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2018-05-05 The Week

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The main stories…
What happened
A Home Office reshuffle
Sajid Javid promised this week to “do right”
by the people affected by the Windrush
scandal as he started his new job as
Home Secretary, replacing Amber Rudd. He
said that as a second-generation immigrant
himself, he was angry that people who had
lawfully settled in the UK decades ago had
been harassed by the authorities. Whereas
Theresa May had talked – when she was
home secretary – about creating a “hostile
environment” for illegal immigrants, Javid
said that he would seek only to ensure a
“compliant environment”. The former
phrase, he declared, was “unhelpful” and
did not reflect British values.
Rudd’s chances of surviving this scandal were never great,
said The Daily Telegraph. The public has been rightly
appalled by the Home Office’s treatment
of the Windrush generation. And Labour,
keen to “distract attention from its own
problems over anti-Semitism” in the runup to this week’s local elections, was out
to claim a political scalp. When Rudd
committed “the one offence that trumps
all others – misleading the House” – her
fate was sealed. Rudd had looked
“increasingly out of her depth” at the
Home Office, said the FT. Her resignation
will take some immediate pressure off the
Javid: safe pair of hands?
Tories over the “immigration fiasco”. But
in the longer term, it could prove dangerous
for the PM, “given that it was her policies that caused it”.
The son of a Pakistani bus driver who came to the UK in 1961
with £1 in his pocket, Javid is the first non-white politician to
occupy any of the four great offices of state. Rudd resigned on
Sunday evening after admitting that she had “inadvertently
misled” MPs, by telling a Home Affairs Select Committee that
her department didn’t have targets for the removal of illegal
immigrants. The Guardian had published leaked documents
contradicting her claim.
What happened
Kim’s charm offensive
What the editorials said
We need a change of policy as well as a change of home
secretary, said The Guardian. “Targets are not wrong in
principle”, but trying to meet unachievable ones through
a hostile environment approach was bound to lead to injustice.
Rudd went along with the policy because “that was the line of
least resistance, politically speaking”. Her fall is an “object
lesson in the perils facing liberal Tories when they allow
cheap right-wing rhetoric to outweigh their better instincts”.
What the editorials said
Korea’s leaders have achieved a “near revolutionary
breakthrough”, said The Independent. The “historic
At a landmark summit last week, the leaders of
handshakes, grins and hugs” that marked the
North and South Korea promised to work for
summit are evidence of a real relaxation of
the “complete denuclearisation” of the Korean
tension. The talk in their final statement of “one
peninsula and a “new era of peace”. In a joint
nation” that “cannot be separated” will even
statement, Kim Jong Un of North Korea and
encourage hopes of eventual reunification – the
South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in also
dream of so many Koreans. If only it were that
pledged to hold talks on a treaty that would
simple, said The New York Times. Kim may yet
formally bring to an end the 1950-53 Korean
demand an unacceptably high price in economic
War, 65 years after hostilities ceased. In a
aid or security guarantees for scrapping his
meeting heavy with symbolism, Kim became
nuclear arsenal – if, and it’s a big if – he’s really
the first North Korean leader to enter the
prepared to “denuclearise” at all. After all, why
South’s territory when he stepped across the
would he “surrender a lever his family spent
demarcation line at the village of Panmunjom, Kim and Moon: grins and hugs years and millions of dollars developing”?
in the demilitarised zone.
The precedents are hardly encouraging, said The Wall Street
Donald Trump, who is due to shortly hold his own summit
Journal. At the last two inter-Korean summits, in 2000 and
with Kim, applauded the outcome. It was his diplomacy,
2007, the South “bent over backwards” to win promises of
he said, that helped create “a much better alternative than
“peace and brotherhood”. And on both occasions, Pyongyang
anybody thought even possible”. His boast was endorsed by soon resumed its “military provocations” and its nuclear
Moon, who said Trump should be awarded the Nobel Peace programme. In any dealings with the North, the West’s best
Prize for bringing Kim to the negotiating table.
policy must always be “distrust and verify”.
It wasn’t all bad
Britain’s leading supermarkets
last week signed a voluntary
pledge to make all plastic
packaging reusable, recyclable
or compostable by 2025.
Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Waitrose,
Aldi, Lidl and Morrisons are
among 42 businesses to have
so far signed up to the UK
Plastics Pact, organised by
waste charity Wrap. Separately,
Morrisons announced it will
from this month give shoppers
the option of bringing their own
Tupperware, into which raw
meat and fish can be packed.
An American football
player has become the
first one-handed person to
be accepted into the NFL.
Shaquem Griffin, 22, will
join the Seattle Seahawks,
for which his twin brother,
Shaquill, has been playing
since 2017. Griffin’s left
hand was amputated
when he was four, due to
a prenatal condition that
stopped his fingers from
fully developing, but despite this, he starred on his high school’s
track, football and baseball teams before winning an athletics
scholarship to the University of Central Florida. He caught the
scouts’ attention this year when he bench-pressed 102kg 20 times
using a prosthetic hand, and ran the 40-yard dash in 4.38 seconds.
A celebrated Syrian chef who
arrived in Britain as a refugee
two-and-a-half years ago is now
enjoying sell-out success with a
series of pop-up restaurants in
London. Imad Alarnab fled
Damascus in July 2015 after
two of his restaurants were
bombed. He made his way
across Europe, often on foot,
eventually arriving in London.
His newest pop-up, Imad’s
Choose Love Kitchen in Bethnal
Green, has proved so popular,
it has extended its opening until
at least the end of June: all its
profits until then will go to
Aleppo’s Hope Hospital.
THE WEEK 5 May 2018
…and how they were covered
What the commentators said
What next?
If nothing else, Javid will bring a fresh perspective to the Home Office, said Guy Adams in the
Daily Mail. Raised with four brothers in a two-bedroom flat in Bristol, he has “experienced
first-hand the ravages of crime”. The flat was on Stapleton Road, once named “Britain’s
worst street” by a Sunday newspaper, which described it as a “lawless hellhole”. Despite this
background, he won a place at the University of Exeter and went on, at 25, to become the
youngest ever vice-president of Chase Manhattan Bank. By his 30s, he was earning a reported
£3m a year. One of his brothers, Bas, is now chief superintendent of West Midlands Police.
As well as resolving the many
cases of mistreatment suffered
by the Windrush generation,
Javid will need to restore
public faith in the system
and help devise a post-Brexit
immigration policy. On top
of that, he faces the challenge
of dealing with rising crime.
Javid’s appointment will be welcomed by Brexiteers, said Katy Balls in The Guardian. Although
the former Communities Secretary is “technically a Remainer, he is much more Eurosceptic
than Rudd”. But the “most striking aspects of the appointment don’t relate to Brexit, but to
May’s approach to governing”. Relations between the PM and Javid have long been strained,
and she was planning to banish him to the backbenches before the disastrous snap election.
The fact that she has made him Home Secretary, rather than taking the safe option of
entrusting the job to a biddable ally, “suggests that the Maybot is learning new tricks”.
Javid may not thank her for it, said Richard Ford in The Times. The Home Office, after all,
is known as a “graveyard for ambitious politicians”. A former incumbent, Jack Straw, was
advised by a predecessor that, at any one time, there would be 50 sets of officials in the
sprawling department working on projects that could destroy his career. The Home Office
is “Whitehall’s ultimate hostile environment”, agreed Stephen Daisley in The Spectator.
It’s not so much a department as “a nervous breakdown minuted by civil servants... It is an
uber-bureaucracy of overlapping remits and contradictory objectives, at once sclerotic and
dementedly populist.” Tony Blair improved matters by hiving off courts, prisons and probation
to the Ministry of Justice, but the department is still far too big. The Home Office’s problems
won’t be solved by reviews or a “safe pair of hands”. The department needs to be broken up.
Ministers want an inquiry
into Home Office leaks,
reports The Daily Telegraph.
One described Rudd’s
resignation as a “targeted
killing” by the civil service.
Rudd may now be tempted
to “join the awkward squad
of Tory backbenchers
campaigning for a softer
Brexit”, says Sebastian Payne
in the FT. Alternatively, she
“may decide to keep her head
down and wait for a suitable
moment to return to the
front line”.
What the commentators said
What next?
As a “charm offensive”, Kim’s performance last week was hard to beat, said The Economist.
South Korean commuters stopped in subway stations to watch on live TV as the two leaders
engaged in friendly banter. When Kim and Moon shook hands, even hardened hacks “fought
back tears”. The old foes succeeded in their main aim: to show that they are capable of friendly
conversation, but beyond that, what precisely has been achieved? The communiqué was long
on lofty sentiment but short on detail. We don’t even know what the North means, when it
talks of “denuclearisation”, said John Everard in The Daily Telegraph. In the past, it has used
the term to cover two linked obligations – the scrapping of its own weapons and the removal
of the US missiles that protect the South, an idea Washington finds unacceptable. It’s quite
possible Kim’s real aim is to split South Korea from the US and so neutralise the devastating
impact of American sanctions. “If this is a genuine olive branch it would be a pity to throw it
back at him”, but we should still “prepare for the worst”.
China’s foreign minister,
Wang Yi, arrived in
Pyongyang for talks
this week, ahead of Kim’s
summit with Trump.
The trip is the first official
visit by a Chinese foreign
minister to North Korea
since 2007 – an indication
of Beijing’s concern that it
could be sidelined in the
latest peace moves.
Chinese scientists are
continuing to monitor
the North’s main nuclear
weapons testing base: they
suspect it has been partially
destroyed by a landslide,
which may explain Kim’s
declaration last month that
testing had been suspended,
a move that was welcomed
as a peace gesture.
The “huge wild card” is Trump himself, said Robert E. Kelly on CapX. He’s easily bored and
prone to lash out when frustrated, so there is a big risk that his forthcoming summit could fail.
If it does, the consequences could be severe. Trump and his cabinet (including hawkish National
Security Adviser John Bolton) may conclude that diplomacy has no future, and decide to revisit
the idea of military strikes. How Kim will react is equally unpredictable, said Fred Kaplan on
Slate. He first has to explain to his people why he’s been “merrily shaking hands” with the
president of South Korea, until recently dubbed an “outlaw regime”. Then he’ll have to do the
same with a US president he has called a “mentally deranged dotard”. Hitherto his regime has
magnified the threat posed by implacable enemies to justify its draconian rule. Unless Kim can
find another rationale, he may well prefer not to turn those enemies into friends.
Even the most ardent Leaver must concede there are things the EU
can do that nation states can’t. Defanging tech giants, for example.
The General Data Protection Regulation that comes into force on
25 May represents a massive shift of power from Facebook-Amazon-Netflix-Google (the FANGs)
to you, the consumer. From now on they – along with every single company in Europe – must seek
your explicit consent to use your personal data. Whether or not this is a good thing (see p.45), it’s
clear that only the multinational might of Brussels could have brought it about. Yet given the huge
cost and effort it takes to get onside (everyone at The Week has had to pass a pesky exam to ensure
we don’t misuse your data), and given the severe penalties for non-compliance, it’s equally clear
that many small businesses and charities will find it crippling. This is the way with bureaucracy. The
more remote it is from particular local concerns, the greater the collateral damage its rules exert on
small fry who can’t get an input into rule-making. The EU’s new draft directive on ecolighting, for
example, would – if unamended – leave every British theatre, music festival and concert in the dark.
The same applies when national bureaucracies frame rules without involving the particular interests
affected by them. The Windrush affair is a case in point. But it’s also a case of the power of the
national press and public clamour to right a bureaucratic wrong. It’s hard to do that when the seat of
rule-making is overseas. Even the most ardent Remainer must admit that.
Jeremy O’Grady
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5 May 2018 THE WEEK
Controversy of the week
A transatlantic romance
During Emmanuel Macron’s trip to Washington last week,
the world’s media was transfixed by the “effusive displays of
manly affection” between the French and US presidents, said
Jon Henley in The Guardian – the “hugs and kisses, grins and
thumbs-ups”, the back-clapping and hand-clasping. But one
episode in particular stood out. Staring intently at Macron’s
immaculate suit, Donald Trump brushed something invisible
off his guest’s collar. “I’ll get that little piece of dandruff off,”
he said. “We have to make him perfect. He is perfect.” Taken
aback, Macron “could do little but grin”. Paris’s Le Point
called it a “humiliation”. Some saw it as a display of primate
dominance. At any rate, “the paternalistic dusting down neatly
symbolised the risk inherent in Macron’s Trump gamble”.
Trump with Macron: “he is perfect”
The French president has established a close rapport with his
“unpredictable” and widely unpopular US counterpart. Can he do so “without getting burnt”?
The gamble paid off handsomely, said The Times. Macron “pulled off the trick of cosying up to
Trump without cosying up to Trumpism”. On his first day of the trip, he thoroughly charmed and
seduced his host. On his second, “he challenged every core tenet of Mr Trump’s agenda”, albeit
tactfully – in a speech to Congress that rejected nationalism, criticised the president’s position on
free trade and climate change, and affirmed support for a nuclear deal with Iran that Trump has
condemned. The visit was “an unalloyed success for French prestige and his own standing as the
new face of Europe”. Thank God for France and Macron, said Roger Cohen in The New York
Times. “Britain has gone awol in its Brexit funk. Angela Merkel has passed the zenith of her power.
Macron is what Europe’s got to sway Trump, reinvent the transatlantic bond and keep him from
trashing the American-led multilateral order that has held humankind from world war since 1945.”
Theresa May should watch and learn, ahead of Trump’s UK visit in July, said the FT. So far, the PM
has shown neither the diplomatic skill to charm him, nor the bravery to “disagree openly with him”.
Macron seems to treat Trump like “a typical American tourist in Paris”, said Adam Gopnik in
The New Yorker: someone who is shallow and not very bright, but who can “be gently cajoled
into civilised behaviour”. Dealing with a crazed, “diehard nationalist authoritarian”, this will never
work. This was the “most intimate” moment between a US president and a foreign leader since
George W. Bush and Tony Blair used the same toothpaste at Camp David, said Dana Milbank in
The Washington Post. But Macron actually achieved very little. He wanted Trump to exempt the
EU from new US tariffs on steel and aluminium, a decision that has merely been delayed; and not
to trash the Iran deal – which Trump, to his guest’s face, denounced as “ridiculous” and “insane”.
Blair, in time, became known as Bush’s poodle. Will Macron “become Trump’s bichon frise”?
Spirit of the age
The University of Utah has
installed a “cry closet” in
the library to give students
a private place in which to
wallow in their emotions.
Created by a student in a
woodwork class, the tiny
cupboard has a black
interior and contains stuffed
animals for the students
to cuddle as they weep.
Boots pharmacies have
removed from sale a
“sexualised” eyeshadow
palette after a customer
complained about the
names of the shades –
“foreplay”, “homewrecker”
“sugar daddy” and “MILF”.
Angela Fitzsimons contacted
the store after her 17-yearold daughter brought home
the make-up, by Obsession,
from the Loughborough
branch. Her daughter had
told her that she liked the
colours, but thought that
the names were “gross”.
THE WEEK 5 May 2018
Good week for:
Ruth Davidson, the leader of the Scottish Conservatives, who
announced that she and her partner, Jen Wilson, are expecting
their first child in October. Davidson, 39, began undergoing IVF
treatment last summer.
Abba fans, with news that the Swedish group has reunited
and recorded its first new material in 35 years. The band’s four
members (who are now in their late 60s and early 70s) produced
the two songs for a forthcoming world tour, but they won’t be
taking part in it. Instead, it will feature “Abbatars” – digital
avatars of the Super Troupers as they were in their 1970s heyday.
Marvel, when the latest film in its superhero series – Avengers:
Infinity War – grossed an estimated £457m in its opening
weekend, setting a new global record before it had even opened in
China, the world’s second biggest cinema market. (See page 29.)
Ps and Qs, after Amazon announced that on its latest Echo
device, Alexa – the voice assistant – will reward children who say
“please” and “thank you” (rather than just barking out orders)
by graciously thanking them for their good manners.
Bad week for:
Farmers’ unions, which reacted with dismay to news that the
EU is banning the use of neonicotinoids – a class of pesticides that
are extremely efficient, but which are widely believed to harm
bees. A partial ban was introduced in 2013; the new one prohibits
the use of neonicotinoids anywhere but in a closed greenhouse.
Environmentalists welcomed the decision, but the National
Farmers’ Union described it as “disappointing” and “unjustified”.
Lords defeat on Brexit
The House of Lords this week
approved an amendment
to the Government’s EU
withdrawal bill that could
stop the UK leaving the EU
without a deal. Under Tory
peer Viscount Hailsham’s
amendment, which was
voted in by 335 to 244,
MPs would be able to order
further Brexit negotiations if
the Prime Minister failed to
secure a deal or if they didn’t
approve the deal. Ministers,
who had insisted on a “takeit-or-leave-it” deal, said the
change would “weaken”
the Government’s hand in
negotiations; its supporters
said that by restoring power
to the Commons, it struck a
blow for democracy. The
Government will now aim to
convince MPs to overturn the
amendment when the bill
returns to the Commons
later this month.
Alcohol cap in force
The price of many alcoholic
drinks went up in Scotland
on Tuesday, as long-awaited
minimum pricing legislation
came into force. The law,
which sets a floor price of
50p for each unit of alcohol
contained in a drink, was
passed in 2012, but had
faced legal challenges from
industry lobby groups. The
SNP said the policy would
tackle “problem drinking”
by putting up the price
of cheap spirits and highstrength lagers and ciders.
Poll watch
80% of British adults class
themselves as “ordinary”;
15% do not; 5% are unsure.
However, the proportion
varies dramatically with age.
Among 20- to 24-year-olds,
58% perceive themselves
as ordinary; the proportion
then rises steadily until it
reaches 93% among 70to 74-year-olds. In the 2017
general election, selfdeclared ordinary people
were more likely than notordinary ones to have voted
Conservative; the opposite
was true for the Lib Dems.
29% of lorry drivers say they
have fallen asleep at the
wheel. Of those who had,
64% blamed their job, citing
long days and insufficient
provision for rest – for
example, being forced to
sleep in their vehicle at the
side of the road.
Unite/The Daily Telegraph
Europe at a glance
Syrian aid summit: A joint EU-UN
conference on aid for Syrian refugees last
week raised only half the money thought
to be needed for this year. Most of the
£2.9bn pledged came from Germany, the
EU and Britain; hopes that the Gulf states
would make a substantial contribution
were not realised, despite warnings from
Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan that more
money was urgently needed to prevent
tensions between their citizens and the
refugees reaching a critical level. Jordan’s
foreign minister said that “a new army of
Islamic State” would emerge within the
next ten to 15 years if these problems
were not addressed. Britain promised
£250m over two years, some of it
earmarked for training medics in trauma
care, taking its total aid to the region in
2018 to £450m. UN officials described the
Brussels II conference as a good start, but
aid organisations complained that it did
not go “nearly far enough”.
Lelystad, the
disaster: An
project to
rewild a stretch
of marshland
40km outside
the centre of
Amsterdam has
been severely criticised after hundreds
of deer, horses and cattle living on it
starved over the winter. The number of
large mammals on the 5,000-hectare
Oostvaardersplassen reserve, near Lelystad,
has fallen from 5,230 to 1,850 in the past
few months. Most were shot before they
could die of starvation. An official report
found that allowing the population of large
herbivores to grow unchecked had resulted
in severe overgrazing. Protesters had
taken to throwing bales of hay over
fences to feed the animals.
Music awards scrapped: Germany’s
Echo Awards, which caused an uproar
last month by handing a prize to a rap
album containing lyrics criticised as
anti-Semitic, have been scrapped. Several
former winners, including conductor
Daniel Barenboim, had handed back
their awards in protest after Farid Bang
and Kollegah were given the hip-hop prize
for Jung, brutal, gutaussehend 3 (Young,
brutal, good-looking 3), which includes
lyrics such as, “I’m doing another
Holocaust, coming with a Molotov.”
Organisers explained last week that they
did not want the prize, which is run by
an industry body, to be “a platform for
anti-Semitism, misogyny, homophobia
or belittling of violence”.
Crowd control:
Officials erected
turnstiles at two
key entry points
into Venice
last week, ahead
of a record
number of visitors
over Italy’s bank
holiday weekend.
The city’s mayor
said the tornelli
(one at Constitution Bridge, where cars
and coaches arrive, the other outside the
city’s railway station) would enable
officials to direct tourists away from the
most congested routes. But while some
locals welcomed the trial, others said the
barriers made Venice – which is being
steadily depopulated owing to the
pressures of receiving 28 million visitors
a year – seem yet more like a theme park.
Erdogan’s challenger: A right-wing
Turkish politician known as “the SheWolf” has emerged as the main threat to
President Erdogan in his bid for re-election
next month. A former interior minister,
Meral Aksener, 61, has promised to
restore the democratic rights Erdogan has
eroded and re-engage with the West if she
is elected. A nationalist and a practising
but non-veil-wearing Muslim, she hopes
that her Iyi (“Good”) Party, an alliance of
hard- and centre-right politicians formed
last year, will appeal to disillusioned
Erdogan voters. The first woman to stand
for the presidency, Aksener is considered
a formidable political operator: Erdogan’s
decision to call the snap election is thought
to stem from anxiety about her growing
popularity. However, to have a chance of
success, Aksener must overcome Erdogan’s
control of the media – reinforced last week
by the jailing of 14 opposition journalists.
Zika mosquito warning: Health officials
in France have warned that a species of
mosquito capable of being a vector for
diseases such as the Zika virus and dengue
fever is spreading across France, and has
even been seen in the suburbs of Paris.
Numbers of the invasive tiger mosquito,
which is named for its distinctive black
and white-striped body, have doubled
in the country in the past two years; it is
now present across the whole of southern
France, as well as pockets further north,
and affects 42 of the country’s 96
departments (up from four in 2010). The
insect has been identified as the source of
an outbreak of dengue fever in the French
Indian Ocean territory of Réunion, and
there are fears that people travelling
between the island and the French
mainland will import the virus, which
could then be spread by tiger mosquitoes.
Pamplona, Spain
“Wolf pack” protests: Tens of thousands
of protesters took to the streets of several
Spanish cities last week, after five men
accused of gang-raping a woman during
the 2016 Pamplona bull-running festival
were found guilty of the lesser offence of
sexual abuse. The accused – nicknamed
“the wolf pack” after a WhatsApp group
to which they belonged – had surrounded
their 18-year-old victim and “pushed” her
into a deserted hallway in the early hours,
but the court ruled that their attack did
not amount to rape because no violence
or intimidation had been involved. The
victim said she’d been too scared to put
up a fight. The five, who included a police
officer, were each sentenced to nine years
in jail rather than the 22 demanded by the
prosecution. Both prosecution and defence
lawyers said that they would appeal, while
a government spokesman promised a
review of Spain’s sex crime laws.
