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4 NEWS

The main story

What happened

What the editorials said

Mays school reforms

If its not broken, dont fix it. That will be most peoples
sensible response to Mays plans, said The Guardian. After
years of upheaval, Englands school system is
at last working pretty well Cities such as
London and Birmingham, once bywords for
underachievement, now have schools whose
exam results are some of the best. To shake up
the system again, in the misguided belief that
more grammars will increase social mobility, is
nuts. May should leave well alone, agreed
The Times, and listen to the many experts,
including the outgoing Ofsted chief Sir Michael
Wilshaw, who have warned against her plans.

Theresa May last week unveiled plans to allow


any secondary school in England to become a
grammar school, as part of the biggest shake-up
of the education system in decades. The Prime
Ministers proposals would end the ban on new
grammars imposed by Tony Blair in 1998,
enabling new selective schools to open, and
current comprehensives to introduce selection.
Englands 164 existing grammars would also be
able to expand. Selective schools could be
required to meet quotas for poorer pupils, and
to accept entry at 14 and 16, as well as at 11, to
allow for late developers. May insisted that her
vision was not a return to the past, but an effort
to make the country a true meritocracy. Her
proposals came under attack, however, from
both Labour and Tory critics.

On the contrary, said The Daily Telegraph, May


should ignore protests from an educational
establishment that prefers to put equality
Failing the middle class?
before excellence. True, todays grammars are
dominated by the middle classes, but this is
because there are too few of them: just 164 out of 3,268 state
secondaries in England. Increasing the supply would change
Mays package of reforms also includes plans to allow faith
that. As for the idea that comprehensives are doing fine, said
schools to select all their pupils on the basis of religion (at
The Mail on Sunday, this is not true everywhere. And where it
present, oversubscribed ones can only select half that way); to
is true, as in London, much of the success is due to generous
require universities to sponsor a state school or to establish a
budgets that may not last, and covert selection. Lets
free school in return for charging higher tuition fees; and to
force private schools to work harder for their charitable status. introduce grammars into the mix and see what works best.

What happened

What the editorials said

The Syrian ceasefire


In a rare show of collaboration, the US and
Russia last week brokered a breakthrough
deal to put Syrias peace process back on
track. The pact, covering the Assad regime
and mainstream rebel groups, included a
nationwide truce and access for aid convoys
to besieged towns and villages. The US also
agreed that provided the ceasefire held for at
least seven days, it would join Moscow in
preparing a coordinated air campaign against
the two leading Islamist groups, Daesh and
Jabhat Fateh al-Sham. The deal is the
culmination of months of talks between US
Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian
Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

No one can fail to welcome a ceasefire in Syria, said The


Guardian. The country desperately needs peace after five years
of a conflict that has cost 400,000 lives and
displaced 11 million people. But scepticism is
inevitable. A similar truce in February lasted
only a few days, and the latest deal has huge
gaps. In particular, it says nothing about how
it will be enforced, or about releasing rebels
from Syrian jails. Besides, it is highly unlikely
that Assad will respect the ceasefire for long,
said The Times. Thanks to military support
from Russia and Iranian-backed militias, he
now believes he can win an outright victory. So
why quit the battlefield? Sadly, the truce will
probably provide only the briefest of respites.

Few casualties were reported in the opening days of the


ceasefire, and the UN scheduled emergency aid deliveries to
the besieged city of Aleppo. Despite agreeing the deal,
President Assad said he was still determined to take back
every area of territory held by the terrorists.

It wasnt all bad


Malaria has been declared
eliminated in Sri Lanka and 13
other countries, including
Argentina and Turkey, have
reported no new cases for at
least a year. (They must have no
infections for three years to be
deemed malaria-free.) Experts
hope that the multi-pronged
strategy adopted in Sri Lanka
which included pouring funds
into public education; the
rigorous use of insecticides; and
the monitoring of every new
case will now be successfully
replicated elsewhere.

THE WEEK 18 SEPTEMBER 2016

There are grounds for optimism, said The


Independent. Both the Kremlin and the White
House have an interest in making the agreement stick. Obama
wants to dispel the notion that his weakness and passivity
contributed to the Syrian bloodbath; Putin likes the idea of
appearing as Americas equal in finding a settlement. As a
result, both will now put pressure on their clients to deliver.

Kerry and Lavrov: fine words?

Four athletes competing


in the Paralympic Games
have run the 1,500
metres faster than the
winner of the race in the
Olympic Games. All four
were taking part in the
T13 event, for athletes
with visual impairments.
Abdellatif Baka, from
Algeria, came first. He
beat the US runner
Matthew Centrowitzs gold medal-winning time by 1.7 seconds,
and set a new world record. The silver and bronze winners
Ethiopias Tamiru Demisse and Kenyas Henry Kirwa also beat
Centrowitzs time. Bakas brother, Fouad, was fourth, and so missed
out on a medal, although with his time, he too would have won
gold in the Olympic Games.

A full-size replica of a Spitfire is


being sent to Lesotho, to thank
the tiny African state for the
help it gave Britain in its hour of
need, 76 years ago. At the
height of the Battle of Britain,
tribal chiefs in what was then
the British colony of Basutoland
raised 100,000, to pay for 17
Spitfires. The planes flew with
No. 72 Basutoland Squadron,
and were given Basuto names
such as Makesi (hunting dog
in Bantu). The replica will be
presented to King Letsie III in
November, at a ceremony
marking the 50th anniversary of
Lesotho independence.

and how it was covered

NEWS 5

What the commentators said

What next?

May is right to challenge the selection taboo, said Mary Dejevsky in The Independent. It is
perverse to encourage school diversity to the point of allowing pretty much anyone to set
up a free school, then to allow selection on all sorts of criteria sports, music but to ban the
most basic selection of all: by academic ability. As May points out, our system now selects on
the basis of income: specifically, the ability to afford a home in the catchment area of a good
school. Two-thirds of parents would like to send their child to a grammar, said Tim
Montgomerie in The Times. Why shouldnt they have that option? The old arguments against
grammars wont apply if we ensure that new schools open in poorer urban areas, that they take
in pupils at various ages, and that entrance tests are made as tutor-proof as possible.

After a consultation, May is


expected to push ahead with
the legislation, but shell
struggle to get her proposals
through Parliament. She has a
working Commons majority
of just 17, and many of her
MPs have already raised
objections to the plans.

An even bigger obstacle


awaits in the Lords,
where the Tories
have no majority.
The Lords wont be
constrained by the
convention binding
peers not to block a
policy that was in
the ruling partys
election manifesto,
If a triangle has one
side of 3cm and another as the last Tory
Talk of a schools revolution should be taken with a pinch of salt, said Andrew
of 4cm, how many
manifesto didnt
Rawnsley in The Observer. Given that May envisages spending 50m a year on
private tutors did your mention expanding
expanding grammars, out of an 80bn education budget, this plan is more about
parents hire?
the number of
symbolism than anything else. Its about stealing UKIPs clothes and defining the
MATT/THE SUNDAY TELEGRAPH
grammars.
grammar school-educated May against the toffs of the last administration.
If every place at Mays grammars went to a child whose parents couldnt afford to go private or
to live near a good state school, it would be fine, said Jonathan Freedland in The
Guardian. But we all know that wont happen. And even if it did, where would
that leave poor children who didnt make the cut? May says there will be no return
to the binary choice of old, but a selective system, by its very nature, involves
selecting some people and not others. May says it will be fine, as there will be a
range of other flourishing schools to choose from. But part of the reason schools in
London and elsewhere have done well is that there is no stigma attached to them,
no question that they are for rejects. Once clever children are creamed off into
grammars, these academies and free schools wont look so appealing.

What the commentators said

What next?

It is getting harder to make sense of Syrias agony, said John Jenkins in the New Statesman.
Politically and morally, the situation grows ever more complex. Until now, Russia could be
cast as an outright villain: in the past year, its warplanes have killed some 2,500 civilians
(including 200 children and 28 medical staff); even more than Daesh. Yet now it has emerged
as Washingtons preferred partner for peace. Its a deal that has echoes of the Cold War, when
the two superpowers would come together to settle the fate of a third country, said Mary
Dejevsky in The Guardian. But Syrias problems wont be easily solved: there are simply too
many players involved. Besides, Obama cant be sure of support for his peacemaking even in
Washington. There are some in the Pentagon who would like the deal to fail so as to leave the
way clear for a more hawkish President Clinton to take a tougher line next year.

In a further sign of its


eagerness to take on the
role of a regional power
broker, Russia is planning
to host talks between Israel
and the Palestinians,
according to The Times.
The last round of talks,
which were sponsored by
the US, broke down in
2014 without success.

The deal is hardly worth the paper its written on, said David Blair in The Sunday Telegraph.
Fine words mean little in Syria: the UN Security Council has already passed a resolution calling
on all sides to allow aid agencies unhindered access throughout Syria, and international law
expressly forbids the indiscriminate slaughtering of civilians from the air practised by Syrias
air force. All to no effect. The trouble is that the US negotiators are in no position to impose
their will. In Syrias civil war, bargaining power grows from the barrel of a gun, and everyone
knows that Obama just isnt prepared to use force against the Assad regime. But its a mistake
to be too cynical and pessimistic, said Patrick Cockburn in The Independent. Of course,
therell be problems. Russia will have its hands full trying to keep Assad from bombing his own
people; and the US will have to put pressure on some countries to stop supplying arms to the
jihadi groups. But at least ceasefires, aid convoys and negotiations are now at the top of the
international agenda for Syria. In that regard, this is a historic deal.

THE WEEK

The end of the summer


holidays. Youve arrived at
11pm at Heathrow Terminal 5
only to find you must queue for 45 minutes to re-enter your
own country. Three UK Border Agency officials to deal with
hundreds of passengers? I know, said the beleaguered
woman returning our passports. Its absurd. Heres a form if
you wish to complain. But I dont really. Ive come to accept
that its a manifestation of the law of political entropy: that any
bureaucracy lacking support from a vocal interest group is
doomed to understaffing. And so begins the slide into entropy,
the gradual sapping of the systems energy. And sending a
form to the Home Office to complain about the understaffing of
the Border Agency will do absolutely nothing
Jeremy OGrady
to stop it.
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18 SEPTEMBER 2016 THE WEEK

Politics

6 NEWS
Controversy of the week

Exit Cameron
Is David Cameron trying to trash his own reputation? asked
Fraser Nelson on his Spectator blog. First he produced the
worst resignation honours list for decades, showering peerages
and gongs on the members of his chumocracy. Then, this
week, he handed a gift to those who had always claimed he
had no real sense of public service, and that he would only
remain in politics while it was useful to him. Having
promised several times that he would stay on as an MP, to fulfil
his duty to the people of Witney, he abruptly resigned. Even
Gordon Brown fought another election but Cameron has
bolted. He couldnt even be bothered to hang around long
enough to defend his record. He has gone and done a Tony
Blair, said Peter Oborne in the Daily Mail. He has deserted
Crushed: on holiday in Cornwall
British politics and flounced off to make money. A book deal
awaits him along with, no doubt, some well-paid speaking engagements.
The former PM has apparently been crushed by his recent reversal of fortune, said Richard Kay in
the Daily Mail. The plan was that, having won two elections and three referendums (AV, Scotland
and Brexit), he would retire in a blaze of glory in 2018, clearing the path for George Osborne to
succeed him. Then he would leave politics, perhaps moving to America, and wife Samantha could set
up a fashion label. The loss of power after the Brexit vote has been brutal; he has only spoken to
Theresa May once, to tell her of his resignation. I have some sympathy with his decision, said Martin
Kettle in The Guardian. The prospect of sitting on the backbenches as May trashes his legacy
reversing his policies on austerity and grammar schools, and banishing his allies can hardly have
held much appeal for him. He said it would be hard for him to be a good backbench MP, and that he
would become a distraction or worse to the new Government. Theres some truth in that.
Cameron is a decent, good man who served his country well, said Iain Martin on Reaction. He
didnt go mad in office, which is quite a distinction in the modern era. I hope that his achievements
leading the coalition; reforming schools and welfare will be remembered, as well as his missteps.
Posterity wont be kind, said Jonathan Freedland in The Guardian. This week the Commons Foreign
Affairs Committee issued a damning report on the 2011 military intervention in Libya, finding
Cameron ultimately responsible for the UKs failure to develop a coherent strategy as the country
slid into anarchy. It added to the sketch that history will draw of him: that he was hopelessly
short-termist doing what he needed to get out of an immediate hole but failing to think things
through. As PM, Cameron was a gambler, said The Times: bold and decisive, but not guided by
real vision. And of course, hell be remembered for the bet he lost. For good or ill, he was the
prime minister who took Britain out of Europe. That is his legacy, however historians fine-tune it.

Spirit of the age


People can spend weeks
shopping around online,
but its often a waste of time,
a study suggests.
Researchers examined the
browsing histories of 1,000
people who had bought
digital cameras. They found
that the shoppers had
typically gone online six
times, over 15 days, to
compare different models,
but that more often than
not, theyd settled on the
camera that they had
searched for first.
A famed purveyor of
sausage rolls and steak
bakes, Greggs has long
been a bastion of oldfashioned eating. But it has
now fallen to the forces of
healthy living: customers of
the UKs largest bakery
chain were greeted this
week with a range of
reduced-fat, lower-calorie
healthy pasties.

THE WEEK 18 SEPTEMBER 2016

Good week for:


The plastic 5 note, which finally went into circulation. Having
spent 70m on its development, the Bank of England has now
printed around 440 million of the new, smaller, tougher polymer
notes, which carry a portrait of Winston Churchill.

Bad week for:


Mike Ashley, whose attempt to show solidarity with his poorly
paid workforce, by allowing himself to be subjected to a search at
one of his Sports Direct warehouses, backfired. During the search,
filmed by a TV crew, the millionaire was asked to empty his
pockets and pulled out a fat wad of cash, estimated at 1,000.
The BBC, which lost the rights to one of its best-loved TV
programmes, The Great British Bake Off. According to reports,
Channel 4 offered the shows production company 25m for the
next series, to the BBCs 15m. However, the success of the
transfer was cast into doubt when the shows hosts, Sue Perkins
and Mel Giedroyc, announced they would not be going with the
dough and quit. The duo said the BBC was Bake Offs home.
Emily Thornberry, who was criticised for accusing a news
presenter of being sexist, for asking her a question she couldnt
answer. The shadow foreign secretary lost her temper on air when
Skys Dermot Murnaghan pressed her to name Frances foreign
minister. Flummoxed, she claimed he wouldnt ask such pub
quiz questions of a male politician. Critics were swift to point
out that being tripped up by journalists posing simple questions
the price of a pint of milk, for instance is an occupational
hazard for all politicians, regardless of their gender.

Boring but important


NHS in cash crisis

The chief executive of the


body that represents hospital
trusts across England has
warned that the NHS cannot
continue to operate with its
current resources, and has
called for an urgent
discussion on rationing
services. Speaking on The
Andrew Marr Show on BBC2,
Chris Hopson, of NHS
Providers, also said that the
Governments manifesto
promise to introduce a
seven-day NHS was
impossible within current
budgets. According to NHS
Providers, 80% of Englands
acute hospitals are in
financial deficit, up from 5%
three years ago; while the
proportion of A&E patients
who arent seen within
waiting time targets has risen
from 10% to around 90%.

Restoring Westminster

A senior parliamentary
committee has advised that
the Palace of Westminster is
in urgent need of restoration;
it puts the cost of the works
at 4bn, and suggests that
MPs and peers should move
out for six years while it is
done. The Joint Committee
says the Grade I-listed
building is deteriorating
rapidly with leaking roofs
and crumbling stonework
and that the work should
start by 2023, to avert the risk
of a catastrophic event.

Poll watch
77% of voters place
themselves near the
political centre (centre-left,
centre or centre-right); only
20% believe that Jeremy
Corbyn also occupies that
territory, while 47% class
him as solidly left-wing. By
contrast, Theresa May is
seen as occupying the
centre ground by 43% of
voters, and is considered
right-wing by only 28%.
Opinium/The Social Market
Foundation/The Observer
Only 45% of voters in the
US believe Hillary Clintons
doctors statement, that
she has been suffering
from mild pneumonia; 46%
do not believe it (see page
21). 30% think that the age
of Clinton and Donald
Trump is a concern, while
34% think that neither their
age, nor Clintons health,
is an issue.
YouGov/The Guardian

Europe at a glance
Paris, France
Terror plot: Four women aged between 19
and 39, and two men, have been charged
with terrorist offences for allegedly trying
to blow up a car near Notre Dame
Cathedral in Paris. The bombers
apparently fled after six gas canisters in the
Peugeot 607, parked close to the cathedral,
failed to explode. On being arrested, two
of the women reportedly tried to stab the
police officers. It is the first time that
women have been identified as commandos
involved in jihadi attacks inside France:
police say they were also plotting an attack
on Pariss Gare de Lyon. A letter found in a
handbag that one of the suspects had left
in the car suggested that the women were
responding to calls for terrorist action from
Daesh leader Abu Mohammed al-Adnani,
who was killed last month. French PM
Manuel Valls said that Frances security
services now have about 15,000 people
under surveillance, and that they are foiling
attacks and smashing networks every day.

Aarhus, Denmark
Ethnic quotas: A school in Denmarks
second-largest city has taken the radical
step of separating pupils by ethnicity.
Under its new policy, first-year pupils at
the Langkr upper secondary school near
Aarhus have been divided into seven
classes: four made up only of migrant
children, and three where the ratio of
migrants to pupils with Danish-sounding
names is about equal. In 2007, only 25%
of the schools pupils were from migrant
families; that figure is now 80%. The
head teacher, Yago Bundgaard, denies
that the move amounts to discrimination,
and says it is designed to stop ethnic
Danes from leaving the school altogether;
but critics say that the policy is racist, and
reflects an increase in anti-immigrant
sentiment in the country. Last year,
Denmark passed a law allowing police
to seize the valuables of arriving refugees,
to offset the cost of hosting them.

NEWS 7

Ankara, Turkey
Teacher purge: In what President Erdogan
is calling the largest ever campaign against
the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party
(PKK), Turkeys government has suspended
more than 11,000 teachers suspected of
having links with the party. The PKK
which Ankara lists as a terror group and
which is recognised as such by the US and
the EU has waged a 30-year insurgency
that has killed 40,000 people, most of them
Kurds. (Kurds make up an estimated 20%
of Turkeys population.) The crackdown
comes weeks after Turkey began military
operations in Syria against US-backed
Kurdish militia that it believes to have PKK
links. It also coincides with a purge of tens
of thousands of supporters of US-based
cleric Fethullah Glen, whom Turkey
blames for the attempted coup in July.

Chamonix, France
Cable car rescue:
Several cable cars
carrying a total of
110 people were
left dangling over
the slopes of Mont
Blanc last week,
after high winds
caused the wires to
get tangled. In a
dramatic evening rescue, 65 people were
winched to safety by helicopters hovering
overhead, and 12 climbed down with the
help of rescuers using ropes. But fog then
closed in and the remainder, some of them
children, had to spend a freezing night
trapped 12,605ft above sea level. They
were freed the next day when rescuers
were able to restart the cars by relaxing the
tension of the tangled cables. Rescuers
were called to a total of 36 stranded cable
cars dotted across 3.1 miles of cable.
Barcelona, Spain
Catalan protests: Some 800,000 people
rallied in five cities across Catalonia on
the regions national day, La Diada, last
Sunday, to demand secession from Spain.
We dont really care anymore about who
will govern in Madrid, said one protester,
a reference to the political disarray that
has left Spain without a government for
nine months and given further impetus to
calls for independence. After last years
local elections, pro-separatist parties have
been the dominant force in Catalonias
assembly but have yet to win a majority of
the popular vote: polls suggest about 48%
of Catalonias 7.5 million people now back
independence. But Catalan premier Carles
Puigdemont says that if Madrid keeps
refusing to allow a referendum, his
government will call regional elections
next year as a means of ratifying a break
with Spain. The Catalan train hasnt
stopped, he told cheering protesters.

Brindisi, Italy
Born at sea: A
Nigerian woman
fleeing Africa across
the Mediterranean
has given birth to
a boy on the rescue
ship taking her to
Europe. Faith
Oqunbors contractions began shortly after
she left Libya in a rubber dinghy crammed
with 253 people (including her husband,
two children and several other pregnant
women). Hours later they were all picked
up by a Mdecins Sans Frontires rescue
boat, Aquarius, and taken to the Italian
port of Brindisi. Im filled with horror,
said midwife Jonquil Nicholl (above, with
Oqunbor), over what might have occurred
had she given birth in that unseaworthy
rubber boat. Last year, more than 3,700
people are thought to have died trying to
cross the Mediterranean from Libya.

Krynica, Poland
EU horse-stealing: Hungarys PM Viktor
Orbn and the head of Polands ruling
party, Jarosaw Kaczynski, met in Poland
last week to call for a major shake-up of
the EU in the wake of Brexit. In a debate
on economic patriotism, they condemned
the EU for its elitism, for its smell of
international capital, and for allowing
immigration to threaten historical
identities. Calling for a cultural counterrevolution, the pair boasted of their close
ties. We trust each other enough to steal
horses together, said Orbn, referencing
an old Hungarian saying. And from one
particularly large [stable] called the EU,
Kaczynski added. They will join West
European leaders at a summit this week to
discuss the EUs future. Luxembourgs
foreign minister has called for Hungary to
be excluded from the EU for its massive
violation of the blocs values, notably its
hard-line stance on refugees.
18 SEPTEMBER 2016 THE WEEK

8 NEWS

The world at a glance

New York, New York


Trump praises Putin: Donald Trump has declared Russias
President Putin to be far more of a leader than Barack Obama.
Answering questions from military veterans at a forum in New
York, the Republican nominee continued to insist despite
evidence to the contrary that he had opposed the Iraq war, while
repeating his mantra that some US troops should have stayed in
Iraq to take the oil. Trump, however, refused to be drawn on
how he would defeat Daesh, on the grounds that he didnt want
to broadcast to the enemy exactly what my plan is. At the same
event, Hillary Clinton called her support for the Iraq war a
mistake, then pointed out that unlike her rival, she took
responsibility for her mistakes. Earlier, she had apologised for a
more recent error of judgement saying that half of Trumps
supporters could be put in the basket of deplorables.

