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The Week UK Issue 1133 15 July 2017

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The march
of the sex
robots
CAN ANYONE
STOP KIM?
TALKING POINTS P20
HEALTH &
SCIENCE P19
France’s
greatest
stateswoman
OBITUARIES P39
THE WEEK
15 JULY 2017 | ISSUE 1133 | £3.30
THE BEST OF THE BRITISH AND INTERNATIONAL MEDIA
May’s second serve
Can she stay in the game?
Page 6
ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT EVERYTHING THAT MATTERS
www.theweek.co.uk
4 NEWS
The main stories…
What happened
The Hamburg summit
World leaders gathered in Hamburg last
week for a two-day G20 summit devoted
to issues ranging from trade and climate
change to migration and terrorism. The
theme of the meeting was “Shaping an
Interconnected World”, but much of the
coverage of the event ended up focused on
the violent street protests that accompanied
the summit in Germany’s second city –
almost 500 police officers were injured,
and 400 demonstrators detained – and on
the role of Donald Trump.
The keenly awaited meeting between Trump and Putin
“seems to have served the interests of both sides”, said The
Independent. Trump can claim he took
Putin to task over Russia’s alleged
election interference; Putin can claim
Trump accepted his assurances that the
allegations are unfounded. It was a pretty
unconvincing piece of “play-acting”,
but if it enables a reset of US-Russian
relations, that’s no bad thing. Moscow
may prove more amenable now that it
believes the US is showing it proper
respect. “It is not as if President Obama’s
scolding was a notably successful policy.”
Putin and Trump: “play-acting”?
The summit saw the much-anticipated first meeting between
Trump and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin. The pair
talked for more than two hours, and apparently had a “robust
and lengthy” exchange about Russia’s alleged meddling in the
US election. They finished by agreeing a ceasefire deal in southwest Syria. Trump raised eyebrows during another meeting by
deputing his daughter, Ivanka, temporarily to sit in for him.
Trump was left isolated at the end of the summit when the
other leaders signed up to a declaration that the Paris climate
deal, which the US has pulled out of, was “irreversible”. It led
some US critics to rename the forum the G19+1.
What happened
Victory in Mosul
After almost nine months of savage fighting,
the Iraqi prime minister, Haider al-Abadi, this
week claimed “total victory” in the battle to
recapture Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city,
from Islamic State. The jihadis were driven
out of their last stronghold in Iraq almost
exactly three years after they seized the city,
which Isis leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (who
was recently reported to have been killed),
had declared the capital of his “caliphate”.
The final weeks of fighting saw vicious houseto-house combat as Iraqi troops, backed by
Kurdish Peshmerga units and Shia militias,
struggled to dislodge diehard militants.
What the editorials said
The world’s two major nuclear powers certainly need to work
together, said The Washington Post, but was it really necessary
for Trump to declare that it was “an honour” to meet Putin?
“It is not an honour to sit down with the leader of a regime
that invades peaceable neighbours, covertly interferes in the
elections of democratic nations, and orchestrates and tolerates
the assassination of domestic political opponents.” There was
something distasteful about the sight of the two sharing a joke
last week at the expense of journalists, said The New York
Times. Trump doesn’t seem to understand that Putin “plays to
his worst instincts and, at the end of the day, is not an ally”.
What the editorials said
The fall of Mosul marks the end of Isis’s pretensions to run
its own “territorial state”, said The Times. But the long war
with the jihadis is far from over. Driving the
extremists out of their last power base, the
Syrian city of Raqqa, could prove bloodier still.
And even when Raqqa falls, Isis still has
“affiliates” in countries across the Muslim
world, from Libya and Nigeria to the
Philippines – all ready to “disrupt and attack
the West”. The flow of recruits to Isis may
slow, but its “terror campaigns” will continue.
In fact, long-term peace in Iraq looks as elusive
as ever, said the FT. The disparate groups who
came together to fight Isis have no common
agenda: the old fault lines between the Sunni
minority and the Shia government in Baghdad
Iraqi forces celebrating
Around 700,000 people have been left
seem set to re-emerge. Expect trouble from the
homeless since the campaign began in October, according
Kurds too, said The Daily Telegraph. Buoyed by their role in
to the UN. Much of the city has been reduced to rubble as
the conflict, they may step up pressure for control of their
a result of bombardments and air strikes by the US-led
own oil, or even their own state. With so many forces “trying
coalition. Amnesty International has accused both sides of
to rip the country apart”, keeping Iraq together will be
violating international law and using excessive force.
“exceptionally hard”.
It wasn’t all bad
North Sea cod is to be declared
sustainable again. The Marine
Stewardship Council is
expected to award the fish its
blue label later this month –
upgrading it from the list of
species that should not be eaten
often. In 2006, following years
of overfishing, the annual catch
of cod fell to 44,000 tons, and
stocks were thought to be near
collapse. Since then, however,
they have made a remarkable
recovery thanks to fishing
restrictions, and this year, the
catch reached 168,000 tons.
The Lake District
has been named
a Unesco World
Heritage Site,
joining the likes
of the Great Wall
of China and the
Taj Mahal. At
a meeting last
week, the UN’s
cultural body
decided that the
region merited
inclusion in the “cultural landscape” category, on account of its
“picturesque aesthetic” along with its links to the “Lake School”
of Romantic poets. However, Unesco suggested the impact of
tourism should be monitored, and called for conservation efforts
in the Lake District to be stepped up.
Forty-four years ago, the most
important documents from the
ancient Roman world were
discovered at Vindolanda, a fort
below Hadrian’s Wall. Now, 25
more letters written by Roman
soldiers stationed there have
been found. Dating from the
first century AD, the cache was
discovered last month in a deep
trench. Some of the tablets are
so well preserved that archaeologists have already been able to
read them: one was written by
Masclus, who in the earlier haul
wrote to his commanding
officer asking for more beer; this
time, he requested leave.
COVER CARTOON: HOWARD MCWILLIAM
THE WEEK 15 July 2017
…and how they were covered
NEWS 5
What the commentators said
What next?
“Another G20 summit has come and gone,” said Walter Russell Mead in The Wall Street
Journal, “and yet again the world has failed to change.” It’s amazing that delegates at these
“vacuous” events spend so long haggling over the wording of communiqués, as nobody takes
any notice of them once they go home. History is not made by well-meaning, vaguely worded
statements; it’s made by great powers, and the way they interact with each other.
Angela Merkel, who faces
a parliamentary election on
24 September, has come
under fire for staging the
G20 in the city of her birth,
Hamburg, which has a strong
tradition of countercultural
protests. German politicians
have called for a panEuropean register of leftwing extremists to curb
violence at future summits.
The Hamburg summit threw some light on the world’s shifting power dynamics, said Roger
Boyes in The Times. It revealed how “frayed” the Western alliance has become now that the US
is opting out of its global leadership role. European leaders seemed more comfortable dealing
with President Xi Jinping of China, who is rushing to fill the power vacuum by championing
free trade. It’s just as well that Trump “did not attempt an ‘Ich bin ein Hamburger’ moment”,
because it’s clear the anti-American mood goes well beyond the usual “anti-G20 rent-a-mob.
Almost the entire European political class prefers to define itself in opposition to Trump.” The
US president cut a lonely figure in Hamburg, said Matthew Norman in The Independent. His
only friends were Putin and the “pitiful” Theresa May, whom he promised a quick trade deal.
Many have portrayed the G20 summit as “a clash between progressive European values and
American cold-heartedness”, said Fraser Nelson in The Daily Telegraph. But there are several
problems with that. One is that the facts don’t necessarily support it. The EU talks about being
globally minded, for instance, “while practicing shameless protectionism”. Trump, on the other
hand, “boasts about his protectionism, while not (so far) managing to do very much of it”.
Likewise, for all Trump’s scepticism about climate change, the reality is that the US is doing
rather a good job of cutting carbon emissions. Another problem with defining yourself against
Trump is that his supposedly fringe views on issues such as immigration from Muslim countries
and global warming are, in fact, very widely shared. “Hard as it may be for his European
counterparts to admit, this is true on both sides of the Atlantic.”
Trump was this week forced
to drop a plan for a joint
US-Russian cybersecurity unit
after it was greeted with
derision in Washington,
reports The Times. Lindsey
Graham, the Republican
South Carolina senator, said
the proposal, put forward
by Putin during his meeting
with Trump, was “not the
dumbest idea I’ve ever heard,
but it’s pretty close”.
What the commentators said
What next?
Mosul has paid a desperate price for its liberation, said Ian Birrell in The Mail on Sunday. It
has witnessed scenes of terrible savagery: civilians used as human shields, women forcibly sent
on suicide missions, buildings strewn with booby traps. After a battle lasting even longer than
the siege of Stalingrad, in 1942-43, the Old City looks like something from the Apocalypse. In
areas, every single building has been destroyed. Even Mosul’s 800-year-old al-Nuri mosque,
from where al-Baghdadi proclaimed his caliphate, was blown to pieces last month by Isis
forces. And the battle isn’t over yet, said Patrick Cockburn in The Independent. Isis has
probably planted “sleeper cells” inside the city to carry on the conflict, and it is already staging
counter-attacks in the nearby countryside. To make matters worse, heavy losses have left the
government with too few reliable troops to protect newly recovered territory. Isis has suffered
a great defeat at Mosul, but it will “be able to survive and fight again”.
Military experts believe
Raqqa will shortly fall to
US-backed forces. Some
3,000 militants and their
families are now holed up
in the city, along with tens
of thousands of civilians;
they have successfully used
a network of tunnels and
bomb-carrying drones to
slow the advance.
The biggest challenge now is to reassure the newly liberated Sunnis that they can trust the Shialed government, said Antony J. Blinken in The New York Times. If Baghdad is seen – as it has
been so often in the past – as a “persecutor”, rather than a “protector”, some new version of
Isis will soon find plenty of willing recruits. One answer should be to allow Sunni provinces to
have greater self-government, a move that Washington must now support. There’s little chance
of that, said The Economist. Policymaking in President Trump’s administration is, frankly,
“dysfunctional”. It still has almost 200 foreign and national security jobs to fill: its whole
Middle East policy is hopelessly incoherent. Trump seems to have only a few “vague aims”: to
destroy Isis, roll back the growing power of Iran, and reduce US involvement in the region. But
unless America takes an active role, there’s a real danger that Iraq’s extremists will simply
regroup. “Trump needs to hire some good experts and draw up a plan – fast.”
Officials from the 68-nation
coalition fighting Isis
began talks this week in
Washington DC on a
ten-year reconstruction plan
for Iraq. The World Bank
has reportedly pledged
£233m, and Germany
£443m. The total bill for
restoring Iraq’s liberated
areas could reach £78bn.
THE WEEK
Have we had enough of experts? During the Brexit campaign,
Michael Gove was derided for the suggestion, though he was only
talking about economists – and their predictions are famously
unreliable. Doctors and scientists have tended to be held in higher esteem. But we don’t seem to put
much faith in their expertise any more either. The sad case of Charlie Gard (see p.21) is evidence of
that. Charlie’s doctors believe that, tragically, his rare mitochondrial disease cannot be treated, and
that keeping him on life support only risks prolonging his suffering. But on social media, no one
seems to think they should be trusted: #JeSuisCharlie has been trending on Twitter, and 350,000
people have signed a petition calling for Charlie to be sent abroad for an experimental therapy.
It’s becoming a powerful force, the online torrent. And like Godzilla stalking the city, you never
know where it will strike next. Few institutions have been held in such high regard as Great Ormond
Street. It must have thought it was safe from the giant lizard’s lashing tail. It wasn’t. Last week, with
the social media pressure intensifying, the hospital felt obliged to refer Charlie’s case back to the
High Court. The judge says he‘ll only be swayed by medical evidence, not by “tweets or things said
to the press”. Let’s hope so. If the public wants parents to be the sole arbiters of what is in their
child’s best interests, we should have a debate about that, and its implications for
Caroline Law
child protection. What we shouldn’t do is let an online mob tear the law down.
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15 July 2017 THE WEEK
Politics
6 NEWS
Controversy of the week
Boring but important
May’s relaunch
“When two or three people are gathered together in
Westminster, there is always a question of the moment,” said
Adam Boulton in The Sunday Times. The latest topic for
speculation is: “How long can she last?” The newspapers are
filled with tales of plots against Theresa May, said Katy Balls
on her Spectator blog. A few weeks ago, the Chancellor, Philip
Hammond, was spoken of as the PM-in-waiting, but now it’s
David Davis, the Brexit Secretary, who is being “talked up to
take the reins”; Davis’s close ally Andrew Mitchell reportedly
denounced May as “dead in the water”. Most Tory MPs are
keen to avoid a leadership contest, lest they give the keys to No.
10 to Labour. But some question “whether a clearly miserable
Theresa May can get through Brexit”, said Gaby Hinsliff in The
Observer. All the big decisions are now said to be made jointly
by May, Hammond and Davis. And Davis – the grass-roots
favourite to succeed her – is an increasingly powerful figure.
Teacher pay cap
The PM: “clearly miserable”
This week, May attempted to “relaunch her faltering premiership with an extraordinary appeal for
cross-party unity”, said Oliver Wright in The Times. In an admission of political weakness, she
called on her opponents to work with her, to “come forward with your own views and ideas” about
how to tackle the challenges facing the country. The appeal made May look both “disingenuous and
daft”, said Stephen Bush in the New Statesman. “She called the election because she had had quite
enough of MPs coming forward with their own ideas about how Britain should be governed – not
because she wanted to sit down for long chats about the future of the UK with Jeremy Corbyn.”
Most people already think politicians are liars. “Looking daft is a bigger worry.” Besides, a Tory PM
shouldn’t be asking Corbyn for ideas, said Philip Johnston in The Daily Telegraph. She gave her
“relaunch” speech this week while introducing a report into the “gig economy”, and the problem of
self-employed people working for firms that do not offer paid holidays or minimum wages (see page
43). Labour is unlikely to suggest any solutions that don’t involve “more laws and less freedom”.
May is regularly described as a “zombie” prime minister, said Philip Collins in The Times. But there
are a few things she can do to “fight back”. The first is to pull her socks up: to “stop looking
miserable and sounding defensive”. Her government “is going to need accomplishments”, and there
are plenty of things she can do that don’t require a parliamentary majority. She should get more
involved in the Brexit process, rather than leaving it all to Davis. She should challenge the Labour
Party to join a “grand coalition” to resolve social care. There is a £23bn infrastructure investment
fund ready to be used. May is a “weak prime minister”, and her time in office will be limited. But if
she acts as if power is still “at hand”, she “might just find that, for a spell, it still is”.
Spirit of the age
Smartphones are being
blamed for spreading head
lice. A new study has found
that youngsters who own
a smartphone or tablet are
more than twice as likely to
be infested with nits, with
62.5% infested at some
point over a five-year
period. Researchers say that
schoolchildren crowding
around the devices makes it
easy for the bugs to travel
from one head to another.
The Lib Dem who
precipitated a relaxation of
the Commons dress code,
by turning up tieless, has
now suggested that MPs
drop another convention,
and start referring to each
other by their names rather
than by their constituencies.
Tom Brake has also
questioned the tradition of
providing MPs with free
snuff, kept in a small silver
box in the Members’ Lobby.
THE WEEK 15 July 2017
Good week for:
Maurice Sendak fans, with the discovery, five years after his
death, of a previously unpublished book by the author of Where
the Wild Things Are. Written 25 years ago with his friend and
collaborator Arthur Yorinks, Presto and Zesto in Limboland was
found in Sendak’s archives, and is to be published next year.
Anglican clergy, who are to be allowed to “dress down” for
church. The Church of England’s ruling body, the Synod, has
approved a change to canon law that will mean clergy can wear
civilian clothes, rather than vestments, when conducting services.
Bad week for:
Love Island, the sexually explicit reality TV show, which was
the subject of 46 complaints last week. But although several
couples had been shown engaging in sexual acts in the episodes
in question, only 15 of the complaints to Ofcom were about
the sexual content. More people (24) were upset about the
twentysomething contestants being shown smoking.
Blue Peter, after an early afternoon broadcast of the BBC
children’s show apparently failed to attract a single viewer. The
repeat scored “zero” on the rating system used to measure TV
audiences; the original airing of the episode, in June, drew 53,100
viewers. In its heyday, Blue Peter was watched by eight million.
Middle-class homeowners, who were warned that if they
pay their window cleaner in cash, they’re not “good citizens”.
Matthew Taylor, an employment adviser to the PM, has
suggested a move to “digital transactions”, to cut down on
tax avoidance (see page 43).
Teachers in England and
Wales will get no more than
a 1% pay rise this year,
despite calls for Theresa May
to end the public sector pay
cap. From September,
classroom teachers will be
paid between £23,000 and
£38,700pa. With inflation at
2.9%, this represents a realterms pay cut. A cap on
public sector pay has been in
place since 2010; in that time,
teachers’ pay has fallen in
real terms by 13%, according
to the National Union of
Teachers. Almost a quarter
of teachers who trained
between 2011 and 2015 had
left the profession by 2016.
Failing nursing homes
A third of nursing homes in
England are failing to meet
safety standards, according
to a new report. Having
inspected 24,000 care
services, including home
help and community
support, the Care Quality
Commission also found that
a quarter of residential care
homes were failing to
provide safe environments
for their residents, while
a fifth of all care services
were deemed to be either
“inadequate” or “in need of
improvement”. The report
said these “failings” were
caused, at least in part, by
difficulties in recruiting
and retaining staff.
Poll watch
If an election were to take
place tomorrow, 46% of
Britons now say they’d vote
Labour – up from the party’s
40% share of the vote on 8
June. 38% would vote Tory,
down from 42%. A YouGov
poll in April, immediately
after Theresa May called the
election, put Labour on 24%
and the Tories on 48%.
YouGov/The Times
57% of people across the
world think Britain has a
positive influence on global
affairs, according to a
survey of 25 countries. 81%
think Canada has a positive
influence, more than any
other country. Iran comes
bottom, with 21%, while
Israel is on 32%, and Russia
35%. However, Europeans
are less enthusiastic about
Britain: just 48% of EU
citizens think the country
has a positive influence.
Ipsos Mori/Daily Telegraph
Europe at a glance
Paris
Migrants cleared: A makeshift camp of
some 2,000 to 2,500 refugees and migrants
that had sprung up in Porte de la Chapelle,
a district in northern Paris, was cleared by
police this week. The number of migrants
sleeping rough in Paris has swollen since
the closure of the “Jungle” camp in Calais
last October, and the opening of an aid
centre in Porte de la Chapelle shortly after.
When the centre filled up, new arrivals
began sleeping rough nearby. President
Emmanuel Macron said last week that he
was planning “a more human, and fairer”
treatment of asylum seekers, but has yet to
give details. Commenting on the events in
the French capital, the president of the
European Parliament, Antonio Tajani –
a member of Italy’s Forza Italia party
– warned that Europe is underestimating
the severity of the migrant crisis. He
predicted that “millions of Africans”,
driven by “population growth, climate
change, desertification, wars” and famine,
will travel to Europe in the next five years
in an exodus “of biblical proportions”.
NEWS 7
Istanbul, Turkey
Massive protest:
More than a
million people –
possibly as many
as two million
– flooded into
central Istanbul
on Sunday for
the biggest
anti-government
rally in Turkey in
four years. The
demonstration, against President Erdogan’s
authoritarian rule, marked the end of a
25-day, 250-mile “March for Justice”
from Ankara to Istanbul led by Kemal
Kılıçdaroglu, the mild-mannered leader of
the secularist Republican People’s Party.
Almost alone at the start, and widely
mocked, he attracted tens of thousands
along the way, and seems to have
re-energised the opposition to
Erdogan (see page 15).
Moscow
Nureyev ballet pulled: The world premiere
of a major new ballet about the gay
Russian ballet star Rudolf Nureyev was
abruptly cancelled this week, days before
its scheduled opening at the Bolshoi
Theatre. According to the state news
agency Tass, the hotly anticipated piece
was pulled on the orders of the culture
minister, Vladimir Medinsky, after he
decided it promoted homosexuality. The
ministry has since denied this, saying
“bans are not the ministry’s style”; and the
Bolshoi’s director claims the show has
merely been postposted, because it wasn’t
ready. But the ballet’s cast are crying foul.
“The last time this happened in the theatre
was the 1930s,” said the female lead,
Maria Alexandrova. “A new era has
begun, but history goes in circles.”
Cagliari,
Sardinia
Separatist starves:
A well-known
veteran of the
campaign for
Sardinian
independence
(which has
enjoyed negligible
popular support
since the 1970s)
died last week,
following a two-month hunger strike that
he said had been inspired by the IRA’s
Bobby Sands. Salvatore “Doddore”
Meloni (above), 74, was jailed in the 1980s
for plotting against the Italian state, and
arrested again in 2008 after proclaiming
himself president of Malu Entu, a tiny
island off Sardinia’s west coast. He was
jailed in April by a Cagliari court for
refusing to pay tax to the Italian state.
Nicosia
Unity talks fail: Two years of UN-brokered
negotiations, seen as the best hope in
decades of reunifying Cyprus, came to an
unsuccessful end last week amid rancorous
late-night scenes of what one official called
“yelling and drama”. Cyprus has been
divided since 1974 between the Greekspeaking Republic of Cyprus and a smaller
Turkish-speaking enclave in the north,
which is recognised as a state only by
Ankara. The split was triggered by a coup
by Greek Cypriots seeking union with
Greece; Turkey then sent in troops to
defend the rights of Turkish Cypriots. The
continuing presence of its 30,000 or so
troops was the ultimate deal-breaker in the
talks, which finally collapsed last week
after a ten-day session in the Swiss resort
of Crans-Montana. Turkey refused to
withdraw its troops; Greek Cypriots have
refused to agree to a unified federation of
Cyprus as long as they remain.
Chioggia, Italy
Fascist beach club: Police in Italy are
investigating a “fascist” beach club near
Venice where beach huts are adorned with
pictures of Benito Mussolini, signs feature
fascist slogans and references to “gas
chambers”, and sunbathers exchange stiffarmed salutes. Officers from the Digos
anti-terror unit raided the Punta Canna
resort, in Chioggia, at the weekend on the
orders of a Venice magistrate, in response
to a newspaper report on its openly fascist
sympathies. The owner, Gianni Scarpa,
64, may face charges of promoting fascism
– a criminal offence in Italy since 1952.
Until this week, when he was ordered to
desist, Scarpa broadcast “communiqués”
over loudspeakers at the resort, praising
Il Duce, condemning “disgusting”
democracy, and calling (among other
things) for drug users to be exterminated.
Guadalest, Spain
Olive oil threat: A pathogen that has
already killed up to a million olive trees in
Italy has reached the Spanish mainland,
raising serious concerns about the future
of the olive industry in a country that
produces about half of the world’s olive
oil. Xylella fastidiosa, which prevents
water reaching the trees’ leaves, was first
recorded in southern Italy in 2013. Last
year it was detected on the Spanish islands
of Ibiza and Mallorca. Now the bacterium,
which affects as many as 300 plant species,
has been found in almond trees near the
town of Guadalest, in Valencia. All olive
trees within a 100-metre radius have been
chopped down, and the area has also been
treated against insects that carry the
bacterium. Experts fear that if the disease,
known as “olive tree leprosy”, spreads,
Spain’s 340 million olive trees will be at
risk of either being infected or having to be
chopped down to contain the infection.
