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2018-05-19 The Week

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The main stories…
2 NEWS
What happened
Bloodshed in Gaza
What the editorials said
There was a time when the world longed for the day the US
opened an embassy in Jerusalem, said The New York Times
– because this event was supposed to mark
Gaza suffered its bloodiest day in years
the end of hostilities between Israelis and
on Monday, when Israeli troops opened
Palestinians. For years, America had
fire on mostly unarmed protesters massed
withheld recognition of either side’s claim
along the border fence between the
to the city as a capital, pending a peace
territory and Israel, killing at least 60 and
treaty between the two. “But on Monday,
wounding thousands more. The killings
President Trump delivered the embassy
prompted an international outcry, but
as a gift without concession or condition
Israel insisted it had acted in self-defence
to the Israeli government of Benjamin
to defend its border. It blamed the
Netanyahu.” This would have inflamed
violence on Hamas, the Islamist group
tensions at any time, said the FT. That
that runs Gaza, a view backed by the US.
Trump did it “during the 48 hours when
The bloodshed coincided with the opening A Palestinian protester near the Israeli border Israelis and Palestinians are most divided
each year over their very different versions
– on the 70th anniversary of Israel’s
of history was little short of diplomatic arson”.
founding – of the new US embassy in Jerusalem after its
relocation from Tel Aviv. The move is highly contentious
There was a horrible contrast between the sight of Netanyahu
because the Palestinian authorities claim East Jerusalem as
their capital. Monday’s protests were the culmination of seven beaming with Ivanka Trump in Jerusalem – “what a glorious
weeks of border demonstrations by Gazans demanding a right day,” he declared – and the horrific scenes, fewer than
50 miles away, in Gaza, said The Times. This kind of “malign
of return for Palestinians to areas that are now part of Israel.
symbolism” is a gift to terrorist recruitment. You have only to
Some two-thirds of Gaza’s population is descended from
think of the Bloody Sunday shootings of 1972, in which
refugees who fled or were driven from their homes at the
14 civilians died. A brother of one of the dead recalled that
time of Israel’s creation, an event Palestinians refer to as the
“there were queues to join the IRA after that day”.
Nakba, or “Catastrophe”, and mark each year on 15 May.
What happened
Brexit deadlock
Theresa May’s inner cabinet was still split
this week over customs arrangements with
the EU after Brexit. Cabinet Office minister
David Lidington revealed that, at the last
meeting of the “Brexit cabinet” on Tuesday,
“serious criticisms” had been made of both
the options on the table: the “customs
partnership” model, whereby the UK would
collect import tariffs on behalf of the EU;
and “maximum facilitation”, which proposes
using technology to police borders without
obstructing trade. Labour said it was “deeply
disturbing” that ministers could not agree
“the most fundamental Brexit issues”.
What the editorials said
It “beggars belief” that, only weeks from the EU summit, the
cabinet is still split on such an important question, said The
Daily Telegraph. “It is hard to imagine how
negotiations can be won when one’s own team
is uncertain what it wants.” Both options have
disadvantages. The max fac proposal, using
CCTV and online customs declarations to
police the border, is favoured by Brexiteers.
But it seems unlikely to result in “frictionless
trade” with the EU. It would also involve some
infrastructure at or near the Irish border –
breaking May’s pledge to avoid a hard border.
The customs partnership is May’s preferred
option, said The Economist. The Brexiteers,
May: “perfectly clear”
though, fear that it would be not only vastly
complex – firms importing to the UK would
Downing Street announced that a Brexit white paper would
have to claim back tariffs if their goods didn’t travel on to the
be published ahead of the key EU summit in late June,
EU – but would inevitably evolve into a full customs union,
setting out the Government’s positions. On Monday, David
ending hopes of world trade deals and betraying “the spirit of
Miliband, Nick Clegg and Nicky Morgan joined forces in a
the referendum”. It is hard to see how the deadlock can be
cross-party bid to prevent a hard Brexit – a campaign
broken. “One of the many surreal features” of the row is that
already well under way in the House of Lords.
the EU has already “dismissed both options as unworkable”.
It wasn’t all bad
The bestselling writer Jojo
Moyes has stepped in to save
a major adult literacy scheme
after its sponsors pulled out.
Moyes’ £360,000 donation will
enable the Quick Reads scheme
to run for three more years
while longer-term funding is
sought. Since 2006, the UK
scheme has distributed
4.8 million short novels to
people with lower literacy
levels. “Every now and then you
have to make a decision about
whether you’re going to make
a difference,” Moyes said.
Forty years after losing both of his
feet to frostbite during an ascent
of Everest, 69-year-old Chinese
climber Xia Boyu has finally
conquered the peak. He is only the
second double amputee to climb
Everest, and the first to do it from
the Nepal side. He lost his feet after
a climb in 1975, as a result of giving
his sleeping bag to a sick friend
during a storm. On the same day
this week (when spring weather
made the summit accessible), Steve
Plain, from Australia, set a new
record by climbing the highest
peaks on all seven continents in
117 days – four years after breaking
his neck in a surfing accident.
The Australian Red Cross has
paid tribute to “the man with
the golden arm”: a retired
railway worker whose blood
donations have saved the lives
of an estimated 2.4 million
babies over the past 60 years.
James Harrison, now 81, gave
the last of his 1,173 donations
last week in Sydney, on the
advice of doctors. Probably as
a result of a transfusion he had
received aged 14, his blood
contains a rare antibody that
is used to make Anti-D – a lifesaving treatment required by
about 17% of pregnant women
in Australia.
COVER CARTOON: HOWARD MCWILLIAM
THE WEEK 19 May 2018
…and how they were covered
NEWS 3
What the commentators said
What next?
Viewing reports of the “slaughter” at Gaza’s border, many will “understandably feel that the
Israeli authorities grossly overreacted”, said Mark Almond in the Daily Mail. It has been a
“public relations disaster” for Israel. It’s worth bearing in mind, though, that had the border
fence actually been breached by thousands of Palestinians, it would have triggered far greater
carnage. And it’s also the case that the central demand of the protests – to reclaim ancestral
homes in what is now Israel – threatens the very existence of the state of Israel. Still, the use of
live rounds was surely excessive, said Paul Goodman on ConservativeHome.com. The worry is
that this was less a military decision than “a political one, driven by government ministers who
have voters to satisfy. That doesn’t bode well for the liberal ethos in which Israel takes pride.”
A regional peace initiative led
by Trump’s adviser and sonin-law Jared Kushner has
been shelved because of
Palestinian anger over the
new US embassy, reports
The Washington Post. But
US officials insist the Trump
peace plan, which had
originally been expected to
be unveiled earlier this year,
is not dead and will be
presented “at the right time”.
The real question, said Amos Harel in Haaretz, is why Israel allowed things to come to a head
in this way. For months, security forces have been warning that conditions in Gaza, which is
under an Israeli and Egyptian blockade, are becoming intolerable, leading to frustration and
rage among its two million inhabitants. It has also long been known that Hamas is “under
unprecedented strategic pressure” owing to its strained relations with the Saudis and Egypt,
and its incompetent management of Gaza. It was obvious that Hamas would seek to exploit
the border protests to foment a bloody clash to boost its own image. Yet Israel took no steps
to head this confrontation off, barely lifting “a finger to ease the distress in the Strip”.
Israel under Netanyahu’s Likud Party seems to think that if it ignores the Palestinian problem,
it will just go away, said Stephen Daisley in The Spectator. That’s a dangerous attitude. Israelis
insist they have no partner for peace, and they have a point: only this month, the Palestinian
president, Mahmoud Abbas, who counts as a “moderate”, reiterated his view that the Jews
brought the Holocaust on themselves. But sometimes peace “only needs one side. The next
Israeli government – this one is beyond help – has to take charge and formulate a unilateral
plan.” Because one thing is for sure: Israel “cannot afford many more days like Monday”.
Theresa May has called for
an independent inquiry into
Israel’s “deeply troubling”
use of live ammunition
against Palestinian protesters.
Labour MPs have also called
for the Government to
review arms sales to Israel
and to cancel a UK visit by
President Trump in July,
in protest at his stoking of
Middle East tensions.
What the commentators said
What next?
“Theresa May usually avoids giving her own opinion in cabinet meetings,” said Rachel
Sylvester in The Times. She tends to go around the table asking other ministers’ views, before
even-handedly summing them up. But on this issue she has been perfectly clear: she thinks the
customs partnership is the right policy. This “unprecedented display of clarity” makes it even
more extraordinary that, within days, Boris Johnson had condemned his boss’s plan as “crazy”
– “such a blatant act of insubordination that you have to assume the Foreign Secretary was
trying to get fired”. “The mystery is why Leavers would choose to die in this particular ditch,”
said Janan Ganesh in the FT. They have won: not just the referendum, but the interpretation of
the result. Despite “the closeness of the vote and the ambiguity of its meaning”, Britain is leaving the EU, the single market and the customs union too. “Their dream is near. Why imperil
it?” Under the customs partnership, Britain would have to collect tariffs for the EU, “but this
seems a small nuisance next to the prize of exit”. The cynic in me suspects that the Brexiteers
don’t actually want to take responsibility for the final EU deal. Disavowing it now will allow
them to escape the blame later on “if economic life deteriorates after its implementation”.
The PM has broken up the
Brexit cabinet into teams
of mixed Remainers and
Leavers, to find a compromise, says Peter Foster
in The Daily Telegraph.
One may be to “delay the
reckoning”: to stay in the
customs union for some
years, while max fac
technology is developed.
On the contrary, the customs partnership would be genuinely disastrous, said Nick Timothy
in The Daily Telegraph. In practice, it would become “a customs union by another name”.
Because of the complexity of tracking imported goods – to see which ones stay in the country
and which ones travel on to the EU, so that tariff rebates could be claimed on the former – the
UK would end up aligning itself very closely to EU regulations and bureaucracy. This would
make it impossible to agree trade deals with other countries – surrendering one of the key gains
of Brexit. Maximum facilitation is the only alternative. As for the Irish border, the EU must
show flexibility. The responsibility “to find solutions is not only British but European too”.
THE WEEK
Is it racist to compare a white man to a slice of cured meat? That was
the debate raging in the media this week, prompted by an article in
The Times about the Left’s “weaponisation” of the word “gammon”.
Apparently, if you’re middle-aged, white, male and angry – perhaps a tabloid-reading Brexiteer going
red in the face about immigration – you’re a gammon, and a target for ridicule. It’s not entirely new.
People used to say that David Cameron looked like a side of ham. On Twitter, it has been traced back
further: in Nicholas Nickleby, one of the characters is told that he has a “gammon tendency” and
wonders if it is because of his propensity to “grow a little too fervid... in extolling my native land”.
But according to a DUP MP, Emma Little-Pengelly, to denigrate older white men as gammon is not
merely rude, it’s a derogatory remark “based on skin colour and age”, and therefore “just wrong”.
Naturally, left-wingers have been quick to rubbish this claim: no one has ever been deported for
being an indignant white man with pink cheeks, they argue. They also point out that right-wingers
deploy plenty of derogatory terms of their own (snowflake, cuck, libtard etc.). But like the use of
“centrist dad” to belittle people who voted Labour in the 1990s, gammon does highlight a shift
within the party – the shrinking of Tony Blair’s Big Tent. There are many white, middle-aged tabloidreading men, angry about one thing or another, who once thought that
Caroline Law
Labour was their home. They’re out in the rain now.
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The 28-29 June European
Council meeting is the next
hurdle. British officials fear
that if no consensus is
reached by then, the EU
will refuse to discuss the
future relationship, or
even withdraw the offer of
a transition deal – forcing
the UK to come to terms
or crash out with no deal.
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19 May 2018 THE WEEK
Politics
4 NEWS
Controversy of the week
Leveson back and forth
The rendition scandal
“It was one of the most shaming, self-abasing apologies ever
made in the House of Commons,” said Will Hutton in
The Observer. In a letter read out to MPs last week, Theresa
May acknowledged Britain’s complicity in what she described
as the “appalling treatment” meted out to Libyan dissident
Abdel Hakim Belhaj and his wife, Fatima Boudchar. In 2004,
at the behest of the Libyan dictator, Colonel Gaddafi, they
were seized by CIA agents in Thailand and then – hooded and
shackled – flown back to Libya to be tortured in Gaddafi’s
jails. And it was MI6 who gave the tip-off as to their
whereabouts. Boudchar – who, heavily pregnant, was forced
to hear her husband’s screams under torture – was freed after
four months. Belhaj was sentenced to death and remained in
prison for another six years.
Belhaj: “appalling treatment”
I can understand why the CIA went after my husband, said
Boudchar in an article in The New York Times: he was the leader of an Islamist group opposed to
Gaddafi. But why did they go after me? And why was my treatment at the CIA’s “black site” in
Bangkok – which was run by Gina Haspel, Donald Trump’s nominee for CIA director (see page 6)
– worse than anything I endured in Libya? Although pregnant, I was hit in the abdomen and bound
to a stretcher from head to toe “like a mummy”. These are the questions I would like answered. She
deserves an answer, said the Daily Mail, just as she deserved this week’s apology and the £500,000
payout that went with it. But it isn’t May who should have given that apology; it’s the leaders of the
last Labour government, above all Tony Blair, who forsook the principles of civilised society in
order to cosy up to the “murderous, oil-rich Gaddafi regime”. Former foreign secretary Jack Straw
also has some explaining to do, said Richard Norton-Taylor in The Guardian. A year after Belhaj’s
abduction, he flatly dismissed suggestions of British involvement in illegal renditions as “conspiracy
theories”. But official files found in the bombed-out ruins of Tripoli after Gaddafi was toppled told
a different story. One letter from Sir Mark Allen, then head of counterterrorism at MI6, actually
congratulated Libya’s intelligence chief for the “safe arrival” of Belhaj in Libya.
It’s not the first time the UK government has paid out to victims of rendition, said Dan Lomas on
The Conversation. In 2012 it offered £2m to the family of a Libyan dissident who was forced onto a
plane in Hong Kong and flown to Tripoli. It has also compensated former detainees at Guantanamo
Bay. Yet whereas in the US, the Senate has completed a major investigation into the CIA’s detention
regime, in Britain there has been no such attempt to get at the truth. A judge-led inquiry set up by
David Cameron has been shelved, and the Crown Prosecution Service dropped a legal case of ill
treatment brought by Belhaj and a fellow detainee, citing “insufficient evidence”. A public apology
is all very well, but what we really need now is an official inquiry into rendition by Britain’s spies.
Spirit of the age
Madame Tussauds is
moving with the times and
replacing wax models with
animatronic ones – in
China, at least. Visitors
to the Shanghai outpost
will be able to meet an
interactive robot version
of the Chinese film star
Jing Boran. While this is
Tussauds’ first “intelligent
figure”, the London branch
recently introduced a model
of actor Tom Hardy heated
to 37°C, and with a heartbeat, for a more realistic
cuddling experience.
Rolls-Royce has launched
the world’s most expensive
SUV, marketing it as a
“weekend car you can put
the kids in”. The £250,000
Cullinan is aimed at “ultrahigh net-worth” millennials
– thirtysomethings who got
rich in tech, say, and who
are a decade younger than
the average Rolls buyer.
THE WEEK 19 May 2018
Good week for:
Daniel Craig, who was identified as one of the five highestpaid stars in Hollywood. The actor has negotiated an £18.5m
fee for the new Bond film. He and his wife, Rachel Weisz, are
estimated by The Sunday Times Rich List to be worth £125m.
The Rich List also revealed that 94% of Britain’s 1,000 richest
people are now self-made, up from 43% in 1989 (see page 48).
Bad week for:
Club 18-30, the tour operator known for shipping generations
of young Brits to cheap Mediterranean resorts for a week of sun,
sex and tequila – which may be coming to an end. Thomas Cook
says the concept doesn’t appeal to millennials, and is reportedly
putting the business up for sale.
Donald Trump, who – on top of everything else going on this
week – managed to enrage the Scots, by allowing his luxury golf
resort in Ayrshire to ban Irn-Bru. Apparently, the management at
Trump Turnberry are anxious that the bright orange fizzy drink
may stain the resort’s expensive carpets.
Royal Mail, which was criticised for advising businesses to
exploit a loophole in new data protection laws. From 25 May,
firms will in many cases need people’s consent before they can
send them marketing material. Royal Mail suggests they get
around this by sending the bumf out in unaddressed envelopes.
The police, which was forced to admit that its facial-recognition
software doesn’t work. It is often used at large events to detect
people on a watch list – but according to figures released by the
Metropolitan Police, 98% of the time its “matches” are wrong.
MPs have once again voted
against a new Leveson-style
public inquiry into press
regulation. The House of
Commons rejected the
proposal by 301 votes to
289 on Tuesday. The result
came after the Government
promised additional scrutiny
of newspapers, including
five-yearly reviews of their
use of personal data and
regular reviews of the system
of press self-regulation. MPs
had already narrowly voted
with the Government to
reject Leveson 2 last week,
only for the Lords to support
it. Peers could push it back to
the Commons for a third
time, but are unlikely to do
so, not least because ditching
the probe was a government
manifesto commitment.
Holyrood rejects Brexit
The Scottish parliament on
Tuesday rejected the EU
Withdrawal Bill, the
Government’s flagship Brexit
legislation. MSPs voted 93 to
30 against the bill, which First
Minister Nicola Sturgeon has
called a “power grab”.
Holyrood’s approval is not
legally necessary for the bill
to become law, but imposing
it on Scotland without a deal
would create “the biggest
political rift between the
two institutions since devolution,” said The Times. The
Government has vowed to
“push on”, but says there is
still time for an agreement.
Poll watch
The Tories have a fivepoint lead over Labour:
the parties are on 43% and
38% respectively, following
a dip in Labour support
since mid-April. Asked
who’d make a better PM,
39% say Theresa May and
25% Jeremy Corbyn.
YouGov/The Times
In the US, the Republicans
are experiencing a surge in
support as they gear up for
November’s midterms. In
February the Democrats led
by 16 points. Now they’re
only three points ahead.
CNN/The Daily Telegraph
One in four parents have
altered parts of classic fairy
tales when reading them
to their children because
they think that they’re
inappropriate or too scary.
Little Red Riding Hood is the
story most often changed.
OnePoll/Daily Mail
Europe at a glance
Paris
Terror attack:
The suspected
Islamist terrorist
who stabbed a
man to death in
central Paris
last Saturday has
been identified as
Khamzat Azimov,
a 20-year-old
Chechen-born
French citizen
who had been on an anti-terrorism watch
list. France’s first suspected terrorist of
Chechen origin, Azimov (pictured) shouted
“Allahu Akbar” as he launched his attack
in the busy Opera district, killing his
29-year-old victim and injuring four others
before being shot dead by police. There are
around 30,000 people of Chechen origin
in France, and it is estimated that 8% of
French nationals involved in Syria-based
jihadist groups are ethnic Chechens. The
attack was claimed by Islamic State.
NEWS 5
Budapest
Soros to close offices: The Open Society
Foundations – a philanthropic organisation
funded by George Soros – announced on
Tuesday that it is closing its offices in
Hungary, citing the interference it is facing
from the country’s right-wing government.
It will move its operations from Budapest
to Berlin. “The government has denigrated
and misrepresented our work, and
repressed civil society for the sake of
political gain, using tactics unprecedented
in the history of the EU,” said its president,
Patrick Gaspard. Hungary’s PM Viktor
Orbán was recently re-elected after
campaigning under a “stop Soros” banner.
In TV and billboard ads, he accused the
Hungarian-born billionaire of supporting
migration to Europe as a means of
undermining nation states. His “stop
Soros” legislation – likely to be passed
in the coming weeks – will impose
new restrictions on foreign-funded
NGOs in Hungary.
Kerch, Crimea
Prestige project: Russia’s President Putin
this week opened a new road and rail
bridge linking Russia with the disputed
Crimean peninsula. The Kerch Strait
Bridge, also known as the Crimean Bridge,
is 12 miles long – making it Europe’s
longest. It is also a triumph of engineering:
there have been several previous plans to
build a bridge across this notoriously
windy stretch of water, all of which failed.
With up to 15,000 workers toiling on the
bridge at any one time, it took only
27 months to complete. Russia annexed
Crimea in 2014, but the international
community continues to regard it as legally
part of Ukraine. Russia hopes the road
link will strengthen Moscow’s grip on
Crimea and boost its economy.
Rome
Closing the deal:
Italy’s far-right
League Party and
the populist Five
Star Movement
were reported to
be on the brink
of forming a
government this
week, after two
months of
post-election negotiations. Neither the
League’s leader, Matteo Salvini (pictured),
nor Five Star’s Luigi Di Maio wants to be
PM, but the question of who they do want
in that role – and can agree on – seemed
to be the main obstacle in their talks. In
an editorial, the FT warned if they did
form a government, it would be the “most
unconventional, inexperienced government
to rule a western European democracy”
since the EU’s Treaty of Rome in 1957.
Meta di Sorrento, Italy
Gang rape of tourist: Five Italian men have
been arrested on suspicion of gang-raping
a British tourist in the southern resort of
Meta di Sorrento, on the Gulf of Naples.
The alleged attack happened at the Mar
Hotel Alimuri in 2016, and all those
arrested in dawn raids on Monday – after
two years of painstaking police work – are
current or former employees of the hotel.
The woman, who was in her 50s, was
given the drug benzodiazepine, allegedly
by two barmen who took her to a pool
area and sexually assaulted her. She was
then taken to a room in the hotel, where
at least ten men were waiting, and was
allegedly raped. She went to the police
on her return to the UK, and DNA
evidence was obtained which Italian police
say they have matched with the arrested
men. They also say that they found images
of the attack that had been shared on a
WhatsApp group called “Bad Habits”.
Paris
Les Anglicismes: The word globish,
meaning a basic, globally understood
version of English, has entered the French
dictionary this year, along with a bumper
crop of other Anglicisms, in spite of
language purists’ efforts to coin French
alternatives, The Daily Telegraph reports.
Words or phrases considered by Le Petit
Robert dictionary to have entered common
usage over the past year include le dark net
(although the Académie française had
proposed the term internet clandestin).
Among the other words making their
debut appearance in the latest edition
of the dictionary are hoverboard, SUV,
chatbot, e-sport, replay (a “watch again”
service on TV), fashionista and queer
(defined as “a person whose orientation
or sexual identity doesn’t correspond with
dominant models”). Non-English words to
have been adopted into French include
teriyaki and pavlova.
Barcelona
A president at last: Catalonia’s parliament
has this week sworn in a pro-independence
hardliner, who was nominated by the
ousted and exiled ex-president Carles
Puigdemont, as the region’s new president.
Catalan MPs voted Quim Torra in as
president by 66 votes to 65, ending the
five months of political stalemate that
followed December’s inconclusive election.
Torra, 55, has already pledged to continue
the struggle for independence from Spain
after last year’s referendum result. “Our
president is Carles Puigdemont, and we
will be faithful to the mandate of
October... to build an independent state
in the form of a republic,” he said. The
region has been under direct rule from
Madrid since Catalan separatists unilaterally declared independence. Spain’s PM
Mariano Rajoy has offered to meet Torra
for talks, though it is not yet clear whether
Madrid will lift direct rule.
