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The Guardian epaper Journal May 3 2018

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Section:GDN 1J PaGe:1 Edition Date:180503 Edition:01 Zone:
Sent at 2/5/2018 18:30
cYanmaGentaYellowblac
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May is creating the next generation of Windrushers Sonia Sodha, page 3
I?m no wrecker. I?m defending democracy Lord Bilimoria, page 4
Why Silicon Valley can?t fix itself The long read, page 9
The Guardian Thursday 3 May 2018
Opinion
and ideas
If the nuclear
deal collapses,
Iran will fall to
its hardliners
Saeed
an
Kamali Dehghan
B
enjamin Netanyahu?s amateurish
PowerPoint presentation in Tel Aviv
this爓eek ? ?Iran lied? flashed up
behind爃im in huge letters ? was in
fairness a great improvement on the
cartoonish diagram of an atomic
bomb the Israeli prime minister held
up at the UN general assembly in
September�12.燘ut it served much the same purpose:
to show that Iran can?t be trusted, and is poised to
unleash nuclear havoc across the region. The ?half-ton
cache? of documents he presented as evidence that Iran
hid a weapons programme predates the 2015 nuclear
deal. John Kerry, one of its architects, tweeted that it
represented ?every reason the world came together
to燼pply years of sanctions and negotiate the Iran
nuclear燼greement ? because the threat was real and
had爐o be stopped. It?s working!?
In 2012 Barack Obama was in the Oval Office, and
Netanyahu?s theatrics failed to strike a chord. However,
the new occupant of the White House has emboldened
the prime minister in his efforts to portray Iran as public
enemy number one for Americans, Sunni Arabs and
Israelis. In Donald Trump, in his warmongering national
security adviser, John Bolton, and even in the crown
prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman, who
is making subtle overtures to Israel, Netanyahu sees
a new coalition ready to help push Iran back into the
cold. On 12燤ay, Trump faces a congressional deadline
to either sign a presidential waiver on sanctions on Iran
or爓ithdraw from the nuclear accord. A US pull-out is
likely to trigger the collapse of the deal.
This is why, together with Kerry, European powers
led by France, Germany and Britain made substantial
efforts to push back against Netanyahu?s performance.
In contrast, Mike Pompeo, Trump?s secretary of
state, lauded it. In the words of Stephen Walt, a
professor of international affairs at Harvard, ?the Bush
administration was better at inventing a phoney case for
war with Iraq than the Trump team is at conjuring up a
phoney case for war with Iran. But doesn?t mean they
won?t eventually succeed.?
Others find it hard to take Netanyahu seriously:
he has been warning that Iran is close to acquiring
nuclear weapons for more than 20 years. In 1992, he
said the country would have a nuclear bomb in three
to five years. In 1993, he predicted it would happen by
1999. He made similar remarks in 1996,
2002, and many times since, as the Israeli
newspaper Haaretz has pointed out. Not
ILLUSTRATION:
NOMA BAR
?
Saeed Kamali
Dehghan
is the
Guardian?s Iran
correspondent
Section:GDN 1J PaGe:2 Edition Date:180503 Edition:01 Zone:
Sent at 2/5/2018 18:41
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cYanmaGentaYellowblac
The Guardian Thursday 3 May 2018
2
If the nuclear deal collapses, Iran
will fall to its hardliners
Saeed Kamali Dehghan
Continued from front
only are his warnings repetitive, they are
hypocritical. Ordinary people I talk to are
shocked when they realise Iran does not
have a single bomb and爃as been a party to the treaty
on the nonproliferation of nuclear weapons since 1970.
Israel, in contrast, has never signed it (meaning that the
International Atomic Energy Agency has no inspection
authority there) and is estimated to have more than
200 nuclear warheads. Let?s be clear: Netanyahu?s files
did not show that Iran has violated the agreement. The
IAEA has verified 10 times, most recently in February,
that Tehran has fully complied with its terms.
Arguably, if anyone has the right to complain, it is
Iran. It has unplugged two-thirds of its centrifuges and
shipped out 98% of its enriched uranium, but has not
seen the economic benefits it was promised. Nearly
three years on, not a single tier-one European bank
is prepared to do business with Iran. The country?s
currency crisis last month showed the extent of its
economic vulnerability. Trump?s controversial Muslim
travel ban has targeted Iranians and hampered the
growth of tourism.
P
erhaps more importantly, the
collapse爋f the deal would be seen
by the Iranian爌eople as a huge
betrayal. In 2013, Iranians brought
the爀ra of Holocaust-denier Mahmoud
Ahmadinejad (despised at home
after燼爁raudulent re-election in 2009),
to a close. They put their trust in the
reform-minded Hassan Rouhani, who subsequently
fulfilled his promise to them of resolving the nuclear
dispute with the west. Iran?s tech-savvy young people
are by and large more progressive than previous
generations. Last year, 24 million Iranians re-elected
Rouhani by a landslide in an endorsement of his work
on the deal. Yet just as the agreement is beginning
to deliver, and with Iran fully complying, a new US
administration seems set on scuppering it.
Of course, the fact that Iran is fulfilling its nuclear
obligations does not mean it has been a good actor
elsewhere. But the agreement was not supposed
to address Iran?s regional behaviour or its missile
programme, and should not be junked on this basis. In
Syria, Iran is arguably making its biggest foreign policy
mistake since the revolution. It has long defined its
foreign policy as defending the oppressed, but for the
first time it is clearly supporting the oppressor.
Even with Syria, however, the situation isn?t
entirely爏traighforward. Vali Nasr, dean of the
Johns燞opkins School of Advanced International
Studies in Washington DC, argued in an essay that
Tehran?s role in Syria could be understood as a form
of�forward defence?, a way to survive the collapse
of the old order in the Arab world following the
US invasion of Iraq and widespread civil unrest.
Washington?s efforts to roll back Iranian influence,
he says, have failed to restore that order and may
inadvertently have made Iran ? worried that it has
been爋utgunned by its traditional rivals ? bolder:
?The more menacing the Arab world looks, the
more燿etermined Iran is to stay involved there.?
The chances of a military conflict with Iran are not
high for the moment, so long as Tehran has Russia?s
backing. But the collapse of the deal would, even
so, have terrible consequences. It would destroy the
moderates and reformists in Iran for the foreseeable
future. This is particularly important since the
supreme爈eader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, is 78, and
there has been speculation over his health. The time
may soon come when a successor takes his place
? the biggest political change in decades. Rouhani
has already燽een under intense pressure from his
opponents. The failure of the deal will only embolden
hardliners, who are resposible for outrageous human
rights abuses, such as the ongoing detention of dual
nationals like Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe.
While the reformist president Mohammad Khatami
was in office, George W Bush undermined him and
shattered Iranians? hopes of rapprochement by labelling
the country part of the ?axis of evil?. Trump could be
about to make exactly the same mistake with Rouhani.
Founded 1821 Independently owned by the Scott Trust ? 53,399
?Comment is free? but facts are sacred? CP Scott
Hostile environment
The language and
personnel have changed.
The inhumanity has not
Theresa May has made a fourth attempt to draw a line
under the Windrush scandal and its brutal exposure of
the incompetence, dishonesty and above all the cruelty
of her government. It is as cynical as the previous
attempts, and should prove similarly unsuccessful.
At first, the prime minister hoped that ignoring the
problem would make it go away. Then, as the outrage
grew, she promised a taskforce to help those affected.
Next, Amber Rudd resigned as home secretary after
struggling to account for her role in the injustice. Her
replacement, Sajid Javid, struck a more emollient note
on immigration by disowning the ?hostile environment?
phrase and promising a ?fair and humane policy?.
Finally, faced with Labour?s demand for government
documents on the issue to be passed to the home affairs
committee, Mrs May yesterday announced a lessonslearned review with ?independent oversight?. This very
minimal offer was expected to make it easier for Tory
MPs to obey the three-line whip in an evening vote.
But it falls far short of what is needed. The numbers
affected,燼nd the far wider repercussions of the policy
which spawned these cases, demand a full, independent
public inquiry into what went wrong.
That inquiry would quickly lead to the prime
minister?s door. Though toxic rhetoric on immigration
developed under Labour, the system became vastly
more punitive with Mrs May at the Home Office ? hence
her reluctance to acknowledge the issue, and enduring
refusal to face it head-on. Her insistence on setting an
arbitrary, unrealistic net migration target led inexorably
Brexit
Cabinet divisions over a
customs union are a proxy
for deeper Tory divisions
A remarkable and alarming feature of the Brexit
process爏o far is the way deadlines that ought to force
the爂overnment to make difficult choices come and go
with critical decisions stubbornly untaken.
A cabinet committee meeting yesterday was billed
as a crunch point on the question of a customs union.
But, as different Tory factions lobbied Theresa May with
increasing urgency, the crunch was deferred.
The broad choice is between invisible borders, but
with compromise on the UK?s ability to determine
aspects of external trade policy, and freedom to diverge
from EU rules, but at the cost of friction at the border.
This is a choice Mrs May seems incapable of making,
because the customs union has become the proxy for a
deeper Tory schism. Two technical options have been
on the table. One is a ?customs partnership?, which
involves a simulation of existing EU arrangements,
but with rebates on offer for businesses wanting to
enjoy UK-specific tariffs. A second idea, preferred by
hard Brexiters, is ?maximum facilitation? (max-fac,
in the jargon), which concedes the return of border
infrastructure, but imagines it being minimal, thanks to
?trusted trader? schemes and hi-tech enforcement.
These ideas are problematic in their own ways. The
customs partnership would put in place a bureaucratic
labyrinth. Max-fac relies on technology that no one has
identified, let alone tested. And the restoration of border
posts, even discreet digital ones, risks reneging on Mrs
May?s promises of an invisible frontier in Northern
Ireland. The EU side is sceptical of both models.
to her creation of the hostile environment, with
official targets for removals and ordinary, largely
untrained citizens such as landlords and health staff
turned into燽order guards.
It was Mrs May who adopted the principle ?deport
first and hear appeals later?: a ?gotcha? culture
has treated people as guilty until proven innocent.
Legal aid has been all but eradicated for non-asylum
immigration cases. Even yesterday, Mrs May
repeatedly contrasted the Windrush generation with
those who ?break rules [and] try to play the system?.
Members of the Windrush generation are still
suffering. Despite the assurances given to them, their
experiences mean they will not feel secure until they
have British passports in their hands. Their lives have
been torn apart. Some have lost forever the chance to
spend time with a dying mother or sibling. Promises
of a compensation scheme are welcome, but many
are struggling now: one, owed two years of wrongly
withheld benefits, is being pursued by bailiffs.
And the effects of the hostile environment have
spread far wider. Careers have been derailed, homes
lost and families separated or broken both by harsh
rules and their punitive ? and frequently incorrect ?
implementation. Women?s groups warn that abusive
men are using the spectre of potential deportation
to threaten and control their partners. Worse still,
?right to rent? checks by landlords in England could
be rolled out to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
The ill-effects have extended to those born here, too:
for many, a non-white face or an evidently Asian or
African name may be enough to raise suspicion.
As David Lammy spelled out in the House of
Commons, Mr Javid?s promise is an empty one: ?It is
not possible to have a fair and humane immigration
policy alongside the hostile environment.?
The injustice and inhumanity will persist as long as
this cruel immigration regime does. An inquiry would
help us to understand the full extent of its pernicious
effects, and how they may be addressed.
Not for the first time, Mrs May appears to be
organising Brexit around the fixations of a small
clique of Tory MPs, without regard for what is
available in Brussels. Simpler routes are possible: a
majority in the Commons would support a customs
union; the Lords has already voted in support of one.
The whole debate is suffused with dishonesty.
Those who push for softer Brexit options are
attached to the customs union because they see the
whole exercise in terms of damage limitation. They
know that the logic of keeping cross-border trade
frictionless is also a case for staying in the single
market, for which the best available terms are the
ones Britain enjoys now, as an EU member state.
On the other side, hard Brexiters are desperate
to leave the customs union because regulatory
alignment with the EU spoils their ambitions for
a purgative transformation of the UK along ultraThatcherite lines ? a frenzy of creative economic
destruction, as they see it. But they do not make that
agenda too explicit, because there is no great public
appetite for it. Also, the prime minister insists that
Brexit is not a threat to labour or environmental
protections. Those who itch to light a bonfire of
European regulation need Mrs May?s reassurances as
cover under which they smuggle their matches.
These are ideological battles being artificially
channelled through minute technical differences
of emphasis on one aspect of Brexit. They raise
profound questions about the UK?s destiny and
express incompatible notions of what it means to be
a Conservative in the 21st century. But Mrs May lacks
the reserves of political capital or intellectual energy
to referee that argument, let alone shape it to her
own will. So she postpones the difficult choices. This
has proved to be an effective technique for deferring
crises, but it is a fundamentally dishonest way to
govern. And, while survival on these terms suits the
prime minister, it is not clear who else?s interests are
really being served.
Section:GDN 1J PaGe:3 Edition Date:180503 Edition:01 Zone:
Thursday 3 May 2018 The Guardian
Sent at 2/5/2018 17:53
cYanmaGentaYellowblac
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Opinion
3
Everything
about this
system is designed
to燾atch you out. If
you run out of cash,
or steam, you will
end up as an ?illegal?
May is already
creating the
next generation
of Windrushers
Sonia
Sodha
T
he new home secretary, Sajid Javid,
has爓asted no time in disowning
the爌hrase ?hostile environment?.
But the real test he faces isn?t one of
superficial terminology. First, there
is the question of whether he will do
anything to dismantle the day-to-day
reality of prejudice that ensnared the
Windrush generation with such appalling consequences;
whether he will concede that obliging landlords to
check people?s papers under the threat of fines or
imprisonment drags us backwards to a world where
people with dark skin routinely face discrimination; or
that cutting off access to housing and work risks forcing
people into exploitation on the black market.
But there?s another dirty secret buried in the
Home燨ffice. The government?s futile, arbitrary target
to爎educe net immigration to the tens of thousands
means it is not just imposing further restrictions on
who燾an come to the UK from abroad (no matter that
the燦HS is desperate for doctors). It is making it harder
for people here legally, including those who?ve grown
up爃ere, to become permanently settled.
