineering and
walking titles, her own passions.
Under her leadership, Gollancz
Gollancz joined
the family firm –
Victor Gollancz
– in 1953. During
her earlier career
as a French horn
player, below,
she worked with
conductors such
as Adrian Boult
and Thomas
Beecham
FRANK MARTIN;
TONY CATTERICK
COLLECTION
remained an old-fashioned
company. Promotion came primarily
from within and overtime was
unpaid. Always willing to publish
a book she liked, regardless of its
commercial viability, she regretted
the rise of large conglomerates and
was critical of literary agents for
the decline of the editor-author
relationship. She made little effort
to keep up with technological
advances, although the accounts
were finally computerised.
In spite of having suffragette
ancestry, Livia was surprisingly
indifferent to feminist publishing
and her attitude towards women’s
advancement in the industry was
far from progressive. “A publishing
firm is like an hour glass,” she once
said. “If you don’t get through the
little gap into the top bit, you tend to
leave. Once you’ve got through the
gap you’ve probably got past the age
when you want to be having a family.”
For Livia, books always took
second place to music. In an
interview given shortly after she
retired, she said: “It’s very funny
that the whole of the publishing
thing has just gone from my mind – I
must have absolutely hated it really.”
Born in west London, Livia was
the eldest of five daughters of Victor
and his wife, Ruth (nee Lowy), and
grew up in a large Anglo-Jewish
family. Her maternal grandmother,
Henrietta, was an active suffragette
who taught all her daughters to drive.
Imprisoned on several occasions
for her activities, she and Emmeline
Pankhurst would sometimes swap
clothes after meetings to enable the
latter to evade arrest. Livia’s mother
was a fully qualified architect, one
of the first four women in 1917 to
gain admission to the Architectural
Association.
Art, music and books played a
Art, music
and books
played a
central
role in her
childhood
central role in Livia’s childhood.
All her pocket money went on
concert and opera tickets, including
the 15 shillings intended for her
school certificate. She was also
intensely political in her teenage
years, heavily involved with the
Left Book Club, which her father
founded in 1936, and an ardent
member of the Young Communist
League. The German-Soviet nonaggression pact of 1939 shattered
her political beliefs, after which she
lost all confidence in politics and
politicians.
Educated at Kensington high
school and St Paul’s Girls’ school,
Livia bought her first French horn
for £5 at the age of 15, and at 16
was accepted at the Royal College
of Music to study horn and viola.
The second world war created
opportunities for female musicians
and she joined the London
Symphony Orchestra straight out of
college in 1940.
When Barbirolli became
conductor of the Hallé Orchestra
in 1943, he chose Livia as principal
horn. She admired his insistence
that female musicians should be
treated on their musical merits, but
after two years they parted company
when she told him his approach to
classical music was “too romantic
for my taste”, an opinion she later
regretted as the “audacity and
stupidity of youth”. She then joined
the Scottish Orchestra (1943–45,
now the Royal Scottish National
Orchestra), and the BBC Scottish
Orchestra (1945-46, now the BBC
Scottish Symphony Orchestra).
Returning to London in 1947,
Livia was appointed principal horn
at Covent Garden, where she had
her first experience of pit work and
chauvinism. Karl Rankl, then its
musical director, who was known for
his resistance to female musicians,
refused to work with her. In 1949
one of the most enjoyable phases
of her musical career began at the
Old Vic theatre company. At Sadler’s
Wells Opera (1950-53), she worked
under Michael Mudie, whom
she considered the best British
conductor of his generation.
In retirement, she returned to the
viola and violin, the instruments of
her childhood, and also sang, both
solo and chorally. A member of the
Alpine Club, in 1964 she climbed the
Matterhorn. She thought nothing
of walking for five or six hours a
day well into her 70s, and was still
playing chamber music on a regular
basis in her 80s.
As a musician, she was proud of
having played the demanding fourth
horn part in Beethoven’s Choral
Symphony in the first season of
Proms concerts after their move to
the Royal Albert Hall, in 1941. As a
publisher, she was proud of having
sold Gollancz to Houghton Mifflin in
1989 without the loss of a single job.