Catch up with daily news at
5 May 2018 THE WEEK
The world at a glance
Norristown, Pennsylvania
Cosby guilty: Bill Cosby was found guilty
of three charges of aggravated indecent
assault last Thursday, for drugging and
molesting the former basketball player
Andrea Constand at his Philadelphia
mansion in 2004. An earlier trial, last
June, had ended in a hung jury; this time,
against a backdrop of the #MeToo
movement, the verdict was unanimous.
More than 60 women, five of whom also
gave evidence, had accused Cosby
(pictured) of sex crimes, dating back as
far as the 1960s, but time limits on prosecuting such cases meant
that Constand’s was the only one that could be brought to court.
In court, the defence’s argument, that the relationship was
consensual, was undermined by the revelation that Cosby had
paid his victim $3.4m in 2006 to settle a civil suit; in
a deposition at that time, he also admitted to giving
women drugs to have sex with them. Cosby reportedly
reacted to the guilty verdict by unleashing a torrent
of expletives at the prosecuting district attorney,
Kevin Steele. Later, Steele said that the star had used his celebrity,
wealth and network of supporters to conceal his crimes, and that
he had “evaded this moment for far too long”. Cosby, 80, was
released on bail pending sentencing, which will take place after he
has undergone a “sexually violent predator” assessment; facing a
term of up to 30 years, he could spend the rest of his life in prison.
New York
Daniels sues Trump: The porn actress who claims to have had
an affair with Donald Trump in 2006 is now suing him for
defamation. Last month, Stormy Daniels released a sketch of a
man who she claims confronted her in a car park in Las Vegas
in 2011 – just after she had made a deal to sell her story – and
warned her to “leave Trump alone”. Although the president was
advised not to make any comment about the sketch, he tweeted
that it was a “total con job”. In a lawsuit filed in New York this
week, Daniels’s lawyers say that Trump had effectively accused
her of breaking the law by fabricating a crime. Daniels is also
suing Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen, for defamation; however,
that case was put on hold last week, after a judge ruled that it
could affect his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination
in relation to the FBI’s criminal investigation into his affairs.
Sacramento, California
Golden State Killer arrest: A 72-year-old former policeman who
is suspected of being the Golden State Killer – a serial killer who
terrorised California for ten years from the mid-1970s – was
arrested in Sacramento last week. Joseph James DeAngelo was
formally charged with eight counts of murder last Friday, after a
retired investigator matched crime scene DNA to genetic material
given by a relative of DeAngelo to a genealogy website. Police
used this to create a family tree of 1,000 people, before narrowing
it down to DeAngelo. The Golden State Killer is thought to have
been responsible for at least 12 murders and 45 rapes, but because
of their geographical spread – some were hundreds of miles apart
– the police were slow to connect them all.
Tijuana, Mexico
Migrant caravan: More than
150 asylum seekers arrived in
caravan at the Mexican-US
border on Sunday, putting
President Trump’s immigration
policy back in the spotlight.
The migrants – many of them
families escaping violence in
Honduras and El Salvador –
had travelled across Mexico together, to protect themselves from
robbers, kidnappers and rapists. But on arrival at the Tijuana-San
Diego crossing, US officials claimed to lack the capacity to process
their claims, leaving most camped outside. On Twitter, Trump
had criticised Mexico for not doing more to break up caravans.
Washington DC
Nigerian president visits: On Monday, President Muhammadu
Buhari of Nigeria became the first leader from sub-Saharan Africa
to meet Donald Trump in Washington. His visit, a few months
after Trump was reliably reported to have referred to some
African nations as “s***hole countries” in a meeting, was
seen as a chance to build bridges. The leaders discussed security
issues, particularly the threat from Boko Haram: Buhari, who
faces elections early next year, promised to defeat the terrorist
organisation when he came to power in 2015. The US last year
agreed to sell his government military equipment worth $600m,
which it had previously withheld, citing human rights abuses by
Nigerian armed forces. Trump is keen to strengthen economic
ties with Nigeria, where China is currently the leading investor.
THE WEEK 5 May 2018
Medellín, Colombia
Plane ran out of fuel: The official
report into the 2016 plane crash
that killed all but three members of
Brazil’s Chapecoense football team has found that the crew
ignored a low-fuel warning when the plane was 40 minutes
from its destination, Medellín. Instead of making an emergency
landing, the pilot pressed on in order to avoid late-arrival fines.
The fuel ran out and the plane crashed into a mountain, killing
71 people. Colombia’s civil aviation authority blamed LaMia,
a Bolivian charter airline, for not properly fuelling the plane.
Its manager was charged with manslaughter after the crash; its
owner is also wanted for manslaughter, but has fled abroad and
is refusing to return, claiming that he would not get a fair trial.
The world at a glance
Journalists targeted: At least 29 people
were killed and 49 wounded in two suicide
bombings in Kabul on Monday. The first
bomb, carried by a motorcyclist, went off
during rush hour close to the National
Directorate of Security, the main
Afghan intelligence agency. The second,
about half an hour later, was targeted to
kill the journalists and medical workers
who had gathered at the scene of the first:
the second bomber had himself posed as
a journalist. Nine journalists were killed.
Islamic State claimed responsibility for the
atrocity. Both Isis and the Taliban now
hold sway in large areas of Afghanistan,
only 30% of which is under full government control. In a third suicide bombing
this week – this one in Kandahar Province
– 11 children were killed in an attack that
was aimed at Nato troops.
Tel Aviv, Israel
Nuclear secrets:
Israel’s PM, this
week unveiled
what he said was
clear evidence that
Iran is violating the
terms of its deal with the US to halt its
nuclear programme, and was continuing
it in secret. But most analysts are of the
view that the Iranian documents revealed
by Netanyahu, who was speaking at
Israel’s defence ministry in Tel Aviv, were
familiar to Western intelligence and date
mainly to the period before the 2015 deal.
The revelations are being seen by many as
a ploy to win over President Trump, who,
to the EU’s dismay, is threatening to pull
out of the deal and resume sanctions if
Iran fails to agree a renegotiation by 12
May. Mike Pompeo, the US secretary
of state, said Netanyahu’s evidence did
indeed show the deal was “built on lies”.
Lahore, Pakistan
Khan’s pitch for power: Former cricketer
Imran Khan launched his campaign to
become Pakistan’s PM last Sunday with
a rally in Lahore, the power base of ousted
premier Nawaz Sharif. Speaking in front
of 100,000 people, the playboy-turneddevout Muslim, 65, vowed to root out
corruption, build “world-class” hospitals
and five million homes for the poor, and
usher in a “new Pakistan”. Pakistani
politics has long been dominated by two
parties: Sharif’s PML-N and the PPP (led
by the son of the assassinated former PM,
Benazir Bhutto). But Sharif’s spectacular
fall – he was ejected from office on
corruption charges – has been a huge boost
for Khan’s PTI party, which he founded in
1996. His anti-Americanism and calls for
peace talks with insurgents has led to his
nickname: Taliban Khan.
Jodhpur, India
guilty: A
spiritual guru
who controlled
a vast business
empire was last
week jailed for
life for raping
a 16-year-old
girl. Asumal
Harpalani, 77,
attacked the girl at an ashram in Jodhpur
in 2013 on the pretext of ridding her of evil
spirits. He is the just the latest of India’s
scandal-hit self-styled “godmen”. Some
had predicted that Harpalani (pictured)
would not be convicted due to grass-roots
support and the fact that senior politicians,
including Narendra Modi, India’s PM,
have attended his sermons; there were
fears that the verdict would spark riots.
Mizhi County, China
Schoolchildren stabbed:
A man wielding a dagger
killed nine children and
wounded ten others
outside their secondary
school in China last week.
The 28-year-old, who has
since been arrested, is said
to have been seeking
revenge for being bullied
at the school in Mizhi
County, Shaanxi Province,
when he was a pupil there.
In China, where guns are
strictly regulated, mass
stabbings of children
are on the rise. Last year,
11 nursery children were
injured by a man
wielding a kitchen
Security in
schools is
now being
Gay film ban:
The first
Kenyan film
to debut at the
Cannes Film
Festival – and
be nominated for
an award – has
been banned in
Kenya because
of its lesbian
theme. Kenya’s Film Classification Board
last week condemned Rafiki (meaning
“friend” in Swahili) for seeking to
“legitimise lesbian romance”. Watching it,
even privately, is now illegal, it said. The
film (above), directed and co-written by
Wanuri Kahiu, tells the love story of two
girls whose families are on opposite sides
of the political divide in Kenya, where gay
sex is punishable by 14 years in prison.
Gaza Strip
Border clashes: Israeli soldiers shot dead
three Palestinian demonstrators and
injured 600 more in Gaza last Friday, after
some tried to breach the border fence with
Israel. It was the latest flashpoint in the
“Great March of Return”, which demands
the right of Palestinians to return to the
villages their families fled when Israel was
founded in 1948. Since the protest began
on 30 March, 41 Palestinians have been
killed and more than 5,000 injured. Zeid
Ra’ad al-Hussein, the UN’s human rights
chief, accuses Israel of using “excessive
force”, but Israel insists it is protecting its
border from riots orchestrated by Hamas.
5 May 2018 THE WEEK
A historic race to equality
To marathon runners, Kathrine
Switzer is royalty, says Jamie
Doward in The Observer.
Half a century ago, she blazed
a trail for female athletes by
becoming the first official
female entrant in the all-male
Boston Marathon. At that
time, women were largely
barred from races over 1,500
metres. But Switzer (below) had
trained for marathons and was
determined to take part. She
was able to register by calling
herself K.V. Switzer, and at the
starting line, in April 1967, the
organisers didn’t notice her.
But four miles into the race, in
an incident caught on camera,
a furious official lunged at her
and tried to drag her off. Aided
by her boyfriend, who was running beside her, she got away
and powered on. She finished
the race in an impressive four
hours and 20 minutes – only
to be disqualified and expelled
from the US Amateur Athletic
Union. Among the charges
levelled against her was that
she’d run without a chaperone:
“It just shows the attitude that
existed in 1967: people thought
that if women ran they would
turn into a man or that it was
socially objectionable.” The
rules for Boston were changed
in 1972, and Switzer, 71, has
been organising and running
marathons since, including an
all-female event in London in
1980. “That race got the
women’s marathon into the
Olympic Games [in 1984].
That was a huge battle for
women’s equality. To me, it
was the physical equivalent
of the right to vote.”
Solo Paul Simon
They first met aged
ged 11
– but Art Garfunkel
and Paul Simon are
not old friends, says
Robert Hilburn
in The Mail on
Sunday. On the
contrary, they
have been bitter
rivals from the
off. The duo
first teamed
up in the
1950s, calling
Tom & Jerry.
Their first single
was a modest hit,
and their producer
suggested that
Simon record
a couple of his songs
alone, which he did – omitting
to tell his partner. Garfunkel
was furious, and Tom & Jerry
came to an end. They didn’t
meet again until 1963 – and
then hit the big time. But
Garfunkel was still jealous
of Simon’s songwriting talent,
while Simon worried that fans
thought Garfunkel was the real
star, because he was the lead
singer. Things came to a head,
says Simon, now 76, when
Garfunkel accepted a role in
a film, just as they were due to
start work on a new album in
1969. “Artie told me he didn’t
see why it was such a big deal
– he would make the movie
for six months, and I could
write the songs; then we could
record them. I thought, ‘F***
you, I’m not going to do that.’
And the truth is, I think if Artie
had become a big movie star he
would have left. Instead of just
being the guy who sang Paul
Simon songs, he could be Art
Garfunkel, a big star all by
himself. And this made me
think about how I could still be
the guy who writes songs and
sings them. I didn’t need Artie.”
The Globe’s female Hamlet
Michelle Terry, 39, is nothing
if not daring, says Dominic
Cavendish in The Daily
Telegraph. With no formal
experience of directing in
theatre or running a company,
she has just become the artistic
director of The Globe – at the
same time as she is playing
Hamlet on its stage. Her
decision to take that part
has caused outrage in some
quarters. One angry letter
writer accused her of
selfishly using it
as therapy for
her “obvious
issues”. But she
is not backi
down. “Whe
Shakespeare was
writing, w
weren’t al
on stage. He
care if
didn’t car
men pl
women, so
why wo
care if
he car
women play
men? He didn
ask us to thin
authentically, but
imaginatively and
We can explo
these plays.”
To describe Shania Twain’s childhood as traumatic would be an
understatement, says Simon Hattenstone in The Guardian. With
three monster-selling albums to her name, the Canadian singer is
a multimillionaire. But she grew up in poverty, in a small town in
Ontario. Her mother, Sharon, had depression; her stepfather, Jerry,
was a mentally ill alcoholic. “A third of my relatives were suicide
deaths at young ages,” Twain, 52, says. “A number died just from
neglect and alcohol abuse.” Both her parents were violent and their
fights were terrifying: once she thought Jerry had killed her mother.
And he abused her too, physically and sexually. It was to escape
from this that she began writing songs. ”When you’re hungry you
can’t do anything about it but distract yourself from the hunger...
A lot of kids play with dolls and I played with words and sounds.” In
her teens, she escaped further – to Nashville. Yet she still loved her
parents and was devastated when, in her early 20s, they were killed
in a car crash. Although her career was just taking off, she moved
back to Ontario and spent the next six years raising her siblings.
For her, family has always been paramount. As a child, she often
thought about “saving” herself by reporting her parents to social
services. But she never did. “I weighed it up and thought: ‘If I [do],
we’ll all get separated,’ and I just couldn’t bear that, so we all stayed
together for better or for worse... A family should stay together.”
The truth is out there
“If you were a conspiracy theorist in the
old days, you had little outlet for your
delusions. You could write a letter in
green ink to a newspaper, whose editor
would file it carefully in the nearest bin.
Thanks to the web, however, your
furious fantasies can attract a following
of millions. And why do those millions
believe you? Because conspiracy theories
are comforting. They make us feel clever
(we know something the sheeplike
masses don’t). And they tell us that any
criticism of our favourite cause is biased:
everyone who disagrees with us is either
corrupt or brainwashed. It wouldn’t
surprise me if the internet was invented
by a shadowy elite to undermine the
faith of the sane in freedom of speech.”
Michael Deacon in The Daily Telegraph
Michael Anderson,
director of The Dam
Busters, died 25 April,
aged 98.
Lord Martin of
Springburn, Scottish
Labour MP who served
as the Speaker of the
House of Commons,
died 29 April, aged 72.
Emma Smith, awardwinning writer best
known for her 1949
novel, The Far Cry,
died 24 April, aged 94.
Cecil Taylor, American
free-jazz pianist famed
for his mercurial style,
died 5 April, aged 89.
Desert Island Discs will return on 6 May
THE WEEK 5 May 2018
Papers, please
The Windrush scandal has revived calls for identity cards to be introduced in Britain. Would that be a good idea?
Officers; ministers claimed it would help
Why are ID cards in the news?
fight crime, terrorism, benefit fraud,
Because the Windrush case has shown
identity fraud and illegal immigration.
that the Government is sometimes unable
However, it was vociferously opposed
to differentiate between illegal migrants
by civil rights groups such as Liberty
and British subjects, even when those
and, in time, by the Conservatives under
people have been living in this country
David Cameron. Work on the register
for many decades. Since 2012, the Home
and some pilot schemes began, but it was
Office has tried to reduce the numbers of
eventually scrapped under the coalition.
illegal immigrants in Britain – estimated
In February 2011, the then Immigration
at about one million – with its “hostile
minister Damian Green fed the hard
environment” policy. This requires
drives on which the register was stored
people to prove their status in order to
into an industrial shredder, declaring the
take a job, open a bank account, rent a
scheme “dead, buried and crushed”.
flat or use the NHS. The problem is that
Britain, unlike most other nations, has
What were the main objections?
neither a state identity card nor a register
The Tories said that it would represent
of its citizens. Those without passports
“a fundamental shift in the balance of
or detailed documentation proving long
residence in the UK have lost jobs,
A British ID card issued during the Second World War power between the citizen and the state”;
that storing such data would surely lead
homes and benefits as a result.
to increased surveillance and the monitoring of ordinary citizens.
It was pointed out that most major terrorist attacks are in fact
Which other countries have ID cards?
committed by people with valid identity cards, and that
Every country in the EU except Britain, Ireland and Denmark
benefit fraud is largely a question of people lying about their
issues identity cards, though the rules vary widely. In Belgium,
circumstances, not their identity. Liberty expressed concerns that
Greece, Portugal and Spain, for instance, carrying state-issued
minorities would become disproportionately subject to identity
ID is compulsory, and the police can ask to see it at any time. In
checks, as with stop-and-search. There were also concerns over
Germany and France, citizens are required to have some form of
cost – estimated to be at least £5bn – and the Government’s poor
government ID, but don’t have to carry it. In Italy and Sweden,
record on large IT projects and protecting sensitive data: child
identity cards are not compulsory but widely used; in Austria,
benefit records for 25 million individuals were lost in 2007.
they are voluntary and most citizens use a driving licence instead.
In fact, across the world, the vast majority of nations have
How has the situation changed today?
compulsory ID cards. Most of the rest have voluntary systems.
Germany, Italy and Estonia, to name just three, have shown
Only in the Anglosphere – Britain, Ireland, the US, Australia,
that it is possible to have advanced electronic ID cards (including
New Zealand and Canada – and in a handful of other countries,
some biometric features) without lapsing into totalitarianism or
such as Denmark and the Philippines, are there no state ID cards.
compromising personal data. In these countries, cards can be
used to efficiently establish credentials and gain access to services,
Why doesn’t Britain have them?
online and offline. In Britain, that would be a useful service.
They have traditionally been seen as intrusive and redolent of
Besides, said Juliet Samuel in The Daily Telegraph, we are so used
continental police states: Jacob Rees-Mogg recently declared
to “spraying our data about everywhere, via internet searches,
that Britain should never be “the sort of country that demands
GPS usage, social media” and so on that “it seems rather quaint”
to see your papers”. Identity documents were first introduced
that the Government doesn’t even have a list of its citizens. Finally,
by Napoleon to control the movement of workers, and the Nazis
post-Brexit, the UK will be keen to keep its borders open, while
used them – colour-coded according to ethnicity – to “achieve
preventing illegal immigration and protecting access to benefits.
complete supervision of the entire German people”, as Hermann
A well-functioning ID system would certainly help in this respect.
Göring put it. The UK did actually use ID cards during both
World Wars, in order to manage conscription and rationing.
They persisted from the end of the Second World War until 1952; What is likely to happen in the future?
There are currently no plans to introduce identity cards in Britain.
much resented and associated with bureaucratic interference, they
In 2005, the London School of Economics’ Identity Project
were scrapped by Winston Churchill’s government. Earlier this
reported that a national ID system had “the potential to create
century New Labour tried, and failed, to introduce a new system.
significant, though limited, benefits for society”. However, it
deemed Labour’s plan “too complex, technically unsafe”, and
What happened to Labour’s plans?
“lacking a foundation of public trust and confidence”. Even if the
The plan was for an initially voluntary ID card linked to
technical issues can be solved, trust remains a problem. Obviously
a National Identity Register, which would collect up to
the state already has a large amount of identity data in DVLA,
50 categories of data on each person, including fingerprints, facial
passport and national insurance records. But the thought of such
scans, iris scans, and past and present addresses. It was promoted
by the Home Office and backed by the Association of Chief Police information being stored in a central system is still taboo.
Should Britain introduce identity cards?
1. They allow people to establish their credentials quickly and
efficiently; the UK’s current system is cumbersome and complex.
2. Identity cards would help fight crime, terrorism, identity fraud
and, most of all, illegal immigration.
3. All but a handful of the world’s nations have them, including
many of the most liberal and best-run democracies.
1. An identity card system would be very expensive and, given
Whitehall’s record on IT projects, probably chaotic.
2. It would put us on a slippery slope, inevitably increasing the
surveillance and monitoring of citizens, particularly minorities.
3. Britain has never had ID cards and never will. This is not the
sort of country that demands to see your papers.
5 May 2018 THE WEEK
Best articles: Britain
Take a cold,
hard look at a
jobless future
John Harris
The Guardian
A government
that’s presiding
over chaos
Juliet Samuel
The Daily Telegraph
Whisper it,
but Britain is
doing well
Ed Conway
The Times
Facebook’s role
in inflaming
ethnic hatreds
John Naughton
The Observer
For a glimpse of the future, look to Greater Manchester, where
the retail firm Shop Direct runs three big “distribution and
returns” centres. It won’t for much longer, says John Harris. It
plans to shift the operation to a new, fully automated site. And
that would entail the loss of 1,177 full-time posts and 815 roles
performed by agency workers. However, it’s just a tiny fraction
of the job losses set to follow. Jobs in wholesale and retail account
for 15% of UK workers, and the trade is rapidly migrating from
the high street to vast automated “fulfilment” centres like the
new John Lewis “campus” near Milton Keynes. A “deserted hall
of clacks and hums”, it already employs 860 robots. In fact, over
the next 15 years and across the UK economy as a whole, more
than ten million jobs are estimated to be at risk from automation.
It’s a trend that calls for a total overhaul of our welfare system,
which “does almost nothing to encourage people to acquire new
skills”, but rather works on the expectation “it can shove anyone
who’s jobless into exactly the kind of work that’s under threat”.
We’ve seen the future... but we haven’t even begun to plan for it.
Judged by the sheer volume of injustice and distress caused, the
Windrush scandal is in a class of its own, says Juliet Samuel. But
as an example of administrative incompetence, it is all too typical
of the chaotic way this Government is operating. And it all bodes
“very ill for Brexit”. If our officials can make such a mess trying
to meet migration targets, what hope is there that they’ll manage
the far more complex challenges involved in extracting the country
from the EU? Already, “red flags” are going up everywhere. Last
week, a report by the Public Accounts Committee noted that the
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy hadn’t
even started the procurement process for the 12 new IT systems
it’ll need to replace shared EU-UK ones. Another recent parliamentary report, on the Home Office’s delivery of Brexit projects,
concluded the department was woefully unready and “struggling
with a lack of resources, high turnover of staff and unrealistic
workloads”. The gulf between the Government’s ambitions and
its ability to implement them grows bigger by the day.