Catch up with daily news at www.theweek.co.uk
15 July 2017 THE WEEK
8 NEWS
The world at a glance
Washington DC
The “I love it” affair: President Trump’s
son, Donald Trump Jr, has admitted that
in the run-up to the US presidential
election, he agreed to meet a Kremlinlinked Russian lawyer who, he’d been
told, had information that would
“incriminate” his father’s rival, Hillary
Clinton. In emails obtained by The New
York Times, an intermediary, British
music publicist Rob Goldstone, wrote
that the lawyer would disclose this “very high-level, and sensitive”
information as “part of Russia and its government’s support for
Mr Trump”. Trump Jr’s response: “If it’s what you say, I love it.”
He set up a meeting at Trump Tower days later that was attended
by himself, his brother-in-law Jared Kushner, and his father’s then
campaign manager, Paul Manafort. The email chain – which
provides evidence that members of Trump’s circle knew
Moscow might be trying to influence the election, and
courted its assistance – was released by Trump Jr (above)
this week. Earlier, he’d told the press that he’d met
the lawyer to discuss US-Russian adoption policies.
Trump Jr claims that in the event, the lawyer, Natalia
Veselnitskaya, had “no meaningful information” to offer, and
that his father had known nothing about the meeting. Meanwhile,
Veselnitskaya has denied being in the pay of the Kremlin (see page
44). The facts of the case remain unclear, but colluding with
foreign governments to influence an election is a crime in the US.
British Columbia
Thousands flee wildfires: More than 200 wildfires have been
raging across Canada’s westernmost province, British Columbia,
severely disrupting the timber and mining industries and driving
at least 14,000 people from their homes. Last Friday, the
authorities declared the first state of emergency in the province
since 2003, as electrical storms and strong winds lashed much
of the region’s bone-dry interior. Several US states that have
endured a prolonged period of extreme hot weather this summer
have also suffered devastating wildfires. In California, 14 separate
fires were burning early this week; the two worst had forced
about 8,000 people from their homes. Other major wildfires were
reported in Colorado, Arizona, Oregon, Nevada, Montana and
Washington state.
Acapulco, Mexico
Prison carnage: At least 28 prisoners were killed last week when
a vicious fight broke out between rival gangs in a notoriously
lawless, overcrowded jail in the resort city of Acapulco. The
authorities found corpses littered around the maximum security
wing of Las Cruces prison; there were reports that at least four of
those killed had been decapitated. Acapulco is the main city in
Guerrero, a particularly crime-ridden state that is a centre of
opium poppy production. The violence at Las Cruces is the latest
atrocity in what has been an unusually bloody year in Mexico.
May was the deadliest month in the country since 1997, when
official records began, with 2,186 homicides.
Cuscatlán, El Salvador
Jailed for stillbirth: A 19-year-old rape victim in El Salvador has
been sentenced to 30 years in prison for murder, after giving birth
to a baby she insists was stillborn. Evelyn Beatriz Hernandez Cruz
– who had been repeatedly raped over several months by a gang
member – says she had not even realised she was pregnant when
her baby was born in the outdoor toilet at her home, in a rural
part of Cuscatlán municipality, last year. Yet when her mother
took her to hospital, she was arrested on suspicion of procuring an
abortion; prosecutors then decided that her baby had been born
alive and that she’d killed him by throwing him into the latrine
pit, and changed the charge to aggravated homicide. El Salvador is
one of five countries where abortion is illegal in all circumstances.
Caracas
López released: One of Venezuela’s
most prominent opposition politicians,
Leopoldo López, has been released
from military prison and transferred
to house arrest, three-and-a-half years
into a 13-year sentence for his part in
anti-government protests in 2014. The
surprise move – which has the
potential to invigorate the protest
movement against President Maduro’s
government – was ordered by the
Supreme Court, citing unspecified
health grounds for its “humanitarian
measures”. Maduro backed the release, and called on López (left)
to help end the violent protests convulsing Venezuela. But in a
message released by his party, López said he backed the protests.
THE WEEK 15 July 2017
Brasília
Corruption unit shut down:
Brazil’s Federal Police force has
announced that it is shutting
down a crusading anti-corruption
task force that has had great success
in uncovering wrongdoing among the country’s political and
business elite. The Federal Police said it was absorbing the Lava
Jato (“Car Wash”) unit into its main anti-corruption division for
efficiency reasons. But the decision was attacked by police officers,
prosecutors and commentators, who warned it could stymie
crucial police work. In May, President Michel Temer, who is
among the politicians facing criminal charges stemming from the
unit’s work, appointed a close ally to run the Justice Ministry,
which oversees the Federal Police. A spokesman denied that the
president had influenced the closure of the task force.
The world at a glance
Sana’a
Cholera disaster: The cholera epidemic in
Yemen, a country already reeling from
civil war and widespread near-famine
conditions, has infected a total of 300,000
people in the past ten weeks – 100,000 of
them in the past fortnight alone, according
to aid agencies. The known death toll
stands at more than 1,706. “This epidemic
is spreading further and faster than
anything we’ve seen before,” said Jamie
McGoldrick, the UN’s top aid official for
Yemen. In a sign of how dire the situation
has become, the World Health
Organisation said this week that it was
probably going to abandon a planned
cholera vaccination campaign in Yemen,
because the rapid spread of the disease,
along with the nation’s war-ravaged
infrastructure, would almost certainly
render any such campaign ineffective.
Batengoo, Kashmir
Pilgrims killed: Seven Hindu pilgrims were
killed in Indian-ruled Kashmir on Monday,
during a gun battle between Islamist
militants and the police. The pilgrims were
on their way back from a shrine in the
Himalayas when their bus got caught in
the crossfire near the town of Batengoo, in
Anantnag district, police said. The killings
have caused anger among PM Narendra
Modi’s Hindu nationalist supporters, who
have long demanded tougher action against
militants fighting Indian rule in Muslimmajority Kashmir, and have raised religious
tensions across the region. Every July and
August, some 100,000 Hindus make a
pilgrimage to the remote shrine to Shiva,
god of creative destruction. Security along
the route had been intensified this year in
response to a surge in sectarian violence in
Kashmir, and fears of just such an attack.
NEWS 9
Ulaanbaatar
Fighter
president:
A businessman
who rose to
fame as a star
of Mongolian
wrestling has
been elected
president of the
vast, resourcerich country
(pop: three million). Khaltmaa Battulga,
54, is also known for building a 130ft-tall
equestrian statue of Genghis Khan at his
theme park dedicated to the Mongol
warrior-emperor. Battulga (above) – whose
candidacy appealed to the public’s growing
unease about Chinese influence – has
pledged to take a greater national share in
the profits from foreign-owned mines.
Asakura, Japan
Deadly floods: At least
25 people were killed in
deadly landslides and
flooding in southern
Japan last week. Typhoon
Nanmadol swept across
the country, hitting the
southern island of
Kyushu particularly
hard. Record rainfall
there caused floods and
landslides that destroyed
hundreds of homes,
roads and rice terraces,
and cut off remote
villages. Hardest hit was
Fukuoka Prefecture, with
at least 12 deaths.
Jima, Kenya
Islamist terror:
Nine Kenyan
civilians were
beheaded last
Saturday when
al-Shabaab militants
from neighbouring
Somalia attacked their village, close to the
border. Al-Shabaab has targeted Kenya
since it deployed troops to Somalia in
2011 as part of an African Union force
helping its fragile government to counter
the Islamist insurgency. However, this
latest attack, on the village of Jima, in
Lamu County, has raised fears that
al-Shabaab is now pursuing a new strategy,
of beheading Kenyan civilians in order to
terrorise the local population (a tactic it
uses in Somalia). According to figures
from the Africa Centre for Strategic
Studies, in Washington DC, al-Shabaab
killed 4,281 people last year, making it
the deadliest Islamist group in Africa.
Benghazi, Libya
City “liberated”:
Benghazi, Libya’s
second city, has
been captured by
forces loyal to
General Khalifa
Haftar, the de
facto ruler of
much of the east
of the country,
ending three years
of occupation by
Islamist militants.
The “liberation” of Benghazi is a major
victory for Haftar (pictured), a renegade
field marshal who rejects the authority of
the UN-backed government in Tripoli.
Some see him as the only leader strong
enough to restore peace to the wartorn nation. Others fear he aims to impose
a Colonel Gaddafi-style dictatorship.
Beijing
Military expansion: Beijing has announced
the departure of troops destined for its first
overseas military base, in Djibouti, in the
Horn of Africa. Beijing says that the base
will be used to resupply ships carrying out
humanitarian and peacekeeping missions
off Somalia and Yemen. A stable country
in a volatile region, tiny Djibouti has clear
strategic value: it is the gateway to one of
the world’s busiest shipping routes, the
Suez Canal, and offers easy access to the
Middle East via Yemen (just 20 miles away
across the Bab al-Mandeb Strait).
15 July 2017 THE WEEK
People
10 NEWS
Lammy on losing hope
For David Lammy, the horror
of the Grenfell Tower fire is
both personal and political.
The Labour MP had a friend,
the artist Khadija Saye, who
died in the blaze. “I have seen a
lot in politics,” he told Tim
Adams in The Observer. “I
have sat with families who
have lost children to knife
crime. I was with families who
had lost everything in the 2011
[Tottenham] riots. But speaking
to Khadija’s father was one of
the toughest things. I said, you
know, how are you doing? And
he told me simply, ‘She was my
only daughter.’ And then he
talked about how he had to go
and visit her at the morgue
later, and was preparing
himself for what he would see
there as well as he could.”
Lammy chokes up. “One
always has to look for hope,
but sometimes there are dark
places where you just can’t find
it. And if there isn’t hope, there
has to be justice.”
Paxman blasts the BBC
Jeremy Paxman spent a quarter
of a century working for the
BBC, before he left in 2014 –
but he feels no great love for
Auntie. He was irritated by its
self-important bureaucracy
– “The BBC has a weakness
for endless meetings with
executives you’ve never heard
of” – not to mention its
political bias. “I would have to
say that the BBC is a parastatal
organisation. They believe in
the state,” he told Rod Liddle
in The Sunday Times. This bias
seeps into everything, he says.
“Why is the story always about
the disabled refugee from Syria,
rather than the demands that
the disabled refugee from Syria
might make upon our
taxpayers? That’s all too
common.” And as for the
license fee: “It’s antediluvian.
Some other mechanism has to
be found – and it seems to me
that if Amazon and Netflix
have the ability to do that,
it’s not beyond the BBC to do
the same thing.”
Blessed’s holy encounter
Brian Blessed has packed an
extraordinary amount into his
80 years. The son of a
Yorkshire miner, he has
become one of Britain’s most
recognisable actors (thanks
largely to his booming voice
and bristling beard); on top of
which, he has trekked to the
North Pole, survived an
encounter with a polar bear
and a plane crash, and tried
to climb Everest three times.
During one of those climbs,
he made a detour to meet the
Dalai Lama. “I asked him
about his sex life,” Blessed told
Cole Moreton in The Mail on
Sunday. “I was 57. I said,
‘You’re my age. I’m really
randy. I can shag anything.
I’m really fit. Your skin’s so
wonderful. How have you got
on for sex all these years?’ The
translator was almost fainting,
saying, ‘No one asks His
Holiness questions like this!’”
The Dalai Lama, on the other
hand, was unperturbed. “He
said, ‘Ooh, I answer question.
It’s true, I think of beautiful
woman. And then I do my
mantras loudly and take a cold
shower. It’s practical, Brian.’”
Castaway of the week
This week’s edition of Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs featured
the comedian and TV presenter Sue Perkins
1 You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real) by Sylvester and James Wirrick,
performed by Sylvester
2 Rock Island Line (traditional American folk song), performed by
Lonnie Donegan
3 How Soon is Now? by Johnny Marr and Morrissey, performed
by The Smiths
4 20th Century Boy by Marc Bolan, performed by T. Rex
5* Moments of Pleasure, written and performed by Kate Bush
6 Stabat Mater by Giovanni Battista Pergolesi, performed by
Emma Kirkby, James Bowman, the Academy of Ancient Music
and Christopher Hogwood
7 Northern Sky, written and performed by Nick Drake
8 Opening (from Glassworks) by Philip Glass, performed by
the Philip Glass Ensemble
Book: How to Clone Your Dog (not yet written)
* Choice if allowed only one record
Luxury: her deceased dog’s hair
THE WEEK 15 July 2017
Xander Parish was languishing in the lower ranks of the Royal
Ballet when, in 2010, he received the offer of a lifetime: to join the
Mariinsky Ballet in St Petersburg, alma mater of Rudolf Nureyev
and Mikhail Baryshnikov. “It’s a miracle,” Parish told Debra Craine
in The Times. “How does a nobody from Hull become a Mariinsky
dancer? I actually turned the job down at first because I didn’t
understand why they wanted me. I had never danced a single solo
at the Royal Ballet, I had never done a pas de deux, never lifted a
girl.” Parish was 24, and going nowhere; in part, he thinks, because
of his tall frame (he’s 6ft 1in). “I was gangly, a bit of a Bambi, and
didn’t have much control of my limbs.” But then the director of
the Mariinsky did a guest stint at the Royal Ballet, and was so
impressed by Parish’s eagerness to learn, he made him a job offer.
“I danced another pig in The Tales of Beatrix Potter on 8 January,
and on 9 January, I flew to Russia. I had never been there before,
it was -15°C the day I arrived, the snow was knee-deep and it was
dark by 3pm. I kept my suitcase packed for three weeks because
I thought I would leave any day.” Instead, Parish has become one
of the company’s favourite leading men – partly because of his
height. “Tall girls need tall partners. There are lots of tall girls in
the Mariinsky, and for me it’s a chocolate box of ballerinas – it’s
such an amazing selection that I’m spoilt for choice.”
Viewpoint:
The rise of the man hug
“Masculinity has been in crisis for
years. Now we don’t even know
how to say hello. And it is all the
fault of the man hug. The handshake,
once such a simple act of courtesy,
now often seems too stiff, too formal,
too English. So whenever you meet
anyone, you have to make a quick
mental calculation of the following
factors: their age, how well you
know them, how important they are
and whether there’s any chance you
might have BO. Someone needs to
lay down the rules on male greetings
once and for all. Until then, every
day will be fraught with the
possibility of being made to feel
either uptight or overfamiliar.”
Matthew Bell in The Spectator
Farewell
Nelsan Ellis, US actor,
died 8 July, aged 39.
Tom Gilbey, British
fashion designer, died
24 May, aged 79.
Constantine
Mitsotakis, former
prime minister of
Greece, died 29 May,
aged 98.
Carol Lee Scott, singer
and actress who made
her name as Grotbags,
died 3 July, aged 74.
Jean-Jacques Susini,
leader of French settlers
in Algeria who tried to
kill President de Gaulle,
died 3 July, aged 83.
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NEWS 13
Britain’s debt bubble: subprime cars
Britain’s hard-pressed consumers are bingeing on debt, most notably in their car purchases. Is a credit car crash just around the bend?
How big is the debt bill?
Do the comparisons stack up?
No one is sure, but the Bank of
There are certainly uncomfortable
England thinks the total consumer
echoes – particularly in the US, where
debt bill is close to £200bn and
specialist subprime lenders such as
is growing at its fastest rate for
Exeter Finance, Skopos, Ally Auto
12 years. With wages stagnant and
(a spin-off of General Motors) and
inflation rising, punters are turning to
one of America’s biggest issuers of
teaser rate credit cards and cut-price
subprime auto securities, Santander
loans to support their spending. In
Consumer, have enjoyed stellar
the year to May, unsecured consumer
growth. A recent investigation into
credit rose by 10.3%, five times as
the methods of Santander’s dealers
fast as the growth of earnings. Yet
(which led to the Spanish bank being
given the precarious financial position
fined $26m) revealed the unwelcome
of so many consumers, the Bank is
return of disguised “ninja” loans
hesitant to stem the borrowing spree
(“no income, no job, no assets”) and
Ling Valentine: the self-styled “car leasing queen”
by raising interest rates. It is haunted
other sharp practices. After the last
by memories of the 2008 financial crisis, when the lending of
crash, the Dodd-Frank financial reforms forced mortgage lenders
subprime mortgages triggered a catastrophic domino effect as
to take specific steps to ensure homebuyers could afford
overstretched borrowers defaulted on their loans. And the big
repayments. No such protections apply to car loans. And in an
fear lies in the troubling parallels between what occurred then
ominously familiar pattern, the billions of dollars of loans
and what is happening in today’s credit-fuelled car market.
pumped out by lenders have been sliced, diced and bundled into
asset-backed securities (ABS) by Wall Street investment banks.
What is happening in Britain’s car market?
The Wall Street blog Zero Hedge detects “plenty of evidence”
Sales of new motors have surged to a 12-year high. Ostensibly,
that “ineligible borrowers” have been made “eligible” so that
that’s fantastic news for the car industry; but nine out of ten
“Wall Street’s securitisation machine keeps getting fed”.
of those purchases are reliant on financing. Last year, British
households borrowed a record £31.6bn to upgrade their car. In
Is the US market showing signs of strain?
the US, the binge has been even bigger: total auto loans now top
Yes. Car loan arrears have risen sharply: the share of car debt
$1trn. Doomsayers see this as an early sign of a market in deep
more than 90 days overdue is at its highest level in six years. The
trouble, and some traders are betting big that the whole edifice
figure is still small (2.3% of the total), but repossessions are rising:
could collapse. One US structured finance expert has described
1.7 million Americans are likely to get a visit from the repo man
the situation as a “mini-Big Short”.
this year, according to Cox Automotive. Consumers often take on
big loans assuming they can just sell the car back if they can’t
What has driven the car boom?
afford payments. But cars are a depreciating asset, and the glut of
Ultra-low interest rates. As well as enabling households to take on new ones has caused second hand values to slump. So a troubled
more debt, they’ve fuelled demand among yield-hungry investors
borrower may lose his car, yet still be on the hook for thousands.
for financial products offering better returns. Car loans fit the bill.
Car financing on a mass scale has been popular in the US for
But do bad car loans really pose a systemic threat?
decades, but here it’s a quite recent phenomenon. The number of
Admittedly, the sums at stake are far smaller than they are in
“personal contract purchase” plans (PCPs) financing purchases has the housing market. In the US, for example, the $1.1trn car
risen fivefold in five years. Much of the momentum derives from
loan market is a fraction of the $9trn mortgage market, and
specialist leasing firms, who’ve been having a field day (see box).
the exposure of investment banks is much lower. Only a fifth
But carmakers, who can make higher returns financing the sale of
of subprime car loans have been turned into ABSs – compared
their cars than they do in producing them, have also piled in. The
with 75% of subprime mortgages before the crash – which
big players now have their own lending arms; Volkswagen finances
substantially reduces the risk of a wider banking “blow-up”.
about half its car sales, up from around 20% a decade ago.
In Britain – where less than 3% of outstanding car debt is deemed
“subprime” – the risk is even lower. But that said, as long as
How do PCPs work?
subprime car loans continue to be
The Queen of the PCPs
They’re a hybrid form of lending,
mixed with better quality loans in
somewhere between a loan and a lease.
opaque, securitised packages, there
No individual better personifies Britain’s booming
motor market than Ling Valentine, the self-styled “car
Most operate on a three-year basis:
is always the risk that they could
leasing queen”: she is the country’s biggest individual compromise confidence in ABSs more
customers pay a small deposit up
shifter of cars. Last year, her website, LingsCars.com,
front then make monthly payments.
widely. Damage from a “triggering”
sold £85m worth of vehicles – promising brand new
When the term ends, they can either
event – say, the bankruptcy of a big
Ford Fiestas for £175 a month. Everything is sold using
hand back the car or buy it outright.
subprime lender – could easily
leasing deals, and Valentine claims to undercut the big
Unsurprisingly, PCPs have proved
cascade through the financial system.
leasing companies by as much as 35% a month.
popular: swapping the old jalopy for
The irrepressible Valentine, who set up her business in
a brand new model every three years
What is the more obvious threat?
2000, is hardly your archetypal car dealer. She saw an
is now almost as easy as upgrading
The really big worry is that the
opportunity to establish an “emotional bond” with
your smartphone. But there are
exponential growth of car loans is
customers, “because all the other car dealers and
growing fears about mis-selling: that
part of a much bigger problem. Total
leasing companies are quite hated, they are very
people are being sold PCPs without
household debt in both Britain and
impersonal”. No one could accuse her of that. Her
website – a hellish collage of flashing graphics,
the terms being explained properly;
America is now past the peak it
animations and audios of the proprietor singing covers reached before the financial crisis, and
that poorer borrowers may be paying
of her favourite tunes – is matched only by her talent
too much for credit, warranties, and
pressures on household finances are
for publicity stunts: she once installed a Chinese
so on. The risks posed by PCPs are
mounting. Subprime car loans may
military truck, complete with a giant rocket, next
even being compared to those once
not bring the system down on their
to the A1 to catch the attention of drivers.
posed by subprime mortgages.
own, but they are a “flashing light”.
15 July 2017 THE WEEK
14 NEWS
Blocking the
way to a health
revolution
David Aaronovitch
The Times
Why so few
homes are now
affordable
Steve Akehurst
New Statesman
Our malign
penchant for
self-abasement
Robert Tombs
The Spectator
Let’s stop jail
being a school
for jihadis
Jawad Iqbal
Financial Times
THE WEEK 15 July 2017
Best articles: Britain
Imagine if, just as we do with blood tests, we were to record every
patient’s genetic code, says David Aaronovitch. The NHS sees
about a million people every 36 hours: think what it could tell us
about the health of the nation. It would revolutionise the diagnosis
and treatment of all sorts of conditions. Yet when England’s chief
medical officer, Professor Dame Sally Davies, floated this idea last
week, noting that 31,000 patients had already signed up to have
their genetic codes sequenced, it was instantly pounced on by
privacy campaigners. How secure would the data be? How could
people opt out? It happens every time. Privacy concerns scuppered
the attempt in 2014 to centralise the patient records of NHS
England; they put the kibosh on the Royal Free Hospital’s plan
to share patient data with DeepMind (a division of Google) in
order to create an app to diagnose kidney problems. No matter
that the data passed on is anonymised and that safeguards have
been devised to enable people to opt out: privacy fears always
seem to prevail. For the sake of our health, we must not let them.
The inability of local authorities to find decent accommodation for
the Grenfell Tower survivors highlights the chronic deficiency of
affordable housing in the UK, says Steve Akehurst. The cause is
all too evident: such housing means less profit for the private firms
that do the housebuilding. True, local authority permission for
any new development usually comes with a stipulation that 30%
to 50% of the new homes must be affordable. But in practice, this
is routinely nullified by a “viability assessment”, the loophole
allowing a company to claim that due to unforeseen changes (in
costs, say), it can no longer provide the agreed number. The
developers of London’s Battersea Power Station, for instance,
have just cut the planned number of affordable flats from 636 to
386, citing “technical issues”. The developers always seem to win
their cases, because the law states that they must be allowed to
make “competitive returns” (usually, a 20% profit) and that
viability assessments must be confidential. They shouldn’t be.
