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Black America clings to faith in Obama, even as wealth gap widens
Homeless families expelled from London by councils
Beneﬁts cap sees thousands being sent to cheaper homes as far away as Wales
Patrick Butler and Ben Ferguson
Local authorities in London are preparing to send thousands of homeless families to live in temporary homes outside the capital, in defiance of ministerial demands that people should be housed locally. Councils are acquiring properties in Kent, Essex, Hertfordshire, Berkshire, Sussex and further aﬁeld to cope with an expected surge in numbers of families presenting as homeless as a result of welfare cuts from next April. They say rising rents in London coupled with the introduction next April of beneﬁt caps leave them with no option but to place homeless households in cheaper areas, often many miles from their home borough. Draft guidance issued by ministers in May says councils must “as far as is reasonably practicable” oﬀer accommodation for homeless families within the borough. This was ordered by the then housing minister, Grant Shapps, after reports that Newham council planned to relocate households to Stoke-on-Trent, a proposal Shapps, now Conservative party chairman, described as “unfair and wrong”. Guardian research shows London councils have acquired rental properties in Luton, Northampton, Broxbourne, Gravesend, Dartford, Slough, Windsor, Margate, Hastings, Epping Forest, Thurrock and Basildon, and are considering accommodation as far away as Manchester, Hull, Derby, Nottingham, Birmingham and Merthyr Tydﬁl in south Wales. Councils said the move was inevitable because there was virtually no suitable private rented temporary accommodation for larger families in London that was aﬀordable within government-imposed housing benefit allowances, which are capped at £400 a week. “It is going to be practically impossible to provide aﬀordable accommodation to meet our homelessness duties in London,” said Ken Jones, director of housing and strategy at Barking and Dagenham council, east London. “As the pressures increase we will be looking to procure well out of London, and even out of the home counties.” All but four of the 33 London local authorities responded to the Guardian survey. Seventeen said they were placing homeless families outside the capital, or had secured or were considering temporary accommodation outside London. These included Kensington and Chelsea, which has moved a minority of homeless families to Manchester and Slough; Waltham Forest, which has acquired housing in Luton, Margate and Harlow; Brent, which has relocated some households to Hastings; and Tower Hamlets, which has relocated a handful to Northampton. Hackney council, which said it currently houses 93% of families accepted as homeless within the borough and the remainder elsewhere in the capital, said it was “reluctantly looking to procure accommodation outside London”. Councils expect legal challenges from homeless residents who will cite government guidance to argue that accommoContinued on page 14 ≥
When Barack Obama was contemplating a run for the White House, his wife, Michelle, asked him what he thought he could accomplish if he won. “The day I take the oath of oﬃce,” he replied. “The world will look at us diﬀerently. And millions of kids across this country will look at themselves diﬀerently. That alone is something.” The symbolic resonance of Obama’s victory for black Americans has not diminished. At rallies the hawkers are still there with T-shirts setting him alongside Martin Luther King; according to Gallup 90% of African Americans intend to back Obama (pictured above at a rally in New Hampshire yesterday) and they plan to turn out at the same rate as white voters. No other block of voters is more loyal, with polls consistently showing African Americans are more likely than any other group to be bullish about their own future, believing they are better oﬀ, that the country’s best days are yet to come and that the economy is already recovering. A Pew survey in January 2010 indicated that the percentage of black Americans who thought blacks were better oﬀ than they were ﬁve years before had almost doubled, with signiﬁcant increases in the percentages who believed the standard-of-living gap
Continued on page 2 ≥ 4
Cameron heads to Gulf in bid to sell Typhoon ﬁghter jets
Nicholas Watt and Ian Black
David Cameron will today embark on a low-key arms trip to the Gulf in a bid to persuade regional powers upset by Britain’s response to the Arab spring to buy more than 100 Eurofighter Typhoon ﬁghter jets in deals worth more than £6bn to Britain. The prime minister will ﬂy to a major UAE military airbase this morning on a mission to patch up relations with leaders in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, where major British businesses such as BP and BAE have important interests. Cameron will join forces with senior political and military figures from the UAE to inspect Typhoons at Al Minhad airbase, which is used as an air bridge for British forces ﬂying between the UK and Afghanistan. Britain hopes to persuade Gulf leaders to buy 100 Typhoons on top of the 72 bought by Saudi Arabia. The looming confrontation between Iran and its regional adversaries will also feature heavily in Cameron’s talks with leaders in the Sunni-dominated Gulf countries. Britain could base Typhoons, Cameron has been irritated by claims that he uses foreign trips to sell arms to countries with poor human rights records built by a European consortium which includes BAE Systems, in the UAE if relations with Tehran deteriorate. The prime minister, who is irritated by claims that he uses his overseas trips to sell defence equipment to countries with questionable human rights records, has made arrangements to minimise the media coverage of the trip. The prime minister will be accompanied by only a small “pool” of two newswire reporters, a broadcast camera person, a broadcast producer and a photographer. Other journalists, making their own travel arrangements, are invited to attend a limited number of events, though it is impossible for those outside the “pool” to report on any aspect of Cameron’s short visit to Jeddah in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday. No 10 is restricting media coverage partly out of sensitivity to Saudi Arabia, which has been upset by Britain’s response to the Arab Spring. Prince Mohammed Bin Nawaf al-Saud, the ambassador to London, recently broke with diplomatic protocol to say that Saudi Arabia was “insulted” by the decision of the commons foreign aﬀairs committee to investigate Britain’s relations with Saudi and Bahrain. But Daniel Kawczynski, the Tory chair of the all-party parliamentary group on Saudi Arabia, rallied to the kingdom’s defence. He said: “There is a huge amount of prejudice in the House of Commons, as there is in the country as a whole, because
Continued on page 22 ≥
The Guardian | Monday 5 November 2012
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The week ahead Tania Branigan on the changing of the Chinese old guard
With its glamorous presenter, primetime slot, nervous participants and eager crowd – brandishing smiling or frowning cardboard faces to indicate approval or disdain – it might sound like another of China’s glitzy dating shows. But the anxious men facing the cameras on Wuhan Television have more than romance on their minds. All are oﬃcials facing up to angry complaints from the public and a potentially career-stalling audience verdict. “Ordinary people take part. Ordinary people comment. Ordinary people supervise,” growls the voiceover on a trailer. America is not the only global superpower picking a new leader this week. On Thursday, China opens its 18th party congress, designed to usher in the new generation of Communist party oﬃcials who will govern the world’s most populous country into the 2020s. The process will be choreographed to within an inch of its life. Its outcomes, decided in advance by the leadership, will not be properly known until the middle of November. But the men (there almost certainly will not be any women) who ﬁle on to the stage for collective approbation face a public that increasingly demands the right to hold its government to account. The party is seeking new ways to respond without undermining its rule. Oﬃcials are adopting additional methods of observing and channelling the public mood, whether that be using microblogs – there are 80,000 government accounts, according to state media – or television shows such as Wuhan’s. Citizens expect more from their oﬃcials, and stories of malfeasance or incompetence spread quickly online.
In 2008, under 40% of Chinese people deemed corruption a problem. That ﬁgure is now 50%
Authorities have repeatedly vowed to crack down on corruption. State media have reported that 600,000 oﬃcials faced punishment for disciplinary violations over the last ﬁve years. Yet in 2008, just under 40% of Chinese people deemed corrupt oﬃcials a very big problem. That has risen to 50%, according to the Pew Global Attitudes Project. The Chinese leadership “knows the legitimacy of the party now depends on performance, in terms of delivering services and improvements in living standards”, said Steve Tsang, an expert on Chinese politics at the University of Nottingham.
The result is what he calls “a consultative Leninist system … They want to know what people think so they can take away the causes of discontent and potential challenges to the party. That’s not the same as the accountability we would talk about and expect in Europe or North America; it’s more of a safety valve and has an element of [the Maoist injunction] ‘from the masses, to the masses’.” The Wuhan show, which aired this summer and is due to return next month, is limited both in the subjects it tackles and in the personnel taking part. While vice-mayors appeared this summer, the city’s most senior leaders were absent. It touched on issues such as food safety, but steered well clear of sensitive topics such as birth control. Even so, the questioning was pointed at times. “I’m still sweating,” vice-mayor Hu Lishan told the Global Times after appearing on the show. Zhao Zhenyu, a scholar at the Huazhong University of Science and Technology who also participated, said: “Because it’s live, the oﬃcials can’t prepare; you can tell they are nervous during the show. They have to ﬁx the problem after appearing on the programme, as people are watching them, and they have pressure. “There are many ways to supervise the government. This TV show is just one of them.” In one programme, a disgruntled resident complained: “You always ask us ordinary people to report it if the lake is getting ﬁlled [up with stuﬀ ], but actually even if we report it we’re just wasting our time. You said you would ask people to take responsibility. You just cheat people.”
Five things to watch out for this week
The 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China opens on Thursday, promising to be the most signiﬁcant gathering in a decade as it will appoint a new generation of leaders. Wednesday sees a vital makeor-break vote in the Greek parliament on new austerity measures and 2013 budget.
An oﬃcial’s promise to clear up the rubbish quickly met with short shrift from the presenter: “Next month? You said ‘as soon as possible’,” she reminded him. “By the end of this month,” he responded. “There are only a few days left,” she said. “In a week,” he added, with a nervous smile.
On Wednesday evening, the German chancellor, Angela Merkel (below), is in London for talks expected to focus on the eurozone crisis. Americans choose their next president tomorrow. The polls close tomorrow night and a result is expected in the early hours of Wednesday morning – recounts, hanging chads and judicial interventions permitting. Christmas lights go on across the UK today. Oxford Street is illuminated tonight and others including Bristol and Manchester follow later in the week.
What better way to prepare to ring in the new, than to clean out the old? And so the week began with the formal expulsion of Bo Xilai, the erstwhile rising star who fell from grace, accused of numerous crimes including corruption and bending the law to hush up the murder of British businessman Neil Heywood by his wife, Gu Kailai. Once his wife was convicted, Bo’s fate was never seriously in doubt. The only surprise, perhaps, was that it took a four-day closed-door meeting to ratify it. Few things encapsulate the authorities’ approach to the 18th congress – the simultaneous desire for fanfare and secrecy – better than state news agency Xinhua’s report on plans to update the party’s constitution. It announced that the central committee had approved an amendment, which can only be made at the congress, and that the heir apparent, Xi Jinping, had elaborated on it. It said that the amendment had been decided at a Politburo meeting last month – and that it would reﬂect the party’s latest theoretical achievements in localising Marxism and practical experience. Is that clear?
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The Guardian | Monday 5 November 2012
From Elton John via the Beatles to Adele, the 123 hit singles that sold a million
List issued to mark 60th birthday of pop chart Internet downloads mean single sales are booming
Caspar Llewellyn Smith
It is a music chart in which Don’t You Want Me? by the Human League sits outside the top 20 but above the Beatles’ Can’t Buy Me Love. Lennon and McCartney’s 1964 hit, in turn, is just ahead of Whitney Houston’s power ballad I Will Always Love You, followed by the Three Lions football anthem by Baddiel and Skinner and the Lightning Seeds and Ken Dodd’s cheesy 1965 song Tears. The records are ranked by sales in the most authoritative chart of the UK’s topselling singles ever issued. Compiled by the Oﬃcial Charts Company to mark the 60th anniversary of the singles chart, the list features 123 records that have sold more than 1m copies since the chart began in 1952. It is topped by Elton John’s double A-side Something About The Way You Look Tonight/Candle in the Wind, which was released in the aftermath of the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, in 1997, and sold 4.9m copies in the UK. At the other end of the chart, in 123rd place, and just scraping past the million mark, is When We Collide by the X Factor winner two years ago, Matt Cardle. Since the NME published the ﬁrst singles chart on 14 November 1952 – with Here in My Heart by Al Martino at No 1 – more than 32,000 records have appeared on it, making those 123 million-sellers an elite group. The total represents a huge leap from the 76 singles that had passed the million mark just 10 years ago, when the chart turned 50. Contrary to popular perception, sales of singles are booming as never before, said Martin Talbot, managing director of the Oﬃcial Charts Company. “There’s been a disproportionately huge increase of million-sellers – over 60% within the last 10 years,” Talbot said. “The chart was really struggling then, but now we’re back in the era of the superhit.” Last year some 178m singles were sold in the UK, and the projected ﬁgure for this year is 190m. At that rate, this decade will eclipse the 90s as the most successful ever for sales. Ten singles have already reached the million mark, including Adele’s Someone Like You and, most recently, Somebody That I Used To Know by Gotye featuring Kimbra. The chart’s revived fortunes have been attributed to the advent of digital downloads, after sales slumped to 31m in 2003 – the lowest level since the 1950s. As bricks and mortar record shops have gone to the wall, the advent of broadband internet and digital services such as Apple’s iTunes, Amazon, Tesco.com and Spotify has revitalised the industry. Sales of physical formats now account for less than 1% of singles sales, with downloads monopolising the market. Tim Ingham, editor of trade paper Music Week, said: “You don’t see stores selling singles on the high street any more and older music fans still mourn the demise of Top of the Pops, so there’s sometimes an
Above, left to right: Elton John, John Lennon, Paul McCartney and Adele. Below: Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta Bottom: Whitney Houston incorrect perception that the singles market is struggling. The picture couldn’t be more diﬀerent.” The contrast with the albums market, where sales fell by nearly 14% in the ﬁrst half of 2012, is stark. “Part of the diﬀerence between the past and now is that today’s record buyers will cherry-pick the songs they like best from a record – they won’t necessarily want to buy all the tracks that make up an album.” The authors of a new book profiling those hits, The Million Sellers, published by the Oﬃcial Charts Company, point out that in 1964, a seven-inch single cost 6s 8d – the pre-decimal equivalent of 33.3p. Adjusting the 1964 price for inflation, the cost of a single today would be £5.84, whereas most downloads are just 99p. The digital era has also brought some old records back to life. Singles including Julie Covington’s Don’t Cry for Me Argentina (a No 1 hit in 1976) and Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick by Ian Dury and the Blockheads (a chart-topper in 1979) came close to selling a million copies physically before being deleted, but have reached the magic number now thanks to digital sales. The ﬁrst record to sell a million copies was Bill Haley & His Comets’ Rock Around the Clock in 1955. The Beatles had six million-sellers. The average million-seller was released in the mid-80s, is most likely to be by a group or duo (almost 60% are) and has a playing time of three minutes and 46 seconds.
The top 30
1 Something About The Way You Look Tonight/Candle In The Wind 97, Elton John, 1997, 4.9m 2 Do They Know It’s Christmas? Band Aid, 1984, 3.69m 3 Bohemian Rhapsody, Queen, 1975, 2.36m 4 Mull Of Kintyre/Girls’ School, Wings, 1977, 2m 5 You’re The One That I Want, John Travolta & Olivia Newton-John, 1978, 2m 6 Rivers Of Babylon/Brown Girl In The Ring, Boney M, 1978, 2m 7 Relax, Frankie Goes To Hollywood, 1983, 2m 8 She Loves You, the Beatles, 1963, 1.9m 9 Unchained Melody/(There’ll Be Bluebirds Over) The White Cliﬀs Of Dover, Robson Green & Jerome Flynn, 1995, 1.86m 10 Love Is All Around, Wet Wet Wet, 1994, 1.85m 11 Mary’s Boy Child/Oh My Lord, Boney M, 1978, 1.85m, 12 I Just Called To Say I Love You, Stevie Wonder, 1984, 1.83m 13 Barbie Girl, Aqua, 1997, 1.79m 14 Anything Is Possible/Evergreen, Will Young, 2002, 1.79m 15 I Want To Hold Your Hand, the Beatles, 1963, 1.77m 16 Believe, Cher, 1998, 1.74m 17 (Everything I Do) I Do It For You, Bryan Adams, 1991, 1.72m 18 Last Christmas/Everything She Wants, Wham! 1984, 1.60m 19 Imagine, John Lennon, 1975 1.60m 20 Summer Nights, John Travolta & Olivia NewtonJohn, 1978, 1.59m 21 Two Tribes, Frankie Goes To Hollywood, 1984, 1.58m 22 I’ll Be Missing You, Puﬀ Daddy & Faith Evans, 1997, 1.56m 23 Perfect Day, various artists, 1997, 1.55m 24 Don’t You Want Me? Human League, 1981, 1.54m 25 Can’t Buy Me Love, the Beatles, 1964, 1.53m 26 I Will Always Love You, Whitney Houston, 1992, 1.53m 27 Three Lions, Baddiel & Skinner & Lightning Seeds, 1996, 1.53m 28 Tears, Ken Dodd, 1965, 1.52m 29 ...Baby One More Time, Britney Spears, 1999, 1.51m
30 My Heart Will Go On, Celine Dion, 1998, 1.48m © Oﬃcial Charts Company (full list: guardian.co.uk)
The Guardian | Monday 5 November 2012
US election National
Romney is desperate, says Obama
President has the edge in most of the swing states But national polls show both candidates are tied
Ewen MacAskill Washington
Barack Obama’s leading campaign advisers yesterday accused Mitt Romney of desperation as they claimed the White House race was moving decisively in the president’s direction with 48 hours to go. As the two candidates began a final burst of campaigning, opinion polls showed them in a dead heat nationally. But Obama had a slight edge in most of the crucial swing states that will decide the outcome. Obama and Romney will make eight campaign stops between them today, ﬂying from morning to night across six of the crucial swing states, following similar cross-country dashes over the weekend. Obama’s team claimed that Romney’s schedule reﬂected a sense of desperation, squeezing in a late visit to previouslyneglected Pennsylvania yesterday in the search for elusive electoral college votes. Obama’s team also cited visits today to Florida and Virginia, two states it said the Romney camp had claimed to have locked up. In an interview with ABC, David Plouﬀe, who organised Obama’s re-election bid, expressed conﬁdence the president would be re-elected tomorrow, and seized on a comment by Karl Rove, George Bush’s leading campaign strategist, that Obama had benefited from superstorm Sandy. Democrats are interpreting this as Rove beginning to get his excuses in early. Another Obama strategist, David Axelrod, commenting on Romney’s Pennsylvania trip, told Fox News: “They understand that they’re in deep trouble. They’ve tried to expand the map because they know in states like Ohio, they’re behind and they’re not catching up at this point.” He added: “They understand that the traditional, or the battleground, states that we’ve been focusing are not working out for them.” A Washington Post/ABC poll had the two tied on 48% nationally while a Wall Street Journal/NBC one put Obama on 48% to Romney on 47%, compared with last week when the two were on 47%. The WSJ/NBC poll showed that Obama is being given lots of credit by likely voters for his handling of the Sandy crisis, with nearly seven in 10 voters approving his performance, with only 15% disapproving. On the Sunday morning talkshows, Obama’s campaign team appeared to be the more bullish, with Romney’s team the more defensive. Romney’s political director Rich Beeson, also on Fox, questioned the credibility of the polls, often a sign of a campaign unhappy with the direction an election is headed, said: “These polls are like nailing jello to a tree. They are all over the place.” He predicted that independents would turn out in greater numbers for Romney and that Republicans too will ﬂood the polling booths. “There’s an intensity factor out there on the side of the Republicans, that is a signiﬁcant gap and we see it out on the ground, we see it when people are knocking on the doors, we see it when people are making the phone calls,” Beeson said. Asked about a controversial ad that the Romney campaign is broadcasting that claims Jeep jobs are being sent to China as a result of Obama’s bailout of the motor industry, Beeson ducked the question. Motor manufacturers have denied the claim but the Romney campaign has expanded the number of outlets for broadcasting the discredited ad. Obama, campaigning alongside Bill Clinton, attracted a crowd of 24,000 for a latenight rally in Virginia on Saturday night and 14,000 in New Hampshire yesterday. The crowd in Virginia, while respectable for a cold evening, was well down on 2008 when an eve-of-election event at almost the same location attracted more than 80,000. Although Obama and Romney are tied nationally, Obama appears to be doing better in key swing states. In Iowa, the normally-reliable Des Moines Register poll put Obama on 47% to Romney’s 42%. In Ohio, which both campaigns are treating as potentially decisive, attracting more visits than the others, a Columbus Dispatch poll puts Obama on 50% to Romney’s 48%. Campaigning in Iowa yesterday, Romney added a new line to his stump speech, saying Obama’s slogan ‘Forward’ should be renamed ‘Forewarned’, that a second term would look much like the ﬁrst. Romney too is focused on a remark by Obama on Friday in which he told a crowd in Ohio not to boo. “Voting is the best revenge,” Obama said. Romney, in his speeches, said: “Vote for revenge? Let me tell you: Vote for love of country.” Campaigning along side Bill Clinton in Concord, New Hampshire, yesterday, Obama said drew a parallel with Clinton’s presidency. “Just as we did when Bill Clinton was president, we gotta ask the wealthiest to pay a little bit more so we can reduce the deﬁcit and still invest in the things we need to grow,” he said. Gary Younge, page 29 ≥ Leader comment, page 30 ≥
Mitt Romney, the Republican presidential candidate at a campaign rally in Des Moines, Iowa. He and Barack Obama will embark on a
Black voters defy omens to boost Obama
← continued from page 1 between white and black people was decreasing. No wonder they love the president. There was only one trouble with these assessments. They weren’t true. African Americans, as a group, are far worse oﬀ now than they were when Obama came to power and the gap between white and black Americans in terms of wealth and income has increased under Obama’s tenure. The overall rate of unemployment may be close to where it was when Obama took oﬃce, but unemployment of black people is up 11%. The wealth gap has doubled during this recession, with the average white American now having 22 times more wealth than his or her black counterpart. So too has the educational achievement gap, with the rate at which white Americans graduate from high school growing far faster than that of black students. Herein lies the paradox. The group that has fared worse under Obama is not only the group most likely to support him but also the most likely to feel optimistic about the deteriorating situation in which they ﬁnd themselves. Unlike, say, Jesse Jackson or Martin Luther King, Obama was not politically produced by the black community, but presented to it after he had made his way through the mostly white elites. His political ties to the black community are not organic but symbolic. His arrival
Obama’s campaign trail
Movements since October 3rd’s presidential debate in Denver, Colorado. Swing states highlighted (with electoral college votes)
WISCONSIN (10) IOWA (6) COLORADO (9) NEVADA (6) OHIO (18)
NEW HAMPSHIRE (4)
Barack Obama’s advisers claimed the polls were moving in his direction
VIRGINIA (13) NORTH CAROLINA (15)
Key 4 - 15 Oct 15 - 24 Oct 25 - 31 Oct 1 - 4 Nov
Romney’s campaign trail
WISCONSIN (10) IOWA (6) OHIO (18)
NEW HAMPSHIRE (4)
VIRGINIA (13) NORTH CAROLINA (15)
The Guardian | Monday 5 November 2012
Race for the White House News, analysis and the latest polling guardian.co.uk/world/usa
as campaigns turn the ﬁnal corner Oliver 1 Burkeman’s election
day to go
• It’s ﬁtting that an election race deﬁned by imaginary gaﬀes based on absurdly selective quotations should end with an imaginary gaﬀe based on an absurdly selective quotation. In Ohio on Friday, when Barack Obama fans booed a mention of Mitt Romney, the president told them: “No, no, no, don’t boo – vote. Voting is the best revenge.” Never mind he was paraphrasing a saying about the merits of not behaving vengefully: he’d said “revenge”; that meant class war. “Vote for revenge?” said Romney rhetorically: “Let me tell you what I’d like to tell you: vote for love of country.” The campaign threw together an ad: “Revenge or love of country.” Amid the deafening sound of Democratic foreheads being smacked from coast to coast in disbelief at the sheer gall, no one noticed that the Republican had committed a far graver gaﬀe of his own. He told the crowd: “Vote for … President Obama … the door to a brighter future.” I’ve trimmed that quotation, and moved a couple of words around for clarity. But you get the gist.
there’s never been a day in the last four years I’ve been proudThe changing of the Chinese old guard to be [Obama’s] vice-president,” he told cheering supporters. “Not one single day!” Meanwhile here’s senior Obama strategist David Axelrod, in Ohio, getting sweaty with appreciation for his boss: “He believes in what he’s doing. He believes in what he’s ﬁghting for. You can see in the speech that he’s delivering that this is coming from his loins.” Um, OK. That last part wasn’t strictly necessary, but thanks anyway.
• Back in the world of non-imaginary gaﬀes, senior Democratic gaﬀologist Joe Biden did in fact unveil a classic over the weekend, by way of a campaign sign-oﬀ. “I tell you what –
• Post-Sandy Hurricane days it’s quite natural that Rudy Giuliani, though a committed Republican, should show solidarity with the president as he oversees responses to the aftermath of the storm. Entirely natural – but far from the truth. Instead, the 9/11 leader is spending time calling for Obama’s resignation. “He should resign. He lied. He has been a disaster: the worst president for our economy in our lifetime,” Giuliani told a Romney rally. “He doesn’t want a second term. He wants a second chance because he screwed it up the ﬁrst time!” Vicious words, but then at least Giuliani is bipartisan in that: in recent years he attacked a prominent Republican presidential candidate as “a man without a core … a man that will say anything to become president”. Awkwardly, that man was Romney. “I’ve never seen a guy change his position so many times, so fast, on a dime,” Giuliani said last year, stumping for Newt Gingrich. But perhaps it’s unfair to call him wildly inconsistent. It’s been clear for years that Giuliani, in his heart, believes there’s only one person truly qualiﬁed to lead America: Rudy Giuliani.
frantic 24 hours of campaigning to mobilise voters ahead of tomorrow’s election Photograph: Jim Young/ Reuters
in the political class is hailed as the progress of a community, when in fact it is the advancement of an individual. That is why criticisms of him for “not doing enough for his own people” both miss and devalue the point. The demand to close the racial gaps left by centuries of discrimination is not a sectional interest but a national one. Obama should do more for black people – not because he is black but because black people are the citizens suﬀering most. Black people have every right to make demands on Obama – not because they’re black but because they gave him a greater percentage of their votes than any other group, and he owes his presidency to them. Like any president, he should be pressured to put the issue of racial injustice front and centre, and if black people aren’t going to apply that pressure then nobody else will. But in fact the opposite has been happening. With Obama in the White House African American representatives have been backpedalling. Black politicians, too, have held their ﬁre. In the absence of that pressure Obama has felt little need to focus on the problem, even rhetorically. In his ﬁrst two years in oﬃce he talked about race less than any Democratic president since 1961. The day Obama took oﬃce, the world may have looked at black America diﬀerently, but black America has yet to look at Obama diﬀerently. When he went from being an aspiration to a fact of political life, the posters that bore his likeness in socialist-realist style over single-word commands like Hope, Believe and Change should have been replaced with posters bearing the single-word statement: power. As the black American social reformer Frederick Douglass said: “Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.”