When measured by GDP growth, now at its lowest level for five
years, the prospects for Britain’s economy look bleak, says Ed
Conway. But GDP is a relatively new concept: on the measure that
has been for centuries considered key – the proportion of people in
work – Britain is doing really well. The “gig economy” is often
derided (see page 45), but the lesson of recent decades is that
anything that keeps people in jobs is a boon, since the longer they
stay out of the labour market, the less chance they’ll ever re-enter
it. The Bank of England had that in mind when it slashed interest
rates after the credit crunch. It knew this would unleash inflation
and so squeeze living standards but, by keeping down the cost of
borrowing for business, it hoped to safeguard jobs. And the strategy
paid off beyond its wildest dreams. In the recessions of the 1980s,
50% of unemployed Britons were jobless for more than a year; in
this recession, the equivalent figure peaked at 36% and today is
below 25%. (In France it’s 44%; in Italy, 58%.) Now that wages
are rising again, Britain is well placed to make a solid recovery.
“There is at least some room for optimism beyond the gloom.”
The troubling implications of Facebook’s global monopoly are at
last becoming clear to us here in the West. But we’re not the ones
most at risk, says John Naughton. The real threat is to developing
societies, which lack assets such as a free press or independent
judiciary to check the pernicious influence of social media. Now
that its market in the West is approaching saturation, Facebook
is assiduously targeting less developed parts of the world, where it
often offers free connectivity as part of the deal to get its app. The
result is that for many, Facebook is now the sole source of online
information – and a far from wholesome one. In Myanmar, it
was essentially the medium for the anti-Muslim hysteria that led
to ethnic cleansing: the ultra-nationalist monk Ashin Wirathu,
who was banned from preaching to crowds, used it to broadcast
his inflammatory propaganda. Sri Lanka’s recent descent into
communal violence was similarly fuelled by provocative Facebook
content. “Fake news affects elections in the West, but in the rest
of the world it costs lives. And Facebook is often a carrier of it.”
I read it in the tabloids
The Brazilian photographer
Marcio Cabral was stripped
of his prestigious Wildlife
Photographer of the Year
title last week, after it was
judged that the anteater in
his striking shot of a glowing
termite mound at night was
in fact a stuffed specimen.
Cabral denies the charge,
but three Natural History
Museum experts found that
the animal was identical to
a taxidermy anteater kept
at the entrance to the Emas
National Park in Brazil.
A Chinese university has
livened up its sports day by
introducing a new event: the
“500g grenade toss”. At the
North University of China in
Taiyuan, students had been
previously reluctant to take
part in the annual javelin
and discus contests. But
since they were replaced by
the grenade toss, students
have “rushed to sign up”,
said a teacher, Li Jiangxi.
A Rio de Janeiro man loves
his football team so much
that he has had its jersey
tattooed over his entire
upper body. It took a tattoo
artist 90 hours, in 32 agonising sessions over a year,
to cover Jose Mauricio dos
Anjos’s torso in Flamengo’s
colours. “People ask me if
I don’t find it strange that
I’m always wearing a
Flamengo shirt,” he said.
“To me, it’s normal.”
Families who had gone to
a cinema in Perth, Australia,
to watch Peter Rabbit fled
in terror after they were
mistakenly shown the trailer
for a horror film, Hereditary.
“Parents were yelling at the
projectionist to stop,
covering their kids’ eyes,”
said one audience member.
The trailer featured a series
of disturbing scenes, such as
a child cutting the head off a
pigeon with a pair of scissors.
5 May 2018 THE WEEK
Best of the American columnists
Nikki Haley: America’s most popular politician?
“It’s hard to soar like an eagle,” runs
build a reputation for principled
the goofy bumper sticker, “when
independence, she’ll be well placed to
you’re surrounded by turkeys.” Nikki
make an Oval Office run of her own.
Haley, US ambassador to the United
Haley even has a claim to be the US’s
Nations, should put that sticker on her
most popular politician right now, said
car, said Dana Hall McCain on AL.
Ryan Struyk on CNN. In a recent poll,
com. She has been one of the most
she won the approval of 75%
effective performers in Trump’s
of Republicans, 63% of independents
administration, but has had to contend
and even 55% of Democrats. Trump’s
with unhelpful interventions from her
approval rating is just 42%.
colleagues. Just after she’d let it be
known that the US was poised to roll
Haley has somehow managed to
out further sanctions on Russia, for
remain unsullied by this chaotic
example, the White House stepped in
administration, said Renée Graham in
to contradict her. Donald Trump had
Haley: “With all due respect, I don’t get confused” The Boston Globe. But we shouldn’t let
changed his mind, it seems, but no one
our craving for competent leaderhad bothered to tell her. A White House adviser even suggested
ship blind us to her faults. This is a woman who, after first
to the press that she’d experienced “momentary confusion”.
attacking Trump’s Muslim travel ban, went on to defend it; and
Haley wasn’t standing for that and immediately hit back with
who, in 2015, initially resisted calls to remove the Confederate
an acid retort: “With all due respect, I don’t get confused.”
flag from state-house grounds after an avowed white supremacist murdered nine African-Americans. And then there are her
Don’t mess with Haley, said Pamela Falk on The Hill, she’s “a
hard-line foreign policy views, said Philip Giraldi on The Unz
force to contend with”. Witness the deft way she batted away
Review. During her 15 months at the UN, she has been “ugly
scurrilous allegations earlier this year of an affair with Trump.
America personified”, constantly threatening retaliation against
And she has strong credentials: a devout Christian who is the
countries that dare vote against Washington on issues such as
daughter of Sikh Indian immigrants, she was elected governor
recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. People think Trump’s
of highly conservative South Carolina in 2010. If she can now
national security adviser, John Bolton, is scary. Haley is scarier.
The presidency
is not fit for
John Dickerson
The Atlantic
Even tax cuts
can’t help the
Eric Levitz
New York Magazine
Kanye and
Trump: united
in ego
Susan Matthews
THE WEEK 5 May 2018
The main problem with this presidency isn’t Donald Trump, says John Dickerson; it’s the office
itself. The job has simply become too unwieldy for any individual to manage. America’s founders,
fresh from rebellion against a tyrannical king, envisioned an executive that was modest in both
power and stature – and the model held good for a while. “James K. Polk’s wife was so concerned
that the 11th president might enter a room unnoticed, she asked the Marine Band to play Hail to
the Chief to get people to turn their head when he arrived.” But over the years, the office has steadily
grown in power, scope and complexity as successive presidents have adopted and passed on new
responsibilities. US presidents “must now be able to jolt the economy like Franklin D. Roosevelt,
tame Congress like Lyndon B. Johnson, comfort the nation like Ronald Reagan”. They must console
a war widow one moment and welcome a champion volleyball team to the White House the next.
They must answer for every problem to a 24/7 media, manage an executive branch of two million
employees (not including the armed forces) and remain on an almost permanent campaign footing.
It’s impossible. The job needs to be pared back to its more essential responsibilities. Our “presidentobsessed” nation must accept that one person can’t do everything.
“Between 1980 and 2016, the American public never met a tax cut it didn’t like,” said Eric Levitz.
Over that period, Congress passed major, tax-reducing legislation six times – and on each occasion
most voters lapped it up. But it seems the public has had a change of heart. When President Trump
signed the GOP tax reform bill late last year, polls showed it to be “even less popular than the tax
hikes passed under George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton”. Republicans consoled themselves with the
thought that this would change when Americans started seeing more money in their pay cheques,
but it hasn’t happened: voters are still dubious. Today, only 27% of Americans say the legislation is
a “good idea”, while 36% deem it a “bad one”; a clear majority (53%) think the tax cuts will have
a negative impact by causing deficits to rise while lavishing disproportionate benefits on the rich. This
is a “harrowing development” for the GOP. If the Republicans can’t sell voters on tax cuts, their one
significant legislative accomplishment of the Trump era, “what are they supposed to sell them”?
Being a Kanye West fan has long required a level of “willing disengagement”, says Susan Matthews.
While the superstar rapper may be a very talented artist, he can also, as Barack Obama famously put
it, be “a jackass”. You only have to call to mind his antics at award ceremonies and his decidedly
questionable Twitter declarations (“BILL COSBY INNOCENT !!!!!!!!!!”, he tweeted in 2016).
Even so, nobody was quite prepared for the “multi-day tweetstorm” that West launched last week,
in which he professed his love and admiration for Donald Trump, and talked of how he and the
president shared “dragon energy”. Reactions were varied, but can best be “summed up as stunned
frustration and horror from the Left and wild enthusiasm on the Right”. Some liberal commentators
even suggested West might be mentally ill – a suggestion rightly condemned by West’s wife, Kim
Kardashian, as insulting to both her husband and those with mental health issues. But the real
mystery is why people are so shocked by West’s love-in with Trump. Yes, you might expect West, as
a black artist, to be a natural Democrat. But he’s also a performer, a controversialist, an egomaniacal
man-child with money, power and a grandiose vision of his own importance, who always thinks
others are trying to do him down. With a character like that, of course he and Trump get on.
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Best articles: International
Will Putin turn a blind eye to a revolution in his backyard?
It’s rare to find the strongman of a postthis uprising on “the West’s hidden
Soviet state stepping down peacefully,
hand”. The protests weren’t about
said Anthony Bellanger in France Inter
European alignment: Armenians are
(Paris). So let us raise a cheer for Serzh
just sick of the broken promises,
Sargsyan. President of Armenia since
corruption and inequality.
2008, in 2015 he pushed through a
referendum on a constitutional amendStill, Moscow’s reaction to revolutions
ment transferring presidential powers
in its backyard, as we saw in Ukraine,
to the prime minister’s office – a move
can be extremely violent, said Anthony
seen as a ploy to sidestep a two-term
Bellanger. For now, it has ruled out
limit. But when, on 17 April, his
interference, saying it will support the
Republican Party appointed him PM,
Armenian people. But for how long?
tens of thousands of protesters – stirred
Although Pashinyan has softened the
to action by opposition MP Nikol
anti-Russia rhetoric, the Kremlin
Pashinyan – braved police beatings, stun
would still far prefer to see power stay
Pashinyan: toning down the anti-Russia rhetoric
grenades and arrests to march through
in the hands of the ruling elite. What
the capital, Yerevan. Faced with such resistance, Sargsyan, to his
we can be sure of, said Julian Hans in Tages-Anzeiger (Zurich),
great credit, has thrown in the towel. “I was wrong,” he said.
is that owing to the Armenian diaspora, any government will try
to preserve a balance between Russia and the West. There are
All this has sent shivers through Moscow, said Grigor Atanesian only three million Armenians in Armenia. Eight million (the
in The Moscow Times. Pashinyan is a critic of Armenia’s close
descendants of those who fled the Ottoman genocide a century
ties with Russia. In 2013, when Armenia, like Ukraine, seemed
ago) live abroad, mainly in the US or Russia. So no government
poised to sign an association agreement with the EU, he was
can afford to antagonise either side. But the crucial point, said
furious that at the last minute Sargsyan announced it would join Grigor Atanesian is that Armenia depends entirely on Russia
the Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union instead. And unlike
for its energy, trade and defence. As a Christian country in a
other post-Soviet republics, Armenia has a surprisingly robust
Muslim region its people also tend to see Russia as “a great
civil society, said Paul Stronski in The Atlantic (Washington
Orthodox brother”, said Anthony Bellanger. So Putin can
DC). Social media is open; activists remain free to criticise the
afford to be relaxed. Armenia can be as democratic as it likes:
abuses of the ruling elite. So Vladimir Putin can hardly blame
it hasn’t the smallest chance of escaping Russia’s orbit.
A European
body we could
all do without
Deutsche Welle
The shame of
a shoplifting
El País
Keep the
Christian cross
out of politics
Die Zeit
Do we really need the “circus” that calls itself the Council of Europe, asks Max Hofmann. Despite
its name and the fact it’s based in Strasbourg, it has nothing to do with the EU. It was set up in
1949 to promote democracy and human rights, yet it has little to do with them either – seeing as its
47 members include countries such as Russia, Turkey and Ukraine. The hope was that, by including
them, the Council would export Western values to delinquent countries. Instead, they seem to have
exported their “values” to us. An alarming number of former MPs in the Council’s Parliamentary
Assembly, hailing from supposedly non-corrupt countries – Germany, Belgium and Finland – have
been found to have accepted bribes or broken the body’s code of ethics, according to an internal
report. The most striking example of this is Luca Volontè, an Italian former deputy, who is strongly
believed to have taken payments for undermining a report on Azerbaijan’s political prisoners. The
Council does not appear to serve any purpose beyond sucking up taxpayers’ money “to boost the
bank accounts of corrupt parliamentarians”. If it can’t reform, perhaps it’s time to do away with it.
As a textbook example of behaviour that pollutes democratic politics, you can’t beat that of Cristina
Cifuentes, says El País. Madrid’s regional president was once seen as a future leader of the ruling
People’s Party, but that was before people began to ask whether she had really earned the master’s
degree in law she claimed to have. To silence the doubters, Cifuentes produced a document signed by
three professors at Madrid’s King Juan Carlos University. And both the dean and the director of the
degree programme declared she’d earned it. But they backed down when students and other teachers
said they had never seen her attend classes. False marks had been entered in her computer records
– part of a wider scam to provide fake degrees for friendly politicians. Even then, Cifuentes tried to
blame the university for the mix-up. She has only resigned now that a seven-year-old video of her
being frisked by supermarket security guards after shoplifting two tubs of face cream came to light.
It’s not just her mucky criminality that’s so appalling; it’s the way her party stood by her. Prime
Minister Mariano Rajoy said nothing; senior party officials gave her full support. We’ve long known
that the party is “rotten”, but these revelations make one utterly despair of democracy in Spain.
In every government office in Bavaria a large cross must be hung. That’s what Bavaria’s conservative
premier, Markus Söder, has just decreed, says Jochen Bittner. He knows Germany’s constitutional
court will probably scupper it, because it conflicts with the requirement to avoid privileging certain
faiths over others. But the case won’t be heard before the state election in October: plenty of time for
Söder and his CSU Party (ally to Angela Merkel’s CDU) to harvest votes as the “saintly” defender of
Germany’s Christian heritage. Yet to equate German culture with Christianity is plain wrong. Yes, it
has shaped Germany, but so have “Jewish poets, atheist engineers, agnostic painters”; so have the
Muslim coal miners whose labour helps produce the steel for BMW cars. The cross is not a universal
symbol of Western culture, it does not stand for Kant or Voltaire, nor for “the great constitutional
order” created after 1945. It stands for specific Christian beliefs, which no one has to share to be a
good German. Indeed, Christians should lament the “blasphemous” way their sacred symbol is being
abused for base political purposes. “God will forgive Söder. The constitutional court hopefully not.”
5 May 2018 THE WEEK
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Health & Science
What the scientists are saying…
A suicide-bombing ant
A species of ant that blows itself up when
threatened – coating its predators with
yellow goo – has been discovered in the
Borneo jungle. The existence of ants that
explode themselves to save their colonies
was known to science, but Colobopsis
explodens, as the treetop-dwelling ant has
been named, is the first new species in the
group to be identified since 1935. Small
workers of the species have glandular sacs
in their abdomen, which are filled with a
sticky liquid. When threatened, the ant will
latch onto a predator, curl itself around
it and flex its abdomen so hard it tears
its own body apart, releasing the toxic
substance to kill or hold off the enemy.
Alice Laciny, of the Natural History
Museum in Vienna, who was part of the
team that made the discovery, said the goo
had “a distinct and not unpleasant smell
that’s strangely reminiscent of curry”.
Suicide bombing isn’t the only unusual
tactic employed by Colobopsis explodens.
Larger workers, or “majors”, mostly stay
in the colony’s nest, which they defend by
using their plug-shaped faces as barricades.
Why children never get tired
Science has confirmed what exhausted
parents have long suspected: young
children have energy levels similar to those
of top athletes. Researchers from France
asked three groups of male volunteers
– boys aged between eight and 12,
untrained adults and adult endurance
athletes – to undertake two challenges on
an exercise bike: in one, they performed
two seven-second resistance sprints; in
another, they cycled flat out for 30
seconds. Tests revealed that the children
fatigued at about the same rate as the
endurance athletes – and much more
slowly than the untrained adults. When
As fit as an endurance athlete
it came to recovery, the children
outperformed even the athletes: their heart
rates returned to normal more quickly
and they cleaned lactic acid from their
blood more efficiently. The study bolsters
the long-held theory that children are
less reliant than adults on anaerobic
metabolism, which causes muscles to
tire faster than the aerobic, or oxygengenerated, kind. “This may explain why
children seem to have the ability to play
and play and play, long after adults have
become tired,” said Dr Sébastien Ratel
of the University of Clermont Auvergne.
A better blood pressure test
Many lives would be saved if instead of
having their blood pressure tested at their
GP’s surgery, patients were sent home with
portable monitors, scientists have claimed.
The standard one-off test, using an
inflatable cuff, is known to produce patchy
results. Some patients get “white coat
The nomads who “breathe” underwater
The Bajau people – the world’s last sea
nomads – are able to freedive to depths
of 230 feet, holding their breath for
up to 13 minutes, partly because they
have abnormally large spleens, a new
study has found. The spleen is like a
biological scuba tank, storing oxygen-rich
red blood cells that it can release into the
bloodstream when oxygen levels are
depleted. Mammals, such as seals, that
spend long periods underwater have large
spleens, and researchers theorised that the
Bajau – who have traditionally lived on boats, hunting for fish in the seas around the
Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia – may be similarly adapted.
To test this, a team used ultrasound to measure the spleen sizes of 59 Bajau people
and 34 people from the Saluan population, who live on the coast but do not dive. On
average, the Bajaus’ spleens were 50% larger than the Saluans’; and among the Bajau,
there was no real difference in spleen size between divers and non-divers, proving the
adaptation is genetic, not acquired. “They’re almost like superhumans living among
us,” said the lead author, Dr Melissa Ilardo, then at the University of Copenhagen.
“Natural selection is a lot more powerful than we sometimes give it credit for.”
syndrome” – their blood pressure rises
when they see a doctor – while in other
cases, it dips when the patient is seated for
the test. Wearable devices that take regular
readings over 24 hours have long existed,
but their use has been limited by their
higher cost: many GP surgeries have only
a few. But according to researchers from
Britain and Spain, there is a strong case for
further investment in the monitors. The
team tracked 63,910 Spanish adults who’d
had their blood pressure measured using
both methods in order to compare their
predictive accuracy; sure enough, the
results of the 24-hour monitors had
proved far more accurate at predicting
cardiovascular death. “Measuring blood
pressure over 24 hours is what doctors and
medics should be using to make clinical
decisions about treatment,” said the lead
researcher, Professor Bryan Williams
of University College London.
Prehistoric brain surgery
Could Neolithic man have practised
cranial surgery on animals? That is the
intriguing possibility raised by the
discovery in France of a 5,000-year-old
cow skull with a large hole made in it,
reports The Guardian. Human skulls up
to 10,000 years old have been found with
similar holes – evidence, says the Scientific
Reports study, for trepanation, the practice
of creating an aperture in the skull, usually
for medical reasons: its advocates believe
it relieves pressure on the brain. However,
the cow skull is the earliest example of
what may be trepanation on a non-human
animal. The hole might have been made
during a veterinary procedure, but it is
thought to be more likely that Stone Age
humans were practising their skills on the
animal – making this the earliest evidence
of animal experimentation.
A low-profile killer
What illness are you most scared of?
The one that terrifies me is sepsis, said
Dr Mark Porter in The Times. It kills
40,000 people a year in the UK, yet
remarkably few people know about it.
Sepsis, or blood poisoning, occurs when
the immune system responds to an
infection by attacking the body’s own
organs. Rapid diagnosis and treatment
are vital – but sepsis is often missed,
because people are focusing on the
infection that triggered it. So, learn what
to look out for. Think SEPSIS: Slurred
speech or confusion; Extreme shivering
or muscle aches; Passing no urine in a
day; Severe breathlessness; “I feel like
I might die”; Skin that’s mottled or
discoloured, or a non-blanching rash. In
children, add to that list rapid breathing
and abnormally cold extremities. If you
develop any of the symptoms, seek help
urgently. And always ask whoever is
helping you: “Could it be sepsis?”
5 May 2018 THE WEEK
Talking points
Alfie Evans: the bitter battle for a baby’s life
successive legal challenges to it, but it is hard
It was the bitterest of battles, said Cristina
to blame them. Parents desperate to save their
Odone in The Sunday Telegraph. On one side,
children don’t always listen to reason.
the medical establishment, convinced that there
was nothing more that could be done for their
I don’t blame them, said Gaby Hinsliff in
young patient; ranged against them, the child’s
The Guardian. But I do question the motives
devoted parents, who refused to give up on
of some of their supporters in “Alfie’s Army”.
their son, and believed that if the NHS could
Of course, many of those glued to Facebook
not help him, they should be allowed to fly him
were ordinary people, moved by a tragic
to a hospital abroad. For months, the case
case, but there were others who seemed to be
generated sound and fury. Last week, however,
exploiting Alfie’s tragedy to further their own
the plight of Alfie Evans, a 23-month-old boy
causes: Catholic activists promoting the sanctity
suffering from an unidentified, progressive
of life at any cost; anti-vaxxers peddling junk
neurodegenerative disorder, reached its “tragic
science; and US libertarians and pro-gun
conclusion”. On Monday, 16 months after
lobbyists, ranting that this is what happens
Alfie was admitted to Alder Hey Children’s
when the government runs your life
Hospital in Liverpool, suffering from seizures,
(although the decision had nothing to do with
the doctors’ advice – backed by the High Court
the government). Republicans such as Mike
– prevailed, and the ventilator keeping him
Huckabee even claimed that Alfie’s situation
alive was switched off. On Saturday, he died.
Tom Evans with his son Alfie
was the result of “socialised medicine” –
“My gladiator lay down his shield and gained
as though the outcome would have been different had Alfie’s
his wings,” wrote his father, Tom Evans, 21, on Facebook. “We
parents had to pay for his care. Meanwhile, the staff at Alder
are heartbroken,” added his mother, 20-year-old Kate James. The
Hey received death threats, while “fake news” spread online like
news generated global headlines, for Alfie’s plight had touched
hearts all over the world, and prompted interventions by everyone wildfire (including claims that doctors were going to kill Alfie by
lethal injection). Then there was the evangelical Christian group
from the Polish president to the Pope, while the Italian
that supplied Tom Evans with both a barrister and an adviser, a
government made Alfie an Italian citizen and offered to fly him
student who allegedly gave him incorrect
to a Vatican-linked hospital in Rome.
legal advice and who was apparently
“Should we consider reforming the party to his threat to have Alfie’s doctors
Alfie’s death was “as tragic as it was
inevitable”, said Henry Marsh in
law, to mitigate some of the anguish prosecuted for conspiracy to murder.
the Daily Mail. In February, a scan
of parents in cases like Alfie’s?”
