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The Week UK Issue 1141 9 September 2017

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HOW THE
CORBYNISTAS
SHUT ME OUT
The Hiddleston
Hamlet you’ll
never see
The pardoning
of a “fascist”
sheriff
JESS PHILLIPS P 8
DRAMA P 28
BEST AMERICAN
COLUMNISTS P15
THE WEEK
9 SEPTEMBER 2017 | ISSUE 1141 | £3.50
THE BEST OF THE BRITISH AND INTERNATIONAL MEDIA
A Brexit bust-up
What hope for a deal?
Page 2
ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT EVERYTHING THAT MATTERS
www.theweek.co.uk
The main stories…
2 NEWS
What happened
The nuclear standoff
What the editorials said
North Korea’s “nuclear adventurism” poses an “intractable”
problem, said The Times: any military response by the US
North Korea conducted its largest nuclear
would invite catastrophic retaliation and
weapon test by far on Sunday, declaring it to
would anyway be ineffective, as the US lacks
be its first successful test of a hydrogen bomb.
good intelligence on the location of North
Tremors from the underground blast – many
Korea’s nuclear facilities. As in the Cold
times as powerful as the explosion that
War, the answer must lie in containment,
destroyed Hiroshima – were felt in China,
not confrontation. But this is a good
where people fled into the streets fearing a
moment to lean on Pyongyang, said The
huge earthquake. The test was widely
Wall Street Journal. A severe drought earlier
condemned. The White House said North
this year has left 40% of the population
Korea was “begging for war” and let it be
undernourished; the army is “underpaid and
known that any threat to the US “will be met
underfed”. A combination of internal dissent
with a massive military response”; it also
and US pressure could still topple Kim Jong
Kim: “begging for war”?
called for stronger sanctions on Pyongyang.
Un before he becomes a global menace.
In an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council, US
envoy Nikki Haley reiterated President Trump’s proposal that
But as long as he is in power, Kim won’t agree to the
any countries continuing to do business with North Korea – a
dismantling of his nuclear programme, said the FT. And the
thinly-veiled reference to China – should also face sanctions.
fear is that he will seek to use the threat it poses to unify the
Korean peninsular by force. That’s why it’s vital for the US to
The US proposals were not well received. Russian President
signal it will “stand stoutly behind South Korea, come what
Vladimir Putin ridiculed sanctions as useless, ineffective and
may”. Instead, at this time of all times, President Trump has
exhausted. The North Koreans, he said, would sooner “eat
chosen to accuse South Korea of “appeasement”, and to
grass” than abandon their nuclear programme. China, North
question the value of the US-South Korea free-trade
Korea’s principal ally, urged a return to negotiations.
agreement. It is an “astonishing” misjudgement.
What happened
Brexit deadlock
What the editorials said
“Some things live up to low expectations,” said The Sunday
Times. Little was expected of last week’s Brexit talks, and
“little was achieved”. The lack of progress is alarming, said
The Independent. The Irish border issue; the
“divorce bill”; the rights of EU and UK citizens
– none of these issues is close to being resolved.
The British side is right about at least one thing:
the pace of talks needs to be stepped up. “A
monthly press conference where Davis and
Barnier politely abuse each other is not the
answer to this crisis.” The “obstructive
approach” of Barnier and his team is chiefly to
blame, said The Spectator, but EU commercial
interests won’t tolerate his “blocking tactics”
forever. The UK should “call Barnier’s bluff” by
making contingency plans for a no-deal Brexit.
A war of words broke out between UK and EU officials last
week after the third round of Brexit talks. In
a press conference with the Brexit Secretary
David Davis, the EU’s chief negotiator Michel
Barnier warned that the UK’s approach was
unrealistic and nostalgic, and said there had
been no “decisive progress”. Davis insisted
progress had been made, and said Barnier
should not “confuse a belief in the free
market with nostalgia”. Barnier later said it
was his job to “educate” the UK about the
price of leaving the EU “club”. Davis in turn
accused the EU of trying to play “money
against time”, insisting the UK would not be
bounced into agreeing an exit bill. Liam Fox,
Davis with Barnier
the International Trade Secretary, suggested
Eurosceptics have long made a fetish of
that Brussels was trying to “blackmail” the UK.
parliamentary supremacy, said The Guardian. So it’s ironic
that May’s repeal bill is now trampling on that concept by
Labour, meanwhile, threatened to derail Theresa May’s EU
granting ministers the right, under so-called Henry VIII
Withdrawal Bill, which transposes EU law into UK law,
powers, to make big changes to legislation without
over fears that it hands too much power to the executive. A
parliamentary scrutiny. MPs must amend the law to protect
key vote on the Bill is due to take place on Monday.
the “checks and balances that uphold British democracy”.
It wasn’t all bad
A former soldier from Blackburn
has spent the past 19 months
walking Britain’s coastline – and
cleaning up its beaches as he
goes. Wayne Dixon, 45, set off
last February to fulfill a boyhood
dream of circumambulating the
coast. Accompanied by his dog,
Koda, he has covered 2,000
miles, carrying a tent and all his
kit on his back, and is now near
Bristol. So far Dixon has filled
6,000 bags with 42 tonnes of
litter. He leaves the bags at a
suitable spot, and arranges for
the local council to collect them.
The world’s oldest
spacewoman has safely
returned to Earth. By the
time she touched down
in Kazakhstan this week,
Peggy Whitson had spent
665 days in total in space
– more than any other
American astronaut – and
288 days on this mission
alone. It was the 57-yearold’s third stint living
aboard the International
Space Station; on an
earlier stay, in 2008, she became its first female commander.
Whitson (pictured) said her time on the space station had “gone by
very quickly” – but admitted she was looking forward to eating
pizza and using a normal loo again.
A spectacular Roman mosaic
has been dug up in Berkshire.
Dating from about 380AD, it
was found in a field near
Boxford, where experts and
volunteers have taken part in
digs for the past three summers.
They have excavated six metres
of the mosaic, which features
mythological figures, including
Hercules and Bellerophon. They
suspect it extends to ten metres
– but have covered it up until
the work can be completed next
summer. Roman art expert
Anthony Beeson has called it
“the most exciting mosaic
discovery” in Britain in 50 years.
COVER CARTOON: NEIL DAVIES
THE WEEK 9 September 2017
…and how they were covered
NEWS 3
What the commentators said
What next?
Put yourself in the shoes of Kim Jong Un, said William Hague in The Daily Telegraph. The
dictator knows his people are abject – they’re three inches smaller than South Koreans, on
average, and their incomes 20 times lower. He knows his hold on power rests on tight control of
the nation’s vast army – North Korea’s military budget is about a quarter of its GDP. Then you
realise he has no option but to boost his nuclear arsenal. It doesn’t just keep the generals
onside: it spares him the fate of Saddam Hussein and Muammar Gaddafi, who might have still
been in power had they held on to nuclear weapons. Since he won’t back down, said Michael
Burleigh in The Times, the best hope of curbing him lies with China. It “has North Korea
firmly in its grip”: it takes 90% of its exports (mainly coal, iron ore and seafood) and supplies
it with most of its oil. But the fact is Beijing has already stopped most imports, and is reluctant
to play its last card – an oil embargo – which might topple Kim Jong Un. As Beijing sees it, his
regime is “a bulwark against US encroachment in its Pacific backyard”. That’s why Trump’s
threat to halt US trade with countries that do business with North Korea was so foolish, said
Gideon Rachman in the FT. Aside from the fact that breaking off trade ties with China would
“throw the global economy into chaos”, it’s the very last way of getting China to cooperate. It
underlines the president’s “naivety about both trade and international relations”.
South Korea has warned that
another North Korean
ballistic missile test may be
imminent. It could happen as
early as this week when the
regime celebrates Foundation
Day, commemorating the
creation of North Korea in
1948. Pyongyang this week
described its previous test,
which saw a missile overfly
Japan, as “a curtain raiser to
resolute countermeasures”
against US provocation.
Still, Kim’s latest provocation could prompt a change of heart in Beijing, said Dylan Loh on The
Conversation. It came as China was hosting a conference of the Brics nations (Brazil, Russia,
India, China, South Africa), an “act of upstaging” that must have enraged President Xi Jinping.
Perhaps he’ll now “take more decisive measures against his troublesome neighbour”. Don’t
count on it, said Steve Tsang in The Observer. Xi has no desire to help the US out of a crisis; on
the contrary, he wants to build up China’s influence in the region while reducing America’s.
Besides, abandoning an old ally might be portrayed by opponents at home as weakness. “The
ultimate driver behind Chinese policy is, as always, the interest of the Communist party.”
President Trump says he is
now ready to allow the sale
of “highly sophisticated
military equipment” to South
Korea and Japan. And
Japan’s defence chiefs are
seeking a record $48bn
military budget to improve
missile defence systems and
develop longer-range missiles.
What the commentators said
What next?
The biggest rows in divorce cases are almost always about money, said Dominic Lawson in the
Daily Mail. And that looks set to be the case with the Brexit negotiations, too. At the insistence
of the EU Commission, Barnier is demanding that Britain commits to a massive exit payment –
a figure of s100bn has now been mooted – before we can even begin to discuss our future
trading arrangements with the EU. Yet Davis and his team are understandably reluctant to
commit to any such payment before they know the rough shape of a future trade deal. Brussels
is pushing its luck by demanding quite such a large exit payment from the UK, said Matthew
Lynn in The Spectator. It should bear in mind that if these negotiations end in no deal in March
2019, it will have a legal claim to little, if any, money from Britain, which is currently the
second largest net contributor to the EU budget after Germany.
Britain will introduce curbs
on EU migrants after Brexit
to deter all but the highestskilled workers, according
to draft Home Office plans
leaked this week. The
document, which hasn’t
been signed off by
ministers, says lower-skilled
EU workers should be
offered residency for a
maximum of two years,
while higher-skilled ones
should receive work permits
for a longer period of three
to five years.
The Spectator talks bullishly of drawing up plans for a no-deal Brexit, said Stephen Bush in the
New Statesman, but I’m “honestly baffled” as to what that would entail. How exactly do you
prepare for British airlines losing the right to fly to Europe, or for chaos at customs, or for “the
immediate emergence of a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic, or for the
inability to transport isotopes for cancer treatments over borders”, or for food vanishing from
shelves? You might as well “make a plan” for surviving a fall off a 20-storey building. Britain
would be mad to gamble on a no-deal outcome in the belief that “the EU would blink first”,
agreed Philippe Legrain on CapX. “This is the miscalculation that the Greek government made
in 2015: remember how that turned out?” There’s more at stake here for Brussels than just the
money it stands to receive from the UK. How it handles Brexit will also shape how others think
it might act in future showdowns with, say, an “anti-euro Italian government or a putative
President Marine Le Pen. So even if the UK Mini bloody-mindedly refuses to swerve at the last
minute, the EU juggernaut is willing to bear the collision damage.”
THE WEEK
Is it okay to be friends with a Tory politician? The Labour MP Laura
Pidcock doesn’t think so. In an interview last month, the 29-year-old
said that her “visceral” disgust for the way Conservatives, “the
enemy”, were running the country meant she had absolutely no interest in socialising with anyone
on the opposite benches. Pidcock is not the first to feel this way: Labour activists have long sported
“never kissed a Tory” badges; Nye Bevan famously described the Tories as “lower than vermin”
back in 1948. But the growing influence of Twitter and other social media does appear to have
fuelled this sort of polarised, tribal thinking among people on both the Left and the Right.
It’s a dispiriting trend, and a worrying one, too. For you only have to look at America to see where
such bitter partisanship can lead: namely, to political gridlock and further bad blood. In the National
Review last week, the US journalist Heather Wilhelm issued a cri de cœur against America’s
relentless culture wars, lamenting the way they were seeping into ever more aspects of society and
producing a default state of “All Politics, All The Time”. Even Teen Vogue, she noted – “a onceinnocent delivery vehicle for capitalism’s more frivolous byproducts” – now reads in part like a “rage
pamphlet” written by the Unabomber. All the finger-pointing, dirt-kicking and offence-taking,
Wilhelm concluded, was “exhaustingly boring” and was steadily squeezing
Harry Nicolle
the fun out of life. Is this a road Britain really wants to follow the US down?
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before hiring abroad as part
of efforts to encourage
them to “meet their needs
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9 September 2017 THE WEEK
Politics
4 NEWS
Controversy of the week
Boring but important
May soldiers on
She’s delusional, said the London Evening Standard. After
Theresa May’s “disastrous, wooden performance” in the June
election, it was “universally acknowledged” by Tory MPs that
she could never lead them to the polls again. In its aftermath,
to “stave off an immediate execution”, she told MPs that she
would jump before she was pushed, saying: “I will serve as
long as you want me.” The assumption was that she’d see out
Brexit negotiations and leave in the summer of 2019. But on a
trip to Japan last week, she revealed that her plans had
changed. “I’m here for the long term,” she declared, adding
that she intended to take the Tories into the 2022 election.
“Like the living dead in a second-rate horror film,” she seems
set to stagger on, oblivious to the fact that she has “no more
than half a dozen” real supporters in the parliamentary party.
Secondary school places
The PM: charm offensive
May isn’t mad to think she can carry on, said Philip Collins in The Times. The reason she became
Prime Minister in the first place was “that there was no body else. That is still true. The Conservative
party does not have a viable replacement.” Most of the Cabinet are, “frankly, not good enough to be
Prime Minister”. There are talented people working their way up the ranks – Jesse Norman, Jo
Johnson, Gavin Williamson – but they won’t be ready to lead by summer 2019. Besides, if by then
May is able to declare Brexit complete, there will be a decent “political dividend” for her. “It will be
an achievement, even if you regard it as a disastrous one.” Still, her position is tenuous, said Isabel
Hardman in The Spectator. You have to bear in mind how “monstrously” many ministers believe
they were treated in the run-up to the election. Some Cabinet members only learnt about party policy
for their own ministries when they read the manifesto on the way to the launch. Since then, May has
sacked her “dictatorial” advisers, Nick Timothy and Fiona Hill. The phone is answered at No. 10;
“people are listened to”. She has buttered up MPs by inviting them to Chequers for Prosecco and
canapés. But anything – a poor response to a crisis, say – could end the “fragile harmony”.
The PM’s statement of intent didn’t mean much, said Bagehot in The Economist. Tony Blair and
David Cameron both “created rods for their own backs by setting dates for their departure”. Better
to claim that you’ll go on and on than “to name your sell-by date” and give MPs another excuse “to
manoeuvre for the succession”. Whatever she said, May has “no more chance of leading the Tories
into the next election than Jacob Rees-Mogg”. She is merely trying to make “the best of her position
as an interim prime minister”: expect a series of policy announcements in the coming weeks. Besides,
prime ministers seldom get a choice in this matter, said Andrew Rawnsley in The Observer. Every
PM since Harold Wilson has been booted out, either by the voters or their own parties. “I can’t say
precisely when Mrs May will make her exit. I can say it won’t be the exit she would have chosen.”
Spirit of the age
John Lewis has become the
first retailer in the UK to
stop distinguishing between
girls’ and boys’ clothes.
Labels in its own-brand
garments now read “Girls &
Boys” or “Boys & Girls”; the
retailer has also done away
with separate girls’ and
boys’ sections in its shops.
John Lewis said that it had
introduced the change (last
year) because it didn’t want
to “reinforce gender stereotypes” among children.
The instant camera is the
latest form of analogue
technology to make a
comeback. Fujifilm expects
to sell 7.5 million of its
Quicksnap cameras around
the world this year – up
from 3.9 million in 2014-15.
The firm attributes the trend
to people becoming
dissatisfied with the “fake
life” on display in carefully
edited smartphone pictures.
THE WEEK 9 September 2017
Good week for:
Jacob Rees-Mogg, who topped a poll of grass-roots Tories on
who should be the next party leader. The MP, who has never held
ministerial office, won about a fifth of the vote. However, the
odds of him becoming leader were slashed the next day, when he
said that he was “completely opposed” to abortion, even in cases
of rape, and to gay marriage.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, who announced that
they are expecting their third child – and who also won a £92,000
payout from a French magazine that published pictures of
Catherine sunbathing topless in 2012. The couple had demanded
£1.4m, but said they were nevertheless pleased with the French
court’s award – which will be donated to charity.
Feats of engineering, with the official opening of the
Queensferry Crossing – the UK’s tallest bridge. The £1.3bn road
bridge across the Forth was opened by the Queen, exactly 53
years after she opened the nearby Forth Road Bridge.
Bad week for:
McDonald’s, which experienced its first strike on British soil.
Workers at two restaurants, in Cambridge and Crayford, walked
out over pay and the use of “flexible” (or zero-hours) contracts.
The Yellow Pages, with news that the next edition of the
directory of local businesses will be the last on paper. Known for
its slogan “Let Your Fingers do the Walking”, and its TV
advertisement about an old man’s search for an out-of-print book
– Fly Fishing by J.R. Hartley – Yellow Pages was first published in
1966. It will become a purely digital service next year.
Almost half the councils in
England and Wales could
face a shortfall in secondary
school places within five
years, the Local Government
Association (LGA) has
warned. It said that, unless
action is taken, 12 local
authorities will be unable to
meet demand for places by
2018, and 66 (49% of the
total) by 2022 – leaving up to
125,000 children without a
school. The LGA called for
local authorities to be given
powers to force academies
and free schools – which
answer to the Department for
Education, rather than to
local authorities – to expand.
End to Scottish pay cap
Scotland is to lift its public
sector pay cap, Nicola
Sturgeon announced this
week. Outlining the Scottish
government’s plans for the
next year, the First Minister
said the 1% cap would be
scrapped and replaced with
pay rises based on the cost
of living. She said Scotland
would phase out the sale of
new petrol and diesel cars by
2032, eight years ahead of
the UK Government’s target,
and would launch the UK’s
first deposit return scheme
for plastic bottles and cans;
she also announced a new
education bill that would
include measures to expand
the powers of head teachers.
Poll watch
Just 32% of French people
would prefer it if Britain
stayed in the EU; 38% want
Britain to leave. By contrast,
49% of Germans want
Britain to stay and only 25%
would rather it left. Asked
to pick up to three words to
describe their reaction were
Brexit to be reversed, 32%
of British people said
they’d be relieved; 28%
said they’d be pleased;
18% said they’d be
delighted; 32% said they’d
be angry; 30% disappointed;
and 19% worried.
YouGov/The Independent
47% of British people say
they are religious – a record
low. When the British Social
Attitudes Survey first asked
the question, in 1983, 69%
said they were religious.
29% of 18- to 24-year-olds
are religious, compared with
73% of over-75s.
BSA/The Times
Europe at a glance
Berlin
Merkel stuns
Ankara:
Angela Merkel
and her main
challenger, the
Social
Democrats’
Martin Schulz,
took part in
the only TV
debate of
Germany’s election campaign on Sunday
(pictured). Billed as a “duel”, it was
notable more for the degree of consensus
than for radical disagreements. Analysts
felt it would do little to change the course
of the campaign, and Merkel is still
expected to win a fourth term as
chancellor on 24 September. However, in
a bold shift of policy, made under pressure
from Schulz, Merkel did agree that
“Turkey should not become a member of
the EU”, and pledged to end the EU’s
accession talks with Turkey. In response,
Ankara accused Germany of bowing to
“popularism, alienation and hostility”.
NEWS 5
Tallinn
Azerbaijan’s £2.2bn “Europe” fund:
A pan-European newspaper investigation
has found that Azerbaijan’s ruling elite has
been using a secret £2.2bn slush fund to
pay for the support of European politicians
and opinion-formers – as well as to
purchase luxury goods and launder money.
The cash was channelled through the
Estonian branch of Danske Bank, in
Tallinn, and from there to four opaque,
and now dissolved, companies in England
and Scotland. Leaked banking data – on
which the consortium of newspapers
(among them The Guardian) based their
exposé of the “Azerbaijan Laundromat”
scheme – show that the Azerbaijani
leadership made more than 16,000 covert
payments, over the course of 30 months
between 2012-14. An authoritarian,
oil-rich state lying between Russia and Iran
on the west coast of the Caspian Sea,
Azerbaijan has long been known for
its lavish “caviar diplomacy”.
Moscow
Putin’s “secret retreat”: Anti-corruption
campaigners opposed to Vladimir Putin
have published details of a sprawling villa
complex on an island in the Gulf of
Finland, which they claim is one of his
secret retreats, bought on the president’s
behalf by a close friend. Drone footage
released by Alexei Navalny, who hopes to
stand against Putin in next year’s
presidential election, shows several large
new houses, a helipad and a pier on the
50-acre site, on and around Lodochny
island. Putin’s personal wealth has long
been the subject of intense speculation. Bill
Browder, a US financier with a long record
of investment in Russia, recently estimated
his secret fortune at $200bn, making him
easily the world’s richest person.
Budapest
“Pay for half our
fence”: Hungary’s
right-wing,
nationalist prime
minister, Viktor
Orbán, is
demanding that
the EU pay
Hungary s400m,
to help cover the
s800m cost of the
security fences
that Hungary has built along its southern
border to keep refugees and migrants out.
A spokesman said that Hungary’s security
measures were “protecting all the citizens
of Europe from the flood of illegal
migrants”, and so the EU should help pay
for them. The EU has long been at
loggerheads with Budapest over its refusal
to accept a quota of migrants under a
2015 EU-wide agreement.
Bodrum, Turkey
Thousands dead: Approximately 8,500
refugees and migrants have lost their lives
attempting to cross the Mediterranean in
the two years since the death of Alan
Kurdi, the Syrian child whose body was
washed up on the Turkish coast near
Bodrum in September 2015, according to
the UN refugee agency. Photographs of the
three-year-old’s body lying face down in
the sand dominated front pages worldwide
that autumn, and for a time, at least,
prompted a shift in attitudes in Europe
towards the plight of refugees. Days after
Alan’s death, Angela Merkel announced
that there would be “no limits” to the
number of refugees Germany accepted.
But the numbers dying while making the
crossing have remained high. In the 12
months that followed, 4,185 people
reportedly drowned; in the next year, to
August 2017, a further 4,337 people are
believed to have died en route.
Frankfurt, Germany
Bomb causes major evacuation: Around
60,000 residents of central Frankfurt were
evacuated on Sunday to allow experts to
defuse an unexploded 1.4-tonne Royal
Air Force bomb. With hundreds of
thousands of unexploded bombs in
Germany, such evacuations are relatively
common. However, this was the biggest
since 1945: more than 1,000 emergency
service workers helped to clear a 1.5km
radius in Frankfurt’s upmarket Westend.
The evacuated buildings included 20
retirement homes, an opera house and
Germany’s central bank, the Bundesbank.
The Allies are estimated to have dropped
2.7 million tonnes of bombs across Europe
during the War, about half of them on
Germany. About 10% failed to explode.
By contrast, the Luftwaffe dropped
74,000 tonnes on Britain.
