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The Guardian e-paper Journal - May 9, 2018

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Section:GDN 1J PaGe:1 Edition Date:180509 Edition:01 Zone:
Sent at 8/5/2018 17:04
The Windrush shaped Britain. We should celebrate that Patrick Vernon, page 4
A £10,000 millennial bung won’t buy fairness Gaby Hinsliff, page 5
The mall where the currency is hope The alternatives, Aditya Chakrabortty, page 10
The Guardian Wednesday 9 May 2018
and ideas
Through my
cancer, I have
found the key
to a good life
f I could turn back the clock, magically deleting
my prostate cancer, the surgery I needed and its
complications, would I do so? It seems an odd
question. But I find it hard to answer.
It wasn’t a lot of fun. I stopped breathing in the
recovery room, which felt as if I were drowning.
I hated being catheterised. The painkillers I took
locked up my bowels, forcing me to excavate
them by hand, as straining could have torn the delicate
stitching above them. I succumbed to a post-operative
infection that kept me awake for seven nights. Just as the
infection passed, the muscles around the operation site
went into spasm, causing such pain that I found myself
curled up on the floor, nails hooked into the carpet. After
three days of this, I was rushed to hospital unable to
pee, as everything had clamped shut. Having another
catheter inserted, three weeks after the first one had
been removed, felt like a miserable regression.
But I feel I have learned more about myself and the
world around me over the past two months than over
the preceding 20 years. The first revelation was the
astonishing power of human kindness. The team that
treated me, at the Churchill hospital in Oxford, made
me feel I was part, however briefly, of a vast but close
family. The consideration of the doctors and nurses, who
managed to create the impression that they had all the
time in the world, even as they were rushed off their feet;
the instant responses of the ward and the triage team
whenever I ran into trouble after I was discharged; the
regular phone calls the surgeon made to see how I was
coping: this was more than just professionalism. It felt
like care in every sense. I am convinced, in the light of
my research for the album about loneliness that I made
with the musician Ewan McLennan, that this attention
was crucial to my recovery.
At home, I came to think of my bed as an oxytocin
tent. The hugs my family gave me seemed to relieve
both pain and the symptoms of fever faster than any of
the drugs I took: the analgesic effect of physical contact,
now widely documented, has not been exaggerated.
And I drew courage from the thousands of wonderful
messages I received. Thank you.
With this help, I discovered unimagined strengths.
You can make resolutions that seem plausible – until
they are fully tested. In the article I wrote two months
ago, before my surgery, I mentioned three principles I felt
were essential to happiness: imagine how much worse
it could be, rather than how much better;
change what you can change, accept what
you can’t; and do not let fear rule your life.
Section:GDN 1J PaGe:2 Edition Date:180509 Edition:01 Zone:
Sent at 8/5/2018 18:39
The Guardian Wednesday 9 May 2018
Through my cancer, I have
found the key to a good life
George Monbiot
Founded 1821 Independently owned by the Scott Trust № 53,404
‘Comment is free… but facts are sacred’ CP Scott
Continued from front
So did they work, or did I abandon them
and freak out? They held up remarkably
well. By reciting them to myself every
day – before the operation, in its aftermath, during the
complications and as the test results loomed – I never
wavered, never fell prey to fear or anxiety. Knowing
that I was in the best possible hands, I accepted what
every day brought without worrying about what might
happen on the next.
I felt not only that those three principles had been
vindicated, but that they could be assimilated into a
broader rule, namely: the state of being for which we
should strive is to be attached to life without being
possessive of it. We should seek to love our lives and live
fully, but not to extend them indefinitely. We should
love our children exuberantly, but not cling to them or
curtail their freedoms. We should treasure the material
world without seeking to own and control it.
The doctrines informing us that virtue and purity,
or the states of jnana or sunyata, can be achieved
by detachment from the physical senses and the
material world hold little appeal for me, whether
classical, Christian, Hindu or Buddhist. A large body of
literature suggests that wellbeing is intimately linked
to attachment – not only to other people, but also to
the natural world. As Jeremy Lent argues in his lifechanging book The Patterning Instinct, the association
of the tangible world with corruption, pollution and
obstacles to enlightenment has informed our disdain
for nature and accelerated its destruction, with
devastating effects on our happiness.
But while attachment seems vital – in both senses of
this word – liberating myself from the urge to possess
has proved an astonishing antidote to fear and tension.
I resolved to enjoy whatever life I had, and not to regret
its loss if it seemed to be drawing to an end. The strength
this brought me will enhance as many years as remain.
s it happens, I have been
astonishingly lucky. That spasming
appears to have been the short-term
pain that presaged long-term gain.
My wonderful surgeon, Alastair
Lamb, applying recent research,
used a technique that involves
preserving more of the urethra. It
feels like a breakthrough. One possible side-effect of
this procedure is the hypercontinence I suffered. As
soon as the second catheter was removed, this relaxed
into normal continence, a result I had not expected for a
long time, if ever. Until recently, such an outcome would
have been unthinkable.
Similarly, albeit with the help of the blue pill,
I have regained full erections. While I can no longer
ejaculate, as seminal fluid is produced by the prostate,
orgasms feel just as they did before. (Forgive me if I’m
oversharing. Our health – men’s health in particular
– has been blighted by undersharing.) Again, this
recovery seems remarkably fast. After my last article,
several well-wishers told me: “I’ll be rooting for you.”
Thank you, but it is no longer necessary.
Most importantly, my test results suggest the
operation has been successful. I’ve been given a 90%
chance that the cancer will not return in the next five
years. I feel I’ve been granted another life.
The quest now is to ensure that other men are as
lucky as me. Above all, this means better diagnostic
tests, to ensure that prostate cancer is caught early, as
mine was. An analysis published in March concluded
that the standard (PSA) test produces so many false
positives and – more dangerously – false negatives that it
has “no significant effect on prostate cancer mortality”
over the following 10 years. Several promising
improvements are being developed, including a cluster
of tests called Stockholm3 and the mpMRI scan.
But much more funding is needed to assess and
universalise them. The £75m the government promised
last month will help, but it’s not enough. The March for
Men and other campaigns by groups such as Prostate
Cancer UK seek to fill the gap – please support them.
I will not abandon this issue, but I look forward to
returning next week to the topics that still frighten me.
The argumentative old git is back.
Customs union
Ministerial antics make
it more likely that MPs
will opt for a soft Brexit
It is sometimes said that the first rule of politics is to
learn to count the numbers. In a hung parliament, this is
a particularly important lesson to grasp. When there is
no automatic government majority, as at present, MPs in
the House of Commons hold far more power. Last week,
MPs used that muscle to defeat the government on a big
issue: the transparency of tax havens, snubbing serious
efforts by Theresa May behind the scenes to change
the outcome. Today MPs may do the same thing again,
this time on amendments to the data protection bill.
These would restore the Leveson inquiry’s sanctions
against news organisations that do not sign up to an
approved independent regulator and would revive the
“Leveson part 2” inquiry. The government whips are
understandably very worried.
But the power of the House of Commons in such cases
is as nothing to the power that MPs can potentially exert
over the Brexit terms in the weeks and months ahead.
This is a rule of politics that Mrs May, at least, seems
to understand – it is why she went for an early election
last year – but her Brexiter ministers and backbenchers
do not. It has come to a head over the issue of customs
arrangements between Britain and the EU after Brexit.
Mrs May wants to leave the customs union but to create
a customs partnership with the EU with technological
enforcement. She is trying to craft a compromise that
might win the support of a Commons majority without
destroying her government. The Brexiter ministers and
backbenchers appear not to care about that.
Last week, the balance of power in the cabinet Brexit
committee shifted against Mrs May after Amber Rudd’s
resignation. Yet ministers remain divided. The issue
is unresolved within the government, even before any
formal negotiations begin with the EU. Yesterday, in an
interview given to the Daily Mail while in America at the
weekend, Boris Johnson mocked Mrs May’s attempts to
100-ball cricket
The game is depressingly
reinvented in popular form
to save it from obscurity
The announcement of a 100-ball form of cricket is yet
more mildly depressing evidence that the glorious game
is splitting into two forms: the classical and the popular.
The former, Test cricket, is a codified, cultivated game
played over five days and four long innings. It was amid
the tactics and patience of “long-form” cricket that
players cut their teeth. However, the classical game is
dying in its pads. English county teams, who play the
longer form, often get fewer spectators in a season than
big football clubs get for one game. What are thriving are
the “popular” shorter versions of cricket – their detractors
consider them a different sport – such as the one-day game
and Twenty20. These can be batting slugfests or target
practice for pistol-quick bowling. Less treasured is the
skill of building an innings and arranging the field to test
a batsman’s – or woman’s – weaknesses. These are losses,
aesthetic and otherwise, but the gain is popularity: 120
million people watched India’s domestic 2016 T20 final.
It did not have to be this way. English cricket has never
been more popular than it was in 2005, when almost
23 million watched at least 30 minutes of England’s
victorious Ashes series. Cricket became a victim of its
own success: Sky bought the TV rights and the game
disappeared from terrestrial television. Today it has never
craft a customs partnership as “crazy”. Traditionally
that would be a double sacking offence, first for
breaching collective responsibility, and second for
attacking the prime minister while abroad. Instead
the Brexiters attacked the business secretary Greg
Clark for daring to restate the government’s existing
position. Mrs May is too weak to enforce the usual
rules. She should not allow Mr Johnson to humiliate
her. But she may yet have her revenge.