Election night on guardian.co.uk
Liveblog Follow all the action of election night on Richard Adams’ unrivalled liveblog, featuring dispatches from Guardian reporters and analysts across the US Real-time results Interactive graphics with up-to-theminute results from the presidential, senate, house and governors’ elections Pictures and video Images from across America
The Guardian | Monday 5 November 2012
US election National
Who do we want to win? Rest of the world speaks out
Some have moved away from their strong support for Obama four years ago – but it is by no means a done deal for either candidate
Israel ‘I don’t feel Obama has our best interests at heart’
Two weeks ago, Randi Mellman Oze, 54, printed oﬀ her absentee ballot paper, marked a cross next to Mitt Romney’s name, sealed the envelope and sent it to the US. A lifelong Democrat voter until she came to live in Israel ﬁve years ago, changing her political stance had been “a very big deal”. “I was always a Democrat, and my family are all Democrats. But I don’t feel Obama has Israel’s best interests at heart,” she said. She is among up to 250,000 American-Israelis entitled to vote in the election, most of whom are believed to be backing the Republican candidate. Polls of all Israelis have shown most support Romney. The Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, is widely perceived to be backing Romney, against all protocol. Relations between Obama and Netanyahu have been strained by the Israeli leader’s insistence on a tougher US stance on the Iranian nuclear programme, which the US has resisted. Romney is seen as more hawkish on this issue. But he is also even less inclined to push Israel towards allowing the Palestinians an independent state. Many Palestinians feel let down by Obama’s failure to force progress towards a Palestinian state, but they also know Romney is unlikely to be a friend. “Neither one is a free agent; there is a US policy of bias and support for Israel,” said Hanan Ashrawi, of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation executive committee. Harriet Sherwood Dakar, Senegal, said: “A lot of people in Africa thought Obama would be the president of Africa … Later we realised he’s an American president, not an African president. Even George Bush did more for Africa and he’s a white man. Bill Clinton did too.” David Smith whether it’s Obama or Romney.” Despite the tough-talking on tackling China during debates, he said: “The economic connections [between the countries] matters more than political things.” China is used to playing its part in US presidential races. “It’s an old story, China becoming a political card to play in US elections. This year, Romney and Obama seem to be playing it more heavily,” an editorial in the populist staterun Global Times said last month. But Shi Yinhong – an expert on SinoUS relations – said most people were more concerned by issues such as tensions with Japan over disputed islands. Experts say tough talk from US candidates is rarely matched by their action once in oﬃce. Even so, Shi warned that in general “Sino-American rivalries have become more profound and sometimes more tense.” Tania Branigan
Europe ‘Germans view president as a dove of peace’
The Obama-mania that swept Europe four years ago has faded fast amid transatlantic rows over the euro crisis, the administration’s failure to deliver to close Guantánamo Bay, and the waning attention paid to Europe by the US. But despite the fact that the centreright remains in the ascendancy across most of Europe, disaﬀection with Obama is not translating into support for Romney. There is little support for Romney, whose gaﬀe-prone visit to Europe in July won him few friends and who regularly turns European welfarism and “entitlement societies” into points of mockery in his campaign speeches. Exploring why Obama’s popularity had endured despite disappointments, Friedrich Mielke, a publicist and US expert, said the president was viewed by Germans as a “dove of peace”. “We love him because we can project our own hopes and desires on to him. Most people here see him as a leader of the free world, who combines intelligence and strength of character with charm and rhetorical lustre.” Romney, by contrast, was viewed as a “locust capitalist”, he said, who “spreads social frigidity and egoism”. Ian Traynor and Kate Connolly
Iran ‘We should be worried about Romney winning’
“Which one is better for Iran, Obama or Romney?” asked Ebrahim Asgharzadeh, a political activist and leader behind the US embassy hostage-taking after the 1979 Islamic revolution. “The answer is not very diﬃcult,” he said. He was insinuating that Iran should be worried about the prospect of Romney winning. Asgharzadeh suggested Iran should play a role in helping Obama stay in oﬃce. “We inﬂuenced American elections at the time of Reagan [with negotiations over hostage crisis] and we can do it now.” Iranians are closely following the election. There is concern that a Romney victory will signiﬁcantly increase the possibility of an Israeli military strike against the regime’s nuclear facilities, and weaken the prospect of a possible breakthrough in negotiations between Tehran and the west. The Obama administration, by contrast, is keen to give sanctions more time to bite. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran’s president, speaking in New York last month, refused to support either candidate. Ali Larijani, Iran’s speaker in parliament, said a Romney win would not be a threat. In his view, the governor’s support for Israel’s possible attack amounted to little more than campaign rhetoric. Saeed Kamali Dehghan Iranian women hold an anti-US sign, bearing a cartoon of Barack Obama, at the former US
Pakistan ‘Whoever wins, US foreign policy will not change’
The US elections have serious implications for Pakistan and policy making, but that is not reﬂected in popular debate or discussion. While government oﬃcials complain there is little chance of key issues, such as eﬀorts to draw the Taliban into a political process, being dealt with before the the election, public interest in the contest is virtually nil. Perhaps that is not surprising with anti-Americanism appearing to be at an all-time high in Pakistan. There is certainly none of the enthusiasm Obama mustered in the Muslim world in 2008, said Munawar Hasan, president of the conservative Islamic party Jamaat-e-Islami. “After the last four years people now know that Americans are Americans and George Bush and Barack Obama are two sides of the same coin,” he said, damning US policy on the region, including the sharp increase in drone strikes and the troop surge in Afghanistan. He added: “No one is interested in this election because, whoever wins, US foreign policy is not going to change.” Some suspect the country’s military establishment may harbour a stronger desire to see the back of Obama, as his administration, in sharp contrast to that of George Bush, was not afraid of playing rough with Pakistan, even at the expense of humiliating its armed forces. Jon Boone
the endorsement of the Mexican band Maná. “We have the conviction that Obama is the best candidate for all Latinos,” said frontman Fher Olvera. Jonathan Watts
Arab world Main cause for concern is reaction to Arab spring
Arabs watching the US presidential race are mainly interested in how the next administration will deal with the Arab spring – as well as the perennial question of the unresolved Palestinian issue. Obama has, in signiﬁcant ways, failed to live up to the expectations he created in his long-awaited Cairo speech in June 2009. Many in the region see little difference between him and Romney, but Obama is probably still the preferred candidate. Obama was criticised initially for reacting slowly to the revolution in Egypt but has been measured since the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohamed Mursi became president and hopes to encourage a shift toward pragmatism and moderation. Following the murder of the US ambassador to Libya, Washington also signalled continued support for the new government in Tripoli. Ian Black
Africa ‘Even Bush did more for us, and he’s a white man’
Obama’s election provoked euphoria in his ancestral village in Kenya, and among African governments. Four years later there is a sense of deﬂation. SubSaharan Africa has barely been mentioned in the campaign and the feeling of apathy is mostly mutual. “Four years ago there was so much hope in this country,” said Boniface Mwangi, a photographer and political activist. “Now we’re no longer that hopeful and asking where did we go wrong. I thought Barack Obama would do well for Africa but I’m ashamed to say that George Bush did more. Obama has done nothing for us.” Obama, who once hailed the “blood of Africa within me”, has spent only 20 hours on sub-Saharan African soil since becoming president. Commentators note that Obama’s principal African focus has been security, for example in combating Islamist militancy in Somalia, with pragmatism based on American self interest. Ousseynou Bissichi, a guide at the African Renaissance Monument, in
China ‘Tough talk rarely matched by action once in oﬃce’
China’s elite would normally be watching the election more closely. But with its own once-a-decade leadership transition beginning days after the US votes, it has other matters on its mind. For many in China, the election is of limited interest. Some will follow results avidly, but others are only concerned about the impact on China. “I like Obama’s style. He is a very charming guy … Romney seems quite aggressive,” said Beijingbased marketing researcher Ming Ming, adding: “I’m more concerned about who will have better policy towards China.” Zheng Jihua, an entrepreneur, said: “I don’t think it makes much diﬀerence
Russia ‘One plus is Romney is an open and sincere man’
With anti-Americanism creeping back to the forefront of political rhetoric in Moscow, many in Russia slyly smiled when Romney this year called Russia “our No 1 geopolitical foe”. Vladimir Putin, Russia’s president, said: “That Romney considers us enemy No 1 and apparently has bad feelings about Russia is a minus, but, considering that he expresses himself bluntly, openly and clearly, [this] means he is an open and sincere man, which is a plus … I am actually very grateful to him for formulating his position in a straightforward manner.” The statement harked back to Soviet times, when Russia’s leaders preferred dealing with Republicans – who were seen as straight-talking, if tough – to Democrats, seen here as masking their anti-Russian stance behind talk of human and civil rights. Maria Lipman, an expert at the Moscow Carnegie centre, said: “Particularly after the expulsion of the USAid, Washington’s international aid agency, the Kremlin is now too committed to a path of using its old cold war foe as a bogeyman to consolidate wavering domestic support. Anti-American rhetoric in Russia has gone too far to shift easily now.” Miriam Elder and Howard Amos
Afghanistan ‘Both candidates are agreed about taking troops home’
For a place where US troops are still dying in their hundreds and for which billions of dollars are spent each year, Afghanistan has garnered very little attention over the election. Afghanistan might be dependent on US cash to keep its government aﬂoat, and the US military to keep the Taliban at bay, but there is very little focus on the presidential race on the streets or in TV studios. Most people feel the outlines of US policy have already been set. The timeline for the departure of US and other foreign forces will not alter, whoever wins. “The Afghan people are not paying a lot of attention, because … both candidates are agreed about taking their troops home,” said Najibullah Hosseini, 32. Emma Graham-Harrison and Mokhtar Amiri
Latin America ‘The best candidate for all Latinos is Obama’
The US election has been watched with no little self-interest in Latin America, where many politicians and commentators partly deﬁne themselves by their admiration or rejection of US values. While most national leaders have remained diplomatically quiet about their preferences, the Venezuelan president, Hugo Chávez, who is also ﬁghting for re-election, has bucked the trend by stating his preference for Obama. The US president is likely to pick up more Hispanic votes from
In Kogelo, Kenya, where Obama’s father once lived, people pray for an Obama win
The Guardian | Monday 5 November 2012
National World brieﬁng Evil empire nostalgia
t has become fashionable to suggest there is little diﬀerence between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney over the main international challenges facing the US and its allies, and that few real changes in American foreign policy will occur should the Republican win. Such assessments are dangerously shortsighted. Romney’s approach is underpinned by delusional nostalgia for the 1980s, a harking back to the cold war era when the US believed it led the world in facing down the “evil empire” (Soviet Union), when entire continents were divided into tame client nations and rogue states, and when western (meaning American) values were promoted as a nonpareil paradigm for all to follow. Like most conservative Republicans, Romney’s No 1 hero is Ronald Reagan, president from 1981-1989. His philosophy draws heavily on the Gipper. Hence his headline theme of “A new American century”, his insistence on the US’s unique international leadership role and belief in the country as a moral beacon oﬀering a superior guiding light to the world – the “shining city on a hill” of Reagan’s 1976 speech that launched the so-called Reagan revolution. Evidently relishing the role of Reagan retread, Romney has been busily colouring in the world map to the simplistic, neo-imperial, design favoured by his late mentor. Hence Putin’s Russia is resurrected as a prime foe. “Russia is a destabilising force on the world stage. It needs to be tempered,” Romney says Despite recent attempts at moderation, the Romney doctrine also posits confrontation over co-operation with China, a communist rival whose economy will outgrow the US by the embassy in Tehran during a rally to mark the 33rd anniversary of seizure of the US embassy Photograph: Atta Kenare/AFP/Getty
end of the decade. It is thus a ﬁtting heir to the “evil empire”. Tariﬀ wars over Chinese imports may be just the start. Romney appears to see the western Paciﬁc as a whole new cold war-style conﬂict zone.Reprising the rogue state theme, Romney promises a tougher line on Iran’s nuclear activities. He says he will arm Syria’s rebels. He threatens a virtual blockade of North Korea; vows to avenge war crimes allegedly of Sudan’s leadership; and warns the Palestinians that any attempt to assert their statehood without Israel’s agreement will bring heavy penalties. This will be underwritten by a big expansion of defence spending, again echoing Reagan’s 1980s. To achieve this end and ignoring record federal debt, Romney plans to add $2tn over the next decade to the Pentagon’s already enormous $711bn annual budget. At the same time, he proposes a supranational, worldwide, Reagan Economic Zone [sic], to extend the beneﬁts of free enterprise. Rarely have guns and butter been so blatantly linked. Obama is more prosaic, pledging a prolongation of his pragmatic-aspirational foreign policy that characterised his ﬁrst term and disappointed many supporters – tight focus on the Afghanistan-Pakistan withdrawal, action against al-Qaida, careful management of the Arab spring and Iran dossiers, new emphasis on Asia and denuclearisation. Martin Indyk and others wrote in Foreign Aﬀairs: “The Obama approach has been informed by a realistic overarching sense of the US role in the world … The tone has been neither that of American triumphalism and exceptionalism nor one of American decline. On balance, this approach has been eﬀective.”
The Guardian | Monday 5 November 2012
New inquiry urged into abuse at Welsh children’s care homes
Scandal was ‘swept under carpet’, says watchdog Call comes after claims senior Tory was involved
Haroon Siddique and agencies
The children’s commissioner for Wales is to write to the Welsh ﬁrst minister calling for a new inquiry to be opened into child abuse at care homes in north Wales 30 years ago, after claims that a senior Tory was involved in a paedophile ring. The commissioner, Keith Towler, said “very strong evidence” had emerged over the past 72 hours suggesting victims were denied the opportunity to fully explain what they had suffered, and that an inquiry was necessary to address notions that there had been a cover-up that had enabled prominent public figures to escape justice. Towler’s intervention, which was backed by Plaid Cymru’s leader, Leanne Wood, came after a victim of the north Wales care home scandal in the 1970s said he and others had been “swept under the carpet” despite a three-year inquiry in the late 1990s. Steven Messham, one of hundreds of children who were abused over two decades, told BBC Newsnight on Friday that the terms of reference of the £13m inquiry, led by Sir Ronald Waterhouse QC, meant he was unable to describe abuse that took place outside the care system. He claimed that a senior Conservative politician at the time was involved in abuse. The former Tory oﬃcial was not named but has “vehemently denied” the allegations, Channel 4 News said. Towler told the BBC News channel: “What Steve Messham is telling us is that … there are things he wanted to say … that he wasn’t able to say. If there are issues there for the police to investigate, then that needs to be investigated … I want to make sure a full inquiry takes place to make sure that the evidence that he wants to give can be given.” The senior Tory and other prominent recommendations after ﬁnding systematic abuse, alongside a climate of violence and a culture of secrecy. The inquiry’s report mentioned 200 people who were abusers, alleged abusers or who had failed to protect children in the homes, although not all of these people were named. On Friday’s Newsnight programme, Messham said that the degree of abuse outside the care home, where he described abuse as “standard”, was diﬀerent. “Outside it was like you were sold. We were taken to the Crest hotel in Wrexham, mainly on Sunday nights, where they would rent rooms. One particular night that I always recall is when I was basically raped, tied down and abused by nine different men,” he said. Last month the Labour MP Tom Watson claimed in the Commons that a “powerful paedophile network” might have had links to a former prime minister, as well as No 10 and parliament. The allegations about politicians come as detectives continue to follow up 400 lines of inquiry that have emerged from investigations into accusations against the late BBC presenter Jimmy Savile. The culture secretary, Maria Miller, said yesterday that a public inquiry into the Savile scandal could follow if the BBC did not deal with the matters raised appropriately. The former Tory cabinet minister Michael Portillo said the party needed to be equally vigilant in dealing with the allegations about the Thatcher-era Conservative politician. “Maria Miller has called on the BBC to be absolutely transparent and to get to the root of everything that has happened in the BBC,” Portillo told the BBC’s Andrew Marr programme. “David Cameron will have to put himself in a similar position. He’ll have to say he wished to get the root of whatever may have happened, not institutionally with the Conservative party …but whatever it is that may have happened with a senior Conservative.” A Downing Street spokesman said that concerns that an allegation made in the past had not been fully investigated should be raised with the police or the relevant authority.
The Bryn Estyn boys home, Wrexham, which shut after child abuse claims
public ﬁgures were named in the inquiry looking at the abuse in north Wales, but the media were barred from reporting the allegations, with Sir Ronald Waterhouse, who died last year, reportedly dismissing the claims as “fantasy”. Commenting on the claims surrounding the politician, Towler said: “Sometimes when people move to protect individuals or institutions, they do so at the expense of victims and that is unacceptable.” Wood told BBC Radio 4’s World This Weekend: “We must get to the bottom of this, we can’t leave it hanging. The process must be transparent and open, and the victims must have some sort of justice.” A Welsh government spokesman pointed out that the allegations related to a pre-devolution period, but said that the administration was “very concerned” by the allegations and would “look at all the evidence as it comes forward”. The investigation by Waterhouse heard evidence from more than 650 individuals who had been living in about 40 homes between 1974 and 1990. The investigation published its report in 2000, making 72
Solicitor has ﬁnal word in UK Scrabble ﬁnal battle
It was a tense and unpredictable battle of wits. But, after almost ﬁve gruelling hours of lexicographic dexterity, the occasional seven-letter stunner and a dash of schoolboy slang, a 26-yearold solicitor from Belfast was yesterday crowned the national Scrabble champion of 2012. Battling his friend Olawale Fashina at the four-game ﬁnal in central London, Paul Gallen came from a game down to claw back the championship 3-1. Among the words that clinched his victory were “neonates”, meaning a newborn child or mammal, “privado”, a conﬁdant, and “vauntier”, meaning more boastful. Others needed less explanation, such as “jism”. Gallen, who only started playing Scrabble seriously six years ago once he had won the television show Countdown Champion of Champions, said he was delighted but admitted he thought he was in trouble after losing the ﬁrst game 430-404 thanks to a last-minute seven-letter bingo for “riddles” from Fashina. “It was a very tense, close match,” said Gallen, adding that it was only after he had gained a 100point lead in the fourth game from “neonates” that he knew victory was within his grasp. Gallen pocketed a £2,500 top prize, while Fashina took home £1,250.
The board in the ﬁnal game of yesterday’s UK Scrabble championships
Paying tribute to Fashina, a 43-yearold accountant from Liverpool who took home the title in 2005, he said: “I’ve a lot of time for Waly; he’s a good friend of mine and if I hadn’t been in the ﬁnal I would have been cheering him on. He was very gracious in defeat.” As online apps and social media sites such as Facebook breathe new life into a traditional pastime, Scrabble fans are hoping their game will go from strength to strength in the 21st century. Gallen urged all budding players to try out the Scrabble circuit. “People play on their iPhones; people play on Facebook,” he said. “I would encourage them all to try the tournament scene.” The 2012 national championship, which saw six regional events funnel the best 60 play-
ers into a semi-ﬁnal earlier this year, was the 41st to be held. Last year, a Warrington ﬁnancial adviser, Wayne Kelly, 37, was crowned the victor after playing high-scoring words such as “caromel”, meaning to turn into caramel. Gallen said he had prepared for the clash with nothing more than “a good night’s sleep”. He was watched by his father, who had ﬂown over from Belfast to support him. Gallen, who started playing in a Belfast team and played his ﬁrst tournament in 2006, was ranked number ﬁve in the world going into the national championship. He said he would be aiming next year to play in the Scrabble world championships and to win another “major”. But he added: “I’ll just try and enjoy this one ﬁrst. It’s so diﬃcult to win UK majors because there are so many good players now. So [I’ll] just enjoy this.”
The Guardian | Monday 5 November 2012
Snowvember Cold snap hits UK
Britain gets set to cut £280m aid to India
Nicholas Watt Chief political correspondent
Britain is intensifying plans to make substantial cuts to its aid budget to India on the grounds that it is diﬃcult to justify spending £280m a year in one of the world’s fastest developing economies. Justine Greening, the international development secretary, is working on the plans “as a matter of urgency” to ensure that Britain’s relations with India focus on trade rather than aid. Greening, who discussed Britain’s annual £280m aid budget to Delhi with Indian oﬃcials at the World Bank recently, is due to visit the sub-continent soon. Pranab Mukherjee, the ﬁnance minister, said in February that Delhi did not need British aid but had agreed to accept the aid under pressure from Britain. Andrew Mitchell, Greening’s predecessor, said the aid was justiﬁed because a larger number of people in India live in poverty than in sub-Saharan Africa. Greening said: “I think that as the aid budget enables countries to develop – and as they move from aid-based to tradebased support – we must work to establish a transition package, and that is what I am discussing with the Indians.” Her remarks came in response to a question from Steve Brine, the MP for Winchester. Brine said: “I am incredibly proud that the government are standing by some of the world’s poorest people at a time when things are so diﬃcult at home, but a number of my constituents are concerned when India, for instance, is reported as saying that it does not need or, indeed, want our money.” Greening ﬁrst outlined her thinking to the Conservative party conference shortly after her appointment to the international development post in the cabinet reshuﬄe.
Unseasonal snow came to the UK yesterday, with blizzards in Durham and Cumbria and a light coating in Shepton Mallet, Somerset Photograph: apexnewspix.com
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The Guardian | Monday 5 November 2012
Cameron admits there may be more Brooks emails and texts
Selective search carried out for Leveson inquiry New messages ‘are tip of iceberg’, says Labour MP
Nicholas Watt Chief political correspondent
David Cameron has acknowledged in private that he may be sitting on a further cache of emails and texts to and from Rebekah Brooks after a limited search was carried out for the Leveson inquiry. The prime minister faced fresh embarrassment over his links with the former News International chief executive as it became clear only a handful of his communications were searched for the inquiry, set up after the phone-hacking scandal. Cameron and his aides looked for emails and texts with News International or News Corporation employees only if there was a reference to the BSkyB bid. He checked his personal and oﬃce phone. The prime minister believes it is wrong of critics such as the former Labour Europe minister Chris Bryant to say he is hiding a secret cache of communications because the search requested by the Leveson inquiry yielded no texts or emails. A No 10 source said: “Chris Bryant has made a series of claims that are ridiculous.” But Cameron knows a wider search could uncover more texts and emails. In his written statement to the Leveson inquiry, the prime minister made clear the limited nature of the request for texts. “In terms of electronic communications, as requested, I have looked for text messages between myself and representatives of News Corporation or News International in relation to the BSkyB bid,” Cameron said. “I have not found any such texts on my personal phone or oﬃce phone.” He faced further discomfort when the Mail on Sunday published a text from Brooks in which she admitted she had cried twice during his party conference speech. She wrote: “Brilliant speech. I cried twice. Will love ‘working together’.” The paper also published a more innocuous text sent by the prime minister to Brooks about a horse he rode in company with her husband Charlie, one of Cameron’s oldest friends. “The horse CB [Charlie Brooks] put me on. Fast, unpredictable and hard to control but fun. DC.” The texts were handed to the Leveson inquiry by Brooks, as were those published by the inquiry in the summer. These revealed Cameron signed some of his texts to Brooks LOL, which she claimed meant “Laugh out loud”, not “Lots of love”. Bryant tweeted of the new revelations: “These new texts are the tip of an iceberg.” The Mail on Sunday reported that Bryant had claimed to be in contact with a No 10 mole involved in the search who is said to have described the texts as “salacious”. Bryant told Cameron in the Commons on Wednesday: “There is a stash of embarrassing emails, isn’t there? [Former special adviser] Adam Smith had to publish every single one of his emails and ended up resigning. Why will the prime minister not publish all his emails?” Cameron declined to respond to Bryant’s point as he is awaiting an apology from him after he broke an embargo to leak information from the inquiry. David Willetts, the universities minister, admitted the relationship between politicians and some newspapers became too close. He told the Sunday Politics show on BBC1: “The prime minister has always complied with every request for relevant information from Leveson. “Now, of course, we wait and see what Lord [Justice] Leveson proposes.”
Minister nearly quit to lead revolt over EU budget, says rebel MP
A cabinet minister came close to resigning from the government last week to take charge of the growing EU revolt against David Cameron, the leader of the latest rebellion has claimed. As Iain Duncan Smith indicated that Britain could eventually thrive outside the European Union, the Tory MP Mark Reckless said the unnamed minister “weighed up the pros and cons” before backing oﬀ. Reckless, who defeated the government in a Commons vote on the EU budget with help from a Labour three-line whip, told the Mail on Sunday: “They seriously considered it. They talked to me about the mechanics and agreed to have someone else follow up in a telephone call.” There was no suggestion that Duncan Smith, a veteran eurosceptic, was the minister in question. The work and pensions secretary oﬀered strong support for the prime minister’s attempt to secure an inﬂation freeze in the EU budget. Reckless is demanding a real-terms cut. Duncan Smith said he disagreed with the rebels. He told the Andrew Marr Show on BBC1 of the prime minister’s tactics: “He would love to come back with a realterms cut. I would love him to be able to do it. But we don’t give enough credit to him – the ﬁrst man to veto a European treaty.” The claim by Reckless shows at the very least that cabinet ministers were keen during last week’s debate to burnish their eurosceptic credentials to rebel leaders. Reckless claimed that George Osborne had shown interest in his amendment. Asked whether Britain was big enough to survive outside the EU, the work and pensions secretary said: “I hate this argument that says little Britain or something outside, or Britain is part of a wider Europe. We can both be within our trading relationships within Europe but we can also be a fantastic global trader.” Jackie Ashley, page 28 ≥
Man held after hit-and-run death
A man has been arrested by police investigating the death of a 16-year-old boy in a hit and run incident on a busy main road in Bury, Greater Manchester. Callum Hilton was struck by a car around 6.30pm on Saturday. He was heading to a party that had been publicised on Facebook with two friends and a cousin. He was crossing Stand Lane near the Hawthorn hotel, when he was hit by a silver or white Peugeot and thrown about 20 feet across the road. The car was travelling down the hill towards Radcliﬀe town centre. Callum sustained a serious head injury and was taken to hospital where he died shortly after midnight. His family were with him at the time, police said. Speaking shortly before news of the arrest emerged, DI Amber Waywell of Greater Manchester police said the youngster’s family were “going through hell”. The officer added: “Callum’s mother and grandfather just want to know what happened to him. “It’s just awful. I can’t imagine what his family, his mother, will be going through. “A young boy goes out on a Saturday evening and doesn’t come home. She must be beside herself with grief and we are trying to support her as best we can.” The oﬃcer said it had appeared the four teenagers had been crossing the road to get directions at the hotel.
‘Brilliant speech. I cried twice. Will love “working together”.’
Brooks to Cameron
‘The horse CB [Charlie Brooks] put me on. Fast, unpredictable and hard to control but fun. DC’
Cameron to Brooks
making Christmas more comfortable
The Guardian | Monday 5 November 2012
Mother sues hospital over failure to resuscitate her son
The mother of a 28-year-old man with cerebral palsy is suing the hospital where he died, alleging staﬀ failed to consult her on a decision not to attempt resuscitation and did not administer his medication appropriately. A coroner has raised concerns about the way Carl Winspear received medication in hospital last year, writing an oﬃcial letter to the Department of Health (DoH) and City Hospitals Sunderland NHS foundation trust over drug procedures at Sunderland Royal hospital. The legal action by Elaine Winspear comes as a separate case over the use of socalled “do not resuscitate” (DNR) orders begins at the high court in London today. That case has been ﬁled by the family of a woman who died in Addenbrooke’s hospital, Cambridge, last year. Relatives want to clarify the law on how DNR decisions are reached and force the D oH in England to establish a national policy, instead of medical staff being expected to follow professional guidance and local policies. Carl Winspear, who did not have mental capacity to make all his own decisions, died of pneumonia in Sunderland Royal hospital in January 2011. His mother’s lawyer says a doctor unilaterally decided not to attempt resuscitation if he suﬀered cardiac or respiratory arrest, recording in the notes “speak to family in morning”. Mrs Winspear told the Guardian that later that morning she was approached by the doctor to ask if she would consider a DNR, but she was not told of any decision having already been made. She said she disagreed with an order being put in place, but claims an undated DNR order was subsequently found by the family in the medical notes. “It seems the doctor assumed Carl did not have a quality of life. He had a better quality of life than you or I do. He went to a day centre ﬁve days a week. One day, he might go out for ﬁsh and chips, another, they would take him to a pub, a third it would be the allotment.” Derek Winter, the Sunderland coroner who recorded a verdict of death by natural causes at Winspear’s inquest in July 2011, wrote to the hospital and the health department over delays in giving Winspear large doses of medicine over short times to deliver quick therapeutic responses. Mrs Winspear’s lawyer, Merry Varney, of Leigh Day, said she “has been left feeling that Carl was let down by the hospital.” She also pointed to the low involvement of patients or relatives in DNR decisions found in a review of current procedures by the National Conﬁdential Enquiry into Patient Outcome and Death. The City Hospitals Sunderland NHS trust said it was unable to comment.
Carl Winspear, 28, died while in Sunderland Royal hospital
NHS to pledge consultation over end of life decisions
New commitments on end-of-life care and single-sex wards are set to be included in the NHS constitution under proposals unveiled today. Ministers said the wide-ranging package of reforms would empower patients and ensure their wishes come ﬁrst. Rules on involving patients and families in treatment decisions are being strengthened following an outcry over secretive use of the Liverpool Care Pathway which involves withdrawal of ﬂuids and food. Under the measures being put out for consultation, health trusts that fail to discuss issues properly could be sued. Doctors who ignore the wishes of patients and relatives face being struck oﬀ. For the ﬁrst time, the coalition’s policy on single sex wards would be included in the constitution. It would pledge that those admitted to hospital “will not have to share sleeping accommodation with patients of the opposite sex”. Other planned changes include: • A right for patients to receive acknowledgement, an explanation and apology where mistakes have been made; • A commitment that complaints will be acknowledged within three working days, and tougher rules on handling them; • A warning that abusive and violent patients could be denied access to NHS services, if it is “safe” to do so; Health minister Norman Lamb said the government was determined to proHealth minister Norman Lamb said the NHS would remain free, ‘no matter your age or the size of your bank balance’ tect the founding principles of the health service. “The NHS is one of this country’s greatest achievements. This government will always make sure it is free to all, no matter your age or the size of your bank balance,” he said. “That’s why at the same time as we are protecting its budget, we are strengthening this constitution, which enshrines the right of everyone to have ﬁrst class care, now and in the future.” Marie Curie Cancer Care welcomed the proposed new legal right for patients to be consulted on end-of-life care decisions. But the charity said the government should go further and called for the next independent national audit of the Liverpool Care Pathway to be brought forward. Imelda Redmond, director of policy and public affairs at Marie Curie, said: “The Liverpool Care Pathway has enabled thousands of people to experience digniﬁed care in the last hours and days of life. It was developed to spread the hospice model of end of life care into hospitals and other healthcare settings. “We have become increasingly concerned about the damaging media coverage which reports negative experiences of people in hospital and the end of life. That is why we are calling for the next independent national audit to be brought forward so that we can identify as soon as possible where these failings are taking place. “Once this is done, an action plan must be put in place for improvements where care is below the highest standards that the public expects.”