Paris
Rat cull backlash: As many as 25,000
Parisians have signed a petition calling the
city’s efforts to cull the rapidly growing rat
population a rodent “genocide”. “Rat
phobia is an unwarranted social phobia,
like spider phobia,” Josette Benchetrit, the
psychologist who launched the petition,
told The Daily Telegraph. “Give a rat
a beautiful bushy tail and you’ve got a
squirrel – an animal we love. These poor
unfortunates are being mercilessly killed
because they’ve been designated by society
as scapegoats to be eradicated.” City
authorities are set to spend £14m this year
on the “deratisation” programme. Among
those who have joined the pro-rat lobby is
Jacques Boutault, the Green mayor of the
French capital’s second arrondissement.
“The law stipulates that all animals
are living, sentient beings,” he told the
newspaper. “We should be asking
ourselves why we need to wipe them out.”
Catch up with daily news at www.theweek.co.uk
9 September 2017 THE WEEK
6 NEWS
The world at a glance
Antigua and Barbuda
Storm lashes Caribbean:
Hurricane Irma – one of the
most powerful storms ever
recorded over the Atlantic –
swept across the Caribbean on
Tuesday night. The category
five hurricane first struck the
small island of Barbuda early
on Wednesday, where winds were recorded gusting at 250mph.
There were early reports of significant damage on several islands.
Thousands of people had been evacuated from at-risk areas in the
Caribbean and airports had been closed. A mandatory evacuation
was also enforced in Florida’s Key West area. Separately, the cost
of Hurricane Harvey, which made landfall on the US coast on 25
August, was put at between $150bn and $180bn (see page 15).
Washington DC
“Dreamers” scheme scrapped: The Trump administration is to
scrap an Obama-era scheme that lifted the threat of deportation
from around 800,000 undocumented immigrants who arrived in
the US before the age of 16. Mostly Latin Americans brought over
the border by their parents, they are known as “Dreamers”.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions said that the Deferred Action for
Childhood Arrivals (Daca) scheme, introduced by presidential
executive order in 2012, would be phased out by March 2018.
Many Republican politicians, including House Speaker Paul
Ryan, had urged the president not to carry out his campaign
pledge to reverse Obama’s order. Obama himself described the
move as “cruel”. The onus is now on Congress to enact new
protections for the “Dreamers” via legislation, if it sees fit.
“Congress, get ready to do your job – DACA!” tweeted Trump.
San Francisco, California
Russian consulates closed: The US government ordered
Russia to close down its consulate in San Francisco last
week, along with two buildings housing trade
missions in New York and Washington DC, in the
latest in a series of tit-for-tat punitive measures. Before the
building in San Francisco was vacated, and then searched by US
authorities, onlookers saw smoke billowing from a chimney
– even though California is experiencing an extreme heatwave,
and to burn anything that produces dark smoke violates antipollution laws. Some speculated that the Russians were burning
documents. However, an official denied this, and insisted the fire
had merely been a routine part of the “mothballing” process.
Caracas
Treason charges: Venezuela’s new constituent assembly
unanimously voted last week to put opposition leaders on trial for
treason if they express support for economic sanctions on the
Maduro government. The controversial new body (made up of
Maduro loyalists, and widely seen by the international community
as illegitimate) assumed the powers of the country’s elected
parliament, the National Assembly, last month. Since then, several
opposition leaders have been arrested for joining protests against
it. This week a small group of politicians from the National
Assembly travelled to European capitals, including Paris and
London, to appeal for political support and humanitarian aid.
Bogotá
Farc rebrands... as Farc: Colombia’s Farc guerrilla group, which
disarmed this year, has given itself a new name – but will keep its
famous acronym. Known as the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias
de Colombia (The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia)
when it was fighting its 50-year insurgency, the group is now
turning itself into a left-wing political party called Fuerza
Alternativa Revolucionaria del Común (the Common Alternative
Revolutionary Force) – or Farc for short. “We are going to
continue the conflict but through legal politics,” said a party
spokesman. Separately, the country’s last remaining guerrilla
group, the ELN, signed a temporary ceasefire – its first ever –
ahead of Pope Francis’s visit to the country this week.
Buenos Aires
Santiago Maldonado protest:
Thousands of demonstrators
marched in Buenos Aires and
other cities last Friday to
protest against the disappearance of a young political
activist. Santiago Maldonado,
28, was last seen on 1 August in
Patagonia, in Argentina’s far
south, during a chaotic confrontation between demonstrators and
border police officers at a protest over indigenous rights. For the
past month, the case has transfixed Argentinians; some suspect he
has been “disappeared” – taken into secret custody, or even killed
– by the police, with state collusion.
THE WEEK 9 September 2017
Punta del Este, Uruguay
“King of cocaine” captured:
One of Italy’s most wanted
criminals, a mafia drug smuggler
known as the “king of cocaine”, has
been arrested in Uruguay after 23 years on the run. In the early
1990s, Rocco Morabito, 50, a senior member of Italy’s most
feared crime organisation, the ’Ndrangheta, from Calabria, was
regularly tracked delivering millions of lire in a suitcase to
Colombian drug dealers in a piazza in Milan – but when police
moved in on him in 1994, he managed to escape. He was
convicted in absentia, and sentenced to 30 years in jail. He is
believed to have been living in Punta del Este, a resort town 80
miles east of Montevideo, for more than a decade, having
obtained Uruguayan citizenship with a false Brazilian passport.
The world at a glance
Islamabad
Bhutto acquittals: In a surprise verdict, a
special terrorism court has acquitted five
Taliban and al-Qa’eda militants accused of
assassinating Benazir Bhutto in 2007.
Pakistan’s former PM was killed in a gun
and bomb attack at a political rally in
Rawalpindi, weeks after returning to
Pakistan from exile, plunging the country
into political chaos and violence. The
decision to acquit the accused was attacked
by both Bhutto’s family and her party, the
PPP. Some speculated that the jihadis’
record of murdering and intimidating
judges and court officials had played a part
in the verdict. Separately, the court
convicted two police officers for failing to
protect Bhutto, and named Pakistan’s
exiled former president Pervez Musharraf
as a fugitive from justice. In 2013 he was
indicted, in absentia, on murder charges
for failing to prevent her death.
Damascus
Controversial
convoy: The
US-led coalition
fighting Isis in
Syria and Iraq
claims to have
destroyed 40 Isis
vehicles, killing 85
Islamic State fighters, in air strikes in
central Syria. The targeted vehicles had
been attempting to join a controversial Isis
convoy of 17 buses travelling across Syria,
from the Lebanese border in the west, to
Isis-controlled territory close to the Iraqi
border in the east. The convoy, consisting
of about 300 Isis fighters and their
families, had been allowed by Damascus
to cross the country as part of a deal with
the Lebanese Hezbollah militia. However,
the US and Iraq were furious about the
plan, which they saw as a grave threat to
Iraqi security. The convoy itself is reported
to have split up; some of the Isis fighters
are believed to have made it to Iraq.
NEWS 7
Dhaka
Deadly floods continue: The monsoon flooding
and landslides that have devastated a vast swathe
of northern India, Nepal and Bangladesh over
the past several weeks are now estimated to have
killed at least 1,200 people, and affected 40
million. In Bangladesh, which has seen its worst
flooding for 40 years, 700,000 homes have been
partially or totally destroyed, and up to a third
of the country’s terrain has been left submerged, raising fears of impending food
shortages. In India, the most heavily affected states are Bihar, where more than 500
people are known to have died, and neighbouring Uttar Pradesh, where more than
100 have been killed and as many as 3,000 villages have been reported as submerged.
At least 100 people have been killed by landslides in Nepal, just to the north.
Mumbai (on India’s west coast, away from the main disaster zone) experienced its
heaviest rainfall in more than 15 years last week, bringing chaos to the financial
capital; in one incident, at least 33 people were killed when a monsoon downpour
caused a building to collapse. And to the northwest, in Pakistan, storms lashed the
port city of Karachi, killing at least eight people.
Phnom Penh
Crackdown by “dictator”:
Cambodia’s opposition
leader Kem Sokha – who
was expected to pose a
credible challenge to the
country’s long-time ruler,
PM Hun Sen, in elections
next year – has been
detained and charged with
treason. More than 100
armed police raided his
home this week and seized
him without a warrant.
Hun, a former Khmer
Rouge commander who
has ruled for 32 years, has
become a close ally of
China and a vocal critic of
the US. Kem’s arrest
marks an escalation
in Hun’s
clampdown
on dissent.
Nairobi
New election:
Kenya’s supreme
court has nullified
the result of the
recent presidential
election won by
the incumbent,
Uhuru Kenyatta,
on the grounds of
voting irregularities, and has
ordered a fresh
poll to be held within 60 days. The shock
ruling comes as a severe blow to Kenyatta,
and is a triumph for the defeated candidate
Raila Odinga (pictured), who brought the
legal challenge. Kenyatta said he would
respect the ruling and called for calm;
however, he later branded the judges in
question as “crooks”, and vowed he
would “fix” the court if re-elected.
Rakhine state, Myanmar
Deadly exodus: More than 120,000
Rohingya people have fled to Bangladesh
in the past two weeks to escape the brutal
crackdown in Rakhine state, west
Myanmar, according to UN estimates.
Many more are expected to follow. Earlier
this week, around 35,000 people made the
crossing in one 24-hour period alone. A
further 400,000 Rohingya – a Muslim
minority who for decades have been
subject to persecution in Buddhist-majority
Myanmar – are believed to be trapped in
conflict zones amid the army’s ongoing
“clearance operations”. The current surge
in violence was sparked by an attack by
Rohingya militants on police border posts
on 25 August. Since then, the UN believes
around 1,000 Rohingya have been killed.
Survivors have described troops and
Buddhist mobs burning villages and
slaughtering civilians, including children.
9 September 2017 THE WEEK
8 NEWS
The reclusive rocker
Van Morrison has always gone
his own way. The Belfast-born
singer’s breakthrough album,
Astral Weeks, was unlike
anything recorded before or
since: poetic, hypnotic and
mysterious. “There was a lot
of change around that time –
1966 and 1967 – and I was
trying to get in everything that
was going on,” he told John
Preston in The Daily Telegraph.
“I had a feeling when I was
writing it that I was plugging
into what Jung called the
Collective Unconscious.” But
instead of appreciating his
unique style, his record
company set about trying to
mould him into a mainstream
pop star. Morrison – who had
no interest in being cool,
flamboyant or sexy – proved
intransigent. “I didn’t want to
be in the club – any club. I was
already an outsider and that
was OK with me. But it wasn’t
OK with them. I remember
sitting in offices in LA, 22
floors up, and these guys
blowing cigar smoke in my
face, pounding the table and
saying, ‘You’ve got to do what
we tell you!’” Morrison’s
response was to become even
more reclusive and enigmatic –
a situation exacerbated by
periods of crippling stage
fright. “It’s always been a
dilemma for me,” he reflects.
“I’m a very private person and
in order to perform I have to
be something I’m not – namely
an extrovert. I’ve had several
psychic readings about this
stuff, and I remember one
woman saying to me, ‘You
have the devil to pay.’ And that
is what it often feels like.”
The return of Smiley
John le Carré’s 1963
novel, The Spy
Who Came in
From the Cold,
helped shape the
popular perception
on
of the Cold War.
Now, at 85, he
has written a
follow-up novel,
A Legacy of
Spies, which
features a
cameo from
his original
protagonist,
George Smiley.
Why did he feel
the need to go
back? “Because
it seems to me,
People
as Smiley says at the end of the
book, that what happened then
turns out to have been futile.
Spies did not win the Cold
War. They made absolutely no
difference in the long run,” he
told Sarah Lyall in The New
York Times. Some things are
different, of course: today’s
geopolitical landscape feels like
more of a “vacuum” – albeit
one that is “occupied by really
threatening forces. What marks
the Cold War period is that at
least we had a defining mission.
At the moment our mission is
survival. The thing that joins
the West is fear. And everything
else is up for grabs.” Le Carré
is fascinated by Donald Trump
– not least because he sees so
many similarities with his own
father, who was a compulsive
liar, criminal and conman.
“This was a man who, while
still being pursued by the
police, or bankrupt, or Christ
knows what, who had done
prison time, then boldly stands
as a Parliamentary candidate.
He had a huge capacity for
invention. He had absolutely
no relationship to the truth.
He would come and talk to
me in the morning and I would
challenge him, and in the
evening he would say, ‘That’s
not what I said to you.’”
Trump, he says, is cut from
exactly the same cloth. “There
is not a grain of truth there.”
Political sympathies
Rebecca Front (below) may be
left-leaning, but she has a lot
of sympathy for Theresa May.
The actress played a disasterprone minister in the political
satire The Thick of It, and
came away full of admiration
for female politicians. “We
judge women in pub
public life
in a different way,” she
told Kerry Potter in
The Mail on Sund
Sunday.
“May gets critic
criticised
for her hair, fo
for
what she wea
wears,
for being
unemotiona
unemotional
– I don’t th
think
that would get
levelled at a
man. I sus
suspect
she’s prob
probably
a very nic
nice
woman. It’s
not a job I’d
want in a
million ye
years
in this to
toxic
political
environm
environment.”
Jess Phillips is one of Labour’s rising stars: a working-class
Brummie and outspoken feminist with 62,800 Twitter followers,
who makes no secret of the fact that she wants one day to be prime
minister. But she faces an implacable enemy: the Corbynite “cult”
within her own party. The trouble started when Jeremy Corbyn
became leader in 2015, and gave all the top jobs on his front bench
to men. Phillips was appalled. She gave a speech to the Labour
Party saying how alienated she felt as a woman, “like I’d arrived
home and been locked out”. But the effect of this speech, she told
Janice Turner in The Times, was to “shut me out for ever”. The
hard-left activists who surround Corbyn will never forgive Phillips
for criticising their hero. They routinely abuse her on Twitter, calling
her ugly and fat and a traitor. She received 600 rape threats in a
single day last year. “Now I’m at peak block, peak mute,” she sighs.
Dealing with right-wing bigots is comparatively easy. “It’s much
harder when people think they are the ‘goodies’,” she says,
referring to the “brocialists” who, “if they’re accused of sexism,
compare me to other women they love. And these are always
women who support their man.” Phillips gets on fine with Corbyn
himself, but wishes he would do more to rein in his supporters. “He
should lead with love and understanding, and talk about MPs in a
way that people only do when they’re dead.”
Viewpoint:
Farewell
Unreconstructed teens
“Never and nowhere have boys been
more free to be girls and vice versa. But
the way most teens behave on social
media is a throwback to well before the
sexual revolution. The girls parade
themselves, the boys ogle and comment
as they have done for millennia. Teen
girls on social media groom each other
just as female chimps do. They
compliment each other on their selfies,
back and forth: “Wow! You’re unreal
Gorg!” “No you are!” Boys post pics of
themselves getting smashed or scoring
goals and, as far as I can tell from my
young female cousins, lobby girls
ceaselessly for topless photos that they
can save and share with their mates.
How unreconstructed is that?”
Mary Wakefield in The Spectator
John Ashbery,
Pulitzer Prizewinning poet,
died 3 September,
aged 90.
Walter Becker,
Steely Dan guitarist
and lyricist, died 3
September, aged 67.
The 10th Duke of
Richmond,
liberal-minded
aristocrat, died 1
September, aged 87.
Dame Margaret
Turner-Warwick,
former president of
the Royal College of
Physicians, died 21
August, aged 92.
Desert Island Discs returns in the autumn
John Lewis Draper Chair
in Chloe Emerald
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Briefing
NEWS 11
The great Brexit fish fight
Few sectors of the British economy will be more affected by the decision to leave the EU than the fishing industry
Why will fishing be deeply affected?
After Brexit, the UK will reassume
sovereign control of its waters, which for
decades have been pooled under the EU’s
Common Fisheries Policy (CFP).
Eurosceptics have long viewed the policy
as a stitch-up, and they see Brexit as a
golden opportunity – in UKIP’s words
– to “reclaim our territorial fishing
waters” and “restore our fishing fleet”.
Michael Gove, the Environment Minister,
declared recently that by “taking back
control” of fisheries, and adopting “far
more sensible policies”, the UK would be
able to “dramatically increase the
amount of fish that we catch”.
And what will happen after Brexit?
Many in the fishing industry would like
to restrict access to foreign vessels and
manage our fish stocks single-handedly.
The EU is likely to resist this fiercely,
however, and many fisheries experts
think we would be best served by a more
cooperative approach. Disputes over fish
stocks, they point out, usually result in
overfishing. Most commercially valuable
fish caught in UK waters migrate in and
out of them. So if Britain closed its
waters to EU boats, those stocks would
most likely be overfished in EU waters,
to the ultimate detriment of both UK and
EU fishermen. Besides, the UK exports
80% of its fish, and the majority of
How does the CFP operate?
these exports go to the EU. An
Under the UN Convention on the Law
uncompromising approach would likely
Will Brexit rejuvenate our fishing fleet?
of the Sea, each country has an exclusive
see large import tariffs slapped on British
economic zone (EEZ) extending 200 nautical miles from its coast.
fish sales to the continent. Furthermore, fishing is a relatively
(In cases where the EEZs of two countries overlap, a dividing line
small industry, contributing less than 0.5% of UK GDP. So the
is drawn equidistant from the two.) The CFP, officially instituted
Government would almost certainly want to avoid a major
in 1983, altered all that. Under the CFP, national waters – barring diplomatic breakdown on what is ultimately a small issue.
a 12-mile coastal zone – became EU waters, and commercial fish
stocks within them are regulated via a system of total allowable
Then what kind of deal could we strike with the EU?
catches (TACs). These, though based on scientific advice, are
A recent House of Lords report points to the example of Norway,
ultimately settled by agreement among member states. The TACs
which stayed out of the EU – not least to preserve control of its
are then divided into national quotas (based largely on the share
fishing industry – but sets its quotas in close cooperation with
of the catch each nation had in the 1970s), and the national
Brussels. It allows EU boats, for instance, to take some cod in
quotas are then shared out among registered fishing vessels – a
Norwegian waters, while Norwegian boats take mackerel in EU
system open to abuse (see box). The CFP also provides funding to
waters. Besides, since the CFP was reformed in 2013 it has been
fishermen and their communities; regulates the marketing of fish
much improved (thanks not least to British and Irish pressure).
products; and sets tariffs for imports from outside the EU.
Fleet sizes have been reduced. Most EU stocks are now fished
sustainably; in theory, all of them will be by 2020. The practice of
And why is the CFP unpopular in Britain?
discarding fish at sea has been banned in most cases. The policy of
Its basic principles were agreed among the six founding states in
“regionalisation”, meanwhile, allows member states greater
1970, just before Denmark, Ireland, the UK and Norway began
latitude in managing local fisheries. One very successful example
talks on joining what was then the EEC, or Common Market;
is North Sea cod which, under UK control – with the introduction
and it is often seen as a grab for Europe’s richest fishing grounds.
of measures such as closing fishing grounds, imposing tighter
Con O’Neill, the chief negotiator for entry to the EEC under PM
quotas, changing fishing gear and decommissioning some vessels
Edward Heath, was shocked by the demands, but described his
– has gone from record lows to abundance. The EU has also made
orders as: “Swallow the lot, and swallow it now.” Ever since, the
fisheries deals with Iceland and the Faroe Islands. Experts are
UK has been awarded a disproportionately small quota of TACs
reluctant to see all this torn up just when it is finally working.
– its boats get 9% of English Channel cod, for example, even
though most catches are made in UK
So what will fishermen gain?
Hopping mad over flags of convenience Brexit presents, at the very least, an
waters: French boats get 84%. A
recent study found that between 2012 A major gripe among the UK’s fishermen is that many opportunity for Britain to gain a
and 2014 non-UK boats took about
fairer distribution of fish caught in its
technically British fishing boats aren’t British at all.
They’ve been bought by foreign companies – mainly
half the fish caught in the UK’s EEZ.
waters by renegotiating TAC quotas.
Spanish or Dutch – wishing to take advantage of a
UK boats fishing in the other EEZs
And, whatever international deals it
vessel’s share (which is based on its track record) of
caught roughly 25% of that amount.
makes, Britain will be able to design
fish quotas. This practice, known as quota hopping, is
its own fishing policy in much closer
widespread: it has been estimated that a third of the
Has it worked well otherwise?
consultation with the local industry.
boats operating out of southwest England are foreignNo. The CFP had failed, until very
Europe-wide regulations dictating,
owned. Some UK boats have no real link to the British
recently, in its efforts to make fishing
for instance, required fishing gear, are
economy at all, and operate out of Spanish ports such
environmentally sustainable. Political
often clumsy instruments; Britain will
as A Coruña. The British government tried to limit this
pressure led to TACs being set too
be able to develop a regime tailored
practice in 1988 by legislating that UK-flagged fishing
boats should be British-owned. The law was struck
high, while subsidies to fishing fleets
to UK waters and fishing fleets. All
down as discriminatory by the European Court of
(Spain and Portugal are the largest
this is worth fighting for. Fishing may
Justice, in a case that established unambiguously for
beneficiaries) led to growing capacity.
be a small industry, but there are still
the first time that EU law trumped Parliament.
In 2013, the European Commission
12,000 fishermen in the UK, and they
Quota
hopping is made possible not by the CFP but by are crucial to the prosperity of coastal
estimated that two-thirds of EU
freedom of establishment – the right of EU citizens to
stocks were overfished. In addition,
communities. In Peterhead in
establish businesses in other member states. Whether
the rigid quota system has meant that
Aberdeenshire, for example – by far
it continues after Brexit is likely to be a footnote in any
vast numbers of fish have had to be
the UK’s biggest fishing port by
deal that the UK ultimately makes with the EU about its
discarded by fishermen who don’t
volume
of fish landed – 40% of jobs
future relationship to the single market.
have the right to catch them.
are fishing-related.
9 September 2017 THE WEEK
Montserrat Silver
Ceiling Light
with unique leaf design
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Best articles: Britain
Why attacking
Trump just
doesn’t work
Jenni Russell
The Times
Facts are still
the key to
learning
Richard Russell
The Guardian
Profiting from
false claims of
sexual abuse
Dominic Lawson
The Sunday Times
To the young,
driving is a
costly hassle
George Eaton
New Statesman
One thing liberals consistently overlook, says Jenni Russell, is that
for many voters social status matters more than economic payoffs.
Hence their inability to grasp the secret of Donald Trump’s success.
They put it down to his wild promises to create more jobs and
make America great again, and imagine that by highlighting his
failure to live up to them they’ll bring him down. But Trump’s
appeal to voters is based on something more intangible: “respect”.
An insecure social outsider who has long felt snubbed by the elite,
Trump is brilliant at tapping into similar resentments felt by lowerstatus Americans. The striking thing about his speeches is the
“near-reverence” with which he speaks of these voters. “We love
you, you’re special, we’re here to take care,” he told a crowd in
Texas last week. That message “electrifies his base because they’re
being respected by someone who embodies what they aspire to”.
Conversely, when Trump is denounced as a vulgar charlatan, they
see it as an implicit rebuke of themselves and their values, and
that drives them further into Trump’s embrace. Unless Democrats
grasp this dynamic, I fear “they’ll be humiliated again” in 2020.