That is because she may yet win what is, in
effect, her negotiation with her own party. She can
do the arithmetic that the hard Brexiters, egged
on by the Mail and other rightwing papers, ignore.
She knows that most Labour MPs and most of the
other opposition parties will vote against the kind
of customs proposal that Mr Johnson and his allies
want to put forward. She knows that the harder
the Brexit the foreign secretary and his allies try
to secure, the more that it will push pro-European
Tory moderates to vote with the opposition. If that
happens Mrs May knows she will lose votes on the
Brexit terms but will win any confidence vote that
might follow. Such a scenario looms ever closer. The
House of Lords has made a dozen big amendments
to the EU withdrawal bill, including on the customs
union. More government defeats came last night as
the Lords voted to continue post-Brexit links with EU
agencies and, led by no less a figure than the Duke of
Wellington, voted to remove the March 2019 deadline
date from the bill in case a delay proves necessary.
Mrs May may try to delay Commons votes on these
and other bills in order to avoid her Waterloo and
put pressure on wavering pro-Europeans. Yet those
who can count know there is a soft Brexit majority
in the Commons and that it is increasingly likely to
deliver Brexit terms that will upset the Brexiters.
That may even happen in the so-called “meaningful
vote” of the final terms. If the Tory Brexiters were
serious, they would therefore support Mrs May on
the customs issue. Not to do so makes it more likely
that the Commons will vote for an even softer Brexit.
But the Brexiters are not united. They have differing
goals. They are damaging the Tory party more than
they are damaging the case for a soft Brexit. This is
good news for those of us who, if there must be a
Brexit at all, support the softest possible version.
been less popular. The England and Wales Cricket
Board’s own survey of schoolchildren showed that three
in five didn’t even rank cricket in their top-10 favourite
sports. Instead of invigorating the classical form of the
game, the ECB has created a novel 100-ball format and
a new eight-team, city-based tournament. While this
paper will mourn the demotion of the Test version, a
crumb of comfort is that cricket will be shown live on
BBC for the first time in 21 years from 2020.
In attempting to make cricket attractive, the
100-ball game is polluting the game’s best traditions.
An innings split into 15 six-ball overs and another of 10
balls means the format would need a change the laws
of the sport. This seems a step too far: why not just
put the cash into the existing T20 competition? The
answer is presumably that only the shock of the new
can jolt life into the sport. India’s recent cricketing
experience is worth recalling. It was only after India
won the 2007 T20 World Cup in a heart-stopping final
against old rivals Pakistan that the country embraced
the fast and furious game. A year later and the laser
shows, cheerleaders and Bollywood stars proved an
instant hit. Today the domestic tournament attracts
£400m in annual television rights from Star India.
Players come from all over the world to pick up large
pay packets. Yet Indians remain fascinated by a long
innings of attrition and retain an eye for a bowler’s
line and bounce. Now the ECB has decided to submit
cricket to the cult of the unsentimental – prepared
to reinvent the game to save it by pulling in a billion
pounds mostly from Sky, but with the BBC to reach
a wider audience. One can only hope English cricket
can lure people to make excursions across the border
between popular and classical forms.
Section:GDN 1J PaGe:3 Edition Date:180509 Edition:01 Zone:
Wednesday 9 May 2018 The Guardian
Sent at 8/5/2018 18:26
With war in
the Middle
East would come a
renewed frenzy of
lies and propaganda,
leaving many dizzy
and confused
As the Iran
crisis looms,
prepare for a
battle over facts
e cannot yet know what chaos
Donald Trump’s decision on
the nuclear deal with Iran will
unleash in the Middle East and
in global affairs at large – but
we do know that truth is the
first casualty of war. Years
ago, the person who made
me most aware of the meaning of that expression was
a Finn, Olli Heinonen, who was at the time the head of
the international inspectors surveying Iran’s nuclear
programme. A calm, sturdy man under intense pressure,
Heinonen would sit down with me in the cafeteria of
the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna.
We’d sip glasses of wine while he explained some of the
conclusions of his team’s reports, which I was writing
articles about.
Heinonen saw his task as establishing facts – in
the belief that only documented, rational discourse
had a chance of preventing passions from overtaking
everything. His father had fought in the Soviet-Finnish
Winter war of 1939-40, and always repeated that
sentence to him in his youth, as a lesson never to be
forgotten: truth is the first casualty of war.
These discussions with Heinonen hark back to an
era before social media, before what is now commonly
called fake news, and before democracies in Europe
and the US started being shaken to the core by multiple
crises. I can only shudder at the thought that another
war might break out in the Middle East. If it happens,
it will be accompanied by a renewed frenzy of lies,
manipulation and propaganda that would leave many
people dizzy and confused. For the “mainstream media”
– outlets that seek to describe complex realities as
honestly as possible, not least by checking their facts –
the challenges will be huge.
Not all of this is new, of course. What war reporters
have known for a long time, arguably ever since the
Crimean war of the 1850s and its coverage by the
intrepid Irishman William Howard Russell, is that
you can believe the statements of generals only once
you have yourself witnessed the retaking of a hill or a
fort, the level of destruction and the plight of soldiers
and civilians. Propaganda was certainly taken to new
heights by 20th-century totalitarian systems, when radio
A billboard
by the Committee
to Defend the
President in
Times Square,
New York
first appeared as a mass medium. Some of those same
methods are again at play today.
One way of looking at the world is to say that we have
a clash between democracies and autocracies, with
some of the latter finding “useful idiots” among the
former – people who prefer to lash out at “the system”
or the “elite” in countries where they have the freedom
to do so unhindered and without incurring any risk.
Syria, with its estimated 500,000 dead, is the
terrain on which our western politics and media have
foundered, and on which the possibility of a conflict
involving Israel, Iran and other powers is increasingly
contemplated. It is not that brave, knowledgeable and
dedicated reporters have not covered the bloodbath
there – they have, and admirably so. Rather, it is that
somehow the horror has only occasionally seeped into
western consciences rendered confused or fatalistic
by the very magnitude of the crisis and by conflicting
versions of it.
A few weeks ago I took part in a conference in Caen,
Normandy, at the city’s memorial museum to the 1944
Allied landings. The topic discussed was Vladimir Putin
and his policies in Ukraine and the Middle East – with
the showing of a documentary film by Antoine Vitkine,
a French director. After the microphone was handed to
the audience for questions, a dozen or so hands shot up,
and Vitkine and I found ourselves accused of being “CIA
agents” or “anti-Russian” because of our criticism of
Putin’s militaristic revisionism.
These people were angry, and they distrusted us
because we came from the “mainstream”. They were a
minority, but their energy seemed to intimidate other
people in the room. After a while, I asked one of the men
who had lashed out at us how he got his information.
He listed French public television, Le Monde, a far-right
conspiracy-heavy website and Russia Today. He added:
“I know these media say different things, but I believe
there is interesting information in all of them, and that
the truth is somewhere in the middle.”
erious, reliable media organisations take
pride in their work, and rightly so. But
we have barely started addressing the
question of how and why that work may
be met with such antagonism. Dialogue
was not what those angry men in the
auditorium wanted: they wanted to pour
out resentment. Would acknowledging
mistakes help? We the “mainstream media” are not
perfect, but we do correct our factual errors – which
propaganda outfits, of course, never do. We can hold
political sympathies, but that is not the same thing – nor
should it be – as a systematic bias based on selective
coverage of the news, or its distortion.
The good news is that the US and Europe are now
awash with initiatives aimed at countering “fake news”.
The bad is that those two words fail to distinguish
between inaccuracies stemming from genuine
human error, deliberate fabrications and distortions
for financial gain, political spin, and the results of
propaganda offensives launched by regimes or groups
whose strategy is to erode democratic institution and to
attack the very notion that truth exists.
Truth does exist; it is not somewhere in the middle.
The “mainstream” media’s only mission is to honestly
and independently seek it. But as another Trumpinspired crisis approaches, convincing the public of
that will be a test for us too.
Section:GDN 1J PaGe:4 Edition Date:180509 Edition:01 Zone:
Sent at 8/5/2018 18:17
The Guardian Wednesday 9 May 2018
The truth is out.
May can’t get
a Brexit deal
past her cabinet
t’s common to see Conservative prime ministers
in torment over Europe, struggling weakly to
reach agreement with insurrectionary cabinet
ministers. Even so the public declaration by the
foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, that Theresa
May’s proposal for a customs “partnership”
with Europe is “crazy” is without precedent.
John Major’s life as prime minister was
made a nightmare by the Eurosceptic rebels in his
party. David Cameron’s was so dark he offered, and
lost, a referendum on Britain’s EU membership that
finished him off.
But throughout, Major and Cameron worked with
loyal foreign secretaries who stuck with them in their
contorted expediency. Johnson does the opposite: he
publicly moves away from May.
Because it is Johnson who has launched the public
onslaught, a thousand theories erupt as to his motive.
