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The Guardian e-paper Journal - May 8, 2018

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Section:GDN 1J PaGe:1 Edition Date:180508 Edition:01 Zone:
Sent at 7/5/2018 18:37
The hacking victims need Leveson completed Ed Miliband, page 4
Yes, there is a positive case for nationalism Zoe Williams, page 5
Our world in a chicken nugget The long read, page 9
The Guardian Tuesday 8 May 2018
and ideas
The EU’s values
are now under
attack. It must
defend them
Garton Ash
oris Johnson should change his
name and move to Hungary. “My
policy on cake,” Johnson famously
says, “is pro having it and pro eating
it.” With this approach to Brexit,
the British government will end up
neither having its cake nor eating it.
Viktor Orbán’s nationalist populist
Hungarian government, by contrast, is triumphantly
practising the Johnson doctrine. It receives more
European Union cake per capita than any other member
state while mustering nationalist support by biting the
Brussels hand that feeds it. Boris Johnzsönhelyi would
be a happy trooper on the Danube.
Poland is also having its cake and eating it.
According to European commission figures, more than
half of all public investment in Hungary and Poland in
2015-17 was funded by the EU. I recently visited one of
Poland’s poorest regions; wherever I went there was
a road, a bridge, a marketplace or a train connection
being modernised with EU funds. Yet the country’s de
facto leader, Jarosław Kaczyński, has eviscerated the
independence of the courts, turned public service radio
and television into propaganda organs for his Law and
Justice party, and continues to pursue Orbánisation
à la polonaise. He hasn’t got as far as Orbán, but the
consequences of east-central Europe’s largest country
sliding into Hungarian-style soft authoritarianism would
be larger for the whole EU.
Here is a fundamental challenge to anyone who thinks
the EU should stand for values of liberal democracy,
pluralism, the rule of law and free speech. If it doesn’t
defend these values at home, it cannot be credible
advocating them abroad.
Reflecting on Hungary, the political scientist JanWerner Müller asks: “Can a dictatorship be a member of
the EU?” Of course, Hungary is not yet a dictatorship,
but the EU has completely failed to draw a red line and
say “thus far and no further”. I am confident Britain
will remain a liberal democracy even if it leaves the EU;
Hungary and Poland, by contrast, will remain members
of the EU but are ceasing to be liberal democracies. In
the very countries where, three decades ago, the causes
of freedom and Europe advanced so magnificently arm
in arm, these causes are now being prised apart by antiliberal populists exploiting a longstanding disconnect
between the Europe of values and the Europe of money.
This problem runs through the history
of European integration, with the values
being defended by the Council of Europe,
Viktor Orbán at
a Fidesz party
rally last month
Section:GDN 1J PaGe:2 Edition Date:180508 Edition:01 Zone:
Sent at 7/5/2018 18:25
The Guardian Tuesday 8 May 2018
The EU’s values are now under
attack. It must defend them
Timothy Garton Ash
Continued from front
its European court of human rights, and to
some extent the Organisation for Security
and Cooperation in Europe – whose election
monitors criticised Hungary’s running of its recent
election. The EU started life as an economic community.
For decades now, attempts have been made to reverseengineer the values back into the economic community.
This has worked well in influencing the behaviour
of countries aspiring to EU membership, but once a
country like Hungary is inside the union, it rapidly finds
it can get away with almost anything.
What can the EU do? It has applied to Poland
an elaborate procedure for addressing “systemic”
threats to the rule of law, including proceedings for
infringement of the treaties. This has been important
symbolically, but largely ineffective. Poland’s own
ombudsman, Adam Bodnar, finds that the rule of
law has already been seriously undermined, and the
constitutional court emasculated. Brussels has been
playing chess against a kickboxer. The kickboxer wins.
For the first time, the EU has activated article 7 of its
basic treaty, identifying a serious and persistent breach
of fundamental EU values in Poland. Article 7 envisages
sanctions including suspension of voting rights in the
union’s internal decision-making, so long as all other
member states agree. But they won’t, because Hungary
will have Poland’s back and Poland Hungary’s.
ncreasingly, attention has turned to linking
the money countries get from Brussels to
respect for the rule of law. In last week’s
proposal for the EU’s 2021-27 budget, the
European commission has elaborated a
remarkable procedure: if there are “generalised
deficiencies” in a member state’s legal system,
the EU can cut the flow of funds. Since such an
action only requires a majority in the European council,
Poland and Hungary couldn’t veto it.
In addition, the European anti-fraud office and
the European public prosecutor are to crack down
on corruption in the distribution of EU funds. This
matters because a crucial part of east-central European
Johnsonism is using EU funds for political patronage,
rewarding supportive media owners and other cronies,
as well as more straightforward pocket-lining. The
outsize, brand new football stadium and barely used
single-gauge railway near Orbán’s childhood village of
Felscút has become a global symbol of this.
The European commission proposals are welcome,
but will not begin to bite for several years. We need
something with more immediate impact. That
something is the expulsion of Orbán’s Fidesz party from
the European People’s Party (EPP) before next year’s
European elections. The EPP is the EU’s main grouping
of centre-right parties. Leading figures from its member
parties include German chancellor Angela Merkel,
Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy, European
commission president Jean-Claude Juncker, and
European council president Donald Tusk.
Party groupings such as this are supposed to be at the
heart of the EU’s internal democratisation. Yet it keeps
in its ranks a party that is not only dismantling liberal,
pluralist democracy at home, but fought its last election
on an anti-Brussels, xenophobic platform, including
dog-whistle antisemitism in posters plastered across the
country targeting George Soros and a fictional “Soros
plan” for flooding Hungary with Muslim migrants. The
EPP does not merely tolerate Fidesz; it actively supports
it. As the Fidesz MEP József Szájer noted in an email to
fellow MEPs, EPP parliamentary leader Manfred Weber
“came … to Budapest to support our campaign, to
stand firm beside us”, and party president Joseph Daul
“considerably helped us to score this success”.
When I make this argument to friends in these
centre-right parties, they say: “Oh, but it’s still better
to have Orbán inside because we can influence him
there.” And so they go on nursing the classic illusions of
appeasement, playing chess against a kickboxer.
We don’t have time for this any more. The
matter is urgent. If Poland follows the Hungarian
path, much of east-central Europe will have
succumbed to creeping authoritarianism – and all
of this will have happened inside the European Union.
Founded 1821 Independently owned by the Scott Trust № 53,403
‘Comment is free… but facts are sacred’ CP Scott
Social justice
We must remake the
threatened contract
between generations
It will soon be a year since Theresa May’s mid-election
U-turn in 2017 on her party manifesto’s social care
proposals. That volte-face changed the outcome of
the general election and reshaped British politics.
Opponents were able to damn the proposal as a
“dementia tax” and to force Mrs May to scuttle the idea,
even while she continued to protest, absurdly, that
nothing had changed. Mrs May has never quite recovered
– and nor has the debate about long-term care. Twelve
months on, her humiliation still casts a shadow over the
politics of social policy.
It must be hoped that today’s final report of the
intergenerational commission set up by the Resolution
Foundation thinktank is not destroyed on the launch pad
in the same way. There are good reasons to think that it
won’t be: this is not an election campaign and it is not
being put forward by the government. In fact, this report
is potentially far more significant than last year’s botch.
It is vital that British politics at the highest levels in all
parties begins to address the issues and the proposals
put forward by David Willetts and his well qualified and
politically balanced commission – his team included
the heads of both the TUC and the CBI. For unless the
intergenerational contract, between the old, those in
working families and the young, is convincingly reset in
the 21st-century terms that the commission proposes,
the tensions between the successful and the struggling
in society will widen and the credibility of consensual
democratic politics will suffer another destructive jolt.
Unlike Mrs May a year ago, Lord Willetts and his
colleagues have put forward an interlocking and holistic
set of proposals. They have spent two years looking at
health and social care, the housing market, the pension
system and the decline in real wages, especially among
the young. Their proposals are not in separate silos. The
whole thing is predicated on the mutual dependence
Youth crime
The weekend’s upsurge in
violence needs a response
from both state and society
For most of this country the hot weather over the
long weekend was a delight. It may have removed
the occasion for grousing about the unseasonal rain,
whatever the season may be, which is one of the
traditional folk customs of the English, but it left plenty
of scope for others: cursing the incompetence of train
companies or grumbling in a traffic jam on the way to a
garden centre. But in those parts of London where bank
holiday expeditions to the seaside, the garden centre
or anywhere else don’t figure large in people’s lives,
the weekend was one of crime and the fear of crime.
Four people were shot, the youngest 13, and one, a
17-year-old boy, died. Three more men were victims of
an acid attack; a 43-year-old man was stabbed. These
are horrifying statistics, and each statistic is to the
people involved a tragedy as well. The words of Pretana
Morgan, whose son Rhyhiem was killed on Saturday,
need to be heard: “Let my son be the last and be an
example to everyone.”
It’s sadly certain that her son won’t be the last. The
weekend’s violence continues a trend that has been
horribly apparent all year and suggests that London is
now becoming as violent as some American cities. But
what can be done? The worst possible response would be
of the generations – rather than on their rivalry in
the contest for resources. An intergenerational pact
underlies and defines the possibilities of the welfare
state, as it does for many families. At the moment,
however, the pact is frayed and the outcomes are
unfair. That must change.