A nation sliding towards irrelevance. An “international laughing
stock”. That’s how many British commentators have taken to
portraying our country, says Robert Tombs. In their view, our
decision to kick away the “economic crutch” of EU membership
has doomed us to become an insignificant nation on a par with
Albania. What we’re seeing here is “the revival of an old and
familiar malady: declinism” – a periodic affliction caused by overestimating the glories of the country’s past while underestimating
its current achievements. The idea that our prosperity is entirely
dependent on the EU is nonsense. Our economic performance has
more or less tracked America’s ever since 1945, regardless of
whether we were in or out of Europe. The proportion of trade we
do with Europe has actually been in sharp decline for two decades
as a result of the growth of new markets. No: our problem today
is a lack of self-confidence. “Russia, with an economy the same
size as Spain’s, behaves like a superpower in the Middle East and
is treated as one.” Yet we, with a far larger economy and a wealth
of soft power, “fear we can’t even negotiate a mutually beneficial
trade agreement with the EU”. We need to buck up.
It isn’t the mosque that’s the main recruiting ground for Islamist
terrorists, says Jawad Iqbal. It’s prison. Many of the most
notorious jihadis – including the current leaders of both Isis and
of al-Qa’eda – “owe their education in mass murder” in part to
their time behind bars. In France, where 60% of prisoners are of
Muslim origin, at least one of the terrorists behind the Charlie
Hebdo attack turned to radical Islam while in jail. In England and
Wales, there are 12,800 Muslim prisoners, and about 130 are in
jail on terror-related charges. The Manchester Arena bomber,
Salman Abedi, visited one of the latter in the months before his
attack. How, then, can we stop such extremists from “poisoning
the minds of others”? A controversial new policy being adopted
by the Government is to segregate the most dangerous prisoners in
specialist units: the first “jail within jail” is being set up at HMP
Frankland, near Durham; two other jails will soon follow suit.
But will this inhibit extremism or just create a “Muslim Alcatraz”,
making it easier for extremists to build networks in jail? Let’s hope
it works: radicalisation is on the rise and “time is running out”.
IT MUST BE TRUE…
I read it in the tabloids
It’s common for commuters
to tap away on their laptops
in first class; but one woman
on the Darlington to King’s
Cross line took things a bit
further, by setting up an iMac
desktop computer – complete
with a keyboard and wired
mouse – on her tray table. “I
had to look twice,” said fellow
passenger David Hill. “I was
shocked to see such a large
computer on the small table.“
Homebuyers are often
looking for good transport
links – but in some cases,
the bus stop can be a bit
too close for comfort. A new
two-bedroom house in the
town of Langley Mill, in
Derbyshire, was built so
close to a bus stop that the
shelter blocks the front path,
and prospective buyers have
had to climb over the fence
to get to the front door.
The estate agent for the
£140,000 house says the
shelter will be moved.
Staff at a school in East
Yorkshire were astonished
when a busload of Zulu
performers turned up at their
gates at 8am one morning,
asking: “Is this London?”
The dancing troupe, Lions of
Zululand, had been due to
perform at St Ann’s School
for children with learning
difficulties in West London,
but they put the wrong
postcode into the satnav, and
ended up 200 miles away, at
St Anne’s Community
Special School in Welton.
Having spent three-and-a-half
hours getting there, the
nine dancers decided to make
the best of it, and offered to
put on a free show. “They did
two performances,” said
head teacher Lesley Davis.
“Children who wouldn’t
normally sit through a
performance were just glued
for an hour. It was fantastic.”
Best articles: Europe
NEWS 15
Italy struggles under the weight of migration
The flow of migrants making the
that a hard line will boost his
dangerous crossing to Italy from
prospects of becoming Europe’s
Libya is out of control, said
youngest national leader. Italy and
Cristofaro Sola in L’Opinione
Austria were at each other’s
(Rome). We’ve already received at
throats for much of the 19th
least 85,000 this year, 20% more
century. We mustn’t return to that.
than over the same period in 2016,
and with neighbouring nations now
But this isn’t a rerun of the 2015
refusing them entry, they’re entirely
refugee crisis, when most of the
our responsibility. It’s getting
migrants were fleeing war in Syria,
“crazy”. The problem is made
said Oliver Grimm in Die Presse
worse by well-meaning charities
(Vienna). Today’s migrants are
whose rescue vessels search out
mainly young men from Nigeria,
abandoned boats full of migrants
Senegal and other impoverished
and tow them to Italian ports – an
west African countries seeking
open invitation to the people
a better life in the West. The task
Migrants off the Italian coast awaiting rescue
smugglers to leave them stranded.
is not to distribute them across
“The leak must be plugged or it will sink the country.” No one
Europe but to send them back as fast as possible. African
is saying desperate people should be left to drown, but showing
governments must be made to stand by the 2000 agreement
humanity shouldn’t mean collaborating with “criminal scum”.
made with the EU, to take back without argument any of their
nationals who are in Europe illegally. In practice, they only
All this puts huge pressure on the Italian state, said Tobias Piller accept about 30%. Another difference with 2015, said Leonid
in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. Most local authorities
Bershidsky on Bloomberg.com (New York), is the central role
refuse to deal with the migrants. Instead, private concerns have
played by people traffickers: they control most of the 400,000sprung up, eager to take government cash in exchange for
plus migrants in Libya trying to get to Europe. In a survey of
providing basic food and shelter, but none of the long-term
recent arrivals, 79% said they’d been forced to work without
assistance the migrants desperately need. Increasingly, migrants
pay, beaten or even tortured. But as the government in Tripoli
are to be seen huddled outside supermarkets, begging for cash
has little power, the EU is unable to work with Libya – as it was
for food. A popular backlash is building against them: racist
able to do with Turkey’s President Erdogan – to stop the flow.
attacks are becoming more common. The problem was never
so acute in years past, as new arrivals quickly moved on to
Giving cash to the Libyans has, in fact, backfired spectacularly,
other countries; but today they’re boxed in to Italy, because the
said Karl Hoffmann on Deutschlandfunk.de (Cologne). Since
2015, Brussels has paid Libya’s coastguard service s200m to
borders of neighbouring countries are being closed to them.
stop migrant boats setting out. But as the EU border agency
Frontex now acknowledges, the military in Tripoli is in cahoots
Austria’s border, in particular, said Ulrich Ladurner in Die Zeit
(Hamburg). The sight of Austrian tanks at the Brenner Pass, soon with the traffickers, so the handouts just make things worse.
to be followed by 750 soldiers, is the latest sign of Europe’s
The policy of giving aid to African countries to boost their
failure to get to grips with the refugee crisis. The deployment
economies doesn’t seem to be bearing much fruit either. The
was ordered by Austria’s foreign minister, Sebastian Kurz,
crisis is now so severe for Italy, said Bershidsky, that it might
recently appointed leader of the right-wing Austrian People’s
justify a military deployment. But Italy can’t act alone, and
Party (junior partner in the ruling coalition), who calculates
Nato certainly won’t consider anything of the kind.
TURKEY
The worm that
turned against
Erdogan
Al-Monitor
(Washington DC)
EUROPEAN UNION
Why MEPs
are not so
ridiculous
Die Welt
(Berlin)
Turkey’s 25-day Justice March has given new hope to President Erdogan’s beleaguered critics, says
Mustafa Akyol. On 15 June, a column of marchers led by Kemal Kılıçdaroglu, leader of the secularist
Republican People’s Party (CHP), set off in blistering heat from Ankara to Istanbul to protest the
arbitrary detentions that have filled Turkey’s jails since last year’s failed coup. It quickly swelled to
thousands. No one believed Kılıçdaroglu – a dull bureaucrat who has consistently failed to galvanise
opposition to Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) – had it in him. But he snapped when
his deputy was jailed for 25 years for “espionage”, for leaking images of government trucks allegedly
transporting arms to rebels in Syria. Now he is being lauded across the political spectrum, even by
religious conservatives and many AKP supporters. People are calling him “Gandhi Kemal”, his
Justice March being equated with Gandhi’s 1930 Salt March against British rule. None of this is
likely to slow the pace of illegal arrests, but it does open a new chapter for Turkey’s politics. The
CHP’s support base has long been stuck at 25%: by moving away from its obsession with secularism, it will broaden its appeal. Erdogan may soon face an opposition movement worthy of the name.
Jean-Claude Juncker got the wrong idea when he sounded off at MEPs in Strasbourg last week, says
Hannelore Crolly. The European Commission chief was livid that only 30 of the 751 MEPs turned
up to hear Malta’s prime minister, Joseph Muscat, deliver a report on his just-completed six-month
term as EU president. “You are ridiculous,” fumed Juncker. His rant confirmed the popular
prejudice that MEPs are so pampered, they can’t even be enticed by the daily s306 they get just for
turning up. But if MEPs baulked at listening to Muscat lavishing praise on himself, it wasn’t out of
disrespect to the EU’s smaller members. It was because the MEPs know all too well that Muscat and
his colleagues are up to their necks in corruption. The Panama Papers leaked last year revealed that
right after Muscat’s Labour Party won office in 2013, Muscat’s closest aide set up a company in
Panama which seems to have been involved in a controversial scheme to sell Maltese passports to
wealthy Russians. Meanwhile, Muscat’s wife is said to have received s1m from Azerbaijan shortly
before it signed a lucrative energy deal with Malta. Yet when MEPs recently quizzed Muscat about
the graft allegations, he denied it. Is it any wonder the MEPs had no stomach for his speechifying?
15 July 2017 THE WEEK
16 NEWS
Best articles: International
Will Qatar be brought to heel by its neighbours?
Qatar is a nation under siege, said Eric
extra trade with Turkey, Oman and
Trager in The Atlantic (Washington
Iran has “more or less compensated for
DC). For the past month, a group of its
the lost business”. But were the Saudineighbours, led by Saudi Arabia, have
led bloc to step things up by targeting
been mounting a trade and diplomatic
Qatar’s banking system, that could
embargo of the tiny emirate. At the
cause serious problems for the
root of the crisis are the two sides’
embattled emirate, which is heavily
different views of the transnational
reliant on foreign financing for its
Islamist organisation known as the
“ongoing infrastructure programme,
Muslim Brotherhood. Saudi Arabia
including the cost of staging the Fifa
and the United Arab Emirates have
World Cup in 2022”.
long viewed the organisation as an
“existential threat”, and were horrified
For now, Qatar is refusing to give in
when the uprisings of the Arab Spring
to the demands of the boycotting
led to its affiliates winning elections in
countries, said Abdulrahman
Doha: putting on a show of defiance
Egypt and Tunisia. Qatar, by contrast,
Al-Rashed in Asharq Al-Awsat
welcomed the development. Thanks to its prosperous and
(London). It insists their list of 13 conditions – which include
relatively cohesive society, it has never regarded the Brotherhood the closure of Al Jazeera and ending contact with groups such
as the enemy within. On the contrary, it has backed it – acting
as the Muslim Brotherhood – are an outrageous violation of
as its banker and allowing it to propagate its message through
its sovereignty. But don’t be fooled by this public display of
the Qatari satellite channel Al Jazeera. Qatar had seen this as a
defiance. “Doha will secretly surrender later on.” That’s what
way of boosting its own influence in the region, but its
happened after a previous, smaller bust-up in 2013. Qatar
neighbours are now determined to bring the nation to heel.
quietly agreed then to undertake commitments similar in kind
to today’s demands, although it subsequently failed to honour
The crisis has “the potential to escalate rapidly”, said Frank
them properly: Al Jazeera stopped criticising Saudi Arabia, as
Kane in Arab News (Jeddah). The move by Saudi Arabia, the
per the deal, but spent more time inciting protest against the
UAE and their allies to close their land, air and sea links with
Egyptian authorities. This time you can be sure that Qatar’s
Qatar has caused it some problems, but hardly insuperable ones: neighbours will hold it to its word.
CANADA
Thriving in a
superpower’s
shadow
The Washington Post
ASIA
Is Asia starting
to kick the
coal habit?
The Diplomat
(Tokyo)
UNITED STATES
The cruelty
that fuels
Donald Trump
The New York Times
THE WEEK 15 July 2017
President Teddy Roosevelt once mused that it was a shame Canada hadn’t joined the US. As
Americans, he wrote, Canadians would “hold positions incomparably more important, grander and
more dignified than they can ever hope to reach” on their own. From the perspective of power, he
was right, says Canadian journalist Lawrence Martin. As it celebrates its 150th birthday this month,
Canada is “still modest in stature”, certainly in comparison to its southern neighbour. “But we
passed up on the big time and have no regrets. Life in the slower lane has been fine enough.” Sure,
being viewed as little more than a “hunk of geography”, as someone once called us, can be annoying.
But there are many advantages to living in the shadow of a superpower. Canada, for instance, has
never had to worry about spending much money on its security – a source of resentment over the
border. Caspar Weinberger, Ronald Reagan’s defence secretary, once opened a security briefing by
stating archly: “Mr President, the good news is that Canada has now surged ahead of Luxembourg
in defence spending.” Canadian policymakers have been adept at learning from US successes and
failures, and plotting a moderate course befitting a middle power. As a model, “it has worked”.
Remember how people used to talk about China opening a new coal-fired power station every week,
negating all the West’s efforts to reduce C02 emissions? It’s no longer true, says Nithin Coca. As
recently as 2013, China was indeed importing an awful lot of coal – some 304 million tonnes of it.
But there has been a dramatic change in the past couple of years as the country, partly for cost
reasons and partly due to concern about climate change and air pollution, has shifted towards
renewable sources of energy. In 2015, China’s coal imports plunged by 30% and are projected to fall
again in 2017. Coal plants are being closed across the nation, and construction of new ones halted.
It’s a similar story in India, which used to import almost as much coal as China. “There, solar is
booming and already at cost parity with coal.” Recent data suggests that both countries will meet
their commitments under the Paris climate agreement years ahead of schedule. If this Asian trend
continues, it means the centre of the global economy will soon no longer depend on fossil fuels for
growth. “The geopolitical ramifications will be enormous. It’d be a good time to prepare.”
What should we make of Donald Trump’s recent “vile” tweet about Mika Brzezinski, in which he
wrote of the “low IQ crazy” journalist “bleeding badly from a face-lift”? Many took it as further
evidence of his misogyny, says Maureen Dowd, and some female TV presenters have called on
women in his administration to rise up in protest. But “let’s not narrow it to sexism”. Trump
would be just as likely to attack a man’s appearance in the same “below-the-belt way”. He’s
“obsessed with looks – his own, men’s and women’s”. At a New Jersey fundraiser, he teased his
ally Chris Christie over his weight problem: “No more Oreos.” During last year’s presidential
campaign, he mocked his Republican rival Jeb Bush for swapping his glasses for contact lenses, and
made fun of Rick Perry when he put glasses on. The issue with Trump is not so much sexism as
“cruelty”, which he mistakes for strength. This is what really defines his style – and it’s becoming
more pronounced. “Trump is isolated in the White House, out of his milieu, unable to shape the
story, forced to interact with people he doesn’t own… He is not built for this hostile environment
and it shows in his deteriorating psychological state.”
Health & Science
NEWS 19
What the scientists are saying…
Solving a Roman mystery
It’s a mystery that has long puzzled
engineers, says The Daily Telegraph: sea
walls built by the Romans some 2,000 years
ago survive to this day – indeed, they seem
to be stronger now than when first erected.
Yet modern concrete versions, reinforced
with steel, begin to crumble within decades.
Perhaps inspired by the naturally cemented
volcanic ash deposits, called tuffs, that they
saw around them, Roman engineers made
concrete by mixing volcanic ash with lime
and seawater to make a mortar, and then
incorporated chunks of volcanic rock. The
combination produces what is called a
pozzolanic reaction (named after the city
of Pozzuoli in the Bay of Naples), and the
result is a very strong concrete that the
Romans used in all sorts of buildings,
including the Pantheon. That much was
known, but it didn’t explain how (as Pliny
the Elder himself observed) this concrete,
when used in walls lashed by waves,
actually grew stronger. Now a University
of Utah team has conducted further
research, and discovered that the saltwater
seeping into the rock led to the formation
of very rare interlocking minerals; and that
these continued to grow long after the
concrete had set, reinforcing it and
preventing cracks. Alas, the exact Roman
formula for concrete has been lost, but
researchers now hope to replicate it.
Traffic linked to fertility problems
Should couples struggling to conceive
move to a quieter neighbourhood? That is
the implication of a new study, involving
65,000 women in Denmark, which found
a link between traffic noise and impaired
fertility, says New Scientist. Previously,
research has shown that 80% of women
actively trying to conceive do so within
A new era of hyper-realistic robot dolls
six menstrual cycles; but the Danish team
found that for every ten decibel increase
in traffic noise around the woman’s home,
there was a 6% to 8% increased chance
of conception taking longer than six cycles,
even after other possible factors, such as
poverty, and levels of airborne pollution,
had been taken into account. However,
this association did not hold for women
who took more than 12 months – perhaps
because these couples had underlying
fertility problems. The study did not
establish causation, but other research has
suggested that constant low-level noise can
lead to raised blood pressure: it may also
cause sleep disruption, which has been
linked to decreased fertility in women.
The sex robots are coming
Lifelike sex robots could soon be used by
elderly people in care homes and others
who may struggle to form intimate relation-
© TANJA ASKANI
Wolves can bond with humans
Wolves can become fond of humans – but
they’re not as adoring as dogs, new research
suggests. For the study, researchers in
Hungary reared ten wolf cubs at home, as if
they were dogs. For three months, they lived
with the pups, cuddling them, feeding them
and walking them. This revealed two things,
said The Times. The first was that wolves
make “nightmarishly bumptious pets”:
hard to control, they’re always in the way,
and no coffee cup is safe in their vicinity.
The second was that they do develop a
lasting affection for their human handlers.
The study was designed to discover whether dogs’ tendency to become devoted
to humans is the product of domestication, or whether wolves have it in them, too.
And it seems they do. Aged three months, the wolves were returned to the wild, in a
sanctuary. Then, periodically, their human handlers visited them: the team found that
even when the wolves were two years old, the creatures greeted them more warmly
than they did a mere human acquaintance. However, the difference between wolves
and dogs is that even if wolves bond with humans, they don’t become dependent on
them. Previous research suggests that hand-reared wolf cubs go their own way at
about four months – about the age they leave their mothers in the wild.
ships, according to a new report. There are
already four manufacturers working on
them, and experts say customisable, hyperrealistic silicon robot dolls will be in
widespread use within decades. In its
report, the Foundation for Responsible
Robotics points out that this raises a host
of ethical questions that need urgent
consideration. For instance, these robots
could increase the objectification of
women – and encourage sexual behaviours
that are illegal. The report authors call for
a ban on child sex dolls; and suggest that it
may be necessary to criminalise “robotic
rape”, and to fit the robots with sensors to
prevent “rough handling” by people with
violent tendencies. As the philosopher Blay
Whitby puts it: “How would you feel
about your ex-boyfriend getting a robot
that looked exactly like you, just in order
to beat it up every night?” Maybe it
doesn’t matter; it’s just a robot. But maybe
it does. It’s something we need to talk
about, Whitby told The Daily Telegraph.
Bad news for Lance Armstrong
When the cyclist Lance Armstrong finally
admitted he’d been taking banned drugs
for years, it destroyed his career and his
reputation. Now, a small Dutch study has
suggested the drugs he risked everything
for don’t even work. Two groups of
amateur cyclists were given either the
hormone erythropoietin (EPO), which is
said to boost the production of oxygencarrying red blood cells, or a placebo, for
eight weeks, and were then asked to cycle
68 miles, before a race up Mont Ventoux.
Though EPO had seemed to boost
performance in lab trials, it conferred no
discernible benefit in the road trial – and
most of the cyclists who’d been given the
drug assumed they’d had the dummy.
Underwater “warehouses”
Amazon is famed for its outlandish
patents, says The Times, and its latest is
a corker: the online giant has patented
the idea of popping its retail stock into
waterproof containers, and dumping it
into the nearest lake. As a storage
system, it has a few benefits over warehouses, which are expensive to build
and maintain. The lakes idea could save
on labour costs too: rather than having
staff walking around picking objects off
shelves, Amazon would fit every item
with an inflatable bladder, with variable
buoyancy rates so that the goods “float”
at different levels, and are not simply
buried. When items were required, the
bladders would be triggered to inflate
fully, so that the given items float to the
surface. Jets of water would then propel
them into channels for easy collection.
As usual, however, it’s not clear if
Amazon intends to implement this plan
– or if the patent is just designed to stop
anyone else doing it.
15 July 2017 THE WEEK
20 NEWS
Pick of the week’s
Gossip
Harper Beckham celebrated
her sixth birthday with a
party at Buckingham Palace
this week. Dressed as a
Disney Princess, Miss
Beckham played with five
friends, and met a real
Princess (Eugenie). David
Beckham was swift to point
out that the Palace hadn’t
been opened up in Harper’s
honour: he had been invited
to bring his daughter and
her friends to a tea party
hosted by Prince Andrew.
But photos of Harper (below,
centre) enjoying her royal
birthday (posted on David’s
Instagram account) caused
outrage all the same.
“None of them has got a
right to be there,” sniffed
Dickie Arbiter, the Queen’s
former press secretary.
“Why do the Beckhams get
special treatment?”
Talking points
North Korea: Kim’s deadly gift to America
North Korea took particular
hopes that Beijing would bring
“relish” last week in
Kim into line. But in a tweet
announcing its first successful
last week, he acknowledged
test of an intercontinental
that he had been disappointed:
ballistic missile (ICBM), said
“Trade between China and
Justin McCurry in The
North Korea grew almost 40%
Guardian. Its state news
in the first quarter. So much
agency described Kim Jong Un
for China working with us
“feasting his eyes” on the
– but we had to give it a try!”
missile, and declaring it “as
The White House has signalled
handsome as a good-looking
its irritation with Beijing by
boy”. He reportedly called the
approving a $1.4bn arms sale
weapon test a 4th of July gift
to Taiwan and imposing
for the “American bastards”,
sanctions on a Chinese bank
and urged his scientists to keep
accused of laundering North
sending “‘gift packages’ to the
Korean funds.
Yankees”. The missile tested
last week could reach Alaska,
Trump has threatened that his
Kim Jong Un: time to acquiesce?
but not get as far as New York
administration may now have
or Los Angeles, said The Economist. And
to act alone, said Charles Krauthammer in The
even if it did attach a nuclear warhead to it,
Washington Post. But the US has pretty much
Pyongyang still likely doesn’t know how to stop
exhausted its options. China has suggested that
such a warhead burning up as it re-enters the
North Korea might freeze its nuclear programme
atmosphere. But its weapons programme is
in return for the US abandoning joint exercises
clearly making rapid progress. When Kim
with South Korea, but that’s a “nonstarter”.
boasted, on New Year’s Day, of being close to
The US has negotiated multiple freezes with
launching an ICBM, President Trump retorted:
Pyongyang over the years. “It has violated every
“It won’t happen!” Well, it just did.
one.” The regime is clearly determined to get
hold of nukes in order to assure its own survival,
The latest missile test has highlighted the threat
and neither talks nor sanctions will stop it. No,
posed by North Korea, said The New York
the only choice now is between “acquiescence or
Times. And it has brought something else home
war”. War is “almost unthinkable”, given the
to Trump: “that he can’t rely on China alone
risk it would pose to millions of South Koreans.
to force [Pyongyang] to rein in its nuclear
Acquiescence, on the other hand, “is not
programme”. After meeting with President Xi
unthinkable. After all, we did it when China
Jinping in Florida in April, Trump had high
went nuclear under Mao Zedong.”
Labour’s Blairites: shape up or ship out?
Jacob Rees-Mogg is
famously well mannered,
and it was ever thus, says
Quentin Letts in the Daily
Mail. As a 20-year-old
student, he got an internship
at The Daily Telegraph and,
on his first morning, was
invited to sit in on an
editorial meeting. At the
end, he was asked if he’d
like to contribute anything.