She is survived by six nephews.
Rebecca Abrams
Livia Ruth Gollancz, publisher and
musician, born 25 May 1920; died
29 March 2018
Section:GDN 1J PaGe:9 Edition Date:180425 Edition:01 Zone:
Wednesday 25 April 2018 The Guardian
Sent at 24/4/2018 17:43
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•
 obituaries@theguardian.com
 @guardianobits
Other
lives
Constance Blackwell
Founder of the International
Society for Intellectual History and
campaigner for women in parliament
My mother, Constance Blackwell,
who has died aged 83, played
a key role in fostering deeper
understanding of the development
of 16th- and 17th-century science
and philosophy in Europe. As the
founder in 1994 of the International
Society for Intellectual History
(ISIH), she supported several
national and international
conferences and saw their
proceedings through to publication.
She was born in Chicago, Illinois,
daughter of Samuel Taylor, a
surgeon, and his wife, Jane (nee
Willet), heiress to her family’s steel
and trucking business. Constance
developed an appetite for literature
while bedridden after a childhood
bout of polio. A graduate of Smith
College, Massachusetts – where
she was a contemporary and friend
of the poet Sylvia Plath – and then
Columbia University, New York, she
soon became active in civic politics
through the Women’s City Club,
promoting school reform and civil
rights causes.
After divorce from William
Blackwell, a scholar of Russian
history, in the 1970s, Constance
moved to the UK to pursue
academic research. In London,
she worked with Lesley Abdela to
form the 300 Group campaigning
for equal representation of women
in parliament. This included
researching the long-hours culture
in the House of Commons which
could block the advancement of
Walter Lloyd
Farmer who began the Hades Hill
herd of fell ponies and helped revive
outdoor skills in the Lake District
My friend Walter Lloyd, who has died
aged 93, played a significant role in
the revival of traditional outdoor
skills in the Lake District. He was a
ropemaker, a builder of shelters such
as yurts, a maker of pack saddles, a
tree planter, woodland coppicer and
charcoal burner.
women and a comparison with
practices of other parliaments.
For the years until his death in
1986, Constance lived with Charles
Schmitt, historian of philosophy
and science at the Warburg
Institute. She continued his work
of bringing together scholars of
philosophy when in 1994 she set
up the foundation that became the
ISIH, which publishes the journal
Intellectual Historical Review.
Her independence from any
specific academic institution led
Constance to form around her a truly
international “republic of letters”,
with colleagues not only in the UK
and the US, but also in Italy and
the Netherlands, Russia and Latin
America. She loved introducing
scholars to one another.
Constance is survived by her three
children, Anne, Leslie and me, from
her marriage, and also supported
Charles’s children, John, Leo and
Elizabeth, after his death.
Theo Blackwell
writer-director with the words: “My
lamps are like whores. They’ll do
anything we ask them to.”
The blunt language masked a
creative sensibility. Ben Brantley
in the New York Times wrote of
Mick’s lighting for Pinter’s play
Landscape, at Lincoln Center, that
it was masterly, “evoking the clear,
frozen sunniness that saturates the
interiors of Vermeer paintings”.
Son of George and Mildred
Hughes, Mick was born in London,
where his father was a cemetery
superintendent. He was educated at
Chiswick grammar school, trained
as a BBC cameraman and then (he
said) was “a bum in Europe,” a funfair
“heavy”, a bus conductor and a
barman at the Mermaid theatre in
London. Sally Miles, daughter of the
Mermaid’s director, Bernard Miles,
had taken over the Theatre Royal,
Margate, and was running it as a rep,
and Mick went there as assistant
electrician. Later he would also direct
plays, around 40 in rep in Worcester.
He was good company but a
natural freelance, almost nomadic,
and away from work was happiest
with his boat, the Sherbet, which he
kept in Chichester harbour.
He is survived by his brother,
Geoffrey.
Paul Allen
Mick Hughes
Christine Stone
Theatre lighting designer praised
for his masterly work on Pinter and
Ayckbourn productions
As the lighting designer of choice
for Alan Ayckbourn and Harold
Pinter, Mick Hughes, who has
died aged 79, had a subtle, almost
stealthy artistry that drew attention
to the play and players, not to itself.