The commission’s recipes range from the cradle
to the grave and from the mainstream policy idea to
the novel. All 25-year-olds would receive a £10,000
“citizen’s inheritance” payment for restricted
housing or business use, financed out of a new
lifetime receipts tax to replace inheritance duties.
Older people would benefit from a £2bn boost to
social care, paid for out of higher property taxes. The
health service would get an extra £2.3bn levy as a
result of new national insurance rules on the earnings
of those above pension age. Reforms to housing
are central to the approach and are aimed at young
people and those with young families. Health, social
care and pensions would meanwhile be strengthened
for older people.
The commission is coy about providing a
comprehensive costing of all its proposals, though
individual plans are mostly linked to a wide variety
of tax changes. But there is no shirking the centrality
of the state in engineering the restoration of social
interdependence through a new social deal. That
new deal would reshape the burden of taxation in
favour of the young and at the expense of many of the
old. Much of this is a very direct challenge to recent
political orthodoxy, because older voters – more proleave and pro-Conservative – would be expected to
do more than at present to finance the life chances of
young ones – more pro-remain and pro-Labour.
Resources are unfairly distributed, but they are
not infinite. Not all injustices can be solved by higher
health spending or by higher taxation confined
to the very rich, although some of them can. The
commission is right that public sentiment remains
wholeheartedly in favour of intergenerational
fairness, but it is also right that society has changed,
particularly as a result of ageing. Reforms and tradeoffs are inescapable. A year ago, Mrs May’s attempt
to confront the electorate with one of the hard policy
dilemmas in this field was a disaster. Now politics
must begin that task again – and do it properly.
to routinise it, and no longer to see what is happening.
The gap between the England of garden centres and
traffic jams in the sun and the pavements of the inner
cities must not widen further or both will suffer.
This is not a problem with any one solution.
Policing cuts have certainly not helped. The
restoration of visible neighbourhood policing
may be a necessary part of restoring a sense of
neighbourhoods rather than territories. The
Tottenham MP, David Lammy, has pointed out
the role of the illicit drug economy in fuelling both
violence and gang culture. The link that he sees this
making between rich and poor is entirely malign:
money is transferred from rich neighbourhoods to
poor ones not through redistributive taxation but
by the purchase of drugs. Beyond that there is the
role of social media in amplifying age-old patterns
of adolescent male aggression and boasting, so that
the YouTube video becomes a champion’s challenge
to the opposing army. The breakdown of traditional
family structures, and then the destruction of those
welfare arrangements that were meant to help and
support single mothers, tend to leave young men
lost, dangerous and endangered. All of these factors
must be addressed, which is beyond the scope of the
Home Office, or even the government, alone. Civil
society must do its part. Public interest in the murder
rate in London will fluctuate with the headlines and
when they move on, the crimes will be as forgotten
as the weekend’s weather. But public policy should
remain steadily focused. Politicians must distinguish
between problems that are urgent and those that are
important, and the importance of this one will not
diminish, tragically, for years.
Section:GDN 1J PaGe:3 Edition Date:180508 Edition:01 Zone:
Tuesday 8 May 2018 The Guardian
Sent at 7/5/2018 18:15
No one
will cherish
the deal. On leaving,
Brexiteers will still
cling to grievances
channelled against
Brexit is a mess.
Ultimately even
its cheerleaders
will abandon it
t some point, we will need new words
for “remainers” and “leavers”. They
are legacy terms from a one-off
campaign that will, on Brexit day,
become obsolete. Does remain then
become rejoin? Will leavers turn into
stay-outers? Or perhaps the labels
will outlive their original function. It
happens. People who describe politics in terms of “left”
and “right” aren’t talking about seating arrangements
in the French national assembly at the end of the 18th
century, although that is where the categories were
born. I doubt that the Brexit brands will be so durable, or
mutate so far, but they have come a long way already.
Remainer is the more elastic of the two. It applies to
full-throttle revanchists who campaign to dispose of
Brexit altogether. But it is also used for soft-leavers in the
cabinet who have signed up to Theresa May’s negotiating
agenda, and that doesn’t involve much remaining at all.
Beyond Westminster, there is a tenuous link between
domestic Brexit tribes and the institutions commonly
(and inaccurately) called “Brussels”. Some ideological
Eurosceptics read the treaties before denouncing them,
but they are a minority of leave voters. Most wanted rid
of the European Union for less precise reasons.
Remainers and leavers accuse each other of
exaggerated passion – naively romantic or aggressively
paranoid – for concepts that are only tangentially
connected to the actual EU. Both are right. Britain’s
membership of the club has become a proxy for
culture wars fought on multiple fronts: immigration,
globalisation, environmentalism, even penal policy.
A misalignment of party allegiance and territorial
strongholds in the Brexit culture war is wreaking
havoc with conventional political models. That, in part,
was the story of last week’s local elections. It doesn’t
matter to leave voters in, say, Amber Valley, that Jeremy
Corbyn endorses the referendum outcome. His party
hums with the socially liberal, metropolitan cultural
vibrations of Brexit-bashing London. So Labour did
fine in the capital and other big cities, but struggled
to capture more provincial targets.
Many of the Tory high priests of Brexit style
themselves as liberals. Boris Johnson is much more
relaxed about immigration than May. Michael Gove is
A campaign sign
in Derbyshire,
June 2016
waging a millennial-friendly war on discarded plastic.
But a Govian eco-Brexit doesn’t impress remain voters
in Richmond upon Thames, who see it as a green patina
only recently formed on the roof of a church whose
patron saint is Nigel Farage.
Many Tory leavers resent that characterisation. But
if they didn’t want their image contaminated by bitter
intolerance, they should have been more careful about
the company they kept in the referendum campaign,
and the racially tinted messages they borrowed.
Besides, backbench Eurosceptic hardliners keep the
flame of nationalist grievance roaring because it burns
bridges to Europe so much more efficiently than their
own rarefied arguments about regulatory divergence.
Jacob Rees-Mogg would not have as much purchase
on the current debate over customs regimes, for
example, if it were framed as the quest for a technical
solution to a problem raised by May’s commitment to
a very hard version of Brexit (which it is). His voice is
amplified by culture warrior megaphones, rallying leave
partisans to defend the one true Brexit.
That dynamic is hardwired into the whole project.
There is a mismatch between leave culture, which
thrives on heroic simplifications, and leaving in
practice, which is a labyrinth of unheroic complications.
The deeper into the maze May plunges, the harder it
gets for those who campaigned with promises of a swift
and easy escape to express sincere satisfaction with the
final product. Many Tories will decide that any Brexit
is better than none. They will murmur their assent to
May’s deal and, once Britain has been bundled out of
the EU, agitate for new leadership. They will not reject
May’s Brexit, but nor will they rush to own it.
hat is because none of the advertised
benefits of leaving the EU will
materialise. Leavers will experience
total victory in the political battle
over EU membership, but without
equivalent advances in the culture
war. May’s deal will not accelerate
reconciliation between a younger,
liberal generation that feels its future has been
vandalised by its elders. And, over time, the brutal logic
of human mortality favours the junior cohort. I don’t
like the ugly, ghoulish habit that some remainers have
of mapping a route to pro-European majorities through
the graveyards of ageing leavers. Still, the underlying
demographic observation is not entirely false.
A less macabre observation in the same vein is that
the historical trend is for British provinces to look
and behave more like the big cities, not the reverse.
In terms of social attitudes, where London goes,
Nuneaton follows. And when politics is consumed by
culture wars, that is bad news for the Tories, even if
Brexit passes without economic calamity.
The remainer tribe isn’t going to renounce its
metropolitan mores just because the cause of remaining
in the EU is lost. And the leaver tribe, upon leaving,
will cling to grievances that were channelled against
Brussels but not caused there. Neither side will cherish
May’s messy deal and, because it will be unloved in the
country, few MPs will have much incentive to defend it.
There may be no shortage of will to deliver Britain out
of the EU now, but in time there will be a great washing
of hands and collective denial of responsibility for the
deed. Brexit is the adopted child of a whole generation
of politicians. It will be an orphan one day.
Section:GDN 1J PaGe:4 Edition Date:180508 Edition:01 Zone:
Sent at 7/5/2018 18:24
Why Britain is
losing the fight
against money
ritain’s overseas territories are to be
forced to adopt public registers of
company ownership by the end of
the decade. That’s a step in the right
direction – and one many of us have
long been calling for. But do not let the
focus far afield distract you from the
problem closer to home. It remains too
easy to launder money through companies in the UK.
Over £90bn a year is estimated to be laundered
through the UK financial system. The government
recently announced reforms to tackle money
laundering carried out through anonymous entities.
But they will make little difference, because it is too
easy to create companies in the UK, and for the most
part, regulators do nothing about it.
Don’t believe me? Consider, then, the story of
Business Bank Italy Limited. BBIL was registered at
Companies House in 2008, giving a central London
street as its initial address. Since then, the bank’s
registered address has changed several times, and is
now in Birmingham. So far the bank has had 26 director
appointments and 24 resignations. The shareholders
and directors are mostly from Italy, Hungary, San
Marino and Spain, and are resident outside the UK. Its
website offered venture capital, wealth management
and prepaid Mastercard services to the general public.