“No,” replied the besuited
beanpole, with a magisterial
shake of the head, “except
you all seem to be doing
very well.”
President Macron is riding
high in the polls, but his selfimportance is beginning to
grate on his critics. Last
month, the self-described
“Jupiterian” president let it
be known that he’d not be
holding the traditional press
conference on Bastille Day,
because, as his spokesman
put it, his “complex thought
process lends itself badly to
the game of question and
answer with journalists”.
THE WEEK 15 July 2017
On 8 June, the Labour MP Luciana Berger was
elected with 34,717 votes, said The Times –
that’s nearly four in five of the votes cast in
Liverpool Wavertree. We have to assume the
former Labour shadow minister for mental health
is pretty popular with her constituents. Yet it
seems it’s not their views that count. Last week,
nine Corbynistas were elected to the local party’s
ten-strong executive committee, and they lost no
time in warning her that she’d better now recant
her previous criticisms of Jeremy Corbyn, and
start deferring to them on policy. She’s not the
only one being targeted. Regional Momentum
activists recently drew up a list of 49 Labour
MPs they consider unacceptably heterodox; and
there is talk of introducing new party rules to
make it easier to deselect incumbent MPs.
I have tried to sympathise with the MPs who feel
“bullied” by their own party activists, said Rod
Liddle in The Sunday Times. But alas, I cannot.
Why? Because this is a problem of their own
making. First, they opened up the right to vote
in the Labour leadership election to anyone with
£3 to spare. Then a bunch of them decided to
make the election more interesting by getting
Corbyn’s name on the ballot paper. Of course,
they were horrified when he won, but he did
win. After that, his critics should either have got
out (as Tristram Hunt did), or got behind him.
Now the man they said was unelectable has
achieved Labour’s best result in years, and
they’re still carping. Yet what do they have to
offer? There is no real public appetite for their
Blairite policies. I wouldn’t vote for “Corbyn’s
lot”, but they are right: these MPs should join
the Lib Dems – or form their own party.
Though talk of threats and intimidation is very
concerning, it is certainly fair to ask MPs to
“revise their views” in light of the election, said
The Guardian. They should also be responsive
to the party members. But they represent all
their constituents – and as Corbyn knows very
well from his years as a backbench rebel,
“disagreeing with the party leadership” is part of
“democratic life”. The Left is jubilant, said
Matthew D’Ancona in the same paper. It thinks
victory is now its destiny. It’s not: to achieve
power, it has to win over a huge number of
voters. That means focusing relentlessly on
presenting Labour as a serious government-inwaiting, with solid answers to the challenges
facing Britain. All this infighting, and talk of
deselection, is a major distraction. It makes
Corbyn look weak and Labour divided when it
needs the Tories to be seen as the party of splits.
If he is to be PM, and not just the “chanted
name of a single summer”, Corbyn must unite
his party, and get to work.
Talking points
Volvo: racing into the electric future
Is the end of the road for
remaking the National
the internal combustion
Grid to cope with the
engine in sight, asked
extra demand. “The
Adam Vaughan in The
energy transfer at a busy
Guardian. Last week,
filling station is about
Volvo announced that it
equivalent to the output
would launch only electric
of a midsized power
and hybrid cars from
station.” And the
2019, including five new
environmental benefits
100% electric models. The
are not entirely clear,
following day, France said
said Matt Ridley in The
that it would ban the sale
Times. Obviously, electric
of diesel and petrol cars by Can the National Grid cope with its demands? cars themselves emit
2040; Norway and India
fewer fumes. But building
are also pushing towards all-electric sales. Volvo
their batteries is very energy intensive, because
is the first of the major car manufacturers to
of the mining and processing of the lithium
commit to phasing out combustion engines
required. And if they are powered using
altogether, said The Times. This is “the first big
electricity from coal-fired power stations, as
bet on the electrification of cars” based on the
they are in India and China, then the
idea of consumer desire, rather than on generous environmental advantages peter out.
government subsidies. But other firms, such as
BMW, Volkswagen and Toyota, are moving in
In reality, Volvo and its competitors are being
the same direction. Tesla, the market leader for
pushed into electric propulsion by international
all-electric, has started producing a “keenly
regulation, said Aarian Marshall in Wired
priced” mass market vehicle, the Model 3.
magazine – particularly from the EU and China,
Perhaps historians will look back on 2017
the company’s two biggest markets. In China
“as the beginning of the end of gas guzzling”.
(where Volvo’s owner, Geely, is based), electric
vehicles will have to make up 12% of each
“Ah, electric cars. Just imagine,” said Neil
manufacturer’s sales by 2020, while in the same
Collins in the FT, “quieter cities, cleaner air.”
year, the EU will implement “new and
Lower emissions. “It’s a pretty picture, but there
aggressive” CO2 emissions limits. Volvo is also
are a few stones in the road.” The range of fully
“scrambling to catch the next dance”: the
electric cars is limited, at around 100 miles, and
self-driving cars of the future will almost
they usually take four to eight hours to charge at certainly be electric, because they’re easier for
home, or 30 minutes at the quickest roadside
computers to drive and refuel. “The real electric
charging points. Besides, there’s the challenge of
race has only just begun.”
Charlie Gard: should his parents decide?
Charlie Gard is today the most
severe epilepsy; doctors say he has
famous baby in the world, said
catastrophic brain damage, and is
The Wall Street Journal. As he lies
possibly in pain. I feel for his
on life support at Great Ormond
parents, Chris Gard and Connie
Street Hospital (GOSH), suffering
Yates, more than I can say. But I
from a rare mitochondrial disease,
strongly believe that in such cases,
he has made global headlines; the
the parents are not best placed to
president of the United States and
decide what is in their child’s best
the Pope have both intervened in
interests. Exhausted, emotional,
his case, while online, thousands of
desperate for a miracle, they’re
supporters, calling themselves
incapable of thinking rationally.
“Charlie’s Army”, have rallied to
his cause. All because the courts
Charlie’s parents think the experts
have – so far – backed doctors who
are wrong; they say their son is
say Charlie’s ventilator should be
responsive, that he likes being
switched off, although his parents
tickled and watching videos; they
Charlie and his parents
want him to be flown to the US for
say he is not in pain, and seem to
an experimental treatment, and have raised
think that his brain damage (if it exists at all) is
£1.3m to pay for it. The doctors say the therapy
reversible. Yet even the doctors in the US don’t
is futile, and will only cause Charlie suffering.
believe that’s possible, said The Guardian. It’s
Maybe they’re right (the High Court was due to
arguable that the couple’s views should be given
review new evidence this week from doctors at a
more weight, but we must apply reason to this
Vatican-run hospital in Rome). But the decision
case, and not be swayed by a social media storm
shouldn’t be theirs to make. Charlie is not their
largely whipped up by right-to-life campaigners.
baby. “Britain’s national care system has
Trump and the Pope want to show they care,
elevated technical expertise over parental love.”
said Christina Patterson in The Sunday Times.
We all want to believe in hope. Yet chances are,
This is a heartbreaking case, said Rachel
Charlie can’t be saved. Maybe the kindest thing
Johnson in The Mail on Sunday. Charlie cannot
now would be to leave his parents alone, “as
see, hear or move his arms and legs; he has
they start to face up to their all-too-likely loss”.
NEWS 21
Wit &
Wisdom
“There is no exception
to the rule that every rule
has an exception.”
James Thurber, quoted in
the San Francisco Chronicle
“Experience: a comb
life gives you after you
lose your hair.”
Judith Stern, quoted
on Forbes.com
“A new scientific truth does
not triumph by convincing
its opponents and making
them see the light, but rather
because its opponents
eventually die.”
Max Planck, quoted in the
Financial Times
“What I write is smarter
than I am. Because
I can rewrite it.”
Susan Sontag, quoted
on The Browser
“Everything in life is
about sex, except sex.
Sex is about power.”
Oscar Wilde, quoted in
The Daily Telegraph
“New York City was the site
of my great success. I made
it there, and then I didn’t
make it anywhere else.
I guess Frank Sinatra isn’t
so smart after all.”
US comedian Norm
Macdonald, quoted in
The New York Times
“Destiny is a name often
given in retrospect to
choices that had
dramatic consequences.”
J.K. Rowling, quoted in the
Montreal Gazette
“Learn as much as you can
from those who know more
than you do, who do better
than you, who see more
clearly than you.”
Dwight D. Eisenhower,
quoted on Forbes.com
Statistics of the week
The number of children being
homeschooled in England
has almost doubled in six
years, from 15,135 in 2011
to 30,000 in 2016-17.
The Daily Telegraph
More than one in three
physics teachers do not have
a degree in physics.
The Independent
15 July 2017 THE WEEK
Sport
22 NEWS
Rugby union: the Lions’ miraculous draw
“They came, they saw, they drew,” said Paul
Hayward in The Daily Telegraph. In fact, the
British and Irish Lions drew twice over last
Saturday: in their third Test against the All Blacks,
they tied 15-15 to finish the series 1-1. Yet that
doesn’t convey the magnitude of their achievement.
At Eden Park, where the world champions had
won every match since 1994, the Lions came
within just one point of a “miracle”. It was “the
most unusual of results”, said Mick Cleary in the
same paper. And it was, truth be told, rather
“unsatisfactory”: after three thrilling Tests, we
hoped for more than a stalemate. But what we got
was a “titanic battle” in which both sets of
warriors “slugged each other to a standstill”.
time they faced the All Blacks. Many of them have
now joined the “pantheon” of Lions greats, said
Stephen Jones in The Sunday Times. Wales’s Sam
Warburton proved himself “a flanker and captain
of world class”; at just 22, English lock Maro
Itoje was once again “sensational”. But it was the
“peerless” Welsh centre Jonathan Davies who was
deservedly named Player of the Series.
The Lions coach, Warren Gatland, has also come
out of the tour with his reputation improved,
said Michael Aylwin in The Observer. A New
Zealander who coaches Wales most of the time,
he hasn’t always received his due: his Wales side
are disparaged for being “high on physicality, less
so on finesse”. Yet he has led Wales to three Six
When the Lions arrived in New Zealand at the
Nations titles, and Wasps before them to three
Davies: Player of the Series
end of May, they were portrayed as “rugby
successive Premiership titles; he is the only Lions
dinosaurs”, said Chris Foy in The Mail on Sunday – doomed to
coach in the professional era who has never lost a series, making
lose the three Tests against the All Blacks, and maybe even all of
him “one of the most successful coaches in the history of rugby”.
their seven matches against local sides. But instead they earned the This series confirmed that the sport’s balance of power is shifting,
respect of their hosts, winning five of their ten games, and losing
said Graham Henry in The Daily Telegraph. At the 2015 World
just three. The Lions only improved as the tour wore on, said Ian
Cup, all four semi-finalists came from the southern hemisphere.
McGeechan in The Sunday Telegraph. Their packed schedule
Since then, however, Australia and South Africa have “tailed off”:
may have appeared “suicidal”, but it actually worked to their
meanwhile, the Six Nations is more competitive than ever. The
advantage: playing so many games in such a short period “fastsouthern hemisphere teams have gone “backwards”, while the
tracked” the Lions’ development, ensuring they had gelled by the
Lions have “shown just what is on offer in the home unions”.
Cricket: a “perfect start” to Root’s captaincy
“Rarely can an England captain have enjoyed such
87 in the first innings, becoming the first England
a perfect start,” said Mike Atherton in The Times.
cricketer to hit a half-century and take ten wickets
In his first Test as skipper, Joe Root oversaw a
in the same match since Ian Botham 37 years ago.
remarkable victory – England’s first over South
Africa at Lord’s since 1960. They won by 211 runs,
On any other day, Root would have been the Man
with an “incredible” 19 wickets falling on the final
of the Match, said Jonathan Liew in The Daily
day. On an unusually dry pitch, the captain made
Telegraph. He made 190 in the first innings – a
a bold call, selecting both Moeen Ali and Liam
“remarkable” haul in any circumstances, let alone
Dawson – the first time two spin bowlers had
for a debut as captain. Root was, admittedly, very
played for England at Lord’s in 24 years. The
fortunate, surviving two dropped catches and a
decision more than paid off: between them, the pair
stumping off a no-ball, but some of his shots were
took 14 wickets. It was Ali who proved the
“the stuff of dreams”. For the South Africans, this
“greatest threat”, said Vic Marks in The Guardian.
was more of a nightmare, said Steve James in The
He took an extraordinary ten wickets for 112,
Times. They hit “new depths of sloppiness”,
Root: “a perfect start”
“comfortably his career best”. In his hands, the ball
spurning a “catalogue of opportunities”. Normally,
“bounced and turned spitefully”; South Africa’s batsmen turned
they take great pride in their fielding, yet at Lord’s it was just
desperate – and most of them “fell to attacking strokes as they
awful. There are three Tests to go in this series – but South Africa
tried to regain the initiative”. As if that wasn’t enough, Ali scored
appear to lack “the mettle to battle through”.
Wimbledon turns nasty
Sporting headlines
Fraser in The Times. Behaviour
Few sporting events are more
towards ballboys and ballgirls
civilised than Wimbledon, said
is becoming noticeably worse.
Patrick Sawer in The Daily
During her first-round match
Telegraph. Yet on the court, the
last week, Caroline Wozniacki
tournament has taken a nasty
repeatedly moaned that she
turn. Last week, the Australian
wasn’t being given the balls the
player Bernard Tomic was fined
way she likes. She isn’t the only
£11,600 – the second largest
“diva” – witness the frequency
penalty in Wimbledon history –
with which players demanded
for “unsportsmanlike conduct”,
that they be handed their
after admitting that he had faked
Mannarino: “unapologetic”
“sweat-soaked” towels. But the
an injury during his first-round
ballboys hardly have time for that: in addition to
defeat, and later saying he’d felt “bored” during
the match. The following day, Adrian Mannarino retrieving and providing balls, they fetch drinks,
hold umbrellas to protect players from the sun
was fined £7,000 for barging into a ballboy
and “clear large insects from the court”. These
during his second-round win. The Frenchman
“dedicated servants” go through rigorous
was “unapologetic”, criticising the ballboy aftertraining; it’s time players gave it a try. “Force
wards: “He went into me,” he insisted. “I don’t
them to be a ballboy in a mock match”, and
think he hurt himself. It wasn’t a big bump.”
they might start toning down their demands.
This is part of a troubling trend, said Stuart
Football Manchester United
bought Belgian striker
Romelu Lukaku from Everton
for an initial fee of £75m,
rising to £90m with add-ons.
In the opposite direction,
Wayne Rooney returned to
Everton on a free transfer.
Formula One Valtteri Bottas
won the Austrian Grand Prix.
Cricket In the group stage of
the Women’s World Cup,
England beat Australia by
three runs.
Cycling Team Sky cyclist
Geraint Thomas pulled
out of the Tour de France
after breaking his collarbone
in a crash.
THE WEEK 15 July 2017
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LETTERS
Pick of the week’s correspondence
25
Exchange of the week
Is going to university worth the money?
To The Guardian
Jo Johnson paints a distorted view.
Whatever the merits of tuition fees, it
is the way they have been managed that
is a disgrace. George Osborne sold the
tuition fee debt to the private sector,
which obviously wishes to make a
profit; originally, fees were paid back
with interest set at the rate of inflation.
The well-off have no problem paying
them off. No profit there.
Those who struggle are the less
well-off and those going into vital but
relatively low-paid jobs such as social
work, nursing and the public sector
generally. They now face interest
charges of up to 6% to provide the
necessary profit. (The Bank of
England’s interest rate is 0.25%.)
So yet again, the less well-off have to
pay up for the private profit that the
well-off can avoid. Not fair.
Dr Peter Estcourt, South Chailey,
East Sussex
To The Daily Telegraph
The fact that more than three-quarters
of graduates will never be able to fully
repay their debt should serve as a
wake-up call for the nation.
We must stop telling young people
that university is the best option. The
reality is that there are many desirable
and fulfilling careers that can be
achieved without taking on a lifetime of
debt. We should be informing young
people of opportunities to earn while
they learn through apprenticeships and
other professional and technical
qualifications, and be honest about the
labour market that awaits them.
Our research has shown that
almost 70% of teenagers plan to go to
university, even though only 30% of
available jobs are forecast to be
graduate roles. There is also a growing
skills gap across many key industries:
87% of employers currently struggle to
recruit staff. University is the right
Keep housing private
Don’t build, fill
The suggestion in your article
“Anatomy of a housing
disaster” that the Grenfell
Tower fire tragedy should
lead to a revival of social
housing construction
overlooks the troubled
history of such governmentled development.
Here in New York, the
city’s housing authority owns
and operates 176,000 units
and faces a backlog of
deferred maintenance
estimated at $18bn. Roofs,
plumbing, heating and water
systems routinely need
emergency repairs. The
original US public housing
model, in which tenant rents
would support operating
costs, has long since proved
unworkable. Many of the
326 developments are
distant from basic amenities,
such as food markets. The
problems of maintenance in
public housing have led
widely to its demolition
across the US.
Far better to look to a
private housing market that
is well regulated – in contrast
to the Grenfell situation –
for a sustainable model.
Howard Husock,
vice-president, research and
publications, Manhattan
Institute, New York
To the Financial Times
choice for some, but it must be seen
as one option out of several.
Kirstie Donnelly, managing director,
City & Guilds, London
To The Daily Telegraph
While I wouldn’t want to deter
anyone from going to university, the
director of City & Guilds is right
that we are training more graduates
than we have graduate jobs, and
people should consider the alternatives
seriously. However, the problem is
that the “excess” graduates apply for
non-graduate jobs – and, with their
higher qualifications, usually get
them. The jobs then become graduate
ones by default.
Sadly, many people are spending
three years running up a large debt
to get a job that, not so long ago, they
could have started after A levels.
Phil Cutcher, Malmesbury,
Wiltshire
Recent figures show that
there were around 1.4 million
empty homes in Britain at
the beginning of 2017 – the
highest figure ever – with
around 20,000 in central
London alone.
Wouldn’t it be a good idea
to fill these up first before
building any more?
Duncan Rayner,
Sunningdale, Berkshire
women were not allowed to
teach if they got married.
This ban was only finally
lifted in 1944.
My favourite weird taboo
was in the National
Association of Schoolmasters
handbook that I was given
when I first started teaching
in the 1960s: “Teachers
should not get drunk on a
Saturday or answer the door
in their braces.”
Peter Baker, Leicester
and the same chamber, and
such I think must be my
plans in future, as I do not
know how to make a
comfortable arrangement for
a schoolmistress – separated
from the schoolmaster.”
Discrimination against
married female teachers
only became the norm in the
early 20th century.
David Paterson, Nuneaton,
Warwickshire
Life values
Ladies singled out
To The Sunday Times
To The Daily Telegraph
To The Times
Is it not strange that when
a child has an incurable
complaint and irreversible
brain damage, the doctors
wish to switch off his lifesupport machine and let him
have a peaceful death? Yet, if
this were an adult suffering
great pain and dying in
incomprehensible suffering,
for example with motor
neurone disease, where one
suffocates to death, it is illegal
to allow him to have an
assisted suicide.
How can one be right and
the other wrong?
B.R.J. Simpson, Gosport,
Hampshire
Teacher taboos
To The Guardian
The worst of all teacher
taboos was of course that
Tory donors
I did a bit of informal
It should not be inferred
research with Big Issue
from Peter Baker’s letter that
sellers at party conferences.
married female teachers
It seems that sales to
never taught before 1944. In
Conservatives are almost
the 18th and 19th centuries,
double those to Labour.
a husband-and-wife
Phil Buckle, by email
teaching team in
voluntary schools
was quite common.
In Chilvers
Coton, the
discrimination in
1820 was against
the single lady.
Withdrawing an
offer of a position,
Francis Newdegate
apologised to Miss
Elizabeth Walker:
“My school at
present is managed
“It ruins the effect if I say who it is.
by a man and his
Can you just come down?”
wife who occupy
the same dwellings
© WILL MCPHAIL/NEW YORKER COLLECTION/CARTOON BANK
To The Guardian
● Letters have been edited
15 July 2017 THE WEEK
ARTS
Review of reviews: Books
27
Book of the week
American women generally had more
“polish and sophistication” than their
English counterparts, and were
The Husband Hunters
“more at ease in the company of men”.
by Anne de Courcy
Their “lack of stuffiness” was often
irresistible. De Courcy does a good job
W&N 320pp £20
of comparing the social attitudes in the
The Week Bookshop £17
two countries, said Anne Sebba in
Literary Review. She points out that
The Husband Hunters is an “acidly
American upper-class life was “largely
funny” account of the “cash for
matriarchal”, run by women for
coronets” phenomenon that was a
women, whereas the English equivalent
feature of New York society at the turn
“revolved around the demands and
of the 20th century, said Miranda
expectations of men”. This, she
Seymour in The Daily Telegraph. The
ventures, may help explain why so
New York haut monde was at the time
many of the unions foundered.
Consuelo Vanderbilt: wilting at Blenheim
presided over by the “frumpy, doubleMany of the American brides suffered
chinned” and extraordinarily snooty Caroline Astor. And while
a “rude shock” when they took up residence in England, said
opulent jewellery helped open doors to that world, many nouveau Nicholas Shakespeare in The Spectator. They found England’s
riche American heiresses still found themselves shunned by it. By
climate as “diabolical” as its plumbing and they often had to
far the best way to gain admission to “Mrs Astor’s magic circle”
endure naked hostility from upper-class Englishwomen. “Stuck
was to marry a “real English peer”, and between 1874 – the year
in the country while their husbands spent their money,” many
Jennie Jerome wed Randolph Churchill – and 1914, around 100
of the dollar princesses simply wilted. One such was Consuelo
“eye-wateringly rich” young women did just that; hundreds more
Vanderbilt, the reluctant bride of the 9th Duke of Marlborough.
married titled Europeans. On the British side, the inducement was
“From my window, I overlooked a pond in which a former butler
financial. After years of bad harvests, the aristocracy was “on its
had drowned himself,” she noted in her diary after her second
uppers”, and many a peer desperately needed cash to repair his
winter at Blenheim. “As one gloomy day succeeded another,
crumbling country pile, or to settle years-worth of gambling debts.
I began to feel a deep sympathy for him.” Written in prose that
Yet for British aristocrats, the allure of the “dollar princesses”
“swishes and rustles like a flounced taffeta petticoat”, The
wasn’t only about money, said Paula Byrne in The Times. Young
Husband Hunters is “hugely entertaining”.
The Fear and the Freedom
Novel of the week
by Keith Lowe
Viking 576pp £25
How to Stop Time
The Week Bookshop £22 (incl. p&p)
by Matt Haig
Canongate 336pp £12.99
As a society, we talk about the Second World War
an “awful lot”, said Dominic Sandbrook in The
Sunday Times. “Probably no event is more
tediously overfamiliar.” Yet as historian Keith
Lowe argues in this wide-ranging and insightful
book, we would do well to talk less and
understand more, for we still “understate” the
conflict’s “impact”. Open any newspaper and
the evidence is there: most of the world’s major
geopolitical issues – from North Korea to the Middle East to Russia’s fear of
“encirclement” – originated in the Second World War. Even more significantly,
the War has become the West’s “foundational myth, its fundamental origin
story”, with the likes of Hitler, Mussolini, Chamberlain and Churchill replacing
older “moral archetypes”. Contemporary questions are discussed through its
frame: for some Brexiteers, the EU is “almost akin to a Fourth Reich”; while the
most diehard Remainers see leaving the EU as “embarking on a path that will
inevitably lead to pogroms and purges”.