The Guardian | Monday 5 November 2012
tion”. She added: “I think it is right that the police should be looking again at this. ” MacShane announced he was resigning as an MP on Friday after the committee recommended a year’s suspension from the Commons for claiming thousands of pounds using fake receipts. The parliamentary standards commissioner found MacShane had entered 19 “misleading” expenses claims for thousands of pounds from the European Policy Institute signed by its supposed general manager. However, the institute did not exist “in this form” by the time in question and the general manager’s signature was provided by MacShane himself or someone else “under his authority”. As the MP controlled the EPI’s bank account, he was eﬀectively “submitting invoices to himself and asking the parliamentary authorities to pay”. PA
In pictures London to Brighton Veteran Car Run guardian.co.uk/inpictures Uphill battle
Cooper backs review of MacShane expenses
Police are right to look again at whether former minister Denis MacShane’s abuse of expenses broke the law, the shadow home secretary said yesterday. Yvette Cooper’s comments came after the Commons authorities insisted that letters from MacShane to the standards commissioner could not be used against him in court. Senior oﬃcials say they are protected by parliamentary privilege because they were collected during proceedings of the House. Cooper told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show the standards and privileges committee had produced a “very serious report with very serious condemna-
Fresh inquiry opened on Enniskillen atrocity
Police have launched a fresh investigation into the Remembrance Day bombing at Enniskillen 25 years ago, following new information received by detectives. Arlene Foster, a member of the legislative assembly (MLA) and Democratic Unionist party, said an inquiry had been opened after detectives were given fresh details about the IRA atrocity. The Fermanagh and South Tyrone MLA said: “The Enniskillen bomb was an act of horriﬁc savagery. “It was motivated by nothing other than a desire to kill and maim. It was indiscriminate. Young and old were injured. It was targeting innocent people.” Eleven people were killed and 63 were injured when, without warning, a bomb ripped through the Fermanagh town on 8 November 1987. A 12th victim, Ronnie Hill, a school principal, spent 13 years in a coma afterwards and died in 2000 aged 68. No one was convicted in connection with the massacre, among the worst incidents of the Troubles. Details from a historical inquiries report have been handed to the PSNI serious crime squad. Thursday marks the 25th anniversary of the bombing. A memorial service will be held at the scene for the survivors and relatives of those who were killed. PA
Competitors make their way up Hammer Hill near Cuckﬁeld, West Sussex, during the London to Brighton Veteran Car Run yesterday Photograph: Gareth Fuller/PA
UK’s oldest man, 110, celebrates birthday
Britain’s oldest man has attributed reaching his 110th birthday to a combination of idleness and drinking a mysterious potion as a boy. Former church minister Reg Dean, from Wirksworth, Derbyshire, said the secret of his longevity was being lazy. Born in Tunstall, Staﬀordshire, on 4 November 1902, Dean added that his life span may also be due to a brown elixir a doctor in Bombay gave him just before the ﬁrst world war. “He said ‘if you drink this you will live forever’ – and this is the result,” he told the Derbyshire Times. Dean has been married three times, and lived through two world wars and 24 prime ministers. He worked as a minister until his retirement aged 80. A public concert was held on Saturday to celebrate his birthday. Asked how he felt, he told the BBC: “A year older than when I was 109!” Dean became Britain’s oldest man after Stanley Lucas, from Cornwall, died in June 2010, aged 110. The world’s oldest living man is Jiroemon Kimura from Japan, aged 115. David Batty
Man dead from electric shock at M&S store
An investigation has begun into the death of a contractor who was electrocuted at a shopping centre in Kent. Police said they believed Philip Dodd, 62, died after suﬀering an electric shock while inside a Marks and Spencer store at the Royal Victoria Place shopping centre, Tunbridge Wells, on Saturday. The death is being treated as suspicious while police work out the full circumstances of what happened. Oﬃcers were called by paramedics from the south east coast ambulance service, who arrived at the scene ﬁrst. The store was not evacuated as the scene was not in a public area of the shop, a police spokeswoman said. Tunbridge Wells council has been advised of the incident, and their health and safety oﬃcer was reported to be liaising with police. The spokeswoman said: “We were called just before 3.30pm to the store in Calverley Road. It is believed a man suﬀered an electric shock. He was pronounced dead at the scene. The air ambulance also attended. It is being treated as a suspicious death until the full circumstances are known.” An M&S spokeswoman said: “There has been a tragic incident at the store today and our thoughts are with the family concerned. “We are now concentrating on doing all we can to assist the emergency services with their investigation and as such are unable to comment any further at this stage.” PA
The Guardian | Monday 5 November 2012
Councils to expel thousands from London
← continued from page 1 dation outside the capital is “unsuitable” because of the impact on their health or their children’s education, according to a new study published by the charity Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG). Alison Garnham, CPAG chief executive, said: “Families are facing the impossible situation of being told to move to cheaper accommodation that just doesn’t exist with London’s rising rents. London boroughs are staring at a black hole in their budgets as a result, with costs transferred from central to local government. “There’s still time for government to do the sensible thing and think again when these reforms are debated in parliament before thousands of London’s families ﬁnd themselves uprooted, overcrowded and thrown into turmoil.” MPs are expected to debate regulations that will set detail how the beneﬁt cap will work at a Commons legislation committee meeting on Tuesday. Government guidance states: “Homeless households may not always be able to stay in their previous neighbourhoods. However, the government considers that it is not acceptable for local authorities to make compulsory placements automatically hundreds of miles away, without having proper regard for the disruption this may cause to those households.” The CPAG report, based on interviews with 11 London local authorities, also found many working households would also face substantial income shortfalls as a result of housing beneﬁt caps. Councils say families are reluctant to move if this would disrupt their children’s schooling or cut them oﬀ from relatives and friends, causing fears of a surge in overcrowding as families improvise by sharing properties or trade down to smaller ﬂats. Families have already begun to move from inner London to outer boroughs, with more expected from this month as transitional support for families aﬀected by the housing benefit caps runs out.
Family split by rehousing
Alicia Brown’s family has been split by Waltham Forest council’s decision to rehouse her in Luton, about 37 miles from the primary school her daughter goes to. Brown was reluctant to remove her nine-year-old elder daughter from the school she had attended since nursery, so she persuaded a friend to look after the child in London, while she moved with her twoyear-old to the new ﬂat in Luton. The older daughter has been made very distressed by the disruption. “She is not happy. She is worried and she cries a lot,” said Brown (not her real name). Waltham Forest oﬀered her the ﬂat in Luton under the council’s emergency accommodation scheme. “I said I can’t go to Luton. My daughter is in school here and I’m at college. I don’t know anyone in Luton.” The council said there were no properties available in the borough, and, she said, told her it was her only option. Initially she refused the housing in Luton. The council then said that if she chose to be homeless her children could be removed by social services. She ﬁnally moved with her younger daughter into the ﬂat. It costs £25 for a return trip to London, so visiting her elder daughter is hard. Recently she has mostly abandoned the Luton ﬂat and stayed on a friend’s sofa nearer to her elder daughter to try to ﬁnd somewhere closer to live permanently. She has been prescribed anti-depressants and is angry at the catastrophic impact of the move. “What children want is to come back from school, have supper with their mum, talk a bit, be looked after until bed time. Since February I haven’t seen [the eldest] properly.” Amelia Gentleman
A housing estate in Tower Hamlets, which has relocated some residents to Northampton Photograph: Dan Kitwood/Getty
The government had hoped the housing beneﬁt reforms would force landlords to reduce rents to within cap limits. But councils say the demand for private rented property from tenants priced out of the housing market means most landlords see no reason to drop rents, and a substantial number say they will no longer consider renting to people who are claiming housing beneﬁt. Some councils have estimated that up to a third of families aﬀected by the introduction of the £26,000 beneﬁt cap, the local housing allowance cap and under-occupation penalties, known as the “spare room tax”, will lose about £100 a week. They face the options of ﬁnding more income, moving into cheaper accommodation or
presenting to the local authority as homeless. Most authorities have attempted to identify and advise residents at risk of losing income as a result of welfare changes. But there is acceptance among oﬃcials that many of the families affected will have few options. One cabinet member for housing in an inner city borough said: “Let’s face it, a lot of people with more than two or three children, and who are dependent on beneﬁts in this borough are not going to be here for very much longer.” Although ministers have introduced a £165m discretionary housing fund for London councils in 2013-14 to help families who can make a case for staying, the CPAG report says this is inadequate and
amounts to less than 10% of the shortfall in beneﬁt income caused by changes. A government spokesperson said: “It is neither acceptable, fair nor necessary for local authorities to place families far away from their area. The law is already clear that local authorities must secure accommodation within their own borough so far as reasonably practicable, and new rules will reinforce this. “Our reforms restore fairness to a system that was allowed to spiral out of control under the previous government. It’s not right that some families living on beneﬁts should be able to live in areas of London that hard-working families could simply never aﬀord to stay in. Additional research by Irene Baque
The Guardian | Monday 5 November 2012
Sharon Osbourne tells of double mastectomy
Genetic factors raised risk of second bout of cancer ‘I want to be around to be a grandmother to Pearl’
Former X Factor judge Sharon Osbourne has revealed she underwent a preventive double mastectomy after ﬁnding she had a genetic mutation that raised her chances of developing breast cancer. The wife of heavy metal star Ozzy, whose struggles with colon cancer 10 years ago were documented in the reality television show The Osbournes, said the surgery was a “no-brainer” when doctors told her about the ﬂaw. “As soon as I found out I had the breast cancer gene, I thought: ‘The odds are not in my favour,’” Osbourne, 60, told Hello! magazine. “I’ve had cancer before and I didn’t want to live under that cloud. I decided to just take everything oﬀ, and had a double mastectomy.” The decision came in the same year as the birth of her granddaughter, Pearl, and her son Jack’s diagnosis with multiple sclerosis. Her surgery, which aims to remove all breast tissue, lasted 13 hours. “I want to be around for a long time and be a grandmother to Pearl. I didn’t even think of my breasts in a nostalgic way, I just wanted to be able to live my life without that fear all the time. It’s not ‘pity me’, it’s a decision I made that’s got rid of this weight that I was carrying around.” Osbourne did not go into detail about the genetic findings. Preventive breast surgery is an option usually considered only by women with certain factors which put them at high risk of developing breast cancer, including a previous diagnosis, a strong family history, or a mutation in one of the so-called breast cancer genes, which include BRCA1 and BRCA2. The NHS says women with a mutation will not inevitably develop breast cancer, but they are signiﬁcantly more likely to do so. Between 50 and 85 of every 100 women with a faulty gene will develop breast cancer, it says. A high proportion opt for riskreducing surgery such as a mastectomy or an oophorectomy – removal of ovaries. There was fresh controversy last week over the best means of detecting and preventing breast cancer after an independent review of breast cancer screening found that, while mammographies save about 1,300 lives every year, 4,000 women will undergo treatment for a cancer which would have done them no harm. The review recommended, nonetheless, that such screenings should continue. Osbourne, who founded the colon cancer programme at Cedars Sinai hospital in the US in 2004 after her recovery from the disease, said that while she was happy with her decision to have a double mastectomy, she was putting an end to her widely documented use of cosmetic surgery. Before the breast surgery, she discovered implants she had previously had put in had leaked into her stomach wall. “Now I am deﬁnitely, deﬁnitely done,” she said. “You can’t buy your youth back, no matter how much money you’ve got. I won’t be going under the knife again.”
Police identify remains of missing vet
North Wales police say remains found in a shallow pool in a ﬁeld in Flintshire last week have been identiﬁed as being those of the vet Catherine Gowing, who disappeared three weeks ago. The 37-year-old, originally from County Offaly in Ireland, was last spotted on a CCTV camera as she left a branch of Asda in Queensferry on the evening of Friday 12 October. She was reported missing the following Monday when she failed to arrive for work at the veterinary practice in Mold, Flintshire, where she had worked for 18 months. Her car was found burned out near a disused quarry. A post mortem confirmed that the remains were Gowing’s, said Detective Chief Inspector Mark Pierce, who is leading the case. “The postmortem conﬁrmed our fears and the results have been passed to Catherine’s family,” he said. “We are also awaiting identiﬁcation of further remains found on the banks of the river Dee in Ferry Lane, Higher Ferry, Chester, on Friday.” Clive Sharp, 46, of no fixed address, was charged with Gowing’s murder last month. At a court appearance in which he appeared by video link, he was remanded in custody until 7 January, when he is due to enter his plea. A three-week trial was provisionally ﬁxed to start in early April. Police have reiterated an appeal for sightings of Gowing’s Irish-registered Renault Clio, or Sharp’s Volvo S40, registration number AG58 JHE, following her disappearance, particularly in the Sealand area of Flintshire.
Sharon Osbourne has decided to have no more cosmetic surgery Photograph: Getty
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The recession has hit animals hard – leaving us struggling to cope. We’ve dealt with 65% more abandonments, 24% more cruelty convictions and signiﬁcant increases in veterinary and food costs. At this rate, a further 6,000 dogs and cats will be abandoned before the end of the year – and we will need an additional £5m to care for them. Without a signiﬁcant and rapid boost to our funds, we will soon be forced to turn animals in desperate need away from our centres. So if you care about animals and want to ensure that they are protected, please send a gift TODAY. And please spread the word to your friends, family and anyone else you think could help us.
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The Guardian | Monday 5 November 2012
V for Vendetta author releases Occupy ballad
Alan Moore, the comic book author whose stylised Guy Fawkes-type mask from his V for Vendetta series became a global symbol for Occupy protesters, has cemented his support for the group’s aims by writing and recording his ﬁrst record for the UK arm of the movement. The Decline of English Murder is a gloomy and at times opaque ballad that likens the economic inequities challenged by Occupy to the work of a killer. It is released by Occupy Records, the musical spin-oﬀ from the protest group, which has already collaborated with Radiohead’s Thom Yorke and members of Massive Attack. Moore, 58, is one of the most famous names in modern comics. The bulk of his titles, which include Watchmen From Hell and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, the bulk of which, have been made into Hollywood ﬁlms of varying quality, many of them in turn disowned by the irascible writer. Moore spoke last year of his surprise and pride at seeing the Fawkes masks, which he and the V for Vendetta artist David Lloyd devised in 1982, being worn by demonstrators before they became a ﬁxture of Occupy protests. Moore was at pains to maintain his distance from Occupy, saying his own activism was limited to “a moan in the local pub”. The writer did, however, visit the Occupy camp that set up next to St Paul’s cathedral from last October until authorities cleared it away in February. In an interview a fortnight ago with the Occupy Times, a publication that grew out of the London movement, Moore spoke of his dismay at a political and economic system that concentrates power in a tiny number of people and praised mass action as a tool for change. The song, with Moore half-speaking, half-singing his words to a musical backing by Joe Brown, is as mournful as you might expect from something that namechecks a motorway service station near Preston in its ﬁrst line. It oﬀers a pair of bleak vignettes: ﬁrst a presumably homeless young woman at a motorway service station, drying her hair in the washroom before nursing a cup of tea for an hour; then an older man who dies in a cold spell because he could not aﬀord his heating bill. These are contrasted with the wealth of City bankers, with the ﬁnal lines: “Your average psychopath at least kills with a hammer or brick / And not with greed and incompetence / And after two or three years maybe they’ll express remorse.” Tying in further with the Moore theme, activists from the Anonymous hacking group are organising a march on parliament for Monday by protesters wearing the trademark mask. Moore’s views contrast with those of his US peer, Frank Miller, author of the celebrated Batman title Dark Knight Returns. Miller last year called the US Occupy movement “nothing but a pack of louts, thieves, and rapists” who would do better enlisting in the military. In his Occupy Times interview, Moore is withering about Miller’s views, saying: “I understand Frank Miller stated his regret that he was now too old to ﬁght alongside soldiers in Afghanistan, but said that if he’d been a younger man he would have been the ﬁrst to have his ‘ﬁnger on the trigger’. Presumably he didn’t hear about the ﬁrst Gulf war, the conﬂict in the Balkans or the many other opportunities he could have had to do the right thing and enlist.” A stream of The Decline of English Murder will be available to listen to on guardian.co.uk from 10am
Three held after soldier dies in Cyprus club
Three British tourists have been arrested in Cyprus after a teenage soldier based on the island was stabbed to death following a reported ﬁght at a nightclub in Ayia Napa, the turbulent seaside resort which UK troops have long been ordered to avoid. Georgios Economou, a spokesman for police in Cyprus, said a ﬁght took place in a nightclub during the early hours of yesterday between four British soldiers and three British tourists, during which one of the holidaymakers allegedly produced a knife and stabbed the 19-year-old. The Ministry of Defence last night conﬁrmed the soldier had died. A spokesman said: “It is with great sadness that the MoD must conﬁrm that a soldier from 2nd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers has died in an incident in Cyprus. “An investigation is being conducted by Cyprus police and it would be inappropriate to comment any further. The family has been informed and our thoughts are with them.” The MoD said the incident took place in a part of Ayia Napa oﬃcially oﬀ limits for British soldiers because of past trouble. A Foreign Oﬃce spokesman said: “We are aware of the arrest of three British nationals in Ayia Napa and we are providing consular assistance.” Ayia Napa, on the south-eastern edge of the Mediterranean island, is popular with younger tourists and its pub and nightclub scene has a reputation for chaos, excessive drinking, drug use and intermittent violence. British soldiers have been banned from pubs and clubs at the centre of the resort since 1994 when Louise Jensen, a 23-yearold Danish tour guide, was abducted, raped and beaten to death by three British soldiers from a local base.
Author Alan Moore was surprised when his masked character ‘V’ became a symbol of Occupy Photograph: Murdo Macleod for the Guardian
The Guardian | Monday 5 November 2012
International editor: Charlie English Telephone: 020 3353 3577 Fax: 020 3353 3195 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Follow our coverage on Twitter: guardianworld
Abbas sparks Palestinian fury after waiving right of return
President gives up claim to live in town of his birth Israeli leaders give mixed reaction after TV interview
Harriet Sherwood Jerusalem
The Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, is facing widespread condemnation and anger in the Palestinian territories and abroad after he publicly waived his right to return to live in the town from which his family was forced to ﬂee in 1948, a repudiation of huge signiﬁcance for Palestinian refugees. After his image was burned in refugee camps in Gaza, Abbas rejected accusations that he had conceded one of the most emotional and visceral issues on the Palestinian agenda, the demand by millions of refugees to return to their former homes in what is now Israel. He insisted that comments made in an interview with an Israeli television channel were selectively quoted and the remarks were his personal stance, rather than a change of policy. Abbas told Channel 2 he accepted he had no right to live in Safed, the town of his birth, from which his family was forced to ﬂee in 1948 when Abbas was 13. “I visited Safed before once, he said. “But I want to see Safed. It’s my right to see it, but not to live there.” Referring to the internationally-recognised pre-1967 border, he went on: “Palestine now for me is ’67 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital. This is now and forever ... This is Palestine for me. I am a refugee, but I am living in Ramallah. I believe that the West Bank and Gaza is Palestine and the other parts are Israel.” The comments sparked protests in Gaza, where people in refugee camps burned images of the Palestinian president. Abbas was denounced on Twitter by pro-Palestinian activists. Ismail Haniyeh, the Hamas ruler in Gaza, said the issue was not about Abbas’s right to return to Safed but “the rights of 6 million Palestinians”. He said in a statement: “No one has the right, whoever he is – a common man or president, organisation, a government or authority – to give up an inch of Palestinian land.” Sami Abu Zuhri, a Hamas spokesman, said the president’s statement did “not represent in any way the views of the Palestinian people”. The “right of return” is one of the most intractable issues in talks between the Israelis and Palestinians for a resolution to their decades-old conflict. The Palestinians have historically demanded that all those who ﬂed or were expelled from their homes in the period around the formation of the state of Israel in 1948, and their descendants, must be allowed to return to their former homes. A bout 5 million Palestinians are registered as refugees in the Palestinian territories and abroad. Israel rejects their demand, saying that such a move would spell the end of the Jewish state. Most international diplomats and observers believe that a settlement to the conﬂict is likely to involve a symbolic number of Palestinian refugees being given the right to return. Following the broadcast of the interview, Israel’s president, Shimon Peres, said Abbas’s comments were a “brave and important public declaration”. In a statement, he said Abbas had shown he was “a real partner for peace” and that he understood “the solution to the Palestinian refugee issue cannot be in Israel’s territory and to the detriment of Israel’s character”. Israel’s defence, minister Ehud Barak, described Abbas’s remarks as courageous and clear. But Israel’s prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu. dismissed the comments, saying that the Palestinian president had diﬀerent messages for different audiences. “There is no connection
Hand of God (and altar boy) selects Egypt’s new Coptic pope
Abdel-Rahman Hussein Cairo
Some huddle in conclave before announcing their decision in a puﬀ of smoke. Others ballot church dignitaries and pray for the wisdom to elect the right leader. Not so the Coptic church, which yesterday selected its new pope by getting a blindfolded boy to pick a name from a bowl. The winner, Bishop Tawadros, became Pope Tawadros II. By a quirk of fate, it also happened to be his birthday. They call it the altar lottery, and it’s how the Coptic Orthodox church has been selecting its heads since the 18th century. After the death of Pope Shenouda III in March, candidates from within the church put themselves forward for a lengthy selection process in which 2,500 prominent Christians from both inside and outside the church whittled them down to ﬁrst ﬁve and ﬁnally three candidates. The other two were the auxiliary bishop of central Cairo, Bishop Raphael, and Father Raphael Ava Mina, a monk at the St Mina monastery near Alexandria. Even after the boy had picked out Tawadros’s name, the other two names had to be picked out of the bowl too, to ensure transparency of the process. Sherif Azer, a Coptic Christian and human rights advocate who has been critical of the church’s recent political stances, told the Guardian: “The idea behind it is to invoke divine intervention, which doesn’t ﬁt with the concept of a demoPope Tawadros II takes over as head of the Coptic Church at a time of continued sectarian attacks against Christians in Egypt cratic election. Some active church members have already discussed reviewing the process, but I don’t think this issue will be brought up anytime soon as the pope will serve for a lifetime.” Tawadros is to be oﬃcially enthroned on 18 November, but speaking from the monastery where he lives in the Nile delta governorate of Beheira, he told the assembled throng: “The other two candidates were more deserving than me. I put myself in the hands of Christ, who is the true leader of the church.” He takes over a church that has not yet fully come to terms with the death of Pope Shenouda III, after four decades at the helm, and amid continued sectarian attacks against Christians in Egypt. His predecessor had always seen the state as the only bulwark against increased Islamist fanaticism and sectarian tensions. This came to a head in October 2011, when 27 Christian protesters were killed when soldiers opened ﬁre on them and ran them over. The church’s refusal to condemn the ruling military junta led to criticism from within the Coptic Christian community and from revolutionary forces. In a nod to the delicate balancing act he will have to perform, Tawadros said: “At this time, we would like to thank the state and the media who paid great attention to this lovely event and have shown us great aﬀection.” Azer said: “I think the new pope has two options: either be outspoken and make the church the oﬃcial representative of the Copts, openly demanding their rights, or remove the church completely from the political realm.”
‘It is my right to see [the town of my birth] but not to live there’
between [his] statements and his actual actions,” he said, calling for Abbas to return to negotiations. Palestinian sources played down the row, saying Abbas’s comments had been misconstrued. One suggested the president had been ill-prepared for the interview and it had been a mistake to agree to conduct it in English, a language in which Abbas is not ﬂuent. Ghassan Khatib, an academic at Bir Zeit university in the West Bank and a former Palestinian Authority spokesman, said Abbas had not suggested a change in the oﬃcial position. “This is an optional right. If an individual refugee does not wish to return, he will be free not to return. We all know that all Palestinians are not going to return. Some understand this, some do not.” In the interview, Abbas also said that, while he was president, there would be “no third armed intifada [uprising against Israel]. Never.” He said: “We don’t want to use terror. We don’t want to use force. We don’t want to use weapons. We want to use diplomacy. We want to use politics. We want to use negotiations. We want to use peaceful resistance. That’s it.” He has said that Palestinian negotiators are willing to resume talks with Israel following the submission of a request, expected later this month, to the UN general assembly for recognition as a “non-member state”. Israel and the US are opposed to the move, which is expected to be passed by a majority of the UN’s 193 member states. Jamal Zahalka, page 28 ≥
PHOTOGRAPHS: MAHMUD KHALED/AFP; KHALED ELFIQI/EPA
A blindfolded altar boy selects the new head of Egypt’s Coptic Church at St Mark’s cathedral in Cairo yesterday. He picks a paper with a name at random from a crystal chalice containing all three candidates – and Tawadros II is declared pope
The Guardian | Monday 5 November 2012
Eyewitness 04.11.12 Boera, Papua New Guinea
Royal party The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall are greeted by dancers in Boera village, Papua New Guinea, where they planted a mangrove sapling as part of a conservation project during a tour to mark the Queen’s diamond jubilee year Photograph: Chris Radburn/PA
The Guardian | Monday 5 November 2012
The Guardian | Monday 5 November 2012
Amid complaints, criticism and bad feeling, PM ﬂies out to smooth ruﬄed feathers
The Arab spring and a plans for a parliamentary inquiry have rattled vital trading partners. Ian Black reports on Cameron’s peace mission
avid Cameron’s Gulf mission is a conspicuous attempt to calm relations between Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, both vital trading partners, after spats caused by the changes during the Arab spring and fears over the growing strength of Islamist groups in the Middle East. The trip is part of an ongoing eﬀort to smooth recently ruﬄed feathers in the two autocratic states and ensure that billions of pounds worth of defence sales and other UK economic interests are not aﬀected. Problems on the prime minister’s agenda include sudden diﬃculties over renewing a key BP oil concession in Abu Dhabi, the largest of the Arab emirates, and worries about a £7bn ﬁghter aircraft deal with Saudi Arabia. Both countries are bristling over criticism of their human rights records – though little of it is from the British government. UK trade with the Gulf is worth £17bn a year. Cameron’s trip was arranged some time ago, but follows last month’s extraordinary outburst by the Saudi ambassador to London, who said the kingdom felt “insulted” by a planned parliamentary investigation into Britain’s relations with Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. Saudi sources warned the BBC that there could be a retaliatory “review” of the country’s ties with the UK. British oﬃcials have subsequently been scrambling to explain that the government cannot control the Commons foreign aﬀairs committee. One view was that the ambassador may have been covering his back, rather than acting with the authority of the foreign minister, Saud al-Faisal, who has been ill. Saudi oﬃcials complained that the foreign aﬀairs committee had been “manipulated” by the vocal Bahraini opposition, some of them with links to Iran, who are keen to stress the Saudi role in helping to crush the unrest in Bahrain in March 2011. Friends and critics of Saudi Arabia agree that the parliamentary move had damaged the country’s already poor image in the UK. William Hague, the foreign secretary, and Philip Hammond, the defence secretary, are planning separate Gulf tours.