The Guardian Tuesday 8 May 2018
The victims of
the press need
Leveson to
be completed
Several directors have had run-ins with the Italian
police. Alessandro Della Chiesa was BBIL’s first director,
a position he held until 2009, and was also company
secretary between 2010 and 2015. He had been on the
radar of Italian police for some time, and was sentenced
to six years in jail for fraud and embezzlement in 2009.
Another former director, Antonio Righi (aka Tonino
the Blond) had alleged links to the mafia. Righi was
convicted of trafficking drugs and handling stolen
goods in 2004. The carabinieri – an Italian military force
charged with police duties – has been investigating Righi
since 2008, and in 2016 Italian police seized the business
empire of the Righi brothers. Righi is awaiting trial.
Righi’s name has appeared and disappeared from a
number of UK-registered companies. Most notably, he
was once a director of Magnolia Fundaction UK Limited,
which filed documents at Companies House stating
that the name of one of its officers was “the Chicken
Thief” with the occupation of “fraudster”, and another
was resident at “Street of the 40 Thieves” in the town
of “Ali Babba”. Companies House accepted all such
returns, and in an answer to a written question, the
business secretary, Greg Clark, said no action has been
taken against the officers of the company for “filing
inappropriate information in Italian”.
BBIL is a dormant company and therefore files
rudimentary accounts that barely cover one page. Its
accounts say that in 2009 the company had share capital
of £10m. The 2014 accounts stated that the company
had a cash balance of £10m. The 2016 and 2017 filings
reported share capital of £15m but said that it was “called
up share capital not paid”. (In other words, there was no
cash). No questions have been pursued by any regulator.
his should not be happening. UK-based
financial services companies, including
banks, are regulated by the Prudential
Regulation Authority and the Financial
Conduct Authority (FCA). But I’ve
searched for “Business Bank Italy
Limited” in the financial services
register maintained by the FCA and
it could not be found – despite the fact that since 2009
certain sensitive words, such as “bank”, can only be
used in a company’s name with the express approval
of the secretary of state, although companies already
registered with sensitive names were allowed to retain
them. Surely, in the case of BBIL, there should have been
a review of its authorisation to use the word “bank”.
This has not been happening under cover of
darkness. BBIL was raised in the House of Commons
by Anneliese Dodds, Labour’s Treasury spokeswoman,
in March. It was followed up by a written question to
the chancellor asking him to explain when BBIL was
authorised to conduct business, and a number of related
questions. Eventually the FCA chief executive, Andrew
Bailey, responded on behalf of the chancellor and said
that BBIL is “not authorised by the FCA. It has never
applied for authorisation with us. It is not clear if the
company is carrying on any regulated activities … that
would require FCA authorisation.”
Despite the revelations, BBIL has so far been allowed
to retain the word “bank” in its name. Bailey confirmed
that the FCA is aware of the reports about BBIL in the
London Evening Standard, but would not say whether
his organisation has taken any action, sheltering
behind the cloak of “confidentiality” to avoid public
accountability. After questions in parliament, the BBIL
website has vanished, though the company is still live.
It is not known how many similar companies are still
registered in the UK. The UK has at least 29 anti-money
laundering regulators, with thousands of staff, yet none
seem to perform checks on companies connected with
questionable individuals. Individuals with criminal
records can still control companies here because, the
Department for Business says, “Companies House does
not have powers to verify the authenticity of company
directors, secretaries and registered office addresses”.
So this is where we are. Ministers huff and puff about
combating financial crime, but in the absence of effective
action by regulators with teeth, the UK cannot win the
fight against money laundering. Remember that the next
time you’re told we have safeguards second to none.
Prem Sikka
is professor of
accounting at
the University
of Sheffield
Ed Miliband
was leader of
the Labour
party from
2010 to 2015
ree, critical press and media are an
essential part of holding the powerful,
including politicians, to account.
The journalism that uncovered the
Cambridge Analytica and Windrush
scandals shows the press at its best. But
that vital freedom cannot be a licence
for a small minority to trample on the
lives of innocent people or to engage in, sanction or
cover up criminal activity. This was a truth universally
acknowledged, including by politicians and press,
after the revelations over the hacking of Milly Dowler’s
phone in 2011.
Tomorrow a cross-party group of MPs, including
Ken Clarke and myself, will seek to win support for an
amendment that will keep the promise of a “Leveson
part two” inquiry into the press and social media,
rather than abandoning that inquiry as the government
wishes. We are doing so because, above all, we owe it
to the victims of phone hacking and other wrongdoing
to get at the truth about what happened.
In 2011 David Cameron established the Leveson
inquiry. Part one looked at general issues around the
culture and ethics of the press, and the relationships
with politicians. It was not able to look at specific
allegations because of ongoing criminal investigations.
It was only after these concluded (which happened
in 2016) that part two was to look at “who did what to
whom” and how executives, politicians and the police
allowed it to happen. After Leveson part one, Cameron
said: “One of the things that the victims have been
most concerned about is part two of the investigation
should go ahead … It is right that it should go ahead
and that is fully our intention.”
Leveson himself is emphatic that it must go ahead.
This is about honouring our previous promises to the
victims, but also about the future. How can we act to
protect the public if we don’t know the facts about
what past abuses happened and why? As Leveson
himself recommends, the whole issue of fake news and
misuse of personal data by Facebook and social media
platforms is an essential element of part two.
But some in the press, and government, are
desperate to stop the inquiry happening. They claim
it would be “backward-looking”, but it’s obvious that
we need to look carefully at the past so we can learn
from it. We are told that any wrongdoers have cleaned
up their act, but the recent Kerslake report on the
Manchester Arena bombing expressed “dismay” at
reporters’ intrusive treatment of stricken families.
It was Cameron who in testimony to the inquiry
said its true test was: “Are we really protecting people
who have been caught up and absolutely thrown to the
wolves by this process?” It is time to apply that test.
We should honour the promises made to the victims
and vote for the completion of this inquiry. That is the
only way we will get truth and justice – and media, old
and new, that command public trust and confidence.
Section:GDN 1J PaGe:5 Edition Date:180508 Edition:01 Zone:
Tuesday 8 May 2018 The Guardian
Yes, there is a
positive case
for nationalism
Sent at 7/5/2018 18:02
was on a panel last week, talking about
good nationalism and bad nationalism.
The difference, to me, is pretty plain. Good
nationalism is a certain specific solidarity
based on the things you have created together,
as a nation, and the things you aspire to
create: you could call it, for short, Danny
Boyle nationalism, and it takes in the NHS, the
industrial revolution, the internet, as well as other less
cinematic things, such as the sewage system.
It will never be an entirely heartwarming tale – a
lot of infant bones went under the machinery of that
revolution, for instance – but national pride without
the maturity to recognise its violent elements is
saccharine. Good nationalism is inclusive not because
it constantly thumps on about how inclusive it is, but
because it includes, by definition, every man, woman
and child who contributed to the achievement.
Good nationalism does not resort to abstract selfasserted values – fairness, tolerance – that any nation
could say about itself. It has concrete achievements that
it can point to, whether of infrastructure or of living
standards, and definable aspirations that it can work
towards: green energy or universal lifelong education,
say. It is not a creed of exceptionalism – in order to be
proud of your sewage system, you don’t need France not
to have one, and you don’t need to have had one first. It
does not fear change, since generative political action
always makes change. Indeed, that’s the point. Good
nationalism is not absolute: you do not need to be proud
of Oliver Cromwell to be proud of Jessica Ennis-Hill.
The classic fissure on the left is whether or not there
is any legitimate pride to be taken from the geographical
happenstance of where you were born or made your
home. I have no problem with a bordered civic identity:
our borders describe the limits of our democratic agency.
Patriotism is democracy, distilled: satisfaction and
solidarity rooted in having created the conditions in
which generosity and innovation could thrive. I could
admire another country – but I wouldn’t take pride in it,
except at the generic level of the species.
That was how I was expecting the panel debate
to unfold: can nationalism ever be creative, or is it
necessarily destructive? I need to get out more.
Eric Kaufmann, professor of politics at Birkbeck, has
a forthcoming book, Whiteshift: Populism, Immigration
and the Future of White Majorities. He argues that what
I would call “bad nationalism” – the global surge in
rightwing populism – is driven by large-scale immigration,
and the threat it poses to the cultural identity of the
ethnic majority. Some people fear change; they prefer
the monocultural landscape in which they grew up, and
visible changes to it threaten their sense of belonging
and security. Certain attitudes are, if not hereditary,
baked in to the point where they may as well be.
He supports this view with plentiful survey data,
a favourite nugget being that the way you answer the
question, “Would you prefer your children to be wellmannered, or to be considerate?” is a major predictor of
whether you’d vote for or against Trump and Brexit.
The question is a proxy for what the cognitive linguist
George Lakoff calls the strict father (well-mannered)
versus the nurturant family (considerate) model. These
frames are the timeless and elemental organising
principles for our political divisions – authoritarian
versus pluralist, right versus left – all the way back to
Christ the Warrior versus Christ the Saviour.
I believe people respond to authoritarian and
pluralist arguments according to who’s making them,
how trenchantly they are made, and the economic,
media and political environment around them. Austerity
soil is notoriously fertile for authoritarian ideas. Yet
Kaufmann dismisses any economic factor, saying that
had there been one, 2008 would have seen an upturn
in rightwing nationalism, not 2017. My view is that
depressions take years to grind people down.