One of the many “myths” this book skewers is the “illusion of Allied
perfection”, said Saul David in The Daily Telegraph. We remain deeply reluctant
to acknowledge Allied barbarity in the War – the fact, for example, that US
troops raped “as many as 17,000 women in North Africa and Europe”. And
this denial helps shape current behaviour: having told themselves that they were
involved in a “good” war, Americans and the British have been “searching for
a new good war ever since”. Five years in the making, The Fear and the
Freedom is a “masterpiece of historical inquiry” that, unlike many bestselling
history books, doesn’t simply tell readers “what they want to hear”, but instead
pushes them to challenge the stories they tell themselves.
The Week Bookshop £10.99
Matt Haig is a writer “adept at digging into the
human heart”, said Francesca Angelini in The
Sunday Times. In all his books, from his
bestselling depression memoir Reasons to Stay
Alive to his alien-narrated 2013 novel The
Humans, “questions about how to live abound”.
Tom Hazard, the protagonist of How to Stop
Time, has a rare medical condition that causes
him to age far slower than ordinary humans. As
a result, though he looks about 40, he is actually
439 years old. The conceit allows Haig to roam,
Zelig-like, through history, staging encounters
with, among others, Captain Cook and William
Shakespeare. Though at times it feels a bit like
“young-adult fiction”, this is a “well-imagined”
tale that simply “rattles along”.
Novels driven by an “audacious central
conceit” always risk self-indulgence, but
fortunately, Haig has a “real feel for what it is
to be an outsider”, said Hermione Eyre in The
Guardian. As a result, you entirely believe in
his hero’s “weariness”. Written with “energy
and zip”, and full of “quirks and quips”, this is
an “engaging” and often moving novel.
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
15 July 2017 THE WEEK
Drama
28 ARTS
Theatre: Titus Andronicus
Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon (01789-403493). Until 2 September Running time: 3hrs ★★★
“Before you embark on a
of the violence in a production
journey of revenge, dig two
of Shakespeare.”
graves.” So said Confucius.
In terms of technical
Wise words, on the face of it,
accomplishment and “visceral
said Dominic Maxwell in
impact”, there’s no faulting
The Times. But then again,
McIntyre’s “feast of horrors”,
Confucius clearly “hadn’t seen
agreed Dominic Cavendish in
Titus Andronicus”. Titus, the
The Daily Telegraph. Overall,
hero of Shakespeare’s most
the “hewing, hacking, stabbing”
“crazily bloody” play, is a
and shooting is “world-class”.
Roman general who takes
However, I was much less
murderous revenge on the royals
convinced by the “gimmicky
who kill two of his sons, and
excesses” of the modern-day
rape his daughter, rip out her
setting: police doing battle with
tongue and cut off her hands.
looting protesters, and much
He kills another of his sons for
“glib recourse to microphones”.
David Troughton (left): a “masterly” performance
disagreeing with him, hacks his
No one can argue, though, with
own hand off, and then kills the
the power of Troughton’s
sons of the emperor’s new wife, the Goth queen Tamora, before
central performance, said Michael Davies on WhatsOnStage.com.
baking them in a pie and feeding it to her. “Two graves? Pah!”
He ranges brilliantly from soldierly nobility, to fury and bitterness,
Titus would need two dozen just for starters.
to – as his world disintegrates – a kind of genocidal jauntiness.
By common consent, this early revenge tragedy is not one of
Can Troughton give us his King Lear soon, please?
Shakespeare’s finest works, said Fiona Mountford in the London
Evening Standard. But director Blanche McIntyre’s “sharp,
The week’s other opening
confident and imaginative modern-dress” staging – with a
Miss Julie Theatre by the Lake, Keswick, Cumbria (01768“masterly” performance in the title role from David Troughton –
774411). Until 3 November
“Finely balanced, well wrought, emotionally charged performis absolutely compelling; the “best Bard” the RSC has offered in
ances” from Charlotte Hamblin (as Julie), James Sheldon and
the past two years. It’s not just the “hurtling clarity” of the
Izabella Urbanowicz help make the Strindberg classic as “real
storytelling and the tremendous acting: it’s the utterly convincing
and sensational now as ever, and as socially and politically
staging of the bloody atrocities. “It’s a rare and delicious treat to
pertinent”. Tom Littler directs this “riveting” show (Observer).
find oneself gripped and thrilled and flinching afresh at the impact
© HELEN MAYBANKS/RSC
CDs of the week: three new releases
Jay Z: 4:44
Virgin EMI
Records, £10.99
Haim:
Something
to Tell You
Polydor, £9.99
Ann Hallenberg:
Carnevale 1729;
opera arias
Pentatone, £21.50
(two discs)
Rap is, in large part, a genre based on
“braggadocio”, said Will Hodgkinson in
The Times. Yet on Jay Z’s excellent new
album, this “giant” of hip-hop culture
engages in the “kind of self-flagellation
more commonly associated with tormented
singer-songwriters”. This is Jay Z’s musical
answer to Lemonade, the truly great record
that his wife, Beyoncé, released last year, in
which she took him to task for ”tomcatting
around”. Beyoncé has forgiven him, it
seems: the pair have just had twins. And
musically, it works a treat – the raps set
mainly to a “melodic, mellow blend of
subdued beats” and soul samples that lend
a classic, sophisticated feel.
This “astonishing” album is one of “the
most mature albums in hip-hop history”,
said Neil McCormick in The Daily Telegraph.
4:44 presents a “quite magnificent mea
culpa, embracing notions of empathy,
forgiveness and personal growth” that the
young Jay Z would have scorned. It is, in
short, a “masterpiece” – and, as a bonus, it
even boasts Beyoncé on backing vocals.
With their debut album, 2013’s Days Are
Gone, LA’s Haim staked out an “instantly
identifiable sound with depth as well as
surface”, said Kitty Empire in The Observer
– an achievement many pop bands never
pull off. Having located a narrow but fertile
patch of ground where R&B and 1970s soft
rock “overlap on pop’s Venn diagram”,
Haim exploited it mercilessly and brilliantly.
And for this follow-up record, they have
“stuck to this sweet spot”, albeit with a bit
less sunny breeziness than before, and
more real emotion and “trenchant analysis”
of relationship angst.
The best moments here, said Jon Dolan
in Rolling Stone, lie somewhere between
soft rock and soul, as if Jimmy Jam or
Quincy Jones had produced a late-1980s
Fleetwood Mac record. Want You Back
sounds like a “love-hungry Christine McVie
ballad as reimagined by Bad-era Michael
Jackson”. Walking Away is a “plaintive R&B
ghost”; Little of Your Love is like “Come On
Over-era Shania Twain tried to write a TLC
song, and it turned out awesome”.
In the Venetian carnival season of the early
18th century, theatres competed viciously to
present the most acclaimed singers in new
operas, said Nicholas Kenyon in The
Observer. It was an orgy of scandals and
“endless rivalries”. This “amazing” aria
collection (of mostly world premiere
recordings) presents “showstopping hits”
from a single season, 1729, with mezzosoprano Ann Hallenberg on “dazzling” form
and displaying “sensational virtuosity”. The
album features mostly little-known
composers including Orlandini, Giacomelli,
Vinci and Porpora – while “Albinoni wins on
melody in two numbers from his Filandro”.
Hallenberg’s range, with its “astonishing
evenness of tone and voluptuous
colouring”, extends from contralto to
soprano, and her “sublime artistry” holds
the listener rapt, said Hugh Canning in The
Sunday Times. In Orlandini’s Scherza, her
technical bravura “leaves one almost
breathless”; and over the course of the
collection, her “alchemy” turns what is
accomplished music into “24-carat gold”.
Stars reflect the overall quality of reviews and our own independent assessment (4 stars=don’t miss; 1 star=don’t bother)
THE WEEK 15 July 2017
Film
Spider-Man:
Homecoming
Dir: Jon Watts
2hrs 13mins (12A)
Marvel’s moneyspinning arachnid
★★★
It Comes
at Night
Dir: Trey Edward Shults
1hr 32mins (15)
Post-apocalyptic fable
with Joel Edgerton
★★
The Midwife
Dir: Martin Provost
1hr 57mins (12A)
Comic masterclass from
Catherine Deneuve
★★★
Song to Song
Dir: Terrence Malick
2hrs 9mins (15)
Malick plays with
the flame of life
★
ARTS 29
I could be wrong, but Spider-Man: Homecoming may
be “the blockbuster of the summer”, said Brian Viner
in the Daily Mail. Marvel’s latest superhero extravaganza has “oodles of wit”, “lashings of spectacle”,
and a star-making turn from young British actor Tom
Holland as endearing high-school nerd Peter Parker,
who moonlights as a web-slinging vigilante. As in
previous outings, our hero must balance the trials of
being a teenager – notably a crush on a fellow pupil
(Laura Harrier) – with his clandestine crime-fighting:
and in this one he battles against a deranged Michael
Keaton clad in a metal bird suit (aka the Vulture).
What makes this Spider-Man film stand out is that, at 21, Holland is a far more plausible adolescent
than his predecessors in the role, said Benjamin Lee in The Guardian. Perhaps I’m just too old, said
Robbie Collin in The Daily Telegraph, but the high-school subplots struck me as clichéd, and the
action sequences – aside from an early scene involving a droll cameo from Robert Downey Jr’s Iron
Man – lack showmanship. Granted, this is a movie for kids, said Jamie East in The Sun, but taken as
such, it’s a winner. At the viewing I attended, the teenagers around me were “whooping with joy”.
Could It Comes at Night be “the first post-Trump
horror”, wondered Ed Potton in The Times. This
“disturbing” and provocative film tells the story of
an isolated family, led by Joel Edgerton’s stern
paterfamilias Paul, struggling to protect themselves
against a plague that has wiped out half of humanity.
When another family appears, begging for shelter,
Paul must decide if these strangers – who serve as
stand-ins for contemporary fears about immigration
– are as innocent as they seem. This “psychological
chiller” is a less conventional horror film than its
title suggests, said Peter Bradshaw in The Guardian.
While there are gory moments, such as an opening sequence in which a plague-riddled man is
brutally executed, the tension lies in hints and uncertainties. I admit I’m not a fan of the horror
genre, said Deborah Ross in The Spectator, yet I’d heard such good things about It Comes at Night
that I decided to give it a go – and was sorely disappointed. By the end, I hadn’t the faintest idea
what “it” was or, come to that, when it came. Worst of all, it’s just not especially scary.
Catherine Deneuve, the “one-time ice queen of
French cinema”, has proved in recent years that she is
also a “consummate comic actress”, said Geoffrey
Macnab in The Independent. She does so once again
in The Midwife, a “cleverly written” drama from
writer-director Martin Provost. The midwife of the
title is Claire (Catherine Frot), a middle-aged woman
who excels at her job but has a somewhat sterile
private life. That is until the arrival of Deneuve,
playing against type as the brassy former mistress
of Claire’s late father, who announces that she is
suffering from a terminal illness and has no one else
to turn to. “Naturally, sparks fly. Cigarettes are smoked. Tears are shed,” said Kevin Maher in The
Times. “It’s all very French. And all the better for it.” There are elements in The Midwife – one
being the romantic subplot in which Claire is wooed by a charismatic long-distance lorry driver –
that seem too neatly convenient, said Tim Robey in The Daily Telegraph. But it is Deneuve who
“makes the film worth seeing” with her surprising comic masterclass.
“Welcome back to Malickland, the perma-twilight
world” where Hollywood’s most beautiful people
mooch about on beaches, or in vast minimalist
apartments, while “their disconnected musings
whisper on the soundtrack”, said Ian Freer in Empire.
Terrence Malick’s latest film – strikingly similar to his
previous ones (To the Wonder and Knight of Cups) –
stars Rooney Mara as Faye, a struggling musician on
the Austin music scene who is faced with a romantic
dilemma: should she go for Ryan Gosling’s charming
songwriter or Michael Fassbender’s saturnine music
producer? In trying to decide, she is guided by
poeticised confessions in voice-over – usually, but not always, representing Faye’s inner monologue,
said Nigel Andrews in the FT. These include portentous lines such as “I played with the flame of
life” and “I went through a period… when nothing seemed real”. The photography, by Emmanuel
Lubezki, is “gorgeous”, but the “plotless plot” smacks of “wilful inscrutability”. Let’s not pull any
punches, said Allan Hunter in the Daily Express. Song to Song is “an insufferably pretentious affair”
with “cringeworthy” dialogue. It is “less of a film and more of an endurance test”.
15 July 2017 THE WEEK
30 ARTS
Art
Exhibition of the week Wyndham Lewis: Life, Art, War
Imperial War Museum North, The Quays, Manchester (0161-836 4000, www.iwm.org.uk). Until 1 January 2018
Wyndham Lewis (1882-1957)
wasn’t just a painter, poet and
publisher, said Laura Freeman in
The Spectator. He was above all
“a picker of fights”: nothing fired
him up “like a quarrel, a squabble,
a skirmish”. From the Bloomsbury
Group and “sentimental
Victorians” to “thin flapper girls”
and – for some reason – the
inhabitants of Putney, “no target
was too grand or too trivial” to
escape Lewis’s ire. His combative
reputation and controversial views
– not least a swiftly recanted
flirtation with fascism in the 1930s
– made him many enemies and
overshadowed his important role
in the story of 20th century British
art. This superb new retrospective
at the Imperial War Museum
North, which brings together more
than 160 of his artworks, books,
journals and pamphlets, goes some
way to redressing this. Its focus is
on Lewis’s service in World War I,
but it encompasses his entire
career. The show “makes no
apology or excuse for him”, but
also reveals him to have been
“occasionally brilliant”, if always
“his own worst enemy”.
three of Lewis’s vorticist works,
including The Crowd (1914-15),
a depiction of a metropolis that is
“part Fritz Lang and part
Mondrian gone wrong”. Lewis
joined the Army shortly after the
outbreak of hostilities, serving at
Passchendaele before being
appointed to work as an official
war artist. A Battery Shelled
(1919), his “major” painting of
the conflict, presents a horrific
panorama of “insect-like gunners,
scuttling to safety while under
bombardment”. This “enigmatic”
work proved unpopular when
exhibited at the Royal Academy
alongside other official
commissions, and the British War
Memorials Committee
“embarrassedly offloaded” it to
the Imperial War Museum.
After the War, financial woes
forced Lewis to turn to portrait
commissions, said Mark Hudson
in The Daily Telegraph. But aside
from his intriguing likenesses
of Edith Sitwell and T.S. Eliot,
there is an “unmistakable sense of
an artist going off the boil”,
dependent on the patronage of an
The Crowd (1914-15): one of three vorticist works on display
“Establishment” he’d once
Lewis came to prominence in 1914 as the “prime founder” of the
“excoriated”. Lewis lived out his later years a “sorry figure”,
avant-garde vorticist movement, said Michael Prodger in the New
going blind and losing the ability to paint. The show gives a
Statesman. Alongside works by such “radical” contemporaries as
poignant sense of this “pitiful trajectory”; a sad reminder of his
Henri Gaudier-Brzeska and David Bomberg, the show features
tragic “failure to live up to his formidable talent”.
Where to buy…
The Romantics
to Rodin
at Daniel Katz
The story of painting in 19th century
France is a familiar one to anyone with
a grasp of art history. The French
sculpture of the era feels neglected by
comparison – Rodin providing the only
real household name. But as this
fascinating show seeks to demonstrate,
the period between the post-Waterloo
restoration of the monarchy and the
Dreyfus affair produced a host of
innovative sculpture that deserves
reappraisal. A few works here have
a direct link to bona fide masterpieces,
notably the small, muscular figure
sculpted by Théodore Géricault as a
study for one of the wretched sailors
in his astonishing painting The Raft of
the Medusa (1818-19). More familiar
still is a small cast of Rodin’s Eve.
However, the more esoteric works,
THE WEEK 15 July 2017
Auguste Preault’s Silence (1842)
such as Gustave Doré’s gravity-defying
The Acrobats (c. 1881), and Emmanuel
Frémiet’s sculpture of a gorilla standing
triumphant over the corpse of a
Roman gladiator, are also not to be
missed. Prices range from £18,000
to £165,000.
6 Hill Street, London W1 (020-7493
0688). Until 28 July.
For 144 years, the
black-and-white
chalk drawings of
a Suffolk
landscape had
been lying
disregarded in
a dusty portfolio
in Windsor
Castle. Since
1873, they had
been attributed to
Edwin Landseer, an artist famed for his painting
The Monarch of the Glen (1851), and much
favoured by Queen Victoria, but today deeply
unfashionable. Quite by chance, however,
Lindsay Stainton, an expert on the 18th century
master Thomas Gainsborough, happened to
flick through the portfolio on a visit to Windsor.
Immediately, said The Guardian, she spotted
that the 26 drawings weren’t by Landseer at all
– they were unmistakably in Gainsborough’s
hand. Never before exhibited, they depict the
landscape around the market town of Sudbury,
where Gainsborough was born. It seems that
after Landseer’s death, Queen Victoria had
asked his executors if the Royal Archives could
have some of his sketches, and they had sent in
error the Gainsborough sketches, which
Landseer had acquired.
© ROYAL COLLECTION TRUST
A windfall at Windsor
The Week reviews an
exhibition in a private gallery
The List
31
Best books… Naomi Klein
Writer and activist Naomi Klein, author of the bestselling No Logo, picks her
favourite books. Her new book No Is Not Enough: Defeating the New Shock
Politics is published by Allen Lane at £12.99
The Fire Next Time by James
Baldwin, 1963 (Penguin
£8.99). This classic of the
civil rights movement is
painfully relevant today.
Written as a letter from
Baldwin to his nephew, it is
a call to channel righteous fury
into a powerful resistance.
Cloud Atlas by David
Mitchell, 2004 (Sceptre £8.99).
Mitchell leaps across space
and time to tell seemingly
disconnected stories. “Life
amounted to no more than
one drop in a limitless ocean,”
one of his characters writes.
“Yet what is any ocean but
a multitude of drops?”
Open Veins of Latin
America: Five Centuries of
the Pillage of a Continent
by Eduardo Galeano, 1971
(Serpent’s Tail £9.99). An
incendiary, poetic and
uncomfortable history of the
Americas told through a series
of vignettes that weave
together colonialism’s
omnipresent themes: genocide,
extraction and exploitation.
The Dispossessed by Ursula
Le Guin, 1974 (Gollancz
£8.99). In a sea of dystopian
sci-fi, this is a rare example of
successful utopian fiction. Set
on the imaginary planets of
Urras and Anarres – with
echoes of the US and the then
Soviet Union – Le Guin paints
a hopeful and complex
portrait of a society rooted
in collectivism.
Silent Spring by Rachel
Carson, 1962 (Penguin £9.99).
It’s the combination of deep
love for the natural world and
indignation at the attacks
waged upon it by the chemical
industry that gives this book its
enduring power. Carson, a
former marine biologist, was
battling terminal cancer when
she wrote this masterpiece.
Frankenstein by Mary
Shelley, 1818 (Penguin £5.99).
Victor Frankenstein created
a monster when he took his
experiments to a devastating
extreme. Today, the pursuit
of limitless data, and technological control over nature, are
having even more disastrous
outcomes – and this time,
they’re global.
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
Barber Shop Chronicles at the West
Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds (0113-213 7700).
Inua Ellam’s “cracker” of a play explores black
masculinity through the prism of the barber’s
shop. “Thoughtful, serious, moving” and funny
(FT). Ends 29 July. It returns to the National
Theatre on 29 November; tickets are selling fast.
Book now
Daniel Barenboim conducts his WestEastern Divan Orchestra in a performance
of Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5 and Strauss’s
Imagine… Chris Ofili:
The Caged Bird’s Song
Alan Yentob follows Turner
Prize-winner Chris Ofili on his
three-year project to create an
enormous tapestry, based on
one of his watercolours, for
an exhibition at London’s
National Gallery. Sat 15 July,
BBC2 21:00 (60mins).
World’s Oldest Family
Documentary that tells the
story of the Donnelly family,
a group of 12 Northern Irish
siblings with a collective age
of 1,064 years. Mon 17 July,
BBC1 19:30 (30mins).
Is Love Racist? The Dating
Game Sociologist Emma
Dabiri looks at racism in the
UK, and asks if dating apps
are increasing segregation
among young people. Mon
17 July, C4 22:00 (65mins).
Addicted Parents: Last
Chance to Keep my
Children First episode of
a two-parter looking at the
only rehab in the UK where
mothers who are addicts come
with their children and have
six months to prove they can
parent them. Tue 18 July,
BBC2 21:00 (60mins).
drama-documentary series,
Dan Snow explores the events,
intrigue and betrayals that led
to the Battle of Hastings. Tue
18 July, BBC2 23:15 (60mins).
Barber Shop Chronicles: a “cracker” of a play
Films
A Separation (2011) Iranian
Don Quixote. 28 and 29 October, Royal
Festival Hall, London SE1 (020-3879 9555).
drama that won an Oscar for
its subtle portrayal of a
crumbling marriage. Thur
20 July, Film4 01:00 (150mins).
Just out in paperback
Sexy Beast (2000) Ben
Days Without End by Sebastian Barry (Faber
£8.99). Barry’s tale of America’s western
frontier in the mid-19th century is both a
“salute to the sociocultural marriage between
Ireland and the New World”, and the
“outstanding novel of last year” (Observer)
The Archers: what happened last week
© MARC BRENNER
Programmes
1066: A Year to Conquer
England In this three-part
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Apollo Theatre,
London W1 (0330-333 4809). Jack O’Connell
and Sienna Miller lead the cast in this revival of
Tennessee Williams’s classic. Ends 7 October.
Ark at Chester Cathedral, Cheshire (www.
chestercathedral.com). An impressively large –
and free – exhibition of contemporary
sculptures by artists including Elisabeth Frink,
Antony Gormley, Barbara Hepworth, Damien
Hirst and Sarah Lucas. Several works have been
specially made for the show. Ends 15 October.
Television
Fallon tries to talk about houses to Harrison, who is distracted as the match against Loxley Barratt
is about to start and Will hasn’t shown up to play. Harrison drafts in Lily to replace Will. Fallon
insists they talk about houses later. Will turns up at tea and announces that Harrison has lied to the
team about the Darrington merger in a bid to strengthen his case for recruiting women. Harrison
defends himself, saying he wanted the best for the team, but Will says he must resign. Fallon can’t
persuade Harrison to talk about houses, and begins to lose faith. Tom is angry with Matt over the
land deal and tells Justin to be wary of him. Lilian returns from having a makeover in London a
few days before her 60th birthday: Justin doesn’t notice. Lilian bumps into Matt in The Bull. Matt
immediately notices the change in her appearance. He buys her a drink, repays some of the money
he owes her and mentions her upcoming birthday. Lilian is touched. Later, Justin reveals to Lilian
that he is angry with Matt for trying to thwart the land deal and wants to teach him a lesson.
Kingsley and Ray Winstone
star in this gangster thriller. Fri
21 July, Film4 22:40 (105mins).
New to Netflix
Handsome Devil Andrew
Scott stars as an inspirational
teacher in this Irish comedy
drama. Set in a rugby-mad
boarding school in Dublin in
the 1980s, John Butler’s film
follows the friendship that
develops between two
outsiders – an arty loner,
bullied for being gay, and
a handsome athlete, newly
arrived at the school.