Is he seeking to outperform even Jacob Rees-Mogg in
the language deployed to rubbish May’s proposal for a
post-Brexit trading relationship? Is this largely about
Johnson’s leadership ambitions? Does he really mean it?
The answer to the first two questions is that any
political figure who aches to be a leader will make
calculations that are multilayered when the current
leader is fragile. If Johnson still yearns for the crown
after his traumatic withdrawal from the 2016 leadership
contest, then his ambitions will certainly play a part in
Theresa May and Boris Johnson PHOTOGRAPH: REUTERS
shaped Britain.
Shouldn’t we
celebrate that?
every utterance and move. But the answer to the third
question, about whether or not he means what he says,
applies more to his leadership calculation than to the
actual substance of his intervention. It is irrelevant
whether he genuinely regards the proposition for a postBrexit customs arrangement as “crazy”, or believes it
would “create a whole new web of bureaucracy” while
denying Britain control over its own trade policy. I am
sure he does think all of that, but it does not matter. He
has given his verdict in public and is stuck with it.
The option of creating a new customs “partnership”
where British officials would collect tariffs for the EU
was passionately defended by the business secretary,
Greg Clark, in an interview with the BBC on Monday. But
it is now officially “crazy” as far as the foreign secretary
is concerned. For the first time since May became prime
minister, a cabinet split on Brexit is out in the open. That
is why Johnson’s intervention is of seismic significance.
There has been much justifiable speculation about
whether May could get a Brexit deal through the UK
parliament. Now it is not at all clear that she can even get
one through her cabinet.
Johnson has spoken aloud, but his views are shared
by other senior ministers, as we know from last week’s
inconclusive Brexit cabinet committee. After that
meeting May sent her increasingly exasperated Brexit
adviser, Olly Robbins, to see what changes he could
make before yet another meeting. Robbins will be the
biggest titan in the history of British diplomacy if he
comes back from Brussels with a proposed agreement
so different and yet so similar to the one that preceded it
that the entire cabinet can unite around a revised policy.
n one level, the situation is beyond
belief. The cabinet cannot agree on
what it wants in relation to future
trade arrangements when a deal with
the rest of the EU must be secured
within months. In a rational world,
ministers would have agreed on
such matters before May triggered
article 50, more than a year ago. But in our current world
the assertion is pointless. The reason May did not seek
cabinet consensus on any detail before now is that she
knew the cabinet would not agree. Instead she followed
the only other course available to her, which was to
waffle in a way that reassured most in her party, but with
words that were close to meaningless.
Even in her first big speech on Brexit, in January last
year, she implied some relationship with the customs
union without specifying the form. She spoke then of
“associate membership”. I am an associate member of
a tennis club. I have never known what it meant except
that it is almost impossible to play tennis at that club.
The evasive terms chosen by May have kept the show
on the road. And such imprecise language was similarly
deployed in the phase one deal that was agreed at the
end of last year. The ubiquitous term “alignment” was
open to as many interpretations as the behaviour of
Johnson. But waffling for ever was never an option. Now
the time has arrived for real, meaningful detail, and
cabinet unity is shattered.
At some point in the coming days, there will have to be
resolution. If Johnson and his ministerial allies prevail
while May and her allies concede, the nightmarish
sequence for the prime minister will have only begun.
She will at some point face a vote in the Commons on
the customs union. Again the vote will be postponed
for as long as possible but cannot be avoided altogether.
A majority of MPs believe, with good cause, that the
government’s alternative proposal to address the need
for frictionless trade and avoid a hard border in Ireland
by means of technology is fantasy. She also has to get
agreement with the rest of the EU, arguably an even
bigger mountain to climb than managing her party.
May’s hope is that any successor would lead in the
same weak context. A new prime minister would change
neither the composition of the hung parliament nor
the approach of the EU in the final negotiation. The
unyielding obstacles and internal divisions block the
path of any prime minister. At this late stage, there is no
clear path towards Brexit – but May is likely to remain the
prime minister doomed to seek one.
Steve Richards
is a political
and broadcaster,
and author
of The Rise of
the Outsiders
Patrick Vernon
is the founder
of the 100 Great
Black Britons
ack in 2010 I wrote an article arguing
that we would have failed as a
nation if, by 2018, there was still no
substantive recognition for the
Windrush generation on the 70th
anniversary of their arrival in Britain.
I have been part of a call to action for
a public holiday called Windrush Day
on 22 June, the anniversary of the arrival of the MV
Empire Windrush at Tilbury docks in 1948. For we need
to remember that many aspects of British society today
would be unrecognisable without the contributions
that immigration and integration have made: from
the NHS to the monarchy, our language, literature,
enterprise, public life, fashion, music, politics, science,
culture, food and even humour.
Since then, there has been movement on Windrush
celebrations. The ship’s image was used as part of
the 2012 Olympic Games opening ceremony. Recent
changes to the national curriculum for history have
for the first time recognised the Windrush and wider
postwar migration. There has also been a growing
campaign to promote the idea of a Windrush Day as
a national holiday.
A number of national and regional events are
planned on 22 June, including a service at Westminster
Abbey and local authority events around the country.
No 10 has hosted meetings to explore how the
government can support Windrush commemoration
events around the country. This is encouraging but
piecemeal. As has been so clear in the past weeks and
months, obtaining their rightful due for the Windrush
generation has been an uphill climb. They saw this as
the motherland – but how does Britain see them?
We are disappointed, for example, that the Royal
Mail will not recognise the 70th anniversary of
the Windrush and its legacy as the time to issue a
commemorative stamp. The main explanation is that
current policy recognises only anniversaries that are
50, 100 or 150 years. On that basis, the contribution
and achievement of living migrants would not be
celebrated in this simple, communal and very visible
way for another 30 years. Why no flexibility? And
why this lack of imagination? How about a statue or
monument, or a national oral history programme? As
we move towards a post-Brexit Britain, against the
backdrop of the recent scandal, a marker for an event as
momentous as Windrush is more important than ever.
The 70th anniversary is a chance to reach across
our many different ethnic, faith and family heritages
to reject the prejudice and intolerance that seem to
have been given a new lease of life by the fractiousness
and factionalism of current debates on race, identity
and immigration. Of course we, the descendants of
that generation, will celebrate. We don’t need the
government or officialdom to do that. But this is a
chance for all of us to consider the past and locate
Windrush in our national story. I hope we seize it.
Section:GDN 1J PaGe:5 Edition Date:180509 Edition:01 Zone:
Wednesday 9 May 2018 The Guardian
A millennial
bung won’t
buy fairness
Sent at 8/5/2018 18:16
magine a world in which millennials’ fortunes
no longer relied on the “bank of mum and
dad”, because everyone inherited £10,000
when they turned 25. No more nonsense
about how young people could easily become
homeowners if they just spent less on avocado
toast; no more rage-inducing hagiographies of
young entrepreneurs, which somehow always
fail to mention that they got their fashionable startup
off the ground thanks to a big dollop of family cash.
Under the “citizen’s inheritance” scheme proposed
by the Resolution Foundation thinktank, every
young adult would receive a cheque from the state
to get them started in life. This would be funded
by inheritance tax reform, and strictly reserved for
non-frivolous purposes, such as a house deposit,
further education or starting a business. The snag,
unfortunately, is that it almost certainly won’t happen.
The political odds are stacked against such radical
ways of easing the tension between baby boomers and
struggling millennials, and not just because the Tories
remain wary of antagonising their ageing supporters.
Would public opinion really stand for giving a “citizen’s
inheritance” to young City traders already earning six
figures by themselves, or to the heirs of the landed
gentry? Yet means-testing it would simply create a whole
new kind of resentment among those who just miss out.
But we should see this idea as a starting point for
debate about intergenerational fairness, not ovenready policy. Eye-catching headlines aside, the two
crucial things about this report are an emerging political
consensus that inheritance tax isn’t working, plus a
recognition that inheritance in itself isn’t everything.
By calling for parental gifts throughout children’s lives
to be taxed at 20%, as well as for reform of death duties,
the Resolution Foundation is tacitly recognising that
the help some twentysomethings get from their parents
when they’re just starting out in life matters as much, if
not more, than legacies those children may not receive
until they’re practically retired themselves.
Inheritance matters. It has always mattered, because
of its phenomenal power to concentrate and amplify
privilege. But in an era of stupidly high property prices,
flatlining wages – millennials at age 30 have been earning
less than Generation X did at the same age – and what
feels like dwindling opportunities for kids from tougher
backgrounds to break through, then what happens to the
money swilling around from previous good times takes
on a new significance.
An awful lot of seemingly prosperous middle-class
households rode out the recession thanks partly to
invisible help from their parents supporting a lifestyle
they could no longer quite afford for themselves.
And, given a housing market predicted to push
home ownership out of the lifetime reach of a third
of millennials, the next generation’s fortunes will be
even more starkly divided by access to the bank of mum
and dad.
That divide is profoundly unfair, and it should be
offensive to politicians on both left and right. For the
left it’s a straightforward question of social injustice.
But for the right, a society where inheritance and
gifts are growing faster than earnings represents an
embarrassing ideological failure. Whatever happened
to self-reliance and entrepreneurship – to the core Tory
belief that anyone can get on if they work hard enough?