First, the eye-watering fees mean it costs more
than �000 just to claim a child?s legal entitlement to
citizenship if they were born in Britain to parents not
settled here (they get this entitlement either when a
parent becomes permanently settled or after they?ve
lived here for 10 years). The Home Office makes a profit
of �0 on each case. Some parents just don?t have the
money, which means their British-born children may
later be unable to work, go to university or use the NHS.
Astonishingly, local authorities are obliged to fork out
this fee for affected children in their care: a big financial
disincentive to sorting this out before they turn 18.
For a young adult not born here but who has mostly
grown up in Britain, the costs are even higher. They can
apply for limited leave to remain for two and a half years
after they turn 18, but it will cost more than �000 in
fees and surcharges each time. They can only apply for
indefinite leave to remain after 10 years, by which point
they will have already paid at least �000. If they forget
to renew their limited leave to remain (there are no TV
licence-style reminders) or they can?t afford to do so,
they have to start back from square one. If they want
A protester
at a rally in
Brixton, London
PHOTOGRAPH:
EPA/ANDY RAIN
to go to university, they are treated as international
students ? charged thousands of pounds more in fees
and blocked from student loans ? until they?ve had three
years of limited leave to remain, despite the fact their
parents may have long been British taxpayers.
The system is so fiendishly complex it takes a lawyer
to navigate it. But there?s no longer any legal aid
available, so these young people have to fund their own
legal advice. There are plenty of sharks out there; the
charity Just for Kids Law has seen many cases in which
shoddy advice means applications are rejected.
In recent years it has become increasingly difficult to
provide evidence that meets Home Office tests. There
has been a dramatic shift in culture such that just a few
years ago, if you could recall childhood memories of
national events in an interview, that would have been
accepted as proof that you had grown up in Britain.
Today the bar is so high that people have to provide four
pieces of documentary evidence for each year they have
lived here. The sworn written statements from a doctor
or a neighbour that would be accepted as evidence in a
criminal court won?t do. The Home Office refuses to grant
children in care citizenship unless they can produce
documents such as their parents? birth certificates ?
even when they are estranged from their birth parents.
E
ven if you can get all these documents
together, there are two reasons why
there?s no guarantee your application
will be processed. First, the Joint
Council for the Welfare of Immigrants
(JCWI) tells me the Home Office is apt to
claim it has never received documents.
Second, every person over the age
of nine applying for citizenship or leave to remain is
subject to a ?good character? test. JCWI has seen people
fall foul of this simply because they have had a previous
immigration application rejected for minor errors.
Worse, according to Solange Valdez-Symonds of
the Project for the Registration of Children as British
Citizens, there are cases where children in care have had
their applications for citizenship rejected because they
have been cautioned by the police ? all too common for
children who have had troubled childhoods.
If you make even a small error in a complex form that
spans tens of pages, your application risks being rejected:
JCWI cites rejections as a result of someone getting one
figure wrong in one instance of a date filled in multiple
times across the same form. While mistakes are rife in
Home Office decision-making (half of all immigration
appeals are now successful) the right to appeal has been
scrapped in most cases. If you?re rejected, your only
recourse is to apply ? and pay up ? again.
Imagine trying to negotiate your way through all
this as a young adult with limited financial resources,
who grew up in Britain, who identifies as British ? who
to all intents and purposes is British. Everything about
this system is designed to catch you out, to end in
rejection. If you run out of cash or steam, you?ll end
up as one of the ?illegals? denied access to healthcare,
education, housing and a job by Theresa May?s ?hostile
environment?. Just for Kids Law estimates that tens of
thousands of young people could be affected.
This is the sick reality that should be as big a scandal
as the treatment of the Windrush generation. Even as it
promises to right those terrible wrongs, the government
is knowingly, consciously creating the next generation
of Windrushers. And it doesn?t care.
Section:GDN 1J PaGe:4 Edition Date:180503 Edition:01 Zone:
Sent at 2/5/2018 18:39
cYanmaGentaYellowblac
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4
The Guardian Thursday 3 May 2018
Opinion
We won?t have
a hard Brexit.
The numbers
don?t add up
Martin
Kettle
W
ith the wonderful benefit
of hindsight, the great
moments of political choice
can take on a deceptive
inevitability. Yet in real time,
these moments that make or
break governments ? such
as Sir燫obert Peel?s repeal of
the corn laws, which split the Tories for a generation ?
are more typically the hard-fought climax of processes
that爁ollow a circuitous and up-and-down path, with
the爇ey decision put off until it is inescapable.
The moment of decision for Theresa May over Brexit
is following this pattern too. The route has meandered
for nearly two years through negotiations, summits,
law-making and elections. The climax has been long
predicted and frequently postponed. To judge by
what Downing Street said this week, as ministers
prepared for yesterday?s cabinet committee on customs
arrangements with the EU, it may well be pushed back
yet again by a few weeks. Yet the moment is nearing.
When it finally arrives it will be bitter and
destructive,燼bove all for the Conservative party. But
the Brexit terms were always going to have to be faced
in some form. That form, it now turns out, will focus on
the customs arrangements.
Much of the commentary presumes that the outcome
remains in serious doubt. Yet it seems increasingly
The Irish Sea ? a customs border has been ruled out ALAMY
I?m no wrecker.
The lords are
defending our
democracy
likely that the UK will seek to remain in some form of
customs association with the EU. Whether the EU will
agree is, however, another matter.
May has already grappled with this question twice
during the Brexit negotiations. Both times it has come
up in the unavoidable context of the Irish border.
Both爐imes, in December on the divorce terms with
the EU and in March when a transition agreement was
made,燤ay signed up to a soft border in Ireland. The
argument in cabinet this week is likewise about May?s
hope of another accommodation with the EU in the
form of a ?customs partnership?, or its more defiant
alternative, the technologically driven ?maximum
facilitation? or ?max-fac? option.
It is certainly true that the terms of the earlier deals
contained significant elements of fudge. It is also
true that the UK side still talks about technological
max-fac爏olutions that the EU dismisses as fantasy.
Nevertheless, unless May now abandons those two
earlier agreements燼nd unless the EU takes a much
gentler line than it has done, there are only two
realistic爋utcomes for Britain to choose from while
avoiding the return of a hard border in Ireland.
These outcomes are, first, the UK remaining in some
form of continuing customs union with the EU or,
second, Northern Ireland remaining in the customs
union while Britain leaves it. The latter is opposed by
Northern Ireland unionists and May dismissed it as
recently as yesterday, when she said at prime minister?s
questions that an Irish Sea customs border was
something no UK prime minister would agree to.
Karan
Bilimoria
T
T
his leaves UK membership of the
customs union ? or something on
similar lines ? as still much the most
likely outcome of the internal British
political argument. Why? Because
the EU has shown no interest in,
and is under little internal pressure
to explore,爀ither of the alternative
options燽eing debated by British ministers, and the
arithmetic in parliament is tending that way too.
In the House of Lords, Tory peers have voted with
the opposition parties to demand a continuing customs
union. Meanwhile, in the Commons pro-European
Tory MPs have put their names to pro-customs union
amendments to two government bills. None of this
guarantees that parliament will take a similar line when
the votes come up in a few weeks? time. But none of the
other options is any likelier. At present, the numbers
are close but in favour of the amendments. All the
opposition parties (bar a small number of Labour leavers)
plus the 15 or 20 declared Tory rebels would normally be
enough to either defeat the government outright or to
force it to accept defeat in advance.
There is not a majority in the Commons for a hard
Brexit. And there is no alternative prime minister to
May爓ho can deliver one, either. Short of a general
election or a collapse of the negotiations, the only
outcome of this process is a soft Brexit of some kind.
If we see May?s purpose as being to obtain the least
divisive爏oft Brexit for the Tory party, we are much
closer爐o understanding what is happening.
Yet there will be divisions. Some Tories will reject
any soft Brexit, although no cabinet Brexiteer has
said it is a resignation matter. But the issue need not
bring May?s government down. Jacob Rees-Mogg?s
Eurosceptic爏abre-rattling over the customs issue this
week is a bluff she will have to call.
In the end and with no small irony, the pivotal issue
in Brexit is the same one that in different ways has so
haunted British politics for more than two centuries
? justice for Ireland. Today, peace and prosperity in
Ireland depend upon a soft Brexit for which there is a
parliamentary majority. A hard Brexit, with a hard Irish
border, is clueless, delinquent and playing with fire, as
Chris Patten put it in the Lords yesterday. It was a similar
choice for Robert燩eel. In February 1846, as the corn
law repeal process neared its climax in the wake of the
famine, Peel told his MPs: ?It is absolutely necessary
before you come to a final decision on this question
that爕ou should understand this Irish case. You must
do爏o.? Then, as now, it was the right advice.
?
Lord Bilimoria
is a crossbench
peer and founder
of Cobra Beer
heresa May yesterday chaired her
?war cabinet? to resolve growing
tensions in government over the
course of Brexit negotiations. This
followed defeats for No 10 in the
House of Lords as the EU withdrawal
bill is debated. Some might call us a
?house of unelected wreckers? ? I was
one of three peers pictured alongside this headline on
the front page of Tuesday?s Daily Mail. But rather than
being at war with爐he nation, we are its guardians.
When I joined the House of Lords I made it a point
to speak in debates about Lords reform. Over 12 years,
those debates have given me an understanding of the
unique role of this institution of appointed, unelected
members. It is one of the most effective parliamentary
chambers in the world, mainly because of the depth
and breadth of expertise. Furthermore, a minimum of a
fifth of members have to be, like me, independent.
This combination of expertise and independence
enables the Lords to challenge the government,
debate爄ssues and scrutinise legislation with authority.
As the EU withdrawal bill makes its way through
parliament, the Lords is a voice of reason.
The government has no defence against hundreds
of arguments ? whether discussing borders,
education or the movement of people ? other than
?we are implementing the will of the people?. Yet the
referendum was a yes-no vote, not a blank cheque to
leave the EU whatever the terms. This week we debated
whether parliament should have a meaningful vote at
the end of the Brexit negotiations. The government?s
interpretation of ?meaningful vote? is that parliament
will be given the option to accept the deal or, if not,
allow the UK to crash out of the EU on World Trade
Organisation rules. This would be a disaster.
The government has already been defeated nine
times, with Tory members voting against their whip in
almost every instance. Over this latest amendment, 19
Conservative Lords, including ex-ministers, rebelled.
MPs are caught in a trap; at the time of the
referendum, over two-thirds wanted to remain in the
EU. And yet many of their constituencies voted to
leave. The confusion is whether they see themselves
as delegates or leaders of their constituencies. Do they
have the guts to stand up and do the right thing?
And the latest amendment, far from being antidemocratic, could even lead to parliament handing the
public a vote on the final deal (or no deal). People were
given four months in 2016 to understand the complex
issue of our EU membership. Now, two years later, so
much has changed that the will of the people cannot be
interpreted as ?take it or leave it?.
The government has already shown it is willing to
bypass parliament. Far from respecting democracy, it is
bypassing it. Whichever way you look at it, if remaining
in the EU is the best option, it is the duty of the Lords to
make sure that option is available to the public.
Section:GDN 1J PaGe:5 Edition Date:180503 Edition:01 Zone:
Thursday 3 May 2018 The Guardian
Sent at 2/5/2018 18:14
cYanmaGentaYellowblac
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5
Stop the state
kidnapping
our children
Louise
Tickle
I
magine you?re a single mother. You get injured
in a car accident, and a kind friend offers to
look after your two young boys while you?re
in爃ospital. You accept with relief. Three
weeks later, when you get home, you?re still a
bit shaky, so your friend suggests it might be
best if she has the boys for another few days.
You are unsure, but she is persuasive. First
thing on Friday you send a text saying you will pick
them up from school. A few hours later ? you?ve been
awaiting her reply, slightly puzzled at the delay ? a
text爌ings back: they are really looking forward to the
fun weekend she has planned. How about revisiting
the situation on Monday?
With mounting unease and some anger you race
over and tell her the kids are coming home with you.
You are met with a smiling refusal. Until she feels that
you are well enough, she explains calmly, they are
staying with her. Then she bundles them into her car and
heads off to a holiday camp. Presumably at this point you
would call the police. Given that there are laws in this
country about kidnap, you would get your children back
pronto, and your ?friend? would be in serious trouble.
Kidnap is not a crime typically associated with Britain.
But it is happening, right now, and the local authorities
involved don?t want you to know. High court judge
Mr燡ustice Keehan, in a scathing judgment earlier this
year at Nottingham family court, revealed that at least
16 children have been ?wrongly and abusively? looked
after by Herefordshire council, under something called
a section 20 arrangement, for ?wholly inappropriate?
periods of time. For one boy, that was the first nine years
of his life after he was born to his 14-year-old mother. For
another boy it was eight years, from the age of eight to
16, despite his mother on several occasions withdrawing
her consent. Shockingly, at the time of the judgment,
14 children were still being wrongfully looked after by
Herefordshire on section 20 arrangements.
These are not court orders. They must be a voluntary
agreement, and in legal terms they precisely mirror the
situation where the single parent consented (at first) to
her friend looking after her boys. For a section 20 to be
legal, social workers must be certain they have a parent?s
informed consent to their child being accommodated
by the state. And a parent can withdraw consent at any
time, because they keep full parental responsibility. If
Mum or Dad wants to turn up at a foster carer?s house
without notice and take their child home, they can.
No ifs, no buts. But many parents say social workers
threaten that if they do, it will mean a trip to court for
a care order. There is no surer way to scare the living
daylights out of a parent. And so frightened acquiescence
? not the same as consent ? tends to be the result.
?
Louise Tickle
writes for the
Guardian on
education, social
affairs and
family law
In the case of the boy who was on a section 20 for
the first nine years of his life, the judge observed that
repeated recommendations made by his independent
reviewing officer that his case should be brought before
a court were ignored by those above her.
The poet Lemn Sissay recently agreed to accept a
compensation package from Wigan council for the
abuses he suffered as a child while in its care. Despite
his爉other writing letters begging the council to return
her baby once she was better able to look after him, he
would not be reunited with her until he was in爃is late
20s. That was years ago, but abuses of power燼re爏till
continuing today.