Catch up with daily news at www.theweek.co.uk
19 May 2018 THE WEEK
6 NEWS
The world at a glance
Washington DC
Insulting McCain: A White House aide has been forced to
apologise for dismissing Senator John McCain’s objections to
the appointment of Gina Haspel as director of the CIA, on the
grounds that “it doesn’t matter, he’s dying anyway”. In a
statement, McCain – who has brain cancer – had said that while
he did not doubt Haspel’s talents, the fact that she ran a “black
site” in Thailand in 2002, where an “enhanced interrogation
programme” was used, made her unfit to be the head of the
agency. However, Haspel later told the Senate that she now
believes that the programme had been a mistake. Senators are
expected to confirm her appointment next week. The aide has
reportedly apologised to McCain’s daughter for her crass remark
– but has so far resisted calls for a public apology.
Menlo Park, California
Facebook abuses: Facebook has released comprehensive
details for the first time about its attempts to police the
site’s content – revealing in the process the scale of the
problem. According to the report published this week,
in the first quarter of this year it tackled 837 million
pieces of spam and took down 583 million fake
accounts (and it estimates that 3-4% of its 2.2 billion active
monthly users are currently fake). In the same period, it removed
3.4 million posts that contained graphic violence, 2.5 million that
constituted hate speech and 1.9 million that it deemed terrorist
propaganda. The company also revealed that it had suspended
about 200 apps as part of its investigation into the misuse of
personal data after the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
New York
Weinstein’s wife speaks out: In her first
interview since Harvey Weinstein’s
downfall, the fashion designer Georgina
Chapman has said that until the scandal
broke, she never had suspicions about
her estranged husband’s behaviour.
“I had what I thought was a very happy
marriage,” she told Vogue. The revelations had left her “so broken” that she
had barely left the house, she said, adding
that she was deeply worried for their two
children (aged five and seven), who love their father. But “I don’t
want to be viewed as a victim”, she said, “because I don’t think I
am. I am a woman in a shit situation, but it’s not unique.”
Washington DC
Sports betting to become legal: The US Supreme Court on
Monday cleared the way for betting on sporting events to become
legal across the US – a move that could revolutionise the gambling
industry. Currently, Nevada is the only state fully exempted from
a 1992 law that has made it illegal to bet on the results of sports
matches. However, millions of Americans place illicit bets: the
black market is worth an estimated £150bn a year, and casinos,
bookmakers and gambling websites will be racing to grab a share
of it. The case was brought by the state of New Jersey, which
argued that the ban was unconstitutional. It will now be up to
individual states to decide if they want to allow gambling. In
London, shares in William Hill jumped 11% on the news.
Mexico City
Leftist front runner: A veteran left-winger
who is a close friend of Jeremy Corbyn
has emerged as the front runner in
Mexico’s presidential election, due in
July. Andrés Manuel López Obrador, 64,
a former mayor of Mexico City, lost the
2006 election by less than a percentage
point, prompting protests by supporters
and claims of fraud. Now, he has a poll
lead of 15-20% over his centre-right rival
Ricardo Anaya Cortés. Corbyn and his
Mexican wife, Laura, spent part of their
Christmas holiday with López Obrador (pictured) in 2016.
Managua
Violent protests: Tens of thousands of Nicaraguans took part in
fresh anti-government protests last week in the capital, Managua,
and other cities, many of them holding aloft pictures of those
killed in the recent unrest. In the past month, the crisis has cost
the lives of about 50 people, the majority of them students. The
protests were sparked in mid-April by proposed social security
cuts. These have been abandoned – but the fierceness of the
crackdown on the demonstrations has incited more people to
take to the streets and call for the resignation of President Ortega.
The 72-year-old former leftist rebel has ruled Nicaragua for
the past 11 years. Many younger Nicaraguans believe he has
morphed into a dictator and that he is intent on being succeeded
by his wife (and vice-president), Rosario Murillo.
THE WEEK 19 May 2018
Caracas
Water crisis: Venezuela’s capital
is in the grip of a chronic water
shortage caused by the effective
collapse of Hidrocapital, the
state-owned utility company. Although it is rainy season and the
reservoirs are full, millions of people in Caracas have not had
regular running water for a month. Over the years, billions have
been invested in reservoirs and pumps to bring water to the city.
But owing to the economic crisis – and hyperinflation – wages are
so low that Hidrocapital’s maintenance staff are not turning up to
work, and there is no money for spare parts. President Maduro
has vowed to repair the economy if re-elected this weekend – a
poll expected to be rigged and that the opposition is boycotting
– but he has not said how he plans to do so.
The world at a glance
Golan Heights
Fears grow of an Israel-Iran war: Israel and Iran
edged closer to all-out war last Thursday, when
Israeli positions in the Golan Heights – Syrian
territory that Israel annexed after the 1967
Six Day War – were hit by a barrage of Iranian
rockets. Iran, a key backer of Syria’s Assad regime
and the Lebanese militia Hezbollah, has deployed
thousands of missiles in Syria: last week’s attack
– two days after the US pulled out of the global
agreement over Iran’s nuclear programme – marked the first time it has launched a
direct assault on Israeli forces. Israel responded with a reported 70 air strikes targeting
Iranian forces across Syria, its biggest assault on targets in Syria since the 1973 Yom
Kippur War. Israel’s defence minister, Avigdor Lieberman (pictured), said Israel had
successfully destroyed “nearly all the Iranian infrastructure in Syria”.
The day before the Israeli action, Israel’s PM Benjamin Netanyahu met Russia’s
President Putin, with whom he has a close relationship, to notify him in advance of the
strikes. Russia and Iran both support the Assad regime, but Russia’s main concern is to
secure its military bases in Syria: it probably has no wish to see the situation escalate.
NEWS 7
Baghdad
Sadr emerges as kingmaker: In a stunning
result unforeseen by either Iraqi politicians
or Western analysts, a coalition headed by
Muqtada al-Sadr – the firebrand Shia cleric
whose militias killed hundreds of Iraqi and
US soldiers in the wars that followed the
US-led invasion of 2003 – has taken the
largest number of seats after the general
election last Saturday. The party of the
current PM, Haider al-Abadi, who
oversaw the battle against Islamic State,
came third. Under Iraq’s system, no party
can easily dominate, and a coalition is
likely to take months to build. Sadr, who
has repositioned himself as an anticorruption reformer opposed to Iranian
influence, did not stand for a seat himself
and cannot head the new government. It
remains possible that – as kingmaker – he
could yet back Abadi for another term.
Pyongyang
Warning Trump:
Pyongyang suddenly
ratcheted up tensions
with the US this week, by
declaring that it is pulling
out of talks with South
Korea, owing to the
latter’s joint military drills
with the US. It also warned
that Kim Jong Un will
“reconsider” meeting
Donald Trump on 12 June
if the US insists it give up
its nuclear weapons, and
advised Trump not to
listen to his “repugnant”
adviser John Bolton, who
recently proposed a
Libya-style denuclearisation in North
Korea.
Solai, Kenya
Dam deaths:
At least 48
people were
killed last week
– about half of
them children –
when a dam
collapsed on
a sprawling farm in Kenya’s Rift Valley.
The collapse of the earthen structure
released a wave about 1.5 metres high
and 500 metres wide, which destroyed
everything in its path, including a primary
school. According to Kenya’s water
authority, the Patel dam had been built
without the necessary permits, though the
farm’s manager denies this. Police have
opened a criminal investigation, and other
illegal dams on the farm are being drained
to avert another disaster. Torrential rains
over the past two months, following a
severe drought, have caused at least 132
deaths and the destruction of the homes
of 220,000 people across Kenya.
Kuala Lumpur
Shock return:
Fifteen years after
stepping down,
the former PM of
Malaysia has won
a surprise victory
in the country’s
general election:
at 92, Mahathir
Mohamad is now
the world’s oldest
elected leader. He
came out of retirement and defected to the
opposition to take on his former protégé,
Najib Razak, who has long been mired in
a corruption scandal. Although Mahathir
(pictured) was himself known as an
authoritarian strongman, his victory
is being seen as a welcome boost for
democratic values in southeast Asia (see
page 17). He has hinted he may govern
for only two years.
Surabaya, Indonesia
Terror attacks: Indonesia suffered its
worst terrorist atrocities in more than
a decade this week, when members of
two apparently ordinary Muslim families
carried out a series of suicide bomb attacks
in the country’s second city, Surabaya.
On Sunday, a mother and her two
daughters, aged nine and 12, detonated
their suicide vests inside an Indonesian
Christian church; her two teenage sons
detonated their explosives outside a
Catholic church, while her husband blew
himself up outside a Pentecostal building.
Between them, the six, who all died, killed
at least 13 people. The next day, a family
of five, riding on two motorcycles, blew
themselves up outside Surabaya’s police
headquarters, injuring ten people. An
eight-year-old girl, who had been wedged
between her parents on the bike, survived.
Islamic State has claimed responsibility for
organising the attacks.
19 May 2018 THE WEEK
People
8 NEWS
Helping the orphans of Isis
Zahar al-Atheel teaches the
world’s least-wanted pupils,
says Josie Ensor in The Daily
Telegraph: the 65 orphaned
and abandoned children at the
Al-Zahour Centre in Mosul are
all the sons and daughters of
Islamic State fighters. Exposed
to a brutal jihadist ideology
and extreme violence – rapes,
beheadings, torture – they are
not like other children. “They
[aren’t] used to playing football
or painting. Fun was banned
by Daesh.” Some are so
traumatised they’re unable to
speak. Few are ready to face up
to the truth about their pasts:
“They all say [their parents]
died in accidents or car crashes.
The truth is most were killed
in fighting or by air strikes.”
Many are deeply disturbed and
in need of intense therapy. “All
my friends ask me why I help
these kids, when there’s so
many more in need,” he says.
“I tell them if we don’t change
them today, they will become
another Isis tomorrow.”
The sadness of Fatboy Slim
As DJ Fatboy Slim, Norman
Cook has thrilled countless
ravers, but latterly he’s not
been so happy himself – which
has given his work a different
dimension. “Nowadays I feel
the crowd provide a sort of
therapy to me,” he told The
Times’s Michael Odell. He is
still reeling from the end of his
marriage to Zoë Ball in 2016,
and isn’t ready to date anyone
new: “I’ve forgotten what the
rules are... My heart is still
wounded to be honest.” Cook,
54, was also deeply affected by
the loss of his father-in-law and
is now an ambassador for the
hospice where he died. He’s
amazed by the courage of the
people he’s met there. They
don’t just confront death, he
says, “they dance with it. Let’s
face it, few of us dare look the
truth in the face. Certainly not
a DJ whose job is hedonism
and prolonging adolescence.”
Castaway of the week
This week’s edition of Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs featured
entrepreneur and philanthropist Peter Lampl
1 She Loves You by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, performed
by The Beatles
2 Prelude And The Sound Of Music by Richard Rodgers and
Oscar Hammerstein II, performed by Julie Andrews
3 Jumpin’ Jack Flash by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, performed
by The Rolling Stones
4 Theme from New York, New York by Fred Ebb and John Kander,
performed by Frank Sinatra
5 California Girls by Brian Wilson and Mike Love, performed by
The Beach Boys
6 Swan Lake by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, performed by Seiji Ozawa
and the Boston Symphony Orchestra
7* The Magic Flute by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, conducted by
Charles Mackerras with Bryn Terfel, Christine Rice and the
Scottish Chamber Orchestra
8 Cecilia by Paul Simon, performed by Simon & Garfunkel
Book: The complete works of Robert Frost
* Choice if allowed only one record
Luxury: two cases of champagne
THE WEEK 19 May 2018
André Leon Talley was 15 when he set his heart on becoming
a fashion editor, says Emma Brockes in The Guardian. It was
a strange ambition for a grandson of sharecroppers in North
Carolina, fuelled by reading old copies of Vogue he found in a local
library. The magazine depicted a white, upper-class world, yet he
felt included, “because there were people I wanted to be like –
eccentric, original people who were artists, writers”. His entrée into
this dream world came courtesy of Andy Warhol, who in 1974 gave
him a job at Interview magazine. He loved working for Warhol. “He
did not judge people; you could say or do anything. Drag queens
were as important as Princess Caroline of Monaco.” A decade later
he landed at Vogue itself, becoming its creative director and a close
friend of its formidable editor, Anna Wintour: “One sees the glacial
sunglasses and impeccable dresses. But she cares.” Not everyone
in fashion has been as supportive – in Paris, he was dubbed “Queen
Kong” by one PR. “That was the most racist thing I’d ever heard. It
didn’t hurt me, I didn’t show it, but I never forgot.” Talley, 69, thinks
his resilience comes from the grandmother who raised him and
gave him unconditional love. “When I went home I wore maxi coats
to the floor, with gold braid and buttons I bought in New York. She
didn’t blink an eye: I could do no wrong.”
Viewpoint:
Lessons and learnings
“Join me in a campaign against the
new buzzword, ‘learnings’. We may
have failed to stop ‘going forward’ go
forward, and made no headway against
the onward march of ‘challenges’, but
by ridicule we could surely stop
‘learnings’ in its tracks. The term is part
of the idiot speak of modern business
communications – ‘And what learnings
to do you take, Nikki, from your
experience at Carillion?’ – and really
means ‘lessons’, but manages to avoid
any hint that someone might actually
have made a mistake. Think positive!
Nuclear meltdown at Chernobyl
presented challenges to those affected
by radiation, but we have taken useful
learnings from the episode.”
Matthew Parris in The Times
Farewell
Will Alsop, Stirling
Prize-winning architect,
died 12 May, aged 70.
Bob Bura, pioneering
animator known for the
Trumptonshire trilogy,
died 7 April, aged 93.
Professor David
Goodall, renowned
botanist and ecologist,
died 10 May, aged 104.
Margot Kidder, actress
who played Lois Lane
in the Superman films,
died 13 May, aged 69.
Tom Wolfe, author and
journalist who wrote The
Bonfire of the Vanities,
died 14 May, aged 87.
© JOSHUA BRIGHT/GUARDIAN NEWS & MEDIA
In bed with rock’s greats
Pamela Des Barres was the
ultimate groupie, says Craig
McLean in The Observer
Magazine – and she believes
she played a part in nurturing
rock’s great talents. She hung
out with The Doors and
Jimi Hendrix, and her lovers
included Jimmy Page and Mick
Jagger – but she has a special
place in her heart for Keith
Moon. “He was such a needy
soul… When he’d wake up
screaming about being a
murdering f*** [Moon had
accidentally run over and killed
his driver] I could calm him. It
was my duty as a muse to take
care of this brilliant genius.”
She denies that fans like her
were victims of sexual abuse
– the 1960s and 1970s were
“a whole other universe” –
but admits her promiscuity
was hard to square with her
Christian faith. “I fought with
it. Until I finally realised that
the orgasm – la petite mort –
is godly… so important, so
connecting with the divine.”
At 69, the memory of making
love with Jagger still makes her
wistful: “On his pillows in the
middle of his living room,
listening to Dylan – there was
nothing better on Earth.”
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Briefing
NEWS 11
May 1968
A student revolt that nearly brought down the French government fifty years ago has become part of the nation’s political mythology
© CAMERA PRESS/FRANK HERMANN
Where did the protests begin?
In Nanterre, a suburb of Paris, on a
newly built campus of the University of
Paris. The campus had witnessed a minor
sexual revolution in 1967 – a series of
protests against rules preventing male
students from visiting female students in
their dormitories. But on 22 March, led
by a Franco-German anarchist, Daniel
Cohn-Bendit (see box), 140 students
occupied a building to demonstrate on
a broad range of issues, from the arrest
of anti-Vietnam student radicals and
overcrowding on campus to class
discrimination in French society. In early
May, the dean of Nanterre shut down
the campus, and the students moved their
protests to the university’s main site at
the Sorbonne, in Paris’s Latin Quarter.
students and set out their own demands.
By 16 May, workers had occupied some
50 factories across France – including
those of the carmaker Renault and the
aviation company Dassault. By 23 May,
some ten million workers – two-thirds of
the workforce – were on strike. Although
often forgotten today, the workers’ revolt
was seen as far more significant than the
students’ by de Gaulle’s government.
What did the protesters want?
The students’ demands were diffuse and
utopian: as well as the release of those
arrested, they wanted the decentralisation
of economic and political power; freedom from bourgeois norms; the end of
what they saw as US imperialism. Their
slogans were playful and open-ended: “Be
“Demand the impossible”: student rioters in Paris
realistic: demand the impossible.” “It is
forbidden to forbid.” The most famous – inspired by the sight of
What were the underlying issues?
sand under the cobblestones removed to fight the police – was:
Most Western nations experienced student revolts and outbreaks
of anti-establishment violence in the late 1960s. Many, such as the “Sous les pavés, la plage” (“Under the cobblestones, the beach”).
Across France, committees were formed to restructure univerGrosvenor Square protests in London, focused on the Vietnam
sities, schools, the news media and the film industry – the Cannes
War: the Vietcong’s Tet Offensive had begun in January. From
Film Festival ended after jury members resigned in support. The
1945, France had enjoyed unbroken prosperity and a baby boom:
unions, for their part, had some concrete demands on pay and
in the decade to 1968, the French student population had grown
hours, but many workers were swept up in the idealistic fervour.
from 175,000 to 500,000, bringing with it a thriving youth
culture and left-wing political movements. Yet France – and its
How did the events of May 1968 end?
universities – remained traditional and quietly authoritarian, its
On 29 May, de Gaulle disappeared from view. He had flown by
rigid hierarchies symbolised by the 77-year-old president, Charles
helicopter to the headquarters of the French army in Germany,
de Gaulle, who had been in power for a decade. In March 1968,
to seek the support of its commander, General Jacques Massu.
Le Monde columnist Pierre Viansson-Ponté declared that France
On 30 May, half a million protesters marched through Paris,
was facing a dangerous political problem: “boredom”.
chanting: “Adieu, de Gaulle.” But that day, he returned to
Paris and delivered a radio address in which he refused to resign,
How did the May protests escalate?
threatened to impose a state of emergency, dissolved the National
On 3 May, the rector of the Sorbonne asked the police to clear
Assembly and called new elections. There was also a large protest
the main courtyard, which 300 or so students had occupied.
by de Gaulle supporters on the Champs-Élysées. By early June,
The arrests that followed, many made by the notorious CRS
the strikes and protests had melted away. (The government had
riot police, sparked violent resistance: police were pelted with
negotiated a generous deal with the unions in late May, agreeing
cobblestones. On 6 May, some 20,000 students marched on the
to a 10% increase in wages.) On 16 June, the police retook the
Sorbonne, demanding its reopening and the release of arrested
Sorbonne, and later in the month the Gaullists won a historic
students. Police forced the students back with tear gas and
landslide, taking 353 of 486 seats.
truncheons. The escalating cycle of
violence built up to the “Night of the
Dany le Rouge
So the revolution failed?
Barricades” on 10-11 May, when a
Daniel Cohn-Bendit became the face of May 1968.
Yes. As a result, some have dismissed
bigger protest, also on the Left Bank,
Known as “Dany le Rouge” because of both his red
it as a meaningless convulsion. The
was halted by police. The students
hair and his politics, at the time he advocated a
mixture of Marxism, sexual liberation and anarchism:
philosopher Raymond Aron called
began removing cobblestones, overhe advocated self-governing, stateless societies,
it a “non-event”, a “psychodrama”,
turning cars and building barricades.
regarded elections as a “fool’s trap” and believed that
in which students performed a
At about 2am, the police attacked,
sexual repression led to “fascist” politics. In fact, once
farcical re-enactment of the great
firing tear gas and beating students
the protests got under way, he did not play a big role:
revolutionary episodes of French
and bystanders. By dawn, nearly
the son of German Jews who had fled to France in the
history. However, many argue that,
500 students had been arrested and
1930s, he had a German passport and de Gaulle had
in the words of one student leader,
hundreds hospitalised (as well as
him expelled on 22 May as a “seditious alien”.
Alain Geismar, it succeeded “as a
250 police officers). This perceived
In the 1970s, Cohn-Bendit worked in an alternative
aggression of the police turned much
kindergarten in Frankfurt, before building a new career social revolution, not as a political
one”: it brought about a less rigid
of the public against the authorities.
in Green politics: he led the Green group in the
society, and heralded the birth of
On 13 May, France’s biggest unions
European Parliament between 2004 and 2014. His
radical past occasionally troubled him: in the 1970s, he new political movements, from the
called a strike in sympathy.
had written describing “erotic” encounters with five“new Left” to feminism. It remains
year-olds, accounts he later disowned as untrue and
controversial today. In 2007, Nicolas
How long did the strike last?
merely “obnoxious provocation”. Cohn-Bendit came
Sarkozy promised to “liquidate”
The union leaders only called a
to support not just democracy but the free market. “I
the 1968 legacy of “intellectual
one-day strike, but it developed into
say forget May 1968,” he has explained. “It’s finished.
and moral relativism”. This year,
something much bigger. Indefinite
Society today bears no relationship with that of the
wildcat (unofficial) strikes followed,
1960s. When we called ourselves anti-authoritarian, we Emmanuel Macron – facing his own
protests and strikes – decided not to
as workers in their thousands poured
were fighting against a very different society.”
commemorate it officially.
onto the streets to support the
12 May 2018 THE WEEK
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Best articles: Britain
British justice
simply isn’t
working
Gaby Hinsliff
The Guardian
Why British
maths teaching
doesn’t add up
Bobby Seagull
Financial Times
A Great Game
that’s spreading
to the Arctic
Roger Boyes
The Times
How football
taught us to
accept reality
Simon Kuper
New Statesman
There’s a strike going on that you’ve probably barely heard of,
says Gaby Hinsliff. Yet “its implications are as grave as any that
make the headlines”. It involves criminal barristers from about
100 chambers who are refusing to take on new taxpayer-funded
cases. They’re in despair over sustained cuts to the criminal justice
system that have been so severe, they’ve left many junior barristers
struggling on less than the minimum wage... and many defendants
without proper legal assistance. Owing to fresh restrictions on
entitlement to legal aid – and now the barrister strike – more and
more people, on charges ranging all the way up to murder, are
trying to “represent themselves, often with only the vaguest idea
of what they’re doing”. It has led to chaotic scenes in courts, with
some defendants apparently freezing like rabbits in the headlights,
and others interrupting constantly or going off on tangents. It’s no
way to get at the facts and “the risk of miscarriages of justice is
screamingly obvious”. Lawyers may not be as sympathetic figures
as doctors or nurses, but their protest still deserves our attention.
What’s the point of learning maths? For a maths teacher like me,
says Bobby Seagull, it reveals the beauty of underlying patterns
in the world. Did you know, for example, that cicadas emerge
in prime number cycles in order to evade predators? But for most
of us, the point of maths is to help deal with real-life problems
– something maths teaching today signally fails to do. You bone
up on trigonometry yet seldom encounter it again once you’ve
left school. You can get a top grade at GCSE maths and still end
up financially illiterate. Indeed, it turns out that almost half of UK
working-age adults have the numeracy skills of a primary school
child. A teacher is meant to prepare young people to be responsible
citizens, but if they don’t learn the basics of compound interest,
how can they make informed decisions about, say, renting or
buying a flat? That’s why what I call “urban maths” should be
central to the curriculum. Only if we stop asking questions of the
“If Alice has three times as many sweets as Billy...” variety, and
start asking pupils to compare the merits of bank accounts, will
they be able to acquire the “survival skills” needed for adult life.