United Arab Emirates
Emirati leaders angry at media coverage of Islamists and human rights issues, and at western engagement with Muslim Brotherhood The Foreign Oﬃce says about 160,000 Britons work in the Gulf, and exports to the region are worth £17bn, on a par with China and India combined
BAE close to order for 12 Typhoon jets
Key BP oil concession in Abu Dhabi Serco provides aeronautical services at six international airports across the Gulf. The company also operates the Dubai metro, which transports 30 million people a year in driverless trains that travel at up to 90km an hour
applied by the UAE, brooding over regional and local issues. Like the Saudis, the Emiratis were devastated by the west’s abandonment of President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt last year and the rise to power of the Muslim Brotherhood across the Middle East. The UAE is also notably hawkish on Iran, whose nuclear programme is at the centre of regional tensions. Emirati leaders have been angrily expressing their concerns to the UK, diplomats say. Tempers ﬂared recently over coverage of Islamists and human rights issues by the Guardian and BBC, triggering a Twitter campaign accusing Britain of backing “traitors”. ndependent observers are pleased that the UK is becoming more critical of the status quo in Bahrain, where the British government criticised a ban on demonstrations as “excessive” last week. “People are surprised that the British are taking such a critical role in assessing the situation in a way that might have a negative impact on trade,” said Mansour al-Jamri, editor of the Bahraini newspaper al-Wasat. But others see more continuity than change in the region as a whole. “The Gulf states are unnerved by the ease with which the US and UK have shifted towards engaging with the Muslim Brotherhood in North Africa,” said Jane Kinninmont of Chatham House. “They don’t want what happened to Mubarak to happen to them. Elsewhere in the Middle East things are diﬀerent, but I struggle to see any diﬀerence in policies towards the Gulf. Britain is doing business as usual in Bahrain despite the protests. That’s a signal that will not be lost on the Saudis as they deal with unrest in their eastern provinces.” If the Saudis are now silent, their British friends are speaking out. Daniel Kawczynski, the Tory MP who chairs the all-party parliamentary group on Saudi Arabia, says the row over the foreign aﬀairs committee inquiry has been “extremely unhelpful and damaging“ to relations between the two countries. “Every time I take an MP to Saudi Arabia their views are radically changed,” Kawczynski said. “There is a huge amount of prejudice in the House of Commons as there is in the country as a whole, because you only ever hear negative press reports. People have a very distorted view of the kingdom. I would be very put out if the Saudis came to this country and challenged and berated me about all our social ills – whether neglect of the elderly or drug abuse or inner city crime. But we constantly criticise the Saudis in a quasi-colonialist and condescending and derogatory manner. You have to consider what would happen if Saudi Arabia was in the hands of an extremist Muslim government.”
Standard Chartered is largest international bank in UAE, where it has 340,000 customers and employs 2,305 staﬀ. It also has signiﬁcant operations in Bahrain, Jordan, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and United Arab Emirates Sir Norman Foster’s architectural practice has designed an $18bn (£11.2bn) “carbon neutral” city in Abu Dhabi. Masdar City, which is designed to be powered entirely by solar energy and other renewable energy, will be home to about 50,000 people, at least 1,000 businesses and a university WS Atkins. The UK’s largest engineering consultancy employs 1,972 in 11 oﬃces across the Middle East and made £171.4m in the region last year. Its most high-proﬁle project was designing the sail-shaped Burj Al Arab 56-storey hotel on a purpose-built island in Dubai
Kingdom says it felt "insulted" by a planned parliamentary investigation into Britain’s relations with Saudi Arabia and Bahrain
FCO concerns over human rights, though criticism is discreet
£7bn BAE ﬁghter aircraft deal with Saudi Arabia still to be ﬁnalised Private security ﬁrm G4S has a joint venture in Saudi Arabia, Almajal G4S, which employs more than 15,000 people across the kingdom and operates more than 500 armoured vehicles. The company’s support for the regime during popular protests earned local staﬀ a two-month bonus
Compounding tensions with the Saudis is what regular visitors describe as a sense of drift in Riyadh, where 88-yearold King Abdullah is ailing, reforms are moving at a glacial pace and the future is uncertain. Another part of the problem is a London embassy that is notoriously prickly and uncommunicative. Little damage has been felt so far, but there is palpable nervousness regarding the future. Cameron will push for the completion of the BAE Systems deal for 72 Typhoon jets, maintenance and missiles, and for lucrative business with the UAE, where the defence manu-
facturer has “huge ambitions,” in the words of its chairman Dick Olver. “The Saudis will play Russian roulette with payments which could be quite exciting given BAE’s current problems,” predicted a businessman with long experience of the region. “They will use political stuﬀ as a point of leverage – whatever tools they have at their disposal.” Precedent is worrying. In 2006 the Saudis threatened to end counterterrorist cooperation with the UK unless the serious fraud oﬃce dropped its investigation into BAE Systems over the al-Yamamah arms deal. Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles, ambassador to Saudi Arabia at time, assessed that the threat was real and the investi-
gation was shelved on national security grounds. He is now BAE’s international business development director. Unrest in the eastern provinces, home to the country’s Shia minority, is another highly sensitive issue, with Gulf oﬃcials warning that the Saudis will not countenance interference in their internal aﬀairs. The Foreign Oﬃce categorises the kingdom as a “country of concern” in terms of human rights, but its criticism is discreet. “Saudi Arabia … gets a comparatively easy ride given the scale of the human rights violations in the kingdom,” Amnesty International said last week. Uncertainty over the BP concession suggests pressure is already being
BAE turns to the Middle East
In the wake of the failed £25bn merger with the Franco-German owner of Airbus, EADS, BAE Systems and its investors are looking beyond the western world. The UK’s largest defence contractor sees the Middle East as an important growth market, building on the substantial position it has established on the back of the controversial al-Yamamah arms deal. That contract with the Saudi Arabian government brought BAE more than £40bn of revenue, as well as a Serious Fraud Office investigation that ended under government orders in 2006. BAE is close to securing an order for 12 Typhoon jets from Oman, a Gulf state. Further down the track, multi billionpound aircraft deals in the United Arab Emirates and Qatar beckon. Saudi Arabia will play an important role following the collapse of the merger. Investors and market analysts are hoping that BAE will soften the blow of the EADS failure, and buy the management more time, by returning the proceeds from a renegotiation of a Saudi contract for 72 Typhoons. BAE is expected to receive up to £600m and shareholders hope it will be diverted towards them by way of a special dividend or share buyback. In the longer-term, however, the Arab spring could alter a business environment that has been a consistent earner for BAE and other western defence contractors. According to analysis by IHS Jane’s, Arab states may seek to reduce their reliance on individual defence contractors. But the political upheaval over the past year contains opportunities for BAE, which has a burgeoning cybersecurity business.
BP excluded from UAE oilﬁeld bid
One of BP’s longest-running energy concessions is threatening to become a highprofile victim of tensions between the United Arab Emirates and Britain over criticism of the Middle East state’s crackdown on Islamist extremist groups. BP was given a stake in a vast onshore oil ﬁeld in Abu Dhabi in 1939, but the concession is up for renewal in 2014 and BP has been excluded from the bidding list. The UAE is one of the world’s top ﬁve oil exporters and Abu Dhabi is the headquarters for BP’s entire exploration and production operation across the Middle East – the birthplace in 1909 of the business as the Anglo-Persian Oil Company. BP said discussions are still continuing with the UAE authorities, but its exclusion from the bid is a big blow. It is in a row with Azerbaijan over falling output there, and has been hit by problems recently, most notably the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. BP is privately said to be still hopeful that the British government can sweettalk the UAE into changing its mind at a time when its chief rivals, Royal Dutch Shell, ExxonMobil and others, have been accepted as prequaliﬁed to bid. UAE officials have also accepted privately that the problem is to do with the UK government rather than BP, a belief shared by oil analysts in London. The UAE is still to make a ﬁnal decision, giving it leverage to urge the UK government to dissuade political commentators from giving what it sees as support to Islamist groups such as al-Islah. Human Rights Watch sees the group – translated as Reform and Social Guidance – as a “nonviolent political association advocating greater adherence to Islamic precepts”. BP holds a 9.5% holding in the 1.4m barrels-a-day concession alongside four western oil majors and the local state-owned group Abu Dhabi National Oil Company. The loss of its interests would deprive BP of 125,000 barrels a day, around 3.5% of its total global production. BP is struggling to keep its volumes from falling as it sells its 50% stake in TNK-BP, its highly productive Russian operation. The ﬁnancial loss from Abu Dhabi, however, would be less pronounced as the company is paid only $1 (62p) a barrel.
PM’s pitch to sell Typhoon ﬁghters
← continued from page 1 you only ever hear negative press reports. People have a distorted view of the kingdom. I would be very put out if the Saudis came to this country and challenged and berated me about our social ills.” Downing Street denied that the prime minister was seeking to limit press coverage of the trip. A No 10 spokeswoman said: “This is not a secretive trip in any shape or form. We have the media travelling on the plane with the prime minister.” Lord Green of Hurstpierpoint, the trade minister, is taking a parallel trade delegation whose members will meet the prime minister in Saudi and the UAE. The prime minister will attend a trade fair in Abu Dhabi which will be attended by BAE Systems and Rolls Royce. The prime minister wants to persuade the UAE to buy the Typhoons to replace their ageing ﬂeet of French Mirage jets. The Emiratis have expressed interest in ordering 60 of the jets. Oman has expressed interest in 12, while Saudi Arabia is considering placing a second order on top of the 72 they have already bought.
BAE hopes to supply Typhoons to Oman
The Guardian | Monday 5 November 2012
Gang attack blamed on Russia’s ban on ‘gay propaganda’
Assault in Moscow club heightens concern Rights groups accuse police of tolerating attacks
Miriam Elder Moscow
Alyona Korolyova thought she had seen everything – the lifting of Russia’s ban on homosexuality after the Soviet Union fell, the slow appearance of mainstream gay clubs, and even, once, a young gay couple on a TV sitcom. Then last week, Korolyova, 48, was forced to stand pressed against the wall of a gay-friendly club and watch as a group of burly men, their faces hidden with surgical masks, repeatedly kicked her girlfriend in the head as part of an organised attack. “I never thought I would live to see this,” Korolyova said. “It was like a movie, a nightmare.” The attack on 7freedays, a club in central Moscow, has heightened fears among gay rights activists that new laws targeting “homosexual propaganda” in cities around Russia have created an atmosphere where discrimination – and violence – against gay people is now tolerated. Gay rights groups claim authorities are condoning attacks since laws came in banning homosexual propaganda “The authorities have given a command – that such attacks will not be punished, that we are a group to be hated,” Korolyova said. The incident took place last week during a celebration of the internationally observed National Coming Out Day. Despite the club’s serpentine hallways, the men knew which room to run to, and divided up in planned formation, patrons said. “At around 9.30pm, a group of masked men ran by me, yelled: ‘This ﬁght has been ordered’ and began overturning tables, throwing chairs and beating whomever fell under their hands,” Andrei Obolensky said. The attack lasted ﬁve minutes. Four people – three women and one man – were treated in hospital and at least a dozen left with cuts and bruises. The attack is one of several to have been reported since Russian cities began adopting the laws amid a wider government initiative to push for ultraconservative policies. Discrimination is even more widespread. Gay pride marches are regularly banned in Russia and this summer, Moscow’s highest court banned gay pride parades in the capital for 100 years. Eight Russian regions have banned so-called “homosexual propaganda” in the past year – Arkhangelsk, Ryazan, Kostroma, Magadan, Novosibirsk, Krasnodar, Bashkortostan and, most controversially, St Petersburg, Russia’s second city and its cultural capital. A bill on a national ban has been submitted to the Duma, the Russian parliament. Igor Kochatkev, the head of LGBT Network, a St Petersburg-based gay rights advocacy, said: “Of course there is a link – we see that whenever such laws on propaganda are adopted, or even discussed, then the activism of violent groups increases.” The day after the law was adopted in St Petersburg in March, a group of men attacked one of its most popular gay clubs, Malevich. Similar attacks were recorded in the city in May and June, according to LGBT Network. The attack on 7freedays came a day after People’s Council, a nationalist group, called on authorities in Moscow to ban “homosexual propaganda”. Oleg Kassin, a member of the group, denied any link to the attack. “We don’t go down the path of violence,” he said. “Only the path of law. We are working to create a necessary legal basis, the necessary laws.” He accused LGBT activists of organising the attack themselves to raise their proﬁle. Kassin said People’s Council, an antiimmigrant pro-church group, worked with “friendly deputies” to push for the passage of anti-gay laws. One such deputy is Vitaly Milonov, an outspoken and religious MP in the St Petersburg legislature who has become the face of Russia’s antigay movement. He has supported charging Madonna with promoting “homosexual propaganda” after an August concert in St Petersburg where she spoke out in support of gay rights. A city court has demanded the pop star appears for a hearing into the charges – she has not responded. “Homosexuality is a sickness. It must be treated like a tooth that hurts,” said Milonov, who put forward the St Petersburg law this year. According to the Levada Centre, an independent pollster, many agree. A poll in July found 32% of Russians saw homosexuality as “a sickness or the result of a psychological trauma” – 43% saw it as “debauchery or a bad habit”. Milonov plays to those views, while pushing for the interests of Russia’s Orthodox Christians. It is no wonder gay rights activists feel threatened. “We see these new laws being adopted,” said Obolensky, “and then many clerical representatives and nationalists say that LGBT people are sick and need to be healed. This raises the level of intolerance in society”. Korolyova, who was in the Moscow club at the time of the attack, said that she would not change her behaviour: “We will not go underground. We will not hide.”
Tie the knot Mass wedding
Young Muslim brides await their grooms in a mass marriage ceremony in Bhopal, India, yesterday. More than 45 Muslim couples were joined in this matrimonial ceremony organised for underprivileged people Photograph: Sanjeev Gupta/EPA
Dotcom plans free internet access for New Zealand
Kim Dotcom, the flamboyant Germanborn internet entrepreneur facing extradition to the US for alleged piracy, has put forward a plan to give all householders in his new home of New Zealand free broadband access, ﬁnanced by suing Hollywood studios and the American government. The 38-year-old, better known to his mother as Kim Schmitz, made a fortune reputed to exceed £100m with his hugely popular Mega upload file storage site, which US prosecutors allege was involved in the distribution of copyright-protected ﬁlms, music and other material. Originally based in Hong Kong, Dotcom has had New Zealand residency for two years. In January this year dozens of police raided his mansion in Auckland and other addresses on behalf of the FBI. Six months later New Zealand’s high court ruled that the operation was illegal, casting doubt on the 6ft 6in entrepreneur’s extradition. Dotcom has been on bail since February. Dotcom nonetheless faces an extradition hearing in March, and has engaged in a concerted campaign to court public opinion. The latest salvo involves resurrecting a planned second ﬁbre-optic web cable across the Paciﬁc to the US, which would have doubled New Zealand’s available internet bandwidth. A New Zealand company, Pacific Fibre, hoped to build the £200m link but announced in August it could not secure the funding. Dotcom’s proposal is to supply broadband free to domestic customers, charging only businesses and government users, the New Zealand Herald reported. His share of the capital would be provided by lawsuits against the US government and ﬁlm studios for their “unlawful and political destruction” of his business, he said. The plan would be key to New Zealand’s future prosperity, Dotcom said: “You have clean and cheap energy here. Power is becoming the biggest cost factor for data centres around the world. With its own cable, cheap power and connectivity, New Zealand could attract foreign internet business.” Dotcom’s plan has received some support. “If anyone can put together a deal like this, then it would be Kim Dotcom,” said Paul Brislen of the Telecommunications Users Association of New Zealand. Clare Curran, the MP who covers communications and IT for the opposition Labour party, said Dotcom was right in raising the idea of a second cable. “Kiwi businesses, particularly in the technology sector, have been calling for a second cable for some time now. Their concerns need to be taken seriously.”
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Tibetan artist dies in self-immolation
Associated Press Beijing
A Tibetan artist has died after setting himself on fire in the latest selfimmolation protest against Chinese rule, it was reported yesterday. The incident in Tongren, a monastery town in western China’s Qinghai province, took place amid claims that many residents were staying indoors out of fear caused by a huge presence of secuirty forces on the streets. The man set ﬁre to himself yesterday, said the government in exile and the London-based activist group Free Tibet. A photo on the exile government’s website showed a burned body wrapped in orange scarves and surrounded by monks. Free Tibet identiﬁed the dead man as Dorje Lungdup, 25. A representative of the family told the crowd that he set ﬁre to himself to call for the return of the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, and begged them not to protest for the sake of their own safety, Free Tibet said. Dozens of ethnic Tibetans have set themselves on ﬁre since March 2011 to protest against what activists say is Beijing’s heavy-handed rule. Many have called for the return of the Dalai Lama.
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The Guardian | Monday 5 November 2012
Global reﬂection Summit of world leaders
Five wounded as rival militias clash in Tripoli
Rival Libyan militias ﬁred guns and rocket-propelled grenades at each other in Tripoli yesterday and set ﬁre to a former intelligence building in one of the worst breakdowns in security in the capital since the fall of Muammar Gaddaﬁ. At least ﬁve people were wounded and a stray bullet entered a hospital in the city centre, where residents rushed to arm themselves, saying calls to police had gone unheeded. After more than 12 hours, the army moved in. The violence underscored the challenges faced by Libya’s ﬁrst freely elected government, which was approved last week, in reining in the militias that gained power during the conﬂict and holding together a country riven by regional, sectarian and clan divisions. A building belonging to the Supreme Security Committee (SSC), set up last year to try to regulate armed groups, was set alight and looted by members of a militia faction, witnesses said. The ﬁght erupted just after midnight, according to residents in the southern district of Sidi Khalifa. The militias involved are both aﬃliated to the SSC, an umbrella group for various armed groups that refused to join the police or army saying these were still run by Gaddaﬁ loyalists. Civilians blocked the street where the ﬁghting raged to prevent cars entering, and many went home to get their own weapons. “We called the police early in the morning to help us stop the shooting, but no one came,” said Khaled Mohamed. At the nearby Tripoli central hospital, doctors and nurses ran for cover. Dr Khaled Ben Nour said ﬁve casualties had been brought in. “We have real patients with real needs. These rogue militias need to leave us in peace so we can do our jobs,” he said. Some ﬁghters said the clash was over the detention of a militiaman, while others said the SSC headquarters had been occupied by a militia called Support Unit No 8, led by Mohamed al-Warfali. Rival militias, also belonging to the SSC, ﬁred at the building from a former post oﬃce. “The government needs e to ﬁnd a solution for this security on mess,” said resident Khaled dent Ahmed. “They either need to ﬁnd a solution or we take to the streets again.” SSC members s have been accused sed of kidnappings and intimidation across ross Libya. Reuters Tripoli
A cleaner adds the ﬁnishing touches in Vientiane, Laos, before this year’s Asia-Europe Meeting opened yesterday. The economy topped the agenda Damir Sagolj/Reuters
Sculpture of Churchill unveiled in Jerusalem
Almost half a century after his death, Winston Churchill was honoured in Jerusalem yesterday with a statue and a tribute proclaiming him a friend of the Jewish people and the Zionist cause. A large bronze bust was unveiled at Mishkenot Sha’ananim, outside the walls of the Old City, in recognition of the contribution made by Britain’s wartime leader to the creation of the state t of Israel. Made from an original cast Mad by Oscar Nemon , the familiar proNe ﬁle would “correct a small historic “ injustice”, said the UK ambassador to Israe Matthew Gould. Israel, The commissioning of T the bust by the Jerusalem Foundation followed the Fou publication ﬁve years pub ago of Churchill and the Jews Jew by the statesman’s
oﬃcial biographer, Martin Gilbert. “The book laid out in crystal clear form that Churchill throughout his life was a passionate believer in the cause of Zionism,” said Antony Rosenfelder, a British trustee of the foundation. He said that it was “astounding” how little recognition there had been in Israel “for a man who, over half a century, did so much not just to ensure Israel’s survival but actually to help the development of the state. This is just a small way of thanking someone for something I think is fairly central to Israel today.” The ceremony was attended by the former prime minister’s great grandson, Randolph Churchill. “It means a huge amount to our family,” he said. The Israeli historian Tom Segev said that, for some Jews, Churchill’s failure to bomb the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz outweighed his support for the Jewish people. “Accepted opinion today is that he was a friend of Zionism and the state of Israel. But he did not have an emotional attachment. He regarded the whole thing as political,” Segev said. Harriet Sherwood Jerusalem
Khomeini regime guilty of human rights abuses
An independent inquiry has called on the United Nations to investigate the “systematic and widespread” murder of political opponents by Ayatollah Khomeini’s regime in Iran in the 1980s. At the end of a three-day session in The Hague, the Iran tribunal found that the Islamic regime had committed “gross human rights abuses” including torture, sexual violence, extra-judicial executions and unjust imprisonment. The tribunal was based on the model developed by a private international war crimes tribunal established in 1966 by Bertrand Russell and Jean-Paul Sartre to investigate the US war record in Vietnam. In his closing speech, the British international lawyer Sir Geoﬀrey Nice QC, the tribunal’s prosecutor, said the graves of the executed stretched “as
far as the eye can see; the gravedigger of Shiraz reported the delivery of 60 bodies on a single occasion, of victims at most 20 years old. “Men were arrested at 10 in the morning and were dead by 11; entire families were eliminated and whole wards purged; rows of prisoners were shot by ﬁring squad, still breathing until they were ﬁnished oﬀ by coup de grâce.” One of the most chilling accounts was given by a man who admitted that as a child he was forced to shoot any survivors in the head. Nice added: “Truckloads of bodies were tipped into mass graves … In no case was an execution ordered in accordance with due process. In its judgment, the Iran tribunal found that the Islamic Republic of Iran bears absolute responsibility for gross violations of human rights against its citizens and “crimes against humanity under customary international law as applicable to Iran in the 1980s”. Among its recommendations, the tribunal called on the human rights council of the United Nations to establish a commission of inquiry to investigate “these atrocities”. The tribunal was composed of six judges including the UK barrister Michael Mansﬁeld QC, John Dugard, a South African professor of international law, and professor Patricia Sellers, a former UN adviser on human rights. Owen Bowcott
‘Drunk ashore’ captain and oﬃcers sacked
The captain of a US navy frigate and three oﬃcers have been sacked after an investigation found they had engaged in drunken behaviour and misconduct during a recent port visit in Russia. Commander Joseph R Darlak was relieved of command of the USS Vandegrift in Guam after the investigation determined that several of the ship’s oﬃcers had been drunk and disorderly during a trip to Vladivostok in September, Commander Tamsen Reese, a navy spokeswoman, said. “The oﬃcers demonstrated poor judgment, including some oﬃcers being drunk [and] disorderly, and not adhering to established liberty policies,” said Reese. The navy had also relieved the ship’s executive oﬃcer, the operations oﬃcer and chief engineer from their duties “for personal conduct and use of alcohol”, Reese said. The Navy Times reported the events as the ﬂeet’s ﬁrst mass ﬁring stemming from a port visit since March 2011. Darlak and the other three oﬃcers were being temporarily reassigned “pending potential other administrative actions”, Reese added. The Vandegrift left San Diego in May for a seven-month deployment to the western Paciﬁc and docked in Vladivostok on 21 September. Reuters New York
The Guardian | Monday 5 November 2012
Business editor: Julia Finch Tel: 020 3353 3795 Fax: 020 3353 3196 Email: ﬁnancial@guardian.co.uk Follow us at twitter.com/BusinessDesk HSBC has now set aside nearly £1bn to cover ﬁnes for alleged money laundering Photograph: PA Archive/Ima
Extra £500m on tap from HSBC for ‘laundering’ ﬁnes
Bank doubles reserve for possibly high US penalties CEO Stuart Gulliver revises global structure of bank
HSBC will set aside an extra £500m to cover ﬁnes for alleged money laundering by its US arm when the bank releases its third-quarter results today. The provision is more than double the £445m allocated by the bank in July to cover punishments by US regulators. The development will prove hugely embarrassing for the chief executive, Stuart Gulliver, who has tried to distance HSBC from scandal-hit rivals since taking the top post last year. The bank, the UK’s most valuable, is known for its ﬁnancial strength. It burnished a reputation as one of the more conservative ﬁnancial institutions in the runup to the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008. But its US operations, primarily the lender Household, were caught cold by the sub-prime mortgage crash and plunged the UK listed ﬁrm into years of write-oﬀs and regulatory probes. The revised estimate of the bill for ﬁnes and charges by US regulators will underline the growing seriousness of investigations into the activities of UK bank subsidiaries. Standard Chartered has also come under scrutiny for allowing terrorists and criminals access to its banking facilities, while Barclays admitted playing a part in the Libor rigging scandal. Royal Bank of Scotland is expected to be ﬁned for its part in the Libor scandal. Barclays faces another potential ﬁne, following claims it rigged the price of electricity in the US. Gulliver has already apologised for “shameful” system breakdowns, which failed to stop the bank from laundering money for terrorists and drug barons through operations in Mexico. In the summer the bank set aside $700m (£445m) for potential ﬁnes in the US and another £900m for mis-selling ﬁnancial products in the UK. Gulliver conceded that the eventual fine from the US authorities could be “higher, possibly significantly higher”, after a Senate report found that its US arm had allowed it to launder money for terrorists and drug barons because of its “pervasively polluted” culture. At the time he refused to say how much more money would have to be set aside. Many shareholders, however, were braced for regulators insisting on a much larger sum, given the strength of feeling in the US against lax controls at UK banks. Gulliver, who took the helm last year after 30 years at the bank, lastly as head of the investment banking division, said at half-year results that the bank was reforming its “federation structure” to try to avoid a re-run of the problems in the US. “I very much regret HSBC’s past failures and very much apologise for them,” he said. “What happened in Mexico and the US is shameful, it’s embarrassing, it’s very painful for all of us in the ﬁrm.”
Executives responsible for the Mexican business have since left the bank. The bank, which is expected to announce quarterly proﬁts of £5bn, has conﬁdently informed shareholders that it is no longer run as an operation with a presence in 80 countries but as an integrated business with four global heads to centralise standards and controls. Insiders say it will take Gulliver longer to reform structures that have dominated the bank for decades and provided a power base for many valued senior executives. The bank is also caught up in the Libor rigging scandal, along with several US and Swiss banks. They are accused of artiﬁcially inﬂating interest rates ahead of the crash to raise proﬁts, and massaging them down in the wake of the crisis. Gulliver, whose bonuses are tied to the bank’s reputation, did not make provision for any ﬁne or legal cases. Barclays has been ﬁned £290m for Libor manipulation. Since the summer HSBC has hired Preeta Bansal as its global general counsel for litigation and regulatory aﬀairs, adding a third Obama administration oﬃcial to support damage limitation eﬀorts. Bansal will help manage litigation and regulatory risk, and report to the chief legal officer, Stuart Levey, the former sanctions oﬃcial in the Bush and Obama Treasury oﬃces, who was appointed in January. In August, the bank hired Robert Werner, a former head of the Treasury department’s trade and economic enforcement arm, as head of global standards assurance.
Bank of England to brush oﬀ calls for fresh QE boost
Phillip Inman Economics correspondent
The Bank of England will resist calls this week to pump extra funds into the economy despite concerns that a recent decline in manufacturing production and the weak construction sector could force the UK into a triple dip-recession. Policymakers at the central bank will debate how to generate growth after more than three years of falling living standards. With inflation consistently outstripping wages and a raft of cuts to beneﬁts due in 2013, household incomes are likely to worsen, according to economists. The bank’s monetary policy committee (MPC) is likely to keep its powder dry after the economy brieﬂy sprang back to life in the third quarter when gross domestic product (GDP) grew 1%. A fall in unemployment in autumn and a modest rise in consumer spending have also oﬀset worse-than-forecast manufacturing output, which has shrunk as the government’s austerity policies and the euro crisis hit demand for UK goods. While some MPC members could vote to boost quantitative easing (QE) by £50bn to £425bn, most economists expect a committee majority to keep interest rates at a record low of 0.5% and QE at £375bn. Both the BoE Governor and deputy governor, Sir Mervyn King and Paul Tucker, have suggested in recent speeches that the impact of QE is reaching its limit. Howard Archer, chief UK economist at IHS Global Insight, said: “While it still looks to be a close call, we believe the 1% quarter-on-quarter spike in GDP in the third quarter makes it more likely than not that the Bank of England will hold oﬀ from more QE.” Members of the MPC have come under intense pressure to cut the cost of lending and boost credit in the economy as the Treasury maintains its determination to limit government to pay down debts. The MPC has waited to complete its last £50bn of government bond purchases and a new direct-funding scheme for banks (funding for lending), before pushing ahead with another £50bn of QE. Economic analysts, the CEBR, said the economy will remain weak in 2013 and 2014, though it will outstrip the eurozone as it copes with the double whammy of sharply declining incomes and rising debts in several key countries. The CEBR said the UK would grow by 0.8% next year and 1.4% in 2014 against a eurozone average of -0.4% in 2013 and 0.4% in 2014. “Even assuming the problems of the euro do not cause an economic meltdown before the German elections next year, we are looking at a very weak economic outlook in Europe for the next two years” said Tim Ohlenburg, senior economist at CEBR and main author of the report. However, the UK could fall back into an unprecedented third recession in four years if the 1% rise in the third quarter proves to be an Olympics-induced blip. The latest ICAEW/Grant Thornton UK business conﬁdence monitor found smaller UK ﬁrms had scaled back plans for expansion in 2013. The report noted that a mood of caution suggests while some sectors and regions Mervyn King, the governor of the Bank of England, recently spoke about how the impact of QE was reaching its limit start to improve, “economic recovery will be restrained in the next 12 months”. Michael Izza, chief executive of the accountancy body, the ICAEW, said: “While the UK economy has come out of recession, business conﬁdence is still very fragile. Against a backdrop of a softening global economy, the recovery is yet to take hold. More needs to be done to secure the UK’s long-term economic outlook by encouraging businesses to invest and to stimulate growth.” A survey of small businesses found that almost half were reluctant to invest in new jobs while conﬁdence in the economy’s ability to recover remained weak. The eurozone will slow the UK’s recovery next year as the 17-member currency zone deals with a huge overhang of debts in Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Spain and Italy. Greece is due to vote on €13.5bn of spending cuts and tax rises on Wednesday ahead of a budget vote next Sunday. Prime minister Antonis Samaras is conﬁdent he can win the vote to secure more than €37bn (£30bn) of loans from the EU and International Monetary Fund.