Social workers must stop acting as if they are above
the law. In reporting on family cases, I have observed
the most extraordinary sense of entitlement and
arrogance when attempting to investigate and highlight
poor and unlawful practice. There is no humility. There
is instead a knee-jerk opposition to anyone presuming
to want to hold a local authority publicly to account.
Given爐hat family cases are heard in private, if爐he judge
had not rejected the council?s plea to keep its identity
secret, nobody would ever have known about the
longstanding and outrageous failings of Herefordshire?s
social work team. Why, just because the state is the
?corporate parent?, should it usually get a free pass on
scrutiny and accountability?
Kidnapping children is wrong, whoever does
it. When爄t is the state, which then argues for its
transgressions to remain secret in the family courts, it
is terrifying. There are growing calls for these courts
to lose the privilege of privacy that child protection
professionals have benefited from for so long ? because
how many more human rights abuses are being hidden
from view when judges opt not to publish judgments,
and when journalists who go to family courts are not
allowed report what they see?
Section:GDN 1J PaGe:6 Edition Date:180503 Edition:01 Zone:
Sent at 2/5/2018 17:54
?
6
As you report (Will Grenfell sway
the vote?, 2 May), the local elections
here in Kensington and Chelsea
are a tight race between the two
main parties. Though a former
Conservative MP, I will be voting
Labour. The Tories are caught in a
trap of their own making. ?Do爊ot
vote on national issues,? they
instruct us. ?Vote on how we?ve
run your local council.? So爈et us
do as they ask, overlooking the
scandalous suffering they have
caused to the Windrush generation
and their surrender to the
Moggites爋ver Brexit.
Towering over this borough
are the charred remains of
Grenfell, a horrific and totally
avoidable tragedy in which 71
people lost their lives. Grenfell
is a constant reminder of the
Kensington Tory council?s
disgraceful penny-pinching over
its so-called ?renovation? and
the appalling mismanagement of
the fire?s aftermath, of its neglect
in caring for and rehousing the
traumatised survivors. Even the
Tory government has condemned
Our national political
system is in a state of
crisis. But local elections
can?t resolve that and
shouldn?t be tainted by it
Natalie Bennett
The Guardian Thursday 3 May 2018
Letters
Local elections and what
the results might herald
and disowned it, with the new home
secretary describing its behaviour as
?totally unacceptable?.
Keith Raffan
London
? Your leader (The Conservatives
expect a bad night on Thursday.
And they deserve one, 30 April)
does a serious disservice to your
readers, and to democracy. These
are local elections. The issues, and
the politics, are as varied as the
communities going to the polls. In
Sheffield, for example, the Labour
council?s enthusiastic backing for
the cutting down of trees by a private
contractor looms large. There are
no Tory councillors now. There will
be none on 4 May. In other cities,
towns and villages, Tory councils
are hugely unpopular for local
reasons, but Labour is not the main
opposition.
Across the country there are
hardworking, much-valued
councillors who do not represent
the Conservatives or Labour, or
any party at all, who deserve to be,
and will be, elected and re-elected
on their own merits. And there
are councillors who deserve to be
removed because they?ve failed
to properly serve the people who
elected them. Voters are choosing
individuals to represent their local
communities. A lot of their work will
be about intensely local issues.
Our national political system is
in a state of crisis and discontent
is almost universal. But local
elections can?t resolve that and
shouldn?t be tainted by it. We
desperately need stronger, more
effective local government.
That爃as to start with local
elections electing the best possible
councillors as representatives of
their燾ommunities.
Natalie Bennett
(Former leader, Green party of
England and Wales), Sheffield
? Boundary changes and a
reduction in the number of city
councillors have certainly made
Birmingham less predictable than
usual. This is especially so in Sutton
Coldfield. Boundary changes in the
constituency have favoured Labour.
Beyond this, Sutton has the
largest town council population in
the country, currently dominated
by highly partisan Tories, and
Labour has reached an agreement
with the other smaller parties not
to fight each other. PR would be
better, but if the agreement works,
it may provide a template for future
cooperation which may encourage
Labour nationally to take a more
benign view of collaboration
with other parties in the national
interest爐han爄t爃as shown to date.
The town council result will be
announced on Saturday morning.
Watch with interest. It may be a
pointer to the future.
Roy Boffy
Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands
? Your leader writer?s pro-Labour
prejudices were exposed with the
suggestion that remain supporters
should show their opposition to
the爌arty of Brexit by voting燣abour.
But燣abour is also a party of
Brexit, as shown by the sacking of
Owen Smith for backing a second
referendum. Remain supporters
should vote for a party that supports
remain: the Greens or the Lib Dems.
Dudley Miles
London
Democracy has to be about more than just voting
David Runciman (Should we put
the experts in charge?, The long
read, 1 May) is right to say that our
democracy is fatally flawed and
that爃anding over to experts is a
bad爄dea. However, we do have to
come up with an answer.
What is the democratic alternative
to the current failed elitism or
seductive populism? Democracy
simply must put its own house in
order, shed the model built 100
years ago and consciously design
an爑pgraded system appropriate
for the next 100 years. Our crude
definition of democracy as just
voting denies us the sophistication
necessary to run modern society.
Everything is reduced to a yes or
no,燽lack or white reaction.
James S Fishkin has identified
108 examples internationally of
deliberative democracy, where
the soundbite and headline have
been banished by establishing
careful, sustained and informed
consideration of issues by citizens?
institutions established for that
specific purpose, with the outcome
of such patient and self-educated
discussion often leading to legislative
and social change. From energy
policy in Texas to pension provision
in Japan and democratic renewal in
Canada, assorted varieties of citizen
engagement that complement not
threaten representative democracy
are enjoying success. It is in this
development of an advanced adult
democratic model ? tooling up, not
dumbing down ? that our antidote
to the threats of complacency,
entitlement and populism lies.
Graham Allen
Chair of the parliamentary
select committee on political and
constitutional reform, 2010-15
? An expert on politics writes that
democratic politics is better than
experts. Surely democracy is better
when it doesn?t work, or we?d have
cYanmaGentaYellowblac
the most hostile of environments,
with capital punishment, torture,
persecution of all that is intellectual
or ?different?, massive benefit cuts
and Brexit squared. Democracy
tends to the condition of 1984, where
everyone has a voice and sings
Big燘rother?s songs of ignorance and
hatred masquerading as common
sense and patriotism.
Brian Smith
Berlin, Germany
? David Runciman could be
considering other options than
?epistocracy? or ?technocracy? to
address the flaws in our democracies.
Why can?t we improve what we?ve
got, shifting towards participation?
We could use technology to include
electors in debate, teaching critical
thinking skills in the process; we
could run citizens? assemblies; we
could produce a person specification
of desirable competencies for
MPs (even if we must eschew
?essentials?); we could combat
short-termism by insisting that new
policy proposals include a review of
the previous 20 years and a forecast
(with budget) for the next 20; and
we could reposition secretaries of
state as commissioners and ?critical
friends? who develop policy in
partnership with those in the sector
who actually know how it works.
Such things might restore faith in
our爈eaders and could even engage
the wider population in addressing
some rather pressing issues such as
the environmental crisis.
Nick Nuttgens
Sheffield, South Yorkshire
? It is correct that changing from
representative democracy as we
know it to an epistocracy could lead
to a ?nightmare of oppression and
violence?. Nevertheless, there have
to be ways to improve the present
system that will encourage more
informed and responsible popular
participation while preventing
technical experts from sowing
confusion and obfuscation. While
experts are not necessarily politically
neutral, it is absurd, and dangerous,
how often expertise is denigrated
when it is at odds with ideology.
One reform would be to make it a
legal requirement for governments to
publish independent expert reviews
into all proposed legislation before
it is placed before parliament, with
a further obligation placed on the
media to publish it in full. This would
provide the electorate with the tools
needed to evaluate the degree to
which policies reflect ideology.
Such analysis would obviously
be challenged on social media,
which allows for the expression of
all opinions whether or not they are
well informed. However, to ensure
that the free expression of opinion
is not subverted by cyber-attacks or
trolling, there should be an absolute
requirement that comments posted
online carry an identifiable identity.
Finally, the only serious way
to bring voters closer to the
consequences of their actions is to
put proportional representation
back爋n to the political agenda.
Peter Luff
Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire
Section:GDN 1J PaGe:7 Edition Date:180503 Edition:01 Zone:
Thursday 3 May 2018 The Guardian
Sent at 2/5/2018 17:54
cYanmaGentaYellowblac
?
7
? guardian.letters@theguardian.com
? @guardianletters
Dawn
chorus
?Powderkegs
Morris of Chapelen-le-Frith
dancing in the
dawn on May
Morning. The
border morris
side congregates
on Windgather
Rocks in the
Peak District.
The dancers?
swirling tatters
represent an
exploding barrel
of gunpowder?
ROB PHILLIPS/
GUARDIANWITNESS
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at gu.com/
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House of Lords needs trimming
but still has a vital role to play
Your leader on the House of Lords
(1燤ay) is unfair. It makes no
mention of the special committee
I爏et up under Terry Burns to reduce
the size of the house. Its proposals
included a permanent cap on
numbers, and new members being
appointed for only limited periods.
These proposals were accepted
without division by the Lords
following a debate in December.
Since then the prime minister
has responded. Contrary to what
you suggest, she has agreed that a
reduction in numbers is necessary
and that she herself will follow a
path of moderation. No longer will
holding particular office, political
or non-political, give an automatic
entitlement to membership. The
days of mass appointments of Tony
Blair and David Cameron are over.
We are working to reduce the
size of the house but without
the advantage of legislation. The
government has made it clear that,
with Brexit taking up so much time in
parliament, it would be ludicrous to
add a House of Lords Reform Act into
the mix. It would be better, rather than
railing against the Lords, if we could
agree that the way forward would
be to make progress on reducing
numbers. That would be to the benefit
of everyone, whatever their view.
Norman Fowler
The Lord Speaker, House of Lords
? Your editorial on the bloated
second chamber notes: ?It remains
a ludicrous anachronism for any
democracy that its upper house is
wholly unelected ? The appointment
system is too often a way of rewarding
political time servers and donors.?
Our research backs this up. The
house hosts 184 ex-MPs, 26 ex-MEPs,
11 ex-MSPs, eight ex-Welsh AMs, six
ex-London AMs, 11 ex-MLAs and 39
current or ex-council leaders, as of
April last year. And it is also grossly
unrepresentative. Just 26% of peers
are women, while there is not a single
member under the age of 40.
Despite claims of ?independence?,
it is a hyper-partisan house: 78%
of Conservative peers failed to
vote against the government
once in 2016/17, while the average
Labour peer voted against the
government in 90% of votes in that
year. All this on top of the rolling
expenses scandals we see in the
unaccountable chamber.
Darren Hughes
Electoral Reform Society
? The Lords is a revising chamber
(Liam Fox accuses Lords of trying to
block EU exit, 1 May) and has every
right to propose amendments to
Commons legislation. This is British
democracy at work. If Mr Fox is
so sure of the ?will of the British
people?, perhaps he?d like to support
the campaign for the People?s Vote.
Susan Newton
Oldham, Lancashire
Corrections and
clarifications
? In early editions, an article said
the former cyclist Philippa York
? who competed as Robert Millar
before transitioning to become
a woman ? was the ?first English
speaking winner of the Tour de
France?. York won the mountain
classification in the 1984 Tour,
but not the overall race (York says
?macho? culture is preventing people
coming out, 1 May, page 43).
Editorial complaints and corrections can be sent to
guardian.readers@theguardian.com or The readers? editor,
King?s Place, 90 York Way, London N1 9GU; or call 020 3353
4736 from 10am to 1pm Monday to Friday. The Guardian?s
policy is爐o correct significant errors as soon as possible.
For爉ore information, see gu.com/readers-editor
Beckham?s tattoos
are just ?ne in Hindi
Please can we sink for ever the
notion of David Beckham?s ?misspelt
Sanskrit/Hindi tattoo? (Inking big: is
Becks ?addicted? to tats?, G2, 2 May)?
Both languages are written in the
same Devan?gar? script. As a Sanskrit
scholar, I can assure you that, as seen
in your very clear photograph, the
tattoo spells ?Vhik?oriy??, which is
exactly the way Mrs Beckham?s name
would sound to a Hindi speaker.
Without the ?h? after it, the ?V? would
be pronounced more like a ?w?.
Dr Valerie J Roebuck
Manchester
? At least the wrong versions
of Ailsa?s name are inoffensive
(Letters, 2 May). Whenever I email
my Vietnamese student, Lien, on
my iPhone or iPad, her name is
automatically changed to ?Alien?.
It seems Apple is very much in
tune with the ethos of Home Office
immigration policy, including the
outrageous inclusion of students such
as Lien in net immigration figures.
Jennifer Jenkins
Southampton
? Sometimes I receive letters that
forget about my initials and assume
I?m Scottish.
MC Smith
Guildford, Surrey
? I remember a small cul-de-sac of
housing for the elderly being built in
my home village and being named
Evans Close, and often spelt with an
added apostrophe (Letters, 2 May).
Ron Brewer
Old Buckenham, Norfolk
? I always found the best way to
avoid timewasting at meetings was to
remove all the chairs (The new rules
for a successful meeting, G2,�ay).
Jim Waight
Hertford
? I will be toasting Amelia Gentleman
with Windrush Ale, the Camra
champion beer of Warwickshire 2012.
Eric Clubley
Stourton, Staffordshire
Established 1906
Country diary
Salter?s Gate,
Weardale
The sky above this open hillside,
overlooking Tunstall reservoir in
the valley below, was filled with
skylark song, but lapwings, Vanellus
vanellus, commanded attention with
reckless display flights and calls
reminiscent of rusty hinges. Thirty
years ago, when we came here to
watch them with our children, they
christened them ?creaky doors?.
A female lapwing performed
her provocative display, tilting
forward to present a flash of white
rump with its chestnut underside,
and fanning her tail, just as a
cock ?creaky door? flew slowly
overhead, so close that we could
hear the whirring of his broad wings
and outstretched primary feathers
gripping the air. The 19th-century
naturalist Rev Francis Orpen Morris
described their flight as ?at one
and the same time laboured and
light?, and likened its sound ?to the
puffing of the engine of a railwaytrain, heard at some distance?.