“Climate change is shifting politics as surely as it is shifting ice,”
says Roger Boyes. Take the case of Greenland, a remote territory
mostly covered by ice that has always been of huge strategic
significance, given its proximity to both Russia and the US, but
which is becoming even more of a hotspot as the Arctic warms,
the ice melts and its minerals become easier to excavate. China,
in particular, is now a very visible presence there, hoping not just
to get hold of its rare earth metals, but to exploit the northern sea
route that would allow it to ship goods quickly to Europe. A
Chinese firm even put in a bid to buy the Cold War US naval
base put up for sale by Denmark, which is still the island’s
sovereign power. This spooked Copenhagen, which rapidly took
it off the market. But Greenlanders may soon win independence,
and if they do they’d be happy to “exchange the Danish yoke
for a no-political-strings-attached commercial relationship with
Beijing”. In this way China, and Russia, are extending their reach
across the Arctic: a good deal for them, a clear threat to the West.
There’s something about Gareth Southgate, the England manager,
that embodies the modern idea of Englishness, says Simon Kuper.
Modest, self-deprecating, “with a big nose” and an “open, naive
face”, he became a national hero after his penalty was saved in
the semi-final shoot-out in Euro 1996. His subsequent admission
that he was sure he’d score it, even though his mum reminded us
he’d only taken one penalty before and missed that too, marked
him out as a lovable loser. He personified a post-imperial England
“comfortable with defeat”. It wasn’t always so. For a while, “the
default mode was astonishment each time England didn’t win a
World Cup”. We were the home of football, after all. And that
belief in Britain’s innate superiority persists in politics, particularly
among older people who grew up on “maps swathed in pink”.
Not in football, though: it’s hard to preserve the illusion of being
“great” when the scoreboard says otherwise. And football shapes
people’s idea of a country even more than politics. So now every
humiliation at a big tournament celebrates a fresh idea of England:
“a land of unlucky heroes that no longer rules the world”.
NEWS 13
IT MUST BE TRUE…
I read it in the tabloids
A retired Dorset couple have
been convicted of attacking
their pagan neighbour, a
druid witch calling himself
Bearheart, after losing
patience with his full moon
rituals. Mark and Anne
Denyer became infuriated by
the chanting and drumbeats
coming from the garden of
John Bennett’s bungalow
during the monthly
ceremonies, and stormed
over on last November’s
full moon, after a verbal
altercation over the fence.
Mrs Denyer hit Bennett with
an umbrella, and Mr Denyer
stabbed him with a kitchen
knife. Luckily, Bennett’s 22st
frame protected him and he
was only superficially injured.
A Spanish potato farmer has
become a social media star
because of her likeness to
Donald Trump. Dolores Leis
posed for an article about
life on her farm in the local
paper, La Voz de Galicia,
and in short order achieved
worldwide viral fame. She
has since been asked to
comment on pressing
US policy and international
issues. “My photo seems
to have travelled far,” she
remarked. “I say it is because
of the colour of my hair.”
A Russian woman who
thought she was entering
her PIN into the credit card
machine at a Swiss café
was in fact paying a tip. As a
result, Olesja Schemjakowa
paid 7,709.70 Swiss francs
(£5,695) for a coffee and cake.
The credit card company
would not reverse her
payment, because it was not
considered fraudulent. The
café owner later promised
to repay her, but filed for
bankruptcy before the money
was returned. “That’s just
not fair!” said Schemjakowa.
19 May 2018 THE WEEK
14 NEWS
Best articles: Europe
Will it be war? The seething tension between two old foes
They may be Nato allies, but Greece
said Piero Castellano on the Turkish
and Turkey have seldom got on well,
website AhvalNews.com. But with
said Yiannis Baboulias in Foreign
no navy, Atatürk couldn’t capture the
Policy (Washington). They went to
offshore islands – even though many
war with each other several times in
are so close Turks can hear cockerels
the 19th and 20th centuries, and now
crowing there – and in the Treaty of
they’re on the brink again. Turkish
Lausanne of 1923 they remained Greek
nationalists have been agitating for
territory. Since then, Ankara has laid
the return of the Greek islands that
claim to practically every barren rock
lie just off the coast of Turkey, and
not mentioned in the treaty: in 1996,
to humour them in the run-up to next
it almost went to war with Athens over
month’s election, President Erdogan
the Imia islets – still fiercely contested.
is demanding the maritime border be
renegotiated. And it’s not just aggresThe land border with Greece, 150 miles
sive rhetoric he’s indulging in. This
from Istanbul, is also a flashpoint, said
Kammenos and Tsipris: fighting provocation
month, a Turkish cargo ship rammed a
Savvas Kalèndéridès on Voltairenet.org
Greek patrol boat off the island of Lesbos. An accident, said the
(Hong Kong). Villagers from both countries sometimes stray
Turkish authorities, but the Greeks saw it as deliberate provoacross the border, and at worst are usually fined. But when two
cation. Greek public opinion was equally enraged last month,
Greek soldiers mistakenly crossed the line in March, they were
when a Greek pilot died after his plane crashed during a mission charged with spying. Erdogan freely admits he is holding them
to intercept Turkish jets that had entered disputed airspace.
as bargaining chips for the return of eight Turkish coup plotters
Greece’s PM, Alexis Tsipras, has tried to keep a lid on things,
who fled to Greece and whom the Greek courts refuse to extrabut the reckless nationalist rhetoric of his junior coalition partdite. The situation is now so volatile, said Boris Kálnoky in Die
ner, Defence Minister Panos Kammenos, makes that very hard.
Welt (Berlin), that conflict could be ignited by accident rather
than by design. And that’s alarming when you bear in mind
Mustafa Kemal Atatürk’s expulsion of more than a million
that Greece and Turkey together own more tanks and artillery
Greeks from their homelands in Turkey in the early 1920s is
vehicles than the rest of Europe combined. If there’s a war,
part of the foundation story of the modern Turkish republic,
“this arsenal could do a lot of damage in a very short time”.
SWEDEN
Why so much
fuss over a call
to prayer?
Aftonbladet
(Stockholm)
GERMANY
The heavy cost
of Merkel’s
bleeding heart
Cicero
(Berlin)
ITALY
The appalling
degradation of
life in Rome
La Repubblica
(Rome)
THE WEEK 19 May 2018
The call to prayer blaring from minarets is common in Muslim countries, but many Swedes think it
shouldn’t be heard in Europe, says Ingvar Persson. In the city of Växjö, conservative politicians are
kicking up a stink over the request by a mosque for a three-minute call to prayer to be sent out at
noon on Fridays. With elections looming in September, it’s become a hot topic, variously presented
as “a threat to the Swedish nation” or a crucial test of religious freedom. But is it worth getting so
steamed up about? True, we don’t want to hear it five times a day, but one prayer call a week will
hardly disrupt Swedish culture or values. As for the noise, we’ve plenty already to put up with from
emergency vehicle sirens and “stereo systems blaring hip-hop”. In the event, the police have ignored
the controversy and permitted it on the basis of local public order regulations; they merely require
that the speakers are pointed in the right direction and the volume is below 45 decibels as heard from
the inside, “slightly less than the sound of a modern dishwasher”. Quite right too. Such decisions are
best made on old-fashioned bureaucratic principles that have nothing to do with religion.
The blowback from Angela Merkel’s policy of welcoming refugees is really starting to bite, says
Wolfgang Bok. Some 370,000 asylum cases are pending in the courts, a backlog that will take years
to clear. Only one in five wins permission to stay – often on the basis of documents officials have no
way of verifying and may well be faked. They frankly admit they may give the nod for fear of being
called racist. Applicants from countries like Pakistan and Nigeria that are not war-torn have virtually
no hope, yet lawyers encourage them to apply regardless, putting an intolerable strain on the legal
system. Even when deportation orders are made, they can be near impossible to execute. Officials
who tried to deport a Togolese man from a refugee centre back to Italy (his point of entry to the EU)
were practically set upon by other migrants. It took hundreds of police to extract him, and further
appeals were launched. Meanwhile, other applicants continue to receive generous benefits – which is
precisely why even rejected asylum seekers stubbornly resist deportation. A conservative politician
who recently spoke of an “anti-deportation industry” at work was howled down by left-wingers.
But most people agree things just can’t go on like this. “How much naivety can a country afford?”
In most European cities a bus in flames would be taken for a terrorist bombing, says Sergio Rizzo.
Not in Rome. There, people have grown so used to the sight they barely take a second glance. They
know it’s because the buses aren’t being looked after properly. More than 150 have caught fire in
three years, two on the same morning last week. One was in a busy shopping street; the passengers
escaped, but the fire damaged a nearby clothes shop. The other was a school bus, which mercifully
was empty apart from the driver. The municipally owned transport company, Atac, is s1.3bn in
debt, and last year suppliers stopped providing spare parts: its buses run without sufficient coolant;
their worn electrical cables lie inches from pistons soaked in oil. A stray spark and in minutes a bus
is on fire. It’s another example of the appalling degradation of Rome. Its streets have an estimated
50,000 potholes and it can no longer pay for other regions to take its rubbish, which keeps piling
up. The authorities are losing control; some districts are effectively being run by criminal outfits.
Yet Virginia Raggi, the Five Star Movement mayor, persists in the fiction that things are not that
bad. Let us hope the shame of exploding buses will finally force the politicians to put things to rights.
Best articles: International
NEWS 17
Michael Cohen: the “fixer” who could bring down Trump
Michael Cohen has long served as
owned, the firm effectively serves as
Donald Trump’s personal lawyer and
an investment vehicle for the Russian
“fixer”, said Karen Tumulty in The
oligarch Viktor Vekselberg and his
Washington Post. But it seems those
family (Columbus Nova’s CEO is
titles barely do him justice. New
Vekselberg’s cousin). The idea that
revelations last week suggest Cohen –
this high-level firm would hire Cohen
a former personal-injury lawyer with a
for real-estate advice is ridiculous. It
taxi business on the side – is a veritable
would be “like McDonald’s calling the
“all-purpose tool”. Consider the array
proprietor of a local diner and asking
of companies that have apparently
how to run a restaurant”. So what was
called on his unique mix of expertise.
the payment all about?
The Swiss drug giant Novartis paid
Cohen $1.2m for his advice on
This is what a “smoking gun might
healthcare policy. A Korean defence
look like”, said Jed Shugerman on Slate.
company paid him $150,000 to
This Russia-linked payment isn’t just
Cohen: an “all-purpose tool”
advise it on accounting practices. The
a possible breach of campaign finance
telecommunications firm AT&T paid him $600,000 to
laws. Given that we’re talking of an oligarch with connections
provide “insights into understanding the new administration”.
to Vladimir Putin funnelling cash to Trump’s personal lawyer –
Altogether, Cohen appears to have raked in more than $2m
through a shell company that was also used to pay hush money
from this consulting work. “It remains to be seen whether any
to the porn actress Stormy Daniels, and possibly other women –
of this is illegal or merely unseemly.” But it certainly mocks the
it could be a step towards “establishing quid pro quo bribery
idea that Trump has cleaned up Washington. “The swamp is
and conspiracy against the United States”. Proving it would be
never drained; it just gets taken over by different reptiles.”
very difficult. But Cohen, who is reportedly under investigation
for bank fraud and election law violations, is under a lot of
One of the payments to Cohen raises particular questions, said
pressure to cooperate with prosecutors. If he and other alleged
Adam Davidson in The New Yorker: the $500,000 from New
co-conspirators flip, they may yet “help a jury, the public and
York investment firm Columbus Nova. Although Americanperhaps Congress find proof beyond a reasonable doubt”.
MALAYSIA
Is the world’s
oldest PM a
force for good?
Quartz
(New York)
EAST AFRICA
In Africa the
state polices
the culture...
The Washington Post
UNITED STATES
... in America,
it’s the Twitter
brigade
The Atlantic
(Washington DC)
It’s the end of an era in Malaysia, says Isabella Steger. Last week, in a stunning political upset, the
country had its first change of government since it gained independence from Britain in 1957. The
60-year rule of the Barisan Nasional coalition ended when an opposition alliance led by Malaysia’s
former premier, Mahathir Mohamad, won a surprise majority in parliament, ousting Prime Minister
Najib Razak, who had been embroiled in a massive corruption scandal. It’s a “seismic event” not
just for Malaysia, but for the broader region, where it’s “almost unheard of for voters to overturn
governments”. Indeed, over recent years a “renewed wave of strongman rule” has gripped
neighbouring countries such as Cambodia and Thailand. The 92-year-old Mahathir, now the world’s
oldest political leader, “is himself no progressive reformer”. As Najib’s one-time mentor, he ruled
Malaysia with an iron grip, jailing his opponent Anwar Ibrahim on cooked-up sodomy charges. This
time, though, Mahathir has vowed to tackle corruption and to cede power to Anwar once the latter,
having now been pardoned and released, has won re-election as an MP. “If Mahathir keeps to his
word, Malaysia could break the unsettling pattern of rising authoritarianism in southeast Asia.”
“Imagine paying more than $900 to a government agency just to be allowed to blog,” says
Larry Madowo. That’s the latest idea from the government of Tanzania: it thinks all online
content providers should have to pay a fee and submit documents to gain a licence. On the other
side of Lake Victoria, Uganda wants to impose a tax on users of social media. Rights groups have
complained, but that won’t bother President Museveni: he famously shut down social media during
the 2016 election. Neighbouring Kenya has shown a similar contempt for free speech: it closed three
TV stations for a week earlier this year. Together, these countries are “presiding over a systematic
shrinking of the democratic space in East Africa”. And “cultural censorship” is a big part of the
process. Kenya has just banned the movie Rafiki on the grounds that it “promotes” homosexuality;
in Tanzania, pop star Diamond Platnumz was recently forced to apologise for posting a video of
himself kissing a girl on Instagram; Uganda, meanwhile, has created a task force dedicated to
rooting out pornography – as if the nation didn’t have more pressing problems. “East Africans’
freedoms are fading fast. It is a dangerous time to be someone with an opinion in the region.”
The “cultural appropriation police” have struck again, says David Frum. The latest target of their
wrath is an 18-year-old girl from Utah who dared to post a picture of herself on social media
wearing a Chinese-style dress, a cheongsam, to her high school dance. “My culture is NOT your
goddamn prom dress,” raged one Twitter user, Jeremy Lam. Like many of these silly controversies
about “people of one background adopting and adapting the artefacts of another”, this one was
petty, coercive and infantilising – but it also exhibited a particular historical ignorance. The style
of dress worn by the student was conceived in China after the overthrow of the Qing dynasty in
1912, when Chinese women found themselves free for the first time in 250 years to dress as they
liked. The new garment, the cheongsam, is seen by some as “a fusion of old and new, East and
West”. It used Chinese fabrics, but its shape and purpose – to allow easy movement, unlike previous,
highly restrictive clothes – was consciously appropriated from European fashion. America’s “wouldbe culture police”, in other words, were attacking a Western girl for wearing a “dress designed
precisely so that Chinese girls could live more like Western girls”.
19 May 2018 THE WEEK
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Health & Science
NEWS 19
What the scientists are saying…
Tolerating cold is in our DNA
Early humans successfully migrated to
freezing northern climates thanks to a
genetic mutation that made them better
able to withstand the cold – but which also
made them more prone to headaches, new
research suggests. In the human body,
there is only one known receptor that
controls how we respond to the sensation
of cold. A team led by the Max Planck
Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
has now discovered that a variant in the
DNA upstream of the TRPM8 gene that
codes this receptor is far more prevalent at
northern latitudes. The further north you
go, the more widely the variant is found:
only 5% of people with Nigerian ancestry
carry it, but 88% of Finns do. As previous
studies have found that some mammals
that live in cold conditions have adapted
different versions of TRPM8, the scientists
speculate that the variant also makes
humans more tolerant of cold. The new
research suggests that when Homo sapiens
began migrating from Africa to Europe
50,000 years ago, those with the variant
were more likely to prosper in the freezing
north and thus it spread. Intriguingly, the
variant is also strongly associated with
migraines. Why it should have this side
effect is not clear, but it could help explain
why the headaches are most commonly
reported in people of European descent.
Do saunas prevent stroke?
If you’re one of the few people in Britain
who have a sauna, do be sure to use it
regularly: it may stop you having a stroke.
Researchers from the University of Bristol
tracked 1,628 Finnish people with an
average age of 63. They found that over
a 15-year period, the people who had four
to seven saunas a week were about 60%
less likely to suffer a stroke than those who
Inuits: adapted to the cold
had just one sauna a week. The differences
were similar even after the researchers
adjusted for factors such as smoking,
diabetes and high cholesterol – suggesting
that they weren’t only down to sauna
junkies having better overall health.
“Saunas appear to have a blood pressure
lowering effect, which may underlie the
beneficial effect on stroke risk,” said Dr
Setor Kunutsor, who co-wrote the study in
Neurology. However, clinical trials would
need to prove that saunas reduce stroke
risk – and in any case, they are not for
everyone: Finns use saunas from childhood, so their bodies are used to them.
Older sauna novices should be cautious
and talk to a doctor first if in poor health.
The Sun will have a dazzling death
Astronomers have long agreed that our sun
will die in five billion or so years from
now. But they were less certain as to the
manner of its going. Using new data
© EWAN EDWARDS
Birds flock back after rodent cull
The island of South Georgia, in the South Atlantic,
was this week officially declared rodent-free after a
massive cull. Rats arrived in the 19th century on
whaling vessels, and as their numbers grew to
several million, they gnawed their way through the
eggs and chicks of millions of ground-nesting
birds, devastating their populations. In 2011,
conservationists launched a project to kill the
rodents by dropping poisonous pellets from the air
across the 100-mile-long island.
Their efforts have worked. To check the rats had
been eradicated, the South Georgia Heritage Trust
employed three terriers from New Zealand to traverse the island sniffing out rodents. It also deployed
more than 4,600 rodent-detecting devices, such as
The albatross: flourishing
chew sticks and small tracking tunnels to record
footprints. Not a single rat or mouse was found. By contrast, there has been “an
explosion” in the number of native pipits and pintails, and a resurgence in the
albatross population, according to Professor Mike Richardson, chair of the trust’s
steering committee. But he stressed that vigilance was still needed: “We only need one
pregnant rat to get back onto South Georgia and we could restart the whole cycle.”
modelling, however, a Nature Astronomy
study has detailed a clearer picture. It now
seems that when the Sun’s core runs out of
hydrogen, its centre will collapse, setting
off nuclear reactions at its periphery. These
will cause it to swell into a red giant, about
250 times its present size, which will engulf
Mercury and Venus, and destroy Earth. As
its outer layers are blown off, the core will
heat up, radiating ultraviolet light that will
turn the vast quantities of gas and dust
ejected by the dying star into a glowing
ring of plasma that will shine for 10,000
years – which would be a fine sight, were
anyone left to see it. Most large stars die in
this way, forming a planetary nebula, but
there had been doubts as to whether the
Sun had sufficient mass to do so. “They
are the prettiest objects in the sky and even
though the Sun will only become a faint
one, it will be visible from neighbouring
galaxies,” said study co-author Albert
Zijlstra, professor of astrophysics at
the University of Manchester.
Too many under-fives are dying
Children under five in Britain have a
significantly higher mortality rate than
their counterparts in Sweden, despite the
countries having similar levels of economic
development and universal healthcare,
according to a study in The Lancet.
Researchers examined data on children
born between 2003 and 2012, and found
that the mortality rate in Britain was
29 per 10,000 – one of the highest in
western Europe; in Sweden, it was 19.
Deaths in the first year of life were the
main driver of the difference. More UK
babies were born underweight, preterm or
with congenital anomalies. The researchers
said that poorer maternal health in Britain
was a major factor, and that this could be
down to more unequal wealth distribution.
NHS “crisis” revealed
Britain has fewer doctors and nurses per
head of population than most developed
countries, new research has found.
Researchers from the King’s Fund health
think tank compared data from 21 OECD
countries. Britain was ranked 19th for
the number of doctors per capita,
16th for nurses per capita and 18th for
hospital beds. Britain has only 2.8
doctors per 1,000 people, barely half the
number in Austria, which has the most,
at 5.1 per 1,000. Britain has fewer than
8 nurses per 1,000, whereas Switzerland
has 18. On hospital beds, Britain has 2.6
per 1,000; Germany, the best performer,
has 8.1. The analysis also revealed that
Britain has fewer MRI and CT scanners
per capita than any of the other nations
on the list. Yet as a proportion of GDP,
UK spending on healthcare isn’t notably
lower than that of other nations: 9.7% of
its GDP is spent on health; the average
across the 21 countries was 9.6%.
19 May 2018 THE WEEK
20 NEWS
Talking points
Donald Trump: unravelling the world order
Shia influence in the region, funding
He always said that he’d put America
terrorism and military incursions in
first. It now seems that for President
Yemen (where Iran is fighting a proxy
Trump, that means America alone. Since
war with Saudi Arabia), Syria (where
coming to power last year, Trump has
Israel claims 80,000 Shia fighters are
gone out of his way to isolate the US from
under Iranian control), Lebanon (where
its traditional allies and undermine the
Israel’s foe, the Iran-backed Shia group
fragile world order, said Barbara Slavin
Hezbollah, is a major political force) and
on The Hill. In 2017, he defied his critics
Iraq. In short, said The Daily Telegraph,
by withdrawing the US from the Paris
Trump’s decision to quit the deal makes
climate accord. The great disrupter has
more sense the closer one lives to Iran.
also pulled out of the 12-nation TransPacific Partnership free-trade agreement;
But what does he expect to happen now?
kept up a regular stream of criticism of
In Europe, the three Ms – Macron, May
Nato; threatened new trade tariffs that
and Merkel – are still hoping to salvage
would affect European manufacturers;
The president: turning his back on Europe
the deal, said Edward Luce in the FT.
undermined the Middle East peace process
Iran’s President Rouhani says that if they
by relocating the US’s embassy in Israel to
can find a way of keeping trade going, he will stick with it. But
Jerusalem; and pulled the US out of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.
that “fork leads to a deepening Western split”: the US would
In the days before that announcement last week, President
levy sanctions on European entities, and Europe (which has long
Macron of France and Germany’s Angela Merkel had both
chafed against the US’s use of secondary sanctions) would be
travelled to Washington to plead with the president to change
forced to retaliate. Of course, the deal’s other signatories, China
his mind – to no avail.
and Russia, would also continue to trade with Iran and would
retaliate against any US financial penalties. That would have a
We shouldn’t have been surprised, said The Independent.
knock-on effect on Trump’s trade talks with China and on hopes
Trump was, yet again, only fulfilling a promise made during
of Beijing sustaining its pressure on North Korea to abandon its
his “maverick” election campaign and carrying on his “childish”
nuclear weapons.
mission to “undo – just for the sake
of undoing – everything that his
predecessor achieved in office”. But the “The US leaving the Iran deal marks It’s not clear how, by reneging on this
exit from the Iran deal is of a different
the biggest rupture in transatlantic deal, Trump hopes to persuade Kim
Jong Un to trust him when it comes to
order from the rest, said Philip Stephens
relations since the Cold War ended” North
Korea, said the FT. But emboldin the FT: it “marks the biggest rupture
ened by his apparent success with Kim,
in transatlantic relations since the end of
Trump is confident that he can get a better deal out of Iran in the
the Cold War”. Trump has effectively turned his back on Europe
90 to 180 days before sanctions are reimposed. It’s a high-risk
to join an unlikely alliance between Saudi Arabia and Israel, both
strategy. What if hardliners in Iran – who never liked the 2015
of which are banging “the drums for war” with Iran.
deal – use the Great Satan’s betrayal to strengthen their hand?