There is a clearly a big political argument to be had
about how to use the windfall resulting from any reform
of inheritance tax: whether it should be dished out to
individuals as the Resolution Foundation proposes or
whether it’s best used to fund national programmes
from which generations of millennials could potentially
benefit, such as building more houses or investing in
lifelong education. There is an obvious risk too that
giving every millennial a free house deposit just as the
housing market looks headed for a correction would
only inflate the bubble all over again; that the money
would end up straight back in the pockets of grateful
older homeowners, leaving prices even further out of
reach for the kids coming up behind.
But George Osborne’s spectacularly popular bung to
older voters, pushing up the inheritance tax threshold
to £1m, simply no longer looks sustainable. And if it’s
not unwound by a Conservative government, then
sooner or later it is likely to be unwound by a Labour
one swept into Downing Street on a tide of frustrated
millennial votes. A society this heavily reliant on
inheritance is living off past glories rather than looking
to its future. Sooner or later, it will have to pay the price
for such short-sightedness.
Section:GDN 1J PaGe:6 Edition Date:180509 Edition:01 Zone:
Sent at 8/5/2018 17:59
UK membership of the European
Economic Area is the only policy that
respects the referendum and delivers
a “jobs-first Brexit” (Boris Johnson
attacks Theresa May’s ‘crazy’
customs plan, 8 May). It removes the
threat of an Irish border by allowing
EU-wide frictionless free trade.
It does not require membership of
the common agriculture and fishing
policies, monetary union (euro),
or adherence to the European court
of justice.
Significantly for the Labour
party, it does not block state aid
whose purpose is “to promote the
economic development of areas
where the standard of living is
abnormally low or where there is
serious underemployment”. EEA
membership respects the wishes of
the majority of Labour members and
voters who voted remain, and in no
way blocks Jeremy Corbyn’s desire
to use state aid and nationalisation
to promote economic and social
policies within the UK.
On the one issue that dares not
speak its name, the EEA allows
limits to freedom of movement.
Tory Brexiters may also be won
over because EEA membership opts
out of any “common trade policy”,
allowing Liam Fox to continue his
worldwide junket to secure new
trade deals outside of the EU. The
EEA membership
respects the wishes of
the majority of Labour
members and voters
who voted remain
Professor Eric Goodyer
House of Lords vote to allow EEA
membership must be passed, as it
is the one policy that can bridge the
leave/remain fissure that is so badly
damaging this country.
Prof Eric Goodyer
Birsay, Orkney
• Jonathan Freedland is spot on
with his analysis (Labour fudge over
Brexit once worked. But it can’t go
on, 5 May) for three reasons. First,
as Freedland says, “In politics,
‘neither one thing nor another’ has
limited appeal; before long it begins
to look a lot like nothing”. In the
upcoming Commons debates Labour
must grasp the single market, as it
has the customs union, and forge
a distinct policy that combines its
historic internationalism with a
revived economy, social justice and
Second, as Thomas Piketty told a
packed lecture hall in Oxford on 25
April, class politics is being replaced
worldwide by identity politics. Of
course Labour has concerns about
losing its traditional working-class
base in the Midlands and north,
but, as Piketty argues, people
are decreasingly voting on class
lines. There is no point in chasing
after leavers after the Tories have
hoovered up Ukip voters and are
now the party of Brexit. Labour must
make a completely different offer.
Third, it is ever clearer that Brexit
is going tits up. Either the Tory right
and the Daily Mail will bamboozle
Theresa May into a hard Brexit with
disastrous consequences, or the EU
will force Britain to cleave closer to
Europe in its negotiations this year,
as it did in December. Either way, the
Labour party will be waiting.
Robert Gildea
Professor of modern history,
University of Oxford
British artists: Ebacc will damage
creativity and self-expression
We are writing to express our grave
concern about the exclusion of arts
and creative subjects from the new
English baccalaureate, or Ebacc, for
secondary school children, which
we believe will seriously damage
the future of many young people.
There is compelling evidence that
the study of creative subjects is in
decline in state schools and that
entries to arts and creative subjects
have fallen to their lowest level
in a decade. Young people are
being deprived of opportunities
for personal development in the
fields of self-expression, sociability,
imagination and creativity.
This places one of our largest and
The Guardian Wednesday 9 May 2018
EEA membership could
bridge the Brexit divide
most successful global industries at
risk, one worth £92bn a year to the
UK economy. That is bigger than
oil, gas, life sciences, automotive
and aeronautics combined. This is
at a time when economic growth is
of critical importance to the UK’s
international position. A good
education fit for the 21st century,
must be broad and balanced. The
Ebacc is not the way to achieve this.
We call on the government to
reverse its decision to blindly press
ahead with the Ebacc, regardless
of the consultation and in the face
of overwhelming evidence against
this policy. If we care about social
mobility, wellbeing and economic
• Matthew D’Ancona (Tories must
resist declaring peak Corbyn, 7 May)
patronisingly describing Ukip voters
as “implacable” was beyond the pale:
“No Brexit will be hard enough, no
immigration reform tough enough,
no recoil from progress fierce
enough to please them”. In 2014,
4.4 million people voted for Ukip in
the European parliament elections,
the highest percentage of any party.
Today, that party is all but dead
precisely because those 4.4 million
people decided that it has got them
the referendum they craved. Now,
those very same people are in the
driving seat forcing parliament,
which voted eight out of 10 to
remain in the EU, to do the opposite
and leave the EU. Far from being
“implacable”, they knew how to use a
despicable party to its own advantage
when all other “respectable” parties
turned their backs on them.
Fawzi Ibrahim
• To all Irish nationalists, north and
south, the border is a wound. To
unionists it is a bulwark that ensures
they are safe within the UK. On its
own the Good Friday agreement
could never have reconciled these polarities. It worked because both
sides were in the EU, which made the
border an irrelevant line on a map
not worth fighting over.
Once the UK leaves the EU,
however trade across the border is
managed, it again becomes a symbol
of the hurt of centuries. For decades
after the establishment of Stormont
there were restrictions, and for a time
even nationality checks, between
Northern Ireland and mainland
Britain. A technological solution to
customs barriers will work where the
sea is the border. But the island of
Ireland remaining within the customs
union would give unionists the best
of both economic worlds. Unlike
most other UK nationals they will also
retain their European citizenship as
dual Irish/UK nationals; a distinction
they don’t abhor.
Phelim J Brady
Normandy, Surrey
growth – and if we want our creative
industries to continue to flourish
– we need to rebalance our education
system so that the arts are valued
just as much as other subjects. Every
child should have equal access to
the benefits that the arts and culture
bring, not just a privileged few.
Norman Ackroyd, Tracey Emin,
Grayson Perry, Nicola Green,
Wolfgang Tillmans, Sam TaylorJohnson, Martin Boyce, Barbara
Walker, Christine Borland, Antony
Gormley, Fiona Banner, Gary Hume,
Rose Wylie, Edmund de Waal, Rachel
Whiteread, Mona Hatoum, Anish
Kapoor, Cornelia Parker, David
Shrigley, Alison Wilding, Bob and
Roberta Smith, Gillian Wearing,
Koo Jeong A, Phyllida Barlow,
Hurvin Anderson, Hannah Collins,
Paul Noble, Cathy de Monchaux,
Shezad Dawood, Susanna Heron
and 74 others ( full list at
‘The canal at
Tewitfield, near
Lancashire, may
have looked a
bit odd with the
natural “suds”
on top but it
didn’t seem to
be doing these
ducklings any
harm. Indeed,
they had great
fun making
more patterns
in the surface by
swimming in the
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How Bradford is
setting health trends
Simon Jenkins sees Bradford as a “cold
spot” amid the successes of other
parts of Yorkshire (Could Bradford
be the Shoreditch of Yorkshire – or is
it the next Detroit?, 3 May). None of
us who were born and bred, live or
work here doubt the challenges the
city faces, not least from the impact
of austerity on its economy. But there
are some areas in which Bradford
is leading the way. Challenges can
prompt imaginative thinking. In
Bradford an alliance of local people,
health professionals and academics
got together to set up a major study to
improve the health of children.
Born in Bradford began in 2007,
includes over 30,000 parents and
children, and continues to work
with these families. It is providing
lessons for Bradford and similar
cities across the world about how
improving health is everybody’s
concern. It has been the catalyst for
extending research in the city by
linking individual health, education
and local authority data and making
the city one of the first in England
to be able to monitor the health and
wellbeing of its population in real
time. It provides the context for
trying new things and measuring
their impact, as illustrated by its
partnership with the Better Start
Bradford project.
The population of Bradford are
often defined by their differences
– the haves and have-nots, the
different ethnic or religious groups.
What Born in Bradford exemplifies is
the unity of Bradford’s population,
and the strength that is gained
by coming together and working
towards a common purpose. People
now look at Bradford and see a city
that uses the creativity that council
leader Kersten England seeks, to
say “this is what we need to do to
improve children’s health”.