New York, New York


Flaming phones: Share prices in
Samsung fell rapidly on Monday
as more horror stories emerged
about the explosive effects of its
flagship smartphone, the Galaxy
Note 7. Samsung issued a recall of
the devices last week, in response
to multiple reports of the devices
overheating while charging, and in some cases exploding. This
week it was reported that a six-year-old boy in New York had
been injured when a phone burst into flames; while in Florida,
a man claimed that his Galaxy Note 7 had blown up his car.
Nathan Dornacher said he left the phone on charge when he went
inside his house and came back to find the Jeep on fire (pictured).

Cannon Ball, North Dakota


Pipeline paused: The US government
has temporarily suspended work
on a 1,170-mile oil pipeline
between North Dakota and
Illinois in response to pressure
from more than 200 Native American
tribes. One section of the $3.8bn pipeline
runs close to the Standing Rock Sioux
reservation in Cannon Ball, and activists
argue that it would disturb burial grounds
and other sacred sites, and that the pipe could also leak into the
Cannon Ball and Missouri rivers, threatening the tribes water
supplies. Theyve vowed to ensure that the halt on work on the
section in question becomes permanent.
Miami, Florida
Zika anxiety: As officials in Florida announced that they had
identified eight more home-grown cases of the Zika virus last
week, lawmakers in Washington continued to wrangle over the
release of federal funding to tackle the disease. President Obama
asked for $1.8bn in February, but Congress has so far failed to
pass the bill, largely because of a dispute over a provision that
would block funding to clinics in Puerto Rico that work with the
abortion provider Planned Parenthood. More than 60 locally
transmitted Zika cases have been reported on the US mainland,
all in Florida, and a further 15,500 in Puerto Rico. In Florida,
planes have been spraying insecticide over Miami Beach in an
attempt to halt the spread of the mosquito-borne virus.
Bogot, Colombia
Child fighters freed: Colombias leftist Farc rebels released 13
child soldiers last weekend as part of a deal to end the countrys
52-year civil war. The children will now attend a programme to
help them adjust to civilian life, with a view to them eventually
returning to their families. It has been estimated that half of Farc
soldiers were recruited as children; however, Farc claims now to
have very few under-18s in its ranks. The peace deal is due to be
signed on 26 September, and put to a plebiscite on 2 October.
For it to pass, at least 13% of eligible voters (about 4.4 million
people) must vote Yes (and, of course, outnumber No
voters). Polls suggest that a majority of Colombians back the deal.
Caracas, Venezuela
Media crackdown: The government of crisis-torn Venezuela a
country already notorious for its lack of press freedom appears
to be ratcheting up the pressure on anti-regime journalists. In the
past few weeks, at least six foreign correspondents who travelled
to Venezuela to cover anti-government protests have been
deported; Molotov cocktails and excrement have been hurled at
the offices of the last remaining national opposition-leaning paper;
and a journalist who recently published footage of President
Nicols Maduro being chased down the street by protesters has
since been arrested, as have numerous opposition activists. This
week, polls revealed that 57% of Venezuelans would emigrate if
they could. Many have already left: around 1.8 million have
emigrated since the late Hugo Chvez came to power in 1999.
THE WEEK 18 SEPTEMBER 2016

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil


Paralympics comeback: Following
a last-minute government bailout, a
scaled-back Paralympic Games
began in Rio last week. Although the omens had not been good,
owing to concerns about funding and poor tickets sales, the
Games began with a well-received opening ceremony, featuring
among other things a death-defying display of wheelchair
acrobatics. And only five days in, 1.8 million tickets had been
sold, a record beaten only by London 2012. However, the
Paralympics continued against a backdrop of protest in recessionhit Brazil: the countrys new president, Michel Temer, was jeered
at the opening ceremony; and at rallies around the country,
protesters called for his resignation, and demanded new elections.

The world at a glance


Jerusalem
Underground wall: The Israeli army has
begun building a subterranean wall which
will eventually run the length of Israels
37-mile border with Gaza, below existing
walls and fences. Penetrating tens of metres
into the ground, the wall is designed to
stop Hamas, the militant Palestinian group
which has ruled Gaza since 2007, from
digging tunnels under the border through
which to attack Israel. Hamas made
effective use of such tunnels during the
2014 Gaza war, and Israeli PM Benjamin
Netanyahu was criticised for not dealing
with the threat they posed. The discovery
of two more tunnels earlier this year
prompted him to take action. The PM has
spoken of surrounding Israel with walls;
plans are under way to seal off its border
with Jordan, while a barrier along the
Egyptian border was completed in 2013.

Mecca, Saudi Arabia


Hajj anger: Some 1.5 million Muslims
from around the world gathered in Mecca
this week for the annual Hajj pilgrimage.
However, pilgrims from Iran were notable
by their absence, following Tehrans
decision to boycott the event in part
because of safety concerns: at least 2,000
people, including hundreds of Iranians,
were killed in a stampede at the 2015 Hajj.
Last week the Iranian supreme leader,
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, claimed those
people had been murdered, and said the
incident proved that Saudis evil rulers
were not fit to run holy sites. In response,
Saudis top cleric declared that Iranians
were not Muslim. Tensions between the
two nations have been high since January,
when Riyadh executed a prominent Saudi
Shia cleric: the Saudi embassy in Tehran
was set on fire in protest.

NEWS 9

Norilsk,
Russia
Blood
river: The
mystery of a
river in the
Russian
Arctic that
began flowing
red last week has been solved. Norilsk
Nickel, the worlds largest nickel producer,
initially denied all responsibility for the
phenomenon. But after authorities
launched an investigation into the cause,
the company came clean, admitting heavy
rain had caused one of its filtration dams
to overflow into the Daldykan River. It
insisted that short-term river colour
staining with iron salts was not a hazard
to people or wildlife. Environmental
groups say it is too early to tell.

Dhaka, Bangladesh
Deadly blast: Thirty-three
workers were killed in a fire
at a packaging factory on
the outskirts of Dhaka last
week, and dozens more
were injured. The fire,
which engulfed the factory as
staff were coming off a night
shift, seemed to have been
caused by a boiler exploding.
The factorys owner, Syed
Mokbul Hossain, a former
MP, later admitted he didnt
know when the boiler was
last inspected. Factory safety
is a major concern in
Bangladesh: 1,135 people
were killed in 2013
when a garment
factory
building
collapsed.

Borno, Nigeria
Famine fear:
Nigeria is on the
brink of a famine
unlike any we have
ever seen anywhere,
the UNs assistant secretary-general
warned last week. Almost 250,000
children in the northeast are already
severely malnourished, and millions more
are thought to be starving in nearby
refugee camps that are too dangerous for
aid agencies to reach. Extremist group
Boko Haram has murdered, kidnapped
and raped thousands of people across the
region since launching its uprising in 2009,
forcing two million to flee their homes.
Nigerian officials have also been accused
of stealing food from desperate people
living in camps. There is no food, said
one resident. People are forced to beg and
cook leaves to survive.

Tehran, Iran
Briton jailed: A
British woman
has been jailed for
five years by an
Iranian court on
national
security grounds.
Charity worker
Nazanin ZaghariRatcliffe, a
British-Iranian
dual citizen, flew to Tehran in March to
visit her parents with her toddler daughter,
Gabriella; she was arrested at the airport
on her return, on 3 April, and accused of
trying to overthrow the Iranian state. The
idea that anyone with a baby could be
busy overthrowing the regime is obviously
nonsense, said her husband, Richard
Ratcliffe (pictured with her). Theresa May
has raised the case with Irans president.

Zhanjiang, China
Naval drills: China and Russia began eight
days of routine naval drills in the South
China Sea this week, after a Russian fleet
arrived at the Chinese port of Zhanjiang.
The Joint Sea 2016 operation the largest
ever joint exercise between the worlds
second and third-biggest military powers
is seen as a bid to counter US influence,
which China blames for stoking tensions in
the region. Earlier this year, an arbitration
court in The Hague declared illegal Chinas
efforts to build islands in the South China
Sea. China claims 85% of the contested
waters, but the Philippines, Malaysia,
Vietnam and other neighbouring countries
have competing claims. In a sign that the ties
between the two countries are growing ever
stronger, Russia has backed Chinas
rejection of the Hague ruling. The Chinese
navy said the latest drills would include
island seizing activities such as antisubmarine operations and island defence.
18 SEPTEMBER 2016 THE WEEK

10 NEWS

Middle East at a glance

Cairo, Egypt
New Saudi deposit: Egypt is in advanced talks
with Saudi Arabia to secure a new deposit
worth $2-3bn as part of about $6bn in bilateral
financing required to seal an IMF loan, finance
minister Amr El-Garhy said in comments
published by Al Borsa newspaper. It was not
clear if El-Garhy was expecting Egypt to agree
on the disbursement of a $2bn deposit agreed
with Saudi Arabia in April or if the country
was seeking new funding. Egypt reached a
preliminary agreement with the International
Monetary Fund in August for a $12bn
three-year lending programme to help it plug its
funding gap and stabilise markets. But the deal
requires Egypt to secure a further $6bn in
bilateral financing.

Damascus, Syria
Ceasefire extended: The ceasefire
between regime forces and rebels, which
began last Monday, was extended by
another 48 hours despite some sporadic
fighting. The cessation of hostilities was
brokered by US Secretary of State John
Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister
Sergei Lavrov. Under the deal, the United
States and Russia were aiming for
reduced violence over seven consecutive
days before they move to the next stage
of coordinating military strikes against
Nusra Front and Daesh militants, which
are not party to the truce. The Syrian
Observatory for Human Rights, which
monitors the Syrian conflict through
contacts on the ground, said no deaths
from fighting had been reported in the
first 48 hours of the truce. The UN has
estimated that well over half a million
people are living under siege in Syria.

Mosul, Iraq
$181m in humanitarian aid: The United
States said last Wednesday it would give Iraq
$181m in humanitarian aid, anticipating a
wave of displaced people when Iraqi forces
launch a drive to recapture the northern city
of Mosul from Daesh. The advance on
Mosul, the biggest city held by the militant
group, could begin as soon as next month.
The United Nations expects up to one
million people could flee their homes in
Mosul, Daeshs de facto Iraqi capital. Critics
say preparations for the humanitarian and
political fallout have not kept pace with
military gains. There is no clear plan yet for
how Mosul, Iraqs second-largest city, will
be managed if and when it is recaptured, or
how pro-government forces will be
positioned to avoid aggravating ethnic and
sectarian tensions in the diverse region.

Tehran, Iran
Naval ship launched: Irans Revolutionary
Guard launched a new 55-metre-long naval
ship last Tuesday that is capable of
transporting a helicopter and up to 100
men, according to the website of state
TV. The ships launch, in the port city of
Bushehr, comes at a time of high tension
between Iran and the United States over
Gulf waters. According to US officials
there have been more than 30 close
encounters between US and Iranian
vessels in the Gulf so far this year,
over twice as many as in the same
period of 2015. This ship increases
the deterrent power of Iran and
will have an effect on the calculations
of the enemy, particularly America,
Revolutionary Guard naval chief Rear
Admiral Ali Fadavi said at the launch,
according to the state TV site.
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Mecca, Saudi Arabia
Electronic sheep sacrifice: Muslims
who undertook the annual Hajj
pilgrimage to Mecca were able to
make their Eid Al-Adha sacrifice
electronically. Saudi Gazette reported
that the 1.8 million pilgrims who
participated in this years Hajj had the
options of buying computerised
coupons to order a sacrifice without
seeing the sheep. The Islamic
Development Bank based in Jeddah
created the coupon system allowing
agencies located around holy sites
visited by the pilgrims to sell a
sacrifice to pilgrims for SAR460
($123). A text message was sent to
the purchaser to confirm the slaughter
and the meat was then handed out to
share among the poor and the needy.
The ritual commemorates the Prophet
Abrahams willingness to sacrifice his
son and symbolises the believers
submission to God.
THE WEEK 18 SEPTEMBER 2016

Jerusalem
Largest military aid package: The US has agreed a
military aid package for Israel worth $38bn over
the next 10 years, the largest such deal in US
history. The previous pact, set to expire in 2018,
saw Israel get $3.1bn annually. Pro-Palestinian
groups criticised the deal, saying it rewards Israel
despite the ongoing construction of Jewish
settlements in the occupied West Bank. A pro-Israel
lobby group, the American Israel Public Affairs
Committee, said the deal would send a strong
message of deterrence to Israels enemies. Officials
said the new package would for the first time
incorporate money $500m a year for Israeli
missile defence programmes. They were previously
funded on an annual basis by Congress.

Warning to Iran:
Mecca province
governor Prince
Khaled al-Faisal, a
senior Saudi
official, said the
orderly conduct of
the pilgrimage this
year is a response
to all the lies and
slanders made
against the
Kingdom. The
remarks carried by the official Saudi Press
Agency (SPA) follow an escalating war of
words between Iran and Saudi Arabia since
a crush at the annual Hajj pilgrimage a year
ago in which hundreds of pilgrims, many of
them Iranians, died. SPA quoted Prince
Khaled as telling journalists his message to
the Iranian leadership was I pray to God
Almighty to guide them and to deter them
from their transgression and their wrong
attitudes toward their fellow Muslims
among the Arabs in Iraq, Syria, Yemen
and around the world.

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12 NEWS
Waites recovery
It is now 25 years since Terry
Waite was released from
captivity, and the psychological
wounds have healed. I dont
have dreams or flashbacks or
memories that have caused me
to have real terror, he told
Peter Stanford in The Daily
Telegraph. At the time, though,
he was in an awful state. As the
Archbishop of Canterburys
international envoy, he had
been taken hostage in war-torn
Beirut, and spent five years
chained up in a series of
basements, where he was
tortured and kept in solitary
confinement. Back in England,
with his wife and four children,
he found he couldnt cope with
sitting down for a family meal.
I had been alone for so long
that I found the emotional
exchange too much. I used to
get up in the middle of the
night and have a meal by
myself. For a while, he took
a job at Cambridge University,
which allowed him to live
away from home for part of
the week. It was, he says, a
process of decompression,
made possible by his familys
love and patience. Someone
once said to me, if you come
out of a traumatic experience,
dont try to rush everything.
Come up as if you are coming
up from diving on the seabed.
If you come up too quickly,
you get the bends. Do it gently
and youll be all right.
A novel friendship
Jay McInerney met his literary
mentor and lifelong
friend under unusual
circumstances, says Will
Pavia in The Times. In
1980 (four years before
his first novel, Bright
Lights, Big City, made
him rich and famous),
McInerney (right) was a
mess: a cokesnorting, New
York party boy
whod just
been left by his
wife and fired
from The
New Yorker.
Then one day
a publisher
friend, Gary,
phoned to
say that he
was having
lunch with
Raymond
Carver. Gary
knew that I was

People
a huge fan of Carvers, so he
said: Im sending him down to
your apartment. I thought it
was a joke, but about ten
minutes later, there was
Raymond Carver at my door.
McInerney politely offered him
some coke. It was part of my
life at the time. I thought it
would be a good ice-breaker.
It seems extraordinary now.
Carver was intrigued,
because he had recently given
up drinking. I think he decided
that this wasnt cheating on
his sobriety. It did indeed
break the ice. We ended up
talking for hours.
Cleggs tales of the Tories
At the start of the coalition
government, Nick Clegg was
pleasantly surprised by his new
Tory colleagues, says Simon
Hattenstone in The Guardian.
Michael Gove was funny and
cultured, and George Osborne
remarkably open-minded.
One of the gifts he has is the
ability to think of politics from
someone elses point of view,
which is genuinely unusual,
and why he was such a
consummate dealmaker. But
gradually, these relationships
began to sour. Clegg was
aghast at how ruthlessly
Osborne wanted to cut
benefits. It really didnt
matter what the human
consequences were, because
focus groups had shown that
the people they wanted to
appeal to were very antiwelfare. As for Gove, his
journalistic talents make him
a bad politician, says Clegg.
The skill of tossing off 800
words on one subject and
then on another the next
week is completely
different to governing.
People such as Gove and
[Boris] Johnson have
elevated striking poses
into a political art
form. They used
these skills to win
the EU
referendum to
Cleggs despair.
He wishes that
Gove had
won the Tory
leadership too,
if only to teach
him a lesson.
He won the
argument, and
he should
have been in a
position of power
to face the music.

The partnership between Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler is one


of the creative (and financial) marvels of modern publishing, says
Matt Rudd in The Sunday Times. Their first hit book, The Gruffalo,
has sold 14 million copies and been translated into more than 70
languages. Theyve since churned out a stream of bestsellers, from
Stick Man to The Snail and the Whale: of every 1 spent on picture
books in the UK, 40p goes on a Donaldson-Scheffler title. Children
get so hooked on their favourite title that to their parents dismay
they insist on hearing it again and again. (You can drop it down
the back of the radiator, suggests Donaldson. Thats what some
parents have done.) This creative magic is not the result of any
personal chemistry. The duo were paired up by their publisher, and
work completely separately: she writes, then he draws. Donaldson
rarely offers any feedback on the illustrations. With Room on the
Broom, which was in the early days, I did say [to our editor]: Cant
the witch be a bit younger, a bit prettier, a bit less neat-looking?
I dont think that was passed on. And now, of course, his witch is
the witch, just like his Gruffalo is the Gruffalo. Its just like when
you go on holiday to somewhere for the first time and you have an
image of what itd be like, then when you get there its different,
but then you forget how youd imagined it in the first place.

Viewpoint:

Farewell

Prescotts ambition
John Prescott claims still to feel burning
anger, more than 65 years on, because
he failed the 11-plus. Yet far from being
crushed by this rebuff, young John seems
to have been spurred on to greatness.
If he had got into the grammar school
system he so detests, he might have led
an obscure life as a lecturer at a northern
polytechnic. Instead, he emerged from
Ellesmere Port Secondary Modern School
with a chip on his shoulder that drove
him to become deputy leader of the
Labour Party, deputy prime minister and
first secretary of state, acquiring two
Jags and several houses as he rose, and
punching fellow citizens who annoyed
him. Now he is Lord Prescott. Sweet are
the uses of adversity.
Charles Moore in The Daily Telegraph

James W. Cronin,
Nobel Prize-winning
nuclear physicist and
Big Bang expert, died
25 August, aged 84.
Rear-Admiral Hugh
Edleston, Falklands
hero who helped
to save HMS
Glamorgan, died
13 June, aged 67.
Philip Kingsley, hair
doctor to the stars,
died 3 September,
aged 86.
Ken Purchase, MP
who called for Labour
to return to its core
values, died 28
August, aged 77.

Desert Island Discs returns on 25 September

THE WEEK 18 SEPTEMBER 2016

Briefing

NEWS 13

The death of the newspaper


Future historians may come to regard the daily paper as a quaint cultural artefact of the 20th century
How bad are things for the press?
Very bad. Newspaper circulation and
advertising revenues are plummeting. The
Sun had a circulation of more than three
million in 2010; earlier this year it was
down to 1.7 million. The Daily Telegraph
fell from 691,000 to 488,500 over the
same period; The Guardian, from
302,000 to 166,500. This spring The
Independent ceased to exist as a print
title. Since 2005, more than 300 UK local
papers have closed. Its the same story
across most of the Western world.
According to the World Association of
Newspapers and News Publishers, over
the past five years print circulation has
fallen by 23.9% in Europe, and 11% in
North America. (Although, thanks to
growth in India, China and elsewhere in
Asia, it has risen by 22% globally:
newspaper decline is a First World problem.)

paywalls, and seem to be making a


success of it but they greatly reduce
web traffic. Many papers have had to
admit they just dont work. Last year
The Sun axed its paywall, having
attracted only 250,000 subscribers.
Did newspapers ever make money?
Some used to be very profitable. As
Rupert Murdoch put it in 2005, they
provided rivers of gold. But sometimes,
he added, rivers dry up. According to
the FT, the profits of the market leaders
The Daily Telegraph, the Daily Mail
and The Sun fell by 40% in the past
decade. True, some quality papers
struggled in the past, but they were
sustained by non-profit trusts (The
Guardian), or by large, profitable groups
Newspapers in their heyday: a vendor in 1955
(The Times). The big problem is that the
way people consume news has probably changed forever.

Why is this happening?


In a word, the internet. The old business model for newspapers
was cover price plus advertising. Now that news is published
for free online, sales have been badly hit. Advertising is moving
from print to the web: UK print ad revenue fell in 2015 by 11%,
or 150m more than the combined wage bill of The Times, The
Sunday Times and The Daily Telegraph. For years newspapers
had hoped to reach a digital tipping point, when income from
online ads would offset lost print sales. This hasnt happened.
Online advertising doesnt make much typically less than 10%
of overall revenue. The vastly successful Mail Online site, for
instance, attracts 14 million visitors a day, yet its 2015 revenues of
73m were dwarfed by those of the Mails shrinking newspaper
business. Another digital pioneer, The Guardian, has a huge
online presence but is in dire financial straits it had an operating
loss of 69m in 2015. The appetite for news is as great as ever
perhaps greater but the papers struggle to monetise content.