The suitor rolled and tumbled
to earth, pulling out of his dive just
above the ground and skimming
across the grass in front of her, his
iridescent blue, green and purple
plumage flashing in the sunlight.
Then he stalled on outstretched
wings and performed a neat
landing, his dignity undermined
a little by a clownish bandit eyestripe and extravagant head plume.
She seemed to pay little heed to his
performance, but perhaps he had
already done enough.
On 13 April last year we found a
lapwing nest here, a rudimentary
circle of dry grass surrounding four
exquisitely mottled eggs. This spring
this moorland was still covered in
deep snow drifts throughout the
first week of April; everything is late,
even lapwing courtship.
The chances of either of today?s
pair originating from last year?s eggs
are slim. From the moment these are
laid, parent birds must be constantly
vigilant for marauding crows. Chicks
can run as soon as they hatch, so are
a little less vulnerable. Their mottled
down blends into the ground when
they lie prone in response to alarm
calls, making them harder to spot
while their parents harass predators
or try to lure them away by feigning
injury and dragging a wing. Now
that courtship is concluded, anxious
weeks lie ahead for these birds.
Phil Gates
Twitter: @gdncountrydiary
ILLUSTRATION: CLIFFORD HARPER
Section:GDN 1J PaGe:8 Edition Date:180503 Edition:01 Zone:
Sent at 2/5/2018 17:59
cYanmaGentaYellowblac
?
8
The Guardian Thursday 3 May 2018
Obituaries
? obituaries@theguardian.com
? @guardianobits
Birthdays
Vittorio Taviani
Director and writer who
created some of Italy?s
most acclaimed ?lms
V
ittorio Taviani,
who has died
aged 88, was the
elder of the two
Taviani brothers,
the film-making
duo who enjoyed
great acclaim
and success in the 1970s and 80s.
With his brother Paolo, two years
his junior, he wrote and directed
more than 20 films. The brothers
were said to work harmoniously as
one. ?We have different characters
but the same nature,? Vittorio said
in 2012. Marcello Mastroianni,
who starred in their 1974 drama
Allonsanf鄋, addressed the brothers
as ?Paolovittorio?. Asked at the
end of the shoot what it was like to
take direction from two people, he
replied: ?There were two of them??
The Tavianis won the Palme d?Or
at Cannes for their 1977 masterpiece
Padre Padrone, shot on 16mm for
Italian TV. This odyssey of rural
hardship was adapted from the
memoir of the linguist Gavino Ledda,
son of a brutal Sardinian farmer,
and elevated by its mix of neorealist
earthiness and theatricality. In the
film?s opening scene, for instance,
the real Ledda hands a stick to the
actor playing his parent: ?My father
used to carry this,? he says.
Ledda also appears at the end
Vittorio, left,
with his brother,
Paolo, on the set
of Good Morning,
Babylon in 1986.
They formed
a famous filmmaking duo and
worked together
on more than 20
productions
ERIC PR葾U/SYGMA/
GETTY IMAGES
We have
di?erent
characters
but the
same
nature
to close the book on the adaptation
of his life. In between are coarsely
poetic passages outlining his journey
from poverty to emancipation
through music and language.
There was a special poignancy to
Padre Padrone?s Cannes triumph:
the jury president that year was
Roberto Rossellini, whose neorealist
picture Paisan, about the allied
liberation of Italy, had first inspired
the brothers to become directors.
They were born and raised in San
Miniato, Tuscany, by liberal parents
who used art and culture as rewards:
their father, Ermanno, a lawyer, took
them to the opera when their grades
were good. Their mother, Jolanda
(nee Brogi), was a teacher.
They got along well enough until
their teens. ?There was a time during
adolescence when we both hoped
the other would die in a car crash,?
Vittorio said. ?I used to write plays
that contained two brothers, one
perfect, the other one evil.?
After the war they attended
university in Pisa, where Paolo
studied liberal arts and Vittorio
law. While there, they saw Paisan.
?It was such a shock because we
watched our own tragedy being
re-enacted. By seeing it, we understood better the times we had lived
through.? Leaving the cinema, they
vowed that, if they were not making
their own films within a decade,
they would shoot themselves.
Before their self-imposed
deadline was up, they completed a
short film: San Miniato, July 1944
(1954), about a massacre carried
out by the Germans in the Tavianis?
home town. They co-directed with
Joris Ivens the 1960 documentary
Italy Is Not a Poor Country and
teamed up with Valentino Orsini
to co-direct A Man to Burn (1962)
and Outlaws of Love (1963) before
branching out on their own with
The Subversives (1967), which
traced the impact of the death of the
communist leader Palmiro Togliatti.
St Michael Had a Rooster (1972),
adapted from Tolstoy?s Divine and
Human, was the first of a string
of literary adaptations that also
included Kaos (1984) and You Laugh
(1998), both based on stories by
Pirandello, The Sun Also Shines at
Night (1990), based on Tolstoy?s
story Father Sergius, and a film of
Goethe?s Elective Affinities (1996).
Patti Boulaye,
singer, 64; Rob
Brydon, actor
and comedian,
53; Alan Clayson,
pop historian,
67; Kathy Cook,
athlete, 58; Sir
Liam Donaldson,
chancellor
of Newcastle
University, 69;
The Rt Rev Peter
Doyle, Roman
Catholic bishop
of Northampton,
74; Peter Duncan,
actor and TV
presenter, 64; Ben
Elton, comedian
and writer, 59;
Rebecca Hall,
actor, 36; Sir
David Harrison,
chemical
engineer, 88;
Christina Hendricks, actor, 43;
Ken Hom, chef
and writer, 69;
Mary Hopkin,
singer, 68;
Lindsay Kemp,
dancer and mime
artist, 80; Prof
Lady (Ruth)
Lister, social
economist, 69;
Peter Oosterhuis, golfer,
70; Suzi Perry,
broadcaster,
48; Prof Mona
Siddiqui, scholar
of religion, 55;
Sandi Toksvig,
broadcaster, 60;
Frankie Valli,
singer, 84; Allan
Wells, sprinter, 66.
After Padre Padrone, the other
pinnacle of their career was The
Night of the Shooting Stars (1982),
a pastoral wartime drama set in
1944 in a Tuscan village poised to be
snatched away from the Germans
by approaching US troops. The New
Yorker critic Pauline Kael, who had
been part of Rossellini?s Cannes
jury, received the new film just as
rapturously: ?The Tavianis make
stylised unreality work for them
in a way that nobody else ever has;
in Shooting Stars unreality doesn?t
seem divorced from experience.?
Good Morning, Babylon (1987),
about set designers working for DW
Griffith, felt less assured, perhaps
because of the English-language
script and the use of Italian
locations standing in for US ones.
Their last great work was
Caesar Must Die, which won the
Golden Bear at Berlin in 2012. This
unorthodox adaptation of Julius
Caesar was shot inside Rebibbia
prison in Rome and performed
by hardened lifers, many of them
former mafia and Camorra hitmen.
Searching and powerful, it was
above all compassionate.
?We could sometimes look in the
eyes of the inmates while they were
acting and see that those eyes had
witnessed murder in real life,? said
Vittorio. ?We saw them as the children
they once were, whooping and jumping around. By the same token, we
hate with all our might what the mafia
and Camorra and so on have done.
How can we put these equally strange
emotions together? We still don?t
know how to resolve that.?
The last film directed by both
brothers was Wondrous Boccaccio
(2015), adapted from stories by the
Italian writer. Rainbow: A Private
Affair (2017), based on Beppe Fenoglio?s 1963 novel set in wartime Italy,
was directed by Paolo alone, due to
Vittorio?s poor health, though it was
presented as the work of both men.
Vittorio is survived by his wife,
Carla (nee Vezzoso), and by their
children, Giovanna, Francesca and
Giuliano, as well as by Paolo.
Ryan Gilbey
Vittorio Taviani, film-maker, born
20 September 1929; died 15 April 2018
Announcements
Top, Padre Padrone, 1977, won the
Palme d?Or. Above, Caesar Must Die,
2012, was filmed in a Roman prison
RAI/CIDIF/KOBAL/REX/SHUTTERSTOCK
Section:GDN 1J PaGe:9 Edition Date:180503 Edition:01 Zone:
Thursday 3 May 2018 The Guardian
uardian
Sent at 2/5/2018 17:27
cYanmaGentaYellowblac
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The long read
9
B
ig
g Tech is sorry. After decades of
arely apologising for anything,
rarely
ilicon Valley suddenly seems
Silicon
o be apologising for everything.
to
hey are sorry about the trolls.
They
hey are sorry about the bots.
They
hey are sorry about the fake
They
ews and the Russians, and the
news
our kids on YouTube. But爐hey
cartoons terrifying your
bout our brains.
are especially sorry about
rmer president of Facebook ?
Sean Parker, the former
ustin Timberlake in The Social
who was played by Justin
ly lamented the ?unintended
Network ? has publicly
e platform he helped create:
consequences? of the
at it?s doing to our children?s
?God only knows what
stein, an engineer who helped
brains.? Justin Rosenstein,
e? button and Gchat, regrets
build Facebook?s ?like?
o technology that he now
having contributed to
ically damaging, too. ?Everyone
considers psychologically
stein says. ?All of the time.?
is distracted,? Rosenstein
rnet became widely used by the
Ever since the internet
public in the 1990s, users have heard warnings that it
arly years, many commentators
is bad for us. In the early
e as a parallel universe that
described cyberspace
siasts whole. The media fretted
could爏wallow enthusiasts
about kids talking to strangers and finding porn.
udy from Carnegie Mellon
A爌rominent 1998 study
hat spending time online
University claimed that
pressed and antisocial.
made爕ou lonely, depressed
In the mid-2000s, as the internet moved on to
ical and virtual life began to
mobile devices, physical
ts celebrated the ?cognitive
merge. Bullish pundits
y crowdsourcing and the techsurplus? unlocked by
savvy campaigns of Barack Obama, the ?internet
gside these optimistic voices,
president?. But, alongside
isted. Nicholas Carr?s The
darker warnings persisted.
ed that search engines were
Shallows (2010) argued
d, while Eli Pariser?s The Filter
making people stupid,
d algorithms made us insular
Bubble (2011) claimed
by爏howing us only what we wanted to see. In Alone,
Together (2011) and Reclaiming Conversation (2015),
d that constant connectivity was
Sherry Turkle warned
nteraction impossible.
making meaningful interaction
dustry, techno-utopianism
Still, inside the industry,
ley seemed to assume that the
prevailed. Silicon Valley
ing were always forces for good ?
tools they were building
and that anyone who questioned them was a crank or
a luddite. In the face of an anti-tech backlash that has
6 election, however, this faith
surged since the 2016
ng. Prominent people in the
appears to be faltering.
ng to acknowledge that their
industry are beginning
armful effects.
products may have harmful
n?t new. But never before have so
Internet anxiety isn?t
many notable figuress within the industry seemed so
orld they have made. Parker,
anxious about the world
ther insiders now talking about
Rosenstein and the other
hones and social media belong to
the harms of smartphones
ential current of tech critics
an informal yet influential
con Valley. You could call them
emerging within Silicon
?. Amid rising public concern
the ?tech humanists?.
he industry, they argue that the
about the power of the
h its products is that they
primary problem with
nd our humanity.
threaten our health and
d t are d
i
d to
t b
It is clear that these products
designed
be
maximally addictive, in order to harvest as much of
our attention as they can. Tech humanists say this
business model is unhealthy and inhumane ? that it
damages our psychological well-being and conditions
us to behave in ways that diminish our humanity. The
main solution that they propose is better design. By
redesigning technology to be less addictive and less
manipulative, they believe we can make it healthier ?
we can realign technology with our humanity and
build products that don?t ?hijack? our minds.
The hub of the new tech humanism is the Center
for Humane Technology in San
Francisco. Founded earlier this year, the
?
rno igel
a
T
e
en ira W
B
By Mo
and
Why Silicon
Valley can?t ?x itself
Tech insiders have ?nally started admitting their
mistakes ? but the solutions they are o?ering
could爃elp the big players get more powerful
ILLUSTRATION BY LEE MARTIN
Section:GDN 1J PaGe:10 Edition Date:180503 Edition:01 Zone:
Sent at 2/5/2018 17:27
?
10
nonprofit has assembled an impressive roster of
advisers, including investor Roger McNamee, Lyft president John Zimmer, and Rosenstein. But its most prominent spokesman is executive director Tristan Harris, a
former ?design ethicist? at Google who has been hailed
by the Atlantic magazine as ?the closest thing Silicon
Valley has to a conscience?. Harris has spent years
trying to persuade the industry of the dangers of tech
addiction. In February, Pierre Omidyar, the billionaire
founder of eBay, launched a related initiative: the Tech
and Society Solutions Lab, which aims to ?maximise the
tech industry?s contributions to a healthy society?.
As suspicion of Silicon Valley grows, the tech
humanists are making a bid to become tech?s loyal
opposition. They are using their insider credentials to
promote a particular diagnosis of where tech went
wrong and of how to get it back on track. For this, they
have been getting a lot of attention. As the backlash
against tech has grown, so too has the appeal of techies
repenting for their sins. The Center for Humane
Technology has been profiled ? and praised by ? the
New燳ork Times, the Atlantic, Wired and others.
But the real reason tech humanism matters is because
some of the most powerful people in the industry are
starting to speak its idiom. Snap CEO Evan Spiegel has
warned about social media?s role in encouraging ?mindless scrambles for friends or unworthy distractions?, and
Twitter boss Jack Dorsey recently claimed he wants to
improve the platform?s ?conversational health?.
Even Mark Zuckerberg, famous for encouraging his
engineers to ?move fast and break things?, seems to be
taking a tech humanist turn. In January, he announced
that Facebook had a new priority: maximising ?time well
spent? on the platform, rather than total time spent. By
?time well spent?, Zuckerberg means time spent interacting with ?friends? rather than businesses, brands or
media sources. He said the News Feed algorithm was
already prioritising these ?more meaningful? activities.
Zuckerberg?s choice of words is significant: Time Well
Spent is the name of the advocacy group that Harris led
before co-founding the Center for Humane Technology.