Prof Deborah A Lawlor, Prof Neil
Small, Dr Pippa Bird, Dr Joanna
Gibson, Dr Dan Mason, Dr Rosie
McEachan, Prof Kate Pickett and
Prof John Wright
Section:GDN 1J PaGe:7 Edition Date:180509 Edition:01 Zone:
Wednesday 9 May 2018 The Guardian
Sent at 8/5/2018 18:00
 @guardianletters
Israel using culture
to mask brutality
While large numbers of unarmed
protesters in Gaza are killed or maimed
by Israeli snipers (Report, 28 April),
this week the Seret London Israeli
Film and TV Festival, co-sponsored
by the Israeli embassy and the World
Zionist Organisation, will occupy
venues in London, Brighton and
Edinburgh. It will use the appeal
of cinema to promote Israel as “a
melting pot of cultures and religions”.
Israel deliberately and routinely
denies media freedom to Palestinians.
On 6 April, Palestinian cameraman
Yaser Murtaja was killed by an Israeli
sniper as he filmed the “Great March
of Return” in Gaza. On the same day
six photojournalists wearing press
jackets were injured by the Israeli
military. Since then photographer
Ahmed Abu Hussein has been shot
dead. This is not an anomaly. Last year
Israeli forces assaulted 139 journalists
and detained a further 33. In 27
cases they destroyed or sabotaged
equipment. They closed 17 media
outlets. Palestinian journalists and
film-makers are victims of systematic
persecution based on their ethnicity.
Art, media and culture are being
employed to give an apparently
acceptable face to a brutal reality.
We, film-makers, journalists and
artists, call on our cinema, media and
cultural institutions to uphold basic
ethical standards: they should refuse
to provide platforms for national
celebrations sponsored by a regime
that is guilty of systematic and largescale human rights violations.
Aki Kaurismäki, Helena Kennedy,
Peter Kosminsky, Paul Laverty,
Hettie Macdonald, Maxine Peake,
Juliet Stevenson, Roger Waters and
28 others (full list at
We don’t need another inquiry
into the press after Leveson
Ed Miliband’s piece (The victims
of the press need Leveson to be
completed, 8 May) only serves to
illustrate the flaws in the argument
that a further inquiry into the press
is justified. The Leveson inquiry
and resulting police investigations
cost taxpayers nearly £50m. A
major public consultation firmly
rejected reopening the inquiry.
The Miliband/Clarke amendment
to the data protection bill calls for
an inquiry that goes much further
than Leveson 2. It is broader, less
defined in its scope and would
catch all media organisations and
their journalists – broadcast, print
and online. It would take years to
inquire and report, and cost the
state millions. The amendment was
inserted into the bill last Friday and
there has been insufficient time to
properly debate its implications,
scope and cost.
As the Guardian said in its
editorial on Leveson (2 March), it
is now time to look forward. The
criminal and civil wrongdoing in
the press from the 1990s to 2011 has
been thoroughly investigated. Most
of those that alleged abuses by the
press were called to give evidence at
the inquiry and it made for difficult
listening. But it is hard to see what
further testimony can be given.
In the meantime, civil claims were
made and many have been settled
with significant compensation
payments to victims. The News of
the World was closed down. One of
the biggest police investigations in
British history led to the arrests of
many journalists, extensive trials
and convictions. Mr Miliband talks
of this as “a narrow and unpublished
police investigation”. One eightmonth criminal trial and a number
of other trials of journalists, fully
reported and live tweeted for anyone
interested, gave an open, public and
full review of the evidence. To go
over all this ground again because a
few people did not like the results is
The advocates of a new inquiry
are a small number of an anti-press
lobby. It is clearly not supported
by the wider public, and the
enormous resource that would
go to paying lawyers, a new judge
and others will not lead to any new
recommendations or information.
Leveson’s report ran to 1,987 pages.
We don’t need another one.
The General Data Protection
Regulation is coming into force.
The role of the Information
Commissioner’s Office in protecting
data is strengthened by amendments
in the bill. The ICO will issue
guidance on seeking redress from
the press, and a statutory review
of media compliance with data law
is to be set up. These will provide
proper protections in the future, not
a pointless review of the past.
David Newell
CEO, News Media Association
Corrections and
• We were out by a factor of more
than 1,000 in giving the US annual
trade deficit with China as $502tn
(£365tn). The US-China deficit for
goods in 2017 was $375bn, according
to the US Bureau of Economic
Analysis (EU prepares for worst
despite last-ditch talks to avert
US trade war, 1 May, page 31).
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. The Guardian’s policy is to correct
significant errors as soon as possible. For more information
on the readers’ editor’s office, see
Selfie Kiss makes
the real thing better
The Belvedere Gallery in Vienna is
to be congratulated on its “Selfie
Kiss” (Museums gear up for the selfie
generation, 3 May). When I visited
several years ago, Klimt’s painting
was difficult to appreciate among the
throng of visitors. Last year, a sign
pointed to the Selfie Kiss room, where
dozens of visitors took turns to take
selfies against a copy, leaving the real
thing to be admired by far fewer.
David Witt
Malmesbury, Wiltshire
• People looking for companionship
in a new town (Tinder for chums,
5 May) would benefit from joining
a party or group that campaigns for
something close to their heart, or by
volunteering for an organisation that
does worthwhile work. They will
soon find their free-time hours filled
with meaningful activity, alongside
like-minded new friends.
Bill Mair
Dysart, Fife
• Stormy Daniels (Interview, 7 May)
may be on to something. Al Capone
was suspected of organising murders
but it was tax evasion that finally did
for him. Trump’s misdemeanours
may be legion but if he was ousted on
a minor charge that would be part of a
great American tradition.
Geoff Reid
• When I type my first name into my
phone (Letters, 8 May), predictive
text then invariably decides my name
is Thatcher. Should I sue?
Margaret Garland
Saffron Walden, Essex
• When texting my mother “How
are things?”, predictive text changed
my query to “How are thongs?” She
responded: “Wonderful.” We’ve never
spoken of the incident. We never will.
Brendan Kelly
Dublin, Ireland
• I’ve waited ages for an article on
double entendres (G2, 8 May) and
now you’ve given me one.
Dr Iain Ferris
Pembrey, Carmarthenshire
Established 1906
Country diary
Wenlock Edge,
“Is love so prone to change and
rot/ We are fain to rear forget-menot/ By measure in a garden plot?”
asked Christina Rossetti (A Bed of
Forget-Me-Nots, 1856). The flowers
of forget-me-not, Myosotis, may
have been reared by measure in
a garden plot here, before it was
abandoned a hundred years ago and
a wood of change, rot and indeed
love took over.
Water, creeping, pale, tufted,
Jersey, wood, alpine, field, changing
and early … forget-me-nots are
species of Myosotis belonging
to the borage family, famous for
their blue flowers; the delicate
pale blue of forget-me-not is
unique. Some flowers on this
plant growing along the path are
a brilliant white, too.
There’s a windthrow hawthorn
broken by last winter and someone
sat on it to rest. Did their eye
alight on these flowers and did the
forget-me-nots awaken a memory
of Rossetti’s “passion of the
instinctive pulse”? Whoever it was
left three mint crème wrappers and
bits of a disposable razor.
Sky blue is a good colour for
remembrance. Although there’s not
much of it today and the sky is cool
and dishwater grey, the flowers are
the colour of the far blue yonder,
AE Housman’s “blue remembered
hills”, into the blue, the beyond,
a spiritual eternity. At its heart,
the forget-me-not is golden, the
merest glimmer, not secretive like
cowslip, brazen like dandelions or
greedy like fields of oilseed rape
that spread along the Edge and into
the west like gold leaf papering an
ugly idol. The gold in the blue of
Myosotis is the glow of a memory,
“Love steadfast as a fixed star”.
These forget-me-nots remember
the limestone grassland here before
the young ash trees; they remember
the quarry and limekilns before
that, and a much older wood before
that, too. They remember the
garden of a little house and together
with flowering currants and fading
daffodils are all that remain of it.
How far does the memory of
whoever sat on the fallen tree go
back; what do they remember?
Do they remember love and how,
as Rossetti said, it can’t be taught
or controlled, “So free must be
Paul Evans
Twitter: @gdncountrydiary
Section:GDN 1J PaGe:8 Edition Date:180509 Edition:01 Zone:
Sent at 8/5/2018 18:00
The Guardian Wednesday 9 May 2018
Ermanno Olmi
Italian director who
won the Palme d’Or
for his 1978 film The
Tree of Wooden Clogs
s he typically
conflicts within
the director
Olmi, who
has died aged 86, was something
of an outsider in his native Italy,
where orthodox Catholics thought
him too progressive and militant
communists considered him too
much of a reactionary Catholic.
Only after his most acclaimed film,
L’Albero degli Zoccoli (The Tree
of Wooden Clogs, 1978), won him
the Palme d’Or at Cannes did Olmi
get recognition at home as well
as abroad.
A native of Lombardy, born in
Bergamo and brought up in nearby
Treviglio, he used the northern
region as the setting for many of his
films. Olmi kept notebooks recording the tales his grandmother told
him about her early life as a peasant, and they provided the material for The Tree of Wooden Clogs,
which has an agricultural setting.