“Scientia potestas est – knowledge is power – is an idea so famous
that it is known by even those with very little of it,” says Richard
Russell. Yet too many on the Left disregard it. Like Jean-Jacques
Rousseau, who held that teaching children knowledge corrupts
their innate values, they view the teaching of facts as “right-wing,
regressive and redundant”. All facts and figures, as they see it, are
subjective, open to debate, and of their age; it’s far better to arm
children with skills such as critical thinking that can stand the test
of time. Wrong. With no respect for what’s actually the case,
everything “is up for grabs”. No wonder there’s been a surge in
conspiracy theories in recent years; no wonder Donald Trump can
lie with impunity. The sidelining of knowledge erodes faith in
experts and accredited sources of information, leaving people
vulnerable to manipulation by dangerous populists. The Tories’
education policy is flawed in many ways, but let’s at least applaud
them for their championing of a knowledge-based curriculum.
It’s bad enough that liars can ruin people’s lives by making false
claims of sexual abuse, says Dominic Lawson. What makes it
worse is that they can also make a tidy profit out of it by claiming
thousands under the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme
(CICS). Alleged victims of sexual assault can receive money from
the state-backed scheme even when no perpetrator has been found
or convicted; and there’s no easy mechanism for clawing those
funds back if the claimant is later found to have lied. This makes
the system ripe for exploitation by the unscrupulous. The CICS
paid £50,000 to the man known as “Nick”, whose lurid abuse
claims against Edward Heath and other 1970s Establishment
figures have been so thoroughly discredited. It also paid £12,000
to another fantasist whose false allegation of historic rape led to a
fire brigade chief being wrongly jailed. So we would now do well
to copy what the Germans did following the revelations of abuse
within the Catholic Church: they set up a s100m fund to pay for
counselling and therapy. That’s an arrangement that’s “most
appropriate for genuine victims – and far safer for the rest of us”.
“A man who, beyond the age of 26, finds himself on a bus can
count himself a failure.” Margaret Thatcher probably never did
say that line famously attributed to her, says George Eaton, but it
certainly reflected the view of many at the time. In the Thatcher
era, cars represented success and freedom. Not any more. Today,
fewer and fewer young people even bother to learn to drive. Just
31% of 17- to 20-year-olds, and 66% of 21- to 29-year-olds held
licences last year (in 1994 the respective figures were 48% and
75%). A lot of it comes down to money. Faced with student debt
and high rents, few young people can afford the test let alone the
thousands of pounds in insurance that a new driver has to pay.
But attitudes have changed, too. Better public transport, the rise
of cycle-hire schemes, Uber: all these have diminished the
attraction of car ownership. The young don’t equate driving with
independence but with hassle, congestion and expense: Labour’s
promise of free Wi-Fi on nationalised trains holds more appeal.
“Just as the car’s rise reflected an era of Conservative hegemony,
so its fall marks the fracturing of the Thatcherite settlement.”
NEWS 13
IT MUST BE TRUE…
I read it in the tabloids
Rumour has it that White
House officials don’t think
very highly of the British
Foreign Secretary, Boris
Johnson. In fact, they’re said
to have dismissed him as a
“joke”. But when Woody
Johnson, the new US
ambassador to the UK,
arrived in town, he was
careful to ingratiate himself
with the most important
player in the Foreign Office:
he sent Palmerston, the FO’s
chief mouser, a Stars and
Stripes bow tie. “A symbol of
our meow-mentous
relationship,” said the cat, on
his Twitter account.
A midwife has revealed some
of the bizarre items men
bring along to the labour
ward. One man – whose
partner had opted for a water
birth – came equipped with a
mask and snorkel. “Another
dad wanted to get into the
water with his wife, but I was
shocked when he changed
into tiny, rather revealing
Speedos,” said Marie
Hurworth, from Newquay.
A five-year-old boy had a
nasty shock when he lifted
the lid of the lavatory at his
home in Southend, Essex,
and discovered a 3ft-long
python coiled within. “He
was frantic, and shaking,
and I could tell something
was wrong, but that was not
what I expected,” said his
mother, Laura Cowell. She
called a pet shop, Scales and
Fangs, who sent a specialist
to remove it (pictured). “It
smelt of bleach and a bit
toilet-y,” said Ethan Pinion,
from the shop, but it should
make a full recovery. The
harmless python is thought
to have belonged to a
neighbour who’d recently
moved away. It’s not clear,
however, how it ended up in
the sewers.
9 September 2017 THE WEEK
Best of the American columnists
NEWS 15
The frightening lessons of Hurricane Harvey
I’ve witnessed a few natural disasters
Climate change is almost certainly
in America in my time, said Timothy
exacerbating the situation, said
Egan in The New York Times. I was
Michael Grunwald on the same site,
in Washington state in 1980, for
but the main culprit is Houston’s
instance, when Mount St. Helens
unchecked urban sprawl, which has
erupted with a force equal to 500
led to the development of huge areas
Hiroshima bombs. I ran in fear from
of low-lying prairie and wetland that
the flames that consumed Yellowstone
once acted as natural sponges. This
National Park in 1988. Yet these
has had the effect both of increasing
events pale in comparison to the
floods and putting more homes in
catastrophic flooding that hit Texas
their path. To make matters worse,
last week, leaving nearly a third of
Washington still insists on offering
Houston submerged. It’s estimated
householders heavily subsidised flood
that Hurricane Harvey dumped nearly
insurance, a wasteful giveaway that
20 trillion gallons of water on Texas,
encourages people to rebuild in
said Angela Fritz and Jason Samenow
flood-prone areas. The National
in The Washington Post – enough to
Wildlife Federation condemned this
The aftermath of the storm in Rockport, Texas
cover the entire state of Arizona in
crazy system in a report 20 years ago.
more than a foot (30cm) of water. Over Harris County alone –
It cited the egregious example of a home in Houston that had
which embraces Houston and its near suburbs – a trillion gallons
flooded 16 times in 18 years, netting its owners more than
of water fell in the space of four days. “That’s as much water as
$800,000 even though it was valued at less than $115,000.
flows over Niagara Falls in 15 days.”
Houston is just one of many vulnerable cities in the US, said
David A. Graham in The Atlantic. Disaster planners have long
“Harvey is what climate change looks like,” said Eric Holthaus
worried about where a major hurricane would strike next. “The
on Politico. The storm drew its energy from the Gulf of
Mexico, where sea-surface temperatures were as much as 4°C
scariest scenario is Miami.” The city attracts lots of storms, but it
above average. Climate change has also reduced the strength
hasn’t had a direct hit from a big one since 1926, when a hurricane
of prevailing winds that normally push weather systems on,
killed 400 people. Back then, though, Miami was a modest resort
which may explain why Harvey loitered near Houston for so
town of just 100,000 people. The area now has more than six
long. Of course, no one blizzard or hurricane can be directly
million residents, and is “already grappling with regular floods
attributed to global warming, said Eugene Robinson in The
caused by rising sea levels”. The effect of a massive storm surge in
Washington Post. But the fact that the Houston area has now
that city doesn’t bear thinking about. As Craig Fugate, the former
suffered three “500-year floods” in the past three years suggests
top emergency manager for both the federal government and the
that “nature is telling us something”.
state of Florida, put it in 2014, “It won’t survive.”
A pardon for Arizona’s “fascist” sheriff
Presidential pardons often generate
he was up for re-election, and the judge
controversy, said Amelia Thomsonin his case – a Clinton appointee –
DeVeaux on FiveThirtyEight.com, but
refused his request for a jury trial. By
none has been quite as divisive as
pardoning him, Trump has simply
Donald Trump’s recent pardon of
brought “a political end to a political
Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Arpaio is the former
case”, thereby signalling that he is
sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona,
committed to the tough immigration
who developed a reputation as
policy that got him elected.
America’s toughest law enforcer during
his 24 years in office by humiliating
Arpaio wasn’t just a “tough” sheriff,
prison inmates and hounding illegal
said Paul Krugman in The New York
immigrants. He once dispatched a “Cold
Times. He was a monster who engaged
Case Posse” to Hawaii to hunt for
in “fascism, American-style”. The
evidence that President Obama’s birth
inmates in his care – many of whom
certificate was forged. In July, Arpaio
Arpaio: a “vicious sadist who abused his power”? were on pre-trial detention and hadn’t
was convicted of contempt of court,
been convicted of any crime – were fed
after he defied a judge’s order to stop pulling over Hispanic
starvation rations of spoiled food and made to wear oldmotorists without cause. But thanks to Trump – whose
fashioned stripy uniforms and pink underwear. Arpaio brought
campaign Arpaio heartily endorsed – he will now escape
back chain gangs, for women and juveniles too, and housed
punishment. This pardon “crosses a line”, said Garrett Epps in
detainees in a “Tent City” in the desert – he joked that the
The Atlantic. Arpaio didn’t commit just any crime; he
facility was his own personal “concentration camp” – where
deliberately disobeyed a federal court. By endorsing his “racist
temperatures could reach 63°C. An estimated 157 prisoners
discrimination”, Trump is showing utter contempt for the law.
died in his care, and taxpayers shelled out $140m to litigate and
settle lawsuits prompted by his barbaric abuses. What makes it
“Sheriffs shouldn’t defy court orders,” said Paul Mirengoff on
worse, said Nathan J. Robinson in Current Affairs, is that these
PowerLineBlog.com, but Arpaio had no malign intent: he was
harsh tactics came at the expense of actual policing: hundreds
simply “being overzealous in combating illegal immigration”.
of serious crimes, including many child molestation cases, went
He could see that the federal authorities were failing to do the
uninvestigated by Arpaio’s office. This man is no “righteous
job properly, so he stepped into the breach. Naturally, that
vigilante”; he’s a “bigot” and a “vicious sadist who abused his
made him a political target. The Obama Justice Department
power more than perhaps anyone else to hold public office in
filed charges against Arpaio, reportedly just two weeks before
the United States during the 21st century”.
9 September 2017 THE WEEK
16 NEWS
MYANMAR
A leader more
like Trump
than Ganhi
Daily Times
(Lahore)
RUSSIA
Moscow’s star
director faces a
show trial
The Moscow Times
YEMEN
A cradle for
the reborn
al-Qa’eda
Le Monde (Paris)
Best articles: International
Westerners are less inclined to fawn over Myanmar’s de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi these days,
says Basit Mahmood. In the latest round of ethnic violence, 18,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled a
brutal crackdown launched in reprisal for insurgent attacks. Yet far from seeking to quell the upsurge,
the woman once hailed as her country’s “saviour” is undermining efforts to contain it. Suu Kyi has
long accused the UN and human rights groups of exaggerating the Rohingyas’ plight – despite
abundant eyewitness testimony of mass killings and the torching of villages – yet her government is
blocking access to UN officials and international reporters. Her spokesmen even accuse Rohingya
women of fabricating rape stories, and aid workers of “helping terrorists”. That would be shocking
enough from the former military dictatorship, but from a government headed by a former prisoner
of conscience, who gave fine speeches about human rights while under house arrest, it defies belief.
Yet perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised. This is a woman who, after being interviewed by the BBC’s
Mishal Husain in 2013, reportedly complained: “no one told me I was going to be interviewed by a
Muslim”. The woman we thought of as another Gandhi turns out to be more like Donald Trump.
Five years after Pussy Riot, the Kremlin is about to
serve up another sensational show trial, says John
Freedman. Theatre director Kirill Serebrennikov
and three associates were arrested last week on the
clearly bogus charge of embezzling $1.1m from the
prestigious Gogol Centre, which he heads. An
acerbic critic of Putin’s reactionary social policies,
Serebrennikov made his name in 2001 with a play
exploring teenage homosexuality and alienation.
Ever since, he’s been a hate figure to conservatives,
who accuse him of glorifying the dirty side of
Russian life and revelling in the obscene: in one
Serebrennikov: a hate figure to conservatives
play most of the cast was nude. Critics and
audiences love his work, however: he’s now the most acclaimed Russian theatre director of his
generation. But his new ballet about Rudolf Nureyev, again featuring extensive nudity, was too much
for his enemies: it was scrapped in July without ever having been performed. His arrest now is yet
another attempt to repress independent thinking and “equate an artist with crooks”. Judging from
the “firestorm of reaction” it has already provoked in Russia and the West, it will create quite a stir.
Long before Osama bin Laden was killed, al-Qa’eda had been losing ground to its former franchise,
Islamic State. But now it is being reforged in the fires of Yemen’s civil war, says Jean-Philippe Rémy.
That already impoverished country is being slowly destroyed by the fight between Iran-backed rebels
and a Saudi-led coalition, and the cholera and famine that are ravaging the civilian population. But
the chaos presents a huge opportunity for al-Qa’eda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), which “is
mulling over its past mistakes and trying to reinvent its future: how to adapt, how to triumph?” In
Afghanistan, al-Qa’eda’s main source of income was heroin trafficking, but today in Yemen it’s from
smuggling oil and taking hostages for ransom. The group has also changed tactics: it no longer
imposes brutal sharia law on the inhabitants of newly conquered territory, but instead seeks to “win
over hearts and minds”. It pays blood money to tribes if it kills one of their members by mistake, and
instead of talking about jihad, its leaders focus on public services. When AQAP took over the port of
Mukalla in 2015, for example, it quickly repaired the sewers and set up a charity for the needy. When
the next generation of al-Qa’eda terrorists hits the West they will almost certainly come from Yemen.
Catalonia’s “illegal” rebellion could cause a crisis in Spain
Half a million people led by Spain’s King Felipe marched through
the streets of Barcelona last week, ostensibly to show a united
response to last month’s terrorist attack. But far from being a
homage to the victims, it proved to be yet another rowdy rally
for Catalan independence, said Salvador Sostres in ABC (Madrid).
Placards condemning Isis were hardly to be seen, only Catalan
flags and anti-Spain slogans. The boos and hisses that broke out
every time Felipe’s image flashed up on the roadside screens
were hard to bear. What a contrast to the serious demonstrations
that followed the terror outrages in Paris and London. This
must go down as one of the most embarrassing displays of “selfsatisfied provincialism” ever seen in postwar Europe.
There was a show of unity between Spain’s PM Mariano Rajoy
and Catalonia’s regional president, Carles Puigdemont, said
Diego Torres in Politico (Brussels). But it was illusory. The first
Catalan president to refuse to take the oath of loyalty to the
Spanish constitution and the monarch, Puigdemont heads the
alliance of separatist parties that runs Catalonia. And this alliance
has now shattered the brief truce between Madrid and Barcelona
that held after the terrorist attacks, by publishing a draft bill that
spells out how Catalonia will assert its independence should a
THE WEEK 9 September 2017
majority vote “yes” in an independence referendum it has
scheduled for 1 October. Holding such a referendum without
Madrid’s consent is illegal under the Spanish constitution. With
a regional government now in “open rebellion”, Spain could be
plunged into a constitutional crisis within weeks.
Catalans should be very afraid, said El País (Madrid). The bill
seems to have been inspired by Russia’s annexation of Crimea.
It allows the politicians to appoint judges of their liking,
effectively ending the rule of law. Election officials are to be
appointed by the ruling parties. Spanish state assets will be
confiscated. Is this really the kind of society Catalans want to
live in? The bill is just as shocking for what it leaves out, said
Mercedes Fuertes in El Mundo (Madrid). Brussels insists an
independent Catalonia will be outside the EU, yet the bill is
almost totally silent about economic arrangements: how on
earth, economists wonder, will Catalonia pay for public sector
workers and pensions, currently the responsibility of Madrid?
Assertions of sovereignty always involve tough negotiations, as
the British are finding. But at least Brexit is legal. What the
Catalans are trying to pass off as ordinary legislation is in fact
“an illegal coup” – and there’s little time left to stop it.
Health & Science
NEWS 19
What the scientists are saying…
A breakthrough heart drug
An anti-inflammatory drug called
canakinumab, previously used to treat
arthritis, may significantly reduce the risk
of recurrent heart attacks, a four-year study
has found. The massive trial, involving
10,000 people across 39 countries, suggests
that the drug – which was administered as
an injection every three months – reduced
by 24% the risk of heart attacks in those
who’d already had one. Almost 200,000
Britons a year suffer heart attacks, and a
quarter of those having their first will suffer
another within five years. Currently, statins
are the mainstay drugs for heart attack
prevention, but they work by lowering
cholesterol levels, and not everybody who
experiences a heart attack suffers from high
cholesterol. Dr Paul Ridker, of the Brigham
and Women’s Hospital at Harvard Medical
School, described treating the inflammation
of the arteries as “cracking the door open
on the third era” of preventative
cardiology, a breakthrough as significant
as recognising the effects of diet, exercise
and not smoking, and the discovery of the
benefits of statins. The next challenge
faced by scientists will be tackling the side
effects of the drug (such as a heightened
risk of fatal infection) as well as its huge
cost – currently £40,000 per patient per
year, compared with £20 for statins.
Dead languages brought to life
A new technique for examining ancient
parchments has led to the retrieval of
languages spoken more than 1,500 years
ago and assumed lost to history. Parchment was such a valuable commodity in
ancient times that it was commonly reused,
with the result that many ancient texts
were lost to early recycling: copies of the
Bible, for example, were often written on
top of them. The technique involves taking
Virtual reality to tackle dementia
Alaskan bears: choosing berries over salmon?
photographs of the manuscripts from
several angles, using different visible and
invisible parts of the light spectrum so as
to highlight traces of the ink that had been
washed away: these are then analysed by
a computer algorithm. Scientists have now
used this method on ancient manuscripts
recently discovered in St Catherine’s
Monastery in Egypt’s Sinai peninsula. (The
monastery contains the oldest continually
operating library in the world, and lies
below Mount Sinai, where God is said to
have revealed the Ten Commandments.)
Among the writings recovered by the
method are “lost languages” such as the
extremely rare and barely known
Caucasian Albanian. They also include the
first known copies of the Bible in Arabic,
as well as versions of medical texts by the
Greek physician Hippocrates. By means of
this technique, said Michael Phelps, of the
Early Manuscripts Electronic Library, “we
will recover lost voices from our history”.
© UNSW ANDREW KELLY
The Babylonian way with triangles
It has always been thought that it was the
ancient Greeks who developed the
discipline of trigonometry. But two
Australian mathematicians now contend
that the Babylonians beat them to the
punch by more than 1,000 years.
They’ve drawn this conclusion by
examining a 3,700-year-old clay tablet
(pictured) in the possession of Columbia
University. Ever since Edgar Banks (said
to be the inspiration behind Indiana Jones)
discovered the tablet in southern Iraq in the early 1900s, researchers have been
puzzled by the system of markings, arranged in four columns and 15 rows. The idea
it could have anything to do with trigonometry, the branch of mathematics involving
relationships within triangles, was dismissed out of hand since the tablet made no
reference to angles.
However, Dr Daniel Mansfield and Dr Norman Wildberger are convinced that the
markings actually display the world’s oldest trigonometric table. The Babylonians
developed an approach based solely on ratios, not angles. And as they counted to
number base 60 (rather than base ten as we do), the fractions they used, says
Mansfield, were more precise than those we use today.
A new virtual reality computer game has
been developed by the British game design
firm Glitchers, which will do more than
provide the thrill of hunting for hidden
monsters – it will also lay the groundwork
for a new test for dementia. With the help
of Swiss and British scientists and
Alzheimer’s charities, Glitchers has
designed Sea Hero Quest VR in such a
way as to be able to capture data from
those playing it – what actions they take,
where they look and for how long. So as
players navigate their boats through
treacherous waters, their VR headsets will
send anonymous data about their abilities
and movements that can then be assessed
by neuroscientists. This could prove vital
in detecting the early signs of dementia –
a disease that often establishes itself a
decade before symptoms appear – because
one of the first abilities lost to the
degenerative condition is navigation.
Could bears go veggie?
Brown bears on Alaska’s Kodiak Island
have increasingly been opting for a diet
of elderberries over salmon, in a change
that scientists are attributing to climate
change. The bears usually eat salmon
in summer and move on to berries in
September. But a US study has found that
in summers when temperatures are notably
higher than in previous years, the berries
ripen earlier than usual, and as a result
that the bears forget about the salmon
and head for the hills to munch on berries.
William Deacy, a biologist at Oregon
State University, predicts that by 2070
the overlap in timing could be a regular
occurrence. This could be bad news for
the bears. Since berries take less energy
to break down than salmon, they could
end up being a lot fatter.
First “living drug” approved
In a historic move that could “change
the face of modern medicine”, the US
Food and Drug Administration has for
the first time approved a personalised
gene therapy cancer drug. Kymriah is
labelled a “living drug” because it
works by reprogramming a patient’s
own cells to attack acute lymphoblastic
leukaemia, a deadly form of blood
cancer. Doctors can tailor-make the drug
for each patient by extracting their white
blood cells, genetically fortifying and
programming them, and then
re-injecting them into the patient’s
bloodstream to seek out their target, and
then multiply to destroy the cancer cells.
In trials, 83% of patients were in
complete remission within three months
of being treated. But as a course of
therapy costs £367,000, Kymriah will, for
now, be used only on patients who’ve
proved unresponsive to other
treatments such as chemotherapy.
9 September 2017 THE WEEK
20 NEWS
Pick of the week’s
Gossip
Lewis Hamilton, the
Formula One champion,
revealed his softer side last
week when he penned a
poem in memory of the late
Diana, Princess of Wales.
Coming in at 25 lines, it
begins: “The day we lost
our Nations Rose Tears we
cried like rivers flowed, The
earth stood still As we laid
her to rest, A day you & I
Will never forget...”
Hamilton, 32, posted the
verse on social media,
where fans described it as
“Wonderful” and “Very
beautiful, I’m crying”.
Claire Tomalin (pictured)
has revealed that she once
enjoyed a brief but
“intoxicating” affair with
Martin Amis. The literary
biographer was 42, and
recently widowed, when she
met Amis, then 25 and a
rising star. In a new memoir,
she says that their fling
involved “much holding of
hands under tables and
kissing”, but that it petered
out when she “began to
realise that what I thought of
as a love affair was more
like membership of a club.
Martin was attractive to
many young women...”
The Spitfire ace Douglas
Bader – who died 35 years
ago this week – was not one
to temper his language. The
Times Diary recalls that after
the War, Bader was invited
to give a talk at a smart
girls’ school. “So there were
two of the f***ers behind
me, three f***ers to my
right, another f***er on the
left…,” he told his audience.
At this point, the head
mistress blanched, and
interjected: “Ladies, the
Fokker was a German
aircraft.” Bader replied:
“That may be, madam,
but these f***ers were
in Messerschmitts.”
THE WEEK 9 September 2017
Talking points
The tech titans: silencing their critics
A “small kerfuffle” in
market dominance, and the
Washington last week
power to control prices and
revealed “a lot about power
exclude competition. In 2012,
in the modern world”, said
a US Federal Trade
Emma Duncan in The Times.
Commission investigation
Barry Lynn, head of the open
concluded that Google’s
markets team at the New
monopolistic conduct resulted
America Foundation – an
in “real harm to consumers”.
influential Washington think
Yet US politicians rejected the
tank partly funded by Google
recommendation to launch a
– was fired. Why? Because, it
competition lawsuit of the
seems, he had the temerity to
kind that has broken up US
criticise his paymasters. When
monopolies in the past, from
Google was fined s2.4bn by
Standard Oil to IBM and
the European Commission for
Microsoft. How did Google
breaching competition laws,
get away with it?