In what way has the consumption of news changed?


The traditional newspaper is encyclopaedic: it bundles together
a bit of everything news, comment, sport, culture, lifestyle. But
nowadays, online readers tend to flit between different websites,
focusing on those relating to their particular interests the ease of
publishing on the web has made possible the creation of countless
small, nimble specialised sites. According to a 2010 OECD study,
online readership is far more ad hoc, irregular and sporadic,
particularly among the young. So trying to replicate the daily
newspaper online may be doomed to failure. By contrast, the
weekend newspapers have held up much better.

Does the decline of the newspaper matter?


Falling revenues mean that the days of large newsrooms may be
numbered. Between 2001 and 2010, the number of UK journalists
fell by almost a third. The disciplines fact-checking, training,
accreditation that characterise serious newspaper journalism are
under threat. As The Guardians editor-in-chief, Katharine Viner,
says, newsrooms are in danger of losing what matters most about
Why doesnt online advertising pay?
journalism: the valuable, civic, pounding-the-streets, sifting-theClassified ads were once a big earner for newspapers, but these
database, asking-challenging-questions
have been largely eaten up by
specialised websites such as
Making money in the brave new world hard graft of uncovering things that
someone doesnt want you to know.
AutoTrader, PrimeLocation and eBay.
Just as the press had to adapt to the challenges posed
As she sees it, news will be dominated
Online advertising is dominated by
by radio and TV, so it is trying to adapt to the internet.
increasingly by click bait and
the big digital players, such as Google
The Times has actually raised its readership since 2014
by offering joint digital and print subscriptions. The
churnalism recycled stories
and Facebook, which soak up most of
more adventurous media firms have also taken on new designed to attract internet traffic, to
the advertising spend: Googles UK
roles. Germanys Axel Springer diversified into
the detriment of democratic debate.
revenues were 4.92bn last year. They
lucrative property search websites early on; the Daily
Long, detailed investigations will be
control the way that much news is
Mail group owns part of Zoopla. British papers have
hard to sustain.
consumed Facebook and Google
tried hosting live events, or moving into online sales.
have their own news portals, while
The Sun which already had a successful bingo
Is it all doom and gloom?
Apple has a news app giving them
operation recently set up its own betting site. The
No. Most big titles are surviving,
the upper hand. Ad-blocking software
Guardian is asking its readers for donations. Other
though not thriving, and lowering the
makes the market even tougher.
media firms pin their hopes on iTunes-style micropayments: the Dutch site Blendle provides access to a
barriers to entering the news business
range of titles, charging from 10 to 90 cents per article.
has also given rise to a wide range of
How about charging for content?
innovative online news sources,
A number of titles have put their
The enduring difficulty, however, is that most internet
users have never paid for news online and have no
which have helped to break down the
content behind a paywall, or have
intention of doing so. Thats why the future may lie in
monopoly of a few large news
adopted a metred model offering
cutting deals with the internet giants. Amazons Jeff
organisations. Society doesnt need
access to a few free articles per
Bezos bought The Washington Post and revived its
newspapers. What we need is
month. This works for premium
fortunes. Some speculate that the big online firms
journalism, argued the internet guru
publications with specialist content:
could pay news publishers to carry their content on
Clay Shirky a few years back. But its
for instance, the Financial Times had
their platforms or be made to do so. The European
still the case that good journalism is
566,000 digital subscribers in 2015.
Commission recently threatened to make Google and
expensive. What we really need are
The Times, The Sunday Times and
Facebook share ad revenues with the press.
new ways of funding it (see box).
The Daily Telegraph are also behind
18 SEPTEMBER 2016 THE WEEK

14 NEWS
Why Keith
Vazs sex life
matters
Janice Turner
The Times

The terrible
cost of your
coffee capsules
David Derbyshire
Daily Mail

Please let the


tax man do
his job
Prem Sikka
The Guardian

Apple has
swallowed its
own hype
Helen Lewis
The Sunday Times

THE WEEK 18 SEPTEMBER 2016

Best articles: British


As a rule, I dont care what politicians get up to in bed, says Janice
Turner. Sex is a private matter. But if they use prostitutes, in the
belief that sexual consent can be bought by the rich from the
powerless with cash, its a different matter particularly if, like
the disgraced Keith Vaz, theyve a role in setting prostitution
policy. In July, his Home Affairs Committee published an interim
report on prostitution recommending the decriminalisation of the
sex trade: it concluded that changing the law to criminalise those
who pay for sex an enlightened approach first introduced by
Sweden and later adopted by Norway, Iceland, Canada, France
and Northern Ireland wouldnt be appropriate for Britain. Do
we now know why? As a user of prostitutes, Vaz wouldnt have
wanted to criminalise punters. Nor, as a good liberal, would he
have wanted to believe that buying his Bucharest boys was
exploitative. But it was. Prostitution is an innately unequal
trade driven by desperation. It always is. Vaz has resigned now
but his report remains, reeking of his hypocrisy.
Its all George Clooneys fault, says David Derbyshire. Ever since
the Hollywood charmer became the face of Nespresso, the world
has gone crazy for trendy coffee capsules that slot into machines
and deliver an espresso shot at the touch of a button. Sales of
such pods rose by 30% in Britain last year, and are now poised to
overtake sales of roast and ground coffee. But the popularity of
the capsules comes at a shocking environmental cost: billions of
these little pods, all made from plastic and aluminium, are ending
up in landfill, where theyll take as long as 500 years to break
down. Even the inventor of the US version of the coffee capsule,
the K-Cup, now describes them as a terrible mistake and has
given up using them. The manufacturers insist that pods are
recyclable, but in a world where consumers are too busy to use
a traditional cafetire, few people make the effort to arrange a
doorstep collection or to take the spent pods to the shops; they
just chuck them in the bin. Its time for caffeine lovers who care
for the environment to wake up and smell the coffee.
Her Majestys Revenue and Customs is no longer fit for purpose,
says Prem Sikka. Its job is to collect taxes, yet the agency is so starved
of resources (its budget in 2015-16 was 3.2bn, down from 4.4bn
in 2005) that it cant carry out its job effectively. Local tax offices
have been replaced with overburdened call centres that fail to
answer a quarter of calls. HMRC only has enough staff to investigate
about 35 wealthy individuals a year for tax evasion. It has just 81
specialists to investigate transfer pricing practices a major tool for
tax avoidance by multinational corporations. In fact, it is far too
cosy with big business, inviting corporate representatives to join its
board and letting them design new tax policies that favour their own
interests. This cant go on. We need to create an independent
watchdog to monitor HMRCs performance and to scrutinise any
future sweetheart deals it cuts with the likes of Google. And we
need to fund it properly: given that the agency raises 75 for
every 1 spent on investigating large businesses, the case for
increasing its budget is unassailable. Enact these reforms and
HMRC may finally be able to do its job. properly.
Apple used to be an easy company to love, says Helen Lewis,
but of late it has become unbearably pompous. At the launch last
week of the iPhone 7, in a 7,000-seat auditorium in San Francisco,
Apple executives took two interminable hours to announce
various technical updates with all the gravity of Moses delivering
the stone tablets. They talked of changing the world. Why did
we decide to drop the 3.5mm headphone jack from the iPhone 7,
asked marketing senior VP Philip Schiller. It comes down to one
word: courage the courage to move on, do something new, that
betters all of us. The mood was reminiscent of a Moonie mass
wedding. Dishwasher manufacturers dont carry on like this.
Imagine it: a reverent hush as the boss of Zanussi announces a
minor improvement to the drain hose; thunderous applause at the
news the cutlery bit will have room for twice as many forks. But
then, the US tech industry suffers from a bad case of Silicon Valley
syndrome. Convinced that it is moulding humanity with its
every act, it has swallowed its own hype. No wonder obeying
national laws, or paying taxes, feels like such an imposition.

IT MUST BE TRUE

I read it in the tabloids


A woman has been arrested
in the US for stealing three
chips from a police officer.
The suspect allegedly sat
down next to the cop, in
a pizza restaurant in
Washington, and tried to
engage him in conversation.
She then reached out and
took one of his fries. The
police officer told her to stop,
but she took another at
which point, he warned her
that she was engaging in
theft. When she reached out
again, he arrested her. On the
chart sheet, the stolen goods
are listed as French fried
potato three.
A man held up a bank, was
handed almost $3,000 in cash
and then sat down in the
lobby and waited for police to
arrive, having earlier told his
wife that hed rather be in
jail than at home with her.
According to the FBI, the
couple had argued before he
took his gun and walked to
the bank, in Kansas. But if
hed hoped for a long prison
sentence, he will have been
disappointed: he appeared
before a magistrate last
week, and was then released.

Egyptians have been told


they must have permission to
erect statues in public places,
after a series of artworks of
questionable merit appeared
in squares across the country,
sparking anger and mockery
online. One, in the town of
el-Balyana, was supposed to
depict a soldier embracing
his mother, but was said to
look more like a woman
being assaulted; even worse,
however, was an illconceived statue of Queen
Nefertiti (above), in Samalut,
dubbed Frankenstein on
account of its resemblance to
his monster. It prompted so
much ridicule that it was
torn down last year.

Best articles: Europe

NEWS 15

Merkel sticks to her guns but can she survive?


no intention of imposing a limit on the
Angela Merkels conservatives suffered
number of new arrivals. Trimming her
a catastrophic defeat in state elections
sails to win re-election just isnt her
last week, said Pascale Hugues in Le
style. Shell stick to her guns or stand
Point (Paris), and it could mark the
down. German chancellors are famous
beginning of the end of her reign. In
for toughing out unpopular policies,
Mecklenburg-West Pomerania, her
said Angelo Bolaffi in La Repubblica
CDU party was beaten into third place,
(Rome). Konrad Adenauers rejection
behind the anti-migrant Alternative for
of Stalins overtures to create a united
Germany (AfD), which scored a
but non-aligned Germany; Willy
spectacular 21%. It was second only
Brandts Ostpolitik; Helmut Schmidts
to the Social Democrat Party (SPD),
decision to stand up to the Soviet
which also suffered heavy losses. The
Unions deployment of SS-20 midvote was clearly a backlash against
range missiles; Kohls reunification
Merkels policy of welcoming refugees,
policy all gave rise to fierce domestic
reflecting a more general concern that
Beaten into third place in her home state
opposition. But being resolute carries
Germany will end up culturally
risks. Gerhard Schrder, Merkels predecessor, lost the 2005
disfigured. People also fear for their jobs, housing and schools.
elections after refusing to abandon labour and welfare reforms.
Its a particularly hurtful blow for Merkel, as it was struck in
Merkels refugee policy isnt just a pragmatic effort to forestall
her home state. Her dream of standing for a fourth term
a humanitarian catastrophe, said Le Monde (Paris). Her openequalling Helmut Kohls record of 16 years in power has been
shaken, said Nico Fried in Sddeutsche Zeitung (Munich). True, ended welcome to refugees is fired by idealism: it helps redeem
Germany from the dishonour of the Nazi period. It was a right
Mecklenburg is only a small impoverished state in the former
and virtuous choice, undone by a failure to coordinate at EuroEast Germany, accounting for just 2% of the German populapean level and by events beyond her control, such as the assaults
tion: its loss wont affect Merkels majority in parliament. But it
by migrants during New Year celebrations. Now she has a year
does suggest her efforts to reassure people on immigration the
in which to turn public opinion around and check the spread of
controversial deal with Turkey that has slowed the influx to a
right-wing populism which, until this election, Germany seemed
trickle; restrictions imposed on the length of time refugees can
stay in Germany have had no effect. Yet Merkel insists she has able to contain. For all our sakes, we must hope she succeeds.

GREECE

Creditors are
sucking the
life out of us
Dimokratia
(Athens)

RUSSIA

Silenced for
daring to tell
the truth
Vedomosti
(Moscow)

UKRAINE

Odessas
governor sides
with the mob
Foreign Policy
(Washington DC)

Greeces nightmare of austerity seems to have no end, says Dimokratia. The left-wing Syriza
government, elected in 2015 expressly to end the vicious cuts, signed a third memorandum with
international creditors last year, and those creditors demands are now coming in waves. Just when
wed got used to eking out some kind of existence, another round of benefit cuts and tax hikes hits
pensioners and wage earners alike. Unemployment is at nearly 24%, the highest in the EU: the slump
is comparable only to the USs Great Depression in the 1930s. Yet rather than trying to stimulate
growth, the creditors are sucking all life out of the economy: we simply dont have the money to pay
for anything other than food and rent. Families are destroyed; people lose hope. Pessimism is, in fact,
the only rational response: even the latest International Monetary Fund report tells us it will be
another 44 years before the unemployment rate drops to 6%. Of course, it fails to cite the IMFs
own role in bringing this calamity upon us. Our creditors have sentenced an entire country and its
people to death. With that strategy, they wont see much return: neither will generations of Greeks.
In gagging Russias sole remaining independent polling agency, Vladimir Putin has killed the goose
that lays the golden eggs, says Greg Yudin. The Levada-Centre, though no friend of the Kremlin,
has for years reliably confirmed Putins popularity at levels that wouldnt be credited were they
reported by either of the two rival agencies: funded by the Kremlin, both are just assumed to do its
bidding. But as Levada gets much of its funding from US universities, it has fallen foul of the 2012
law that allows the Kremlin to label any NGO funded from abroad as a foreign agent which
stigmatises it as a nest of spies and effectively stops it operating. And why has the Kremlin chosen to
do so now? Because, days before parliamentary elections, Levada recorded a sharp dip in support for
Putins United Russia party, from 39% to 31%. (The other two pollsters report it holding steady at
about 40%.) Putin was livid: hed tried every trick, including bringing the vote forward, to make his
own pollsters predictions come true. Now, by gagging Levada, he has left Russia without a single
objective measure of public sentiment. From now on, hell have to rely on ones he knows are false.
Ukrainians are having second thoughts about the foreigner they invited to clean up Odessa, says
Vladislav Davidzon. Mikheil Saakashvili is a former president of Georgia, where he introduced badly
needed reforms. But his high-handed, not to say authoritarian, behaviour so exasperated his
countrymen that he was eventually forced into exile in New York. There, however, he acquired the
reputation of a principled anti-corruption crusader. So it made sense when Ukraines President
Poroshenko tapped that zeal by appointing him governor of the notoriously chaotic Odessa region.
But not only have the results so far been underwhelming, Saakashvilis dark side has suddenly
come to the fore. Far from trying to calm things down when a pogrom was recently unleashed
against a small Roma community in Odessa (the rampaging mob believed it was harbouring a man
who had raped and murdered a young girl), Saakashvili appeared to sanction the violence. He
insisted that he shared the villagers outrage against the Roma community, calling it a real den of
iniquity. The governors response, especially inflammatory in a region with a history of ethnic
tension, is unworthy of a Westernising reformer, and a troubling indicator for the future of Odessa.
18 SEPTEMBER 2016 THE WEEK

Best articles: International

16 NEWS

The new powder keg in Central Asia


were reportedly boiled alive. For 25
Important news rarely comes from
years, Uzbeks have been required to
countries whose names end with
show unquestioning fealty to Karimov.
stan, said Leonid Bershidsky on
How will they respond now he is gone?
Bloomberg View (New York). But the
death of Islam Karimov, Uzbekistans
People may take it in their stride, said
first and, until last week, only
the Financial Times, just as they did in
president is noteworthy indeed. The
neighbouring Turkmenistan when its
78-year-old dictator had ruled since
megalomaniac despot, Saparmurat
Uzbekistan gained independence, in
Niyazov, was replaced with minimal
1991, ensuring its stability through the
disruption by a little-known former
sheer force of his security apparatus
dentist in 2006. Since then, however,
and military. His sudden departure
the political climate in Central Asia has
threatens to unleash unpredictable
grown more precarious, owing to the
forces. Uzbekistan is Central Asias
growing threat from Islamic extremism,
most populous country, its strongest
Karimov: shaped Uzbekistan in his own image
and economic problems caused by a
bastion against Islamic extremism,
collapse in commodity prices. And even if the transition inside
and an important buffer between China, the boiling cauldron
the country is smooth, Karimovs death may set off international
of Afghanistan, and Russias sphere of immediate interests.
jostling for influence between Russia (keen to restore its
influence in its former satellite), China (which sees Uzbekistan as
Its hard to say what an Uzbekistan without Karimov will look
a promising market), and the US (for whom Uzbekistan is a
like, said Sarah Kendzior in The New York Times. Roughly half
vital supply route for its Afghan operations). The tectonic plates
of the countrys population is aged under 25 these people have
of Central Asian politics are shifting, agreed Bershidsky. The
never known any other leader. Karimov transformed the nation
ageing men who have controlled this vast area since the fall of
from a Soviet republic to a nation in his own image: out went
the USSR are dying off, leaving behind regimes that are no more
the Russian language, enforced atheism and statues of Marx; in
than placeholders for true statehood the unfinished business
came Uzbek, a strict, state-controlled version of Islam, and
of the bloodless revolution of 1991, which destroyed the Soviet
statues of Timur, the 14th century Central Asian military leader.
Union. Essentially, they are ticking time bombs.
Dissidents were silenced, jailed or killed; in 2002, two prisoners

ISRAEL

American aid
is making us
weaker
The Boston Globe
(Boston)

PHILIPPINES

This uncouth
leader is a
threat to peace
South China Morning Post
(Hong Kong)

UNITED STATES

We cant blame
the internet for
everything
Reason.com
(Los Angeles)

THE WEEK 18 SEPTEMBER 2016

I support Israel, says Jeff Jacoby, which is why I dont support US aid to Israel. That might seem
a non sequitur, but it makes perfect sense. For decades, the traditional pro-Israel view has been that
military aid from Washington now $3.1bn a year is a vital cornerstone of the US-Israel alliance.
But the reality is that Israel has a booming economy today and has no need of American charity.
The largesse comes with strings attached, and might actually be making Israel weaker. The US,
for instance, stipulates that Jerusalem must spend around 75% of each years assistance in America.
The aid thus subsidises US defence contractors, rather than helping Israel develop its domestic arms
industry. Whats more, numerous Israeli military experts argue that an over-reliance on US-made
jets and ever more advanced missile systems is skewing Israels defence priorities, preventing it from
thinking creatively about ground strategies to tackle the terrorist threat. The aid also enables the US
to exert pressure on Israeli decision-making, thus complicating the alliance. Israel is healthy enough
to stand on its own two feet, and it should be a matter of pride for it to do so.
The Philippines notoriously foul-mouthed president, Rodrigo Duterte, learned last week that its a
bad idea to insult the leader of the free world, says Yonden Lhatoo. Son of a whore, I will swear at
you was the phrase he used when asked how he intended to answer Barack Obamas concerns
about his violation of human rights. The US president promptly cancelled the meeting hed arranged
to hold with the Filipino leader during the East Asia summit in Laos, forcing an embarrassed Duterte
to issue an apology. To be fair to Duterte, he hadnt really meant to insult Obama. His profanity,
putang ina, is a general term of annoyance for Filipinos, much like dammit. If you watch the full
video of the press conference, its clear that Dutertes outburst is directed more at the reporter who
raised the question than at Obama. In any case, Dutertes uncouthness is a trifling issue compared to
his terrifying vigilante campaign against drugs. What does it say about the rule of law in a country
where the president goes on record to boast that he has been personally involved in multiple extrajudicial killings? More alarming still is what a man like this might do to the fragile balance of
peace in a minefield of regional tensions over conflicting territorial claims in the South China Sea.
America is succumbing to anti-porn hysteria, says Elizabeth Nolan Brown. Concern about the effect
of ubiquitous online filth has been rising for some time, but the debate has now tipped into fact-lite,
melodrama-heavy fearmongering. If you doubt that, read the recent Wall Street Journal article
co-authored by Rabbi Shmuley Boteach and bizarrely the former Baywatch star and Playboy
model Pamela Anderson. The overwrought piece talks of us being a guinea-pig generation for an
experiment in mass debasement; it warns that porn addiction is destroying relationships, and that
children raised amid wall-to-wall digitised sexual images are growing up as the crack babies of
porn, incapable of real intimacy. It holds up disgraced congressman Anthony Weiner, with his
repeated, self-sabotaging sexting, as a prime example of the malign influence of online porn. What
overblown nonsense. You cant blame the internet for every form of compulsive behaviour. Across
the ages, people have cheated on spouses, sent ill-advised sexual communications, and gotten off on
exhibitionism. So lets have a bit less of Photoshop begets anorexia and Grand Theft Auto
causes antisocial behaviour. Social media is simply not responsible for all our problems.