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The Guardian | Monday 5 November 2012
Boom with a view: Italian town stakes all on oil
A 200m-barrel crude oil ﬁeld is about to transform one small local community
John Hooper Corleto Perticara
The view from the terrace behind the town hall in Corleto Perticara, southern Italy, is as grand as any in Tuscany, taking in the majestic Sauro river valley and a line of towering hills that shepherd the river out to sea. But where a visitor might dream of building an idyllic second home, Rosaria Vicino, the town’s mayor, is picturing the line of well-head pumpjacks that will soon pepper the undulating slopes beyond the Sauro. In May, Mario Monti’s non-party government in Rome gave the go-ahead for the development of what is being called the Tempa Rossa ﬁeld, and exploitation of the 200m barrels of heavy, sulphurous petroleum that lie within Vicino’s borough. The French company Total has a 75% stake in Tempa Rossa and Shell has the remaining 25% interest in a ﬁeld that is expected to reach a production capacity of 50,000 barrels a day (b/d). “Oil is central to our development plans,” said Vicino fervently. “It is the element around which all our hopes revolve.” Onshore oil and gas production is similarly central to the Italian government’s ambitious plan to lop €14bn (£11.2bn) oﬀ the country’s annual €62bn bill for energy imports by 2020. The target is set in a proposed national energy plan that would be the ﬁrst to be adopted in Italy for more than 20 years. A draft, put out for consultation last month, sees some of the savings coming from increases in “green” (renewable) sources and “white” (eﬃciency) economies. But it also envisages a doubling of domestic oil and gas production. The government estimates the increase in output could provide Italy with 7% of its total energy requirements and create 25,000 new jobs. Crude oil production in Italy peaked in 2005 at 115,000 b/d, and has since fallen below 100,000 b/d – not due to a lack of reserves – Italy’s known onshore deposits are the biggest in Europe – but because of a drastic fall in exploration and development, which the government is keen to reverse. It aims to boost crude oil production by almost 150%, and bringing the Tempa Rossa ﬁeld on stream will take it about a third of the way to that goal. Even considering the beauty of the countryside around Corleto Perticara, which is in the southern region of Basilicata, Tempa Rossa is unlikely to stir much opposition locally. Mention of royalties brings an earto-ear smile to the mayor’s face. Vicino readily agrees that the 30 or 40 years of income will transform the fortunes of little Corleto Perticara and its 2,700 inhabitants. The cash should be ample recompense for the pumpjacks – often known as “nodding donkeys” – and a large, smelly oil-processing centre that Total plans to build beyond the hills, out of sight of the town. The scenic but remote Basilicata is often called Italy’s Texas. The region contains about threequarters of Italy’s total oil reserves. But not everyone is as enthusiastic about pumping them out as Mayor Vicino. Many people in Basilicata resent the fact that the royalties from oil production go largely to the local authorities directly aﬀected and make little impact on a region that, despite its black gold, is still Italy’s ﬁfth poorest. Basilicata’s communications are dire. Unemployment is high and rising. In January, Monti’s government slipped a clause into a bill ostensibly about liberalisation that allows future oil royalties The Sauro river valley in Basilicata, southern Italy, will soon feature hosts of ‘nodding donkeys’ from the new Tempa Rossa oil ﬁeld – as part of Rome’s plans to boost crude oil production by 150% Photograph: Alamy to be used for regional infrastructure projects. A senior government oﬃcial acknowledged it was designed speciﬁcally to assuage criticism in Basilicata. So far, it has not worked. In August, the regional assembly declared a moratorium on all further oil exploration and production in Basilicata. The next day, the governor, Vito De Filippo, of the centre-left Democratic Party (PD), declared that the petroleum concessions that had already been granted were “at the limits of sustainability”. His opinion matters because, as the law in Italy stands, approval from his government is essential for future projects to go ahead. It has not helped that Tempa Rossa is mired in a scandal that is set to unfold as the ﬁeld is developed. On 26 September, four former executives of Total’s Italian subsidiary, including its former managing director, went on trial in the regional capital of Potenza accused of rigging the tender for the oil treatment centre so that the contract went to a consortium headed by a local builder. The builder was in turn accused of paying a €200,000 bribe to a PD deputy in the national parliament. Total’s former employees are also charged with using a local oﬃcial to get landowners in the area to take below market price oﬀers for land needed to develop the oil ﬁeld. All the accused deny wrongdoing.
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The Guardian | Monday 5 November 2012
Analysis He’s been no FDR, but Obama has unﬁnished business
the budget surpluses Bill Clinton bequeathed to him and turned them into whopping deﬁcits; Bush who was in the White House when the biggest property bubble in US history was allowed to inﬂate; and Bush who was president when Lehman Brothers went bust, sending the global economy into a tailspin. By the time of Obama’s inauguration in early 2009, the proﬁle for global industrial production and trade was similar to that in the early stages of the Great Depression. The recession arrived at a time when the US was structurally weak. Stephen King, the chief economist at HSBC, has noted that in the past decade growth in the world’s biggest economy has consistently failed to live up to expectations, while inﬂation has been higher. Growth in the 2000s was lower than in the 1990s, which in turn saw slower expansion than the 1980s. The great boost to growth that was supposed to come from the IT revolution did not materialise, mainly because the spoils of growth were so unevenly divided. Real median incomes have been virtually ﬂat for decades, with top-ups from tax credits less generous than in Europe. That left Americans reliant on the drug of debt to ﬁnance their consumption habit. Recoveries from recessions that are rooted in ﬁnancial crises always take time, and this one has been made still more sluggish by high oil prices, which have taken spending power away from consumers and raised business costs. Central banks respond to downturns by cutting interest rates in the hope that cheaper borrowing will encourage spending and investment, but when the banks are licking their wounds and reluctant to lend, credit ﬂows dry up even when interest rates drop close to zero. Hence the willingness of the Federal Reserve to try unconventional measures such as quantitative easing – creating electronic money – in the hope that it can get spending going again. Ben Bernanke, the chairman of the Fed, says QE has prevented an even deeper downturn, but one side-eﬀect may have been speculation in commodity markets that has driven up the cost of food and fuel. The case for Obama is that he has done as good a job as could be expected in the circumstances. There has been no return to the 1930s. The US economy is bigger than it was before the recession started, something that cannot be said of the UK. Unemployment is lower – just about – than it was when he arrived in the White House and there has been a pick-up in jobs growth in recent months. The car industry has been rescued, which it would not have been had Mitt Romney been president. Fewer people are being thrown out of their homes now that the real estate market has started to recover. Seen from the eurozone, where things are going from bad to worse, this looks like a reasonable record. It is not, though, the stuﬀ of a new FDR. There are two main criticisms of Obama. Romney’s case is that the president has hampered recovery by tying the economy in knots and by allowing national debt to explode to 100% of national output. Businesses have been reluctant to hire and invest in new plant as a result of the uncertainty, hence the sluggish growth. The Republican challenger for the White House would cut taxes, cut spending, eliminate tax loopholes and take the axe to bureaucracy. US enterprise would be unleashed and job creation would accelerate. The Keynesian left, however, says Obama erred by being too cautious. He was too optimistic about the economy’s ability to bounce back from deep recession. He used up all his political capital getting his healthcare bill through and paid too little attention to getting the economy back on its feet. He delivered a stimulus package just shy of $800bn (£500bn) but it was not big enough to counter the lingering eﬀects of the ﬁnancial crisis. Paying far too much heed to Bill Clinton’s economic advisers such as Larry Summers, he backed away from root-and-branch reform of Wall Street. Timidity has resulted in an underperforming economy leaving those who voted for Obama with gusto in 2008 feeling sorely let down. The fact that the president doesn’t seem to have much of a clue about what he would do in a second term has compounded the problem. f Obama wins, it will be because he saved General Motors – the one moment he did come close to being a second FDR – and because of the fear that Romney would be even worse, with tax cuts favouring the rich and spending cuts that would hurt the poor. It is hard to know what Romney would do because his economic plan is full of holes. He might be a hardline ﬁscal conservative who would plunge the US into a double-dip recession by imposing austerity too soon. On the other hand, he might prove to be a closet Keynesian, following Reagan’s approach with unfunded tax cuts that stimulate growth at the expense of a ballooning deﬁcit. Whoever wins will have to confront the looming ﬁscal cliﬀ, the package of tax increases and spending cuts due to be enacted in January 2013. As things stand, it will be Obama who has to come to terms with Congress following an unenthusiastic endorsement tomorrow. After that, he might like to get down to the unﬁnished business of his ﬁrst term: jobs, tackling poverty and inequality; repairing America’s decaying infrastructure; and getting serious about the issue that in the past week has saved his bacon: climate change.
He inherited a deﬁcit, saved jobs but failed to make good his promise as America’s new Roosevelt. Is Obama history, asks Larry Elliott
he Great Recession has been hard on world leaders. Gordon Brown, Nicolas Sarkozy and Silvio Berlusconi are all history. Angela Merkel has her date with destiny next autumn, and Barack Obama has his tomorrow. US political history would point to Obama joining the list of recent political casualties. He was billed as the heir to Roosevelt when elected during the worst slump since the 1930s, but he has been no FDR. Recovery has been weak, unemployment slow to come down, inequality has got worse and vested interests left untouched. If the Republicans had been able to put up a candidate with even a hint of Ronald Reagan’s charisma, Obama would be going the way of Jimmy Carter. To be sure, Obama has not had it easy. He has been faced with venomous opposition from Republicans in Congress determined to obstruct the White House every inch of the way. What’s more, the poor state of the economy over the past four years largely reﬂects stuﬀ that happened before Obama became president. It was George W Bush who took
The General Motors HQ in Detroit
If Obama wins it will be because he saved General Motors, and because of the fear that Romney would be even worse
The Guardian | Monday 5 November 2012
Jackie Ashley After last week’s political opportunism, the party has to ensure it counters the nation’s growing anti-EU sentiment
Labour must not let Britain drift into a European exit
Persona non grata
Elisabeth Mahoney Great radio DJs create new ego-driven worlds in their studios. Under attack, no wonder they lash out
iven his two-hour on-air rant last week about the axing of his BBC radio show, there is much anticipation about Danny Baker’s induction into the Radio Academy Hall of Fame tomorrow evening. Will his speech, in front of the great and the good of radio, feature the damning phrase “pinheaded weasels”? And will any of the weasels be in the room? Once inducted, Baker will join the ranks of radio’s biggest stars across the decades. He mentioned three of them in his tirade against BBC middle managers, aligning himself with the iconoclastic Kenny Everett and John Peel – treated shoddily by the BBC, he claimed, despite their talent – rather than Dave Lee Travis. “This is no DLT rant,” he insisted, referring to Travis’s 1993 on-air resignation over changes at Radio 1. The Baker debacle, and the incongruity of his sacking colliding with pretty much the highest accolade in UK radio – Baker already has a clutch of gold Sony awards – is a reminder of how peculiar a day job radio presenting is. Listening to Baker sounding so vehemently hurt through the whole of his Radio London show (“Nice way to treat a fellow who had cancer, thanks”; “We’d rather you didn’t say anything – just acquiesce on the way to the abattoir”) was to hear the ﬂipside of what really brilliant radio is all about. Baker, like all radio greats, has the knack of creating a unique world from the studio: in his case, ﬁercely intelligent, warm, quirky, happy to relish tangents, witty, unpredictable, and not suﬀering fools – or hypocrisy, hokum or superﬁciality – gladly. All the best presenters have that knack: in music radio, Everett did it with surreal voices and jingles; Peel through a musical eclecticism that remained dizzying to the end; Tony Blackburn with cheesy mid-Atlantic drawl, superb music and charm; Chris Evans with gleeful team energy; Chris Moyles with a larger than life persona; Steve Wright with his US-inﬂuenced zoo format; Simon Bates with Our Tune; even DLT with snooker on the radio and “quack quack oops”. But it’s an odd thing to do for a living, far odder than creating a visual world on screen. The reality in radio, however feelgood and expansive the on-air world feels, is just a presenter speaking into a microphone in an unremarkable studio, watched through the glass by a handful of production people. It is a lopsided way to communicate, and one that relies upon the presenter making an exaggerated, puﬀed-up, ego-driven version of themselves at the centre of the world they bring to life for a couple of hours at a time. Baker’s rant, like those of DLT and Moyles before him, is the logical extension of this process: when that instudio world crumbles or is threatened we sometimes get a backlash from it. Most people aren’t cut out to be radio presenters, and shrinking violets certainly needn’t apply. Because of its roots in American and pirate radio – in the days before Radio 1 and commercial radio – much UK radio has tended to be either slick and cheesy or musicdriven and quite feisty. Hence the comedy spoofs – Smashie and Nicey, Alan Partridge, or the 1980s Channel 4 sitcom The Kit Curran Radio Show – all bonhomie and smooth on air, but with a weird, desperate edge as soon as the red studio light goes oﬀ. Few presenters in person exactly ﬁt this image, but they are often very diﬀerent beasts oﬀ air, and one can appreciate the work involved in keeping the persona, and on-air world, alive. When that snaps, as it did with Baker, the result can be electrifying, or sometimes rather sad, radio. The job has always attracted iconoclasts and experimenters, oddballs and eccentrics, and it’s from them that we’ve had some of our very best radio. The occasional rant is a small price to pay. Elisabeth Mahoney is the Guardian’s radio critic
I’m not even sure whether the phrase ‘Tory pro-Europeans’ is still plural; is it only Ken Clarke now?
urope has become the place where nothing quite happens. David Cameron goes to Brussels demanding a freeze in the EU budget, while the European commission and parliament want a hefty 5-6% increase. It should be a storming confrontation, vetos threatened, walkouts happening. But we all know that, somehow, life will go on. It always does. Yet Europe is also the issue in British politics that is changing more than any other. Icy hostility is hardening. Those who want to leave are growing ever more numerous and implacable. Never has the pro-European voice been weaker and less certain. It isn’t simply the opportunism of the parliamentary Labour party trooping through the lobbies after MPs Reckless and Cash. It isn’t just the radical shift among Tory MPs, with pro-Europeans cowed and isolated. (I’m not even sure the phrase “Tory pro-Europeans” is still plural; is it only Ken Clarke now?) It’s the shift among voters. According to polling in Cameron’s own Witney constituency, 68% of Tory supporters there want a referendum on Europe and 29% would consider switching parties to get one. There’s no secret about where they would go. National opinion polls show a steady rise in the Ukip vote; the most recent, for the Observer, puts Ukip third nationally, ahead of the Liberal Democrats. Cameron is promising a major speech on Europe soon. But what can he say? This momentous shift is partly the result of the slow-motion car crash inside the eurozone, itself caused by the glaring diﬀerences between northern and southern economies. As Iain Duncan Smith admitted yesterday, British politicians are waiting to see how the eurozone deals with its deep problems before deciding how to react themselves – nervous bystanders by the crash site, watching the emergency services argue. So it may seem unfair to say that the second reason for the strong antiEU tide ﬂowing through the UK is an absence of pro-European leadership in Britain. Yet this failure of leadership is fundamental and aﬀects both the major parties. Cameron and his senior team are frankly scared stiﬀ of the rising Eurorejectionist tendency, too frightened to confront them. For Labour, sitting back and watching Tory turmoil has been too enjoyable to resist. It may even be an eﬀective electoral strategy: it is not impossible that Ukip may deliver a Labour majority in 2015. The trouble is that all this opportunistic, tactical game-playing allows the argument for a
complete break to grow, perhaps to the point where it becomes irresistible. A Labour party that has declined to pick a ﬁght on the European issue with its natural enemies may ﬁnd that the game has changed. Almost nobody is speaking up. The Gordon Brown camp’s legendary hostility to the euro is morphing into general appeasement of the anti-EU mood. What Denis MacShane did in his expenses ﬁddling was unforgivable, but his departure from politics removes one of the few outspoken Europhile voices in national politics. Certainly no other Labour MP comprehends the European project so well. I can understand Cameron’s lack of leadership. Ideologically, Tory freemarketeers have a deep problem with a single economic union. There isn’t a great deal of space left for him to occupy between Brussels federalism and Tory Atlanticist anti-Europeanism. If you really think the City of London is Britain’s last economic card then, yes, you’d be scared stiﬀ of new EU-wide banking rules. Labour’s lack of leadership is odder. Yes, there are populist tricks to be won on immigration and even on the EU budget. But if you look at Labour’s developing domestic vision for Britain, what do you see? A major drive on technical training, regional industrial policy, the living wage and a rebalancing of the economy away from ﬁnancial services and towards engineering, combined with business banks structured to invest for the long term. And what does that sound like?
Germany. If Labour’s vision of a bettergrounded, fairer and more sustainable economy isn’t quite a copy of modern Germany, it is at least remarkably close to the social democratic capitalism that has evolved under parties of diﬀerent stripes across much of northern Europe. Ed Miliband’s one-time guru Maurice Glasman could tell him as much. The German dilemma just now is about the depth of sacriﬁce Germans, and northern Europeans generally, should make to save southern economies that they regard as unreformed (and which they fear are unreformable). That is a domestic crisis for the eurozone, which isn’t much helped by oﬀstage heckles from outsiders. But as Labour tries to deﬁne its new identity, after the neoliberalism and bust ﬁnancial capitalism of the Blair years, many European economies still provide the best examples of what to aim for. When Labour argues for real, knowledgeable, locally based banking and training, supporting high-end companies, plus a fair tax system designed for citizens, not global parasites, it’s arguing for a European future. It’s obvious. Voters aren’t stupid and they would get it. But it’s something that needs to argued for. Soon it may be too late. Europe often seems a policy area where nothing happens; it’s quite possible that Britain will vote for a neoliberal exit. And Labour should remember this: you cannot win an argument you haven’t made. Twitter: @jackieashley
Israel’s lunge to the right
Jamal Zahalka A new party merger will give a key government role to an extremist. The world must act to stop it
head of the Israeli elections next January, a merger between the parties of the prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, and the foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, has been announced. They are to contest the elections on a joint list, intending to become the largest bloc in the Knesset. The move is seen as an achievement for both men. Netanyahu was shaken by the recent decline in the popularity of his Likud party and the possible return of Ehud Olmert, the former Israeli prime minister, as leader of an opposition alliance consisting of Tzipi Livni, the former foreign minister; Shaul Mofaz, leader of Kadima; and Yair Labed, a rising political star. Netanyahu’s avowed objective is to assemble a major political force that would guarantee his re-election and ensure his dominance of the Israeli right. Lieberman is the main beneﬁciary of this alliance: it guarantees power for his party, Yisrael Beiteinu, and under the agreement, Lieberman can choose to run whatever ministry he desires, including the important ministry of defence. He will gain political legitimacy and be transformed from a mere participant in a coalition government to a key player. If in recent years the government has been a construct of Netanyahu and Ehud Barak, the defence minister, the next government will be a NetanyahuLieberman one. Lieberman can also contest Likud’s leadership after Netanyahu.
The alliance reﬂects a lunge to the right, at a time of greater extremism in Israeli politics. Previously, Lieberman was very much on the margins. When he became minister of transport, a minister in the Labour party resigned, refusing to sit at the same table with him. After that, Lieberman became the foreign minister. Many thought this would provoke the ire of the international community. But he was warmly received in European capitals. If one had said 10 years ago that Lieberman would become foreign minister, one would have been accused of ignorance, if not of hostility and incitement against Israel. Among the obvious outcomes of this new coalition is the fact that Likud has become more extremist, and Lieberman more inﬂuential and more dangerous. A few months ago Lieberman called for the toppling of President Mahmoud Abbas, despite the fact that the Palestinian leader has maintained the peace in the shadow of the occupation, and continues to pursue negotiations – even in the absence of an Israeli partner. Lieberman also called for economic, political and security sanctions on the Palestinian Authority after it began diplomatic moves to gain UN recognition for a Palestinian state. Lieberman has espoused policies hostile to Arab citizens of Israel, who constitute 17% of the population. The slogan of his party is “No citizenship without loyalty”; he seeks to oblige Arabs citizens to declare loyalty to the Zionist state as a condition for citizenship, including the right to vote and become members of the Knesset.
As the danger of racism depends not only on its callousness but on its power and inﬂuence, this coalition at the heart of government suggests a sharp rise in levels of racism and a dramatic decline in democracy. Central to Lieberman’s politics is oﬃcial recognition for the annexation of Jerusalem and the illegal Jewish settlements, in exchange for the transfer of major Arab population centres to Palestine. Altogether, Lieberman’s aim is to make the citizenship of Palestinian Arabs conditional and temporary. Ultimately, this could result in a pure Jewish state, free of Arab citizens. When Jörg Haider and his extreme right party entered the Austrian government, several European countries imposed sanctions. Lieberman is far more dangerous than Haider. His stature is proof that extremism has come to dominate in Israel. Should the kind of politics that are rejected in Europe be accommodated in the Holy Land? Trying to persuade Netanyahu and his government to adopt more moderate policies is a waste of time and eﬀort. The only way to ensure change is through pressure and sanctions on the Israeli government. Netanyahu’s political conduct shows that he bows only when confronted. Whoever wants a just peace, to put an end to the crimes committed by occupation, to combat racism, must help in imposing sanctions. Jamal Zahalka is an Arab member of the Knesset, and head of the parliamentary group of the National Democratic Assembly
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We can still create jobs
Geoﬀ Mulgan Traditional employers are shedding staﬀ, but there will be major growth areas. We just have to plan
n both sides of the Atlantic there’s precious little sign of conﬁdence in leaders’ ability to create jobs, whether with another round of ﬁscal stimulus, or promised waves of business start-ups. Here, the sectors that created most jobs in recent years are now shedding them fast – from disappearing high-street chains such as Clinton Cards, Blacks and JJB Sports, to a shrinking public sector and a voluntary sector where 10% of jobs are going each year. Even the most optimistic forecasts on manufacturing recognise there’s unlikely to be much net jobs growth. Yet economies do create jobs, and most past forecasts of jobless growth were wrong. So where will the jobs come from? Economies are complex beasts that need people to do an extraordinary range of tasks. But it is possible to spot the patterns; what’s strange is how little the UK is doing to make the most of the opportunities. The ﬁrst big area of likely jobs growth is care, and health more generally. Care is now one of the least rewarded and lowest-status sectors of all, with most workers on zero-hour contracts (which oﬀer no guaranteed hours, but require people to be available at short notice). But the eﬀect of an ageing society will be a jobs boom. As people get richer, they spend a disproportionate share of their income on care and health (and education). It’s no coincidence that half of the jobs created in recent decades in the US have been in healthcare, and most forecasters there expect the trends to accelerate. Yet Britain is hopelessly unprepared for this. There are hardly any apprenticeships in care; hardly any schools preparing teenagers for jobs in care; and few signs that politicians know what to do to raise the status and rewards for what will soon be one of our most important industries. The second area of likely jobs growth is computers. In The Graduate, Dustin Hoﬀman has an awkward conversation with a middle-aged man who tells him his future lies in plastics. Today he’d be advised to go into data. It’s estimated that half a million jobs have been created in the US just producing apps. We at Nesta predict a steady growth in jobs across the economy in manipulating and managing data – indeed, this will become ever more important for every business. Here too, the UK is unprepared. Standards of maths haven’t improved much in schools, and there are still too few opportunities for bright teenagers to learn how to programme and play with big data sets. The third opportunity is globalisation, often seen as a scourge of jobs, which may now be working in our favour. Foreign-owned businesses raised their share of UK jobs from 11% in 1997 to 19% in 2010 – that’s 1.6m more jobs. As capital ﬂows in from ﬁrms such as Tata, this trend is likely to continue. Generally it will be good for us, because these businesses also invest more in innovation and do more to drive up the quality of supply chains than British ones. That’s a strong argument for remaining open to the world. Yet the recent moves to cut oﬀ inward migration signal an economic nationalism that is working against our interests on jobs – whether it’s putting oﬀ oil specialists in Aberdeen, or Chinese students wanting to stay on in London. Immigration isn’t always good for the economy or jobs. But there’s been an overcorrection that will probably be bad for today’s teenagers. The jobs market has done a lot better than many expected at the start of the downturn. But why do we ﬁnd it so hard to be strategic? Why does political rhetoric so often talk about jobs in the abstract, rather than about speciﬁc sectors and opportunities? And why can’t we do more to make our own luck rather than just hoping things will turn out OK? Geoﬀ Mulgan is chief executive of the innovation foundation Nesta and a former head of policy in the prime minister’s oﬃce
Gary Younge Obama’s presidency may have been too timid, but let’s not forget who has been responsible for the US’s political gridlock
Republicans should not be rewarded for bad behaviour
s hurricane Sandy barrelled towards the east coast, Iowa’s Des Moines Register newspaper endorsed Mitt Romney – the ﬁrst Republican it had endorsed since Richard Nixon in 1972 (look how that turned out). Arguing that “the partisan divide had hardened” under Barack Obama, the leader writers said: “One of the biggest obstacles either candidate faces is partisan gridlock in Congress [which] has hampered not only the economy, but the entire country.” A week earlier the Orlando Sentinel, which backed Obama in 2008 in the crucial state of Florida, made the same argument in its support for Romney. “With Obama in charge, the federal government came perilously close to a default last year,” it said. “It verges on magical thinking to expect Obama to get diﬀerent results in the next four years.” As Sandy inched closer, coverage of the campaign – like the campaigning itself – was suspended. All talk of gridlock was eclipsed by scenes of mayhem. One day reporters were standing in front of electoral maps analysing every poll, demographic and gaﬀe while speculating about the outcome. The next they were standing in sou’westers in wind and rain speculating about where it would make landfall. For a few days Ohio got a reprieve while New Jersey got a battering, and pollsters took a back seat while meteorologists drove the story. But when the winds subsided and the campaigns resumed, the dynamics of the race had changed and the validity of those arguments had been challenged. The hurricane and its aftermath helped illustrate the vacuity of this election campaign, what’s at stake in its outcome, and who’s responsible for the gridlock. With the frenetic polling and endless punditry, there may have been precious little calm before the storm but there was a greater degree of clarity after it. Beyond a punchline for Romney at the Republican convention, climate change simply has not come up during this election. Moderators didn’t ask about it during the presidential debates, and both Obama and Romney were too busy posing as friends of oil and coal
There may have been precious little calm before the storm, but there was a greater degree of clarity after it
to mention it. While no single storm can be attributed to climate change, warming oceans make them more likely – and a clear pattern is emerging that would help to explain an occurrence such as Sandy. As the New York Times’s Nicolas Kristof pointed out, three of the 10 biggest ﬂoods in lower Manhattan since 1900 have occurred in the past three years, while seven of the 10 warmest summers on record have taken place in the past 12. But to raise an issue like this during an election takes the kind of political courage that has long been in short supply. Given the hours of coverage and the billions of dollars devoted to the election, it’s stunning how few of the nation’s most glaring problems are being discussed. The US now has more people in its penal system than the Soviet gulag at its height; its capital city has a male life expectancy lower than that of the Gaza Strip; and the country openly operates a system of torture and a policy of targeted assassination. The fact that nobody even expects these issues to come up tells you something about the low expectations Americans have of their politicians. But Sandy concentrated minds. Disasters have a way of doing that. Its arrival prised a much coveted endorsement for Obama from the New York city mayor, Michael Bloomberg, an independent who formerly ran as a Republican. “The devastation that Hurricane Sandy brought to New York City and much of the north-east … brought the stakes of next Tuesday’s presidential election into sharp relief,” he said. True, Obama had not campaigned on it – but at the very least he acknowledges its existence, made some eﬀorts to address it, and is not beholden to a party that refuses to accept the science. As Bloomberg was penning his endorsement, Obama was touring storm-hit areas with the Republican governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie. Christie, Romney’s ﬁrst pick for vicepresident, delivered a keynote speech at the Republican convention. The week before, he had described the president as “a man wandering around a dark room, hands up against the wall, clutching for the light switch of leadership, and he just can’t ﬁnd it”. Last week, when the lights went out, he praised Obama for his handling of the storm,
saying: “The president has been all over this and he deserves great credit.” While Sandy prompted both Bloomberg’s and Christie’s conversions, elsewhere in the country came evidence of a deeper split in Republican ranks. In the Nebraska Senate race, several Republicans came out against the Tea Party-supported candidate and for the Democrat, Bob Kerrey. A week earlier, George Bush’s former secretary of state Colin Powell – a Republican – broke ranks again to back Obama. “I think I’m a Republican of more moderate mould and that’s something of a dying breed, I’m sorry to say,” he said. “But, you know, the Republicans I worked for are President Reagan, President Bush, the Howard Bakers of the world, people who were conservative … but people who recognise that, at the end of the day, you got to ﬁnd a basis for compromise. Compromise is how this country runs.”
