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The Sunday Times UK — 14 January 2018

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January 14, 2018 · Issue no 10,088·
£2.70 · only £2 to subscribers · Sunday Newspaper of the Year
Minister fights
to keep rapist
cabbie in jail
Legal challenge to ‘unlawful’ release of Worboys
Tim Shipman
Political Editor
British rowers celebrate in Antigua yesterday after breaking the record for crossing the Atlantic by six days. From left, George Biggar,
Dicky Taylor, Stuart Watts and Peter Robinson made the 3,000-mile journey from the Canaries in 29 days Report, page 3
Victory for Sunday Times on Google ads
Google has suspended advertisements directed at addicts from
its platforms across the world
after a Sunday Times undercover
This newspaper revealed that
the internet giant was profiting
from a practice in which brokers
secretly reaped millions of pounds
from vulnerable people seeking
treatment for addictive diseases,
such as alcoholism.
Yesterday Google said it was
taking down such adverts across
the world while it consulted
experts “to find a better way to
connect people with the treatment
they need”.
Google described substance
abuse as “a growing crisis” and
acknowledged that globally there
had been a simultaneous “rise in
deceptive practices from bad
actors taking advantage of those in
need”. The move came as it
emerged that a parliamentary
inquiry may be held to examine
should be outlawed in the UK.
The practice is banned in several states in America but remains
legal in Britain despite it being
blamed by some critics for driving
up the cost of care. Leading figures
in the UK’s addiction sector are
calling for the practice to be made
illegal in Britain.
Those supporting the move
include Action on Addiction,
an addiction treatment charity
whose patron is the Duchess of
Cambridge. Graham Beech, the
charity’s chief executive, said it
“beggared belief” that addicts
were being “traded like commodities” and expressed his disappointment in Google for profiting from
the practice.
Dr Sarah Wollaston MP, the
chairwoman of the Commons
health select committee, said this
newspaper’s evidence would be
examined to determine what
action to take. “I will certainly be
bringing the matter to the committee’s attention,” she said.
Google had been charging the
brokers, known as referral agents,
as much as £200 whenever their
websites were accessed from an
advertised link at the top of a
search page. The agents could
afford Google’s fees because they
can secure up to £20,000 a month
Continued on page 2 →
Cheers! It’s dry January all year
Jonathan Leake Science Editor
The traditional January detox
when Britons stop drinking and
start dieting could last all year
under new government health
Public Health England (PHE) has
told fast-food chains and supermarket ready-meal makers to
“calorie cap” their foods, cutting
down lunches and dinners to 600
calories and breakfast to 400.
The plan, to put the whole of the
UK on a diet, is due out in March.
To add to the agony, it coincides
with research showing that the
UK’s alcohol rules are too lax, with
even drinking one pint or glass of
wine a day poisoning the brain and
raising the risk of dementia.
Alison Tedstone, PHE’s chief
nutritionist, told food bosses that
27% of UK adults are obese, 36%
more were overweight and meals
“out of home” were a key cause:
“People eat 200-300 calories too
many a day . . . We will work with
the industry to reduce the calories
in everyday food.”
PHE guidelines say women
should eat 2,000 calories a day and
men 2,500, with single meals averaging 600 calories. This compares
with KFC’s Mighty Bucket for
One at 1,235 calories, McDonald’s
Big Mac and fries (845) or a
PizzaExpress Margherita (729).
Tedstone said companies must
cut down the calories in such foods
and also stop promoting them as
“treats”, a word that encouraged
overeating: “This is all about
things like pizzas and ready-made
Continued on page 2 →
The justice secretary is preparing
to intervene to try to halt the
release of black-cab rapist John
Worboys following a cabinet revolt
over the decision to set the serial
sex attacker free after less than 10
years behind bars.
David Gauke has asked lawyers
to prepare the case for a judicial
review of the decision by the
Parole Board, and officials say
Gauke will trigger the legal challenge if it has a “reasonable”
chance of success.
He made the move after four
cabinet ministers privately warned
him that the decision to set Worboys free could be unlawful
because his victims have not been
consulted about the terms of his
Worboys was jailed in 2009 after
being convicted of drugging and
sexually assaulting 12 women and
raping one, but another 93 women
made complaints about him that
have never been tested in court.
The dramatic move came as The
Sunday Times obtained a letter
written by Martin Jones, the chief
executive of the Parole Board, in
which he admitted: “I can well
understand why victims and the
public find it impossible to understand our decisions if we are not
able to explain our reasons; or
indeed disclose the full licence
conditions.” He claimed that “the
panel took full account of the victim representations ”.
Victims, their lawyers and MPs
said this was untrue, however, and
that there had been three clear
breaches of proper procedure:
l Victims
found out about Worboys’ release from the media
have not been consulted
by the Parole Board about the conditions of his release
l Worboys is expected to live in
London despite demands that he
be relocated.
One cabinet minister described
the case as “deeply troubling”,
while Sadiq Khan, the mayor of
London branded the release
“astonishing” and said Worboys
should not set foot in London,
where he carried out his “grotesque crimes”. Khan is also taking
legal advice on how to respond.
Michael Gove, a former justice
secretary, said of Gauke when
speaking to The Sunday Times:
“I’m sure he’ll do the right thing.”
l They
In a letter to the Parole Board,
Zac Goldsmith, who is MP to two of
the victims, branded the failure to
consult them “a deeply insensitive
and thoughtless omission”. He said
releasing Worboys would be
“unforgivable” and added: “The
government must now launch an
urgent judicial review into the
Parole Board decision.”
The Ministry of Justice confirmed: “The secretary of state
commissioned advice last week
about the plausibility and potential
success of a judicial review;
he is minded to move forward only
if there is a reasonable prospect of
Former minister Anna Soubry, a
criminal barrister, has written to
Nick Hardwick, the chairman of
the Parole Board, declaring Worboys’ release “unlawful” because
victims have been “denied their
right to be heard”.
One of Worboys’ victims said:
“Worboys is due to be freed in just
over a week’s time and yet I still
haven’t been informed as to how or
when I will be consulted on his
licence conditions — despite being
promised I would be.
“Instead, I read that the licence
conditions have already been
decided and that by the end of this
month he will be allowed to roam
free in London. I will have to move
house because he knows my
address and I am terrified that he
will track me down and try to
attack me again.
“If he is allowed into Greater
London, I and the other hundreds
of victims will have to spend the
rest of our lives looking over our
shoulders in fear. Ten years ago I
Continued on page 2 →
Vogue bans Testino in sex claim
James Gillespie
A cover shot of Diana by Testino
The favourite photographer of
Diana, Princess of Wales is the latest person to be accused in a sex
abuse scandal that is engulfing the
modelling world.
Mario Testino, who created
many of the most iconic photographs of Diana, is accused of sexually exploiting male models, as is
his contemporary Bruce Weber.
Both photographers, who deny
the claims, have been banned by
Condé Nast, publisher of some of
the world’s leading fashion magazines including Vogue, according
to The New York Times.
About 15 models have accused
Weber of abuse and 13 have made
allegations against Testino.
The ban on the pair by Condé
Nast follows The Sunday Times’s
revelations in October that photographer Terry Richardson had a history of allegedly abusing young
female models. The exposure led
to a similar ban by the publisher.
Full report, page 5
TV & Radio
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The Sunday Times January 14, 2018
In your Sunday Newspaper of the Year
How the former White House
chief strategist was cast out of
Breitbart, the news website that
helped Donald Trump to victory
The actress suffered bullying but
says she is not a “#MeToo girl
— I’m no snitch”
An exclusive extract from
Dolly Alderton’s memoir
about life as a millennial
Bridget Jones
Sales of supposedly less harmful
“heat not burn” cigarettes are
firing up profits in Japan
The film director
Sofia Coppola’s
favourite retreat
He was one of the first
superstar DJs and still plays
around the world at weekends,
but by day Judge Jules now
works as a solicitor
The questions to
ask before you
move out of London
Family and friends
talk about Emma
Kelty, the teacher
murdered by
river pirates
Caroline Wheeler and Tony Allen-Mills
The new US embassy was
blamed for the president’s
cancelled visit, but it was
his fear of a cold welcome
that really soured the deal
The new TV series based on the
death of designer Gianni Versace
Tom Holland says Britannia, Jez
Butterworth’s new TV series, is
history as psychedelic experience
Trump spurned
UK visit because
of ‘too little love’
Magazine podcast:
or subscribe on iTunes
Donald Trump cancelled a proposed visit
to London to open America’s new
embassy because he believed he had “not
been shown enough love” by the British
government, according to a source close
to the US president. The decision put
paid to a Downing Street attempt to woo
Trump with an offer to meet the Queen.
Officials at No 10 were at an advanced
stage of planning a visit that might
have included a lunch at Buckingham
Palace, according to two senior Whitehall
sources. Trump is also said to have
expressed interest in playing a round of
golf at the Queen’s nine-hole golf course
on the Balmoral estate in Aberdeenshire.
It all came to nought when the president abruptly pulled out of the visit last
week, citing a “bad deal” involving the
sale of the previous embassy building in
Grosvenor Square, Mayfair, and the
purchase of a new site at Nine Elms on the
south bank of the Thames.
The source said Trump’s distaste for
what he described as the “off location” of
the new embassy was “just an excuse” to
cancel the visit, which had been pencilled in for February 26 and 27.
“He felt he had not been shown
enough love by the British government,”
the source added. “He started to believe
that the British government thought the
same way about him as Sadiq Khan [the
mayor of London] and Jeremy Corbyn
[the Labour leader], who have made
clear their disdain for him and said he is
not welcome in the UK.”
Trump is known to admire the Queen
and has made no secret of his desire to
meet her. British officials had discussed a
range of possible meetings with members
of the royal family, including a lunch or
a “brush-by” encounter at an event
attended by the president.
Last night a former British ambassador
to America said Trump’s attitude to the
UK “seems to have changed for the worst
over the last year” and that any trade deal
will take a long time to agree.
Sir Nigel Sheinwald, who served in
Washington from 2007-12, told The
Observer that after Trump’s latest outburst the UK “should put out of our
minds the idea that just around the corner when we leave the EU there is a magical deal with the US that is going to solve
all our trade and industrial problems”.
He added: “If you’re a Liam Fox [the
international trade secretary], who has
staked so much on the American deal
being easy and within our reach around
the same time as Brexit, then the way in
which the bilateral relationship has atrophied and the tone has changed in the
last year since May’s first visit is quite a
big blow.”
Whether or not Trump was worried
that his presence on British soil might
provoke mass protests, UK sources
suggested he turned his Twitter fire on
his own embassy for other reasons.
Diplomats and architectural experts
suspect the property magnate, who has
built gaudy towers in Las Vegas, Atlantic
City and Manhattan, may have come to
regard the new embassy as a den of liberal tree-huggers obsessed with carbon
footprints and other “fake” environmental concerns.
The new £730m compound near Battersea power station opens to the public
on Tuesday, and Trump’s decision not to
perform a ribbon-cutting ceremony
came just as the first outside visitors were
being given preview tours of what US diplomats called the most “environmentally
friendly” embassy America has built.
Among the visitors was Jeremy Melvin,
an architectural writer, who said his
US hosts had been at pains to emphasise
the environmental sustainability of the
complex and its carbon-neutral footprint. “Maybe that’s why Trump doesn’t
like the building,” said Melvin. “It stands
for something he thinks really doesn’t
matter. If you look at the buildings he
builds — brash, vulgar and out of scale —
this couldn’t be more different.”
Trump’s claim that the Grosvenor
Square site was sold for “peanuts” was
also questioned by property specialists.
Peter Mackie, a senior partner at
Property Vision, described the timing of
the sale of the embassy’s 999-year lease
on the property as “really excellent . . .
the top of the market was not far off”.
The building’s listed status prohibited
demolition or big changes to its facade,
making it less attractive to developers,
but the State Department still managed to
net more than £300m from a group of
Qatari investors, and raised more funds
from the sale of other buildings.
In a statement last week, the US
embassy said the sale proceeds covered
the cost of the Nine Elms building, which
“did not cost the US taxpayer a cent”.
Oprah fills star-shaped hole for
Democrats, page 19.
Editorial, page 22
If your paper is incomplete we will send you the missing
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Tories to rethink tuition fees within months
JAN 13
JAN 13
JAN 12
6, 7, 9, 18, 35, 46
Bonus 5
2, 9, 17, 19, 35
Thunderball 14
13, 21, 23, 30, 45
Lucky Stars 4, 6
Sian Griffiths and
Caroline Wheeler
A review of university
funding will be launched
before the summer by the
new education secretary,
Damian Hinds.
The cabinet minister is
expected to introduce
proposals to slash tuition fees
and cut the 6.1% interest rate
on student loan repayments.
Options include cutting the
annual fee universities can
charge from £9,250 to £7,500
and having different fee levels
for arts, science and medical
The move will come as a
blow to universities, which
are also facing a new “super
regulator”. The Sunday
Times understands that up to
five universities are at risk of
losing access to public
funding, including
government-backed student
loan finance, after the
regulator — the Office for
Students (OfS) — starts work
in April, unless they improve.
Theresa May promised a
review of university funding
as evidence she was
“listening” after Labour’s
success among young voters
at the general election —
much of which was credited
to Jeremy Corbyn’s pledge to
scrap tuition fees.
But Justine Greening, the
former education secretary,
and Jo Johnson, the former
universities minister, blocked
the plans, according to the
prime minister’s former chief
of staff, Nick Timothy.
With Hinds in charge of
education after their
departure in last week’s
reshuffle, he is expected to
breathe new life into the
reforms. A senior Whitehall
source said: “The prime
minister was clear in the
autumn that she wanted a
review on university funding.
Her view has not changed. I
expect an announcement
before the summer.”
There has not yet been a
cabinet discussion on
university funding but battle
lines are being drawn. For
Philip Hammond, the
chancellor, the priority is
ensuring that degrees are
“value for money”, based on
graduate salaries or teaching
hours. The Brexit secretary,
David Davis, prefers a
graduate tax.
Universities could also be
required by the regulator to
sign formal contracts with
students guaranteeing
contact hours, marking and
Glynne Stanfield, lead
partner in education at the
law firm Eversheds
Sutherland, said: “The OfS is
likely to result in a much
tougher regulatory
framework for universities. It
is possible some will fail to
make it onto the first
register.” The Department for
Education said: “The
department ran a
consultation on the new
regulatory framework on
behalf of the OfS, which has
just closed. The framework
and the criteria will be
published in due course.”
School standards are
another area that Hinds is
expected to champion —
although he is not expected
to revive May’s plans for new
grammar schools.
The government had been
expected to announce 40
new free schools before the
end of the month in 12 areas
identified as social mobility
coldspots. Some would be
“gromps” — comprehensives
that mimic the ethos of
Parole Board accused of blunder over Worboys
→ Continued from page 1
was assured he would never
be let out of prison, and now
that he is I am being given
zero assurances that he won’t
reoffend. This isn’t justice,
this is terrifying. I can’t sleep
at night — I’m worried sick.”
They were supported by
Khan, who said: “If the Parole
Board won’t review its
decision to release Worboys
then it should listen to his
victims and at the very least
impose the necessary
conditions to keep him away
from the people whose lives
he has already damaged so
Richard Scorer, a lawyer
for 11 of the victims, said:
“They have not been
consulted and to suggest this
might be the case is simply
wrong. It is becoming
increasingly clear that the
Parole Board has made a
catalogue of errors.”
A second victim, who says
she was raped by Worboys,
told the BBC she went to the
police but they did not take
the case forward “as they had
12 very strong cases they were
going to use”. She added:
“The first I heard about
Worboys being released was
from the radio. There needs
to be a second prosecution.”
Justice ministry officials
told The Sunday Times that
victims would receive letters
this week asking them to
comment on the conditions
of the release and said
Gauke was demanding the
“strongest possible”
licensing regime.
A Parole Board spokesman
said: “The board is confident
the correct procedures were
followed in this case.”
Since Google removed
addiction-related adverts
from its UK platforms,
searches for “addiction
advice” lead to the NHS
website coming up first.
However, many argue
more needs to be done.
Melvin Watson, a 68-year-old
father of two, who sought
advice for an alcoholic family
member from Addiction
Helper, one of Britain’s
biggest referral agents,
expressed his dismay at not
being informed about the
payments the company
levies. He said “patient
brokering” should be
“It is misleading at best, if
not deceiving, at a time when
people are vulnerable and
stressed,” he added.
Daniel Gerrard, the head of
Addiction Helper, denied any
wrongdoing and said his firm
recommended the best
treatments for addicts
irrespective of fees.
A pint
a day
the brain
The study, in the Journal of
Public Health, said:
“Consuming more than one
UK standard unit of alcohol
per day is detrimental to
cognitive performance and
[this] is more pronounced in
older populations.”
It added: “UK guidelines
are that drinkers should not
consume more than 16 grams
of alcohol a day . . . Our
findings suggest that to
preserve cognitive
performance, 10g/day is a
more appropriate upper
limit. This would translate
into not more than one UK
standard unit of alcohol each
day. Our findings are of
particular relevance to older
individuals who
demonstrated a greater rate
of decline as alcohol
consumption increased.”
The finding of a direct link
between long-term brain
damage and this level of
alcohol consumption could
mean the guidelines will be
revised downwards again.
→ Continued from page 1
commission by referring
callers to private recovery
centres. These fees were not
openly declared to patients.
A Birmingham
rehabilitation clinic source
said brokers exerted such a
stranglehold over the sector
that it felt it was being “held
to ransom” for the 30% cut
that was demanded in return
for client referrals. As a
result, the clinic charged
patients £1,000 more than it
might otherwise have done,
the source said.
Editorial, page 22
→ Continued from page 1
sandwiches. We will need to
set out guidelines and, I
suspect, a series of calorie
Separate research, led by
Oxford University academics,
suggests Britain needs to cut
back on its drinking as well as
fast food.
The research found that
two units of alcohol a day —
equal to a pint of beer or glass
of wine and in line with
government guidelines — will
slowly poison the brain and
raise the risk of dementia.
The Sunday Times January 14, 2018
Huge waves, hallucinations — it was
hairy out there, but we pulled through
Four British amateur oarsmen have smashed a
record by rowing across the Atlantic in 29 days,
raising cash for causes close to their hearts
James Gillespie
When four British oarsmen set off from
the Canary Islands to row across the
Atlantic, a world record was the last thing
on their minds.
They had little experience before they
started training for the 3,000-mile race
against more than 25 rival teams. But
contrary to all expectations the Four
Oarsmen team took an early lead — and
never looked back.
After battling sea sickness, 40ft waves,
chronic fatigue and even hallucinations,
they smashed the previous record yesterday to become, it is believed, the first
team to row across the Atlantic in under
30 days. The crossing was six days faster
than the record for a four-man crew.
No one was more surprised by the
achievement than the winners — George
Biggar, 32, Dicky Taylor, 32, Peter Robinson, 32 and Stuart Watts, 34 — who spent
29 days and 15 hours at sea in the Talisker
Whisky Atlantic Challenge. They had
been aiming for a “respectable” performance of about 40 days.
Family and friends had to scramble to
change their flights and hotel bookings as
it became clear that the men were way
ahead of their modest schedule and
rowing their way into the record books.
The team rowed in two-man, two-hour
shifts, 24 hours a day, each burning
10,000 calories daily as they powered
their boat, Aegir, to reach English Harbour in Antigua just after 2am UK time
yesterday. They survived on filtered seawater and dehydrated food, with almost
no contact with friends and family.
Biggar, a lawyer at Taylor Wessing, the
international law firm, said the rowers’
commitment to their chosen charities
had helped to keep them going.
The oarsmen raised more than
£250,000 for the Mind and Spinal
Research charities. It was personal. Biggar wanted to commemorate his mother,
Anne Fisher, a lawyer who struggled with
depression, then retrained as a mental
health and addiction counsellor and
became a trustee of Mind.
In January 2011 she was found washed
up on the beach near the family home
after her illness finally overwhelmed her.
The rowers say their pledge to raise
money for charity kept them going
One high point was
a minke whale and
her calf swimming
under their vessel
“When we were really hitting the wall,
that’s what kept us going: the encouragement of our supporters and the knowledge that we were making such a difference for two very important charities,”
Biggar said.
Robinson’s friend Ben Kende suffered
a spinal cord injury when he represented
Hong Kong as a rugby player in 2010. He
became a tetraplegic at the age of 18 but is
training to be a lawyer.
The celebrations were somewhat
muted. Watts told The Sunday Times he
was “elated, relieved, knackered, in
recovery, but your body is in a really
strange place. It’s overwhelming . . .
There was talk about us going out for a
few beers but I didn’t, I was fully cooked.”
Robinson did manage a couple of
Injuries such as blistered hands and
foot sores were common but the
psychological side of spending so
long with just three others was
equally difficult. George Biggar said:
“The physical side is part and parcel
of the race; mentally it is gruelling.”
The team powering the Aegir across the Atlantic, rowing in two-hour shifts, with each man burning 10,000 calories a day
Bragg admits he’s in a science black hole
Richard Brooks
Arts Editor
Few of us know our protons
from our neurons, or much
detail about Pauli’s exclusion
principle or the Battle of
Lincoln in 1217.
And, it turns out, Melvyn
Bragg is not an expert in
every subject discussed on
his acclaimed Radio 4 show
In Our Time, either.
Indeed, the broadcaster
admits he is often ignorant
about discussions on science.
“So, I’ll tell the contributors
beforehand,” says Bragg, who
came up with the idea of the
show in 1998, and just lets
them “bubble along”.
The format is always the
same, with Bragg discussing a
subject — culture, history or
science — with three
academics, live on Thursday
for 43 minutes, immediately
after the 9am news. “I
remember one on string
theory. I’d really been trying
to understand it, but then
told them, ‘I don’t know how
far I’m going to get with this.
So I’m in your hands.’ And
they just bubbled along.”
In an interview with
today’s Sunday Times Culture
magazine, Bragg recalls
another humbling broadcast.
“We started at 9.02 and by
about 9.18 I was completely
out of it, and just waved my
hands. They took it over,” he
Bragg, 78, who has written
20 novels, says he sometimes
“gets it” as they are telling
him during the programme.
“But if you ask me a week
later, I would have difficulty.”
He remembers another on
the Higgs boson particle.
“After about 15 minutes, I
said, ‘I’m really out of my
Bragg: ‘out of my depth’
depth,’ and the American
from Harvard asked, ‘What
do you think it is?’ And I said,
‘Are you saying that there is
this thing, that you can’t see,
and its got no substance, no
material, and it’s travelling
through space? And that by
the very fact of being there it
activates mass to work?’ And
he said, ‘You’ve got it!’”
Bragg also explains why his
radio interviewing style is
more urgent than it is on The
South Bank Show, which
began 40 years ago today.
“We are driving towards a
conclusion and only have just
over 40 minutes with three
people. We have to get to the
big point. I’ve got to get it
“So there is pressure on
them. Sometimes they stray
off but they know how it’s
paced and what to do.”
The first South Bank Show
featured Paul McCartney,
even though one about the
Royal Shakespeare Company
had initially been lined up.
Bragg chose the Beatle, not
the Bard, which he describes
as “my call, but a hard call”.
‘I don’t want hatchet jobs’,
Melvyn Bragg interview,
Culture, page 17
MP’s fight to save
‘baby sparrow’ son
Spy chief to advise Qatar
on World Cup security
Rosie Kinchen
Richard Kerbaj
Security Correspondent
Angela Rayner, Labour’s
shadow education secretary,
has spoken for the first time
about the battle to save her
son when he was born
Charlie was born at 23
weeks, weighing a fraction
short of 1lb, looking “like a
baby sparrow”.
Now nine, Charlie has
special educational needs
and is registered blind. “He is
so bubbly. He just smiles all
the time,” his mother said.
“He’s such a lovely kid.”
In an interview with The
Sunday Times Magazine,
Rayner said she was told she
was having a miscarriage
when her waters broke.
“The doctor said, ‘There’s
nothing we can do, he won’t
survive,’” she said.
After Charlie was born, he
spent six months in the
hospital’s neonatal unit and
Rayner was told on three
occasions that he would die.
beers and Biggar had a few rum and
ginger ales. “I thought: when in Antigua,
you’ve got to do it,” he said.
The team had an intensive rowing
course and 18 months of training before
setting out on what has been dubbed “the
world’s toughest row”. The conditions
were often “hairy” and they had to learn
quickly how to keep the boat upright in
the rolling Atlantic. Among the high
points was an encounter with a minke
whale and her calf, which swam underneath their 26ft fibreglass vessel.
After problems with sponsorship, they
did not even know if they would be on the
start line. Taylor said: “We weren’t
expecting the record. Others were set on
it but we were doing it for charity.”
Lisa Everingham, global marketing
manager for Talisker, said: “We are
delighted for the Four Oarsmen and their
epic, record-breaking win which is a truly
unbelievable achievement.”
Rayner with son Charlie
“One time in particular they
said he wouldn’t survive and
if he did he would be severely
disabled. I just curled up in
ball and thought, ‘That’s it.’ ”
Rayner, 37, credits her
husband, Mark, with giving
her the strength to continue:
“I was not in a good place so
he took over.
“He said, ‘We’ll do what we
have to do. I’ll give up work if
I have to, we’ll do whatever it
takes.’ ”
Interview, The Magazine,
pages 8-13
A senior intelligence chief has
quietly left his job as an aide
to Theresa May to advise
Qatar on security threats
at the 2022 World Cup.
Paddy McGuinness
stepped down as Britain’s
deputy national security
adviser on “intelligence,
security and resilience”
last week after being
overlooked for a number
of posts, including director
of GCHQ, the UK’s signals
McGuinness, a Middle East
expert and fluent Arabic
speaker whose “robust
approach” ruffled feathers
among spooks in Whitehall,
will advise Qatar’s rulers
on counterterrorism and
intelligence infrastructures
to help stop attacks at the
Britain wants to protect its
fans and players attending
the event.
Officials said the role
was also part of a “covert
diplomacy” mission to help
restore relations between
Qatar and its neighbours,
including Saudi Arabia.
They have isolated Qatar
for its alleged funding of
Islamist terrorist groups.
Qatar denies the claims.
The Cabinet Office said
McGuinness would advise
the Qataris on its behalf, but
refused to be drawn on
the duration of his role or
whether at the end of it he
would be hired by Qatar.
“We cannot comment on
future career plans,” it said.
An intelligence source
said: “Given the spat between
the Qataris and Saudis it’s
useful to have Paddy in the
region to try to help advance
McGuinness applied last
year to become the head of
GCHQ but the post went to
Jeremy Fleming, a former
deputy director at MI5.
The Sunday Times January 14, 2018
Huge rise in number of suspects hunted by police
Tom Harper and
Adriana Urbano
The number of offenders who
are suspected of committing
crimes after being released
from prison early has
ballooned, raising fresh fears
over the imminent release of
John Worboys, the “black-cab
In just three years, the
Metropolitan police have
recorded a doubling in the
number of serious criminals
wanted for “recall to prison”
because they are believed to
have committed further
offences after being released
on licence.
Last year, Scotland Yard
detectives were seeking 1,884
dangerous offenders who
needed to be recaptured, up
from 903 in 2014.
This weekend, MPs
questioned whether police
forces, which have been hit
by swingeing budget cuts, are
still able to perform basic
tasks to protect the public,
after a Sunday Times
investigation also found a
dramatic rise in the number
of suspects wanted for crimes
including murder and rape.
The number of suspects
who are “on the run” from
police has gone up by more
than 4,500 in the past two
years, according to
documents released under
freedom of information laws.
Critics said the news is
further evidence that Britain
is suffering from a disturbing
crime wave. Louise Haigh,
shadow police minister, said:
“It’s little wonder there are so
many more wanted suspects
when we have record levels of
detective vacancies, record
lows of police officers, and a
completely broken probation
“The government is failing
in its basic duty to keep the
public safe.”
Yvette Cooper, the
chairwoman of the home
affairs select committee, said:
“This has really serious
consequences for public
safety and the rule of law. I
fear this is more evidence
that the government was very
Cooper: funding warning
unwise not to provide more
funding for the police.”
Fifteen of the 43 police
forces in England and Wales
responded to requests for
information from The Sunday
Patrol, halt! Time
to pray to Allah
Times. The total number of
wanted suspects in these
areas — including offenders
out on licence — increased
from 17,628 in June 2015 to
22,233 in June 2017.
The National Police Chiefs’
Council said: “Police forces
follow up on all arrest
warrants that we receive,
irrespective of the type of
offence. However, we take a
risk-based approach to
executing warrants by
considering the severity of
the offence involved and
prioritising arrests for the
most serious offences first.”
Scotland Yard said: “Many
wanted offenders are
believed to be out of the UK.”
l Duane Edwards, a
dangerous armed robber
from Stockport, Greater
Manchester, was jailed in
2007 for a string of violent
crimes. He was released
early on licence but is now
wanted by police after
breaching the terms of his
l Brett Lill has 73 previous
convictions for violent
offences and once went on
the run for 15 months. He
was finally arrested when
police gatecrashed his
wedding; he spent 11 years
in jail after being convicted
of causing grievous bodily
harm with intent. Lill, from
York, was released on
licence last year but is now
wanted for further offences
and remains at large
l Paul Redford was
released on licence in
2014 after serving a prison
sentence for burglary.
Police now suspect him
of further theft offences
but have been unable to
locate him.
The British Army yesterday defied critics
of its “politically correct” recruitment
campaign and released a new set of
television advertisements, including one
that shows a Muslim soldier praying in
front of his comrades.
Entitled Keeping My Faith, the advert
shows a soldier kneeling in prayer by a
mountain stream during a combat patrol.
The other members of his squad sit
waiting on the hillside and turn down a
crackling radio so he is not disturbed.
The film, believed to be the first time
that an army advertisement has featured
a Muslim soldier praying, is part of a
£1.6m television, radio and online campaign designed to boost plummeting
recruitment numbers.
Five animated “teaser” adverts
uploaded to YouTube last week provoked
criticism from some retired soldiers for
making the army look “weak”. Two of the
adverts ask “Can I be gay in the army?”
and “What if I get emotional in the
Richard Kemp, a retired colonel,
claimed the campaign neglected “the
Mystery death of
McCann detective
The body of a private
detective who investigated
the disappearance of
Madeleine McCann and was
later accused of conning her
family has been found at a
house in Surrey. Police say
the death of Kevin Halligen
at an address in Normandy,
Guildford, is “unexplained”.
Ban on credit and
debit card charges
New rules came into force
across Europe yesterday
banning fees for using credit
and debit cards. Customers
had until now been charged
up to 20% more for paying
by card. Sellers may still add
an admin or service fee.
Business & Money, page 15
Fears for missing
Scots Guardsman
The army is targeting Muslims and women in new recruitment ads
Police are concerned for a
Scots Guardsman missing
from his London barracks.
Dean Rudman, 29, was last
seen at about 9.40pm on
Tuesday leaving a pub in
Waterloo. He is thought to
have taken a train to
Guildford and may be with a
slim woman with long hair.
A Muslim soldier
praying in the
latest army
Mark Hookham
Defence Correspondent
Dua Lipa grabs
five nominations
main group of people who are interested
in joining”. Senior officers, however,
insist that the army, which is 4,500
soldiers short of its target strength of
82,000, must reach beyond its traditional
recruiting demographic of white British
men aged 16-24.
A second advert released yesterday,
Expressing My Emotions, shows a soldier
in the jungle who is on the brink of tears
after opening a letter from a loved one
that simply reads “morning x” and
includes a single teabag.
A third, Facing My Kryptonite, shows a
young soldier being encouraged by his
friends to do pull-ups, while in another a
young female soldier leads a squad of
troops who are dropped off on patrol by
helicopter. A ban on women in close
combat roles was lifted only in 2016.
“When I first joined the army I found
the physical side of things pretty tough,”
the soldier who performs the pull-ups
said in a statement released by the
Ministry of Defence.
Colonel Simon Stockley, assistant
director of army recruiting, said: “The
adverts show the support the army gives
to all soldiers to encourage them to
achieve personal and professional goals
through a shared sense of belonging.”
The British singer-songwriter
Dua Lipa, 22, received a
record five nominations for
the Brit awards last night.
Born to Albanian parents in
London, she was the most
streamed female artist of
2017 with songs such as New
Rules and Be the One. Ed
Sheeran is up for four Brits.
Would-be hero, 71,
dies after robbery
A man, 71, collapsed and
died after going to the aid of
his partner as she was being
robbed at a newsagent’s in
Saltcoats, Ayrshire. The
63-year-old woman was
threatened by a man
wielding a knife, then saw
her partner run in and
collapse. He died in hospital.
Marchesa, the fashion label co-founded by Georgina Chapman, Harvey Weinstein’s soonto-be-ex wife, has issued photos of its ‘pre-fall’ collection ahead of New York fashion week
next month. The divorce follows claims Weinstein sexually assaulted dozens of women
Top state primary bans
hijabs for girls under 8
Sian Griffiths
and Iram Ramzan
The country’s best state
primary school has called on
the government to take a firm
stand on hijabs and fasting
among young Muslim
children in classrooms,
rather than leave schools to
create their own rules.
St Stephen’s primary
school in Upton Park,
Newham, east London, which
topped the Sunday Times
Parent Power school league
tables last year, has banned
girls under eight years old
from wearing the Islamic
headscarf in school.
It has also told parents that
children are not allowed to
fast during the school day in
the month of Ramadan, when
many pupils may have to sit
summer exams.
Arif Qawi, chairman of
governors at St Stephen’s,
said the Department for
Education should “step up
and take it out of our hands”.
The school had to deal with
a “backlash” from parents,
especially after it outlawed
fasting, a ritual that lasts
about 18 hours a day in the
summer, on school premises.
Despite requests for clear
national guidelines, the
education department insists
uniform policy is a matter for
individual head teachers and
their governing bodies, which
Qawi said is“unfair”.
He added: “We did not ban
fasting altogether but we
encouraged them [children]
to fast in holidays, at
weekends and not on the
Lall: integrating pupils
school campus. Here we are
responsible for their health
and safety if they pass out on
campus. It is not fair to us.”