Best of the Arabic language articles NEWS 17


Is it the
Iranian pilgrims
fault?
Salman Al-Dossary
Asharq al-Awsat

Will the Syrian


ceasefire actually
happen?
Randa Taqi al-Deen
Al-Hayat

Netanyahus
condition-free
negotiations
Abd Al-Naser Al-Najar
Al-Ayyam

Enabling
Emirati
Woman
Turki Al-Dakheel
Al-Bayan

Iranians have been banned from the Hajj pilgrimage for the fourth time since Al-Khomeinis
ascendance to presidency following the Iranian Revolution. Furthermore, Tehran has made wild
accusations that Saudi Arabia wanted to impede Iranians from performing Hajj. According to
Salman Al-Dossary: Iran declined to sign the pilgrimage agreement that 85 countries concluded
with Saudi Arabia. Riyadh wanted to ensure Iranian pilgrims were not punished for their
governments stance by allowing them to fly Iranian airlines despite the sanctions imposed on
Iranian companies. KSA also agreed that Iran would be represented in Jeddah through the
Embassy of Switzerland to serve Iranian pilgrims. It also agreed on issuing Hajj visas
electronically for Iranians. KSA made these concessions so Iran had no pretext; yet Iran is intent
on politicising this religious duty by holding Disavowal of the Pagan demonstrations. Who are
these pagans? Are they the ones who used to be the Great Satan? Or is this about causing
chaos and putting millions of pilgrims, Iranians included, in danger? However, the Saudi
government steadfastly refrains from politicising Hajj. Al-Dossary makes it clear that Irans
attempts to force its politics on Saudi Arabia will never succeed. Only Iranian citizens will suffer
from the policies of a regime that doesnt hesitate to combine politics with religion.
Following the declaration of a ceasefire
between the Syrian regime and opposition
groups, Randa Taqi al-Deen wrote:
Residents of Syria, especially in Aleppo,
look forward to this ceasefire as theyve
had enough of death and disease. The
moderate opposition groups are waiting
for more details regarding the US-Russian
agreement, which they welcome. However,
they remain cautious as they are unsure of
the real intentions of the regime and its
allies. Its hard to believe that the ceasefire
will take effect. Al-Assad is expelling the residents of Darayya and Muadamiyat al-Sham despite
the truce they signed two years ago. The regime is planning on transporting their loyalists to
these cities as part of the map Al-Assad is drawing, which also involves Damascus and Western
Ghouta. Al-Assad may realise the impossibility of him presiding over a country he destroyed, so
he thinks hell keep certain areas under his authority. Its also worth mentioning that no details
of the US-Russian agreement have been revealed yet. Taqi al-Deen points out that nobody
actually trusts the American negotiator who has, more than once, capitulated to Russias wishes.
Benjamin Netanyahu has commented that Palestinians demand for a Palestinian state without
settlers is tantamount to ethnic cleansing, writes Abd Al-Naser Al-Najar in Al-Ayyam: When
several countries worldwide push to get the Palestinian-Israeli political process working again,
Netanyahu responds by declining the pre-conditions, of which dismantling settlements is first
and foremost. Netanyahu doesnt believe that settlements are an obstacle. In fact, he thinks that
those who want to stop settlements present the obstacle. This explains the wide-ranging
attack on Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas. Netanyahu is the one who is practicing
ethnic cleansing in Al-Aghwar, Greater Jerusalem, and Bedouin villages. Expulsions are
at record highs, especially of thousands of Bedouins between Jerusalem and Al-Aghwar.
There is also the systematic expulsion of Jerusalemites, including Palestinians being
forced to demolish their own houses. This didnt even happen in South Africa at the
height of racism, Al-Najar adds. The journalist insists that Netanyahu mainly believes in
improving the Palestinian economy under the Israeli occupation, in addition to granting them
some privileges without ever coming near real politics. Netanyahu is following Yitzhak Shamirs
policy of making the negotiations last for a hundred years.
Since its founding the UAE has lead
women towards leadership and
entrepreneurship, wrote Turki Al-Dakheel.
A few days ago the UAE celebrated
International Womens Day and HH Sheikh
Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice
President and Prime Minister of the UAE
and Ruler of Dubai, tweeted We do not
enable women, but we enable society and its
women. To women I say you are the most
beautiful, the strongest, and the best, as is
our country thanks to your efforts. The
UAE woman sets a leadership example in every field. There are indeed successful female
ministers who represent the youth, trade, happiness, and education. Others have joined
the ranks of medicine, natural sciences and space research as entrepreneurs and pioneers.
This international day should illustrate womens achievements, not to deliver speeches
about the importance of women in a society that restrains her! Claiming that we enable
women amounts to saying we granted them rights, whereas enabling society through women is
more concise. Al-Dakheel added. Throughout my two decades in the UAE I have witnessed
that women are truly included in every department, governmental institution, or conference I
attend. Women with power build society.
18 SEPTEMBER 2016 THE WEEK

Health & Science

18 NEWS

What the scientists are saying


The 3.7 billion-year-old fossils

Pancreatic cancer hope

Of all the cancers, metastatic pancreatic is


among the most lethal: the average postdiagnosis life expectancy is just over four
months. But trials of a new immunotherapy drug are raising hopes that the
prognosis could become less dismal in
future. Unlike most drugs of its kind,
IMM-101 doesnt prompt the immune
system to attack healthy cells along with
cancerous ones a process that has
potentially life-threatening consequences.
Instead, it helps the body recognise and
target tumours, and theres evidence that,
used alongside chemotherapy, it has the
potential to significantly prolong patients

men who had lots of sex were more


susceptible to cardiovascular events than
their less sexually active counterparts. For
women, the problem was reversed: less
sexual satisfaction was associated with a
higher risk of raised blood pressure. Lead
author Hui Liu said that since older men
have to exert themselves more to
achieve orgasm, they are more likely to
stress their hearts. For women, by
contrast, good sex in old age is often
linked with a supportive relationship
which promotes good health.

Pollution in the brain

The stromatolites found in Greenland

lives. In a trial at St Georges Hospital,


London, sufferers given IMM-101, in
addition to undergoing chemotherapy,
survived for an average of seven months;
and one survived for nearly three years.
An oddity of the trial was that the drug
appeared to have the opposite effect on
patients whose cancer hadnt metastasised:
they died sooner than those treated solely
with chemotherapy. Professor Angus
Dalgleish, who led the research, attributed
this to metastatic cancer being, in effect, a
different disease from ordinary pancreatic
cancer. A bigger trial, which will only
include patients with the metastatic
disease, is planned.

Perils of silver sex

An active and enjoyable sex life makes


older men more vulnerable to heart
problems, according to US scientists. Based
on data provided by 2,204 people aged
between 57 and 85, the study found that

Researchers have found evidence that


particulate matter typically released by
diesel engines can enter human brains,
raising speculation that there is a link
between traffic pollution and dementia.
For the study, researchers obtained postmortal samples of brain tissue from 37
people, 29 of them from Mexico City, and
the others from Manchester, and analysed
them for signs of magnetite which is a
by-product of traffic pollution. Magnetite
is also produced in small quantities in the
body, but when the particles are naturally
occurring, they are jagged and irregular.
The researchers found some jagged
particles in the brain samples, but many
more that were spherical and smooth
like those found in abundance in airborne
pollution. Previous studies have found
smooth magnetite particles in the brains
of people with Alzheimers; there is also
evidence from Taiwan that people living in
areas with high levels of airborne pollution
are more likely to get the disease. However,
much more research is needed to discover
if there is any causal link. None of the
patients in the study had been diagnosed
with dementia, though some did have a
neurodegenerative disease.

African elephant numbers plummet

E. coli in supermarket meat

About a third of Africas savannah elephants were


wiped out between 2007 and 2014, according to
the first ever continent-wide survey of the species.
Thats equivalent to the loss of 20,000 each year or
almost 55 a day. Examination of elephant carcasses
indicates that poachers are largely to blame for the
decline. Often, the creatures are found with their
faces hacked off. Using a fleet of small planes,
the Great Elephant Census, funded by Microsoft
billionaire Paul Allen, surveyed 15 of the 18
African countries with significant elephant
populations, and counted 352,271 of the larger
savannah elephants far fewer than previous
estimates. A separate study recently found that the
population of forest-dwelling elephants has
dropped by more than 60% since 2002.
In the 1800s, before industrialisation massively
A savannah elephant
increased the market for ivory, there were an
estimated 26 million elephants in Africa. By 1979, 1.3 million were left. A 1989
international trade ban helped halt the slide, but that trend went into reverse in the
early 2000s, as a result of rising demand for black-market ivory from China.

One in four samples of supermarket


chicken contains antibiotic-resistant
strains of the food poisoning bacteria
E. coli, according to new research.
Scientists tested 92 chicken products,
including drumsticks, whole chickens
and breast meat, and found ESBL E. coli
which causes urinary tract infections
and which is resistant to several
common antibiotics on 22 of them,
reports the Daily Mail. Study leader
Dr Mark Holmes, a lecturer in
preventative veterinary medicine at
Cambridge University, described the
results as worrying. Scientific
evidence is accumulating that the
overuse of antibiotics on farms is an
important contributor to antibiotic
resistance in E. coli infections, said
Ciln Nunan, of Save Our Antibiotics,
which commissioned the research. The
Government has pledged to tackle the
overuse of antibiotics in farm animals.

THE WEEK 18 SEPTEMBER 2016

NATURE

Scientists may have discovered the oldest


physical evidence of life on Earth, in the
form of fossils embedded in 3.7 billionyear-old rocks in Greenland. Tiny and
cone-shaped, they are believed to be
stromatolites layered mounds of
sediment formed in shallow water by
microscopic bacteria. If this is confirmed,
their discovery pushes back the earliest
evidence of life on our planet by 220
million years, and shows that life began
relatively soon after the period of sustained
asteroid bombardment the Hadean
period which followed Earths formation
some 4.6 billion years ago. This indicates
the Earth was no longer some sort of hell
3.7 billion years ago, said Professor Allen
Nutman, of the University of Wollongong,
Australia, who co-authored the study,
published in Nature. It was a place
where life could flourish. The researchers
say the discovery also makes it more
probable that life has existed on Mars,
since conditions on the two planets would
have been quite similar when the
stromatolites were formed.

Technology

NEWS 19

Commercial space travel: SpaceXs fiery setback


$110 million in cargo bound for the
A spectacular explosion on a Florida
International Space Station. Meanwhile,
launchpad just threw a wrench into
Tesla and SolarCity are both said to be
the ambitions of two Silicon Valley
facing cash crunches and mechanical
billionaires: SpaceX CEO Elon Musk
setbacks, even as Musk sets ever-bolder
and Facebooks Mark Zuckerberg,
goals, like rolling out a $35,000 Tesla
said Samantha Masunaga and Jim
sedan by next July. The problem for
Puzzanghera in the Los Angeles
Musk in 2016 is, the bolder the goals
Times. A 604-ton Falcon 9 rocket
become, the faster the crashes and glitches
built by Musks aerospace firm
are coming.
SpaceX was engulfed in flames last
week during a pre-launch engine test
Lets not forget that spaceflight is an
at Cape Canaveral. Both the rocket
inherently dangerous and tricky business,
and its cargo, which included a
said Jeff Spross on TheWeek.com. And to
satellite that Facebook planned to use
be fair, SpaceX boasts a 93% launch
to beam internet to remote villages in
success rate, comparable to 95% for the
sub-Saharan Africa, were destroyed
rest of the commercial space industry.
in the blast, which was loud enough
The massive fireball that destroyed the rocket
This year was shaping up to be a banner
to be heard 40 miles away.
Fortunately, no one was injured, but the cause of the explosion is year for the firm, with eight successful takeoffs. Five of those
used SpaceXs pioneering reusable booster technology, which
still unclear, and SpaceXs plans for nine more rocket launches
will help make its bargain price tag of $60m per launch even
this year are now on hold as is Zuckerbergs dream of
cheaper. That SpaceX bounced back so quickly from its 2015
connecting more of the developing world.
accident with such successes is probably an indication that
itll weather this setback as well. But who is left footing the
Is Elon Musk stretched too thin? asked Kevin Kelleher on
bill when a private rocket blows up? asked Sonali Basak in
Time.com. The brash, 45-year-old entrepreneur, who also runs
Bloomberg.com. Some of the worlds biggest insurance firms,
the electric car company Tesla and the clean energy firm
SolarCity, is almost ludicrously ambitious. He has vowed to send including AIG and Allianz SE, now offer commercial space
policies. The Facebook satellite itself was backed by a policy
an unmanned mission to Mars within two years, and to send
worth almost $300m. But theres one hitch: It may only have
humans to the Red Planet by 2025. But lofty goals on an
been covered for a true launch accident, rather than pre-launch.
accelerated timetable might be the reason SpaceX has now had
You can be sure that Mark Zuckerberg is not amused by
two high-profile accidents in just 15 months: Another Falcon 9
rocket disintegrated shortly after launch in June 2015, destroying Musks latest mishap.

Innovation of the week


A seriously
intimidatinglooking
robotic
tractor
has been
drawing crowds at Iowas annual
Farm Progress Show, said George
Dvorsky on Gizmodo.com. Unlike a
conventional tractor, this futuristic
piece of farm equipment called
the Autonomous Concept Vehicle
doesnt have a cabin for a driver.
Instead, the tractor, built by
agricultural equipment firm Case
IH, finds its way using built-in
cameras, radar, and GPS. A farmer
can program and control the
machine using an app on a tablet
computer, and once the tractor gets
its orders, it sets to work without
any further human intervention.
The bot can operate day or night,
and is designed to plant seeds and
harvest crops, among other tasks.
Because of legal concerns, such as
the fact that the self-driving tractor
will sometimes cross public roads
while moving between fields,
experts say it will likely be years
before the machine appears on
an actual farm.

Bytes: Whats new in tech


Samsung recalls explosive phone
Samsungs
nightmare scenario
is happening, said
Rob Price 0n
BusinessInsider.com. The South Korean
electronics giant is recalling its new flagship
smart phone, the Galaxy Note 7, after
reports that the device may catch fire while
charging. Samsung has shipped more than
2.5m Note 7s since the phone debuted last
month, with the waterproof, large-screen
device selling for more than $800 in the US.
But Samsung halted sales last week after
receiving at least 35 reports of exploding
phones worldwide. The company is now
working on exchange programs for the
10 countries where the Note 7 has been
released. The recall comes at an especially
painful time for Samsung, with rival Apple
having unveiled the latest iPhone models
this week.

Google gets in Ubers lane


Alphabet and Uber are
inching closer to a
showdown, said Daisuke
Wakabayashi and Mike Isaac
in The New York Times.
Googles parent company is expanding a
carpooling programme through its
navigation app Waze that could eventually
challenge established ride-hailing services.
Waze Carpool matches drivers and riders

already headed in the same direction.


For now, the pilot programme is only being
offered to employees of companies near
Googles headquarters in Mountain View,
Calif. But Waze plans to expand to San
Francisco, where Uber is based, this autumn.
Its another sign of the intensifying
competition between the Silicon Valley
rivals. Uber is working furiously to overtake
Googles efforts on autonomous vehicles,
with plans to offer rides in self-driving cars
in Pittsburgh within weeks.

Pokmon Gos short life span


Mobile app fads are getting
shorter, if Pokmon Go is any
indication, said Hayley
Tsukayama in The Washington
Post. The enhanced-reality app took the
world by storm this summer, but just two
months after its launch, tech journalists
are declaring the game all but dead. A
report last week found that fewer people
are playing the game every day and that
players are devoting ever less time to the
app. Google search trends show that
interest in Pokmon Go peaked in July,
dropping by half by August. It took
FarmVille, another game that seemed to
be everywhere all at once, months to
register a similar decline. But Pokmon
Go is hardly a failure. The game has
earned $400m worldwide and is currently
the top-grossing app in the US.
18 SEPTEMBER 2016 THE WEEK

20 NEWS
Pick of the weeks

Gossip

The former frontman of


1980s pop band Black Lace
whose hits included Agadoo
and Do the Conga has
been leading the inmates of
Leeds prison a merry dance,
literally. Dene Michael
Betteridge recently spent ten
weeks in jail for falsely
claiming some 25,000 in
disability benefits.
Everyone wanted to sing
Agadoo with me, he told
The Sun. People were
obsessed. At night when we
were all in our cells, the
entire wing was singing in
chorus: Agadoo doo doo.
At one point, he led a conga
line of 60 inmates around
the jail. It was very odd, he
admits, but when these
terrifying criminals tell you
to do something, you do it.

Owen Smith is not daunted


by overwhelming odds.
The Labour leadership
hopeful points out that he
fought off hundreds of
rivals to win the girl who
became his wife, Liz. The
pair (pictured) met at Barry
Comprehensive School, in
south Wales, where Liz was
one of only three girls. Yes,
1,200 boys, three girls and I
pulled Liz, he told the Daily
Mirror. So I must have
something going on. That
must be leadership.
Jeremy Clarksons liking for
noisy stunts isnt confined to
cars. Last week, the TV
presenter blew up his fivebedroom house, in Chipping
Norton. Clarkson has
planning permission to
build a new 12,173-squarefoot Georgian-style home
on the site, complete with
orangery and basement
cinema. But rather than get
the bulldozers in to knock
down the old Victorian
house, he hired a demolition
firm to reduce it to rubble.

THE WEEK 18 SEPTEMBER 2016

Talking points
North Korea: raising the nuclear stakes
but Pyongyang knows it wont
What else is new, cynics
turn off the tap, for fear of
might have asked, in response
triggering regime collapse. That
to the reports last week that
would send millions of refugees
North Korea had conducted
flooding into China, and could
yet another nuclear test, firing
lead to the creation of a united
three medium-range ballistic
Korea, allied to the US. Beijing
missiles close to the Chinese
is already furious about US
border during the G20
plans to deploy a missile
summit. There is something
defence system in South Korea,
wearyingly predictable about
said Gordon G. Chang on The
the way these tests play out,
Daily Beast. It wont do
said John Nilsson-Wright in
anything to further promote
The Independent: the
US interests in the region
bravura announcement on
hence Pyongyangs confidence
North Korean TV, swiftly
that it has the green light to
followed by international
pursue its nuclear ambitions.
condemnation, and the
imposition of new sanctions,
Kim: taunting the West
Its easy to regard Kim as a
to little effect. Meanwhile,
crazed dictator, said Max Fisher in The New
the countrys brutal young leader, Kim Jong Un,
York Times, but if his goal is the preservation
carries on taunting the West for its
of his regime, his belligerence is rational.
powerlessness, while boasting of his countrys
Threatened by the growing prosperity of the
growing military and technological prowess.
South, North Korea long ago adopted a
military first policy, putting the country on a
Yet we shouldnt ignore this provocation, said
permanent war footing; this has enabled it to use
The Guardian. Last weeks test may have been
military spending to justify keeping its people in
the fifth since 2006, but it was the second this
poverty, and the need to root out traitors to
year and the most powerful to date. And
justify its oppression, and the threat of war to
while Pyongyangs claims to have miniaturised
prop up its internal legitimacy. Meanwhile, its
a nuclear weapon so that it could fit on a missile
leaders have presented themselves as volatile and
should be taken with a pinch of salt, its
unpredictable, so that their adversaries abroad
weapons programme is clearly progressing fast.
tread warily: they do seem genuinely to fear a
It wont be stopped by sanctions or by
US invasion. They know that with one false
criticism from China, its only regional ally.
move, they could spark a real war. But they take
North Koreas main supplier of food and oil,
that risk because they feel they have no choice.
China is fast losing patience with its neighbour,

Shaking up the Commons: who benefits?


The boundaries of UK parliamentary
constituencies may not sound particularly
thrilling, but they matter, said Sebastian Payne
in the FT. The shape and size of the 650 seats
dictate the make-up of the House of Commons,
and they are long overdue a rethink. The
Boundaries Commission this week published
draft proposals which would slash the number
of constituencies from 650 to 600, saving 12m
per year, and even up the numbers of voters in
each seat. Labour would suffer most losing
about 25 MPs since its seats, mostly in the
inner cities and the North, have grown less
populous as people have moved from cities to
suburbs and from north to south. If they are
approved, before the 2020 election hundreds of
constituencies will be reshaped and many MPs
will have to hunt around to find a new home.
Jeremy Corbyn, George Osborne, Owen Smith
and David Davis are among those whose
constituencies will be merged or abolished.
The proposals amount to a ruthless
gerrymandering of British democracy to favour
the partisan interests of the Conservative Party,
said Owen Jones in The Guardian. Creating
constituencies with similar populations is
a laudable aim. But the new seats are to be
shaped not on the basis of how many people live
in them, but on the basis of the 2015 electoral

register compiled using a new system criticised


for excluding the young, those who rent, and
people from ethnic minorities, who are all more
likely to vote Labour. Two million people who
registered to vote for the referendum are not
included. Labour MPs and their supporters
should stop their whingeing, said Sean
OGrady in The Independent. The Commissions
proposals were designed by impartial lawyers
and civil servants. They may not be 100%
perfect but theyll be a lot fairer than the
current system, which has given Labour a
substantial electoral advantage for years.
For Labour, the real problem is not losing a few
seats, said Rachel Sylvester in The Times. Its
that Jeremy Corbyns supporters will use the
boundary changes, and the reselection of MPs
that these will involve, to purge the partys
moderates. One pro-Corbyn MP described it as
a great opportunity to protect some people and
get rid of others. We do have too many
parliamentarians in the UK, said The Guardian.
But the main problem is not the Commons, its
the 800-strong unelected Lords which the
Government shows no interest in reforming.
Britains population is growing. Slashing MPs
numbers will just make it more difficult for them
to deal with constituents problems. It is hard to
see how that will increase respect for democracy.