Rather than return to the negotiating table, they may force their
But Trump was right about one thing: the Iran deal was not a
people to withstand the pain of sanctions, and restart the nuclear
good one, said Janet Daley in The Sunday Telegraph. Sure, it
programme, potentially triggering a Middle East arms race.
suited the Europeans to be able to do business with Iran – France
Trump is prepared for that outcome, said Christopher de
and Germany have done very nicely out of it, and are aghast that
Bellaigue in The Spectator. He is surrounded by anti-Iranians,
the reimposition of US sanctions could put a stop to trade worth
including John Bolton, his national security adviser, who has long
billions. But the deal didn’t ask enough of Iran in return: it kept
called for regime change in Iran. If there’s no North Korea-style
its long-range ballistic missiles; its military bases were not subject
capitulation, we may be looking at war. Iran is a malign power,
to inspections; and it was only asked to suspend, not end, its
said The Washington Post. But it is also an ancient civilisation,
nuclear programme. Barack Obama’s optimistic idea was that
during this ten to 15-year pause, Iran’s economy would boom and with complex ties of influence in the region, that has withstood
US pressure and sanctions for decades. Even if we could topple
young, pro-Western moderates would prosper, weakening the
grip of the Shia theocracy. But Tehran didn’t use the extra income the regime, do we want to? Surely, after the past 20 years, we
know better than to risk opening that Pandora’s box.
to improve people’s lives. Instead, it used it to bolster an arc of
His older daughter Samantha
(Meghan’s half-sister, who is
not on the guest list) took the
blame for the episode, saying
that she had encouraged him
to cooperate with the photo
agency, to help “recast” his
image. If Thomas Markle
(pictured, with Meghan) does
not come, it is likely that the
bride will be walked down the
aisle by her mother, LA-based
social worker Doria Ragland.
Pick of the week’s
Gossip
With days to go before
the royal wedding, Meghan
Markle’s father Thomas
(one of only a handful of her
relatives to be invited to the
occasion, and due to walk her
down the aisle), was reported
to have pulled out of the
proceedings. The former
lighting director, who lives
quietly in a small city in
Mexico, was said to have
been upset and embarrassed
by reports that he had helped
THE WEEK 19 May 2018
stage what had appeared to
be paparazzi photographs of
him preparing for the big day.
George Osborne has learnt
that he is Jewish. The
discovery was made by the
former chancellor’s brother
after he got engaged to his
American girlfriend – who is
from an orthodox Jewish
family. He’d been willing to
convert to Judaism, in order
to marry her in an orthodox
ceremony, but as that process
can take several years, he
thought he might as well
investigate his maternal
grandmother, a Hungarian
émigré who moved to Britain
in the 1930s and died in 2004.
While she never mentioned
being Jewish, paperwork was
uncovered that proved she
and her family had been
members of a synagogue in
Budapest. A rabbinical court
ruled that Theo Osborne, 33,
was therefore Jewish already
and had no need to convert.
Talking points
Gang violence: “check the scoreboard”
“Hey, Londoners – been stabbed
of little more than a “hunch” or
or shot yet this week?” asked
the youth’s taste in music. These
Rod Liddle in The Spectator.
“uncorroborated assumptions”
If not, count yourself lucky.
are then allegedly shared with
The capital’s murder rate has
other authorities such as housing
overtaken New York’s in recent
associations, schools and job
months and is “approaching
centres, causing individuals
Detroit’s”. So far this year, there
lasting harm. The report found
have been 63 suspected murders
that 78% of people on the
in the city. Had the victims been
matrix are black, although only
“nice little old white ladies called
27% of those prosecuted for
Betty, this carnage would have
serious youth violence are black.
captured a bit more of our
The youngest person on the
attention”. But almost all these
matrix is 12 years old.
killings have involved young
men from ethnic minorities,
There are clearly problems with
both as victims and perpetrators.
how this data is retained and
To point out this demographic
Ainsworth Barton: the latest victim shared with other agencies, said
reality, though, is to risk being
Janice Turner in The Times. The
“cast as a racist”. Liberal critics are bizarre.
fact remains, though, that we can’t tackle the
They argue – “correctly, in my opinion – that
scourge of shootings and stabbings in London
we are doing little to stop the crimes because
without addressing gang culture. Police believe
we don’t care enough about black people killing
social media and nihilistic “drill” music are
each other”. Yet at the same time, they refuse
fuelling the violence by glamourising it and
to acknowledge that there is anything unique,
“supercharging” gang disputes. That would
culturally speaking, about these murders.
certainly appear to be the case in the recent
killing of 17-year-old Rhyhiem Ainsworth
There are dangers in dwelling on the cultural
Barton. Described in the press as an aspiring
dimension, said Becky Clarke in The Guardian.
architect, he was also reportedly part of a drill
Once the narrative becomes all about gangs,
rap crew, Moscow17, based in Kennington,
it has a distorting effect on policing – as
which is at war with a rival gang, Zone 2, in
highlighted by Amnesty International’s scathing
Peckham. Shortly before he was shot dead,
report last week on the Metropolitan Police’s
Rhyhiem’s crew posted a goading video in which
database of suspects, known as the “Gangs
they told Zone 2 to “check the scoreboard”. Of
Matrix”. The report claims that officers often
course, we mustn’t stigmatise black youths. But
label young men as gang suspects on the basis
“gang culture itself needs stamping on hard”.
Grammar schools: back from the dead?
Grammar schools are “the zombie policy that
won’t die”, said Fiona Millar in The Observer.
By rights, the idea of bringing them back should
have been killed off long ago. Grammars are a
middle-class racket. It is well established that
they “do little for social mobility”; the majority
of their students “come from better-off homes”.
A recent long-term study of exam data revealed
that they “add barely any value. Their stellar
results simply reflect the higher prior attainment
of their pupils.” Even so, before the last
election, Theresa May promised to create a new
generation of grammar schools across Britain.
The plan was, thankfully, “seen off” when she
lost her majority. But now, at a time when the
education budget is under massive pressure, the
Government has set aside £50m for grammar
school expansion. Grammar schools in England
will be able to create thousands of extra places.
And though new grammars are banned, existing
schools will be allowed to create annexes on
different sites – essentially, new schools.
“This is an inherently unjust measure,” said
Jason Beattie in The Mirror. England’s 163
grammar schools are predominantly in wealthy
parts of Kent, Lincolnshire and Buckinghamshire.
“This is a bung to schools in Tory-voting
middle-class areas.” Hardly, said the London
Evening Standard. The money for expansion will
be dependent on accepting a higher proportion
of poor pupils. But in truth the whole policy is
a mere gesture, to pacify diehard Tory grammar
school supporters: £50m represents only 0.1%
of the education budget. It’s a “distraction”, to
conceal “a major political U-turn” – the fact that
May’s plan for grammar school expansion has
been axed, because too many Tory MPs would
have voted it down. Education Secretary Damian
Hinds should be congratulated for getting his
boss “out of the hole she dug for herself”.
We are left, though, with a fairly pointless
policy, said David Butterfield on his Spectator
blog. It’s widely believed that grammar schools
do nothing to help social mobility. This is
certainly true today, when grammars are
restricted to a few well-off parts of the country.
But it wasn’t the case when there were 1,300
grammars across England and Wales. In 1959,
almost half of their pupils were the children
of manual workers. Since then, this ladder of
opportunity has been withdrawn in the parts
of the country that need it most. The ten most
deprived education authorities have no grammar
schools at all; of the 50 most deprived, only five
have grammars. So restricting expansion to the
areas where grammars already exist makes little
sense. Geography dictates that they will remain
“bastions of the better-heeled middle classes”.
NEWS 21
Wit &
Wisdom
“I am glad not to have been
a revolutionary when I was
young, because it prevented
me from becoming a
reactionary bore in old age.”
Robert Lowell, quoted
in the London
Review of Books
“I doubt alcohol kills more
people than it creates.”
Author John LeFevre,
quoted on The Browser
“Without Mozart we
still have a great deal
of great music. We have
Bach and Beethoven and
Handel and Schumann etc.
But with Mozart, we can
dance to heaven.”
Pianist Menahem Pressler
on BBC Radio 3
“Music is liquid
architecture; architecture
is frozen music.”
Johann Wolfgang von
Goethe, quoted in the
San Francisco Chronicle
“Your guilty conscience
may move you to vote
Democratic, but deep down
you long for a cold-hearted
Republican to lower taxes,
brutalise criminals and rule
you like a king.”
The Simpsons’
Sideshow Bob, quoted in
The Mail on Sunday
“I can tell how intelligent
a man is by how stupid
he thinks I am.”
Cormac McCarthy, quoted
in the LA Times
“Everyone has a
plan until they get
punched in the face.”
Mike Tyson, quoted in
The Daily Telegraph
Statistics of the week
The cost of clearing up flytipped rubbish in England
rose to £57.7m over the past
year, up 13%. In 2016-17,
there were 492,139 incidents
in which enough waste to fill
a small van was dumped.
LGA/The Independent
In the first four months of
this year, motorists lodged
4,200 insurance claims
related to pothole damage
– more than in the whole
of 2017.
AA/The Times
19 May 2018 THE WEEK
Sport
22 NEWS
Rugby union: Leinster’s European triumph
Irish rugby’s remarkable year shows “absolutely
no sign of ending”, said Robert Kitson in The
Observer. In March, Ireland won the Six Nations
with a clean sweep. And in Bilbao, Spain, last
Saturday, Dublin’s Leinster beat Paris’s Racing 92
15-12 to win the Champions Cup, the top club
tournament in European rugby, for a joint-record
fourth time. Remarkably, they won the title with
a 100% win record, a feat that has been achieved
just once before in this competition. All season,
Leinster have been the best team in Europe, said
Gerry Thornley in The Irish Times. In the group
stage, they faced Exeter, Montpellier and Glasgow
– the leading teams in their domestic leagues. Yet
Leinster comfortably beat all three, home and
away, before disposing of Saracens, the back-toback European champions, in the quarter-finals.
But as number two, working under head coach
Leo Cullen, he can focus on what he does best:
hands-on coaching, rather than the “baggage”
that comes with managing a national side.
Now, Leinster are “unbelievably difficult to
break down”, said Will Greenwood in The Daily
Telegraph. With “power and bludgeon”, they
“swallow up” free-scoring sides such as Saracens.
Yet this is not just a group of “street fighters”:
they are also deadly in attack.
Leinster have a big advantage over their English
rivals, said Owen Slot in The Times. Their
domestic league, the Pro14, is far less competitive
than England’s Premiership, so they can afford to
rest their best players in the easier matches. Take
James Ryan: man of the match James Ryan, the 21-year-old Irish lock who was
man of the match on Saturday. He has played in
all nine of Leinster’s Champions Cup games this season and just
Between 2009 and 2012, Leinster dominated European rugby,
four of their 21 Pro14 ties. Ryan boasts an astonishing record,
winning three titles in four years, said Chris Jones on BBC Sport
said David Kelly in The Irish Independent. He has played 21
online. They then went into decline, and by the 2015-16 season
matches for club and country – and won every single one of
they finished bottom of their pool in the Champions Cup group
them. Locks aren’t supposed to peak until their mid-20s, but
stage. Since then, however, this side has been transformed. And
Ryan already looks like one of the greats. He is just one of
it’s ex-England head coach Stuart Lancaster who deserves much
the club’s bright young things: Dan Leavy, Garry Ringrose and
of the credit. When he became Leinster’s senior coach, in 2016,
Robbie Henshaw are all under 25, and already mainstays of the
his reputation was “in pieces”: he had been sacked as England’s
national side. Leinster – and Ireland – are just getting started.
head coach after the first-round exit from the 2015 World Cup.
Vasyl Lomachenko: one of the all-time greats
won all but one of his 397 fights; as a professional,
he has lost only once. Yet those numbers still don’t
“do justice” to Lomachenko’s talent. His movement
and punch variety are simply “incredible”. And
whereas most quick boxers concentrate on defence,
he “constantly boxes on the front foot, staying in
range and pressuring his opponents”. With his latest
triumph, he has marked himself out as more than
just the best boxer in the world: he is now an “alltime great”. As a fighter, Lomachenko combines
the ancient and the modern, said Steve Bunce in
The Independent. There are times when he moves
like the masters from the 1920s and 1930s, “his
Ripping up the rule book shifting feet gliding by fractions, his fists flowing
like a matador wielding the final dagger”. At other
moments, he “cracks away with thoroughly modern punches,
angled in from wide”, making the most of his “sickening power”.
The Ukrainian’s statistics are remarkable, said Ron Lewis in
A truly unique boxer, Lomachenko is ripping up the rule book.
The Times. As an amateur boxer he lifted two Olympic golds and
Boxing has had “brawlers and maulers”, said
Tris Dixon on Boxing Scene. It has had artists and
warriors. But it has never had “anything like Vasyl
Lomachenko”. Last Saturday in New York, “the
little genius from Ukraine” stopped Jorge Linares in
the tenth round to claim the WBA lightweight world
title. Just 12 fights into his professional career, the
30-year-old has won world titles in three weight
classes: his previous belts came at featherweight and
super-featherweight. On this occasion, he weighed
9st 9lb – almost a stone less than his Venezuelan
opponent, who had put on 15lb since the weigh-in.
But you would never have known that Lomachenko
was at a disadvantage: he operated “like a defensive
master with the attacking prowess of a hungry lion”.
A record-breaking Premier League season
Sporting headlines
Truth be told, this wasn’t the
teams play only 38 games
most exciting of Premier League
a season). Highest win
seasons, said Martin Samuel in
percentage in history (84.2%),
the Daily Mail. As early as last
largest number of wins (32) –
October, it was clear that
the records just kept tumbling.
Manchester City were going
City weren’t the only ones
to run away with the title.
who ended up in the record
What is staggering, though, is
books, said Jim White in
the number of records that the
The Daily Telegraph. Mohamed
champions broke along the way.
Salah finished his debut season
By beating Southampton 1-0 on
at Liverpool with 32 goals –
Manchester City: triumphant
Sunday, thanks to a last-minute
more than anyone else has
goal by Gabriel Jesus, they finished with
scored in a 38-game Premier League season.
100 points – the highest tally in the history
That would be an extraordinary return for “the
of English top-flight football. They ended the
most seasoned poacher”, let alone a winger like
season 19 points ahead of second-placed
Salah. Playing in a forward line that perfectly
Manchester United, giving them the largest title“complements his talents”, the Egyptian has
winning margin; with 106 goals, they were “the
scored 44 goals in all competitions: whenever
most prolific goalscorers” since 1962-63, when
Liverpool have needed something this season,
Tottenham scored 111 in 42 matches (today,
“he has come up with the goods”.
Formula One Lewis Hamilton
won the Spanish Grand Prix
in Barcelona, giving him a
17-point world championship
lead over Sebastian Vettel.
Hamilton’s Mercedes
teammate Valtteri Bottas
came second.
Cricket In Ireland’s first ever
Test, they lost to Pakistan by
five wickets.
Golf American golfer Webb
Simpson won the Players
Championship by four shots.
Rugby union Wasps fly-half
Danny Cipriani signed for
Gloucester. Wasps flanker
James Haskell joined
Northampton.
THE WEEK 19 May 2018
LETTERS
Pick of the week’s correspondence
Blame the parents
To The Sunday Times
Justine Greening talks of the
need for more help in white
working-class homes, but I do
not agree with her that “overwhelmingly parents want to do
their best for their children”. I
have seen many parents from
poorer backgrounds who have
no interest in their children’s
education, and we need to be
honest enough to admit this.
Some of my daughter’s
friends received not the
slightest support from their
parents when they took their
GCSEs. They coped with serial
new partners in their parents’
lives, received no help with
exam preparation and faced
total indifference at sixth-form
information events.
All this resulted in these
young people having no
academic success and no
ambition beyond low-skilled
work. We must call parents
out on this and stop blaming
the Government. The state
provides free, good-quality
education. You alone are
responsible for raising
your children.
Nargis Walker, St Albans
Data disaster
To The Daily Telegraph
Peter Mellor is correct in his
letter about the colossal waste
of resources expended by
small organisations to comply
with the confusing minefield
of the General Data Protection
Regulation (GDPR).
I am the honorary secretary
of a local yacht club and have
spent much time on our
compliance with the
regulations. I believe that
virtually all processing of
data by membership-based
organisations can be done
on the basis of “legitimate
interests” or “proper
performance of the contract
with the data subject”, both
expressly permitted by the
GDPR. No extra “consent”
is necessary unless a member’s
data is used in a manner they
would not reasonably have
expected from the club.
Yet one cannot blame club
secretaries for taking the “safe
option” of obtaining consent,
as the regulations are so
impenetrably written that only
a lawyer’s mind could begin to
understand them. Online, there
is a virtual feeding frenzy of
Exchange of the week
The Empire’s place in history
To The Times
Why does it apparently require a bold scholar – in this case
Bruce Gilley – prepared to brave the social media storm even
to suggest that “colonialism” may have had positive aspects?
An advantage of being a historian of much earlier periods
is that one views the repetitions of history from a far distance.
A hunt for blame then gathers pace in the fashionable terms
of a later age. Dante argued in his De Monarchia that it had
all gone wrong for Europe when imperial power lost its grip.
In his History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire,
Edward Gibbon thought the Roman Empire’s syncretism had
been a better bet than a tyrannical new Christianity. Alexis de
Tocqueville saw the rise of democracy in colonial America as
a dangerous despotism.
Some present “goods” in our Western orthodoxy of opinion
are ecological soundness, sustainability, fostering human diversity and being non-elitist. The enthusiast for these fashions
needs something to blame for failures to achieve them, and
“colonialism” seems to be just the thing at the moment.
G.R. Evans, emeritus professor of medieval theology and
intellectual history, University of Cambridge
To The Times
No history of the British Empire is complete without the
history of the people of the Empire in Britain. What causes
offence is not what Professor Gilley continues to write about
colonialism, but the lack of any mention of the contributions
of the people of the Empire to the British way of life.
Even the support given to the British war effort – men,
money and munitions in the First and Second World Wars
– is merely a footnote to the history of the two wars. The
perfect example of that humiliation is the annual Festival of
Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall, when there is never
any tribute paid to the soldiers of the Empire who died for
a country that was not theirs. Watching the programme, one
could be forgiven for thinking that Britain won the wars
single-handed. And that hurts more than it offends.
This is not to deny Professor Gilley the right to express
his views on the influence of the Empire, but he and other
historians are guilty of telling a one-sided history of the
relationship between Britain and the people of the Empire.
Britain may have ruled the colonies, but it has no right to edit
history in its favour.
Dr Kusoom Vadgama, author, India in Britain 1852-1947
lawyers and consultants trying
to frighten the unwary into
using their high-priced services.
There has been a dire shortage
of advice from the Information
Commissioner’s Office to help
those small organisations
currently being left to flounder.
Tim Wood, Wivenhoe, Essex
Don’t fear missing lynx
To The Times
Your article suggesting that
bringing back lynxes “will
scare off tourists” made me
smile. I am an expat and live
in the Santa Cruz Mountains in
California. My neighbourhood
is visited by mountain lions
that would consider a lynx a
tasty morsel. My other home,
in South Lake Tahoe, has bears
25
Junk mail’s purpose
To The Daily Telegraph
Of course the Royal Mail
encourages junk mail. After the
ill-thought-out decision forcing
the end of its monopoly in
2006, it lost to cherry pickers
its profitable parcel post and
mass mailings.
The financial stability of a
reliable, cheap postal service
was wrecked. Instead of parcel
profits being ploughed back
into letter post, they went to
specialist companies. Letter
post is still struggling.
What should Royal Mail
do but try to survive against
the odds? Monopolies do need
a watchful eye, but they are
not always wrong.
Mik Shaw, Goring-by-Sea,
West Sussex
Cheer up, republicans
To The Guardian
Whatever your views on the
monarchy, it would be a bad
idea for republicans to hold
protests near the wedding of
Prince Harry and Meghan
Markle. Royal events such as
weddings draw public interest,
and have the support of much
of the nation, because they’re
usually seen as a heartening
stream of colour in an
otherwise drab and sometimes
gloom-laden world. When
the Duke and Duchess of
Cambridge married in 2011,
it attracted an estimated global
audience of more than two
billion. Fourteen US TV
channels broadcast the
nuptials and yet America is
a republic, so obviously many
viewers wouldn’t have even
been monarchists, they just
wanted to watch a happy
event. Those standing near
the royal ceremony carrying
placards or banners simply
risk making themselves look
like spoilsports.
Emilie Lamplough,
Trowbridge, Wiltshire
that sleep under the stairs at
my front door. People here in
the US hike in the hills and
forests just to catch a glimpse
of such wonders.
Northumberland National
Park Authority needs some
perspective. Even though the
bobcat – our lynx – is prevalent across the US,
attacks on humans
are rare, unlike
attacks on humans
by domestic dogs,
which number three
to five million. How
many dogs does the
UK have, and how
many attacks are
“Not to lecture, but the skull of your fallen
there on humans?
enemy is reusable and much less wasteful”
Stephen J. Allen,
United States
© AVI STEINBERG/NEW YORKER/CARTOON BANK
● Letters have been edited
19 May 2018 THE WEEK
MONSOON DEFENCE APPEAL
Humaira and her
children have already
lost so much.
Now they stand
to lose even more.
This is a race against time.
Please help Rohingya refugees like Humaira protect
their children and homes from the monsoon.
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COULD PROVIDE A MONSOON DEFENCE KIT.
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ANCHOR PEOPLE’S SHELTERS AND HYGIENE KITS TO DEFEND AGAINST DISEASES
Give online at: unhcr.org/uk/tw/rohingya or call us on 020 3761 9525
Or post urgently to: UNHCR, York house, Wetherby Road, Long Marston, York. YO26 7NH
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© UNHCR/Paula Bronstein
With the start of the monsoon season,
Humaira and her children’s lives and home
could be washed away in an instant by
floods and mudslides. If they survive, they
will be at risk of deadly waterborne diseases
like cholera and diphtheria.
ARTS
Review of reviews: Books
Book of the week
Seven Types of Atheism
by John Gray
Allen Lane 176pp £17.99
The Week bookshop £15.99
In this fascinating, highly readable
book, the philosopher John Gray
identifies a “fault line” that runs
through atheism, said Richard Harries
in The Observer. Atheists, he argues,
profess to reject religion, but actually
do nothing of the kind. Instead, they
take over religion’s thought patterns
and assumptions, substituting abstractions such as “progress”
and “humanity” for faith in God. Gray’s “seven types of atheism”
(the title is borrowed from William Empson’s Seven Types of
Ambiguity) include most forms of unbelief that have existed over
the past two centuries. He targets the “secular humanism” that
unites John Stuart Mill and Ayn Rand, among many others; the
political millenarianism of the Jacobins, communists and Nazis;
and the “new atheism” of Richard Dawkins et al. What almost
all forms of atheism have in common, he points out, is the
eschatological idea that human history has an “ultimate purpose”.
Gray is much more favourably disposed to the form of atheism he
attributes to Joseph Conrad, which rejects the “assumption that
human beings can be changed for the better”.
For someone who is a “professed
atheist” himself, Gray doesn’t present
an “attractive bunch” of specimens,
said John Carey in The Sunday Times.
“His selection includes several
inveterate misanthropes and one
criminal lunatic, the Marquis de
Sade.” But then Gray’s own views
are “unflinchingly bleak”. He believes
that history has no meaning, that
“humanity” has no objective existence
and that “the notion that everyone
should obey the same morality is
absurd”. Gray’s intellect and brilliance,
combined with his negative take on
life, makes his book “one of the most
depressing I have read”.