owell’s breed may be further from extinction than has been apparent. For the past four years, Tea Party activists have been claiming they want to take their country back. Now a growing number of Republicans appear to want to take their party back. And so it was that by the end of last week you got a sense of what an Obama presidency might have been, and might be again, were it not for the wilful obstruction of an opposition whose primary stated aim was to deny him a second term: too timid for what is necessary but nonetheless the best that is possible within the narrow conﬁnes of American electoralism. Of course, he still has to win on Tuesday, which is by no means certain. But the dying days of the campaign put to rest one of the cases against him that has gained most traction among waverers. The arguments of the Des Moines Register and the Orlando Sentinel are true as far as they go. But they don’t go very far unless they locate the source of the gridlock and hold to account those responsible for it. In the absence of that, handing the presidency to Romney becomes little more than a reward for bad behaviour. Twitter: @garyyounge
The Guardian | Monday 5 November 2012
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US foreign policy
New world disorder
Little by little, we are slipping unconsciously into a new world order. Some have called it a G-zero world, in which no one nation is powerful enough to lead, but each is strong enough to prevent the other from having its way. America’s retreat can be traced to the burial of two assumptions it held as universal truths when the Soviet Union collapsed. One was the fatally ﬂawed belief it could remake failed states in its image. History, language, culture, geography did not count. Democracy could be unpacked by a provincial reconstruction team from the back of a Chinook. Nation building died a slow and ugly death in Iraq and Afghanistan. The other was the belief that deregulated, unfettered globalised capital was the natural world order. That died with Lehman Brothers. Much of what George W Bush did wrong in his ﬁrst term as president, Bill Clinton did too, only it was not as immediately noticeable in Boris Yeltsin’s Russia as it was in Iraq in 2003. It took three presidents for these illusions to be shed, and Barack Obama’s own contribution to two decades of military hubris was ordering the troop surge in Afghanistan. Leading from behind is the infelicitous phrase Mr Obama used to describe the US role in Libya, but even that fails to catch the constraints that now ground the projection of US power. The fact that liberated Libya is a more lethal place for US personnel than the unliberated country was represents another part of the same learning curve. The US, Britain and France have yet to give a full account of their relations with the deposed Arab dictators in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya. Nor will western powers today come clean about their support for Saudi Arabia and Jordan, which are in the process of organising a counter-revolution against pro-democracy protests in the Gulf states, on whose airﬁelds the US would depend for an attack on Iran. These then are really quite narrow parameters within which to decide who could make the better president, Mr Obama or Mitt Romney. The incumbent Mr Obama has become by dint of experience shorn of illusion, in many ways the antithesis of the man who gave that soaring speech in Cairo. He is prepared only to devote his time to problems he thinks he can change, but by the same token he is more prepared to use lethal force in the form of drones than any of his predecessors. He has become a realist in the mould of Brent Scowcroft. Mr Obama faces a Republican challenger who has cared so little about the subject that would take up so much of his time as president, that he has adopted many of the same neocons – John Bolton, Reuel Marc Gerecht, Eliot Cohen – who as former members of the Project for the New American Century, got US policy into the mess it is in. These men are serial oﬀenders, responsible for the sort of blunder Mr Romney makes after hours of hard deliberation. Not comments like the one he made twice in his campaign that Syria is apparently Iran’s route to the sea. The biggest foreign blunder of his campaign, his attack on statements issued by the US embassy in Cairo before it became known that a US ambassador had been killed in Libya, was made on the unanimous recommendation of these people. Think, too, of the challenges the next president faces, chief of which is to defuse through negotiation the crisis over Iran’s nuclear enrichment programme. Closely linked to this is a civil war in Syria, in which there is a military stalemate. The minute Bashar al -Assad’s regime were to fall, the eﬀects of the loss of a Shia-led regime, even a Baathist one, would be felt the next day in Iraq. Egypt and Tunisia’s relatively bloodless revolutions are still in the balance. Jordan and the Gulf states are being shaken by the same forces that toppled the dictators in the Arab republics. In Afghanistan, a US troop withdrawal has to be managed in the worst possible conditions. China meanwhile is fast building its naval forces and ﬂexing its territorial claims in the South China Sea. The list is by no means exhaustive but the choice of who is better equipped to navigate the chaos of the new world disorder is crystal clear.
Who killed the high street?
In 2015 it was a parlour game; but by 2020, it was a serious worry, the subject of Commons debates. Who killed the British high street? What analysts had long warned of had ﬁnally come to pass. Outside big cities, British shopping streets had more gaps than Gaps. Oncehandsome town centres were now a collage of pound shops and boarded-up fronts. Their only visitors were the elderly and the teenage: those without broadband on tap, or cars to get out to the A-road retail parks. The high street wasn’t killed by one blow, but by a series, some of which initially didn’t seem so serious. There was the collapse of Woolworths at the start of the credit crunch. But looking back, 2012 was the turning point: the year when Clinton Cards, Blacks, Peacocks, Game and JJB Sports went under. Easily the biggest shock was Comet, which plunged into administration just weeks before Christmas, putting more than 6,000 jobs at risk. That it couldn’t hold out for the busiest stretch of the year summed up the weakness of the industry and the nervousness of creditors. And as the big names popped oﬀ, the boutiques, cafes and hairdressers struggled to attract passing trade. Then they too brought down the shutters for good. Which meant that by 2020 the death of the high street was no longer hyperbole: it was a fact. And who was to blame? Poor managers, certainly. That story from 2012 about John Browett, the Dixons boss who shifted to Apple only to leave six months later, had the quality of a parable. Mr Browett’s big idea, it was reported, had been to cut shop staﬀ. Too many British retailers focused on slashing costs rather than serving customers, a model that upmarket Apple spurned. Some said the main culprit was George Osborne, for increasing public-sector unemployment and jacking up VAT. In those headwinds, who’d fork out for a new dishwasher? Others pointed to cash-starved councils, hungrier for car park fees than to take the long view on their commercial centres. Cancelling the business rates revaluation, forcing small businesses to pay taxes on valuations at the height of the boom, would not have helped either. Still others pointed out that a change of guard on the high street was inevitable: for too long Britain’s economy had been based on buying and borrowing, not making and earning. All were factors. But ultimately the British high street died of neglect, with no agency willing to map out a diﬀerent future for it. The result was town centres standing desolate, even as former customers gave their cash to internet retailers rather more sophisticated in their tax planning than their sales advice. However convenient, shopping in 2020 was a cheerless business – and one in which more money ended up in fewer hands.
In praise of… texting
According to AT&T, 40% of texters who are dating believe that text messaging plays a signiﬁcant role in their relationship. This may be of scant consolation to David Cameron who has been trying unsuccessfully to bury a cache of texts between Downing Street and the former News International chief Rebekah Brooks. But of all the boons of the internet age, SMS messages may well turn out to be the most far reaching. They are a more instant form of public service announcement than radio. Governments use SMS alerts in times of crisis to warn people of ﬂoods and earthquakes. Their social impact has been truly global. A text message campaign in Africa that exposed which countries ran out of essential medicines embarrassed national governments into action. Texts are both personal and nonintrusive. When handed to the likes of Lord Justice Leveson’s inquiry, texts may, however, lose some of their initial intimacy.
Comment & Debate
The Taliban’s main fear is schoolgirls, not drones
If Pakistan really wants to combat the fundamentalists, it should be protecting its children and their teachers
pparently, Pakistanis don’t need the Taliban to destroy their schools any more – they can do it themselves. Last week, a girls’ high school was set ablaze in Pakistan’s second largest city, Lahore. And no, the Taliban were not the culprits. A mob, enraged after allegations of blasphemy against a teacher, carried out the attack. Instead of taking action against them, the police arrested the school’s 77-year-old owner. The accused teacher, who allegedly committed blasphemy by photocopying the wrong page of a book for homework, is in hiding. Pakistan may have declared an “education emergency” earlier this year, but it still fails to protect the schools it has. How did we get here? “They have shut down girls’ schools,” I told a childhood friend who was eﬀusively praising the Pakistani Taliban after its temporary takeover of the Swat valley three years ago. Malala Yousafzai, the 14-year-old Pakistani peace activist shot last month by the Taliban, was a bored 11-year-old schoolgirl then. My friend lived about 350 miles away from Swat, and had three daughters. His reasons for liking the Taliban were simple: they were local heroes who had decided to take things into their own hands. “If only people in our area had the same courage,” he said. “Would you like a Taliban-type system here in your city?” I asked him. Yes, of course, he would. Every morning, my friend drove two of his daughters to school and was pretty certain that one of them would go to medical school. “But the Taliban don’t allow girls’ education. What will happen when they shut
down your daughters’ school?” I asked. My friend was puzzled, but only for a moment. “They wouldn’t do that here. What they did in Swat is their culture, Pashtun culture.” Not educating girls is not the only myth about Pashtuns: Pashtun mothers produce sons so that they can send them to war; fathers will shoot their daughters if a stranger sees their faces. Of course, as the myth goes, they also don’t want to send their daughters to schools. And why do they need to send their sons to school anyway, if they are born soldiers in an eternal jihad? But there was no evidence of any such Pashtun culture in the Swat valley I had visited the day before our conversation. When the Taliban made their bid to rule the region, Swat could have easily passed as the education capital of Pakistan. There were law schools, medical schools, nursing schools and more computer schools than any other valley of this size could accommodate. And that’s without counting the hundreds of informal beauty schools that provide on-the-job training for girls so poor they can’t aﬀord any other type of education. A lot of Pakistanis, as well as people
What is conveniently ignored is the fact that every 10th child in the world who doesn’t go to school is a Pakistani child
the world over, have expressed their solidarity with Malala by doing the obligatory status update or tweet: “We are all Malala”. But for most people, she is someone else’s child and will remain so. She is a child whose name can be invoked to start another military operation, a child whose name can be used to prove the blindingly obvious – that parents, whatever their religion or culture, would like their children to be at school – if they can aﬀord it. What is conveniently ignored in the debate over Malala is the fact that every 10th child in the world who doesn’t go to school is Pakistani. The Taliban are not the only ones keeping kids out of school. Some fairly secularly minded people think of Pakistan’s children as someone else’s children – not deserving the education that their money buys for their own kids. As such, Pakistan is a booming marketplace for private education. Ask anyone on the street, and they’ll tell you it’s the biggest business in Pakistan. You can see people on donkey carts driving their children to private schools that oﬀer English-medium education in air-conditioned rooms for 400 rupees a month. Every morning, in every small town and city, you can see kids – three on a bicycle, ﬁve on a motorbike, 10 squeezed into a rickshaw – all heading for a school. Girls top almost all university exam tables in Pakistan. Whatever sad destiny the country may be hurtling towards, there is one thing standing between Pakistan and the Taliban’s dream of heaven on earth: the number of women who have been to school, and the number of women who couldn’t go to school but are determined to send their daughters to school, no matter the economic imperative. Whatever your ideas about a good Muslim
girl, you can’t really lock up 90 million of them behind closed doors. Listen to the Taliban, not to their cuddly intellectual friends, and you begin to get a clearer picture. Their apologists in political parties may try to prove that girls’ education is an invention of the inﬁdels, but the Taliban seem to know what they are talking about. An educated female population is more threatening to them than armies equipped with all-seeing drones. Every girl who crams for a high-school exam, every woman who runs a hospital, and every semi-educated mother who makes sure her daughter gets a better education than she herself received, is a mortal threat to the Taliban’s declared ambition that every little girl who talks about school gets it in the head. By abdicating its responsibility to educate our children, to protect those who manage to go to school and those who teach them, Pakistan is making it that much easier for the Taliban’s mission to succeed. Mohammed Hanif is author of Our Lady of Alice Bhatti and is based in Karachi
On Comment is free
‘Downton Abbey reassures us, drawing us to a time when life was simple – when people accepted their place, and our isles were hermetically sealed‘
The Guardian | Monday 5 November 2012
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Letters and emails Guardian ‘surrender’ on self-regulation
We are disappointed that the Guardian now appears to accept the “merit” of the new system of press self-regulation being proposed by David Hunt of the Press Complaints Commission and Guy Black of the Telegraph (Editorial, 2 November). You admit yourselves that their plan “vests too much power in an industry funding body which retains key powers over the regulator”, but you fail to take this to its logical conclusion: that it is little more than a reinvention of the same system of self-regulation which has failed the public and journalism for the last 60 years. We share your commitment to “independent regulation, both from politicians and the press itself”. This cannot be achieved by a system controlled by the same press interests which have dominated the failed PCC. Moreover, as so far described, the Hunt-Black plan has no means of ensuring that all major press companies sign up (the so-called “Desmond problem”), nor any foolproof method of enforcing its rulings. Were it not for the Guardian’s commitment to courageous and outstanding investigative journalism – in the teeth of bitter resistance by the PCC and its controlling press interests – we would never have discovered the true scale of abuse and corruption in parts of the press. This is surely the moment to push for a genuinely independent regulator, founded in law, which could command real public trust and reinvigorate public interest journalism. For the Guardian meekly to surrender this opportunity in favour of yet more self-regulation is a sad ﬁnale to its own exemplary journalism. Professor Steven Barnett University of Westminster, Professor Richard Sambrook Cardiﬀ University and 18 others Full list at gu.com/letters
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Corrections and clariﬁcations
Learning lessons from the ashes
The UK boasts several internationally signiﬁcant populations of ash that require the highest levels of protection. These will be lost if we do not urgently target resources to these areas to try to at least slow progress of the ash dieback disease (Most UK ash trees will be diseased ‘within 10 years’, 3 November). Top of the list must be those in the Lake District, which includes signiﬁcant numbers of ash in ancient semi-natural woodlands and many hundreds of ancient pollards. Pollarding (lopping branches oﬀ trees at a height of 3-4m above ground on a regular cycle) is integral to the silvopastoral system practiced for centuries in the region. In valleys such as Borrowdale there are specimens many hundreds of years old which provide vital habitat for rare lichens, birds, bats and invertebrates. They are as much part of the landscape as the lakes, Herdwick sheep and vernacular architecture. Our experience with dutch elm disease, foot and mouth and red squirrel conservation, tells us that core populations need to be identiﬁed for disease exclusion. We must apply the lessons of history and urgently direct resources to our most valuable ash populations. Edward R Wilson Penrith, Cumbria • On Radio 4 it was reported that Owen Paterson, the environment secretary, has said there was no delay in implementing precautions to prevent the spread of Chalara fraxinea, the fungus that causes ash dieback. He said all precautions have been appropriate. The Guardian (1 November) printed a timeline which says the Horticultural Trades Association reported the disease had become widespread in Denmark in 2009 and that it called for a ban on imports. The government took no action. European countries have been asking for a ban on importation of sapling over the last two years. Nothing happened. In February 2012 the disease was reportedly present in a nursery in Buckinghamshire. No action was taken. In the summer of 2012 ash dieback was detected in plantations and nurseries across Scotland and in the UK. No action was taken. In October 2012 cases were identiﬁed in Norfolk and Suﬀolk. The government announced a period of public consultation which “might lead to a ban on importation of saplings”. We are told “100,000 ash trees have been felled” to prevent disease spreading. On 26 October Paterson announced there would be a ban on importing ash saplings. Does Paterson have a diﬀerent concept of “no delay”? David Hurry Hurstpierpoint, West Sussex • I congratulate your correspondents, particularly Sara Maitland (We’re all tree huggers now, 1 November) regarding the ash disaster. There is no defence against an airborne virus so it must be accepted the majority of ash in the UK will die. Then all eﬀorts to minimise timber loss must be put in place. To do this, unaffected trees must be felled and stored for future use. We would then have ash timber available for 20 years. This would give tree owners a return from their losses. Diseased trees should be used for ﬁrewood. There is no point in restricting movement unless the Forestry Commission can prevent the airborne virus and prevent the wind from blowing aﬀected leaves across the countryside. To make matters worse, Forestry Commission Scotland is to force owners of infected ash trees to destroy them or be ﬁned £5,000. Threatening owners with ﬁnes does not make for good relations, particularly as the commission may be blamed for allowing contaminated nursery stock from Europe into Britain. The Forestry Commission cannot continue saying “it wisna’ me”. Donald Barker CEO, Broadleaf Trust, Auchtermuchty, Fife • We are not nature’s custodians (Editorial, 1 November). She is ours; and she will cast us aside as blithely as she did any extinct species you care to think of. Joseph Byrne Ennis County Clare, Ireland • If only I’d known! For 30 years I have struggled to uproot the determined crop of ash seedlings springing up in my garden. Had any nursery appealed for supplies before importing them from the Netherlands, I’d have happily obliged. Dr Janet Sturgis Tunbridge Wells, Kent
• A Shortcuts item (Breast cancer screening: will you, won’t you?, 31 October, page 3, G2) published in the wake of an independent review of the NHS breast screening programme erred in saying: “A 50-year-old woman who turns up for screening has a 93.2% chance of being told all is well.” This and other statistics referred to in the article relate to all women in the NHS breast screening programme, under which those in the 50-70 age group are called for screening every three years. • An article about arrangements made by Lloyds Banking Group to compensate people who were mis-sold payment protection insurance (Lloyds adds £1bn to costs of PPI payback, 2 November, page 35) said the company wrote to the Financial Ombudsman Service last month to suggest claims management companies pay the £850m costs associated with processing the claims they bring. In fact it suggested that claims management companies pay the £850 costs associated with processing each case they bring. • A Comment piece (Cameron’s pro-EU charade cannot go on much longer, 31 October, page 33) said the EU budget had “never passed audit”. To clarify: the EU’s court of auditors has not given a declaration of assurance in relation to the EU budget since 1994. Contacts for Guardian departments and staﬀ can be found at gu.com/help/ contact-us. To contact the readers’ editor’s oﬃce, which looks at queries about accuracy and standards, email firstname.lastname@example.org including article details and web link; write to The readers’ editor, Kings Place, 90 York Way, London N1 9GU; or phone +44 (0)20 3353 4736 between 10am and 1pm UK time Monday to Friday excluding public holidays. The Guardian’s policy is to correct signiﬁcant errors as soon as possible. The editorial code of the Guardian incorporates the editors’ code overseen by the Press Complaints Commission: see pcc.org.uk
Threatening tree owners with ﬁnes of £5,000 does not make for good relations
One law for MacShane and another for Laws Grassroots support for green spaces
Can anyone explain why Denis MacShane (Report, 3 November) has been forced, rightly, to resign as MP for falsely claiming £12,000 in expenses, while David Laws, who falsely claimed over £40,000 for rent, ostensibly to hide the fact that he was gay, is not only back in parliament (after only a seven-day suspension, compared with 12 months imposed on MacShane before he decided to quit), but is now installed as minister for schools? Michael McColgan Sheﬃeld • I recently travelled from Croyde in north Devon to Stratford, mostly by train. On the journey, I didn’t see a single wind turbine (Simon Jenkins, 2 November). Rosemary Brian Croyde, Devon • Jen and Geoﬀ may have a simple solution to what their grandchildren call them (Letters, 3 November), but when my granddaughter calls me Grandaddy, I feel she has some sense of the wonder of the passing of the generations. Michael Harrison Oxford • No matter what you call your grandmothers, we in Scotland are ever mindful of which one we can and cannot forcibly eject from a bus (“Oh ye cannae shove your grannie oﬀ a bus”). Norman Williamson Glasgow • For cremations (Letters, 2 November), the most appropriate music must be Fire! by Arthur Brown (“I am the god of hell ﬁre ...”). Mike Topham Birkenhead, Wirral Seumas Milne (31 October) condemns the obscene and ever-growing wealth of the richest people in the UK and how they and global corporations have avoided paying taxes estimated to be greater than the entire national debt. A few pages later, Alison Benjamin asks “who should pick up the bill for our green spaces?”. Why not let the public decide? Over the last 20 years we have seen the rapid growth of over 5,000 local friends of parks groups committed to rescuing our urban green spaces from the scandalous decline they were plunged into by public spending cuts in the 1980s. Despite this rescue act still not having been completed for most of the 30,000 such spaces, our parks are facing a national funding crisis yet again. As everyone knows, urban parks, despite being a non-statutory service, are a priceless environmental and social resource for every community, and are the most well-used and popular of all our vital public services, on a par with the NHS. It is unacceptable that they should be starved of the staﬃng, maintenance and management they need. However, there are real diﬀerences between now and the 1980s. First, we now know the disastrous problems caused by underfunding and neglect, and the huge cost and eﬀort it takes to turn it back round. Second, we now have a popular, grassroots movement which is going to speak out and demand eﬀective action. Let’s all ensure there’s an active and vociferous group for every green space. We call for adequate funding for all UK parks and a statutory duty to manage them to high standards. Dave Morris Campaigns oﬃcer, National Federation of Parks and Green Spaces
Cold Fell, Lake District
It was near the point where William Wordsworth’s father is said to have lost his way on Cold Fell in freezing mist, and subsequently died after being benighted and catching a severe cold in 1783, that I saw a most unusual view, and only because the light fell in such a way. The occasion? Driving this wild upland road between Ennerdale Bridge and Calderbridge, just past Kinniside stone circle and not far before the turnoﬀ to Matty Benn’s packhorse bridge across Friar Gill, said to be the oldest such span in Cumbria. What was that peak afar? How it brought to mind Kipling’s poem: “Something lost behind the Ranges. Over yonder! Go you there!” Lakeland is replete with skyline on skyline, and with peaks peeping into view through gaps. I remember another such car-stopping vision on the way back to Langdale over the tops from Little Langdale that appeared across the waters of Blea Tarn. What looked so like the tip of some Himalayan peak seen through a notch in the skyline was none other than the summit of Bowfell, its buttress tinselled white, an ivory tower aloof and inaccessible – and just when you thought you knew your mountains. So too on Cold Fell that day, this celestial peak from afar looked mystical, not a Lakeland peak as I knew them. I stopped the car and, zooming in to the maximum setting, snapped a picture with my mobile phone, later showing this to the fell runner I was visiting in Wasdale. The hardest iron man of all as rated by the late Chris Brasher glanced at the glowing screen, his aquiline proﬁle intent, before ﬁnally saying: “It can only be Scafell Pike,” And, yes, it fell in place, with classic climbs I had done on Pikes Crag so many times like Grooved Arete, The Sentinel and Juniper Buttress to the fore. Halcyon days now seemingly long ago, yet recalled in a moment as everything suddenly gelled. Tony Greenbank
want to buy the Guardian today. I did, because I love the paper, but it was a real repellent. I know advertising keeps newspapers alive – and those ‘border’ adverts, that stand out, are OK – but when it blocks the very thing I buy the Guardian for, the news, and, more importantly, the Guardian’s take on the news, not just for me, the regular buyer but also for the people who buy other papers but see your headlines, well, it’s horrible.” Some saw irony in a series of advertisements for Vodafone, a company that has been the subject of allegations of tax avoidance often reported in the pages of the paper. One wrote: “Are you trying to see how far you can push your readers before we crack? Please don’t ever wrap my daily newspaper in a giant advert for a notorious tax-avoiding company again, because if you do I shan’t buy it.” And then last Wednesday Vodafone’s rivals in the new market for 4G networks, EE, swept into the pages of the Guardian, dominating the advertising slots for the ﬁrst 20 pages. This prompted another smaller ﬂurry of complaints about saturation. So far there have been 34 complaints about the scale of the advertising by broadband companies. There were also a further 34 complaints about an earlier series of ads that involved the half wraparounds or “bookmark” ads, which appeared on 17 September 2012. The chief complaint, unsurprisingly, the vertical front half page advertisement is attached to the back page, but because of its size both parts tended to pull away more easily than two full pages. Some readers appeared to enjoy the challenge: “I will not be able to sleep at night having purchased today’s edition without knowing if I have a rare copy. Looking as if the front cover had a small tear, upon closer inspection outside the newsagent I actually have one-anda-half front pages with an incomplete advertisement for First Direct on the reverse. The actual back page of the real paper has the obituaries. Oﬀers please? Never knowingly undersold.” A lot of readers feel there is a higher advertising-to-editorial ratio than there was once was. Paul Johnson, a deputy editor, said this is not the case: “There isn’t a strict ad-editorial ratio [it’s roughly 50-50]. G1 is built on editorial minimums – through national, international, ﬁnancial [pages]. We have a whole series of rules about what ads can go on pages one two and three, the number of pages without ads etc. For instance, we don’t have advertising on our comment pages.” Some proposals for advertising shapes are turned down as being too intrusive, says Johnson, but the demand for diﬀerent positions is strong: “Advertisers – or advertising agencies – have got much more demanding and adventurous in recent years. We take some of the diﬀerent conﬁgurations put up, believing that we can design good editorial pages around them.” The wraparound may be a new departure, but it is only 60 years ago that “ads” made way for news on the front of the Guardian and there have been occasional instances of irregular shapes since. CP Scott’s essay celebrating the centenary of the Guardian, published in 1921, made much of the balance between the material and the moral life of a newspaper. However, he was clear that the balance should tip towards the latter as a guiding principle of purpose while recognising that the Guardian needed to be a business to survive. That hasn’t changed. So the Guardian feels that even when the innovative shape can occasionally be awkward for some, it is a revenue stream that supports nearly 50% of the costs of publication. What do other readers think? What would you do?
The readers’ editor on … handling the changing shape of advertising
n the past few years advertisements have leapt out of their accustomed slots below the fold of the Guardian to appear in a variety of shapes and forms; the L shape, the chimney, or funnel, on the inside, and on the outside the bookmark half page. On Friday 26 October the Guardian carried its ﬁrst full wraparound advertisement, for Vodafone, part of a £4m campaign by the company across the media. Many readers, especially those who identiﬁed themselves as Guardian subscribers, objected: “I’m sorry, but the front-back Vodafone cover made me not
Some saw irony in a series of advertisements for Vodafone, the subject of allegations of tax avoidance
The Guardian | Monday 5 November 2012
This poll could bend in a storm of disruptive statistics
merica experienced a moment last week when forecast became fact; shockingly, concretely. Tomorrow, the same thing will happen. A speculative river will solidify into a hard fact. Whether it is the trajectory of the “super storm” Sandy, or the outcome of the presidential election, recent US media discourse has been dominated by forecasts, forecasting and those who make and disseminate them. Informed judgment, or speculation as it is less ﬂatteringly known, has formed a key component of reporting for as long as the practice itself. The faulty forecast has become the dry rot in the ﬂimsy framework of public trust in journalism. Failures to adequately anticipate phenomena, from al-Qaida’s rise to the ﬁnancial system’s collapse, have contributed to an erosion of credibility. The “bendy tree” journalism of wind-blown TV news reporters has too often misled audiences about the threat of weather systems. As with every other branch
of journalism, the dynamics of reporting “what will happen” are shifting from the qualitative model of expert opinion to the quantitative model of what can be extrapolated from measurement. One of the astonishing aspects of Sandy was how accurate the forecasts often were; foreseeing, for example, its move oﬀshore before landing, as predicted, smack in the middle of New Jersey’s shoreline. Thorough reporting soon followed, as a torrent of social media updates and photos tumbled into the stream of innovative eﬀorts by big media. The rapid, sketchy information, false rumours and photos made some kind of sense of the scattered chaos. We watched, with timelines, maps and commentary, journalism get better before our very eyes. In a real storm, it seems the media can pull together, and make use of the technologies which arrived to disrupt it. In US political forecasting, however, punditry has created its own fake storm, centring on the predictive powers of one man, Nate Silver. Silver’s FiveThirtyEight blog makes his voice one of the most listenedto in US politics. But Silver didn’t develop his journalism through the traditional route, wearing out shoe leather on the
campaign trail and drinking in Capitol Hill bars with interns and advisers. He has a background in economics and started his career modelling baseball statistics. His prediction modelling for the 2008 election gave him remarkable accuracy and elevated his blog to a soughtafter source of political wisdom. A deal with the New York Times sealed his rise. His prominence has unsettled those he disrupts, and the possibility that he might be wrong encouraged the sceptics into open hostility. In his new book The
One of the astonishing aspects of storm Sandy was how accurate many of the forecasts were
Signal and the Noise, Silver lays bare how political pundits failed to predict accurately the scale of the Obama victory. Joe Scarborough, a commentator for MSNBC, levelled his guns at Silver last week, saying that he was an “ideologue”, a far more insulting term in US journalism than in British, and that the election was in eﬀect a “coin toss”. At its most basic level, this argument goes beyond left and right – it is about a new emerging school of journalism challenging the status quo. Journalism delivered through lovely prose and burnished anecdote, developed through access traded, sometimes for truth, is under threat from spreadsheets and the numeracy of a diﬀerent elite. All journalism in one way or another is about the performance of information; presenting, polishing, contextualising and reporting. Silver’s performance is through numbers and methodology; those left outside it attack it, without acknowledging this might be a world where both can thrive. As of Friday Silver had Obama at an 81% likelihood of winning the election. The polls themselves, it seems, were disrupted by the politics of Sandy. And this was something no one predicted.