In April, Zuckerberg brought the phrase to Capitol Hill.
When a photographer snapped a picture of the notes
Zuckerberg used while testifying before the Senate,
they included a discussion of Facebook?s new emphasis
on ?time well spent?, under the heading ?wellbeing?.
This new concern for ?wellbeing? may seem a
welcome development. After years of ignoring their
critics, industry leaders are finally acknowledging that
problems exist. Tech humanists deserve credit for
drawing attention to one of those problems ? the
manipulative design decisions made by Silicon Valley.
But these decisions are only symptoms of a larger
issue: the fact that the digital infrastructures that
increasingly shape our personal, social and civic lives
are owned and controlled by a few billionaires. Because
it ignores the question of power, the tech-humanist
diagnosis is incomplete ? and could even help the
industry evade meaningful reform. Taken up by leaders
such as Zuckerberg, tech humanism is likely to result in
only superficial changes. These changes may soothe
some of the popular anger directed towards the tech
industry, but they will not address the origin of that
anger. If anything, they will make Silicon Valley even
more powerful.
The Center for Humane Technology argues that
technology must be ?aligned? with humanity ? and
that爐he best way to accomplish this is through better
design. Their website features a section entitled The
Way Forward. A爁amiliar evolutionary image shows
the爏ilhouettes of several simians, rising from their
crouches to become a爉an, who then turns back to
contemplate his history.
?In the future, we will look back at today as a turning
point towards humane design,? the header reads. To the
litany of problems caused by ?technology that extracts
attention and erodes society?, the text asserts that
?humane design is the solution?. Drawing on the rhetoric
of the ?design thinking? philosophy that has long suffused Silicon Valley, the website explains that humane
design ?starts by understanding our most vulnerable
human instincts so we can design compassionately?.
cYanmaGentaYellowbla
The Guardian Thursday 3 May 2018
The nature of human
nature is that it changes
? it cannot serve as a
basis for evaluating the
impact of technology
There is a good reason why the language of tech
humanism is penetrating the upper echelons of the tech
industry so easily: this language is not foreign to Silicon
Valley. On the contrary, ?humanising? technology has
long been its central ambition and the source of its
power. It was precisely by developing a ?humanised?
form of computing that entrepreneurs such as Steve Jobs
brought computing into millions of users? everyday lives.
Their success turned the Bay Area tech industry into a
global powerhouse ? and produced the digitised world
that today?s tech humanists now lament.
The story begins in the 1960s, when Silicon Valley was
still a handful of electronics firms clustered among fruit
orchards. Computers came in the form of mainframes
then. These were big, expensive and difficult to use. Only
corporations, universities and government agencies could
afford them, and they were reserved for specialised tasks,
such as calculating missile trajectories or credit scores.
Computing was industrial, in other words, not personal,
and Silicon Valley remained dependent on a few big
institutional clients. Computers also had an image
problem. In these whirring hulks of digital machinery,
many observers saw something inhuman, even evil. To
antiwar activists, computers were weapons of the war
machine that was killing thousands in Vietnam. To
commentators such as the social critic Lewis Mumford,
computers were instruments of a creeping technocracy
that threatened to extinguish personal freedom.
But during the 1960s and 70s, a series of experiments in
northern California helped solve both problems. These
experiments yielded innovations like the graphical user
interface, the mouse and the microprocessor. Computers
became smaller, more usable and more interactive,
reducing Silicon Valley?s reliance on a few large customers
while giving digital technology a friendlier face.
The pioneers who led this transformation believed
they were making computing more human. They wanted
their machines to be ?extensions of man?, in the words
of Marshall McLuhan, and to unlock ?human potential?
rather than repress it. At the centre of this ecosystem of
hobbyists, hackers, hippies and professional engineers
was Stewart Brand, famed entrepreneur of the counterculture and founder of the Whole Earth Catalog. In a 1972
article for Rolling Stone, Brand called for a new model of
computing that ?served human interest, not machine?.
Brand?s disciples answered this call by developing the
innovations that transformed computers into the form
we recognise today. They also promoted a new way of
thinking about computers ? not as impersonal slabs of
machinery, but tools for unleashing ?human potential?.
No single figure contributed more to this transformation
than Steve Jobs, who was a fan of Brand and a reader of
the Whole Earth Catalog. Jobs fulfilled Brand?s vision on a
global scale, launching the mass personal computing era
with the Macintosh in the mid-80s, and the mass smartphone era with the iPhone two decades later. Brand later
acknowledged that Jobs embodied the Whole Earth
Catalog ethos. ?He got the notion of tools for human
use,? Brand told Jobs? biographer, Walter Isaacson.
Building those ?tools for human use? turned out to be
great for business. From phones to tablets to laptops,
we燼re surrounded by devices that have fulfilled the
demands of the counterculture for connectivity, interactivity and self-expression. Your iPhone responds to the
slightest touch; you can look at photos of anyone you
have ever known, and broadcast anything to all of them.
In short, the effort to humanise computing produced
the very situation that the tech humanists now consider
dehumanising: a wilderness of screens where digital
devices chase every last instant of our attention. To
guide爑s out of that wilderness, tech humanists say we
need more humanising. They believe we can use better
design to make technology serve human nature rather
than exploit and corrupt it. But this idea is drawn from
the same tradition that created the world that tech
humanists believe is distracting and damaging us.
Facebook CEO
Mark Zuckerberg
at a US senate
hearing last
month
JIM WATSON/AFP/
GETTY IMAGES
Tech humanists say they want to align humanity and
technology. But this project is based on a misunderstanding of the relationship between humanity and
technology: namely, the fantasy that these two entities
could ever exist in separation.
It is difficult to imagine human beings without technology. The story of our species began when we began to
make tools. Homo habilis left sharpened stones scattered
across Africa. Their successors hit rocks against each
other to make sparks, and thus fire. With fire you could
cook meat and clear land for planting; with ash you could
fertilise the soil; with smoke you could make signals. In
flickering light, our ancestors painted animals on cave
walls. As Aeschylus wrote, Prometheus, in stealing fire
from the gods, ?founded all the arts of men.?
All of which is to say: humanity and technology are
not爋nly entangled, they constantly change together.
Recent research suggests that the human hand evolved
to manipulate the stone tools that our ancestors used.
The爀volutionary scientist Mary Marzke shows that we
developed ?a unique pattern of muscle architecture and
joint surface form and functions? for this purpose.
The ways our bodies and brains change in conjunction
with the tools we make have long inspired anxieties
that�we? are losing some essential qualities. Socrates
warned that writing on wax tablets would make people
forgetful. In the late middle ages, as a culture of copying
manuscripts gave way to printed books, teachers warned
that pupils would become careless, since they no longer
had to transcribe what their teachers said.
Yet as we lose certain capacities, we gain new ones.
People who used to navigate the seas by following stars
can now program computers to steer container ships
from afar. Your grandmother probably has better
handwriting than you do ? but you probably type faster.
The nature of human nature is that it changes. It can
not, therefore, serve as a basis for evaluating the impact
of technology. Yet the assumption that it doesn?t change
serves a useful purpose. Treating human nature as
something static, pure and essential elevates the speaker
into a position of power. Claiming to tell us who we are,
they tell us how we should be.
Intentionally or not, this is what tech humanists are
doing when they talk about technology as threatening
human nature ? as if human nature had stayed the same
from the paleolithic era until the rollout of the iPhone.
Holding humanity and technology separate clears the
way for a small group of humans to determine the proper
alignment between them. And while the tech humanists
may believe they are acting in the common good, they
themselves acknowledge they are doing so from above,
as elites. ?We have a moral responsibility to steer
people?s thoughts ethically,? Tristan Harris has declared.
Harris and his fellow tech humanists also frequently
invoke the language of public health. The Center for
Humane Technology?s Roger McNamee has gone so far
as爐o call public health ?the root of the whole thing?, and
Harris has compared using Snapchat to smoking. The
public-health framing casts the tech humanists in a paternalistic role. Resolving a public health crisis requires
public health expertise. It also precludes the possibility
of democratic debate. You don?t put the question of how
to treat a燿isease up for a vote ? you call燼 doctor.
This paternalism produces a central irony of tech
humanism: the language that they use to describe users
is often dehumanising. ?Facebook appeals to your lizard
brain ? primarily fear and anger,? says McNamee. Harris
echoes this sentiment: ?Imagine you had an input cable,?
Section:GDN 1J PaGe:11 Edition Date:180503 Edition:01 Zone:
Thursday 3 May 2018 The Guardian
Sent at 2/5/2018 17:27
cYanmaGentaYellowbla
?
he has said. ?You?re trying to jack it into a human being.
Do you want to jack it into their reptilian brain, or do
you爓ant to jack it into their more reflective self??
The Center for Humane Technology?s website offers
tips on how to build a more reflective and less reptilian
relationship to your smartphone: ?going greyscale? by
setting your screen to black-and-white, turning off app
notifications and charging your device outside your
bedroom. It has also announced two major initiatives: a
national campaign to raise awareness about爐echnology?s
harmful effects on young people?s ?digital health and
well-being?; and a ?Ledger of Harms? ? a website that
will compile information about the health effects of
different technologies in order to guide爀ngineers in
building ?healthier? products.
These initiatives may help some people reduce their
smartphone use ? a reasonable personal goal. But the kid
with autism may stare at his screen when surrounded by
people, because it lets him tolerate being surrounded by
people. For him, constant use of technology may not be
destructive at all, but in fact life-saving.
Pathologising potentially beneficial behaviours as
?sick? isn?t the only problem with the Center for Humane
Technology?s proposals. Tech humanism fails to address
the root cause of the tech backlash: the fact that a small
handful of corporations own our digital lives and stripmine them for profit. This is a fundamentally political
and collective issue. But by framing the problem in terms
of health and humanity, and the solution in terms of
design, the tech humanists personalise and depoliticise it.
This may be why their approach is so appealing to the
industry. There is no reason to doubt the good intentions
of tech humanists, who may genuinely want to address
the problems fuelling the tech backlash. But they are
handing the firms that caused those problems a valuable
weapon. Far from challenging Silicon Valley, tech
humanism offers Silicon Valley a useful way to pacify
public concerns without surrendering any of its enormous wealth and power. By channelling popular anger at
Big燭ech into concerns about health and humanity, tech
humanism gives corporate giants such as Facebook a
way to avoid real democratic control. In a moment of
danger, it may even help them protect their profits.
One can imagine a version of Facebook that embraces
the principles of tech humanism while remaining a
profitable and powerful monopoly. In fact, these principles could make燜acebook even more profitable and
powerful, by opening up new business opportunities.
That seems to be exactly what Facebook has planned.
When Zuckerberg announced that Facebook would
prioritise ?time well spent? over total time spent, it came
a couple weeks before the company released their 2017
Q4 earnings. These reported that total time spent on the
platform had dropped by around 5%, or about 50m hours
per day. But, Zuckerberg said, this was by design: in
particular, it was in response to tweaks to the News Feed
that prioritised ?meaningful? interactions with ?friends?
rather than consuming ?public content? like video and
news. This would ensure that ?Facebook isn?t just fun,
but also good for people?s well-being?.
Zuckerberg said he expected those changes would
continue to decrease total time spent ? but ?the time you
do spend on Facebook will be more valuable?. This may
describe what users find valuable ? but it also refers to
what Facebook finds valuable. In a recent interview, he
said: ?Over the long term, even if time spent goes down,
if people are spending more time on Facebook actually
building relationships with people they care about, then
that?s going to build a stronger community and build a
stronger business, regardless of爓hat Wall Street thinks
about it in the near term.?
Sheryl Sandberg has also stressed that the shift will
create ?more monetisation opportunities?. How? Everyone knows data is the lifeblood of Facebook ? but not all
data is created equal. One of the most valuable sources
of燿ata to Facebook is used to inform a metric called
?coefficient?. This measures the strength of a connection
between two users ? Zuckerberg once called it ?an index
for each relationship?. Facebook records every interaction you have with another user ? from liking a friend?s
post or viewing their profile, to sending them a message.
These activities provide Facebook with a sense of how
11
Steve Jobs, who
led the drive
to ?humanise?
technology in
the爉id-80s
TED THAI/
POLARIS/EYEVINE
?
Ben Tarnoff and
Moira Weigel
are co-editors
of Logic, a
magazine about
technology
close you are to another person, and different activities
are weighted differently. Messaging, for instance, is considered the strongest signal. It?s reasonable to assume
that you?re closer to somebody you exchange messages
with than somebody whose post you once liked.
Why is coefficient so valuable? Because Facebook uses
it to create a Facebook they think you will like: it guides
algorithmic decisions about what content you see and
the order in which you see it. It also helps ad targeting, by
showing you ads for things liked by friends with whom
you often interact. Advertisers can target the closest
friends of the users who already like a product, on the
assumption that close friends tend to like the same things.
So when Zuckerberg talks about wanting to increase
?meaningful? interactions and building relationships,
he爄s not succumbing to pressure to take better care of
his爑sers. Rather, emphasising time well spent means
creating a Facebook that prioritises data-rich personal
interactions that Facebook can use to make a more
engaging platform. Rather than spending a lot of time
doing things that Facebook doesn?t find valuable ? such as
watching viral videos ? you can spend a bit less time, but
spend it doing things that Facebook does find valuable.
In other words, ?time well spent? means Facebook can
monetise more efficiently. It can prioritise the intensity of
data extraction over its extensiveness. This is a wise business move, disguised as a concession to critics. Shifting
to this model not only sidesteps concerns about tech
addiction ? it also acknowledges certain basic limits to
Facebook?s current growth model. There are only so many
hours in the day. Facebook can?t keep prioritising total
time spent ? it has to extract more value from less time.
In many ways, this process recalls an earlier stage in
the evolution of capitalism. In the 19th century, factory
owners in England discovered they could only make so
much money by extending the length of the working day.
At some point, workers would die of exhaustion, or they
would revolt, or they would push parliament to pass laws
that limited their working hours. So industrialists had to
find ways to make the time of the worker more valuable ?
to extract more money from each moment rather than
adding more moments. They did this by making industrial
production more efficient: developing new technologies
and techniques that squeezed more value out of the
worker and stretched that value further than ever before.