Gray may be right about most atheism being a form of
repressed religion, said Jonathan Rée in the Literary Review,
but so what? Given that religion is “built into the brickwork of
practically every society in history”, it would be odd if our ideas
didn’t bear “residues of religiosity”. Even if we could “purify our
minds” of the beliefs of our ancestors, we would still be left with
the same “intractable” questions. Am I my brother’s keeper?
What do parents owe to children, or children to parents? Do we
have obligations to the dead? In the end, Seven Types of Atheism
seems “more like a series of amuse-bouches than a square meal”.
Rather than following “complex lines of thought”, Gray seems
“like a high-end version of the muck-raking journalist, fearlessly
exposing the guilty secrets of the intellectual classes”.
Novel of the week
Our Place
Kudos
by Mark Cocker
Jonathan Cape 336pp £18.99
by Rachel Cusk
Faber 240pp £16.99
The Week bookshop £16.99
The Week bookshop £15.99
© SIEMON SCAMELL-KATZ
27
“In 2014, Rachel Cusk’s career took one of the
more unusual turns in recent literary history,” said
Edmund Gordon in The Sunday Times. Previously
the author of six “conventionally well-made novels
of domestic life”, as well as three “brutally revealing”
(and widely criticised) memoirs, Cusk (pictured)
embarked on a fictional trilogy unlike anything she’d
written before. Outline (2014), Transit (2016) and now Kudos are all narrated
by a writer called Faye and structured around a series of conversations. Gone is
the “baroque style” that was Cusk’s trademark; the prose is “pared down, lucid
and propulsive”. The books interrogate the “purposes and practices of
storytelling” and have been rightly hailed as “radical departures”.
And this final instalment, I’m glad to say, is another “triumph”, said
Katie Law in the London Evening Standard. This time we follow Faye travelling
to a literary festival in southern Europe (possibly in Portugal) and having
conversations mainly with other writers (though she also talks to a businessman
on a plane). Her sentences are “perfectly honed”. Some of her put-downs,
especially of “self-regarding journalists”, are “beautifully savage”. It’s a work
that “puts most contemporary fiction to shame”. I disagree, said Kate Clanchy
in The Guardian. The trilogy is a “vast achievement”, but I was sorry it ended
here. In Outline and Transit, Faye rarely talked back to her interlocutors; she
listened to others talking and presented their monologues. Here, by contrast,
she continually talks back – at length, and in a voice, moreover, that sounds
very like that of Rachel Cusk. This results in a “riddling, hall-of-mirrors” quality
that’s the opposite of the “radical humility” of the earlier books.
We British think of ourselves as nature-lovers,
but we actually “live in one of the most
denatured and wildlife-impoverished countries
on Earth”, said Christopher Hart in The Sunday
Times. Mark Cocker’s “magnificent” book
explores this disconnection. Using “rigorous”
science, he paints a picture of wildlife “in free
fall” – of 44 million pairs of breeding birds lost
in the past 50 years, of “an eerie absence of
moths on a summer night on your windscreen”.
Meanwhile, we enthusiastically visit national
parks, where we experience “landscape beauty
almost devoid of biodiversity”. Cocker contends
that in fact the British aren’t nature-lovers: we’re
a nation of “fatally tidy-minded” gardeners.
This book contains some exquisite writing
about nature, but it is always powerfully and
insistently grounded in “its cause”, said Alex
Preston in The Observer. Cocker is especially
good on environmental politics, writing of the
“diminution of the National Trust” from a
“visionary organisation” to a “stuffy pillar of
the heritage industry”. A radical polemic in the
tradition of Hazlitt and Cobbett, Our Place is a
“seriously great book, important and urgent”.
To order these titles or any other book in print, visit
www.theweek.co.uk/bookshop or speak to a bookseller on 020-3176 3835
Opening times: Mon to Fri 9am-6pm, Sat 9am-5.30pm and Sun 10am-2pm
19 May 2018 THE WEEK
Theatre
An Ideal Husband
Playwright: Oscar Wilde
Director: Jonathan Church
Vaudeville Theatre,
Strand, London WC2
(0330-333 4814).
Until 14 July
Running time:
2hrs 45mins
(including interval)
★★★
Opera
Lessons in Love
and Violence
Composer:
George Benjamin
Libretto: Martin Crimp
Director: Katie Mitchell
Royal Opera House,
Covent Garden,
London WC2
(020-7304 4000).
Until 26 May, then
touring internationally
until 2021
Running time:
1hr 40mins (no interval)
★★★
Drama
from being incredibly funny –
An Ideal Husband was first
often by the most minimal,
staged 123 years ago, said
impassive means – to winningly
Caroline McGinn in Time Out,
serious”. Never declaiming, he
and I’ve no doubt West End
“makes century-old aphorisms
audiences will be enjoying
fresh-minted”.
revivals of Oscar Wilde’s brilliant
It’s a superb performance,
society comedy for at least
mischievous and sprightly,
another 150 years. This tale of
agreed Sarah Hemming in the
an upright politician with a dark
FT. And Fox is wonderfully
secret, as well as his witty but
complemented by his real-life
frivolous friend and a dastardly
father, Edward Fox, who, as
female blackmailer, is “light yet
Lord Goring’s “curmudgeonly
indestructible”. And when it’s
old stick of a pater, wanders
played, as here, with “dapper
through the action in a state of
footwork, faultless patter and
perplexed apoplexy”. Frances
emotional, moral depth, it
Barber plays the blackmailer
blooms as brightly as a dandy’s
Mrs Cheveley in “full-on Bond
buttonhole”. I’m not sure I’d
villain” mode. Nathaniel Parker
back director Jonathan Church’s
Freddie Fox: simply brilliant
subtly conveys the turmoil of
claim that this is Wilde’s best
the politician, Sir Robert Chiltern. And Susan
play, said Michael Billington in The Guardian.
Hampshire is a “delight” as Lady Markby, said
However, in this strongly acted and “stylish”
revival, it establishes itself as the intriguing “love Paul Taylor in The Independent, “wittering away
about modern manias in a hilarious tour de force
child of a match between Ibsen and Feydeau”.
of empty-headed high-society prattling”.
Whether or not this is Wilde’s best play, this
revival is easily the best so far in the (until now)
somewhat lacklustre year-long run of Wilde
The week’s other opening
plays at the Vaudeville, said Dominic Cavendish
Nightfall Bridge Theatre, Potters Fields Park,
in The Daily Telegraph. And much of the credit
London SE1 (0333-320 0051). Until 26 May
goes to Freddie Fox, who is simply brilliant as
Barney Norris’s “poignant study of rural decay”
Lord Goring, the incorrigible dandy who turns
features strong performances, notably from
out to have far more backbone than anyone
Claire Skinner as a bereaved farmer. But this
expects. Fox, who made his name playing
delicate piece is better suited to a studio space
than the large stage of the Bridge (Guardian).
Wilde’s lover Lord Alfred Douglas (Bosie) in
a David Hare play, can “turn on a sixpence
on Skin director, Katie Mitchell.
The creepy medieval psychoShe includes bizarrely pretentious
logical thriller Written on Skin –
slow-motion sequences, destroys
the “masterly” 2012 debut fullmomentum by bringing down
length opera from George
the front-cloth between each
Benjamin and Martin Crimp –
scene and concludes with “the
has received worldwide acclaim,
most feeble, anticlimactic final
said Anthony Tommasini in The
tableau I’ve seen for years”.
New York Times. And now the
This opera is unlikely “to
British pair “have done it again”
inspire affection”, said Richard
with a new work based on the
Fairman in the FT. Yet it still
fatal passion of Edward II for
exerts a grip strong enough “to
his courtier Piers Gaveston. The
make an audience hold its breath
100-minute opera has already
for stretches at a time”. Crimp’s
been booked to play in
focus on how power corrupts is
Amsterdam, Hamburg, Lyon,
“positively Shakespearean”.
Chicago, Barcelona and Madrid
And though Benjamin doesn’t
following its London premiere. It
write conventional arias, there’s
is Benjamin’s remarkable music
that “gives the work its charge”. Barbara Hannigan: outstanding “barely a line that this cast
does not shape with beauty
His writing is so “lush, haunting
and expressiveness”. Barbara Hannigan is outand detailed – radiant one moment, piercingly
standing, as ever, as the queen, Isabel, with other
dissonant the next – that you are continuously
enveloped by the raucous beauty of the sounds”. strong performances from Stéphane Degout as
But the new opera has little of its predecessor’s the king and Gyula Orendt as Gaveston.
“riveting drama”, said Richard Morrison in
The Times. Crimp gives us an “anodyne, overCD of the week
intellectualised and often boring version of
Arctic Monkeys: Tranquility Base Hotel
events that should be red in tooth and claw”, so
& Casino Domino £9.74
it’s no accident Benjamin’s most dramatic music
The Monkeys’ 2013 offering, AM, was “the
occurs in the interludes between scenes, while
perfect rock record”. Their new one is a radical
the settings for the libretto’s underwhelming
departure, stripping out the rock for a sci-fi
words are mostly “so matter-of-fact that they
theme and a more soulful sound; it’s a “riveting
may as well have been spoken”. There’s also
and immersive listen” (Observer).
a “bland, modern-day staging” by the Written
Stars reflect the overall quality of reviews and our own independent assessment (4 stars=don’t miss; 1 star=don’t bother)
Book your tickets now by calling 020-7492 9948 or visiting TheWeekTickets.co.uk
THE WEEK 19 May 2018
© MARC BRENNER; STEPHEN CUMMISKEY
28 ARTS
Film
Entebbe
Dir: José Padilha
1hr 47mins (12A)
Flawed recreation of the
Entebbe hostage crisis
★★
Revenge
Dir: Coralie Fargeat
1hr 48mins (18)
Fabulously deranged
French action thriller
★★★
That Good Night
Dir: Eric Styles
1hr 32mins (12A)
John Hurt’s final bow
★★
How to Talk to
Girls at Parties
Dir:
John Cameron Mitchell
1hr 43mins (15)
Punk rock sci-fi with
Elle Fanning
★
ARTS 29
In June 1976, four anti-Israel terrorists – two German
and two Palestinian – hijacked Flight 139 from Tel
Aviv, redirected it to the dusty airport of Entebbe
in Uganda and issued their demands. In response,
Israel launched an extraordinary rescue mission: 100
commandos stormed the airport and saved most of
the hostages. It’s the stuff of which movies are made,
said Brian Viner in the Daily Mail, and indeed several
have been – the “starriest” of which, 1976’s Victory
at Entebbe, featured Burt Lancaster and Elizabeth
Taylor. This time the big names are Rosamund Pike
and Daniel Brühl, who play the German terrorists,
said Peter Bradshaw in The Guardian. And the result is “intensely silly and boring” – a film in which
“cardboard characters” explain stuff to each other about Palestine, the Holocaust and German guilt
in “clunky dialogue”. Well I found it quite gripping, said Kevin Maher in The Times, and Pike gives
a superbly “unhinged” turn: she “seems to have cornered the market for female roles that require
glacial calm hiding explosive inner rage”. But the good work is undone by an ending of “cataclysmic
ineptitude”: director José Padilha drains the excitement out of the climactic final raid by intercutting
it with a “tedious dance performance involving a girlfriend of one of the commandos”. The film then
“limps towards the finish line with some platitudinous talk about finding peace in the Middle East”.
“Is the rape-revenge genre just a way to bring the
dual spectacles of rape and violence to a male
audience?” This is the question, said Peter Bradshaw
in The Guardian, that hovers over Coralie Fargeat’s
“smart” and “stylishly-made” debut feature, which
some have hailed as “a subversive feminist take on
this form”. A rich alpha male (Kevin Janssens)
takes his mistress (Matilda Lutz) to a desert villa in
Morocco. There, she is raped by one of his friends
and then pushed off a cliff, falling 100 feet before
being impaled on an implausibly phallic tree. Yet
somehow this “nubile girl” survives and returns,
barely clothed, to “perpetrate a grisly payback”, said Nigel Andrews in the FT. This “fabulously
deranged” French action thriller “knows it’s off the grid” and that’s its strength. But it’s far from
clear that being written and directed by a woman makes it any less exploitative, said Edward Porter
in The Sunday Times. Still, if you can stomach the extreme violence, it’s hard to resist Revenge’s
“sheer flamboyance”. And in the final sequence, at least, it’s the man who is “naked and objectified”.
This film’s selling point is that it marks the last
hurrah of the late, great John Hurt, said Geoffrey
Macnab in The Independent. It’s a sentimental affair
but, as he so often did, Hurt transcends his material.
He plays an old screenwriter, living with his young
wife (Sofia Helin) in a Portuguese villa. Seeking to
put his affairs in order before he dies, he invites his
estranged son to visit, but so insults his son’s girlfriend
that the couple has to leave. One highlight in this
“enjoyable portrait of the final days of a world-class
misanthrope” is the arrival of Charles Dance as a
sinister stranger, who may or may not be a representative of a secretive euthanasia society, said Ian Freer in Time Out. As he and Hurt mull over matters
of mortality, we get to hear “two of the great voices in English acting”: Dance’s “deep, velvety tones”
and Hurt’s “booze-and-fags rasp”. Even so, the film is undeniably “mawkish”, said Ed Potton in The
Times. If you really want to raise a glass to the old hellraiser, better to rewatch The Elephant Man.
It’s 1977. Punk rock lands on Croydon like an alien
invasion. So when a group of punk kids, led by Enn
(Alex Sharp), stumble on a house filled with flesheating aliens – including the dreamy, PVC-clad Zan
(Elle Fanning) – they assume they’re just some weird
cultural sect. The premise of John Cameron Mitchell’s
new film, freely adapted from a Neil Gaiman short
story, is certainly intriguing, said Xan Brooks in
The Guardian. Yet I’m afraid what follows is
“extravagantly muddled”. The bizarre spectacle of
Nicole Kidman playing a punk matriarch, complete
with electroshock wig and dodgy cockney accent,
sums up the film’s silliness, said Tim Robey in The Daily Telegraph. It must have been fun to make,
but, with the exception of Sharp’s “shy charm”, there’s precious little for audiences to enjoy. The
period detail is “slapdash”, the characterisation “cardboard”, said Kevin Maher in The Times. At
best, you could argue that it embodies the “gutsy, amateur DIY punk ethos”. But to use the argot
of Enn and his “tiresome punk coterie”, it’s “still bollocks” for all that.
19 May 2018 THE WEEK
30 ARTS
Art
Exhibition of the week Superstructures: The New Architecture, 1960-1990
Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, Norwich (01603-593199, scva.ac.uk). Until 2 September
“In 1978, the future
Foster and his contemarrived in Norwich,”
poraries took inspiration
said Joe Lloyd in 1843
from Isambard Kingdom
magazine. It came in
Brunel and Joseph
the form of a gallery
Paxton, architect of
designed by the architect
the Crystal Palace, and
Norman Foster and
drew on techniques from
commissioned by the
aerospace and oil rig
Sainsbury family to
construction. A highlight
house their art collection.
is an “outstanding”
The Sainsbury Centre
display of architectural
changed British
models, including
architecture forever:
Foster’s design for
130 metres long and
Stansted Airport,
clad in “shiny steel”,
Grimshaw’s Waterloo
it boasted “huge glass
Eurostar terminal and
windows” inside a frame
the French architect Jean
resembling “the internal
Nouvel’s Fondation
parts of a rocket”. It
Cartier museum in Paris.
“was like no other
However, there are
museum in Britain” –
“holes” in the exhibition
this was “an art gallery
– notably that it provides
in the form of an aircraft
very little information on
Richard Rogers’ design for the Inmos microprocessor factory in Newport, Wales
hangar”. The new style
the architects themselves.
came to be known as “high-tech”, and in the decades that
followed it would proliferate around the world. Forty years on,
The show will alert you to high-tech architecture’s “contrathe Sainsbury Centre is hosting a “thorough (and thoroughly
dictions”, said Rowan Moore in The Observer. It presents itself
enjoyable)” exhibition dedicated to the architectural style its
as a “pragmatic” style concerned purely with function, yet its
design helped to popularise, celebrating the work of Foster and
buildings frequently fail to live up to this. At Foster’s recently
his (mostly British) contemporaries, such as Nicholas Grimshaw
completed Apple HQ in California, for example, staff have
and Richard Rogers. The show explores the history of high-tech
reportedly walked into the building’s “immaculate glass walls”.
through drawings and models, demonstrating how it became “the
Nor is high-tech suited to domestic settings, said Peter Yeung in
dominant style for corporate headquarters and public buildings”
The Times. Such structures that do exist – a house designed by
everywhere from Swindon to Hong Kong.
Michael and Patty Hopkins is recreated in part here – look
“distinctly uncomfortable”. Nevertheless, the show itself is
The show roots high-tech in the tradition of “Victorian enginefascinating. For anyone wanting to understand modern
ering”, said Isabelle Priest in the RIBA Journal. We learn how
architecture, it will be “unmissable”.
Where to buy…
Anwar Jalal Shemza
at Hales Gallery
In the 1960s, an explosion of artists
and musicians attempted to fuse
Eastern cultural traditions with more
recent Western developments. In most
instances, such experiments now look
embarrassing, at best. Others, however,
have stood the test of time surprisingly
well. The paintings of the Indian-born
artist and writer Anwar Jalal Shemza
(1928-85) fall comfortably into the
second camp. Shemza, who established
himself in Pakistan before moving
to the UK and settling in the West
Midlands, created works that still
dazzle 50 years on. The paintings
featured in this overview of his 1960s
output combine motifs lifted from
Islamic architecture, art and calligraphy
with Bauhaus modernism and the
colourful, sometimes migraine-inducing
imagery of psychedelia. By rights, such
THE WEEK 19 May 2018
Advancing and Receding in Yellow Ochre
and Olive Green (1963), detail
style-straddling should be a mess – but
unlike so many Western dilettantes,
Shemza actually understood his points
of reference. These works pack all the
punch of contemporary op art while
remaining rooted in centuries-old
visual custom. Prices on request.
7 Bethnal Green Road, London E1
(020-7033 1938). Until 23 June.
David and Peggy
Rockefeller’s vast collection
of artworks and other
treasures set a new world
record at Christie’s in New
York last week, said The
Guardian – selling for
$832m, considerably
more than any other
private collection. The
top lot was a Picasso of a
naked girl holding a basket
of flowers (pictured), which
had previously hung in
their Manhattan home; it
sold for $115.1m. A Monet
water lily painting went for
$84.7m, while a Matisse
depicting a woman in a Turkish harem fetched
$80.8m; both were records for the artists. All
the 1,500 lots sold. Art dealers spoke of the
“Rockefeller premium”, said The Times: the fact
that the lots had been kept in the home of one
of America’s most famous families drove up
prices by about a third. A pair of cufflinks sold
for $13,750 and a swan decoy for $348,500.
Peggy Rockefeller died in 1996, and David, the
grandson of the oil baron John D. Rockefeller,
in 2017. The family will donate all the proceeds
of the sale to charity.
© BEN JOHNSON, INMOS CENTRAL SPINE (1985)
The sale of the century
The Week reviews an
exhibition in a private gallery
We believe in a
different perspective.
You see a dresser. We see a kitchen.
That’s because we design our kitchen cabinets as pieces of furniture. The same materials,
the same attention to detail. Inside and out. Kitchens from £10,000.
neptune.com/adifferentperspective
The List
33
Best books… Paul Theroux
Novelist and travel writer Paul Theroux picks his six favourite books.
A collection of his writing and essays, Figures in a Landscape: People
and Places, has just been published by Hamish Hamilton at £16.99
Madame Bovary by Gustave
Flaubert, 1856 (Penguin
£8.99). Emma Bovary, married
to a good-hearted drudge, has
a healthy libido, a shopping
addiction and an unhealthy
sense of romance. Flaubert’s
landmark work is both
modern and memorable.
A House for Mr Biswas by
V.S. Naipaul, 1961 (Picador
£10.99). Naipaul’s masterpiece
and a classic of family life.
Much of it is based on his own
family. Hilarious most of the
time and full of conflict, it is
one of the few books that have
caused me to laugh out loud.
Crowds and Power by Elias
Canetti, 1960 (out of print).
This is one of those books that
explain everything – in this
case, the way humans gather in
groups, how they seize power
and the symbols they value. It
is a study in tyranny and in
other forms of domination –
among them, a mother serving
food. Canetti put 30 years into
writing it, and he deserved the
Nobel Prize he won years later.
Civilization and Capitalism,
15th-18th Century, vol. 1:
The Structures of Everyday
Life by Fernand Braudel, 1979
(UC Press £35). Have you ever
wondered when Europeans
began drinking coffee? Or
when men started wearing
trousers rather than robes?
This answers many such
questions, showing the ingenuity, bravery and salesmanship
of people the world over.
The Day of the Locust by
Nathanael West, 1939 (Roads
£9.99). The ultimate novel of
Hollywood, written by a native
(and author of the masterpiece
Miss Lonelyhearts). I read this
when I was young and it
fuelled my ambition to be a
writer. It’s funny, wicked and
wholly in the American grain.
Henry David Thoreau: A Life
by Laura Dassow Walls, 2017
(University of Chicago
£26.50). Thoreau had a
mind so original and opinions
so startling, his Concord
neighbours (including Ralph
Waldo Emerson) did not
know what to make of him.
This outstanding biography
illuminates the man and
his times.
Titles in print are available from The Week Bookshop on 020-3176 3835. For out-of-print books visit www.biblio.co.uk
The Week’s guide to what’s worth seeing and reading
Showing now
Out of the Block: Henry Moore Carvings,
Henry Moore Studios & Gardens, Hertfordshire
(01279-843333). Exhibition bringing together
30 of Henry Moore’s works, made over six
decades, as well as photographs and footage
of the sculptor at work. Ends 28 October.
Literary luminaries, leading chefs and thesps are
gathering at the Queen’s Park Book Festival.
Zadie Smith, Tessa Hadley and John Preston
Queen Victoria and Her
Tragic Family Three-part
series looking at Queen
Victoria’s relationship with
her nine children, and the iron
control she exerted over them.
Sat 19 May, C5 21:20 (60mins).
A Very English Scandal
Hugh Grant stars in Stephen
Frears’ three-part drama based
on John Preston’s riveting
book about the downfall of
MP Jeremy Thorpe, who in
1979 was tried for conspiring
to murder his ex-lover Norman
Scott (Ben Whishaw). Sun
20 May, BBC1 21:00 (60mins).
The Handmaid’s Tale
Second series of the acclaimed
drama adapted from Margaret
Atwood’s novel, set in a future
in which an environmental
disaster has caused mass
infertility. With Elisabeth Moss.
Sun 20 May, C4 21:00 (75mins).
Imagine... Rupert Everett:
Born to Be Wilde The story
of the actor’s ten-year quest to
write, direct and star in a film
about the last years of Oscar
Wilde’s life. Sun 20 May, BBC1
22:30 (65mins).
rare access to the European
Parliament, this new series
follows an eclectic group of
British MEPs as they deal with
the challenge of Brexit. Wed
23 May, C4 22:00 (65mins).
Films
The Second Mother (2015)
Henry Moore with Reclining Figure: Bone Skirt (1977)
will talk about their work, while Nicholas
Hytner and Simon Russell Beale discuss
Shakespeare. 30 June-1 July, Queen’s Park,
London NW6 (www.qpbookfest.com).