After speaking to Muslim
clerics, Qawi said he was told
boys should fast only from
the age of puberty but some
children, including at
St Stephen’s, were fasting
from eight or nine.
“It just seemed wrong. It is
common sense,” he said.
“The department should
step up and take it out of our
hands and tell every school
this is how it should be . . .
“The same for the hijab, it
should not be our decision. It
is unfair to teachers and very
unfair to governors. We are
unpaid. Why should we get
the backlash?”
The headmistress, Neena
Lall, said the school had
made the changes to help
pupils integrate into modern
British society. “A couple of
years ago I asked the children
to put their hands up if they
thought they were British,”
she said. “Very few children
put their hands up.”
A survey of about 800
state primary schools found
that nearly one-fifth list the
hijab as part of their uniform
policy for children aged 4 to
11, mostly as an optional item.
Activists led by Amina
Lone, of the Social Action and
Research Foundation, are
campaigning for Muslim girls
not to have to wear the hijab
in primary schools.
The Department for
Education said: “It is a matter
for individual schools to
decide how to accommodate
children observing Ramadan,
and to set uniform policies.
We issue clear guidance on
uniform and to help schools
understand their legal duties
under the Equality Act.”
Qawi said that despite the
criticism from a few families,
some parents were thrilled at
the school’s stance on fasting.
He said he had met some
mothers with children at the
school: “I could not see their
faces because they were fully
veiled. But I could see their
eyes — which were sparkling.
They were pleased we had
taken it out of their hands.
“I always ask, ‘Do you want
your daughter to grow up to
be like you or like Neena?’
They say, ‘Like Neena.’ When
I hear that I think we have
done our job.”
Video: school explains why
headscarves were banned
Go to
or our phone or tablet apps
Tom Cruise in action by
the Thames yesterday
Cruise control
above the Thames
Tom Cruise halted central
London traffic yesterday with
a stunt for his Mission:
Impossible 6 film. Boats on
the Thames and road traffic
nearby were halted as a film
crew in a low-flying
helicopter recorded the
Hollywood star, 55, sprinting
back and forth along the roof
of Blackfriars railway bridge.
Shot fired at Queen
on 1981 foreign tour
The Queen was nearly
assassinated on a visit to
New Zealand, it emerged
yesterday. Christopher John
Lewis, 17, shot at her in 1981
but the authorities covered it
up, reported. He
later killed himself. A former
police officer confirmed the
Blunder Woman
star dies at 80
Tributes were paid to Bella
Emberg, who has died aged
80. Russ Abbot described
the actress, who was his
comic sidekick Blunder
Woman in the 1980s, as “a
woman of immense warmth
and generosity”. Her TV
career spanned six decades.
The Sunday Times January 14, 2018
‘I was made Male models were warned to avoid Testino
to feel like a
bigot by NHS’
James Gillespie
and Tony Grew
A woman with a fear of
men claims a hospital put
the rights of a male-bodied
fellow patient first
Nicholas Hellen Social Affairs Editor
A mother with a fear of men has
described her terror when she was
locked in an NHS women’s psychiatric
ward with a burly transgender patient
who was about 6ft tall and “extremely
Philippa Molloy, 42, said this weekend
that she was “genuinely, absolutely
terrified” because she had suffered a
relapse in her bipolar disorder that made
her irrationally convinced that men were
conspiring to kill her.
When she raised her concerns with
hospital staff, however, she said she was
not taken seriously and her medical
notes implied that she was a “transphobic bigot”.
She said the NHS had failed to think
through the implications of allowing
patients to self-identify their gender.
“The rights of that trans person to feel
safe were put above the rights of me to
feel safe as a natal woman,” Molloy said.
It is the latest in a series of disagreements about transgender people sharing
female-only facilities.
A controversial ruling has allowed
men transitioning to be women to swim
at the ladies’ pond on Hampstead Heath,
north London, and The Sunday Times
has revealed how a male-bodied NHS
nurse was set to perform a cervical smear
test on a woman who had requested a
female nurse.
The resignation last week of Justine
Greening, the equalities minister, has
created uncertainty about plans to make
it easier for people to change gender
without a doctor’s diagnosis.
Molloy, who is married and has two
children, was admitted to a women’s
secure psychiatric ward on the night of
February 15, 2016 in Burnley, 45 miles
from her home in Lancaster.
“Part of my psychosis was that I was
convinced I was being followed by men’s
rights activists and my husband was
involved. Because of that I was placed in a
female-only unit,” she said.
“If you erroneously believe there are
men wanting to kill you and that is on
your notes and that is why you are in a
female unit [and you] suddenly discover
a male-bodied person in your six-bed bay
. . . I was terrified. Genuinely. Absolutely.”
She said the patient was “presenting as
female but they were clearly physically
male, very broad shoulders and about
6ft. They used to wander around in their
dressing gown all the time.
“You are on a locked ward and you
have nowhere to go. In Burnley there are
no private rooms and you are just separated by curtains.”
Two days after the arrival of the trans
patient, Molloy was moved to a hospital
in Lancaster where she stayed until April.
She said she was taken aback when a
nurse handling her case told her she was
“really surprised to read your opinions
about trans people” in the case notes.
Molloy was shocked by the implication
that she was a “transphobic bigot” and
said: “I don’t think trans people are a
threat at all. At the time I believed that
men were a threat.”
Lancashire Care NHS Foundation
Trust said: “We would welcome the
opportunity to discuss this directly with
the person further to the written
response they have previously received.”
Kate Moss photographed by Mario Testino. The allegations against him date back to the 1990s
When the fashion
photographer Mario Testino
carried out a photoshoot with
Diana, Princess of Wales in
1997 he created history.
The images that emerged
showed a smiling, relaxed
Diana in all her captivating
beauty. Months later, she
was dead.
But behind those pictures
lies an apparently sordid side
to Testino, which, according
to The New York Times,
involved sexual exploitation
of male models in an industry
that is being exposed for its
treatment of young people.
The allegations against
Testino, 63, born in Peru,
and his contemporary Bruce
Weber, 71, come in a business
already reeling from the
charge that it knew of
sexual harassment by
photographers but did
nothing to stop it.
The claims against Testino
date from before his pictures
of Diana, taken in 1997 for
Vanity Fair. He also took the
official engagement photos
of Prince William and Kate
Middleton. In 2014 he was
appointed an honorary OBE.
In The New York Times,
13 models and male assistants
gave accounts dating back to
the mid-1990s in which they
claim they were subjected to
advances that included
groping and masturbation.
“He was a sexual
predator,” said model Ryan
Locke, who worked with the
photographer for Gucci.
Locke said that when he
told other models he was
going to meet Testino,
“everyone started making
these jokes — they said he
was notorious, and ‘tighten
your belt’.”
The casting took place at
Testino’s hotel where the
photographer opened the
door to his room in a loose
robe, Locke said. Then they
got into a dispute about
whether the model needed
to be nude for test pictures.
In Weber’s case, 15 models
described behaviour that
they said involved
unnecessary nudity and
sexual exploitation.
Weber has photographed
stars such as David Bowie
and Leonardo DiCaprio and
worked on campaigns for
Calvin Klein and Ralph
The models described
private sessions in which
Weber asked them to undress
and take part in breathing
and “energy” exercises. The
models were asked to touch
both themselves and Weber.
“I remember him putting
his fingers in my mouth, and
him grabbing my privates,”
said the model Robyn
Sinclair. “We never had sex or
anything, but a lot of things
happened. A lot of touching.
A lot of molestation.”
The photographers said
they were dismayed by the
accusations. “I’m completely
shocked and saddened by the
Testino with models at
an exhibition in London
outrageous claims being
made against me, which I
absolutely deny,” Weber said.
Lawyers for Testino
challenged the characters
and credibility of the
people who made the
l The art dealer and curator
Anthony d’Offay is facing
accusations of sexual
harassment and
inappropriate behaviour by
three women with whom he
worked from 1997 to 2004.
One of his accusers broke a
non-disclosure agreement
to reveal to The Observer that
he started kissing her neck
when she was on a work call.
The 78-year-old, who donated
a £100m collection to the
Tate and National Galleries of
Scotland, denies the claims.
The Sunday Times January 14, 2018
Nothing to declare — save that she is my child
Mothers tired of border
interrogations are fighting
to have their names added
to the passports of children
with different surnames
Sian Griffiths Education Editor
It is not just the colour of British
passports that is about to change. New
passports for children could also include
their parents’ names after thousands of
women signed a petition supporting the
Tulip Siddiq, the Labour MP for Hampstead and Kilburn, has written to the new
immigration minister, Caroline Nokes,
asking that children’s passports contain
the names of both parents by the time the
new documents are issued next year.
The government says it will consider
the move.
About 5,000 women signed the petition in the hope of ending the distressing
experience of mothers being interrogated at passport control if their surname
differs from that of their children.
Many British women keep their
maiden name and, according to Siddiq,
more than 600,000 have been stopped
in the past five years by UK border officials trying to combat child trafficking.
Jane Greenwood, 49, a radio producer
from Suffolk and a mother of three, was
stopped on two occasions at Stansted
with her youngest daughter, Alice, 13,
most recently last year. Like her two siblings, Alice has the surname of her father,
university lecturer Peter Bloore.
“We all went through the electronic
gates. My husband and other two children had gone to collect our baggage. I
was directed to go back with Alice to a
booth. I thought the person in it was
really rude,” said Greenwood.
“I said: ‘Do I have to get her father to
prove I am her mother?’ He said: ‘I want
to be sure.’ They got my husband back
from the baggage carousel to show his
passport and prove he was her father and
vouch for me. I found it really humiliating, especially since I do 90% of the
Helen Tree, 43, an interpreter from
Essex with two children, had an even
more distressing experience because her
daughter, Leia, 14, has learning difficulties. Travelling back from Italy with Leia
last August, Tree was stopped at Gatwick,
where an official asked Leia, who has her
father’s surname, to confirm that Helen
was her mother.
“They did not understand that Leia is
disabled and could have said no as easily
as yes,” said Tree. Only when Leia stroked
her mother’s arm did the officials accept
that was a sign of genuine affection and
let the pair through.
Jane Greenwood felt ‘humiliated’ when asked to prove she was Alice’s mother
The Orange prize-winning writer
Linda Grant, who supports the campaign, said: “A family member travelling
with her baby to visit her parents abroad
was detained at every stage of her
journey, and subjected to lengthy, distressing questioning.
“The onus is on mothers to carry the
child’s original birth certificate to prove
their relationship. It’s a ridiculous
Siddiq, who has kept her maiden
name, started the campaign after being
stopped on her way back from France last
summer. She said Nick Hurd, the Home
Office minister, had told her he believed
“progress could be made” on the issue.
“Passport information should reflect
the changing world we live in. Women are
keeping their maiden names,” Siddiq
said. “Some people say, ‘What difference
would it make to our lives?’
“But it is usually women who are
affected. It ruins your holiday and can be
really distressing. It would help border
officials, too.”
The Home Office said it “has committed to consider the matters raised by Ms
Siddiq without compromising on child
Until then it says both parents’ names
could be written in the “emergency contact” section of a child’s passport, and
advises women to carry their children’s
birth certificates when travelling abroad.
Clegg claims £115,000
annual allowance
granted to former PMs
Gabriel Webber and
Jon Ungoed-Thomas
Sir Nick Clegg, the former
deputy prime minister, was
awarded an expenses
allowance worth up to
£115,000 a year previously
given only to former premiers
— despite a recommendation
from a senior Cabinet Office
official that he be given a
reduced rate.
Clegg claimed £114,982
from the allowance, known
aa the public duty cost
allowance, in 2016-17. He is
entitled to claim the amount,
which is for the office and
secretarial costs for former
prime ministers arising from
their special position in
public life.
It was decided to extend
the allowance to Clegg after
his party was almost wiped
out in the 2015 election and
he lost his role in
government. His allowance is
for five years but reviewed
An internal memo written
by Sue Gray, director-general
of the propriety and ethics
team at the Cabinet Office,
said Clegg would not get the
same volume of
correspondence covered by
the allowance as a former
prime minister and should
not get the full amount. She
recommended it was “set at a
lower level” because of the
“difference in roles and
responsibilities between the
PM and DPM”.
Gray is one of the most
influential civil servants in
Whitehall. She investigated
the allegations about porn
found on parliamentary
computers and inappropriate
conduct, which led to
Damian Green being forced
out of his post as first
secretary of state.
However, Gray’s advice on
Clegg’s allowance, released
under freedom of
information laws, appears to
have been ignored.
The final recommendation
on the allowance would have
been made by Sir Jeremy
Heywood, the cabinet
secretary. The Cabinet Office
is seeking to withhold release
of this document.
The office has never
published details of the exact
expenses claimed under the
allowance, although the total
amounts are shown in its
annual report. Sir John Major,
Tony Blair, Gordon Brown
and David Cameron all claim
the allowance. All claims are
subject to audit.
Clegg, who was awarded a
after party
was wiped
out in 2015
knighthood in the new year
honours list, has made
money from speeches since
he left government, charging
£20,000 to £30,000 a time.
The Cabinet Office said:
“The public duty cost
allowance was introduced to
assist former prime
ministers, still active in public
life. It was extended to the
former deputy prime
minister for five years.”
A spokesman for Clegg said
he was unaware of Gray’s
view, adding: “The money he
receives is spent entirely in
line with its stipulated
purpose — to provide
administrative and
operational support to a
former deputy prime
minister. Not a penny goes to
Sir Nick personally.”
Woman, 28, dies after
attack at travel agency
David Collins
Northern Correspondent
A travel agent was fatally
wounded in front of her
colleagues yesterday after
being subjected to an attack
in what police called a
“domestic-related” incident.
Cassie Hayes, 28, was
carried out of the Southport
branch of the tour operator
Tui covered in blood,
according to witnesses. A
30-year-old man was
detained at the scene.
Rich Lawson, 27, a delivery
driver who was dropping off
a package to another shop
when staff locked him in for
his own safety, said: “I saw
them bring a girl out on a
stretcher and put her into an
ambulance. She was covered
up but I could see blood on
her face. There was a lot of
blood and she looked like she
was unconscious.”
Ten minutes later, he said,
a police riot van “was up
against the door and it looked
like they were bringing a man
out of the shop”.
Merseyside police
confirmed that a murder
investigation was under way.
Hayes was taken to Southport
hospital but died from her
Merseyside police said:
“A 30-year-old man from the
Southport area has been
Hayes: died
in hospital of
her injuries
arrested on suspicion of
murder and is currently being
held in custody. It is believed
that the incident was
Tui said it was doing
everything possible to help
the police investigation.
The Sunday Times January 14, 2018
Lilibet writes . . . a young princess’s
notes preparing her for coronation
In a new documentary,
the Queen reveals how
George VI made her write
an account of ‘Papa’ being
crowned to help her later
Roya Nikkhah
Royal Correspondent
To a young girl never meant to be monarch, a coronation might have seemed
like something Princess Elizabeth would
never have to worry about.
But after her destiny changed,
George VI was determined that his
daughter should be fully prepared when
her time came — by keeping notes during
his own coronation.
In a BBC documentary marking the
65th anniversary of the Queen’s
coronation this year, she has revealed
how “valuable” it was that he encouraged
her to record memories of his ceremony
in 1937, just after she had turned 11.
Speaking publicly about her own
coronation for the first time, the Queen
recalls her father’s coronation at Westminster Abbey, following the abdication
of Edward VIII in 1936.
She said: “I remember my father
making me write down what I remembered about his coronation. It was very
Carefully handwritten in red in a
children’s exercise book and featuring
Princess Elizabeth’s nickname, used by
those closest to her, the title page reads:
“The Coronation, 12th May, 1937, To
Mummy and Papa, In Memory of Their
Coronation, From Lilibet, By Herself.”
Now preserved in royal archives, the
Queen’s account contains remarkable
insights into her memories of the day.
“I thought it all very wonderful, and I
expect the abbey did too. The arches and
beams at the top were covered with a sort
of haze of wonder as Papa was crowned,
at least I thought so.”
Describing her grandmother, Queen
Mary, she wrote: “What struck me as
being rather odd was that Grannie did not
remember much of her own coronation. I
should have thought that it would have
stayed in her mind for ever.”
That memories of her own coronation
have vividly remained with her is clear
throughout The Coronation, which is
broadcast at 8pm today on BBC1.
Speaking with rare candour about that
day on June 2, 1953, the Queen, who
famously never gives interviews, is
filmed “in conversation” with the royal
historian Alastair Bruce, watching
archive and personal footage of the
coronation, reportedly for the first time.
“It’s sort of the beginning of one’s life
as the sovereign,” she says. “But it’s really
quite interesting to have it, you know,
done again. I mean, I’ve seen one — one
coronation. I’ve been the recipient in the
other. Which is pretty remarkable.”
During tonight’s programme, the
Dean of Westminster, John Hall, reveals
that remnants of the holy oil used to
It’s sort of the
beginning of
one’s life as the
sovereign. But
it’s really quite
interesting to have
it done again
anoint the Queen are still stored in a
hidden bottle.
The anointing with oil, said to represent a sacred moment between monarch
and deity, is considered so personal that
it is screened from view by a canopy.
During the Queen’s coronation, the first
in history to be televised live, the cameras turned away as she was anointed.
Unveiling the previously unseen
bottle, Hall says: “It is kept very safe in
the deanery, in a very hidden place in a
little box here. This is the recipe for the
coronation oil. The composition of the oil
was founded upon that used in the 17th
century . . . it consists of sesame seed and
olive oil, perfume with roses, orange
flowers, jasmine, musk, civet and
The Queen speaking on the
BBC about her coronation,
below, and a note she wrote
after the coronation of her
father, George VI, left
Crime agency boss calls for online giants to fund child sex inquiries
Tom Harper
Home Affairs Correspondent
Internet giants such as
Facebook are failing in their
“social responsibility” to
tackle online child sex abuse
and should fund police
investigations to help deal
with the soaring threat,
according to the head of the
National Crime Agency
Lynne Owens, the NCA’s
director-general, has called
for technology companies to
be “more proactive” in
pursuing paedophiles and
other sex offenders who use
their social media sites to
groom, abuse and blackmail
In a rare interview she
accused the internet firms of
being “passive” and failing to
pass on intelligence to law
enforcement agencies about
the criminals who use the
companies’ platforms to
target the young and
Owens, who leads Britain’s
fight against serious and
organised crime, called for
Facebook, Google, Snapchat,
YouTube and others to “fund
a joint team — us and them —
to look at intelligence
She said: “I don’t think
they yet see their social
responsibility to be more
proactive in identifying child
sex abuse and that’s the thing
we need to change.”
The NCA has been
overwhelmed by a spike of
700% in reported online child
abuse since 2013 as the
internet allows predatory sex
offenders to target children
with relative impunity.
Police chiefs believe new
developments in technology
now allow tens of thousands
of offenders in the UK alone
to prey on children on a scale
unthinkable 15 years ago.
Facebook insists it has
“zero tolerance” for child
exploitation and denied
failing in its responsibilities.
Owens, the former chief
constable of Surrey police,
attends the weekly meeting of
Theresa May’s national
security council along with
Britain’s spy chiefs. She said
austerity cuts and the “huge
and extended” scale of
organised crime were such
that law enforcement needs
to forge a “fundamentally
different relationship with
the private sector”.
She added: “I think there is
work for the tech companies
to do with us on child sex
abuse. At the moment they
don’t go looking for it. They
don’t provide us with
intelligence of the users who
are uploading information.
“They don’t take it down as
quickly as I would like. I
would like to have a very
different relationship with
the tech companies.”
Earlier this month Patrick
McDonald, 23, was jailed for
4½ years after approaching
thousands of children on
Facebook in an attempt to get
them to send him indecent
images of themselves and
engage in sexual activity. The
judge told Reading crown
court: “The scale of the
offending was breathtaking.”
In the first 11 months of last
year the NCA received 72,000
referrals about online child
pose a
threat than
During an interview in
Owens’s London office, she
said she would watch it,
but stressed the National
Crime Agency is already
“committed to tackling such
She added: “We are
looking to focus on corrupt
professional enablers over
the next 12 months.”
Some might say the NCA
needs to get a move on. The
mafia expert Roberto
Saviano, author of the
bestselling book Gomorrah,
has previously claimed the
flow of dirty money into
London makes the UK the
“most corrupt place on
Owens said she could
think of “other cities in the
world that are probably
more corrupt than
London”, but said that she
takes white collar crime
“very seriously”.
This weekend she
revealed the agency is
“finalising” its first case
against senior bankers for
bribery and money
laundering. “Specialist
techniques” normally
reserved for organised
crime gangs have been
deployed against targets in
the Square Mile.
However, she thinks the
growing scale and
complexity of organised
crime, together with
swingeing budget cuts, will
force police chiefs and
politicians to “really think
differently” and create a
“fundamentally different
relationship with the
private sector”.
Alongside her call for
technology giants to fund
police investigations, Owens
also said the banking and
insurance industries should
channel some of their
profits into the new National
Economic Crime Centre
announced by the home
secretary last month.
She said: “I think this is a
shared risk that we all own.”
Owens also admits the
NCA and police forces are
being overwhelmed by the
emerging threats posed by
modern slavery,
Tom Harper
Lynne Owens admits she has
not watched McMafia, the
BBC drama starring James
Norton, which highlights
London as a centre of
bribery, corruption and
As the law enforcement
officer in charge of tackling
such crimes, however, it is
perhaps no surprise to learn
that she has it recorded. The
drama centres on Norton’s
character, a London hedge
fund manager from a
wealthy Russian family who
finances a criminal network
stretching from India to
South America.
budget cuts
Thousands of
men go into
to groom
immigration crime and the
dark web, which law
enforcement has to deal
with alongside its
traditional work fighting
drug traffickers and gun
She believes reform is
urgently needed. Owens
said her “personal view” is
that the current structure of
43 police forces in England
and Wales is inefficient, but
sexual abuse imagery, up
from 6,000 in 2010.
Last month the security
minister, Ben Wallace, said
internet companies would
face a multimillion-pound tax
raid unless they do more to
help to crack down on
extremism and terrorism.
Cases of child sex
exploitation linked to social
media giants emerge on a
near-weekly basis. Last
Thursday Facebook had to
settle a landmark legal
action over a photograph of a
naked 14-year-old girl that
was posted on a “shame”
page in a bid to blackmail her.
The social media company
agreed to pay undisclosed
damages to the teenager after
she sued Facebook.
The girl, who cannot be
identified, claimed the nude
image had been obtained
after she was blackmailed. It
was then published as a form
of revenge.
Last year Facebook was
criticised after failing to
remove more than 80% of
she accepted this is not
current government policy.
Owens, who has a
daughter with her husband
Neil, a former police officer,
said many “capabilities”,
such as undercover police
officers, should be deployed
at a national level to save
money, leaving local
forces better able to
concentrate on
neighbourhood policing,
an area that has been hard
hit by recent budget cuts.
“Every force to date has
had its own technical
support unit, with probes,
listening devices and
cameras,” she said.
“That is not cost-effective.
Digital forensics is another
— every force has had to
build its own digital
forensic capability, which
must be mad.
“It would be madness if
every force in the country
is going to build their own
dark web team.”
In 2013, the NCA
estimated that
organised crime cost
the British public
£24bn every year —
but Owens said that
figure was probably an
under-estimate and
admitted the phenomenon
has grown since then.
She also said the £377m
annual funding handed to
the NCA by the government
to tackle serious and
organised crime is far less
than the billions available
to counter-terrorism,
despite it being a greater
national security threat.
“If you look at the
resourcing . . . it’s massively
disproportionate,” she said.
“This isn’t an argument that
counter-terrorism should be
less well resourced, but I am
saying that . . . we have got to
recognise that it needs
investment if we are going to
protect the public from
some of the most invasive
“Terrorist events are
awful and they play out very
publicly, but many more
deaths each year are
attributed to serious and
organised crime than all the
other national security
threats combined, including
terrorism, national disasters
and state threats.”
sexualised images of children
uncovered by BBC
journalists. Facebook then
reported the journalists to
police for sending the images
to them.
Other police chiefs have
spoken out about the scale of
the threat posed to children.
Simon Bailey, lead for child
protection at the National
Police Chiefs’ Council, said:
“Tens of thousands of men
are now going into chatrooms
and forums with a view to
grooming children.
Technology has afforded an
access to children that people
who have a sexual interest in
children never had before.”
Damian Collins, chairman
of the Commons media select
committee, said: “Even when
people do refer problematic
content to these companies
they are not very good at
taking it down. They don’t
proactively search for it. They
have the capability and they
should be doing more of it.
“They need to invest more
in policing their sites and
need to recognise they have a
social responsibility to act.”
Simon Milner, a senior
executive at Facebook, said:
“We have zero tolerance for
child exploitation. We reject
the suggestion that we are
failing in our responsibilities.
“We alert the appropriate
authorities to potential
offenders and young people
at risk if we find them, as well
as work with NGO partners
and industry to support the
development and sharing of
technological tools that can
speed up investigations.”
Google said it had a “zero
tolerance policy” on child sex
abuse content.
Editorial, page 22
The Sunday Times January 14, 2018
One fiery leap: probes rush to ‘touch the sun’
Nasa and the European
Space Agency are to
launch craft to gather data
on solar storms, which
can wreak havoc on Earth
Two space probes are to
go closer to the sun than
ever before, sampling its
atmosphere and spotting
magnetic storms
ESA solar orbiter
Jonathan Leake
Science Editor
It is the solar system’s hottest destination
— and now humanity will get closer than
ever before to the star at the centre of it.
Nasa’s Parker solar probe, which is set
to launch later this year, will fly into its
outer corona to “touch the sun”, as the
space agency’s lead scientists describe it.
The robotic probe, which has been
named after Eugene Parker, a 90-yearold physicist whose research underpins
modern solar science, will be the fastest
and hottest spaceship built, travelling at
450,000mph to avoid being sucked in by
the sun’s powerful gravity. Its heat shield
will face temperatures of about 1,400C.
Europe is also joining the rush to the
sun, launching its own probe some
months after Nasa’s craft. The European
Space Agency (ESA) solar orbiter will sit a
little further from the sun, gathering data
Solar flares
Nasa's Parker
probe will ‘touch
the sun’, flying
into its corona
Nasa probe
and spotting coronal mass ejections, or
solar storms. These are massive eruptions that can wreck satellites, power networks and mobile phone systems by generating magnetic storms.
Another aim of both probes is to study
the solar wind, the billions of tons of electrified gas ejected into space by the sun
Europe's solar orbiter
will give humanity its
first view of the sun’s
north and south poles
every hour, said Professor Richard Harrison, chief scientist at the UK’s Rutherford
Appleton Laboratory, which has built
instruments for the ESA craft.
“Since time began, we have seen the
sun from only one viewpoint — our
planet,” said Harrison. “The solar orbiter
will fly above and below it, giving our first
Probes can warn Earth
of solar storms, which
may disrupt satellites
and power networks
view of the sun’s north and south poles,
as well as observing magnetic storms.”
Scientists are not the only people
excited by such prospects.
The Cabinet Office recently updated its
national emergency disaster plan to rank
solar storms as one of the most serious
natural hazards faced by the UK.
Nasa said one aim was to predict
space weather. “The data will help
improve how we forecast major eruptions on the sun and subsequent space
weather events that can impact life on
Earth, as well as satellites and astronauts
in space.”
Private schools
find ‘tutor-proof ’
selection test
Sian Griffiths
Education Editor
A government minister called
it the “holy grail” of selective
education. Now a group of
head teachers may have
found it — by coming up with
a “tutor-proof ” test and
interview to select girls for
top private schools.
Girls applying to the
12 schools that make up the
North London Girls’ Schools
Consortium are sitting
admission tests and
interviews this month. The
group has agreed to replace
11-plus exams in maths and
English with a one-hour
“cognitive ability” test and
interviews based on “what
if ”-style questions.
The move by the schools —
including Godolphin &
Latymer, South Hampstead
High and St James Senior
Girls’ School — follows
concern about an “arms
race” and “dreadful
prepping” as middle-class
families try to get a place at an
elite school.
Head teachers say private
tutoring, at up to £75 an hour
for up to six years, puts
pressure on children and can
harm mental health. The new
tests will also help girls from
poorer families who apply
from state primary schools.
Victoria Bingham,
headmistress of South
Hampstead High School, said:
“The tutoring industry is
pernicious because it
encourages a culture of
marginal gains and
perfectionism that is
unhealthy for young kids.
Childhood is over-strategised
now; children’s lives are overscheduled . . . Children need
free time to play, to dream
and to be bored.”
Bingham said some prep
schools and tutors coached
children even for interviews.
The new interviews this
month have “what if ”
questions that cannot be
predicted. She refused to give
examples, saying that would
defeat the object. The
cognitive ability tests start
next year.
Ben Thomas, former
headmaster of Thomas’s,
Battersea, where Prince
George is a pupil, has also
decried the practice of
industry is
for children
tutoring children for school
admission. Thomas said it
was “a hideous concept”
because it stole childhoods.
How reliable the tests are
remains to be seen. Bingham
said she had done a “secret
shopper” investigation,
posing as a anxious parent
and calling tutoring agencies
to ask if they could help with
the consortium’s new tests.
“One was honest and said
it was not worth tutoring for
them, but some companies
claimed they had absolutely
cracked these sorts of tests.
When I delved deeper,
however, none were able to
give me any kind of data.
Their evidence for success is
all anecdotal because it is an
unregulated industry.”
MoD cash for soldier hit
by malaria drug seizures
Mark Hookham
Defence Correspondent
The Ministry of Defence has
quietly paid a “significant
sum” to a former artillery
gunner who claims his career
was destroyed after taking
Lariam, a controversial antimalarial drug.
The settlement is believed
to be the first of its kind in
Britain and was made weeks
before an expected court
case. Hundreds more former
soldiers could sue the MoD at
a cost of millions of pounds of
taxpayers’ money.
Lariam — which has been
linked to depression,
hallucinations and panic
attacks — was given to 17,368
military personnel between
April 2007 and March 2015. A
parliamentary inquiry in 2016
criticised the MoD over the
way it issued the drug.
The former gunner in the
Royal Horse Artillery was
given Lariam in 2012 before
being deployed to Kenya. It is
claimed he and his comrades
were not given any warnings
or advice about the drug.
He began to suffer badly
broken sleep, personality
changes and irritability in
Kenya and later had two
seizures, the first, in Canada,
requiring evacuation by
helicopter. The 26-year-old
father of one was deemed
unfit for service and
medically discharged in 2014.
“I felt like the world had
come to an end,” he said. “I
was devastated. I had lost
The drug
Lariam has
been linked
to depression
and panic
everything, my home, my
job, my friends.”
His solicitor, Ahmed AlNahhas, said the MoD
admitted breaching its duty
of care but maintained that
this had not resulted in any
injury or loss to the soldier.
This weekend, the MoD
said respected health bodies
continued to recommend
Lariam “as a safe and
effective form of malaria
The Sunday Times January 14, 2018
Nurseries expel
toddlers to sin bin
Two-year-olds are being caught in a rising tide of school exclusions
Sian Griffiths Education Editor
Children aged two have been expelled
from nursery schools and sent to
so-called sin bins, official statistics
reveal. Figures from the Department for
Education’s schools census show that
four two-year-olds have been sent to
pupil referral units (PRU).
They are thought to be the youngest
children referred to the controversial
units and are part of a rising tide of school
exclusions which is one of the biggest
concerns of education leaders.
Professor Alan Smithers, director of
the Centre for Education and Employment Research at Buckingham University, said the figures were “extraordinary”. He warned that the toddlers were
being handed a “life sentence” that
meant they would probably end up in
prison or on the dole.
“School is about teaching children to
behave. Simply to throw them out at such
a young age risks separating them from
mainstream education for good,” he said.
“In some cases it could be a life sentence because a tragically high number of
children sent to these units end up in
prison with no qualifications and no
basis for earning a living.”
The toddlers are among 14 under-fives
sent to pupil referral units. The figures,
collected in the January 2017 school
census and released in a House of Commons written answer, include four pupils
aged three and six aged four.
Experts said the two-year-olds — one
boy and three girls — were almost certainly referred for “violence” such as
“lashing out, kicking, overturning chairs,
screaming, biting, scratching”.
Des Reynolds, chief executive of the
Engage Trust, which runs nine “alternative provision” schools for excluded children, said violence is the only way that
very young children can show distress.
Reynolds has accepted two three-year
olds in recent years as well as a boy called
Luke. At the time his mother, Caroline,
told The Sunday Times that her son had
been expelled from school aged four
after he “attacked a teacher with a
hockey stick and touched her breasts”.
It could be a life
sentence, because
a high number of
children sent to
these units end
up in prison
Luke has been accepted by an
‘alternative provision’ school
Reynolds said once pupils were permanently excluded from school there
was “nowhere else for a child to go but a
PRU”. He warned that the figures were
just the tip of an iceberg, with many other
difficult toddlers shuffled between childminders and nursery schools.
In 2015-16 the equivalent of 35 children
a day were excluded at some point from
the school system, including more than
1,000 under 11. Exclusions can last for a
day, a week or become permanent. The
government has announced a review of
the practice, looking at how schools use
exclusion and why some children are
more likely to be sent away.
The chief inspector of education,
Amanda Spielman, warned schools in
her annual report against offloading difficult or poorly performing children. The
children’s commissioner, Anne Longfield, has called for head teachers who
unfairly exclude children to be fined.
One expert warned that a “generation
of children was being sacrificed to save
the jobs of head teachers”.
Reynolds said: “It is wrong to exclude
a child at any age but especially so
young. Permanent exclusion is massively
damaging and mostly unnecessary. It is
very hard to get back into any mainstream school once you have been permanently excluded.
“I have been in this work 20 years and
have been to 12 funerals of excluded children who died before they reached 16.”
Only 1% of children who are permanently excluded go on to achieve five
good GCSEs and more than 60% of the
prison population were permanently
excluded from school.
The Department for Education said:
“Pupil referral units help to ensure every
child has access to the right education
and support to meet their needs. Referrals for young children can occur when
they are too ill to attend their main school
or when there are complex behavioural
or emotional needs.