The fundamental question, though, isn’t about the
economics of nationalism, nor about whether a sense
of cultural identity with an ethnic element can ever be
accommodated, or will always be zero-sum. It is this:
“bad nationalism”, the suspicious and anti-immigrant
kind, the “hostile environment” kind, the static kind,
the kind that, out of nowhere, thinks sovereignty is
the burning issue of the day and that building a wall
will solve anything, thrives not because the majority
secretly thought this all along, but because there is no
countervailing narrative of “good nationalism”.
The nation is defined not by its puffed-up declaration
of values, nor by its tacit cultural exclusions, but by
what it built together and what it seeks to build.
Section:GDN 1J PaGe:6 Edition Date:180508 Edition:01 Zone:
Sent at 7/5/2018 18:08
A new political
economy of work is
urgently needed
that places job quality
centre stage
Professor Tony Dobbins
maintaining good habits, making
new connections, and contributing
to their local community while
earning a wage to spend in that
community. They would also have
increased their attractiveness
to other potential employers by
being on the scheme, rather than
drifting further away from the
labour market.
Employers wishing to sign up
for the scheme would be required
to show that the jobs being created
are additional roles, rather than
substitutes. Taxpayers, meanwhile,
would see the advantages of their
monies being spent not on benefits
but on jobs that deliver visible
improvements to the quality of life
in their communities.
Frank Field MP
Labour, Birkenhead
• The week of International Workers
Day/Labour Day was timely for urging
a job guarantee for UK citizens:
“a basic human right to engage in
productive employment”. Claims
of record UK employment levels
disguise the reality that many new
jobs, especially in deindustrialised
UK regions, are low-paid, insecure
and low-skill. It also ignores those
outside the formal labour market.
This is a legacy of deregulated
flexible labour market policy since
1979, exacerbated by the 2008
financial crisis. Responsibility for
finding work is placed on individual
citizens, who are expected to
compete by being employable and
resilient. The “human capital”
ideology that labour market supply
Debate on ‘God language’ doesn’t
mean all Quakers are losing faith
Simon Jenkins has it only half right
(The Quakers are right. We don’t
need God, 4 May). Quakers are
indeed in the process of looking
at the language in their “book of
words”. It is a long and thoughtful
process which happens every
generation or so. But discomfort
with “God language”is not the same
as the abandonment of a spiritual
life. Even non-theist Quakers have a
spiritual life. Nor is this questioning
of the terms we use anything to do
with a search for “comfort”.
The Quaker Testimonies (to truth
and integrity, simplicity, equality
and peace) by which we aim to live
our lives are hugely challenging.
What Quakerism offers is a space to
explore on one’s spiritual journey.
The range of expression we use is
part of a richness, not a limitation.
Helen Porter
Newtown, Powys
The Guardian Tuesday 8 May 2018
Why a jobs guarantee
would benefit us all
Sir Nicholas Soames and I are
currently drafting a bill to ensure
that the time really has come for a
job guarantee scheme (Editorial:
Both sides of the Atlantic should
embrace an idea offering hope in
grim times, 4 May). The aim of our bill is to place
the abolition of long-term
unemployment at the heart of
a post-Brexit reform agenda. It
would do so by introducing a new
duty under which the government
guarantees six months’ paid work
in the private, voluntary or public
sector, for people who either have
joined or are at risk of joining the
ranks of the long-term unemployed.
Despite another recent fall in
unemployment, the House of
Commons library estimates that
such a guarantee would help
70,000 young people in stage one.
That total would rise to more than
400,000 people once it has been
fully rolled out.
A major attraction is that
claimants who are enrolled on the
programme would regain selfconfidence while simultaneously
• As a long-standing Quaker, I write
with some concern after reading
Simon Jenkins’ article. While
there is certainly a spectrum of
beliefs among Quakers, including
those who call themselves “nontheists”, the question is more to
do with how Friends think of God
than of his absence. No one denies
the Christian roots of Quakerism.
Quakers are still officially called The
Religious Society of Friends. They
are more than a secular society,
however therapeutic that may be.
Incidentally, Quaker Oats are not
Quaker, and today they wouldn’t
have been allowed to appropriate
the name as their trademark.
Thelma Percy
Bognor Regis, West Sussex
• Simon Jenkins’ thoughtful article
deserves a much longer treatment.
As the Dalai Lama has said, “we can
of trained workers automatically
creates its own demand from
employers is a hoax, evidenced by
rising underemployment.
A new political economy of work
is urgently needed that places job
quality centre stage. For example,
the state (nationally and locally)
should intervene in depressed
regions to guarantee better jobs
grounded in necessities such as
health and social care, housing,
transport and green projects.
The government could create
new human-centred social contracts
to stop extreme cases of profit/
shareholder maximisation and
labour exploitation. Employers
trading in local communities would
comply with procurement rules
embedding social responsibilities
like good-quality secure jobs paying
real living wages, training and skills,
and trade union rights.
Professor Tony Dobbins
University of Birmingham
• In devising moves to mitigate
the looming loss of jobs by offering
guaranteed employment, it is
worth encouraging bottom-up
approaches. The universal basic
income experiment in the Canadian
province of Alberta reported
that, once economic survival was
guaranteed, many people showed
remarkable enterprise, much of it
socially beneficial.
In this country that surprising
pioneer Margaret Thatcher, in
her enterprise allowance scheme,
provided a modest income to young
people simply on the basis of a
statement as to what they planned
to do over the next few years,
avoiding the management and
heavy monitoring machinery that is
so costly. The state does not have to
find all the jobs.
Hugh Burkhardt
do without religion, but not without
spirituality”. But there is a problem
with the word “spirituality” in
normal discourse: it usually implies
some aspect of the supernatural. It is
important for many of us to reclaim
such “religious” language and recast
spirituality in a non-supernatural
way, so that it is more to do with love,
compassion, harmony, forgiveness
and so on – closer, perhaps, to the
meaning of “enlightenment”.
I have tried to do this in the book
Buddhism#Now, using words such
as “sublime” and “revered” in place
of “divine” and “sacred”. We may get
to the same state of mind in the end,
just without God.
Dr Nigel Mellor
• Fr Alec Mitchell’s question
(Letters, 5 May) about what can be
substituted for the G-word in George
Fox’s “that of God in everyone” is
easily answered: replace “G” with a
lowercase “g” and make it a double
“o”: “that of good in everyone”.
Peter Huber
Zurich, Switzerland
out of the
‘A view of
from the cable
car across the
river Thames in
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Reinstate expelled
Labour members
Last week’s local election results
were good for Labour, but not good
enough. To win at the next general
election the party should look back
at the strategy for a progressive
alliance. Last week it worked again
in Richmond, where the Tories lost
badly to a Liberal Democrat/Green
alliance. If practised with Labour
in boroughs like Westminster and
Wandsworth, Labour would now
look unstoppable.
On 8 May 2017, three members of
the Labour party in South West Surrey
were expelled from Labour for trying
to evict Jeremy Hunt, the health
secretary, through such a progressive
alliance. They backed the National
Health Action party candidate, Dr
Louise Irvine. She came a good
second, but did not defeat Mr Hunt.
But across the country candidates
and voters backed this notion of a
progressive alliance, which helped
stop the Tories in their tracks. Labour
was the big beneficiary but may not
be again unless it cooperates with
progressives of any stripe. Indeed
the tragedy is that in 60 seats the
progressive vote was bigger than the
Tory/Ukip vote – but was divided.
We could now have a Labourled government if the party had
cooperated even slightly.
Labour will need all progressives
to help get Jeremy Corbyn into 10
Downing Street. We urge the party’s
national executive committee
to act immediately to secure the
reinstatement of the Surrey members
as a signal that Labour believes in a
future negotiated by all progressives.
Clive Lewis MP, Jon Cruddas MP,
Ruth Lister, Neal Lawson Compass,
Tim Corry Chair, South West
Surrey constituency Labour party,
Hilary Wainwright Red Pepper,
Jeremy Gilbert, Sue Goss, Bert
Clough Newbury CLP, Michael
Freedman Richmond Park CLP, Keith
Chesterton Guildford CLP, Chris
Yapp Wrekin CLP, Cindy-Lou TurnerTaylor Manchester Gorton CLP and
17 others (full list at
Section:GDN 1J PaGe:7 Edition Date:180508 Edition:01 Zone:
Tuesday 8 May 2018 The Guardian
Sent at 7/5/2018 18:09
 @guardianletters
Igglepiggle makes
sense of the babble
As a former lecturer in speech and
language therapy who once set
students the task of researching the
appeal of Teletubbies and drawing
inferences for their practice with
disabled children, may I mount a
defence of In the Night Garden in the
face of Catherine Shoard’s onslaught
(Is children’s TV raising a crop of
raving narcissists?, 7 May).
As it happens, I watched it
last week with my 13-month-old
granddaughter, and was struck again
by how brilliantly the programme
is designed. The sound-making
and onomatopoeia that Shoard
so dislikes reflect the very early
emergence of words from babble
and draw attention to what happens
on screen; the way Igglepiggle and
the other characters use their own
names serves as identification.
The focus is really on narrative,
for parents and children to tell as
events unfold and are recapitulated
as the bedtime story. This also
reflects the narrative world of tiny
children – and, it should be said,
the everyday stories we all tell each
other, and which I now use in work
with people with severe learning
disabilities. It is beautifully crafted
and narrated, and such was the
effect on my stress levels that I am
planning to continue watching now
my grandchild has returned home.