To the criticisms that his film’s rural
family was not rebellious enough,
a resentful Olmi replied that they
rebelled in the only way possible
for them – by sending their brightest child to school. When I interviewed Olmi for the South Bank
Show a few years after he made
the film, he said he had aimed to
express what the poet Andrea Zanzotto once described as “the whisper of the generations”.
When Olmi was three years old,
his father, who worked on the railways, moved the family to Milan.
At 16, Olmi got a job at the energy
company Edison-Volta, where his
parents had worked, and he was
obliged to give up his aspirations
to study architecture. Once he had
discovered neorealist cinema after
seeing Roberto Rossellini’s Paisà
(1946), he began to make 16mm
shorts that convinced his employers to entrust him with setting up
a film unit, for which he made 30
documentaries on such subjects as
power plants. When they commissioned him to make a longer film
about a dam they were building,
the result was Il Tempo Si È Fermato (Time Stood Still, 1959).
They then agreed to finance
his first feature, Il Posto (The Job,
1961), in which he depicted with
gentle humour the tragi-comedy
of the rituals he had witnessed
when country lads such as himself
applied for a job with a big Milan
firm. Touchingly acted by nonprofessionals, including Olmi’s
future wife, Loredana Detto, it won
an award at the Venice film festival
and was screened at the London
film festival.
With friends in Milan, Olmi
founded a company to support other
directors’ projects, including Rossellini’s five-hour TV series L’Età del
Ferro (The Iron Age, 1965), as well
as his own films, such as I Fidanzati
(The Engagement, 1963), which was
again about a young working man
and played by non-professionals.
After their marriage, Olmi and
Detto settled in Milan. He won
clerical favour with a documentary
about Saint Anthony and received
a surprising offer from the James
Bond films producer Harry Saltzman, who wanted to make a feature
about Pope John XXIII with the
American actor Rod Steiger. Olmi
convinced Saltzman to let Steiger
play a “mediator” who narrates the
pope’s life from his spiritual diary.
Olmi, however, was not happy
with the result, A Man Named John
(1965), which had a limited release.
Un Certo Giorno (One Fine Day,
1968) was also about the world of
work, but this time at the executive level in a successful advertising firm. Olmi and his wife moved
to Asiago, in the mountains above
Vicenza, and there he found the
theme for I Recuperanti (The Scavengers, 1970). It was inspired by
the stories of residents of Asiago
who, in order to earn cash during
the hard times of the second world
war, had dug up scrap metal in
that mountainous area. Olmi
photographed and edited it himself,
taking his personal neorealist style
to new heights.
In the 1970s he continued to make
TV films for the public broadcaster
RAI, and some of these were also
shown in cinemas. After his success
with The Tree of Clogs, he suffered
a serious paralysis which kept him
out of action for several years, but
in 1987 he made Lunga Vita alla
Signora! (Long Live the Lady!), once
more with a mountain setting. It
won three prizes at the Venice film
The following year, he had
another success at Venice, this
time with the Golden Lion-winning
La Leggenda del Santo Bevitore
Olmi, below,
recorded in
the tales his
told of her life as
a peasant. They
provided the
material for The
Tree of Wooden
Clogs, above
(The Legend of the Holy Drinker,
1988), his most curious film up to
that point. Made and set in Paris,
it was based on the semi-autobiographical novel by the AustrianJewish writer Joseph Roth. Olmi
managed to give a lyrical quality
to what was perhaps an outdated
parable that needed a more sophisticated Frank Capra touch.
More in Olmi’s style was Il Segreto
del Bosco Vecchio (The Secret of
the Old Woods, 1993), based on a
1930s novella by Dino Buzzati. Olmi
brought a dazzling visual style to
Buzzati’s fairytale of a living forest
in which animals, insects and even
the wind have voices.
Il Mestiere delle Armi (The
Profession of Arms, 2001) was his
most religious film, shot in Bulgaria
and set during the 16th-century wars
between the mercenary soldiers
of the emperor Charles V and the
ill-equipped papal armies. His next
film was another ambitious costume
spectacular, Cantando Dietro i
Paraventi (Singing Behind Screens,
2003), set among the pirates of late
18th-century China.
Olmi aimed
to express
what the
called the
of the
ow into his 70s,
Olmi showed no
sign of slowing
down. If his
were not always
he won critical favour in 2005 for
his contribution to the omnibus
film Tickets. (The other episodes
were directed by Ken Loach and
Abbas Kiarostami.) Olmi’s was about
approaching old age and nostalgia
for the past.
He then declared: “I don’t want
to invent stories any more but will
return to making documentaries
about real life.” In the audacious
Centochiodi (One Hundred Nails,
2007), he suggested that only a
return to belief in archaic values can
save the world. The film dismayed
many of his most loyal admirers,
although with a second viewing it
made more sense as a metaphor.
At Venice in 2008, Olmi received
a lifetime achievement award and
surprised everyone by asking for
it to be presented to him by one of
Section:GDN 1J PaGe:9 Edition Date:180509 Edition:01 Zone:
Wednesday 9 May 2018 The Guardian
Sent at 8/5/2018 18:00
 @guardianobits
Jo Beddoe
Italy’s most popular entertainers,
the singer and TV showman Adriano
Celentano. It was revealed that
Celentano had been heard singing
off screen in Olmi’s documentary
Time Stood Still.
Villaggio di Cartone (The Cardboard Village, 2011), another parable for the modern world, was set
entirely inside a church which is
being deconsecrated, to the distress
of the parish priest (Michael Lonsdale). He discovers that a group of
immigrants are hiding in his church
and does his best to help them, but
he is opposed by a fellow clergyman (Rutger Hauer) who informs
the police. It was a simple tale told
with Olmi’s genuinely Christian
sentiments, revisited for the ever
increasing complexity of religious
differences in the world.
Torneranno i Prati (The Fields
Will Come Back, 2014), filmed in
wintry conditions in the mountains
above Asiago, recreates events of
the first world war, and is set in a
trench in those mountains where
Italian soldiers took refuge in 1917.
Vedete, Sono Uno di Voi (Look, I’m
One of You, 2017) is a portrait of the
liberal cardinal and archbishop of
Milan Carlo Maria Martini.
Olmi is survived by Loredana, their
daughter, Elisabetta, and sons, Fabio
and Andrea.
John Francis Lane
Ermanno Olmi, film director, born
24 July 1931; died 5 May 2018
Theatre administrator responsible for
keeping the Liverpool Playhouse and
Everyman going in tough times
Jo Beddoe, who has died aged
73, was an unsung heroine of
British regional theatre who was
responsible for the rescue in the
1980s of the 7:84 theatre company
in Scotland and in the early 2000s
of the Everyman and Playhouse
theatres in Liverpool.
Having begun her career in
school teaching, she made the
transition to arts administration in
1977, as coordinator of the Factory
community arts centre (now known
as the Yaa Centre) in London,
showcasing African and Caribbean
arts and culture. A founder member
of the centre’s black theatre
co-operative, she initiated a writer
in residence scheme, first with
Mustapha Matura and then with
Caryl Phillips.
In 1980 she was appointed
director of the Lancaster literature
festival and in 1981 drama officer
at the Arts Council of Great Britain.
From 1982 until 1984 she was
general manager of the Playhouse,
Liverpool, then under the artistic
directorship of the “Gang of Four”
– Chris Bond, Alan Bleasdale, Bill
Morrison and Willy Russell. During
her tenure she oversaw the first West
End transfer of Blood Brothers. I was
Josephine Williams
Stalwart of community activities in
Newport, Gwent, and a top fundraiser
for local charity shops
Raising a family and getting involved
in her local community in Newport,
Gwent, were the focus of my
mother Josephine Williams’s life.
A parishioner of St Anne’s church,
High Cross, and an active member
of the Mothers’ Union, Jo, who has
died aged 96, gave inspirational talks
to many groups and on one occasion
broadcast her own “thought for the
day” on local radio.
Always sympathetic to the needs
of others, she volunteered at care
homes and charity shops. Jo was
recognised as the top fundraiser for
head of the costume department and
we became friends immediately. She
was much admired by all the theatre
staff – especially the “techies”.
Jo went on to do great things
in, mostly, small but important
places. In 1984 she moved to the
Royal Court in London, where she
was in charge of the Young Court.
Going freelance in 1987, she worked
with the Black Theatre Forum,
refurbished and reopened the
Playhouse theatre in the West End
and, with Talawa theatre, produced
Derek Walcott’s play O Babylon! at
Riverside Studios in London.
Between 1988 and 1992, she kept
the 7:84 theatre in Perth going,
despite threats to its funding. In
1997 she was headhunted by the
New York Theatre Workshop and
in 1998 brought Ivo van Hove’s
production of Eugene O’Neill’s More
Stately Mansions to the Edinburgh
international festival. Jo returned
to Liverpool in 2000 to direct the
trust charged with overseeing the
Playhouse and Everyman theatres,
which were struggling to survive.
The Playhouse reopened and the
newly refurbished Everyman is
Jo was born in Halifax, West
Yorkshire, where her father, George,
was editor of the Halifax Courier and
her mother, Barbara (nee Brooke),
worked with homeless young
people. After leaving Crossley and
Porter girls’ school (now Crossley
Heath school), Halifax, Jo trained
as a teacher at Trent Park College
of Education (later Middlesex
University) in London, and between
1965 and 1974 taught English, drama
and liberal studies at schools in
Liverpool and London.