“Permanent exclusions for young children are extremely rare and should only
be used in exceptional circumstances.
Permanent exclusion should always be a
last resort.”
The dad
steps out
of fashion’s
Jane McFarland
Fashion Director
First it was socks and sandals.
Now chunky trainers — last
seen in the 1980s — are the
latest “dad” trend to take
fashion by storm.
Balenciaga’s clumpy Triple
S trainer — so called because
the stacked soles look as if
three styles have been
layered on top of each other —
was the fastest selling item of
2017 for the online site
Stylebop, selling out in less
than an hour. However,
nothing whets a fashionista’s
appetite like a waiting list.
Victoria’s Secret models
Elsa Hosk and Bella Hadid
have both sported the beefy
shoe, while Kendall Jenner
has been spotted wearing
thick-soled Yeezy Boost Wave
Runner 700s, giving the ugly
trainer a push into
mainstream fashion.
Net-a-Porter, the luxury
retailer, said thick-soled
trainers account for 5% of its
shoe department’s figures
and are selling faster than
anything else.
Key brands have been
Nike’s Vapormax, Alexander
McQueen’s exaggerated sole
sneakers and the Prada
Cloudburst. The Acne Studios
Manhattan Sneaker sold out
in five weeks in the UK and
subsequently sold out
The style to snap up in
2018 is Louis Vuitton’s
Archlight. Jaden Smith, the
Spider-Man actress Laura
Harrier and Stranger Things
star Millie Bobby Brown have
already been seen in the
oversized £780 shoes.
The rules are quite simple:
the grubbier and beefier the
Kendall Jenner wears a pair of Yeezy Boost 700s while out in Manhattan late last year
Editorial, page 22
The Sunday Times January 14, 2018
Wanted: owner
ready to spend
£3m a year on
upkeep of
stately home
A developer is seeking
a wealthy family to revive
a dilapidated country
estate steeped in
aristocratic history
Nicholas Hellen Social Affairs Editor
It will require a staff of 69 butlers,
masseurs, bodyguards, gamekeepers
and helicopter pilots and the new owner
must find £3.1m a year to run one of the
nation’s finest country estates.
But the prize is to defy the tides of
history and return to family use a palatial
property that has sunk into dilapidation.
The audacious scheme to enlist a
buyer from one of the world’s richest
families to restore the fortunes of Tottenham House in Wiltshire — whose story
has been intertwined with the aristocracy and royalty since the Norman
Conquest — has been revealed by planning documents.
Papers lodged with Wiltshire county
council state: “Tottenham House will
operate as a private family residence for
an ultra high net worth family . . . The
family will be in residence for around six
months of the year.”
They boast: “The proposed scheme
will make Tottenham House one of the
best private residences in the world, with
facilities unlike anything available anywhere else. To succeed it must be exceptional with the widest possible appeal to
those with the greatest financial means.”
The house has been decaying since the
forebears of the Earl of Cardigan moved
out at the end of the Second World War.
To restore it will involve adapting a
centuries-old estate without breaching
will be a
and a
strict heritage rules. There will be a
helipad, tennis courts, a large new lake
and restored walled garden. Perhaps
more challenging, the architect, Adam
Architecture, has had to find a way of
adapting big rooms with high ceilings for
the modern family.
The orangery will be turned into a
grand banqueting hall with kitchens
below, and there will be stabling and an
arena for exercising about 20 horses.
Annual running costs are forecast to be
£3.1m, with salaries of £1.7m for staff
including pilots, security personnel, butlers, masseurs, nannies and chauffeurs.
The developer says if the scheme fails
to get consent, the house and its estate of
1,030 acres would be left with “a certain
future of further decay”. It states in a
planning submission “the capital project
has been assessed as being valued in the
region of £231.6m”, which it says means
its economic impact, not its cost.
Built on the site of a former hunting
lodge within Savernake Forest, Tottenham House drew on the talents of great
architects and landscape gardeners,
including Lord Burlington, whose original design for the property dates back to
1720, Capability Brown, John Claudius
Loudon and Thomas Cundy. The present
building dates mainly from 1820.
It has historical associations with Wolfhall, the neighbouring family seat of
Henry VIII’s third wife, Jane Seymour,
which was popularised in the Hilary
Mantel novel Wolf Hall.
The present earl, 65-year-old David
Brudenell-Bruce, who was at one stage so
poor he had to work as a delivery driver,
lost his battle to keep the 240-room
mansion in the family four years ago
when it was sold to a property developer
for £11.25m. The family retains a small
part of the estate through a trust.
By then the estate had run out of
options. Inheritance taxes may have
sounded the death knell for aristocratic
ownership, but a series of alternative
uses also failed the test of time.
A prep school made way for a charity
for troubled young people before planning consent was granted in 2006 for a
golf resort and conference centre. They
were never built. The main house is grade
I-listed, but it is uninhabitable and on Historic England’s “heritage at risk” register.
Delancey, the developer run by multimillionaire Jamie Ritblat, said it wanted
the house to “meet the needs of 21stcentury living at its most sophisticated”.
Simon Ramsden, of Historic England,
said: “We are pleased that the current
intention is to restore the house and
return it to being a single family home.”
Whether any family of ultra high net
worth is tempted is not yet known.
Abu Hamza says he was
tipped off about 9/11
Dipesh Gadher
Abu Hamza, Britain’s most
notorious hate preacher,
says militant contacts in
Afghanistan called him four
days before the 9/11 attacks to
warn: “Something very big
will happen very soon.”
The hook-handed cleric
says he interpreted the
message as being about an
impending terrorist strike
on America and believes the
phone at his west London
home was being “tapped”
by police at the time.
His claim raises questions
about whether British
authorities were aware of
the warning and failed to
pass it on to their American
counterparts before al-Qaeda
operatives flew hijacked jets
into the World Trade Center
in New York and the
Pentagon in September 2001.
Details of the phone call
are revealed in American
court papers, seen by The
Sunday Times, which also
reveal that Abu Hamza acted
as an agent for MI5 and
Special Branch under the
code name “Damson Berry”.
The former imam of Finsbury
Park mosque in north
London is appealing against
his conviction for terrorist
offences and his “inhuman”
incarceration at an
American“supermax” prison.
In a 124-page handwritten
submission, Abu Hamza says
he has been singled out and
“punished” since 9/11. He
writes in broken English:
“What made pro-war
governments and intelligence
[agencies on] both sides of
the Atlantic more furious
about the defendant [Abu
Hamza is] that defendant
received a call from
Afghanistan on Friday,
Sept 7, 2001, from 2 of his
old neighbours in his
Pakistan time (1991-93)
saying ‘Something very big
will happen very soon’
(meaning USA).”
Abu Hamza denies the call
came from al-Qaeda figures,
but says he thought “this
news is widely spread and
everyone is phoning friends
. . . the intelligence [agencies]
of many countries must have
had an earful about it”.
The preacher’s claim
could not be independently
corroborated this weekend,
but his standing in extremist
circles makes it plausible.
The Sunday Times January 14, 2018
Prosecutor fears toddler Poppi
died after sex attack by father
As the inquest winds up, a former CPS chief says a flawed police investigation prevented him from bringing charges
David Collins Northern Correspondent
The prosecutor in charge of the case of
Poppi Worthington, a “bubbly and
funny” toddler who died in 2012, says he
believes she was subjected to a sex attack
by her father before her death — but
police failures prevented a trial.
Nazir Afzal was head of the Crown
Prosecution Service (CPS) for the northwest when he approved the decision not
to charge Paul Worthington. The inquest
into Poppi’s death is due to conclude
“I had a strong suspicion that Poppi
died after being sexually abused by her
father,” Afzal told The Sunday Times. “I
was given a case file by the police that had
so many gaps that I was left with no
choice. I could not approve charging
Worthington based on the evidence the
police investigation produced.”
In three weeks of evidence just before
Christmas, the Cumbria coroner, David
Roberts, heard how 13-month-old Poppi
screamed out during the night at her
home in Barrow-in-Furness. She arrived
at hospital bleeding badly and died.
A series of mistakes by Cumbria police
meant the prime suspect was never
charged. Worthington strongly denies
wrongdoing. The police errors also mean
that, if innocent, he is unlikely to be able
to clear his name.
Afzal’s view of Cumbria police in 2012
is damning. “Work carried out was simply
not of the same standard as other forces in
the northwest, such as Greater Manchester police . . . I am still deeply frustrated no charges were brought in this
case and many at the CPS feel the same
way. But with the evidence I had, I could
not say beyond all reasonable doubt that
Worthington had attacked Poppi.”
The inquest heard an admission from
denies any
wrongdoing and
refused to
answer questions
at inquest
Detective Inspector Amanda Sadler, who
led the first police investigation, that she
was not trained to do the job.
Police failed to seal Poppi’s house
quickly enough, failed to seize evidence
such as Worthington’s bedsheets, failed
to find Poppi’s last nappy, failed to take
swabs from Worthington until 11 hours
after her death and failed to find a laptop
on which he was watching pornography
hours before Poppi died.
In 2016 a High Court judge in family
court proceedings involving Poppi’s
siblings ruled that on the balance of
probabilities Worthington had sexually
assaulted Poppi shortly before her death.
The coroner’s task is made harder by
conflicting evidence given at the inquest.
Dr Alison Armour, a Home Office pathologist for 30 years, who carried out a postmortem examination of Poppi, said she
believed the toddler had been attacked.
She said Poppi’s injuries could have been
caused by penetrative assault and her
death by cardiac arrest or asphyxia.
However, another pathologist, Dr Nat
Cary, told the inquest there was no clear
evidence of trauma. He formed his
opinion from photographs and slides. He
said he could not “absolutely exclude”
penetration, but would expect obvious
injury and there was “nothing of the
sort”. Other doctors told the inquest they
could not say for certain that Poppi had
been sexually assaulted.
Paul Worthington’s sister, Tracy, believes he is innocent. She said most of his
close friends thought the same.
Last week, a birthday card from Worthington was on Poppi’s grave, which has
no headstone. It reads: “You are always in
my thoughts . . . Have a beautiful birthday
playing with all the other special boys
and girls up there. Daddy.”
Worthington refused to answer questions at the inquest, citing his right not to
incriminate himself. “Because of the
police we’ll never know the truth,” said
Tracy Worthington. “He was told by his
lawyers not to answer all those
questions.” She added: “He wants to
know how Poppi died. I don’t think we’ll
get that answer tomorrow.”
Worthington and
a card from her
father on her
grave in Barrow
December 12, 2012
Poppi Worthington dies
aged 13 months in hospital
October 21, 2014 An
inquest lasting seven
minutes determines that
Poppi’s death is
January 2016 High Court
family judge Mr Justice
Peter Jackson makes public
his ruling that, on the
balance of probabilities,
Paul Worthington sexually
assaulted Poppi
July 2016 The CPS
announces there is
insufficient evidence to
charge Poppi’s father
March 2017 The
Independent Police
Complaints Commission
reports on multiple failings
by Cumbria police
November 2017 Second
Poppi inquest opens
Mark Hookham
Transport Correspondent
We were taught how to use
zebra crossings in road safety
lessons — but research shows
most have forgotten the rules.
Nearly 20% of people
reported having a near-miss
at a crossing in the past year
and many were confused
about when motorists
should stop.
Almost 50% of
respondents to an online
survey by Direct Line, the
insurer, wrongly said that
cars must stop when a
pedestrian is waiting at a
Just 19% knew that it is only
once a pedestrian has
stepped on to the crossing
that a car is legally obliged to
stop. The rules say that if
there is an island in the
middle then you must wait on
it and treat the second half as
a separate crossing.
The research pinpointed
Bristol as the most dangerous
city to use a zebra crossing:
24% of respondents there had
had a near-miss with a car in
the past year.
Motoring experts blame
the rise of “iPhone zombies”,
pedestrians glued to their
phones, for growing
confusion at crossings. “You
see people on phones
stepping on to a crossing
when a car is already on the
crossing,” said Edmund King,
president of the AA.
The first zebra crossing
appeared in Slough in 1951
but the one in Abbey Road, in
St John’s Wood, northwest
London, became the most
famous after it appeared on
the cover of the Beatles
album of that name released
in 1969.
“The Beatles generation
were brought up with the
green cross code and totally
understood zebra crossings,”
King said.
The Sunday Times January 14, 2018
Gove turns hose
on water bosses’
use of tax havens
Utility companies must behave ethically or face new laws, warns
the environment secretary as he spells out his green crusade
Political Editor
ichael Gove has de–
manded a crackdown on
fat cat water company
bosses using offshore tax
havens while cashing in
on their monopoly position — warning that legislation could follow unless
they start to behave “in a
responsible fashion”.
In an interview with The Sunday
Times, the environment secretary said
privatised utility companies must meet
“high ethical standards” in order to maintain public support.
At his home in west London, he has
made changes to his own life to reflect the
green crusade he has unleashed in government. Last week he and Theresa May
announced plans to do away with unnecessary plastic packaging and extended
the 5p charge on plastic bags to all shops.
“There are some hessian bags downstairs and some cloth ones,” he says
proudly. “We’ve got to move away from
a culture of things being thrown away.”
Tomorrow the environment secretary
is due to make an announcement about
increased penalties for “waste crime”
such as fly-tipping. He says he is no longer
throwing away as much himself.
“I have abandoned Pret’s coffee cups
for a reusable cup given to me by the
Environment Agency. I have a squeezable
plastic water bottle. We used to guzzle
bottles of Highland Spring and Badoit,
but we make a point of not buying water
in plastic bottles and using tap water.
“But I don’t want to pretend I’m a saint
or insist that people need to be puritans
about it. There will be occasions when all
of us buy a burger or go out without the
bag we need.”
Nonetheless, he says: “We have to
make it easier for people to do the right
That does not just mean shoppers.
Those in his sights include the water company bosses. Gove said it was not “appropriate” for water companies to use offshore firms to borrow billions of pounds
while avoiding paying business taxes.
Four of the biggest firms — Thames
Water, Anglian Water, Southern Water
and Yorkshire Water — which collectively
supply nearly 30m people, all used offshore tax havens in 2016-17 as they ran up
debts of £24bn. Critics claim the debts
were used to drive down tax bills and
extract larger profits.
All four firms set up subsidiaries in the
Cayman Islands a decade ago to help
them raise money on the bond markets.
They each ended 2016-17 with a tax
credit, and Thames Water has paid no
corporation tax since 2006.
Gove revealed that he had talked to
Jonson Cox, the chairman of the regulator Ofwat, about “the corporate practices
of some of these companies”.
He said: “I don’t think it’s right that
privatised utilities, which have a natural
monopoly, should use offshore tax
structures which have rightly come
under criticism from the public.
“One of the things I have said to Jonson
is that we need to make sure that everything associated with Defra meets high
ethical standards.
“Water companies have a responsibility not just to play their part in making
sure we’re ready for floods but also to
behave in a responsible fashion. I
The prime
instructions are:
Get stuff done
don’t believe it’s appropriate for companies to operate in the way they have in
the past.”
With Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party
calling for the widespread renationalisation of the public utilities — including the
water companies — Gove made clear that
he believes they should stay in private
ownership but that a political argument
needs to be won to maintain the backing
of voters.
“It is undeniably the case that privatisation and the injection of private capital
has brought in investment which has
improved infrastructure. But if we’re
going to continue to have those benefits
and public support is to remain durable,
we can’t have offshore tax havens and
other jurisdictions being used in order to
provide corporate benefits for those
Gove signalled he expected the Ofwat
boss to act and will give him new legal
powers if necessary. “The regulator has a
responsibility to safeguard the public
interest. If he needs more, I’ll do everything possible to back him up,” Gove said.
“I will back him every step of the way in
any action he feels he needs to take.”
This warning is delivered with Gove’s
characteristic, almost baroque, politeness but comes from a minister who has
shown he has the political will and Whitehall smarts to make things happen.
We meet after a week in which green
issues have been to the fore in a way not
seen in the Tory party since David
Cameron was hugging huskies.
Gove, backed up by Theresa May’s
communications director Robbie Gibb, is
on a mission to put the environment at
the heart of an offer to younger voters
who flocked to Labour at the last election. With housing, school standards and
the NHS, it is the only issue getting much
attention beyond Brexit.
The prime minister, he says, “is in her
nature action-oriented”, and “the
instructions she has given me is: ‘Get stuff
done — demonstrate to people that
government can make a positive change
for the better.’”
While Gove’s department is one of the
few in Whitehall making high-profile
moves, it is not long before Brexit raises
its head. Gove sees it as a chance to go
The Sunday Times January 14, 2018
Michael Gove
and friends at
his home in west
May pounces to
end cabinet war
over Brexit aims
Theresa May plans to make a
speech outlining the
government’s Brexit policy in
the February parliamentary
recess after holding three
meetings of her Brexit war
cabinet to thrash out a
compromise between
warring ministers.
Documents seen by The
Sunday Times show May has
told ministers they will have
to agree how the trade talks
with the EU should unfold,
what a future economic and
security partnership will look
like and the nature of the
rules to create a “level playing
field” with Brussels when
they meet this week.
In meetings held before
Christmas sources say
ministers backed four
different outcomes of the
Brexit negotiations:
l Boris Johnson, Michael
Gove and Liam Fox
supported an “opt-in
approach” that would see
Britain fight for a deal where,
even in areas that it wants to
stay closely aligned with
Brussels, the UK would
pursue its goals via different
means and have the right to
change policy at will
l At the other end of the
spectrum, Philip Hammond
and Amber Rudd want a
“default approach” where
most policy categories would
be tied to EU rules with more
limited scope to diverge
l The prime minister and
Damian Green, her deputy at
the time, appeared to support
a “bespoke approach” where
some policy areas would be
fixed to the EU approach
while others were not, with
the potential to move
between categories
l Some ministers backed a
“right to diverge” approach
that would see a presumption
that the UK would pursue the
same goals by the same
means as the EU but with an
ability to change.
After three weeks of
meetings May hopes to sum
up Britain’s demands in a
speech during the
parliamentary recess
between February 8 and
February 20. That will be
followed by an EU summit in
Brussels in March when it is
hoped that a deal will be done
on the nature of a two-year
transition that will begin in
March 2019.
At the same summit, EU
countries are expected to sign
off on instructions to the
bloc’s chief negotiator, Michel
Barnier, paving the way for
proper trade talks to begin.
Gove revealed that he will
use this week’s Brexit war
cabinet meeting to demand
that Britain ditches the
common fisheries policy
during the transition period
and said Barnier has
conceded the point.
“In the communiqué the
commission issued before
Christmas, they
acknowledged that there
would have to be a unique
arrangement on fishing, on
catch and quotas . . . We will
be an independent coastal
state in law when we leave
and the arrangements for
fisheries need to reflect that.”
The prime minister faces a
backlash to the creation of at
least 12 Tory and two
Democratic Unionist peers as
she tries to boost the
government’s support in the
Lords before knife-edge votes
on the EU withdrawal bill.
The peerages will be
created before the end of the
month meaning that most, if
not all, of the new Lords can
be introduced before the start
of the bill’s committee stage
on February 21, where peers
are expected to inflict
damaging defeats on the
Peter Robinson, the DUP’s
former first minister of
Norther Ireland, is thought to
be one of the names being put
forward by his party.
For the Tories, the names
will include those who stood
down at the general election
such as Sir Eric Pickles, the
former party chairman, and
Peter Lilley, the former
cabinet minister.
Nicola Blackwood, who
lost Oxford West and
Abingdon, James Wharton,
who was defeated in Stockton
South, and Ben Gummer,
beaten in Ipswich after he
helped to draw up the party
manifesto, are also thought to
be under consideration.
Matthew Pennycook, the
shadow Brexit minister, said:
“The public will rightly be
suspicious that Theresa May
is appointing a raft of new
Tory and DUP peers just
weeks before the Lords starts
debating the Brexit bill.”
Laura Pidcock, the Labour
MP who declared she had
“no intention of being
friends” with any Tory MP
because they are the
“enemy”, is being
groomed to take over from
Jeremy Corbyn, according
to party insiders.
Since her election last
year, the MP for North West
Durham has impressed
Corbyn and on Friday won
promotion as the party’s
shadow minister for
Now Pidcock, 30, is
seen by the left as the best
option to succeed Corbyn,
68, should he choose to
stand down before the
next election, scheduled
to take place in 2022.
While Corbyn is likely to
remain leader, sources
suggest he might quit if
the right candidate can
“secure his legacy”.
A member of the
shadow cabinet told The
Sunday Times: “Jeremy’s
people have gone off
Rebecca Long-Bailey.
That’s why they’re
promoting Pidcock. She’s
the new chosen one. She’s
getting a lot of support
from the leader’s office
and they’re promoting her
on social media.”
Labour’s shadow foreign
secretary, Emily Thornberry,
had been heavily tipped to
replace Corbyn, including
by Unite’s general secretary,
Len McCluskey. But some in
the party fear Thornberry, a
barrister representing the
north London seat of
Islington South and
Finsbury, will not appeal to
voters in the north, where
the next general election
may be won. She speaks
with a cut-glass accent and
is married to the wealthy QC
Sir Christopher Nugee.
Angela Rayner, Labour’s
shadow education
secretary, was also
considered a potential
successor to Corbyn, but
has fallen out of favour.
Rayner recently described
Labour’s economic plans for
big increases in state
spending as a high-risk
“shit-or-bust strategy”.
Rayner, 37, has growing
support among moderate
Labour MPs. One told The
Sunday Times: “It’s
becoming increasingly clear
she is not a Corbynista and
could offer the party an
exciting new direction.
Rayner’s appeal would be
much broader than
Corbyn’s, which could lead
the party back into power.”
Tim Shipman and
Caroline Wheeler
are up for
They are
not stuck
in the
further. “Brexit creates opportunities,
particularly in my area. Brexit could be
the catalyst for some of the biggest, boldest environmental steps forward as we
transform our fisheries and agriculture
policy. It’s particularly exciting to be in
this role because as power comes back to
the UK, we can do more.”
Gove once tweeted that EU singlemarket rules make it impossible to ban
foie gras. So will he ban it post-Brexit?
“We will be saying more about some of
the things we can do on animal welfare
outside, but at this stage I don’t want to
get into particular foodstuffs.”
As Britain prepares for the future,
Gove has also made clear he will not let a
post-Brexit trade deal with America lead
to the import of chlorinated chickens or
beef stuffed with hormones, a position
that has put him at odds with Liam Fox,
the international trade secretary.
Gove says the issue has been misunderstood as one of public health. “I had a
good conversation with Ted McKinney,
the US under-secretary of agriculture,
and we both agreed that chlorinated
chicken is not about safety, it’s an issue
about animal welfare and a fair competition issue.” In short, the US farmers keep
the chickens closer together, which gives
them a competitive advantage over their
British counterparts.
“We also agreed that the important
thing with a trade deal is to work out all
the areas where you do agree, and then if
there are issues where you don’t agree set
them to one side,” Gove explains. “You
don’t make the perfect the enemy of the
good. In a negotiation like this, there are
certain critical principles we draw out
and then it’s up to Liam and his team to
get the best possible deal.”
This sounds like the negotiations are
well under way, contrary to EU rules.
Gove says: “We can’t negotiate deals
while we are a member of the EU. But we
have conversations, and I talk to the US
agriculture minister in the same way I
talk to the Irish agriculture minister.”
his transformation of Gove from the
hammer of the teaching unions and
the frontman for Brexit into an
animal lover has won him plaudits
from unlikely sources such as
Greenpeace. Is he enjoying being more
popular with bien-pensant opinion?
“Because of Brexit there will always be
a few people who take a dim view of anything I do or say, but my approach is to try
to make my own mind up about what the
big problems and opportunities are in
any government department and then to
get on with it. It’s great if you can work
with people who agree, but you can’t do
any government job without some people being irritated. My view is: crack on!”
Gove rejected Nigel Farage’s suggestion that there might have to be a second
referendum to settle the EU issue. “Having a second referendum would be seen
by voters as disrespectful. The decision
has been taken. Let’s get on with it.”
Despite his impatience for change,
which has a habit of rubbing up against
Theresa May has been put
on notice that she will face a
leadership challenge after
Brexit if she tries to fight the
next election following her
shambolic reshuffle.
May provoked fury by
promoting only the
youngest MPs, while
thwarting the ambition of
those in the middle ranks
who might have been a
greater threat to her. One
serving minister said: “The
reshuffle has significantly
reduced the prime minister’s
time in office. People are
realising that she won’t go of
her own accord and will
have to be forced out.”
Another added: “Most of
my colleagues still don’t
think Theresa is serious
about fighting the next
election. When they realise
she is deadly serious they
will see we cannot continue
to indulge the serial
disasters like last week.”
There is irritation that
ministers who might have
challenged for the
leadership in the next
couple of years — Dominic
Raab and Rory Stewart —
were not promoted to the
cabinet and instead handed
awkward briefs, while rising
star Tom Tugendhat got
nothing at all. Some believe
this was designed to help
Gavin Williamson, the
defence secretary, who is
seen as May’s preferred
One said Damian Hinds
was promoted to the post of
education secretary
because “he is Gavin
Barwell’s best mate”.
Barwell is May’s chief of
One minister who had
been expecting a
promotion told friends he
had complained to the
chief whip and was told:
“Sorry, there are other
agendas at work here.”
The reshuffle was
dismissed as a shambles by
many after a Tory official
mistakenly announced on
Twitter that Chris Grayling
had been made party
chairman. Tory officials said
Grayling had been slated for
the role until a revolt of
officials at Conservative HQ
forced a rethink.
It can also be revealed
that Esther McVey was due
to become immigration
minister until Justine
Greening’s refusal to move
to the department of work
and pensions prompted the
prime minister to hand
McVey the more senior role
Indian deal to keep out criminals
Tim Shipman
Britain has signed a deal with
India that will make it easier
to send illegal immigrants
home and keep foreign
criminals out of Britain.
Indian nationals who have
overstayed their visas or
come to Britain without
permission will be sent home
more quickly in future after
Caroline Nokes, the new
immigration minister, signed
a memorandum of
understanding with the
Indian home affairs minister,
Kiren Rijiju, on Thursday.
This has proved difficult in
the past when some Indians
have not had the required
paperwork or travel
documentation for them to
be accepted back by their
home country.
The two governments also
signed an agreement on the
exchange of criminal records
information, which will allow
British and Indian law
enforcement bodies to share
files, fingerprints and
Officials believe it will
make it easier to stop known
criminals — particularly sex
offenders — from getting on
aircraft. It will also allow the
courts in both countries to
access more information to
support tougher sentencing
During his visit, Rijiju
visited Heathrow to see
first-hand how the Border
Force uses technology such
as biometrics and e-passport
Nokes, who replaced
Brandon Lewis last week,
said: “The agreements we’ve
signed cover the important
issues of returns and criminal
records exchanges to the
mutual benefit of both
“We are determined to
create a ‘living bridge’ of
people, ideas, institutions
and technology between our
two great countries. These
new agreements are yet
another example of the value
we place on our strong
special interests, Gove has avoided a
serious spat with farmers, despite telling
them their subsidies will change to
reward those who improve productivity
and animal welfare. “The striking thing I
have found is that farmers have not conformed to the caricature some people
have. Farmers have been up for change.
They are certainly not stuck in the mud.”
This emphasis on animal rights means
some think Gove will end badger culling.
He says he is looking at the issue: “We
always look at the science and the stats. I
wouldn’t say to anyone that they should
expect any change, but we are not closedminded. We’re always keen to review
what progress is being made.”
With that, the 50-year-old in a hurry
grabs his two lap dogs, Snowy and
Muffin. As they leap into photogenic
poses, he says: “While we’re devoting
intellectual energy to getting Brexit right,
we’re also capable of governing and
changing in other ways.”
Terrorism duties left no bobbies on beat
Caroline Wheeler
West Midlands police
suspended neighbourhood
policing for a month last year
as the force struggled to cope
with the heightened risk from
terrorism, according to its
police and crime
In an interview with The
Sunday Times, David
Jamieson said there was no
slack left in the system to
enable officers to carry out
neighbourhood policing
duties after last year’s
terrorist attacks in London
and Manchester.
He said officers were
diverted to other duties and
put on 12-hour shifts while
the threat level was at critical
after the Parsons Green Tube
train bombing in September,
which led to a delay in normal
policing being resumed.
“Over the course of the
year there was about a month
in the West Midlands where
we ceased doing any effective
neighbourhood policing,”
Jamieson said.
He added that about 60%
of all anti-terrorism work is
done by neighbourhood
police, even though a report
by the Henry Jackson Society
think tank last year warned
that Birmingham had become
a terrorist hotspot.
Jamieson said the force
was left with a backlog of
2,500 unresolved calls, which
led to delays in response to
crimes, including domestic
violence and sex offences.
“Days and weeks [were] going
by until we could deal with
them,” Jamieson said.
With West Midlands police
facing a real-terms cut in
funding next year, Jamieson
fears that the “thin blue line
will get ever thinner”.
A Home Office
spokesperson said: “Police
funding will increase by up to
£450m next year. The
government is clear police
forces can improve
productivity and increase
efficiency and . . . be more
ambitious with their plans to
The Sunday Times January 14, 2018
Bid to rein in
child betting
games on net
Safety fears
as babysitter
apps fail to
vet carers
Robin Henry,
Mary O’Connor and
Elizabeth Pascka
The children’s commissioner wants to curb sites
that simulate gambling and risk creating addicts
Caroline Wheeler and
Jon Ungoed-Thomas
The children’s commissioner is demanding a crackdown on online games that
simulate betting amid fears that they will
hook the next generation of problem
Anne Longfield says the games, widely
available on smartphones and tablets,
encourage the “worst kinds of addictive
behaviour” by introducing young
people to the excitement and rewards of
gambling even when they are not playing
for real money.
“Free games” that mimic slot
machines, roulette and other types of
gambling can be played with no age
checks. The Sunday Times has also exposed how some of the biggest gambling
companies offer games that can be
played for “fun” without age verification.
Longfield met Sarah Harrison, chief
executive of the Gambling Commission,
and Tim Miller, the commission’s executive director, last week and said such
games should not be aimed at children.
“I’m clear that children should not be
pressured or tricked into gambling by
encouraging them to play online games
that mirror many of the habits associated
with gambling, including normalising
some of the worst kinds of addictive
behaviour,” Longfield said.
“We need a tighter interpretation of
the regulations on marketing these products so they do not appeal to children
overtly or by intentional design.”
Experts are concerned that free games
online could trigger real money gambling
in adolescence and later. Mark Griffiths,
distinguished professor of behavioural
addiction at Nottingham Trent University, said that playing these virtual games
was the “No 1 risk factor”.
Longfield’s comments come weeks
after a Gambling Commission report disclosed that an estimated 25,000 children
are problem gamblers, with a further
36,000 at risk. The commission, which
regulates gambling companies, wants
more campaigns to warn parents and
children of the risk of some online games.
The gambling industry is under
scrutiny over its measures to protect
children. Today The Sunday Times
reveals that a “powerful” watchdog set
up by the betting industry to name and
shame operators that breach industry
standards has upheld only one complaint
in three years.
The Senet Group was set up in September 2014 to address public concerns over
gambling advertising and has adjudicated on four complaints. It decided that
the one complaint it upheld was not
serious enough to warrant a sanction.
The Campaign for Fairer Gambling
said: “This is a pointless and ineffective
watchdog. It’s a public relations exercise
to prevent more effective regulation of
gambling advertising.”
The Senet Group was founded by big
betting companies, including Ladbroke
and William Hill, to monitor and enforce
commitments made by its members. It
also created a campaign to promote
responsible gambling with the motto
“When the fun stops, stop”.
George Kidd, chief executive of the
Senet Group, said the industry was also
regulated by the Gambling Commission
and the Advertising Standards Authority.
He said the remit of the Senet Group
was relatively narrow, it received few
complaints and was no longer best described as a watchdog. It was effective in
ensuring the marketing of gambling was
socially responsible. Research showed
that more than half of all adults and 80%
of regular gamblers were aware of the
“When the fun stops” campaign.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge outside St Mary’s Hospital, west London, after the birth of Prince George in July 2013
Hypnosis may ease Kate’s birth pains
Rosie Taylor
Midwives at the private
hospital where the Duchess
of Cambridge is expected to
have her third child in April
are being trained in a new
birthing technique ahead of
the royal arrival.
Midwives from the Lindo
Wing, part of St Mary’s
Hospital in Paddington, west
London, will be given two
days of intensive training in
hypnobirthing next month.
Hypnobirthing is a term
applied to a range of
self-hypnosis, relaxation and
breathing techniques, and
has become popular. The
model Gisele Bündchen said
she used the techniques to
give birth painlessly to her
son in her bath.
Both Prince George and
Princess Charlotte were born
at the Lindo Wing, as was
their father in 1982 and their
uncle, Prince Harry, in 1984.
Katharine Graves, founder
of the Hypnobirthing
Association, will train 22
midwives from the unit
and from its partner NHS
maternity departments at
St Mary’s and Queen
‘worry’. She can start
Charlotte’s and Chelsea
worrying, which causes
tension, which means the
She said: “Midwives’
muscles don’t work as well,
knowledge is phenomenal, of
which causes pain. That is
course, but we look at things
tiny but it could add hours
a little bit differently and
onto a labour.”
midwives find it refreshing
The Imperial College
to realise birth is not all
Healthcare NHS Trust,
guidelines and protocols.
which includes the Lindo
Sometimes quite small
Wing, said: “The midwives
things a midwife does
will qualify as
can make a massive
difference to that
practitioners, which will
mother’s experience.
enable them to teach
“For example, if a
hypnobirthing to
kind . . . midwife says,
participating pregnant
‘Don’t worry’, the
George with
women on our wards.”
woman in labour hears Charlotte in 2015
They are billed as convenient
childcare at the swipe of a
screen, but babysitting apps
and websites have been
criticised for failing to vet
carers, putting young
children at risk.
Websites including and apps
such as Babysits and Bubble,
often described as an “Uber
for babysitting”, offer parents
an easy way to find sitters.
But The Sunday Times
found it was easy to sign up as
a sitter, with a reporter falsely
claiming to have passed
criminal record checks and to
be qualified in first aid.