I was repulsed by the ugly protests
confirmed the progressive destruction
outside the hospital, said Jenni Russell
of his brain’s white matter; it appeared,
in The Times: the baying mob that scared the parents of other
doctors said, “almost identical to water and cerebrospinal fluid”.
desperately ill children, intimidated staff and even, at one point,
Specialists from Great Ormond Street, Munich and Rome
tried to storm the entrance. It is also dismaying that while
reviewed Alder Hey’s diagnosis, and agreed that the damage
thousands of people joined in the battle for this one disabled
was “catastrophic and untreatable”; any movements he made
infant, we, as a society, seem largely indifferent to the plight of
were spasms (and not, as his parents contended at one point,
the growing number of children who – having survived conditions
evidence of meaningful brain activity). The question was how
that were once fatal – now live with chronic disabilities. Where is
long he should be kept alive on life support – one of the hardest
their army? But as these cases become more common, I do also
in medicine, and best dealt with by agreement between doctors
feel we should consider reforming the law, to mitigate some of the
and parents. In the rare and tragic cases when that relationship
anguish of parents in cases like Alfie’s. It is true that parents don’t
breaks down, the decision must be made by a court of law.
always act in their child’s best interests, and as the law stands the
ruling was fair: it would have done Alfie no good to be flown to
So it was that the case ended up in front of the High Court,
which in February ruled that because the possibility that Alfie was Rome; it might have caused him a degree of harm. But in cases
such as this, couldn’t the parents’ interests be weighed in the
suffering could not be excluded, and further treatment was futile,
balance? Alfie’s parents weren’t asking for the NHS to do more
it was not in his best interests for life support to continue. His
or spend more; they just wanted the comfort of knowing that
parents were berated for refusing to accept that decision,
they had done everything they could do to keep their son alive.
said Samantha Batt-Rawden in The Independent, and for filing
Pick of the week’s
Dominic Raab’s diary secretary
has been suspended after
being caught selling herself on
a “sugar daddy” website and
discussing her boss with an
undercover tabloid journalist.
The 20-year-old civil servant
told a reporter for The Mirror
– who was posing as a client
– that the Housing Minister is
“uptight”, “dismissive” of
women, “thinks he is PM”, and
is “weird” because he asks for
the same lunch every day: a
THE WEEK 5 May 2018
Pret a Manger baguette,
smoothie and fruit pot. “It’s the
Dom Raab Special,” she said.
Boy George has revealed that
he was once embroiled in an
international art theft, says The
Mail on Sunday. In 1982, he
bought a large religious icon
from an art dealer and put it
up in his sitting room. A few
years later, he did an interview
there for Dutch TV. A Greek
Orthodox priest who happened
to be watching spotted the
icon, recognised it as one that
had been stolen from a church
in Cyprus after the Turkish
invasion of 1974, and contacted
the pop star’s management.
George (left) promised to hand
it back the very next day. “They
had a massive ceremony when
it was returned... for months
afterwards I’d have Greek
ladies coming up in the street
and kissing me.”
Mick Jagger claims to cover
six miles during Rolling Stones
concerts – but it seems he
doesn’t care for walking in
normal life. The Stones have
been invited to a party in
Mayfair this month, but before
confirming their attendance,
the band have had their aides
ask if two bollards outside the
club could be removed, so
their cars could pull up outside.
The nearest other parking spot
is 180 yards away. “The Stones
don’t want to walk down the
street,” said the club’s owner.
Talking points
“Incel”: when misogyny leads to terrorism
Shortly before a rented van
capable of having relationships.
ploughed into a crowd of
Incels borrow the language of
pedestrians in Toronto last
civil rights, said Zoe Williams in
Monday, killing ten and
The Guardian. They regard their
wounding 16 others, “a short
virginity as a “discrimination or
and cryptic message was posted
apartheid issue”, and propose
on the Facebook account of Alek
“state-distributed girlfriend”
Minassian, the man accused of
programmes to rectify the
carrying out the attack”, said
injustice. Yet raw, unhinged
Jason Wilson in The Guardian.
hatred is the driving force. One
The post declared: “The Incel
incel community on the website
Rebellion has already begun!
Reddit, which had some 40,000
We will overthrow all the Chads
followers, had to be closed down
and Stacys! All hail the Supreme
last November, because it was
Gentleman Elliot Rodger!” The
encouraging violence.
post seemed to link Minassian
with the “incel” movement,
“I’d expected incel websites
“which has made collective
to make me angry, but mainly
Elliot Rodger: a hero to incels
sexual frustration the basis for a
they made me sad,” said Janice
deeply misogynistic online subculture”. Incel is
Turner in The Times. These forums “reek of
short for “involuntarily celibate”. In incel terms,
self-pity, porn-addled frustration, incipient
sexually successful men are known as “Chads”,
suicide”. Of course incels hate the women who
and attractive women – the kind who pass over
won’t have sex with them – but not as much as
incel men in favour of the Chads – are called
they hate themselves. They post photos of their
“Stacys”. Rodger killed six people in Isla Vista,
“manboobs”; they call themselves “morlocks”
California, in 2014, before shooting himself,
and untermensch; they think that “they are
having justified the murders by presenting them
destined to live eternally without sex and, one
as revenge for his romantic rejections; at 22, he
assumes, love. Although no one ever talks of
was still a virgin. He has been adopted by some
love.” Still, the links between violent misogyny
incel forums as a hero or a “saint”.
and terrorism are getting harder to ignore, said
Aditi Natasha Kini in The Washington Post.
Online, incels bond over their revenge fantasies,
Many terrorists have histories of violence against
said Mark Hodge in The Sun. Discussion of rape women. Now “male supremacy” seems to be
and violence against women is commonplace.
metastasising into a terrorist movement. If Alek
A “vocal minority” are celebrating the Toronto
Minassian was inspired by Elliot Rodger, then
attack as a blow against “normies”: people
others may in turn be inspired by Minassian.
Selling off Wembley: a national disgrace?
Wembley hospitality business,
“It takes some doing to sell a
valued at around £300m. The
piece of London property for
sale, meanwhile, will free up
less than it cost you ten years
£460m to invest back into
ago”, given that house prices
the game. As for fears that
in the capital have roughly
the sale may lead to England
doubled over the past decade,
playing fewer international
said Richard Williams in The
matches in the stadium, said
Guardian. But the Football
Ben Ramanauskas on CapX,
Association (FA) may be about
that wouldn’t be such a
to pull off this trick. It’s on
disaster. It would mean
the brink of selling Wembley
Khan: the Tache with the Cash
England games being taken
Stadium, which cost £757m to
to fans around the country rather than them
build and opened in 2007, for £600m. The
all having to travel to Wembley to see games.
buyer is the luxuriantly moustachioed PakistaniFootball-mad Brazil, Italy and Germany manage
American billionaire Shahid Khan. Nicknamed
fine without a designated national stadium.
the Tache with the Cash, he wants to turn the
venue into a UK base for his American football
team. “It is difficult to escape the conclusion that There is something dispiriting about the prospect
of our national stadium auctioning off its
the FA has gone collectively insane,” said the
naming rights and becoming, say, Walmart
Daily Express. Wembley isn’t just any stadium;
Wembley, said Henry Winter in The Times.
it’s the home of British football. We can’t just
But let’s face it: “the FA sold out Wembley long
sell it off. “What next, Buckingham Palace?”
ago”. It ruined the romance of the place when
it demolished the old Twin Towers and “the
The traditionalists are up in arms, said Pete
iconic 39 steps” that victorious teams used to
Hall on, but for Wembley to be
ascend to collect their trophy. If the proceeds of
in private hands would be “nothing new”; the
this proposed sale are, as promised, invested in
FA has only owned it for 19 years, after all. And
there’s an economic logic to the move. If the sale grass-roots football, where they can help tackle
childhood obesity and nurture the England stars
goes ahead, the FA will retain rent-free use of
of the future, then selling Wembley makes sense.
their HQ in the stadium and keep the Club
Wit &
“When you slip on a banana
peel, people laugh at you.
But when you tell people
you slipped on a banana
peel, it’s your laugh.”
Nora Ephron, quoted in
the Daily Mail
“Not everything that can
be counted counts; not
everything that counts
can be counted.”
Quote attributed to Albert
Einstein in The Observer
“Loyalty is a fine
quality, but in excess it fills
political graveyards.”
Neil Kinnock, quoted
in Forbes
“Freud is the father
of psychoanalysis.
It has no mother.”
Germaine Greer, quoted
on The Browser
“Economic forecasting is
there to make weather
forecasting look good.”
Economist Ruth Lea,
quoted in The Times
“If you don’t like your
job, you don’t strike! You
just go in every day, and do
it really half-assed. That’s
the American way.”
The Simpsons’ Homer
Simpson, quoted in
The Mail on Sunday
“Hindsight is the only
exact science.”
John Naughton in
The Observer
“A step backward, after
making a wrong turn, is a
step in the right direction.”
Kurt Vonnegut, quoted
“The great use of life is to
spend it for something that
outlasts it.”
William James, quoted on
Statistic of the week
The number of children being
homeschooled has risen by
over 40% in three years.
Some 48,000 children were
being educated at home in
2016-17, up from 34,000 in
2014-15. The highest
proportion is in the Isle of
Wight, where one in 50
children are homeschooled.
BBC/The Independent
5 May 2018 THE WEEK
Football: tales from the lower leagues
Some of the most unusual achievements in football this season have taken place outside the top flight
Asked to name the manager of the
year, most people would opt for Pep
Guardiola, said Gregor Robertson
in The Times. But look beyond the
Premier League and you’ll see there’s
a good case for picking John Askey
(right), the manager of Macclesfield
Town. His extraordinary success with
the National League side “rivals that of
any manager in English football this
season”. He has no more than £350,000
at his disposal – by far the lowest budget in the league, and a
third of that of some other sides. And his best-paid player earns
just £500 a week. Yet, in “a managerial feat akin to alchemy”,
his team has finished top of the table and will be promoted to
League Two. This for a team that had been tipped for relegation,
said BBC Sport online. Indeed, at the start of this season the club
had just one player who’d played in the previous campaign.
A former Macclesfield striker himself, Askey was only hired
as manager in 2013 because the club decided he was the cheapest
option, said Jamie Gordon in The Sun. He doesn’t even have
an assistant manager and the club’s masseur is an ex-defenderturned-fireman. Yet despite operating under those constraints,
Askey managed to assemble “a fit, hungry, ego-free squad”, said
Gregor Robertson. Returning to the English Football League will
net the club a “transformative” £1.2m – but it could well take
“another miracle” to avoid the drop next summer.
Managers are usually measured by their
success, said Patrick von Behr in The
Times. But perhaps an even better test
of quality is how they cope with failure.
And few managers in the history of
football have known failure like Darren
Dods (left), of the Scottish club Brechin
City. He has just pulled off the
remarkable feat of managing a team that
hasn’t won a single game in the Scottish
Championship all season, and has ended
up securing just four points. No English side has ever done that
badly. And the only other Scottish side that has, Vale of Leven,
did so back in 1891-92. Not that it’s any surprise, said Ewan
Murray in The Guardian. Against all expectations, Brechin won
last season’s League One play-offs after finishing in fourth place.
So this season they were one of only two Championship teams
with part-time players – training sessions are on Tuesday and
Thursday evenings. They never really stood a chance.
At almost any other club, “the knives would be out for the
manager by now”, said Jonathan Sutherland on BBC Sport
online. But Dods did such a good job of keeping morale high
in the dressing room that the chairman, Ken Ferguson, has
“nothing but respect” for him. And even the fans are on
Dods’s side, said Michael Schofield in The Scottish Sun.
Premier League supporters take note: this is what it means
to be a “football fan in the face of proper adversity”.
Formula One: Hamilton returns to his winning ways
chance to overtake him. With three laps to go,
The exciting thing about this Formula One
Bottas’s “tyre went pop” after he ran over some
season is that it’s not the “two-horse race” it
debris – so “letting Hamilton through for the
was expected to be, said Mark Hughes in The
victory”. It was a very fortunate win: he looked
Sunday Times. True, Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton
a little “embarrassed to be on the top step”.
and Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel still lead the
Hamilton was due some luck, said John
standings, with Hamilton four points ahead.
Westerby in The Times. In the Australian
But the Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo has
Grand Prix, in March, “victory seemed to be
already won one race, while Hamilton’s
his”. But owing to a software malfunction on
teammate Valtteri Bottas has finished second on
the Mercedes computers, he was pipped by
two occasions. In fact, it was only in the fourth
race of the season, last Sunday’s Azerbaijan
Hamilton: the luckiest race of his career Vettel. Then, at the Bahrain Grand Prix,
Hamilton collided with the Red Bull driver
Grand Prix, that Hamilton chalked up his first
Max Verstappen. His biggest problem, however, is his car. He
win, said Jonathan McEvoy in the Daily Mail. And it was
by some distance the luckiest victory of his career. With the end in has complained about it lacking pace and he has struggled with
his “troublesome”, temperature-sensitive Pirelli tyres. This season,
sight, Bottas led the race, ahead of Vettel. But when Vettel “dived
the Ferrari cars seem to be “outstripping Mercedes”.
down the inside of Bottas”, he ran wide and gave Hamilton the
Union (RFU), English rugby’s
In years to come, last Sunday
governing body, which is
will be remembered as the
spending £2.4m on women’s
moment women’s club rugby
club rugby over three years.
took a “great leap forward”,
When the RFU launched the
said Robert Kitson in The
Premier 15s last year, there
Guardian. In the thrilling
was scepticism, said Sarah
final of the inaugural Premier
Mockford in The Times. And
15s season, Saracens beat
it’s true that the discipline and
Harlequins 24-20. It was a hearthandling can leave something
in-mouth finish: at one point,
Harlequins had been 17-3 down, Saracens’ brilliant Marlie Packer to be desired – as one would
expect from players who work
yet in a finale “as taut as any
full-time jobs and get to train only three times a
neutral could wish to experience”, it seemed as
week. But at its best, as on Sunday, women’s
if they might just manage to snatch victory.
15-a-side can be very good indeed. The final,
For years, women’s rugby has been
said Robert Kitson, was a showcase for brilliant
dominated by the seven-a-side game, said
players, such as Marlie Packer of Saracens and
Kate Rowan in The Daily Telegraph. There
Shaunagh Brown of Harlequins. It was proof
were some 15-a-side clubs, but they received
that women’s rugby is “more than entertaining
little attention. Now, however, the format is
enough to be judged on its own merits”.
receiving a boost from the Rugby Football
THE WEEK 5 May 2018
Sporting headlines
Tennis Rafael Nadal
beat Stefanos Tsitsipas in
straight sets to claim his 11th
Barcelona Open title. He has
now won 46 consecutive
sets on clay.
Rugby union Exeter sealed
the Premiership top spot with
a 34-19 win over Sale Sharks.
Saracens beat London Irish
51-14 to secure a place in the
play-offs; Wasps landed a
play-off spot by beating
Northampton 36-29.
Football Celtic beat Rangers
5-0 to secure a seventh
successive Scottish
Premiership title. Man
United beat Arsenal 2-1.
A watershed for women’s rugby?
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Please quote
Pick of the week’s correspondence
What the public wants
To The Guardian
So another piece of political
theatre comes to its
denouement with Amber
Rudd’s resignation.
Conservative Home Office
scandals are as predictable
as pantomimes and come
with their own timehonoured tropes, including
cruel, heartless and usually
racist Tories, and their
selfless Labour opponents
championing the underdog.
Behind the scenes the
reality is rather different. The
underlying driver of the Home
Office’s enduring difficulties
is that the views of our
political, media and judicial
establishments on crime and
immigration are fundamentally
at odds with those of the
majority of the British people.
The public want firm but fair
control of immigration.
In the case of the Windrush
scandal, we expect a speedy
and fair resolution for people
who have long integrated into
British life, whether they are
technically citizens or not.
It is time that all elements
of the establishment grasped
that control of immigration
– the issue that determined
the result of the Brexit
referendum – really matters
to the British public.
Otto Inglis, Edinburgh
Going for easy targets
To The Daily Telegraph
Sajid Javid, the new Home
Secretary, will be wary of
saying too much against
target-setting and seeking
“low-hanging fruit”. He will
know that in the Department
for Business, which he headed
during 2015-16, the Insolvency
Service (of which I was an
independent board member)
has targets for the number
of directors of insolvent
companies it disqualifies.
It has achieved targets by
focusing on easy cases. The
low-hanging fruit are wives
who innocently become
directors of companies
owned and managed by
their husbands. They are
disqualified for not having
paid enough attention to their
husbands’ business. There
were examples of serious,
difficult cases being abandoned
early so that resources could
be reassigned to easier cases.
Exchange of the week
Sell your home to fund your care?
To The Daily Telegraph
Simon Stevens, the head of the NHS, proposes that older
people should sell their homes to fund social care. Why?
This is a generation that worked hard to get their own
homes. We were not allowed to sit on our backsides and
hold our hands out for benefits. At the labour exchange,
you were offered three jobs and if one was not taken then
your allowances were stopped. It’s always those who have
worked who pay for those who haven’t.
Mary Boyles, New Rossington, South Yorkshire
To The Daily Telegraph
It is difficult to disagree that house equity should be used
to cover an owner’s social care costs.
This not least because the bulk of that value is likely to
have been a mostly speculative (or at least unearned) gain.
The need to reduce the tax burden that must otherwise fall
on non-property owners must prevail over an understandable
desire to leave assets to descendants.
It might be less contentious and painful if the value of a
home of a person entering care was regarded as collateral for
a government loan to cover care costs. The property would be
sold and the care amount recouped after the owner’s death.
Being, ultimately, a charge on society, care costs of those
without either property or assets should be funded from a
designated inheritance tax receipts fund.
Tony Stone, Oxted, Surrey
To The Daily Telegraph
Why do we have such a fetish about making use of our homes
when we can no longer live in them? If I’d invested in the stock
market and held a portfolio of £100,000, people would
ridicule me if I said I wanted to ring-fence that to give to my
children, while expecting other people’s children to pay for
my care through taxation.
Robert Mills, Bideford, Devon
Wherever government
targets are set, there will be
civil servants looking for the
easiest way to achieve them –
and that will not necessarily be
what the politicians intended.
Nicholas Ward, Banbury,
Don’t hide Stonehenge
To The Times
There seems to be an
assumption that Stonehenge
belongs to archaeologists and
to English Heritage. Most
people who enjoy the stones
do so from vehicles on the
A303. The stones look
magnificent from this
distance. They have no need
of close inspection. They
can be appreciated at a
glimpse, without need of
visitor centres, car parks,
coaches and multimillionpound tunnels.
Why should the
overwhelming majority of
those who enjoy Stonehenge
be deprived of this pleasure at
vast public expense to satisfy
a profession and a quango?
Sir Simon Jenkins, National
Trust chairman, 2008-14
An age-old bungle
To The Daily Telegraph
It is hard to believe that anyone
born in the United Kingdom,
to parents and grandparents
who were also born in the UK,
should be told that he or she is
not a British citizen.
That, however, was the fate
of many people who were
born in what is now the Irish
Republic, but which, at the
time of their birth, was as
much a part of the United
Kingdom as Manchester is.
When 26 of the 32 counties
of Ireland seceded from the
UK and were about to leave
the Commonwealth, many of
these people were deprived of
their British status unless they
proactively sought to retain it.
I vividly recall my mother’s
disappointment in the 1980s
when she opened the envelope
containing the passport for
which she had applied, and
read: “British Subject without
These people’s plight
was not helped by legislative
squabbling between the newly
independent Ireland and
Westminster, which, even as
late as 1942, was claiming that
it had the right to conscript
Irishmen living in Britain. The
British Nationality Act 1948
resolved the matter by putting
people like my mother in
no better position than any
outsider seeking citizenship.
It may be of some comfort
to Amber Rudd to know that
bungling of these matters is
nothing new. An incorrect date
inserted into the 1948 Act had
the unintended consequence
of depriving people living in
Northern Ireland of British
citizenship and assuming
they were Irish citizens. I do
not know if any heads rolled
as a result. The error was
corrected the following year.
Ann O’Brien, Leeds,
West Yorkshire
Suffragette mistake
To The Sunday Times
Waldemar Januszczak writes
that Emily Wilding Davison
died when she “threw herself
under a horse at the Epsom
Derby in 1913”. This is a
common error. In fact,
Davison had expressed her
intention of running onto the
course to grab the reins of
the King’s horse and bring it
to a standstill. Unfortunately,
she failed to realise the
impossibility of stopping a
horse galloping at 40mph.
Helena Newton, Ilford,
“You’re getting older now.
We need to discuss the
Pterodactyls and the bees”
● Letters have been edited
5 May 2018 THE WEEK
Review of reviews: Books
Book of the week
sleeping pills, Woods “groggily”
crashed his SUV into a fire hydrant
outside his home while trying to
Tiger Woods
flee his wife, who had “learnt of his
by Jeff Benedict and
adultery”. In fact, as became clear,
she “didn’t know the half of it:
Armen Keteyian
Woods’s paramours (strippers,
Simon & Schuster 512pp £20
waitresses, neighbours) began popping
The Week Bookshop £18
up from behind every swizzle stick”.
Since then, the “greatest athlete of
Tiger Woods was always destined to
our time” hasn’t won a single major
be a great golfer, said Giles Smith in
tournament, and his injury-racked
The Times. His father, Earl, a Vietnam
career has nosedived badly (though just
veteran and an instructor in “military
recently, it has shown signs of reviving).
science and tactics”, drilled him from a
Based on 250 interviews, this confident
very early age (an approach he dubbed
biography brings “grainy new detail” to
Woods with his father, Earl, in 1995
“the Woods Finishing School”). When
almost every aspect of its subject’s life.
Tiger was a baby, his high chair was moved to the garage so he
Woods, it transpires, wasn’t just a sex addict and a liar, he was
could “watch golf balls being hit into a net”. From the time he
also “a horrible human being”, said Jim White in The Mail on
could wield a golf club, he was forced to practise two hours a day
Sunday: “spoilt, entitled, utterly self-obsessed”. But he has never
and Earl would tape motivational messages to his bedroom wall:
been stupid. So why did he jeopardise his “carefully honed
“I believe in me”; “I am first in my resolve”. All this enabled
image” by indulging in “absurdly risky behaviour” – not just the
Woods to bypass the “traditional, white, moneyed” route to
relentless womanising, but also a series of secret parachute jumps
golfing success and become the sport’s first black superstar, amasthat badly damaged his back. Benedict and Keteyian offer an
sing 14 majors, 79 PGA Tour events and £110m in prize money.