Nicola Grove
Horningsham, Wiltshire
Humanity Dick and
the meat industry
Mass breast cancer
screening overrated
The announcement that thousands
missed out on mammography tests
caused distress to many women
and their families (Report, 4 May).
The implication was that they
now risked premature death from
cancer. In fact, as many experts
have been pointing out, mass
screening for breast cancer has not
been shown to have any impact on
women’s life expectancy overall
– but it does increase invasive
interventions like mastectomy. This
is why Prof Mike Baum, one of the
first proponents of mass breastcancer screening, now opposes it, as
does the growing consensus among
epidemiologists. If Public Health
England thinks otherwise, it should
publish its modelled estimates
so scientists and statisticians can
check them. In the absence of
good evidence it was disgraceful to
suggest women died needlessly. Jeremy Hunt has commissioned a
professor of oncology and a cancer
charity chief executive to undertake
a rapid review but has confined them
to narrow terms of reference that
keep ministers and their advisers out
of trouble. HealthWatch, the charity
promoting evidence-based medicine,
has long voiced concerns about both
the breast screening programme and
the associated age-extension trial.
Women and their families deserve
to have answers about who advised
governments on screening policy,
what evidence successive ministers
were given (and not given), what
political pressures were involved,
and what monitoring and governance
was put in place.
This is not just a question of IT
failure but failures of the political
system to adapt to new evidence.
Mass breast-cancer screening might
have seemed a good idea to many
at the time but now owes more to
politics and fashion than to science.
Prof Susan Bewley Chair of trustees,
HealthWatch, Nick Ross President,
HealthWatch, Dr Margaret McCartney
GP and patron, HealthWatch
“Humanity Dick” (real name Richard
Martin), who got the Cruel and
Improper Treatment of Cattle Act
that you mention in your briefing
(What is the true cost of meat?, 7 May)
passed in 1822, was the owner of
Ballynahinch Castle in Connemara.
In the middle of Ballynahinch
Lough there is a small island;
Humanity Dick used to have anybody
he found mistreating animals rowed
out there and marooned until they
repented of their crimes. He kept a
welcoming house but mortgaged
much of his estate to do so, and died
in much reduced circumstances. The
castle is now a rather splendid hotel.
Mike Harding
Cloon, Co Galway, Ireland
• Your perceptive briefing is
reinforced by one remarkable
statistic. If one considers all landbased mammals by weight, humans
account for almost one-third and
domesticated animals account for
almost two-thirds. Wild animals
constitute just 4.5% of all terrestrial
mammals, so it is hardly surprising
that one quarter of all mammals are
under threat of extinction.
Dr Robin Russell-Jones
Chair, Help Rescue the Planet
Corrections and
• A feature (The avolato – part
avocado, part gelato, all privilege,
3 May, page 7, G2) referred to
“Snowflake, a posh gelateria
with branches in London and
Manchester”. It has branches in
London and Barcelona but not, as
yet, in Manchester.
• The clue for 5 down in quick
crossword No 14,969 (30 April, page
16, G2) suggested Niger was “until
1969 a French colony”. It gained full
independence from France in 1960.
Editorial complaints and corrections can be sent to or The readers’ editor,
King’s Place, 90 York Way, London N1 9GU; alternatively
call 020 3353 4736 from 10am to 1pm Monday to Friday
excluding public holidays.
Walking down the
aisle or up the nave?
How nice of Mark Carne to “strongly
advise passengers to plan ahead this
May” (Bank holiday heatwave may
break record for early May, 5 May).
Pity that when you visit the Network
Rail website there are no schedules
available for the next bank holiday
weekend travelling from Sussex to
London until 14 May at the earliest.
Leigh Hughes
Saltash, Cornwall
• On Friday I landed at Bristol airport
from Belfast. We were all required
to show ID at the “UK Border”. The
cabinet will be relieved to know
that there were a few moans but no
riots (Fallback plan for trade border
between Ulster and rest of UK, 5 May).
Paddy Hillyard
• Given current concerns about
antisemitism, it was surprising to see
a Guardian leading article (7 May)
referring to “Old Testament spite
and vengeance”.
Jeremy Beecham
Labour, House of Lords
• I have an unusual first name
and have become accustomed to
answering to many different versions
of it over the years, but predictive
text (Letters, 7 May) must have been
the reason for an email beginning
“Dear Ovulation”, I presume…
Oula Jones
St Andrews, Fife
• My three offspring alerted me to
the fact that my “mumx” sign-off was
being changed to “minx”. Could have
been embarrassing in a wider context!
Laura Thompson
• Why is a bride said to “walk down
the aisle” (Father to walk Markle
down the aisle, 5 May), when in truth
she processes up the nave?
Paul Coones
Established 1906
Country diary
Waltham Brooks,
West Sussex
The wind is brisk and cold, but the
rain has stopped, the morning mist
is dispersing and the sun is breaking
through the cloud. My boots sink
into mud and waterlogged grass
with every step. I have to leap
across submerged ditches and pools
to avoid wading up to my calves
through the water.
I stop and listen to the birdsong
rising from the trees, bushes and
reeds all around the Brooks.
Some of the birds – reed buntings
and Cetti’s warblers – have been
here all winter, but others have
only recently arrived, and now
they’re all in good voice: scratchy
whitethroats, rhythmic reed
warblers, panicky sedge warblers,
explosive, sweary Cetti’s warblers,
and a chiming cuckoo. In the
distance, I can hear the occasional
snatches of a nightingale’s virtuoso
song, its loud, pure notes carried
across the marsh on the wind.
Large black St Mark’s flies – males
with long hind legs dangling behind
them – float in the air. Black and
white house martins and brown
and cream sand martins fly low to
feed on the emerging insects. One
by one they swoop down, stall and
then flap hard to climb again, before
flying around for another pass.
A reed bunting lands in a tall
bramble bush, a male with a smart
black cap and white collar, and a
brown patterned back. It carries a
crane fly in its beak. It swallows the
insect down, wipes its bill clean on
a twig, and sings. It’s a sharp, short
song – two brief whistles followed
by a lower trill: “seep, seep, trrr ...
seep, seep, trrr.”
I trudge on through the mud to
the riverbank. The sun is bright,
but it’s still cold. White butterflies –
small whites, green-veined whites
and an orange tip – flicker over the
The cuckoo calls again, closer
this time. It lands in the top of a
willow in the middle of the marsh
and balances, leaning forward and
holding its long tail and pointed
wings down. It calls again before
flying away.
Against the blue sky, swallows
are moving inland, and, higher still,
I can see my first returning swifts
of the spring – black, long-winged
and elegant – soaring in large,
joyful circles.
Rob Yarham
Twitter: @gdncountrydiary
Section:GDN 1J PaGe:8 Edition Date:180508 Edition:01 Zone:
Sent at 7/5/2018 17:47
The Guardian Tuesday 8 May 2018
 @guardianobits
Gwilym Roberts
Labour MP who
campaigned for the
proper treatment of
industrial diseases
here are a multitude
of ways in which an
MP can make a mark
at Westminster.
When first elected,
Gwilym Roberts,
who has died aged
89, vowed to follow
the advice of Theodore Roosevelt.
The former US president once said
that the most successful politician
“is he who says what the people are
thinking most often in the loudest
voice”. During two spells as a Labour
MP, Roberts pursued this course
relentlessly and with vigour.
Although initially the MP for
South Bedfordshire, from 1966 to
1970, and then for the Midlands
seat of Cannock, from 1974 to
1983, Roberts was a Welsh speaker
who never lost the cadences of his
birth and education in rural north
Wales, and never failed to use this
voice powerfully from the Labour
backbenches to iterate what his
constituents were thinking.
The variety of subjects on which
was a man
who went
out and
talked to
people to
find out
he pursued ministers at question
time in the House of Commons was
immense, but he was most often
concerned with issues of public
safety and always with those of
public interest. In his 13 years in
parliament, this included the fire
dangers of foam-filled furniture, the
need for proper control of fireworks,
the risks from abandoned old
fridges, motorway safety measures
with particular reference to coach
travel and moves to control football
hooliganism at matches abroad, all
of which have since been subject to
changes in the law.
As a local councillor, as well as an
MP, Roberts was a man who went
out and talked to people to find out
popular concerns, such as the future of
the sixpence, the quality of spectacle
frames offered by the NHS, why there
was a different retirement age for men
and women and, a much pursued
question, the price of potatoes.
In 1968, a year after the launch
of Radio 1, he argued for a ban on
the continuous broadcasting of
pop music (because it gave his
constituents headaches). He also
sought legislation to make the
week between Christmas and New
Year an annual holiday. Yet what
distinguished him from other
populist MPs was that he was not in
pursuit of personal promotion. His
Roberts, above,
with a bust of
Aneurin Bevan,
was proud of
his Welsh roots.