He lit actors ranging from John
Gielgud to the rawest drama school
graduate, giving them all the same
attention. At the National Theatre or in
New York, the West End, Chichester or
Dublin, he used minimal technology
and never introduced a lighting cue
simply for effect.
As Ayckbourn’s biographer, I saw
Mick most often in Scarborough.
For A Chorus of Disapproval,
creating an exploding lamp for one
scene, Mick endeared himself to the
Educator with a demanding schedule
as a trainer of teachers in Nepal for
more than three decades
My friend Christine Stone’s last
home was an unkempt flat in Fort
William at the foot of the Ben Nevis
path. She left very few possessions
except books, and her clothes would
not have filled even one bin bag. It
might have seemed a strange last
home for a Cambridge graduate and
an influential educator.
Christine, who has died aged
He was born in St Ives, Cornwall.
His father, William Lloyd, was a
musician and writer, and his mother,
Constance (nee Rawson), was a
musician who founded the Wayside
Folk Museum in Zennor.
Walter’s agriculture studies
at Cambridge University were
interrupted by second world war
service in the Royal Navy. Last year
he received a medal from Vladimir
Putin in recognition of his service
on the Arctic convoys. He also
served off the Normandy beaches
on D-day and on minesweepers in
Burma and Malaya.
After graduation, and having
married Vivienne Nugent in 1948,
Walter began livestock farming in
Lancashire and began the Hades Hill
herd of fell ponies.
During the 1960s, Walter trained
Civil Defence Corps instructors.
Then, as civil defence officer for
Rochdale council and emergency
planning officer for Greater
Manchester council, he planned
for disasters and nuclear strikes. In
1968, he founded Civil Aid, which
took him to Belfast at the height
of the Troubles and to Trinidad to
study hurricane disaster relief.
He used music festivals as
training opportunities: when several
thousand people were without food,
water or shelter at Windsor Free
festival in 1974, he bought an old
fire engine, packed it with food and
tarpaulins and served long lines of
hungry hippies with drinking water,
chapatis and vegetable curry.
He and Vivienne divorced in 1969,
9
77, never had a television or a
smartphone. She rarely invited
anyone round, liked her own
company and cared little about her
appearance. She was an expert on
everything, would happily talk over
you and give you a stern tellingoff whether you were a university
professor or a shrinking violet.
A committed Christian, Christine
spent her whole life serving others,
usually the poorest and most
vulnerable in society. Her legacy
resides mostly in her work alongside
the Nepali government providing
teacher training and writing
textbooks. A colleague recalled that
she was “in enormous demand,
and the teacher training took her all
over Nepal, on a schedule that only
Christine could have coped with”.
She was also involved in training
volunteers with Teach for Nepal, the
Fulbright programme and similar
organisations.
Daughter of Iris (nee Hill) and Maj
William Stone, Christine was born in
Hong Kong into a forces family and
was evacuated as a baby to Australia.
Her father became a PoW in Burma
(now Myanmar) and Christine did not
meet him until she was six. After the
second world war the family lived in
Germany, Belgium and Cyprus before
finally settling in Newcastle-underLyme, Staffordshire.
After Abbeydale girls’ grammar
school in Sheffield, Christine
graduated in natural science from
Cambridge University in 1962. She
went on to teach in Sheffield, Eritrea,
Scotland, Tristan da Cunha and
finally, from 1982, Nepal, where
she lived and worked for 33 years.
For a long time she taught in village
schools and then in secondaries in
Pokhara and Kathmandu. In 1988
she was appointed OBE for services
to education in Nepal.
When she finally “retired” in
2015 to live near me in Fort William,
she threw herself into all kinds of
volunteering, from taking elderly
people shopping to teaching
children in care. In her spare time
she studied archaeology and
European history.
Christine is survived by her
brother, Clive.
Debbie White
and he married Gillian Baron, whom
he had met in 1977 on the road to
Appleby horse fair. In retirement
in the 1980s, Walter pursued his
interests in self-sufficiency and
Lakeland crafts. He was a member
of the Lakeland Fiddlers and was
carried to his 90th birthday party,
in a woodland setting, by one of his
own Hades Hill ponies.