In 2004 she took up a teaching
post at Hull University and
finally retrained as a counsellor,
specialising in bereavement therapy.
She is survived by a brother,
Charlotte Bird
the Tenovus cancer charity shop in
Newport. She had great style and her
rapport with customers made her
many friends.
Born in Wolverhampton to
Florence (nee Jones) and Harold
Jones, Jo was one of nine siblings.
Her father saw action at Ypres and
after this first world war service he
continued his career as a master
carpenter. Some of his carvings can
be seen in the National Library of
Wales; he also established an oldtime dance orchestra.
Music was a passion of Jo’s, too,
and during the second world war
years she attended concerts in
Wolverhampton – Myra Hess was
one of her favourites.
Jo left school at 15 to help with
family finances, but alongside her
job in the accounts department at
the printing company Barford and
Newitt, she continued to study at
“tech”, learning French and German.
Reading was a passion and no family
member could beat her at Scrabble.
She was in Aberystwyth
Phil Hay
Admired BBC correspondent who
embarked on a second career with
the World Bank in Washington
My friend Phil Hay, who has died of
cancer aged 62, was a distinguished
broadcast journalist and respected
communications official with the
World Bank. With a gift for laughter
and a talent for friendship, he found
his calling in communication.
One of 11 children of Bernard, a
schoolteacher, and Joanna, he was
born in Stratford, New Zealand, a
small town on the country’s North
Island. A degree in history and
international politics from Victoria
University of Wellington made
journalism seem the obvious career
choice. Phil’s start came at Radio
New Zealand, as a producer and then
editor on Morning Report, covering
subjects from domestic politics to
nuclear proliferation. Later he would
listen back and laugh at his earlier
self, grilling Wellington politicians
as if they were responsible for the
course of world events. But that
interest in international affairs
propelled him in the mid-80s to
London and the BBC.
He was a much-admired reporter
for the Today programme, blessed
with a mellifluous voice, eventually
becoming the BBC’s correspondent
in San Francisco. He moved in 1994
to Washington, where he was the
founding producer of American
Graffiti, a weekly magazine
show for BBC Radio 5 Live that
showcased both Phil’s uncanny
ability to get people to talk and his
eye for an amusing tale. Long daynight sessions spent making that
convalescing after a sinus operation
when she met one Mrs Williams,
who thought Jo would make an
excellent wife for her son Gerwyn.
This led Jo to the Rhondda valley
and marriage in 1944. The couple
settled in Newport, where Gerwyn,
with Jo’s support, established a
successful insurance business.
In later life, as well as gardening
and playing golf, Jo and Gerwyn
travelled the world, making new
friends. After Gerwyn’s death in
1995 Jo continued to travel, enjoying
cruises and gathering even more
friends. Other people’s stories were
of immense interest to her; and her
own stories entertained visitors to
the care home where she spent her
last two years. Jo was a remarkable
example of positive thinking and
resourcefulness. She said: “I have
had a wonderful life.”
She is survived by her three
children, Sian, Simon and me,
six grandchildren and nine
Sue Symons
programme frequently ended in
howling laughter.
But his passion for global affairs
soon saw him embark on a second
career in international development
at the World Bank, which he joined
in 1996. Phil was involved in
speechwriting, and communications
across a number of areas – including
education and health – and across
the globe. He exuded individuality,
originality and unconventionality in
both his personality and work.
Phil cared deeply about the
cause of development and brought
energy and expertise to all he did.
Walking the corridors of the World
Bank’s headquarters with him was
inevitably punctuated by exchanged
greetings, jokes and hugs from a
seemingly endless line of people.
He could command an audience,
moving hundreds of World Bank
employees from laughter to
solemnity in a moment, when
introducing a film on Sudanese
But his greatest joy was reserved
for family – his wife, Anne (nee
Cronin), and daughters, Maddy,
Charlotte and Isabel. Phil would talk
lovingly about spending time with
them at home in Arlington, Virginia;
how his girls were faring at college
and school; and the joys of two and a
half decades of married life.
Phil was diagnosed with
pancreatic cancer in 2016. He
understood the seriousness of his
illness, but never lost his curiosity
or humour, continuing to fire off
emails, recommending a new
book or an old song. He will be
remembered with love by friends
and colleagues who benefited
from knowing a man of generosity,
warmth and great wisdom.
He is survived by Anne and their
daughters, and by seven of his
siblings – his brothers, Mark and Jeff,
and sisters, Susan, Lisa, Jude, Kristin
and Jane.
Jonathan Freedland
Alan Bennett, playwright, novelist
and actor, 84; Candice Bergen,
actor, 72; James L Brooks, film
director and screenwriter, 78;
Sir Vince Cable, Lib Dem MP and
party leader, 75; Nina Campbell,
interior designer, 73; Nicholas
Crane, writer and broadcaster, 64;
Albert Finney, actor and director,
82; Linda Finnie, opera singer,
66; Dave Gahan, singer, 56; Paul
Heaton, musician, 56; Gary Hume,
painter, 56; Glenda Jackson, actor
and former Labour MP, 82; Billy
Joel, singer, 69; Matthew Kelly,
television presenter, 68; Ruth
Kelly, economist, former Labour
minister, 50; Kate RichardsonWalsh, hockey player, 38; Patrick
Ryecart, actor, 66; Marc Sinden,
actor and theatrical producer,
64; Anne Sofie von Otter,
mezzo-soprano, 63; Ellen White,
footballer, 29
Section:GDN 1J PaGe:10 Edition Date:180509 Edition:01 Zone:
Sent at 8/5/2018 17:02
The Guardian Wednesday 9 May 2018
The alternatives
Real-world examples of how people do economics differently
In Newcastle-under-Lyme,
commerce has deserted the
town centre, leaving
the community to fill
the gap, says Aditya
A mall where the
currency is hope
or years, all Mike Riddell has seen in his
trade is failure and death. But today he’s
at a birth – and all his hope rests on it.
A new cafe is opening in the shopping
centre he manages and they are
throwing a party. Having brought along
his wife and mum, 53-year-old Riddell
goes into “full-on host mode”, chatting
up council officials and swapping elaborate handshakes
with teenagers. Yes Sir, I Can Boogie blasts out of the
stereo, and some obliging soul in a Spider-Man costume
complies. Over all the music and chat, you can hear the
free ping-pong tables getting a pounding. Yes sir, clipclop, clip-clop, I can boogie, clip-clop, clip-clop.
Through the big windows, you can see the world
Riddell normally faces – and it’s desolate. No babble,
no mucking about. Hardly anyone clip-clops past. On
this Tuesday lunchtime at York Place, the most tired
shopping centre in Newcastle-under-Lyme, just outside
Stoke, there are few actual shoppers.
After decades building and running shopping centres
across the country, Riddell has looked after York Place
for two tough years. He let out this same entrance cafe
to a can-do pair at the end of 2017. They lasted a few
months before giving up, leaving behind the tables,
chairs and a stove for whoever else wanted to try their
luck. It would be hard for anyone, but especially for
Riddell, who is one of life’s enthusiasts. He zooms down
conversational detours about his great love, northern
soul, and its debt to miners’ culture. And he never
wears a poker face. Ask how important this successor
cafe is and he admits: “Fucking vital. We need to make
this work.”
At rock bottom, eight of York Place’s 35 units stood
vacant. Still today, bare shopfronts are as obvious as
missing teeth. Next door at the fancier Roebuck Centre,
the Early Learning Centre, Argos and Primark have all
disappeared. Even the charity shops are vanishing.
For centuries, Newcastle, as locals call it, has been a
bustling market town. Today the market is retreating
and the town’s very identity is under threat.
York Place is at the eye of a storm that has either
already hit your home town or is looming over it. Last
year 5,855 shops closed in Britain, the most since 2010.
If today is in line with the average, by this evening a net
total of five shops will have given up the ghost.
In our long post-crash slump, trusted names are
either shutting down or cutting back: Woolworths,
Comet, Blockbuster, Maplin, Jaeger, Toys R Us, BHS...
As British wages continue to flatline, more closures
will follow. Just last week, the 169-year-old chain
House of Fraser announced plans to begin insolvency
proceedings .
These individual business failures amount
collectively to a disease eating away at small-town
centres and suburban high streets. It advances in stages:
first out are the brand names and chains; then shoppers
with cars; after that, in come the charity shops and
betting dens. What’s left are ghost towns, abandoned by
all bar schoolchildren and pensioners.
“Walk around Newcastle at three in the afternoon
These individual
business failures
amount collectively to a
disease eating away at
small town centres and
suburban high streets
Above: Cultural
Squatters cafe
manager, Narina
Stead, and
staff use their
CounterCoin to
go bowling
Below: Mike
Riddell, who
runs the
shopping centre
and a lot of the cafes are empty,” says Andy Arnott,
a senior local council officer. “Come five, everybody
finishes work and leaves town.”
I can see why a retailer already battling Lidl or
Amazon’s Jeff Bezos might pass over Newcastle. It’s a
bit too close to Stoke to draw its own footfall. It lies in a
region built on mining and potteries, where prosperity
is now a fading memory. In a country that simply has too
many shops, executives have little use for Newcastle and
other places, from Dartford to Newport to Dewsbury.