Left, a 1970 Daily
Mirror cartoon
lampooning his
attempts to bring
in legislation to
outlaw witchcraft
Sir David
naturalist and
92; Pat Barker,
75; Marcus
comedian, 45;
Jack Charlton,
football manager,
83; Viviana
Durante, prima
ballerina, 51; Jill
Evans, MEP and
former president,
Plaid Cymru, 59;
Keith Jarrett,
jazz musician,
73; Robin Jarvis,
novelist, 55;
Naomi Klein,
writer and
activist, 48;
Lord (Norman)
Lamont, former
76; Phyllida
Law, actor, 86;
Evgeny Lebedev,
proprietor, 38;
Dame Felicity
Lott, soprano, 71;
Thomas Pynchon,
writer, 81; Lord
(John) Reid,
former Labour
MP and cabinet
minister, 71;
Dave Rowntree,
drummer, 54;
Jonny Searle,
rower, 49; Gary
Snyder, poet,
88; Martha
singer and
songwriter, 42;
Gary Wilmot,
entertainer, 64.
purpose was always to secure what
he believed was a necessary change
in the law. Roberts did encounter
some public mockery when he tried
to get legislation to outlaw witches:
a newspaper cartoon in 1970
showed the then home secretary,
James Callaghan, asking: “How’s
your campaign against witchcraft
going, Gwilym?” and depicted
Roberts as a frog at his feet.
But one of his most consistent campaigns was for a proper
understanding and treatment
of industrial diseases, and compensation for those suffering from
pneumoconiosis and quarry dust
disease, suffered by miners and
quarrymen. This was a subject about
which he knew personally, not only
because his father was a quarryman
but because of his knowledge of the
industrial heritage of Wales and,
later, of the collieries in the Cannock
area which he represented for nine
years and in which he made his home
for the remainder of his life.
The son of William Roberts
and his wife, Jane, Gwilym went
to Brynrefail grammar school,
Gwynedd, and then the University
College of Wales in Bangor. He
qualified as a lecturer in scientific
management techniques and
developed a lifelong interest in the
application of automation and the
use of computers in industry at the
beginning of such advancements.
He taught at the Northampton
Institute from 1952 to 1957 and was
principal lecturer at Hendon College,
now Middlesex University, from
1957 until he was first elected to
Westminster in 1966. Between his
times in parliament, from 1970 to
1974, he taught at City University,
London. He lost his seat, renamed
Cannock and Burntwood, to Gerald
Howarth for the Conservatives in
1983, and stood again unsuccessfully
in 1987. He also tried to seek
selection for the South Wales Cynon
Valley seat, subsequently won by
Ann Clwyd at the 1984 byelection.
He first ventured into politics
when he unsuccessfully contested
Ormskirk in the 1959 general
election and then Conway (now
Conwy) in 1964. He was elected to
Luton borough council in 1965. After
his time at Westminster came to
an end, he was elected to Cannock
Chase district council, of which he
was a member for the Rugeley area,
where he lived from 1983 until 2002.
He was leader of the council from
1992 to 1999 and was instrumental
in helping to introduce new
industry into the area following
colliery closures, specifically
with the multimillion-pound
redevelopment of the Lea Hall pit at
Rugeley into what is now the Towers
business park. He was a member of
Staffordshire county council from
1985 to 1993 and from 2001 to 2009.
Roberts married Mair Griffiths in
1954. She predeceased him.
Julia Langdon
Gwilym Edffrwd Roberts, politician
and lecturer, born 7 August 1928; died
19 March 2018
Section:GDN 1J PaGe:9 Edition Date:180508 Edition:01 Zone:
Tuesday 8 May 2018 The Guardian
Sent at 7/5/2018 16:18
The long read
The true cost of cheap food
When humans are treated with so little care, animals fare even worse. It’s what happens when
you turn the natural world into a profit-making machine. By Raj Patel and Jason W Moore
he most telling symbol of the modern
era isn’t the automobile or the smartphone. It’s the chicken nugget.
Chicken is already the most popular
meat in the US, and is projected to be
the planet’s favourite flesh by 2020.
Future civilisations will find traces of
humankind’s 50 billion bird-a-year habit
in the fossil record, a marker for what we now call the
Anthropocene. And yet responsibility for the dramatic
change in our consumption lies not so much in general
human activity, but capitalism. Although we’re taught
to understand it as an economic system, capitalism
doesn’t just organise hierarchies of human work.
Capitalism is what happens when power and money
combine to turn the natural world into a profit-making
machine. Indeed, the way we understand nature owes
a great deal to capitalism.
Every civilisation has had some rendering of the
difference between “us” and “them”, but only under
capitalism is there a boundary between “society” and
“nature” – a violent and tightly policed border with
deep roots in colonialism.
First taking shape in the era of Chistopher Columbus,
capitalism created a peculiar binary order. “Nature”
became the antonym of “society” in the minds of
philosophers, in the policies of European empires, and
the calculations of global financial centres. “Nature” was
a place of profit, a vast frontier of free gifts waiting to be
accepted by conquerors and capitalists.
This was a dangerous view of nature for all sorts of
reasons, not least because it simultaneously degraded
human and animal life of every kind. What we call
“cheap nature” included not only forests and fields and
streams, but also the vast majority of humankind. In
the centuries between Columbus and the industrial
revolution, enslaved and indentured Africans, Asians,
indigenous peoples and virtually all women became
part of “nature” – and treated cheaply as a result. When
humans can be treated with such little care, it’s not
surprising that other animals fare even worse under
capitalism, especially the ones we end up paying to eat.
Animals have been at the epicentre of five centuries
of dietary transformation, which sharply accelerated
after the second world war. The creation of the modern
world depended on the movement of cattle, sheep,
horses, pigs and chickens into the new world, reinforcing
the murderous advance of microbes, soldiers and
bankers after 1492. Capitalism’s “ecological hoofprint”,
to use food scholar Tony Weis’s well-turned phrase, has
become radically globalised ever since. In the halfcentury after 1961, Weis tells us, per capita meat and egg
consumption has doubled, and the number of slaughtered animals leapt eightfold, from eight to 64 billion.
To those with a romantic view of where their food
comes from, uncooked meat appears to be a raw ingredient rather than a processed one. Quite the opposite. Feed
and oilseed crops form part of what Weis terms “the
industrial grain-oilseed-livestock complex”. Markets
for grain made it possible for meat not just to become
cheap food, but also to back financial instruments.
Futures contracts in pork bellies, for instance, in turn
require the uniformity, homogenisation and
industrialisation of the crops they transform. Raw meat
in the supermarket is, in other words, cooked up by a
sophisticated and intensive arm of capitalism’s ecology.
Where there’s profit, there’s every incentive to realise
it efficiently. Modern meat-production systems can turn
a fertile egg and a 4kg bag of feed into a 2kg chicken in
five weeks. Turkey production times almost halved
between 1970 and 2000, down to 20 weeks from egg to
16kg bird. Other animals have seen similar advances
through a combination of breeding, concentrated
feeding operations and global supply
chains. The consequences of the sustained
Section:GDN 1J PaGe:10 Edition Date:180508 Edition:01 Zone:
Sent at 7/5/2018 16:52
rise in meat consumption are a planetary affair too:
14.5% of all anthropogenic carbon dioxide (CO2)
emissions are from livestock production.
The environmental consequences of meat production
are, of course, external to industrial agriculture’s bottom
line. Nature is merely the pool from which animals are
drawn and factory farmed, and the dump into which
their, and our, waste disappears. The danger lies in
believing the division between nature and society is real,
in seeing “factory farming” as an environmental question
and “factory production” as a social question. Social
questions are environmental questions, and vice versa.
Chickens don’t turn into nuggets by themselves. Capitalists need cheap work. With the European invasion
of the new world in 1492, that labour presented itself
in the bodies of indigenous people. By the late 16th
century, when Spaniards were desperately trying to
revive silver production at the great silver mountain
of Potosí, in present-day Bolivia, they began using
the word naturales to refer to indigenous people.
Through hard work and prayer, those indigenous
people, and enslaved Africans, might find divine
redemption through work and perhaps even, one
day long in the future, entry into society as equals.
Work was never meant to be fun. Consider the
etymology of the French travail and the Spanish trabajo,
each a translation of the English noun “work”: their
Latin root is trepaliare, “to torture, to inflict suffering
or agony.” But the way work works has changed.
For millennia, most humans survived through more
or less intimate relations with land and sea. Even those
who didn’t were closely connected to the tasks and
objects of labour. Human survival depended on holistic,
not fragmented, knowledge: fishers, nomads, farmers,
healers, cooks and many others experienced and
practised their work in a way directly connected to the
web of life. Farmers, for instance, had to know soils,
weather patterns, seeds – in short, everything from
planting to harvest. That didn’t mean work was pleasant
– slaves were often treated brutally. Nor did it mean
that the relations of work were equitable: guild masters
exploited journeymen, lords exploited serfs, men
exploited women, the old exploited the young. But
work was premised on a holistic sense of production
and a connection to wider worlds of life and community.
In the 16th century, that began to shift. The enterprising Dutch or English farmer – and the Madeiran, then
Brazilian, sugar planter – was increasingly connected to
growing international markets for processed goods, and
correspondingly more interested in the relationship
between work time and the harvest. International
markets pushed local transformations. Land in England
was consolidated though enclosure, which concurrently
“freed” a growing share of the rural population from
the commons that they had tended, supported and
survived on. These newly displaced peasants were
free to find other work, and free to starve or face
imprisonment if they failed.