Walter is survived by four
children, Bill, Simon, Caroline and
Tom, from his first marriage; two
stepchildren, Mike and Tom, from
his marriage to Gill, which ended in
divorce; and by two children, Joanne
and Rob, from his partnership with
Sue Walker. He is also survived
by three grandchildren and three
great-grandchildren.
Karen Lloyd
Birthdays
Andy Bell, singer and songwriter,
54; Fiona Bruce, broadcaster, 54;
Melvin Burgess, author, 64; Tony
Christie, singer, 75; Lord (Tony)
Christopher, trade unionist, 93;
Jennifer Dixon, chief executive,
Health Foundation, 58; Judith
Farnworth, diplomat, 52; James
Fenton, poet, 69; Misha Glenny,
writer and broadcaster, 60; Len
Goodman, dance judge and coach,
74; Prof Christine Gosden, medical
geneticist, 73; Sofia Helin, actor,
46; Kevan Jones, Labour MP, 54;
Richard Lindley, broadcaster,
82; David Moyes, footballer and
manager, 55; Prof Sir Stephen
Nickell, labour economist, former
warden, Nuffield College, Oxford,
74; John Nunn, chess grandmaster,
63; Al Pacino, actor, 78; Monty
Panesar, cricketer, 36; Robert
Peston, broadcaster, 58; William
Roache, actor, 86; Mike Selvey,
cricket correspondent, 70; Lord
(Robert) Skidelsky, historian and
biographer, 79; Dame Veronica
Sutherland, diplomat, former
president, Lucy Cavendish College,
Cambridge, 79; Bertrand Tavernier,
film director, 77; Björn Ulvaeus,
songwriter and producer, 73; Prof
Anthony Venables, economist, 65;
Matt Walker, Paralympic swimmer,
40; Lord (Kenneth) Woolmer of
Leeds, former chairman, Leeds
University Business School, 78;
Renée Zellweger, actor, 49.
Letter
Peter Griffith writes: At Kibworth
Beauchamp grammar school,
Leicestershire, in the 1950s
we knew that former pupil Bill
Maynard (obituary, 31 March) had
left under something of a cloud. We
therefore thought it very sporting
of him that, as a famous TV star,
he was willing to come and open
a school fete, which he did with a
panache we all admired.
Announcements
Section:GDN 1J PaGe:10 Edition Date:180425 Edition:01 Zone:
Sent at 24/4/2018 16:26
•
10
The alternatives
cYanmaGentaYellowbl
The Guardian Wednesday 25 April 2018
Real-world examples of how people do economics differently
In England’s poorest town,
schools are defying the
notion that a good
diet is just for posh
kids, says Aditya
Chakrabortty
Where food is
the first lesson
S
hould you ever need cheering up, I
can recommend 11am at Stanley Road
primary in Oldham. That’s when lunch
starts for the youngest children and it is
pure excitement; the kind you used to
have when horizons were short, days
were long and nothing else needed
bothering about. First comes the babble
of voices, far bigger than the little bodies that follow,
swaddled in plump anoraks despite the sun outside.
They take crockery, these four- and five-year-olds who,
back in September, didn’t know how to hold a knife and
fork – and get down to the serious business of choosing.
Behind the counter stands Sheena Fineran: black
hat, big specs, magenta polo and, after 30 years as a
dinner lady, in complete mastery of her domain. “When
I started, it was lumpy mash. It was liver. It was cheap,
fried, nasty food.
“Today we’re the best.” Oldham’s school meals are
high quality, wholesome and prize-winning. “What I see
now – that’s what I’d give my family.”
Almost everything in these serving trays has been
cooked from scratch this morning in the school’s own
kitchen. That roast chicken comes from one of 14 birds
that Fineran came in at 6am to roast and strip, singeing
her own fingers as she did so. The fish cake is baked with
catch certified by the Marine Stewardship Council. More
options are laid out here than in most office canteens
I’ve visited and, from the carrots up, as much of the
food as possible is organic and locally sourced. Then a
boy far shorter and shyer than the rest reaches the front
of the queue.