What, apart from shopping, will they do now? What,
indeed, does a country built on debt and consumption
do when it’s exhausted that model? These are questions
that Westminster has barely even clocked.
David Cameron got Mary “Queen of Shops” Portas
to write a report on “distressed town centres”, then so
roundly ignored her proposals that she attacked his “PR
campaign”. Since 2011 there have been seven high street
ministers in as many years. So weighty have been their
interventions, I bet you didn’t even know there was such
a thing as a high street minister.
Which leaves it up to towns to fix their own gutted
centres, using whatever tools they can find. Dumfries
has a “doon toon army” of locals bidding to buy derelict
shops. In Newcastle, Riddell and his colleagues already
have a plan. They’re turning York Place into a postshopping centre.
Its anchor tenant – the big shop to draw in passing
trade – isn’t an H&M or a Wilko, but a charity: the YMCA.
Rather than a traditional charity shop, it’s selling
jewellery and other work hand-made by local artists,
Section:GDN 1J PaGe:11 Edition Date:180509 Edition:01 Zone:
Wednesday 9 May 2018 The Guardian
Chains that have
disappeared since
the banking
crash include:
Comet, Blockbuster,
MFI, Borders,
Tie Rack and BHS
Sent at 8/5/2018 17:05
Total shop
closures in 2017
Total shop
openings in 2017
and runs arts and crafts workshops for residents of
all ages. And as of last Tuesday, the cornerstone cafe
is Cultural Squatters, a social enterprise that markets
itself as the “anti-Costa”. It serves instant coffee at £1 a
mug alongside those Staffordshire specialities, lobby
(stew) and oatcakes. Staff include adult volunteers with
learning disabilities.
Where shopping centres are normally stuffed full of
chains, York Place is now a hub for local independents.
Where landlords usually demand maximum rent, Riddell
has cajoled his London-based client into accepting two
non-profits in return for reduced business rates.
It’s a pragmatic way of reclaiming commercial space
for a community – and it’s buttressed by a reward scheme
launched by Riddell and his colleagues at Manchesterbased consultancy HometownPlus. Called CounterCoin,
it’s like a Tesco Clubcard – except you earn points not by
spending, but by doing something for the community.
Help out at a YMCA workshop, say, and you’ll get clay
tokens that entitle you to bargain off-peak sessions at
the neighbourhood bowling alley, or discounts from the
local Spar on food about to pass its best-before date. “If
we can dole out points for being a zombie consumer at
Tesco, why can’t we give points for doing some good in
the community?” says Riddell.
“Genius,” says Arnott, who plans to add more of the
council’s leisure facilities to the scheme.
Again, this is commonsense radicalism: retrieving
things discarded by the market, whether shops or goods
or people, and giving them a social value.
That’s true of the abandoned plot now occupied by
Cultural Squatters. It’s also true of its founder, Narina
Stead, who fixed up her cafe despite a broken arm and
torn ligaments. Painting hurt, she admits, but “I’m too
busy for a sling”.
Now 42, pink-haired Stead cheerfully says: “I’ve lived
with some absolute monsters.” She talks of a history of
domestic violence, of a broken back two decades ago.
Another relationship broke her mental health, forcing
her out of work and on to benefits. She used the time
to get a first-class English degree, then “boshed out” a
master’s, both in three years. Yet in a jobs market as slack
as north Staffordshire, it would be an unusual employer
to bother looking past her long-term unemployment
and see her brains and stamina. What about the state?
A couple of months ago, it was chasing her for bedroom
tax. Only Riddell offered her a shot at a business. It’s hard
graft that has still to pay, but when she blurts out “This is
my baby!”, her pride needs no underlining.
across Britain
rate in the
UK in 2017
Above: A
member of
the cafe
Left: The York
Place shopping
the community
currency that
staff are paid in
inned to the noticeboard of the York
Place offices are not charts of till receipts
or footfall – but a graph depicting how
many person-hours have been poured
into the local community through the
shopping centre. However crude, it’s an
attempt to measure social value, and I’ll
bet 10 CounterCoin that no other mall
anywhere in the country charts such a thing.
“It’s no ordinary shopping centre. It’s a laboratory,”
says Julie Froud, a professor at Alliance Manchester
Business School, who is conducting an independent
evaluation of York Place.
It lacks investment, as shown by the cluster of
buckets to catch leaks in the entrance. The ideas are
rough around the edges, and many of those involved
are working on goodwill. But at least the centre only has
one faraway landlord; activists in Dumfries are having to
barter with a number of absentee owners.
In this lies a lesson for any opposition party that wants
to offer disaffected voters a means of taking back control:
make it easier for communities to repossess derelict
properties. Most of all, Froud notes: “This is a group of
people all trying to make things happen.”
And trying to change a broken model. It’s often
assumed that this hyper-consumerist culture of debt
and spending is intrinsically British – yet it is a recent
invention. As late as the 1960s, the historian Frank
Trentmann notes in his 2016 book Empire of Things,
furniture bought on hire purchase would be delivered
in “plain vans” so as to not to shame a family. Then,
between the mid-70s and the mid-90s, the number of
Britons with credit facilities tripled.
Listen to The
podcast at
in Newcastle-under-Lyme
It’s commonsense
radicalism –
retrieving things
discarded by the market,
be it shops or people, and
giving them a social value
With that began the giant boom for the shopping
business – including for Riddell, who built malls from
Newport to Crewe. He drives me to see one of his last
shopping malls, the Grand Arcade in Wigan. It opened in
March 2007, “pretty much the same day as Warrington,
only 20 miles away, had a massive extension to its
shopping centre. The Trafford centre had just had one
too. Preston, Chorley – they were all at the same game.”
Then Britain’s credit system failed. “The banks were
like, ‘That umbrella we lent you when it was sunny, can
we have it back now it’s raining?’ We had a shopping
centre in Wakefield half-built, and the banks stopped
the funding.”
Since the company’s huge loans were backed by the
partners, Riddell had to hold his own closing-down sale
and liquidate almost everything he owned. He went
from being worth millions to being tens of millions in
debt. The family home was only saved by cash from his
father-in-law. He also donated the nine-year-old car
we’re now in.
“Those bastards in the banking system” are, in his
eyes, “drug dealers. They want to get their cocaine
out, and they’re bonused up to find people like us.
‘Here, d’you want more stuff ?’ Then when the drugs
ran out, they came and kicked our doors in and scared
our wives.”
Now he holds no bank account, and buys precious
little. Having been spat out of the debt-consumerist
complex, he wants nothing more to do with it.
As we park up outside his glory days, he sighs:
“Weird, being back here.” The Grand Arcade was built
on the site of the Wigan Casino, and there is by the
vast cafe a shrine to northern soul: guitars, posters and
seven-inch singles.
Still, he remembers, local traders hated the mall for
sucking the life out of the local high street. Now it has
its own voids: both TK Maxx and Monsoon have left.
Riddell takes a long, mystified look at the temple he
built, deserted at closing time.
“Retail,” he finally says. “It’s dead, innit?”
Section:GDN 1J PaGe:12 Edition Date:180509 Edition:01 Zone:
Sent at 8/5/2018 18:52
The Guardian Wednesday 9 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. 27,503
Guardian cryptic crossword No 27,504 set by Pasquale
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 Old friends taking care of modern
miss, including minister (9)
6 Senior officer taking academic
stream in philosopher William’s
place (5)
9 Getting new gear? Sports official
has it (5)
10 Hills not unusually having bird
sounds around (9)
11 A party in difficulty (3)
12 Trees found by prince in a foreign
country (11)
14 Incident is placed on record —
lines of celebration? (7)
15 Rubbish blocking entrance —
nasty bit of wire? (7)
16 Throw husband out — ancient
fellow whose wife has cheated (7)
19 Disciple following evangelist, a
man of many words (7)
22 Naughty act of sexpot, seen
retrospectively (2,4,5)
23 Boxer went down, with time
running out (3)
24 Maiden featured in special
birthday poem (9)
26 Surprise article, something you
may get lost in ? (5)
27 Little women, never
disheartened, about to begin
again (5)
28 State number being brought
to head, having taken drug
repeatedly (9)
1 Body in vehicle — something for
police to investigate? (7)
2 Aims of criminal joining Italy’s
No 1 illegal gang (7)
3 Non-patriots in revolt — being
negative, they are charged (11)
4 Reward soldiers fairly (7)
5 Submarine group very hot (7)
6 Plump and old, needing exercise?
7 Clown organised teachers — fair
target? (7)
8 Small stone housed in French
gallery — essential item for visitor
13 Rod deceased, having swallowed
yellow chemical (11)
16 Theologian enthralled by church
organ in Somerset village (7)
17 Skipper goes round southern
island missing bit of ship’s
apparatus (7)
18 Excellent worker — I’ll get stuck
in, resisting authority (7)
19 Revolutionary member of
Eastern religion eating loaf (7)
20 Spiritualists giving phoney
answer (7)
21 Simplicity I have found in nature,
abandoning old city (7)
25 Tree in river, weak top to bottom
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