This history is alive and well in the modern chicken
nugget. Poultry workers are paid very little: in the US,
two cents for every dollar spent on a fast-food chicken
goes to poultry workers. It’s hard to find staff when,
according to one study in Alabama, 86% of employees
who cut wings are in pain because of the repetitive
hacking and twisting on the line. To fill the gaps in the
labour force, some chicken operators use prison labour,
paid at 25 cents an hour. In Oklahoma, chicken company
executives returned to a colonial fusion of work and
faith, setting up an addiction treatment centre in 2007,
Christian Alcoholics & Addicts in Recovery. With judges
steering addicts to treatment instead of jail, the
recovery programme had a ready supply of workers. At
CAAIR, prayer was supplemented with unpaid work on
chicken production lines as part of a recovery therapy. If
you worked and prayed hard enough for the duration of
your treatment, you’d be allowed to re-enter society.
CAAIR’s recruits were predominantly young and
white, but the majority of poultry workers are people
of colour. Latinx immigrants are a vital force in US
agriculture, and the delivery of their cheap work was
made possible by class restructuring on two fronts.
One, in the US, was a strong movement in the 1980s by
The Guardian Tuesday 8 May 2018
Cheap food has
been central to the
maintenance of order
and control of the
workers for millennia
newly aggressive meat-packing firms to destroy union
power and replace unionised workers with low-wage
immigrant labour. The other was the destabilisation of
Mexico’s agrarian order after 1994 by the North American
Free Trade Agreement (Nafta), which resulted in flows
of cheap immigrant labour – unemployed workers
displaced by capitalism’s ecology from one side of
the US border to the other.
A line on a map between two states is a powerful
abstraction, one that has been used recently by the far
right to recruit and spread fear, and for much longer by
capitalists in search of ever cheaper and more profitable
workers. Under capitalism, national territories, locally
owned land and new migrating workers are produced
With migrant workers came elite fears of the itinerant
poor. In 17th- and 18th-century England, this panic
resulted in harsh laws against vagabondage, and
the development of charities to ameliorate the worst
effects of enforced destitution. Threats of imprisonment
moved the poor into waged work, an activity that took
the intelligence, strength and dexterity of humans and
disciplined them to productive labour using another
modern invention: a new way of measuring time.
If the practice of labour shapes capitalism’s ecology,
its indispensable machine is the mechanical clock. The
clock – not money – emerged as the key technology for
measuring the value of work. This distinction is crucial
because it’s easy to think that working for wages is
capitalism’s signature. It’s not: in 13th-century England
only a third of the economically active population
depended on wages for survival. That wages have
become a decisive way of structuring life, space and
nature owes everything to a new model of time.
By the early 14th century, the new temporal model
was shaping industrial activity. In textile-manufacturing
towns like Ypres, in what is now Belgium, workers found
themselves regulated not by the flow of activity or the
seasons but by a new kind of time – abstract, linear,
repetitive. In Ypres, that work time was measured by the
town’s bells, which rang at the beginning and end of each
work shift. By the 16th century, time was measured in
steady ticks of minutes and seconds. This abstract time
came to shape everything – work and play, sleep and
waking, credit and money, agriculture and industry,
even prayer. By the end of the 16th century, most of
England’s parishes had mechanical clocks.
Spain’s conquest of the Americas involved inculcating
in their residents a new notion of time as well as of space.
Wherever European empires penetrated, there appeared
the image of the “lazy” native, ignorant of the imperatives
of Christ and the clock. Policing time was central to
capitalism’s ecology. As early as 1553, the Spanish
crown began installing “at least one public clock” in its
major colonial cities. Other civilisations had their own
sophisticated temporal rules, but the new regimes of
work displaced indigenous tempos and relationships
with the natural world. The Mayan calendar is a complex
hierarchy of times and readings from the heavens,
offering a rich set of arrangements of humans within
the universe. Spanish invaders respected it only to this
extent: they synchronised their colonial assaults to
sacred moments in the calendar.
As social historian EP Thompson observes in his
seminal study Time, Work-Discipline and Industrial
Capitalism, the governance of time follows a particular
logic: “In mature capitalist society all time must be
consumed, marketed, put to use; it is offensive for the
labour force merely to ‘pass the time’.” The connection
of specific activities to larger productive goals didn’t
allow for time theft, and the discipline of the clock
was enforced by violence across the planet.
Teaching the value and structure of capitalist time to
new subjects was a key part of the colonial enterprise.
One settler noted in 1859 that Indigenous Australians
“now … have the advantage of dating from the ‘Nip Nip,’
or Settlers’ yearly regular shearing time. This seems to
supply them with a mode of stating years, which before
they had not. Months or moons then satisfied them.”
But the regulation of time was also a focus of resistance.
Another settler wrote in a diary: “This evening there was
a grand Korroberry [sic, for corroboree, an exuberant,
possibly spiritual, gathering] – I endeavoured to dissuade
them, telling them that it was Sunday – but they said,
‘black fellow no Sunday.’” Why the resistance? Because
they knew full well that their labour was the object of
theft, that colonists were appropriating their work.
Fights over the regulation of time continue even now.
On US poultry lines, there is a federal law limiting the
speed at which birds are processed: 140 birds per minute.
The industry is lobbying to eliminate the limit, so that it
can compete with factories in Brazil and Germany, where
the rate is nearer 200 bpm. Worries about higher rates
of food contamination and worker injury are being outweighed by the certain profit from more dead chickens.
Capitalism has always experimented with every
available kind of labour system simultaneously. A sugar
plantation in 1630s Brazil, for example, would be easily
recognisable as a modern industrial operation in, say,
the Bangladeshi textile industry. Just as autoworkers on
the line assemble simplified, interchangeable parts and
fast-food workers manufacture standardised burgers, so
did African slaves work specialised jobs in a simplified
landscape of sugar monoculture.
Behind the modern factory, there has always been
a layer-cake of exploitation. Managers of factories were
salaried more than the workers, who worked with raw
materials acquired through various kinds of peonage
and natural resource exploitation, and all of them
depended on free domestic labour, usually from women.
The global factory depends on a global mine, a global
farm, and a global family.
Hence the persistence today of slavery. One UN
agency, the International Labour Organization, estimates
there are 40 million people in slavery today, the majority
of whom are women, many in forced marriages. Wartime
work camps in, say, the Democratic Republic of the Congo
supply the rare-earth metals such as tantalum that power
the physical infrastructure behind the virtual economy.
But just as management looks to find new ways to
generate profit, so workers find ways to resist. Early
capitalism’s great commodity frontiers – of sugar, silver,
copper, iron, forest products, fishing and even cereal
agriculture – were zones of experimentation in strategies
of labour control in Europe and its colonies, and always
spaces of conflict. Strikes, rebellions, negotiations and
resistance characterised the application of capitalist
work disciplines. Every resistance by labour was a new
reason to bring in machines. Modern work regimes and
technologies emerged from the crucible of experiments,
strategies and resistances of early modern workers.
Worker unrest in factories and slave rebellions, past
and present, are linked not just because they are expressions of resistance, but because they are protests against
the ecology of capitalism. Every global factory needs a
global farm: industrial, service and technological
enterprises rely on the extraction of work and cheap
nature to thrive. The apps on your iPhone, designed in
Cupertino, California, might have been coded by selfexploiting independent software engineers, and the
phone itself assembled in draconian workplaces in
China, and run on minerals extracted in inhumane
conditions in the Congo. Modern manufacturing relies
Section:GDN 1J PaGe:11 Edition Date:180508 Edition:01 Zone:
Tuesday 8 May 2018 The Guardian
Sent at 7/5/2018 16:18
on layered, simultaneous and different regimes of work.
And in response to every act of resistance against it,
capitalism has moved the frontiers of work yet again.
Hegemony over workers has been aided by cheap food,
and the promise of a chicken in every pot. Cheap food
has been central to the maintenance of order for millennia. But in the ecology of capitalism, that order has been
maintained through planetary transformation.
Since the 15th century, some land has become the
exclusive domain of specific kinds of crops and crop
systems: fields of monocultures designed to bring in
flows of cash. Other areas were reserved to house those
humans who had been excommunicated from those
lands, to be better placed at the service of capitalists in
cities. It was always a socially unstable geography, with
low industrial wages supported by lower peasant wages
supported by free gifts from nature, women and the
colonies. After the revolutions of the 19th and 20th
centuries offered workers the promise of alternatives
to exploitation, capitalist fears of urban uprising and
communism reached fever pitch. To allay this existential
dread, governments and foundations did not address
inequality or exploitation. Instead, they funded the
development of crops that would grow abundantly
enough to provide cheap food and curb urban hunger.
That it was urban, and not rural, hunger that troubled
policy makers is vitally important. Food and employment
for people in rural areas – where most of the world’s
hunger was concentrated – were of little concern. Hunger
began to matter politically only when the poor came to
the cities and translated it into anger, and thence potentially into insurrection and a challenge to the rule of cheap
nature. It’s here – in the bourgeois concern about that
rule and its need for worker quiescence – that we find the
origin of what came to be known as the Green Revolution.
The aim was to breed varieties of cereals that might
flow freely through urban areas. But the revolution
wasn’t simply an agronomic transformation. It required
more than magic seeds. In order for farmers to grow the
crops, governments had to subsidise the purchase of
crops through agricultural marketing boards, to lay the
infrastructure for irrigation, and to suppress political
dissent around alternative food systems. The Green
Revolution of the early- to mid-20th century was a package
of reforms designed to prevent the revolutionary
political goal of many peasants’ and landless workers’
movements: comprehensive land and agrarian reform.