Lynn posted a statement on
the foundation’s website
Barry Lynn: baiting the paymasters “Old-fashioned monopolies
praising the decision and
bought legislation directly,”
calling on the US to follow suit. Google’s
said The Guardian. Nowadays, Google is one of
executive chairman, Eric Schmidt, apparently
the biggest corporate spenders on lobbying, but
voiced his displeasure, said Kenneth P. Vogel in
it also attempts to shape the entire climate of
The New York Times. Soon after, the
opinion by funding think tanks, as well as
foundation’s head, Anne-Marie Slaughter,
papers written by academics sympathetic to its
summoned Lynn and told him his entire team
point of view. The power of big tech today is
would have to leave: they were “imperilling the
“unprecedented”, said Duncan. Google has
institution as a whole”. Slaughter disputed Lynn’s 87% of the search market in the US, and 83%
version of events, without citing any errors. The
in Britain. Facebook has 79% of the social
episode looks like a cautionary tale about what
media market in the US and 77% in Britain.
happens when “a wealthy tech giant is criticised”. Apple is worth $750bn, more than the entire car
industry. Given that these firms also control
Competition law is a sore point for Google, as
much of the flow of information, both to us and
well as for Facebook, Apple and Amazon, said
about us, we should be very worried. “Once
Olivia Solon and Sabrina Siddiqui in The
upon a time, concerns were commonly voiced
Observer. By most definitions, all these
about the power of the press barons. Their clout
companies are monopolists: they have massive
was as nothing to the tech titans’.”
Fostering: the furore in Tower Hamlets
It’s a sad fact that the welfare of children in the
care system tends only to surface in the national
consciousness when it seems as if something has
gone very wrong, said The Observer. So it was
last week, when it was suggested that a white
Christian girl, aged five, had been left distressed
after being “forced” into foster care with a
Muslim family in Tower Hamlets, east London.
According to media reports, the niqab-wearing
foster mother didn’t speak English, confiscated
the child’s necklace because it had a cross on it,
and refused to let her eat bacon. The Daily Mail
columnist Katie Hopkins was not alone in
describing it as child “abuse”. Yet the story was
not quite as it seemed, said Jamie Grierson in
The Guardian. The child’s (absent) father may
be Christian, but her mother is from a Muslim
family, albeit a non-practising one. The council
had wanted to place the child with her grandmother – who is not proficient in English – but,
due to vetting rules, this could not be done
immediately. So, with no better options available,
she was temporarily placed with two local
Muslim families. The council insists they could
speak English, and claims that no one took the
girl’s cross or banned her from eating bacon.
As the decision-making often takes place behind
closed doors, it can be difficult to establish the
facts in child protection cases. Yet it seems there
has been an “element of bigotry” in some of the
reporting of this case, said Kenan Malik in The
Observer. It’s hard to imagine a story about a
Muslim child being fostered temporarily by
practising Christians causing such a furore.
But the debate also highlights our problematic
attitude to notions of race and “culture”. We
like the idea of “cultural matching” in fostering,
but it’s not that straightforward in practice. A
child from a Christian family might be happier
in a liberal Muslim home than in a conservative,
strictly observant Christian one. And if it turned
out that all that was alleged about the foster
families in this case was true, would a Muslim
child thrive any better in their care?
Of course, a foster placement should be sensitive
to a child’s ethnicity, culture and religion, but
there’s no reason why the foster family should
share that background, said Rabina Khan in The
Independent. What really matters is that the child
is safe, and in the right area. Owing to a shortage
of Muslim foster parents, Muslim children are
often placed with non-Muslims: no one has
called this out as scandalous. As for Tower
Hamlets, Ofsted has found its children’s services
to be inadequate. However, the problem is not
Muslim families who offer homes to vulnerable
kids; and given the pressure on the care system,
it helps no one if they’re deterred from doing so.
Talking points
Public schools: are they cheating in exams?
“I am very sorry to be writing
Green in the FT. But even the
with this extremely unwelcome
use of the Pre-U is just another
news,” read a letter that
little way in which the system
plopped through the front
is rigged to help the already
doors of some of Britain’s
privileged. After the Oxford
smartest homes this summer.
entrance exam was abolished
Sent by the headmaster of Eton
– because private schools were
College, the letter went on to
far more likely to prepare their
reveal that owing to a “breach
pupils for it – admissions
of exam security” on the part
tutors began to struggle to
of a senior member of staff
differentiate between thous(since dismissed), boys who’d
ands of straight A* candidates.
recently completed their crucial
So the Pre-U, deemed to be
final-year exams at the
slightly tougher than the
£38,730pa school would have
A-level, was born. Taken by a
their results in economics
tiny minority of sixth formers,
voided. Soon after, it emerged
it marks out a candidate as
that over at Winchester
potentially a little bit stronger
College a similar scandal,
than his or her peers.
Unwelcome news at Eton
relating to art history exams,
was unfolding, leading to 13 pupils’ results also
The cheating scandal has been a long time
being voided, said Guy Adams in the Daily Mail. coming, said The Daily Telegraph. Admittedly,
Now it seems Radley College may also be
it’s partly down to exam boards asking teachers,
involved – and formal investigations have been
rather than universities, to set their papers. But
launched. These will centre on Cambridge
fundamentally, it’s the predictable outcome of
International, the board that sets the Pre-U
schools turning themselves into exam factories.
exam, an alternative to A-levels that is offered
In order to attract the most promising pupils, the
by some private schools. The papers are often set top independent schools have invested vast sums
by teachers at those schools, who may, in some
in state-of-the-art facilities – and, as a result, have
cases, have succumbed to the temptation to pass
had to push their fees sky-high. Now, they (and
“insider information” to their pupils.
their teachers) face intense pressure to achieve
dazzling results to satisfy the parents paying
You might think that if you attend Eton or
those fees. Of course, results are important, but
Winchester, you already have a major advantage schools, and parents, should remember that if
over your peers, both in life and in the race to
children are learning only how to pass exams,
get places at the best universities, said Miranda
they’re not getting much of an education.
Scottish Labour: in “turmoil” once again
“Scottish Labour’s biennial
speculation that she had been
leadership crisis is upon us again,”
hounded out by Corbynistas, but it
said Tom Gordon in The Herald
seems she stood down for personal
(Glasgow). The party has had no
reasons: she said the death of a
fewer than eight leaders in the 18
close friend had made her reassess
years since devolution – and after
her priorities. The final straw, said
the surprise resignation last week
Alex Massie in The Spectator, may
of Kezia Dugdale, it’s poised to
have been the “chuntering” within
choose a ninth. “It promises to be
Labour that Dugdale’s fledgling
an interesting contest. It might
relationship with Jenny Gilruth, an
even matter.” Centrist candidate
SNP MSP, had somehow
Anas Sarwar is set to go head-tocompromised her ability to lead.
head with Richard Leonard, a
Either way, her departure has
former trade union organiser
thrown the Scottish Labour party
standing for the Corbynite wing.
back into “turmoil”.
The winner will take the helm at a
Kezia Dugdale: hounded?
time of tentative recovery for
The danger, said The Guardian, is
Scottish Labour, whose seats hold the key to the
that Dugdale’s exit will “reopen the internal
party securing a Westminster majority. The next
battles at which Labour excels”, playing into the
leader will also get to nominate a representative
hands of the “disciplined” SNP, and leaving “a
to Labour’s ruling body, the NEC, potentially
gap in the political centre for Ruth Davidson’s
tipping its balance in favour of Jeremy Corbyn
Scottish Tories to exploit”. Labour must take
and “taking the handbrake off the Left”.
care, agreed Keith Geddes in The Scotsman. It
stabilised its position in Scotland in the last
It’s surprising in some ways that Dugdale lasted
general election, winning back six seats, but that
as long as two years, said Dani Garavelli in The
had more to do with a backlash against the SNP
Scotsman. She made no secret of the fact that
than a surge in support for Corbyn. “Anyone
she had no great appetite for the job, preferring
who thinks that a simplistic ‘repeat what Jeremy
the role of “sidekick”, which she played to her
says but Scottify it’ strategy will take Labour to
predecessor Jim Murphy. Her departure led to
power is profoundly mistaken.”
NEWS 21
Wit &
Wisdom
“Fairy tales are not about
gauzy frocks and ego
gratification. They are about
child murder, cannibalism,
starvation, deformity,
desperate human creatures
cast into the form of beasts,
or chained by spells, or
immured alive in thorns.”
Hilary Mantel in
The Guardian
“When a writer is born
into a family, the family
is finished.”
Poet Czeslaw Milosz,
quoted in The Mail
on Sunday
“Be regular and orderly
in your life, so that you may
be violent and original in
your work.”
Gustave Flaubert, quoted in
The Daily Telegraph
“I like to imagine the guy
who invented the umbrella
was going to call it the
‘brella’. But he hesitated.”
Andy Field at the Edinburgh
Festival Fringe, quoted in
The Guardian
“I love being a writer.
What I can’t stand is
the paperwork.”
Peter De Vries, quoted on
The Browser
“No matter how dirty
your past is, your future is
still spotless.”
Drake, quoted on Inc.com
“We will not make the
same old mistakes.
We will make our own.”
Henry Kissinger, quoted
in Esquire
“If ignorance is bliss, why
aren’t there more happy
people in the world?”
Stephen Fry, quoted in
The Daily Telegraph
Statistic of the week
Black boys and youths are
nine times as likely as young
white males to be jailed in
England and Wales. In
2015-16, around nine in every
10,000 young black people
were in young offender
institutions, secure training
centres, or secure homes,
compared with one in every
10,000 white youths.
The Times
9 September 2017 THE WEEK
Sport
22 NEWS
Football: is Premier League spending out of control?
Five years have passed since an English club last won
the Champions League, said Barney Ronay in The
Guardian. Across the Premier League, standards
have declined. But in one area, at least, English
football is still “world class”: the transfer market.
Premier League clubs spent a total of £1.43bn on
new players in this summer’s transfer window –
almost twice as much as any other European league.
Transfers are now “in danger of overshadowing the
football”: many clubs seem to be more concerned
with having a “good window” than on where they
finish in the table.
in the Daily Mail. It’s clear, however, that “nobody
is advising” English clubs. How else to explain the
haplessness of Liverpool and Arsenal: both sides
have glaring defensive frailties, yet they only brought
in one defender each. But for all the spending, the
league is still “short of truly global stars”, said Paul
Hayward in The Daily Telegraph. In Europe, three
transfers broke the £100m mark; here, the top
signings were Romelu Lukaku, who joined
Manchester United for £75m, and Álvaro Morata,
whom Chelsea bought for £65m. Both are “highly
accomplished players”, but not up there with the
A-listers of Barcelona or PSG.
“The fees being paid are eye-watering,” said David
Conn in the same paper. And it’s all down to the TV
This window has turned the conventional wisdom
deals – notably with Sky and BT Sport – that kicked
about transfers on its head, said Paul Hirst in The
in last year. As a result, a bonanza of £2.4bn a year
Kyle Walker: worth £50m? Times. We used to think players called the shots, but
is being shared between the league’s 20 clubs. The
it’s now clear that clubs are in control. Look at what
champions, Chelsea, took home £151m last season, more than
happened to Arsenal’s Alexis Sánchez, Southampton’s Virgil van
anyone else – but even Sunderland, who finished bottom, received
Dijk and Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho, who were all desperate
£93m. And that means “most clubs are living within their
to move to a bigger club. None of them got their way because
outsized means”, no matter how “mind-boggling” their spending.
their sides are so rich that they could afford to turn down huge
Take Kyle Walker, who became the world’s most expensive
offers. So what next for those “would-be runaways”, asked Amy
defender when Manchester City signed him for £50m. That may
Lawrence in The Guardian. Simple: they have to “buckle down”.
sound crazy for a player who isn’t even that good at defending,
Their relationships with their clubs may look irreparable. But if
but it’s becoming “the new normal”. Lottery winners “receive
they put in more of those performances that “made them so
counsel on how to spend their new wealth”, said Martin Samuel
coveted”, they will quickly be “welcomed back into the fold”.
Formula One: Hamilton back on top
“For Lewis Hamilton, this felt like the moment that
everything changed,” said Oliver Brown in The
Daily Telegraph. At Monza, Formula One’s “temple
of speed”, he won the Italian Grand Prix on Sunday,
turning the world championship fight “on its head”.
After spending almost all season behind Ferrari’s
Sebastian Vettel, he has pulled off back-to-back
victories and now leads the championship. Hamilton
“stood supreme” all weekend: he took the 69th pole
position of his career, overtaking the record set by
Michael Schumacher, then led the race from start to
finish. It was “a lonely affair” for Vettel, who came
a distant third, behind Hamilton’s Mercedes
teammate Valteri Bottas, and never looked like
challenging the pair.
Hamilton’s heroics in the qualifying round turned
the Grand Prix into a “formality”. He secured pole
with one of the finest laps of his career: “in a final,
nerve-jangling dart, he beat everyone else by 1.1
seconds”. It confirmed that Hamilton has been
“rejuvenated” since he won July’s British Grand
Prix. Finally, he seems to have “found equilibrium in
his life” – achieving, in his own words, “a good
balance of work time and play time”. And unlike last
season, when he had a fractious relationship with his
then-teammate Nico Rosberg, Hamilton is on much
better terms with Bottas. But we shouldn’t make too
much of this victory, said Andrew Benson on BBC
Lewis Hamilton: “supreme” Sport online. Mercedes were always likely to win at
Monza. After all, their car thrives on that kind of
high-speed track – whereas the Ferrari does much better on
Truth be told, the race itself was something of “a dirge”, said
slower courses. Hamilton may be in the lead, but that doesn’t
Jonathan McEvoy in the Daily Mail. And that’s because
mean he has developed “unstoppable momentum”.
The new rule that’s changing rugby
Sporting headlines
said Brian Moore in The Daily
Just one week into the
Telegraph: the scrum and the
Premiership season, and rugby’s
ruck. Having come into effect in
new laws already appear to
the northern hemisphere last
have transformed the sport, said
month, the rules will be adoptOwen Slot in The Times. The
ed in the south from January.
opening weekend saw the
The tackle law, in particular –
introduction of rules designed to
tacklers can now only play the
“encourage attacking play”. But
ball from their own side of the
no one could have anticipated
ruck, rather than the opposition
such an immediate impact: in
Saracens: scored nine tries
side – is making a real differ“a feast of scoring”, there were
ence. That ensures momentum
50 tries across the league’s six
is with the attacking team, and makes sides
matches – smashing the previous record for an
“work harder” in defence to slow down the ball.
opening weekend, of 36 tries. In their 55-24 win
Bath’s 27-23 win at Leicester showed how this
over Northampton, Saracens scored nine tries;
law has “changed outlooks”, said Mick Cleary in
there were 12 in Wasps’ 50-35 win over Sale.
the same paper: the game exhibited the
The “try spree” hasn’t just been caused by the
“breathless” rugby more often associated with
new rules, though: it’s also proof of English
southern hemisphere sides. Finally, the days of
teams’ “growing attacking intent”.
The new laws address two areas of the game,
“safety-first” Premiership rugby are over.
Football In World Cup
qualifiers, England beat
Slovakia 2-1. Northern Ireland
won their fifth match in a
row, beating the Czech
Republic 2-0. Wales rose to
second in their group after
beating Moldova 2-0.
Scotland beat Malta 2-0.
Cricket Notts Outlaws beat
Birmingham Bears by 22 runs
to win the T20 Blast for the
first time.
Tennis In her first Grand
Slam since returning from a
15-month doping ban, Maria
Sharapova was knocked out
of the US Open in the fourth
round by Anastasija
Sevastova.
THE WEEK 9 September 2017
24
LETTERS
Pick of the week’s correspondence
Our dreadful jails
German PoWs
To The Guardian
The most terrible fact to
emerge from Phil Wheatley’s
attempt to sound the alarm
over the appalling state of
our prisons is that the rise in
the prison population is due
to “the courts’, particularly
the crown courts’, increasing
use of custody versus noncustodial disposals, and the
trend towards longer
sentences”. Bluntly put, we
have a judiciary in the criminal
courts which believes, against
all the evidence of the cases
which come before it, that
prison works.
There were 344 deaths in
prisons in the 12 months to
March 2017, up 54 from the
previous year – 19% overall,
with self-inflicted deaths up
11%, and incidents of selfharm up 24%. The Ministry of
Justice’s figures show that twothirds of the rise in the prison
population between 1993 and
2012 has been driven by
greater use of long custodial
sentences. The average
sentence is now nearly four
months longer than it was 20
years ago, at 15.9 months. Yet
isolating people in overcrowded, drug-ravaged prisons
does nothing to reduce
reoffending rates. It adds
further damage to chaotic lives.
If this Government was
genuinely committed to prison
reform it would take active
steps to promote non-custodial
alternatives to prison, and
intervene in relation to current
sentencing practice. It chooses
instead to do nothing, giving
the judiciary a licence to carry
on sentencing prisoners to
pointless time in factories of
suicide and self-harm.
Nick Moss, London
Lightweight MPs
To The Times
Clare Foges is right that there
is nothing new about concerns
over the quality of our
politicians. R.B. McCallum
and Alison Readman’s The
British General Election of
1945 noted complaints about
the diminishing quality of MPs
for “the last 15 years” – and
that was for a House of
Commons that contained
Churchill, Attlee and Bevan.
Foges complains of MPs
merely parroting stock phrases.
But recall the complaint about
To The Times
Further to your report “The other great escape – from Welsh
PoW camp by Germans”, only one German PoW
successfully returned home after escaping from Britain or
Commonwealth countries. This was the pilot Franz von
Werra, who, after numerous attempts to escape in Britain,
managed to escape from Canada in January 1941, crossing
the frozen Saint Lawrence river to the neutral United States.
He had been shot down over Kent on 5 September 1940. His
story is told in a bestselling book by my father James Leasor,
The One that Got Away (1956), which was made into a film
starring Hardy Krüger.
Stuart Leasor, London
To The Times
In March 1945 my father, John Lee, was a special police
constable in the Bridgend area. Late one night he was
walking back to the hostel where he was based, near the
village of Pencoed, when he met a farmer he knew who had
clearly had a drink too many. The farmer whispered that he
had heard some foreign talk in the field on the other side of
the hedge. My father suggested it could have been a cow but
the farmer was insistent, so my father skirted the field to
find the gate. He switched on his torch and announced
himself, only to find three German officers shivering with
cold, who just wanted to surrender and get themselves back
into the warm.
Peter H. Lee, Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire
MPs who “represented not
their country but themselves,
and always kept together in a
close and undivided phalanx,
impenetrable either by shame
or honour, voting always the
same way, and saying always
the same things”. That dates
from 1698. Much tougher than
complaining about the poor
quality of contemporary
politicians would be to find
any article, from any era, in
which those in the past
celebrated the high quality of
those who governed them.
The truth is that Parliament
has always contained a mix of
the substantial and the lightweight; the exceptional have
long mixed with the mediocre,
along with a number of bores,
chancers, shysters, drunks and
dimwits. It is, after all, a
representative body.
Philip Cowley, professor of
politics, Queen Mary
University of London
Erring soothsayers
To the Financial Times
In September, the British
Museum will launch an
exhibition devoted to the
Scythians, an ancient Siberian
tribe notable for their treatment
of inaccurate forecasters,
analysts and the like.
According to Herodotus,
erring soothsayers were
clapped in irons and laid in
bracken-filled oxcarts, which
were then set alight. Whether
this improved the quality of
forecasts is not known: most
likely it did, at least, reduce the
quantity of speculative and
baseless prediction.
Lessons here for the City,
the Bank of England and the
Treasury. Let no institution
publish forecasts that are not
accompanied by a rigorous
assessment of its record. The
greater the uncertainty, the
greater the need to winnow the
signal from the noise.
Geoffrey Skipper, Vienna,
Austria
decision-making – a key factor
in raising productivity. It is no
coincidence that the UK’s
investment and productivity
rates lag so far behind those of
our major European
competitors, where corporate
governance does not give
shareholders absolute primacy.
Properly reforming the UK
system – amending directors’
duties in company law to
promote the long-term
success of the company,
putting elected workers on
boards, and applying the
rules to private as well as listed
companies – is therefore not
just about creating bettermanaged companies. It will
improve long-term economic
performance. The Government
should think again.
Michael Jacobs, Institute
for Public Policy Research
Commission on Economic
Justice
What maketh a man?
To The Guardian
My father fought in the First
World War. They were being
drilled for the arrival of a
dignitary. “Officers will shout
Hoo-rah”, they were
instructed. “Men will shout
Hoo-ray”.
John Branfield, Truro,
Cornwall
Big boys’ toys
To The Sunday Times
Your article about David
Beckham taking a week to
build a Lego castle reminds me
of the man who finished a
jigsaw in six months and was
amazed with himself as the box
had said “2 to 4 years”.
Roger Foord, Chorleywood,
Hertfordshire
Put people before profit
To The Times
The present model of corporate
governance in Britain is
outdated. With equities now
owned and traded largely for
short-term profit-taking, and
employees being most
businesses’ key asset, it is no
longer appropriate for
companies to be accountable
only to the interests of their
shareholders. That generates
excessive pressure for shortterm returns and a failure to
engage employees properly in
“We hope to offer less
privileged children the sort
of first-class cheating you get
in the private sector”
© MATT/THE SUNDAY TELEGRAPH
● Letters have been edited
THE WEEK 9 September 2017
ARTS
Review of reviews: Books
Book of the week
Charles Darwin
by A.N. Wilson
John Murray 448pp £25
The Week bookshop £22 (incl. p&p)
In this “deliberately provocative”
biography, A.N. Wilson sets out to
debunk the image of Charles Darwin as
a “pre-eminent Victorian”, said Daisy
Goodwin in The Times. Wilson claims
that the naturalist, far from being a
towering genius, was a ruthless
egomaniac driven by the desire to be
seen as a “great man of science”. To this end, he stole other
people’s discoveries and tailored his ideas to suit the “ethos” of
his class: Darwinism was less an objective theory than a “belief
system” designed to convince “the Victorian well-to-do” that
their success in life was fully deserved. Not surprisingly, the book
has “stirred up a storm of criticism”, with some claiming that
Wilson lacks the expertise to challenge Darwin’s theories. Yet
however “disputable” his scientific judgements, Wilson is a firstrate biographer, and he does an admirable job of placing Darwin
“in the context of his time”.
Many of Wilson’s claims are not “remotely new”, said Kathryn
Hughes in The Guardian. It is well known that Darwin drew on
the efforts of others, just as it has been acknowledged for decades
27
that his version of nature “bears a
striking resemblance to mid-Victorian
Britain”. Where Wilson goes further is
in suggesting that Darwin was also a
“proto-eugenicist” who may have been
“secretly sympathetic to slavery”. Yet
there is simply “no evidence” for this
“egregious slur”, beyond the fact that
Darwin was “an Englishman with the
usual prejudices of his time”. Wilson’s
book is subtitled Victorian Mythmaker,
but he “might have more accurately
called it J’Accuse”.