Streaming from 20 July.
15 July 2017 THE WEEK
Best properties
32
Houses in national parks
▲
North Yorkshire:
Stonelands, Litton,
near Skipton. A late
Georgian house,
with 19 acres of
gardens, grounds,
wildflower meadows
and ancient
woodland, nestled in
an idyllic setting
within the Yorkshire
Dales National Park.
2 suites, 2 further
beds, family shower,
kitchen, 3 receps,
family room, study,
walk-in pantry,
utility, laundry,
vaulted cellar, store,
sewing room, garden
room, self-contained
1-bed flat, detached
barn, walled
garden, orchard,
paddocks. £1.2m;
Carter Jonas via
OnTheMarket.com
(01423-578947).
▲ Somerset: Glasses Farm, Roadwater, Watchet. A 16th century farmhouse on
the edge of the village, within Exmoor National Park. Master suite with dressing
room, 3 further beds (1 en suite), family bath, kitchen with Aga, 3 receps, boot
room, utility, 2 cottages to let, stable block, workshop, loose boxes, triple garage,
barn, gardens, paddock; 14 acres. £1.2m; Jackson-Stops & Staff (01823-325144).
▲
West Sussex:
Brookfield,
Graffham, Petworth.
Formerly two
cottages, which were
combined in the
1950s, this house sits
towards the end of
a private road at the
foot of the South
Downs, with fine
views. Master bed,
3 further beds, family
bath, 2 WCs,
breakfast/kitchen,
sitting room, family
room, entrance hall,
pantry, boot room,
garage, workshop
area, sun terrace,
mature garden;
0.35 acres. £800,000;
Knight Frank
(01428-770560).
THE WEEK 15 July 2017
on the market
33
▲
Gwynedd: Dolwreiddiog,
Llanbedr. A 335-acre estate close
to the Welsh coast in Snowdonia
National Park. The estate comprises
ancient woodland, pasture, moor
and hills, with double bank fishing
on the River Artro and lake frontage.
4 beds, 2 showers, farmhouse
kitchen, 1 recep, snug, utility, store
with office above, outbuildings,
garage, barn, kennel, garden. £1.25m;
Strutt & Parker (01743-284200).
Devon: Yonder
Wreyland, Lustleigh,
Newton Abbot.
A beautifully
presented property
with established
gardens on the edge
of this picturesque
village in Dartmoor
National Park.
Master suite with
dressing room,
4 further beds (2
en suite), family
bath, breakfast/
kitchen, 3 receps,
cloakroom,
conservatory,
pantry, utility,
detached studio,
courtyard parking.
£995,000; Savills
(01392-455755).
▲
▲
West Sussex:
Allan Cottage,
Treyford, Midhurst.
This charming
cottage sits in an
Area of Outstanding
Natural Beauty at
the foot of the South
Downs. Master suite,
4 further beds,
family bath,
breakfast/kitchen,
3 receps, studio with
mezzanine, double
garage, swimming
pool, greenhouse,
potting shed,
gardens with
downland views,
a pond and a stream;
2 acres. £1.8m;
Strutt & Parker
(01243-832600).
▲
Northumberland:
Old Fourstones
House, Hexham. Built
in 1812 as part of a
much larger property,
this house is set on the
edge of a rural hamlet
in Northumberland
National Park. The
house has a host of
period details, from
high ceilings with
cornicing to sash
windows and shutters.
Master suite, 3 further
beds, family bath,
breakfast/kitchen,
3 receps, rear hall,
utility, cloakroom,
pretty garden, kitchen
garden, pond,
orchard. £625,000;
Strutt & Parker
(01670-516123).
▲ Somerset: East Harwood Farm, Timberscombe. A farmhouse with
more than 40 acres in an elevated position in Exmoor National Park. 2
suites, 3 further beds, family bath, breakfast/kitchen/family room, 3 receps,
hall, utility/boot room, cloakroom, carport, garage, stables, manège,
paddocks, 2-bed cottage. £1.65m; Strutt & Parker (01392-215631).
15 July 2017 THE WEEK
FR
EE
US DE
UA LI
LL VE
Y R
£7 Y
.9
9
“Excellent”
LEISURE
Food & Drink
35
What the experts recommend
Noble 27a Church Road, Holywood,
County Down (028-9042 5655)
I don’t know how this place got its name:
I was “too busy enjoying dinner” to ask,
says Jay Rayner in The Observer. But I do
think that what they’re doing, in the small
town of Holywood, just outside Belfast, is
noble. Pearson Morris (chef) and Saul
McConnell (front of house) have not set
out to reinvent the wheel. Their aim is
simply to “feed you in as classy and
tasteful a way as possible, making as
much as they can of the cracking
ingredients in their reach”. A brisk salad
of picked white crab with peanuts, ginger,
chilli and coriander is “fresh and sweet
and salty and invigorating”. A pea soup
flavoured with mint, spring onions and
the “lactic push of buttermilk” is
“soothing and hearty”. A simple but
perfect classic white risotto is “£6.50 of
pleasure”. Six (local) langoustine are
spectacular value at £12. And mains of
rib-eye and aged lamb are excellent, too
– as are the “detailed”, indulgent
desserts, which include a “picture-book
slice of frangipane tart”. Do eat here.
Meal for two, including drinks and
service, about £90.
Xu 30 Rupert Street, London W1
(020-3319 8147)
According to its press release, this new
Soho restaurant sets out to evoke “1930s
cinematic Taipei”. “Nope, me neither,”
crab “was, frankly, just chilli in a shell”.
Oddly, there’s no pudding menu yet.
I didn’t mind too much: this place is just
a “couple of tweaks” away from being
“truly excellent”. And unlike its
stablemate Bao, it’s bookable. Dinner
for two, about £70, without alcohol
(or pudding).
Noble: “classy and tasteful”
says Matthew Bayley in The Daily
Telegraph. What I do know is that it is
stunningly beautiful: art-deco curves,
grooved dark-wood panelling, ceiling
fans, and green and pink leather
banquettes. And the food, for the most
part, is just as splendid. Cuttlefish toast
was fresh, inky black and deeply salty,
with whipped cod roe smoothly
intensifying the flavour, while a “vibrant
and gorgeous” dish of sweet tomato
pieces and “almost crispy” smoked eel
had us “spooning the leftover juices out of
the bowl”. Our mains were more mixed.
Char siu Ibérico pork, with leeks and
sesame, was “fantastic”, but egg drop
Recipe of the week
Beetroot and quail eggs have a distinctly English feel to them, as does
buttermilk, says Annie Bell. The last is an underused ingredient that we
tend to save for soda bread and scones, but it is light and lively, thinner
than yoghurt but with similar appeal, and it makes a great salad dressing
Quail egg salad with buttermilk dressing
Serves 2 For the dressing: 2 tbsps buttermilk 1 tsp soured cream sea salt
1 heaped tsp of finely chopped chives 1 tsp of finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 tsp of finely chopped basil For the pot: 2 heaped tbsps cooked beetroot
(unvinegared), cut into 1cm dice 1 tsp balsamic vinegar 2 handfuls of lamb’s
lettuce, roots pinched off 12 quail eggs, boiled for 2½ minutes, shelled and halved
2 heaped tsps of coarsely chopped roasted cashew nuts
© PHOTOGRAPHY BY CON POULOS
• To make the dressing,
whisk the buttermilk,
soured cream and a
pinch of salt in a small
bowl to blend, then stir
in the herbs.
• In another bowl, dress
the beetroot with the
vinegar and then drain
off the excess.
• Arrange the lamb’s lettuce on a
couple of plates and scatter over the
beetroot. Nestle the quail
eggs between the leaves
and beetroot, then spoon
over the dressing and
scatter with the nuts. The
salads can be prepared
a few hours in advance.
• Tip: try sprinkling your
salad with a little celery
salt before eating – if
buying cooked and peeled quail eggs,
they may come with a sachet.
Taken from The Modern Dairy by Annie Bell, published by Kyle Books
at £16.99. To buy from The Week Bookshop for £14.99, call 020-3176 3835
or visit www.theweek.co.uk/bookshop
Elliot’s 12 Stoney Street, London SE1
(020-7403 7436)
Elliot’s, on the edge of Borough Market,
serves sublime food, says Tim Hayward in
the FT. On a recent visit, on the hottest
June day in recent memory, I was drawn
to a chilled melon gazpacho topped with
lobster oil and a mound of fresh-picked
crabmeat lightly shot through with dill. It
was “cooling, sophisticated, light and so
utterly beguiling that I ordered a second
bowl while still snarfling through my
first”. If you go there, you can expect any
number of similar treats. Yet good as it is,
what makes Elliott’s magnificent is not so
much the food as the people who work
there, and make the restaurant so
welcoming. They were tested to the very
limit when terrorists attacked the area
last month. “Like everyone else in the
market that night, they responded with
inspiring courage and have recovered
since with a spirit that humbles us all”.
I’ve never been happier to commend to
you a “restaurant I love”. Plates and
sides, from £4 to £15.
Wines for a barbecue
The conventional wisdom is that
barbecue drinking is all about “big
reds”, says Fiona Beckett in The
Guardian. Personally, I prefer
lighter, fresher reds such as
pinot noir, Beaujolais and the
“bright, breezy and utterly
delicious” South African
Surfer’s Path Shiraz 2016
(£8, Morrisons).
But for a more conventional barbecue wine,
Aldi’s Exquisite Collection has the very decent
Australia Shiraz 2015 for just £5.79, while
Majestic has a similar shiraz for £5.99 in its
new Majestic Loves… range – it’s not the
most subtle of wines, but it’s cracking value
and has a rather lovely label.
If you’re cooking fish, try Tesco’s Côtes de
Gascogne Blanc 2016 (£5), which has
bright citrus and passion fruit aromas. And
you can’t quarrel with the £4.69 that Aldi is
charging for the easy-drinking Fire Tree
Pinot Grigio Sauvignon Blanc 2016,
from Sicily. The sauvignon adds a bit of
personality to the pinot grigio, which in turn
tones down the “pungent aggressiveness”
of the sauvignon. “Fresh, zesty and it won’t
break the bank. Job done.”
For our latest offers, visit theweekwines.co.uk
15 July 2017 THE WEEK
Consumer
36 LEISURE
New cars: what the critics say
Ford Fiesta
from £12,715
Car magazine
“Forget Mondeo man –
we are now a nation
of Fiesta folk.” The
supermini is perennially
Britain’s bestselling car,
“a common sight on roads
the length and breadth of
the country”. But eight
years on from the launch
of this seventh-generation
model, upmarket rivals
such as the VW Polo and
Seat Ibiza are nipping at
its heels – so the “baby”
Ford has been given a
comprehensive makeover.
Evo
Ford hasn’t messed with
the formula: the new
Fiesta looks “a lot like the
old car”, with the same
swept-back headlights and
rising waistline. Inside,
however, there have been
big changes. The old
cabin felt “a touch last
century”; this one is more
slick and upmarket, with
high-quality materials and
a new tablet infotainment
screen. It’s roomier, too,
and has a slightly larger
292-litre boot.
Auto Express
Fiestas have always been
good on the road – and
this new model is as “easy
to drive and live with as
ever”. Riding smoothly, it
feels supple and composed,
and benefits from a great
new steering system. The
Fiesta has a “playful
side”, too, enhanced by
an engine that offers
decent performance and
a “characterful growl”
– though the car is quiet
otherwise. It may just be
the best supermini around.
The best… phones under £275
▲
Doro 6050 This simple flip phone
Do
hone
is des
designed for elderly users. Useful
eful
featur
features include hearing aid
com
compatibility and an assistance
button that messages designated
con
contacts in an emergency; the keys
are easy to hit, and the display easy
to rea
read (£90; www.doro.co.uk).
Samsung
Galaxy A3
The smallest
Galaxy on the
market, with a
4.7in screen, the sleek A3
is a superb all-rounder. It
offers a 13MP camera, call
quality is as good as you’ll
find, and the battery gives
18 hours of talk time (£259
for a Sim-free handset;
www.samsung.com).
▲
Cat B25 If you’re
looking for a cheap,
hardy phone to take
to a festival or on a
camping holiday, the B25
is a good choice. Waterproof
and dust-proof, it can
withstand drops of 6ft, and
gives up to almost ten hours
of talk time (£70 for a Sim-free
handset; www.argos.co.uk).
▲ Motorola Moto G5
Motorola’s G series of
smartphones has long
earned plaudits for offering
impressive features at a low
price. The G5 boasts a 1080p
display and excellent battery
life – 19 hours of talk time
or ten hours of browsing
(£170 for a Sim-free handset;
www.johnlewis.com).
And for those who
w
have everything
everything…
Where to find…
tours of English vineyards
● Keep all windows, curtains and blinds shut
during the day to prevent heat seeping in.
● Try using a silk pillowcase – it will help
keep your head cooler than a cotton one.
● Sleeping naked won’t necessarily make
you any cooler. Cotton pyjamas will draw
sweat away from the body, which helps
transfer heat away from you – and
counteracts the sticky feeling that can make
it difficult to sleep on sweltering nights.
● Fill a hot water bottle with ice water, and
put it between your sheets 30 minutes
before you go to bed. You could also put
frozen bottles of water in front of an electric
fan, to cool the air it blows at you.
● Don’t point the fan directly at you,
though: it could cause your muscles to
cramp, giving you a crick in your neck.
● If you’re getting really desperate, you
could cool your sheets in the fridge during
the day, and remake your bed every night.
But make sure they aren’t damp when
you put them into the fridge.
Protect yourself from hurricanes,
earthquakes and even tsunamis with the
Survival Capsule. Made from aircraft-grade
aluminium, it’s equipped with bulletproof
windows and air canisters, and can be
designed to accommodate up to 16 people.
from £11,660;
www.survival-capsule.com
Hambledon, in a “beautiful spot” in
Hampshire, produces “exceptional”
sparkling wines. During the summer,
it offers tours on most Saturdays and
the occasional Sunday (£15; www.
hambledonvineyard.co.uk).
Camel Valley, in Cornwall, hosts a "Grand
Tour" every Wednesday (until October),
featuring tastings of at least five wines.
There’s a shorter daily tour, too, and a sun
terrace where you can order fizz by the
glass (from £8.50; www.camelvalley.com).
Bolney Estate, in the Sussex Downs,
makes a “very creditable” pinot noir
alongside the usual sparkling options. You
can supplement its 90-minute taster tour
with a visit to the “excellent” café (from
£32 for two; www.bolneywineestate.com).
Sharpham, a lovely vineyard in Devon,
also produces award-winning cheeses. The
wine tours range from a “Trek and Taste”
to the four-hour “Sharpham Experience”
(from £10; www.sharpham.com).
SOURCES: DAILY MAIL/THE TIMES
SOURCE: DAILY MAIL
SOURCE: THE SUNDAY TELEGRAPH
Tips of the week… how
w to
sleep during a heatwave
ve
THE WEEK 15 July 2017
SOURCES: T3/THE INDEPENDENT
▲
▲
Nokia 3310 Revived recently,
r
to
great excitement, this new
n
version
of Nokia’s 2000 phone offers up to
22 hours of talk time. IIt’s certainly
basic – it only supports 2G
internet connectivity – but it does
have a decent 2MP camera
cam
(£39
for a pay-as-you-go hand
handset;
www.vodafone.co.uk).
Travel
LEISURE 37
This week’s dream: Slovenia’s secret beaches
Slovenia is not famed for its coastline,
water is so clean that sea bream and
says Joji Sakurai in the Financial Times.
needlefish can be spotted “darting
At just 30-odd miles long, it has never
among the fishing boats”. Further out,
been a draw for tourists, yet tucked
divers can explore “a reef squirming
away in the Gulf of Trieste, the
with seahorses and exotic fish”, while
“Slovene Riviera” boasts emerald
in the distance, the Dolomites and
waters, plunging cliffs, and pristine
Julian Alps shimmer in the haze.
beaches to rival any in the
The Strunjan Nature Reserve, to
Mediterranean. True, it has its
the east of Piran, is home to the
blemishes, but these are minor
Adriatic’s highest sedimentary cliff,
compared to the overdevelopment that
fringed by a rocky beach where local
has blighted some of its neighbours. As
nudists can be found letting it all
a country “obsessed” with conservation
“hang out”. From here, a network
and environmental protection, Slovenia
of footpaths makes a sharp ascent
mostly “gets things right”.
into pine and cypress woods – an
Piran: a place of “endless surprises”
For centuries, the seaside town of
“enchanted world of dappled light”
Piran was part of the Republic of Venice. Today, it bears the
– before opening up to reveal an enticing crescent of sand on
“shrug-of-the-shoulders nonchalance” of a town that is blessed
the shore below, its translucent blue waters sparkling in the
with the “romance and elegance” of the Floating City, but
sunshine. It’s a tough scramble down the 150 or so dirt steps,
spared the mass tourism and ruinous prices. It’s a place of
and most visitors don’t bother – so when you reach the bottom,
“endless surprises”: medieval architecture, rugged nature trails,
you may well find yourself all alone “in an Adriatic paradise”.
summer concerts, extraordinary cuisine and “fascinating” salt
For more information about Piran and the surrounding area,
pans that produce world-class fleur de sel. In the harbour, the
visit www.portoroz.si.
Getting the flavour of…
Hotel of the week
Mexico’s El Chepe rail journey
Gleneagles Resort,
Perthshire
Golf may be a “four-letter word”
to city hipsters, but it’s still the
biggest draw at Gleneagles, says
Susan d’Arcy in The Sunday
Times. Two years ago, the “team
behind Hoxton Hotels” bought the
rather “fusty” resort. Clearly, they
saw potential “glamour under the
grot”, not least the acres of marble
and “peachy location”. After a
renovation costing “undisclosed
millions”, the 232-room hotel has
“unveiled its new look”. Gone are
the “swirly carpets” and “dismal”
lobby, replaced by tasteful “mossy
tones”, contemporary art, a
“theatrical” whisky bar and
bedrooms with “lighter, discreetly
tweedy” fittings.
Doubles from £265. 01764-662231;
www.gleneagles.com.
Stretching 400 miles from Los Michis on
Mexico’s west coast to Chihuahua in the
east, El Chepe – the Copper Canyon railway
– is “one of the world’s great rail journeys”,
says Catherine Jarvie in the London Evening
Standard. The route takes 14 hours and
climbs to more than 7,875ft, past lush,
tropical rainforest, desert scrub and towering
canyon walls. At each stop, women in
embroidered costumes offer snacks and
handicrafts through the windows. You can
do it all in one go, or in “hop-on, hop-off
segments”, staying in old silver-mining towns
from which to explore forgotten churches, or
hike to nearby waterfalls and hot springs.
The Copper Canyon itself is deeper and
wider than the Grand Canyon; “shimmering
red in the afternoon light”, it’s “so vast, it
boggles the mind”. Tickets about £75 each
way. For timetables and booking, visit
www.chepe.com.mx.
Climbing Toubkal in a weekend
Scaling North Africa’s highest peak is more
challenging than “your average Sunday
stroll”, says Joe Minihane in The
Independent. Yet on a weekend trip with
Much Better Adventures, you can conquer
Toubkal’s 13,671ft “with the minimal of
fuss” and be back at your desk on Monday.
There’s a chance to “snoop around the
souks” of Marrakech first, then you strike
out for the mountain. A mule “laden with
food” transports the night’s meal of lamb
tagine and “litres of sweet mint tea”. Sunday
morning brings a 4am start in thinning air
and bitter cold, with rows of head torches
bobbing in the dark. You have to suffer a
bit for what lies ahead. But by dawn, the
glorious peaks of the High Atlas “gleam in
the morning light”, and it has all been worth
it: the view is “magical”. Much Better
Adventures (www.muchbetteradventures.
com) has three nights from £269pp, incl.
transfers, accommodation, guides and meals.
Roman ruins without the crowds
The Spanish town of Ronda has captivating
Roman and Moorish architecture, but it can
be hard to appreciate it when you’re “caught
up in a crocodile of tourists following a guide
with megaphone and flag”, says Sorrel
Downer in The Guardian. Head 12 miles
northwest, though, and you can have “an
entire Roman town to yourself”. Acinipo is
a “windswept site, full of rocks” and rubble,
with a 2,000-seat amphitheatre that’s among
the “best preserved” in Spain. The temples
and baths suggest a once-bustling town, but
with no guides or “reenactments”, you have
to rely on your own imagination; and there
are older, Neolithic remains besides. It’s
“a priceless kind of time travel”. Open
Wednesday to Sunday; entry is free. Visit
www.andalucia.org/en for more information.
Last-minute offers from top travel companies
A historic hotel
A 3-night stay at the historic
New Hall Hotel & Spa, Sutton
Coldfield, which once played
host to Henry VIII, is £217pp
b&b (2 sharing). 0845-458
0901, www.handpickedhotels.
co.uk. Arrive 24 August.
Short stay in Prague
Jet off for a 3-night break at
the Hotel Unic Prague, in the
heart of this stunning city,
from £339pp b&b, incl.
Glasgow flights. 020-8974
7200, www.travelrepublic.co.
uk. Depart 13 October.
Russian tour
Explore majestic Moscow and
St Petersburg during a 7-night
trip, with transfers by bus and
train. From £1,095pp b&b
(2 sharing), incl. Bristol flights.
01252-883702, www.explore.
co.uk. Depart 2 December.
The Australian coast
Relax with a 6-night break
at Seashells Resort Mandurah,
a 45-minute drive from Perth.
From £1,157pp (2 sharing),
incl. London flights. 0871402 1545, www.travelbag.
co.uk. Depart 28 August.
15 July 2017 THE WEEK
Obituaries
39
Auschwitz survivor and grande dame of French politics
Simone Veil, who has died
aged 89, was one of France’s
most revered politicians,
and arguably its greatest
stateswoman. She was also a Holocaust
survivor whose deportation to Auschwitz, in
1944, shaped her life, said The Economist. As
a magistrate, she later worked to improve the
living conditions of female prisoners, including
those detained during the war in Algeria; as
a minister, she pushed through laws giving
women better access to contraception, and then
fought a long battle for abortion to be legalised.
Simone
Veil
1927-2017
Last recorded on a convoy of Jews bound for
Lithuania, her brother and father were never
seen again. She and her mother and one of her
sisters were sent to Auschwitz (a second sister,
who’d worked for the Resistance, ended up in
Ravensbrück). Simone avoided being gassed
on arrival by pretending to be 18, and was used
as forced labour instead, in a nearby Siemens
factory. They were then transferred to BergenBelsen where, shortly before it was liberated,
her mother died of typhus. By the time she
was freed, Simone was so emaciated, a British
soldier guessed she was in her 40s. She was 17.