A similar situation confronts Facebook today. They
have to make the attention of the user more valuable ?
and the concepts of tech humanism can help them do it.
So far, it seems to be working. Despite the drop in total
time spent, Facebook announced huge 2018 Q1 earnings
of $11.97bn (�7bn), smashing Wall Street estimates
by爊early $600m.
Today?s tech humanists come from a tradition with deep
roots in Silicon Valley. Like their predecessors, they
believe that technology and humanity are distinct, but
can be harmonised. This belief guided the generations
who built the ?humanised? machines that became the
basis for the industry?s enormous power. Today it may
provide Silicon Valley with a way to protect that power
from a growing public backlash ? and even deepen it
by爑ncovering new opportunities for profit-making.
Fortunately, there is another way of thinking about how
to live with technology ? one that is truer to the history of
our species and useful for building a more democratic
future. This tradition does not address ?humanity? in the
abstract, but as distinct human beings, whose capacities
are shaped by the tools they use. It sees us as hybrids of
animal and machine ? as ?cyborgs?, to quote the
biologist and philosopher of science Donna Haraway.
To say that we?re all cyborgs is not to say that all
technologies are good for us, or that we should embrace
every new invention. But it does suggest that living well
with technology can?t be a matter of making technology
more ?human?. This goal isn?t just impossible ? it?s also
dangerous, because it puts us at the mercy of experts
who tell us how to be human. It cedes control to those
who believe they know what?s best for us because they
understand the essential truths about our species.
The cyborg way of thinking, by contrast, tells us that
our species is essentially technological. We change as
we change our tools, and our tools change us. But even
though co-evolution with our machines is爄nevitable,
the way it unfolds is not. Rather, it is determined by who
owns and runs those machines. It爄s燼 question of power.
Today, that power is wielded by corporations, which
own technology and run it for profit. The scandals that
have stoked the tech backlash share a source. Surveillance, fake news and the miserable working conditions
in Amazon?s warehouses are profitable. They are
symptoms of a profound democratic deficit inflicted
by燼 system that prioritises the wealth of the few over
the needs and燿esires of the many.
There is an alternative. If being technological is a
feature of being human, then the power to shape how we
live with technology should be a fundamental human
right. The decisions that most affect our technological
lives are far too important to be left to Mark Zuckerberg,
rich investors or a handful of ?humane designers?.
They爏hould be made by everyone, together.
Rather than trying to humanise technology, then,
we爏hould be trying to democratise it. We should be
demanding that society as a whole gets to decide how
we live with technology ? rather than the small group
of爌eople who have captured society?s wealth.
What does this mean in practice? First, it requires
limiting and eroding Silicon Valley?s power. Antitrust
laws and tax policy offer ways to claw back the fortunes
Big Tech has built on common resources. After all,
Silicon Valley wouldn?t exist without billions of dollars
of public funding, not to mention the vast quantities of
information that we all provide for free. Facebook?s
market capitalisation is $500bn with 2.2 billion users ?
do the math to estimate how much the time you spend
on Facebook is worth. You could apply the same logic to
Google. There is no escape: whether or not you have an
account, both platforms track you around the internet.
In addition to taxing and shrinking tech firms,
democratic governments should be making rules about
how those firms are allowed to behave ? rules that
restrict how they can collect and use our personal data,
for instance. But more robust regulation of Silicon
Valley isn?t enough. We also need to pry the ownership
of our digital infrastructure away from private firms.
This means developing publicly and co-operatively
owned alternatives that empower workers, users and
citizens to determine how they are run. These structures
can focus on serving needs rather than piling up profits.
One inspiring example is municipal broadband: a
successful experiment in Chattanooga, Tennessee, has
shown that publicly owned internet service providers
can supply better service at lower cost than private firms.
Other models might include a worker-owned Uber, a
user-owned Facebook or a socially owned ?smart city?
of the kind being developed in Barcelona. Alternatively,
we might demand that tech firms pay for the privilege of
extracting our data, so that we can collectively benefit
from a resource we collectively create.
More experimentation is needed, but democracy
should be our guiding principle. The stakes are high.
Never before have so many people been thinking about
the problems produced by the tech industry and how to
solve them. The tech backlash is an enormous opportunity ? and one that may not come again for a long time.
The old techno-utopianism is crumbling. What will
replace it? Silicon Valley says it wants to make the world
a better place. Fulfilling this promise may require a new
kind of disruption. ?
Section:GDN 1J PaGe:12 Edition Date:180503 Edition:01 Zone:
Sent at 2/5/2018 16:01
cYanmaGentaYellowbla
?
The Guardian Thursday 3 May 2018
12
Puzzles
Yesterday?s
solutions
Killer Sudoku
Codeword
Easy
Each letter of the alphabet makes at least one appearance in the grid,
and is represented by the same number wherever it appears. The letters
decoded should help you to identify other letters and words in the grid.
Killer Sudoku
Easy
The normal rules of
Sudoku apply: fill each
row, column and 3x3 box
with all the numbers from
1 to 9. In addition, the
digits in each inner shape
(marked by dots) must
add up to the number in
the top corner of that box.
No digit can be repeated
within an inner shape.
Medium
Medium
Codeword
Cryptic crossword
Solution No. 27,498
I E I A
U O
C O L UMN I S T P R O X Y
D R D P
G Y
K I L O L I T R E WE I GH
N P U E S N E
H E L I UM A S T A T I N E
D O
U
R R
C A DM I UM S P O N S O R
H O
P A
O
AS SENTER COBAL T
U R O S O E A
C L U B S B E R Y L L I UM
F I
N O I D
QUEUE M I NT J U L E P
R M
C E M D
Guardian cryptic crossword No 27,499 set by Tramp
1
2
3
4
5
6
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
24
23
25
26
Stuck? For help call 0906�0��.
Calls cost �10 per minute, plus your
phone company?s access charge.
Service爏upplied by ATS.
Call�30�3�46 for customer
service�(charged at standard rate).
Want more? Get access to more than
4,000 puzzles at theguardian.com/
crossword. To buy puzzle books, visit
guardianbookshop.com or call
0330�3�46.
7
27
Across
1 Half of really friendly city (6)
4 Shoot right rabbit on fencing (6)
9 In which soldiers may drop
bombs (4)
10 More than one quashing ?
mental nuns wrestling (10)
11 See 16
12 Picture headless cartoon
character in short episode (8)
13 Home time ? one shot to capture
route (9)
15 Director having sex, second pair
of smalls discarded (4)
16,11 Controlling back of Wallace
and Gromit in animation (10)
17 Fast runner to show off brand
(6,3)
21 Vegetable with potassium? Cooks
boil hard leaves off end (8)
22 Primarily Shaun the Sheep dead
drunk (6)
24 Late talks for groups of
clergymen (10)
25 Took home wheels for cheese (4)
26 Stops to collect Oscar with
awards (6)
27 See 20
Down
1 Tramp turning over telly,
catching A Grand Day Out (7)
2 North American native that is
wrong to be upset (5)
3 Cock-up by one in animated
series? (7)
5 Nick Park (4,2)
6 Demands too much with public
cuts (9)
7 Great film (7)
8 Wrong trousers cut below hip (13)
14 Due to land, terribly bumpy (9)
16 Money to tie up, fell over time (7)
18 On models, section in middle
sticks out (7)
19 Expert presenter of art film, that?s
clear (7)
20,27 Fine to take off A Close Shave
(6,6)
23 Fluid piece from Ren� Magritte
(5)
process is a soft Brexit of some kind.
If we see May?s purpose as being to obtain the least
divisive爏oft Brexit for the Tory party, we are much
closer爐o understanding what is happening.
Yet there will be divisions. Some Tories will reject
any soft Brexit, although no cabinet Brexiteer has
said it is a resignation matter. But the issue need not
bring May?s government down. Jacob Rees-Mogg?s
Eurosceptic爏abre-rattling over the customs issue this
week is a bluff she will have to call.
In the end and with no small irony, the pivotal issue
in Brexit is the same one that in different ways has so
haunted British politics for more than two centuries
? justice for Ireland. Today, peace and prosperity in
Ireland depend upon a soft Brexit for which there is a
parliamentary majority. A hard Brexit, with a hard Irish
border, is clueless, delinquent and playing with fire, as
Chris Patten put it in the Lords yesterday. It was a similar
choice for Robert燩eel. In February 1846, as the corn
law repeal process neared its climax in the wake of the
famine, Peel told his MPs: ?It is absolutely necessary
before you come to a final decision on this question
that爕ou should understand this Irish case. You must
do爏o.? Then, as now, it was the right advice.
?
Lord Bilimoria
is a crossbench
peer and founder
of Cobra Beer
heresa May yesterday chaired her
?war cabinet? to resolve growing
tensions in government over the
course of Brexit negotiations. This
followed defeats for No 10 in the
House of Lords as the EU withdrawal
bill is debated. Some might call us a
?house of unelected wreckers? ? I was
one of three peers pictured alongside this headline on
the front page of Tuesday?s Daily Mail. But rather than
being at war with爐he nation, we are its guardians.
When I joined the House of Lords I made it a point
to speak in debates about Lords reform. Over 12 years,
those debates have given me an understanding of the
unique role of this institution of appointed, unelected
members. It is one of the most effective parliamentary
chambers in the world, mainly because of the depth
and breadth of expertise. Furthermore, a minimum of a
fifth of members have to be, like me, independent.
This combination of expertise and independence
enables the Lords to challenge the government,
debate爄ssues and scrutinise legislation with authority.
As the EU withdrawal bill makes its way through
parliament, the Lords is a voice of reason.
The government has no defence against hundreds
of arguments ? whether discussing borders,
education or the movement of people ? other than
?we are implementing the will of the people?. Yet the
referendum was a yes-no vote, not a blank cheque to
leave the EU whatever the terms. This week we debated
whether parliament should have a meaningful vote at
the end of the Brexit negotiations. The government?s
interpretation of ?meaningful vote? is that parliament
will be given the option to accept the deal or, if not,
allow the UK to crash out of the EU on World Trade
Organisation rules. This would be a disaster.
The government has already been defeated nine
times, with Tory members voting against their whip in
almost every instance. Over this latest amendment, 19
Conservative Lords, including ex-ministers, rebelled.
MPs are caught in a trap; at the time of the
referendum, over two-thirds wanted to remain in the
EU. And yet many of their constituencies voted to
leave. The confusion is whether they see themselves
as delegates or leaders of their constituencies. Do they
have the guts to stand up and do the right thing?
And the latest amendment, far from being antidemocratic, could even lead to parliament handing the
public a vote on the final deal (or no deal). People were
given four months in 2016 to understand the complex
issue of our EU membership. Now, two years later, so
much has changed that the will of the people cannot be
interpreted as ?take it or leave it?.
The government has already shown it is willing to
bypass parliament. Far from respecting democracy, it is
bypassing it. Whichever way you look at it, if remaining
in the EU is the best option, it is the duty of the Lords to
make sure that option is available to the public.
Section:GDN 1J PaGe:5 Edition Date:180503 Edition:01 Zone:
Thursday 3 May 2018 The Guardian
Sent at 2/5/2018 18:14
cYanmaGentaYellowblac
?
5
Stop the state
kidnapping
our children
Louise
Tickle
I
magine you?re a single mother. You get injured
in a car accident, and a kind friend offers to
look after your two young boys while you?re
in爃ospital. You accept with relief. Three
weeks later, when you get home, you?re still a
bit shaky, so your friend suggests it might be
best if she has the boys for another few days.
You are unsure, but she is persuasive. First
thing on Friday you send a text saying you will pick
them up from school. A few hours later ? you?ve been
awaiting her reply, slightly puzzled at the delay ? a
text爌ings back: they are really looking forward to the
fun weekend she has planned. How about revisiting
the situation on Monday?
With mounting unease and some anger you race
over and tell her the kids are coming home with you.
You are met with a smiling refusal. Until she feels that
you are well enough, she explains calmly, they are
staying with her. Then she bundles them into her car and
heads off to a holiday camp. Presumably at this point you
would call the police. Given that there are laws in this
country about kidnap, you would get your children back
pronto, and your ?friend? would be in serious trouble.
Kidnap is not a crime typically associated with Britain.
But it is happening, right now, and the local authorities
involved don?t want you to know. High court judge
Mr燡ustice Keehan, in a scathing judgment earlier this
year at Nottingham family court, revealed that at least
16 children have been ?wrongly and abusively? looked
after by Herefordshire council, under something called
a section 20 arrangement, for ?wholly inappropriate?
periods of time. For one boy, that was the first nine years
of his life after he was born to his 14-year-old mother. For
another boy it was eight years, from the age of eight to
16, despite his mother on several occasions withdrawing
her consent. Shockingly, at the time of the judgment,
14 children were still being wrongfully looked after by
Herefordshire on section 20 arrangements.
These are not court orders. They must be a voluntary
agreement, and in legal terms they precisely mirror the
situation where the single parent consented (at first) to
her friend looking after her boys. For a section 20 to be
legal, social workers must be certain they have a parent?s
informed consent to their child being accommodated
by the state. And a parent can withdraw consent at any
time, because they keep full parental responsibility. If
Mum or Dad wants to turn up at a foster carer?s house
without notice and take their child home, they can.
No ifs, no buts. But many parents say social workers
threaten that if they do, it will mean a trip to court for
a care order. There is no surer way to scare the living
daylights out of a parent. And so frightened acquiescence
? not the same as consent ? tends to be the result.
?
Louise Tickle
writes for the
Guardian on
education, social
affairs and
family law
In the case of the boy who was on a section 20 for
the first nine years of his life, the judge observed that
repeated recommendations made by his independent
reviewing officer that his case should be brought before
a court were ignored by those above her.
The poet Lemn Sissay recently agreed to accept a
compensation package from Wigan council for the
abuses he suffered as a child while in its care. Despite
his爉other writing letters begging the council to return
her baby once she was better able to look after him, he
would not be reunited with her until he was in爃is late
20s. That was years ago, but abuses of power燼re爏till
continuing today.
Social workers must stop acting as if they are above
the law. In reporting on family cases, I have observed
the most extraordinary sense of entitlement and
arrogance when attempting to investigate and highlight
poor and unlawful practice. There is no humility. There
is instead a knee-jerk opposition to anyone presuming
to want to hold a local authority publicly to account.