If you squint, it’s possible to see the Green Revolution
as a success. Globally, grain output and yields (the
amount of output per unit area) more than doubled –
between 1950 and 1980. India’s wheat yields shot up by
87% between 1960 and 1980, similar to what American
corn farmers experienced in the two decades after 1935.
A rising share of all this food was traded on the world
market, with global grain exports increasing by 295%
during the 1960s and 70s. If these are the metrics of
success, then the political commitment to making food
cheap through state subsidy and violence worked.
But the prodigious output did not reduce hunger.
Wheat production in India soared, but the amount that
Indians ate hardly improved. Hunger, particularly in
an economy dependent on agriculture, doesn’t end if
Chickens don’t turn
into nuggets by
themselves: the
process requires
cheap work
people remain poor: it doesn’t matter how much grain
there is if you can’t afford to buy it. Indeed, it is a global
phenomenon that from 1990 to 2015, prices of processed
food rose far less than those of fresh fruits and
vegetables, and that in almost every country today,
the poorest part of the population can’t afford to eat
five fresh fruits or vegetables a day.
Although workers in countries belonging to
the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and
Development (OECD) saw an increase in their share
of national income after the second world war, that
reversed in the 1980s. This was a direct consequence
of anti-labour policies that scholars aptly call “wage
repression”. Given consistently low wages in the
neoliberal era, it mak0es sense to look at cheap food as
cheap not merely relative to wage costs but directly in
terms of price. When we do, it emerges as no accident
that one foodstuff whose price has fallen dramatically
is chicken in Mexico – a direct consequence of Nafta,
technology and the US soybean industry.
Nafta originally excluded agricultural goods, but they
were included at the insistence of the Mexican government, which wanted to “modernise” its peasantry by
moving them from agriculture into urban circuits of
industry. The strategy worked: Mexico’s campesino
(“peasant farmer”) agricultural economy buckled,
as evinced by the El Campo No Aguanta Más (“the
countryside can’t take it anymore”) protests that spread
throughout the country in 2003. Circuits of migration
and pools of labour for US agriculture were the result.
But at least the chicken was cheap.
Raj Patel is
a research
professor at
the Lyndon B
Johnson School
of Public Affairs
in Austin, Texas
Jason W Moore
is professor of
sociology at the
State University
of New York at
Here we come to an important point about cheap food
regimes: they guarantee neither that people are fed
nor that they are fed well – as the global persistence
of diet-related ill health and malnutrition can attest.
Capitalism’s agricultural frontiers continue to press
against the world’s peasants, who provide 75% of the
food in large parts of the global south. But while the
present is bleak, with agricultural frontiers pushing
through Amazonia and displacing peasants around the
world, in the 21st century a new wrinkle has appeared
that will fatally undermine capitalism’s five centurylong food regime: climate change.
The imagery of the frontier lends itself to thinking
only about land. But the past two centuries have
witnessed a very different kind of frontier movement:
the enclosure of the atmospheric commons as a dumping
ground for greenhouse gas emissions. In the 21st
century, agriculture and forestry (which includes land
clearance for cash cropping) contribute between a
quarter and a third of greenhouse gas emissions.
This is inevitable, because they’re profoundly energyintensive, and have become more so. That’s a big problem,
because there are no more atmospheric commons to
enclose, and no obvious way to keep the costs of climate
change off capitalism’s ledgers. Nowhere is this clearer
than in the faltering global farm, whose productivity
growth has been slowing, just as it did for English farmers
in the middle of the 18th century. Agro-biotechnology’s
promise of a new agricultural revolution has so far been
worse than empty – failing to deliver a new yield boom,
creating superweeds and superbugs that can withstand
glyphosate and other poisons, and sustaining the cheap
food model that is driving the ongoing state shift in the
world’s climate system.
Climate change represents something much more
than a closing frontier – it is something akin to an
implosion of the cheap-nature model, bringing not the
end of easy and cheap natures, but a dramatic reversal.
As a growing body of research demonstrates, climate
change suppresses agricultural productivity. “Climate”
refers to extremely diverse phenomena, including
drought, extreme rainfall, heat waves and cold snaps.
Soy, the paradigmatic neoliberal crop, has already
experienced what agronomists call yield suppression as
a result of climate change. How much remains a matter
of debate, but many analyses land somewhere in the
area of a 3% reduction in growth since the 1980s –
a value of $5bn per year from 1981 to 2002.
Worse, climate change promises absolute declines.
Each 1C increase in average annual global temperature
is accompanied by a greater risk of dramatic effects on
global farming. Agricultural yields will decline between
5% and 50% (or more) in the next century, depending
on the time frame, crop, location and extent to which
carbon continues to be pumped into the air at today’s
prodigious rates. World agriculture will absorb twothirds of all climate change costs by 2050. That means
that both the climate and capitalism’s agricultural
model are in the midst of an abrupt and irreversible
moment of change.
There is little reason to imagine that climate change
won’t break the modern food system. Worse, industrial
food production is a breeding ground for pandemic
disease, and reasoned analysis suggests that the kind
of concentrated animal-feeding operations that bring us
cheap meat will also bring viruses that could decimate
the human population. Again, this is nothing new. Just
as early-modern climate change and the plague brought
about the end of feudalism and the beginning of
capitalism, so we face a future in which climate change
and a vulnerability to big systemic shocks augur
a dramatic end for capitalism’s ecology.
We’re astute enough students of history to see that
what follows capitalism might not be better. Around the
world, fascism has emerged from liberalism’s soil. Yet
precisely as capitalism’s bills come due, communities
are both resisting and developing complex and systemic
responses at capitalism’s frontiers. Around each of the
seven cheap things that make capitalism possible –
nature, work, care, food, energy, money and lives –
there are movements that are developing alternatives.
Whether in a globally reviving labour movement, in
the Movement for Black Lives’ demands around food,
reparations and local economic sovereignty, or the
feminismo campesino y popular (“popular peasant
feminism”) developed by the La Via Campesina peasant
movement in Latin America to bring together concerns
around food, care, nature and work, movements are
both fighting and developing intersectional alternatives.
John Jordan, an activist and co-founder of the UK’s
Reclaim the Streets movement, argues that resistance
and alternatives are “the twin strands of the DNA of
social change”. That change will need resources and
space to develop. If we are made by capitalism’s
ecology, then we can be remade only as we in turn
practise new ways of producing and caring for one
another together – a process of redoing, rethinking
and reliving our most basic relations. •
Adapted from A History of the World in Seven Cheap
Things by Raj Patel and Jason W Moore, published by Verso
on 22 May, and available to buy at
Section:GDN 1J PaGe:12 Edition Date:180508 Edition:01 Zone:
Sent at 7/5/2018 16:27
The Guardian Tuesday 8 May 2018
Killer Sudoku
Each letter of the alphabet makes at least one appearance in the grid,
and is represented by the same number wherever it appears. The letters
decoded should help you to identify other letters and words in the grid.
Killer Sudoku
The normal rules of
Sudoku apply: fill each
row, column and 3x3 box
with all the numbers from
1 to 9. In addition, the
digits in each inner shape
(marked by dots) must
add up to the number in
the top corner of that box.
No digit can be repeated
within an inner shape.
Cryptic crossword
Solution No. 27,502
Guardian cryptic crossword No 27,503 set by Nutmeg
Stuck? For help call 0906 200 83 83.
Calls cost £1.10 per minute, plus your
phone company’s access charge.
Service supplied by ATS.
Call 0330 333 6946 for customer
service (charged at standard rate).
Want more? Get access to more than
4,000 puzzles at
crossword. To buy puzzle books, visit or call
0330 333 6846.
1 Pillar where water is drawn from
river (8)
5 Menial daughter, one booked by
Dickens (6)
9 Head of oldest and most
outlandish prehistoric beast (8)
10 Ash, possibly, on edges of earthen
dish (6)
12 Jam for bear (5)
13 With pound coin (new design),
reluctant to get minimal cover?
14 Making changes in device isn’t
encouraged (12)
18 Dreadfully sad judge popular on
social media (5-7)
21 Decorum — for devoutness,
rector must be involved (9)
23 Dickensian plot’s unexpected
turn (5)
24 Mullet, say, discovered in fresh
air, doomed (6)
25 Transport real and imaginary, not
one for the birds (8)
26 Tiresome magistrates get used
to it (6)
27 Monkey on board creating big
problems (8)
1 Tree doctors aboard train
heading north (6)
2 Introduce trendy source of booze
— only one left (6)
3 Material traditional in film (9)
4 Oscar joins team after a vote for
historic mission (6,6)
6 Old force guarding province,
symbolically described (5)
7 Party guest finds place for a nap
beside river (8)
8 Consent obtained in Beeb,
essentially, for protection
from glare (8)
11 A British duty to arrange garb for
streakers? (8,4)
15 Get drunk splitting French wine
cask — I’m game! (5-2-2)
16 Golfer likely to need this
accompaniment to fish, fried?
17 No pressure for clemency after
PM gets winning margin (8)
19 Run through church chasing
mole (6)
20 Rising models like to be drawn in
suspended animation (6)
22 Gunners tacitly agree to lift
unhealthy gas (5)
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