Montgomery advances on local papers
Publisher outlines plans to rejuvenate local press but some doubt his credentials
In 2006 the publisher of the Daily Mail passed up the opportunity to sell its regional newspaper business for about £1bn, after bidders declined to meet its lofty expectations of a £1.5bn price tag. Daily Mail & General Trust is now poised to hive oﬀ regional operation Northcliﬀe Media, home to titles including the Leicester Mercury and Nottingham Post, into a joint venture led by former Mirror Group Newspapers and Mecom chief executive David Montgomery that values it at about £100m. This plummeting valuation highlights the battering the regional press has taken in the intervening period, with the industry one of the media sectors hardest hit by the growth of the internet and the postcredit crunch recession. Sales have slumped — the Leicester Mercury sold almost 100,000 copies a day a decade ago, today it sells 45,000 — along with advertising revenues. When DMGT rejected a £1bn offer for Northcliffe in 2006, total annual UK regional newspaper advertising was £2.5bn; today it is £1bn and continuing to decline rapidly, according to media buying agency Group M. Further consolidation has been widely expected, and last week the starting gun was eﬀectively ﬁred with Montgomery’s move, the first stage of a plan that he
Media Monkey’s Diary
Lecture series title of the week: today Mark Thompson, newly enthroned as an Oxford professor, begins a brief course on language and public debate. Given the questions that face him, both in the UK and at the New York Times, about the Jimmy Savile scandal, Prof Thommo’s overall title looks almost too appropriate: The Cloud of Unknowing. Monkey may have belatedly sensed the hidden agenda behind the Daily Mail’s attacks on Jeremy Paxman for not wearing a tie, which reached a new level of loopiness last week with a Quentin Letts op-ed piece lambasting Paxo even though by then the Newsnight anchor had reverted to wearing one. Could there perhaps be someone close to Paul Dacre who is normally tie-less, despite holding a position of authority, but whom Dacre is loth to criticise directly? Googling images of Geordie Greig, the Mail on Sunday editor, suggests there might be. Boris Johnson was Guardianbashing again last week, adding to the puzzle of what the paper has ever done to the mayor to provoke such a vendetta. Not sacking him for making up a quote: that was the Times. Not revealing his phone chat with a chum who was planning to beat up an enemy: the Mail, with the Evening Standard close behind. Nor making the running on his aﬀair with Petronella Wyatt: the Mail on Sunday. Nor revealing his home visits to a female journalist to discuss higher education policy in more depth: the News of the World. Nor alleging an aﬀair with an art adviser that produced a child: the Mirror. Nor accusing him of lying or threatening to expose a media executive’s private life, like a former Telegraph owner (Conrad Black) and editor (Max Hastings) respectively. It’s mostly rightwing papers that are his real enemies, with the Guardian guilty only of feebly failing to make trouble for him. It would be remiss not to reﬂect Liz Jones’s departure from rural Devon, a historic moment in modern journalism. In an 800-word wail in You magazine oﬀering a piquant contrast with the mag’s photos of rustic scenes from Pippa Middleton’s Celebrate, the over-sharing Mail columnist spelled out why her stint in the countryside had been “the hardest, most miserable ﬁve years of my life”: most of her animals have died; she is now reduced to “renting”, having “lost all my money”; locals have harassed and insulted her, making the pub a no-go zone; that leaves just one person to say goodbye to, Emily in the deli, but unfortunately “I almost ruined her life, her business, by writing about her. I’m poison.” You can catch up with Monkey every day at guardian.co.uk/media, or on Twitter: @mgmediamonkey
Full Monty … David Montgomery’s Local World plans to consolidate the regional titles Photograph: Anna Gordon/eyevine believes will reinvigorate the ailing sector. “The industry is on a one-way street – everyone has been waiting for something to happen and unless there is market consolidation there will be no regional newspaper business,” said one senior newspaper industry executive. The ﬁrst stage of Montgomery’s plan is to merge Northcliﬀe, the UK’s fourth biggest regional newspaper group by circulation, with Iliffe News & Media (the 11th largest), owner of titles such as the Cambridge Evening News, into a venture called Local World. DMGT and Iliﬀe will control almost half of the venture, with Trinity Mirror also in talks about taking a stake. Montgomery has backers lined up including hedge fund manager Crispin Odey and is also talking to former Tory deputy chairman Lord Ashcroft about a stake. Montgomery will have the beneﬁt of not having to deal with Northcliﬀe’s pension deﬁcit — DMGT is taking responsibility. The company deﬁcit stood at £370m at 1 April, although how much of that relates to Northcliﬀe is unknown. Pension issues have hampered previous negotiations between major players about regional newspaper consolidation. Local World will also not own any printing plants, saving it from the considerable associated costs. However, there is scepticism about whether Montgomery, who was ousted in January last year from Mecom, the pan-European newspaper publisher he founded, is the shining knight with the masterplan that the industry has been waiting for. Journalists who remember Montgomery’s time at the Mirror titles in the 1990s, when he had a reputation as a brutal cost cutter, may shudder at the thought of his return to UK newspapers. “It is not a particularly compelling business; the combination will still leave them fourth in the pecking order of regional newspaper groups,” said a former senior newspaper executive. “Montgomery knows the regional business and it unequivocally needs to be done, but after Mirror Group and Mecom I’m surprised it is him and not an existing big player starting this.” The big player most fancied to have done so is Trinity Mirror, the biggest UK publisher with regional titles including the Liverpool Echo and Newcastle Journal, which has spotted the potential of Local World. Trinity is negotiating to take a stake, thought to be less than 20%, but will not at this point be merging its titles into Local World. Putting Trinity Mirror’s 100-plus titles into Local World would create a superplayer much better able to cope with the digital challenge. One analyst compared such a super-merger to the regional newspaper equivalent of the joint venture between book publishers Penguin and Random House, a move designed to try to keep pace with digital upstarts such as Amazon. The critical question is whether the tough stance taken by competition regulators will ﬁnally soften in light of the parlous state of the regional market. One observer points out that Montgomery will be keenly watching the outcome of the Competition Commission’s investigation into Global Radio’s takeover of GMG Radio. That deal brings together the biggest and third biggest players in the UK radio market, and has been struck in the face of many of the same issues facing regional newspapers. “How the regulator views local market competition will be make or break for whether Montgomery can really lead consolidation – the radio ruling will be the test for Local World’s plans,” said one source. “The idea that local publishers restrict and control media content in the internet age is ridiculous. Montgomery has no plan if regulators don’t acknowledge this.”
The industry is on a one-way street – everyone has been waiting for something to happen
The Guardian | Monday 5 November 2012
Read more on MediaGuardian.co.uk
Coming up this week Tuesday Tuesday: Grierson documentary 2 awards 2012 announced. The shortlist includes Terry Pratchett: Choosin Choosing to Die Friday: A national newspaper ABC circulatio circulation ﬁgures for October
Interview Troy Carter
‘It’s knowing who the superfans are’
Lady Gaga’s manager on why micronetworks and specialist sites are the future of social media, why knowing user behaviour spells success – and how a teenager’s news-crunching website could be the next big thing
Troy Carter, the force behind Lady Gaga, isn’t just a talent manager. He epitomises an emerging group of creatives who are ﬁnding that partnering with Silicon Valley types is the way out of a broken business. Not only is Carter making a good ﬁst of reforming the music industry’s business model by challenging its distribution methods – Lady Gaga’s next album will be an app – but he is building and sharing a new social media platform which aims to rival Twitter and, in his spare time, running a private angel fund for technology startups. Through his AF Square fund, Carter has invested in 40 online services and apps, ranging from the music streaming service Spotify, to the US taxi-booking app Uber and Rap Genius, a website dedicated to explaining rap lyrics which was set up three years ago by a bunch of Yale graduates. One of the startups Carter is most excited by is Summly, a news scanning service launched on Friday on iTunes. It is designed by a British teenager, Nick D’Aloisio, and – having been described as one of the most disruptive apps of 2012 – is a venture that may be viewed warily by the newspaper industry. But ﬁrst, Lady Gaga. Some joke that if she and Justin Bieber left Twitter it would collapse. She is the most followed individual on the service with 30.9 million fans and counting – one million ahead of the teen popster and nine million ahead of the ﬁfth most followed tweeter, Barack Obama. Her Facebook following is even bigger, with 54 million fans, but Carter’s focus is on the fans on Gaga’s new social network, littlemonsters.com. A hot turn on the media conference circuit, Philadelphia-born Carter is disarmingly optimistic about his sector. “The music industry is healthier than ever right now and it’s a fantastic time to be in it,” he says. A bold statement, considering how diﬃcult it is for many artists to make money. “The way consumers interact with music is diﬀerent now,” he explains. “It’s not an albums business any more, it’s a singles business again and the industry has gone through that before. People are experimenting with streaming, with subscription services, whether it’s a Spotify or a Pandora or a Rdio,” he says, naming some of the many services that allow users to listen to tracks of their choice free. “I think piracy itself is going to end up going away,” he adds. “If you can get something for absolutely free [instead of] stealing it, and the quality of free is actually better than the quality of stealing it, the choice becomes easy.” This is the point where managing Lady Gaga and his involvement in social media meet. Her next album, Artpop, will be launched through a paid-for app and she promises “chats, ﬁlms for every song, extra music, Gaga-inspired games, fashion updates, magazines and more still in the works!”. The idea is that the customer will want to pay for it because of all the extras. With her previous album she was also pioneering, marketing Born This Way through FarmVille, the hugely popular Facebook game, in partnership with the games company Zynga. Visitors to her farm, which was populated by unicorns, crystals and sheep on motorcyles, got exclusive access to songs a week ahead of launch. “I think the idea of having an application is the future,” says Carter. When asked what hope he holds out for the newspaper industry, also struggling against the internet, he replies that publishers simply have to adjust their ways. “People don’t buy horses to ride around any more for transportation. I just think the world changes. As a business, we have to make the proper adjustments.” For Carter, the key is creating a twoway relationship with Gaga and his other clients’ customers. The quantity of readers or listeners is not what is important. “A ‘like’ [on Facebook] doesn’t necessarily translate as a fan. It’s a very passive relationship. It’s more important to have the one million diehard fans, than to have 54 million people who aren’t necessarily fans or they might have liked one thing you said, or one video. It’s being able to segregate those audiences and knowing who the super-fans are.” To this end, he and Lady Gaga decided to build their social network, littlemonsters.com. Launched three months ago, it has one million registered users and is already seeing respectable dwell-times, with fans staying on average “14 or 15 minutes” per visit. “These kids live on the site,” says Carter. In the yesterday world of CD sales, the data about customers that record companies held was “shit”, says Carter. “You have names, you have cities and you have credit card information, but it’s not user behaviour. You don’t know where else they are going on the internet, you don’t know what other artists they like, or what music they listen to. You really don’t know anything about them.” Through littlemonsters.com, Carter has, in eﬀect, moved into customer relations management, which is all about “getting to know your fans – when did they become a fan, when did they drop oﬀ, what other artists are they listening to?” The album app will be promoted via littlemonsters.com, and he is hoping to replicate the experience with “millions” of tiny social networking sites, employing his Backplane platform from which Gaga’s site emerged. He is already working on one site for a Christian group and another for a baseball team. “We think the future of social media are micronetworks and communities built around speciﬁc interests,” he says. Backplane is his third company, alongside AF Square and Atom Factory (his talent management arm), and raised $5m from blue chip investors including Google Ventures, Sequoia (one of the oldest tech private equity ﬁrms, which was among the backers of Google and Apple) and Founders Fund – a fund backed by Facebook’s co-founder Sean Parker and PayPal’s founder Peter Thiel. Carter, who started his career working with Will Smith and Sean “Diddy” Combs, still has his eye ﬁrmly on the talent, though. Just before this interview, he told the Wired 2012 tech conference in London that he takes tips from the TV star Ashton Kutcher, one of the tech world’s new powerbrokers whose investments have helped to propel startups such as Foursquare, Airbnb and Flipboard. “Ashton is probably one of the smartest guys when it comes to tech,” he enthused. “There’s not too many people who understand product as well as Ashton and we co-invest alongside his company a lot.” In the UK, where Carter will this week return for yet another conference turn, he sees Summly as the one to watch. “Nick [D’Aloisio] is 17 years old, one of the most super-smart people I have met,” says Carter. His startup’s app summarises large newspaper articles, breaking them down to two-paragraph bullet points. “For young kids consuming content, that’s kind of how they read anyway and they can choose whether they read the lot. The science behind it is absolutely fascinating.” If it gets kids reading newspapers, that cannot be a bad thing.
You can’t mask change … Troy Carter with Lady Gaga. Photograph: Getty Images
It’s more important to have the one million diehard fans, than to have 54 million who aren’t necessarily fans
Age 39 Education West Philadelphia High school Career 1995 joins Bad Boy Entertainment 1999 forms boutique urban talent management company Erving Wonder 2004 sells Erving Wonder to Sanctuary Group 2008 founds talent management ﬁrm Atom Factory 2011 sets up AF Square angel fund for tech startups 2012 co-founds Backplane
34 MediaGuardian Creative, Marketing & Sales, Courses, Jobs Online
More jobs at guardianjobs.co.uk Monday 5 November 2012
Marketing and Recruitment Services
Salary – circa £51k per annum Beneﬁts Package including 36 days holiday, ﬁnal salary pension scheme and generous relocation allowance
We are looking for an experienced, driven and successful fundraiser who can help increase the University’s fundraising capacity. You will be a self-motivated, target-led individual able to demonstrate a proven track record in securing substantial income from areas such as charitable trusts and foundations, philanthropic giving and sponsorship. Educated to degree level or equivalent, you will be responsible for achieving institutional fundraising targets. You will be expected to demonstrate success in high level prospect identiﬁcation, experience of working on multi-million pound campaigns, developed high proﬁle fundraising strategies and solicited charitable gifts from a wide range of sources. Signiﬁcant experience of using a client relationship database is essential. Experience of working in higher education and alumni management would also be an advantage. This is a great opportunity to help shape the future direction of fundraising and development at the University. The post comes with a highly competitive salary (above sector average) and a comprehensive beneﬁts package. Ref No: MAR019/2220
Do you have outstanding commercial and leadership skills, a passion for history, integrity and the ability to work with a diverse range of people?
If so, the award winning Crich Tramway Village, Matlock, Derbyshire, home of the National Tramway Museum is seeking to appoint to the following new position: Salary circa £40,000 An exceptional opportunity has arisen to play a critical strategic and tactical role in the daily life and ongoing success of the world’s largest book festival. This creative and outstanding individual will have responsibility for staff management, site logistics and all aspects of running the business, ensuring the ﬁnancial health and robust future of the operation. Extensive experience of arts and festival management, proven ﬁnancial planning skills and exemplary managerial and organisational skills are required. Full details: www.edbookfest.co.uk/about-us/jobs Closing date: Tue 20 November, 5pm Interviews: w/c 26th November
The Edinburgh International Book Festival Ltd is a registered charity (SCO101120) Supported by Creative Scotland and the City of Edinburgh Council
To ensure the effective, efﬁcient, co-ordinated and proﬁtable operation and future development of the organization as a visitor attraction, educational resource and accredited museum. The key rewards for this role will be job satisfaction and working in the museum environment, we are also offering a salary of between £45,000 and £50,000 per annum to the right candidate. For further details please download an application from www.tramway.co.uk Closing Date 12 noon Friday 30th November 2012.
The Tramway Museum Society registered as a national charity no 313615
Job opportunity in Saudi Arabia
Attieh Medico - a leading medical equipment company is seeking to hire the following:
1 - General Manager
London ofﬁce of international newswire seeks Editorial Assistant to proof, format and process news releases. The successful candidate will demonstrate organisational skills, editorial accuracy and ability to work under pressure.
Required to implement a strategic growth plan; assess, reﬁne and create systems and structure; and grow revenue by focusing on value creation. Must have solid experience at MD or GM level, preferable in the Medical industry.
Six-month minimum Cambodian & Indonesian Sojourn for skilled & literate documentary producer with Phnom Penh’s leading production company
For an informal discussion about this opportunity, please contact Steve Heywood, Head of Communications, on 0191 515 2691 or email@example.com
Visit: to discover more or to apply online
English 1st language essential Starting January 2013 Working on two publicly-funded TV projects (1) Khmer Rouge Trials (2) Good Governance Minimum qualiﬁcations: Extensive experience as documentary writer/producer University degree B.A. 2.1 or better Proven script writing ability All expenses and salary commensurate with local conditions. Fantastic opportunity for right person.
Duties include the transfer of data from hard copy to proprietary editing software for transmission to the media, the processing of news releases and administrative duties. The position involves no writing. Ideal ﬁrst job for someone looking to further their media career, with great progression prospects. Salary: Competitive Please email cover letter and CV to firstname.lastname@example.org
2 - Supply Chain Manager
Must have at least 5 years experience. Please send your CV to the following: E-mail: email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org
Notice to Advertisers
It is a condition of acceptance of advertisement orders that the proprietors of The Guardian do not guarantee the insertion of a particular advertisement on a specified date, or at all although every effort will be made to meet the wishes of advertisers. We reserve the right to edit or delete any objectionable wording or reject any advertisement. Although every advertisement is carefully checked, occasionally mistakes do occur. We therefore ask advertisers to assist us by checking their advertisements carefully and advise us immediately should an error occur. We regret that we cannot accept responsibility for more than ONE INCORRECT insertion and that no republication will be granted in the case of typographical or minor changes which do not affect the value of the advertisement. All calls, both incoming and outgoing, will be recorded automatically; however, we only intend to listen to these calls for training and monitoring purposes, for the resolution of invoice disputes, and/or for any other business purpose which is permitted by applicable legislation.
TRAVEL WRITING WORKSHOP
Saturday December 1st (repeated Saturday January 26th) Central London Learn how to write and sell travel features. The workshop leader will be Peter Carty, Guardian, Independent and Telegraph contributor and former editor of Time Out’s award winning travel section. Details: www.travelwritingworkshop.co.uk email@example.com
Closing Date: 18th November 2012
Apply with succinct CV mail@cambodiaﬁlms.com PRODUCTION/ SUB-EDITING ROLE IN WESTMINSTER
Freelance Presenters required to deliver
I I I I
study skills workshops Visit schools across the UK for Britain’s leading study skills education company Must be an excellent public speaker Experience with primary & secondary students preferred Full training provided Please email your CV and details to firstname.lastname@example.org
International specialist print magazine in its 42nd year seeks Production Editor on small team. Experience of Quark desirable. Training on PC database if required. Graduate with knowledge of one foreign language to A level; excellent spelling, grammar and numeracy necessary; good maths helpful. Please e-mail covering letter and C.V. to: email@example.com www.benecompintl.com
To advertise contact
London: 020 3353 3400 Edinburgh: 0131 272 2751
Project Development Ofﬁcer
Morecambe Winter Gardens Preservation Trust £23,000
Ref: 4535896 Job Type: Two years, part time, freelance.
Your chance to be a part of the most exciting arts & heritage project in England
For more information please visit www.guardianjobs.co.uk
Communications Graphic Design
Liverpool Mutual Homes £23153 - £28229 p.a.
Ref: 4534721 Job Type: FT Perm
We are seeking a talented and experienced Graphic Designer to join our internal communications team.
For more information please visit www.guardianjobs.co.uk
Head of Marketing
Underbelly Limited £28,000 - £35,000 p.a.
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The Guardian | Monday 5 November 2012
More reviews online Rian Evans on Jac van Steen and the BBC National Orchestra of Wales guardian.co.uk/classical
Vision of asylum seekers in Hackney tells only half the story
Khadija Is 18 Finborough, London ★★★★★
Drama depends on moral dilemmas and for that we need maximum information. I welcome the fact that this ﬁrst fulllength play by Shamser Sinha deals with the perils facing young asylum seekers, but I also want to know more about the legal technicalities: it’s a lively, vivid piece of writing but it assumes more knowledge than most of us possess. The basic situation is clear. Khadija is a young Afghan refugee sharing social services accommodation in Hackney, east London, with Liza, who hails from eastern Europe. Both girls are 17 when the play starts, both attend college and both are worried about achieving residential status. But each has problems. Liza frets about her poor English and fears that the authorities will discover that the baby she is nursing is not her own. Khadija, meanwhile, is ﬁnancially reckless and heavily involved with a young black guy, Ade, by whom she gets pregnant at the very time when her temporary visa is due to expire. There is a lot to like about the play. Sinha has spent 10 years working with asylum seekers and clearly writes from experience. The laddish, competitive backchat between Ade and his bullish African-Caribbean mate, Sam, rings true, especially the latter’s resentment of new waves of Arab immigrants. Khadija’s relationship with Liza, with its mixture of mutual dependence and sexual jealousy, also cannot be faulted. Like Rachel De-lahay’s The Westbridge at the Royal Court, London, the play tells us what life is like today in multicultural Britain. To fully understand Khadija’s problem, however, we need to know more about the demands placed on young asylum seekers. Without that, it’s diﬃcult to decide whether Khadija is the victim of a punitive legal system, or of Ade’s failure to take contraceptive precautions. Fly Davis’s design could also do more to indicate where each scene is set, but Tim Stark’s production has real energy and is very well acted by its young cast. Aysha Kala is chippy and vulnerable as Khadija, and her scenes with Victor Alli’s Ade have a nice air of resentful aﬀection. There is equally good work from Katherine Rose Morley as the sexually lonely Liza, and Damson Idris as the seemingly conﬁdent Sam. Sinha packs a lot into 90 minutes, but still leaves me wondering how much statutory aid asylum seekers receive from solicitors, and what they have to do to prove their entitlement to stay. We can ﬁnd all that out from Google, but a play also has a duty to give us the necessary facts. Michael Billington Until 24 November. Box Oﬃce: 0844 847 1652.
BBC Philharmonic/Noseda/ Bavouzet Bridgewater Hall, Manchester ★★★★★
Maverick French pianist Jean-Eﬄam Bavouzet is among the most generous and indefatigable of performers, sometimes playing two works for piano and orchestra in an evening, rather than the usual one. Such was the case on this occasion, when he tackled Prokoﬁev’s First and Fourth Concertos as the centrepieces of a particularly strong BBC Philharmonic concert, conducted by Gianandrea Noseda. Both concertos are eccentric and suit Bavouzet’s glamorous playing and quirky temperament well. The First is a one-movement ragbag of themes and styles, written when Prokoﬁev was only 21. The Fourth, commissioned by Paul Wittgenstein, is for the left hand only and can seem pithy, despite a slow movement of considerable grandeur and weight. The panache and charm that Bavouzet and Noseda brought to the First proved wonderfully appealing. The Fourth was all morbid humour and sardonic elegance. Bavouzet ﬂung out scales and arpeggios with steely precision. The orchestral sound was impeccably detailed. The piece itself remains unconvincing, but the case for it could not have been better articulated. Italian music formed the rest of the programme. The overture to Verdi’s I Vespri Siciliani, furiously performed, left me wondering – not for the ﬁrst time – why Noseda is seemingly overlooked by UK opera companies. He closed with Alfredo Casella’s Third Symphony. Completed in 1940, it’s a remarkable work that reﬂects the composer’s disillusionment with fascism, of which he had initially been a supporter. You can hear Mahler’s inﬂuence in its complex counterpoint, while the mix of anguished lyricism, harmonic violence and forced jollity carries emotional echoes of Shostakovich. Noseda, who has been reappraising Casella’s work for some time, conducted it with intensity and conviction. Overwhelming stuﬀ, superbly done. Tim Ashley
Real energy … Aysha Kala and Damson Idris in Khadija Is 18 at the Finborough Photograph: Tristram Kenton for the Guardian
World Party Royal Albert Hall, London ★★★★★
It has been 12 years since World Party last toured Britain, and Karl Wallinger, responding to a shouted reprimand
from the crowd, appears to acknowledge that they may possibly have been a little slow to return. Yes, he agrees, with a grin and a mildly embarrassed shrug, it is about time, isn’t it. Wallinger’s veteran band’s long-term silence is perplexing, as in the early 90s they seemed likely to rise to stadiumﬁlling status. Yet his absence is to some extent understandable: in 2001, the singer and guitarist was taken ill with a crippling brain aneurysm that required ﬁve years of rest and rehabilitation. Flanked by a busy eight-piece band, the greyer and chunkier Wallinger is in rude health at this fervently received comeback show. It seems ﬁtting that they open the evening with Waiting Such a Long Time, a new track that shows he has not lost the knack of penning cerebral, erudite pop essays drenched in gorgeously winning, Beatles-esque melodies. Wallinger switches to keyboard early on for She’s the One, the 1997 World Party album track turned into a national anthem by Robbie Williams, but draws much of the set from their 1990 highwatermark album, Goodbye Jumbo. The environmentalist concerns of Put the Message in the Box and Is It Too Late are set to retro stylings, yet betray a band that were presciently ahead of their time. “We’ll try to see you again rather more frequently,” mumbles the shamefaced singer as World Party exit after the ferocious, Dylan-esque Way Down Now. Karl Wallinger may still have a great album in him. Whether he gets around to making it is another question. Ian Gittins
Philippe Decouﬂé Company DCA Sadler’s Wells, London ★★★★★
Philippe Decouﬂé won the Prix Bagnolet for choreography when he was just 21, and since then has become one of the most successful showmen in dance – involved in public events, such as the carnival parade celebrating the 200th anniversary of the French Revolution, as well as productions for his own company. Part of his success is due to his versatility, whether turning his hand to old-fashioned physical comedy, pure dance or sci-ﬁ fantasy. As this new retrospective show makes clear, Decouﬂé operates in the middle of a very unlikely stylistic curve, somewhere between Jacques Tati and Cirque du Soleil. Panorama links together highlights from his repertory from the last 30 years, in a format that’s close to music hall. Matthieu Penchinat, with his booming voice and droll incompetency, is master of ceremonies, introducing a fast and freewheeling collage of diﬀerent routines. In the 1983 Vague Café, we get a joyful but disciplined ragbag of dance styles; in a later solo, Decouﬂé reverts to an almost Bauhaus severity, restricting the choreography to a rigorous play of spiralling circular forms. There is storytelling by shadow play, an aerial duet and a mock ﬁght to electronic beats. Finally, there’s a sampling of more recent work in which
shape-shifting costumes, with ﬂipper feet and extra limbs, endow the dancers with a fantastical range of movement. The performers snap from one turn to the next in exuberant, elegant style, but the drawback with this format is that it’s never more than the sum of its routines. There is no overarching narrative or structural dynamic to drive the evening; like spoilt children, we expect each new turn to be funnier, more extraordinary than the last. Like spoilt children, too, we’re unreasonably disappointed when it’s not. Judith Mackrell
Sally Hawkins and Rafe Spall star in Nick Opening this week Payne’s entrancingly dark romcom about a beekeeper and a theoretical physicist. Duke of York’s, London WC2 (0844 871 7623), Friday to 5 January 2013.