Just out in paperback
The Matter of the Heart by Thomas Morris
(Vintage £10.99). This “intelligent” book traces
the history of the once-unthinkable marvel of
heart surgery – from its beginnings to its likely
future (Times).
The Archers: what happened last week
Adam’s pleased Brian has come clean about the insurers not paying out. Adam’s worried about the
lack of pickers and fears they may have to leave one of the fruit tunnels to rot. Will tells Clarrie and
Eddie that Andrew’s spoken to a solicitor about having custody of Jake and Mia. Will’s worried that
Andrew, as their biological father, could win custody. Harrison’s keen to announce his engagement,
but Fallon’s embarrassed – as she was so anti-marriage, she is worried that people will judge her,
especially as she proposed. At the quiz, Harrison surprises Fallon by staging a second proposal.
Fallon accepts. Freddie suggests Hannah rent the spare room at No. 1 The Green. While Johnny
and Freddie are showing her around, a brick flies through the window, hitting Johnny’s head.
Will decides to return to work full-time after being told that he will have to move out of the cottage if
he doesn’t. When Freddie accuses Ellis of throwing the brick, Ellis reminds him that no one deals at
college unless it is for him. Brian tells the whole family about the land sale and is relieved they’re all
behind him. Will talks to a solicitor. He’s told he has a good case for keeping all the children together.
Fabulous comedy about class
set in modern-day Brazil. With
Regina Casé. Mon 21 May,
Film4 01:10 (140mins).
Slow West (2015) Michael
Fassbender and Kodi SmitMcPhee star in this western
charting the journey of a
lovestruck Scottish teen across
19th century Colorado. Mon
21 May, Film4 23:20 (100mins).
New to subscription TV
Patrick Melrose Five-part
adaptation of Edward
St Aubyn’s acerbic romansà-clef. Benedict Cumberbatch
plays the damaged aristocrat
Melrose. Showing on
Sky Atlantic.
Safe Michael C. Hall stars
as a widowed father of
two daughters in this tense
crime drama set in a gated
community in Manchester.
Streaming on Netflix.
19 May 2018 THE WEEK
© STEVE MCCURRY; HENRY MOORE FOUNDATION
The Red Rooster festival brings the sound of
blues and country to the ravishing grounds of
Euston Hall in Suffolk. Alabama 3 and Pokey
LaFarge are on the line-up. Weekend tickets
cost £59.50 and children under 12 are free.
31 May-2 June (www.redrooster.org.uk).
Programmes
Carry on Brussels With
Book now
Sinéad Cusack is starring in novelist Esther
Freud’s debut play, Stitchers, about Lady
Anne Tree (1927-2010), the aristocratic social
reformer who founded Fine Cell Work to teach
prisoners needlework. 30 May-23 June, Jermyn
Street Theatre, London SW1 (020-7287 2875).
Television
Best properties
34
Grade II properties under £1m
▲
West Sussex:
Cromwell House,
High Street,
East Grinstead.
Although not
strictly under
£1m, this is a rare
chance to buy a
historic Grade II*
property in a
central location
with a lovely
garden. The
house is in need of
modernising and
updating. Master
bed, 6 further
beds, family bath,
shower, kitchen,
3 receps, study,
2 cloakrooms,
loggia, former
kitchen, utility,
box room, storage
room, 2 garages,
garden. £1m;
Strutt & Parker
(01403-246790).
▲ Devon: Gorwell House, Barnstaple. A Georgian house, dating from circa
1828, which is understood to have been built for John Miller, a lacemaker of the
period. 6/7 beds, 2 baths, 3 WCs, breakfast/kitchen, 3 receps, hall, studio, garden
room, utility, study/bed 7, cellar, colonnaded veranda, extensive parking, mature
gardens approaching 0.74 acres. OIEO £595,000; Stags (01271-322833).
▲
Oxfordshire:
Ellsdale Cottage,
Postcombe. A pretty
thatched cottage
in this small hamlet
at the foot of the
Chiltern Hills. The
house has been
refurbished to a high
specification by the
current owners, and
the low-maintenance
rear garden was
landscaped by awardwinning garden
designer Richard Key.
Master bed, 2 further
beds, family bath,
breakfast/kitchen,
2 receps, hall, utility,
private garden,
parking. £695,000;
Knight Frank (01865790077).
THE WEEK 19 May 2018
on the market
35
▲
Surrey: 19 Albury Park
Mansion, Albury. This
property is set in a small
mews courtyard to the
front of Albury Park
Mansion and was
originally part of the estate
stable block. Designed
by Augustus Pugin in the
19th century, Albury Park
sits within approximately
five acres of landscaped
gardens close to the
villages of Albury and
Shere, in the Surrey Hills
Area of Outstanding
Natural Beauty. The
cottage has been extended
and refurbished to a high
specification, and has
views over the gardens
and estate beyond from
the reception room.
Vaulted master bed with
mezzanine dressing area,
1 further bed leading to
the roof terrace, shower,
kitchen/dining room,
double-aspect recep,
utility, garage. £725,000;
Savills (01483-796800).
Suffolk:
Hasketon Grange,
Hasketon,
Woodbridge.
This pretty former
farmhouse has been
carefully restored,
without detracting
from the original
character. Master
suite, 4 further
beds, 2 further
baths, breakfast/
kitchen, 3 receps,
inner hall, WC,
study, utility,
conservatory,
attic store, cellar,
mature garden,
terrace, 0.94 acres.
£895,000; Fenn
Wright (01394333346).
▲
▲
East Yorkshire:
Reedness Hall,
Reedness, Goole.
A handsome house,
with a useful
separate 1-bed
cottage, in this small
village on the south
bank of the River
Ouse. Master suite,
3 further beds,
family bath,
breakfast/kitchen,
3 receps, study,
wine cellar, double
garage, cottage,
2 stables, tack room,
workshop, gardens,
terrace, orchard,
paddock, parking,
1.05 acres.
£450,000; Savills
(01904-617820).
▲
Buckinghamshire:
Missenden Road,
Chesham. Originally
built as two houses,
this brick and flint
home is in the heart
of the old town, within
easy reach of the
station, and has many
period features,
from panelled walls
to feature fireplaces
and diamond-leaded
windows. Master
suite, 4/5 further beds,
family bath, breakfast/
kitchen, 2 receps, hall,
study/bed 6, garage,
garden with a
tributary of the
River Chess running
through. OIEO
£699,950; Hunters
(01494-723322).
▲ Somerset: Cross House, Milborne Port, Sherborne. A fine family
house, dating back to 1860 with later additions. Master suite with roof
terrace, 7/8 further beds, family bath, shower, breakfast/kitchen, 3 receps,
utility, study, WC, hall, second-floor kitchen/bed 9, double garage, parking,
pretty walled garden. £825,000; Jackson Stops (01935-810141).
19 May 2018 THE WEEK
LEISURE
Food & Drink
37
What the experts recommend
Hide 85 Piccadilly, London W1
(020-3146 8666)
Ollie Dabbous’s grand new restaurant is
the capital’s biggest opening of 2018, and
probably its most expensive – and it’s
a “barnstorming success”, says Frankie
McCoy in the London Evening Standard.
Dabbous’s backers, the Russian-owned
Hedonism Wines (which also provides
Hide’s vast choice of wines) could have
invested in the flashiness of another
Sexy Fish, say. Instead, they’ve created a
fabulous “cellar-cool refuge from sticky
Piccadilly”, with not one but two superb
restaurants. Ground (on the ground floor),
is a relatively casual all-day space, where
we enjoyed gorgeous turbot, in a sauce of
its own bones, and charred asparagus.
Then up the art deco tree trunk staircase
there’s Above, where huge windows offer
cinematic views across Green Park, the
inspiration behind the sensational tasting
menu. Delights include a “soul-enriching”
bouillabaisse, Norwegian king crab, and
“stupendous” goose with crispy kale and
miso. Hide is like a “handsome friend who
has inherited impossible wealth and lives a
charmed life, but who is so lovely that you
cannot resent him”. Starters around £14,
mains about £28, tasting menu £95.
Titu 1A Shepherd Street, Mayfair,
London W1 (020-7493 8746)
This charming new gyoza restaurant
from the “seriously talented” Jeff Tyler
+ Foie Gras” was a “brilliant, ridiculous
hybrid: a Japanese dumpling with an
old-school French stuffing made by a
New Zealander”. Dishes £3.90-£17.60;
gyoza £6.90-£12.90.
Gaijin Sushi: amazing-value food
– formerly head chef at the super-luxe
Novikov – is a revelation, says Tim
Hayward in the FT. I confess I expected
it to be “amusingly pretentious”; in fact,
it is precisely the opposite. A pre-lunch
snack of fresh lotus root crisps with
a corn yuzu dipping sauce is “light,
welcoming and utterly exceptional”.
A soft-shell crab salad is a “gorgeous,
generous” thing. And the gyoza (Japanese
dumplings) are wonderful. “Chicken +
Cheese” (an unusual combination I had
thought might make a good gag) turns out
to be a beautiful balance of hand-chopped
bird, herbs and nuggets of what tasted
like Gruyère. A sweetly spicy “Chicken
Gaijin Sushi 78 Bristol Street,
Birmingham (0121-448 4250)
Depending on who is talking, gaijin is
either an “aggressively offensive word for
non-Japanese people, or a self-mocking
term used by non-Japanese people to
signify their otherness”, says Jay Rayner
in The Observer. The latter applies here,
because this delightful sushi joint is run by
“a tall Polish chap” called Michal Kubiak.
The setting is admittedly unprepossessing.
Gaijin, which opened in March, sits on a
“slightly brutal” shopping parade next to
the A38. But the food is great and the vibe
convivial. The salmon and prawn tempura
don’t quite qualify as tempura, seeing as
both are panko-breadcrumbed, rather than
battered and lacy. But they are “very fine
deep-fried things” and amazing value.
“Just £8.50 brings you six big prawns,
each longer than my middle finger and
trust me, I have big hands.” The same
goes for excellent nigiri sushi (about
£4 for two pieces). And spicy tuna rolls,
prawn and eel rolls, crab rolls and tight
prawn maki rolls are all very fine, too.
Currently Gaijin is unlicensed, but you
can bring your own booze for a small
corkage fee. Meal for two, about £60.
Recipe of the week
Scandinavians use a lot of marzipan in baking, but only the good quality, 50% almond kind, says Brontë Aurell, and it’s really easy to
make your own (see below). I think apricots are delicious with spice, so I’ve added cardamom and cinnamon, but omit if you prefer.
Apricot tart with mazarin
Serves 8-10 sweet shortcrust pastry: 200g unsalted butter, cold and cubed 350g plain flour 125g plus 2 tbsps icing sugar 1 tsp vanilla
extract or seeds from ½ a vanilla pod 1 egg marzipan: 200g finely ground almonds 100g caster sugar 100g icing sugar 1 tsp almond
extract 1 medium egg white, ideally pasteurised mazarin: 150g marzipan (as per recipe, or shop-bought with 50% almond content), grated
100g caster sugar 100g (minus 1 tbsp) unsalted butter, softened 2 eggs 50g plain flour a pinch of salt to assemble: 10 ripe, fresh apricots
½ tsp ground cardamom ½ tsp ground cinnamon icing sugar, for dusting 36cm x 13cm rectangular tart pan, greased
• To make the pastry, pulse all the ingredients in a
food processor. Roll the mixture into a ball, wrap in
cling film and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
© FABIO DE PAOLA/GUARDIAN NEWS & MEDIA; PETER CASSIDY
• If making your own marzipan, first re-grind the
almonds if they feel coarse – they should be very
fine. Blend all the ingredients in a food processor
until smooth. Roll the mixture into a log and wrap in
cling film, then chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour.
• Roll the pastry out on a lightly floured surface to a
thickness of about 4-5mm. Carefully transfer to line
the tart pan and let the edges hang over. Refrigerate
until ready to bake. Freeze any excess pastry for use
in another recipe. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
• To make the mazarin, mix the marzipan and sugar until
combined, using a wooden spoon or a stand mixer
with the paddle attachment, then add the softened
butter. Mix again until smooth then add the eggs,
one at a time, ensuring they are well incorporated.
Sift in the flour and salt, and fold into the mixture.
• Spoon out the mazarin onto the pastry base and
spread evenly. Halve the apricots and remove the
stones. Arrange the halves evenly across the mazarin.
Add a dusting of cardamom and cinnamon, and bake
the tart for about 45-50 minutes or until the pastry is
nicely browned at the edges and the mazarin has set.
• Remove from the oven and allow to cool before
trimming away any untidy pastry edges and removing from the
pan. Dust with icing sugar and cut into slices. Serve with crème
fraiche or sour cream on the side, if you like.
Taken from ScandiKitchen Summer by Brontë Aurell, published by Ryland Peters & Small at £16.99.
To buy from The Week Bookshop for £15.99, call 020-3176 3835 or visit www.theweek.co.uk/bookshop.
19 May 2018 THE WEEK
Consumer
Kia Sorento
from £29,310
Autocar
The Sorento is not a
crossover spun from a
family hatchback: it’s got
proper SUV architecture.
That means this spacious
seven-seater is a capable
tow car that feels “built
to last”. But it also means
it’s in a highly competitive
class. For the price, this
latest model (which has
4WD as standard) is a
compelling option, but
it lacks the “polish and
sophistication” of its
many impressive rivals.
The Daily Telegraph
At 4.8 metres long, it’s a
big car – “hard to miss”,
in fact. But even after
this midlife facelift the
exterior isn’t up to much,
with “a tough, ready-foranything mien chosen
over conventional beauty”.
Inside, it all feels a bit
retro, and while the
car is well put-together
in general, the seats aren’t
that comfy (even if the
seat heaters feel “powerful
enough to incubate a
newborn lamb”).
What Car?
While some manufacturers
seem “hell-bent on trying
to inject sporty handling
into their large SUVs”,
Kia has focused on what
matters most to the family
buyer: “a comfortable
ride”. In achieving this,
though, the Sorento, with
only a 197bhp 2.2-litre
diesel engine available,
has sacrificed agility, while
the steering is “vague and
inconsistently weighted”.
Ultimately, it loses out to
other, more “nimble” cars.
The best… gardening tools
Black & Decker
GW3031 Collect your
leaves into a pile with
this powerful leaf
blower, then
swap in the
suction
tube and
watch
them
all disappear
into the 72-litre
collection bag (£102;
www.tooled-up.com).
▲
▲
Black & Decker
GL7033 This two-inone edger and trimmer
is light and manoeuvrable,
but heavy-duty. Just switch it
to vertical mode and use the
guide wheel for an immaculate
lawn (£66.50; www.tesco.com).
▲ Niwaki GR Secateurs A pair of
razor-sharp secateurs can make a
world of difference to a day in the
garden, so treat yourself to this pair.
Hand-forged in Japan with carbon
steel, they are beautifully
balanced and robust enough
to tackle the toughest work
(£69; www.niwaki.com).
▲
Gardena Smart
Sileno This robot
lawnmower can
handle the most
complex shapes
and slopes. Part of Gardena’s smart range,
it can be controlled remotely via an app,
or linked to their sprinklers, so it doesn’t
get in their way (£1,197; www.argos.co.uk).
Tips of the week… how
to fall asleep on a plane
● In so far as it’s possible, replicate your
usual night-time routine. Changing into
pyjamas, brushing your teeth, removing
your make-up or washing your face will
send signals to your brain, telling it that
it’s time to get ready for sleep.
● Scent can be a very powerful relaxation
tool; use hand cream or dab essential oils
on your neck or pulse points to nudge you
towards sleep. Scents that aid sleep include
lavender, camomile and ylang-ylang.
● At least half-an-hour before you hope to
doze off, put away any electronic devices,
turn off the in-flight film, and read or
meditate instead.
● Before you fly, work out what types of
pillow, earplugs and eye mask work best
for you. Look for a dark mask with a soft
lining and a large (if unattractive) shape,
and see if you prefer wax or foam earplugs.
● Don’t put pressure on yourself to sleep
like a log. Think of it more as resting your
eyes: even if you only rest, that will help.
SOURCE: THE INDEPENDENT
▲ Gtech HT20 A brilliantly versatile hedge trimmer, this Gtech
model is extendable and cordless – and it weighs only 2.25kg.
The head can be angled at 90 degrees to tackle the very top of
your hedges (£130; www.gtech.co.uk).
A
And
forr those who
have
h
everything…
verything…
Worried your dog gets bored when it’s
home alone? Buy it a robotic dog bone to
keep it entertained. Available to pre-order,
the Wickedbone will chase your pet around
or run away from it. If you’re at home, you
can control it via an app on your phone.
£50; www.kickstarter.com
SOURCE: STUFF
Where to find…
food festivals
Eat & Drink Festival in Glasgow will have
mouth-watering food trucks and an array of
popular street food dishes (31 May-3 June;
www.eatanddrinkglasgow.com).
For Taste of London, the capital’s
best restaurants gather in Regent’s Park
and provide scaled-down versions of
their signature dishes (13-17 June;
london.tastefestivals.com).
Wilderness, Oxfordshire, is largely about
Wil
the music and theatre, but there’s great
food to be had too: a highlight is the
banquet cooked by Yotam Ottolenghi
(2-5 August; www.wildernessfestival.com).
River Cottage Festival in Devon has
cooking masterclasses, talks (Prue Leith
and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall are on
the line-up), music and yoga (25-26 August;
www.rivercottage.net).
At The Good Life Experience in north Wales,
you can learn wild cooking, fermenting and
spatula-making skills (14-16 September;
www.thegoodlifeexperience.co.uk).
SOURCE: THE DAILY TELEGRAPH
19 May 2018 THE WEEK
SOURCES: THE INDEPENDENT/T3
New cars: what the critics say
LEISURE 39
Travel
41
Three holidays with a difference
of treats from “smoked kangaroo
and pickled crocodile” to
Fifty years on from the Summer of
“roadkill emu”. Kakadu still
Love, psychedelia is having another
retains a “Crocodile Dundee”
moment, says Tarn Rodgers Johns
reputation, but is aiming to widen
in The Independent. Last year,
its appeal during its annual food
a team at Imperial College London
festival, A Taste of Kakadu, now
found evidence that psilocybin, a
in its second year. Running until
compound in magic mushrooms,
the end of this month, it comprises
can “‘reset’ the brains of depressed
pop-up dining, masterclasses in
patients”. Now, at Jamaica’s
cooking bush tucker, and guest
Treasure Beach, there is a tropical
appearances from indigenous
retreat where guests are invited to
chefs. Above all, it shows visitors
use magic mushrooms to explore
how, after centuries of “colonial
“issues” in their personal or
injustices”, the Bininj survive here
professional lives in a supportive
on the lands they have inhabited
– and legal – setting. You don’t
for millennia. A Taste of
have to be suffering from
Kakadu (parksaustralia.gov.au)
depression to take part, but no one
The Inn at Dos Brisas: rancher luxe in Texas
runs until 27 May. Singapore
comes “to party”. Participants take
Airlines (www.singaporeair.com) flies (with one stop) to
mushrooms – ground down into capsule form – three times over
Darwin. Visit northernterritory.com for details.
the week, overseen by six facilitators who provide expertise and
“make sure no one wanders off”. On rest days, you can indulge
in herbal steam massages or go on island excursions. What
Blowing away the cobwebs in cowboy territory
happens outside of each mushroom trip “is just as important
Not everyone is a natural cowboy or girl, says Sarah Ivens in
as the trip itself”, as everyone shares their experience and reflects
The Daily Telegraph. But on a Lone Star weekend at Dos Brisas
on their “new perspective” – having, with luck, “unplugged”
you can spend a couple of days testing your mettle in 313 acres
emotional blockages that may have been “festering for years”.
of rolling Texas countryside, and blow away a few cobwebs in
Magic mushrooms are proscribed Class A drugs in the UK.
the process. There’s no stinting on creature comforts, however.
MycoMeditations (www.mycomeditations.com) has mixed
Rooms have private plunge pools and the ranch boasts Texas’s
and women-only retreats, from £1,285 per week.
only Forbes five-star-rated restaurant. Even the horses have their
own trainers, masseurs and personal chef. “This may explain their
good nature.” You’ll spend the morning riding them along rocky
Tasting ants on a bush tucker tour of Kakadu
trails; then there’s shooting practice, and perhaps fishing and
The main danger when licking green ants is that they’re liable to
archery. After a soak in the tub to soothe aching limbs, there’s an
bite you on the lip. But if they’re dead, you can safely nibble their
evening around the campfire, toasting s’mores “under a blanket
backsides to release a “tangy, citrus-like flavour that’s pretty tasty
of stars”. You may not leave as the next Wild Bill Hickok or
if you close your eyes”, says Helen Davidson in The Guardian.
Annie Oakley, but the fresh air and new challenges will surely
You can try them on a bush tucker tour around the Warradjan
“put a swagger in your cowboy boots”. The Lone Star package
cultural centre in Kakadu National Park, in Australia’s Northern
at The Inn at Dos Brisas (www.dosbrisas.com) costs from £889
Territory. Guided by Aboriginal elders from the Bininj people –
per room per night, including meals and activities.
the park’s traditional owners – the walk takes in a smorgasbord
A therapeutic journey
© SOHO HOUSE/WHITE CITY HOUSE
Soho House’s White City outpost
The 19th Soho House has opened its
doors in the old BBC Television Centre
– and this west London outpost of the
empire is “weirdly delightful”, said Steve
King in Condé Nast Traveller. From the
outside it may look like the “faculty
buildings of a 1960s polytechnic”, but
inside the members’ club, the decor is an
ostentatious “display of wit and whimsy”.
In the quirky communal spaces, there are
curved, timber-panelled walls and retro
squishy armchairs, where attractive people
work on laptops; there’s a 24,000 sq ft
gym, and two swimming pools – one on a rooftop with views over “the anonymous grey
suburban smear that extends all the way to Heathrow”.
Back in the day, if a pop star wanted a drink after lip-synching to their latest hit on
Top of the Pops, their only option was to head to the BBC Club bar and hang out with
the electricians, said Sarah Turner in Forbes. Now, they’d be spoilt for choice. There
are several bars and restaurants, including a large ground space that is open to all, and
a branch of Electric Cinema. All over, there are riffs on “elements of BBC heritage”,
with panels in the lifts that look like daleks and BBC-inspired artworks – including
a large multicoloured test card – on the walls. The 45 bedrooms, also open to nonmembers, are housed in the Grade II circular building, in former production offices
where classic shows such as Fawlty Towers were once “commissioned and nurtured”.
White City House (www.whitecityhouse.com) has doubles from £120.
Is your hotel
spying on you?
The first rule of any business is
“know your customer”, says
Christian Koch in The Sunday Times.
The hotel industry is certainly taking
that to heart: in order to “enhance”
their guests’ experience, a growing
number of hotel companies are now
scouring social media in search of the
kind of information we used only to
share with our friends and families.
So, tweet about your favourite beer
and you may find it in the minibar on
arrival. If you stay at a hotel owned
by Groupe Germain while in town for
a job interview, don’t be surprised if
the staff leave you a good-luck card.
Kimpton Hotels admits to having
a whole team of “social agents”
monitoring social media 24/7 in
an effort to “surprise and enthral”
guests – or just freak them out. It’s
worth noting that in some hotels,
“even the chambermaids are
gathering intelligence”. They’re
not just “ghosts” coming in to make
your bed – they’re also clocking
what kind of underpants you wear.