This “hugely enjoyable” biography
is written with a “novelist’s imaginative
touch”, said Robert Douglas-Fairhurst
in The Spectator. Wilson is particularly
good on his subject’s eccentricities – the fact that he called his wife
“Mammy”, for example, or that his study “included a curtainedoff chamber pot for gastric emergencies”. However, his book will
be “read in certain scientific circles to the background noise of
teeth being ground and knives being sharpened”. And rightly so,
said Adrian Woolfson in the London Evening Standard, because
Wilson’s handling of evolutionary theory is “mischievous and
ultimately misleading”. With a few modifications, Darwin’s
theories have stood the test of time, so to claim that “Darwinism
has been supplanted by scientific evidence” is simply “incorrect”.
Wilson may be a “magnificent social biographer”, but here,
unfortunately, he has been “consumed by the alluring quicksand
of hubris and scientific ignorance”.
Novel of the week
Every Third Thought
The Golden House
by Robert McCrum
Picador 256pp £14.99
by Salman Rushdie
Jonathan Cape 384pp £18.99
The Week bookshop £12.99
The Week bookshop £16.99
In Salman Rushdie’s latest novel, Nero Golden,
the protagonist, arrives in New York “on the day
of Obama’s inauguration in 2009”, said Jerome
Boyd Maunsell in the London Evening Standard.
An “obscenely wealthy” property developer with
a shadowy past in India, Nero takes up residence
in Greenwich Village along with his three talented but troubled children, who,
like him, have “preposterous” Roman and Greek names – Petronius, Lucius
Apuleius and Dionysus. Like F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Jay Gatsby, Nero is soon
fuelling “endless rumours” among his neighbours, one of whom – an aspiring
film-maker called René – is the novel’s narrator. The Golden House,
“essentially” a tragedy, is a novel full of “Dickensian exuberance” – though it
falls short of Rushdie’s “best work”.
Rushdie’s portrait of the Golden family is “intelligent and darkly funny”, said
Robert Douglas-Fairhurst in The Times. Alas, two-thirds of the way through the
novel he introduces a character who comes straight out of a comic book – the
green-haired Joker from the Batman stories – and has him decide to “run for
president”. This cackling “lord of misrule” is intended to be a caricature of
Donald Trump, but the passages featuring him read “less like satire than a howl
of despair”, and turn what might have been one of Rushdie’s “finest novels”
into a “strangely lopsided work”. On the contrary, said Alex Clark in The
Guardian: Rushdie (pictured) has always been an “impish myth-manipulator”
who refuses to accept that the “lives of the emperors can’t be blended with film
noir, popular culture and crime caper”. With this “complex and witty fable”, he
once again proves that they can.
Ever since suffering a near-fatal stroke in his
early 40s, Robert McCrum has lived “in the
shadow of death”, said Wendy Moore in the
Literary Review. Now in his 60s, McCrum has
penned a “meditation on mortality”, its title
taken from Prospero’s line in The Tempest:
“Every third thought shall be my grave.” A
rumination “leavened by conversations with
doctors, writers and patients”, this is a “slender”
but “agreeable” work; reading it is “like going
on a country ramble with an exquisitely
knowledgeable yet modest friend”.
“I opened this book with a mixture of
curiosity and prickly hostility,” said Andrew
Marr in The Mail on Sunday, not because I
dislike its author, but because, temperamentally,
we are opposites: McCrum is “an English
pessimist”, whereas I am an “unbelieving
Scottish Presbyterian optimist”. And yet, having
steeled myself for “200 pages of dark grey, with
the odd splash of black”, I finished it wearing a
“silly grin”. This memento mori imparts a “vivid
understanding of the glory of being alive”.
Although “terrifying” and “unflinching”, Every
Third Thought is also “urgently life-affirming”.
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
.
9 September 2017 THE WEEK
Theatre
Hamlet
Playwright:
William Shakespeare
Director: Kenneth Branagh
Jerwood Vanbrugh Theatre,
Rada,
Malet Street, London WC1
Until 23 September
(Tickets already
allocated via ballot)
Running time:
3hrs (including interval)
★★★
Theatre
Lions and Tigers
Playwright: Tanika Gupta
Director: Pooja Ghai
Sam Wanamaker
Playhouse,
Shakespeare’s Globe
21 New Globe Walk,
London SE1
(020-7401 9919)
Until 16 September
Running time:
2hrs 30mins
(including interval)
★★★
Drama
The “hype has been huge” for
persuasive head of state and
this most exclusive of Hamlets,
then slowly reveals his moral
said Ann Treneman in The
turpitude”. I have my
Times. The production is a fundreservations, though, about the
raiser for Rada, directed by one
decision to turn Hamlet’s friend
alumnus (its current president,
Horatio into Horatia. Although
Kenneth Branagh) and starring
excellently played by Caroline
another – Tom Hiddleston (of
Martin, I started “to wonder if
The Night Manager fame). But
their spiritual closeness implied
since the production in Rada’s
sexual intimacy”.
160-seat theatre is on for only
What most distinguishes this
three weeks, tickets are nigh-on
from other recent Hamlets is its
impossible to get; theatre critics
“sense of humour”, said Nataliia
have had to take their chances in
Zhuk in The Daily Telegraph.
the public ballot alongside everyThere are lots of wry comic
one else. What a shame that only
touches: in the prince’s “words,
a few thousand people will get to
words, words” exchange with
see this “terrific” show in which
Polonius, for instance, we see he’s
Hiddleston “makes the role
reading Matt Haig’s Reasons to
Hiddleston: magnetic
completely his own”. This prince
Stay Alive. However, I wasn’t
is “emotional, magnetic, canny, and often frolicentirely convinced by Hiddleston: too often he
some” – and a notably impressive swordsman.
seemed to be giving us “beautifully acted words”
An accomplished Shakespearean actor,
rather than lived “thoughts and feelings”. No
Hiddleston’s Coriolanus was “marked by a
doubt his performance will grow richer in time –
reckless impetuosity” and his Cassio (in Othello) the more’s the pity so few will get to see it.
by a “quiet grace”, said Michael Billington in
The Guardian. And both elements are present
The week’s other opening
in this clear, swift-moving, modern-dress
Late Company Trafalgar Studios, 14 Whitehall,
production. Hiddleston’s key quality here is
London SW1 (0844-871 7632). Until 16 Sept
“his ability to combine a sweet sadness with an
This “pocket-sized, sucker punch” of a play by
incandescent fury”. But the show doesn’t just
the young Canadian writer Jordan Tannahill,
which explores teenage bullying and suicide, is
belong to Hiddleston: Branagh also draws subtle
“unapologetically conventional but utterly
performances from other members of the cast.
transfixing” (Daily Telegraph).
The pick of them is Nicholas Farrell, whose
Claudius starts as a “wholly plausible,
There’s no shortage of drama
most intriguing is a woman
about the bloody effects of
named Bimala, a former political
Partition, said Paul Taylor in
prisoner who “grooms” young
The Independent. So all credit
men like Dinesh to her cause and
to Tanika Gupta, whose
sarcastically mocks the nonpowerful and “impressive” new
violence of Gandhi, said Ann
play marks the 70th anniversary
Treneman in The Times. There’s
by giving us a “fresh and
a danger, of course, that such a
unexpected angle” on the wider
play ends up as a sort of “3D
struggle for Indian independence.
history lesson”, with so much
In Lions and Tigers, Gupta takes
to cram in. Gupta neatly avoids
us back to the early 1930s to tell
doing so, creating an evocative,
the true story of her great uncle
cracking drama instead.
Dinesh, a young Bengali
I can’t agree, I’m afraid, said
revolutionary (or terrorist, in the
Rupert Hawksley in The Daily
eyes of the colonial authorities)
Telegraph. Too much of the play
who was sent to Calcutta, along
is taken up with often rather
with two young comrades, to
clunky political debate. “Far
shoot dead the brutal British
the most moving moments”
Shubham Saraf: “compelling”
inspector-general of prisons.
are when Dinesh is alone on the
Dinesh, aged just 19, survived his would-be
“sparse, claustrophobic” stage, reading aloud
suicide mission, but was imprisoned and later
his prison letters. The play is a noble effort, but
hanged. It is the series of letters that he wrote
it is “those letters – full of love, humour and
from prison that forms the spine of Gupta’s
anger – that stay with you”.
play, which she skilfully interweaves with family
scenes – along with scenes involving key figures
CD of the week
such as Nehru and Gandhi – to create this
Newton Faulkner: Hit the Ground Running
“warm, humorous, stirring and deeply sad” play.
Battenberg Records £9.99
Newcomer Shubham Saraf is highly likeable
Faulkner is a “revelation” on this self-produced
and “compelling” as the young revolutionary,
album that sees him swap folk for “soulful pop”,
said Corrie Tan in The Guardian – “all boyish
and “run amok with everything from synths and
innocence and idealism, hopelessly ignorant of
strings to quirky percussion. Vocally, he has
his family’s pain, choosing Mother India” over
never sounded stronger” (Sunday Times).
his own life. Of the other figures in the piece, the
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 9 September 2017
© JOHAN PERSSON; MARK BRENNER
28 ARTS
Film
The Limehouse
Golem
Dir: Juan Carlos Medina
1hr 49mins (15)
An exuberant slice of
Victorian melodrama
★★★
Una
Dir: Benedict Andrews
1hr 34mins (15)
Stilted child-abuse drama
with Rooney Mara
★★
Patti Cake$
Dir: Geremy Jasper
1hr 49mins (15)
Entertaining rags
to riches fable
★★★
ARTS 29
If you like “camped-up Victorian excess”, The
Limehouse Golem will be right up your street, said
Brian Viner in the Daily Mail. Adapted from a novel
by Peter Ackroyd, this lurid melodrama stars Bill
Nighy as a sharp-witted detective investigating a
series of grisly murders in the fleshpots of East
London. Among the suspects are one Karl Marx, and
an extravagantly seedy music-hall star named Dan
Leno (Douglas Booth). Woven into the story is the
plight of an angelic-looking woman (Olivia Cooke)
accused of poisoning her husband. But is she a
damsel in distress or a femme fatale? Director Juan
Carlos Medina excels in his exuberant depiction of Victorian music-hall life, said Jonathan Pile in
Empire. What lets the film down is the almost “cartoonish” violence, which is unnecessarily grisly.
But that’s precisely what makes The Limehouse Golem such fun, said Geoffrey Macnab in The
Independent. One thing you can’t accuse it of being is “one of those buttoned-up British costume
dramas”. It’s silly, utterly over the top, and highly entertaining.
Una is a psychological drama about a woman who,
having been sexually abused by a man when she was
12, tracks him down 15 years later and confronts
him. Adapted from the play Blackbird by David
Harrower, Benedict Andrews’ feature debut is
disquieting and thought-provoking but, needless to
say, a little short on laughs, said Deborah Ross in
The Spectator. The two leads bring “a controlled
intensity” and even a “twisted” chemistry to their
roles, which is deeply disturbing, said Peter
Bradshaw in The Guardian. Rooney Mara plays the
troubled 27-year-old, who turns up at the factory
where Ray (Ben Mendelsohn), her erstwhile abuser, now works. He wants to forget the past – but
should he be allowed to? Some plays adapt easily for the screen, but this isn’t one of them, said Olly
Richards in Empire. The cast list is sparse and there are silences that must have been more powerful
in the theatre. Here, they just seem mannered. It’s a film to see for “the performances, which are
faultless”, but as a movie Una ultimately doesn’t work.
Whether rap is your thing – and I confess “it’s not
mine” – there’s much to enjoy in this exhilarating
comedy drama, said Brian Viner in the Daily Mail.
Patti Cake$ whisks us away to the grim suburbs of
New Jersey, where Patricia (Danielle Macdonald), a
young karaoke bar waitress, dreams of being a hiphop star. Her obstacles include an alcoholic mother
and her own appearance – she’s overweight,
unhealthy-looking... and white. But she does have an
amazing gift for improvising filthy rhyming patter.
Does she realise her ambitions and make it big? Of
course she does, said Geoffrey Macnab in The
Independent. Patti Cake$ is disguised as a “dirty, realist urban drama”, but underneath it’s as
“maudlin and manipulative as any Walt Disney fable”. What saves it is a “stonking” performance
from Macdonald, said Tim Robey in The Daily Telegraph. The storyline is utterly predictable, but
it’s hard not to get caught up in the emotion. This is an “unashamedly entertaining” fairy story.
Lady of the Flies? William Golding’s classic gets an all-female reboot
William Golding must be turning in his grave, said
as a critique of patriarchal society. Yet anyone who
James Wilkinson in the Daily Mail. Last week,
suggests women are fundamentally nicer than men
Warner Bros. unveiled plans to make a new film
clearly hasn’t seen films such as Mean Girls and
adaptation of his classic 1954 novel Lord of the
Heathers, said Erin Gloria Ryan on The Daily Beast.
Flies, with one controversial adjustment. The main
Women can be just as beastly as men, though it
characters will be girls instead of boys. According to
may be “in a different way”.
screenwriter Scott McGehee, the aim is to “help
Warner Bros. isn’t motivated by a passion for
people see the story anew”. But many
gender equality, said Emine Saner in The Observer.
commentators took to Twitter to express their
It’s all about the money. In the past two years,
disapproval, arguing that the story is supposed to
“female-led” movies have outperformed those
be an exploration of “toxic masculinity”.
with mainly male protagonists at the box office by
In the book, a group of schoolboys is marooned
11% on average, and the suits at the studios have
on a desert island after a plane crash, leading to a
taken note. Hence the trend for gender-reversing
power struggle that ultimately turns bloody. Yet if
remakes. Last year we had an all-female
the lead characters are female would this even
Ghostbusters. And coming shortly is a female
happen? One Twitter user suggested girls would
version of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, titled Nasty
The 1963 film of the book
“set aside their differences”, another that they’d
Women, and a new take on the 1984 comedy
keep “apologising to each other” until “everyone’s dead”. The
Splash. This time round, the love interest isn’t a beautiful
author himself revealed in a 1993 interview that he wrote the book
mermaid, but a fishy-tailed Channing Tatum as a hunky merman.
9 September 2017 THE WEEK
Art
30 ARTS
Exhibition of the week Seurat to Riley
Compton Verney, Warwickshsire (01926-645500, www.comptonverney.org.uk). Until 1 October
Normally, a visit to a country
early 1960s with works that
house might seem a “pretty
brought a “heightened wattage”
sedate prospect”, said Rachel
to abstract painting. Before long
Campbell-Johnston in The Times.
– and much to her chagrin –
But call in at the current
Riley’s style “quickly swept not
exhibition at Compton Verney,
just the art world, but also the
the 18th century mansion turned
places where people lived and
art gallery in Warwickshire, and
shopped”. Designs based on her
you will have a “rather livelier
work appeared on everything
sort of trip”. Everywhere you
from dresses to wallpaper. Riley
look, the walls are covered with
is the “unquestioned star” of
the “spots, dots and spirals,
this show: stand in front of her
squiggles and wriggles, waves,
1963 painting Fall – a work
prisms and stripes” that
consisting of a complex pattern
characterised op art – an artistic
of black lines on a white
style popular in the 1960s that
background – and the world will
used geometrical forms to create
begin to “quiver and dissolve”
surprising and often disorienaround you. Her works
tating optical effects. The show
“dominate” most of the galleries
charts the development of optical
here – which, sadly, makes the
illusion in art from the 19th
rest of the paintings on show feel
century to the present day, with
dull by comparison.
a particular focus on the op art
movement’s mid-century heyday.
Nevertheless, there are many
It takes us from the pioneering
“moments of pure delight”,
pointillist paintings of the postsaid Waldemar Januszczak in
impressionist Georges Seurat,
The Sunday Times. Highlights
through to the optical experiments
include some “fabulous”
of Victor Vasarely and Bridget
paintings by the overlooked
Riley, right up to an immersive
Bridget Riley, the “unquestioned star” of the show: Achaean (1981) “op art pioneer” Peter Sedgley;
mural by German artist Lothar
work by the “mighty American
Götz, specially commissioned for the show. At best, it is a
geometrist” Josef Albers; and a typically puzzling picture of geese
“funfair” of an exhibition that will leave your head spinning.
by M.C. Escher. What the exhibition communicates particularly
well is the “excellently uncomplicated” appeal of op art; its sheer
Riley was the central figure of the op art movement, said Martin
visual sparkle, unencumbered by conceptual flimflam, is “the
Gayford in The Spectator. She developed her dazzling style from
artistic equivalent of having an ice cream on a sunny day”.
closely studying Seurat’s use of colour, and shot to fame in the
What a great show.
Where to buy…
Barney Bubbles
at Rob Tufnell
In the late 1970s, a handful of graphic
designers began creating record sleeves
that were just as striking as the music
they contained – and in most
instances, a lot more enduring than
the fine art of the era. Although by
no means the most famous of them,
London-based designer Barney
Bubbles (né Colin Fulcher) was
certainly one of the most creative,
designing unforgettable imagery for
musicians including Ian Dury, Elvis
Costello and Billy Bragg which drew
on sources as disparate as Russian
constructivism, abstract expressionism
and the covers of Penguin paperbacks.
This fascinating show presents a
wealth of Bubbles’s work from the
era, dating from his beginnings as a
product designer in the 1960s to his
suicide in 1983, bringing together
THE WEEK 9 September 2017
Inner sleeve artwork for Elvis Costello’s
This Years Model
concert posters, album art,
memorabilia, and even furniture. All
this is accompanied by the sound of
some of the best records of the era,
as captured in the classic music videos
Bubbles directed.
139 Lambeth Walk, London SE11
(contact mail@robtufnell.com for
information). Until 23 September.
The original, tentative
sketches of Winniethe-Pooh have been
published for the
first time, says Alison
Flood in The
Guardian. A new
book, The Art of
Winnie-the-Pooh,
brings together
80 previously
unseen images by
the illustrator
E.H. Shepard, who
collaborated with
A.A. Milne on the children’s books. These
include the first drawings of Pooh Bear, found
in Shepard’s archive some 30 years after his
death in 1976 – including a picture of the bear
drawn using just a few lines of soft pencil,
holding what was surely to become a jar of
honey. The character was originally inspired by
Milne’s son Christopher Robin’s toy bear, but
both the author and the illustrator deemed it
too gruff-looking and insufficiently cuddly. So
Shepard instead based the bear on his son
Graham’s teddy, named Growler. Unfortunately
Growler himself did not survive, said The Daily
Telegraph: it was savaged by a neighbour’s dog
in the 1930s. “Just don’t tell the children.”
© TATE, LONDON; COURTESY OF PAUL GORMAN, ESTATE OF BARNEY BUBBLES;
E.H. SHEPARD REPRODUCED WITH PERMISSION OF CURTIS BROWN GROUP LTD LONDON ON BEHALF OF THE SHEPARD TRUST
A bear of very little cuddliness
The Week reviews an
exhibition in a private gallery
PROPERTY
MARKET REPORT
Advertisement feature
Growing families pay a price premium
New research by Strutt & Parker identifies the most expensive cities for growing families and reveals
why three-bedroom houses are the UK’s most sought-after property.
If you thought the days of strong
competition for properties might be
fading, consider the rise and rise of the
three-bedroom house. With increased
demand and limited supply, these
family homes are a property ‘sweet spot’
that attracts interest from committed
buyers, even at times when the rest of the
housing market is relatively static.
The most active purchasers are
parents with growing families. Having
sold flats that suited their lifestyle in
their twenties, they are looking for
three-bedroom houses with a garden
for energetic children. Their numbers
have been increased by Help To Buy, a
government-backed scheme that has
mostly assisted younger purchasers.
Over 50% of these property transactions
have been of three-bedroom homes.
This alone would be enough to create
an active market. But young buyers
also face competition from equity-rich
downsizers, who typically target threebedroom homes near their adult children.
As a result, growing families face
paying a premium if they want to move
into a larger property. Analysis by Strutt
& Parker (shown right) reveals the price
differential between a two-bedroom flat
and a three-bedroom house in cities
outside of London. St Albans tops the list
as the most expensive location with an
average cost of £185,640.
‘The largest price gaps are where
competition for three-bedroom houses is
highest,’ explains Stephanie McMahon,
Head of Research at Strutt & Parker. ‘The
most expensive cities generally reflect
markets that are popular with growing
families. Four of the top five are in the
southeast commuter belt, so this trend is
most acute for those who have relocated
from London.’
All the cities share characteristics that
appeal to growing families. ‘These are
attractive locations with good schools
and transport links,’ explains Guy
Robinson, Head of Residential at Strutt
& Parker. ‘They offer a lifestyle that many
young parents aspire to.’
The house building industry is slowly
beginning to meet the demand for
family homes. Government figures show
that in 2006 just 28% of new homes had
three bedrooms, but by 2016 this had
risen to 36%.
So, will we one day have enough houses
to meet the requirements of modern
family life? Don’t bank on it.
‘There will always be people stepping
up or scaling down, depending on
personal and family needs,’ says Stephanie
McMahon. ‘The three-bedroom house is
where those two sets of buyers meet, so
demand will remain strong.’
If you are in that position now, seeking
a three-bedroom home as the next step
West Lavant, Chichester, West Sussex
Guide Price £1,000,000
A charming three-bedroom period ‘Brick and Flint’ cottage
with great character, set in substantial gardens and grounds at
the foot of the South Downs National Park.
for your family, get your elbows out
because you’re likely to be facing a lot of
competition.
Most expensive cities for a
growing family
City
1.
Cost difference of
moving from 2-bed
flat to 3-bed house
St Albans
£185,640
2. Winchester
£160,108
3. Chichester
£142,157
4. Brighton & Hove
£122,215
5. Ely
£107,047
6. Wells
£104,809
7.
£102,338
Salisbury
8. Cambridge
£98,698
9. Canterbury
£87,356
10. Hereford
£85,450
For each city the data provided is at Local
Authority geography. Figures based on the
average price of a two-bedroom flat and a
three-bedroom house July 2015 – June 2016.
Data provided by Rightmove. Analysis by
Strutt & Parker.
Guion Road, London SW6
Guide Price £2,050,000
An attractive, bright and spacious three-storey Victorian family
house, featuring a pretty garden. The property is located on a
popular residential street in the heart of Parsons Green.
To find out more about current market trends, visit
struttandparker.com/the-residential, or to view a range of three-bedroom
properties across the UK, visit struttandparker.com
Brought to you by
The List
33
Best books… Elizabeth Strout
The Pulitzer-winning author Elizabeth Strout selects six favourite books.
Her new book, a collection of interconnected short stories titled Anything
is Possible, is available from Viking at £12.99.
No Longer Human by
Osamu Dazai, 1948 (out of
print). This book just blew me
away because of its voice. It’s
an account of a man in Japan
whose sense of alienation is so
profound he attempts suicide.
Others might consider the
book relentlessly grim, but I
love it because that voice is so
strong and so pure.
Mrs Dalloway by Virginia
Woolf, 1925 (Vintage £7.99).
I have re-read this book every
few years since my 20s, and
it seems different each time.
Clarissa Dalloway – deciding
to get the flowers herself,
as the book opens – seemed
in my youth to be a lovely
woman. As I grew older,
I saw the sadness that beats
in her heart.