Talking points
Hillary Clinton: time to come clean?
this setback, which will only
Almost exactly 20 years ago,
bolster Trumps attempt to
Republican presidential
portray himself as a big tough
nominee Bob Dole slipped and
guy running against a frail
fell off a stage during a rally.
woman. The way it was
He was 73 at the time, said
handled has also reinforced
Jonathan Freedland in The
Clintons reputation for
Guardian, and the tumble
secretiveness, said Richard
swiftly led TV comedians to
Cohen in The Washington
rename him Bob Old. His
Post. Had she been upfront
campaign never recovered. Is
about her diagnosis from the
history about to repeat itself
start, she might have earned
with Hillary Clinton? For
some sympathy. Instead, by
months, right-wing websites
first attempting to put her
have been circulating
symptoms down to the heat
conspiracy theories about
and then disingenuously
Clinton suffering from some
claiming she was feeling
grave, secret illness, and these
wild claims appeared to be
An unhealthy instinct for privacy great, she turned the
incident into yet another
vindicated on Sunday when she
issue about transparency.
was filmed collapsing after leaving early from a
memorial event for 9/11 victims in New York.
Clinton must purge her unhealthy instinct for
It later emerged that she had been diagnosed
privacy, agreed the FT. Apart from anything
two days earlier with pneumonia. Her team
else, it lets Trump off the hook. Hes a 70-yearinsist shes now on the mend, but with less than
old man with a penchant for junk food, and he
a fortnight to go before her first crucial TV
has so far released no medical records other than
debate with Donald Trump, the timing of this
a brief note from his doctor declaring, without
illness could hardly have been worse.
evidence, that Trump would be the healthiest
individual ever elected to the presidency. He
Given the huge physical demands of a
presidential run, its remarkable that Clinton and has also refused to release his tax records. Until
Clinton embraces full transparency, she will
Trump have held up as well as they have, said
struggle to turn the spotlight onto her rivals
Jonathan Tobin in Commentary magazine (New
shortcomings. Cover-ups are always more costly
York). At 68 and 70 respectively, theyre the
in the end than early disclosure. Will Clinton
oldest pair of major-party candidates in history.
learn her lesson? The outcome of this election
With luck, Clinton will soon throw off her
could depend on it.
pneumonia, but she could have done without

Facebook: a row over censorship


distinguish between child
In 1972, a picture of a naked,
pornography and war reportage
screaming girl appeared on front
that the posts were reinstated.
pages around the world. Taken by
Vietnamese photographer Nick Ut,
Mark Zuckerberg needs to face up
it showed nine-year-old Kim Phuc
to his responsibilities, said Robert
fleeing an attack on her village: she
Colvile in The Daily Telegraph. The
had torn off her clothes after they
Facebook founder is no longer a
were spattered with burning
plucky tech nerd. He is a media
napalm. The image made real for
tycoon. The most powerful one
audiences the atrocities of the
there has ever been. Facebook is
Vietnam war, said Nicole Smith
the worlds biggest source of
Dahmen on Quartz, and helped to
traffic to news websites, ahead of
shift Western public opinion. The
Google. Its algorithms and human
Terror of War became one of the
moderators decide what 1.7
most famous photographs of all
The censored picture
billion people read and see. Yet
time. Yet last week, Facebook tried
the process by which these decisions are made
to censor it on the grounds of indecency.
is almost completely opaque. Facebook
claims it has no editorial stance, said Jane Fae
This wasnt a blip in an algorithm, said Marina
in The Daily Telegraph, but it is imposing its
Hyde in The Guardian, but a policy of
prissy corporate culture on the world. Like
radioactive creepiness. First Facebook
most American companies, it is much more
suspended the account of a Norwegian author,
nervous about sex than violence. Images of
Tom Egeland, who had included the photograph
in a post about images that changed the history beheadings are allowed (provided the gore is
not excessive), but female nipples are
of warfare. Then it removed any posts in
verboten even when used for breastfeeding.
Egelands defence that contained the image
We have handed control of the news to an
including one from Norways prime minister. It
organisation so morally anaemic that it cant
was only after the countrys biggest newspaper,
see the difference between The Terror of War
Aftenposten, devoted its front page to an open
and child porn. More fool us.
letter criticising Facebook for failing to

NEWS 21

Wit &
Wisdom
His speeches go on for so
long because he has nothing
to say, so he has no way of
knowing when he has
finished saying it.
John Major on
Neil Kinnock, quoted in
The Times
There are few things
of greater advantage
than learning to appreciate
the strong points of
your opponents.
J.W. von Goethe,
quoted on The Browser
If you do not change
direction, you may end up
where youre heading.
Philosopher Lao Tzu,
quoted in The Guardian
Work isnt to make money;
you work to justify life.
Marc Chagall,
quoted on Bustle.com
The best things in life
are free. The second-best
things are very,
very expensive.
Coco Chanel, quoted in
the Financial Times
To delight in war is
a merit in the soldier, a
dangerous quality in the
captain, and a positive
crime in the statesman.
George Santayana, quoted
in The Wall Street Journal
If God wanted us to
vote, He would have given
us candidates.
Jay Leno, quoted in the
Observer-Dispatch
(Utica, New York)
Whoever fights monsters
should see to it that in
the process he does not
become a monster.
Friedrich Nietzsche, quoted
in The New York Times

Statistics of the week


Over the past decade,
almost half of Britains
nightclubs have closed.
The Guardian
British landowners still own
more than 106,000 square
miles of Australian land an
area larger than the UK.
The Sunday Times

18 SEPTEMBER 2016 THE WEEK

Sport

22 NEWS

Cricket: has Englands captain let down the team?


the stadium he was playing in. But that hasnt
stopped him going back to India year after year,
to play in the Indian Premier League. From a
purely cricketing perspective, Morgans decision is
a brave call, said Michael Vaughan in The Daily
Telegraph. While he has overseen an impressive
resurgence in Englands one-day fortunes, he
averages just 29 with the bat this year, and knows
his place is far from secure. If, say, Jonny Bairstow,
Ben Duckett or Sam Billings replaces him and
scores heavily and if replacement captain Jos
Buttler does a good job Morgan may be unable
to claw his way back into the side.

For those who only tune into English cricket


when it lurches into crisis mode, grab the
popcorn, said Ali Martin in The Guardian. On
Sunday, one-day captain Eoin Morgan and bighitting opening batsman Alex Hales ruled
themselves out of this winters Bangladesh tour,
over security fears. There have been deep concerns
over the trip since July, when Islamic State
terrorists killed 22 people 18 of them foreigners
at a caf in Dhaka. After extensive security
consultations, the England and Wales Cricket
Board (ECB) green-lighted the tour last month
but assured players that they wouldnt be
punished if they decided not to travel.

Even if he does, the fault lines opened now may


cause problems later, said George Dobell on
Morgan has always been his own man, said
ESPN Cricinfo. ECB head honcho Andrew Strauss
Nasser Hussain in the Daily Mail. But an
Morgan: his own man
has made it clear that he is disappointed with
England captain cannot stand by and watch his
Morgans decision. The rest of the team will probably form a
players do something he is not prepared to do himself. The next
special bond playing under such strained circumstances a bond
time he asks his teammates to go that extra yard on the pitch,
they wont share with their captain. And its clear that some media
theyll probably be thinking: Hang on where were you when
pundits now have Morgan in their sights. He is perfectly within
we were surrounded by [protective] tanks and snipers and
couldnt leave our hotel rooms? Morgan claims that he is scarred his rights to make this decision but it may be one that comes
back to haunt him.
by an incident in Bangalore in 2010, when a bomb went off near

Football: the perils of moving stadium


be allowed to expand the stadiums capacity,
Nasty atmosphere. Fighting in the stands. Kids
from 57,000 to 66,000. But there are other
crying. The disgraceful scenes at the London
issues, too. Tensions are brewing between longStadium during West Hams 4-2 home defeat to
term season ticket holders and newer fans who
Watford on Saturday were an ugly throwback
have been tempted in with cheap season ticket
to yesteryear, said Matt Lawless on Mirror
prices. The buffer zone between home and away
Online. There were grown men scrambling
fans is nowhere near big enough. And the
down the aisles to join fights, and Hammers
stewarding is, frankly, inadequate. In the past,
fans screaming obscenities at each other. Even
the club employed its own stewards, who knew
the clubs board members were spat on and
how to deal with angry football fans; at the
verbally abused. The primary cause of this
angst? The right to stand. At West Hams old
Some Hammers fans prefer to stand multi-use London Stadium, the staff are more
used to overseeing AC/DC concerts.
stadium, Upton Park, officials turned a blind eye
to supporters who preferred to stand during games. But at the
It remains to be seen how much the club can do to fix these
clubs new home, the former Olympic Stadium, stewards are
problems, said Paul MacInnes in The Guardian. This week West
clamping down on the practice and it is infuriating fans.
Ham vowed to issue life bans to violent fans; the club has also
embarked on the next stage of its seating plan, which will provide
There were bound to be teething problems with West Hams
more family-friendly areas; and it has asked the stadiums owners
move, said Ken Dyer in the London Evening Standard. But what
to provide more experienced stewards and a police presence at
should have been a brave new dawn for the club is turning more
games. The club clearly wants to make this work but at the
toxic with every successive game. The standing diehards need to
moment, Hammers fans are feeling far from home.
look at the bigger picture if they dont acquiesce, the club wont

Commentary box
Wawrinkas perfect timing

Whiteheads achievement

Stan Wawrinka was the huge


Richard Whiteheads comfortable
underdog going into the US Open
victory in the T42 200 metres in Rio
final, says Simon Briggs in The Daily
this week was a timely reminder of
Telegraph. The Swiss had spent 18
just how much the standards of
hours on court over the course of the
Paralympic sport have improved,
tournament, twice as long as his
says John Westerby in The Times.
opponent, world No. 1 Novak
His winning time was 23.39 almost
Djokovic. He had been forced to save
a second faster than the world
a match point against lowly British
record he set winning the same
player Dan Evans. And he had beaten
event four years ago. Thats all the
only one top-ten player all season
more remarkable given that he
Kei Nishikori, in the semi-final. Yet
started off as a marathon runner (he
somehow, Wawrinka prevailed at
ran 40 in as many days in 2013), and
Flushing Meadows, overcoming
Whitehead: swansong? only took up sprinting because at
Djokovic in four sets to clinch his
London 2012 there was no longthird grand slam title. His secret? Wawrinka
distance event suitable for double-amputees. At
peaks at exactly the right moment: he has won
40, Whitehead probably wont make it to the
every one of his last 11 finals. Hes like a
Tokyo Paralympics in four years time, but his
reveller who only comes awake after midnight.
performance in Rio will be a fitting swansong.

THE WEEK 18 SEPTEMBER 2016

Sporting headlines
Football In the Premier
League, Man City beat Man
Utd 2-1, Liverpool defeated
Leicester 4-1, and Spurs beat
Stoke 4-0.
Tennis Angelique Kerber beat
Karolina Pliskova to win the
US Open womens title, and
replaced Serena Williams as
world No. 1. Jamie Murray
won the mens doubles with
Brazils Bruno Soares.
Boxing Britains Kell Brook
was defeated by world
middleweight champion
Gennady Golovkin in a fifthround stoppage.
Athletics Mo Farah won the
Great North Run for the third
year in a row.

ARTS
Review of reviews: Books

23

Book of the week

digital teachers. The economically


and militarily useless masses will
console themselves with drugs and
Homo Deus
3D virtual-reality games. To get an
by Yuval Noah Harari
idea of their likely status, Harari
writes, look no further than at how
Harvill Secker 448pp 25
humans today treat their less intelligent animal cousins. Homo Deus
displays the same confidence as its
predecessor, but its much
Wed better hope that Yuval Noah
patchier. The sweep of Hararis
Harari suffers from faulty
vision is exciting, but the detail is
foresight, said John Thornhill in
thin and the supporting arguments
the Financial Times. The future
full of holes.
world that the Israeli historian
Harari is careful not to predict
describes in Homo Deus is
that his outlandish predictions will
terrifying. Harari achieved global
actually come to pass, said David
fame with his 2014 bestseller
Runciman in The Guardian. The
Sapiens, which sped through
speed of change is bewildering, he
history to tell the story of how
argues, and the future is
the human species came out on
unknowable. But in this
top essentially by processing
spellbinding book, full of sharp
information and cooperating more
The future? An android from the film Ex Machina
insights and mordant wit, he
effectively than our competitors. In
examines the possibilities thrown up by the data revolution.
this scintillating follow-up, he offers a brief history
Unexpectedly, Harari does not seem too worried about the
of tomorrow.
prospect of robots treating us like we treat flies, with violent
Hararis vision is outright dystopian, said James
indifference. Some may find such lofty insouciance
McConnachie in The Sunday Times. Human nature, he thinks,
off-putting, but I found it deeply appealing. I didnt, said Oliver
will be transformed in the 21st century. The super-rich will be
Moody in The Times: for all its occasional brilliance, this is an
OK; by bio-engineering their brains and bodies, and genetically
underpowered sequel to Sapiens. Many of its ideas are recycled,
enhancing their children, theyll be able to transform themselves
there is scant evidence of original research, and some of its claims
into super-intelligent cyborgs. The un-upgraded majority,
(such as the idea that we could cure autism by altering our
meanwhile, will become an underclass. Technology is already
genes) are just bizarrely wrong. Still, Hararis brand is now so
supplanting us. Now it is driverless cars and stock-exchange
unstoppable that it will doubtless prove a big popular success.
algorithms. Next will come special forces super-warriors and

Shrinking Violets
by Joe Moran
Profile 288pp 14.99
Joe Moran, like many of us, is shy, said Paul Laity
in The Guardian. He is hopeless at small talk and
has a dread of being boring. Thankfully, his new
book, a field guide to shyness, exhibits all the
sparkle and fluency on the page he might lack when
chatting to strangers. Unlike others who have
tackled this subject, Moran doesnt set out to be a
cheerleader for introverts. He recognises that
shyness is a multilayered condition that can affect
the talented and untalented alike. Instead, his aim
is to entertain and much of his book consists of
enjoyable portraits of historys more interesting shrinking violets. Among its
subjects are the 5th Duke of Portland (who built tunnels under his land so as to
avoid the risk of bumping into anyone when out walking); the computer scientist
Alan Turing (who shrank back with fear when offered cups of tea by
colleagues at Bletchley); and the singer Morrissey (who converted his classic
bedroom diffidence into mesmerising pop showmanship). Shyness, Moran
concludes, is neither a boon nor a burden but simply part of the ineluctable
oddness of being human.
Yet it doesnt affect all cultures equally, said Melanie Reid in The Times. In
the 19th century, lack of small talk was seen as a peculiarly English trait: une
conversation lAngloise meant a long silence. The weather is clearly a factor,
as the haunts of the diffident are in northern climes. (The Finns have as
many words for embarrassment as the Inuit have for snow.) In the end, though,
its impossible to say why one person is paralysingly bashful and another is an
extrovert, said Rachel Cooke in The Observer. Moran spends less time reflecting
on shynesss causes than telling us stories of the shy. The result is fantastic,
a work of astonishing scholarship that also radiates understanding.

Novel of the week


Selection Day
by Aravind Adiga
Picador 352pp 16.99

Aravind Adigas engrossing and nuanced


third novel tells the story of a pair of cricketing
brothers in Mumbai, said Adam Lively in
The Sunday Times. Their tyrannical father, a
chutney salesman, has made it his lifes mission
to drive his sons towards cricketing glory. The
action focuses on the build-up to selection
day, when a lucky few will be chosen for the
citys youth team an essential staging post to
greatness. Which, if either, of the brothers will
make it? In detailing the pairs quest for on-field
success, Adiga has produced a powerful
individual story that also does justice to lifes
great indeterminacies.
Selection Day isnt just about sport, said
Ludovic Hunter-Tilney in the FT. Its also a fable
of Indias post-capitalist decadence. As in his
2008 Booker Prize winner, The White Tiger,
Adiga depicts his homeland as a place of social
divisions and opportunistic money-making
schemes. Things are further complicated by the
inclusion of a gay sub-plot, which introduces a
rare note of masculine warmth to a novel
populated by scolding, driven men.

18 SEPTEMBER 2016 THE WEEK

Drama

24 ARTS

Theatre: Labyrinth
Hampstead Theatre, London NW3 (020-7722 9301). Until 8 October Running time: 2hrs 30mins (incl. interval)
sparking economic catastrophe.
You gotta love the Hampstead
Jetting across continents in a
Theatre for its risk-taking
blink, fuelled by fast-paced,
verve, said Dominic Cavendish
blackly funny dialogue, the debt
in The Daily Telegraph. The
crisis attains a thrillers pace in
start of the autumn season is the
director Anna Ledwichs glitzy
most frenziedly competitive
production, said Holly Williams
point of the theatrical calendar.
on WhatsOnStage.com. The
And what has Hampstead
clarity and zip means that the
programmed? A new play
complex world of high finance
about the origins and onset of
proves fascinating to someone
the Latin American debt crisis
who hands up knew literally
of the 1980s, featuring a
nothing about it.
14-strong cast of relative
This racily exciting evening
unknowns. Its not as if the
features top-notch acting, too,
writer, Beth Steel whose debut,
said Michael Billington in The
Wonderland, won praise two
McDougall (left) and Delaney: does he have the hunger?
Guardian. Delaney as John has
years ago is a big name either.
the right air of a Candide-like
But if Labyrinth is a gamble, its
innocent slowly succumbing to the system. Tom Weston-Jones as
a gamble that pays off handsomely. The play, though not
entirely original (its topical boom-to-bust subject matter owes a his Mephistophelian mentor exudes a narcissistic hedonism,
and theres high-grade support from Philip Bird as Johns dodgy
debt to Lucy Prebbles 2009 hit Enron), is richly researched and
dad, and Elena Saurel as a financial journalist.
almost indecently entertaining.
This fizzing play has an energy that lifts it out of the
ordinary, agreed Ann Treneman in The Times. The year is 1978,
The weeks other opening
and sitting in front of Wall Street big shot Howard Richman
Burning Doors Soho Theatre, London W1 (020-7478 0100),
(Martin McDougall, on fantastic form) is naive young John
until 24 September, then touring (www.belarusfreetheatre.com)
(Sean Delaney), who has the hunger. Nobody can work
This latest work sees Belarus Free Theatre, banned in Belarus, at
harder than me, he shouts. I dont need sleep. I dont do lunch
their best. Focusing on Putins Russia, Burning Doors draws on
breaks. I am an animal! Soon enough John is on his way to
the experiences of three imprisoned artists. Its a scorching piece
of theatre: uncompromising, urgent and angry (FT).
Brazil, Chile and Mexico, selling loans to governments for (more
or less) fantasy infrastructure projects loans that will end up

Nick Cave
& the Bad
Seeds: The
Skeleton Tree
Bad Seed Ltd
9.99

KT Tunstall: KIN
Virgin Records
9.99

Peter Maxwell
Davies: An
Orkney Wedding,
with Sunrise,
Scottish
Chamber
Orchestra
Linn 12

Nick Cave was halfway through writing this


record last July when his 15-year-old son,
Arthur, fell to his death from a Sussex
clifftop. It will prove scant consolation that
in his grief, Cave has produced a piece of
art that will surely prove unforgettable to
all who hear it, said Dave Simpson in
The Guardian. The Skeleton Tree is a
masterpiece of love and devastation:
a harrowingly bleak but heart-rendingly
beautiful record which captures the
traumatic pain and bewildered
numbness of grief, yet also contains
beauty, empathy and love.
Gone is the old, lush assurance in
Caves voice, said Jess Denham in The
Independent, to be replaced by a poised
fragility as he sings about lacing up the
shoes of his little blue-eyed boy on Girl
in Amber. I used to think that when you
died, you kind of wandered the world/In a
slumber till you crumbled, were absorbed
into the earth/I dont think that any more,
he spits with bitter anger. Its visceral,
beautiful and emotionally devastating.

KT Tunstall broke through in 2004 with the


infectious, foot-stomping Black Horse and
the Cherry Tree, said Alan Light on
RollingStone.com a young Scotswoman
doing the whole on-stage loop-pedal thing
back when Ed Sheeran was still a wee lad.
But following a Grammy nomination and
a second hit with Suddenly I See, it has
mostly been diminishing returns since
then. It is therefore a pleasure to report
that Tunstalls first record since moving to
Los Angeles is a fabulous return to form
at its best a power-pop gem.
It might seem glib to say so, said Dan
Cairns in The Sunday Times, but the
collapse of her marriage and move to
California appear to have worked wonders
on Tunstalls songwriting. As always with
this bewilderingly underrated musician,
the beautiful folk-pop melodies check out,
in particular, Turned a Light On, On My Star,
Love Is an Ocean and the title track sound
somehow preordained, as if they had been
floating in the ether until they found the
right outlet.

This disc by the Scottish Chamber Orchestra


(SCO) wasnt planned as a tribute to Sir
Peter Maxwell Davies, who died in March,
said Paul Driver in The Sunday Times. But it
affords a fond farewell to the composer,
and offers a rich musical realisation of
Orkney his adopted home. The disc interleaves some smaller orchestral pieces with
the five Hill Runes for guitar (each of which
amplifies verse by George Mackay Brown
to make a wordless rural elegy) and an
arrangement for the same instrument of
his Farewell to Stromness. And the idea
behind the title piece, bagpipes at daybreak,
again proves itself unbeatable.
Orkney Wedding is as ebullient as ever,
but for me the real discovery is Ebb of
Winter from 2013, said Nicholas Kenyon in
The Guardian. Its a vivid overture
conjuring the wild spaces and often bleak
weather of the islands that Max loved, with
a wonderful openness and transparency in
the orchestration.The SCO, conductor
Ben Gernon and guitarist Sean Shibe are
totally committed.