“How are you, sweetie?” Fineran crouches to
infant eye level. Asif (not his real name) had a kidney
transplant two years ago and she looks out for him.
“Would you like … ” – a pause, as all good treats deserve
– “a flapjack? Or would you like … a biscuit? Or would
you like … ” and she reels off practically a stall’s worth of
fresh fruit.
A whisper comes back: “Pineapple.” “I bet there’s
some hiding,” laughs a colleague, and Fineran bustles
off to root it out.
Any council would be proud of serving meals that
prompt children to present teachers their cleaned-out
plates as if they were sports day trophies – but to see
what makes this daily ballet such a vast achievement
you need to contrast it with those carrying lunchboxes.
From one, a boy of seven pulls out some kebab and
processed cheese. A few tables down sits a girl chewing
stiff chicken nuggets. Others turn up with cold toast or
last night’s chips.
Some children come to school on an empty stomach
and go home to no supper. Headteacher Rebecca
Howarth runs a breakfast club and makes sure they
get double lunches, even though it comes out of her
shrinking budget. “We’ll find some way to do it. You
can’t have children going hungry. I can’t.”
In 2016 the Office for National Statistics found
Oldham to be the poorest town in England . In some
of its neighbourhoods, a boy born today can expect to
die soon after he hits 70. His counterpart raised just off
Hundreds of
thousands of
children across Britain go
hungry now. Teachers
report pupils filling their
pockets in the canteen
London’s swanky Brompton Road would be forecast to
live until he is 96. In one of the richest societies in human
history, something as simple as being born into the
wrong class in the wrong town can knock more than 25
years off your life.
As mementoes of its industrial past, Oldham has some
beautiful redbrick buildings. What it lacks is cash. While
Fineran and I are chatting, one of her colleagues comes
over to ask whether it’s true that Theresa May is going
to scrap free school meals for the under-sevens. When
she hears not, her relief is like the sun breaking through
clouds: her own boy starts reception this September.
What are poor children worth? What do they deserve?
The official answer is everything, just like every other
child. The reality is that hundreds of thousands of
children across Britain go hungry now. Headteachers
report grey-skinned pupils “filling their pockets” at the
school canteen, while London GPs treat youngsters with
that Victorian disease caused by poor diet, rickets.
Yet in Oldham the school dinner service runs on the
principle that those who have the least also deserve the
best possible. It delivers that within very tight budgets,
spending a rock-bottom 65p on food for every meal and
charging a mere £2.10.
For that price it serves up a menu that’s about
20% organic, with much else sourced regionally. The
department runs community cookery classes for parents.
Among the awards for the quality and sustainability of its
produce, it’s the only council in the north-west to have
Section:GDN 1J PaGe:11 Edition Date:180425 Edition:01 Zone:
Wednesday 25 April 2018 The Guardian
Obesity among
10-year-old
children:
•
11%
26%
SOURCE:
PUBLIC HEALTH
ENGLAND
of the richest
Sent at 24/4/2018 16:28
cYanmaGentaYellowbl
484,026 £2bn
Food bank supplies to children per year
SOURCE: TRUSSELL TRUST
11
Amount spent on food every
ols,
year by public sector in schools,
hospitals, prisons etc
SOURCE: NEW ECONOMICS FOUNDATION
N
of the poorest
In Oldham the
school dinner
service runs on the
principle that those who
have the least also
deserve the best possible
Above: Lunch is
served at Stanley
Road primary
school, Oldham
Left: The school’s
food is awardwinning
Below: Anne
Burns, head
of education
catering at
Oldham council,
and a selection of
school puddings
PHOTOGRAPHS:
CHRISTOPHER
THOMOND
Listen to The
Alternatives
podcast at
theguardian.
com/podcasts
won the Food for Life gold mark, “the Michelin stars
for ingredient quality”, according to Rob Percival of the
Soil Association.
Even Jamie Oliver, who almost single-handedly killed
the Turkey Twizzler, has sighed: “Feeding your kid right
is all considered very posh and middle class.” Yet here it
is, happening in the poorest nook of England – and not in
some bijou cafe serving 20 foodies and their Instagram
accounts, but a municipal office with 86 school kitchens
dishing out 17,000 meals a day. Without a council
subsidy, the service has to pay its way and it competes
with the likes of Compass, also tendering for local
school contracts.