Given爐hat family cases are heard in private, if爐he judge
had not rejected the council?s plea to keep its identity
secret, nobody would ever have known about the
longstanding and outrageous failings of Herefordshire?s
social work team. Why, just because the state is the
?corporate parent?, should it usually get a free pass on
scrutiny and accountability?
Kidnapping children is wrong, whoever does
it. When爄t is the state, which then argues for its
transgressions to remain secret in the family courts, it
is terrifying. There are growing calls for these courts
to lose the privilege of privacy that child protection
professionals have benefited from for so long ? because
how many more human rights abuses are being hidden
from view when judges opt not to publish judgments,
and when journalists who go to family courts are not
allowed report what they see?
Section:GDN 1J PaGe:6 Edition Date:180503 Edition:01 Zone:
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?
6
As you report (Will Grenfell sway
the vote?, 2 May), the local elections
here in Kensington and Chelsea
are a tight race between the two
main parties. Though a former
Conservative MP, I will be voting
Labour. The Tories are caught in a
trap of their own making. ?Do爊ot
vote on national issues,? they
instruct us. ?Vote on how we?ve
run your local council.? So爈et us
do as they ask, overlooking the
scandalous suffering they have
caused to the Windrush generation
and their surrender to the
Moggites爋ver Brexit.
Towering over this borough
are the charred remains of
Grenfell, a horrific and totally
avoidable tragedy in which 71
people lost their lives. Grenfell
is a constant reminder of the
Kensington Tory council?s
disgraceful penny-pinching over
its so-called ?renovation? and
the appalling mismanagement of
the fire?s aftermath, of its neglect
in caring for and rehousing the
traumatised survivors. Even the
Tory government has condemned
Our national political
system is in a state of
crisis. But local elections
can?t resolve that and
shouldn?t be tainted by it
Natalie Bennett
The Guardian Thursday 3 May 2018
Letters
Local elections and what
the results might herald
and disowned it, with the new home
secretary describing its behaviour as
?totally unacceptable?.
Keith Raffan
London
? Your leader (The Conservatives
expect a bad night on Thursday.
And they deserve one, 30 April)
does a serious disservice to your
readers, and to democracy. These
are local elections. The issues, and
the politics, are as varied as the
communities going to the polls. In
Sheffield, for example, the Labour
council?s enthusiastic backing for
the cutting down of trees by a private
contractor looms large. There are
no Tory councillors now. There will
be none on 4 May. In other cities,
towns and villages, Tory councils
are hugely unpopular for local
reasons, but Labour is not the main
opposition.
Across the country there are
hardworking, much-valued
councillors who do not represent
the Conservatives or Labour, or
any party at all, who deserve to be,
and will be, elected and re-elected
on their own merits. And there
are councillors who deserve to be
removed because they?ve failed
to properly serve the people who
elected them. Voters are choosing
individuals to represent their local
communities. A lot of their work will
be about intensely local issues.
Our national political system is
in a state of crisis and discontent
is almost universal. But local
elections can?t resolve that and
shouldn?t be tainted by it. We
desperately need stronger, more
effective local government.
That爃as to start with local
elections electing the best possible
councillors as representatives of
their燾ommunities.
Natalie Bennett
(Former leader, Green party of
England and Wales), Sheffield
? Boundary changes and a
reduction in the number of city
councillors have certainly made
Birmingham less predictable than
usual. This is especially so in Sutton
Coldfield. Boundary changes in the
constituency have favoured Labour.
Beyond this, Sutton has the
largest town council population in
the country, currently dominated
by highly partisan Tories, and
Labour has reached an agreement
with the other smaller parties not
to fight each other. PR would be
better, but if the agreement works,
it may provide a template for future
cooperation which may encourage
Labour nationally to take a more
benign view of collaboration
with other parties in the national
interest爐han爄t爃as shown to date.
The town council result will be
announced on Saturday morning.
Watch with interest. It may be a
pointer to the future.
Roy Boffy
Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands
? Your leader writer?s pro-Labour
prejudices were exposed with the
suggestion that remain supporters
should show their opposition to
the爌arty of Brexit by voting燣abour.
But燣abour is also a party of
Brexit, as shown by the sacking of
Owen Smith for backing a second
referendum. Remain supporters
should vote for a party that supports
remain: the Greens or the Lib Dems.
Dudley Miles
London
Democracy has to be about more than just voting
David Runciman (Should we put
the experts in charge?, The long
read, 1 May) is right to say that our
democracy is fatally flawed and
that爃anding over to experts is a
bad爄dea. However, we do have to
come up with an answer.
What is the democratic alternative
to the current failed elitism or
seductive populism? Democracy
simply must put its own house in
order, shed the model built 100
years ago and consciously design
an爑pgraded system appropriate
for the next 100 years. Our crude
definition of democracy as just
voting denies us the sophistication
necessary to run modern society.
Everything is reduced to a yes or
no,燽lack or white reaction.
James S Fishkin has identified
108 examples internationally of
deliberative democracy, where
the soundbite and headline have
been banished by establishing
careful, sustained and informed
consideration of issues by citizens?
institutions established for that
specific purpose, with the outcome
of such patient and self-educated
discussion often leading to legislative
and social change. From energy
policy in Texas to pension provision
in Japan and democratic renewal in
Canada, assorted varieties of citizen
engagement that complement not
threaten representative democracy
are enjoying success. It is in this
development of an advanced adult
democratic model ? tooling up, not
dumbing down ? that our antidote
to the threats of complacency,
entitlement and populism lies.
Graham Allen
Chair of the parliamentary
select committee on political and
constitutional reform, 2010-15
? An expert on politics writes that
democratic politics is better than
experts. Surely democracy is better
when it doesn?t work, or we?d have
cYanmaGentaYellowblac
the most hostile of environments,
with capital punishment, torture,
persecution of all that is intellectual
or ?different?, massive benefit cuts
and Brexit squared. Democracy
tends to the condition of 1984, where
everyone has a voice and sings
Big燘rother?s songs of ignorance and
hatred masquerading as common
sense and patriotism.
Brian Smith
Berlin, Germany
? David Runciman could be
considering other options than
?epistocracy? or ?technocracy? to
address the flaws in our democracies.
Why can?t we improve what we?ve
got, shifting towards participation?
We could use technology to include
electors in debate, teaching critical
thinking skills in the process; we
could run citizens? assemblies; we
could produce a person specification
of desirable competencies for
MPs (even if we must eschew
?essentials?); we could combat
short-termism by insisting that new
policy proposals include a review of
the previous 20 years and a forecast
(with budget) for the next 20; and
we could reposition secretaries of
state as commissioners and ?critical
friends? who develop policy in
partnership with those in the sector
who actually know how it works.
Such things might restore faith in
our爈eaders and could even engage
the wider population in addressing
some rather pressing issues such as
the environmental crisis.
Nick Nuttgens
Sheffield, South Yorkshire
? It is correct that changing from
representative democracy as we
know it to an epistocracy could lead
to a ?nightmare of oppression and
violence?. Nevertheless, there have
to be ways to improve the present
system that will encourage more
informed and responsible popular
participation while preventing
technical experts from sowing
confusion and obfuscation. While
experts are not necessarily politically
neutral, it is absurd, and dangerous,
how often expertise is denigrated
when it is at odds with ideology.
One reform would be to make it a
legal requirement for governments to
publish independent expert reviews
into all proposed legislation before
it is placed before parliament, with
a further obligation placed on the
media to publish it in full. This would
provide the electorate with the tools
needed to evaluate the degree to
which policies reflect ideology.
Such analysis would obviously
be challenged on social media,
which allows for the expression of
all opinions whether or not they are
well informed. However, to ensure
that the free expression of opinion
is not subverted by cyber-attacks or
trolling, there should be an absolute
requirement that comments posted
online carry an identifiable identity.
Finally, the only serious way
to bring voters closer to the
consequences of their actions is to
put proportional representation
back爋n to the political agenda.
Peter Luff
Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire
Section:GDN 1J PaGe:7 Edition Date:180503 Edition:01 Zone:
Thursday 3 May 2018 The Guardian
Sent at 2/5/2018 17:54
cYanmaGentaYellowblac
?
7
? guardian.letters@theguardian.com
? @guardianletters
Dawn
chorus
?Powderkegs
Morris of Chapelen-le-Frith
dancing in the
dawn on May
Morning. The
border morris
side congregates
on Windgather
Rocks in the
Peak District.
The dancers?
swirling tatters
represent an
exploding barrel
of gunpowder?
ROB PHILLIPS/
GUARDIANWITNESS
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photographs
at gu.com/
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House of Lords needs trimming
but still has a vital role to play
Your leader on the House of Lords
(1燤ay) is unfair. It makes no
mention of the special committee
I爏et up under Terry Burns to reduce
the size of the house. Its proposals
included a permanent cap on
numbers, and new members being
appointed for only limited periods.
These proposals were accepted
without division by the Lords
following a debate in December.
Since then the prime minister
has responded. Contrary to what
you suggest, she has agreed that a
reduction in numbers is necessary
and that she herself will follow a
path of moderation. No longer will
holding particular office, political
or non-political, give an automatic
entitlement to membership. The
days of mass appointments of Tony
Blair and David Cameron are over.
We are working to reduce the
size of the house but without
the advantage of legislation. The
government has made it clear that,
with Brexit taking up so much time in
parliament, it would be ludicrous to
add a House of Lords Reform Act into
the mix. It would be better, rather than
railing against the Lords, if we could
agree that the way forward would
be to make progress on reducing
numbers. That would be to the benefit
of everyone, whatever their view.
Norman Fowler
The Lord Speaker, House of Lords
? Your editorial on the bloated
second chamber notes: ?It remains
a ludicrous anachronism for any
democracy that its upper house is
wholly unelected ? The appointment
system is too often a way of rewarding
political time servers and donors.?
Our research backs this up. The
house hosts 184 ex-MPs, 26 ex-MEPs,
11 ex-MSPs, eight ex-Welsh AMs, six
ex-London AMs, 11 ex-MLAs and 39
current or ex-council leaders, as of
April last year. And it is also grossly
unrepresentative. Just 26% of peers
are women, while there is not a single
member under the age of 40.
Despite claims of ?independence?,
it is a hyper-partisan house: 78%
of Conservative peers failed to
vote against the government
once in 2016/17, while the average
Labour peer voted against the
government in 90% of votes in that
year. All this on top of the rolling
expenses scandals we see in the
unaccountable chamber.
Darren Hughes
Electoral Reform Society
? The Lords is a revising chamber
(Liam Fox accuses Lords of trying to
block EU exit, 1 May) and has every
right to propose amendments to
Commons legislation. This is British
democracy at work. If Mr Fox is
so sure of the ?will of the British
people?, perhaps he?d like to support
the campaign for the People?s Vote.
Susan Newton
Oldham, Lancashire
Corrections and
clarifications
? In early editions, an article said
the former cyclist Philippa York
? who competed as Robert Millar
before transitioning to become
a woman ? was the ?first English
speaking winner of the Tour de
France?. York won the mountain
classification in the 1984 Tour,
but not the overall race (York says
?macho? culture is preventing people
coming out, 1 May, page 43).
Editorial complaints and corrections can be sent to
guardian.readers@theguardian.com or The readers? editor,
King?s Place, 90 York Way, London N1 9GU; or call 020 3353
4736 from 10am to 1pm Monday to Friday. The Guardian?s
policy is爐o correct significant errors as soon as possible.
For爉ore information, see gu.com/readers-editor
Beckham?s tattoos
are just ?ne in Hindi
Please can we sink for ever the
notion of David Beckham?s ?misspelt
Sanskrit/Hindi tattoo? (Inking big: is
Becks ?addicted? to tats?, G2, 2 May)?
Both languages are written in the
same Devan?gar? script. As a Sanskrit
scholar, I can assure you that, as seen
in your very clear photograph, the
tattoo spells ?Vhik?oriy??, which is
exactly the way Mrs Beckham?s name
would sound to a Hindi speaker.
Without the ?h? after it, the ?V? would
be pronounced more like a ?w?.
Dr Valerie J Roebuck
Manchester
? At least the wrong versions
of Ailsa?s name are inoffensive
(Letters, 2 May). Whenever I email
my Vietnamese student, Lien, on
my iPhone or iPad, her name is
automatically changed to ?Alien?.
It seems Apple is very much in
tune with the ethos of Home Office
immigration policy, including the
outrageous inclusion of students such
as Lien in net immigration figures.
Jennifer Jenkins
Southampton
? Sometimes I receive letters that
forget about my initials and assume
I?m Scottish.
MC Smith
Guildford, Surrey
? I remember a small cul-de-sac of
housing for the elderly being built in
my home village and being named
Evans Close, and often spelt with an
added apostrophe (Letters, 2 May).
Ron Brewer
Old Buckenham, Norfolk
? I always found the best way to
avoid timewasting at meetings was to
remove all the chairs (The new rules
for a successful meeting, G2,�ay).
Jim Waight
Hertford
? I will be toasting Amelia Gentleman
with Windrush Ale, the Camra
champion beer of Warwickshire 2012.
Eric Clubley
Stourton, Staffordshire
Established 1906
Country diary
Salter?s Gate,
Weardale
The sky above this open hillside,
overlooking Tunstall reservoir in
the valley below, was filled with
skylark song, but lapwings, Vanellus
vanellus, commanded attention with
reckless display flights and calls
reminiscent of rusty hinges. Thirty
years ago, when we came here to
watch them with our children, they
christened them ?creaky doors?.
A female lapwing performed
her provocative display, tilting
forward to present a flash of white
rump with its chestnut underside,
and fanning her tail, just as a
cock ?creaky door? flew slowly
overhead, so close that we could
hear the whirring of his broad wings
and outstretched primary feathers
gripping the air. The 19th-century
naturalist Rev Francis Orpen Morris
described their flight as ?at one
and the same time laboured and
light?, and likened its sound ?to the
puffing of the engine of a railwaytrain, heard at some distance?.
The suitor rolled and tumbled
to earth, pulling out of his dive just
above the ground and skimming
across the grass in front of her, his
iridescent blue, green and purple
plumage flashing in the sunlight.