Stars reflect the overall quality of reviews and our own independent assessment (4 stars=dont miss; 1 star=dont bother)

THE WEEK 18 SEPTEMBER 2016

MANUEL HARLAN

CDs of the week: three new releases

Film
Captain Fantastic
Dir: Matt Ross
1hr 58mins (15)
Viggo Mortensen puts the
hippy ideal to the test

Hell or
High Water
Dir: David Mackenzie
1hr 42mins (15)
Superior heist thriller
with Jeff Bridges

Ben-Hur
Dir: Timur Bekmambetov
2hrs 5mins (12A)
Pointless remake of
a movie classic

Kubo and the


Two Strings
Dir: Travis Knight
1hr 41mins (PG)
Gorgeous stop-motion
adventure story

ARTS 25

What is the ideal way in which to bring up


children? Thats the provocative question at the
heart of Captain Fantastic, a family movie with very
sharp claws, said Geoffrey Macnab in The
Independent. It stars Viggo Mortensen as Ben, an
idealistic hippy bringing up his kids in the wilds of
Washington state, far from the corruptions of modern
life. They kill what they eat, and can quote Marx but
not Mario Puzo. Then the death of their mother, and
the need to attend her funeral, brings the children into
contact with a world theyve never known. Writerdirector Matt Ross, who based the story on his own
experiences of growing up in communes, sustains a remarkably even-handed tone, said Tim Robey in
The Daily Telegraph. We are left wondering if Ben is a loon or a paragon. Not me, said Peter
Bradshaw in The Guardian. Whats so admirable about a man who forces his children to celebrate
Noam Chomskys birthday and tells them Buddhism is inherently more moral than Christianity?
Some may recoil from his messianic fervour, said Brian Moylan in The Guardian, but Mortensen is
so charismatic that by the end, I was yearning to cut up my credit card and run off into the woods.
Just when you thought they had stopped making
films for grown-ups, along comes Hell or High
Water, said Allan Hunter in the Daily Express. This
class act of a heist thriller stars Chris Pine and Ben
Foster as hapless bank-robbing brothers (one smart,
the other unhinged) embarking on a crime spree in
present-day West Texas. The twist is that theyre only
stealing to avoid foreclosure on their family farm,
which lends their misdeeds a tang of nobility. The
great Jeff Bridges is the grizzled, soon-to-retire
ranger on their trail, supported by his long-suffering
sidekick Alberto (Gil Birmingham), whom he
continually mocks for his Comanche-Mexican ethnicity. The films humour is as dry as the
landscapes in this majestic contemporary western, said Geoffrey Macnab in The Independent. It
might all seem a little lugubrious if it werent for the four superb central performances. Truth be told,
the plot of Hell or High Water is fairly standard, said Charlotte OSullivan in the London Evening
Standard. Yet the superior ingredients which include a haunting soundtrack co-written by rock
singer Nick Cave add up to something magical.
Why, you may ask, would anyone wish to remake the
multiple Oscar-winning 1959 sword-and-sandals epic
about the travails of a Hebrew prince in the time of
Christ, said Kevin Maher in The Times. You wont
find the answer in this new version of Ben-Hur a
textbook demonstration of how not to make a bigbudget blockbuster. Playing the hero Judah Ben-Hur
who escapes a life on the galleys only to compete in
Rome as a chariot racer Jack Huston appears
perpetually baffled; while Toby Kebbell, as his rival
and former best friend Messala, just looks moody.
You have to feel for a cast lumbered with such an
appalling script, said Danny Leigh in the FT. (Look at this, Ben-Hur murmurs admiringly of
Messalas armour. Wow.) And Timur Bekmambetovs direction is absurdly literal-minded: it
cuts back and forth between speakers like a dog watching tennis. At least the climactic chariot
race is tremendous, a rip-roaring, wheel-rattling action set piece, said Geoffrey Macnab in The
Independent. Otherwise, this dreary film resembles Life of Brian without the jokes.
In what has already been a remarkably strong year
for animated feature films, Kubo and the Two Strings
stands out for its seductively dark themes and the
extraordinary beauty of its stop-motion animation,
said Wendy Ide in The Observer. Set in Edo period
Japan, this latest offering from studio Laika uses
puppets to tell the tale of Kubo (voiced by Art
Parkinson), a boy with a gift for storytelling. Having
had one eye stolen by his malevolent grandfather, the
Moon King (Ralph Fiennes), he risks losing the other
if he fails to locate the pieces of a magical suit of
armour. As weve come to expect from Laika, the film
is beautifully crafted, said Allan Hunter in the Daily Express. Yet what really makes it worth
watching is the emotional depth: the friendship between Kubo and his companion, a depressive
talking monkey (Charlize Theron), will pluck your heart strings. Dont be put off by the unwieldy
title, said Jonathan Pile in Empire. Kubo and the Two Strings balances humour with effective (if
light) horror to create a superb film that will delight adults as well as older children.
18 SEPTEMBER 2016 THE WEEK

Art

26 ARTS

Exhibition of the week

You Say You Want a Revolution? Records and Rebels 1966-1970


V&A, London SW7 (020-7942 2000, www.vam.ac.uk). Until 26 February
at Woodstock. Yet while
You may feel that youve
this occasionally works
heard enough about the
thrillingly, its potential
1960s, and how its youth
is thwarted by the V&As
culture changed the way
dreary insistence on
we live forever, said Alexis
the old clich that the
Petridis in The Guardian.
decades conflict was the
After all, the people
result of a repressive
involved have barely
establishment meeting
shut up about it since the
the heroic forces of
decade ended. Yet against
youthful liberation.
the odds, the V&As new
Though the 1960s did
exhibition on the subject
indeed see much social
is quite a trip, in the
progress, this goodies
parlance of the times. It
versus baddies narrative
tells the traditional version
is straightforward and
of events from Profumo
ultimately simplistic.
to the Oz trial by way of
It might sound cheap
Mary Quant, Ken Kesey,
to point it out, but had
Pink Floyd and Sergeant
the speculative hippy
Pepper, via a kind of
revolution of the shows
sensory bombardment.
title actually taken place,
The sheer volume of
The Swinging Sixties: a still from Antonionis Blow-Up (1966)
the V&A probably
artefacts assembled is
wouldnt be mounting exhibitions on this scale.
overwhelming, from outfits worn by The Beatles to John
Peels record collection to Twiggy-themed coat hangers. Theres
Yet this is no simplistic celebration of the era, said Waldemar
a great deal of son et lumire wizardry. You can sit in a room
Januszczak in The Sunday Times. In fact, it feels like a catalogue
carpeted with fake grass and watch clips of the Woodstock
of dashed dreams. A section devoted to LSD evokes the drugs
festival; all the while, a pop soundtrack blares out through your
effects with a feast of psychedelic poster art, but also examines
headphones, changing as you move between exhibits. Theres
the drug busts and battles with authority that followed. Most
a lot to enjoy here.
chilling is a section devoted to the Vietnam war, in which we see
searing and scary US propaganda material collected by an
Nobody who visits the show is likely to complain of being
American soldier. The show ends on a mournful note, in
short-changed, said James Walton in The Spectator. Indeed,
which John Lennons Imagine plays on the headphones and
every aspect of the period is on lavish display, from American
reminds us how much was hoped for but never happened.
soldiers letters home from Vietnam, to a full-scale mock-up of
The point, I feel, is aimed squarely at our dismal present.
Vidal Sassoons hair salon, to details of the catering arrangements

Where to buy
So we beat on
at the Eagle Gallery
When the Eagle Gallery opened above
a Clerkenwell pub in 1991, as a space
for contemporary abstract painting, few
would have given it a long shelf life.
The neighbourhood was miles from the
traditional centre of Londons art
world, and worse, painting was so
unfashionable that many wondered
whether it had become a redundant art
form. But 25 years later, it is still going
strong, and this group show presents
the work of six painters with longstanding connections to the gallery.
The late Prunella Clough, who
supported the gallery from its inception,
is represented by a spectral black-andwhite work, and Andrew Bicks bright
paintings hint at a thrilling junction
between Russian constructivism and
video game graphics. Julia Farrer,
Dan Roach and James Fisher are all
THE WEEK 18 SEPTEMBER 2016

Andrew Bicks OGVDS-GW (detail) B


(2016): 12,000

showcased by strong sets of work,


but best of all are three shimmering,
mushroom-like forms painted by Basil
Beattie. After staring at them for a few
minutes, your eyes will struggle to
readjust themselves. Prices range from
950 to 15,000.
159 Farringdon Road, London EC1
(020-7833 2674). Until 1 October.

It is the end of an
era for the Tate
galleries, said Jack
Malvern in The
Times. Last week
Tates director,
Nicholas Serota, the
longest-serving and
arguably most
influential of
Britains arts chiefs,
announced his
resignation after
28 years. Serota
(pictured) transformed British attitudes to art by opening Tate
Modern in a derelict power station in Bankside.
It became the most popular museum of
modern art in the world; a major extension
was added this year. Serota, 70, also oversaw
the opening of Tate St Ives. The popularity of
Tate Modern took him by surprise, said Adrian
Searle in The Guardian. No one expected so
many visitors: 5.25 million in its first year alone.
Serota thought he had an art museum; what
he got was a major tourist attraction. But he
never forgot that it should stay serious:
he respects art, and is in turn respected by
artists. Serota will leave next year and take up a
part-time role as chair of Arts Council England.

MGM THE KOBAL COLLECTION

Sayonara to Serota

The Week reviews an


exhibition in a private gallery

The List

27

Best books Miriam Gonzlez Durntez


Miriam Gonzlez Durntez, lawyer and wife of former deputy prime minister
Nick Clegg, picks her favourite books. Her cookbook Made in Spain: Recipes
and Stories from My Country and Beyond is published by Hodder at 25
My Brilliant Friend by Elena
Ferrante, 2011 (Europa
Editions 11.99). The first of
Ferrantes four Neapolitan
novels is a rich, detailed and
intricate analysis of a
friendship between two girls,
Lenu Greco and Lila Cerullo.
A vivid description of human
emotions, rivalry and the wish
to escape from poverty and
violence. A masterpiece.
Persepolis by Marjane
Satrapi, 2000 (Vintage 9.99).
A comic book-style memoir of
growing up in Iran during the
Islamic Revolution. Intelligently written, wonderfully
funny, yet also devastatingly
heartbreaking, it contains my
favourite quote of all time

(from Marjanes grandmother):


In life youll meet a lot of
jerks. If they hurt you, tell
yourself that its because
theyre stupid. That will help
keep you from reacting to
their cruelty. Because there
is nothing worse than
bitterness and vengeance
Always keep your dignity and
be true to yourself.
The Cairo Trilogy by Naguib
Mahfouz, 1956-57 (Everyman
20). One of the best book
series of all time, it follows
three generations of an
Egyptian family during the
early decades of the 20th
century. Mahfouz brilliantly
describes the complex
relationship between the

imposing patriarch, al-Sayyid,


and his wife, Amina. Theirs is
a marriage filled with love,
tyranny, obedience, abuse
and care.
This is How You Lose Her
by Junot Daz, 2012 (Faber
& Faber 8.99). Sharp, bold
writing about the Latino world
in the US. A series of short
stories with the common theme
of infidelity, its violent, fast,
intense and first-rate.
Eleanor & Park by Rainbow
Rowell, 2012 (Orion 7.99).
I have just finished this
powerful tale of adolescent
romance. Set in 1986, it is an
intense, uncompromising and
original take on first love.

For out-of-print books visit www.bibliofind.com

The Weeks guide to whats worth seeing and reading


Father Comes Home from the Wars at the
Royal Court Theatre, London SW1 (020-7565
5000). Pulitzer Prize-winner Suzan-Lori Parks
won rave reviews in the US for this play, which
follows the fortunes of a slave who fights on the
Confederate side in the American Civil War.
The best new play Ive seen all year (New
York Times). Ends 22 October.

Now in its 60th edition, the BFI London Film


Festival continues to cherry-pick from the best
of the years film festivals, and screens its own

The Battle for the Labour


Party Dispatches Antony

Barnett investigates the state


of the Labour Party as Jeremy
Corbyns leadership is
challenged. Mon 19 Sept,
C4 7.30pm (30mins).

Whos Afraid of Conceptual


Art Dashing don Dr James Fox
explains the appeal of
conceptual art for those who
dont get it. Mon 19 Sept,
BBC4 9pm (60mins).

National Treasure Fourpart drama starring Robbie


Coltrane as a veteran
comedian who gets caught
up in a sex abuse scandal.
With Julie Walters and Andrea
Riseborough. Tue 20 Sept,
C4 9pm (60mins).
Conviction: Murder at
the Station Two-part

documentary following the


charity Inside Justice as it
investigates the conviction of
a man in prison for a murder
he denies. Wed 21 Sept,
BBC2 9pm (60mins).

Keith Richardss Lost


Weekend The Rolling Stones

Book now

Choreographer Akram Khans highly anticipated


new version of Giselle for English National
Ballet is touring. 27 September-1 October, Palace
Theatre, Manchester (0844-871 3019), and on:
giselle.ballet.org.uk.

Programmes

Paranoid Eight-part
conspiracy thriller. A female
GP is murdered in a
playground, surrounded by
eyewitnesses. With Robert
Glenister, Indira Varma and
Lesley Sharp. Thur 22 Sept,
ITV1 9pm (60mins).

Showing now

Dominic Cooper plays the Earl of Rochester in a


revival of Stephen Jeffreyss Restoratian-era
romp The Libertine. Terry Johnson directs. 22
September-3 December, Theatre Royal
Haymarket, London SW1 (020-7930 8800).

Television

A United Kingdom: part of the London Film Festival

finds too. Proceedings begin with Amma


Asantes A United Kingdom. 5-16 October,
venues across London (www.bfi.org.uk/lff).

Just out in paperback

Grief is the Thing with Feathers by Max


Porter (Faber 7.99). In this deeply moving
work, a father of two young boys grieves the
death of his wife while trying to write a book
about Ted Hughes (Guardian).

The Archers: what happened last week

Helens trial begins. Rob using a walking stick enters the witness box. He says that he tried to take
the knife from Helen, but looked down to see it disappear into his shirt. During cross-examination,
Anna puts it to him that he placed the knife in Helens hand and dared her to kill herself; Helen then
acted in defence of her son. Rob insists Helens a liar. When Anna accuses him of being a bully, Rob
breaks down, crying: Why, Helen? All I ever did was love you. In the stand, Kirsty admits that when
she arrived Helen had done nothing to save Rob but adds: Robs the worst kind of abuser, one who
leaves no bruises; he lies and bullies and manipulates. Anna asks Helen why she rang a domestic
violence helpline. Helen tells the court that Rob raped her over and over again. Helens family reel
from this revelation. The prosecution barrister accuses Helen of fabricating the rape to avoid prison.
Jess unexpectedly comes forward to give evidence against Rob. She tells the court Rob also forced
her to have sex. Rob claims Jess is taking revenge for him divorcing her. The jury retires and after a
heated debate decides Helens not guilty of attempted murder and wounding with intent.

guitarist is taking over BBC4


for three nights, filling the
schedule with his own TV and
film favourites including The
39 Steps (1935), Fri 23 Sept,
10.35pm (85mins).

Films

A Late Quartet (2012) A


string quartet struggles to stay
together in the face of illness
and competing egos. With
Christopher Walken and Philip
Seymour Hoffman. Sat 17
Sept, BBC2 9pm (100mins).

Coming up for auction


Sothebys annual Made In
Britain sale celebrates modern
and contemporary art and
design. This year it features
some 200 works by artists
including Cecil Beaton, David
Hockney and Lucian Freud.
Among the highlights are
Chris Levines photos of
Kate Moss (est. from 10,000)
and Zaha Hadids Glacier
Bench (est. 7,000-10,000).
28 September, London W1
(020-7293 5000).

18 SEPTEMBER 2016 THE WEEK

Best properties

28
UAE Properties

Dubai: Located in the


exclusive Al Barari
development, this grand
villa offers resort-style
living with ample dwelling
space and total privacy
afforded by tall trees and
high wooden fences.
Spread over two floors the
6-bedroom villa comprises
several living and dining
areas, study room, library
and cinema room. The
residence features quality
furnishing throughout
including Fendi, Austrian
crystal lighting and silk
drapes from Belgium. Other
benefits include an outdoor
pool, Jacuzzi, gym,
barbeque and communal
tennis court.
Price on application;
Luxhabitat
(+971 4) 550 8335.

Properties in scenic settings


Argyll and Bute:
Auchendarroch,
Tarbet, Arrochar.
A spacious family
house with frontage
and a mooring
on Loch Lomond,
just south of Tarbet
village. The grounds
of about 4.85 acres
include colourful,
mature gardens and
woodland, as well
as a 2-bed cottage.
Main house: 3 beds,
bed 4/study, family
bath, 2 receps,
kitchen, WC,
pantry and
conservatory/porch.
OIEO 950,000;
Knight Frank
(0131-222 9600).
Surrey: Zenda,
Wanborough,
Guildford.
Wanborough lies in
an Area of Great
Landscape Value, just
north of the Hogs
Back Ridge of the
North Downs. Zenda
sits in gardens and
grounds of about 1
acre, and enjoys
a secluded position.
2 beds, family bath,
living room with
conservatory,
kitchen/dining area,
utility and boot
room, double
garage, barn and
substantial stabling.
895,000;
Strutt & Parker
(01483-306565).

THE WEEK 18 SEPTEMBER 2016

on the market

29

Dubai: This luxury villa nestled in the soughtafter Meadows community boasts lovely lake
views, private pool and modern interiors. The
property has 6 bedrooms with en suite
bathrooms, 3 family areas, a study and a
spacious new modern kitchen. Outside the
beautiful landscaped garden is complemented
with a spacious terrace, pool, sun deck area and
barbecue. There is also a maids room, drivers
room and garage space for 2 cars. The residence
lies within close proximity to many of Dubais
top five-star hotels and leisure spots.
$3.4m; PH Real Estate (+971 4) 408 7000

East Sussex:
Dower House,
Blackboys. Believed
originally to have
formed part of the
Possingworth Farm
Estate, this elegant
sandstone country
house has a summer
house, heated pool
and a picturesque
lake. Second-floor
bedroom/home
office with roof
terrace, 4 further
beds, 2 baths,
3 receps, kitchen/
family room,
secondary kitchen,
conservatory, about
5 acres. 1.25m;
Strutt & Parker
(01273-475411).

Inverness-shire: Inverskilavulin Estate, Glen Loy, Fort William. Comprising


around 9.5 acres, this beautifully situated residential estate, by the Nevis
mountain range, has two 2-bed holiday cottages and two 3-bed houses. Main
house: master suite, 4 further beds, family bath, open-plan recep/kitchen, games
room, study and sauna. OIEO 1.59m; Knight Frank (0131-222 9600).
Pembrokeshire:
Hook Quay, Hook,
Haverfordwest. Nestled
between the foreshore of
the River Cleddau and
the woodland behind,
Hook Quay extends to
around 40 acres and
includes a converted
weigh house by the quay
now used as a summer
house, with views of the
estuary and the propertys
own mooring. 4 beds,
family bath, 1 shower, 2
receps and kitchen/
breakfast room. There are
numerous outbuildings,
including a garage and a
greenhouse, as well as an
orchard and a walled
cottage garden. 850,000;
Fine & Country
(01834-862138).

18 SEPTEMBER 2016 THE WEEK

LEISURE
Food & Drink

30

What the experts recommend


Acorn Vegetarian Kitchen 2 North
Parade Passage, Bath (01225-446059)
Is Bath a bit twee? Certainly, says Michael
Deacon in The Daily Telegraph. In the
same alley as this dinky little vegetarian
place, youll find a caf called The Bath
Bun Tea Shoppe and a confectioners
inviting you to enjoy the taste of
yesteryear. Round the corner are shops
selling pipes and fudge. Its a bit like
stepping back into the 1930s, but in a
nice way, and with much better food. At
Acorn we ordered nine small dishes that
arrived with such impressive speed, I
wondered if theyd been pulled out of a
packet but no, they were zingingly
fresh. The dukkah (an Egyptian
seasoning consisting of crunched-up
roasted nuts into which you dip oily
bread) was delicious. A sweet-onion and
garlic dal was sumptuous. Chunky
polenta chips were terrific. Yes, there
were misses as well as hits: garlic broccoli
was a bit bland, with not enough garlic.
But Acorn is a lovely place to sit, in a
lovely part of town. And its wildly
popular: if you plan to go, do book.
Lunch for two, about 40 plus drinks.
The Classroom CAVC City Centre
Campus, Dumballs Road, Cardiff
(029-2025 0377)
For a city of its size, Cardiff is surprisingly
lacking in good restaurants, says Jay
Rayner in The Observer. But The

coq au vin had a deep, rich sauce that


was a masterclass in careful reduction.
The Classroom is not trying anything
flashy, just teaching the basics and its
the diner who benefits. Meal for two,
including drinks and service, 60.

The Classroom: a lofty vault of optimism

Classroom is not just a useful addition;


its more than that. This is a restaurant
where catering students can learn the
ropes, overseen by hardened
professionals. Located on the fifth floor
of Cardiff and Vale Colleges central
campus, its a lofty vault of sunlight and
optimism, and reassuringly good food.
All the dishes I tried were well executed,
and some were outstanding. The fishcake
was a perfectly seasoned ball of flaked
salmon and cod, on a bed of wilted
spinach and a frothy, hand-whipped
hollandaise. Chicken liver pt, on
thick-cut toasted brioche, was smooth
and unashamedly rich. And their take on

Bao Fitzrovia 31 Windmill Street,


London W1 (no reservations)
What is it with these people who queue for
dinner so contentedly, as at the estimable
Bao? Maybe the queue is part of the whole
experience, the setting for vibrant
conversation, says Marina OLoughlin in
The Guardian. Or peacocking, a kind of
static passeggiata? Do people get off with
each other in queues? Dont get me
wrong: the Taiwanese steamed buns (and
other delicacies) at this offshoot to the
similarly queued-out Bao in Soho are
bewitching. I just dont understand
why you would stand in line, when if
you go off-peak, and are happy to lurk
downstairs, there is no need. Everything
here is done in a hurry, which is a shame,
for Baos pleasures are ones to savour. Raw
langoustines are squeaky fresh; a fatty
lamb bao (bun) is served with a bracing
mint and coriander sauce. A pillowy bun is
stuffed with dramatically inky cod;
octopus is charred and gingery and
boosted by the liquorice nip of Thai basil
and cubes of pungent, aged beef fat.
Heady stuff, all of it. About 30-35 a
head, including drinks and service.