Another Country by James
Baldwin, 1962 (Penguin
£9.99). Many years ago, when
I first read Baldwin’s novel
about a doomed Greenwich
Village jazz drummer, I
thought, “Wow, I can’t
believe it. The narrator is so
fierce and strong, and the
book pulsates with such
honesty. The language!”
For Whom the Bell Tolls by
Ernest Hemingway, 1940
(Cornerstone £7.99). I have
loved Hemingway’s Spanish
Civil War epic since I was 17,
and each time I come back to
it, it surprises me.
Hateship, Friendship,
Courtship, Loveship,
Marriage by Alice Munro,
2001 (Vintage £9.99). Munro
brings such authority to the
page that I will follow her
anywhere. And I’m never
disappointed. In the title story,
she moves the point of view
with such ease all around a
small Canadian prairie town.
Slaughterhouse-Five by
Kurt Vonnegut, 1969
(Vintage £8.99). I came to this
book later in life. Among
other things, it is the loveliest,
most delicate account of
post-traumatic stress I’ve ever
read – like the water that
simply runs from the eyes of
Billy Pilgrim.
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
Earth Sky: Richard Long at Houghton,
Houghton Hall, Norfolk (01485-528569).
A “remarkable” exhibition of the British artist’s
earthy sculptures, presented in the grand setting
of Houghton Hall (Daily Telegraph). Ends
26 October.
Much Ado About Nothing at the Globe
Theatre, London SE1 (020-7401 9919). This
Mexican Revolution-set production of
Shakespeare’s comedy boasts “sparkling” leads
and “exuberant” musical numbers (Sunday
Times). Ends 15 October.
Book now
Barrie Rutter ends his tenure as artistic director
of Northern Broadsides with For Love or
Money, Blake Morrison’s adaptation of a
scurrilous 18th century French comedy. 15-23
September at the Viaduct Theatre in Halifax;
then touring (www.northern-broadsides.co.uk).
Tickets are on sale for the 2017 Cheltenham
Literature Festival. This year’s theme is British
identity, with the roster including writers and
Programmes
The Sky At Night –
Cassini: The Gamechanger
A fascinating look at the
astonishing successes of
the Cassini space probe,
which discovered the
conditions for life on one of
Saturn’s moons. Sun 10 Sept,
BBC4 22:00 (30mins).
Liar Engrossing drama in
which a newly courting
couple have their lives turned
upside down by a series of
lies and accusations. With
Joanne Froggatt and Ioan
Gruffudd. Mon 11 Sept, ITV1
21:00 (60mins).
How to Stay Young Can the
ageing process be reversed?
This entertaining
documentary, with Angela
Rippon, puts scientists to work
on a group of middle-aged
volunteers. Wed 13 Sept,
BBC1 21:00 (60mins).
The Other One In this
engaging comedy, a woman
discovers she has a sister
with the same name but a
diametrically opposed
character. With Siobhan
Finneran. Wed 13 Sept, BBC2
22:00 (30mins).
Films
Dogtooth (2009) Yorgos
Lanthimos’s surreal black
comedy about parents who
impose a bizarrely restrictive
home life on their children,
telling them if they leave
they’ll be eaten by cats. Sun
10 Sept, Film4 24:00 (110mins).
United 93 (2006) A tense and
The “exuberant” Much Ado About Nothing
journalists from Rod Liddle to Sabrina
Mahfouz. Some celebrity glitter will be added by
1960s cultural icon Twiggy, who will be
chatting to Emma Freud. 6-15 October (www.
cheltenhamfestivals.com). 9
Just out in paperback
Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen (Simon &
Schuster £9.99). The legendary rock star is
“a thoughtful analyst” of his career, and there’s
a “fearlessness” to his prose (Sunday Times).
The Archers: what happened last week
© TRISTAM KENTON
Television
When Roy’s date, Kit, leaves the cricket match without saying goodbye, Lexi commiserates with
him. She would never treat anyone like that. Adam confesses to Ian that he saw Lilian kissing Matt
goodbye at Grey Gables. In the company of Keira, Oliver finds himself laughing for the first time
since Caroline died. Later he opens up to Emma about how hard he is finding everything, and is
ashamed to find himself on the brink of tears. Celebrating the renewed arable contract for Home
Farm, Justin sings Lilian’s praises, much to Adam’s discomfort. To speed up the fermentation
process, Susan leaves her kefir samples out of the fridge. Disaster – they explode all over the
kitchen. Adam confronts Lilian about Matt. She downplays the incident and Adam agrees not to
tell Justin. Kirsty invites Lexi to a local author’s book launch, and then, playing matchmaker, leaves
her with Roy. Roy makes clear he knows she’s with Constantin but Lexi corrects him: what gave
him that idea? Adam and Ian discuss their relationship. Ian says what he really wants is a child.
compelling dramatisation of
the events aboard the fourth
plane to be hijacked on 11
September 2001. Sat 9 Sept,
ITV1 22:35 (125mins).
Starred Up (2013) Jack
O’Connell excels in this
critically acclaimed prison
drama. Thur 14 Sept, Film4
23:35 (125mins).
Coming up for auction
Vivien: The Vivien Leigh
Collection comprises
personal possessions of the
movie star. Highlights include
her leather-bound
appointments diary (est.
£1,000-£1,500) and an
inscribed silver goblet, a gift
from Katharine Hepburn on
her marriage to Laurence
Olivier (est. £8,000-£12,000).
26 September, Sotheby’s,
London W1 (020-7293 5000).
9 September 2017 THE WEEK
Best properties
34
Properties with lovely gardens
▲
Shropshire:
Plaish Hall, Plaish,
Church Stretton.
A Grade I Tudor
country house set
in around 12.75
acres of gardens
and grounds. It
retains an
abundance of
period charm
and character,
and is believed
to be the first
brick-built house
in Shropshire.
5 beds, 4 en suite
baths, attic rooms,
reception hall,
dining room,
kitchen, cellar,
larder, double
garage, formal
and informal
gardens, parkland
and field. £2m;
Strutt & Parker
(01743-284200).
▲ Surrey: Osbrooks, Capel. This Grade II manor house has an early-20th century
addition by British architect Detmar Blow, and parts of the formal garden were
designed by Gertrude Jekyll. The grounds, which include a stream and a lake, extend
to 14 acres. 8 beds, 5 baths, breakfast/kitchen, drawing room, family room, games
room, outbuilding. £2.5m; Sotheby’s International Realty (01932-860537).
▲
Gloucestershire:
Berkeley House,
Todenham. A
charming Grade II
former farmhouse
with a wealth of
period features
throughout, including
open fireplaces,
exposed timbers and
flagstone floors. The
extensive landscaped
gardens are designed
to provide a range of
different seating
throughout the
seasons. 5 beds,
3 baths, 3 receps,
breakfast/kitchen,
garden room, vaulted
cellar, utility and
separate studio.
£1.5m; Savills
(01295-228000).
THE WEEK 9 September 2017
on the market
35
▲ North Yorkshire: Stonelands, Litton, near Skipton. A late-
Georgian house set among almost 19 acres of gardens, walled
garden, orchard, ancient woodland and wildflower meadows.
5 beds, 3 baths, 3 receps, kitchen, utility, cloakroom. £1.2m;
Carter Jonas (01423-523423).
▲
Dorset: Pipers Mill Cottage, Fontmell Magna, Shaftesbury.
A delightful thatched cottage, Grade II, with original features.
Surrounded by beautiful garden and grounds with lawn,
seating areas, paths and mature shrub beds; with frontage
onto Fontmell Brook, privacy is guaranteed. 4 beds, 2 baths,
kitchen, utility room, study, sitting room, dining room,
drawing room. £700,000; Humberts via OnTheMarket.com
(01258-4429968).
East Sussex:
Springfield Court,
Playden, near Rye.
A Grade II,
Italianate Georgian
manor house and
cottage, with
gardens and
grounds of around
7.4 acres. A decking
area provides views
to the valley
beyond. 8 beds
(2 en suite), cinema/
bed 9, 5 further
baths, 3 receps,
family room/gym,
breakfast/kitchen,
conservatory, wine
room. £2.995m;
Sotheby’s
International Realty
(01932-860537).
▲
▲
Somerset: The
Old Rectory,
Camerton, Bath. An
elegantly presented,
detached former
rectory, with
beautifully
maintained gardens
featuring two ponds,
mature trees and
well-tended borders.
Master suite with
dressing room, 5
further beds,
balcony, 2 baths,
kitchen, breakfast
room, 3 receps,
study, library,
cinema/playroom,
cloakroom, wine
cellar. OIEO £1.65m;
Crisp Cowley
(01225-789333).
▲
Devon:
Washington House,
Torquay. An
imposing Grade II
Victorian villa with
grounds – including
established
woodland – of
2.9-acres, on the
outskirts of
Torquay. A fulllength, south-facing
terrace provides
views over the
landscaped garden
to the sea. 4 beds,
study/bed 5, 2
baths, breakfast/
kitchen, dining
room, drawing
room, basement,
garage. £1.25m;
Marchand Petit
(01803-847979).
▲ Kent: The Dower House, Sandway. Built in 1952, this Grade II country
house sits in stunning grounds and has its own natural spring, a lake with
a bridge to an island, a Victorian bathing pool and a detached Georgian
cottage. 4 beds, 3 baths, 2 receps, library, breakfast/kitchen, wine store,
4-room studio, 2-bed cottage. £1.85m; Knight Frank (01732-744477).
9 September 2017 THE WEEK
“Excellent”
LEISURE
Food & Drink
37
What the experts recommend
Kohinoor of Kerala 2 The Broadway,
Portswood Road, Southampton
(023-8058 2770)
When I heard that the Kohinoor – a late
curry house of blessed memory in my
home town of Southampton – had been
reincarnated with a Keralan twist, I was
there like a shot, says Keith Miller in The
Daily Telegraph. Trouble is, so were lots
of other people. The first time I turned
up “the queue was snaking out of the
door at 9pm”, so I trudged away. The
second time, I found out what all the fuss
was about. All the traditional joys of the
British curry house are present and
correct: dodgy wallpaper, pints of Cobra,
pungent aromas and rich flavours. But
the southern dishes we order are not of
the usual order, having a “luminous
clarity and lightness of touch”. There are
smoky curry leaves, fruity chilli, sweet
coconut; a “suggestion of fermentation
here and there”. Aleppey fish curry is
“beautifully balanced”. Deep-fried
“Chicken 65” is “crisp, greaseless and
lip-tinglingly spicy”. And a masala dosa
“the size of a cricket bat” is simply
perfect. Dinner for two, £60.
Sibarita 7 Maiden Lane, London WC2
(020-7497 0999)
If you have ever dreamt of a “secret,
blissful Covent Garden bolthole for the
civilised” – somewhere you can take
refuge from the jugglers, string quintets
marinated and spliced with a serrano
ham salpicon. Spinach croquetas with a
smooth béchamel make me purr with
pleasure, and my toes “curl joyously”.
And dark chocolate ice cream is “spothitting and sprinkled with sea salt”. This
is “tapas worth trekking across town
for”. We had eight dishes and six glasses
of wine for around £80.
Sibarita: a “blissful Covent Garden bolthole”
and marauding hordes of tourists – then
here it is, says Grace Dent in the London
Evening Standard. Sibarita, a “warmhearted, gorgeously priced” little Catalan
tapas place, which “takes reservations
and offers brisk, cheerful service”, will
get you tipsy, feed you fabulously, and
make you feel as though you’re on
holiday (even if it’s a miserably rainy
August day in London and you’re
actually there to work). It positions itself
as a place for wine, cheese and
charcuterie, but “everything off piste
from that is very good too”. We eat an
“excellent spicy slant” on a tuna tostada,
then a plate of chicken chilindron (stew)
Recipe of the week
I love cooking, says Glynn Purnell, but like most people I hate washing up.
This fantastic, hearty fish dish is not only a delicious treat, but to make it
you only need to dirty one pan. Perfect.
Pollack with chorizo, butter beans
and goat’s cheese
Serves 4 4 x 140g skinless pollack fillets, pin-boned 25g plain flour, for dusting
splash of vegetable oil 400g can of butter beans, rinsed and drained ½ Spanish
cooking chorizo, cut into strips 200ml hot chicken stock 500g baby spinach
100g goat’s cheese 2 tsps unsalted butter crusty bread, such as bloomer or
French baguette, to serve
• Dust the pollack fillets
with the flour, shaking off
any excess.
• Heat a frying pan until
hot, add a little vegetable
oil and fry the fish fillets
for 3-4 minutes until
golden brown.
© PAUL WINCH-FURNESS
• Carefully turn the fish
over and fry for a further
1-2 minutes, or until golden
brown and just cooked through
(the fish should be opaque all
the way through).
• Add the butter beans
and chorizo to the pan,
then the stock and cook for
4 minutes to heat through.
• Add the spinach, goat’s
cheese and butter to the
pan and cook until the
cheese is melted.
• Place each fish fillet in a
shallow serving bowl and spoon the
butter bean mixture around. Serve
with some crusty bread.
Taken from Cracking Yolks & Pig Tales by Glynn Purnell, published by Kyle
Books at £17.99. To buy from The Week Bookshop for £15.99, call
020-3176 3835 or visit www.theweek.co.uk/bookshop.
Where to eat in Lyon
Lyon is famed as the gastronomic capital
of France. But where are the best places
to eat and food-shop in the city? My
perfect day, says Michelin-starred chef
Daniel Boulud in the FT, would start at
Les Halles de Lyon Paul Bocuse, where
you can sample oysters for breakfast,
followed by sea urchin, tripe, offal or
even tête de veau, and perhaps a glass of
wine. For picnics, go to Charcuterie
Sibilia for meats and La Mère Richard
for cheeses. For eating out, head to the
historic Croix-Rousse area. Its best
restaurants include Balthaz’art, a great
retro-chic bistro with a creative
Montbéliarde beef tartare mixed with
black olives, capers and candied lemon;
and Daniel & Denise – an “authentic
bouchon complete with red chequered
tablecloths”. My other top picks are La
Meunière and Le Suprême. And “no trip
to Lyon is complete without a meal at
L’Auberge du Pont de Collonges, a temple
of gastronomy” right on the Saône.
Wine choice
I’m not fully on board with the modern
trend for drinking rosé all year round,
says David Williams in The Observer.
But if you do fancy a drop of the
pink stuff to mark the onset of
autumn, here are the ones I
would choose.
Viñalba Malbec Rosé,
Mendoza, Argentina 2016
(£8.50; Morrisons) is a “robust, punchy
Argentinian pink” that would suit an
Indian-summer barbecue. Domaine de
Triennes Rosé, IGP Var, France 2016
(£11.95; Whisky Exchange), with its
“subtly spicy raciness” is another
“delicious contender”.
Les Caillottes Sancerre Rosé, France
2016 (£12; Sainsbury’s) has a delightful
wildflower loveliness and “redcurrant bite”.
Lyme Bay’s “delicately pretty” Pinot Noir
Rosé, Devon, 2015 (£15.50; Hennings Wine)
is among the best English rosés. But if money
is no object, hunt out the Provençal rosé
specialist Château d’Esclans’s Garrus
2015. Aged (unusually for rosé) in oak
barrels, it has “a creaminess of texture and
depth of flavour that almost justifies the
dramatically high price (£65)”.
For our latest offers, visit theweekwines.co.uk
9 September 2017 THE WEEK
Consumer
LEISURE 39
New cars: what the critics say
SsangYong Rexton
from £27,500
Car magazine
The last Rexton didn’t
have a lot going for it. It
looked “ungainly”, and
suffered from lacklustre
performance. The “basic
recipe hasn’t changed”:
available as a five- or
seven-seater, the latest
model is still a large 4x4
utility vehicle, built for
“proper off-roading” and
towing. But its South
Korean manufacturer has
given it an overhaul, with
new engines and gadgets,
and an updated design.
Auto Express
Certainly, this is a more
attractive car. It looks
more upmarket from the
outside, and inside there
has been a “huge step up
in quality”, with pleasing
soft-touch materials. Even
entry-level models come
with an 8in infotainment
screen and various hightech safety features. The
second row of seats has
“loads of headroom and
decent legroom”, and the
five-seater model has a
huge, 820-litre boot.
Autocar
On the road, the Rexton
has a retro quality,
reminding you of what
4x4s used to be like
to drive: “you’re quite
often jostled”, and the
ride is easily disturbed.
Performance with the
2.2-litre diesel engine was
“languid”, but the Rexton
is “robust”, capable of
getting through muddy
conditions. It has its
flaws, but overall, this is a
“likeable” car that offers
reasonably good value.
The best… coffee machines
Smeg ECF01 This stylish
espresso machine reaches
optimum temperature in just 40
seconds, and there are clever
features: it remembers how
much coffee you like to make,
and the drip tray lets you know
when it needs to be emptied
(£280; www.currys.co.uk).
Tips of the week…
k…
how to deter thieves
ieves
● Don’t assume that a burglar alarm
will keep your home safe. Co-op Insurance
recently interviewed 12 former burglars,
who put alarms at just No. 13 on their list
of deterrents.
● The burglars said they were most likely
to be put off by a CCTV camera, or the
sound of a barking dog. Having strong,
heavy doors is also an effective deterrent,
as are locked uPVC windows.
● Alarms are more effective at putting off
car thieves, coming in at No. 2 on their list
of deterrents. Putting a lock on your
steering wheel can also make a difference.
● Otherwise, it’s mostly a question of
where you park: the ex-cons said they
were less likely to attempt a theft if a car
was near a street camera or street lights.
● When you go away, don’t advertise your
absence by putting up photos on public
social media accounts. According to former
bank robber Noel “Razor” Smith, that’s akin
to saying “come and burgle my house”.
SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN
And for those who
hav
have everything…
Far less time-consuming than using a
normal electric toothbrush, the silicon
Amabrush claims to clean your teeth in just
ten seconds. You slip it over your teeth like
a mouthguard, and it works by vibrating.
From £80; www.amabrush.com
SOURCE: STUFF
Sage The Oracle This
is effectively a traditional
espresso machine, but it
also has an in-built grinder.
You simply tap one button
to grind the beans, then
another to dispense the
superb coffee – and it’ll
even froth milk
automatically (£1,195;
www.johnlewis.com).
Apps and websites...
to look after your clothes
Laundry Day is an app that lets you
use your phone camera to scan a care
instructions label. It then takes you through
exactly how to wash the garment without
shrinking or bobbling it (99p; iOS).
Clothes Doctor does repairs and
alterations, collecting and then returning
your garments. If you’re based in central
London, it will send a courier; otherwise,
you drop off your clothes at a CollectPlus
point (www.clothes-doctor.com).
Total Wardrobe Storage looks after any
clothes you don’t have space for, even drycleaning and carrying out any necessary
repairs. With prices starting at £7.20 a week
for a storage box, however, it can get pricey
(www.totalwardrobestorage.com).
Laundrapp operates across the UK, offering
dry cleaning and laundry. Using its app or
website, you pick when your clothes are
collected and returned. Prices start at £2 per
item of dry cleaning, and £2.50 per kilo of
laundry (free, iOS; www.laundrapp.com).
SOURCE: THE INDEPENDENT
9 September 2017 THE WEEK
SOURCES: THE DAILY TELEGRAPH/T3/TRUSTED
TED REVIEWS/EXPERT REVIEWS
▲
Krups EA8150 This
bean-to-cup machine is
quite small, making it a
good option for those
short of kitchen space.
With a simple, welldesigned interface, it
produces excellent
espressos and decent
cappuccinos (£449;
www.argos.co.uk).
▲ De’Longhi Magnifica
Relatively
Rel
Relati
good
value for this level
of mac
machine, the
Magnifica
Mag
uses fresh
beans (which it grinds
itself)
itself or ready-ground
coffee.
coffee It’s packed with
options,
option letting you
adjust the strength and
temperature,
temper
and has a
frothing
frothi nozzle (£350;
www.johnlewis.com).
www
▲
▲
▲
Melitta Aroma
Ele
Elegance Therm
Del
Deluxe If you just want
to mak
make filter coffee,
this m
machine is a great
cho
choice. It’s easy to use,
and has an insulated
jug that keeps the
cof
coffee hot without
bur
burning it (£129; www.
ano
anothercoffee.co.uk).
Travel
LEISURE 41
This week’s dream: sea-kayaking in a Canadian wilderness
The Haida Gwaii archipelago, 70 miles
Haanas National Park Reserve, to
off the coast of British Columbia, is a
protect their lands from logging and
wilderness as isolated as any in the
other industries. The only place in
Americas, a remote island world of
Canada to be protected from seabed to
mountains and “impenetrable”
mountain top, it is home to 20 species
rainforests that has been home to a
of whale and dolphin, as well as North
single indigenous people – the Haida –
America’s largest black bears. The
since the end of the last ice age, 11,700
archipelago’s human population is now
years ago. There are few roads or trails,
around 5,000, half of whom are Haida.
so the only way to explore it is by sea,
Exploring sheltered bays and
says Shaun Pett in The Guardian. One
camping on remote beaches, you can
way is by yacht or, for greater immersion
spot not only dolphins and sea otters,
in the environment, by sea kayak. It rains
but walls of “hand-sized” mussels and
frequently and the winds are the strongest
starfish “the size of teddy bears” in the
in Canada, but wait for calm conditions,
shallows. And here and there, you will
and the rewards are immense.
come across Haida archaeological sites,
The archipelago was first surveyed by
such as canoe runs and fish weirs. Most
The Haida Gwaii archipelago by kayak
the British in 1787, who called them the
haunting is the village of Ninstints, a
Queen Charlotte Islands (the name was changed in 2010). In the
Unesco World Heritage Site on a small bay, where two dozen or
19th century, smallpox and other diseases reduced the indigenous
so carved totem poles with crests of animals and supernatural
population from 20,000 to 350. But the population began to
figures are now being allowed to decay, as Haida beliefs dictate.
grow again in the 20th century, and the Haida began to lobby for
Butterfly Tours (00 1 604 740 7018, www.butterflytours.bc.ca)
their rights to be upheld. The result was the creation of the Gwaii
has a five-day trip from £1,525pp, excl. flights.
Getting the flavour of…
Hotel of the week
Samba in Rio de Janeiro
The Rajbari Bawali, India
Just 90 minutes from Calcutta
but hidden in the lush forests of
the Ganges delta, this
neoclassical palace was recently
rescued from rack and ruin by
antiques dealer Ajay Rawla. Now
a grand but eccentric hotel, it
“combines modern luxury with
a dreamlike glimpse of old India”,
says Condé Nast Traveller. Its
high-ceilinged rooms feature
stone lions, four-poster beds and
Venetian mirrors. Paths wend
past shady ponds and “brilliantly
gaudy” village houses, and there
are outdoor prayer ceremonies
each evening, at which staff blow
on conches and clang metal
drums by lamplight while guests
watch from the lofty verandahs.
Doubles from £125. 00 91 907 331
2000, www.therajbari.com.