“intriguing” answer: Woods, they suggest, “needed the impetus of
Yet while his golf “spoke magnificently for itself”, the man who
his double life to stimulate his golf”. The theory certainly explains
played it remained “bafflingly remote”. As the authors of this
why, ever since his comeback – after therapy, which allowed him
“unstinting” biography put it, he was “invisible in plain sight”.
to understand “how vile he had been to those close to him” – his
In 2009, the world finally discovered why, said Dwight Garner
performances have been so mediocre. It seems that “the more
in The New York Times. On the day after Thanksgiving, high on
human he becomes, the less effective Tiger Woods is as a golfer”.
Natural Causes
Novel of the week
by Barbara Ehrenreich
Granta 256pp £16.99
The Week Bookshop £15.99
by Jesse Ball
Granta 256pp £14.99
“Barbara Ehrenreich is an award-winning American
columnist with a penchant for telling America what
it does not want to hear,” said John Carey in The
Sunday Times. In 2009’s Smile or Die, she derided
the “positive thinking” craze surrounding cancer
treatment. Now, in Natural Causes, she takes aim
at the multibillion-dollar “wellness” industry and
the medicalisation of old age. Although occasionally
“eccentric”, this book shows a “wit and fighting
spirit” that will delight Ehrenreich’s admirers.
Her starting point is that whatever we may tell ourselves, we have little control
over when we die, said Blake Morrison in The Guardian. And yet Americans are
encouraged to believe that “anyone who makes an effort” will live a long life.
Ehrenreich has fun mocking health gurus and fitness sages, with their mantras
about the “wisdom of the body”, and the “death-deniers” of Silicon Valley, who
believe that technology will fix mortality. And she doesn’t have much respect for
doctors, who she claims subject the aged to a battery of unnecessary “tests and
procedures”, making them “sick in the pursuit of wellness”. Some of
Ehrenreich’s points are hard to agree with, such as her “paranoid” dismissal of
the anti-smoking cause as “a war against the working class”, or her suggestion
that people should take psilocybin (found in magic mushrooms) to help them
approach death with equanimity. Yet overall, Natural Causes is an “instructive
and thought-provoking” work by a great iconoclast. Despite its scepticism, the
book’s message is ultimately “joyous”, said Yvonne Roberts in The Observer.
Ehrenreich suggests that once we accept that we may depart the world at any
time, we’ll be free to celebrate “what life, in all its arbitrariness, has to offer”.
She provides a “much-needed tonic” to the dangerous bromides of self-help.
The Week Bookshop £13.99
In this “curious, clever novel”, a father and his
son, who has Down’s syndrome, travel from
town A to town Z in an unnamed country,
administering a national census, said Brian
Martin in The Spectator. The father, who is
dying, is a retired doctor with a passion for
cormorants; his wife, who predeceased him,
was a clown. The novel, the foreword tells us,
was inspired by the life of Jesse Ball’s brother,
who had Down’s syndrome and died in 1998. It
is written in a style that’s “devoid of adjectives”,
and while this is annoying at times, Census is
for the most part engaging and “humane”.
This is a strange and “transformative” book,
said Melissa Harrison in the Financial Times.
The secret of its power lies in Ball’s depiction of
the son. Rather than a “fully fleshed character”,
he is portrayed entirely through the “world’s
reactions to him, from the most tender to the
most cruel”. This forces readers to “fill in the
missing information” themselves – after which
it does not feel possible to return to a “state of
ignorance”. Stark, spare and parable-like,
Census is “memorable and utterly profound”.
To order these titles or any other book in print, visit or speak to a bookseller on 020-3176 3835
Opening times: Mon to Fri 9am-6pm, Sat 9am-5.30pm and Sun 10am-2pm
5 May 2018 THE WEEK
Absolute Hell
Rodney Ackland
Director: Joe Hill-Gibbins
National Theatre,
South Bank, London SE1
(020-7452 3000).
Until 16 June
Running time:
(including interval)
Strictly Ballroom:
The Musical
Book: Baz Luhrmann
and Craig Pearce
Choreographer and
director: Drew McOnie
Piccadilly Theatre,
Denman Street,
London W1
(0844-871 7630).
Until 20 October
Running time:
2hrs 20mins
(including interval)
Fleetwood). They, and many
When first produced in 1952,
others in the large cast, give
under the title The Pink Room,
splendid, nuanced performances.
Rodney Ackland’s play – about
The play might not be a
the denizens of an anything-goes
“stone-cold classic”, said
Soho drinking club in the
Andrzej Lukowski in Time
summer of 1945 – received such
Out. But it does have something
a critical mauling it more or less
“transcendent to say about the
killed his career dead, said Ian
allure of nightlife, the strange
Shuttleworth in the FT. (“A libel
bedfellows it breeds”, and
on the British people” was one
the way in which it exists to
verdict.) So Ackland all but quit
“alleviate loneliness as much
writing until the late 1980s,
as to facilitate joy”. The trouble,
when he rewrote the play as
though, said Dominic Cavendish
Absolute Hell and – just before
in The Daily Telegraph, is that
he died – saw it greeted with
the rather “monumental” set
acclaim. Now revived in a lavish
design and production it has
production, the piece remains
been given do nothing to help
rather shocking – not so much
for its (at the time) bold
Fleetwood: “incredibly poignant” create the necessary sense of
cosiness and claustrophobia.
depictions of bi- and homoAs a result, this rather fragile play feels
sexuality, “casual libertinage and a kind of det“overexposed, over-protracted and overplayed”
ermined alcoholism, but for the unjudgemental
– and “sprawling to the point of self-indulgent”.
yet unyielding gaze with which it regards them”.
It is by no means a failure, but nor – perhaps
This “fascinating and provocative” play is
surprisingly – is it an “absolute must”.
a kind of “living Hogarth portrait of a Blitzravaged London living hard on treble whiskies
and rationed eggs, and desperately trying to
The week’s other opening
blot out the world and the War”, said Natasha
Mayfly Orange Tree Theatre, Clarence Street,
Tripney in The Stage. It has so many characters
Richmond (020-8940 3633). Until 26 May
and plot strands it feels like a “live-action
Joe White’s “tender and wise” debut play, set in
Robert Altman film”. The focal points, though,
a dying village in Shropshire, is “suffused with
are Hugh Marriner, a washed-up writer (played
grief and absence”, yet is unexpectedly funny
by Charles Edwards with his usual delicacy
and ultimately uplifting. It also features fine
and empathy) and the club’s lonely proprietor,
performances from a first-rate cast (Guardian).
Christine (an “incredibly poignant” Kate
with nowhere involving to go”.
With this stage version of his
Where the film had novelty and
1992 hit film Strictly Ballroom,
“cinematographic elan”, this
Baz Luhrmann seems to have
limp stage adaptation feels
given “the Baz Luhrmann
garish, “cynically feel-good”,
treatment” to his own material,
and “bewilderingly vapid”.
said Holly Williams in The
This “strictly so-so” show
Independent. That’s to say he
is “cluttered and restless”, said
has taken a love story, added
Dominic Maxwell in The Times
some “mildly incongruous pop
– too cartoonish to be genuinely
songs” and showered the whole
involving. The film was
thing in sequins. True, the much“charming”; this is “laborious”,
loved movie – about a young
agreed Michael Billington in
maverick who rebels against the
The Guardian. Ironically, its
rigid, rule-bound world of 1980s
best sequence – that “moment of
ballroom dancing in Australia –
ecstasy” a musical needs – comes
was scarcely lacking in shimmer
when Fran’s father teaches Scott
and glitz. But this stage version is
the paso doble. Fernando Mira,
“even more spangly and silly in
every way” – a gleefully overStrallen and Labey: a spangly show with his “poker back, drumming
heels and economy of movethe-top romp that is “as garish
ment”, gives us a thrilling masterclass in Spanish
as the bubblegum-hued ostrich-trimmed
dance – and upends the show’s own thesis by
ballgowns the cast swirl about in”.
“proving the value of disciplined tradition”.
Jonny Labey has “bags of charm and energy”
If only there had been more of this quality.
as our hero, Scott, says Sarah Crompton on
What’s On Stage, while Zizi Strallen gives a
“wonderfully rounded” performance as Fran,
CD of the week
the dancer he woos, charting “her gradual
Monáe: Dirty Computer
journey from clumsiness to confidence” with
great tenderness. And as an emcee-like figure,
Monáe’s third album feels like it could make
pop star Will Young sings sweetly and
her blend of funky electropop, retro soul and
sensuously, said Dominic Cavendish in The
balladry “break into the pop stratosphere”. The
Daily Telegraph. The problem is that, like the
“ghosts of Madonna and Prince loom, and look
rest of the show, he’s “all dressed up (a shiny
where they got in the charts” (Sunday Times).
outfit of black flares that runs up to his tum)
Stars reflect the overall quality of reviews and our own independent assessment (4 stars=don’t miss; 1 star=don’t bother)
Book your tickets now by calling 020-7492 9948 or visiting
THE WEEK 5 May 2018
Avengers: Infinity War
The mother of all Marvel movies
Dirs: Anthony and Joe Russo
2hrs 29mins (12A)
Try as I might, I can’t think of another
Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) is “putty in his
film as big as this, said Jamie East in
hands”, said Geoffrey Macnab in
The Sun. The 19th film in Marvel’s
The Independent. Ditto Thor, the god of
world-beating, multibillion-grossing
thunder (Chris Hemsworth). What stops
“cinematic universe” of superheroes,
the story from devolving into little more
Avengers: Infinity War brings together
than a series of repetitive CGI punch-ups
most of the protagonists of the past
is the skilful comedic interplay between
18 movies in one immense extravaganza.
the stars. Cumberbatch and Downey Jr
The cast boasts nearly as many A-listers
bicker like “catty housewives”, while
as Oscars night. There’s Robert Downey
Chris Pratt as Star-Lord is amusingly
Jr (Iron Man), Benedict Cumberbatch
insecure about the depth of Hemsworth’s
(Doctor Strange), Scarlett Johansson
basso profundo voice. There’s even room
(Black Widow), Chadwick Boseman
for romance, notably between Pratt and
(Black Panther)... The full list would
Zoe Saldana’s green-skinned Gamora.
Thanos: heads up an extravaganza
break “the most indulgent word count”,
said Danny Leigh in the FT. The overload
The trouble with cramming so many
of talent could have led to the film collapsing like a second-rate
stars into one movie is it makes for a stream of histrionics, said
soufflé. Yet somehow, directors Anthony and Joe Russo make
Joshua Rothkopf in Time Out. Everyone tries to make “what
it work, “marrying the madcap with the sleekness of the megaamounts to a cameo stick”. The result is two-and-a-half hours of
budget action mayhem with hotspots of actual human drama”.
“all sensation and no pulse”, said Stephanie Zacharek in Time.
Saldana comes closest to making her “faux-Shakespearean
Anyone who isn’t a fully paid-up member of the Marvel fan club moments” count, in her interplay with Thanos. I’m sorry not
will find Infinity War mostly preposterous, said Edward Porter
to be more specific, but Marvel has begged critics not to ruin
in The Sunday Times. The premise is that a “purple brute”
the story for fans. This “supremely watchable” film – a first
named Thanos (Josh Brolin), who “looks as if he shaves using a
instalment in a two-part story that will conclude next year –
serrated razor”, has come up with a plan for wiping out half the
is utterly confident both in its self-created mythology and in
universe’s population. To do this, he and his henchmen must
the note of apocalyptic darkness on which it ends, said Peter
gather six “Infinity Stones” – unless our trusty superheroes can
Bradshaw in The Guardian. “I know it’s silly. Yet I can’t help
stop them. The hitch is that Thanos is so strong, even the mighty looking forward to the next supersized episode of mayhem.”
Beast ★★★
Jessie Buckley dominates this gripping serial-killer thriller
When I read that Beast was a serial-killer
thriller, my heart sank, said Deborah Ross
in The Spectator. I feared another litany
of women being raped and murdered. But
this “fascinating and brilliant” British film
is “not like any serial-killer thriller you’ve
seen before”. And that’s because “a
woman owns it”. She isn’t the killer,
yet Jessie Buckley’s turn as the lead is so
“phenomenal”, she dominates the film.
The actor plays Moll, a troubled tour
guide on the island of Jersey who lives at home with her
controlling mother (Geraldine James). Then she meets Pascal
(Johnny Flynn), a half-wild and – to her – irresistibly attractive
loner who may or may not be responsible for a spate of murders
Dir: Michael Pearce
1hr 44mins (15)
that have recently shocked the community.
Writer-director Michael Pearce excels at
overturning our expectations, said Mark
Kermode in The Observer. One moment
we think we’re watching a murder mystery;
the next it seems more like a timeless fable.
And who is the beast of the title?
Yet it has to be said that Pearce rather
overdoes the symbolism, said Geoffrey
Macnab in The Independent. Forests are
dark and mysterious. Waves are invariably
pounding the shore. “The film couldn’t have worked without a
strong lead actor,” said Dan Jolin in Empire. Buckley is just that,
delivering “a devastating portrait” of repressed anger. By rights,
this should “mark the start of a long and impressive career”.
The Wound
Intense exploration of male identity
This has been quite a 12 months or so for
“complex gay tales shot in striking rural
locations”, said Jimi Famurewa in Empire.
In the wake of Call Me by Your Name and
God’s Own Country comes this “lyrical,
bold” South African art-house film. Its
action takes place during an initiation
retreat attended by young males of the
Xhosa tribe who submit to unanaesthetised
circumcision and are obliged to yell, “I’m a
man!” as the blade cuts the skin.
Many will find the circumcision scenes “difficult”, said Kevin
Maher in The Times. But those who get through them will be
rewarded by a “flawless exploration of male identity”. The
central drama revolves around the secret relationship between
Dir: John Trengove
1hr 28mins (15)
two retreat guides, the closeted Xolani
(Nakhane Touré) and the bisexual, married
Vija (Bongile Mantsai). Their affair is
complicated by a young initiate (Niza Jay
Ncoyini) who occasionally flips the power
balance with the older men – with results
that are devastating for all concerned.
Some of the plot twists of this
“absorbing and visually strong” drama
are rather bluntly arranged, said Edward
Porter in The Sunday Times. Yet director
John Trengove, a white South African, handles his sensitive
subject matter with a delicate touch, said Geoffrey Macnab in The
Independent. And even putting aside the “fraught sexual politics”,
The Wound provides fascinating insights into Xhosa culture.
5 May 2018 THE WEEK
Exhibition of the week Rodin and the art of ancient Greece
British Museum, London WC1 (020-7323 8181, Until 29 July
In 1881, Auguste Rodin
its brilliance is rarely
(1840-1917) visited the
repeated, and the
British Museum and made
exhibition is “packed
a discovery that would
with horrid artistic
change his life, said Rachel
moments”. Rodin had
Campbell-Johnston in The
a compulsion to “load
Times. For the first time,
his sculpture with big
“the most famous sculptor
meanings”, resulting
of a dawning modernist
in many works that
era” came face to face with
now seem absurdly
the Parthenon Marbles –
melodramatic. There are
a set of sculptures that
some “spectacularly ugly”
spoke to him with “a
pieces, made all the more
fierce and direct emotional
hideous by comparison
force”. The encounter
with the Parthenon
would bring about
Marbles. How “fresh
a radical transformation
and vital” they seem in
in his own art, introducing
this context – “and how
a vitality that came to
comprehensively they
characterise his best work.
win the encounters with
Now, more than a century
their copyist”.
on from Rodin’s first visit,
the British Museum is
True, Rodin can’t
staging an exhibition
Rodin’s The Kiss is juxtaposed with Rising Goddess, part of the Parthenon Marbles compete with “the most
that explores the French
revolutionary sculptures
sculptor’s reverence for the Parthenon Marbles and their creator,
ever created”, said Jonathan Jones in The Guardian. Even his
the 5th century BC Greek sculptor Phidias. The show brings
famous sculpture The Kiss (1882) – “one of the most sensual
together more than 80 of Rodin’s “expressively audacious”
and captivating masterpieces of modern times” – looks like
works and, for the first time, juxtaposes these masterpieces
“soft porn” next to two headless goddesses from the Parthenon.
with the ancient sculptures that inspired them. The result is a
Nevertheless, the exhibition offers a comprehensive overview
guaranteed “blockbuster” containing moments of “alchemy”.
of Rodin’s “dizzying career”: highlights include two full-scale
versions of The Thinker (1880) and an “array of swarming
It is a “beautifully presented” show, said Waldemar Januszczak
images” from his “masterpiece”, The Gates of Hell (1880-c.90).
in The Sunday Times. The Parthenon Marbles and Rodin’s works
More impressively still, it succeeds in showing us how remarkable
are displayed in tandem, culminating in the latter’s The Burghers
Greek statuary must have looked when seen through Rodin’s
of Calais (1889) – a work that offers “unarguable proof” of
eyes. It forces us to view these ancient sculptures in a new light,
Rodin’s “occasional genius as a public sculptor”. Unfortunately,
and the effect is quite simply “sublime”.
Where to buy…
Julian Opie
at Alan Cristea Gallery
Julian Opie (b.1958) has devoted
the past three decades to rendering the
world around him in bold outlines and
simplified, almost cartoonish shapes.
His work has appeared on everything
from T-shirts to album covers, and his
illustrative, Hergé-meets-Warhol style
has become almost as familiar as the
livery of a multinational corporation.
However, Opie is an artist possessed
of brilliant observational skills and
a determination to reduce
representational art to its barest
essentials. This exhibition brings
together a good selection of his
recent work, demonstrating that he
is still capable of producing the odd
surprise. Scenes of strolling pedestrians
in Melbourne pick out tiny details –
a shopping bag slung awkwardly over
a shoulder, the ungainly posture of
THE WEEK 5 May 2018
Modern Towers 2 (2017)
a figure gazing down at a smartphone
– that a lesser artist might miss, while
a series of landscapes of the Cornish
coast have an eerie quality that recalls
– of all people – Eric Ravilious. Prices
range from £2,160 to £48,000.
43 Pall Mall, St James’s, London SW1
(020-7439 1866). Until 16 June.
It must be
to discover
that more
than half of
the works in
your gallery
are fakes,
says David
Chazan in
The Daily
Telegraph. But that’s just what has happened
to the museum in Elne, in the south of France,
which is dedicated to works by Étienne Terrus
(1857-1922) – a local artist who was a precursor
of fauvism and friends with Matisse. An art
historian raised the alarm after noticing that
several of the paintings showed buildings that
were constructed after the artist’s death. On
investigation, experts confirmed that 82 of
the museum’s 140 works were forged. “It’s a
catastrophe,” said Yves Barniol, mayor of Elne.
“I put myself in the place of all the people who
came to visit the museum, who saw fake works
of art, who paid an entrance fee. It’s intolerable
and I hope we find those responsible.” Having
seized the fakes, police are now trying to trace
the dealers who sold them. Art experts estimate
that at least 20% of the paintings owned by
major museums around the world are forged.
The museum of forgeries
The Week reviews an
exhibition in a private gallery
The List
Best books… Jacqueline Wilson
Jacqueline Wilson, the bestselling children’s author, picks her six favourite
books. She will be talking about her new book, Rose Rivers, on 28 May
at the Hay Festival, Wales (24 May-3 June;
Our Souls at Night by Kent
Haruf, 2015 (Picador £7.99).
I was browsing in Waterstones
when a bookseller suggested I
try this novel. I’m so glad she
did. It’s the most beautiful,
moving book about an older
couple who fall madly in love.
It stays shining in the mind.
Adventures in Modern
Marriage by William
Nicholson, 2017 (Quercus
£8.99). The latest in a series
about friends and family who
live in East Sussex – I seize
on every book with delight.
I especially identify with the
ageing TV presenter and the
writer, both clinging on desperately – but all the characters
are believable and fascinating.
The Language of Kindness:
A Nurse’s Story by Christie
Watson, 2018 (Chatto &
Windus £14.99). Watson has
written two brilliant novels,
but this is a powerful account
of her life as a nurse. She deals
with searingly sad situations,
yet reading her memoir is a
truly uplifting experience.
A View of the Harbour by
Elizabeth Taylor, 1947 (Virago
£9.99). Taylor has the dubious
accolade of being called a
writer’s writer, but she’s a favourite of this writer. I’ve read
this novel, set in a seaside town
in the 1940s, five times and I’m
itching to read it again. There’s
a mother from hell in it who
makes me wince and chuckle.
The Accidental Tourist by
Anne Tyler, 1985 (Vintage
£8.99). Tyler writes about shy,
awkward, engaging characters
with their own quiet obsessions.
Macon Leary is a man who
copes with tragedy by sticking
to his own bizarre routines,
but his life is turned upside
down when he meets the
courageous Muriel Pritchett.
Titles in print are available from The Week Bookshop on 020-3176 3835. For out-of-print books visit
The Week’s guide to what’s worth seeing and reading
Showing now
Book now
Life in Motion: Egon Schiele/Francesca
Woodman pairs works by the Austrian
expressionist, who died 100 years ago, with
Woodman’s haunting photographs. 24 May23 September, Tate Liverpool (0151-702 7400).
Sally Cookson, who has directed dazzling
productions of Jane Eyre and Peter Pan, turns
her attention to Patrick Ness’s A Monster
Ballet’s Dark Knight:
Sir Kenneth MacMillan
Exploration of the life
of brilliant but troubled
choreographer Kenneth
MacMillan. Sun 6 May,
BBC4 21:00 (60mins).
The Road to Palmyra Dan
Cruickshank and Don McCullin
travel to Syria to document the
cultural destruction wrought
by Islamic State. Mon 7 May,
BBC4 21:00 (60mins).
Vive La Revolution! Joan
Bakewell on May ’68 Joan
Bakewell looks back at the
student protests in France in
May 1968, and the ideas that
fuelled them. Wed 9 May,
BBC4 22:00 (60mins).
Tortured By Mum and
Dad? The Turpin 13 Film
investigating the sinister story
of the Turpins, the couple
charged with keeping their 13
children shackled and starved
in their home in California.
Wed 9 May, C5 22:00 (65mins).
Red Ape: Saving the
Orangutan For a decade,
International Animal Rescue
has filmed its own efforts to
save Borneo’s orangutans,
pulling them from devastated
jungle. This film follows their
work and shows why these
apes are on the brink of
extinction. Thur 10 May,
BBC2 21:00 (60mins).