The companies say the
onus for verifying claims lies
solely with the parents., one of the
UK’s biggest such sites, let the
reporter sign up instantly, but
used warning lights to show
parents she had not uploaded
documents to prove her
claims. It also has links on
every profile advising families
to make checks.
Michael Ponzo was jailed
for 10 years in 2016 for
sexually abusing children,
including three he met via the
website. He had been
checked with the Disclosure
and Barring Service (DBS).
Bubble checks background
and identity but not the DBS.
Babysits let the reporter sign
up within five minutes, but
verified the email address
and phone number.
Richard Conway, founder
of, said his
company gave parents clear
advice. Ari Last, co-founder
of Bubble, said his company
made clear “the checks we do
and don’t do”.
Peter van Soldt, founder of
Babysits, said: “Parents are
strongly advised to first meet
and get to know the sitter,
and to check references.”
The Sunday Times January 14, 2018
Rod Liddle
Liddle’s Got Issues: was Virgin
right to ban the Daily Mail?
Go to
or our tablet or phone apps
A fresh referendum won’t draw the
poison, only make it more potent
y worries about holding a
second referendum on our
membership of the EU are
twofold. First, I’m not
entirely sure everyone
enjoyed the original one
very much. My memory gets
hazy from time to time,
because of age and alcohol, but I seem to
recall a soupcon of rancour, of division,
of irritation in June 2016. And second, in
the highly unlikely event that “remain”
won, we on the other side would then be
forced to demand a third referendum,
given that the result would be very close
and those voting to stay in were all thick
as mince, unwashed, uneducated,
probably from parts of England that
nobody with a right mind would visit —
and thus unaware of what might happen
a little further down the line.
That, after all, is the only reason the
remainers give for having a second
referendum. Nothing has materially
changed since June 2016. It’s still simply
the case that people like me were gulled
because we’re too stupid to understand
the realities, possessed of a visceral
racism and loathing of Europe and its
culture. A view exemplified by the
brilliant journalist Yasmin AlibhaiBrown, who tweeted last week: “How
many Brexshitters went or are going
skiing in Europe? How many own second
homes there? What EU wines do they
drink? We must be told.” I use the word
brilliant in that context, incidentally, as a
synonym for “mentally ill”.
The EU wines — largely sancerre, since
you asked — still flow in my house,
although you can keep skiing and the
cottage in Provence. But that is roughly
what they thought, the liberal elite
remainers, and what they still think.
That we are racists who hate Europeans
and people who own only one home.
Not true. I hate some Europeans,
obviously — who doesn’t? — but it was
not an irrational antipathy to the state of
Luxembourg that swung my vote. Losing
Luxembourg was simply a bonus.
Nigel Farage has now decided that we
l Terrifying news from The
Independent of a mass
“Brexodus” of EU academics
from our top universities.
Cultured and decent
Germans, Italians, Croats,
etc, are fleeing the country in
anticipation of the hell that
will descend when we leave
the EU: properties worthless;
funding dried up; assaulted
by shaven-headed fascists
when they try to do their
shopping; swarms of killer
bees preying on their
children, etc. One university
quoted by the rather forlorn
remains of the paper was
Cambridge: “173 EU
academics resigned . . . last
year, up from 153 staff the
previous year, and 141 in
2014-15.” Quite true.
However, as Cambridge
rather acidly pointed out:
“In the same period — 509
(non-UK) EU nationals started
at Cambridge in 2016-17,
following on from 434 joining
in 2015-16 and 391 joining in
2014-15. Therefore, the
number of new starters is
more than double the
numbers of non-UK EU
academic staff resigning
from their posts at
Cambridge during the same
periods.” And the number
coming in, therefore, has
risen sharply since Brexit.
Strangely, The
Independent — it is, are you?
— was unable to find space
for this observation.
should have a second referendum,
apparently, and this has been seized on
with jubilance by a bunch of remainers,
such as that ghost of Labour past, Chuka
Umunna, and Nick Clegg and Tony Blair
and the increasingly deranged Lord
Adonis (whom I bumped into at King’s
Cross recently. He was wearing an
anorak and ranted maniacally. I thought
about calling for paramedics but then he
disappeared, as suddenly as he had
arrived, into the north London drizzle).
I think Nigel is suffering a bout of
nostalgia — for June 24, 2016, when he
was briefly the most successful man in
British politics, perhaps ever. But even
as the BBC — stony-faced, palpably
appalled — announced the result of the
referendum, he must have gathered that
in this moment of triumph it was all over
for him. For what was left there to do,
having secured the only thing he ever
cared about? As voters, we are nothing if
not callous and pragmatic. Churchill was
peremptorily evicted in 1945, and Ukip
since 2016 is an utterly pointless and
voterless party — even if it is now led by a
chap who can pull babes half his age. I
suppose Farage looks back fondly at that
June day and wishes it might be run
again, with him centre stage.
He is right, mind, that “leave” would
win again, easily. Probably a lot more
easily, because people are sick of the
whole shebang. I have read countless
arguments from constipated remainers
suggesting the vote has marginally
shifted. They cite endless polls
indicating “remain” would have a slim
majority. Grow up; the polls on the eve
of the referendum predicted a “remain”
majority of between 4% and 10%. They
were wrong then and just as wrong now.
Another win for “leave” would not
quell the likes of Blair and Adonis. A win
for “remain” would deepen divisions in
the country and lead to people like me
demanding a third vote — best of three. It
would also increase the suspicion among
ordinary people that democracy is
deserving of respect only when it
supports the view of the Establishment.
More work equals
more pay, Gracie
Queen revelation
The crown’s
heavy and
I wouldn’t
Why wasn’t the former BBC China editor
Carrie Gracie paid as much as some
other BBC editors? Because she is a
chick? Possibly. But then there is this.
Every evening, without fail, the BBC
news programmes will carry a report
explaining why Israel is quite the most
ghastly country, courtesy of the Middle
East editor. And every evening, without
fail, the BBC news programmes will
carry a report explaining why Donald
Trump is a fascist idiot, courtesy of the
US editor or his underling, Nick Bryant
— that chap who always looks as if he is
straining to defecate. Rather more
scarcely come the reports from China.
Might that not be a reason why China
editors are paid less? Because they are
not on air as much? Do less, y’know, um,
work? Hell, just askin’.
Potty mouth Trump
has Haiti spot on
l People forget what a taxing,
stressful occupation burglary is. Take
the chap in Cavan, Ireland, who tried
to rob a shop during the small hours.
Pitch black. And then the cops turn
up. Frantic to make his escape, the
burglar cut his scrotum on the sharp
edge of a shelf. Quite rightly, the
burglar is now suing the shop owner
for genital trauma. The owner, called
Kevin, has been told by the Personal
Injuries Assessment Board that it will
cost him £600 to contest the case.
Hopefully he will be forced to sand
down those edges and fit them with
rubber or plastic moulding so the next
time a burglar robs his store he can do
so without sacrificing a testicle.
Are Haiti, El Salvador and most African
countries “shitholes”, as President
Trump reportedly put it? Sadly, the term
is rarely used by the UN when debating
countries’ merits and demerits — it
prefers terms such as “vulnerable” ,
“diverse” and “vibrant”. The nations
mentioned are certainly all of these
things, assuming those terms are clever
synonyms for “impoverished”, “deeply
corrupt” and “violent”. El Salvador, for
example, has the highest murder rate in
the world. The UN calls Trump a “racist”,
but couldn’t these misunderstandings
be easily cleared up henceforth if the
UN adopted the president’s terminology
and provided a league table of world
shitholes? My guess is that Haiti, El
Salvador and most African countries
would hog the leading positions.
The Sunday Times January 14, 2018
Londoners flee as
house prices stall
A slowing market and
pollution are driving
homeowners in wealthy
areas to swap the city
for the commuter belt
Martina Lees
Record numbers of homeowners in
wealthy areas of London are selling up to
quit the capital as price growth slows, a
new report reveals today.
Last year, 42% of people who sold in
London bought outside the capital. In
2013, the figure was just 33%, according
to the comprehensive analysis of sales in
affluent areas by LonRes data service and
Hamptons estate agency.
Uncertainty over the past 10 years has
created “a huge, pent-up bulge of people
who would have moved out of London
but haven’t”, said James Greenwood of
Stacks Property Search, a buying agency.
“We’ve had the financial crisis, a hung
parliament, Brexit, Trump . . . People are
saying, ‘let’s just get on with it’.”
Marcus Dixon, head of research at
Leavers in
search of
and a
slower life
Like two-thirds of those
who leave London’s prime
postcodes, Victoria and
Shehan de Silva moved to the
southeast of England last
year, writes Martina Lees.
They trebled the space
available for their children,
Rafael, 3, and Lucia, seven
months, by trading Earlsfield,
southwest London, for
Oxted, Surrey, in September.
LonRes, added: “In 2014, the gap
between prices in London and elsewhere
peaked. As it has narrowed, London sellers have taken the opportunity to cash in
on previous gains.”
Overall, almost half (48%) of the 2,000
households who left prime London areas
last year moved to the commuter belt in
the southeast of England, followed by the
east of England (23%). While many kept
some of the profit from their sale by buying a cheaper home, about a third spent
more on their new property.
“We’ve been thinking about selling for
four years,” said Vicki Mitra, 39, who is
about to move to a £1.6m Buckinghamshire barn conversion three times bigger
than her £1.26m home in Maida Vale,
northwest London. Her husband, Rana,
40, a digital strategy manager, was “horrified” at the effect of the air pollution
from the Marylebone flyover on their
sons, Harrison, 6, and Dylan, 4.
“Now I’ll be able to watch them from
the kitchen as they climb trees,” Vicki
Belinda Aspinall, founder of the website, said members
of her forum for London leavers increasingly cite pollution as a reason to go.
For many, London “just feels expensive and crammed full. There used to be a
rush hour, but in the words of a taxi
driver this week: ‘They are like ants — all
day and all night there are just so many
people everywhere.’ ”
LonRes and Hamptons found that
most prime London leavers headed to
towns or suburbs (51%), rather than the
country (38%). The other 11% went to
cities — almost double the figure in 2010.
In August, Betty and Andrew Towler
moved with their daughter, Georgia, 2,
from Wandsworth, southwest London, to
Pewsey, in Wiltshire.
They traded a three-bedroom terrace
for a five-bedroom Georgian house,
bought via Carter Jonas, “for pretty much
the same money”, said Betty, 43, an interior designer.
She works from home while Andrew,
53, a property consultant, commutes to
London three days a week.
“I don’t have to be in London at 9am
every morning. We wanted a less frenetic
life — waking up to sheep instead of car
alarms. It’s been a really good move.”
Should you stay or should you go?,
Home, pages 6-8
Victoria and Shehan de Silva and children Lucia and Rafael
have moved from London to a big house in Oxted, Surrey
Again, like many families
leaving the capital, they
ended up spending more,
rather than less, money on
their new home.
For an extra £350,000 the
couple “moved from a
1,300 sq ft terrace to a
4,000 sq ft period house with
half an acre,” said Victoria,
38, a teacher.
“We also wanted a slower
pace of life. We went for a
walk this morning and I
thought, ‘It’s so nice to do this
from your doorstep.’”
They chose Oxted because
of its 35-minute train
commute to London, where
Shehan, 40, works in
financial services, and its
good primary schools.
“One year in Earlsfield,
even though we were 300
metres from the school gate,
we wouldn’t have got [a place
in the school],” Victoria said.
“I had neighbours who
moved two streets just to get
in the school.”
David Hockney, in front of one of his paintings, has synaesthesia, a condition in which sounds or letters are seen as colours
Sound of blue murder shows
author the colour of money
Richard Brooks
Arts Editor
As many as 500,000 British
children have it; so do the
artist David Hockney, the
actor Geoffrey Rush and the
singer Billy Joel.
Now a novel about a boy
with synaesthesia, when the
brain sees sounds or letters as
colours, has won its author a
sizeable six-figure advance.
The Colour of Bee Larkham’s
Murder by Sarah J Harris
features Jasper Wishart, 13,
who believes he has killed his
neighbour after seeing the
colour of her screams.
To Jasper the victim’s voice
is sky blue — similar to his
late mother’s, which was
cobalt blue.
Harris, also the author of
three young adult novels
under a pseudonym, became
interested in the condition
after writing about it when
she was a journalist.
“I wanted to write a novel
that combined the joy of
seeing the world through the
colour of sounds and the
danger of never knowing who
to trust,” she said. The idea
for the book, to be published
in the UK in May by
HarperCollins, came in a
dream: “I saw a boy crossing
the road and screaming.”
Jasper has prosopagnosia,
or face blindness, as well.
More than 1m people in the
UK have it in some form, as
does the actor Brad Pitt.
Hockney has used his
synaesthesia to help design
opera and ballet sets. When
he listens to the music he sees
colours and translates them,
as it were, to the sets.
Joel thinks in blues and
greens with slow, soft
melodies, while strong
rhythms are red and orange.
Rush, who won an Oscar
for Shine, associates days
of the week with colours:
Tuesday is green, Wednesday
is purple.
Harris’s book taps into a
trend for novels depicting an
isolating condition. Another
example is Eleanor Oliphant
Is Completely Fine by Gail
Honeyman, a debut novel
about an outsider that has
just won the Costa prize.
The Sunday Times January 14, 2018
Egg-free, please: I’m only
here for the vegan beer
A surge of interest in an
animal-free diet is leading
supermarkets and even
pubs to bring more such
food and drink to the table
Tony Allen-Mills
Peanut-butter pizza, anyone? For at least
the third year in a row, this has been
declared the one when vegan cuisine
goes mainstream. This time it might
actually happen.
From a publicity-grabbing row over
cauliflower steaks to a surge of enthusiasm for Veganuary — a campaign to get
everyone eating vegan in January — the
diet once regarded as too extreme for the
country that invented bangers and mash
is spreading lentil risotto and beetroot
tarts to supermarkets everywhere.
The international Veganuary campaign claimed a surge in sign-ups had expanded its 2018 ranks to 160,000 people
pledging to shun meat, fish, cheese, milk,
eggs and honey. More than 60,000 are in
Britain, up from 1,500 in 2014.
The vegan revolution has produced
London’s first wholly vegan pub: the
Spread Eagle, which opened in Homerton in east London last week offering
beer brewed without egg whites, gelatin
or other animal-related additives. Vegan
options are becoming common on
menus, from pizzas made with dairy-free
cheeses (and vegan ingredients such as
peanut butter and avocado) to “Kentucky
fried cauliflower” and a range of vegan
lunches by the Pret a Manger chain.
Most supermarkets offer vegan products, from Sainsbury’s “cheddar-style
coconut-based alternative to cheese”
to Tesco’s Wicked Kitchen range of
ready-made dishes, including a “carrot
pastrami-spiced wrap”.
Other contenders have tripped up in
the rush to join the bandwagon. Last
week Marks & Spencer was criticised for
offering “cauliflower steaks” sliced and
sheathed in plastic, at £2 a wedge — twice
the price of a whole cauliflower in its
vegetable section.
A chickpea shortage has forced up the
price of hummus and several attractivesounding vegan products have turned
out to be more expensive than the meat
dishes they are intended to replace.
Not everyone is thrilled with the vegan
advance, which has always been more
about animal welfare than human dietary
benefits. Among the hashtags on veganrelated posts on Twitter are #crueltyfree,
#dairyisscary and #compassion.
A sheep farmer in Devon posted a
picture on Twitter of his lamb chop
lunch, with the despairing caption:
“There’s farmers out there trying to make
a living.” Or as Twitter user Tom Harris
put it: “Add coconut milk to virtually any
vegan recipe and you’ll find it’s much
easier to scrape into the bin.”
Meriel Armitage and her business partners have opened London’s first wholly vegan pub, the Spread Eagle in Homerton in the East End
No meat, no preaching, just fine food in Glasgow
Marina O’Loughlin
There’s no chance of my
turning vegan any time soon
— have you tried vegan
cheese? However, like
everyone with half a brain,
I’ve been cutting down the
meat. But there’s a new,
shrill vegan shoutiness
about and it’s a bit wearing:
all very “look at me with my
kale smoothie”, less about
animals than abs. While the
selfie addicts build their
brands, long-time vegans go
about their business, many
without even boring the
bahookie off anyone who
stands still long enough.
There are surprising
pockets of veganism
worldwide. In Glasgow I
find the Hug and Pint, a
live-music pub on the Great
Western Road.
Table Talk:
in Norwich
Page 47
Who stings you extra? Halifax
penalises its loyal customers
Stephen Bleach
It is, the advertisements
claim, the bank that gives its
customers extra. But Halifax
was under fire last week for
taking extra by charging one
of its most loyal customers —
that’s me — more than
double the rate for home
After 15 years with Halifax,
it demanded £780 to renew
the policy on my terraced
home in southwest London
but offered me cover for £310
on the same property when
I pretended to be a new
business inquiry.
“They charge lower
Stephen Bleach and wife Jaqui
premiums to new customers,
then rely on the inertia of
existing customers not to
shop around. It’s not just
Halifax. It’s extremely
widespread,” said Kevin Pratt
“People think switching is
a hassle. If you pay by direct
debit the renewal notice is
forgotten about and the
money is automatically taken
from your account. ”
In 2016 Halifax was
revealed to have charged an
elderly woman £800 a year
to insure her £250,000 house
in Redcar, North Yorkshire,
six times the going rate
according to her son, who
discovered the payments
only after her death.
John Blevins, of the
financial consultancy
Consumer Intelligence, said
many insurers lure new
customers with cheap deals
but this means they “have
to charge longer established
customers more”.
More than 50% of
customers renewed a policy
with their existing insurer last
year, according to Consumer
Halifax said: “We
communicate the renewal
price to customers clearly
every year prior to renewal
and encourage them to
review their policy.”
Halifax’s policy . . . is
to milk our loyalty,
Business & Money, page 11
It leans heavily on an
Asian repertoire and does it
really well: mushroom rice
pudding — a vast honk of
savouriness with the crunch
of pink pickled onion rings
and crisp shallots for
contrast. Or jackfruit curry
— the starchy, fibrous fruit
shimmering with coconut
and spices on loads of fluffy
white rice. There is tonguetingling Sichuan-style tofu
and the black pepper
aubergine is as beefy as any
carnivore could wish for.
It’s fresh and vibrant. You
can eat everything on the
short menu for £15.
The Hug and Pint’s appeal
crosses boundaries. (It was
recommended by blogger,
James Vs Burger.) It’s not a
vegan pub so much as a pub
that serves fine vegan food.
Without going on about it.
Cystic fibrosis
sufferers denied
drug by NHS
Sarah-Kate Templeton
Health Editor
Thousands of people with
cystic fibrosis are hoping to
“stop the clock” on their
disease with a drug that can
dramatically slow its
Last week the drug,
Orkambi, was granted a
licence in Europe for children
aged 6-11 after studies showed
it can reduce deterioration in
lung function — the main
cause of death in cystic
fibrosis sufferers — by 42%.
The drug is already
licensed for those aged 12 and
over, but doctors say the
younger a child can be
treated the better.
Orkambi is not available on
the NHS after the National
Institute for Health and Care
Excellence (Nice) ruled it was
not worth the cost of about
£104,000 a year per patient.
Now that young children can
be treated with Orkambi,
however, the manufacturer
has pledged to go to the NHS
with proposals to make the
drug affordable for British
All patients aged six and
above in Ireland will have
immediate access to Orkambi
after a deal between the
manufacturer, Vertex, and
the Irish health service.
Vertex plans to negotiate a
similar deal with the NHS.
Rebecca Hunt, a vicepresident at the drug maker,
said last week: “On the back
of this, we are going to
proactively re-engage with
the NHS straight away. Last
year in Ireland, where, as in
the UK, there is a very high
rate of cystic fibrosis
compared to other countries,
we came to a long-term
agreement. Now we have this
new licence, we will put in a
new financial proposal that
sets out how the NHS could
have budget certainty for
[cystic fibrosis] medicines
and age groups.”
The median life
expectancy for someone with
cystic fibrosis is 41. More than
10,000 people in the UK have
the condition, and more than
3,000 are likely to benefit
from Orkambi.
Mark Chilvers of British
Columbia University, a lead
investigator in trials of the
drug, said: “Cystic fibrosis is a
progressive disease where the
damage begins at birth.
Because of this, it is critical to
begin treating the disease as
early as possible.”
Carlie Pleasant, 28, who
has the disease, says Orkambi
could prolong her life,
allowing her to be around for
her son, Jude, seven months,
and husband, Chris. She was
diagnosed aged nine and
takes up to 45 doses of
medication a day.
She said: “If I took this
drug now, I could maintain
current health and lung
function, which means I
could live a long life with a
good quality of life.
“I just hope I can be there
for Jude and Chris. I’m scared
of leaving them, so try not to
dwell on it, but that can be
hard. I find it frustrating
because I know that, if I lived
in Ireland, I could have it. It is
frustrating that we are being
told that the costs outweigh
the benefits.”
Ian Austin, the Labour MP
for Dudley North, who will
host a cross-party meeting in
parliament next month as
part of a campaign to make
Orkambi available on the
NHS, said: “The quality of life
of one of my constituents was
transformed by taking part in
trials for Orkambi . . . She has
been able to halve her
hospital visits, go on holiday
with her family for the first
time and even set up her own
Cystic fibrosis is one of the
UK’s most common inherited
diseases. In 2006, Gordon
Brown’s youngest son, Fraser,
then a baby, was diagnosed
with it. It is caused by a
defective gene. The internal
organs, especially the lungs
and digestive system, become
clogged with sticky mucus,
resulting in infections, lung
inflammation and digestive
Orkambi treats the
F508del mutation, which
about half of people with
cystic fibrosis in the UK
The Department of Health
and Social Care said: “We
welcome the ongoing
dialogue between Vertex and
NHS England to agree a deal
that would make Orkambi
available to NHS patients.”
Cystic fibrosis sufferer
Carlie Pleasant with son
Jude and husband Chris
#RabbieToo — Burns letter boasts of
sex attack on pregnant girlfriend
Tim Cornwell
His sexual exploits are almost
as legendary as his poetry but
Robert Burns is the latest
famous name exposed by the
#MeToo movement. A letter
by Burns, who died in 1796,
where he seems to boast
of raping his heavily pregnant
girlfriend has been described
as “Weinsteinian” by a former
national poet of Scotland.
Liz Lochhead said the
bard’s “disgraceful sexual
boast” suggested a lack
of respect for women
comparable to the behaviour
of Harvey Weinstein, the
shamed Hollywood mogul.
That scandal
spawned the
movement on
social media,
with women
speaking out
about sexual
Lochhead said
the letter that Burns
wrote in 1788 described a
sexual encounter with his
girlfriend, Jean Armour. In it,
the poet bragged of jumping
on a “destitute and
friendless” Armour and
giving her a “thundering
scalade [military assault]” on
a horse-manure strewn floor
Poet Liz Lochhead says
Burns, inset, was a sex pest
when she was pregnant with
his twins. The couple later
Lochhead, who is due to
deliver a talk on Burns and
Women at a dinner for the
Scottish Hellenic Society in
Glasgow this month, said:
“The disgraceful sexual
boast . . . seemed very like a
rape of his heavily pregnant
“ It’s very, very
Weinsteinian . . . [Burns] was
a genuine romantic, easily
flamed to passionate love. He
was a sex pest as well I think.
Does that mean he isn’t worth
reading? It’s not really
The Sunday Times January 14, 2018
With claws unsheathed,
Iran creeps up on Israel
The civil war in Syria has
allowed Tehran to extend
its influence in the Middle
East. It now threatens the
Israelis across two borders
Golan Heights
The Israeli officer leant forward in the
seat of his patrol car and pointed across
the desolate valley. A few miles away, the
white houses dotted on the Syrian side of
the border were just visible in the January
“That’s where the Syrian regime is,” he
barked. “Hand in hand with them is Iran,
which wants to wipe Israel out, and
Hezbollah, which exists to destroy the
state of Israel.”
For decades, this area in the Golan
Heights was Israel’s quietest border.
Local members of the Druze minority
sold apples to the Syrians and vineyards
flourished in the hillside soil.
Yet now it is at the forefront of escalating tensions that Israel fears could ignite
a new conflict in the region just as Isis
crumbles. The area was captured from
Syria during the Six-Day War in 1967,
and formally annexed by Israel in 1981
in a move that is not internationally
In the ashes of the Syrian civil war,
Israeli officials say, Iranian-backed forces
are now entrenching themselves on
Israel’s borders — particularly in this
northern outpost.
Iran and its proxies have used the
war and the battle against the Isis jihadists to exert their power throughout the
Middle East, creating a land corridor of
influence that stretches from Tehran to
the Mediterranean.
On the ground in Syria, the balance of
power is changing quickly. After nearly
seven years of conflict, President Bashar
al-Assad’s regime and his Iranian and
Lebanese backers are inching closer
towards victory, taking back territory
from rebels abutting the Israeli-held part
of the Golan Heights.
Last month, the Syrian regime retook a
village a mere two miles from the Israeli
border. Behind a veneer of official
silence, Israel appears to be responding
with force inside Syria and on its borders.
At the end of last year, Israel reportedly began to step up strikes on Iranian
targets in Syria. An attack on a rumoured
Iranian base near Damascus was attributed by several sources to Israel.
Last week, according to official and
opposition media in Syria, Israeli jets and
ground-to-ground missiles struck an
arms depot belonging to the Damascus
Concern is rising among Israeli officials that soon Hezbollah and its allies
could have a significant presence both on
the country’s border with Lebanon — site
of a short and brutal war in 2006 — and its
border with Syria. A clash on one side,
analysts say, could spark conflict on both.
“Iran is duplicating Hezbollah from
Lebanon to the Golan Heights to create a
Israeli soldiers
the LebaneseSyrian border.
Israeli forces are
said to be
attacking Iranian
targets in Syria
Tel Aviv
Gaza Strip
50 miles
second Hezbollah on Israel’s border,”
said Major-General Amos Yadlin, a
retired chief of military intelligence in the
Israel Defence Forces (IDF). “If one side is
determined to build a force in Syria and
the other side is determined not to let it
happen, this is a recipe for escalation.”
Israel says the entrenchment of
Hezbollah or Iran-backed Shi’ite militias
on its border is a red line. Binyamin Netanyahu, Israel’s increasingly troubled
prime minister, has taken to likening Iran
to a cat, stretching out its paws to bat at its
enemy while keeping itself out of range.
In November, Netanyahu told the BBC
that Iranians “want to bring their air
force there, right next to Israel, they want
to bring Shi’ite and Iranian divisions right
next to Israel. They want to bring submarines. So we will not let that happen,
we will resist it.”
Israeli officials say the threat also
extends to Gaza, where they accuse Iran
of funding the terror group Islamic Jihad
and giving support to Hamas, the militant
organisation that runs the 25-mile coastal
“It’s amazing how everything has to do
with Iran,” said Yisrael Katz, the Israeli
intelligence and transport minister, this
“In a short time we will see ourselves
fighting a much more challenging threat
on the operative and military levels if we
don’t change direction.”
Analysts and diplomats in the region,
however, cautioned that neither side
wanted a war.
“It’s really not clear what Iran is
actually doing in Syria,” said one western
diplomat formerly based in Israel. “It’s in
Israel’s interests to play up the Iranian
threat. They know it can get them
sympathy in Washington.”
Donald Trump’s administration has
vowed to destroy the 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran. Netanyahu, analysts say,
knows the value of staying close to the US
president, who last year recognised
Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
However, in the Golan Heights, soldiers say the threat is gaining ground.
“We’re not looking for a fight,” the IDF
officer said. “If they’re looking for one,
we will be there in full force.”
Tehran in devil’s
pact to rebuild
Cathy Scott-Clark
and Adrian Levy
Iran has experienced its
worst civil unrest in years,
triggered in part by plans to
increase military spending
for regional adventurism
while cutting state subsidies
at a time of severe economic
How would Iranians react
to evidence of the Shi’ite
regime’s most shocking
initiative — a secret pact to
rebuild al-Qaeda, the Sunni
terrorist movement, and send
it into Syria?
Iranian largesse has played
a significant role in reviving
al-Qaeda. The movement was
400 strong when the twin
towers fell (according to FBI
figures), splintered by the US
invasion of Afghanistan and
later overshadowed by Isis.
But today’s al-Qaeda has
rebuilt itself to the point of
being able to call on tens of
thousands of foot soldiers.
General Qassem
Soleimani, head of foreign
operations for Iran’s
Revolutionary Guard, first
offered sanctuary to Osama
bin Laden’s family and alQaeda’s military leaders after
they fled Afghanistan in 2001.
Soleimani built them a
residential compound at the
heart of a military training
centre in Tehran. From there
al-Qaeda reorganised, trained
and established funding
networks with the help of
Iran, co-ordinated multiple
terrorist atrocities and
supported the bloodbath
against Shi’ites by al-Qaeda in
Iraq, the Sunni terrorist force
that was later reborn as Isis.
Today the Iran al-Qaeda
alliance is thriving and
focused on Syria, where
al-Qaeda is resurgent. Iran
spends an estimated £4.5bn a
year supporting the regime of
Bashar al-Assad and
Soleimani has put al-Qaeda
into play to assist with his
manoeuvring between
factions, playing sides off
against one another so that
Iran comes out the winner.
Melding with Syrian rebels,
reducing its volubility and
toning down the barbarity, a
reformed al-Qaeda has found
in Soleimani’s expeditionary
Quds Force from Iran and
also in Hezbollah, his Shi’ite
Lebanese allies, models for
how it might evolve.
Important new evidence,
including unpublished
memoirs and interviews with
senior al-Qaeda members and
bin Laden’s family, show how
Soleimani engineered this.
Al-Qaeda’s military
commanders stayed in
Tehran until 2015 when
Soleimani flew five of them to
Damascus with a remit to
contact Isis fighters and
leaders, encouraging splits.
US intelligence described
one of them, Mohammed
al-Masri, as the “most
experienced and capable
operational planner not in US
or allied custody”. He is also
the father-in-law of bin
Laden’s son and heir, Hamza.
Their work has been
co-ordinated from Tehran by
Soleimani: offered haven to
bin Laden family after 9/11
al-Qaeda’s overall military
commander, Saif al-Adel, a
former colonel in the
Egyptian army. But he has
clashed with Ayman
al-Zawahiri, bin Laden’s
successor as al-Qaeda leader.
Zawahiri is understood to
be in the Pakistan capital,
Karachi, and to have taken
charge of Hamza bin Laden as
a mascot. He had wanted the
Sunni rebel forces of Isis and
al-Qaeda to unify and fight.
Al-Adel had urged his men to
sit tight and wait for Isis to
blow itself out.
“Let’s say they had a little
disagreement,” said Abu
Muhammad al-Maqdisi, a
jihad scholar based in Jordan
who acts as an emissary
between the two factions. “It
is still not resolved.”
The Exile: The Flight of
Osama bin Laden by Cathy
Scott-Clark and Adrian Levy
is published by Bloomsbury
Yemeni children dying for want of medicine cut off by Saudi blockade
In the intensive care unit at
the al-Sadaqa hospital in
Aden, Yemen, three-year-old
Khadir is fighting
unsuccessfully for his life. He
has a severe lung infection
but there is no ventilator here
to help him breathe.
His eyes are closed, his
chest heaving with the effort
of taking in air. At the foot of
his bed is a bin full of emptied
bags of blood and discarded
needles. A fan turns limply to
clear the fetid air. Flies settle
on him. His mother, Yamal,
tries in vain to swat them way
before slumping over his bed
in defeat.
He has been sick for weeks,
she says, but she brought him
in only three days ago. The
journey from their home in
the southern province of
Abyan takes six hours and,
with fuel scarce, travel is
prohibitively expensive.
Khadir is her only child.
One day later, he is dead.
Dr Nahla Arishi, a
paediatrician who has
worked at the hospital for 24
years, concedes that Khadir’s
death was preventable, like
so many she sees here. If only
they had come to the hospital
sooner; if only the hospital
had a ventilator; if only they
had the appropriate
intravenous antibiotics; if
only they had enough doctors
and nurses. The list goes on. I
catch the flush of
embarrassment on Arishi’s
face as she rinses her hands
with bottled water in the
neonatal ward. There is no
soap to wash them properly.
The healthcare system in
Yemen has been stretched
beyond its limits by nearly
three years of war. Doctors
have struggled to contend
with up to 1m suspected cases
of cholera since last April and
a resurgence of diphtheria.
Yemen is often called the
forgotten war, in part because
it has received relatively little
media attention. More than
5,000 people have been
killed, 3m internally
displaced, and 22.2m need
humanitarian assistance,
according to the UN.
The conflict, which pits a
Saudi Arabia-led coalition
against Houthi rebels, which
are believed to be backed by
Iran, has divided the country.
After months of effort, we
were able to gain rare access
to the south of the country. It
is nominally under the
control of the coalition,
though the streets are run by
a patchwork of militias vying
for control of Aden’s port and
precious oil resources.
Last Monday, rebels
threatened to cut off Red Sea
traffic unless the Saudi
blockade on Yemen’s port
and international airport was
fully lifted. The blockade was
put in place to stop Iranian
weapons from reaching
Houthi rebels but it has also
stopped desperately needed
food, medicine and fuel
getting into the country.
What does come through is
heavily taxed as it passes
Khadir in hospital
in Aden with his
mother shortly
before he died of
a lung infection.
Doctors said his
death had been
through territory controlled
by warring factions.
In a dusty village in Lahij
province, we find Ahmed
Helmi. He spends most of his
day lying on a thin sheet on a
concrete floor. It is the
coolest place in the house
and his mother, Soumaya,
does what she can to make
him comfortable.
Ahmed is five, but owing to
malnutrition there is little
more to him than papery skin
stretched across brittle bones
and giant brown eyes gazing
blankly from hollow sockets.
“I took him to a doctor in
Aden; sometimes he starts
getting better but then he just
gets diarrhoea again,” says his
mother as she strokes his soft
hair. “Life is hard but you
walk the path of God, and
God will look out for you.”