■ The Pilgrim’s Progress
After 60 years, Vaughan Williams’s greatest opera ﬁnally gets another London staging. ENO’s production is directed by Yoshi Oïda and conducted by Martyn Brabbins, with Roland Wood performing the title role. Coliseum, London WC2 (020-7845 (0209300), tonight to 28 November. Novem
Based on the movie of the same name, this Book show tells the story of now an Irish busker and young Czech mother brought together by music. With eight Tony awards under its belt, John Tiﬀany’s production should storm the West End. Phoenix, London WC2 (0844 871 7629), 16 March to 30 November 2013.
Sleeping g Beauty
■ Matthew Bourne’s hew
Tchaikovsky’s ky’s classic gets s nd updated and reinvented through d Bourne’s vivid ivid n. imagination. Theatre Royal, Plymouth (01752 mouth 230 440), from tonight ember. to 10 November.
Last chance to se see:
■ Thomas Schüt Schütte:
Faces and ﬁgures
■ A Christmas Fair
Jim Cartwright, who wrote The Rise and Fall of Little Voice and Road, pens a new play for this tiny arts venue in Ryedale. Appropriately, it’s about a group of villagers preparing for their annual Christmas fair in the local hall. The Milton Rooms, Malton Yorkshire (01653 696 240), 13 to 23 December.
Wonderfully eerie … ully Warren Ellis
Friends and enemies, en ceramic heads and giant ﬁgures, satire and caricatu caricature, created by Europe’s Europe leading lead sculptor. s SerpenS tine Gallery, Ga London W2 (020-7402 (02 6075), until 18 Novembe November.
■ Dirty Three
Bad Seed Warren Ellis returns to his wonderful, eerie instrumental trio. Tour starts 20 November at Birmingham Glee Club (0871 472 0400).
The Guardian | Monday 5 November 2012 Obituaries desk Email: firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com Twitter: @guardianobits
Our friend and colleague Susan Beckerleg, who has died of breast cancer aged 56, had a productive career in anthropology that combined academic research with social development consultancy, splitting her time between homes in Britain and east Africa. The daughter of Heather and George, Susan grew up in Paignton, Devon, with two brothers, Geoffrey and Richard. She studied social anthropology at the London School of Economics and the School of Oriental and African Studies, completing a PhD on Swahili medicine. She worked at the universities of Birmingham, Warwick and Oxford, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and for the Medical Research Council in the Gambia. With vigour, originality and success, she pursued an alternative to the conventional academic career. She spent many years in Kenya with her ﬁrst husband, Abudi Kibwane Sisile, whom she married while researching Swahili medicine in the 1980s. In 1995, with him and Maggie Telfer from the Bristol Drugs Project, she established the Omari Project, with support from the Big Lottery Fund and the British Council. For many years the project, a residential heroin rehabilitation centre on the Kenyan coast, was the only non-fee-paying service of its kind in sub-Saharan Africa and it continues to provide outpatient and outreach services. Susan’s research into the lives of female heroin users led to improvements in their healthcare through training for staﬀ and further work on drug use and policy development in the region. Susan’s ﬁrst marriage ended in divorce. From 2003 she based her life and work in Uganda with Musa Almansi (whom she married in 2010, and who survives her) and conducted research on the drug khat, leading to her book Ethnic Identity and Development: Khat and Social Change in Africa (2010). She had recently completed an MSc on holistic science. Gillian Hundt and Colette Jones
Han Suyin, who trained as a doctor, initially defended Mao Zedong’s Cultural Revolution in China, but she later recanted Photograph: Ulf Andersen/Getty
Chinese-born author best known for her 1952 book A ManySplendoured Thing
olonial Hong Kong, a doomed aﬀair and the echoes of revolution in China were the explosive mixture that made the reputation of the author Han Suyin, who has died aged 95. The ﬁlm of her 1952 book A Many-Splendoured Thing may have been just a classic weepie, but the original novel shocked Hong Kong with its tale of her aﬀair with a married man and its sympathy for the appeal of communism to China’s downtrodden millions. She would shock people many times again as she acted out the philosophy expounded in the ﬁlm by Jennifer Jones, playing a character based on the author: “To go on living, one must be occasionally unwise.” Her defence of Mao Zedong’s Cultural Revolution, though later recanted, came to overshadow her literary talents. The ambiguities of her identity, as the daughter of a Chinese engineer and his Belgian wife, were always close to the surface. Her writings oﬀered more than one version of her life. Elizabeth Kuanghu Chow was born in Xinyang in the north-central province of Henan. Her father, who came from a landowning clan in Sichuan province, met his wife while studying abroad and took her home to semi-feudal China. As a child in Beijing, she remembered travelling to school by rickshaw and seeing the bodies of those who had died of starvation on the pavements. From the age of 12, she decided to become a doctor against the wishes of her mother who urged her to marry a foreigner – preferably an American because “all Americans are wealthy”. Mother and daughter existed in a “chasm of aversion”. After leaving school she paid for her fees at Yenching University in Beijing by learning to type. A Belgian businessman became her father substitute and arranged a scholarship for her to continue her medical studies in Brussels. In 1938 she returned to China to work in a French hospital in Yunnan, but was diverted on the way, meeting a handsome young oﬃcer, Tang Paohuang (Pao), who educated her in the Nationalist version of patriotism. They were married that year in
Wuhan, just before it was abandoned to the Japanese, and ﬂed on the same boat as Chiang Kai-shek, head of the Nationalist government. They travelled west to Chongqing, the Nationalist wartime retreat. There, she also learned how to write. A missionary doctor, Marian Manly, encouraged her to record the story of her journey with Pao, polished the text and suggested avoiding subjects such as prostitution. The intention was to attract American readers to the Chinese cause. Later she regretted her “idealised version” of reality. But ideals were the currency of the time: Bertrand Russell said that Destination Chungking (1942) – published under the pen name Han Suyin – told him more about China in an hour than he had learned there in a year. In 1942, when Pao was posted to London as military attache, she followed him with her adopted daughter and resumed her medical studies two years later. The marriage had chilled in spite of a reconciliation engineered by the Labour politician Staﬀord Cripps. Through her publisher Jonathan Cape, she joined the circle of progressive Asia-minded intellectuals around Kingsley Martin, Dorothy Woodman, Margery Fry and JB Priestley. But medicine remained her goal. Pao was posted to Washington and later to the Manchurian front where he died, ﬁghting the communists, in 1947. Han Suyin remained in London to take her ﬁnals and then moved to Hong Kong. It was there that she met and had a passionate aﬀair with the Times correspondent Ian Morrison. Their relationship was the basis of A Many-Splendoured Thing, which became a bestseller. It is an unashamed love story: the scenes on the hillside overlooking the harbour are in the book as much as the ﬁlm, Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing (1955). A sharp piece of social satire, the book pulls apart the preposterous world of expatriate Hong Kong. But faced with the choice between the revolutionary mainland and the outside world, Han Suyin was unable to make the “sacriﬁce of self”. She moved to Malaya and married, in 1952, Leon Comber, an oﬃcial in the police service. Her bestseller was followed by And the Rain My Drink (1956) and The Mountain is Young (1958), set respectively in Malaya and Nepal. The ﬁrst of these examined the suﬀering caused by British suppression of the Malayan emergency. The second arose out of a visit to Kathmandu for the coronation of King Mahendra, and her meeting Vincent Ruthnaswamy, a colonel in the Indian army, who, in 1971, became her third husband.
She took to fame with an alacrity which some found oﬀ-putting. “I could be a top-grade, highly paid [medical] specialist,” she told a journalist in 1958. But she was “possessed of a demon” that forced her to write. In the 1960s she began to identify more consistently with the struggle of ex-colonial Asia. A frequent visitor to China, she wrote essays for the pro-Beijing Hong Kong journal Eastern Horizon. A selection of these was re-issued in Tigers and Butterﬂies (1990). Her themes were women, peasants, the divide between town and country, exploitation in many forms, and the incomprehension of the aﬄuent west for labouring Asia. As the Vietnam war’s shadow lengthened, she denounced a society – which she knew well from lecture tours – so numbed by advertising that it could not distinguish between “napalming 50 children and sucking the latest sweet”.
rom this new perspective she now reviewed her own life in three volumes of autobiography, The Crippled Tree (1965), A Mortal Flower (1966) and Birdless Summer (1968). She had been invited regularly to China since 1956, when she had her ﬁrst of many private meetings with Premier Zhou Enlai. She was not alone in being charmed by the rhetoric of the Cultural Revolution. In her book China in the Year 2001 (1967), she hailed the “remaking of man” in China as a watershed for the world. Many of her friends suﬀered terribly in those years. Later she claimed to have intervened in
many cases but the extent to which she did so is unclear. In a mildly critical article, Water Too Pure …, written in 1972, she deplored the “innocent victims”. It remained unpublished until 1990. She laboured to produce a detailed history of Mao and the Cultural Revolution, resulting in The Morning Deluge (1972) and Wind in the Tower (1976). Neither oﬀered much original insight, and the credibility of the second volume was undermined by the upheavals following Mao’s death in 1976. Another autobiographical volume, My House Has Two Doors (1980), tried to reconcile some of these contradictions. She plunged into Deng Xiaoping’s new China, for the ﬁrst time not feeling obliged to plead China’s cause against a critical world. She lectured to students who were beginning to ask their own questions and she welcomed the 1989 democracy movement. It “ﬁlled her with joy”, and she blamed the ruling party for missing “a great opportunity … to rejuvenate itself”. Her biography Eldest Son: Zhou Enlai and the Making of Modern China (1994) told the story of “the most dedicated and selﬂess personality in China’s history”. She dismissed as inane suggestions that he should have opposed the Cultural Revolution. In a slim volume of autobiography, Wind in my Sleeve (1992), she wrote of her “grief, anger, desolation” at the Beijing massacre but the book attracted little attention. She decided that “the world was in such an intellectual mess that I would write detective stories” but she continued to visit China regularly. She funded educational projects and one for cultural relations between India and China was named after Ruthnaswamy – described as an “ambassador of friendship”. He provided a genuine emotional bulwark in her later years. In A Share of Loving (1987), she wrote a tender account of her struggle, with her husband, to care for his brain-damaged son. Han Suyin settled in Lausanne, Switzerland, and remained a splendid grande dame – it helped obscure the fact that she could be a grand writer. HalfChinese, but striving to be whole Chinese, she was as full of contradictions as her motherland. When the epic of modern China is re-examined she and her works will provide important evidence. Her husband died in 2003. John Gittings Han Suyin (Elizabeth Comber), writer and doctor, born 12 September 1917; died 2 November 2012
Bryan Adams, singer, 53; John Berger, author and art critic, 86; Niall Dickson, chief executive, General Medical Council, 59; Art Garfunkel, singer, 71; Professor Marianne Hester, professor of gender, violence and international policy, Bristol University, 57; Bernard-Henri Lévy, philosopher, 64; David Mannion, former editor-in-chief, ITV News, 62; Lord (John) Morris of Aberavon, QC, former Labour MP and attorney general, 81; Peter Noone, pop singer, 65; Tatum O’Neal, actor, 49; Lester Piggott, jockey, 77; Prof Steven Schwartz, psychologist, former vicechancellor and principal, Brunel University, 66; Elke Sommer, actor, 72; Sir William Stubbs, former chairman, Qualiﬁcations and Curriculum Authority, 75; Tilda Swinton, actor, 52; Eldred Tabachnik, QC, former president, board of deputies of British Jews, 69; Ned Temko, journalist, 60; Justin Tomlinson, Conservative MP, 36; Barbara Trapido, novelist, 71.
William Holden and Jennifer Jones in the ﬁlm Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing, based on Han Suyin’s bestseller
The Guardian | Monday 5 November 2012
Around the UK and Ireland
Sun Rain Temp (°C) Weather hrs mm High/Low (noon) Sun hrs Rain Temp (°C) Weather mm High/Low (noon)
London SE England SW England S Cent England Channel Is SE Anglia NE Anglia E Midlands W Midlands S Wales Cent Wales N Wales NE England NW England Scotland N Ire/Ireland low low low low low low low low low low low low low low low low
UK and Ireland Noon
Temperature (°) X
Wind (mph) X Sunny
Aberdeen Aberporth Aberystwyth Alnwick Aviemore Barrow/Furness Belfast Belmullet* Birmingham Bognor Regis Bournemouth Braemar Bridlington Bristol Cardiﬀ Cork* Cromer Dublin* Durham Edinburgh Eskdalemuir Falmouth* Glasgow Guernsey* Hastings Holyhead Hove Hull Huntingdon Ipswich Isle of Man Isle of Wight
5.2 0.4 2.7 10.6 2.6 7.7 0.2 2.1 0.0 3.0 1.2 0.6 2.8 3.3 0.5 2.0 3.2 30.0 3.6 0.2 0.0 0.5 13.0 1.6 4.2 3.9 4.4 5.0 5.7 3.0 1.6 0.2 3.4 0.2 6.3 2.4 1.6 0.0 0.0 2.0 5.7 13.0 3.4 0.6 6.6 0.0 0.2 0.1 15.0 0.0 13.0 5.7 0.0 -
8 6 8 8 8 8 9 9 5 10 8 8 8 8 8 7 8 4 8 5 11 7 12 9 11 8 6 7 10 -
-3 3 0 -2 -2 3 4 4 1 0 -3 0 1 5 3 2 4 -1 -1 -1 2 7 4 1 -1 2 2 8 8
Sunny Cloudy Sunny Sunny Cloudy Sunny Showers Cloudy Rain Cloudy Cloudy Sunny Cloudy Cloudy Showers Rain Rain Fair Cloudy Sunny Showers Cloudy Showers Sunny Showers Fair Rain Rain Sunny -
Jersey* Kilkenny Kinlochewe Kinloss Kirkwall Leeds Lerwick Leuchars Liverpool London Malin Head* Manchester Margate Milford Haven Morecambe Mullingar* Northallerton Nottingham Okehampton Oxford Plymouth Portland Portsmouth Prestwick Rhyl Shannon* Shrewsbury Skegness Southend Stornoway Swansea Tiree
6.7 5.4 3.4 6.0 1.3 0.0 0.3 0.0 0.0 0.2 3.6 0.6 5.6 0.0 1.0 0.1 16.0 3.0 0.8 0.0 2.0 7.8 - 11.2 6.3 0.0 4.9 1.1 0.0 0.2 0.0 0.0 4.6 9.0 1.3 21.8 - 23.0 - 18.0 - 13.0 0.5 1.0 2.2 3.9 8.2 1.3 1.0 3.0 9.4 0.9 11.0 9.0 0.4 5.0
12 10 7 9 4 8 9 9 9 8 8 9 10 9 8 2 4 10 7 11 10 10 7 8 9 7 7 9 8 8 9
7 2 -1 2 -1 5 -3 2 2 4 3 3 7 2 3 -2 0 3 -1 3 4 3 4 2 5 -2 1 3 4 6 6
Cloudy Fair Fair Cloudy Fair Fair Showers Sunny Sunny Rain Cloudy Showers Cloudy Sunny Cloudy Mist Fair Showers Sleet Showers Cloudy Cloudy Cloudy Sunny Showers Fair Cloudy Cloudy Cloudy Cloudy Showers
Sunny intervals Showers Heavy showers Rain Light rain Mostly cloudy
N Isles, W Isles, NW Scotland, NE Scotland, Channel Is Plenty of cloud along with frequent showers. There will be some bright or sunny spells at times. Moderate north-westerly winds. Max temp 8-11C (46-52F). Tonight, scattered showers. Min temp 2-5C (36-41F). SE Scotland, SW Scotland, NW England, W Midlands, E Midlands It will be a largely dry and bright day with long spells of sunshine. The slight chance of a shower. A cold day. Light northerly winds. Max temp 6-9C (43-48F). Tonight, clear spells. Cold. Min temp -1 to 2C (30 to 36F). Wales, SW England There will be plenty of dry and sunny weather, but there will be a few showers in western-most areas. Moderate north-westerly winds. Max temp 8-11C (46-52F). Tonight, isolated showers. Min temp 1-4C (34-39F). SE England, Cent S England, London Any early showers will clear away allowing plenty of sunshine to develop by the afternoon. Feeling chilly. Light northerly winds. Max temp 7-10C (45-50F). Tonight, cold and clear. Min temp -2 to 1C (28 to 34F).
Today’s forecast in towns and cities by busy roads. Low (1-3); moderate (4-6); high (7-9); very high (10)
Belfast Birmingham Bristol Dublin Glasgow London Manchester Newcastle 1638to0735 1629to0711 1635to0712 1644to0733 1629to0733 1626to0703 1628to0717 1621to0718
30° 25° 20° 15° 10°
24 hours to 6pm yesterday. Locations supplied by MeteoGroup UK. * denotes sunshine from previous day
Sun & Moon
NE England, E Anglia, Yorkshire, Lincolnshire It will be a mostly sunny day but with a few scattered light showers towards the coast. Feeling chilly. Moderate northerly winds. Max temp 6-9C (4348F). Tonight, dry and mostly clear. Min temp -1 to 2C (30 to 36F). Northern Ireland, Ireland It will be a bright day with plenty of sunshine. Scattered showers in the far north and west. Moderate north-westerly winds. Max temp 7-10C (45-50F). Tonight, cloud building from north. Min temp 2-5C (36-41F).
5° 0° -5°
Aberdeen Avonmouth Belfast Dover Galway Greenock Harwich Holyhead
0451 3.7m 1014 11.1m 0230 3.2m 0203 6.0m 0836 4.3m 0352 3.2m 0244 3.8m 0136 4.8m
1700 2239 1456 1414 2115 1555 1511 1351
3.7m 10.5m 3.4m 5.8m 4.0m 3.5m 3.7m 5.0m
Hull Leith Liverpool London Bridge Penzance Scrabster Weymouth Whitby
0942 0612 0227 0452 0752 1159 0928 0727
6.2m 4.8m 8.1m 6.3m 4.8m 4.4m 1.9m 4.8m
2145 1830 1444 1723 2015 2157 1939
6.2m 4.7m 8.1m 6.3m 4.5m 1.6m 4.8m
Sun rises Sun sets Moon rises Moon sets Last Quarter
0701 1626 2148 1215 07 November
UK and Ireland Five day forecast
Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
Atlantic front Noon today
1008 1016 1016 1008 992
L H L
L LY Cold front Warm front Occluded front Trough
Around the world
°C °F Weather Ajaccio 20 Algiers 30 Alicante 22 Ams’dam 7 Athens 15 Auckland 14 B Aires 27 Bangkok 34 Barcelona 20 Basra 33 Beijing 5 Belgrade 20 Berlin 10 Bermuda 23 Bordeaux 13 Boston 11 Brussels 8 Budapest 18 C’blanca 28 C’hagen 9 Cairo 31 Cape Town 20 Chicago 7 Christ’rch 12 Corfu 21 68 86 72 45 59 57 81 93 68 91 41 68 50 73 55 52 46 64 82 48 88 68 45 54 70 Cloudy Sunny Sunny Cloudy Sunny Cloudy Sunny Sunny Drizzle Fair Rain Sunny Sunny Showers Cloudy Fair Rain Fair Fair Fair Sunny Sunny Cloudy Rain Cloudy Dakar Dallas Denver Dhaka Dublin Faro Florence Frankfurt Funchal Geneva Gibraltar H Kong Harare Helsinki Innsbruck Istanbul Jo’burg K Lumpur K’mandu Kabul Karachi Kingston Kolkata L Angeles Larnaca °C °F Weather 31 27 11 23 6 20 17 8 25 15 23 28 27 3 13 20 24 27 23 20 33 31 27 20 27 88 81 52 73 43 68 63 46 77 59 73 82 81 37 55 68 75 81 73 68 91 88 81 68 81 Sunny Fair Cloudy Rain Rain Rain Cloudy Rain Mist Fair Cloudy Sunny Sunny Fair Sunny Sunny Sunny Cloudy Sunny Sunny Fair Fair Fair Fair Sunny Lima Lisbon London Lux’bourg Madrid Majorca Malaga Malta Melb’rne Mexico C Miami Milan Mombasa Montreal Moscow Mumbai Munich N Orleans Nairobi Naples New Delhi New York Nice Oporto Oslo °C °F Weather 20 16 9 8 13 21 24 25 27 22 27 12 27 5 9 32 11 27 21 20 24 10 16 13 5 68 61 48 46 55 70 75 77 81 72 81 54 81 41 48 90 52 81 70 68 75 50 61 55 41 Cloudy Sunny Rain Rain Drizzle Cloudy Cloudy Sunny Sunny Rain Sunny Rain Showers Drizzle Mist Fair Sunny Sunny Cloudy Drizzle Fair Cloudy Rain Cloudy Cloudy Paris Perth Prague Reykjavik Rhodes Rio de J Rome Shanghai Singapore St P’burg Stockh’m Strasb’g Sydney Tel Aviv Tenerife Tokyo Toronto Tunis Vancouv’r Venice Vienna Warsaw Wash’ton Well’ton Zurich °C °F Weather 11 16 10 1 24 25 20 15 31 6 6 10 23 29 26 18 4 29 12 13 9 9 9 12 16 52 61 50 34 75 77 68 59 88 43 43 50 73 84 79 64 39 84 54 55 48 48 48 54 61 Cloudy Fair Rain Sunny Sunny Fair Drizzle Sunny Cloudy Cloudy Rain Cloudy Fair Sunny Cloudy Sunny Showers Sunny Rain Drizzle Cloudy Rain Cloudy Fair Sunny
High 12 Low 4
High 13 Low 4
High 12 Low 3
High 12 Low 3
High 11 Low 1
Low Y ﬁlls over France. High Q intensiﬁes.
A drop in crop yields in the UK and many other grain producing countries, as a result of extreme weather, has increased prices worldwide, and may cause serious hardship. But these consequences would be dwarfed by the catastrophe that a volcano could unleash on a heavily populated planet. Evidence unearthed in London’s Spitalﬁelds of mass graves, dated to 1258, shows that between 20 and 40 bodies were buried at once in a series of pits in the cemetery. There were both sexes, with adults and children together. They are believed to be famine victims because they had no battle injuries and it was a century before the Black Death. The same year the monk Matthew Paris of St Albans recorded “unendurable cold” in the winter that suspended all cultivation and killed calves. In June spring had still not arrived and wheat was so scarce that “a very large number of poor people died.” Contemporary chroniclers in other continents also record appalling weather and mass starvation. Geologists have found that over both hemispheres, as far south as Antarctica, there is a thick layer of volcanic ash from the same period. The sheer quantity of aerosols projected into the atmosphere would have blotted out the sun and wiped out crops. The volcano responsible for this devastation and mass starvation is not known, but 850 years is a short gap in geological time. Somewhere this monster is dormant and could erupt again. Paul Brown
The weather in October
It was the dullest October for seven years, and parts of south-east England, East Anglia and the Thames Valley saw no sun for eight straight days between the 19th and 26th. That was due to anticyclonic conditions that trapped low cloud and fog during the latter part of the month. Low pressure dominated early and mid month, which accounts for it being the wettest October since 2006. It was the coolest for nine years, and there was a brief cold northerly outbreak around the 26th and 27th. Daytime temperatures ranged from 1 degree below average in southern England to 3 degrees below in parts of eastern Scotland. The highest individual temperature was 19.2C at Langdon Bay near Dover in Kent on 22 October. Just as it did in September, Braemar in Aberdeenshire recorded the coldest night, when the mercury dropped to -7.8C early on 17 October.
Guardian cryptic crossword
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
1 Approximate price semi may make (9) 6 People available for a game (4) 8 Write letters in bed, when in quarters (8) 9 Make clear there’s a fantastic fry-up about one (6) 10 Note more money for cook (6) 11 Suﬀered, so gained redress (8) 12 In Latin “I” is used by many showing vanity (6) 15 Court case: it’s arranged so this person may prove their promise (8) 16 Swindle made to pay — but jailed all the same (8) 19 Get in a pie — for this? (6) 21 Gold in ﬁnals round? Quite the opposite, resulting in a serious complaint (5,3) 22 Put down for PE, does workout (6) 24 Do they keep to the beaten track? (6) 25 Sweet sort of lady giving children guidance (8) 26 Kitty’s back to stay (4) 27 Talons hug brutally in attack (9)
Averaged across England and Wales there was 115mm of rain, which is 111% of the mean. Scotland had 107mm, representing 95% of its average, and Northern Ireland had 93mm, or 85% of average. The wettest location was East Okement Farm in Devon, where 212mm of rain fell. Wainsﬂeet, Lincolnshire, was driest with 45mm. It was particularly wet on 11 October when both Charterhall, Berwickshire, and Eskdalemuir, Dumfriesshire, recorded 52mm of rain. The two-day period 11-12 October saw 67mm fall on Lentran House, just west of Inverness.
16 17 18 19 20
The mean maximum temperature in October ranged from 15.2C at Jersey airport in the Channel Islands to 8.6C at Dalwhinnie, Inverness-shire. The Central England Temperature (CET) was 1 degree below the average at 9.7C.
Regional rainfall breakdown
Rainfall as a % of average October values for the region (1981-2010)
E Anglia SE England SW England & S Wales NE England Midlands Cent & E Scotland NW England & N Wales N Ireland W Scotland, Highlands and Islands Ireland 77 85 84 110 109 107 106 96 128 122
2 Picnic arranged to entertain posh composer (7) 3 Pick hat up and ﬁnally leave (5) 4 It’s not right for in-law to embrace divorcee (7) 5 Like jelly in pineapple? (9) 6 Fond of, to some extent (7) 7 Not on time when trade is slack (3,6) 13 Where stevedores work for a likable chap (4,5) 14 Promises of party in show ring (9) 17 Leading at snooker — a conspiracy? (5-2) 18 Big drinks bring people to court (7) 20 Upsetting habit in restaurants? (7) 22 A mouthful of water (5) 23 Full-bodied drink (5)
Winners of prize puzzle 25,778
This week’s winners of Guardian Style and Secrets of the Setters are: P E Howe – Llandudno; P Thomas – Cornwall; F Stoll - London; V G Miles – London; R Riesco - Bolton Please allow 28 days for delivery
No 25,785 set by Rufus
England and Wales had an average 101 hours of sunshine, which is 90% of the mean. Scotland fared a little better with 103 hours, or 117% of its average, but Northern Ireland was sunniest, recording 115 hours, which is 128% of the average. Tiree, Inner Hebrides was the sunniest location with 120 hours of sunshine, while Kinlochewe, Wester Ross, had the lowest total with only 62 hours. It was also the least sunny spot in September. Rebecca Flitton MeteoGroup
Stuck? For help call 0906 751 0038 or text GUARDIANC followed by a space, the day and date the crossword appeared another space and the CLUE reference to 85010 (e.g GUARDIANC Monday12 Across1). Calls cost 77p per minute from a BT Landline. Calls from other networks may vary and mobiles will be considerably higher. Texts cost 50p per clue plus standard network charges. Service supplied by ATS. Call 0844 836 9769 for customer service (charged at local rate, 2p per min from a BT landline). Want more? Access over 4,000 archive puzzles at guardian.co.uk/crossword. Buy the Guardian Cryptic Setters series (4 books) for only £20 inc UK p&p (save £7.96). Visit guardianbooks.co.uk or call 0330 333 6846.
Killer Sudoku 317
Saturday’s puzzle solutions
Saturday’s sudoku solution appears on the back page of G2
2 6 3 9 7 8 1 5 4
9 8 4 6 1 5 7 3 2
1 5 7 4 3 2 6 9 8
6 4 9 5 2 3 8 1 7
5 1 2 8 9 7 3 4 6
3 7 8 1 4 6 9 2 5
8 9 1 2 6 4 5 7 3
4 3 6 7 5 1 2 8 9
7 2 5 3 8 9 4 6 1
1 < 3 ∧ 3 4 2 ∧ 4
3 > 2 < 4 ∧ ∨ 5 > 4 > 2 5 1 3 1 ∧ 3 5
F R E E S I A M E R L O T
L OW U C T O R WE A
2 ∧ 5 > 4 2 1
1 Victor out West is a pretty good shot (5)
E U P H R A R B U T U E S T A S T Y E S T R U O C A L U I O P S P
C OWS L C A E I L A SM S T O R P E N P R I MR O S U O M U S N E C K A A N I S D E RWE H E N R A I N A S T N I T A N A R C I S S O O O E I N UNWR
I P E U R U E S E R N T U E R N U S U A P
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