A Streetcar Named Desire at Oxford
Playhouse (01865-305305). Kelly Gough puts
in a “name-making performance” as Blanche
DuBois in Chelsea Walker’s take on Tennessee
Williams’ classic (Times). 8-12 May, then Mold
and Southampton (
A host of leading children’s writers, including
Judith Kerr, Emma Chichester Clark and Charlie
Higson, will be entertaining the little – and not
so little – ones with talks and workshops at
the Barnes Children’s Literature Festival.
11-13 May, various venues, Barnes, London
SW13 (
The Bridge Sofia Helin is
Kelly Gough in A Streetcar Named Desire
Calls, about a boy dealing with his mother’s
cancer. For ages ten+. 31 May-16 June, Bristol
Old Vic (0117-987 7877); 7 July-25 August,
The Old Vic, London SE1 (0844-871 7628).
Just out in paperback
A Legacy of Spies by John le Carré (Penguin
£8.99). Peter Guillam is interrogated by MI6
over his actions in The Spy Who Came in from
the Cold, giving the reader “pieces of a puzzle
that have been missing for 54 years” (Times).
The Archers: what happened last week
Thanks to Jazzer snoring and a terrible bed, Alistair is not getting much sleep. Shula offers to move
to Elizabeth’s so he can return home. When she says there’s no rush to divorce, he is shocked. How
can she be so calm about the end of their marriage? Andrew arrives at Grange Farm without Jake.
He explains to Will that Jake isn’t happy there and hates visiting Nic’s grave. The laptop incident was
the last straw. Will tells Ed that he’ll fight for Jake. Jennifer tells Peggy that Lexi’s not pregnant. Peggy
is sympathetic; they needed good news. When Peggy says she feels sorry for Brian, Jennifer tells her
Brian knew about the toxic waste. Peggy’s stunned. Jazzer runs into Hannah, a friend he worked
with years ago, who’s now Berrow’s deputy manager. Shula tells Alistair she’s truly sorry about their
break-up. They agree to live together, but not as a couple. Martyn Gibson writes to Will informing
him that he’ll either have to return to work full-time or give up the cottage. Will appeals to Brian, who
says that as BL chair, Martyn can do what he likes. Brian tells Jennifer that he’ll help Will. He receives
a phone call from Doug, who makes Brian an offer. It’s less than Brian wants, but he accepts it.
back in leather trousers to play
the abrupt Swedish detective
Saga in a new series of the
Scandi crime drama. Fri
11 May, BBC2 21:00 (60mins).
Buried (2010) An engrossing
but terrifying film about a man
buried alive in Iraq. Fri 11 May,
BBC1 23:55 (90mins).
New to subscription TV
Westworld Season two of the
gripping drama based on the
1973 film, about a Wild West
theme park staffed by androids
where visitors get to act out
their fantasies without fear of
retribution – until, that is, the
robots start malfunctioning.
Showing now on Sky Atlantic.
Mercury 13 Documentary
telling the story of 13 women
who, in 1961, passed the
tests to become astronauts,
but were then barred from
Nasa’s space-flight
programme because of their
gender. Streaming on Netflix.
5 May 2018 THE WEEK
Bookworm: A Memoir of
Childhood Reading by Lucy
Mangan, 2018 (Square Peg
£14.99). I love books about
books – and this is a treat.
It’s an endearing account of
Mangan’s favourite children’s
books – and some of the socalled classics that didn’t work
for her at all. It’s a gloriously
biased compilation, like a
heated but enjoyable discussion
with a best friend bookworm.
Best properties
Scenic hideaways under £500,000
38/40 Marketgate
South, Crail.
Dating from
around 1759,
this B-listed house
with a Georgian
facade, in the
heart of the
village of Crail,
has a pretty,
sheltered garden
and distant sea
views to the rear.
Master bed,
2 further beds,
family bath,
shower, 3 receps,
pantry, patio,
garden with
off-street parking.
OIEO £395,000;
Galbraith (01334659980).
▲ Devon: 19 Crowther’s Hill, Dartmouth. A cosy period cottage with many
original features in a desirable street in central Dartmouth, with off-street parking
and a lovely rear garden. Master bed, 1 further bed, family bath, open-plan
kitchen/double recep with wood-burning stove, carport, private garden at the rear
with raised beds and exotic plants. £405,000; Marchand Petit (01803-839190).
Dorset: Stockford
Lodge, East Stoke,
Wareham. An
enchanting Grade II
Hansel and Gretelstyle cottage, tucked
away among the
bluebells in almost
two acres of grounds
and woodland. 1 bed
(previously divided
into two) with WC,
family bath, kitchen,
breakfast room,
sitting room with
open fireplace,
dining room with
flagstone floor,
porch, double
carport, garden,
summer house,
terrace. £420,000
Domvs (01929555300).
THE WEEK 5 May 2018
on the market
Isle of Mull: Pier
House, Fionnphort. A
modern detached oneand-a-half-storey cottage
– in an elevated position
in this fishing village
on the southwest tip of
Mull – with panoramic
views over the village,
the bay and the Sound
of Iona. Perched on a
small cliff above the
main pier, Pier House
was completely rebuilt
in 2008 in a traditional
style. The house is well
placed to take advantage
of local wildlife, from
white-tailed and golden
eagles to otters and seals,
which are joined in the
summer by dolphins,
porpoises and basking
sharks. 3 beds, family
bath, shower, kitchen
with dining area, openplan recep, wrap-around
terrace, porch, gardens,
detached garage. OIEO
£285,000; Savills (0141222 5875).
Greenacre, Killin,
Loch Tay. A fully
renovated and
extended family house
with south-facing
views towards Loch
Tay, close to the
Falls of Dochart.
Master suite with
dressing room and
balcony, 4 further
beds, family bath,
kitchen, 2 receps,
cloakroom, utility/
pantry, 1-bed
detached chalet,
studio, greenhouse,
workshop, potting
shed, garage, garden,
0.94 acres. £398,000;
Savills (01738477519).
Yarcombe, Honiton.
A Grade II 17th
century farmhouse
in an idyllic location
off a country lane
in an Area of
Outstanding Natural
Beauty. Master suite,
2 further beds,
family bath,
with Aga, 2 receps
with inglenook
fireplaces, study/bed
4, cobbled forecourt,
garden, grounds,
sweeping panoramic
views, 0.27 acres.
OIEO £485,000;
Stags (0140445885).
West Sussex:
13 Bourne Court,
Bracklesham Bay,
Chichester. Located
between West
Wittering and
Selsey, this
beachfront firstfloor apartment has
fantastic sea views
stretching across
the water to the
Isle of Wight and
Portsmouth. Master
bed, 2 further beds,
2 showers, kitchen,
reception hall,
reception room
with picture
window, balcony,
garage, residents’
parking. £495,000;
Strutt & Parker
▲ Dumfries and Galloway: Annandale House, Moffat. The
principal part of an Edwardian house, set in just under half an
acre of mature gardens on the edge of this historic spa town.
Master bed with dressing room, 2 further beds, family bath,
shower, study/bed 4, kitchen/diner with Aga, 2 receps, utility,
larder. OIEO £380,000; Knight Frank (0131-222 9600).
5 May 2018 THE WEEK
Food & Drink
What the experts recommend
La Cave Lower Ground Floor,
29 High Street, Falmouth, Cornwall
This newish place on an “ope” – or alley
– off Falmouth’s old high street is a “fullblown specimen of the Retro-Romantic
French Bistro”, says Keith Miller in
The Daily Telegraph. Lit by paraffin
lamps, it has low, vaulted ceilings, a
tinkling piano and a menu that offers
“Retro Reassurance rather than Reckless
Romanticism”. Still, the food is “cooked
with precision, confidence and minimal
fuss, and served with warmth and
charm”. A soufflé deux fois was gooey
but light, and came with a keen-edged
apple and endive salad. A “bouillabaisse
Cornique” was made with cockles,
mussels, samphire and white fish. I
did wonder if it might have been more
exciting with red mullet or gurnard,
but the principle was “clearly to make
it with whatever was good off the boat
today”. Duck à l’orange was more
“assertively contemporary”: rare breast
cut neatly into thick slices, topped with
rosettes of just-roasted blood orange and
resting on root vegetables in a pool of
rich Lillet sauce. Dinner for two, £120.
Forest Side Grasmere, Cumbria
When it comes to the fad for serving
food on anything other than plates,
I am firmly pro-plate, says Jay Rayner
in The Observer. As my youngest once
black truffle is “the best ham and eggs
you will ever eat”. Mains of pork loin
and beef rib are intense; elsewhere,
pig’s ear terrine in mushroom broth is
“brilliant” and the vegetable cookery
– a lot of it involving salt-baking – is
inspired. Meal for two, including drinks,
from £120.
The Korean Cowgirl: superior ribs
put it: “You start with a mini chip pan
fryer and before you know it, there’s
couscous in a mini wheelbarrow.” Well,
quite. I’ll make an exception, though, for
Forest Side, where Kevin Tickle’s thrilling
food is conceived as an expression of
the Cumbrian landscape. Here, using a
polished rock for the chive butter – “the
colour of a bowls lawn, dressed with
Lilliputian deep-fried onion rings and
nasturtium blooms – is a tidy declaration
of intent”. Its promise, moreover, is
amply fulfilled. A sweet-savoury cracker
made from butternut squash, piled with
crumbled black pudding and Tunworth
cheese, is a “flavour bomb”. Toast with
salt-cured egg yolk, wind-dried ham and
The Korean Cowgirl 13 Palace Street,
Canterbury (01227-788006)
I once spent a day in Lynchburg,
Tennessee, training to become a
certified judge of the Kansas City
Barbeque Society, says Tom Parker
Bowles in The Mail on Sunday. After
swearing allegiance to “truth, justice,
excellence in barbecue and the American
way of life”, I learnt that perfectly cooked
ribs should have meat that “neither flops
off in one piece (overcooked) or gleans to
the bone too tightly (underdone)”. The
flesh should come away easily with a
small tug of the teeth. And as a duly
certified expert, I can confirm that the
ribs at The Korean Cowgirl are “way
superior to the usual ersatz rubbish”
and beat the ones at the Bodean’s chain
“with ease” (though they could use a bit
more smoke). The brisket here is “way
above average too”; smoked by “someone
who knows their ’cue”. If I were them,
I’d drop the Korean bit (the Korean fried
chicken is “merely average”) and focus
on the Cowgirl barbecue bit – it’s great.
Lunch around £25 a head.
Recipe of the week
Live fire barbecue-cooking can produce stunning vegetable dishes as well as meat ones, says DJ BBQ. These sweet and tasty
charred carrots are one of the easiest recipes to try when learning to barbecue “dirty” style – where the food is cooked on the
hot charcoals to give it a lovely smoky char flavour.
“Dirty” barbecued carrots with maple syrup and cumin
Serves 3-4 as a side dish Barbecue set-up: dirty technique (see below for guidance) 12 large carrots, washed, not peeled
4 tbsps maple syrup 2 tbsps balsamic vinegar 1 tbsp cumin seeds sea salt and black pepper
• For “dirty” barbecue cooking, you need a
nice solid bed of charcoals packed together in
a tight slab so they don’t burn away too fast.
• Get a nice charcoal bed cooked up and,
once the coals start to ash, you are good to
go. First, blow over the coals to dust away
the ash just before you place anything on
them – so you don’t have to brush ash off
your food later.
• Place your whole unpeeled carrots straight
into the coals. Use a pair of tongs to snuggle
the coals around the carrots so more surface
area is being cooked by the coals.
• Turn the carrots every 5 minutes to stop them from charring
too much. After about 20-25 minutes, the carrots should be
cooked – they should bend nicely, but not be floppy. Once you
have the bend, remove the carrots from the
coals and place on a metal tray. Let them cool
down before moving on to the next step,
because they will be too hot to handle at first.
• Slice the carrots on the angle and lay them
back in the tray. Drizzle the maple syrup and
balsamic vinegar over the carrots and mix
things up. Make it rain cumin seeds, flakes
of salt and freshly ground pepper, and give
the tray a lovely shake so that all the carrots
are seasoned.
• Place the tray on top of the coals to
caramelise the syrup. Keep stirring the carrots
until the syrup starts to bubble, then remove and enjoy one of
life’s tastiest side dishes. Alternatively, this dish could be part
of a main event for vegetarians or vegans.
Taken from Fire Food: The Ultimate BBQ Cookbook by DJ BBQ, published by Quadrille at £15. To buy from
The Week Bookshop for £14, call 020-3176 3835 or visit
5 May 2018 THE WEEK
The rear-wheel-drive R8: an end to “the days of dull Audis”?
naturally aspirated 5.2-litre V10 engine,
“To all intents and purposes, this is
which “screams” through its seemingly
Audi’s first ever rear-wheel-drive car,”
never-ending rev range to produce a top
said Ollie Marriage in Top Gear. To
speed of 198mph. What’s more, despite
find the last one, you would have to
its limited edition status, it’s cheaper
delve too far back for any meaningful
than the quattro by almost £14,000,
comparison. And its rear-wheel series
making it the most affordable R8 yet.
(RWS) label indicates it won’t be
You can’t help feeling, though,
the only one. What Audi is trying
that Audi could have “nudged the
to tell us is that it wants to be taken
Audi R8 RWS
performance envelope further” to
seriously as a maker of “purist” sports
From £112,520
differentiate the RWS some more,
cars – that “the days of dull Audis are
said Sean Carson in Auto Express. The drive is undeniably
over”. It may lack rear-wheel experience, but it has clearly
good; it has “fast, accurate” steering, surprisingly good traction
worked hard to create this better, simpler R8.
(given the lack of four-wheel drive), and will get from 0 to
Externally, there’s really nothing to set it apart from its
62mph in 3.7 seconds, only two tenths of a second slower than
quattro all-wheel-drive sibling, and even inside all you get is
the quattro. You have to push quite hard before you feel any
a little plaque above the glovebox telling you you’re in “1 of
difference, yet when you do, the “delicious adjustability” of
999” limited edition models, said Chris Knapman in The Daily
an R8 without a pair of driven front wheels becomes apparent,
Telegraph. But that’s not to say changes haven’t been made.
and you experience the car’s more “amusing” side.
The RWS is 50kg lighter than the quattro, but uses the same
The best… ergonomic office accessories
Tips of the week... how to
move with your garden
● For keen gardeners, moving house can
be heartbreaking. You can take plants with
you, but decide which ones before you sell
so that you can give any buyers due notice.
● If a plant is simply too big to move,
take cuttings or divisions with you.
● Plan ahead. October to March is the best
time to dig up shrubs or trees, while spring
and autumn are best for perennials.
● Rather than digging your plants up last
minute and putting the root balls in bin
liners, transfer them into plastic containers
filled with compost well in advance.
● Before you pot them up, root around in
the soil for weeds or pests’ larvae to avoid
introducing them into your new garden.
● Try to tie labels to stems or stick them
to pots. For tall plants, ask your removal
company for some extra wardrobe boxes.
● A week before moving day, put all the
pots into a shed or garage to dry them out;
they’ll be easier and lighter to transport.
THE WEEK 5 May 2018
Laptop Stand
An adjustable
stand, which
es lap
laptopcooling ffans
fans, is a
cheaper and less obst
alternative to a standin
standing desk
(; £26).
▲ Her
Herman Miller Sayl Chair Inspired
by the plans for suspension bridges
and used by the British School of
Osteopathy, the Sayl has a frameless
back and no hard edges (www.
des; £396).
And for those who
have everything…
The trend for luxury trainers has left
designers scrambling to stand out in a
crowded market – hence these green suede
Dinosaur High Tops, dreamt up by
Spanish fashion house Loewe.
Apps... to help with
stress and anxiety
Pacifica helps to manage anxiety or stress
with daily goals and experiments, and
guided meditation. The methods are based
on mindfulness and cognitive behavioural
therapy techniques (free; Android, iOS).
Todoist is for those who feel anxious owing
to a lack of control. It aims to put you in
charge of your day by helping you prioritise
and build good habits (free; Android, iOS).
Headspace is a popular mindfulness app
that offers meditation programmes tailored
to issues such as lack of sleep. After a free
basic course, it costs £9.99 a month – less
if you pay annually (Android, iOS).
SuperBetter – for those who find therapy
too formal and daunting – turns daily tasks
into a game focused on increasing mental
resilience, complete with quests and power
packs (free; Android, iOS).
BetterHelp offers professional counselling
via messages, starting from £25 a week.
Live and video options are also available
(Android, iOS).
Anker 2.4G Wireless
Vertical Mouse This
mouse has a “handshake”
grip to make your hand
position as natural as
possible. It has a thumb
rest and grip, and five
easy-access buttons
(; £13).
SoleMate Footrest
Made from memory
foam, the SoleMate should
relax your feet and improve
nd angle can be adjusted
posture. Its height and
wit; £44)
with a pedal (;
Microsoft Sculpt
keyboard The
Sculpt has a splitkey
keyboard design,
with the keys on each
half shap
haped to the natural
curve of yourr fing
It als
also tilts
tilt away fr
from you fo
for wris
wrist support
(; £7
This week’s dream: a tiger safari in India’s remote Terai
their needles “swaying like ballgowns”.
Set amid the “eerie” forests and
Wild elephants and Indian rhinos
wetlands of Terai, in the Himalayan
hunker down in the mist. And on a
foothills, Dudhwa is one of the least
boat trip on the Girwa River, you are
known of India’s tiger reserves. For
likely to see river dolphins and gharials
a long time, it lacked top-class visitor
– an “extraordinary”, rare crocodilian
accommodation, but that changed in
with a long snout – basking on the
December, says Stanley Stewart in the
sandbanks. Burmese pythons slide
FT, with the opening of Jaagir, a former
through the grass in “serpentine slow
hunting lodge, hidden down a lonely
motion”, and as the day warms up,
back road, that has been restored in
racket-tailed drongo songbirds,
“gloriously retro” style. It now has
paradise flycatchers and emerald
a “gracious and almost Edwardian”
doves flutter through the trees.
atmosphere and “an entire Downton
Of course, for some visitors, all this
Abbey’s worth of friendly staff”,
is still not enough to distract them from
including excellent butlers. And while
the ultimate prize: the tigers. Dudhwa
sightings of tigers are not guaranteed in
Tigers are but one of Terai’s many wild animals
is home to some man-eaters (only last
this area, close to the border with Nepal,
year, a 17-year-old local was killed by
there’s plenty of other wildlife to spot.
one), but the big cats don’t attack safari vehicles. Even so, if you
In the early-morning mists, the forest is “ghostly”. Spotted deer
do spot one, it’s likely to be entirely unexpected and – however
materialise between the slender sal trunks. Troops of macaques
insouciant the animal may appear – to set your heart pounding.
appear in the blueberry trees, then “melt away” through the
Greaves Travel (020-7487 9111, has
high branches. Jackals trot past without looking up and huge
a seven-night trip from £2,300pp, including flights.
porcupines lumber along the deep aisles between silk-cotton trees,
Hotel of the week
Getting the flavour of…
An arty oasis in Mexico City
Ynyshir, Powys
With views across rhododendrons
towards Snowdonia National Park,
this Victorian manor house – a
restaurant with rooms – in midWales has a feel of the Himalayas.
But what really marks it out is the
food, says Condé Nast Traveller –
sensational Japanese-influenced
multi-course (or kaiseki) cuisine
from chef Gareth Ward, for which
it has a Michelin star. After four
years in charge of the kitchen,
Ward, together with partner Amelia
Eiríksson, took over the place in
2017, stripping back the decor.
Many ingredients are grown or
foraged on-site and used in dishes
such as Welsh Wagyu beef slowcooked for three days with shiitake
ketchup and seaweed. Doubles
from £195 per person, incl. dinner.
Six miles south of Mexico City’s busy tourist
districts, Coyoacán is more “serene” but no
less “invigorating”, says Lucas Peterson in
The New York Times. This neighbourhood
is the capital’s “understated cultural soul”
and a relaxing “getaway” within its urban
bounds. Its major attraction is the Frida
Kahlo Museum, which offers a “fascinating”
glimpse into the life of Mexico’s two most
famous artists (the other being her husband,
Diego Rivera). The Taller Experimental
de Cerámica (or Experimental Ceramics
Workshop) is a “must-visit” for fans of
the craft, and there are some beautiful arts
centres (the Centro Cultural Elena Garro has
a “gorgeous” bookshop). But it’s the area’s
simpler pleasures that make a stay here so
delightful – its “tree-shaded” parks, excellent
markets and pleasant cafés (be sure to try the
crunchy grasshoppers at Mezcalero). Visit for flights and hotels.
Hiking Croatia’s coastal peaks
Most tourists go to Croatia for its beautiful
beaches – but there are also impressive
mountains to explore. And you needn’t stray
far from the coast to find the “spectacular”
Velika Paklenica gorge, says Kevin Rushby in
The Guardian, and beyond it, the “magical”
upland world of the Paklenica National
Park. The nine-mile-long canyon attracts
crowds of climbers, but few people explore
past the mountain hut at its head, the first of
11 simple refuges (with bunk beds and wood
fires for cooking) along 95 miles of hiking
trails. The forest here is Dalmatia’s largest,
home to bears, wolves and lynxes; the wild
flowers are “world class” in the spring, and
there are great views from Mount Vaganski
(1,757 metres). Malik Adventures (00 385 91
784 75 47, has
a six-day adventure tour for s850pp.
An island village lost in time
Situated between Rhodes and Crete, the
Greek island of Karpathos is large and easy
to reach, yet few British holidaymakers go
there, says Jennifer Barclay in The Times,
and so miss out on its many glories –
“abundant” pretty beaches, rugged
mountains, “pine-filled” valleys, and wellmarked walking trails. The airport lies in
the south, which is built up, but drive north,
to the gorgeous village of Olympos, and you
enter another era. A cluster of white, pale
blue and ochre houses tightly packed on a
mountain flank, Olympos dazzles in the
sun. The local dialect contains remnants of
ancient and medieval Greek, the local men
play folk music on the lyre and the bagpipelike tsambouna, and the local food is hearty
and flavoursome – ideal after a long swim in
the crystal-clear waters below. Hotel Anemos
(00 30 22 41 500 377, www.visitolympos.
com) has rooms from s50 a night.
Last-minute offers from top travel companies
Brighton seafront stay
The Old Ship Hotel offers
a picturesque retreat from
the busy town centre. Three
nights costs from £192pp b&b
(based on two sharing). 01904717362,
Arrive 7 June.