19 May 2018 THE WEEK
Obituaries
43
Labour minister who helped bring London the Olympics
Dame Tessa Jowell, who
Dame Tessa
has died aged 70, was often
Jowell
depicted in the media as a
1947-2018
prim, slightly nannyish figure,
said The Times. But at Westminster, she was
known not only for her sense of humour, but
for a quality that is far more rarely found
in politics, said Stephen Bush in the New
Statesman: her kindness. As an MP, and later
as a minister, this least tribal of politicians
made a great effort to be kind to people she
had no need to be kind to. Of course, she
was other things besides. She was astute and
extremely effective: her achievements included
the London Olympics, 24-hour licensing and
the Sure Start programme. But it was partly
because she was kind that she was effective.
It inspired people to work hard for her: they
wanted to help her achieve her aims.
Jowell was health minister in Blair’s first
government; she then moved to education
and employment before replacing Chris Smith
as Secretary of State for Culture, Media and
Sport in 2001. In that role, she persuaded Blair
to back Britain’s Olympic bid, in 2004. “Of
course we may not win,” she told him, “but at
least we will have had the courage to try.” The
Games proved a huge success, but there were
controversies along the way (mainly to do
with budget overruns). She was castigated for
approving the creation of super casinos (the
“nation’s nanny” was now a “gangster’s moll”,
she observed). And she was caught up in the
scandal surrounding the “sexing up” of the
Iraq dossier. She’d had reservations about the
2003 invasion – but she would have “jumped
under a bus” for Blair, she admitted. There
were embarrassments in her private life, too: in
2004, her husband David Mills – a millionaire
Tessa Palmer was born in London in 1947, the
Jowell: the least partisan of politicians tax lawyer with many controversial clients,
daughter of a physician and a radiographer,
including Silvio Berlusconi – was accused of
and brought up in Aberdeen, where she went to a local fee-paying
tax fraud by the authorities in Italy. In 2009, he was convicted
school and the university. Having developed socialist leanings in
of accepting a £350,000 “bribe” from the former Italian PM in
her teens, she moved to London in 1969 to become a social
exchange for giving false testimony at two trials in the 1990s,
worker; in 1974, after further study, she became a psychiatric
and sentenced to four-and-a-half years in prison – which was
social worker at the Maudsley Hospital. By then, she’d been
overturned in 2010 on a technicality. The episode was a huge
elected to Camden Council where, long before her party’s shift
strain on their family and caused the couple briefly to separate.
to the centre, she presented herself as a moderate, pitted against
the “loony left”. Deciding that to find “big solutions” to social
Jowell stood down as an MP in 2015. Last September, she
problems she would need to be in government, she first stood
revealed that she was suffering from cancer. (She was rumoured
to be an MP in 1978, and was finally elected MP for Dulwich
to have nicknamed her tumour Momentum.) Visibly frail, and
in 1992. Two years later she supported Tony Blair’s bid for the
in a voice cracking with emotion, she gave her final speech to the
Labour leadership. He recognised her competence, her commitHouse of Lords in January, describing her life with cancer and
ment and her likeability, said The Guardian – all of which proved
appealing for more treatments to be made available. In a rare
a huge asset to the party as it sought to win over Middle England.
breach of protocol, her fellow peers gave her a standing ovation.
Film editor who won an Oscar for Lawrence of Arabia
When Anne V. Coates declared
that she wanted to work in
the film industry, her uncle –
J. Arthur Rank – found her a
job at Elstree Studios repairing prints of religious
films known as Sunday Shorts. The idea was
that she would soon get bored and rethink her
unsuitable career. The plan backfired, said The
Times. Coates, who has died aged 92, became
one of cinema’s most respected editors. She
won one Oscar, for Lawrence of Arabia, and
was nominated for four others. Moving with
the times, both in terms of technology and social
attitudes, she was in her 80s when she edited her
last film, Fifty Shades of Grey. She thought it a
bit tame. “I wanted more passion,” she said.
Anne V.
Coates
1925-2018
with him on Powell and Pressburger’s The Red
Shoes. Her ambition had been to direct, but it
dawned on her that in that male-dominated
world, editing was the most interesting job a
woman could do, other than acting. “While it
was just a background job, they let the women
do it,” she said later. “But when people realised
how interesting and creative editing could be,
then the men... kind of took over.”
In 1960, she offered to edit Albert Finney’s screen
test for Lawrence of Arabia for a friend. Finney
didn’t get the part, but David Lean was so impressed by her cuts, he took her on as the film’s
editor. He shot 31 miles of film, which she edited
down into a four-hour movie, and in the process
Coates: still working in her 80s
created one of the most famous cuts in cinema
history – a “match cut”, from Lawrence blowing out a match to
Born in Reigate, Surrey, in 1925, she was the daughter of an
a burning desert sunrise. She went on to work on Becket and The
architect, Laurence Coates, and Kathleen (née Rank), whose
Elephant Man before, aged 60, she moved to Hollywood. There,
grandfather had founded the Rank flour business. She was, she
among many other films, she worked on Erin Brockovich and
said, born with a “silver spoon in my mouth”; one of her earliest
Out of Sight. On the latter, she had been anxious at first about
memories was watching a maid iron her father’s copy of The
using the new Avid digital technology, but as she explained to
Times. She was quite “snotty” in her youth, but during the War
the film’s star, George Clooney, she had realised that the job
she worked as a nurse at Sir Archibald McIndoe’s plastic surgery
was really the same. “It was just a question of calming down
unit, where she cared for wounded airmen and children who had
and cutting just like I had before, telling the story, making it
been injured while playing with bombs. The work, she said, was
funny, saving the actor’s performance.” Clooney laughed, but
“harrowing... [but] it opened my mind to communism and things
when he introduced her to his co-star Jennifer Lopez as the person
like that, which shocked my family”. After working as a tea girl
who was going to save her performance, Lopez was not amused.
at Rank, she blagged a job in the cutting room at Pinewood,
In 2016, Coates was awarded a lifetime achievement Oscar.
where she was mentored by the editor Reggie Mills, and worked
19 May 2018 THE WEEK
We strive to
discover more.
Aberdeen’s Asian Investment Trusts
ISA and Share Plan
When you invest halfway around the world, it’s
good to know someone is there aiming to locate
what we believe to be the best investments for you.
We make a point of meeting every company in whose
shares we might look to invest. From Thailand to
Singapore, from China to Vietnam, we go wherever
is required to get to know companies on-the-ground,
face-to-face.
To steer your portfolio in the right direction, be with
the fund manager who aims to discover more in Asia.
Please remember, the value of shares and the income
from them can go down as well as up and you may
get back less than the amount invested. Asian funds
invest in emerging markets which may carry more risk
than developed markets. No recommendation is made,
positive or otherwise, regarding the ISA and Share Plan.
The value of tax benefits depends on individual
circumstances and the favourable tax treatment
for ISAs may not be maintained. We recommend
you seek financial advice prior to making an
investment decision.
Request a brochure: 0808 500 4000
invtrusts.co.uk/asia
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Please quote
A TW 28
CITY
Companies in the news
...and how they were assessed
CITY 45
BT: hanging up
In its most radical overhaul for over a decade, BT last week announced plans to slash
13,000 jobs, shake up its business and leave its HQ, said Nic Fildes in the Financial
Times. But one of the biggest surprises for investors contemplating the job cuts was
that the chief executive, Gavin Patterson, “was not among them”. After revealing a profit
warning and a ballooning pension deficit (now a troubling £11.3bn), BT’s stock sunk to
its lowest level since Patterson took charge in 2013. The “always immaculately attired”
boss “put on a brave face” as he pledged to lead a turnaround. But “questions over his
tenure – ranging from the decision to spend billions on football rights to the handling of
an accounting scandal in Italy – will not go away”. “GPat” has “radically changed the
look” of BT, said Jim Armitage in the London Evening Standard. But even its “whizzbang new divisions” aren’t looking too clever: mobile and TV customer numbers are
both down. And Patterson’s hopes of channelling cost-savings into next-generation 5G
technology may not be enough to assuage regulators and politicians applying pressure
over BT’s botched Openreach fibre programme. No wonder the mood within the soonto-be vacated BT Centre near St Paul’s in London – the historic home of UK telecoms
since the days of the General Post Office – is described as sombre.
RBS: looming share sale
It was, declared the Royal Bank of Scotland’s CEO, Ross McEwan, last week, “a
milestone moment”. That seems “an oddly cheerful way” to describe a deal to hand over
$4.9bn to the US Department of Justice as punishment for mortgage mis-selling more
than a decade ago, said Nils Pratley in The Guardian. “But we know what he means.”
After years of waiting, it’s great finally to have an agreement – and the terms imposed
by the Americans aren’t as severe as feared. “Some thought the hit could be $7bn.” RBS,
which was rescued by the government in 2008, has now cleared what is widely seen in
the City as the last substantial “hurdle” before a full-on share sale, said Harry Wilson in
The Times. Government officials are already sounding out City brokers to gauge interest
in the bank, which remains 71% owned by the taxpayer. We should probably prepare
to take a drubbing. The Government’s only sale of RBS shares, three years ago – when it
sold a £2.1bn chunk, equal to a 5.4% stake – crystallised a loss of more than £1bn. With
RBS stock currently even lower, a sale now would “incur an even greater loss”.
ZPG/Silver Lake: Zoopla falls to the Americans
“Talk about making a killing from the housing market,” said Ian King on Sky.com.
ZPG, the owner of property website Zoopla, and the comparison sites uSwitch and
Money.co.uk, has been sold to the US private equity fund Silver Lake for £2.2bn. The
deal nets Zoopla’s founder, Alex Chesterman, £61m. But “by far the biggest winner
from the takeover” is ZPG’s largest shareholder, the Daily Mail & General Trust, which
should scoop £640m. Zoopla has been something of a “Marmite” stock for investors.
Nonetheless, Silver Lake’s takeover will provoke mixed feelings. “British tech companies
are frequently accused of selling out to larger rivals, usually from the US, before they
have reached their full potential.” ZPG, which was tipped by some to become the
“Amazon of housing”, looks to be no exception.
Seven days in the
Square Mile
The Bank of England kept interest rates
on hold at 0.5% citing a soft patch in the
economy, and predicting that inflation
would return to its 2% target within two
years and remain on track. EU leaders
met to discuss their response to the US
threat to impose sanctions on European
companies doing business with Iran,
and the prospect of looming steel and
aluminium tariffs. Japan ended eight
straight quarters of consecutive growth;
the economy surprised on the downside,
shrinking by 0.6% in the first quarter.
The World Trade Organisation ruled
against Airbus and the EU in a longrunning row involving Boeing. The US
had accused the EU of providing $22bn
of improper aid to build A380 and A350
jets. The ruling could lead to more trade
sanctions, but may be counterbalanced
by a parallel case against Boeing.
Barclays boss Jes Staley was fined
£642,430 by regulators and had
£500,000 docked from his pay over
a failed attempt to identify a whistleblower; critics said the sanction did not
go far enough. US private equity giant
Blackstone was criticised for muscling
into the UK social housing market. Volvo
appointed a string of Wall Street banks
to explore an IPO. WPP is reportedly
considering appointing ex-AOL boss Tim
Armstrong to succeed Martin Sorrell.
The ad giant faces an investor revolt
over its refusal to publish details of the
investigation into personal misconduct
that prompted Sorrell’s resignation.
ZTE: trump card in a technological cold war
Donald Trump’s recent threat to impose
tariffs on some $150bn of Chinese goods
looked like “the first volley” of a “full-scale
trade war”. Yet suddenly the US president
“seems ready to make peace”, said The New
York Times. Trump has indicated that he will
help to save ZTE, a Chinese electronicsmaker that is on “the brink of collapse”
after being punished by US officials last
month for breaking sanctions against Iran
and North Korea.
appears to have done the trick in terms of
drawing China to the negotiating table.
Shortly after, Beijing agreed to send its vicepremier, Liu He, to Washington for talks.
It apparently took the president “less than
a week to forget that punishing companies
for doing business with Iran was one of the
main current aims of US foreign policy”,
said the Financial Times. His U-turn
“directly contradicts the strong views of
many top officials in US intelligence and
State-backed ZTE, which majors on mobile
law enforcement, who have repeatedly
technology and employs 75,000 people in
warned that ZTE products could be
ZTE: a “geopolitical pawn”
more than 160 countries, is “an important
employed to spy on American users
geopolitical pawn for Beijing” in an increasingly frosty
and are a threat to national security”. It seems that Trump’s
“technological cold war”. Trump clearly views it as a useful
“addiction to dealmaking has led him astray”. If he has
“bargaining chip” too in his new quest to keep China onside as
“bargained away a serious threat to US national security” for a
events hot up in Iran and Korea. His offer of “a reprieve” for the
short-term gimmick like ordering China to buy more American
company drew “protests from Congress”, said The Times. But it
exports, “it is one of the worst deals he has ever struck”.
19 May 2018 THE WEEK
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Talking points
CITY 47
Issue of the week: “menopausal” Britain?
Has the economy hit a soft patch? Or could we possibly be confronting a “once-in-a-century” slump?
Bank of England governor Mark Carney
has come under fire for his signature
“forward guidance” policy, but this week
a different kind of “communications
controversy” erupted on Threadneedle
Street, said Jill Ward on Bloomberg.
Deputy governor Ben Broadbent was
forced to apologise after his description
of the UK economy as “menopausal”
prompted a deluge of complaints about
sexism and ageism. As Tory MP Claire
Perry tweeted: “I can’t be the only 50+
woman objecting to [this] pejorative
description... I’ve never been more
productive! How about ‘andropausal’
instead? Then you get declining potency
and bonus grumpiness thrown in!”
territory – coping with relatively high
inflation and a slowing economy”.
Broadbent reckons the malaise may be
more deep-seated, said Anna Isaac in
The Daily Telegraph. He compares the
productivity slowdown to the “lull at the
end of the 19th century, when the height
of the steam era was over but the age of
electricity was yet to begin”. He argues
today’s economy may be undergoing a
similar “climacteric” phase, awaiting
“the next big breakthrough” after the
digital boom. In short, we could be
facing a once-in-a-century slump.
Something’s certainly up when
those two former stalwarts of “pricepummelling” consumer retail, Greggs
and JD Wetherspoon, both record slowing sales growth, said
Henry Mance in the FT. Either Britons are falling out of love
with cheap beer and bread, or this is “the start of the great Brexit
consumer slump”. The omens aren’t great, said Zoe Wood in
The Guardian. According to Visa’s consumer spending index,
“shoppers are deserting the high street in greater numbers than
during the depths of the recession in 2009”. True, some of that
cash has been diverted to online sales, but, as Visa notes, spending
overall is still declining despite a pick-up in wage growth.
Whether or not the British economy is menopausal, andropausal
or climacteric, there are going to be challenging times ahead.
Greggs: slowing sales growth
The timing was especially unfortunate, because Carney had
just hosted a conference on diversity in central banking. It
also followed a slew of criticism over the Bank’s messaging on
monetary policy. “After a few months of implying that rates were
firmly on the upward path”, the monetary policy committee voted
7-2 to keep them on hold at 0.5% last week, said John Stepek on
MoneyWeek.com. “Carney doesn’t so much look like an ‘unreliable boyfriend’ as a runaway bridegroom. The man just can’t
commit.” The issue facing the Bank is whether anaemic growth
of just 0.1% in the first quarter is merely symptomatic of a “soft
patch”, as it hopes, or whether it will shortly be “in much trickier
Making money: what the experts think
FT. Having surpassed $77/
● Down in the basement…
barrel last week after the
“Uncertainty about Brexit,
US
decision to reimpose
plus the possibility of a
sanctions on Iran, it’s now
Marxist chancellor”, have
up by 50% year-on-year.
caused the FTSE 100 to lag
Unsurprisingly, energymost stock market indices in
focused funds have been
recent years, said Ian Cowie
whizzing: seven out of
in The Sunday Times. When
ten of the top performers
measured by the cyclically
in April were invested in
adjusted price-earnings
energy and natural
yardstick Cape, British
resources, according to
shares are now considerably
data provider FE, with picks
cheaper than those of the US,
including Guinness Global
Germany and Japan – and
Energy and BlackRock
also many emerging markets.
World Energy. But even
Most institutional investors
investors without dedicated
Oil
stocks
are
“whizzing”
seem to have concluded that
exposure have been making
“Britain is a basket case”:
gains
“due
to
the high weightings towards
but a growing number, including
oil and gas in many large UK and
Ritu Vohora of M&G, reckon that
European equity funds”.
the “uncertainty” is already discounted
and that there are “bargains” to be had.
● Tin’s the thing
“Negative sentiment” can cause share
Another commodity doing a roaring trade
prices to fall “far away from the intrinsic
is tin – up 60% since January 2016 at
value of a business”, agreed Richard
about $21,000/tonne, driven by demand
Buxton of Old Mutual. He reckons “cashfrom consumer electronics companies, said
generative stocks – including some banks,
Deirdre Hipwell in The Times. Twenty
miners and retailers” – offer opportunities
years after being mothballed, Britain’s
for long-term investors. He’s right. UK
last working tin mine, South Crofty in
shares look “unloved and undervalued”;
Cornwall, has come a step closer to
contrarians take note.
reopening. The mine’s Canadian owner,
Strongbow Exploration, is floating on
● Rising oil
Aim, hoping to raise £25m to invest in the
One development likely to prove a shot in
mine, which it dubs one of the “highestthe arm to UK investors is “the sharp rise
grade undeveloped tin projects globally”.
in the oil price”, said Kate Beioley in the
The car crash
at Carillion
An excoriating report by MPs into the
fate of construction giant Carillion
claims that “shyster” bosses were “too
busy stuffing their mouths with gold to
show any concern for the workforce or
pensions” – and are “directly to blame”
for the company’s collapse in January,
said Rachel Millard on MailOnline.
A prolific government contractor that
employed 58,000 people, Carillion wildly
pursued growth and misrepresented its
finances, according to the Commons
Select Committee report, which also
slammed the “feeble” response of
regulators supposed to keep tabs on
the company.
Carillion’s senior team “could now face
disqualification”, said Rhiannon Curry
in The Daily Telegraph. The report
paints a damning picture of directors’
greed. Treating smaller firms with
contempt, they used aggressive
accounting techniques to cover their
own problems. Britain’s biggest
corporate failure in over a decade has
come under particular scrutiny because
the group was given a clean bill of
health by auditor KPMG last March.
Accusing the latter of being “complicit”
in directors’ “increasingly fantastical
figures”, MPs called for the break-up of
the Big Four accounting firms, arguing
KPMG’s “cursory” audits at Carillion
were “symptomatic” of a “cosy club”
that “works for the members of the
oligopoly, but fails the wider economy”.
19 May 2018 THE WEEK
48 CITY
Is it folly to
downplay
Roman risks...
Nils Pratley
The Guardian
… or should
the markets
be cheering?
Matthew Lynn
The Daily Telegraph
Blockchain is
handmaiden
of democracy
John Naughton
The Observer
Bye bye, bank
robbers. Hello,
owl thieves
Rene Chun
The Atlantic
THE WEEK 19 May 2018
Commentators
You’d think the arrival of “a populist, free-spending and Eurosceptic” government in Italy would have sent markets spinning.
But the reaction so far has been one “big yawn”, says Nils Pratley.
That’s extraordinary given “the radicalism being contemplated
in Rome” by the League-Five Star Movement coalition, whose
programme, “even in watered-down form”, packs a punch
against EU orthodoxy. It proposes a parallel currency to run
alongside the euro; a flat tax rate of 15% for most companies and
households; a “universal income”; and the repeal of tough-minded
pension reforms. Depending on the precise version adopted, “that
collection” of policies could increase government spending by
s60bn-s100bn a year, in a country whose stock of debt is already
132% of GDP. Yet the bond markets have barely budged. “A lot
of money is resting on the questionable assumption that the new
government won’t do what it says” – or will collapse. But just
as likely is a confrontation with the EU over fiscal rules. “That
would be a serious showdown, with an uncertain outcome.”
If Italy’s new government is “serious about its promises”, we
can expect “lots of warnings about the chaos it will create”, says
Matthew Lynn. But the conventional wisdom could be “100%
wrong”. True, if Italy either defaulted on its debts or crashed out
of the euro, “it would plunge the global financial system into a
serious panic”. But many of the ideas underpinning its “bold
experiment in economic radicalism” are sensible, and even the
dottier ones “might be worth a try”. It’s not as if Italy has been
enjoying great economic success. “Ever since joining the euro, its
average growth rate has been zero”, in marked contrast to periods
of prosperity in the past. So be sceptical of the predictions of
catastrophe that always arise when populist politicians come
to power. Donald Trump’s mix of tax cuts and deregulation is
boosting growth in the US. In Europe, both Poland (forecast to
expand 4% this year) and Hungary have profited financially from
the “populist” governments Brussels keeps chastising. Markets
should cheer Italy’s “fresh thinking” as a sign of potential revival.
The banking establishment used to be unremittingly hostile to
cryptocurrencies, says John Naughton. But the wind has changed.
Two exchanges have launched bitcoin futures trading operations;
even the New York Stock Exchange is setting up a dedicated online
platform. But “the greed and cynicism surrounding bitcoin and its
peers” is a side issue in the cryptocurrency saga: far more significant is the potential of the blockchain technology that underpins
them. The crucial thing about a blockchain, as Don and Alex
Tapscott explain in their book Blockchain Revolution, is it
provides “an incorruptible digital ledger of economic transactions
that can be programmed to record virtually everything of value”.
That’s “a really big idea”, because well-governed societies depend
on keeping documentation of all sorts in ledgers that are both
public and secure – a need all the more pressing in developing
or authoritarian countries, which lack “trustworthy institutions”
or democratic oversight to combat corruption. Implicit in the
blockchain concept is “an endearing strain of technocratic
utopianism, a hope that technology can overcome some aspects
of human frailty and corruption”. We should put it to good use.
Sweden is about as close as you can now get to a cashless society,
says Rene Chun. “Cold hard krona” accounted for barely 2% of
the value of all payments made in 2015. And the shift to digital
currency has, to an extent, brought with it the expected reduction
in crime: “Swedish bank robbers and light-fingered cashiers have
gone the way of Abba hit singles.” But as paper money gets
scarce, other types of crime have flourished. Internet scams
are increasingly popular among thieves; so are more “outlandish”
physical thefts – including a “new enthusiasm for the endangeredspecies black market, previously cornered by reptile wranglers and
orchid thieves”. Crimes involving protected species are at their
highest level in a decade: “a single great grey owl now goes for
about 1m krona (about £85,000) on the dark web”. Sweden’s
new crime wave is worrying, but predictable. Research shows that
as we gain “psychological distance” from money, our willingness
to steal increases. Which is “why so many people cheat on taxes,
inflate insurance claims and steal Post-it notes from the office”.
City profile
Jim Ratcliffe
His wealth increased by
more than £15bn last year
and The Sunday Times has
just named him the richest
person in Britain. It has taken
the fracking and chemicals
billionaire Jim Ratcliffe, 65,
“just 20 years to make a
fortune of more than £21bn”,
said Robert Watts in that
paper. He built up his private
petrochemicals empire,
Ineos, “by acquiring a string
of cast-offs from BP, ICI and
other corporate giants”. To
his critics that makes him
an “asset stripper”. To his
supporters, however, “he
is something between a
Womble and an alchemist”.