S
o what’s the magic formula? Whoever you
ask, it comes down to two words: Anne
Burns. Head of Oldham’s school dinner
department, she’s also “a force of nature”,
says public food academic Kevin Morgan.
Visitors from Manchester mayor Andy
Burnham’s office, who want the rest of the
area to learn from Oldham’s example on
school meals, tell her: “If only we could cut you up into
pieces and spread you around.”
Anyone slicing into Burns would immediately find
two things: an expertise on food and a love of animals.
Having done school dinners for 40 years, since training
as a cook aged 16, she abhors “ping meals” and “plastic
food”. When “Jamie started shaking the tree” and
campaigning for better school meals in the middle of the
last decade, he found a ready audience in the recentlypromoted Burns.
On the office noticeboard is a page from Chat
magazine headlined “Saved by my dog!” It tells the story
of how, early one morning three years ago, Burns began
spewing blood and mucus before passing out. Only her
sleek brown weimaraner, Alice (one of her six dogs and
seven cats at the time) brought her round by licking her
face and smacking her with her paws. Rushing her into
hospital theatre, the surgeon declared: “I should be
signing your death certificate.”
She needs that toughness, arguing for better food
in a council that can always find uses for spare money
and is staffed largely by men in suits. As if to exemplify
their outsider status, she and her team of women,
with 125 years’ catering experience between them,
work out of a bungalow plonked next to the town hall.
It’s a Cinderella service, as school catering is across
the country, but as she tells her team: “Tonight, girls,
Cinderella’s off to the ball!”
More profoundly, Burns is a public servant who looks,
sounds and understands the public she serves. Born just
down the road in Rochdale, she still lives there – and in
over four decades she’s only ever worked for two local
authorities. Mum a housewife, dad a painter-decorator
who, at 80, still does the odd job. The family home
had no phone, but when she remembers her “normal
working-class” childhood, it’s of camping all summer
long and cricket matches that lasted weeks. She wasn’t
raised to be second best, nor does she expect it of the
children she feeds.
“Those kiddies are our future,” she says. “They’re
the most important people. Without them, where do we
go?” Contrast that plaintiveness with the high-flier who
hops from council to consultancy and whose main job is
to tell the residents who pay his salary how terrible their
lifestyles are and how their homes need to be replaced
with luxury flats.
When Burns began altering her menu, by far and
away her department’s main supplier was Brakes. Yet
the giant multinational was far too big to accommodate
the diet fads of some new manager at a town council.
Organic wholemeal flour? Brakes was never going to
keep a pallet exclusively for Oldham’s use.
Which left a gap in the market for small
independents, such as TC Meats. Walk into its
offices and you’re in no doubt about the chief topic
of conversation. Above the factory is a shrine to
Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney that presumably
doubles as a workplace: a giant poster hails ‘The
Maradona of Manchester’, a signed shirt is on the wall,
and his neon-yellow boots sit in a glass box on the boss’s
coffee table. Some faceless conglomerate this is not.
TC Meats sorted out Burns with organic beef and milk
and, after a bit of phoning around, it also found a farm
selling organic eggs. And why wouldn’t they make the
effort? Unlike at Brakes, TC Meats needs Oldham for
a big chunk of business. Together with a fruit and veg
distributor in Preston, these two relatively local firms
have taken a far bigger share of Burns’ budget – while
she knows exactly where her produce is coming from.
The depth of those partnerships means that Burns
can sometimes lean on her suppliers to keep her costs
within budget.
This is localism with a small “l”. It keeps public
money close to home and uses it to grow the local
economy; and it’s why Morgan describes Burns as “a
heroine of public-sector innovation”.
For Burns, it’s a choice made not out of ideology
but pragmatism. “When the horsemeat scandal came,
I slept soundly in my bed,” she says. “We don’t serve
stuff from the other side of the world. We know exactly
where it comes from.”