Recipe of the week


I have more than a handful of friends who swore they didnt like polenta until they tasted these crispy, golden fries, says Liz
Franklin. I like to give them some oomph with well-flavoured stock and lots of Parmesan

Polenta fries with pesto


Serves 6

500ml good-quality stock 125g fine quick-cook polenta


30g butter 50g finely grated Parmesan
sunflower oil, for frying baking sheet, oiled
For the pesto: 2 large handfuls of fresh basil leaves 2 garlic cloves
120ml extra virgin olive oil zest of 1 lemon and the juice of
50g finely grated Parmesan sea salt flakes, to season

Bring the stock to the boil in a saucepan. Turn the heat down

and slowly add the polenta, stirring all the time. Continue
stirring until the polenta is thick and smooth and comes away
from the sides of the pan.

Remove from the heat and stir in the butter and Parmesan.
Spread the polenta over the baking sheet to a depth of about

1cm. Leave to set. When completely cold, cut into fries using
a sharp knife.
To make the pesto, put the basil, garlic and olive oil into a food
processor and whizz. Add the lemon zest and juice and the
Parmesan. Whizz again, season and set aside.

Pour the sunflower oil into a deep pan and heat to 190C. Fry

the fries until golden and crisp. Drain on paper towels. Serve
with the pesto.

Taken from Cicchetti by Liz Franklin, published by Ryland Peters & Small at 9.99.

THE WEEK 18 SEPTEMBER 2016

Consumer

LEISURE 31

New cars: what the critics say

Mahindra e2o

from 12,995 (including


Government grant)

Top Gear
The G-Wiz was
infamous: launched in
2001, it was classed as an
electric quadricycle (rather
than a car). As a result, it
didnt have to pass crash
tests and had a dire
safety record. It was
eventually bought by the
Indian car-maker
Mahindra, who put it out
of its misery in 2011. But
now, the firm has followed
it up with the e2o, a proper
electric car with some
official crashworthiness.

The Daily Telegraph


Like the G-Wiz, the e2o
is a small, jaunty thing.
It claims to be able to do
79 miles on one charge
(charging fully takes
about 90 minutes), but
the battery will run down
faster at high speeds. Not
that youll be going that
fast: the car does 0-60mph
in 54 seconds. But this is
meant to be a city car, and
it does its job reasonably
well: the steering is
extraordinary, but the
ride is rather shaky.

Auto Express
The car comes with plenty
of extras: all models have
decent safety kit, and the
more expensive TechX has
air con and touchscreen
navigation. However,
the cabin which has
room for four adults at
a push is let down by
its shoddy plastics. In a
cheap car, corners have to
be cut but the e2o isnt
all that cheap, even with
the 4,500 grant. Still, its
a massive improvement on
the G-Wiz.

The best hairdryers

SOURCE: THE TIMES

Handy for the beach, or wild camping, the


Travel Bottle Shower fits onto most water
bottles, turning them into a shower head.
A two-litre bottle should give you a twoand-a-half-minute shower and if you
dont want to hold it over your body,
theres a cord for hanging it off a tree.
10; www.lifeventure.com
SOURCE: THE SUNDAY TIMES

ghd Aura Instead


of blasting air in
all directions, this
light, sleek machine
produces a
straight flow so
you can focus on
one section of hair
without disturbing
another. Its
particularly effective
on bobs and frizzy
hair (145; www.
ghdhair.com).

Where to find unusual


museums for families
The Egypt Centre museum, in Swansea,
has more than 5,000 items in its collection.
Visitors can dress up in costumes, handle
artefacts and even learn how to mummify
(www.egypt.swan.ac.uk).
National Glass Centre, in Sunderland,
puts on glass-blowing demonstrations
throughout the day. There are family
workshops in the holidays (on glass fusing
and sandblasting), as well as exhibitions of
glass art (www.nationalglasscentre.com).
River and Rowing Museum, in Henley, on
the banks of the Thames, has a permanent
Wind in the Willows exhibition, which tells
the story with 3D models. An interactive
exhibition on childrens book illustrations is
on until 25 September (www.rrm.co.uk).
Weald and Downland Open Air Museum,
in West Sussex, uses traditional buildings to
describe the lives of their inhabitants over
the past millennium. Children can learn
how the watermill works, or the art of Tudor
cooking (www.wealddown.co.uk).
SOURCE: THE SUNDAY TELEGRAPH

18 SEPTEMBER 2016 THE WEEK

SOURCES: THE INDEPENDENT/


DAILY MAIL/GLAMOUR

If your garden is dry because the soil is


chalky, say, or sparse then you will
struggle to grow many kinds of plants.
Accepting that, and planting accordingly,
will save you time, money and frustration.
Pines, rosemary, olive trees and perennial
wallflowers are all good bets.
Larger plants find it difficult to establish
themselves in dry conditions, so opt for
small, young plants, which will adapt to
their environment as they mature.
Dont condition all the soil. Instead, figure
out where youre putting your plants, and
add lots of organic matter in those spots.
Before you start planting, water the hole
well. Then, once youve planted, backfill the
hole with dry soil, to lock in the moisture
around the plants roots.
Once planted, its generally better not to
water plants in a dry garden, as watering
encourages the growth of leaves which
will require more moisture. But you can
water in the first season if a plants very dry.

And for those who


have everything

Tips how to make the


most of a dry garden

Dyson
Supersonic
Dysons first hairdryer,
the Supersonic launched
earlier this year after
four years of development
to huge acclaim. Weighing just 370g, it is near-silent
and powerful, drying hair incredibly quickly. Its pricey,
though (300; www.dyson.co.uk).

Parlux Advance Light Beloved


by professional hairdressers, Italian
brand Parlux is famed for the
quality and reliability of its
products. This dryer is quiet and
light, and has a heatproof body;
its available in a range of colours
(110; www.parlux.co.uk).

John Frieda Luxurious


Volume This good-value
option dries speedily
(though its not as
powerful as pricier
rivals) without
overheating hair
even at the highest
setting, its fairly mild. It
has a handily long cord
and comes with curlers
and diffusers (35;
www.boots.com).

Braun Satin 7 Iontech


The handsome Satin 7
has a useful Satin
Protect button, which
caps temperatures at
70C to prevent damage.
At 2200W, its powerful for
the price, and uses active
ions to reduce frizziness
(50; www.argos.co.uk).

Travel

32

This weeks dream: ancient marvels in the Utah desert


as you wander through this massive
The Goosenecks State Park in southeast
landscape, and past the house-size
Utah is tiny but awe-inspiring, says
boulders that litter the path down
Henry Shukman in the FT. Covering
into the gorge itself. Gaping abysses
just ten acres, the park overlooks the
open beside you as you go, until you
San Juan River as it flows along the
find yourself pushing through young
bottom of a vast canyon, 1,000ft deep,
willows, stepping onto the sandy
in a series of immense loops or
banks of the San Juan River itself, and
goosenecks; these stretch half a mile
perhaps even cooling off in its swift,
in each direction, yet are so tight they
silty stream.
almost touch at each bend. The views
After the sweaty climb out of the
are breathtaking, and the region is
gorge, its a relief to drive in airrich in human history too, in the form
conditioned comfort up the Moki
of abandoned Native American cliff
Dugway (an old mining track) to
dwellings, granaries, burial sites and
Muley Point, a clifftop overlook.
petroglyphs some of them 3,500 years
On a clear day you can see well over
old depicting flute players, animals
a hundred miles from here to the
and countless other designs.
The view from Muley Point
stacked peaks of Colorado, the snowy
Looting of these sites has been a big
mountains of New Mexico and the weird rocks of Arizona.
problem (petroglyphs can be removed with rock saws), and five
Below are huge striated gullies, pyramids, gorges a landscape
Native American nations are now calling for the gorge and its
so big and multicoloured that, despite its barrenness, it
surroundings to become a National Monument, providing
is more exhilarating than chilling to behold. For more
stronger protection. The proposal has triggered fierce protests
from local ranchers but its easy to forget this raging controversy information, see www.stateparks.utah.gov.

Hotel of the week

Getting the flavour of


Cruising and cycling in Croatia

Leeu Estates, Franschhoek,


South Africa
South Africas spectacular Cape
Winelands are known for their
stylish farm and winery hotels. Set
between the Franschhoek River
and the Dassenberg mountains,
this one is the most ambitious
of the lot, says Peter Browne in
Cond Nast Traveller. The main,
Cape Dutch-style house is
decorated in a restrained palette
of grey, cream and lavender, with
oak floors and bespoke furniture.
Chef Oliver Cattermole deploys
farm-fresh ingredients to
prodigious effect in the
restaurant, and theres a sleek
spa, a wine-tasting studio and
a rose garden thats home to
a herd of small antelope.
Doubles from 385. +27 21 492
2222, www.leeucollection.com.

Combining luxurious small-ship cruising


with daily cycling expeditions, Freedom
Treks boat and bike breaks in Croatia are
a wonderful way to explore the hills and
islands of the North Dalmatian coast, says
Adam Ruck in The Sunday Telegraph. The
companys new boat, Melody, has 15 stylish
air-conditioned cabins and a good chef. On
a week-long trip, five mornings are spent
cycling with professional guides, mostly on
empty little roads through olive groves,
vineyards and fragrant Mediterranean scrub.
Theres also a boat trip up the Krka River to
visit its waterfalls, and afternoon tours of
pretty towns including Zadar, Trogir and
Primoten. The views from the saddle are
wonderful; swimming off the back of the
boat is a delight; and the camaraderie that
cycling breeds makes for a harmonious
atmosphere on board. A seven-night trip,
excl. flights, costs from 1,255pp (01273224066, www.freedomtreks.co.uk).

An Amazonian beach break

Think of Brazilian beaches, and chances are


it is the beautiful Atlantic coast that springs
to mind. But the countrys immense rivers
have beaches of their own and some of the
best lie around the little rainforest settlement
of Alter do Cho, says Isobel Diamond in
The Guardian. Perched near the confluence
of the Tapajs and Amazon rivers, 435 miles

inland, Alter is a bohemian party town


where the bars play carimb the local folk
music and serve potent cocktails. The
beaches are milk white, and the water is
teardrop clear and great for swimming.
You can take a boat trip to spot pink
dolphins, or venture to nearby nature
reserves, including the Floresta Nacional do
Tapajs, known for its immense kapok trees.
AMZ Projects (+55 11 99703 0906, www.
amzprojects.com) has a local four-day tour
from 220, with stays in basic hostels.

A gastronomic Thames cruise

There are so many good restaurants along


the Thames west of London that on one of
Le Boats short foodie cruises, its hard to
fit them all in, says Tony Turnbull in The
Times. After being given a brief course in
lock etiquette and a map, you set off from
Wallingford Marina on a cosy but
comfortable boat. With a speed limit of
5mph, navigating is easy, giving you plenty
of time to plan your stops. Options include
Heston Blumenthals Fat Duck and the Roux
familys Waterside Inn, both in Bray, and
Tom Kerridges Hand and Flowers pub in
Marlow; but there are lesser-known gems
too, such as The Three Tuns in Henley
while for a light lunch, you could try the
glorious Cliveden estate. From 305 for
three nights on a two-cabin boat sleeping
six (02392-222177, www.leboat.co.uk).

Last-minute offers from top travel companies


Canal boating in Shropshire
Experience Halloween on the
Shropshire Union Canal with a
northbound cruise to Brewood
on the 4-berth Sir Fergus. A
weeks trip from 28 October
costs from 788. 0844-984
0322, www.drifters.co.uk.

THE WEEK 18 SEPTEMBER 2016

An Italian lakeside resort


The 4-star Hotel Alexander, in
the lakeside resort of Limone
on Lake Garda, offers 7 nights,
half board, from 549pp for
24 September departures
(incl. Verona flights). 01483791116, www.inghams.co.uk.

New York and Boston


Depart on 13 October for
3 nights at the Wyndham New
Yorker, followed by 3 nights at
the Hilton Boston Back Bay.
From 1,199pp room only,
incl. flights. 01293-762456,
www.hayesandjarvis.co.uk.

Icelandic short stay


Two nights at the Hotel Cabin,
in Faxafli Bay, Reykjavk,
with a Northern Lights tour,
costs from 159pp b&b, incl.
flights see www.cheapflights.
co.uk/hot-travel-deals. Selected
dates 8-15 November.

Celebrating 20 years of uncovering, reporting


and analysing important issues that matter to you.
www.gulfbusiness.com

Obituaries

34

Charismatic Australian who co-founded Oz magazine


It was a priapic Rupert Bear
that landed Richard Neville
at the centre of one of the
greatest causes clbres of
the past half-century, said The Times. In the
spring of 1970, he and two of his fellow
editors of the counterculture magazine Oz
responded to criticism that they had lost
touch with the young by recruiting 20
secondary school children (most of them
boys) to work on the next issue. The
so-called School Kids Oz came out in May,
with photos of women cavorting suggestively
on the cover, and inside, a cartoon featuring
Rupert Bears head pasted onto some X-rated
Robert Crumb drawings.
Richard
Neville
1941-2016

told the court. Er, I dont think so, Neville


replied. At this point, Judge Argyle interjected:
I think wed better call it an imitation male
penis. Your Honour, said Neville, I think
the word male is unnecessary. Before
retiring, the jury asked Argyle to define
obscene. He told them that in Britain,
women taking their clothes off on a crowded
beach is considered indecent and they duly
delivered guilty verdicts. Send them down,
cried the judge. Three weeks later by which
time the trios long hair had been shorn in
Wandsworth jail they appeared at a
committal hearing, dressed as schoolgirls, to
receive terms of up to 15 months. The defence
had argued that porn magazines on sale all
over Soho contained far more explicit imagery;
on appeal, Lord Widgery sent out for such a
publication and agreed. He found that Argyle
had misdirected the jury on 78 occasions, and
the editors convictions were overturned.

It didnt sell well, and in court, prosecutors


failed to produce a single child whod read it.
Nonetheless, two months later, Ozs London
Neville: represented himself in court
offices were raided by the police, and the trio
found themselves charged with obscenity, and conspiring to
Richard Neville was born in Sydney, the son of a former army
corrupt public morals by implanting lustful and perverted
officer, and educated at the elite Knox Grammar School, which he
desires in the minds of young people. The ensuing six-week trial
hated, and the University of New South Wales, where he was
the longest of its kind in history turned into a circus: John
involved with the student newspaper. After a spell working as an
Lennon and Yoko Ono recorded a song to raise funds for the
advertising copywriter, he co-founded Oz in 1963; the first issue
defence; Alec Guinness was among those crowded into the public
which featured articles on backstreet abortions, as well as chastity
gallery; and expert witnesses, including Edward de Bono, George
belts caused a sensation in conservative Australia, where the
Melly and Marty Feldman, paraded through the court to offer
magazine eventually landed its founders in court on obscenity
their view on everything from the definition of satire to the size of
charges. Neville was sentenced to six months with hard labour
a bears sexual organs. Outside, long-haired hippies in batik
but, as he would later in London, successfully appealed. Shortly
T-shirts marched in defence of the permissive society, while inside,
proceedings were overseen by a judge, Michael Argyle, who might afterwards, he decided to move to the UK, following in the
footsteps of his older sister, the novelist Jill Neville. Her contacts
have been hand-picked to represent the reactionary past.
gave him an entre to media London, and Oz launched there in
1967, featuring dazzling psychedelic artworks alongside articles
Nevilles co-defendants Felix Dennis and Jim Anderson were
on a range of subjects, from LSD to gay rights and ecology. The
defended by John Mortimer QC and the young Geoffrey
magazine folded in 1973, and Neville returned to Australia, where
Robertson, but the charismatic Neville chose to represent himself,
he married the journalist Julie Clarke, with whom he had two
said The Daily Telegraph, and did so with considerable bravura.
daughters, and worked as a writer and cultural commentator. He
At one point, the crown prosecutor alighted on the depiction of a
suffered from Alzheimers for some years prior to his death.
male phallus on the front cover. I believe its called a dildol, he

The nurse immortalised by a clinch in Times Square


the Pacific. It was over in a flash, but
unbeknownst to them the moment had been
snapped by the Life magazine photographer
Alfred Eisenstaedt.

After the War, Zimmer worked in the theatre


as a costume designer; in 1956, she married
a doctor, and moved to Maryland. It wasnt
until the 1960s that she first saw the
photograph, in a book. Although her face was
obscured, she recognised herself immediately,
and contacted Life to tell her story but the
magazine didnt pursue it. By the 1980s, the
Greta Zimmer was born in Austria in 1924. In
Friedman, and The Kiss
image had become famous, and dozens of
1938, she and her sisters were sent to the US to
people had identified themselves as its subjects. Finally, in 2012,
escape the Nazis. Their parents intended to join them, but never
Friedman and Mendonsas claims were both verified, based on
did. They are believed to have been killed in the Holocaust.
his tattoos, her uniform and other pictures of them at the time.
By August 1945, Greta was working as a dental assistant in
Manhattan (hence her nurses uniform). On the 14th, days after
In the same year, the photo also became controversial when it was
the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, rumours began to
pointed out that what was actually being photographed was a
circulate that the Japanese were about to surrender. Looking out
sexual assault. As Friedman herself said, she had never asked to
of a window, Zimmer could see crowds gathering in the streets,
and went to investigate. As she walked into Times Square, George be kissed. However, her son said this week that while his mother
agreed in principle, she knew that it had been an exceptional
Mendonsa, who was out celebrating with his future wife (visible
moment, on an exceptional day. She and Mendonsa, now 93,
in the back of the photograph), pulled Zimmer into a clinch. He
met several times, and exchanged Christmas cards.
was 22, and had spent the last two years serving on a destroyer in
THE WEEK 18 SEPTEMBER 2016

COURTESY OF JOSHUA FRIEDMAN

Greta Zimmer On 14 August 1945, Greta


Zimmer Friedman was kissed
Friedman
1924-2016 by a young sailor in New
York. Its likely that on that
day the day the Japanese surrendered,
effectively heralding the end of WWII
hundreds of young women were embraced by
jubilant servicemen. But this particular kiss
was caught on camera, and became one of the
most famous photographs of the 20th century:
V-J Day in Times Square, or The Kiss.

BUSINESS
Companies in the news

36

...and how they were assessed

Hewlett-Packard/Micro Focus: autonomy comes home

Britains Micro Focus is to buy Hewlett-Packard Enterprises software division for


$8.8bn. And judging by the gushing reaction to the news, you would think we were
witnessing the birth of a British version of Microsoft, said Jeremy Warner in The
Sunday Telegraph. The deal has been hailed as some kind of post-Brexit triumph for the
UK technology sector, which is more than a little misleading. Micro Focus isnt some
kind of whizzo start-up whose technology is about to take the world by storm. Its
a very conservatively run, acquisition-led collection of rather dull and substantially
mature software assets, whose driving force, Kevin Loosemore, is more adept at
management than writing code. This is one of the largest takeovers by a British company
in recent years, yet a key word was missing from the announcement, said Nils Pratley in
The Guardian: autonomy. In effect, Micro Focus is reclaiming for the nation bits
and pieces of the former FTSE 100 champion, whose 2011 sale to HP prompted huge
write-downs and a bitter, ongoing legal row. No wonder Loosemore kept shtum. Micro
Focus is a fix-it merchant, not a pioneer, but theres no shame in that, given its
performance: shares are up from 300p in 2011 to around 22. Grabbing a business
bigger than itself will mean greater complexities. But lets not knock the ambition.

AB Foods: sterling test

Shares in the owner of Primark, Associated British Foods, fell by a hefty 11% this week
after it warned that it would rather take a hit on the fall in sterling than push up prices
at the discount fashion chain, reported Deirdre Hipwell in The Times. We have a
commitment to being the best value in clothing retail, and we are not going to let this
blow us off course, observed the groups CFO, John Bason. Primarks predicament is
being shared by every other UK company that sources most of its products in US dollars.
Most, however, lack the comfort of a twin engine, said Carol Ryan on Reuters
Breakingviews. The idea behind the groups odd business model selling cheap clothes
on the one hand and producing foods such as sugar and tea on the other is that when
one business stalls, the other can step in. Will it hold this time? Credit Suisse notes that
changes to the EU sugar regime could see sugars contribution to group earnings grow
to more than 10% by 2018. But performance at Primark, which currently accounts for
two-thirds of AB Foods profits, was weakening even before the hit to sterling. The
discount chain is on course for its first ever like-for-like sales drop. Having a twin engine
may help, but sugar cant sweeten AB Foods retail slowdown.

SVG Capital/HarbourVest: dawn raid

The City loves the smell of gun smoke in the morning, said Jonathan Guthrie in the
Financial Times. HarbourVest, a Boston-based private equity group, has resurrected the
dawn raid rapid-fire purchasing of a target companys shares as part of a daring
1.1bn swoop on UK rival SVG Capital, once the venture capital arm of Schroders. The
Boston buccaneer hauled up the Jolly Roger by alerting SVG bosses on Sunday night.
On Monday morning, its broker snapped up 8.5% of the group, taking its exposure to
more than 50%. The surprise attack looks hard to reverse. Old-school raiders such as
Lord Hanson would surely have approved.