A uniquely Brazilian fusion of African and
European musical styles, samba was born in
Rio de Janeiro more than a century ago. You
can learn to dance it almost anywhere, says
Tom Yarwood in National Geographic
Traveller – but there’s nothing like
experiencing it in its home city, where it
remains the soundtrack of daily life. For an
insider’s perspective, try local tour operator
Dehouche. They will arrange lessons, take you
to dance at hallowed venues (including the
“flamboyantly ornamented” art deco Clube
dos Democráticos) and arrange behind-thescenes tours of key institutions. The most
glamorous is the carnival costume workshop
of Sandro Carvalho, bristling with feathers
and jewels – but most joyous is dancing at
a suburban samba school party with the
“jiggling hordes of grannies and toddlers”
who keep the tradition’s soul alive. A fivenight tour costs from £2,350pp, incl. flights
(0871-284 7770, www.dehouche.com).
Scottish gardens by sea
A former car ferry turned luxury cruise ship,
The Hebridean Princess is the perfect vessel
for a trip around Scotland’s Highlands and
islands, says Katie Wood in The Sunday
Times. The Queen held her 80th birthday
bash aboard, and other guests are treated
like royalty too, with just 30 spacious cabins,
Molton Brown products in the bathrooms,
and all-inclusive prices (prepare to “fill your
boots” with champagne). Concentrating on
destinations inaccessible to larger boats, it
offers various themed trips, including – in
May next year – gardens. This takes in both
small private gardens, such as the
“enchanting” An Cala on the Isle of Seil,
and vast estates. Loveliest of all is Attadale,
in Wester Ross, with its sculptures framing
the views of Skye. The gardens voyage starts
15 May and costs from £4,150pp (01756704704, www.hebridean.co.uk).
A singing holiday in Malta
If you have ever fancied joining a choir,
chances are you’d enjoy Authentic
Adventures’ holidays on the Mediterranean
island of Gozo, says Harriet O’Brien in
The Sunday Telegraph. Participants stay in
a small hotel with glorious sea views in the
fishing village of Xlendi, and join in singing
sessions each day, moving between venues
that include a 17th century watchtower and
the “palm-filled” Villa Rundle Gardens in
Gozo’s baroque capital, Victoria. Tutor Liz
Martin believes everyone can sing, and
teaches by ear. Making music together in this
easy, instinctive way is “euphoric” and
“poignantly soulful” by turns, and exploring
the island – which lies a ferry hop from
Malta – is a delight. A seven-day trip costs
from £1,600pp, incl. flights (01453-823328,
www.authenticadventures.co.uk).
Last-minute offers from top travel companies
19th century Brighton b&b
Stay 2 nights in one of the
stylish rooms at the boutique,
adult-only No. 27 Brighton.
From £180pp, based on two
sharing. 020-3553 6053,
www.chicretreats.com. Arrive
20 October.
Elegant 4-star Vienna hotel
Located near Viennese City
Park, a 4-night b&b stay at the
Starlight Suiten Heumarkt costs
from £403pp, incl. flights from
Birmingham. 020-8974 7200,
www.travelrepublic.co.uk.
Depart 1 November.
7 nights in Cuba
The Melia Buenavista, on the
island of Cayo Santa María,
has 3 white-sand beaches.
From £1,298pp all inclusive,
incl. Manchester flights. 0203451 2688, www.thomson.
co.uk. Depart 7 November.
Full-board Kenya break
Spend 7 nights at the Leopard
Beach Resort, with golf and
water sports at your door.
From £1,101pp, incl. London
flights. 01293-832716,
www.hayesandjarvis.co.uk.
Depart 27 October.
9 September 2017 THE WEEK
Obituaries
43
Genial archbishop who became mired in a scandal
Cormac Murphy- Cardinal Cormac
Murphy-O’Connor, who
O’Connor
has died aged 85, was a
1932-2017
former head of the
Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales,
and was present – or in the vicinity – at several
significant moments in the Church’s recent
history, said Peter Stanford in The Guardian.
The “extent to which he influenced” those
events is not clear, as this “genial cleric” tended
to play down his importance, but it has been
claimed that he was a key influence in the
surprise election of the “change candidate” at
the papal conclave of 2013. On account of his
age, he was unable to take part in the vote (only
in talks that preceded it). However, a few
months later, Francis I seemed to make
lighthearted reference to Murphy O’Connor’s
supposed role as Popemaker when, at a papal
audience, he pointed to his old friend, and said:
“Tuo e colpevole!” – “You’re to blame!”
Murphy-O’Connor: loved music
A “noted ecumenist”, Murphy-O’Connor challenged the Catholic
and Anglican communions to form closer bonds, said The Daily
Telegraph, and in 2002, called for the abolition of the Act of
Settlement, which prevents Roman Catholics ascending to the
throne. In that year, he also read prayers at the Queen Mother’s
funeral, becoming the first Catholic cardinal to take part in a
Royal funeral since 1509. In 2007, he received Tony Blair into
the Church – having wisely persuaded him to wait until after he’d
resigned as PM. (Had he not done so, Britain would have had its
first Catholic prime minister.) Yet he was, perhaps, best known
for his role in a paedophile priest scandal. In the 1980s, as bishop
of Arundel and Brighton, he’d failed to report a known abuser,
Michael Hill, to the police, and instead sent
him to therapy. Then, when Hill begged for a
second chance, Murphy-O’Connor made him
chaplain of Gatwick Airport, reasoning that –
in that role – Hill would have little or no
contact with children. But he did; he abused
again and was jailed in 1997. When MurphyO’Connor became Archbishop of Westminster
in 2000, his role in the scandal hit the
headlines, and there were frequent calls for his
resignation. He had, by then, met victims of
paedophile priests, and had started to realise
the scale of his mistake in not reporting Hill.
Although deeply remorseful, he did not stand
down, and instead spent the next nine years
working to restore the Church’s reputation by,
among other things, appointing an independent
commission, headed by Lord Nolan, to review
its child protection procedures.
Born into a devoutly Catholic family in Reading in 1932,
Murphy-O’Connor declared, at the age of four, that he wanted
either to be a doctor (like his father) or pope. He found his
vocation proper in his teens, trained for the priesthood in Rome,
and was ordained in 1956. His first parish was in Hampshire.
Having been identified as a high-flyer early on, he then spent six
years in Rome, a city he loved, as rector of his alma mater, the
English College, before returning to England in 1977, to be
consecrated bishop. He was elevated to the top job following the
death of Basil Hume. At 67, however, he was considered rather
old for the role, and nine years later he resigned, making way for
Vincent Nichols. He thus became the first Archbishop of
Westminster not to die in office. A talented pianist, MurphyO’Connor was passionate about music, and played golf weekly.
Flamboyant entrepreneur known for his A-list friends
Flamboyant, witty and erudite,
Kong. Tang covered its walls in his own collection
the businessman and
of Chinese contemporary art, but the decor was
philanthropist David Tang,
more 1930s Shanghai: he called it “modern
who has died aged 63, was
Chinoiserie”. The joining fee was £12,000. China
a renowned bon vivant, and one of the world’s
Clubs opened in Beijing and Singapore, and he
great networkers, said The Times. Travelling
then launched an upmarket clothing line,
ceaselessly between his various homes, he picked
Shanghai Tang, selling Chinese evening jackets in
up a dizzying array of famous friends, ranging
red and green velvet, said The Daily Telegraph.
from Naomi Campbell, Kate Moss and Mick
Meanwhile, professing himself both an
Jagger, to Margaret Thatcher and Fidel Castro
Anglophile and a Chinese patriot, he had begun
(who granted him an exclusive licence to sell
acting as an adviser to companies keen to expand
Cuban cigars in Asia-Pacific, and made him
into China. In 1979 he married Susanna Cheung,
Cuba’s Honorary Consul in Hong Kong). A
and had two children. They divorced in 1991
“self-confessed snob”, he managed to secure an
when he fell in love with Lucy Wastnage, whom
invitation to Sandringham, where he taught the
he married ten years later. The secret of their
Queen card tricks; he also formed a close bond
relationship, he said, was humour. “Whenever we
with Sarah, Duchess of York (who described
wake up or go to bed, we make each other laugh.
him as “brother Sun” to her “sister Moon”). He Tang: taught the Queen card tricks Last night, just as we were switching off the light,
professed to own – but was never seen wearing –
my wife said, ‘We haven’t laughed yet.’ So I
a T-shirt reading: “F*** off, I have enough friends.” And when
farted.” He could be obstreperous, he didn’t suffer fools, and was
asked how he knew some A-lister or another, he would parry
notoriously rude to staff – but he never gave up on a friend, and
with: “You mean: how do they know me?”
was generous to a fault.
David Tang
1954-2017
David Wing-cheung Tang was born in Hong Kong in 1954 into
a prominent family: his grandfather, Sir S.K. Tang, had founded
the Kowloon Motor Bus Company. Aged 12, he moved with his
family to England, where he was sent to The Perse School in
Cambridge, though he had been brought up speaking Cantonese,
and knew little English. (He would end up with a plummy English
accent, and a Wodehousian turn of phrase.) He came to public
prominence in 1991, with the opening of the China Club, a
private members’ club in the old Bank of China building in Hong
It was for his philanthropy that he was knighted in 2008. He gave
to a range of good causes in the UK and Hong Kong, but music
was his passion. Aged 60, he was diagnosed with cancer, and –
after receiving emergency treatment at The Royal Marsden
Hospital in London – became an unlikely champion of the NHS.
“I will howl and hunt down anyone who dares to question the
NHS,” he wrote in his FT column. “I am glad I have paid my
taxes in this country – before with reluctance, but now with
alacrity. I hereby demote Asclepius and genuflect to Nye Bevan.”
9 September 2017 THE WEEK
IT PAYS TO REVISIT
THE CLASSICS.
LET’S TALK HOW.
FIDELITY EUROPEAN VALUES PLC
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wonder, but more often than not, we turn back to the classics.
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It’s these qualities we seek out for our European Values
investment trust.
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Net Asset Value
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Fidelity European
Values PLC
Share Price
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FTSE World Europe
ex-UK Index
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Using Fidelity’s extensive European research team, manager
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So, if you’re looking for steady growth from some of the
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Please note that past performance is not a guide to the
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To find out more, go to fidelity.co.uk/classics
or speak to your adviser.
Source of performance: Fidelity and Morningstar as at 31 July 2017 on a bid-to-bid basis
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UKM0817/20436/SSO/1117
CITY
Companies in the news
...and how they were assessed
CITY 45
Aveva/Schneider: another blow for UK tech?
Farewell to another British tech darling. “After two botched attempts in as many years,”
French industrial group Schneider looks set to have its way with Aveva, said Olaf
Storbeck on Reuters Breakingviews. The FTSE 250 software firm has agreed a £3bn
merger deal that will see Schneider take a controlling 60% stake. Shareholders cheered
the move, said Sam Dean in The Daily Telegraph: Aveva’s shares jumped 25% on hopes
that the company, which supplies software to the oil and gas industry, will become a
global leader in industrial software. But it’s “the end of an era for the Silicon Fen”, said
Nicholas Megaw in the Financial Times. Although Aveva will keep its name and
Cambridge hub, it is the last of the city’s “unicorns” (start-ups valued at over $1bn) to be
sold into foreign ownership – a process that began with the disastrous sale of Autonomy
to Hewlett-Packard in 2011. Cambridge is still “a hotbed of activity, with large numbers
of start-ups”; several big US groups, including Amazon and Microsoft, have bases there.
But this deal will do nothing to assuage concerns about the lack of British-owned players
capable of competing with Silicon Valley. “We’ve become great starters, but we’re not
finishers,” observed one Cambridge insider last year when another local legend, chip
designer Arm, was sold to Japan’s SoftBank for £24bn. Nothing much has changed.
Lego: less than awesome
Back in March, the world’s largest toymaker boasted of generating the highest revenue in
its 85-year history, despite a “soft” European market. Conditions on the continent have
since improved; the same, sadly, is not true at Lego, said BBC News online. The Danish
firm has announced plans to cut 1,400 jobs globally (about 8% of its workforce) after
suffering a sales slide. Chairman Jørgen Vig Knudstorp blamed the company’s
“increasingly complex organisation” after five years of double-digit global growth, and
argued that it needed a “reset”. Yet the chief problem may well have been complacency,
said Andrew Hill in the FT. “Analysts love to study success,” and Lego, which appeared
to defy the travails of other traditional toymakers as children increasingly play digitally,
has long been a favoured exemplum. “But eulogies can be dangerous.” Lego’s
“awesomeness” was always likely to revert to “ordinariness”. These latest results, which
follow the ousting of CEO Bali Padda after just eight months in the job, suggest that
Lego is facing its biggest test since coming close to financial collapse in 2003-04.
Reckitt Benckiser: disinfected?
“Shareholders in Reckitt Benckiser have had few reasons to complain in recent times,”
says Alex Brummer in the Daily Mail. The company’s “laser focus on super-brands”,
such as Cillit Bang, Nurofen and Durex, has “made it the star of Britain’s consumer
sector”, driving the £52bn company into the FTSE top ten. But recent blunders, including
being caught napping during July’s cyberattacks, suggest it has taken its eye off the ball.
And shares have suffered. “Reckitt’s ability to deliver superior growth is down to
ruthlessness.” It “takes no prisoners” when it comes to marketing and a similar
mercilessness is now being shown at headquarters. Four of the group’s top ten managers
are leaving. “That is all a coincidence no doubt.” Reckitt’s website proclaims we’re
“Better together”. Maybe not.
Seven days in the
Square Mile
Nervousness in markets following North
Korea’s latest nuclear test helped push
the gold price to a year-high, above
$1,335/oz, but losses in equity markets
were moderate, and some took the view
that they represented a buying
opportunity. An upbeat report by the
manufacturers’ organisation EEF
suggested that UK factories are enjoying
some of the best conditions in two
decades: factory orders and output have
been boosted by the weak pound and
global recovery.
Takeovers and mergers involving British
companies came close to doubling in
the last quarter, according to ONS
figures. Deals worth £30bn were
announced. Despite anxiety about the
low pound making British firms targets,
the acquisition spree was largely driven
by UK businesses hunting abroad.
After a needle AGM, Sports Direct’s
controversial chairman Keith Hellawell
won the support of a majority of
independent investors, and will keep
his job. One of Hellawell’s sharpest
critics, Standard Life, sold down its
entire stake in the sports retailer. Six
global banks, including HSBC and
Barclays, announced a collaboration
to create new form of digital cash,
based on Blockchain technology,
dubbed the “utility settlement coin”.
The trial of three former Tesco directors
accused of fraud in relation to the
supermarket’s £263m accounting
scandal was adjourned.
Uber/Taxify: London challenge rattles Uber investors
“I have to tell you I am scared,” confessed
Uber’s new boss, Dara Khosrowshahi, in a
parting memo to colleagues at Expedia last
week. Who wouldn’t be? The challenges are
already coming thick and fast, said Karen
Gilchrist on CNBC.com. Shored up by
Chinese cash, Uber’s Estonian rival, Taxify,
is making a major push into Western
Europe, and has chosen London as the
opening battleground of its bid “to unseat
Uber and bring greater competition” to the
taxi-app market.
to grab a share of the market in London by
charging punters less and paying drivers
more. Paris is next on the list.
Khosrowshahi plans to right the “car crash”
at Uber by taking it public in the next 18 to
36 months. That will “take a miracle”, said
Ben Marlow in The Sunday Telegraph.
Tackling the toxic culture at Uber is one
thing, but Khosrowshahi’s biggest challenge
is managing pressure from its army of
private investors to meet the loss-making
firm’s “extraordinary” $68bn valuation.
Will Uber win the London battle?
Taxify’s biggest shareholder as of last
“Driving people around” turns out to be “a
month, said Peter Campbell in the FT, is Didi Chuxing – a ridetough business”, said the FT. “Khosrowshahi must be
sharing and taxi-hailing outfit with 400 million users in its home
wondering how long investors, who have sunk more than $15bn
market. It was largely responsible for driving Uber out of China
into Uber, will keep cutting big cheques.” Founder Travis
last year after it had spent billions waging a costly turf war. Didi
Kalanick ran Uber as a “growth-at-all-costs, misogynistic shark
has taken stakes in leading Uber rivals across the world, but this
tank” and changing that will take years. But profit, not culture,
is the Chinese taxi giant’s first European investment. The plan is
will be Uber’s biggest hurdle.
9 September 2017 THE WEEK
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Talking points
CITY 47
Issue of the week: the bell tolls for Bell Pottinger
A racially explosive South African campaign has resulted in the swift fall from grace of a City PR firm
When Margaret Thatcher’s former PR
wrong, said Nils Pratley in The
honcho, Lord (Tim) Bell, was asked
Guardian. “When the facts suggested
whether Bell Pottinger’s role in “stoking
otherwise, it fired a mid-ranking
racial tensions” in South Africa would
partner.” CEO James Henderson, who
prove fatal to the PR firm he co-founded
owns 37% of the firm, resigned only
30 years ago, he offered a typically eye“when it became clear his position was
catching quote, said David Bond and
about to become untenable”. This is a
Joseph Cotterill in the FT. “It’s the end
massive crisis for the company. “But it’s
of the company. That’s 25 years of hard
also a crisis for the wider City PR
work gone down the tubes,” he said. Bell
industry.” PRs like to think of themselves
Pottinger is certainly “paying a heavy
as professionals, “rather than chancers
price” for waging a negative campaign,
who will do or say anything if the
using fake Twitter accounts, targeting
money’s right”. Bell Pottinger’s “dirty
“wealthy white South African
campaign” in South Africa is “a serious
individuals and corporates”. It did so on
threat to that self-image”.
behalf of the powerful Gupta brothers,
who are accused of corrupt links with
“The saga highlights broader pressures
Bell, left, with Henderson: “down the tubes”
President Jacob Zuma. Following its
facing the industry,” said Peter Thal
expulsion from the PR industry’s UK trade body, big-name clients
Larsen on Reuters Breakingviews. “A business that set out to
such as HSBC have deserted it; and its former owner, Chime, has
influence media gatekeepers at newspapers, magazines and TV
“handed back its 25% stake in the company for nothing”.
stations has been pushed into campaigning on social media” –
Accountants BDO have been hired to advise on a potential sale
with all the attendant risks. “Firms that previously acted as
“to try to extract some value from the business”.
behind-the-scenes intermediaries for potentially unsavoury
clients” are more accountable when they directly transmit the
PR people are “always eager to flog new, made-up services to
messages. PR firms should think harder “about the company they
clients”, said Jim Armitage in the London Evening Standard.
keep”, said Michael Skapinker in the FT. Taking on questionable
That’s why they invented the term “crisis management”. Yet Bell
clients might seem like a challenge. “But a client’s dirt can stick to
Pottinger has provided a textbook example of how not to manage a PR consultant in ways that it almost never does to their lawyers
a crisis. At first the City PR outfit denied it had done anything
or strategy advisers.” Bell Pottinger learned that lesson too late.
The Korean threat: what the experts think
US imported $479bn
● Nuclear reaction
worth of goods and
“The latest nuclear
services from China
test conducted by
last year, “we think
North Korea ensured
there is little prospect
a cautious start to the
of President Trump
week for global
carrying out his threat
markets as haven
to ‘stop all trade with
assets such as the yen,
any country doing
Swiss franc and gold
business with North
attracted buyers,”
Korea’”, Andrew
said Dave Shellock in
Kenningham of
Kim Jong Un: still grabbing headlines
the FT. However, the
Capital Economics
market reaction was
told the FT. But there are still worries that
“relatively muted”, reflecting “the
the US may impose “targeted sanctions”
frequency with which Pyongyang’s actions
on Chinese companies and individuals
have grabbed the headlines in recent
doing business there, which “could
weeks”. Stock market losses were
provoke some retaliation from Beijing”.
measured – even in nearby countries such
as South Korea and Japan. Seoul’s Kospi
● Golden haven
slipped by just 0.1% on Tuesday and the
One beneficiary of “the North Korea
Nikkei by 0.6%. “The market does not
scare” has been the gold price, which
seem to expect the crisis to escalate into
spiked to a 12-month high of $1,335
war, and previous escalations have only
following the test, capping “a nice summer
had short-lived market effects,” said Allan
run”, said Dominic Frisby on Moneyweek.
von Mehren of Danske Bank.
com. “So what do we do now? Buy more?
Sell? Hold? I reckon that a good $30-$40
● US/China tensions
of the current price is “war premium” and
North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong Un, is
that “an ongoing standoff out East could
showing “an extraordinary level of
cause another $30 surge from here” –
defiance to the US and a surprising
particularly if speculative interest grows.
willingness to anger China, the country’s
Of course, the downside for gold (and the
only backer”, said Citywire. But aside
upside for the rest of us) is that “this whole
from the risk of outright conflict, the
Korean thing could blow over and, with it,
biggest concern surrounding this latest
this summer’s renewed interest in gold”.
move is an escalation of trade tensions
Either way, “what happens in Korea
between the US and China. Given that the
defines where we go next”.
Sins of the fathers
Every generation has its own financial
foibles when it comes to money, says
Jeff Rose on Credit.com. Here’s how
to avoid some of the pitfalls your
parents (or their parents) fell into.
Don’t place blind trust in financial
advisers Previous generations didn’t
have much choice, giving sharks carte
blanche to line their own pockets by
selling clients “high-cost investments
with low returns” that they didn’t
understand. The internet has changed
all that by making research easy. Mug
up and make “educated decisions”.
Diversify Some in the older
generation have a narrow view of
what it means to invest. If parents
are risk-averse, they tend to tell their
kids to save in cash and avoid the
risk of equities. Conversely, if a
family’s wealth was primarily made
in private business, they encourage
the kids “to focus their capital on
business ownership”. Beware the
danger of putting all your eggs into
one basket: make sure you invest
across a diverse range of assets to
smooth your returns.
Put your own financial health first It’s
a mistake to focus on saving for the
kids while neglecting your own
retirement needs. You can’t borrow
money for retirement and, once you
reach retirement age and find you’re
short of cash, it’s too late to do much
about it.
9 September 2017 THE WEEK
48 CITY
Economics still
trumps politics
in America
Irwin Stelzer
The Sunday Times
Britain’s real
enemy is
David Brent
Bagehot
The Economist
An exercise in
economic
self-harm
Martin Vander Weyer
The Spectator
Has WPP’s
horizontal idea
fallen flat?
Jonathan Ford
Financial Times
THE WEEK 9 September 2017
Commentators
Is there anyone in Washington not at war with Donald Trump,
asks Irwin Stelzer. The US president is at odds with his senior
team over trade policy, with Congress over tax policy, and “is
threatening to allow a government shutdown this month” if
Congress doesn’t fund his Mexican border wall. “I want tariffs.
And I want someone to bring me tariffs,” he reportedly shouted at
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross – a financier renowned for “his
knowledge of the steel markets”, whose reward for cajoling the
Chinese into agreeing output cuts (thereby achieving Trump’s goal
of rising prices) was a thorough dressing down. As dysfunctional
governments go, Trump’s takes some beating. But does it matter?
Most Americans “are unhappy with their government”, but the
economy is on a roll. “For the first time in a dozen years, more
than half of American workers say they feel satisfied with their
jobs and safe from layoffs.” Trump is gambling that, come
election time, people will vote with their wallets. Never mind the
political mayhem: “It’s the economy, stupid.”