4-star Valencia getaway
Situated near the City of Arts
and Sciences, the Eurostars Rey
Don Jaime has 3 nights’ b&b
from £290pp, including flights
from Bristol. 020-3368 6221,
Depart 22 June.
“Mysterious Nepal”
A 15-day adventure, including
a four-day trek, staying in
teahouses and lodges and city
sightseeing. From £1,195pp,
including London flights 0203006 2722,
Depart 6 September.
Six nights in the Maldives
Stay in a garden bungalow at
the luxurious Kuredu Island
Resort on an all-inclusive basis
from £1,374pp, including
Newcastle flights. 020-8705
uk. Depart 9 July.
5 May 2018 THE WEEK
Troubled banking heir who married Britain’s “shoe queen”
The scion of two American
house “just to hold parties in”, and had his first
banking dynasties, Matthew
stint in rehab. In his 20s, he wanted to become
Mellon, who has died
an actor, a rock star or a model, but eventually
aged 54, was a Manhattan
settled into a career in TV.
socialite and entrepreneur, best known in this
country for his turbulent marriage to Tamara
In 1998 he met Tamara Yeardye. They
Mellon, the Jimmy Choo “shoe queen”. They
became engaged six months later and married
were regarded as a golden couple in London,
at Blenheim Palace in 2000. By then, she’d
said The Times, but they had met at Narcotics
helped turn Jimmy Choo into a worldwide
Anonymous, and Tamara acknowledged that
enterprise. He admitted to finding her success
her “utterly beautiful, utterly goofy” husband
emasculating. “When your wife makes £100m
was also “damaged goods”, with a serious drug
during your marriage it’s quite a shocker,” he
problem. “I was in the office every day,
said. “I feel like my balls are in a jar, like a
working hard, and Matthew had nothing but
Damien Hirst artwork on the mantelpiece.
free time on his hands – and I’d come home
And here I am, ball-less.” In 2002, he
and find him freebasing cocaine in the kitchen,”
founded Harry’s of London, which aimed
she said. Their divorce was acrimonious and
to make smart shoes that were as comfortable
Mellon ended up in court accused of employing
as sneakers. But his personal life was
private investigators to hack into her emails.
disintegrating. His wife – who once found
Realising that he faced five years in jail,
him hiding in a west London crack den – said
Tamara effectively saved him, by backing his
Mellon: took a punt on cryptocurrency he’d go missing for days at a time, and that he
lawyers’ argument that he wasn’t capable of
suffered from cocaine psychosis, which brought
organising such a conspiracy. “I simply told the truth. I said
on paranoid delusions. They separated in 2004 – two years after
being married to Matthew was like having another child.” Her
the birth of their daughter, Araminta.
husband, she added, was so unfocused, he couldn’t make sense
of “a comic book, much less a legal document”.
In 2010, he married another fashion designer, Nicole Hanley,
with whom he lived in a beautiful art-filled apartment in
Born in New York in 1964, Matthew Taylor Mellon II was the
Manhattan’s Pierre hotel. They had two children, but his demons
son of a musician, Karl, and was a direct descendant of Thomas
had come with him, and the marriage ended in 2016. Latterly, his
Mellon, the founder of the largest bank in the US outside Wall
business fortunes had improved considerably: he’d taken an early
Street. His mother, Anne, meanwhile, was a member of the
interest in cryptocurrencies, and though he didn’t understand the
Drexel banking family. His parents divorced when he was five,
blockchain technology behind them, he did perceive a future for
and when Mellon was 18, his father – to whom he was close –
it. His $2m punt on the start-up Ripple grew to be worth $1bn.
committed suicide. Like his son, he was bipolar. Three years later,
But by then, Mellon had become addicted to OxyContin, the
Mellon inherited £25m from a family trust (one of 14 from which
opiate painkiller, which he’d been prescribed for a surfing injury.
he would benefit). It came, he said, as a complete surprise: his
In 2016, he revealed that he was spending $100,000 a month on
mother had pretended that they were not wealthy. Unprepared
the drug. He was en route to rehab in Mexico when he suffered a
for this change in his fortune, he moved to Los Angeles, where
fatal heart attack. “I am guilty of being perfectly imperfect,” he
he bought a Ferrari, partied with Heidi Fleiss, the “Hollywood
said, after the collapse of his second marriage. “If you fall, you
Madam”, and developed his drug habit, said The Daily Telegraph. have the right to get up. If you don’t get up, don’t hurt those
While at college at the Wharton School he bought a ten-bedroom
who love you the most.”
The untrained actor who found fame as Mini-Me
Verne Troyer was an untrained
Verne Troyer actor who found fame when
1969-2018 Dr Evil decided to create a
clone of himself in the film
Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me. “I
shall call him... Mini-Me.” The most successful
film in Mike Myers’ spoof spy franchise, it turned
Troyer, who has died aged 49, into an overnight
star, but though he remained in demand as an
actor, he never found another role as distinctive
as Mini-Me.
and punched him in the nose. He never bothered
me again.” By the age of 24, he was working as
a customer care assistant when he got a call from
the president of the Little People of America,
asking him if he’d like to be the stunt double for
a baby in the film Baby’s Day Out. That led to
other roles and The Spy Who Shagged Me, which
revealed his comic talent. “I had no idea how big
it would be,” he said later. “When it blew up, it
changed my life forever.” Mini-Me was supposed
to be killed off in that film, but at test screenings,
audiences had so loved Troyer’s performance that
the ending was reshot so that he could reprise the
role in Austin Powers in Goldmember.
Verne Jay Troyer was born in Michigan in
1969 with cartilage-hair hypoplasia, which
causes dwarfism. His parents – a factory worker
and a repair technician – were Amish, and he
His later films included Harry Potter and the
Troyer: an overnight star
spent the early part of his life in an Amish
Philosopher’s Stone and How the Grinch Stole
community, where he was treated the same as his average-sized
Christmas. He tried not to be defined by his size (“I stay away
siblings. “So I had to do everything that they did, which
from the elf roles”), but he was not cast in the dramatic parts
physically made me strong, made me confident.” He lugged
he craved, and more recently had been seen more on reality TV
wood, fed the animals and learnt how to drive a horse and buggy. shows than on the big screen. He never married, but had many
Although he grew to only 81cm, he sailed through school. In an
girlfriends. Charismatic and funny, Troyer said that he loved to
interview with The Guardian, he said he was only once picked on
make people laugh, but he struggled with alcoholism (he used to
on account of his size. Another boy used the “M-word, which is
boast that he could drink his weight in booze) and suffered from
very offensive. So without even thinking, I just jumped in the air
severe bouts of depression.
THE WEEK 5 May 2018
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THE WEEK 5 May 2018
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Companies in the news
...and how they were assessed
WPP: life after Sorrell
“What a relief,” said Alistair Osborne in The Times. Sir Martin Sorrell is gone and, so
far, WPP hasn’t “totally collapsed”. Far from it. When the ad and communications giant
published its Q1 results on Monday, they were better than expected (underlying revenue
was down just 0.1%, rather than the 1% predicted). Was that enough to explain the
surge of 9% in the share price, to £12.48? Probably not. But there’s encouragingly
little sign of clients jumping ship (other than perhaps Ford). Joint COOs Mark Read
and Andrew Scott made positive noises about getting debt down. And investors clearly
expect a lift from some nifty disposals. WPP is mulling the sale of stakes worth billions
that it holds in a wide range of companies as part of its post-Sorrell refocusing, said
Mark Sweney in The Guardian. Analysts reckon this “hidden treasure trove” of noncore assets – such as a 9% stake in Vice and 15% in AppNexus – could be worth some
$6bn, far more than the book value given by WPP (of around £2.5bn). It’s early days,
but the post-Sorrell era looks promising, said Liam Proud on Reuters Breakingviews.
A disposal of one of those assets – or the market research businesses comScore and
Kantar, with CVC Capital Partners reportedly wanting to buy the latter – would boost
the valuation of WPP, which currently trades on 10.6 times forward earnings. That’s
a fifth less than the average of rivals Omnicom, Publicis and Interpublic, even after the
9% share surge. “Time may be up for Sorrell, but not necessarily for WPP’s investors.”
Amazon: still delivering
Amazon announced remarkable Q1 results last week, smashing expectations with
revenues up 43%, said James Moore in The Independent. The “cherry on the cake”
was that profits doubled when analysts had expected a fall. Profits have been a rarity
for Amazon, owing to its policy of reinvestment, but that’s changing. The company is
moving into higher-margin businesses, such as web services. It’s becoming more efficient.
It’s also deriving more revenues from the third-party companies that sell on its site, and
is pushing through a hefty price rise for Prime subscribers. In addition, said Lex in the
FT, Amazon has at last admitted that advertising on its sites is now a “multibilliondollar programme and growing very quickly”. Get advertising wrong and it’s a risk,
because it could invite more regulatory scrutiny. But it does deliver “faster growth
and fatter margins” than core e-commerce. No wonder shares are at a record high.
BP: marathon effort pays off
BP’s quest to recover and rebuild after the 2010 Gulf of Mexico disaster has been a
“marathon”, said George Hay on Reuters Breakingviews. But there is hope that higher
oil prices could cause the recovery’s latter stages to turn into a “sprint”. First-quarter
results showed profits jumping 71% to $2.6bn – a much bigger leap than rivals, thanks
to a strong performance by the production business (especially gas). And just as BP’s
Deepwater costs are tailing off, the oil price is rising steadily – to well above the point
where the group breaks even. True, the “new BP growth story” does have risks, said
Alistair Osborne in The Times. About 30% of production and 40% of reserves come
from its near-20% stake in Russia’s state-owned oil group Rosneft. Still, the shares are
at an eight-year high, and already yield 5.3%. Things are definitely “looking up” at BP.
Seven days in the
Square Mile
TSB bosses were summoned by MPs
to be grilled about the ongoing IT chaos
affecting customer accounts. The bank
warned that fraudsters were trying to
exploit the chaos. Royal Bank of
Scotland (which owns NatWest)
announced it is closing 162 RBS-branded
branches across England and Wales,
with the loss of 792 jobs. Barclays’ Jes
Staley was boosted by 99.45% of shareholders voting for him to remain a
director; it came before an expected sixfigure fine over Staley’s involvement in
attempts to unmask a whistle-blower.
UK consumer credit collapsed in March
to just £300m (from £1.7bn the previous
month): the latest sign of a rapidly
slowing economy. Sterling fell to its
lowest level against the dollar since
January on the back of those figures,
a drop in manufacturing output and low
Q1 GDP figures. The pound’s one-day
fall on Monday (of 1.3%) was its biggest
in six months. Sir Paul Tucker, former
deputy governor of the Bank of England,
warned it would face questions should
another recession strike before it has
raised interest rates and rebuilt its
monetary policy war chest.
Apple announced revenues and profits
above expectations (in spite of poor-ish
iPhone sales) and cheered investors by
promising to hand back $100bn from its
cash pile. Hours before the US was due
to impose tariffs of 25% on steel and
10% on aluminium from the EU, the
White House granted international
allies a “final” extension until 1 June.
Sainsbury’s & Asda: will they make it down the aisle?
“We’re in the money, the sky is sunny.” That’s
against the likes of Lidl and Aldi, but against the
what Sainsbury’s boss Mike Coupe quietly
long-term threat posed by Amazon. In the US,
sang to himself as he waited for a TV interview
Walmart (Asda’s owner) has already been hurt
about his plan to merge the UK’s second
badly by Amazon’s move into food shopping.
biggest grocer with the third-biggest, Asda.
As yet, it is a minnow in the UK, but the big
The deal would give the new company a 32%
grocers are wise to take defensive action now,
share of the food market, pipping Tesco to
following the “pragmatic” Coupe’s lead.
the top slot, said Juliet Samuel in The Daily
Telegraph. Sainsbury’s shareholders were
When it comes to convincing the CMA, Coupe
certainly in the money when the news broke,
will point to the companies’ “neat geographic
with shares leaping 14.5%. Clearly the market
fit”, said Alistair Osborne in The Times.
thinks a) that the Competition and Markets
Sainsbury’s is big in the southeast, while
Authority (CMA) will allow the mega-merger
Asda is a power in the north. As such, the
through without forcing too many store
combined group (in which Walmart will retain
Coupe: he’s in the money
disposals; and b) that the synergies will be
a 42% stake) won’t create too many local
better than Sainsbury’s is letting on. (It is promising to keep both
monopolies. Even so, it’s far from a done deal, said Nils Pratley
brands, no store closures and lower prices for shoppers.)
in The Guardian. Coupe’s plan represents a big bet that the
CMA will sanction “a huge structural change” in a market where
This looks a sensible deal that the CMA should let through, said
competition is currently working well. That’s quite a “gamble” –
Lex in the FT. The rationale behind it is defensive – not so much
and it will “rebound on Sainsbury’s if the CMA plays rough”.
5 May 2018 THE WEEK
Talking points
Issue of the week: Britain’s beastly growth figures
The UK’s latest quarterly GDP figures are shockingly dismal. Were they a snowy blip? Or are we doomed?
As recently as February, said Phillip
figures actually show. They show the
Inman in The Observer, the Bank of
unusually heavy snow had some negative
England’s governor, Mark Carney,
impact, but that it also boosted demand
was bullishly hinting at several further
for energy and lifted online shopping.
interest rate rises this year in order to
Instead, the ONS points to dismal figures
dampen what appeared to be a fastfor construction, manufacturing and lack
recovering economy that would fuel
of consumer spending power. The figures
higher wages and inflation. How distant
are so worrying, said Cat Rutter Pooley
that prospect suddenly looks. Last
in the FT, that analysts now rate the
Friday, UK growth figures for the first
chances of an interest rate rise in May
quarter of 2018 revealed that far from
as “close to zero”. Some now see “no
firing on all cylinders, the UK economy
prospect” of further hikes this year.
had all but ground to a halt, with
growth of 0.1% in the January-March
Were it not for the booming global
period. This unexpectedly awful figure
economy over the past two years, the
constitutes the weakest economic growth
UK would already be on the brink
for more than five years, said Patrick
of recession, said Will Hutton in The
UK growth: grinding to a halt?
Hosking in The Times. Yet it may be
Observer. If the world economy now
more of a “harmless blip” than a “harbinger of economic woe”.
falters in the months ahead, a recession is inevitable. Of course,
Bear in mind that the 0.1% figure is “only the official statisticians’ if you’re a “passionate Brexiter” this is all just a little “frictional
early stab at the right answer”; it could go up. Also, it’s hard to
difficulty” before the economy moves to the sunlit uplands. For
determine how big a role the “Beast from the East” – blamed
“Remoaners” like me, though, the “dramatic” drop in growth
by the Chancellor for the appalling numbers – really played. The
– together with the Brexit-related slump in inward investment
0.1% stat is a “stinker” alright – but it’s much too soon to panic.
– adds up to “the gravest economic crisis since the War”. Should
we really be worried about the threat of recession? Absolutely,
“Tiggerish” Philip Hammond insists that if you strip out
said Ambrose Evans-Pritchard in The Daily Telegraph. It’s not
the impact of the bad weather, the UK economy remains
just the UK: the world economy is slowing, too, especially
fundamentally strong, said Larry Elliott in The Guardian.
Europe’s. Let’s hope it picks up again strongly over the rest
Ominously, that’s not what the Office for National Statistics
of the year. If not, we’re in for serious trouble ahead.
Making money: what the experts think
decades – achieving huge
prices at auction. Novelty
Fellow bank bosses have
fauna styles do well; a spider
resisted sticking the knife
and fly brooch sold for
into TSB and its contrite
at a Cheffins sale in
boss, Paul Pester, over its
March, double its estimate.
disastrous “migration” of
A rare art deco Boucheron
1.3 billion account records
brooch sold in September
onto a new computer
for £22,000, about four times
system, said Rosamund
the estimate. For newbie
Urwin in The Sunday
collectors, Fellows jewellery
Times. They know the scale
specialist Nicola Whittaker
of the technical challenges
silver and
involved and are grateful
enamelled pieces from Arts
that the chaos afflicting
and Crafts-period British
Pin your hopes on this
TSB’s online banking,
designers such as Charles
which continued this week,
Horner or Murrle Bennett. They are
didn’t happen to them. It may yet. If,
“highly collectible” and currently go for
though, you wish to move accounts as
just a few hundred pounds. So check the
a result of the shambles, it’s never been
back of your drawers.
easier to do so, said James Connington
in The Daily Telegraph. The Current
● Have your say on IHT
Account Switch Service has largely autoA wide-ranging consultation ordered by
mated the process. It covers 99% of UK
current accounts, and lets you switch while the Chancellor into whether the current
system of inheritance tax (IHT) is fit for
keeping all direct debits and regular paypurpose began last week, said Lucy
ments – incoming and outgoing – intact.
See for details. Warwick-Ching in the FT. New data show
that IHT receipts hit a record £5.2bn in
the tax year just ended (though it affects
● Pin your hopes on collectibles
less than 5% of estates). The Office of Tax
Brooches are back, said Anna Temkin
Simplification particularly wants to hear
in The Times. Coming off the catwalks,
from those who have administered an
they are the must-have accessory this
estate or anyone concerned about a future
spring, and they are in fashion, too, as
IHT liability. Their call for evidence closes
a collectible asset, with antique or jewelled
on 8 June; follow the link from
brooches – many of them having been
to take part and give your views.
hidden away and forgotten in drawers for
● TSB shambles
THE WEEK 5 May 2018
Push and pull
When it comes to banking, legal
safeguards haven’t kept up with
technology, says Anna Tims in The
Observer. Unlike with credit card
payments, customers who make bank
transfers have no legal right to a refund
if they’ve been conned into authorising
a transfer. In the worst cases, hackers
have posed as conveyancing solicitors
and used cloned emails to con vast
sums from those buying or selling
homes. But usually, “authorised
push-payment” scams involve a few
thousand pounds, sometimes fooling
even the most financially literate.
Here’s how they typically work:
● The fraudsters phone a victim,
claiming to be from their bank (or
the police) reporting “suspicious”
activity on the victim’s account.
● They elicit enough details to access
the account and make it look like
there’s been dodgy activity, by moving
sums between accounts and renaming
the account as “frozen”.
● The victim sees the transfers and
believes their account has been hacked.
The fraudster rings them back and says
the money must be moved to another
account to protect it – one which is in
the same name as the victim, but which
has been set up to defraud them.
● The victim moves their money –
using their card reader – to the
fraudster’s account.
Leaving the
customs union
is bonkers
Paul Johnson
The Times
Go easy
on the
Matthew Lynn
The Daily Telegraph
The mutual
model is no
Andrew Hill
Financial Times
Flexibility: an
Larry Elliott
The Guardian
The debate around whether the UK should leave the customs
union is remarkably ill informed, says Paul Johnson, the director
of the Institute for Fiscal Studies. The ability to do trade deals and
cut tariffs may appear “terribly enticing”. But to anyone who
knows even a “minuscule” amount about “our economy, about
trade, and about what we actually spend our money on”, it’s
“obvious” that leaving the customs union would be an act of selfharm. Global tariffs these days are mostly low already. And where
they’re high – 20% on food, for instance – cutting them to zero
wouldn’t lead to equivalent savings for UK customers, since the
retail prices we pay also incorporate transport costs, retailers’
profits, advertising and so on. Outside the customs union, any
benefits gained by pushing tariffs lower would be far exceeded by
new non-tariff barriers and costs – rules-of-origin checks, delays
and disruptions to companies’ supply chains – between us and our
biggest trading partner. Yes, there’d be small gains from leaving,
but they’d be massively outweighed by the costs.
The charge sheet against tech giants Facebook, Amazon and
Google gets longer by the day, says Matthew Lynn. They harvest
too much data, close down competition, destroy jobs, avoid taxes
and even undermine democracy by letting voters be manipulated.
No one has yet claimed “Amazon or Facebook burn babies for
office fuel”, but give it time. A consensus has emerged that “Big
Tech is a Big Problem”, and that “draconian regulation” is
needed. The EU is leading the way – tough new laws on data
privacy come into force this month – with Donald Trump and
his incessant Amazon-bashing not far behind. But hold on. These
three businesses (and the remaining FANG, Netflix) are still vastly
popular with customers: “the value and service they offer, and the
levels of innovation, remain fantastic”. Meanwhile, the “hysterical
clamour” for regulation appears “manufactured by a small
political elite” or driven by “old-economy rivals”. If we impose
punitive taxes or regulation – or break these success stories up –
we risk doing “huge damage” to the most dynamic part of the
global economy, and destroying future innovation. So hands off!
“I am happy to announce Britain may soon be cured of its
utopian fetish” concerning John Lewis and Waitrose – and that
“capitalism will probably be better off as a result”, says Andrew
Hill. Yes, there’s much to like in the mutual model. John Lewis’s
“ultimate purpose” is the happiness of all its partners (employees),
which is admirable. But right now many are less than happy.
Profits are down. The partner dividend (bonus) has fallen to 5%,
the lowest in 64 years. Waitrose shoppers complain of “patchy
service”, and the store has dropped from first to fourth in the
Which? supermarket survey. The point is not to wish John Lewis
ill, but to emphasise that employee ownership does not immunise
companies against downturns, fierce competition or bad
governance. The mutual model is not an end in itself. In fact, the
best argument for it is that owner-managers understand the nitty
gritty and so are ready to take the “tough decisions” inherent to
capitalist enterprise. They’re not necessarily “nice” – as the 1,441
John Lewis partners made redundant last year discovered.
We have the lowest jobless rate since the 1970s, and for years the
Bank of England has expected falling unemployment to lead to
real upward pressure on wages. But it still hasn’t happened, says
Larry Elliott, and that’s chiefly because our “flexible” labour
market has driven a “low-productivity, low-investment and lowwage” economy. “Underemployment” (people who would like
to work more) has surged. So has self-employment, often because
“someone previously employed is now scratching a living as best
they can” in the “gig economy”. Almost a million “zero-hour”
workers wait each day for a text or a phone call telling them
whether an employer has work for them. Once, these trends
would have been described as “casualisation or exploitation”
– evidence of a labour market rigged in favour of employers.
These days, though, it is evidence of that all-encompassing virtue,
“flexibility”. But what, pray, is the point of flexibility when the
past decade has had the weakest real wage growth since just after
the Napoleonic Wars? “For workers life is not sweet. It was
sweeter when labour markets were less flexible.”