This can be hard, especially now that the recent
Brexit-induced swoon of the pound is pushing up food
prices. Soil Association surveys suggest that fresh veg
prices have gone up 20% over the past 12 months, while
some yoghurt has jumped 60%. Burns moans about
“crazy, crazy” prices for cheese and is having to trim the
proportion of organic product she serves in her meals.
And while making everything from scratch is now a
given, she remembers the first time the kitchen staff
tried to make sponge cakes.
“Oh my god! We had sponges this high [her hand
rises to the level of a toddler]. We had them this low
[half an inch off her desk]. But now it’s the norm. Homebaked biscuits, lasagnes, curries. We take pride in what
we’re producing.”
At Stanley Road primary, Fineran and her team are
dishing out for the 10-year-olds. Do the students really
care whether their potatoes are organic or their fish is
sustainably sourced? “For me, it’s an expense; for them
it’s an education. We’re giving these kids a good start
here,” says Fineran.
“I see them come in aged four and go at 11, and it’s
an absolute joy to see them doing brilliantly in maths
and English and socialising. It’s like watching my
children. It’s an achievement to which I’ve contributed
a small part.
“We’re deprived – but we’re not.”
Section:GDN 1J PaGe:12 Edition Date:180425 Edition:01 Zone:
Sent at 24/4/2018 16:23
•
cYanmaGentaYellowbl
The Guardian Wednesday 25 April 2018
12
Puzzles
Yesterday’s
solutions
Killer Sudoku
Codeword
Easy
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
Easy
The normal rules of
Sudoku apply: fill each
row, column and 3x3 box
with all the numbers from
1 to 9. In addition, the
digits in each inner shape
(marked by dots) must
add up to the number in
the top corner of that box.
No digit can be repeated
within an inner shape.
Medium
Medium
Codeword
Cryptic crossword
Solution No. 27,491
M F O G A F S O
OB L I V I OUS R EHAB
N I O D H E A J
EMP T I E S OV E RDUE
Y F D G R R E C
FOLK F I XEDAS SET
O O P F
N
I
RAPPORT F I GL EAF
O
R
L E X I
LAVATOR I AL B LOC
D A R A M T I A
RHUBARB E XH I B I T
O L Y B N I R I
P I T TA I NCOGN I TO
E S L T O H S N
Guardian cryptic crossword No 27,492 set by Picaroon
1
2
3
4
7
10
12
11
13
15
14
16
18
17
19
20
21
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 theguardian.com/
crossword. To buy puzzle books, visit
guardianbookshop.com or call
0330 333 6846.
6
8
9
24
5
22
25
23
Across
7 Sailing ship carrying nothing
ornate (7)
8 Criminal admits passion to
deceive (5,2)
9 Well-bred gentleman has an
advantage (4)
10 Fill end on cracked carving
resembling fabric (9)
12 Did model dishearten younger,
lusty fellow? (5)
13 Balt featured in nasty Victorian
story (8)
15 Try hard with something corny?
(4)
16 Office worker, one doing her
nails? (5)
17 Alcohol and nuts spiked with
drug (4)
18 We pass on perverted, seedy
things (4,4)
20 Advanced spin-doctoring
working as protection (5)
21 Dead ends from copper, drug
affair regressing (4-2-3)
22 Peer expected to pocket a
thousand (4)
24 Soldiers list second site of English
defeat (7)
25 Don’t admit catching the clap? It’s
what you get in life (7)
Down
1 Smooth, low, captivating note (4)
2 Pro cultivating trees? (8)
3 Server’s trouble, unfortunately
forgetting round (6)
4 Name put in coat from clever
retailer (8)
5 What soldier may have worn to
pace around (6)
6 Car benefiting driver leaving
river behind (4)
11 Isn’t solve exciting to get the
down solutions! (9)
12 Genius dismissing what he’d call
a mug (5)
14 Old couple needing time on the
wagon (5)
16 Playing cricket, competitors now
favoured golf (8)
17 One girl or another at the French
seaside? (8)
19 He exercises command over two
monarchs (6)
20 Group of stars, one parading
topless (6)
21 Grant for films runs out of
support (4)
23 Requesting to put away a second
piece (4)
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