Brought up in a council
house near Manchester,
the son of a joiner and
office manager, Ratcliffe was
sacked from BP after three
days – on account of the fact
he had eczema, he claims –
before finding berths at Esso,
Courtaulds and later Advent
International, where he
learnt the art of dealmaking.
He has overtaken the Hinduja
brothers to take top spot in
the 2018 Sunday Times Rich
List, which this year lists
“a record 145 billionaires”,
said The Observer –
two others being Ratcliffe’s
top lieutenants, John Reece
and Andy Currie (each
worth £7bn). Ineos, which
is trying to frack for shale
in South Yorkshire, has just
announced plans to build a
successor to the Land Rover
Defender.
Ratcliffe lives in a stunning
mansion near Beaulieu in
the New Forest and sailing is
his passion. He was recently
rebuffed by the British
Olympic Association, which
said he would have to pay
£6.6m if he wanted to use
its Team GB trademark for
his America’s Cup team.
Ratcliffe told them to “take a
long walk off a short plank”.
In partnership with
This month’s wines are more eclectic than
usual, which is what I have come to expect
when I select from Swig — one of the most
interesting online wine merchants in the
UK. Founder Robin Davis is tireless at
exploring new regions and grape varieties,
which is how we have come across Domaine Horgelus and its
spectacular La Valses de Mansengs. For me, this month was a
double first as I had never previously had wines either from
this domaine or grape varieties. I’ve already bought some cases
La Valse des Mansengs
Domaine Horgelus 2017 This is
the most exciting discovery I
have made since I began
£13.50
£10.00
writing this column — a true
revelation! It soars from the
glass with an extraordinary
vitality and energy that belies
its modest origins. It is
drinking perfectly now, so I
would merely enjoy it while it
is so intense and delicious. There are
traces of citrus and apricots in the
background with floral notes from the
small amount of Sauvignon Blanc
grapes included. Made in the foothills
of the Pyrenées, the owners only pick
the grapes in the early hours of the day
to preserve their aromatics. Fabulous.
Thelema Sutherland
Chardonnay 2016 Gyles Webb
was one of the original New
£16.50
Wave winemakers in post
£14.00
Apartheid South Africa and his
cool climate chardonnay
brilliantly reflects what the
fuss is about. Fittingly, Gyles
was inspired to plant his first
vineyard after tasting a glass of
Puligny Montrachet, of which
this wine is a respectable kinsman.
Decanter magazine judged an earlier
vintage of this wine to be one of the
best South African Chardonnays.
Unlike many New World chardonnays,
this is all about elegance and restraint
and is perfect to be consumed any time
in the next few years.
to enjoy immediately, as when the initial pleasure is so intense,
why wait? The same could be said of the Rote Cuvee Groszer
Wein and the Blaufränkisch grape — an equally attractive
introduction to dual new experiences.
It’s thanks to merchants like Robin Davis that we can still make
amazing discoveries from countries we think we already know
well. I urge you to give these a try — you won't be disappointed.
SAVE
Bruce Palling
Wine Editor — The Week Wines
Titos Garnacha Familia Bastida
2015 Produced in the
heartland of Don Quixote’s
£17.50
Castilla La Mancha, this has
£12.50
to be one of the best value
reds from Spain. Garnacha is
the Spanish equivalent of
Grenache, the mainstay of
southern Rhone wines and it
has the same intense solid
framework. It is
extraordinary to find a wine of this
quality for the price. The grapes are
hand-picked and fermented with local
yeasts and kept in American and
French oak barrels for nearly a year.
There is nothing modest about this
wine, which can be enjoyed with any
full-flavoured dish.
UP TO
£60
Mas Brunet Cuvee du Mazet
2015 On the edge of the
Massif Central in the
Languedoc,
Domaine de
£14.50
Brunet is a small estate of 60
£12.50
acres owned by the Coulet
family since the French
Revolution. A mixture of
Grenache, Syrah and other
Rhone grape varieties, it is
best thought of as a bargain
version of a Chateauneuf du Pape.
Located quite close to Mas de Daumas
Gassac, the most famous wine of the
Languedoc, Mas Brunet is quite
forward with excellent fruit and is so
reliable that Robin Davis considers it
to be his de facto house wine.
Rote Cuvee Groszer Wein 2015
Gutedel Weiler Schlipf,
Coming from Austria’s
£17.95
Weingut Claus Schneider,
Burgenland, this handmade
£14.50
Baden 2016 The Schneider
organic wine was discovered
£15.00
family in southern Baden
£12.50
and promoted in the UK by
have been involved in the
Robin Davis. Primarily made
wine business for nearly 600
from the Blaufränkisch grape,
years. This nuanced dry white
it is the second most popular
wine is made from a grape
red wine variety there. Owner
variety called Gutedel in
Matthias Krön is so sure of the
Germany, but is better known
quality of his wines that he
elsewhere as Chasselas. It has
confidently puts them up against
a distinctive mineral flavour with
many of the leading wine producers in
elements of hay and even almonds and
Bordeaux, the Rhone and Barolo.
is wonderfully refreshing — ideal for
Despite its Baroque label, it is made in
a modern style and given that 2015 was
spring. ‘Weiler Schlipf’ is the name of
a textbook vintage, it will easily last for
the family’s most prized vineyard,
another decade.
which was classified in 1875 and is
considered the best site in
Markgräflerland.
Order online at TheWeekWines.com/may
INCLUDES
FREE
DELIVERY
or call Swig on 0800-0272 272 and quote “The Week”
Your details
SELECT FROM OUR 12 BOTTLE CASES:
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£150.00
£39.00
Mixed Reds (4 bottles of each red)
£158.00
£41.80
Mixed Whites (4 bottles of each white)
£146.00
£34.00
La Valse des Mansengs Domaine Horgelus 2017
£120.00
£42.00
£30.00
Thelema Sutherland Chardonnay 2016
£168.00
Titos Garnacha Familia Bastida 2015
£150.00
£60.00
Gutedel Weiler Schlipf, Schneider, Baden 2016
£150.00
£30.00
Mas Brunet Cuvee du Mazet 2015
£150.00
£24.00
Rote Cuvee Groszer Wein 2015
£174.00
£41.40
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THE WEEK
Terms and conditions: Offer ends 3 June 2018. Free delivery is to UK mainland only. Orders placed before noon will normally be dispatched within 48 hours. Payment can be made by credit or debit card over the phone, online or by post. Payment by cheque is by post only. Whilst stocks last. For full terms and
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Shares
CITY 51
Who’s tipping what
The week’s best buys
Shire
The Times
The undervalued rare disease
and neuroscience specialist
has agreed a £45bn takeover
by Takeda. It’s a risky deal for
the Japanese pharmaceutical
company, but necessary to
compete with rivals in
America. Prospects look
strong. Buy. £40.58.
TUI
The Times
Thanks to rebranding,
the travel business looks
reinvigorated, and now appeals
to a younger and broader
clientele. Shares are up 47%
in twelve months, but are still
trading strongly. Yields 3.6%.
Buy. £17.66.
Wetherspoon
The Mail on Sunday
The pub chain has revealed
worse than expected Q3 sales
growth. But Investec believes it
is “benefiting from trading
down within the sector”, and
“continues to take market
share from competition”.
Buy. £11.55.
Walt Disney Co
Investors Chronicle
The US entertainment
behemoth has an “immense”
film and TV library, and a
portfolio of “hugely popular”
theme parks. A stream of
box-office hits is expected
this year, plus a new digital
TV platform. Buy. $102.78.
XP Power
The Mail on Sunday
XP makes power supply
units and converters for the
electronics industry. Analysts
think the acquisition of its US
peer Glassman brings revenue
opportunities: sales and profits
could rise 30% by 2020.
Buy. £35.80.
Genel Energy
250
Director’s wife
buys 100,000
200
150
100
Dec
Greggs
The Mail on Sunday
The high street baker’s stock
plunged 15% after results
revealed profits ravaged by the
“Beast from the East”. Greggs
isn’t a “bad company”,
concludes Peel Hunt. But
shares are still “much too
high”. Sell. £10.53.
International Personal
Finance
Investors Chronicle
Shares in the sub-prime lender
are up, thanks to a strong
performance in Mexico. Its
digital arm is also doing well.
But competition and regulatory
pressures remain in the
European home credit market.
Too risky. Sell. 235.2p.
Mpac Group
Shares
Shares have been soaring at
the healthcare, pharma and
nutrition packaging provider,
but both the chairman and
the FD are leaving. Shares no
longer look discounted. Take
profits. Sell. 213p.
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Buoyed by a rising oil price,
growing production and some
stability in Iraqi Kurdistan, the
oil firm looks to be recovering.
Non-exec director Martin
Gudgeon’s wife, Emma,
doesn’t need convincing; she
has bought a £230,000 stake.
…and some to hold, avoid or sell
Electronic Arts
The Daily Telegraph
The Nasdaq-listed games
publisher’s lucrative business
model (charging for games,
then selling add-ons) has been
hit by disrupter Epic’s free-todownload game Fortnite. One
to watch from the sidelines.
Sell. $122.53.
Jan
Form guide
Pearson
Investors Chronicle
The educational publisher has
enjoyed a sizeable 7% share
price leap, thanks to recovery
in its key American market.
But competition remains fierce
and the long-term outlook
seems bleak. Sell. 911p.
Telit Communications
Investors Chronicle
The “internet of things”
enabler has suffered a
surfeit of “afflictions” –
not least a $12.5m hike
in debt to $30.2m, as well
as a negative cash flow.
Corporate governance issues
may continue rippling.
Sell. 161p.
Shares tipped 12 weeks ago
Best tip
Indivior
The Mail on Sunday
up 20.97% to 463.3p
Worst tip
British American Tobacco
The Sunday Times
down 13.95% to £38.30
Market view
“We might not see a rate rise
for the rest of the year. But
while savers will be disappointed, it’s pretty good
news for investors. Stock
markets don’t tend to like
rising interest rates much.”
Ben Brettell of Hargreaves
Lansdown. Quoted on Citywire
Market summary
Key numbers
numbers for investors
Key
investors
FTSE 100
FTSE All-share UK
Dow Jones
NASDAQ
Nikkei 225
Hang Seng
Gold
Brent Crude Oil
DIVIDEND YIELD (FTSE 100)
UK 10-year gilts yield
US 10-year Treasuries
UK ECONOMIC DATA
Latest CPI (yoy)
Latest RPI (yoy)
Halifax house price (yoy)
£1 STERLING
15 May 2018
7722.98
4241.88
24671.85
7340.30
22818.02
31152.03
1319.85
78.84
3.80%
1.51
3.06
Best
shares
Best and
and worst performing shares
Week before
7565.75
4164.36
24317.11
7255.38
22508.69
30402.81
1309.40
74.47
3.88%
1.44
2.98
2.5% (Mar)
3.3% (Mar)
+2.2% (Apr)
$1.350 E1.140 ¥148.724
2.7% (Feb)
3.6% (Feb)
+2.7% (Mar)
Change (%)
2.08%
1.86%
1.46%
1.17%
1.37%
2.46%
0.80%
5.87%
WEEK’S CHANGE, FTSE 100 STOCKS
RISES
Price
% change
7760.00
+12.46
Paddy Power Betfair
165.65
+10.25
ITV
5628.00
+8.69
Next
1712.20
+8.59
BHP Billiton
+7.36
Royal Bank of Sctl. Gp. 293.30
FALLS
BT Group
Vodafone Group
Burberry Group
Land Securities Group
Centrica
206.80
198.38
1803.50
950.00
148.40
–12.54
–4.42
–4.30
–3.49
–3.42
BEST AND WORST UK STOCKS OVERALL
4.05
+326.31
Webis Holdings
0.01
–99.00
Polemos
Source: Datastream (not adjusted for dividends). Prices on 15 May (pm)
Following the Footsie
7,800
7,700
7,600
7,500
7,400
7,300
7,200
7,100
7,000
6,900
Dec
Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
6-month movement in the FTSE 100 index
19 May 2018 THE WEEK
SOURCE: INVESTORS CHRONICLE
Ashtead Group
Investors Chronicle
The equipment rental firm is
benefiting from strong US
demand, tax cuts and dollar
strength. Growth, profitability
and upgrades continue to look
impressive, and buy-backs add
to the appeal. Buy. £20.61.
Directors’ dealings
The last word
52
“Dad convinced the IRA to give
me only one bullet”
The former world champion boxer Eamonn Magee’s life has been scarred by sectarianism and alcoholism.
But he insists he wouldn’t change a thing. Donald McRae reports
recently ran a sensationalised
book extract], and because
of me telling the truth,
they’re scared of people
coming to shoot me dead.
They say: ‘What happens
if they shoot somebody
else as well?’”
Will Magee return to the
gym? “I’m busy this week
but back next Monday,”
he says, defiantly. Could
someone really walk in
and shoot him? “What’s
keeping them?” Magee
says with a dark chuckle.
“It’s not as if they don’t
know where I live.”
I had felt calm when I took
the call that told me about
Magee’s latest scrap. My
mood remained the same in
the cab rumbling through the
familiar streets of Belfast,
passing the old Republican
Eamonn Magee: “I wouldn’t change a thing”
murals and the high peace
walls that still separate Catholic and Protestant communities.
I even felt OK when, after I rang the bell, two pit bulls next
“I wouldn’t change a thing,” Magee says as he takes another
door leapt at the fence, barking fiercely. “They’re wee nippers,”
slug of warm beer. His battered, 46-year-old face crinkles and
their owner warned as he pulled the dogs away.
the lump under his left eye looks even more like a purple mouse
as he echoes: “I’ve still had a wee beautiful life.” Magee is
Yet it’s hard to feel serene now. Each time Magee’s phone
in trouble again because he and the writer Paul D. Gibson have
interrupts us, with its Who Let the Dogs Out? ringtone, I scan
produced a raw and riveting book, The Lost Soul of Eamonn
his beaten-up face, wondering
Magee, which opens like this:
if it’s a call to tell him a
“A book? Listen, I’ve been
“I’ve been beaten with baseball bats, I’ve had paramilitary gunman is on
beaten with baseball bats,
I’ve had my throat slashed, I’ve my throat slashed, I’ve been kidnapped, exiled his way. I don’t feel too hopeful
at the prospect of Magee, in his
been kidnapped and exiled out
out of the country and shot twice”
dressing gown, and I talking
of the country. I’ve been shot
our way out of trouble. “Why
twice, I’ve been in prison and
the hell would you want to shoot me?” Magee asks. “I didn’t
my son’s just been stabbed to death. Among all that, I was the
do anything wrong.”
welterweight champion of the world while drinking the bar dry
and doing enough coke to kill a small horse every night. My
As a way of changing the subject I point to his beer. He has
life’s not a book. It’s a f***ing movie script.”
been drinking since he was nine and the book makes clear he
is a high-functioning alcoholic, but does he ever wish he could
The book has caused strife and he says he has been attacked
kick the bottle? “I tried rehab,” he eventually says, before
on successive nights in Ardoyne. Exception has been taken to
breaking into the Amy Winehouse song. “And I said, ‘No, no,
Magee detailing many horrendous incidents, stretching from
no!’” I can’t help laughing with him before Magee continues.
Republican politics and sectarian violence to drink and drugs,
“I really did go to rehab and the only thing that f***ed me up
and he shakes his head when I ask how he is feeling. “It’s more
was that you’re not allowed TV. Not having TV was worse
embarrassing when I’m fighting,” he says softly, licking his
than no drink. You’re better off doing six months in jail.”
cracked lips. “Last night I was even talking to him while
defending myself. I’m punching him and saying: ‘F**k sake,
Beneath all his scars the internal wounds have not healed.
what’s this about?’” Magee waves his bust hand at me. “Who
Magee tells a chilling story of how, during internment raids
do you think came out the better?” His husky laugh fades.
in the 1970s, he and his three brothers would be turned out
of the two beds they shared. British soldiers marched them
“What is it? Pick on Magee week? I’m training fighters in the
downstairs and they had to kneel, hands behind their heads,
gym every day and one thing annoys me. We’ve got a new gym
while their photographs were taken for no apparent reason.
on the way and the guys that own the building don’t want me
“Oh f**k, where are we starting?” Magee says as he remembers
near the place. Because of what’s been in the papers [a tabloid
THE WEEK 19 May 2018
© PAUL MCERLANE/GUARDIAN NEWS & MEDIA
“I’ve had a beautiful wee
life,” Eamonn Magee says
soon after he has opened
the front door in his dressing
gown and cracked open his
first beer of the day, just
after 11 on a Monday
morning. The former boxer,
who knocked down Ricky
Hatton in 2002 and was a
world champion when he
won the WBU welterweight
title, is cut and bruised from
being attacked the night
before. Magee’s left hand
is also swollen with an
obviously broken finger,
making him wince whenever
it brushes against his can of
Carling. Such pain, however,
is fleeting compared with
the deeper hurt that runs
through him. Magee’s life,
in Ardoyne, the tough
Republican enclave of
Belfast, has been scarred
by violent sectarianism,
tragedy and alcoholism.
The last word
the impact that internment – detention
without trial – had on Catholic families
in the Troubles. “My dad was a
through-and-through Republican
and had a proper understanding of
what the war was about. It wasn’t about
bothering Protestants. The war was
against the British army in Ireland. But
my dad was a smashing man. The Brits
imprisoned him in Long Kesh and the
Irish Republicans had a bus run because
in them days people couldn’t afford
anything else. So we would take the bus
up to Long Kesh. I was a wee nuisance
and carried in letters that we’d written
on cigarette papers. I folded them and
hid them under my tongue.”
53
I wasn’t doing anything wrong apart
from drinking and driving – and that’s
nothing to do with the IRA. They told
me to concentrate on training and stop
partying. The main guy shook my
hand and said: ‘Best of luck when
you fight Ricky.’”
On the night of the fight, Magee was
seen smoking a cigarette outside the
MEN arena in Manchester. He smiles
at my bemusement. “I started smoking
aged 11, so in a fight, at the end of each
round, I’d be coughing [Magee imitates
a charming phlegm-ridden cough].
Whatever came out of my mouth
would have knocked you out. But a
smoke before a fight opened my lungs.”
It clearly worked in the Hatton fight
Sitting in his dead father’s house, I’m
Magee’s title bout with Ricky Hatton in 2002
because, in round one, Magee knocked
upset by his memory of how, once his
down his celebrated opponent. “It was the worst punch I ever
dad had fallen out with the IRA and been banished to England,
threw because I landed it after 40 seconds. Bam! But he’s seven
he snuck back into Ardoyne and was hidden away in his attic.
years my junior, so of course he’s getting up when still so fresh.
Magee, his mum, Isobel, and his brothers lived in fear of his
I wish I’d landed that punch later.”
dad being discovered. They hid him in the attic for 18 months
– which contributed to Magee Senior’s acute depression and
Hatton sealed a close decision, but Magee won the vacant
alcoholism. “I didn’t get over that,” Magee says. “My mum
WBU welterweight title by beating journeyman Jimmy Vincent
would have a wee drink and dad would sit in there all night.
in December 2003. He retained his world title until May 2006,
I’d go in and slip him a tin or a fag. Nobody ever knew he
but he only had two fights in that troubled time. Magee had
was there.”
fallen out with a respected figure in Republican circles and, in
a gruesome attack in 2004, his left leg was clubbed to a pulp.
Later, when Magee had become one of the most accomplished
He suffered a compound fracture of his tibia and fibula, a
amateur boxers in Ireland, his father saved his career. Magee
shattered knee and a punctured lung. They called him the
had joined the IRA’s youth wing because he loved the mayhem
Miracle Man when he returned to the ring. Magee’s legs stick
of rioting, but he also began taking and dealing drugs [to which
out of his dressing gown, and
the IRA was violently opposed].
the lumps and scars provide
An IRA punishment shooting
“His father, who fell out with the IRA and was graphic proof of that terrible
usually entailed being shot in
the kneecap or worse, but his
banished to England, returned to the family beating. “It still gives me pain,”
he says, balancing a beer on his
dad reminded the paramilitaries
house and hid in the attic for 18 months”
knee as he studies his left leg.
that Eamonn was fighting in the
“The doctor thought I’d never
Irish championships.
walk again, but I was in the gym a year later.”
“If my dad hadn’t stepped in they were talking about me
I suggest we leave the house and go for a walk around Magee’s
getting the six-pack – elbows, knees and ankle. But my father
neighbourhood. Rather than waiting inside for a knock on the
convinced them to give me only one bullet.” How did Magee
door, we will be less exposed to any stray visitors. Magee
feel waiting for the knock on the door before he took a bullet
agrees but, first, we remember his son who was stabbed to
in his calf? He shrugs. “It had to be dealt with. I knew it was
death in May 2015 – by the jealous ex-husband of his
going to be a flesh wound so hurry the f**k up. When he took
girlfriend. Eamonn Junior was so different to him, studying
me down an alleyway, I asked, ‘What’s it like getting shot?’ He
engineering at university while also boxing, and the grief
said: ‘Like a hot poker going in your leg.’” Who Let the Dogs
becomes too much. Magee starts to cry, a muffled ache falling
Out? thumps again on cue. Magee shuts down his phone and
from his mouth as tears roll down his face. I say how sorry I
I say it’s incredible he still won the national title a few months
am and Magee squeezes my hand only to curse the pain in his
later. “I won, but there was blood streaming down my leg from
broken finger, before wiping his eyes. We talk about his book
the gunshot wound.”
and, of the title, he says: “‘The lost soul’ was beautiful. My
mother called me a lost soul and she was right.”
Magee is a hard and sometimes violent man, but between
the ropes he was a slick southpaw who boxed with artistry.
Magee goes upstairs to get dressed. When he returns, wearing
“I never bullied anybody in my life, so you can rephrase that,”
a hat straight out of Peaky Blinders, he almost looks dapper.
he says quietly when I mention his violent infamy. “I went to
The old fighter sinks the dregs of his beer. We walk outside
the gym because I’m the baby of four and my brothers all
and Magee takes me on a tour of the murals. Afterwards he
were boxers. After a couple of years I’d see wee openings. Bing,
hugs me in the street, calling me a gentleman and a scholar,
bang. Soon as I started learning how to hit him before he hits
even if I can’t stay for a lunchtime drink. Magee lifts his
me it was a hell of a lot easier.”
broken hand in a stately wave as my taxi drives away. I check
my recording in the back of the cab and Magee’s ghostly voice
Magee’s best year in the ring was in 2002, when he knocked
out Jon Thaxton, a very good pro, to secure a crack at Hatton’s echoes again as we drive through Belfast: “I’ve seen things not
many people have seen, but if they hadn’t happened I wouldn’t
WBU light-welterweight title. He still drank six beers every
be the man I am today. So I wouldn’t change a thing. I’m more
Saturday night while training. “It was a wee prize at the end
than happy with my wee life.”
of the week, but I was well prepared for Thaxton. With the
Hatton camp, life was a party.” Magee would drive around
This article first appeared in The Guardian. © Guardian News
town late at night visiting bars, with Magee vs. Hatton logos
and Media Limited 2018. The Lost Soul of Eamonn Magee by
splashed across his Range Rover. Three senior IRA men paid
Paul D. Gibson is published by Mercier Press at £14.50
him a visit. “I don’t know why they gave me another warning.
19 May 2018 THE WEEK
Marketplace
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Crossword
55
THE WEEK CROSSWORD 1107
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19
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14
15
16
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18
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22
23
24
25
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27
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Clue of the week: It’s painful leaving St Paul’s, for instance (6, first letters WR)
The FT, Redshank
Solution to Crossword 1105
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