City profiles
Shahid Khan
The Pakistani-American carparts billionaire bidding to
buy Wembley Stadium for
£600m was once described
as the “face of the American
dream” by Forbes – and
justifiably so, says Joshua
Chaffin in the FT. Shahid
Khan, 67 – dubbed the
Tache with the Cash when
he bought Fulham FC in
2013 – arrived in the US from
Pakistan aged 16. It was 1967
and Khan’s plane landed in
a Chicago blizzard, the first
time he’d seen snow. “I’ll
never forget that feeling
where the sole comes off
your shoe, snow seeps in,
your socks get full of that
cold, wet moisture,” he says.
He worked washing dishes,
then studied engineering and
ultimately built a multibilliondollar business in a
“ferociously competitive”
sector. English football take
note: the Tache is tenacious,
flexible and not to be
Paul Singer
A Republican billionaire
hedge fund manager
attacked by the former
president of Argentina
as “the vulture lord” and
a “financial terrorist”, is
the proud new owner of
Waterstones, says Rupert
Neate in The Observer. The
rumoured £200m paid is
“small change” for Paul
Singer, 73, whose Elliott
hedge fund has assets of
some £25bn, and who has an
estimated personal fortune
of $2.9bn. Having started in
1977 with $1.3m raised from
family and friends, Singer is
known for his “aggressive”
approach, and his hardball
strategy of buying up the
debt of struggling countries
(including Argentina) in
order to sell them on for big
profits or sue governments
for full repayment. The staid
world of bookselling could
be set for turbulent times.
5 May 2018 THE WEEK
Who’s tipping what
The week’s best buys
The Times
Barclays has suffered the
impact of regulatory and
accounting change, and shares
have fallen. But its focus on
investment banking is positive;
returns could be “well on the
up”. Buy. 210p.
The Times
The online fashion retailer has
6.4 million active customers,
and 3 million more from its
PrettyLittleThing and Nasty
Gal acquisitions. Margins are
healthy and a new distribution
centre will support further
growth. Buy. 179.8p.
Mediclinic International
The Daily Telegraph
The healthcare services
provider has been hobbled by
weakness in the UK. But there
are “fresh signs of momentum”, and performance in the
Middle East, which offers
long-term growth, continues
to improve. Buy. 686.4p.
Countryside Properties
Investors Chronicle
The housebuilder is shrinking
exposure to the high-end
market to focus on partnership
agreements for affordable
homes and lower-cost private
homes. Completions rose 15%
and it has a “significant”
pipeline. Buy. 366.4p.
Reckitt Benckiser Group
Investors Chronicle
Reckitt is transforming itself
into a health and hygiene
business. Progress has been
held back by Scholl’s poor
performance, but new products
and synergies with Mead
Johnson bode well. Forward
yield 3.1%. Buy. £55.02.
Associated British Foods
buys 7,500
ABF has been hit by an
oversupply of sugar, hurting
prices in its foods division, and
a 1.5% drop in sales at
subsidiary Primark. Chairman
Michael McLintock has shown
confidence, spending £200,000
on doubling his holding.
…and some to hold, avoid or sell
Form guide
Investors Chronicle
The outsourcing heavyweight
is struggling with “entrenched”
industry problems and the
“sheer complexity” of its
contracts. Revenues are down
and there’s “significant
deterioration in new business
opportunities”. Sell. 175p.
Investors Chronicle
The department store chain
has been hit by a disappointing
Christmas, a profit warning in
January and snow in March.
Peel Hunt thinks products and
customers “have become tired”
and recovery is “far from
certain”. Sell. 21.3p.
Investors Chronicle
The specialist recruiter has
suffered a profit warning and
the unexpected departure of
its boss. Conditions in its core
technology and engineering
markets appear to have
deteriorated, and expectations
have lowered. Sell. 148p.
Dart Group
Investors Chronicle
Shares in the budget airline
and package holiday operator
have had a great run on the
back of Monarch’s demise.
But margins are vulnerable
to rising accommodation costs
and higher fuel prices. Take
profits. Sell. 854p.
De La Rue
The Sunday Times
The banknote provider has
had a “catastrophic” time of
late, losing its CFO and the
blue passport tender. Yet
revenues are expected to rise,
it has a big global order book
and is a potential takeover
target. Hold. 525p.
Record helps institutional
investors mitigate currency
swings. Market volatility
should help, but changes to
fee structures are worrying,
because defensive passive
hedging strategies may be hard
to gain fees from. Sell. 43p.
Shares tipped 12 weeks ago
Best tip
UDG Healthcare
The Times
up 16.12% to 922p
Worst tip
Greencore Group
The Times
down 19.63% to 157.7p
Market view
“It’s good to have a little
humility in this business,
because it’s so darn
humiliating when forecasts
are proved wrong.”
Celebrated “permabear”
strategist Albert Edwards,
in a letter to clients.
Quoted in the FT
Market summary
Key numbers
numbers for investors
FTSE 100
FTSE All-share UK
Dow Jones
Nikkei 225
Hang Seng
Brent Crude Oil
UK 10-year gilts yield
US 10-year Treasuries
Latest CPI (yoy)
Latest RPI (yoy)
Halifax house price (yoy)
1 May 2018
2.5% (Mar)
3.3% (Mar)
+2.7% (Mar)
$1.364 E1.136 ¥149.848
THE WEEK 5 May 2018
Best and
and worst performing shares
Week before
2.7% (Feb)
3.6% (Feb)
+1.8% (Feb)
Change (%)
% change
J. Sainsbury
Imperial Brands
Rentokil Initial
Ashtead Group
Croda International
Lloyds Banking Group
Photonstar LED Group
Weatherly Internat.
Source: Datastream (not adjusted for dividends). Prices on 1 May (pm)
Following the Footsie
6-month movement in the FTSE 100 index
AB Dynamics
This automotive testing
specialist is trading strongly
and set to benefit from the
electric vehicle revolution.
With a healthy net cash
position, there’s headroom for
product development, organic
expansion and acquisitions.
Buy. £10.19.
Directors’ dealings
On 7th – 8th June, the gardens of the Honourable Artillery Company,
in the heart of the City, will host a selection of the rarest and fastest
cars from 1898 to the present day, each an icon of its era.
A unique automotive garden party with the perfect combination of concours
cars from the UK’s leading private collectors, luxury retailers, fine watches, art,
gourmet food and champagne; an occasion of pure indulgence.
Hospitality and general enquiries 020 3725 4044
The last word
Building a city under the sea
depths. He’s now in the
Phil Nuytten first decided
throes of a mission to
he wanted to spend his life
move us all down there –
underwater when he was
and once we’re there, he
six years old. It was 1947.
doesn’t think we’ll ever
The Second World War
want to come back up.
had only recently ended.
“I have this wonderful
Nuytten’s dad had scored
picture in my mind,” he
a job at Boeing, and the
says. “A little kid is sitting
firm’s office in Vancouver
on his dad’s knee, just as I
was just a short walk
used to do, and he points
away from the family
to the ceiling of this
home. Every now and
habitat and says: ‘Dad, is
then Nuytten would
it true people used to live
waltz down to the
up there?’”
harbour unaccompanied,
sneak out to the end of
The idea that the human
the docks, peer through
race may one day live at
the cracks and fall
the bottom of the ocean
hopelessly in love
is not new – underwater
with what he saw: fish,
habitats have been
anemones, a teeming
popping up in shallow
underworld. “I used to
think: ‘Gosh, wouldn’t it
An artist’s impression of Vent Base Alpha, a planned seabed city off the coast of Canada waters since the early
1960s. In 1962, a
be wonderful to go down
French duo, Albert Falco and Claude Wesly, spent a week inside
there?’” he says. “To go down to that particular place?”
Conshelf I, a minuscule habitat designed in part by the French
explorer Jacques Cousteau. It sat 33ft below the sea’s surface,
Nuytten and I are sitting in his office, a wood-clad, two-storey
close to Marseilles, and looked like a watery space station. The
workshop on an industrial section of the North Vancouver
next year, Cousteau convinced a five-person team to live for a
shoreline not far from where he grew up. He is in his 70s now,
month beneath the Red Sea, off the coast of Sudan. In 1965, he
scrupulously groomed and graciously quick-witted, with an
developed a third base, which he anchored more than 300ft below
old-time mariner’s flair for storytelling. He is also believed to
the surface off the coast near
be one of the world’s leading
Nice. A six-person team lived
deep-ocean explorers. During
“Nuytten is on a mission to move us all down there for three weeks, working
a six-decade career, he has
pioneered diving techniques
there – and once we’re down there, he doesn’t on a mock-up oil rig.
that are now industry standard,
think we’ll ever want to come back up”
designed underwater machinery
Before long, additional habitats
that has become a staple of
materialised off the coasts
several navies and recorded world-first dives. He has studied
of Bermuda, California and Germany. Bases were funded by
oilfields, surveyed dams, toured submarine construction sites
governments, wealthy patrons or the petrochemical industry,
and explored sunken wrecks. His firm, Nuytco Research, boasts
and there was huge academic optimism. Here was an opportunity
a client list that includes the BBC, Greenpeace and film director
for scientists to better research the ocean’s inky depths, aquanauts
James Cameron – Nuytten provided ideas and apparatus for
to study human anatomy, energy companies to discover alternate
The Abyss and Titanic. Nuytten also develops equipment for
resource streams and divers to launch record-breaking descents.
Nasa and, because the seabed is in some ways analogous to the
“In the 1960s, everybody in the ocean business firmly believed
surface of Mars, trains astronauts. Nuytten never went to college.
there would be cities under the sea in fairly short order,” Nuytten
He is almost entirely self-taught, yet the impact he’s had on ocean
says. “Never happened.”
exploration has been vast.
By the end of the decade the race to colonise the bottom of the
Now Nuytten is about to embark on a project likely to become
ocean slowed to a trot, then all but petered out. The habitats were
his showpiece: a vast underwater colony, decades in development,
expensive to build and even more expensive to run. The lack of
that will provide humanity with an escape hatch should things
natural light could send tenants loopy. And, because the bases
go to pot above ground. Work will begin on a prototype later this
were built at ambient pressure, decompression periods were long
year. A larger colony will follow soon after. So long as everything
and risky. Teams would spend weeks at a base, conduct tests,
goes to plan, hundreds and then thousands of people will begin
learn more about the limits of human endurance, slowly resurface
to migrate to the sea floor, to play out their lives at the bottom
to land and, in many cases, never return. One by one the habitats
of the ocean in much the same way they would have done above
were abandoned. Research institutions diverted funds elsewhere.
ground. Before long, many more will follow.
Space replaced the Earth’s oceans as our final frontier.
Whether or not everything will go to plan is difficult to judge.
It’s a harsh environment. Salt water is corrosive, and the costs
are likely to be massive. Still, Nuytten is determined. He has given
his entire life to developing methods that allow humans to spend
inhuman amounts of time underwater, often at unimaginable
THE WEEK 5 May 2018
At the time, Nuytten was still a rookie in the ocean industry. He
had begun to work on the concepts for which he would later be
lauded, but Cousteau’s experiments, which to many seemed more
like science fiction than reality, never strayed far from his mind.
The subject became a kind of obsession. What if he could create
One of the world’s leading deep-sea explorers is planning an ocean colony thousands of feet down. Alex Moshakis reports
The last word
At least in the beginning, inhabitants
will live underwater for months at a time,
though they will be able to come and go.
The atmosphere within the colony will tally
with that on the surface, eradicating the
requirement for decompression and making
travel between the two worlds “like taking
an elevator down to the parking garage”,
explains Nuytten. But, soon enough, we
will live at 3,000ft below as though it were
normal. The colony will expand. More and
more people will slip below the surface to
In his office, Nuytten tells me he works
begin second lives, and new colonies will
best when big questions like these loom
appear around the world. Our routines
overhead. By the end of the 1960s, he had
won’t change, just the environments in
begun work on his own colony, which he
which we perform them. We will do the
began to refer to as Vent Base Alpha. Every
things we normally do: commute to work,
now and then he’d scribble ideas on paper
gossip with friends, spend time on social
scraps and file them away, gradually
media. There will be underwater hospitals,
accumulating hypotheses. Whenever
banks, galleries, offices, parks, gyms, cinemas,
he developed a new piece of technology,
Nuytten: thousands will live on the sea floor
farms, maybe even a forest or two. Children
he’d experiment with how it might be
will be born in the colony. Eventually they will die there, too.
incorporated within plans for the base. Sometimes a sketch would
lead to a breakthrough, and he’d be able to understand what
I ask Nuytten why we would ever need to live underwater.
went wrong the first time someone tried to live underwater. What
“We need a second place to go,” he says. “There’s less and less
followed was half a century of successes and setbacks. Now a
space on Earth, and fewer and fewer resources. And here’s a
working vision has emerged.
whole ocean filled with them.” Nuytten is a fierce conservationist.
“The oceans are the lungs of this planet. If they go, the planet
Here’s how Nuytten plans to build the colony. First, he’ll forage
goes.” In his grand vision, the colony will enable humanity to
for equipment in what he calls “the boneyard”, a huge lot in
alleviate the burden it has placed on land. “We’ve demonstrated
which he stores discarded apparatus. (“I never throw anything
there will come a time when the planet as we know it will not
away. I am a hoarder.”) He’ll locate a stack of abandoned
be able to support the population. The population keeps
saturation tanks and convert them into living quarters, laboratories, a series of floodable airlocks and a hangar for submersibles, growing and growing, and with climate change and natural
disasters on land getting to be excessive... As far as we know,
each tank impeccably welded to the next. Later, he’ll equip the
structure with a Stirling engine capable of producing the electricity those same things aren’t happening under the sea. That’s one
of the things we want to study: what are the effects of climate
required to create artificial sunlight, allow inhabitants to grow
change on the deep ocean? We know what the effect is on the
crops and, crucially, enable them to “crack water into hydrogen
shallow regions, the coral reefs, but what about 3,000ft down?
and oxygen”. Nuytten relays this last piece of information
What’s happening there?”
urgently. “There’s your life support,” he says.
a habitat that was cheaper to build and
cheaper to run? What if he could find a
way to reproduce the natural light man
needs to exist comfortably? What if he
could overcome problems caused by the
deep ocean’s almighty pressure? And
what if he could do what Cousteau and
his contemporaries could not: convince
society it would be a good idea to live
3,000ft under the sea?
But how easy will it be to
The colony will be transported
convince other people to take the
to open water, most likely the
“We need a second place to go. There’s less plunge? “They’d batter the doors
Juan de Fuca Strait, a 96-milelong outlet to the Pacific Ocean
and less space on Earth, and fewer and fewer down,” he said. “Literally. I’ve
a lot of talks on this, and
south of Vancouver Island. It
And a whole ocean filled with them” given
I’ve had all kinds of people, from
will be submerged and hauled
wackos to really serious people,
to the seabed a few thousand
saying: ‘If you do this, we want to go.’” This seems like a hopeful
feet below, and then it will be installed next to a hydrothermal
response. Nuytten has spent much of his life below the surface.
vent – a kind of underwater geyser. The vent will give the colony
To him, the ocean is home. But what about the rest of us? What
its name, its hot emissions will power the Stirling engine and its
about the isolation? What about not being able to go anywhere
mineral-rich deposits will be mined. Inhabitants will trade the
any time we wanted? Won’t we miss the sun?
bounty – laboratory-pure cobalt, in the case of the Juan de Fuca
Strait – with buyers above the surface. Nuytten will make no
Nuytten tells the story of an advertisement he’d heard had
financial gain from the project. Funding will come from
once been placed in a local UK newspaper. It read, “Wanted:
government agencies, though Nuytten will forgo requesting
people to go to Antarctica. Poor pay. No guarantee of success.
official permission over whether or not a huge heap of metal
Doing things no one has done before.” “They were inundated
can be attached to the ocean floor, preferring instead to “beg
with applications,” Nuytten recalls. “I expect that to be the case
for forgiveness” after the installation – his customary strategy.
with this. There are so many people, particularly young people,
(The prototype, in contrast, will be sanctioned by an offshoot of
who are desperately trying to figure out what to do, what they
Fisheries and Oceans Canada, a government body, and anchored
can do that nobody else has done, things that are difficult, things
in the Burrard Inlet, not far from Nuytten’s office.)
that will protect our oceans. Once you have the first group down
there, staying a few months, the next batch will show up.”
When the colony is complete, Nuytten will be among the first to
take the plunge. His wife, Mary, to whom he has been married
Nuytten is in no doubt the colony will succeed. “There were an
for more than 60 years, will follow. As will his daughter,
awful lot of people who said we’d never fly in the air,” he tells
Virginia, if only for a visit. “I’m a mad-keen gardener,” she
me. “And even more who said we’d never go to the Moon.” But
tells me over the phone. “If I couldn’t have my plants with me,
his comment is underpinned by a more urgent message. “What
I wouldn’t want to be there.” Soon enough, the family will be
are we going to do if something catastrophic happens to where we
joined by other members of the ocean community: scientists,
live?” he says, resignedly. “We have to have some place to go.”
engineers, oceanographers, as well as James Cameron, who
has already reserved a berth. Within a few weeks, the early
A longer version of this article first appeared in The Observer.
tenants of the base – numbering a dozen or so people – will
© Guardian News and Media Limited 2018.
have settled into a routine.
5 May 2018 THE WEEK
In partnership with
This month’s wines are more eclectic than
usual, which is what I have come to expect
when I select from Swig — one of the most
interesting online wine merchants in the
UK. Founder Robin Davis is tireless at
exploring new regions and grape varieties,
which is how we have come across Domaine Horgelus and its
spectacular La Valses de Mansengs. For me, this month was a
double first as I had never previously had wines either from
this domaine or grape varieties. I’ve already bought some cases
La Valse des Mansengs
Domaine Horgelus 2017 This is
the most exciting discovery I
have made since I began
writing this column — a true
revelation! It soars from the
glass with an extraordinary
vitality and energy that belies
its modest origins. It is
drinking perfectly now, so I
would merely enjoy it while it
is so intense and delicious. There are
traces of citrus and apricots in the
background with floral notes from the
small amount of Sauvignon Blanc
grapes included. Made in the foothills
of the Pyrenées, the owners only pick
the grapes in the early hours of the day
to preserve their aromatics. Fabulous.
Thelema Sutherland
Chardonnay 2016 Gyles Webb
was one of the original New
Wave winemakers in post
Apartheid South Africa and his
cool climate chardonnay
brilliantly reflects what the
fuss is about. Fittingly, Gyles
was inspired to plant his first
vineyard after tasting a glass of
Puligny Montrachet, of which
this wine is a respectable kinsman.
Decanter magazine judged an earlier
vintage of this wine to be one of the
best South African Chardonnays.
Unlike many New World chardonnays,
this is all about elegance and restraint
and is perfect to be consumed any time
in the next few years.
to enjoy immediately, as when the initial pleasure is so intense,
why wait? The same could be said of the Rote Cuvee Groszer
Wein and the Blaufränkisch grape — an equally attractive
introduction to dual new experiences.
It’s thanks to merchants like Robin Davis that we can still make
amazing discoveries from countries we think we already know
well. I urge you to give these a try — you won't be disappointed.
Bruce Palling
Wine Editor — The Week Wines
Titos Garnacha Familia Bastida
2015 Produced in the
heartland of Don Quixote’s
Castilla La Mancha, this has
to be one of the best value
reds from Spain. Garnacha is
the Spanish equivalent of
Grenache, the mainstay of
southern Rhone wines and it
has the same intense solid
framework. It is
extraordinary to find a wine of this
quality for the price. The grapes are
hand-picked and fermented with local
yeasts and kept in American and
French oak barrels for nearly a year.
There is nothing modest about this
wine, which can be enjoyed with any
full-flavoured dish.
Mas Brunet Cuvee du Mazet
2015 On the edge of the
Massif Central in the
Domaine de
Brunet is a small estate of 60
acres owned by the Coulet
family since the French
Revolution. A mixture of
Grenache, Syrah and other
Rhone grape varieties, it is
best thought of as a bargain
version of a Chateauneuf du Pape.
Located quite close to Mas de Daumas
Gassac, the most famous wine of the
Languedoc, Mas Brunet is quite
forward with excellent fruit and is so
reliable that Robin Davis considers it
to be his de facto house wine.
Rote Cuvee Groszer Wein 2015
Gutedel Weiler Schlipf,
Coming from Austria’s
Weingut Claus Schneider,
Burgenland, this handmade
Baden 2016 The Schneider
organic wine was discovered
family in southern Baden
and promoted in the UK by
have been involved in the
Robin Davis. Primarily made
wine business for nearly 600
from the Blaufränkisch grape,
years. This nuanced dry white
it is the second most popular
wine is made from a grape
red wine variety there. Owner
variety called Gutedel in
Matthias Krön is so sure of the
Germany, but is better known
quality of his wines that he
elsewhere as Chasselas. It has
confidently puts them up against
a distinctive mineral flavour with
many of the leading wine producers in
elements of hay and even almonds and
Bordeaux, the Rhone and Barolo.
is wonderfully refreshing — ideal for
Despite its Baroque label, it is made in
a modern style and given that 2015 was
spring. ‘Weiler Schlipf’ is the name of
a textbook vintage, it will easily last for
the family’s most prized vineyard,
another decade.
which was classified in 1875 and is
considered the best site in
Order online at
or call Swig on 0800-0272 272 and quote “The Week”
Your details
Mixed Case (2 bottles of each wine)
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La Valse des Mansengs Domaine Horgelus 2017
Thelema Sutherland Chardonnay 2016
Titos Garnacha Familia Bastida 2015
Gutedel Weiler Schlipf, Schneider, Baden 2016
Mas Brunet Cuvee du Mazet 2015
Rote Cuvee Groszer Wein 2015
Alternatively, post your completed order form to Swig Wines limited, 188 Sutton Court Road, London, W4 3HR
Terms and conditions: Offer ends 3 June 2018. Free delivery is to UK mainland only. Orders placed before noon will normally be dispatched within 48 hours. Payment can be made by credit or debit card over the phone, online or by post. Payment by cheque is by post only. Whilst stocks last. For full terms and
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An exciting journey of discovery
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Send it to: The Week Crossword 1105, 2nd floor, 32 Queensway, London W2 3RX, or email
the answers to Tim Moorey (
1 Guy on field injured in soccer
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Clue of the week: £51 in cash (6, first letter L)The Guardian Picaroon
Solution to Crossword 1103
ACROSS: 1 Marginalia 7 Cops 9 Naval operations 10 Stop by
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DOWN: 2 Aga 3 Goalposts 4 Nooky 5 Leerier 6 At a stroke 7 Chile
8 Pancake race 11 Time to spare 14 Ecstasies 16 Star-turns 18 Grecian
20 Inane 21 Royal 23 Woe
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5 April 2018 THE WEEK
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