Driving back from the
village, we pass a market
selling fruit and vegetables
that few can afford, while two
miles up the road children
are hungry. It is one of many
jarring snapshots I take home
from my trip.
Early one morning, we
visit a camp for some of the
displaced people. Tents are
improvised using plastic
bags, sticks and sacks.
Women daub their faces with
mud to protect them from the
searing sun. A sharp wind
whips the dirty, dusty air. A
man begins to sing a haunting
and beautiful melody. “My
whole life, agony and I have
been like lovers,” his voice
echoes across the camp.
“Why, world, do you only
show us the terrible things?”
Clarissa Ward is a foreign
correspondent for CNN
The Sunday Times January 14, 2018
Oprah fills star-shaped hole
for Democrats eyeing 2020
‘paid off
porn star’
after tryst
Toby Harnden
The talk-show host’s Golden Globes speech has inspired
a party lacking stellar candidates to run against Trump
Toby Harnden Washington
It was hailed as a pitch-perfect speech — a
black woman eloquently giving voice to
the frustrations of tens of millions of
Americans in the age of Donald Trump.
The touchstone of Oprah Winfrey’s
speech at the Golden Globes last Sunday
could easily become a campaign rallying
cry: “A new day is on the horizon.” Within
minutes, her captivating address had
become a viral sensation on social media
amid calls for her to run for president
in 2020.
Can they be serious? Could America
pick another president from the glossy
world of showbiz?
The prospect of a television celebrity
with no political experience reaching the
White House would have been laughed at
even two years ago but Trump’s shock
2016 victory has guaranteed that “Oprah
2020” is being taken deadly seriously.
Many Democrats see the oft-described
“Queen of Empathy” as the antithesis of
Donald Trump. From a humble background in Mississippi — where she was
raped aged 9 and pregnant at 14 — she has
long spoken up for the downtrodden.
At the same time, the talk-show host
could match Trump in terms of global
name recognition, star power and cash in
the bank — her net worth is $2.8bn
(£2bn), according to Forbes.
Her heartfelt plea for the healing of “a
culture broken by brutally powerful
men” seemed to capture the essence of
the #MeToo movement in which a new
generation of women has spoken out
about sexual assault.
Winfrey herself has done nothing to
damp down the speculation. Her longtime partner, Stedman Graham, told the
Los Angeles Times: “It’s up to the people.
She would absolutely do it.”
When asked about the possibility last
year, Winfrey signalled that Trump’s win
had made her reconsider something she
had previously ruled out. “I thought, ‘Oh
gee, I don’t have the experience, I don’t
know enough,’” she said in a television
interview. “ And now I’m thinking, ‘Oh.
Polls indicates that Winfrey, 63, would
be in with more than a shot. A Raba
Research survey conducted just after the
speech put her on 20%, two points above
Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, a liberal heroine widely regarded
by many Democrats as their frontrunner.
A Marist poll gave Winfrey a whopping
11-point lead over Trump.
Trump’s disapproval rating has
recently risen to an average of 56% amid
concerns about his mental health after he
reacted to the devastating Michael Wolff
book about him by protesting via Twitter
that he was “a very stable genius”.
Democrats are now favoured over
Republicans by double-digits, prompting
a wave of retirements within Trump’s
party in advance of an expected drubbing in the November mid-term elections. A number of senior figures in the
Trump administration, including the
secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, and a
top economic adviser, Gary Cohn, are
expected to resign soon.
While all this points to a likely defeat
for Trump in 2020, Democrats are terrified they might snatch defeat from the
jaws of victory once again, just as Hillary
Oprah Winfrey
has altered her
view that a lack
of political
experience rules
her out of
a run for the
White House
Clinton did in 2016. The buzz around
Winfrey highlights this concern among
Democratic strategists that their current
crop of likely presidential contenders
lacks star quality. “You have a bunch of
Celine Dions but there’s no Beatles,” Phil
Singer, a leading Democratic strategist,
told The Hill newspaper in November.
Joe Biden, the former vice-president,
who was at 26% in the Raba Research
poll, will be 78 in 2020 while Senator
Bernie Sanders, who was on 21%, will
be 79. Between them, they have served
63 years in Congress.
Biden has raised eyebrows with his
touchy-feely manner around women and
on one occasion appeared to give a public
shoulder massage to the stunned wife
of Ashton Carter as he was giving a
speech after being sworn in as Pentagon
chief in 2015.
Clinton supporters accused the fervent “Bernie Bro” supporters who
backed Sanders in the 2016 Democratic
primaries of being sexist.
Jamal Simmons, another prominent
Democrat, said in November: “I’m not
sure a man can get nominated as the
Democratic nominee right now. There
are some who could and should, but the
level of vetting on male candidates will be
more intense than normal.”
Warren is 68 and regarded as too far to
the left and too humourless to attract
independent voters. Trump has
relentlessly mocked her as “Pocahontas” after she described
herself as Native American,
based on an 1894 document that listed her
great-great-greatgrandmother as
a Cherokee.
Senators Kirsten Gillibrand
of New York
Harris of California, who is
black, are expected to run and
are much younger
untested on the national stage.
Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey, who
is also black and was once viewed
as the new Barack Obama, has faced
criticism for being too close to Wall
Other mega-rich figures such as Howard Schultz, the former chief executive of
Starbucks, and Tom Steyer, a top Democratic donor who has run television ads
calling for Trump to be impeached, are
also in the mix. Winfrey, however, could
easily eclipse them.
Republicans are taking Winfrey seriously, attacking her last week for her past
association with Harvey Weinstein, the
Hollywood mogul whose unmasking as a
sexual predator sparked the #MeToo
They gleefully circulated an Instagram
photo of Winfrey kissing Weinstein along
with a comment from the singer Seal:
“Oh I forgot, that’s right . . . you’d heard
the rumours but you had no idea he
was actually serially assaulting young
starry-eyed actresses who in turn had no
idea what they were getting into. My
The furore over Trump’s comments
last week when he repeatedly
described Haiti, El Salvador and
African nations as “shithole countries”
only intensified the calls for Winfrey to
take the plunge.
“Oprah has dignity and compassion
and she’s showed what leaders of
countries need to do,” said AJ Stevens, a
Kansas businessman who started a “Draft
Oprah” political action committee last
year and runs the
A new American president tends to be
a pendulum swing away from the previous incumbent — hence the whiplash
experienced over the past two decades as
Bill Clinton was succeeded by George W
Bush, who was followed by Obama and
then Trump.
That would point Democrats towards a
sober-minded elected official with
proven experience running a major city
or state rather than another wealthy
media star with unformed political
Stevens, however, argued that Trump
had exploded that paradigm. “At this
point, the game has been changed,” he
said. “We didn’t care about experience when we elected President
Trump. It’s going to take a similar
movement to beat him at his own in
In a 2000 episode of The
Simpsons called Bart to the
Future a Trump presidency was
predicted. Some have seen an
omen in another cartoon show.
A 2006 episode of The
Boondocks ended with the image
of a US Times newspaper dated
November 8, 2020, bearing
Winfrey’s grinning visage and
the headline: “Oprah Winfrey
elected president”.
Lurid allegations that a sexual
encounter between Donald
Trump and a pornographic
actress had prompted a
payment of hush money just
before the 2016 election were
met with uncharacteristic
silence from the president
A report by The Wall Street
Journal claimed Trump had a
sexual encounter with
Stephanie Clifford, an adult
film star who uses the stage
name Stormy Daniels, at a
Nevada hotel during a golf
championship in July 2006.
His wife Melania was at home
in New York tending to their
newborn son at the time.
The newspaper recounted
that Michael Cohen, Trump’s
lawyer, organised a $130,000
(about £95,000) payment to
Clifford in October 2016, a
month before the election,
when she was discussing
sharing her story with ABC’s
Good Morning America show.
Cohen yesterday denied
that Trump and Clifford had a
sexual encounter, stating the
allegation was “outlandish”
and part of a “false
narrative”. He did not
address the claim that money
was paid to Clifford. Trump,
71, ignored the matter in
unusually restrained Twitter
messages yesterday morning.
After the news broke on
Friday the Daily Beast website
reported that another adult
film star, Alana Evans, had
been invited by Trump and
Clifford to engage in a
Evans said Clifford had
confided in her at the time:
“All I’m going to say is: I
ended up with Donald in his
hotel room. Picture him
chasing me around his hotel
room in his tighty-whities.”
Evans said: “Stormy calls
me four or five times. By the
last two phone calls she’s
with Donald and I can hear
him and he’s talking through
the phone to me saying, ‘Oh
come on, Alana, let’s have
some fun. Let’s have some
fun. Come to the party, we’re
waiting for you.’
“And I was like, ‘OMG it’s
Donald Trump!’ Men like him
scare me because they have
so much power and this was
way before his presidential
nomination. So I . . . turned
my phone off.”
The White House said:
“These are old, recycled
reports which were
published and strongly
denied prior to the election.”
Clifford, 38, in a statement
provided by Cohen, denied
having a relationship with
Trump or having been paid to
cover one up.
“If indeed I did have a
relationship with Donald
Trump, trust me, you
wouldn’t be reading about it
in the news, you would be
reading about it in my book,”
she said.
Kim’s ‘army of beauties’ heads south for Olympic cheerleader clash
Philip Sherwell
Asia Correspondent
Despite his dumpy physique,
Kim Jong-un, the North
Korean dictator, is known to
be a winter sports enthusiast,
a legacy of his days at a
private school in Switzerland.
He is also married to a former
cheerleader. So perhaps
diplomats should have
seen his latest surprise
After months of spiralling
nuclear tensions and threats
of war, Kim is preparing to
launch a new cross-border
offensive on the Korean
peninsula, spearheaded by
an elite squadron of highly
trained operatives.
But for this crucial
mission, the North’s young
dictator will deploy not his
missiles, artillery or infantry
divisions, but a force referred
to in the South as his “army
of beauties”.
After a breakthrough in
talks between the two
countries last week,
Pyongyang has agreed to
send a delegation to next
month’s Winter Olympics in
South Korea, just 50 miles
from the front line of the
demilitarised zone.
The team will include
athletes, a martial arts
demonstration team, regime
officials and an art troupe,
and also — most strikingly —
the North’s phalanx of female
At past Winter Games, all
eyes have been trained on the
ski slopes, ice rink and luge
track. But at next month’s
Olympics in Pyeongchang,
the showdown of the
cheerleaders will also be the
focus as the two Koreas
compete for accolades with
their best moves.
At the Korea Cheerleading
Association (KCA) in Seoul,
the South’s officials are
confident that their team will
win the day.
The Northerners “will be
surprised when they see what
we can do”, said Kim Seonjong, the KCA’s international
Pyongyang still pursues
the traditional approach to
cheerleading, with a heavy
emphasis on synchronised
dance and jump routines on
the sidelines, while the South
and other international
competitors now pursue
what is called sports
cheerleading, with a focus on
tumbling, and acrobatics
such as pyramids — an
activity that is on its way to
being recognised as an
Olympic event.
There is also a marked
gender divide. The South’s
team of 25 is split between
women and men, nearly all
students selected after open
trials last year, while the
North’s all-female squad is
hand-picked by the regime
based on strict criteria of
physical appearance and
ideological purity.
The women are in their
late teens or early twenties,
good-looking and devotees of
the North’s regime.
They also hail from “good
families” — code for loyalty
to the government — and
many study at the elite Kim
Il-sung University, named
after the current leader’s
grandfather, the nation’s
The North’s
cheerleaders made their
debut in the South at
the 2002 Asian Games
The North’s
squad is
by the regime
in Busan, when some 300
arrived on a ferry dressed in
colourful hanboks — the
traditional Korean dress —
waving “unification flags”, a
pale blue silhouette of the
whole Korean peninsula.
But cheerleading
diplomacy has not always
worked out so well. The last
delegation dispatched by
Pyongyang went through
their moves at the Asian
Athletics Championships in
the South Korean city of
Incheon in 2005.
Among them was a young
woman called Ri Sol-ju, who
re-emerged seven years later
as Kim’s wife.
But 21 of her fellow squad
members were reportedly
dispatched to a labour camp
for having the temerity to talk
about the South after they
returned to the famineplagued “workers’ paradise”.
There is intense
speculation about whom Kim
will choose to lead his
delegation to the Winter
Olympics — and the etiquette
headaches that might cause.
One name in the running
is his younger sister, Kim
Yo-jong, recently promoted
to the politburo of the ruling
Workers’ Party and the only
woman in the senior
Another is Choe Ryonghae, the regime’s de facto
South Korea’s cheerleaders, including Park Ki-ryang, centre, who was voted baseball’s most beautiful, concentrate on acrobatics while the North, above, prefers synchronised dance
No 2, but he is one of the
officials placed under UN
sanctions and blacklisted by
the South over Pyongyang’s
nuclear tests.
There will be challenging
seating arrangements for the
opening ceremony on
February 9, where the US
delegation will be led by Mike
Pence, the vice-president.
Ivanka Trump, the
president’s daughter and
sometimes stand-in at
international events, may
also attend.
Organisers are hoping the
dispatch of the cheerleaders
will bolster slow ticket sales
after previous fears of a
provocation by the North.
But amid the focus on
Olympic goodwill and
harmony, there was also a
stark reminder that
Pyongyang has made no
concessions in its headlong
rush to develop long-range
nuclear weapons.
In a news conference
hailing the thaw in relations,
Moon Jae-in, South Korea’s
president, noted that his
ultimate goal was to remove
nuclear weapons from the
The response from the
North’s state media was
blunt. “The nuclear deterrent
is the life and soul of the
nation that cannot be
bartered for anything and the
eternal foundation for a rosy
future of the country,” it
The Sunday Times January 14, 2018
‘Teen’ refugees threaten to scupper Merkel
Crimes linked to asylum
seekers who may have lied
about their age are holding
back the German leader’s
bid to build a coalition
Bojan Pancevski
Mia’s family accepted Abdul, the Afghan
refugee who became her boyfriend, as
their “own son”. Yet two days after
Christmas, in a fit of jealousy, he allegedly
ambushed the 15-year-old girl in broad
daylight and stabbed her though the
heart with a 4in kitchen knife.
Mia, from the west German town of
Kandel, died in hospital. Abdul, an unaccompanied underage asylum seeker
who claims to be 15 but appears older, is
in custody awaiting charges.
The case has ignited a fierce debate
about the handling of tens of thousands
of underage asylum seekers whose
presence in Germany is laid at the door of
the chancellor, Angela Merkel, as she
tries to form a government.
Since September’s general election,
Merkel has been conducting the longest
political negotiation in her 12 years as
Germany’s leader. After failing to reach a
deal with the Green Party and the liberal
Free Democrats, her Christian Democratic Union (CDU) reached an outline
agreement on Friday with the Social
Democrats (SPD) to continue the unpopular grand coalition that has governed
Germany since 2013.
A key stumbling block is migration,
which has been poisoning the political
well since 2015, when Merkel made an
executive decision to keep Germany’s
borders open to asylum seekers on
humanitarian grounds.
More than 1.5m people poured into the
country, among them 55,000 registered
as unaccompanied minors, 24,000 of
them recorded as younger than 21. A
string of brutal crimes committed by
apparently underage refugees have
prompted demands by Merkel’s allies for
obligatory medical age tests in cases
where the migrants appear older than
they claim to be. The tests — and a cap on
migrant numbers — could become
another obstacle for the coalition.
Like most registered underage
migrants, Abdul renteredGermany with
no personal documents. He told authorities on arrival last year that he was 14 and
from Kabul. His asylum request was
rejected, partly because of doubts about
his age, and yet he was allowed to remain
in the country and go to school, where he
met Mia, who became his girlfriend.
“We took him in as our own son . . . he
had no one else,” Mia’s father, David, told
Germany’s Bild newspaper. “He can’t
possibly be only 15 years old. We hope
that the investigation will establish his
true age.”
Before the murder, which took place in
front of Mia’s classmates at a chemist’s
shop on December 27, Abdul was threatening to post naked pictures of her on
social networks. He also allegedly beat up
one of her male friends. The family
reported him to the police, who did not
intervene because of his age.
Another Afghan migrant, Hussein,
Migrants enter Germany from Austria in 2015 after Angela Merkel opened the gates to asylum seekers. More than 1.5m people have poured in since then, including 55,000 unaccompanied minors
raped and then strangled to death a
19-year-old medical student who worked
for a refugee charity in Freiburg. Hussein
claimed to be 16, but his father, speaking
at his trial, said he was in fact 32 at the
time of the murder.
More than 91% of registered juvenile
asylum seekers are male. Caring for each
of them costs Germany as much as
€60,000 a year. A simple x-ray of the
wrist and jaw can help determine a
person’s age, but such medical tests are
rarely performed for fear of infringing
personal rights. Estimates based on tests
in other countries such as Sweden and
Austria show that between 40% and 80%
of asylum seekers claiming to be juveniles
are older than 18.
Frank Ulrich Montgomery, president
of the German Medical Association, has
warned that radiological examinations
without medical necessity must not be
allowed. However, he has been challenged by Andreas Schmeling, a physician and forensics expert who is one of
the world’s leading authorities on medi-
cal age testing. Schmeling, who helped
determine Hussein’s age, says he has perfected the use of a three-step system. It
includes a physical examination, x-ray of
the hand and the jaws, and computed
tomography (CT) scan of the collarbone.
“There is never 100% certainty, but
the methodology allows us to establish
beyond reasonable doubt whether a
person is older than 18, or 21,” Schmeling
“For me, it is not sensible to use medical testing on persons who have personal
documents or are obviously younger
than 18. But for the rest, the x-ray
examination is fully harmless . . . it is not
dangerous, especially not for young,
healthy people who have not been
exposed to radiation — and unaccompanied underage refugees are, as a rule,
healthy and young.”
While a small portion of the young
migrants have lost their families fleeing
conflict, many Germans suspect most are
sent to Europe via smuggling routes by
parents from impoverished countries
who hope to receive money from them or
to follow them at a later date.
Reports of crimes by “juvenile”
migrants have shocked Germany. A man
named as Muhammad Riyad, who
claimed to be 16 when he entered the
country in 2015, went on an axe rampage
on a train near the city of Würzburg and
seriously injured several people before
he was shot dead by police.
Another story that made headlines last
week was that of a refugee aged nearly 30
who claimed he was 12. He was allowed to
go to school, where he allegedly terrorised the children and sold drugs. Even
after nearly 100 clashes with the law,
police were unable to act, as the youth
welfare office was refusing to test his age.
The man justified his behaviour by saying
he had suffered trauma caused by a
bombing of his old school in Iraq.
He was arrested, together with his
father, who is also a refugee, only when it
emerged the pair had joined Isis, the
terror group, according to a report in the
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.
An editorial in Die Welt newspaper
argued that the resistance to medical
checks reflected a national trauma
related to the Nazi era, when Germany’s
doctors participated in the atrocities of
Adolf Hitler’s regime. The police have
voiced their frustration.
“Police knew already in 2015 that
many of them are grown-up men, but
when we then took them to the youth
welfare office and asked to medically
check the age of a supposedly 15-year-old
refugee, they would flatly refuse,” said Ulf
Küch, vice-chairman of the Association of
German Criminal Investigators.
The recent migration influx has
pushed crime rates up, studies show.
Sexual offences spiked by 13% in 2016
compared with 2015.
A survey in North Rhine-Westphalia,
Germany’s most populous state, showed
that the number of violent crimes
increased by 10.4% between 2014 and
2017 — and refugees were behind 92% of
the offences. The fact that refugees are
predominantly young males was quoted
The relationship
Malvina, 16, and
a Syrian refugee
who is at least
20 has provoked
anger in
Germany. Far
right, alleged
killer Abdul
appears much
older than his
claimed age of 15
as one of the reasons, as well as the fact
that their crimes are reported to police
more frequently.
Meanwhile, more than 15,000 asylum
seekers arrive in Germany every month,
the majority with no identification
papers, according to Rainer Wendt, head
of the German Police Union.
“And then we are surprised there are
many offenders among them. The price
for the politicians’ naivety will be paid by
the crime victims,” Wendt told Die Welt.
It is not only crime that is causing
concern. Last week, a children’s television show about the amorous relationship between a 16-year-old girl and a Syrian refugee prompted public outrage
after it emerged that he was at least 20
years old. In the show, the girl said her
new boyfriend wanted her to wear the
hijab and keep a distance from her male
friends. It also emerged that he had
“liked” the Facebook page of an extremist preacher. Experts and politicians criticised the programme, which is funded by
a licence fee.
Merkel, under pressure from the
CDU’s conservative partners in Bavaria,
the Christian Social Union, to cap
migrant numbers, is struggling to cope.
Her preliminary coalition agreement
stipulates asylum claims will be limited to
220,000 a year, which the SPD has previously argued was unconstitutional.
The draft agreement will be put to a
vote by SPD members, many of whom
have rejected it publicly. Yesterday the
state SPD party in Saxony-Anhalt formally rejected it. No wonder a recent poll
indicated that 52% of Germans see the
prospects for a coalition as negative.
Italian party with comic roots blossoms into a
Michael Sheridan Rome
Young activists are hunched
over computers in the war
rooms of the insurgent Five
Star Movement inside Italy’s
parliament, scenting a
historic breakthrough.
The party is the
frontrunner as the campaign
starts for the Italian general
election on March 4,
completing its transition in a
few years from the comical
protest fringe to the centre of
Italian politics.
Whatever the result, the
election will shake up
Europe, presenting a test for
German domination and a
potential threat to the euro.
“There are no ideological
hangups in our party,” said
Five Star’s leader, Luigi Di
Maio, 31, whose appeal to
younger voters is built on
familiar themes of inequality,
generational discontent and
disgust with the old parties.
Di Maio got a boost last
week when Italy won support
from France for concerted
new moves to deter
migration, potentially
defusing an issue that has
drawn voters away from Five
Star to the far right. He can
now move to capitalise on
another popular issue,
sharpening the party’s
demand for an end to the
fiscal austerity imposed by
The Five Star manifesto
calls for a universal basic
income of about £700 a
month. The party says it will
renegotiate the European
Union’s “fiscal compact” with
Brussels so that it can spend
more, cut taxes and fund a
series of reforms.
Di Maio, who has served as
deputy speaker of parliament
for five years, said in a recent
interview with The Sunday
Times that a Five Star
government could call a
referendum on membership
of the euro as “a last resort”.
All the main parties are
vying to stand up for Italy
against the economic policies
directed by northern Europe,
but it is Five Star’s claim to be
authentic and fresh that has
kept it in the lead.
“We are the leaders in this
campaign and they are the
followers,” Di Maio said.
“You’ll see how the old
system works in the coming
months. There’ll be a
campaign of disinformation
against us founded on
Thousands of would-be
candidates have swamped the
party’s online registration
platform, underlining the
grassroots enthusiasm that
has propelled it this far.
Di Maio’s grown-up image
is hampered by the absurdist
personality of Five Star’s
founder, the comedian Beppe
Grillo, and the party has
taken a knock from scandals
around Virginia Raggi, 37, its
telegenic but hapless mayor
of Rome.
Raggi recently asked a
Rome court for an immediate
trial on a charge of lying
about a public appointment,
saying: “I want an immediate
hearing because I am
Five Star leader Luigi Di Maio with girlfriend Silvia Virgulti
Her ascent was typical of
the party’s volatile early years
when Grillo had dictated
candidacies and policies on a
whim, secure in the
knowledge that his own
charisma was its main asset.
When Five Star’s Chiara
Appendino became mayor of
Turin, however, the party
began to embed itself in local
administration and in
parliament. “We have learnt
how the apparatus works,” Di
Maio said with a smile.
The path to power is not
simple. In the corridors of
parliament the tight poll
numbers for Five Star are
leading to intricate political
calculations. The movement
consistently hits 28% support,
but it is tied with a potential
coalition of the centre-right
and a possible leftist alliance
around the ruling Democratic
Party (PD).
Di Maio said that if Five
Star won about 200 out of
630 seats in parliament, it
would be “mathematically
impossible” for his rivals to
form a coalition and he
would ask Sergio Mattarella,
the Italian president, for
permission to form a
Also running the numbers
is the octogenarian tycoon
The Sunday Times January 14, 2018
Feminists dethrone
Catherine the great
The French actress’s
denunciation of the
#MeToo campaign
has sparked a
The positions
held by
and her
friends tend
to devalue
Deneuve, pictured
in 1975, says
flirtation should
not be seen as
an offence
poll frontrunner WORLD NEWS
Silvio Berlusconi, himself
barred from election because
of a conviction for tax fraud
but who has staged a political
Far from the glare of
publicity, a suntanned
Berlusconi welcomed
politicians to his private villa
at Arcore, in northern Italy,
for private talks on alliances.
Berlusconi’s Forza Italia
party shares some policies
with the nationalist Northern
League and could win
enough seats to form a
coalition with another
right-wing, anti-immigration
party, the Brothers of Italy.
This could have
consequences for the euro.
Both Berlusconi and Matteo
Salvini, the League’s leader,
talk of a “parallel currency”
for use in Italy while retaining
the euro for international
trade and use by tourists — a
policy that has not yet been
explained to the financial
Even the ruling centre-left
PD has put the renegotiation
of the EU’s fiscal compact in
its manifesto, recognising
that public opinion is hostile
to its imposition of strict
budget cuts on high-debt
nations such as Italy.
Europe has inflicted “a
double betrayal” on Italy,
argued Maurizio Ferrera, a
Milan-based professor of
political science and
economics who writes for the
Corriere della Sera, the Milan
daily newspaper.
“Fiscal discipline and
structural reform are
obviously important, but they
are also politically divisive
and sometimes economically
paradoxical,” he added.
Although the PD is sliding
in the polls, it harbours hopes
of striking a working deal in
parliament, perhaps even
making a “grand bargain”
with Berlusconi to keep
power in the hands of the
traditional parties.
There is also a striking
unanimity that Italy cannot
continue to take in migrants —
more than 119,000 arrived
last year, according to the
EU’s Frontex border agency,
at a cost of more than £4bn to
the state.
“Italy feels abandoned,”
admitted the prime minister,
Paolo Gentiloni, the suave
scion of a distinguished
Roman family. “This is a
European problem that needs
a European solution.”
The solution, however,
might come too late to
salvage his government.
Ku Klux Klan killer False alarm over
Hawaii ‘missile’
dies in jail at 92
A Ku Klux Klan leader whose
murder of three civil rights
workers inspired the 1988
film Mississippi Burning has
died in prison.
Edgar Ray Killen, 92, was
convicted of masterminding
the 1964 killings which
outraged the nation and
helped prompt the passage
of the Civil Rights Act the
same year.
An emergency warning of
an incoming ballistic missile
sent to Hawaiian mobile
phones caused panic
yesterday. Residents of the
island were warned to seek
immediate shelter and told
“this is not a drill”.
Soon afterwards, the
emergency management
agency confessed it had
been a mistake.
Tunisia bows to
austerity protests
Academic fired
for harassment
The Tunisian government
announced yesterday that it
would commit to increasing
state support for the
poorest, in the wake of
anti-austerity protests.
Almost 800 people have
been arrested since Monday,
amid demonstrations
against tax rises that have
increased the cost of phone
calls, cooking gas and
internet provision.
A prominent academic in
Beijing who was targeted by
the burgeoning #MeToo
movement in China has
been dismissed. A sexual
harassment inquiry, which
began after a former
student’s allegations were
supported by other women,
found that Chen Xiaowu of
Beihang University had
“seriously violated” its code
of conduct.
Michael Sheridan Paris
There is nothing quite like a row involving
flirtation, feminism and intellectuals to
encapsulate the very French character of
the latest episode in the campaign against
sexual harassment.
It started with an open letter from the
actress Catherine Deneuve, famous for
her portrayal of a housewife-turnedprostitute in the 1967 erotic drama, Belle
de Jour. Along with 99 other female intellectual and luminaries, she denounced
“a wave of purification that seems to
know no limits” and passionately
defended French men’s “freedom to
“Rape is a crime. But persistent or
clumsy flirtation isn’t an offence, nor is
gallantry a kind of macho aggression,”
the “collective of 100” wrote.
France has seen little public scandal to
rival the wave of denunciations in entertainment and political life in other
countries since allegations of sexual
abuse against the Hollywood producer
Harvey Weinstein surfaced last year.
A campaign in France dubbed
#BalanceTonPorc (“expose your pig”)
has gained less traction than the global
#MeToo movement, for reasons that
Deneuve and her fellow signatories may
have been seeking to explain. Their
1,000-word open letter, however, has
prompted a scandal of its own. It
appeared in Le Monde, the bible of the
liberal left, guaranteeing a swift and furious response from the daily newspaper’s
Deneuve, 74, is a lifetime supporter of
progressive social causes. She campaigned in favour of legalising abortion in
the 1970s and defended the Socialist
politician Ségolène Royal against “misogynistic” treatment by the press when she
stood for president in 2007.
Royal gave short shrift to the letter last
week, however, telling an interviewer it
was a shame that “ our great Catherine
Deneuve” had been used to publicise it.
She said “victims of sexual violence are
already crushed by the fear of speaking”.
Silvio Berlusconi, the former Italian
prime minister famous for his “bunga
bunga” sex parties, did Deneuve few
favours by taking her side, telling Italian
television it was only natural that women
should enjoy being hit on by men.
Caroline De Haas, 37, a gender equality
campaigner and former government
adviser, was at the forefront of the outrage. “Catherine Deneuve has nothing to
do with feminism in France,” she said.
Joined by 29 male and female feminist
activists, De Haas issued a public rebuttal
of the letter: “In the history of women’s’
rights down the centuries, every time
there’s an advance, there’s a backlash.
This piece in Le Monde is the backlash.”
“It’s very sad,” De Haas told The
Sunday Times, “the positions held by
Catherine Deneuve and her friends tend
to devalue violence against women, to
banalise it and to make women who are
victims think that they themselves are
responsible for the violence they have
For De Haas, the reaction in France to
the Weinstein affair and its repercussions
has been “pitiable . . . there are very few
actors and actresses who are engaged
with the issue. It’s horrible.”
As a public feminist, De Haas said, she
was used to insults and threats. “Only this
morning I received a private message on
Twitter from a man who sent a photo of
his sex organ, plus a message saying,
‘We’re coming to rape you, slut’.”
Some younger feminists are incensed
by what they see as the letter’s callously
French supporters of the ‘Expose your
pig’ campaign against sex pests
intellectual take on modern morals. Two
points it made have touched a particular
nerve among millennial feminists.
One read: “A woman can both lead a
professional team and enjoy being the
sexual object of a man on the same day
without being ‘a slut’ or a vile accomplice
of the patriarchy.”
The other, which rapidly became a
talking point at Paris dinner parties, said
that the modern woman “can keep an eye
on whether her pay equals that of a man,
but she’s not going to be traumatised
forever by a frotteur in the Métro”.
It is not known when Deneuve last
undertook the challenging social
experiment of riding the Paris Métro, but
high levels of sexual harassment —
particularly by frotteurs, who rub against
women in the crowded carriages — are
regularly reported by the French media.
Shortly after the letter was published,
Valérie Pécresse, the leader of the Paris
regional council, confirmed that an antiharassment
launched against the “frotteurs and
harassers” who haunt the capital’s
underground trains.
Jeanne Coman-Vergne, a 19-year-old
law student, said friends regularly
warned her to dress carefully in order to
avoid trouble when travelling to some
parts of the city. She felt that Deneuve
and her supporters were out of touch.
“There may be a gap between their
generation and our generation,” ComanVergne said. “They are not the ones who
are going to make a change in our society.
We are going to make a change.”
The dispute has swiftly merged into
France’s wider cultural wars. Sarah
Chiche, a psychoanalyst and author who
co-ordinated the Deneuve letter, talked
of “insidious moral censorship”.
The signatories said publishers were
demanding that male characters in books
be made “less sexist”. And they warned
that a wave of puritanism that had started
by criticising erotic art of the 20th
century would end up by banning the
classical French painter Nicolas Poussin’s
masterpiece, The Rape of the Sabine
That prompted a cutting retort from
the feminist historian Michelle Perrot,
89, who wrote to Le Monde: “I would
have liked it if these 100 creative women
had put their prestige and their knowledge of the artistic and media world at the
service of the resistance movement
#MeToo, even if they themselves have
never been affected by ‘the pigs’.”
The Sunday Times January 14, 2018
After Trump’s snub, Mrs May
must reckon with Mr Macron
he White House has never seen a
president quite like Donald
Trump and the special relationship between Britain and America has rarely required more
diplomatic dexterity. That is
currently in short supply, however. In our dealings with America, as with other countries, the face that
Britain presents to the world is a confused
one. The prime minister’s uncertain
touch at home, exemplified by last week’s
botched and at times inexplicable ministerial reshuffle, extends to foreign policy.
When Mr Trump announced on Friday
that he would not be coming to London to
open the new US embassy, ostensibly
because he was unhappy with the building, it was entirely predictable that Sadiq
Khan, the London mayor, would greet the
news by saying the president was not
welcome in London. Mr Khan, political to
his fingertips, knew he had the public in
the capital on his side, notwithstanding a
pro-Trump protest yesterday during a
speaking event for the mayor.
The government, in its dealings with
the Trump administration, has been all
over the place. Mrs May’s haste to be the
first western leader to visit the new president last January, admittedly after Nigel
Farage had got there first, resulted in a
hasty offer of a state visit. Since that somewhat undignified rush, Mrs May has spent
as much time disagreeing with the president — for example over his retweeting of
far-right Britain First tweets or in voting at
the United Nations to condemn the president’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s
capital — as in cultivating the relationship.
Rather than calling Mr Khan a “pompous popinjay” for his comments on the
president, Boris Johnson and his Foreign
and Commonwealth Office colleagues
should have headed this one off at the
pass. The time for a Trump visit will come
and it could be a state visit, but this was
not it. As it is, Britain has been snubbed,
the newly fashionable Nine Elms district
of London has been dismissed as an
“off ” neighbourhood and UK-US relations
have had an unnecessary setback. Other
countries have managed their relations
with the US administration much better.