Then he stalled on outstretched
wings and performed a neat
landing, his dignity undermined
a little by a clownish bandit eyestripe and extravagant head plume.
She seemed to pay little heed to his
performance, but perhaps he had
already done enough.
On 13 April last year we found a
lapwing nest here, a rudimentary
circle of dry grass surrounding four
exquisitely mottled eggs. This spring
this moorland was still covered in
deep snow drifts throughout the
first week of April; everything is late,
even lapwing courtship.
The chances of either of today?s
pair originating from last year?s eggs
are slim. From the moment these are
laid, parent birds must be constantly
vigilant for marauding crows. Chicks
can run as soon as they hatch, so are
a little less vulnerable. Their mottled
down blends into the ground when
they lie prone in response to alarm
calls, making them harder to spot
while their parents harass predators
or try to lure them away by feigning
injury and dragging a wing. Now
that courtship is concluded, anxious
weeks lie ahead for these birds.
Phil Gates
Twitter: @gdncountrydiary
ILLUSTRATION: CLIFFORD HARPER
Section:GDN 1J PaGe:8 Edition Date:180503 Edition:01 Zone:
Sent at 2/5/2018 17:59
cYanmaGentaYellowblac
?
8
The Guardian Thursday 3 May 2018
Obituaries
? obituaries@theguardian.com
? @guardianobits
Birthdays
Vittorio Taviani
Director and writer who
created some of Italy?s
most acclaimed ?lms
V
ittorio Taviani,
who has died
aged 88, was the
elder of the two
Taviani brothers,
the film-making
duo who enjoyed
great acclaim
and success in the 1970s and 80s.
With his brother Paolo, two years
his junior, he wrote and directed
more than 20 films. The brothers
were said to work harmoniously as
one. ?We have different characters
but the same nature,? Vittorio said
in 2012. Marcello Mastroianni,
who starred in their 1974 drama
Allonsanf鄋, addressed the brothers
as ?Paolovittorio?. Asked at the
end of the shoot what it was like to
take direction from two people, he
replied: ?There were two of them??
The Tavianis won the Palme d?Or
at Cannes for their 1977 masterpiece
Padre Padrone, shot on 16mm for
Italian TV. This odyssey of rural
hardship was adapted from the
memoir of the linguist Gavino Ledda,
son of a brutal Sardinian farmer,
and elevated by its mix of neorealist
earthiness and theatricality. In the
film?s opening scene, for instance,
the real Ledda hands a stick to the
actor playing his parent: ?My father
used to carry this,? he says.
Ledda also appears at the end
Vittorio, left,
with his brother,
Paolo, on the set
of Good Morning,
Babylon in 1986.
They formed
a famous filmmaking duo and
worked together
on more than 20
productions
ERIC PR葾U/SYGMA/
GETTY IMAGES
We have
di?erent
characters
but the
same
nature
to close the book on the adaptation
of his life. In between are coarsely
poetic passages outlining his journey
from poverty to emancipation
through music and language.
There was a special poignancy to
Padre Padrone?s Cannes triumph:
the jury president that year was
Roberto Rossellini, whose neorealist
picture Paisan, about the allied
liberation of Italy, had first inspired
the brothers to become directors.
They were born and raised in San
Miniato, Tuscany, by liberal parents
who used art and culture as rewards:
their father, Ermanno, a lawyer, took
them to the opera when their grades
were good. Their mother, Jolanda
(nee Brogi), was a teacher.
They got along well enough until
their teens. ?There was a time during
adolescence when we both hoped
the other would die in a car crash,?
Vittorio said. ?I used to write plays
that contained two brothers, one
perfect, the other one evil.?
After the war they attended
university in Pisa, where Paolo
studied liberal arts and Vittorio
law. While there, they saw Paisan.
?It was such a shock because we
watched our own tragedy being
re-enacted. By seeing it, we understood better the times we had lived
through.? Leaving the cinema, they
vowed that, if they were not making
their own films within a decade,
they would shoot themselves.
Before their self-imposed
deadline was up, they completed a
short film: San Miniato, July 1944
(1954), about a massacre carried
out by the Germans in the Tavianis?
home town. They co-directed with
Joris Ivens the 1960 documentary
Italy Is Not a Poor Country and
teamed up with Valentino Orsini
to co-direct A Man to Burn (1962)
and Outlaws of Love (1963) before
branching out on their own with
The Subversives (1967), which
traced the impact of the death of the
communist leader Palmiro Togliatti.
St Michael Had a Rooster (1972),
adapted from Tolstoy?s Divine and
Human, was the first of a string
of literary adaptations that also
included Kaos (1984) and You Laugh
(1998), both based on stories by
Pirandello, The Sun Also Shines at
Night (1990), based on Tolstoy?s
story Father Sergius, and a film of
Goethe?s Elective Affinities (1996).
Patti Boulaye,
singer, 64; Rob
Brydon, actor
and comedian,
53; Alan Clayson,
pop historian,
67; Kathy Cook,
athlete, 58; Sir
Liam Donaldson,
chancellor
of Newcastle
University, 69;
The Rt Rev Peter
Doyle, Roman
Catholic bishop
of Northampton,
74; Peter Duncan,
actor and TV
presenter, 64; Ben
Elton, comedian
and writer, 59;
Rebecca Hall,
actor, 36; Sir
David Harrison,
chemical
engineer, 88;
Christina Hendricks, actor, 43;
Ken Hom, chef
and writer, 69;
Mary Hopkin,
singer, 68;
Lindsay Kemp,
dancer and mime
artist, 80; Prof
Lady (Ruth)
Lister, social
economist, 69;
Peter Oosterhuis, golfer,
70; Suzi Perry,
broadcaster,
48; Prof Mona
Siddiqui, scholar
of religion, 55;
Sandi Toksvig,
broadcaster, 60;
Frankie Valli,
singer, 84; Allan
Wells, sprinter, 66.
After Padre Padrone, the other
pinnacle of their career was The
Night of the Shooting Stars (1982),
a pastoral wartime drama set in
1944 in a Tuscan village poised to be
snatched away from the Germans
by approaching US troops. The New
Yorker critic Pauline Kael, who had
been part of Rossellini?s Cannes
jury, received the new film just as
rapturously: ?The Tavianis make
stylised unreality work for them
in a way that nobody else ever has;
in Shooting Stars unreality doesn?t
seem divorced from experience.?
Good Morning, Babylon (1987),
about set designers working for DW
Griffith, felt less assured, perhaps
because of the English-language
script and the use of Italian
locations standing in for US ones.
Their last great work was
Caesar Must Die, which won the
Golden Bear at Berlin in 2012. This
unorthodox adaptation of Julius
Caesar was shot inside Rebibbia
prison in Rome and performed
by hardened lifers, many of them
former mafia and Camorra hitmen.
Searching and powerful, it was
above all compassionate.
?We could sometimes look in the
eyes of the inmates while they were
acting and see that those eyes had
witnessed murder in real life,? said
Vittorio. ?We saw them as the children
they once were, whooping and jumping around. By the same token, we
hate with all our might what the mafia
and Camorra and so on have done.
How can we put these equally strange
emotions together? We still don?t
know how to resolve that.?
The last film directed by both
brothers was Wondrous Boccaccio
(2015), adapted from stories by the
Italian writer. Rainbow: A Private
Affair (2017), based on Beppe Fenoglio?s 1963 novel set in wartime Italy,
was directed by Paolo alone, due to
Vittorio?s poor health, though it was
presented as the work of both men.
Vittorio is survived by his wife,
Carla (nee Vezzoso), and by their
children, Giovanna, Francesca and
Giuliano, as well as by Paolo.
Ryan Gilbey
Vittorio Taviani, film-maker, born
20 September 1929; died 15 April 2018
Announcements
Top, Padre Padrone, 1977, won the
Palme d?Or. Above, Caesar Must Die,
2012, was filmed in a Roman prison
RAI/CIDIF/KOBAL/REX/SHUTTERSTOCK
Section:GDN 1J PaGe:9 Edition Date:180503 Edition:01 Zone:
Thursday 3 May 2018 The Guardian
uardian
Sent at 2/5/2018 17:27
cYanmaGentaYellowblac
?
The long read
9
B
ig
g Tech is sorry. After decades of
arely apologising for anything,
rarely
ilicon Valley suddenly seems
Silicon
o be apologising for everything.
to
hey are sorry about the trolls.
They
hey are sorry about the bots.
They
hey are sorry about the fake
They
ews and the Russians, and the
news
our kids on YouTube. But爐hey
cartoons terrifying your
bout our brains.
are especially sorry about
rmer president of Facebook ?
Sean Parker, the former
ustin Timberlake in The Social
who was played by Justin
ly lamented the ?unintended
Network ? has publicly
e platform he helped create:
consequences? of the
at it?s doing to our children?s
?God only knows what
stein, an engineer who helped
brains.? Justin Rosenstein,
e? button and Gchat, regrets
build Facebook?s ?like?
o technology that he now
having contributed to
ically damaging, too. ?Everyone
considers psychologically
stein says. ?All of the time.?
is distracted,? Rosenstein
rnet became widely used by the
Ever since the internet
public in the 1990s, users have heard warnings that it
arly years, many commentators
is bad for us. In the early
e as a parallel universe that
described cyberspace
siasts whole. The media fretted
could爏wallow enthusiasts
about kids talking to strangers and finding porn.
udy from Carnegie Mellon
A爌rominent 1998 study
hat spending time online
University claimed that
pressed and antisocial.
made爕ou lonely, depressed
In the mid-2000s, as the internet moved on to
ical and virtual life began to
mobile devices, physical
ts celebrated the ?cognitive
merge. Bullish pundits
y crowdsourcing and the techsurplus? unlocked by
savvy campaigns of Barack Obama, the ?internet
gside these optimistic voices,
president?. But, alongside
isted. Nicholas Carr?s The
darker warnings persisted.
ed that search engines were
Shallows (2010) argued
d, while Eli Pariser?s The Filter
making people stupid,
d algorithms made us insular
Bubble (2011) claimed
by爏howing us only what we wanted to see. In Alone,
Together (2011) and Reclaiming Conversation (2015),
d that constant connectivity was
Sherry Turkle warned
nteraction impossible.
making meaningful interaction
dustry, techno-utopianism
Still, inside the industry,
ley seemed to assume that the
prevailed. Silicon Valley
ing were always forces for good ?
tools they were building
and that anyone who questioned them was a crank or
a luddite. In the face of an anti-tech backlash that has
6 election, however, this faith
surged since the 2016
ng. Prominent people in the
appears to be faltering.
ng to acknowledge that their
industry are beginning
armful effects.
products may have harmful
n?t new. But never before have so
Internet anxiety isn?t
many notable figuress within the industry seemed so
orld they have made. Parker,
anxious about the world
ther insiders now talking about
Rosenstein and the other
hones and social media belong to
the harms of smartphones
ential current of tech critics
an informal yet influential
con Valley. You could call them
emerging within Silicon
?. Amid rising public concern
the ?tech humanists?.
he industry, they argue that the
about the power of the
h its products is that they
primary problem with
nd our humanity.
threaten our health and
d t are d
i
d to
t b
It is clear that these products
designed
be
maximally addictive, in order to harvest as much of
our attention as they can. Tech humanists say this
business model is unhealthy and inhumane ? that it
damages our psychological well-being and conditions
us to behave in ways that diminish our humanity. The
main solution that they propose is better design. By
redesigning technology to be less addictive and less
manipulative, they believe we can make it healthier ?
we can realign technology with our humanity and
build products that don?t ?hijack? our minds.
The hub of the new tech humanism is the Center
for Humane Technology in San
Francisco. Founded earlier this year, the
?
rno igel
a
T
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en ira W
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By Mo
and
Why Silicon
Valley can?t ?x itself
Tech insiders have ?nally started admitting their
mistakes ? but the solutions they are o?ering
could爃elp the big players get more powerful
ILLUSTRATION BY LEE MARTIN
Section:GDN 1J PaGe:10 Edition Date:180503 Edition:01 Zone:
Sent at 2/5/2018 17:27
?
10
nonprofit has assembled an impressive roster of
advisers, including investor Roger McNamee, Lyft president John Zimmer, and Rosenstein. But its most prominent spokesman is executive director Tristan Harris, a
former ?design ethicist? at Google who has been hailed
by the Atlantic magazine as ?the closest thing Silicon
Valley has to a conscience?. Harris has spent years
trying to persuade the industry of the dangers of tech
addiction. In February, Pierre Omidyar, the billionaire
founder of eBay, launched a related initiative: the Tech
and Society Solutions Lab, which aims to ?maximise the
tech industry?s contributions to a healthy society?.
As suspicion of Silicon Valley grows, the tech
humanists are making a bid to become tech?s loyal
opposition. They are using their insider credentials to
promote a particular diagnosis of where tech went
wrong and of how to get it back on track. For this, they
have been getting a lot of attention. As the backlash
against tech has grown, so too has the appeal of techies
repenting for their sins. The Center for Humane
Technology has been profiled ? and praised by ? the
New燳ork Times, the Atlantic, Wired and others.
But the real reason tech humanism matters is because
some of the most powerful people in the industry are
starting to speak its idiom. Snap CEO Evan Spiegel has
warned about social media?s role in encouraging ?mindless scrambles for friends or unworthy distractions?, and
Twitter boss Jack Dorsey recently claimed he wants to
improve the platform?s ?conversational health?.
Even Mark Zuckerberg, famous for encouraging his
engineers to ?move fast and break things?, seems to be
taking a tech humanist turn. In January, he announced
that Facebook had a new priority: maximising ?time well
spent? on the platform, rather than total time spent. By
?time well spent?, Zuckerberg means time spent interacting with ?friends? rather than businesses, brands or
media sources. He said the News Feed algorithm was
already prioritising these ?more meaningful? activities.
Zuckerberg?s choice of words is significant: Time Well
Spent is the name of the advocacy group that Harris led
before co-founding the Center for Humane Technology.
In April, Zuckerberg brought the phrase to Capitol Hill.
When a photographer snapped a picture of the notes
Zuckerberg used while testifying before the Senate,
they included a discussion of Facebook?s new emphasis
on ?time well spent?, 
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