In the early 1970s, with thousands of
Returning home with a “rage to live”, she
pregnancies being terminated illegally every
enrolled at university in Paris, where she met
year, decriminalising abortion had the support
Antoine Veil. They married in 1946, and had
of a large majority of voters – yet it was bitterly
three sons. Mixing in high-flying political
opposed by many politicians in then president
circles, he would become a senior civil servant,
Valéry Giscard d’Estaing’s government. (Veil
while she trained first as a lawyer and then
noted that even as male deputies in the National
took the highly competitive national exams to
Veil: a “rage to live”
Assembly were attacking her bill, they were
become a magistrate, working in the ministry
probably arranging illicit abortions for their girlfriends and
of justice. One evening in 1973, President d’Estaing came to
mistresses.) Even with her camp number (78651) still tattooed on
dinner. The story has it that he was planning to invite Antoine
her arm, she was accused of trying to perpetrate a genocide: one
Veil to join his government – but gave the health ministry to
deputy asked her if she wanted to “send children to the ovens”;
Simone instead. Among her other efforts in that role was an antiswastikas were daubed on her car. Veil wept in private – but she
smoking drive. It was not very successful, though she halved her
did not give up. Abortion, she said, was something “no woman
own habit to 30 a day. In 1979, she left her post to run for the
resorts to lightly”. What came to be known as La Loi Veil (“The
presidency of the European Parliament. The War had left her with
Veil Law”), legalising abortion at up to ten weeks, was introduced a passionate belief in European unity; it was, she believed, the
in 1975. The Socialist politician Pierre Mauroy described her as
only way to ensure peace on the Continent.
“the only man in parliament”, and there was talk that she might
become France’s first female president, said The Times. In the
Later, she returned to the French government, and also served as
end, she had to content herself with becoming the first female
the president of the High Council for Integration, and of the
president of the elected European Parliament.
Fondation pour la Mémoire de la Shoah. In 2007, she published a
memoir in which she wrote, bitterly, about France’s failure, for
Simone Jacob was born in Nice in 1927, the daughter of an
decades, to acknowledge its complicity in the Holocaust. The
architect. She had a happy childhood, until the War started. Her
Resistance fighters imprisoned by the Nazis were glorified as
family managed to hide for a while, but in 1944 the Gestapo
heroes, she said. By contrast, Jews were “nothing but shameful
came for them. Simone had recently taken her baccalauréat, and
victims, tattooed animals”. Antoine Veil died in 2013. She is to
for the rest of her life she was haunted by the thought that it was
be interred, with him, alongside Victor Hugo, Émile Zola and
her giving her name to the examiners that led the Nazis to them.
Marie Curie, in the Paris Panthéon.
Radical poet who founded the Republic of Frestonia
A playwright, poet, anarchist,
actor, magician and “relentless
scourge of the British
Establishment”, Heathcote
Williams, who has died aged 75, was a radical
in the mould of Shelley and Byron, said The
New York Times. Using every artistic means
available, he vented his outrage at royal
privilege, private property, consumerism,
environmental degradation and the modern
obsession with celebrity – among other targets.
Heathcote
Williams
1941-2017
length play, the critically acclaimed AC/DC,
opened at the Royal Court in 1970, and then
transferred to New York. He also ran the Ruff
Tuff Cream Puff estate agency for squatters, and
set up the Republic of Frestonia, an independent
anarchist state in then yet-to-be gentrified Notting
Hill, which issued its own passports and applied
for membership of the UN. “There are no rules –
just recast possibilities,” read one of the slogans he
spray-painted on the walls. In the 1980s, he began
writing book-length “investigative poems” on
environmental themes, including Whale Nation,
and Autogeddon, an attack on the car culture – a
“humdrum holocaust, the third world war nobody
bothered to declare”. These won him legions of
admirers, though he did little to help market them.
Born in Cheshire, the son of a lawyer, John
Heathcote Williams was educated at Eton, and
then read law at Christ Church, Oxford – but
soon dropped out, and landed in London in the
early 1960s. A mischievous figure, with a mass
Williams: “there are no rules”
of curly hair, he produced his first book, The
In the meantime, Williams took a range of acting
Speakers – about the characters who frequent Speakers’ Corner –
roles, from Prospero in Derek Jarman’s The Tempest to the
in 1964. Harold Pinter admired it so much that he advised him to
psychiatrist in Basic Instinct 2, honed his magic skills and painted
write a one-act play, The Local Stigmatic, which Al Pacino later
prolifically. His last book, American Porn, was a collection of
turned into a film. Meanwhile, Williams wrote for the radical
poetry about Donald Trump. “If poetry isn’t revolutionary, it’s
vegetarian magazine The Seed, and – with his girlfriend, Jean
nothing,” he said in 2015. “Poetry is heightened language, and
Shrimpton – helped found the sex magazine Suck. His first fulllanguage exists to effect change, not to be a tranquilliser.”
15 July 2017 THE WEEK
CITY
Companies in the news
...and how they were assessed
CITY 41
Tesla: charging into the mass market
Auto-entrepreneur Elon Musk celebrated his 46th birthday last weekend with a shiny
new present, said Sherisse Pham on CNN Money. Musk is now “the proud owner of his
company’s first mass-market electric car” – a gift from fellow Tesla board member Ira
Ehrenpreis, who had bought “rights to the first production unit” as it rolled off the lines
last week. Most of the other 300,000 punters who’ve paid deposits for the Model 3 –
which, at $35,000, is nearly half the price of Tesla’s next-cheapest car, the Model S – will
have to wait until the end of 2018. Will the Model 3 eventually prove as transformative
as Tesla hopes? Wall Street reckons so, said Schumpeter in The Economist. Tesla is one
of three Silicon Valley car firms (the others are Uber and Google’s self-driving car
division, Waymo) each now reckoned to be worth more than either General Motors or
Ford – although “all lose money and bring in no more sales in a year than Ford or GM
do in a fortnight”. In their desperation to keep up, Detroit’s old-timers are ring-fencing
their tech assets into divisions being promoted as “new Ford” and “new GM”, and
splurging billions on investment. Their accounts “will not be pretty”. But if these units
can capture “a speck of the glitter” that Musk “sprinkles over his loss-making firm”,
they may “resuscitate their parents’ share prices”.
Pearson: carving off Penguin
Pearson “has sold off some of its best-known assets in recent years” – including the
Financial Times and The Economist, said Kate Holton on Reuters.com. This week saw
another carve-off. The 173-year-old British company, which reported the largest loss in
its history in February, is set to raise a much-needed $1bn by selling a 22% stake in
Penguin Random House to its German co-owner, Bertelsmann, which also has first
option on Pearson’s remaining 25% stake when an 18-month lock-in period expires.
The two owners have been making soothing noises about seamless continuity. But the
move may not be universally welcomed at Penguin – “the world’s biggest publisher”,
said Mark Sweney in The Guardian. Authors and staff “reacted uneasily” in January
when Pearson indicated it might sell. The company plans to invest some of the cash in its
core education business, which has been badly hit “by a fall in student numbers” in the
US, said Simon English in the London Evening Standard. But it will also spend around
£300m on buying back its own shares “to boost this year’s dividend”.
Burberry: discount fashion
Burberry’s new boss, Marco Gobbetti, was steeling himself for a stormy ride at the
luxury group’s AGM on Thursday, says Nils Pratley in The Guardian. Shareholders
are in revolt again about the luxury group’s largesse to its executives. To take
a symbolic example, how on Earth does the fashion house justify giving senior
management 80% discounts on Burberry fashions? That’s almost giving the stuff away.
The perk isn’t big enough to put a dent in profits, but “it all adds to the impression that
the sense of entitlement among Burberry’s well-dressed directors runs deep”. Gobbetti
will be paid up to £7m a year and he also gets an £80,000 allowance for clothing, a car
and travel. You’d hope he’d “be loyal to the brand when he needs a new mac”, without
the added lure of a discount.
Seven days in the
Square Mile
At the G20 summit in Hamburg, Donald
Trump said that he expected a
“powerful” trade deal with Britain to be
completed “very quickly”. PM Theresa
May added that China, India and Japan
had also expressed a “strong desire” to
forge “ambitious new bilateral trading
relationships with Britain”. Under EU
rules, formal talks cannot begin until
after the March 2019 UK exit date.
The CBI urged the Government to stay
in the single market until a final Brexit
deal is in force – even if it misses the
2019 deadline. The ONS reported that
Britons are suffering the tightest squeeze
on household incomes since 2011: real
disposable income per head fell 2%
year-on-year in the first quarter.
The Bank of England warned banks not
to mask financial risks as they did before
the 2007 financial crisis. According to
deputy governor Sam Woods, some
lenders are meeting the “letter of
regulation” in ways “designed to
circumvent the spirit”.
Royal Bank of Scotland agreed a £3.65bn
settlement with the US Federal Housing
Finance Agency for the sale of risky
mortgage products: a separate hefty
payment to the US Justice Department
is expected later this year. Lloyds
Banking Group is to scrap fees for
unplanned overdrafts for 20 million
customers from November. Shares in
Snap, Snapchat’s parent company, fell
below its IPO price for the first time. The
company is struggling in an ad market
dominated by Google and Facebook.
Carillion collapse: why were the warnings ignored?
Talk about reaping the profits of disaster,
said City AM. Some 18 hedge funds bagged
a total of around £80m on Monday when
Carillion, the FTSE 250 construction and
support services giant, issued a “monster”
profit warning. Shares plunged 40% as the
company wrote down the value of troubled
contracts by a staggering £845m, dumped
its chief executive, and admitted to trouble
with “its banking limits”. There’s now a
good chance it will need to raise cash via
a “dilutive” rights issue. No wonder
traders “have been bashing the ‘sell’
button like crazy”.
of Carillion’s shares had been “shorted” by
hedge funds betting they would fall, said
Matthew Vincent in the Financial Times. Yet
Carillion’s big institutional shareholders
ignored the warning. “Not every short
position is a sell signal,” but this collapse
suggests that “long-only” investors should
start taking them more seriously.
What went wrong at Carillion? It’s the same
old story, said James Moore in The
Independent. After growing “fat” on easy UK
government contracts, it “diversified” and
rushed overseas. “Jacks of all trade, masters
Carillion: building new hospitals
of… well, it hardly needs saying.” Capita,
As the sell-off continued on Tuesday, Carillion’s shares fell to
Serco and others are in the same camp. They keep “falling flat on
their lowest level since 2000. The company, which employs 47,000
their faces”, yet the Government shrugs its shoulders and carries
people globally and is a regular nag in the Government’s stable of
on with them. The National Audit Office warns that some of these
outsourcers, is now worth far less than its £845m write-off. And
“big guns” have become “too big to fail”. The Carillion saga is a
there’s little hope of an immediate resurrection. At least a quarter
wake-up call to investors. The Government should take heed too.
15 July 2017 THE WEEK
Talking points
CITY 43
Issue of the week: managing the gig economy
Companies such as Deliveroo and Uber have transformed employment for better and worse – creating a challenge for policymakers
“In an age of robots, ride-hailing apps
report’s aim is “to maintain the balance
and artificial intelligence, it is quaintly
between dynamism and fairness” in the
paradoxical that the new face of
labour market, said the Financial Times.
humanity at work belongs to a sweaty
“For the most part, it succeeds rather
twentysomething weaving through traffic
well.” Rather than “a fundamental shift
on a bicycle with a plastic box of takein the law”, it argues for “greater clarity
away food on his back,” said The Times.
on rights and status”, identifying a new
Yet technology is transforming work in
class of worker – the “dependent
“unexpected and unsettling ways”, and
contractor” – who falls somewhere
existing mechanisms are struggling to
between an employee and the selfkeep up. Hence the new review of
employed. The review wisely ignores
employment practices by Matthew
Labour’s call to abolish zero-hour
Taylor, a former adviser to Tony Blair.
contracts, arguing for their flexibility,
The challenge that the “gig economy”
but recommends a new minimum wage
poses to policymakers is twofold. The
premium for workers signed up to them.
first is to ensure that it “empowers those
who work in it”. The second is to enable
Even so, Taylor’s proposals threaten to
Deliveroo: “the new face of humanity at work”
it to thrive without depriving the nation
saddle a vital part of Britain’s economy
of tax revenues. “The Taylor Review makes practical suggestions
with a “major bureaucratic headache”, said Ryan Bourne on
on both fronts. The worry is that the Government is too divided
CapX. Worse, they could stifle “future innovation” by acting as
and preoccupied to put any of them into practice.”
a “significant barrier” for new market entrants. “Given an
already fast-slowing economy”, it is questionable whether it
No one doubts that this review is needed, said Nils Pratley in
makes sense “to be taxing the growth” out of one of its few
The Guardian. “Tales of abusive working practices… are no less
thriving sectors, said Jeremy Warner in The Daily Telegraph.
shocking for being familiar.” In recent testimony, a Parcelforce
The Taylor Review acknowledges this, but has ended up as a
driver told how he had been fined more than £400 “for being too
“mishmash of half measures”. Many employers and economic
sick to get to work for just one day”. Such stories should persuade libertarians “think it goes too far”; the unions believe “it doesn’t
“even die-hard enthusiasts for the gig economy” that, too often,
go nearly far enough”. The one certainty is that politics has
the label “self-employed” is a cover for exploitation. The Taylor
shifted decisively leftwards. “Business is caught in the crosshairs.”
The Ethereum crash: what the experts think
suffered a 95% “flash
crash” that saw the
price briefly fall to
ten cents before
bouncing back. A few
days later, it plunged
again on a false rumour
that its 23-year-old
creator, Russian-born
Vitalik Buterin, had
died. Volatility in this
febrile market is the
name of the game.
● Out of the ether
Forget Bitcoin, said
Dana Blankenhorn
on InvestorPlace.com.
“The big
cryptocurrency story
of 2017” is Ethereum.
The price of the digital
currency, launched
just three years ago,
rose by a staggering
Buterin: falsely rumoured to have died
5,000% from around
$8 in January to a
high of more than $400 in mid-June. But
● Coining it
this week saw the “steam come out of the
One reason for Ethereum’s “soaring
rally”, said Paul Vigna in The Wall Street
popularity” is its use as a “money-raising
Journal. Following a big sell-off, Ethereum
method” for start-ups, said Oscar
has suffered a 50% fall from its record
Williams-Grut on BusinessInsider.
high, and some predict it may plunge
So-called “Initial Coin Offerings”, or
further. “Anything that goes up that far,
ICOs – in which companies swap their
that fast, has to have some sort of
stock for Ethereum “coins” – have
correction,” analyst Mati Greenspan
prompted a rush of new investors. The
of trading platform eToro told
ICOs were “meant to take speculation
BusinessInsider: this crash has been
out of the currency”, but they “seem to
“a long time coming”.
have had the opposite effect”, said
Blankenhorn. The rush of venture
● Just a correction?
capitalists “has only made the whole
So is this the beginning of the end for
structure more volatile”. The fear now is
digital currencies. Or at least this digital
that there’s “a bubble in companies that
currency? “Don’t be ridiculous,” said Jon
took coins as their start-up capital, as well
Shazar on Dealbreaker. “In the world of
as the coins themselves”. Ethereum
non-fiat money,” a 50% plunge is “just
boosters reckon the currency could soon
a little correction”. As Joseph Lubin of
be worth $1,000 per token. That may be
Ethereum specialist ConsenSys notes,
worth a punt, long term. But the short“these markets move big when they
term charts look “a mess”.
move”. Just a few weeks ago, Ethereum
Summer reads
Andrew Hill of the FT rounds up his
pick of business and finance books
for the beach…
The Spider Network by David Enrich
(WH Allen £14.99). An absorbing
account of the Libor rate-rigging
scandal and its “brittle, childlike”
central character, trader Tom Hayes,
who was both perpetrator and victim.
Faster, Higher, Farther: The Inside Story
of the Volkswagen Scandal by Jack
Ewing (Bantam £20). An accessible
early account of how VW used illegal
software to trick emissions testers – and
then covered up its duplicity – with a
focus on the carmaker’s “autocratic”
former chairman, Ferdinand Piëch.
The Golden Passport: Harvard Business
School, the limits of Capitalism and the
Moral Failure of the MBA Elite by Duff
McDonald (Harper Business £25). “A
compelling mixture of colourful history
and cold-eyed criticism”, focusing on
an institution whose professors and
graduates often, in McDonald’s words,
“present themselves as the solution to
the problems they have helped cause”.
The Wisdom of Finance, Discovering
Humanity in the World of Risk and
Return by Mihir Desai (Profile £12.99).
“An entertaining quest to humanise
high finance using literature, history
and philosophy.” Desai shows how dry
financial theories “shed light on life
and relationships, and vice versa”.
15 July 2017 THE WEEK
44 CITY
We must avoid
a fish fight
with Europe
Editorial
Financial Times
Give us more
women in
venture capital
Alexandra Frean
The Times
An expensive
cyberbug
cleanup
Jim Armitage
London Evening Standard
“Pre-tirees”
are the new
teenagers
Editorial
The Economist
THE WEEK 15 July 2017
Commentators
A “fish fight” with Europe was bound to appeal both to Brexiteers
and to Britain’s fishing communities, who have long complained
about being unfairly limited by EU quotas, says the FT. Last week
Environment Minister Michael Gove “fired his opening salvo”,
announcing the Government’s decision to withdraw from the
1964 London Fisheries Convention, which allows vessels from
six EU nations to fish within six and 12 miles of the UK coastline.
In Gove’s view, “taking back control” will enable our fleet to
“dramatically increase the amount of fish that we catch” and
allow Britain to set its own quotas. The reality may not be so
simple. Fish, after all, “do not respect international boundaries”;
and “fishermen often do so reluctantly”. As well as the danger of
depleting stocks if agreements are “torn up”, there is the practical
question of how the UK will keep out foreign vessels. “Will they
shoot at Spanish and French trawlers?” Fish are a “shared
resource”. There’s no guarantee that UK fishermen will be better
off, or that fish stocks will be better conserved, if we go it alone.
The past few weeks have seen a “rash of stomach-churning public
apologies” from Silicon Valley investors “unmasked for
propositioning women who had approached them for financing”,
says Alexandra Frean. It speaks volumes about the “boys’ club
atmosphere” still prevalent in the venture capital community; yet
research suggests that the bias “is often less visible and more
deeply rooted”. Despite evidence that female-led start-ups perform
as well, and frequently better, than all-male teams, women receive
just 2% to 5% of venture funding and “tend to start businesses
with 50% less capital than men” – often because (usually male)
potential backers are instinctively more sceptical about their
chances. A recent study in the Harvard Business Review found
that venture capitalists tended to ask men “promotion questions”
about the potential of their business to make gains, while women
were asked “prevention questions” about the potential for losses.
If we want more successful start-ups, it isn’t enough simply to
encourage more female founders. “A more effective first step
might be to boost the number of women in venture capital firms.”
A new “front line” has opened up in the Ukrainian war, says Jim
Armitage: “stink your enemies to death”. The recent Petya cyberattack was almost certainly an assault on Ukraine’s infrastructure,
but it has also succeeded in starving the world of Air Wick and
Dettol. Reckitt Benckiser, the consumer goods giant that makes
them, reports that its factories remain disrupted following last
month’s attack, and that sales will fall. The “collateral damage”
sustained by Reckitt is a measure of “the complexity of cleaning
up after a virus has got into your data”: checking every machine
and computer in every network can take “weeks of work” in a
major multinational. Perhaps the most worrying aspect of this
“IT bomb” was the way it infected companies thousands of miles
from Ukraine. “That randomness is what makes modern cybercrime so scary.” Preparing for an attack by a known opponent is
much easier than “constantly fighting enemies more sophisticated
than you, that operate arbitrarily”. After Petya, companies will
redouble their efforts to keep all doors closed to these Trojan
Horses. “We just have to accept that some will get through.”
“What do you call someone who is over 65 but not yet elderly,”
asks The Economist. There’s currently no good name to describe
this category, and given the rapid growth in their numbers, we
need one. By 2100, the ratio of “65-plussers” to “working-age”
people will triple – a projection currently seen as “one of society’s
great headaches”, because of the increasing dependency of the old
on the young. The bigger point missed by the doom-mongers is
that those extra years of life are “predominantly healthy ones”. In
the rich world at least, “many of the old are still young”: they
want to work, if more flexibly, and they want to spend money
too. The current “binary” way of thinking, “seeing retirement as
a cliff edge over which workers and consumers suddenly tumble”,
bears little relation to the real world. Governments and companies
should take note. Finding a word to describe “youthful old age”
as a distinct phase of life – how about pre-tiree? – might sound
like a frivolous exercise, but it could have as powerful an impact
on attitudes as the emergence of “teenagers” in the 1940s.
City profiles
Natalia Veselnitskaya
Who exactly is the
mysterious Russian lawyer
who met the US president’s
son and son-in-law at Trump
Tower last year? The Kremlin
claims ignorance, said
Russia Today. “We don’t
know who [she] is and,
obviously, we can’t track the
meetings of all Russian
lawyers at home or abroad,”
said a spokesman this week.
That might be reasonable
given Veselnitskaya’s official
profile as a run-of-the-mill
criminal defence lawyer
with a practice in suburban
Moscow. But how was such
an obscure individual ever
in a position (allegedly) to
promise the Trumps dirt on
Hillary Clinton? And what
was in it for her?
It turns out that the
“expensively dressed”
Veselnitskaya is linked to one
of the murkiest sagas in
US-Russian relations, said
Max Seddon in the FT. Last
year, she flew to New York to
represent a “family friend”,
Denis Katsyv, accused of
laundering the proceeds of
a $230m fraud – against the
Russian treasury – into US
property. That alleged fraud
– dating back to 2007 –
became a “cause célèbre”
after it was exposed by the
accountant Sergei Magnitsky,
“who died in prison in
Russia in mysterious
circumstances” in 2009,
following his arrest by the
officials he’d accused of the
crime. A later campaign by
Magnitsky’s employer,
hedge fund manager William
Browder, led to the
Magnitsky Act, imposing US
sanctions against those
individuals. Browder thinks
that Veselnitskaya had “one,
clear unequivocal objective”
when she met the Trumps –
to get the Act repealed.
“There’s no mystery about
her background,” he said, or
her “sketchy CV”.
Shares
CITY 47
Who’s tipping what
The week’s best buys
Directors’ dealings
Ricardo
The Times
The engineering consultant is
wisely reducing reliance on its
passenger car arm, in the face
of growing uncertainty for
UK car manufacturers. Its
diversification into rail, energy
and the environment looks
timely. Buy. 779.25p.
St Modwen Properties
Investors Chronicle
The regeneration specialist is
“recycling” smaller assets to
focus on bigger commercial
logistics projects, as well as
housebuilding. Its “pipeline
of opportunities” could
generate around £115m of
profits. Buy. 356.9p.
Dechra Pharmaceuticals
The Times
The veterinary pharma’s
acquisition of US drug maker
Putney has defied expectations,
thanks to favourable exchange
rates since the referendum.
Dechra’s US revenues are up
125%; European revenues by
just 7%. Buy. £16.84.
Saga
Investors Chronicle
The over-50s specialist is
improving cash generation and
reducing debt. It has a good
spread of retail broking
businesses (motor, home,
travel), and is benefitting from
strong demand for cruises.
Yields 4.7%. Buy. 208p.
SuperGroup
The Times
The Superdry brand is a
“wardrobe must-have” for
a widening age group across
a total of 189 countries. The
focus on sportswear bodes
well, as does expansion into
China. Sales are up 12.7%;
profits by 18%. Buy. £15.59.
Melrose Industries
260
240
220
2 directors
sell 8m
200
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
News that three co-founders
and the finance director are to
receive scrip bonuses (free
shares), worth £40m apiece,
prompted a general cash-out.
FD Geoffrey Martin sold six
million shares for £14.2m; VC
David Roper sold £5m worth.
…and some to hold, avoid or sell
Form guide
Barclays
Sharecast
Macquarie has maintained its
“underperform” stance, on
worries that softer revenues
in the lender’s investment
banking arm will weigh on
capital return. Rising
litigation costs could top
£2.5bn. Sell. 204.2p.