One of those countries is France whose
president, Emmanuel Macron, will visit
Britain this week. Mr Trump is even less
popular in France than in Britain and the
two presidents have little in common
politically. But Mr Macron has stepped
into the gap left by Britain and taken
advantage of the clear lack of any chemistry between the president and Angela
Merkel, the German chancellor. Inviting
Mr Trump to the Bastille Day celebrations
last summer was clever, providing the
president with the pomp and circumstance he believes his status demands. It
has provided Mr Macron with leverage.
Mrs May could do with some leverage
when it comes to her discussions with the
French president over Brexit. Mr Macron
has clear ideas about the future of Europe:
he wants closer political integration,
more harmonisation and a eurozone
strengthened by its own central budget
and finance minister. He has not given up
on Britain “finding its place again” in the
EU, but in the meantime he will seek to
take advantage of Brexit by luring finance
jobs from London to Paris.
Britain, in contrast, has been far from
clear. The opportunity to win goodwill in
other European countries via an early and
generous offer to EU citizens in the UK was
squandered. The offer eventually made
was generous but took far too long. The
government’s blueprint for Brexit, still to
be properly articulated or decided in
cabinet, has also been long in the making.
The government should take some
comfort from the fact that several EU
countries, including Spain, Italy and
Holland, as well as some in eastern
Europe, appear to favour a comprehensive and mutually beneficial deal with
Britain, reports of which propelled the
pound to post-referendum highs against
the dollar on Friday.
The government has done too little so
far to build support for the outcome it
wants and to pull it away from the harderline Franco-German axis. It is not too late
to do so. But time is running out.
Google it — this is why
we need a free press
A week ago, as a result of a Sunday Times
undercover investigation, the internet
giant Google announced that it was
removing from its UK platform so-called
referral advertisements aimed at addicts.
Yesterday it went further, announcing a
worldwide ban on such adverts, acknowledging that there was “a growing crisis” of
substance abuse and, as our reports
implied, that there had been “a rise in
deceptive practices from bad actors
taking advantage of those in need”. A
parliamentary inquiry may also be held to
examine whether this “patient brokering” should be banned in Britain.
Google has done the right thing but the
industry of which it is part cannot always
be relied upon to do so. As we report today
Lynne Owens, head of the National Crime
Agency, is calling on Facebook and other
internet giants to do more to help pursue
paedophiles and other sex offenders who
use social media sites to groom, abuse and
blackmail children. The firms are, she
says, too passive in failing to pass on intelligence to law enforcement agencies and
need to be more proactive. She is right.
The Google example demonstrated
how a free press, prepared to spend
money on investigative journalism, can
secure important changes. Some of our
legislators, however, would put further
shackles on newspapers, limiting our
investigative abilities. A few days ago the
House of Lords voted 238 to 209 for the
government to investigate “corporate governance and management failures” in the
press, in other words pushing ahead with
a second phase of the Leveson inquiry.
The Lords also voted 211 to 200 to a
measure that would see newspapers that
are not signed up to a state-approved
regulator being required to pay both their
own and their opponents’ legal costs in
data protection cases, even when the
courts find in their favour.
This is absurd. Matt Hancock, the new
culture secretary, has rightly responded
by saying these amendments would
restrict press freedom and be “a hammer
blow to the local press”. The prime
minister has pledged to overturn the
votes when the legislation returns to the
Commons. That is to be welcomed and
must surely succeed. But the episode is a
reminder that, like all our privileges,
press freedom is not something we can
ever take for granted.
It’s a mad dad world
The so-called dad trainer is expected to be
one of this year’s big fashion trends. You’ll
have gathered straight away from the
word “dad” that this footwear is clunky
and unstylish — more suitable for the
orthopaedic ward than the catwalk — and
you’d be quite right. Dad trainers are
shoes that a middle-aged man would
describe, defensively, as “practical” and
This is just the latest example of “dad”
being used in a dismissive way. Anybody
who moves in a clumsy and embarrassing
manner on the dance floor, hoping their
back won’t give out, is a dad dancer. Any
man who has developed a certain — and
understandable — flabbiness around the
waist has a dad bod. Terrible puns are dad
jokes. Ill-fitting denims are dad jeans. The
music of the 1970s and 1980s is dad rock.
Dads of Britain, how much longer are
you going to stand for this? It’s time to rise
up in protest. Just as soon as you’ve
finished tidying the shed.
Dominic Lawson
The population bomb is
a dud — so don’t panic
Eco-doomsayers want fewer children in the world, but not in their own families
tanley Johnson has been hard to avoid
recently. Boris’s amiable father has a
book to promote, so we should not
dismiss his participation in I’m a
Celebrity . . . Get Me Out of Here! as
mere attention-seeking. Last week,
one of the many BBC programmes on
which his oddly distracting golden
locks could be seen was Newsnight. Alongside
the co-leader of the Green Party, the MP
Caroline Lucas, Johnson had been invited to
opine on Theresa May’s apparent conversion to
the environmentalist cause.
Actually, Johnson Sr had as much right as
Lucas to be on such a panel: as he pointed out,
he had been the “environment desk officer” at
the Conservative Research Department half a
century ago. And he hasn’t changed his mind
about the right policy in all those years, either.
He asserted that overpopulation was the big
problem and that the population of the UK
should be frozen at its current level. How, he
didn’t say. A sharp reduction in immigration
would help, but would have zero effect on
global population, which is presumably what
really matters to such environmentalists.
In fact this year marks the 50th anniversary
of the most politically influential book on this
issue since Thomas Malthus’s Essay on the
Principle of Population: in June 1968, Paul
Ehrlich’s The Population Bomb was published.
It was itself a bombshell. A media-savvy
American professor of biology, Ehrlich made
several appearances on the Johnny Carson
show to promote his Malthusian theme: that
overpopulation would in short order lead to a
global famine of cataclysmic proportions.
Ehrlich declared: “Sometime in the next 15
years the end will come.” He was not talking
just about India, although it was the experience
of visiting a Delhi slum one night that, he said,
had provoked his dystopian vision of the
future: (“The streets seemed alive with people
. . . people defecating and urinating. People
clinging to buses. People herding animals.
People, people, people, people . . . since that
night, I’ve known the feel of overpopulation.”)
But India’s former colonial overlord was in
no better shape, said Ehrlich. In 1971 he
predicted: “By the year 2000 the UK will be
simply a small group of impoverished islands,
inhabited by some 70m hungry people . . . I
would take even money that England will not
exist in the year 2000.”
When this became one of many of his
predictions shown to be wildly wrong, Ehrlich
characteristically refused to concede anything:
“If you look closely at England, what can I tell
you? They are having all kinds of problems, just
like anybody else.” Ehrlich remains a patron of
the British charity Population Matters,
formerly the Optimum Population Trust. Sir
David Attenborough is a fellow patron. The
much-loved broadcaster has declared that
humans are “a plague on the Earth” and that it
was “barmy” to have sent food aid to Ethiopia,
since the famines in that African country were
entirely down to its having “too many people
for too little piece of land”.
Leave aside the chilly callousness, this was
an ignorant and superficial analysis. The
Ethiopian famines of the late 20th century
were the direct consequence of civil war and,
in the 1983-5 disaster, of the “social
transformation” policies imposed by Mengistu
Haile Mariam’s Marxist junta. Overpopulation
was no more the reason for that mass
starvation than it was for the Ukraine famine of
the 1930s or the Chinese famine of 1959-61. In
all these cases, the policies of Communist
regimes (which ranged from expropriation of
land to class war) were the proximate cause.
Attenborough was echoing what British
administrators said during the Irish famine of
the 1840s. In reality Ireland’s problem was not
its own population but the way its land was
used and controlled by English owners: in 1846
about half a million tons of grain was exported
to Great Britain from Ireland. That did not
prevent the government’s representative in
Ireland, Lord Clarendon, insisting: “Doling out
food merely to keep people alive would do
nobody any permanent good.” These
administrators were directly influenced by
Malthus, who had declared: “The land in
Ireland is infinitely more populated than in
England; and to give full effect to the natural
resources of the country, a great part of the
population should be swept from the soil.”
Attenborough and indeed Stanley Johnson
are in that tradition — though the latter’s
Attenborough said it
would be ‘barmy’ to
send food to Ethiopia
support has not been for principled inaction
during famines, but for regimes practising
sterilisation. In 2015 he wrote an article
demanding a “British population policy” for
the ConservativeHome website, which ended
with this peroration: “Tackling the population
problem — whether at home or abroad — is not
easy. Some politicians, such as Mrs Gandhi,
who courageously sought to bring family
planning to . . . India, ended up unexpectedly
on the funeral pyre. But at least she tried.”
She did, indeed: western agencies obsessed
with restricting India’s population funded
sterilisations on a vast scale. Self-righteous
proponents of the “population programme”
couldn’t believe it when in the Indian general
election of 1977, Mrs Gandhi’s Congress party
was annihilated, losing all but one of its seats in
the areas where the sterilisation policies were
most actively pursued. And now, with a
population twice what it was in 1977, faminefree India is a net exporter of grain and food.
In that article, Johnson recalled how when in
1969 he tried to persuade Reginald Maudling,
“then the [Conservative] Party’s policy
supremo”, of the virtues of a British population
control policy: “Maudling put his arm around
my shoulder and said, ‘Not one for the
hustings, dear boy!’” I imagine that unlike
Johnson, Maudling had not read the then
bestselling Population Bomb. And he was
shrewd enough to know that the British would
not take kindly to being told by government
how many children they could have.
It’s strange, though, how British advocates
of population control are not so keen to
practise a one, or even two-child policy
themselves. Stanley Johnson, author of eight
books on birth control, has six children. The
Duke of Edinburgh, who has advocated
“voluntary family limitation”, has four. And
while Attenborough has a bog-standard two,
another patron of Population Matters, John
Guillebaud, has three (a fact I wish I’d known
before I debated with him on the BBC Radio 4
Today programme some years ago).
Perhaps such men think that, unlike their
poorer fellow-humans, they can better provide
for large families. But if, like Stanley J, you
believe that over-consuming humans are
exhausting the Earth’s resources, then it’s the
rich who should be most persuaded to have
fewer children, not the poor.
If that were their policy, it would at least
remove the faint suspicion that this is eugenics
dressed up as environmentalism.
Sarah Baxter
Look at it this way, Carrie:
you’re already well paid
The BBC’s gender pay gap is indefensible, but so are the vast salaries it doles out
otcha! The leaked clip of John
Humphrys’s mocking remarks about
the gender pay gap at the BBC
certainly revealed him to be one of
broadcasting’s “big swinging dicks”,
to borrow a famous phrase about
Wall Street bankers. There he was
joshing Jon Sopel, the BBC’s North
America editor, about “how much of your
salary are you willing to hand over to Carrie
Gracie to keep her?” and boasting — with an
undertow of resentment — about having
already “handed over more than you f******
earn”, a figure north of £200,000. It wasn’t just
locker room banter, it was the sound of a
silverback thumping his chest.
See “what we’re up against”, seethed Jane
Garvey, the co-presenter of Woman’s Hour and
ex officio leader of the equal pay fightback.
Indeed I do, but not in the way she intended.
Humphrys, a ferocious negotiator with an
ego-fuelled sense of his own value, ought to be
mercilessly grilled with all the appropriate
snorts, harrumphs and tricks of his trade about
why he thinks the taxpayer should be forking
out more than £600,000 a year for his public
service broadcasting.
The same also applies to Gracie, who
resigned in a fume as China editor last week
after turning down a pay rise of £45,000 —
which would have brought her BBC salary to
£180,000 — on the grounds that it wasn’t as
much as her male counterparts Sopel and the
Middle East editor Jeremy Bowen receive.
My argument is not about equal pay for work
of equal value. That’s a given. My question for
Gracie is: on what planet do foreign
correspondents — however distinguished and
Mandarin-speaking — earn these levels of
salary? Who is competing for her talents to be
driving her wages (with undisclosed perks and
living allowances) so high?
As for the viewers and listeners, how many
of us had heard of Gracie before the women’s
pay gap row? She was impressive as guest
presenter of the Today programme last week,
but few current affairs junkies in my world had
previously noticed her. If, say, an American
television station were to make her a
handsome offer, I wouldn’t mind in the least.
What about Humphrys? For all his name
recognition, how indispensable is he? Would
our mornings be ruined without his bracing
dose of outrage? Is there another broadcaster
ready to offer more than £600,000 for his
services — or £750,000 for the Radio 2
presenter Jeremy Vine? It didn’t bother me
when Robert Peston, the former economics
editor of the BBC, became ITV’s political editor
in return for a significant salary increase. We
can still enjoy his insights but we are no longer
paying for him out of the BBC licence fee.
The real “gotcha” to have emerged from the
gender pay gap row is that the BBC is willing to
offer its presenters and reporters such inflated
salaries at the taxpayers’ expense — unlike
newspapers and commercial broadcasters,
which pay their own way. Throw in enviable
job security and an extremely generous
pension scheme for long-serving employees
and it’s clear that the corporation’s staff enjoy a
cosseted life — at a time when wages for
journalists outside public broadcasting are
being driven down by competition from the
internet (aided and abetted by the “free”,
massively expanded BBC website).
I tried to watch the satirical programme W1A
a few times but found it too cringe-makingly
real. Long ago, while I was a freelance reporter
for BBC2’s Newsnight, a producer insisted we
stayed up all night editing a film so she could
Gracie has the Maoist
idea that all peasants
must be paid the same
rack up enough overtime to book a month’s
uninterrupted summer holiday — while I had to
trudge to work again the next day.
I also presented a live political programme
on BBC2 for a year (while holding down a
newspaper job) without the slightest idea what
its mystifyingly large number of full-time staff
did. A few were required to book the guests,
but I didn’t need an army of researchers to tell
me where so-and-so MP had attended school.
Then, when there was a public transport
strike, they booked themselves taxis home
while forgetting to include me. I was merely the
person who turned up once a week and
anchored the whole show.
I’m sure, by the way, that I earned less than
my male co-presenters who appeared on other
nights, including Andrew Neil. But then I was
also considerably younger and less
experienced than they were. If I were to be
approached now — I’m open to offers! — I
would charge a lot more (but, as I’m not male, I
would probably fall foul of the BBC’s ageism).
Of course, the corporation has a problem
with equal pay. There is no earthly reason why
men should so often be considered the
“talent”, with women in the role of younger
accessories. Sarah Montague’s quiet fury at
being paid nearly £500,000 less than
Humphrys seems to me entirely justifiable and
I hope she triumphs in her proposed new job
on Radio 4’s The World at One.
I’m simply not convinced by Gracie’s
arguments. She has come back from China
with the rather Maoist idea that all peasants
and workers — sorry, I mean foreign editors —
must be paid exactly the same when it’s a job
where star quality, airtime and danger money
also matter. And at the BBC, where reporters
are moved around as a matter of policy,
inequalities are bound to appear based on the
salary they received in their previous jobs.
Nobody wants to take a pay cut — as
Humphrys’s off-air quips have proved. The
answer is not to get the rest of us to stump up
but to start cutting back the fat.
The Sunday Times January 14, 2018
Hey, Jacob, leave
those kids alone
First it was Cecil Rhodes at Oxford
and then the golden cockerel at
Cambridge. Now students’ attention
has turned to another controversial
reminder of Britain’s past — Jacob
Rees-Mogg. Two union officials at
Sussex University have come under
attack for the crime of having their
picture taken standing next to the
Tory MP at Westminster. One critic
complained: “He literally sums up
everything wrong with the world.”
(War, disease, Arsenal’s exit from the
FA Cup — all Jacob’s fault).
Union president Frida Gustafsson,
who posed with Lucy Williams, told
The Tab student newspaper: “In my
personal and professional life I’m
happy to meet with, discuss and hear
from people with views different from
my own.” Aptly, they were talking to
Rees-Mogg about freedom of speech.
Go — and take your
trumpet with you
“I do have a big garden”
Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger explains why
he didn’t recognise his gardener after sitting
next to him at a game
“We defend a right to
pester, which is vital to
sexual freedom”
Actress Catherine Deneuve and 99 other French
women condemn the #MeToo campaign as a
puritanical backlash
“Across the land, the sound
can be heard of veteran
sergeant-majors gnashing
their false teeth”
Sir Max Hastings, military historian, on the
army’s new “touchy-feely” recruitment
“I want to have
adventurous sex — perhaps
in a broom cupboard”
Author Kathy Lette, who last year separated
from her husband, makes plans for the future
“Speaking your truth is
the most powerful tool we
all have”
Broadcaster Oprah Winfrey, in praise of
challenging injustice
Niall Ferguson
Rages, scandal, chaos: it’s
a normal White House
When Digby Jones went to the House
of Lords on becoming a trade minister
in 2007, he chose the title Baron Jones
of Birmingham. But not everyone
in the city was delighted; now he’s
being urged to pick somewhere else.
“He’s little more than a selfpublicist,” complains a petition on, “and you might have
noticed that we Brummies do not like
trumpet blowing. Please, Mr Jones,
choose another place to be ‘Lord’ of.”
Anywhere willing to offer Digby a
more friendly berth?
The shape of Trump’s tenure is not unique; just look at Clinton’s first year
nce Trump came into the Oval
Office with a newspaper
folded into quarters showing
some story based on a leak
from the White House. ‘What
the f*** is this?’ Trump had
shouted. Presidential
flare-ups were common
enough, but Trump often would not let an
incident go, roaring on for too long before
calming down.”
“A joke among Trump’s aides was that it
was better to f*** up really big rather than
have a series of daily minor mistakes, since
Trump identified with the celebrated,
all-points f***-up.”
“The White House problems . . . were
organisation and discipline. The staff was
too often like a soccer league of
You are probably thinking — and I really
don’t blame you — that you have read more
than enough about Michael Wolff’s explosive
bestselling book Fire and Fury, the core
thesis of which (that President Donald
Trump is a retarded man-child) received
fresh support last week from the president’s
own potty mouth and Twitter feed.
In fact, all three of those quotations are
taken from another book about another
president’s first year in office — The Agenda:
Inside the Clinton White House, which Bob
Woodward published in 1994. I just changed
the president’s surname.
A recurrent theme of The Agenda is Bill
Clinton’s explosively bad temper. His press
spokesman George Stephanopoulos told
Woodward that “he had seen and
experienced Clinton’s temper tantrums . . .
many times . . . Others called them ‘purple
fits’ or ‘earthquakes’. Stephanopoulos
simply called it ‘the wave’, an overpowering,
prolonged rage that would shock an outsider
and often was way out of proportion to what
caused it.”
We know from Wolff that Trump is also
capable of “rages”.
“Typically these would begin as a kind of
exaggeration or acting and then devolve into
the real thing: uncontrollable, vein-popping,
ugly-face, tantrum stuff. It got primal.”
And: “At points on the day’s spectrum of
adverse political developments, he could
have moments of, almost everyone would
admit, irrationality. When that happened he
was alone in his anger and not approachable
by anyone.” This, writes Wolff, was Trump’s
“fundamental innovation in governing:
regular, uncontrolled bursts of anger and
spleen”. Nope. Twitter hadn’t been invented
in 1993 so Clinton’s outbursts were confined
to his inner circle.
My point is not that Clinton is like Trump,
of course. My point is that the presidency
will infuriate even the best of men. Show me
a presidential biography and I’ll show you —
with a few notable exceptions — eruptions of
fury. Yet each presidential biographer makes
the mistake of presenting this as a significant
character trait of his subject, rather than
appreciating that it’s structural: the job is
inherently maddening.
So let’s leave aside personality for a
moment and consider a structural
interpretation of the past 12 months. I submit
that most presidencies have the following
characteristics in the first year. The White
House operates much like a royal court in
the time of Shakespeare — an analogy
suggested to Wolff by Steve Bannon, but not
a new one. The president is the focal point;
access to him is power.
In his first 12 months, however, he is a
powerful novice. Those he appoints to key
positions are also often new to government.
The other branches of government —
Congress, the Supreme Court, the Federal
Reserve — operate according to different
rules. The president needs to work with
them or at least to avoid their opposition.
But to do that he needs experienced
insiders, not his campaign sidekicks.
Meanwhile, the press exists in a symbiotic
relationship with the government, needing
the news it generates, communicating its
actions to the voters who elected it, but also
seeking to shape those actions by the stories
it publishes. Somewhere out there, too, are
the other governments of the world, sizing
up the new guy.
Irrespective of the president’s personality,
the Clinton and Trump administrations had
the following five traits in common during
year one:
l a painful transition in personnel from
campaign people to Beltway operators
l because of poor co-operation with
Congress, failure over healthcare reform and
narrowly won success over taxation (hikes
for Clinton, cuts for Trump)
l a fixation on a particular financial market
as a metric of success (the bond market for
Clinton, the stock market for Trump)
The presidency
will infuriate even
the best of men: the
job is maddening
l excessive involvement of family members
in policy-making (Hillary/“Javanka”)
l lousy press coverage.
In other words, Wolff could have written
Woodward’s book and vice versa.
Indeed, Wolff could have made the events
narrated by Woodward sound so much
worse. James Carville, Clinton’s campaign
manager, was dating Mary Matalin, a
Republican spokeswoman who called
Clinton “a philandering, pot-smoking draft
dodger”. Zoë Baird, Clinton’s nominee for
attorney-general, had to withdraw because
of tax evasion. Not only did the first lady play
an absurdly large role in formulating
healthcare policy; Clinton even put a relative
in charge of the White House travel office.
Vincent Foster, the deputy White House
counsel and an intimate friend of the
Clintons, shot himself dead in a Virginia park
six months after the inauguration. Now
that’s what I call fire and fury.
As for Trump and the media, we’ve seen
the movie before. Things were so bad in 1993
that Hillary tried to move the press out of the
White House into the Old Executive Office
Building. Just as Trump jettisoned Sean
Spicer, so Clinton sidelined Stephanopoulos.
In neither case did the press coverage
improve. Still to come in Clinton’s case were
David Hale’s revelations about Whitewater
and the allegations about the president’s
liaisons with Paula Jones, Monica Lewinsky
and Juanita Broaddrick. Still to come was the
Chinese attempt to meddle in US elections
(the Russians have taken over that role).
Context matters, as well as structure.
Another reason the Clinton and Trump
White Houses resembled one another in year
one was that neither had to contend with a
crisis as big as George W Bush (9/11) and
Barack Obama (the financial crisis).
I know what you’re thinking. Trump is
crass. Clinton is charming. Trump doesn’t
read. Clinton was a Rhodes scholar. Trump is
a racist. Clinton’s best buddy was Vernon
Jordan, a former civil rights lawyer. All true.
But does any of that really matter in terms of
historical outcomes?
How, after all, did the Clinton era unfold
after its first, chaotic year? The president’s
party lost control of the House of
Representatives in year two. He still got
re-elected but — as scandal after scandal
surfaced — the other side impeached him,
although he survived and, with the economy
booming, even saw his approval rating rise.
I cannot guarantee Trump’s fate will be
identical to Clinton’s. But what makes you so
sure it won’t be the same old Shakespearean
drama — just with a different cast?
Niall Ferguson is Milbank Family senior fellow
at the Hoover Institution, Stanford
l Brace yourself for news about the
Johnson family’s bedroom habits.
It is now clear why Rachel Johnson
decided to enter the Celebrity Big
Brother house — to get a decent night’s
sleep. Her husband, Ivo Dawnay,
admits in The Lady magazine to a
thunderous snoring habit. “She has
used so many earplugs over the years
she fears she has permanently
damaged her hearing,” he says. Alas,
there is no escape. One of the first
things fellow housemate Ann
Widdecombe revealed was: “I snore.”
l Leigh Turner, the British
ambassador to Austria, travelled
by bicycle to the diplomatic event
of the year, the party for ambassadors
thrown by the country’s president
(“Mr Ambassador, with these highvisibility cycle clips you are spoiling
us”). He was following the example
of his Danish counterpart, but is this
consistent with the dignity of his
office? Perhaps Turner could invest
in a tandem — and be chauffeured
stylishly to next year’s event.
l In a debate on the size of the House
of Lords, Norman Tebbit cheekily
suggested last week that 50 Liberal
Democrats should do “the decent
thing” and resign to balance the
numbers. Now the former Labour MP
Austin Mitchell has tweeted a much
more radical idea — a third chamber:
“After Brexit we must set up a
Euro House for redundant MEPs &
pensioners, Blair, Hezza, Mandy,
liberal intellectuals & Guardian
columnists to natter on about the
joys we’ll be missing.”
l When I reported from magistrates’
courts in the late 1970s weekend
brawls outside clubs were dealt with
quickly on the following Monday. Yet
it’s almost four months since the
cricketer Ben Stokes was arrested
after a fight outside a Bristol nightclub
and there is still no decision about his
fate. Is the prosecution service run by
Australian cricket fans? If not, can
anybody explain why it is taking so
The Sunday Times January 14, 2018
Adam Boulton
Not every Labour moderate is in despair
as the left grabs at the last lever of power
more significant reshuffle will
take place tomorrow than last
Monday’s troubled effort by
the prime minister, when the
election results are announced
for three new party member
posts on Labour’s ruling
national executive committee
(NEC). The general expectation is of a
clean sweep for Momentum and
candidates on the Centre-Left Grassroots
Alliance slate. The NEC is seldom
referred to without the adjective
“ruling” and the Corbynites will then
have a ruling overall majority on the
party’s ruling body.
For the first time since he became
leader, Jeremy Corbyn’s supporters will
be in a position to dictate not only party
policy but also the rules by which it is
rubber-stamped by conference or the
membership. The NEC also determines
the process for electing the leader and
other candidates standing for Labour.
For the first time in Labour’s history
“the left” will dominate all three of the
party’s centres of power: the trade
unions, the shadow cabinet in
parliament and the national executive.
This matters. If the Momentum
candidates win tomorrow, Corbyn will
be set to lead Britain’s most radical
government yet. Yet many Conservatives
are rubbing their hands with glee,
convinced the consolidation of Labour’s
lurch to the left will mean Mrs May will
occupy No 10 for the foreseeable future.
Either way, the new NEC looks like a
game, set and match defeat for the
majority of Labour MPs who considered
Corbyn’s faction to be an irritating
irrelevance just three years ago. Corbyn
is here to stay and Labour’s 40% share in
the election means there is simply too
much to lose by splitting off to form a
new party. What then are the options for
non-Corbynite Labour? Sue for peace or
go on opposing? What can be salvaged
from Corbyn’s triumph and hopes of
future victory over the Conservatives?
Can he perhaps be made to pivot from
his Bennite hostility to the EU?
Love of Europe and hatred of Corbyn
and Momentum are the only emotions
that unite Brownites and Blairites. When
I asked if any accommodation were
possible with the present leadership, the
blunt reply from one of Gordon Brown’s
closest allies was: “Not so long as people
like Jon Lansman are around!”
The 60-year-old has been a bogeyman
to Labour’s social democrats since the
1980s, when he was the “fixer” for Tony
Benn. He has worked with the party’s
left-wing factions ever since and makes
no secret that he would like to see the
party purge members to the right of him.
In a “personal capacity” he is backing
compulsory reselection of all candidates
in this year’s council elections.
Lansman founded Momentum weeks
after the leadership election in 2015,
capitalising on the support of the tens of
thousands of mainly young people who
had rallied to Corbyn online. Today,
Momentum has 31,000 members and
200,000 registered supporters, and
claims to be growing by 1,000 a month.
He has strong links to trade unions.
Momentum first set up shop in the
offices of Unite and subsequently moved
into the headquarters of transport union
TSSA. Secure Corbynite control of the
NEC will depend as much on the three
representatives from Unite as on the
three expecting election tomorrow. Last
year’s re-election of Len McCluskey as
Unite general secretary is currently
under statutory investigation. Jeffrey
Burke QC, the judge acting for the
regulator, will rule shortly. If he decides
the election was unfair and disqualifies
McCluskey, Unite’s votes on the NEC will
probably swing away from Corbyn.
Separately, the Electoral Commission
is investigating whether Momentum
overspent supporting Labour last year.
Lansman wants his movement to
become a registered affiliate of the main
party; becoming a member of the ruling
national executive along with his two
running mates, Yasmine Dar and Rachel
Garnham, would be a big step towards
that. Labour insiders predict that of the
three, ironically, Lansman is the one
What can be
salvaged from
Jeremy Corbyn’s
triumph? Can he
perhaps be made
to pivot from his
Bennite hostility
to the EU?
who could be pipped at the post. His age
and disciplinarian streak could count
against him. Three credible independent
Corbynsceptic candidates are also
running, including Eddie Izzard, the
transvestite stand-up comedian.
The Labour left cannot be relied upon
always to stick together. It is not a
monolith, and nor is Momentum. There
is no logical reason why the unions
should acquiesce in the dilution of their
power to select parliamentary
Birkbeck’s top 30
It is right that universities
should be accountable, but
the judgments ought to be
fair. Your report “Top earners
head worst universities”,
(News, December 31, 2017)
gives the impression that
Birkbeck, University of
London performs poorly.
In reality Birkbeck is one
of the top 30 institutions
marked out by significant
success in both the official
government frameworks for
measuring performance in
teaching and research. This
parole process
Understandably, the
surprising decision by the
Parole Board to release John
Worboys has caused public
concern (“Notorious inmates
ready to walk free behind
Worboys”, News, last week).
It is the board’s responsibility
to make a realistic assessment
of the continuing risk that
serial offenders may pose
to society.
What seems to have been
lost is an appreciation of the
concept of dangerousness
health and social care data
estate. At present,
information remains
pointlessly guarded in silos at
hugely wasteful cost to the
taxpayer and at morbid cost
to the citizen in need of
joined-up care.
David Rew, consultant
surgeon, University
Hospital of Southampton
Solution ignored
Cavendish’s call for a
joined-up NHS is a laudable
aim, but it misses the point.
Every country in the world is
discovering that a largely
healthcare system is
unsustainable: it will
consume ever-increasing
resources just to stand still.
In 2004 the late Sir Derek
Wanless issued a report
entitled Securing Good
Health for the Whole
Population, which proposed
a refocusing of attention on
public health and a large
increase in resources for
disease prevention.
These recommendations
remain practical, relevant
and cost-effective. We do
not need another NHS
reorganisation or a royal
commission; we just need the
public service portfolios of education
and health. Rayner, in particular, has
come under vicious online attack after
declaring: “I’m not Momentum . . . I’m a
Labour MP.”
Lansman contrived almost singlehandedly to keep the divisive issue of
Brexit off the agenda at the last Labour
conference — but it hasn’t gone away.
Labour’s agonising over Europe is
encouraging Corbyn’s Labour
opponents to stand their ground.
Whether they voted “leave” or
“remain”, the clear majority of Labour
voters want to maintain close economic
links to the EU. That includes younger
voters in overwhelming numbers, both
Momentum supporters and those who
have joined Labour because they just
like Jeremy. But now Jeremy is under
pressure because he doesn’t agree with
them on Europe.
If he shifts position to what his party
wants, opposition to the government’s
hard Brexit could gather speed to the
point of a chance to “think again”, as
advocated by Tony Blair and Gordon
Brown. However, “if he just helps
Theresa May push the car off the cliff,
he’ll be finished in the Labour Party.
Either way it’s a win-win for us,” one
optimistic Labour moderate predicted.
And either way the tectonic plates of
British politics would have shifted again.
The Sunday Times, 1 London Bridge Street, London SE1 9GF
Email: Fax: 020 7782 5454
NHS efficiency suffers from rash of data rules
Camilla Cavendish cogently
identifies the NHS as 700
separate entities rather as a
functional superpower (“Call
Dr Stalin: the NHS must be
forced to unify”, Comment,
last week). This Balkanisation
applies particularly to
information flows.
We have developed and
implemented at negligible
cost to the taxpayer an
electronic patient record that
integrates the general
practice, hospital and social
care records in a single
format. This could then be
easily understood and used
by every health and social
care professional, subject to
appropriate access controls.
Unfortunately, like a caged
tiger, our system is unable to
reach its full potential in
wider testing because partner
NHS organisations, GPs and
other care providers are
constrained by the
overpowering bureaucratic
rules and regulations around
data security, which also
protect closed data empires.
Most citizens would
presumably prefer and
expect to see their critical
healthcare information flow
seamlessly and responsibly
around a simpler national
candidates. Momentum is careless of
diversity and has pushed aside ethnic
and female candidates in favour of men
with few local links. It has not been allconquering so far in selection battles — it
successfully deselected councillors in
Haringey, for example, but was trounced
over its candidate to run for mayor of
Lansman, who is Jewish, was one of
the first on the left to break publicly with
Ken Livingstone over his “Hitler was a
Zionist” comments. Speaking last month
at a Jewish festival, he accused Labour of
being in denial over anti-semitism in its
ranks. He also shut down the
Momentum Youth and Students group
for bringing Momentum into disrepute
with personal attacks including a “Hang
the Tories” meme online.
Class comes into it as well. Lansman
shares a well-heeled public school and
Oxbridge background with Corbyn’s two
closest advisers, Seumas Milne and
James Schneider, a co-founder of
Momentum. “Just as bad as Boris, Gove
and Rees-Mogg playing schoolboy games
with the future of the country,” a former
Liberal Democrat leader spluttered.
Be that as it may, their influence is
dependent on the discreet charm of
Corbyn. After him they have no
candidate to match the authentic Labour
roots appeal of Angela Rayner or Jon
Ashworth, who now hold the main
T Bone Burnett, record
producer, 70
Faye Dunaway, actress, 77
Hugh FearnleyWhittingstall, cookery writer
and broadcaster, 53
Giancarlo Fisichella, racing
driver, 45
Dave Grohl, rock musician,
Jack Jones, singer, 80
LL Cool J, rapper and actor,
Sir Trevor Nunn, theatre
director, 78
Edward St Aubyn, author,
Steven Soderbergh, film
director, 55
Emily Watson, actress, 51
Wuthering put-down
I am infuriated by the critic
Nick Holland’s objection to
Lily Cole taking a senior
position at the Brontë Society
(“People-watching”, News
Review, last week). His
reasoning? She is a
“supermodel”. Does this
mean that a beautiful woman,
by definition, cannot be
intelligent and intellectually
qualified? I recall as a child
in the 1960s overhearing
sexist, misogynistic adult
conversations where it was
assumed that clever women
were by definition ugly and
forced to become “lady
doctors” or “lady writers”,
but secretly yearned to be
pretty and marriageable.