The Government’s watered-down proposals to tackle “fat cat”
pay were roundly “rubbished” when they were unveiled last
week, says Bagehot. But critics are barking up the wrong tree:
there is no solid evidence UK bosses are overpaid. CEOs of FTSE
100 companies “earn between a third-and-a-half less than their
American equivalents”. The real problem we face “is not an
excess of fat cats, but a shortage of cream”. Britain no longer
“punches above its weight” in producing world-class companies,
and “continues to struggle” to produce successful middle-sized
ones. “The result is an underperforming economy.” Academics
examining this “Brito-sclerosis” all point to the same conclusion:
“the real enemy is David Brent”. Britain has “a long tail of poorly
managed firms”, full of “second-rate, sloppy, oafish managers of
the sort caricatured by Ricky Gervais in The Office”. There are
many good ideas for addressing “Brentism”, including mentoring
systems that allow successful firms to teach smaller ones the art of
management. But that will require “a lot of hard slog”. Sadly,
“bashing the fat cats is far more satisfying” than serious reform.
Home Secretary Amber Rudd has commissioned a report on the
positive economic impact of international students. About time,
says Martin Vander Weyer. Theresa May’s clampdown on nonEU students entering the UK was “an exercise in pig-headed
economic self-harm”. The 42,000-strong drop in international
students since 2010 means Britain has sacrificed market share in a
global market growing at 6% annually. “The opportunity cost, at
£13bn and counting, has been a direct gain to competitors like the
US, Canada and Australia.” It’s impossible to count the number
of high-tech start-ups “that are now elsewhere”, or the number of
Indian-born future CEOs “who speak American and think of
Britain as an unwelcoming place”. What can be counted, though,
are the 80,000-odd jobs that might have been created had foreign
student numbers continued growing at a global rate – mostly lost
in “relatively depressed” towns that are home to lower-ranked
universities. Of all the things history might hold against May, her
“hostility to foreign students has done the most damage”.
Readers of a certain age might recall the British industrial
conglomerates of the 1970s and 1980s, says Jonathan Ford. In
their heyday, BTR and the Hanson Trust bought up “the ailing
giants of the UK’s rust belt”, claiming to “find synergies that
others couldn’t reach”. Eventually, those efficiency gains “were
discovered to be so much accounting and financial moonshine”,
and the conglomerate model was declared “broken”. Except in
one sector – advertising. Under Sir Martin Sorrell, WPP has
acquired over 300 companies since 2010 – a bulging portfolio
stretching from PR to research and digital media. The justification
for the strategy is “horizontality”: WPP-speak for cross-selling
multiple services to large global clients. Current changes in the
market – notably the accelerating move to digital and the growing
power of Facebook and Google – may reveal whether this is real,
“or an adman’s convenient fiction”. Much hangs on the answer.
If WPP’s structure turns out to add little or no value, investors
“might reasonably ask” why they have paid Sorrell “a cool
£210m to build the whole thing up over the past five years”.
City profiles
Michelle Mone
The founder of Ultimo
lingerie had mixed success
as the Government’s “bra
tsar”, charged with
encouraging start-ups in
disadvantaged areas. But no
one can accuse Baroness
Mone of failing to keep up
with the latest trends, says
The Independent. She now
plans to sell luxury
apartments in Dubai using
bitcoins. The move is part of
a £250m property venture,
forged with Mone’s
boyfriend Douglas
Barrowman, who chairs the
finance and property
management group, Knox.
An industry first, the venture
will make available about
150 flats, at an average cost
of £183,000 or about 52
bitcoins. Given that the price
of the volatile cryptocurrency
has nearly quintupled this
year, would-be buyers are
advised to get in fast.
Mark Price
Bang goes another trade
minister, says Alex Brummer
in the Daily Mail. After just
17 months in the role, the
former Waitrose boss, Lord
Price, has unexpectedly quit
the Government to pursue
“business and writing
interests”. His departure is
even more rapid than that of
his predecessors, ex-BT boss
Lord (Ian) Livingston and
former HSBC chief Lord
(Stephen) Green. Some
attribute it to “CEO
syndrome” – “the inability of
corporate bosses to deal
with the grind of Whitehall”.
Yet earlier in the summer,
the self-styled “chubby
grocer” was positively
bubbling about “being at the
forefront” of post-Brexit
trade deals. Price, it’s true,
has a new book, Workplace
Fables, out soon. Even so,
his departure seems
mysterious. “A promising
subject, perhaps, for his next
literary excursion.”
Shares
CITY 51
Who’s tipping what
The week’s best buys
Directors’ dealings
Fuller Smith & Turner
Investors Chronicle
A “stalwart” in the industry,
the brewer and pub operator
is well placed to withstand
rising wage costs and business
rate hikes. Sales and profits
are up, thanks to improved
efficiencies and sensible
management. Buy. £10.20.
OneSavings Bank
Investors Chronicle
This challenger bank is
benefiting from a “prudent”
approach to lending. “Solid
demand” for mortgages
from professional landlords
and increased commercial
lending are driving growth.
Buy. 399.6p.
Coats Group
The Daily Telegraph
This “venerable” industrial
threads maker holds strong
market positions, and counts
Nike, Ikea and Michelin
among its customers.
Restructuring has resulted in
rising sales and profits, and
falling debt. Buy. 79.5p.
Moneysupermarket.com
The Sunday Times
The price comparison website
has had a “bumpy decade”, yet
still has “untapped potential”.
Despite regulatory concerns,
there’s scope to expand into
other areas, such as car finance
and home services bundles.
Buy. 320.9p.
ZPG
The Mail on Sunday
The owner of property
website Zoopla is acquiring
Ravensworth, which
provides marketing materials
to estate agents. Liberum
believes this will strengthen its
ability to cross-sell products.
Buy. 352.5p.
Secure Trust Bank
2,400
2,200
2,000
CEO buys
5,890
1,800
1,600
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Shares in the challenger bank,
which has been growing its
loan book, have suffered from
concerns about slowing UK
growth and squeezed incomes.
In a show of faith, CEO Paul
Lynam has bought more than
£100,000-worth of shares.
…and some to hold, avoid or sell
Form guide
ASOS
The Mail on Sunday
Shares in the “sassy” online
fashion retailer are up 50-fold
since 2006: Asos, valued at
£4.7bn, is still expanding
globally. But there’s no
dividend and shares are
vulnerable: sell half a holding
to bank a profit. Sell. £56.81.
Metro Bank
Investors Chronicle
The challenger bank has grown
its loan book and deposits at
an “extraordinary rate”. But it
is only just profitable and
exposed to deteriorating credit
conditions. Meanwhile, high
street locations mean costs are
soaring. Sell. £34.52.
The Restaurant Group
The Mail on Sunday
Peel Hunt commends the
owner of Frankie & Benny’s
for “doing a good job”. But
the sector remains tough and
the broker questions whether
the group can achieve the
like-for-like sales needed to
hold profits. Sell. 346.5p.
HSS Hire Group
Investors Chronicle
The move to a new operating
model (it has closed 68
branches) is exacting a “heavy
toll” on the equipment hire
provider. Liberum fears the
results of a strategic review will
have a “negative impact” on
refinancing attempts. Sell. 48p.
Pets at Home
Sharecast
Liberum has added the pets
supplies group to its
“Conviction Sell” list,
declaring it a “value trap with
significant pressure across the
profit and loss”. The broker
names a target price of 145p.
Sell. 175p.
WYG
Investors Chronicle
Shares in the engineering
consultancy have tumbled
on news of a second
substantial profit warning.
The group’s troubles extend
overseas and the shortfall in
income means debt will
move higher. Sell. 56p.
Shares tipped 12 weeks ago
Best tip
Kainos Group
The Times
up 21.83% to 293p
Worst tip
Brooks MacDonald Group
Investors Chronicle
down 13.95% to £21.35
Market view
“North Korea poses the
biggest short-term risk to
global equities…Consensus is
for no major intervention. But
if it happens, a more
defensive equity exposure
would be a prudent strategy.”
Peter Garnry of Saxo Bank.
Quoted in the FT
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
5 Sep 2017
7372.92
4044.60
21844.14
6395.62
19385.81
27741.35
1335.55
53.44
3.89%
1.07
2.08
2.6% (Jul)
3.6% (Jul)
+2.1% (Jul)
$1.305 E1.092 ¥141.789
Best
shares
Best and
and worst performing shares
Week before
7337.43
4021.42
21820.14
6291.64
19362.55
27765.01
1318.65
51.74
3.90%
1.05
2.17
2.6% (Jun)
3.5% (Jun)
+2.6% (Jun)
Change (%)
0.48%
0.58%
0.11%
1.65%
0.12%
–0.09%
1.28%
3.29%
WEEK’S CHANGE, FTSE 100 STOCKS
RISES
Price
% change
7110.00
+6.68
Paddy Power Betfair
1693.00
+6.14
Ashtead Group
7300.00
+5.11
DCC
4267.00
+5.10
Next
3921.00
+5.09
Shire
FALLS
800.00
Provident Financial
1156.00
EasyJet
2207.00
Micro Focus Intl.
Reckitt Benckiser Grp. 7092.00
596.00
Pearson
–11.75
–4.15
–3.18
–2.81
–2.69
BEST AND WORST UK STOCKS OVERALL
235.00
+49.68
Destiny Pharma
26.00
–38.46
OPG Power Ventures
Source: Datastream (not adjusted for dividends). Prices on 5 Sep (pm)
Following the Footsie
7,600
7,500
7,400
7,300
7,200
7,100
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
6-month movement in the FTSE 100 index
9 September 2017 THE WEEK
SOURCE: INVESTORS CHRONICLE
4imprint Group
The Daily Telegraph
4imprint supplies promotional
items, such as branded pens,
to the US and has scope to
grow in a fragmented market.
Capital-light but cash
generative, with the capacity
to pay special dividends.
Buy. £17.68.
The last word
52
Saving lives and losing faith:
confessions of a junior doctor
Four generations of her family have worked as doctors – but Rachel Clarke is the first to have lost faith in the
British medical system. Here, she argues that the NHS is losing the team spirit that once held it together
Rachel Clarke: the fourth generation of her family to go into medicine
accommodation and
meals in his mess. Both
he and Gramps would
be aghast at modern
medical squalor. Dinner
is often crisps and a
Coke from a vending
machine. I’ve known
doctors’ messes where
rats inspect the doctors
through cracks in the
ceiling, and
cockroaches hide
behind the walls. The
Government has long
since done away with
free accommodation,
which may be why,
periodically, stories
break in the press about
young doctors falling
asleep at the wheel,
killing themselves after
long nights on call.
Slamming through the swing doors, I head towards the flimsy
You don’t need to be House M.D. to diagnose something
NHS curtains, drawn shut like a veil on a patient, from where
gravely amiss with today’s NHS. Every major target is being
the hubbub of voices is panicky and too loud. I steady myself,
missed, patients are dying on trolleys in corridors, and the
then draw back the curtain. Three or four nurses surround a
mood among staff sometimes feels near mutinous. Funding
young man whose face is so stricken with fear that he stops
restrictions are invariably blamed for this – and from my
me dead in my tracks. His eyes, glazed with panic, briefly
front-line perspective, rightly so. But seen through four
meet mine. To my relief, the rest of the crash team arrives
generations of my family, there is more going wrong than
and together we set about trying to save his life. Despite the
finances alone.
expertise of the ITU consultant,
the electric shocks, the chest
In Dad’s day, hospitals were
“The medical student in me felt shame
compressions so brutal we hear
populated with tight-knit teams
the crunch of breaking ribs,
of staff. “I worked the long
at the way my grandfather was treated.
nothing we do is enough. After
hours, far more than you do,”
The granddaughter burned with anger”
an hour of futile CPR – losing
he told me, “but the difference
a teenager is desperate – we
is, we were all in it together.
trudge, shoulders bowed, back down the corridor, and disperse
The doctors, the nurses, everyone mucked in together. We
our separate ways into the night. His dying face will haunt me
were pressured, but everyone supported everyone else.” Dad
for some time.
occupied the lowest rung of his traditional medical “firm” –
a small team comprising one consultant, one registrar, an SHO
Some things never change. When they were junior doctors
and himself, the lowly house officer. Back then, in the Swinging
before me, my father, grandfather and great-grandfather also
Sixties, when the junior doctors ended their night shifts in Barts
fought their hardest to restart the hearts of patients who’d
hospital in London, they would pile into the White Hart, the
arrested. Between us, we’ve been doctoring for over a century.
pub round the corner, to join the butchers streaming in from
Same patients, same diseases, same distress at the bad deaths
nearby Smithfield’s meat market. Blood, beer, sweat, sawdust
– yet to my grandad, today’s NHS would be unrecognisable.
– “and a fry-up afterwards if you wanted it”, Dad told me. His
In his day, junior doctors didn’t go on strike, defibrillators
recollections remind me of a soldier’s, upon return from a
didn’t exist, and work-life balance hadn’t been invented. Nor,
deployment overseas. The job could be brutal, ugly,
even, had the NHS. As a young doctor, Gramps lived and
overwhelming – but your comrades-in-arms got you through.
breathed his 1930s private hospital, barely setting foot outside
its grounds. Although he was almost permanently on call, a
These days, that ethos is at risk. Junior doctors feel
butler would bring meals on a tray to his on-call room, and
increasingly like shift workers. A clock-in, clock-out mentality
wake him up in the mornings with a cup of Earl Grey. His
is creeping into hospitals as we are rostered to random runs of
doctors’ mess was a grand affair, modelled on a military
twilights, days, weekends and nights. In a pressured, unforgiving
officers’ mess, complete with its own private bar and waiters.
hospital environment in which no one really knows you, and
you don’t know them, it’s easy for young doctors to feel cut
Even my dad, an NHS junior doctor in the 1960s, had his
adrift. “Where are your teams?” Dad asks. “You all seem as
120-hour weeks on call sweetened by free hospital
though you’re just going from one crisis to another.” He’s right.
THE WEEK 9 September 2017
© THE TIMES MAGAZINE/NEWS SYNDICATION
I’m running alone
down a long, empty
corridor, trainers
squeaking on hospital
linoleum, stethoscope
clenched in my fist. It’s
a crash call. We’re told
never to run to these –
junior doctors who are
themselves gasping for
air don’t exactly inspire
confidence. But
someone in the distance
might be dying.
Strolling to their
bedside doesn’t feel like
an option. So I’m
panting and cursing
that the cardiology
ward is located so far
away from the rest of
the hospital. It’s 4am
and I haven’t done this
many times before.
The last word
The concept of medicine as a decade-long
apprenticeship in which seniors gladly
trained up the juniors on their firm is at
risk of becoming a historical artefact,
made obsolete by a top-down culture of
NHS “targets”. The dedication and
selflessness that once glued the NHS
together is at risk, I fear, of evaporating.
53
away the bonds between the front-line staff
and that ethos begins to fray.
My late grandad’s beaten-up doctor’s bag,
still laden with ancient vials and
instruments, sits in pride of place in my
house. He, like my dad, was thrilled when
I told him I was going to medical school. I
fear he would turn in his grave if he knew
Never was this more apparent than during
that last summer, burned out by my
my grandfather’s final visit to hospital, the
gruelling shift worker’s existence –
one which, arguably, killed him. In his
compounded by a dismal year of junior
90s, admitted for an irregular heartbeat,
doctor strikes – I quit my NHS training.
he spent the night increasingly desperate
My son, aged ten, and daughter, six, were
to pass urine. He buzzed for a nurse
thrilled with their new hands-on mother.
multiple times, but no one came. Frail and
But I couldn’t shake the feeling of
well aware of his high risk of falling, he
abandoning my patients and, more
Clarke (right) on strike in 2015
faced a stark choice: endure a humiliating
fundamentally, I missed them. So, after
night on soiled sheets, or risk the short but precarious walk
a six-month break, I returned to a new, kinder and more
to the bathroom. He chose jeopardy above indignity. The
tight-knit speciality: palliative care. In the NHS hospice in
next morning, my father and I arrived to find Gramps groggy
which I now work, the doctors and nurses function as a team,
and bruised, his neck trussed up in a surgical collar. He’d
supporting and learning from each other.
been found, collapsed, on the floor beside his bed. His neck
was broken, and two days later he died. The medical student
Today’s NHS needs more than an injection of cash. Unless
in me felt shame at his treatment at NHS hands – the
doctors’ rosters are designed to rekindle that sense of
granddaughter burned with anger.
belonging and team spirit, today’s young doctors are at risk
of feeling rootless. Without this – and to my intense sadness
Perhaps the staff that night were simply too overstretched to
– the prospect of my own children following me into
answer their patients’ call bells. Perhaps, like staff at the
medicine fills me less with pride than trepidation. And that
infamous Mid Staffs hospital, where a culture of indifference
speaks volumes about the need for profound cultural change
infected the wards, they had become inured to their patients’
in a health service that is slowly battering teams of staff into
indignities. Mercifully, these attitudes remain rare. In spite of
resigned and weary individuals.
a top-down, tick-box culture and the constant drive to shave
budgets, today’s front-line staff are still, overwhelmingly, only
This article appeared in The Daily Telegraph © Rachel Clarke/
too willing to go the extra mile for our patients. We love and
Telegraph Media Group Ltd. Your Life in My Hands by Rachel
believe in the NHS and everything it stands for. But take
Clarke (extracted below) is published by John Blake Publishing.
“Get me the drugs! Now!”
Nothing quite matches the exultation of knowing, without
doubt, that for the first time you have saved somebody’s life.
It was the end of a gruelling weekend on call. Sunday night,
approaching nine o’clock, the start of evening handover and
liberty. Tessa, my fellow house officer, and I had just spent
45 of the preceding 72 hours responsible for the clinical needs
of several hundred medical inpatients. We were exhausted
and desperate for it to end. As I worked my way through my
last few jobs on the ward, impatient to be free, Tessa bleeped
me from another ward. “Rach, can you come and have a look
at this guy? He’s got pneumonia and I’ve started him on
antibiotics, but there’s something that doesn’t look right.”
Tessa had been asked to review Mr Brewer, a man in his 60s
with a new diagnosis of bowel cancer, on account of his
fever and mildly low oxygen levels. When she listened to his
chest, the telltale crackles at the base of one lung clinched a
clinical diagnosis of pneumonia, for which she had prescribed
antibiotics. Writing up her entry in his notes and looking
forward to her post-on-call beer, she had noticed a change in
the sound of his breathing. Brewer had just returned to his
bed from the toilet. Previously comfortable, he now looked
distressed and pale. He denied any pain in his chest and, when
she listened with her stethoscope, nothing had changed. He
just looked… wrong.
I worked my way through the “A, B, C” protocol that should
frame every doctor’s emergency assessment. I knew that
“A”, his airway, was not blocked since he could whisper,
albeit almost inaudibly. I ignored, for now, the poignancy of
his words, coming from a man who looked as if he was dying
and, worse, wore the dread of someone who knew it.
“Please... tell my... wife... not... to worry... about me.” I had
to stay hard. There was no time to be distracted by sentiment.
“B”, his breathing, was horrendous. Brewer’s chest had the
wet rasp of a patient who is drowning in his own bodily
fluid. His lungs were flooded. “C”, circulation, was no better.
His hands were clammy. Where the pulse in his wrist should
be, I could feel nothing. His blood pressure must have
crashed. In spite of his feeling no pain in his chest, I was
certain he had suffered a massive heart attack while he had
been away in the toilet.
As the nurses arrived, I asked one of them to run for
intravenous morphine and diuretics that would take the fluid
off his lungs and heart. Without them, his heart would remain
unable to beat properly and a cardiac arrest was inevitable.
The nurse refused. “He’s got no blood pressure. If you give
him those drugs, you’re going to kill him,” the nurse said.
“There’s no way I’m giving them.” Brewer’s lungs were now
so overloaded with fluid that blood-tinged foam had started
frothing from his lips and he was slipping into
unconsciousness. I – or, rather, he – had only seconds. Selfdoubt couldn’t come into it. And so, almost snarling – the
pressure felt so fierce – I shouted, “Get me the drugs! Now! I’ll
give them myself.” It wasn’t professional, it wasn’t polite, but
every intuition I possessed screamed at me to give the drugs.
If I was wrong, my actions were probably going to kill him.
I pushed 10mg of morphine into Brewer’s vein. For a second,
nothing. Then, as we stared, the blue-grey mask of imminent
death started to blossom into healthy, pink flesh as blood
suffused his oxygen-starved tissues. It felt as if we had raised
the dead, brought about a resurrection. I’d love to pretend
that Tessa and I reflected wisely on this experience, but we
couldn’t stop beaming. We felt like real doctors at last –
decisive, brave, just like the white-coated heroes on TV. Later,
drunk on euphoria and vodka, we sat up half the night, reliving
it. We felt – in our naivety – invincible. For one night, in our
minds we ruled the hospital.
9 September 2017 THE WEEK
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Crossword
55
THE WEEK CROSSWORD 1072
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Ett
(www.ettinger.co.uk) Brogue
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connel
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18 September. Send it to: The Week Crossword 1072, 2nd floor, 32 Queensway, London W2 3RX,
or email the answers to crossword@theweek.co.uk. Tim Moorey (www.timmoorey.info)
1
ACROSS
1 Deputy gets stable job in
overflow area? (8,4)
10 European opening a horseriding competition (5)
11 Book in restaurant that’s
open (3-2-4)
12 Pierce tin in Bangor accidentally,
losing gallons (7)
13 Pointers unwanted mostly (7)
14 Turn out to be a parody needing
no introduction (3,2)
16 Order to caterer for church
office (9)
19 A position with foreign oil
company initially for Pauline (9)
20 Provide an on-line joke? (5)
22 Type of fringe for the nut? (7)
25 A race came first around Sussex
castle (7)
27 Romanians reformed the
republic (3,6)
28 Dance with beat and energy (5)
29 Venus, perhaps for whom love
means nothing (6,6)
DOWN
2 Mostly, does growth develop
from starting position (3,4,2)
3 Fool working up and away (3,2)
4 Confused learning English
mostly (2,7)
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Precisely (2,3,4)
7 Phone not entirely right for old
US oil company (5)
8 Weak charge depressed after
leaving university (6)
9 Tenant circles seeking to have
external cladding removed (6)
15 Only a little trouble getting
small bread roll? (5,4)
17 Highly delighted with a hock
ordered in store (4-1-4)
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after a roll? Plenty (9)
19 One made prosperous
reportedly is the most expert (6)
21 Kill hack from the south? I may
have done (3,3)
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composition (5)
24 Sounds like country hot stuff (5)
26 Only some insult rabid
extremist (5)
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Clue of the week: Trees to come down, initially (5,2,3 first letter F)
The Guardian, Brendan
Solution to Crossword 1070
ACROSS: 1 Viewfinder 6 Ajar 9 Magog 10 Wardrobes 12 Nursery
school 14 Missouri 15 Prosit 17 Artier 19 Sombrero 21 Sledgehammers
24 Draftsman 25 Knits 26 Ruse 27 Playwright
DOWN: 1 Vamp 2 Edgings 3 Figure of eight 4/8 New Year’s resolution
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18 Toerags 20 Ensuing 22 Hamal 23 Psst
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