Imagination Technologies
The Times
The former Apple chip
designer has long been a
“horribly volatile stock” and
has never paid a dividend. It
remains highly speculative, but
existing investors should hold
for a potential upside, as a bid
looks likely. Hold. 157p.
Ocado Group
Investors Chronicle
The online grocer’s retail
division has seen revenues from
its active customer base grow
12.5%. But debt is rising and
there are still no details about
the plan for a major European
retailer to license Ocado’s
software. Sell. 292p.
Dunelm Group
Sharecast
The acquisition of WorldStores
has impacted on the homeware
retailer’s profit guidance.
Deutsche Bank has lowered its
target price, blaming a delayed
break-even point and the
flagging up of £7m of exceptional charges. Hold. 581.5p.
McCarthy & Stone
Investors Chronicle
After a hiatus following the
referendum, momentum has
returned to this retirement
housebuilder. But the
conversion of reservations into
completions has slowed, and
transactional volumes are
lower. Hold. 165p.
Porvair
Shares
Porvair develops filters for
highly regulated industrial
markets, including aviation,
and enjoys predictable revenue
streams. But thin margins and
pedestrian growth make it hard
to justify such a premium
rating. Sell. 549p.
Shares tipped 12 weeks ago
Best tip
Cranswick
Investors Chronicle
up 9.27% to £27.94
Worst tip
Serica Energy
The Mail on Sunday
down 14.51% to 25.33p
Market view
“Financial markets seem
to have entered frothy
territory.”
Mikihiro Matsuoka of
Deutsche Bank sees
trouble ahead. 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
11 July 2017
7329.76
4004.57
21396.97
6178.10
20195.48
25877.64
1211.05
47.62
3.83%
1.35
2.37
2.9% (May)
3.7% (May)
+2.6% (Jun)
$1.283 E1.121 ¥145.544
Best
shares
Best and
and worst performing shares
Week before
7357.23
4019.63
21479.27
6110.06
20032.35
25389.01
1223.75
49.66
3.82%
1.33
2.35
2.7% (Apr)
3.5% (Apr)
+3.3% (May)
Change (%)
–0.37%
–0.37%
–0.38%
1.11%
0.81%
1.92%
–1.04%
–4.11%
WEEK’S CHANGE, FTSE 100 STOCKS
RISES
Price
% change
1416.00
+4.12
EasyJet
813.00
+4.10
Standard Chartered
643.00
+3.21
RSA Insurance Group
584.50
+3.18
Barratt Developments
1265.50
+3.10
BHP Billiton
FALLS
Worldpay Group
Next
Pearson
Convatec Group
Mediclinic Intl.
376.00
3617.00
655.00
300.00
709.00
–7.84
–6.80
–4.73
–4.37
–4.19
BEST AND WORST UK STOCKS OVERALL
1.52
+235.16
Nu-Oil and Gas
77.90
–58.01
Carillion
Source: Datastream (not adjusted for dividends). Prices on 11 July (pm)
Following the Footsie
7,600
7,500
7,400
7,300
7,200
7,100
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
6-month movement in the FTSE 100 index
15 July 2017 THE WEEK
SOURCE: INVESTORS CHRONICLE
Britvic
The Sunday Telegraph
As Britain’s foremost supplier
of still soft drinks, and
PepsiCo’s sole UK bottling
partner, Britvic can cope with
the sugar tax and is enjoying
overseas growth. Shares are up,
but still trade at a discount to
rivals’. Buy. 709.5p.
48
The last word
Small pleasures
Lori DeBacker drives a Mini
crowded potted ferns and
Cooper, owns a runt dog,
crystal balls; pies rested
and lives with her husband
beside spiderwebs
in a Victorian house whose
suspended between artificial
sitting room is outfitted with
branches. Each item was
three-quarter-scale furniture.
ludicrously small, but there
“A woman can sit in it, but
were so many that almost
a man would never dare,”
none of the tabletop was
she told me. “I just like
visible. The room itself
everything tiny. I’ve just
was similarly filled to
liked tiny all my life.” At the
capacity. The conspicuous
age of seven, bothered by
abundance of delicate,
the unrealistic food offered
easily losable objects
for Barbies, DeBacker
forced everyone into a state
decided to make her own
of collective submission.
out of clay. Her parents’
One lady would smile at
friends were impressed and
another and gingerly move
began commissioning meals
aside. “No, you go,” she’d
for their own daughters’
say, and receive an
dolls. Today, DeBacker,
immediate nod of gratitude.
who wears +300 reading
glasses and a ring on every
A woman approached
finger, particularly enjoys
DeBacker’s booth and
creating minuscule cakes
began talking about her
and miniaturised versions of
“fairy gardens” – little
famous paintings. She once
landscapes built outdoors,
Lori DeBacker’s cabinet: making tiny things “keeps me from drink”
made a replica of President
with bitsy fountains and
Rutherford B. Hayes’s house that fitted in her palm. When I asked elfin furniture. Inclement weather had ravaged the gardens in
her why, she looked at me like I was crazy. “To see if it could be
recent years, she said, and so this last winter her husband had
done,” she said. Making miniatures focuses DeBacker. “My
constructed for her a more durable topography out of cement.
mother always said this would drive her to drink,” she said, “but
DeBacker listened attentively. The two women spoke of mosses
I think it keeps me from it.”
and broken pine needles, compared notes on which petite species
were the hardiest. I asked if either of them ever incorporated
I met DeBacker in Chicago, for three overlapping miniaturist
bonsai trees into their designs. They turned to me simultaneously
conventions. The fairs had attracted hundreds of vendors and
and raised their eyebrows in dismay. “Way too big,” DeBacker
makers and thousands of lifelong enthusiasts and collectors, who
said. “Way, way too big.”
assembled for a weekend to
admire all things miniature.
It is difficult for me, in the
“Miniatures are often more expensive
It seemed as if every material
presence of miniatures, not to
object I had ever known was
feel like a pervert. Tiny things
than their full-scale equivalents. I saw
on display, but shrunk. I saw
have always filled me with a
a tiny roll of receipt paper for $25”
tiny eggs in tiny egg cups, a
devious and urgent covetousness.
pill-size bottle of bleach and
“Delight” is too casual a word
rolling luggage so small a dog could swallow it without incident.
to describe it, and not at all physical enough. The first and last
In one hand I could easily hold a gumball machine, a hamster in a
thing I ever stole was a Sudafed-size doubloon from a friend’s
sawdust-lined cage, a Shaker chair, a jar of preserved pears, a
pirate-themed Lego set. I needed it. More than 20 years have since
tiger-skin rug with the head still on and a Giacometti-style bronze. passed, but preventing myself from buying Polly Pocket sets on
eBay is a feat of near-constant diligence. Sometimes I slip up,
The items were sometimes far more expensive than their full-scale
though, see a tiny thing I simply must own, and breathlessly buy
inspirations. A roll of receipt paper was $25, a birdbath $300.
it. The lining of my handbag was once destroyed by the tines of
I saw a bergère sofa for $1,250, and a stocked pantry for $1,525.
several miniature forks that I kept stashed away for almost a
I heard about, but did not see for myself, a piano supposedly
week; on my mantelpiece sit lead soldiers and ceramic seals, a
going for $9,000. With the glaring exception of a sheikh from
single tiny radish, and a US passport smaller than a stick of
Qatar – he is rumoured to come to Chicago each spring to amass
chewing gum. They gather dust and puzzle friends. When I heard
hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of miniatures – most of
of a woman at the fair who hid her extensive miniatures collection
the fairs’ attendees were women, long since retired. They wore
at her son’s house so that her husband would never learn of it, I
inexpensive clothing and carried faux-leather handbags. And here
thought to myself, “Good idea”, and made a mental note to
they were, spending their money on tiny objects modelled after
maybe one day do the same.
full-size items they could never afford.
There is a masochistic ecstasy in seeing myself as a monster when
Like the dozens of others that surrounded it, the surface of
next to a miniature. A hand never appears more sun-ravaged than
DeBacker’s display table was congested with what from a distance when cradling a tiny, ticking grandfather clock that is carved from
looked like clutter, but became, on closer scrutiny, a
an especially fine-grained pearwood. Nothing compares more
miscellaneous three-dimensional tapestry. Dogs and hedgehogs
favourably to a hangnail than a christening gown for a doll’s doll,
THE WEEK 15 July 2017
© THOMAS ALLEN
What makes tiny things so fascinating, to adults and children alike? Alice Gregory – who has long nursed a secret passion
for miniatures – spent a long weekend with fellow enthusiasts, examining the appeal of the small
The last word
made of embroidery thread so
thin it must be sewn with
acupuncture needles.
Why should it be so fulfilling to
see the detritus of everyday life
made small? I don’t look twice
at the recycling bin chained
outside my apartment building;
but diminish it – while recreating
the rusty patina and scuffs and
peeling municipal labels – and I’ll
admire it, entranced, for what
can feel like hours. It is the
accuracy, the rightness, that is so
rewarding. Miniatures disappoint
only when they lack exactitude.
Better a flawless broom than a
crudely carved cuckoo clock.
49
1:12 scale, meaning that a
foot-long item in real life is an
inch when miniaturised. It’s the
same scale used for Queen Mary’s
Dolls’ House, which was built in
the early 1920s and has working
lifts, hot and cold water, flushing
toilets, dovetail-jointed drawers in
the maids’ quarters, and a cellar
filled with real wine.
Almost every miniaturist I met
used this scale. “It’s just the right
size,” Greg Madl, the promoter of
one of the shows, told me. “If you
go smaller, you lose something.”
A retired teacher named Arlene
Finkelstein
agreed. She dissects
Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House: set the standard for scale
flowers to ascertain their shapes
and then recreates them in Japanese silk-crepe paper that she
And exactitude is something we’re seldom given permission to
purchases by mail from a man in Atlanta. Her roses are more
relish. We’ve even been taught to distrust it. When we say a
expensive than her tulips, because they have more petals;
painter has “technical skills”, we mean that his or her work is not
to achieve a saturated-enough blue, her hydrangeas must be
creative; when we say an actor is a “good mimic”, we mean that
pigmented with ink; she outsources the chrysanthemums, which
their performances lack soul. It is a relief, then, to be in the
are so delicate that their spikes must be cut with a laser. “The
presence of precision – and to be allowed to like it. No fan or
smaller the scale, the more imagination you have to use to
collector of miniatures would describe their enthusiasm as
interpret them,” she said. “If a flower is too small, it’s really just
soothing (the heart, in fact, races), but there is a restorative air
the suggestion of a flower.”
about an enjoyment uncomplicated by interpretation.
I met an archaeologist who made miniature ferns because blight
The best aesthetic experiences are those that permanently heighten and bugs destroyed her real garden; I met a retiree who relished
our standards of beauty and private feelings of exaltation. They
her ability to put white rugs in a doll’s house bathroom, somecan be painful, forcing us to acknowledge how often in the past
thing she’d never get away with at home. The hobby is gratifying
we have accepted mediocrity. Stale sandwiches wrapped in
to the degree that it solves real problems, however small they
cellophane. Typo-ridden blog posts. Polyester underwear that
might be to begin with.
melts in the dryer. It often feels as though everyone is bad at their
job and nobody tries. To spend time in the company of
There’s an episode of The Twilight Zone starring Robert Duvall
miniaturists is to be granted a reprieve from the world’s general
in one of his earliest roles. He plays Charley Parkes, a Bartlebyshabbiness. Here is a group of talented people allergic to “good
like virgin who lives with his mother. During his lunch break one
enough”, dissatisfied with the generic, confident that time and
day, he wanders into a museum near his office and glimpses a
attention will indeed yield something better than it reasonably
miniaturised 19th century Boston townhouse. Its roof is gabled,
needs to be. In bearing witness to the fruits of their labour, one
the curtains are plush, and inside the tiny parlour sits a doll, posed
cannot help but absorb some of the myopic gratification.
on the bench of a fist-size grand piano. Charley peers in, and as
his gaze settles, the doll begins to subtly sway, music tinkles out,
“A psychiatrist once told me children like elephants and
and the figurine becomes a real, though teeny, woman. Charley
dinosaurs but also small things
is transfixed, and he returns to
because children live in a world
the doll’s house day after day.
“It is the accuracy, the rightness, that
built by and for adults, so they
He loses his job, then his
appreciate other things that are
appetite. Eventually, he is
is so rewarding. Miniatures disappoint
out of scale,” said Suzie Moffett,
institutionalised. After being
only when they lack exactitude”
a retiree from Indiana. But there
released, he seems, for a time,
is something distinctly grown-up
restored, but soon enough he
about being attracted to tiny things. A good miniature –
retreats back to the museum. We see him crouched in the
dizzyingly precise, scrupulously proportionate – is an exercise in
shadows, craning his neck around the dissected, diminutive
dispassion no child could endure or appreciate.
vestibules. “Dr Wallman says it happened because I needed a
simple world I could understand,” he whispers into the shrunken
Real children are rare in the miniatures world: the objects are too
rooms, “but your world isn’t simple, is it? No world with people
fine, too expensive, to entrust to anyone inclined toward anything
in it is.” And then he vanishes. The last shot shows him perched
so reckless as play. I saw few children at the fairs, and the ones
inside the house on a pencil-length settee, chatting lovingly with
I did come across were closely supervised. “I feel sorry sometimes. his new girlfriend, in whose world he finally fits.
I see children come in with their mothers and grandmothers and
of course they would like these things for their doll houses,”
The fantasy is irresistible: if only all life’s challenges were
said Lars Mikkelsen, a retired IT technician-turned-miniaturequestions of scale, if only they could be made manageable
furniture maker. “But this is not the place to buy that.”
through literal reduction. So many of the people I met seemed
to believe such a thing was possible. I went to Chicago with the
Just a few miles from the fairs, in the basement of the Art
idea that miniatures could charm, seduce and supply short-term
Institute of Chicago, one can visit the Thorne Miniature Rooms.
distraction for those who wanted it. I left with the notion that
Commissioned during the Depression by a Midwestern socialite,
they were, for some at least, a form of pain management –
the rooms are historically accurate dioramas of European and
brilliantly literal and apparently effective.
American interiors. In one, a spindly hunting dog sleeps in front
of a medieval hearth. In another, half-full glasses of wassail are
A longer version of this article first appeared in Harper’s
left abandoned on a banquet table. To their owner’s
Magazine. Copyright © 2017 Harper’s Magazine. All rights
specifications, the rooms were constructed at the now-standard
reserved. Reproduced by special permission.
15 July 2017 THE WEEK
What is the correct form if, after
consenting to a sommelier serving you
a mystery bottle, you then find it
virtually undrinkable? A friend recently
had this happen in Beaujolais, where
the sommelier insisted it was supposed
to taste like that: thankfully he relented,
and took it off the bill. It is not always
easy for the uninitiated to tell a
sommelier that the wine is off, but you
should always stand your ground if
you genuinely find it unpalatable.
Corked or spoiled bottles are less of
a problem these days, especially with
the introduction of screw tops, and I
can assure you this won’t happen with
Corney & Barrow’s Moulin-à-Vent,
the grandest Beaujolais category of
them all. In 40 years of buying wine
from Corney, this has never happened
to me – though if it ever did, I know
they would do the right thing and
immediately rectify the problem.
The reds this month are all French,
but from quite diverse parts of the
country, and are all from different
grapes. That is the magic of a wine
– not only does it exhibit the
characteristics of the grape variety,
but it also expresses the dirt and
climate where it’s grown. If you ever
have the opportunity to drink old
Moulin-à-Vent, jump at it, as after a
decade or so it takes on the flavours
and depth of red Burgundy, despite it
being from gamay, as opposed to
Pinot Noir, grapes.
In the whites, Chablis needs no
introduction, while South African
Chenin Blanc is arguably more exciting
than its French equivalent. I find that
the Nelson Sauvignon Blanc has more
in common with the Old World
versions of Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé
than its more expressive and fruity
New Zealand cousins. And this is why
we adore interesting wines – for their
ability to reflect their origins in such
beguiling and individual ways. Enjoy.
Le Faite Rouge Producteurs
Plaimont 2013, Gascony It
would be hard to miss a bottle
of Le Faite Rouge, with its wax
seal and label-free bottle with
attached wooden tag. This small
production wine is part of a
revival by André Dubosc, a local
who created a co-operative in the
1970s to revive the local grape
varieties tannat and pinenc,
which are used in the better-known
Madiran wine. This wine has immense
depth and surprising freshness, with spice
and black fruits. Would successfully
partner any robust dish or cheese.
Chablis Domaine Vincent
Dampt 2016 Chablis is the
white Burgundy I drink most
frequently, as I adore the steely
gunflint backbone behind the
fruit. Vincent Dampt has
worked both throughout the
region and in New Zealand,
which perhaps explains the
presence of a touch of
opulence. The Chardonnay
grapes here are at least 35 years old,
and the wine has a delicacy that
suggests it’s in the perfect drinking zone
now. Perfect with seafood, it is well
suited for summer drinking.
Moulin-à-Vent Coeur de Terroir
Domaine Labruyère 2014
Moulin-à-Vent is acknowledged
as the leading commune of the
Beaujolais region, with
characteristics closer to old red
Burgundy with bottle age.
Consisting entirely of the
gamay grape, this luscious
wine has vibrant fruit flavours,
and although only a few years
old, it has superb balance. While I am
certain it will improve with age – why
wait? The best 2015 Moulin-à-Vent I
have yet tasted. Highly recommended.
Old Vines Chenin Blanc 2015,
Stellenbosch There is only half
as much Chenin Blanc planted
in France than in South Africa,
where it is easily the most
popular grape variety. Started
more than 20 years ago, in the
Stellenbosch region east of
Cape Town, Old Vines is run
by mother and daughter Irina
and Fran Botha – and is South
Africa’s sole “Women’s Empowerment
Winery”. The wine is pale gold in
colour and has a ripe peach and apricot
texture, with a minerally edge to bind it.
Drink now, or keep for a few more
years for more depth of flavour.
Château Cadet 2013, Côtes de
Castillon, Bordeaux Corney &
Barrow are the exclusive agents
for this great value wine – the
first effort by Louis Mitjavile
– which is located on the same
outcrop of soil as St Émilion. It
is chiefly Merlot with a touch
of Cabernet Franc, and has a
beautiful mid-palate of
blueberries and cherries. It will
improve, but drink it now to get the
vigour of a well-made young wine. This
confirms my belief in the value of
drinking major minor wines, rather
than the opposite.
Nelson Estate Sauvignon Blanc
2016, Paarl Another excellent
South African wine, but from
further inland in the Paarl
region; this award-winning
wine is made by Lisha Nelson.
Vines have been planted in this
region since the 17th century,
and this has none of the
over-exuberance of some New
Zealand Sauvignon Blanc –
instead, it has a bright, herbaceous feel
with an exquisite end note. A perfect
summer wine.
Order now with Corney & Barrow on 020 7265 2443
and quote “The Week” or visit TheWeekWines.co.uk
Your details
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The Week Wines
Crossword
51
THE WEEK CROSSWORD 1064
This week’s
w
crossword winner will receive
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Collec
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connellguides.com).
connel
An Ettinger Brogue Collection key case and two Connell Guides will be given to the
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1
ACROSS
1 Wise guy passing through
American customs (6)
5 Move on Kennedy perhaps
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9 A very quiet finish with desserts
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10 Current bishop’s office that is
now clear (1,3)
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meal (6)
DOWN
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Name
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Clue of the week: Winning batsman to take out (6, first letter U)
The Independent, Punk
Solution to Crossword 1062
ACROSS: 1 Dior 3 Ameliorate 9 Shticks 11 Dreamer 12 Opportunities
14 Cassette 16 Haifa 18 Run-up 19 Reasoned 21 Confabulation 24 Theresa
25 Andante 26 Pinstriped 27 Otis
DOWN: 1 Disconcert 2 On tap 4 Mosquito 5 Laddie 6 One-night stand
7 Admission 8 Eire 10 Correspondent 13 Lap-dancers 15 Sunscreen
17 Peculate 20 Salami 22 Innit 23 Stop
Clue of the Week: Who could be ex-President, one replaced by Pence?
(5, first letter T)
Solution: TRUMP (Truman with p = pence replacing an = one)
The winner of 1062 is Monique Bruce Copp from Ham
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9
1
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1
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9
Sudoku 608 (very difficult)
3
6
7
2
8
3
4
4
1
Fill in all the squares so that
each row, column and each
of the 3x3 squares contains
all the digits from 1 to 9
Solution to
to Sudoku
Sudoku 607
228
Solution
4
1
7
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The National Autistic Society is the leading UK charity for
autistic people and their families. We provide information,
support and services, and campaign for a better world for
autistic people. Last year, we started the UK’s biggest ever
campaign to increase public understanding of autism:
“Too Much Information”.
The second phase of the campaign launch this year,
with a powerful short film starring a 12-year-old autistic girl which has
already gone viral and been seen by over four million people. The film, Make
it Stop, shows how overwhelming everyday situations can be for autistic
people when they aren’t given enough time to process information. We’re
hoping this will encourage people to think about the small things they can do
to make the world a more autism-friendly place – in the classroom, at work or
at the shops. Find out more and watch the film: www.autism.org.uk/TMI
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15 July 2017 THE WEEK
Fuelled for results - that’s the
FP CRUX European Special Situations Fund
Return on £1,000 invested
1 year
2 years
3 years
4 years
5 years
Since launch*
- 30.06.17
CRUX European Special Situations Fund
£1,285
£1,469
£1,592
£1,754
£2,379
£2,750
Sector average : IA Europe ex UK
£1,292
£1,349
£1,405
£1,600
£2,106
£1,991
Index : FTSE World Europe ex UK
£1,290
£1,369
£1,384
£1,611
£2,059
£1,950
Cash : Bank of England Base Rate
£1,003
£1,008
£1,013
£1,018
£1,023
£1,037
Source: FE © 2017, bid-bid, £1,000 invested, cumulative performance to 30.06.17. *Launch date 01.10.09. †Bid-bid, TR, 30.06.16 - 30.06.17.
High performance active asset management
As demonstrated by the table above, the strong active
management of CRUX’s European Special Situations Fund
has significantly outperformed the passive approach of
European equity trackers.
High performance active management can make a
huge difference in terms of returns and can have a big
impact on helping you meet your long-term investment
ambitions. If you’re investing in Europe, consider putting
CRUX in the driving seat.
The managers have delivered in both rising and falling
markets and in the last 12 months, a period when Europe
has been seen as ‘out of favour’ with investors, the fund
has returned 28%.†
Past performance is not a guide to future returns. The
value of an investment and any income from it are not
guaranteed and can go down as well as up and there is
the risk of loss to your investment.
Consult your financial adviser, call or visit: 0800 30 474 24
www.cruxam.com
Fund featured; FP CRUX European Special Situations Fund I ACC GBP class. The Henderson European Special Situations Fund was restructured into the FP CRUX European Special
Situations Fund on 8 June 2015. Any past performance or references to the period prior to 8 June 2015 relate to the Henderson European Special Situations Fund. This financial
promotion is issued by CRUX Asset Management, who are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority of 25 The North Colonnade, Canary Wharf, London
E14 5HS. A free, English language copy of the full prospectus, the Key Investor Information Document and Supplementary Information Document for the fund, which should be
read before investing, can be obtained from the CRUX website, www.cruxam.com or by calling us on 0800 304 7424. For your protection, calls may be monitored and recorded.
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