Cole has a double first from
Cambridge in a suitable
discipline. Maybe Holland
should free his mind of
Marianne Lederman
Hitchin, Hertfordshire
Computer says no: like Little Britain, the health service has trouble with its databases
health secretary to blow the
dust off his department’s
copy of the Wanless report.
David Stone, emeritus
professor of paediatric
epidemiology, Glasgow
Back to the future
In my time working in the
NHS in the 1970s the creation
of a single management
structure ensured that you
could not blame another
organisation and the link
between acute and
success has been achieved
under challenging
Over the past decade
policy changes led to a cut in
Birkbeck’s funding by 40%
and after the 2012 fee changes
there has been a 50%
downturn in part-time
students. Birkbeck is unlike
other UK universities. Its
evening teaching, part-time
courses and widening-access
mission make direct
comparisons difficult.
League tables are geared to
the sector mainstream; our
students are aged between 18
and 80 — and many without
traditional A-levels. Birkbeck
changes lives and creates
opportunities others do not.
Sir Harvey McGrath,
chairman of governors,
and recognition that past
conduct remains by far the
best predictor of future
behaviour, notwithstanding
any suppositions about
reform of character or the
benefits of the passage of
time. The unavoidable reality
is that some individuals have
by their own actions placed
themselves beyond society.
Their proper disposition is
a matter for debate. However,
it is not clear that the current
system for making this
determination is providing
adequate safeguards for
society as a whole.
Steven White, London
Maximum confusion
In the report about the
release of Worboys, the
Crown Prosecution Service
said that it was not in the
“public interest” to bring
charges relating to those
women who came forward
after the rapist cab driver’s
conviction “because of the
maximum sentence available
to the court”. Is this not
another compelling reason
why all maximum prison
sentences should be
abolished so as to enable all
penalties to fit the crimes?
Bob Watson
Baildon, West Yorkshire
Access point
If staff at Lancaster University
are “under great pressure”
not to fail students whose
work is incomprehensible, it
seems obvious these students
should not have been
admitted to the institution in
the first place (“Fears for
standards as no student fails
exams at 11 top universities”,
News, last week).
Edgar Jenkins, emeritus
professor, Leeds University
community care was much
improved. Mental health
services were similarly under
one organisation. Morale at
the clinical end is now
severely challenged. A
shortage of skilled staff may
also have a lot to do with the
funding cuts.
Mike Stirland, Chesterfield
House calls
Where is the evidence that
the reluctance of GPs to visit
residential homes and waste
valuable time on minor
symptoms leads to more A&E
visits? We are not paid to
reassure or cover the backs of
staff in care homes. I have
visited places where nobody
on duty could tell me who
had called me or for which
resident. Some homes have
separate wings so one section
requests a visit in the
morning, then two hours
later a second area asks for a
visit. I suspect that it is largely
due to panicky, untrained
and badly paid employees.
Dr Jane Bowskill, Isle of Wight
Narrow vision of
motives for Brexit
suggests a wide variety
of motivations.
John Whittle, Cheshire
JD Wetherspoon chairman
Tim Martin claims surveys
have shown that in the Brexit
referendum “the main issue
for voters was the desire for
democratic rule from the UK
parliament” (“Misinterpreting
Brexit divisions”, Letters, last
week). It is strange, then, that
terms such as “enemies of the
people” have been applied to
anyone who tries to ensure a
role for the UK parliament in
scrutinising Brexit legislation.
A glance at the demographics
of “leave” voters and at the
geography of the ballot
Poles apart
Discussing changes since the
referendum, Dominic
Lawson ignores YouGov’s
tracking poll of 51 opinion
surveys on whether people
think the country was right
or wrong to vote to leave
(“Blair won’t stop at remain:
his gang wants the euro”,
Comment, last week). Since
last September this has
shown that a consistent
majority of people believe it
was the wrong decision.
David Woodhead
Leatherhead, Surrey
Unequal BBC pay
row a turn-off
Wage dispute
In “Women paid third as
much as men” (News in Brief,
last week) it seemed to
suggest that being female at
easyJet would result in you
being paid 52% less than a
man. The item ignores how
these statistics are arrived at,
such as gender grouping
within departments. The
fact is that a female cabin
crew employee gets paid
exactly the same as a male
counterpart, and similarly a
woman pilot gets the same
wage as a man doing that job.
Colin Harrison, Derby
BBC journalists protesting
about unequal pay are doing
themselves no favours, with
the salaries quoted being
beyond the dreams of many.
My son, a teacher in a
comprehensive school, earns
about £25,000 for working
55 to 80-hour weeks. I do not
think he or his colleagues are
going to be working
themselves into a frenzy
about BBC wages.
Eleanor London, Cardiff
Emily Watson is 51 today
Roman politician and
general Marc Antony born
Medical missionary Albert
Schweizer born
Author Lewis Carroll dies
Actor Humphrey Bogart
Sir Matt Busby announces
his retirement after 24
years as manager of
Manchester United
The US House un-American
activities committee, which
investigated alleged
communist activities in
postwar Hollywood, is
dissolved after 30 years
Britain is declared free of
foot-and-mouth almost a
year after an outbreak of
the disease, which led to
the culling of 6.5m animals
Tunisia’s president Zine El
Abidine Ben Ali is ousted
from office and flees the
country after a month of
Royally drunk
It was widely reported in the
media last week that the
alcohol industry expects to
make huge profits from the
extension of licensing hours
until 1am on the weekend of
the royal marriage in May. I
wonder what the overworked
staff in A&E think about it?
Valerie Pitt, London SE3
Genetic database
Having read about the
addition of mothers’ names
to wedding certificates, I
want to suggest that all births
should be DNA-recorded
(“Hailing marriage certificate
heroine”, Letters, last week).
This would eventually
facilitate the identification of
victims of tragedies and
fathers of children born to
single mothers, as well as
the perpetrators of crimes.
Sir Jeremy Elwes
Sevenoaks, Kent
Off the scent
Jonathan Leake rather
disingenuously highlights that
fox hunts and their hounds
spread diseases and parasites
on farmland (“Hounds linked
to spread of farm diseases”,
News, last week). There are
millions of pet dogs in the UK,
many of which are walked
through areas with farm
stock, or defecate and drink
in fields used for crops or
livestock; none is subject to
biosecurity rules. On the
other hand, there are 184 UK
foxhound packs. I am neither
for nor against hunting.
Liz Boynton
Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire
Red card
The prime minister needed a
new deck of cards, not a
reshuffle (“May plots to
reshuffle whole six-pack of
cabinet ministers”, News, last
week). We have got neither
because her authority is
precarious and replacements
for Boris Johnson, Amber
Rudd and Philip Hammond
are simply not available. We
are in grave danger of gifting
the next election to an
incompetent Marxist.
Dr Barry Clayton
Burning indignation
Reader Brenda Jackson (“Hot
topic”, Letters, last week)
tells us that she burns plastic
in an incinerator as a “natural
way to rid ourselves of this
blight”. First, there is no
natural way to recycle plastic.
Second, she is responsible for
releasing harmful dioxins
into the atmosphere by
burning plastic. This is hardly
green in anyone’s view.
Philip Taylor
Northwich, Cheshire
Letters should arrive by
midday on Thursday and
include the full address and a
daytime and an evening phone
number. Please quote date,
section and page number. We
may edit letters, which must be
exclusive to The Sunday Times
In our article “Charity ban as
boy forced to live as girl”
(News, October 8) we
reported that Mermaids, the
transgender charity, had
been banned by the High
Court from making contact
with a family. Mermaids has
informed us that it has not
been the subject of a court
order; rather, it was told by
the child’s mother that the
judge had said that the child
was to have no contact with
Mermaids. It has also asked
us to clarify that Dr Birgit
Möller did not offer fast-track
cross-sex hormone treatment
for children; the treatment
offered on a fast-track basis
was hormone blockers.
Complaints about
inaccuracies in all sections of
The Sunday Times should be
addressed to complaints@ or
Complaints, The Sunday
Times, 1 London Bridge Street,
London SE1 9GF. In addition,
the Independent Press
Standards Organisation (Ipso)
will examine formal
complaints about the editorial
content of UK newspapers and
magazines. Please go to our
website for full details of how
to lodge a complaint.
The Sunday Times January 14, 2018
Camilla Long
Hollywood’s painted vampires
sideline the real #MeToo victims
ravo Emma Watson, who
somehow managed to
out-luvvie even herself last
week when she gave a quote
at the Golden Globes claiming
she had “experienced the
full spectrum” of sexual
harassment. Covered in a
penitential black tablecloth to observe
the ceremony’s #TimesUp dress code,
clutching an activist whose bum-length
dreadlocks she had dragged along for
photo ops, Watson explained that her
experience was “not unique”. The
problem was “systemic”, her “friends”
and “colleagues” had also experienced
. . . well, I’m not sure quite what.
Watson didn’t provide any details.
Whatever the Harry Potter hamster
meant by “the full spectrum” it wasn’t
full enough to stick her neck out, name
and shame, to support the women she
was meant to be supporting by turning
up to the Globes in a black outfit.
She didn’t feel the need to “stand
strong” — I think I’m using the correct
phrase — with Harvey Weinstein’s
alleged victims such as Asia Argento
(who claimed she was not invited to the
Globes) or Rose McGowan, who wrote
that “not one of those fancy people
wearing black to honour our rapes
would have lifted a finger” if she and
Argento hadn’t spoken out.
As a primped and protected child
star, I’m fairly sure Watson wasn’t
locked in a hotel room by anyone or
raped by an overweight, unattractive,
ancient Hollywood producer who
had sole control over her career, as
McGowan and Argento say they were.
And if she was, I think we should hear
about it. If she genuinely cared about the
issues she was parading, she could have
described these mysterious experiences
or brought McGowan or Argento as her
guest, rather than a right-on accessory
such as the activist Marai Larasi, chosen
for her inability to upstage her celebrity
hostess as the real victims would.
I’m detecting an unpalatable split
between the glossy, successful female
“winners” of Hollywood and the poor,
unheard cannon fodder that make up,
as McGowan says, “99%” of the industry.
Among these winners we may count
stars such as Emma Stone, an actress
who had the absurdity to suggest that
her date, Billie Jean King, was there as
an activist and not as a shameless stunt
to promote Stone’s fauxminist tennis
film, in which she plays King. Among
the winners we may also number
Michelle Williams, who found hours to
discuss her own pet person of colour —
#MeToo creator Tarana Burke — but
hardly any time to examine her former
co-star, alleged serial groper Kevin
Spacey. Among them, obviously,
is Meryl Streep who, McGowan tweeted,
“also worked for the Pig Monster”.
And we may also include all the
women who applauded the undisputed
cheese ball James Franco, who accepted
a best actor award wearing a “Times Up”
badge on his lapel just days before he
found himself facing his own string of
claims over sexual misconduct. It is
claimed that Franco pressured women
to go topless; in a fit of ingenuity, he
also somehow managed to prise genital
guards off actresses during orgy scenes
(genital guards are large “modesty”
shoe horns stuck onto the mons with
glue). He says these allegations are
“not accurate” but if there’s one apt
metaphor for Hollywood right now,
that’s a fatally mislaid genital guard and
Franco accepting an award for it.
I felt sorry for McGowan, watching
her cause and her people — the losers —
being cannibalised by a bunch of
painted vampires. The seriousness of
this attempt at “activism” can be
summed up by the words of Stone’s
make-up artist, who claimed she
had “imbued” her client’s purple
eyeshadow “with the message of female
empowerment and solidarity” by using
colours “inspired by the suffragettes”.
In some ways it says everything that
Oprah Winfrey chose the preposterous
Globes — not even the Oscars — to launch
an apparently presidential bid. By
l Serena Williams and I had
Serena Williams
with daughter
Alexis, who had a
difficult birth
Emma Watson fails to stick her neck out at the Golden Globe awards
Thursday she was officially supported by
Steven Spielberg, a small, nervous beard
of whom Donald Trump will not be
scared one bit. If you want to know how
far Hollywood’s delusions stretch, it’s
imagining the American Midwest will
accept a candidate who resembles both
Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.
At least Oprah knows whereof she
speaks, unlike Watson, whose
experiences of harassment
extend, as far as I have read,
to “being followed” and once
feeling a hand on her bottom.
“I don’t speak about these
experiences much,” she said
pompously at the time, “because
coming from me they’ll sound
like a huge deal.” Oh dear.
babies at nearly the same
time last summer. There the
similarity ends. Serena won a
Grand Slam at eight weeks
pregnant: she was training
two months after she gave
birth. While I was wondering
if it was lazy of me to stay in
bed for three days, she
appeared on court in Abu
Dhabi. She didn’t win, saying
later she didn’t know if she
was “totally ready”. But she’s
still determined to win 25
Grand Slams, beating
Australian Margaret Court to
become the greatest female
player — sorry, greatest
tennis player of either sex.
Williams has been honest
about her horrific childbirth,
which involved lung clots, a
haemorrhage, surgery and
six weeks in bed. At one point
she had to bellow at doctors
to perform a CT-scan after a
nurse thought medication
had left her “confused”.
Her frankness makes a
refreshing change from the
airless glamour girls who
hobble back to the red
carpet six weeks
after giving birth,
pretending they’ve
had a healthy
pregnancy when all
they have eaten is
watercress and pills.
It’s also great to see
how having a baby
can make you even
more bullish and
As Serena says,
“Maybe having a
baby on the tennis
tour is the most
rebellious thing I could
ever do.”
She’ll be back.
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l To Richard Branson’s
margarine quiff and dismal
decision to deprive his
customers of the Daily Mail.
On Tuesday, Virgin Trains
circulated a memo saying
that the paper was “not
compatible” with its brand,
partly because of its position
on “immigration, LGBT rights
and unemployment”.
As with everything
Branson does, this had the
sour tang of a publicity
stunt, but also the even
sourer tang of Virgin trying
to socially cleanse its
Brexiteer passengers.
It implied that anyone who
agreed with the newspaper’s
values was a second-class
citizen, not worthy of parking
their big, bigoted bums in its
sick-making Pendolinos, with
its wi-fi — the endless nonfunction of which I despise
almost more than the idea of
a billionaire pretending to be
left wing. It’s bad business,
demonising 52% of your
customers, Dickie, whatever
your politics or beard style.
This had the
sour tang of
Virgin trying
to socially
cleanse its
teve Bannon began the year
as a political genius with the
ear of the US president and a
global media empire at his
command. Today, barely two
weeks later, the 64-year-old is
out of work and out of favour,
with no more access to the
White House, no more journalists to do his bidding and
the new nickname of “Sloppy Steve”.
Even in this Trumpian age of wildly
improbable falls from grace the downfall
of the former banker who cultivated an
image as “President Bannon” has been
breathtaking to behold.
Even more astonishing: Bannon, renowned for his media savvy, disdain for
metropolitan elites and unshakable loyalty to the 45th president, was the author
of his own demise after an amateurishly
unguarded comment — about Donald
Trump Jr’s “treasonous” meeting with
Russians during the 2016 election — to
Michael Wolff, a media writer who is as
metropolitan and elite as they come.
Fittingly, the end came for Bannon at
the same place where his unlikely career
as a political insurgent began: at news
website Breitbart, which he had led since
the untimely death in 2012 of its founder,
Andrew Breitbart, aside from his brief
spell in the White House.
The exact circumstances of the ousting
remain unclear. But it is thought that the
website’s primary investor, Rebekah Mercer, had spent several days trying to convince Andrew’s widow, Susie, and Larry
Solov, the company’s chief executive,
that Bannon’s falling-out with Donald
Trump made him more of a liability than
an asset.
By Tuesday, a decision had finally
been made: Bannon, the man who had
turned Breitbart into an extension of his
own “snowflake”-baiting, apocalypticminded personality, shaping it into one
of the top 30 most-visited US websites
and a relentless propagandist for Trump
— helping the most divisive and chaotic
candidate in history win a supposedly
unwinnable election — would be cast out.
Andrew Breitbart
saw himself as
challenging the
media’s bullying
and hypocrisy
o understand the rise of Bannon it is
necessary to understand the history
of Breitbart itself and its extraordinary role in aiding Trump’s rise to
power. That history began with
Andrew Breitbart, a big, bearish man
with a bellowing laugh whom I was fortunate enough to get to know a decade ago.
Unlike Bannon, with three marriages
and three divorces, Andrew was devoted
to his wife and a family man above all
else. Also, unlike Bannon, he was good
fun to be around — and often very funny.
We first met circa 2005 at Chateau
Marmont, a Los Angeles hotel. Andrew
was guarded at first — he barely mentioned his new Breitbart website — but I
soon discovered that he had grown up
with adoptive Jewish parents in the
wealthy LA enclave of Brentwood. After
university he was a waiter, wrote comedy
and did research for the Greek-born
columnist Arianna Huffington, before
talking himself into a job at the Drudge
Report, the website that had broken the
Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky story.
It was while Andrew was working at
Drudge that Huffington asked for his help
in setting up a new online news venture —
The Huffington Post. Andrew obliged.
At around the same time, Andrew
attended a screening for a documentary
about Ronald Reagan and made a connection with one of its directors.
The two men bonded over their
mutual belief that pop culture had to
change before young Americans would
embrace Reagan-style ideals again and
they became instant brothers in arms
against the liberal media establishment.
This director, Andrew concluded, was a
truly fascinating character.
Born in Virginia to a working-class
Irish Catholic family, he had served on a
US navy destroyer, attended Harvard
Business School, worked at Goldman
Sachs, somehow managed to acquire a
small stake in the sitcom Seinfeld and had
written a hip-hop screenplay. His name,
of course, was Steve Bannon.
Soon after, Andrew had his great
epiphany: he would set up a HuffPo of his
own — but for conservatives.
The initial Breitbart business model
was almost laughably simple: it would
aggregate stories from wire services such
as Associated Press and Reuters, give
them provocative headlines and pay for
Steve Bannon was widely seen as the man who won Trump
the presidency, using Breitbart to rouse the right. Now he has
been cast out by both. Chris Ayres charts how he corrupted
the news website’s founding ideals and sealed his fate
The Sunday Times January 14, 2018
story attracted even bigger fish, with the
billionaire Robert Mercer and his daughter Rebekah ploughing about $10m (£7m
at today’s rates) into the website.
With Breitbart getting ever stronger,
Andrew invited me to a Tea Party gathering in San Diego. I asked him if he worried
that his trade in political outrage might
one day get him hurt. The people he was
most scared of, he replied, were on the
right, because to them he could never go
far enough. In hindsight, he perhaps
understood that Breitbart was a beast
that he couldn’t fully control.
Once we returned to LA I became concerned about his increasingly enraged
countenance. By now he had become a
regular on CNN and other channels, but
on air he often showed little to none of
the playfulness and warmth of the
Andrew I knew.
On Twitter, meanwhile, he took to retweeting all of the abuse directed at him
from liberals, while throwing some of it
back. His point was that the left could be
just as hateful as the right, if not more so,
but this seemed like obvious stuff — not to
mention childish.
I couldn’t decide if he was revelling in
the hate because it helped drive traffic, or
he enjoyed it, or if overwork and too
much drinking were taking a toll. Others
were concerned, too — especially when
Andrew was filmed one night bellowing
at Occupy DC protesters in Washington.
“Behave yourself!” he kept repeating.
“You’re freaks and animals! You filthy,
filthy, raping, murdering freaks!”
Two weeks later, on the night of
Wednesday, February 29, 2012, Andrew
left a wine bar and, with a few drinks in
him but not drunk, walked the 30-minute
journey home. He was reportedly only a
few feet from his front door when he collapsed. At 12.19am he was pronounced
dead at the nearby Ronald Reagan UCLA
medical centre. To anyone who spent
time with the man, the sadness of it
remains hard to bear.
His mascot was a
honey badger
because of how it
rips apart its prey
members, it turned out, included the
likes of Kelsey Grammer, of Frasier fame,
the actor Jon Voight — Angelina Jolie’s
father — and the much lesser known
I barely recognised Andrew at first.
Gone was his clean-shaven college student look, replaced by a ginger-grey
beard. But there he was, holding forth —
Andrew’s rising profile had already
started to change him.
These were the early days of Barack
Obama’s administration and the conservative backlash had created a kind of
industry of resistance not unlike the one
currently under way against Trump.
Many in the mainstream press were quick
to ascribe this to racism, which in
Andrew’s case was ludicrous. Yet either
because Andrew was naive, or had
romanticised his cause, or because he
was unwilling to damage his business
model, he seemingly never wanted to
acknowledge that some of the venom
directed at the president was clearly
about the colour of his skin.
the bare-bones operation by selling
advertising. Andrew’s ace in the hole,
however, was convincing his old boss
Matt Drudge not to link to wire stories
hosted by mainstream publications but
to those hosted on Breitbart instead.
Andrew was never much interested in
the actual policies of conservatism.
Rather, he saw himself as a “happy
warrior” challenging the hypocrisy and
bullying of Hollywood and the media. In
particular, as a secular, pro-gay-rights
Jewish man with a younger sister of Mexican descent (also adopted), it viscerally
upset him that the strategy of the Democratic Party seemed to be to tar those
who disagreed with it — that is, half the
country — as racists, misogynists or
But what made Andrew so successful
was his ability to co-opt the swagger and
humour of the left. He challenged the
facts of mainstream media outlets with a
“staff writer” named “Retracto, the Correction Alpaca” — complete with byline
photo of the animal in question.
In person Andrew was always persuasive and entertaining, full of infectious
energy and almost impossible not to like.
My relationship with Andrew was initially one of journalist and rent-a-quote.
Then one night a friend took me to a supposedly top-secret gathering of conservatives known as Friends of Abe — the name
a reference to Abraham Lincoln. The
former Breitbart
ndrew’s masterpiece came with
“Weinergate”, a tabloid-style scoop
so bizarrely massive that its reverberations may have had as much to
do with Trump’s 2016 victory as did
his association with Bannon. It began
with Andrew, at home on a Friday night
in 2011, noticing a retweeted screenshot
from the Twitter feed of Anthony Weiner,
the New York mayoral candidate and,
fatefully, the husband of Huma Abedin,
chief aide to Hillary Clinton.
It was a photograph of an erect penis
barely contained by grey underpants.
Weiner had accidentally posted the
image instead of privately sending it to a
college student. The candidate then
claimed his Twitter account had been
hacked and suggested that Andrew was
the hacker.
Andrew milked every last ounce of
comical absurdity from the story, but
couldn’t have known its climax would
come five years later when FBI agents
assigned to investigate another explicit
text message sent by the terminally horny
Weiner — this time to an underage girl —
would discover some of Clinton’s emails
on a computer he shared with his wife.
This would force the bureau to reopen its
investigation into the presidential candidate’s use of a personal email server —
just 11 days before votes were cast.
By the time of Weinergate, Andrew
had grown increasingly close to Bannon,
who provided Breitbart with office space
in Santa Monica and Hollywood. But the
t was Solov, Breitbart’s co-owner, who
urged Bannon to step in as executive
chairman after Andrew’s death. His
role was supposed to focus on fundraising, but he soon began to colour
the website’s coverage with his enthusiasm for “economic nationalism” and his
fear of Islamic global domination. Meanwhile, the tone grew even darker. Once
it had been Retracto, the Correction
Alpaca. Now it was Bannon’s new star,
the British columnist Milo Yiannopoulos,
delighting his fellow trolls from the darkest corners of the internet with headlines
such as “‘Slut’s remorse’ is why rape suspects should be anonymised”.
If any of this had been a part of
Andrew’s grand vision, he had kept it
quiet. In fact, Andrew had stated that in
no way did he consider Trump a conservative. Most troubling of all: Bannon, like
Trump, seemed to tacitly encourage all of
the racists, homophobes, antisemites
and misogynists who found comfort in
the throwback concept of “America
first”. Andrew had always struck me as
the very opposite of all of those things.
Some Breitbart staffers felt the same
way. “Andrew’s life’s mission has been
betrayed,” wrote Ben Shapiro, after
resigning as editor-at-large. “Breitbart
News has become precisely the reverse of
what [he] would have wanted.”
By the time Trump moved into the
White House, Breitbart was Bannon’s in
all but name. When visitors entered the
so-called “Breitbart embassy” on Capitol
Hill in Washington they were greeted
with stacks of the issue of Time magazine
with Bannon as “The great manipulator”
on the cover. On the wall, meanwhile,
there was a picture of a honey badger,
Bannon’s mascot, because of the ferocious and persistent manner in which it
rips apart its prey.
Bannon’s success, however, contained
the seeds of his destruction. Trump bitterly resented any suggestion that his
election victory was all Bannon’s work,
or that Bannon was pulling his strings.
To the enemies of Trump and the altright movement, of course, Bannon’s
ousting will be a relief. But it may not be
so easy to reverse his work over the past
five years. I’m reminded of the time when
Andrew decided to fight back against
claims that Tea Party members had
shouted racial abuse at members of the
Congressional black caucus. “This is
2010,” he fumed to the Associated Press.
“Even a racist is media-savvy enough not
to yell the N-word.”
He would no doubt have been dumbfounded to learn that just seven years
later a procession of white men brandishing candle-lit torches could march openly
through the streets of Charlottesville, Virginia, chanting “blood and soil” and
“Jews will not replace us”.
It would surely have shocked him even
more to know a one-time Breitbart columnist — Yiannopoulos — would be
filmed singing America the Beautiful to
the leader of the same group of racists,
Richard Spencer, while his supporters
made drunken Nazi salutes behind him.
Andrew’s mistake, perhaps, was that
in building his machine, he took his own
fundamental decency for granted, not
realising that a future operator might lack
it. And the tragedy is that if he had lived,
he was the one man who could have
switched it off — or at least reprogrammed it — before it was too late.
A president like no other, Culture,
Books, pages 29-30
Tom Hanks as Ben Bradlee and Meryl Streep as Kay Graham in The Post: ‘not an honest film’
The Crown and The
Post tell great stories
— and porkies. This
matters if we only get
history on screen,
says Peggy Noonan
e often write of the
urgent need for more
truth in politics. A
hope for 2018 is
more truth in art and
entertainment, too.
Recently I watched the
Netflix series The Crown and
Steven Spielberg’s movie
The Post. Each is enjoyable,
yet fails in the same
significant way.
There’s dramatic licence,
which is necessary or
nothing’s fun, and historical
truth, which is necessary or
nothing’s understood. Ideally
in any work they more or less
coexist, however imperfectly.
But in The Crown and The
Post the balance is far off. A
cheap historical
mindlessness marks much of
the first, and there’s a lie at
the heart of the second.
I couldn’t help but like The
Crown: it was so beautiful.
The acting, the stillness, all
the money and thought that
went into making the rooms
look right, the period
clothing, right down to the
cufflinks — in these matters
the creators are deeply
faithful to reality. In its
treatment of history,
however, there’s a deep,
clueless carelessness.
Example: the treatment of
the future prime minister
Harold Macmillan is churlish
and unknowing. He was not a
sallow, furtive weasel of a
man, which is how he is
portrayed; he was a politician
whose humanity, courage
and wit even his adversaries
acknowledged. He did not
deviously scheme, during the
Suez crisis, to unseat the
prime minister, Anthony
Eden, who did not throw a
pen at him and call him a liar
in a cabinet meeting.
As prime minister, his
weekly meetings with the
Queen were not testy,
marked by condescension on
his side and strained patience
on hers. He respected and
admired her; she became his
confidante. In his diaries he
called her “a great support
because she is the one person
you can talk to”. He would
not have taunted her with the
glamour and intelligence of
her supposed rival, Jackie
Kennedy. He would not have
taunted her at all.
As for what is said of his
private life, he realised early
in his marriage that his wife,
Dorothy, had fallen
“irrevocably in love” (in the
words of biographer Alistair
Horne), with Robert Boothby,
a brilliant member of
parliament who was a bit
unstable in the way of bright
English politicians. Their
relationship continued
almost 40 years.
Everyone knew of it. It was
the great wound of
Macmillan’s life. He
considered divorce, but
stayed. “I had everything
from her, owed everything to
her,” he explained in a late-inlife interview. “I told her I’d
never let her go.” He was not
a man who, as The Crown has
it, would drive her to her
assignations like a pimp.
More absurd is the series’
treatment of President John F
Kennedy and his wife. JFK
was not, as The Crown
asserts, enraged with his wife
for dazzling Paris on their
first state trip to Europe. He
was thrilled at her success; it
elevated him on the world
stage. Suddenly he saw her as
what she was, a political asset
to be deployed. She
transfixed Charles de Gaulle,
that stern and starchy old
man who was always mad at
America, often with good
reason. The biographer
Richard Reeves quotes JFK to
his wife: “‘Well,’ he told her,
‘I’m dazzled.’”
There is literally nothing to
support the assertion in The
Crown that after the trip JFK,
in a rage at being upstaged by
his wife, drank, threw things
and lunged at her. There is no
historical evidence that he
ever got rapey with his wife.
Nor did he smoke cigarettes.
All of this, and more, is
vulgar, dumb and careless. It
is disrespectful not only of
real human beings, but of
history itself.
A bonus anecdote, only
because it’s real and I like it:
when JFK met Macmillan
after Paris, he complained of
some press coverage of
Jackie. JFK was indignant.
“How,” he asked, “would you
There is no
evidence JFK
threw things
at his wife
respond if the newspapers
called Lady Dorothy a
drunk?” Macmillan replied:
“I’d respond, ‘You should
have seen her mother!’”
Kennedy roared.
Now to The Post. When
you can say you spent two
enjoyable hours watching a
movie, it’s a good movie. But
it’s not an honest one.
Others have noted flaws.
The movie is a celebration of
The Washington Post for
printing the top-secret
Pentagon Papers, which
revealed US government lies
about the Vietnam War. But it
was The New York Times that
showed the greater
enterprise — it got the story
first — and the greater valour,
because its editors could not
fully guess the legal
repercussions and would
presumably have to handle
them on their own.
But what the heck: it’s
still a good story. What
is bad is the lie at the
movie’s heart.
President Richard
Nixon is portrayed as
the villain of the story.
And that is the
opposite of the truth.
Nixon did not start the
Vietnam War, he ended it.
His administration was not
even mentioned in the
Pentagon Papers,
which were
finished before he
took office.
When that
dark, sad man
tried to halt
of the
document, he
was protecting
not his own
reputation but in
effect those of
others. Those
others were
his political
— Lyndon
Johnson and JFK, a friend of
the Washington Post editor,
Ben Bradlee — who the
papers revealed had misled
the public. If Nixon had been
merely self-interested, he
would have faked umbrage
and done nothing to stop
their publication. Even
cleverer, he could have
decried the leaking of
government secrets while
declaring and bowing to the
public’s right to know.
Instead, he did what he
thought was the right thing —
went to court to prevent the
publication of secrets that
might harm America’s
diplomatic standing while it
attempted to extricate itself
from a war.
Being Nixon, of course, he
had to crow, in a way that
became public, that he was
sticking it to those liberals in
the press. His attempt to
stop publication was
wrong — the public did have a
right to know. But he did
what he thought was the
responsible thing, and pays
for it to this day.
Were the makers of The
Post ignorant of all this? You
might think so if it weren’t for
the little coda they tag on to
the end. Suddenly a movie
about the Pentagon Papers is
depicting the Watergate
break-in, which would take
place a year later. As if to say:
OK, Nixon isn’t really the
villain of our story, but he
became a villain soon
enough. It struck me not as a
failed attempt at resolving a
drama, but an admission of a
perpetrated injustice.
Why does all this matter?
Because we are losing history.
It is not the fault of
Hollywood, as they used to
call it, but Hollywood is a
contributor to it.
When people care enough
about history to study and
read it, it’s a small sin to lie
and mislead in dramas. But
when people get their history
through entertainment,
when they absorb the story of
their times only through
screens, then the tendency to
fabricate is more damaging.
Those who make movies and
television dramas should
start caring about this. It is
wrong in an age of lies to add
to their sum total. It’s not
right. It will do harm.
This article first appeared in
The Wall Street Journal
Claire Foy in The Crown,
which is ‘clueless’ in its
treatment of history
An exiled Chinese dissident has spent more
than 10 years in jail over the death of a reclusive
London writer. Spotting flaws in a case layered
in mystery, Thomas Harding, a neighbour of
the victim, goes in search of the truth
n May 2006 an 86-year-old man
named Allan Chappelow was
bludgeoned to death in his crumbling home in Hampstead, north
London. He was discovered more
than four weeks later buried under
about five feet of paper, curled up
in a foetal position, partially burnt
and covered in wax. In September
2006 Wang Yam, a Chinese dissident, was arrested in Switzerland. He was
extradited to Britain and convicted of
Chappelow’s murder. His murder trial
was the first in modern British history to
be held in camera: closed in part to the
public and the press. More than 10 years
later he is still protesting his innocence.
The police were certain they had the
right man, yet no forensic evidence was
found linking Wang Yam to the crime
scene. A pathologist described the killing
as particularly brutal, but the prosecutors were unable to prove that the
accused had a history of violence.
The police said that after murdering
Chappelow, Wang Yam had repeatedly
stolen post from his house in an attempt
to assume his identity but credit cards,
Pin numbers and a passport were found
untouched and in plain sight on the
victim’s bed.
The more I read about the case, the
more confusing it became.
For 18 years I had lived four doors away
from Chappelow. That is to say I knew
him as a child knows the peculiar old man
who lives up the street. His murder was
tragic and shocking. But as I began to
research it further a senior barrister
warned me that I was heading into
“murky, murky waters”. He was right.
Larger questions loomed: why was
Wang Yam’s trial held in closed court?
Is it possible to hold a fair trial in secret?
In this time of growing terrorist and
criminal threats, are individual and press
freedoms being sacrificed on the altar of
national security? I wanted to know more
about the trial — and who had killed my
Chappelow, an author of books on
George Bernard Shaw, had lived alone at
9 Downshire Hill for more than 30 years.
After the police were tipped off about
suspicious transactions made on Chappelow’s bank account, they stopped by
his home to verify his identity.
The whole house smelt sweet. The
front hallway and half the rooms were
filled with old newspapers, plastic bags,
bottles, fragments of wood and rubble.
Three days of searching passed before a
sniffer dog found Chappelow’s body
under the debris. His skull appeared to be
fractured, as if struck repeatedly by a
blunt instrument.
Detectives could not find his Nokia
phone yet his Sim card had been used
numerous times during the previous
weeks. Perhaps the victim had
befriended a conman or had a fraudster
broken in and stolen his mail?
The postman recalled being questioned a few weeks earlier about Chappelow’s mail by “a Chinese man, a bit
shorter than me . . . He was about 50
years old with an English accent . . . His
hair was black with a fringe and collarlength.” The police wondered: could this
be the first description of the murderer?
Wang Yam claims that his grandfather
was Ren Bishi, a revolutionary hero of
China’s Long March. At his funeral Mao
Tse-tung had served as one of his pallbearers. But Wang Yam grew disillusioned with the regime as a student in
Beijing and joined in the pro-democracy
protests in Tiananmen Square in 1989.
He was interrogated several times by
police and managed to escape to Hong
Kong in 1992. Questioned by entry
guards, he said he had “political problems” and wanted to leave for “any country that speaks English”. Soon he was on
an overnight flight to London.
A court artist’s drawing of Wang Yam
at the Old Bailey, where he was
convicted of the murder of Allan
Chappelow, above
The visit of Harry
and Meghan to a
Brixton radio
station shows the
growing influence
of black culture
ho would have
thought that Prince
Harry and his fiancée
Meghan Markle’s
second official
engagement together would
take place at a radio station
inside a shipping container?
When the couple arrived at
Reprezent, a buzzy youth
station in Brixton, south
London, the crowd outside
greeted them as if they were
long-lost family members.
“Welcome to Brixton,
brother ’Arry!” a man in
shades cried out in a thick
Caribbean accent.
Reprezent was founded in
2008 to tackle knife crime. It
has provided a creative outlet
for more than 4,000
youngsters across the capital
and counts the grime and
hip-hop artist Stormzy
among its alumni (he hosted
his own show at Reprezent
long before his music
launched him into the
But it has also become a
favourite stomping ground
for politicians on the hunt for
a right-on photo opportunity.
Sadiq Khan, Ken Livingstone,
Chuka Umunna and Harriet
Harman have all been keen
to be seen fist-bumping
with Reprezent’s young
To see if some of the radio
station’s grime and glamour
might rub off on me, I visited
the day after the tour of
Meghan and Harry. The bare
wooden walls thrum to the
tune of Wretch 32’s club hit
Tell Me, yet the place is a
ghost town. Where are the
photogenic “yoof” who were
pictured with Harry and
Meghan 24 hours ago?
“They’re all probably flat
out somewhere,” laughs
station manager Adrian
Newman. “Yesterday was a
long day, man.”
Not all the station’s A-list
visitors can muster the
sufficient level of cool
required to get down with
the kids. Harry tried to learn
a handshake from a local
DJ, couldn’t quite master
it and got a consolatory
hug instead.
Meanwhile, Meghan
gamely slipped on some
headphones and praised the
radio station’s “engaging”
approach, promising she
would “tune in”.
Gloria Beyi, a 17-year-old
with green hair, was on air
when the pair entered the
studio. “Usually when I watch
these royal visits, the crowd
is mainly elderly people,”
she says. “This time there
were people my age saying,
‘I’m so excited for Meghan to
be in the royal family.’”
Using the growing social
influence of black culture to
win over the younger
demographic is not new. Last
year a number of grime
artists were recruited by the
Labour Party to harness the
youth vote. On January 1,
Jeremy Corbyn’s media team
sent out a high-octane video
of the leader’s new year
message, set to a beat from
hip-hop artists the Seige.
Brixton is home to a large
black population and many
were pleased to see a mixedrace woman being embraced
by the Establishment. A day
after the visit Placide Tel,
who runs a chicken shop, was
still beaming. “It’s most
exciting for me to see our
people in the palace,” he tells
me. “That’s a black girl there
with Prince Harry and we’re
going to have some sons there
in the royal family.”
Video: Harry and Meghan
wow the crowds in Brixton
Go to
or our smartphone or
tablet apps
Harry and Meghan visiting Reprezent in Brixton last week
The Sunday Times January 14, 2018
After arriving in the UK he obtained
a researcher’s job in the physics
department at Queen Mary College in
east London and became involved in
pro-democracy politics, attending rallies
and handing out leaflets in Chinatown.
He also went on to develop a web of
complicated financial services, renting a
central London office, printing business
cards and registering internet domain
names. Several of his cheques bounced,
he was often chased for unpaid debts and
filed for bankruptcy.
Detectives were convinced they had
found their man. They had a motive:
there were numerous accounts of Wang
Yam’s financial troubles. They had
opportunity: he lived around the corner
from Chappelow and the postman had
allegedly linked the suspect to the scene
of the crime. And they had plenty of evidence: perhaps best of all, Wang Yam had
been captured on CCTV depositing the
victim’s cheques in his own bank
account. It was more than enough to
issue a warrant for his arrest for murder.
At a meeting in a small, windowless
room at Belmarsh prison, Wang Yam was
encouraged by his barristers to provide a
full account of his story.
He said he had been in possession of
Chappelow’s cheques and Sim card
because he had become involved with
Chinese gangsters in London who were
responsible for the theft of Chappelow’s
identity. He said he had been handed the
cheques and credit card by three gangsters whom he had come to know and
that he was playing them along as a
means of assembling evidence against
them and reporting them.
He said they must have shadowed him,
committed the murder and framed him.
Although this seemed fanciful, none of
his claims could be tested in public.
In November 2007 a letter arrived by
government car at the Home Office
requesting that the home secretary
approve a public interest immunity (PII)
certificate preventing the disclosure of
Wang Yam’s defence. In evaluating
whether to approve the PII, the home
secretary had to determine whether disclosure would be likely to lead to real
damage to the UK’s national security or
economic interests, outweighing the
public interest in open justice.
So it was that six weeks before the
trial’s scheduled start, the Crown Prosecution Service said that the trial could not
take place in open court “in the interests
of national security and to protect the
identity of a witness or other person”.
Wang Yam’s lawyers were stunned. How
could they mount a defence that was at
least partially held in closed court?
In a separate order the judge said that
not only were the media to be excluded
from the in camera portions of the trial
but they were also forbidden from
speculating as to why the trial was being
held in secret. The jury found him guilty
of three charges, including the handling
and receiving of stolen goods, but could
not agree whether he was guilty of burglary, mail theft and murder.
The judge ruled there would be a
retrial on the other charges later that
year. According to Geoffrey Robertson,
Wang Yam’s QC, the police “had
decided that Wang Yam was their man.
There was a logic to it. He was difficult to
understand, they didn’t bother looking
much further and they didn’t run down
As I researched
the case a senior
barrister warned
me that I was
heading into
‘murky waters’.
He was right
the alternatives.” Later it was widely
reported that Wang Yam was an MI6
Was there another side to Allan
Chappelow? At a restaurant near the Haymarket, central London, I met a tall, thin
man in his sixties known as “Serpico”,
who had cruised Hampstead Heath for
decades. Between 2000 and 2006 he
said he had frequent encounters with a
man dressed in black trousers, black shirt
and a black hat. This man had facial hair,
spoke with a posh accent and was called
“Allan”. Then “Allan” had disappeared.
According to Chappelow’s cousin, the
police had found sex-related paraphernalia, including condoms and a video of a
gay pride march, inside the victim’s
home. Did he have a hidden second life?
Serpico told me that men who took part
in corporal punishment sometimes
engaged in sex play with hot wax and that
it was exactly the kind of thing “Allan”
would have enjoyed.
In 2017 Wang Yam’s case went to the
Court of Appeal. This time “Serpico”
appeared as a witness and spoke of the
“spanking bench” where he would meet
the man in black. Another witness, Jonathan Bean, said he had been threatened
by a man with a knife at his home on
Downshire Hill less than a year after his
neighbour had been killed and that some
of his mail may have been stolen.
None of these statements impressed
the judges. The “key connection”, they
wrote in their judgment, was between
the use of Chappelow’s mobile Sim card
and the murder.
Could there have been two sets of
criminals, unknown to each other, carrying out separate crimes? There was never
any physical evidence linking Wang Yam
to Downshire Hill. If he was the killer,
why did he leave no trace? Yet because of
the PII, upheld throughout all of Wang
Yam’s trials and appeals, significant parts
of the judicial process were held in
camera. Even more extraordinarily, journalists (myself included) are still barred
from speculating about the reasons for
the trial being held behind closed doors.
Whatever is contained in the secret
appendix attached to the PII certificate, it
must be of such scope and scale that it is
important enough to override the
centuries-old tradition of open justice.
© Thomas Harding 2018
Blood on the Page by Thomas Harding will
be published by William Heinemann on
January 25 at £20.
Unlike other Hollywood stars,
Anjelica Huston won’t sign up to
#MeToo. There are other ways
women can fight domineering
men, she tells Chrissy Iley
n a show of feminist solidarity,
Hollywood’s finest actresses wore
funereal black to the Golden Globes
last week. But it turns out that one
of the industry’s grande dames isn’t
so sure: “I was not born a #MeToo
girl. It wasn’t who I wanted to be at
school and it’s not what I want to be
now — a snitch,” Anjelica Huston
says when we meet the day after the
ceremony at her Los Angeles home.
The actress, a one-time Globe winner
and eight-time nominee, believes that
Oprah Winfrey “spoke very directly and
was very powerful” on the subject of
Hollywood sexism and abuse. However,
she adds: “You may have noticed last
night there were not a lot of mea culpas.”
Huston, 66, is sceptical about the
#MeToo movement and seems inclined
to agree with the 100 eminent women in
France who have denounced it as a puritan backlash that treats women as children. “I think it’s a very idealistic idea of
young women to think that we’re going to
change men because we haven’t done it
thus far in history. Nothing has happened
since the day they were wearing bearskins and wielding clubs. Men have never
changed about certain things.”
Huston wasn’t at this year’s awards
ceremony and, curled up on her sofa, in
dark jeans and a pink cashmere jumper,
her two dogs at her feet, she says she was
pleased to have missed it. She has walked
enough red carpets over the course of her
50-year career to have developed a clear
idea of how the industry works. We talk
about the start of #MeToo and Gwyneth
Paltrow’s accusation against Harvey
Weinstein after more than two decades of
appearing on Oscar podiums and yachts
with him.
My dad developed
in us minor
contempt for
people who could
not carry their
own weight or
who were shallow
“Perhaps #MeToo should be changed
to #WhyNow?” She laughs. “Harvey was
always a bully. I was bullied by Harvey;
never sexually, thank God. The idea,
eww,” she squirms.
When Weinstein’s Miramax company
bought the distribution rights to The
Grifters, in which Huston’s performance
earned her a Golden Globe nomination in
1991, she had decided to follow Jack
Nicholson’s lead and refuse to do any promotional appearances on talk shows. “I
said to Harvey, ‘I don’t do television talk
shows . . .’ Well, I did every television talk
show there was following that conversation. What can I say? I lost the fight. You
shut up and that was that.”
Huston offers me tea or white wine. It’s
the afternoon and I love the old-schoolness of the white wine but there’s a pot of
medicinal lemon, ginger and honey tea
made and it seems more appropriate. She
has her own way of dealing with colossal
Hollywood egos: “The only way you can
get round a man is to behave like you
want to be in the cage with the 300lb
gorilla. That’s all. It’s just the way it is.”
Huston’s history involves a lot of
gorilla taming; she’s shared her life with
some of Hollywood’s most difficult men.
Her father, the actor and director John
Huston, was the ultimate man’s man. He
made macho epic films and liked hunting
and womanising. Her first long-term boyfriend was notorious womaniser Nicholson. They were together 17 years, occupying a world where sex and power were
always at play, until the relationship
finally ended in 1990.
Huston has previously talked about
how, at the height of his career, Nicholson would abandon her to go home for
trysts with fans who approached him on
the street.
Today, she says: “Of course I was bullied but big deal. For as long as I’ve
known them, men have always bullied
women. My father bullied me into all
kinds of things but also he bullied me into
some good things.”
One of which was persuading her to
appear in her first film, A Walk with Love
and Death, which he made, launching
her career. Today Huston looks elegant
and her glossy hair in dark sheets falls
past her shoulders. She has a striking charisma. Last year she made a film called
Trouble and has also appeared in Transparent, Amazon’s hit transgender drama
series. She doesn’t bemoan the world of
acting being tougher for women of a certain age. She just gets on with it.
We are meeting to discuss an
intriguing documentary she has pre-
Anjelica Huston says powerful men
are so much more fun than weak ones
I don’t want to be
the one calling the
shots. I prefer to
have the shots
called and rise to
the challenge if
there is one
sented about James Joyce, featuring clips
from Irish luminaries such as Edna
O’Brien. She grew up in Galway and her
father was made an Irish citizen in 1964.
Her father’s last film, The Dead, was
adapted from Joyce’s collection of short
stories The Dubliners. In the new documentary her father appears on screen
talking about The Dead in a very direct
and profound way, yet when he made the
film he was in his death throes.
Huston has always been very moved
by her own father, possibly because she
grew up in a fractured way, sometimes
separated from him when he was making
films or when he had moved on to
women other than her mother. There
was always a sense of longing. Was the
Joyce documentary a way to get back
to him?
“Oh, he’s always there. Sometimes
he’ll crop up almost like a message. The
other day a friend of mine was telling me
about a house in Ireland that was up for
sale right near where we used to live and
on the same day my sister Allegra sent me
a little piece on my dad becoming a naturalised Irish citizen.”
Her home, with its cream woodenness, lush green garden and wet emerald
grass, all seems very Irish. She also has a
ranch outside the city with some ancient
horses. Huston reveals that she lost 10
close friends last year, including her partner, Jerry Perenchio, the moneyman
behind Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner and
Driving Miss Daisy, who died of lung cancer aged 86. “He was a marvellous man. I
knew he was not well but I didn’t know
how not well. He was also very defiant in
the face of his illness; a very courageous,
interesting and powerful person.”
Why is it that she is always drawn to
powerful men? “They are so much more
fun than weak. Weak is annoying and
cloying, and while it might be fun to rule
the roost for a bit, I don’t want to be the
one calling the shots. I much prefer to
have the shots called and rise to the challenge if there is one. I think I was just
fated to be this way because of the way
my dad was. He developed in us minor
contempt for people who could not carry
their own weight or who were shallow or
I’m reminded of a story from her memoir, Watch Me, that touched me. A few
years after she and Nicholson broke up —
Huston had found out he’d got a woman
pregnant while she’d been going through
IVF treatment — he sent her an exquisite
piece of jewellery for Christmas. It was a
pearl and diamond bracelet that Frank
Sinatra had sent to Ava Gardner and
came with a note saying: “These pearls
from your swine . . . yr Jack.” She smiles.
“This year for Christmas he got me a
scarf from Barneys — very pretty — and a
mug.” She goes to get it for me. The mug
has a picture of Jack on it from the 1980s.
It looks ridiculous. We laugh. “I know, the
mind boggles sometimes.” One minute
you’re a powerful man in Hollywood and
then the next you’re somebody’s mug.
Anjelica Huston on James Joyce: A Shout in
the Street is on BBC4 tomorrow at 9pm
The Sunday Times January 14, 2018
This photo of a sloth in the Brazilian rainforest is one of 24 images in the running for the Natural History Museum’s people’s choice award
Which newspaper last week urged its
readers to use cannabis? Which paper
was praised by Newsnight for its
vigorous environmental campaigns?
And in which newspaper were five
women encouraged to undress and
celebrate their stretch marks?
No, it wasn’t The Guardian. It was
the Daily Mail, which was also banned
from Virgin Trains last week because
staff apparently didn’t share the
paper’s values (see Profile, right).
Monday’s Mail attempted to interest
its readers in soft drugs. “Cannabis looks
set to be the hottest new ingredient in
beauty products in 2018,” said the paper.
Extracts of cannabis, the paper
explained, have anti-inflammatory
properties. Unlike, obviously, the Mail.
Gwyneth plans a privates ceremony
Having consciously uncoupled from
ex-husband Chris Martin of Coldplay
For years, Sir Richard Branson traded
successfully on his image as the laidback hippie billionaire. Tieless, bearded
and with hair rather longer than that of
the average chief executive, he was
famously underestimated by Lord King,
then chairman of British Airways, as the
two men competed for a chunk of the
transatlantic market in the early 1990s.
So he probably thought an
announcement that Virgin West Coast
trains would no longer sell the Daily
Mail — because Virgin staff weren’t
comfortable with the paper’s values —
would only enhance the brand.
The reaction must have come as a
shock. Quite a few people, it seems,
aren’t comfortable with the values of
Virgin and its high-profile boss. “Before
you congratulate Richard Branson on
#virgintrains boycotting the Daily Mail,”
one doctor raged on Twitter, “do
remember that Virgin Care are
taking over our NHS.”
And what about
Branson’s attitude to
women? Was it a
coincidence that the
Mail recently got rather
personal, criticising
his touchy-feely
approach. “Need
someone to stuff a
phone down your bra? Just dial D for
Dicky,” said the paper. “A bottombaring fireman’s lift? Bran’s your man.”
Perhaps even more wounding,
earlier this month the Mail noted that
Branson was posting pictures of his
skiing holiday on Twitter while his rail
passengers faced increased fares. Virgin
Trains has been released three years
early from its franchise on the East
Coast line, while Virgin Care faces
criticism after winning £328,000 from
the NHS in a contract dispute.
Branson began his business career as
a 15-year-old pupil at Stowe School,
where he launched a magazine called
Student. To help fund the magazine he
launched the Virgin brand, selling LPs
by mail order, but his big break came in
1973, when his Virgin Records label
released an unusual LP by an unknown
19-year-old musician.
Other labels thought Mike Oldfield’s
Tubular Bells was unmarketable, but it
went on to be one of the most popular
works of the 1970s. Other Virgin brands
followed, including Virgin Atlantic,
Virgin Money and Virgin Mobile.
Yet it seems a long time since Brand
Branson seemed fresh and different. At
the peak of his career, he was hailed as
Britain’s favourite businessman, but
public sympathy was noticeably limited
last year when his home on Necker
Island was flattened by Hurricane Irma.
Explaining his business philosophy,
Branson once wrote: “If you’re not
having fun, then it’s probably time to
call it quits and try something else.” As
the criticism mounts, is he really still
having fun?
Peter Stringfellow is threatening to
leave the Conservatives if the prime
minister doesn’t change direction
over Brexit. The nightclub owner,
who has donated £40,000 to the
party over recent years, says he’ll
even join the Liberal Democrats.
“I’ve never seen the country so
divided,” he explained. “I can’t live
with the fact that I’m supporting a
party that is totally against what I
think is good for our country.”
Apart from anything else, if the
club is denied access to specialist
workers from eastern Europe, where
are they going to find a regular
supply of pole dancers?
The Queen has been revealing secrets of
the crown jewels for a BBC1
documentary tonight to mark 65 years
since her coronation, but the real secret
we want to know is this: who now
supplies the royal smalls? For nearly 60
years, the Queen’s underwear came
from Rigby & Peller. Now the shop has
been stripped of its royal warrant after a
book by its former owner, June Kenton,
talked about her relationship with the
royals, including accounts of visiting
Buckingham Palace and serving the
Queen, Princess Margaret and the Queen
Mother. The book is called Storm in a
D-Cup. Was it the terrible pun that really
offended Her Majesty?
The opera isn’t over until the fat lady
sings, so the old saying goes. Now it
seems the opera can’t even get started
until the fat lady has been on a crash
diet. The soprano Lisette Oropesa has
revealed that she’s lost weight by
running marathons after being turned
down for roles because, at 14st 13lb,
she was too large. “There are roles
I wasn’t even
considered for
because of the
way I looked,”
said the singer,
who has
appeared att the
Royal Opera
House. “Someone
would look at my
and say:
‘No, too
fat!’ It
but it’s
Life in Brief
Born: July 18, 1950, in Blackheath,
Education: Stowe School
fame, Gwyneth Paltrow has revealed
that she’s planning to consciously
couple again. As Wednesday’s Sun
reported, the oddball actress
“announced her engagement in typical
style — on the front of her own
magazine”. She is to marry Brad
Falchuk, co-creator of the television
series Glee. The Sun reminded its
readers: “Among aids Gwyneth
recommends are £50 vaginal eggs, for
sexual energy . . . and a herbal steam
cleanse for your privates.” That’s the
wedding gifts sorted, then.
Every boozer wins
How’s Dry January going? Not well for
breakfast TV’s Kate Garraway, reported
Wednesday’s Daily Mirror. The Good
Morning Britain presenter says she’s
been called “boring” and “smug” after
giving up alcohol for the month.
But might her friends be right? In
Thursday’s Mail, writer Roger Lewis
revealed that he’s drinking again after
six “miserable” years.
“I became nothing but an irritable
so-and-so,” he admitted — and worse:
“I’d wake up in strange hotels
and know exactly why I was
Strolling Bone’s ‘leave’ vote
Tory Peter Bone is largely
known for one thing:
mentioning Mrs Bone in his
parliamentary speeches.
So it was a surprise to read
in Friday’s Sun that the
65-year-old Eurosceptic MP
has left his wife, Jenny, for
physiotherapist Helen
Harrison, who is 20 years
his junior. Earlier this
month it was revealed
that Ukip leader Henry
Bolton, 54, has left his wife
for a 25-year-old party
member. Is this why
Brexit was so popular
— because it makes
older men seem more
Consciously coupling:
Gwyneth Paltrow is
getting married again
Career highlights: Virgin mail order,
1969; Virgin Records, 1972; Virgin
Atlantic, 1984; beats Atlantic
speed record in Virgin
Atlantic Challenger II, 1986;
crosses Atlantic in hot air
balloon, 1987; crosses
Pacific in hot air balloon,
1991; Virgin Radio, 1993;
Virgin Rail, 1996;
knighted, 2000
Personal life: married to
Kristen Tomassi, 1972-9;
married to Joan
since 1989.
One son,
Founder member of the Moody Blues
who toured with the Beatles
Ray Thomas, who has died aged 76, was
a founder member of the Moody Blues,
whose songs included Nights in White
Satin, a top 20 hit on three occasions.
Critics dubbed them “the Pseudy Blues”
and dismissed them as the most
pretentious of all prog rock acts, but fans
afforded Thomas and his colleagues the
status of gurus. “I had a woman live in
my garden for three weeks,” he recalled.
“She wanted me to father her child, who
was going to be the new Messiah.”
Manager Brian Epstein put them to
work supporting the Beatles on tour. The
fans made so much noise that John
Lennon bet Thomas that he could play a
completely different song from the rest
of the group and nobody would notice.
“He was right,” Thomas recalled. “You
couldn’t hear a goddamn thing.”
The Times
Conservationist who fought to
preserve red telephone boxes
Gavin Stamp was perhaps Britain’s most
eloquent building conservationist. His
staunch defence of the red telephone
box, designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott,
exemplified his passion for preserving
the England celebrated in the poems of
Sir John Betjeman, his close friend.
Stamp, who has died aged 69, was a
sartorial advert for his ideas, cultivating
an image straight out of Brideshead
Revisited — natty waistcoats, watch
chains hanging from tweed trousers,
brogues and cravats. The architectural
columnist Ian Martin wrote: “He’s the
only bloke I ever met with a pocket
watch who wasn’t a w*****.”
The Times
The Sunday Times January 14, 2018
Jeremy Clarkson
Keep playing with your files, constable.
Let us vigilantes handle this burglar
attempted grooming and attempting to
engage a child in sexual activity, and was
jailed for 18 months.
Perhaps there were aspects of this
case that were not fully reported but,
whatever, the police commissioner
expressed his gratitude to the vigilante
groups for their assistance in securing
the conviction, even though there’s no
need to help the police because “we
have the whole thing under complete
control at all times”.
Except they don’t. We know this
because they announced last autumn
that in a drive to save £400m they will no
longer investigate minor crimes of
violence or tiny bits of theft unless the
victim can name the person who did it.
Sure, if a baddie uses violence or
trickery to enter someone’s house, then
the desk sergeant will fill in a form, in his
best joined-up writing, and carefully file
it away in that massive warehouse where
the Lost Ark ended up. But if the baddie
jimmies a window open and steals a few
bits and bobs, the homeowner will be
told politely to get lost.
It’s the same story with mild violence.
know only one thing about the law
in Britain: that there is no more
expensive place in the entire world
to stand than the moral high
ground. God himself could appear
from the clouds to tell the jury that
what you did was correct, but that
doesn’t mean you’re going to win
the case. Usually, it means you won’t.
And that brings me neatly on to the
case of a man called Mark Cardwell, who
appeared at Teesside crown court last
week. He’d been online, chatting to what
he thought were some young girls, but it
turned out he’d been asking for intimate
photographs from various paedophilehunting vigilante groups. Who promptly
shopped him to the gammon.
That’s tremendous, of course, but
hang on a minute. What crime had he
actually committed? He hadn’t been
intimate or inappropriate with a young
girl. He had merely asked a paunchy
man in a Steppenwolf T-shirt to pleasure
himself and send photographs. That’s
weird, I’ll grant you, but it’s not illegal.
And yet, amazingly, it is, because last
Monday, Cardwell was found guilty of
If, like most of the country, you are at
war with your neighbour over his unruly
hedge, you can’t hit him in the face with
a hammer. Plod’s going to come round if
you do that. But if you push him over or
poke him in the eye, then that’s OK.
The idea is very simple: by ignoring
minor crimes, the constabulary will be
able to concentrate its efforts on the only
stuff that matters these days. Terrorism.
Being a disc jockey in the 1970s.
Splashing a mum with muddy water by
driving through a puddle too quickly. Or
dropping plastic into the sea.
The trouble is that when you find
you’ve been burgled, it doesn’t feel very
minor at all. At best, it’s inconvenient
because you will have to keep your
temper while an insurance assessor
accuses you of doing the break-in
yourself. And then you will have to buy a
new toothbrush just in case the thief put
yours up his bottom.
At worst, a burglary can be very
upsetting. Losing your mother’s
engagement ring, or your dog, or your
photograph albums may look trivial on
paper, but in your heart it’s huge and
heavy and sad. And it’s even sadder
when you are told to get out of the police
station because “all our officers are
currently on a ladder-climbing course”.
So how’s this for a plan . . .
Warehouses employ night watchmen
to keep an eye on things when the
workforce is at home. Light industrial
estates have men walking round every so
often with fierce dogs. And stores have
Decide what
you and your
neighbours think
is the appropriate
security guards too. I saw one last week,
standing in the doorway of a shop. He
had big shoulders and an earpiece, and
because he was there, the chances of a
smash-and-grab raid were, I should
imagine, massively diminished.
Pubs and clubs also have their own
security teams on hand to sort out the
kind of behaviour that no longer
interests Dixon of Dock Green. So why,
pray, do streets not do the same thing?
The street on which I live in London
does. A local was fed up after losing two
Range Rovers in a year, so he got his
neighbours to club together to employ a
man who drives around at night, shining
his torch into the face of anyone in a
hoodie. And the next year he had three
Range Rovers stolen. But I think this is
because the lone vigilante he employed
is a bit rubbish.
Yours needn’t be. And nor would it be
massively expensive, because, think
about it: if there are a hundred houses
on your road and everyone chipped in,
you could have a man and a car and an
angry dog for, what, £300 each a year?
For a little more, it might be possible
to launch your own legal system. Various
Muslim areas of Britain have sharia, or
Islamic law, which is obviously tailored
to their beliefs, so follow that lead and
decide in your street what is appropriate
for you and your neighbours.
If you are in a Jeremy Corbyn-type
area, you could invite the burglar into
your kitchen for some winter-warming
soup. If you are Tunbridge Wells, you
could tie him to a maypole and sentence
him to death. By stoning, if that’s what
your children would like.
This would take the burden off the
normal courts, leaving them more time
to focus on the big stuff, such as parking
on a yellow line and driving too quickly.
The only thing I wouldn’t recommend
you get involved with is paedophilia.
Because I have some experience of this.
No, wait. Let me rephrase that. I once
had to call on Ceop — the child
exploitation and online protection arm
of the police — for help.
And it was outstanding. Dazzlingly
brilliant. It’s the one area of police work
where individuals cannot do better than
the police are doing already.
“It looks like you’ve got Aussie flu”
“Halfpenny for your thoughts?”
“There’ll be a long wait to have your health secretary removed”
Buy prints or signed copies of Nick Newman’s cartoons from our Print Gallery at
4°C f
6°C c
8 sh
Los Angeles
27 f
25 sh
5 f
30 f
Mexico City
16 f
11 sh
20 s
5 s
-5 c
0 f
27 f
0 f
New Delhi
24 s
18 sh
New Orleans
9 s
-3 f
New York
-3 s
6 f
-3 sn
0 sn
29 th
Buenos Aires
22 r
4 c
19 s
2 f
-3 sn
Rio de Janeiro
32 f
Cape Town
25 s
11 f
25 sh
San Francisco
18 f
13 sh
32 f
-7 f
2 f
23 s
28 th
8 sh
28 sh
2 f
0 f
12 sh
23 f
19 f
Tel Aviv
18 sh
0 sn
16 sh
Hong Kong
17 s
7 s
6 sh
-8 f
7 f
27 th
35 s
12 f
La Paz
11 r
8 f
30 th
1 sn
25 f
-2 f
13 sh
Washington DC
-4 s
Key c=cloud, dr=drizzle, ds=dust storm, f=fair, fg=fog, g=gales, h=hail,
m=mist, r=rain, sh=showers, sl=sleet, sn=snow, s=sun, th=thunder, w=windy
¬ A day of sunny intervals
and scattered heavy,
thundery showers over Spain,
Portugal, the Balearics,
Corsica, Sardinia, Italy, Sicily,
Croatia, Serbia, Slovenia,
southern France and Albania
¬ Mainly dry with bright
spells across Greece,
northern France, Bulgaria,
Romania, Hungary and
Turkey, but milder with
showers in Crete and Cyprus
¬ Feeling cool with long
spells of sunshine in
Germany, the Low Countries,
the Alps and Denmark,
but turning cloudier with
wintry showers over Norway,
Sweden and Finland
¬ Dry and cold in Poland,
Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova,
western Russia and the Baltic
states, becoming cloudier
with showers over the Czech
Republic and Slovakia later
UK forecast
Most of the day dry across England and
Wales with some cloudier skies during
the morning, becoming a little brighter
in the afternoon. Cloud will increase
from the west over Ireland and Scotland
with a band of rain, turning to snow over
high ground. Mainly light to moderate
south or southeasterly winds in England
and Wales, but fresh to strong southerly
winds elsewhere
v rough
London, SE England
Any mist clearing to leave a dry day with
sunny spells. Light southerly wind.
Max 7C. Tonight, dry but cloudy. Min 0C
Midlands, E Anglia, E England
Rather cloudy at times, but staying
dry with some bright intervals. Light
southerly wind. Max 6C. Tonight, cloudy
and dry. Min 0C
Channel Is, SW and
Cent S England, S Wales
Mainly cloudy with spots of drizzle at
times, but also a bright interval. Light
to moderate southerly wind. Max 9C.
Tonight, rain arriving later. Min 3C
N Wales, NW England, Isle of Man
Rather cloudy but mostly dry. Light
to moderate southerly wind. Max 6C.
Tonight, cloudy with rain. Min 2C
Cent N and NE England
Mainly dry and cloudy at times. Light
to moderate southerly wind. Max 5C.
Tonight, cloudy with rain. Min 0C
Cloud increasing from the west, bringing
rain. Fresh to strong southerly wind.
Max 7C. Tonight, rain and snow. Min 0C
N Ireland, Republic of Ireland
Cloud increasing, bringing rain.
Moderate to strong southerly wind.
Max 10C. Tonight, showery rain. Min 4C
Warmest by day
(Wednesday) 12.8C
Coldest by night
(Saturday) -9.8C
Co Londonderry
(Saturday) 19.8mm
(Sunday) 7.5hr
Blustery with
sunny intervals
and scattered
showers. Max 7C
Dry in the east, but
cloud thickening
to bring rain and
snow. Max 8C
Breezy with sunny
intervals and
scattered wintry
showers. Max 9C
Some sunny
spells, but also
the risk of wintry
showers. Max 5C
Taurus and the Pleiades stand high in
the S at 21:00, above-right of Orion and
to the right of Gemini. Sirius, blazing
low in the SSE, is the brightest star in
our night sky and one of the closest at
8.6 light years or 81 trillion km. Jupiter,
above-right of Mars, is prominent in the
S before dawn. The young brightlyearthlit Moon is low in the SW from
Thursday evening. Alan Pickup
Isobel Lang
Breezy with cloud
and showers or
longer spells of
rain. Max 11C
Mild turns to wild with
a blast from the west
Moon phase
Sun sets/
lights on
Mostly dry and
sunny with wintry
showers near the
coast. Max 5C
Hold on to your bobble hats!
In contrast to the benign
weather last week we are set
to be battered by strong cold
winds as more unsettled
conditions sweep in.
Much of last week was dull
and grey, though there was
some sunshine for winter
walkers in Snowdonia, the
Lake District and the
Rain and freshening winds
eventually spread to western
areas, although the rain
petered out there while,
further east, conditions
stayed dry and cloudy.
Over the next 24 hours an
active Atlantic front will
sweep across us, followed
by colder and much
more unstable
Today looks mostly
fine across England and
Wales with some
although western
coasts could stay drizzly. A
swathe of heavy rain and
strong winds will spread to
Northern Ireland and
Scotland later and this will
sweep across England and
Wales tomorrow, chased
away by a blast of cold
westerly winds, heavy
showers and snow.
Winds may be strong
enough for restrictions on
some roads, bridges and ferry
crossings. Snow is expected
to add to travel disruption
and there will be hail and
thunder with the showers.
A rapidly deepening
depression may sweep across
the south in the middle of the
week bringing more intense
precipitation with the
threat of strong gusts
and snow.
High spring tides
are also expected, so
there could be
flooding on western
Isobel Lang is a Sky
News forecaster
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