Seven days in the


Square Mile
The summer calm in stock markets came
to an abrupt end as jitters about the
timing of the US Feds second interest
rate hike took hold, exacerbated by
anxiety over the US election. Stock
markets globally stomached the biggest
falls since the Brexit vote. Bond yields,
meanwhile, marched higher. In Britain,
the upbeat economic mood also took a
hit. The British Chambers of Commerce
more than halved its growth forecast for
next year to 1%, predicting that the UK
economy would skirt with, but avoid, a
recession. Bank of England governor
Mark Carney defended its stimulus
programme, telling MPs he was
absolutely serene about the
judgements made before the Brexit vote.
The Government was reported to be
preparing a new crackdown on whitecollar crime, which could see company
boards face prosecution if they fail to
prevent staff from committing fraud. At
present, they are liable only for a failure
to stop bribery.
German agrochemical company Bayer
sealed the largest takeover of 2016 so far
of US GM seed specialist Monsanto.
The offer, which valued Monsanto
shares at $128, will create a company
worth $66bn, with control of more than
25% of the worlds supply of seeds and
pesticides. In another blow for the
Hinkley Point project, Frances safety
regulator warned of flaws at a sister EDF
plant in Flamanville, Normandy. M&S
confirmed that Laura Wade-Gery would
not return following maternity leave.

Tesco: fraud charges for three executives. What next?


When the Financial Reporting Council recently
dropped its investigation into Tescos former
finance director, Laurie McIlwee, it looked as if
the various probes into the grocers 263m
accounts hole might be at an end. Not so, said
Sarah Butler in The Guardian. Last week, the
Serious Fraud Office (SFO) charged three
former senior directors Carl Rogberg, John
Scouler and the former UK MD, Christopher
Bush with fraud. If convicted, they face up to
ten years in jail. The SFO launched a criminal
investigation in October 2014 after a whistleblower alerted the then-new CEO, Dave Lewis,
to irregularities. Tesco subsequently admitted
it had overstated profits by incorrectly
booking payments from suppliers.

intends to charge others including the


chains former CEO, Philip Clarke, who has
been interviewed under caution. Any
ensuing corporate prosecution, meanwhile,
could mean a fine of up to 400% of the
perceived gain worrying for shareholders,
who have seen their holdings more than
halve in value over three years.

It is highly unusual for a company of Tescos


size and global importance to find itself in this
position, said Alex Brummer in the Daily
Mail. Some might wonder why a supermarket
is in the firing line over a 263m scandal
when Britains banks have so far managed to
avoid the dock over accounting black holes
Lewis: alerted to irregularities
running to billions. But this could prove the
The speed of prosecution is something of a personal best for
start of something much bigger and not just for Tesco. The
the SFO, where four-year investigations are the norm, said the FT.
grocers auditors, PwC, are still being probed by the Financial
Yet many uncertainties remain.The SFO has not said whether it
Reporting Council. This saga has a way to run.

THE WEEK 18 SEPTEMBER 2016

Talking points

CITY 37

Issue of the week: too fat and lazy to trade?


Liam Fox has infuriated business leaders with his remarks. But does he have a point?
It was hardly the best way to introduce
himself as the new international trade
secretary, said Simon Duke in The
Sunday Times. Liam Fox claimed last
week that Britains companies had
grown too fat and lazy to be
effective exporters. The vision he
presented, in a speech to Tory MPs,
was both rude and utterly
anachronistic. According to Fox, the
UKs bosses prefer playing golf on
Fridays to seeking export deals a
gratuitous and inflammatory jibe
that rightly drew widespread condemnation from the business community.

Fox: trying to gee-up exporters

If hed known his comments would be broadcast to the nation,


Fox would have probably dropped the golf course gag, said
Fraser Nelson in The Spectator. But his remarks were hardly
outrageous. The speech aimed to tackle the lazy assumption
that leaving the EU will, in and of itself, propel us to greater
trade deals and more prosperity. There is, after all, no point in
reshaping global trade and looking for new markets if we dont
have exporters to fill them. Foxs concern is the UKs eyewateringly large gap between what we import and what we
manage to export. UK exports are a pitiful 27% of GDP, the
lowest figure in Europe. Surely these figures raise serious
questions about just how outward-looking and pro-free trade
Britain really is. It depends what and how you measure, said

Szu Ping Chan in The Daily Telegraph.


On some measures, Britain appears to
punch above its weight: in dollar
terms, we were the worlds fourthbiggest exporter by value overall in
2015 (though our position was
bolstered by exchange-rate
movements). But most of the worlds
trade is in goods, and the UK is only
tenth in that league table. That is the
downside of our economic strength in
services, which account for 44% of
our exports, compared with 17% in
Germany where the total value of
exports was double the UKs in 2015.

Perhaps the most pertinent statistic of all, said Nick Clegg in the
FT, is that only 15% of the UKs total trade is with countries
that are neither members of the EU, nor covered by an EU trade
agreement. Fox would like to line up new deals with China,
India and the US. He can try but, as Australia has made clear, we
will not be able to progress beyond informal talks, because the
UK is not legally able to sign its own agreements until it leaves the
EU. Even then, potential partners will want to see the terms
we manage to negotiate with the EU before making their own
offers a process likely to take years. However much ministers
like Fox seek to gee-up Britains exporters, our trading relationships are hanging in the balance. We are in the calm before the
storm. Whatever form Brexit takes, it is going to be a rough ride.

Making money: what the experts think


downwards this week
Sanofi health
on a combination of prewarning
US election jitters and
Business history was
speculation about a
made last week when the
second hike in US interest
French pharma Sanofi
rates bond markets fell
and the German
too. The yield on US tenconsumer goods group
year treasuries rose to
Henkel (which makes
1.67%, its highest since
Persil) between them sold
the Brexit vote (yields rise
s1.5bn of bonds with an
as prices fall); and the teninterest rate of -0.05%,
year German bund yields
said John Kay in the FT.
actually turned positive.
They are thought to be
Are we finally at a
the first private businesses
turning point for the great
to charge bondholders for
bond bull market after
the privilege of lending
a 35-year supercycle?
them money. Weve
Waiting for... a watershed?
grown used to this kind
of twisted logic in the world of
Here comes Godot?
government debt. But the move into
This is not a new question, said John
private business debt marks a new
Authers in the FT. Waiting for bond yields
milestone. Investors are reportedly willing
to hit bottom has been like waiting for
to stomach the losses because they are
Godot. But recent central bankspeak,
smaller than those on government bonds.
hinting that stimulus has gone as far as it
But as a fund manager, you really have to
is going to go, makes it possible to believe
question if you can justify this type of
we have reached a watershed. How
investment, said Chris Telfer of ECM
might the bond market crack? Deutsche
Asset Management. It is difficult to look
Bank outlines two scenarios, said Stepek.
past the concept of greater fool on
The best is a slow, stealthy decline; the
negative yield deals.
worst, a sudden, very painful bust. The
investment industry likes to argue that
when bonds fall, equities will go up.
Falling stocks and bonds
But since both have risen together to
How long can this topsy-turvy situation
their current hideously overvalued
continue? Maybe the end is already in
position, theres nothing to stop them
sight, said John Stepek on MoneyWeek.
falling together, too.
com. As stock markets globally lurched

Plastic fantastic
This week Britain experienced a cash
revolution, said Katie Allen in The
Guardian. The first polymer 5 notes
were issued by the Bank of England
on Tuesday, with a design featuring
Winston Churchill. For Victoria Cleland,
the Banks chief cashier, it was a
momentous day. Her team has been
working for six years to develop the
notes cutting-edge security features
and improved durability. The fivers
have also had to pass health and
safety tests just in case they should
fall into the paws of peckish toddlers
and pets. Last year 5,364 notes had to
be replaced because they had been
chewed or eaten.
The Bank has issued 440 million of the
new fivers, and is planning to introduce
plastic 10 and 20 notes by 2020, said
The Economist. Indeed, despite the
increasing use of electronic money
online, and in mobile payment systems
and digital wallets the quantity of
physical banknotes in circulation has
risen significantly over the past decade,
increasing from 1.9 billion to 3.4 billion
between 2004 and 2016, with their total
value jumping from 36bn to 68bn.
One reason for this extra demand is the
financial crisis: plummeting interest
rates have reduced the opportunity
cost of holding cash outside bank
accounts.With interest rates cut again
following the Brexit referendum,
Britons are unlikely to lose their
appetite for hard currency any time
soon whatever it is made of.

18 SEPTEMBER 2016 THE WEEK

38 CITY
The Bank of
Englands
baffling list
Neil Unmack
Reuters Breakingviews

Have we
hit peak
zero-hours?
Jack Torrance
Management Today

Apple and
our wireless
future
Madhumita Murgia
Financial Times

Crickets
content
revolution
Editorial
The Economist

THE WEEK 18 SEPTEMBER 2016

Commentators
The Bank of England has published a list of 100 companies
making what it calls a material contribution to the British
economy, and thereby qualifying for its 10bn corporate bondbuying spree, says Neil Unmack. Yet so far, the main achievement of the stimulus has been to flummox traders. The main
problem is that the definition of material contribution is pretty
vague. Companies dont need to be headquartered in Britain
(hence the inclusion of Apple and McDonalds), but must employ
people or sell goods here. And the absence of precise thresholds
has meant some confusing anomalies. For instance, although the
US telecom behemoth AT&T is eligible, O2s owner, Telefnica
with 23 million UK customers is not. And why include
Manchester Airport but not Gatwick or Heathrow? True, the list
isnt yet complete, but it highlights the difficulties raised by
central banks buying bonds. While the BoEs programme may be
small, it makes a difference: yields on some eligible bonds fell by
5% this week. Rather than doing their basic job of pricing credit
risk, markets are being forced to second-guess the central bank.
After an apparently relentless drive to push low-paid workers
onto zero-hour contracts, the tide may be turning in the UK, says
Jack Torrance. In a bid to rehabilitate its toxic image, Sports
Direct has offered store staff (but not those in its warehouse) the
option of moving to fixed-hours contracts. McDonalds has
already made the move, and pub chain JD Wetherspoon plans to
follow suit. The appeal of zero-hours contracts to employers is
obvious: they mean flexibility, lower fixed costs and the ability
to turn on the tap at peak times. No wonder 900,000 British
workers are employed in this way, up 20% on last year. But
the downsides are increasingly clear. As well as the rising
reputational risk, they sap staff motivation. Its hard to give a
toss about a customers whims when you dont feel like your boss
gives a toss about yours. Zero-hours contracts are unlikely to die
out; some industries rely on their flexibility to function. But for
responsible companies in the public eye, they could soon be as
unfashionable as Sports Directs Argyle golf sweaters.
The world let out a collective gasp when Apple launched the
iPhone 7 with a small but significant change, says Madhumita
Murgia. The tech giant has pulled the plug on the headphone
jack, meaning users must either go through the rigmarole of
plugging their headphones into an adaptor (because another
adaptor is what we all need) or take the plunge and go wireless.
Given this means buying two buds known as AirPods for 119,
which need to be charged every five hours, the move is inevitably
unpopular. But its just the beginning of a wireless future in
which embedded devices such as AirPods which also take
calls and relay instructions become ubiquitous. Prepare for a
world of smart contact lenses, ear implants and wristbands
which will start to meld the virtual and real; weve already had
a taste of it with Pokmon Go. Apple is no stranger to forced
revolutions: in the past it has hastened the death of the
CD-Rom and floppy disk through tiny but powerful design
changes. If Apple has decided to take on wires, it will win.
Although Englands international cricket team draws big crowds,
the game struggles at the county level, says The Economist.
Traditional five-day games are poorly attended. Hence the
proposal for a new league modelled on the Indian Premier League,
whose focus on the shortest form of one-day cricket (known as
T20) has made India the global centre of cricket. For two
months each spring, eight teams hire the worlds best players to
play three-hour games, generating huge razzmatazz. T20
cricket was actually pioneered in England in 2003, but the cricket
authorities failed to capitalise on it. The current league, which
includes all 18 county teams, is too unwieldy to command a big
broadcasting deal and thus cannot afford global megastars.
Supporters argue a new super-league would generate sums that
could subsidise long-form county cricket and reignite interest
in the game. Opponents fear the soul of cricket is at risk. Either
way, weve come a long way from the village green. Ten years
ago, who would have thought that cricket would be talked
about as content to be distributed on Netflix or Facebook?

City profiles
Simon Kirby
Britains 56bn high-speed
rail project has been left
without a driver at a critical
juncture, says Mark
Hookham in The Sunday
Times. Simon Kirby, the chief
executive of HS2, has been
poached by the engineering
giant Rolls-Royce, with no
successor lined up. Kirby,
who joined the scheme from
Network Rail, is Britains
highest-paid civil servant,
with a pay package of
750,000. Rolls-Royce has
apparently been trying to
recruit him for some time:
hell join as COO, but without
a position on the board. HS2
said it would launch a
global search for Kirbys
successor, but the
Government may have to
offer an even bigger pay
package to lure someone of
Kirbys calibre. Private sector
engineers, with experience
of managing big projects, are
on very serious money.
Dame Nemat Minouche
Shafik

Just two years into her fiveyear term, Minouche Shafik


has resigned from the Bank
of England to become
director of the London
School of Economics, said
the FT. Shafik, who joined
from the IMF, said it was
impossible to resist the
opportunity to lead a worldclass university. But her
departure leaves a big gap.
The Treasury will now need
to appoint a new deputy
governor for markets and
banking at a crucial time for
the City. Shafik isnt the first
deputy governor to wind up
as director of the LSE, said
Alistair Osborne in The
Times. The current RBS
chairman and airports
expert Sir Howard Davies
tried the same caper, before
having a run-in over a
300,000 donation from
Colonel Gaddafis son. Lets
hope that isnt a bad omen.

Shares

CITY 39

Whos tipping what


The weeks best buys

Dechra Pharmaceuticals
Investors Chronicle
Shares in the veterinary
pharma trade at a justifiable
premium, given growth
opportunities. Revenue is up
following acquisitions of
Genera, Brovel and Putney,
which give access to new
markets and territories.
Buy. 13.49.

Dixons Carphone
The Times
The electrical and
telecommunications retailers
shares were clobbered by the
Brexit vote. But demand and
sales remain strong, and the
company is less exposed to
a downturn than had been
feared. Buy. 389p.

Redx Pharma
The Mail on Sunday
Focused on cancer, infectious
diseases and immunology, this
biotech collaborates with large
organisations to develop good
drugs quickly. The stock has
been sluggish, but Redx has
a good pipeline and is well
regarded. Buy. 26.75p.

Dunelm Group
The Sunday Times
The Brexit shock has passed,
but there may still be pain to
come and Dunelm, the
cut-price John Lewis, tends
to thrive in a bad economy.
The group has little debt and
a history of special dividends.
Buy. 905p.

Premier Oil
The Daily Telegraph
The UKs largest independent
oil producer has made
substantial progress in
agreeing a deal with lenders to
restructure debt. Oil flows are
better than expected, and
earnings and profits are
improving. Buy. 69p.

Charles Stanley Group


400

Director sells
110,322

350

300

250

200
Nov

Jan

Mar

May

Jul

Sep

The broker is struggling for


growth while at the mercy of
fluctuating markets and falling
commission rates, and
revenues and profits have
been hit. Shares are down 14%
in 12 months not helped by
director Michael Lilwall and his
wife selling holdings worth
more than 300,000.

and some to sell

Form guide

Ashmore Group
London Evening Standard
Sentiment about the investment
manager has improved and
flows will likely follow, says
Peel Hunt. But this will take
time. Meanwhile, full-year
numbers were mixed and
shares are ahead of forecast
momentum. Sell. 355p.

Macfarlane Group
Shares
Directors have been buying
shares in the packaging and
distribution firm. But it could
be hit by weak sterling, as a
large proportion of its raw
materials are imported. Rivals
James Cropper and Mondi are
more attractive. Sell. 61p.

N Brown Group
Investors Chronicle
The specialist mail order
fashion retailer faces threats to
its margin, cash flows and
dividend. Capex remains high
as the firm invests in a digital
first business model, and
forex represents a significant
challenge. Sell. 211p.

Fenner
London Evening Standard
J.P. Morgan Cazenove admits
that the engineers rig count
appears to have stabilised.
But given the volatile state of
the oil and gas market, the
broker does not expect
improvement. Target price
is 151p. Sell. 160p.

Micro Focus International


The Times
The software provider has
prospered through buying and
integrating similar businesses.
Shares have surged on news
of the Hewlett Packard
acquisition: take profits as the
scale of the deal brings risks.
Sell. 22.43.

Pearson
Sharecast
Shares in the education
publisher slumped after US
peer John Wiley released
disappointing Q1 results.
Liberum fears increasing
structural pressure and expects
another profit warning. Target
price is 470p. Sell. 830p.

Shares tipped 12 weeks ago


Best tip
RPC Group
The Times
up 0.36% to 846p
Worst tip
Workspace
The Times
down 21.04% to 683p

Market view
Investors have got a case
of the pre-Fed jitters.
Connor Campbell of
SpreadEx. Quoted in
City AM

Market summary
Key
Key numbers
numbers for investors
investors
FTSE 100
FTSE All-share UK
Dow Jones
NASDAQ
Nikkei 225
Hang Seng
Gold
Brent Crude Oil
DIVIDEND YIELD (FTSE 100)
UK 10-year gilts yield
US 10-year Treasuries
UK ECONOMIC DATA
Latest CPI (yoy)
Latest RPI (yoy)
Halifax house price (yoy)

13 Sep 2016
6665.63
3643.41
18078.43
5144.47
16729.04
23215.76
1323.65
47.20
3.78%
0.92
1.72
0.6% (Aug)
1.8% (Aug)
+6.9% (Aug)

1 STERLING $1.320 g1.176 136.063

Best
shares
Best and
and worst
worst performing shares
Week before
6826.05
3726.47
18508.06
5267.02
17081.98
23787.68
1337.25
46.89
3.71%
0.66
1.54
0.6% (Jul)
1.9% (Jul)
+8.4% (Jul)

Change (%)
2.35%
2.23%
2.32%
2.33%
2.07%
2.40%
1.02%
0.66%

WEEKS CHANGE, FTSE 100 STOCKS


RISES
Price
2169.00
Micro Focus Intl.
419.70
Intl.Cons.Airl.Gp.(Cdi)
198.00
Royal Bank of Sctl.Gp.
4426.00
SABMiller
170.60
Barclays

Following the Footsie


7,000

% change
+10.61
+5.21
+1.33
+0.65
+0.53

FALLS
2740.00
13.43
Associated Brit.Foods
780.50
10.13
Pearson
936.00
7.96
Mediclinic Intl.
5230.00
7.52
Next
334.70
7.52
Standard Life
BEST AND WORST UK STOCKS OVERALL
2.80
+148.89
Tengri Resources
2.48
65.19
Xcite Energy (Cdi)
Source: Datastream (not adjusted for dividends). Prices on 13 Sep (pm)

6,800

6,600

6,400

6,200

6,000

5,800

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

6-month movement in the FTSE 100 index

18 SEPTEMBER 2016 THE WEEK

SOURCE: INVESTORS CHRONICLE

Ashtead Group
The Times
Boosted by weak sterling and
strong construction markets,
shares in the equipment hire
firm have leapt 37%, yet are
still good value. Ashstead is
committed to returning cash to
shareholders. Buy. 12.58.

Directors dealings

The last word

40

We will look back and marvel that


we believed in the war on drugs
Neil Woods spent 14 years working for the drugs squad, and prided himself on his success in sending offenders to jail.
But then he began to realise that his efforts were only making things worse. He explained why to Decca Aitkenhead
fatalities in Brighton were five
times the national average.
This wasnt an overdose
epidemic, he realised, but
dealers literally getting away
with murder, making their
victims deaths look like just
another accidental overdose.

It was then that the epiphany


dawned. Every year the police
get better at catching drug
gangs, and the gangsters most
effective way of fighting back is
upping the use of fear and
intimidation against potential
informants. The most efficient
way to stop people grassing
them up is to be terrifying. In
other words, organised crime
groups were getting nastier and
For 14 years, Neil Woods
Woods: Ive caused enormous harm and I have to try and put things right nastier as a direct result of what
I was doing.
would leave behind his wife
and two young children, put on stained charity-shop scally
The only dealers the drug squad could reliably catch, he saw, were
tracksuit bottoms, and turn up in a town somewhere in England
low-hanging fruit the small-fry dealers, and harmless addicts
as a drug addict. I was a sponge for colloquialisms and
trying to pay for their habit by selling a bit, who an informant
mannerisms. Street slang is very regionalised, even just specific to
could report with no fear of retribution. Its why organised crime
a town, so you have to adapt quite quickly. The biggest danger at
is increasingly becoming monopolised, because the most
the start of any job is that youve landed from Mars and who
successful organised crime groups are the ones that can be the
are you? Using a new cover story each time, the undercover
most terrifying. Like Cold War
drugs squad officer would
nations seeking security in Nato
gradually befriend destitute
Dealers are literally getting away with
or the Warsaw Pact, small-town
addicts, ingratiate himself with
dealers are being absorbed into
their dealers, buy drugs from
murder, making their victims deaths look
large city gangs. Its a classic
them and then have the whole
like accidental overdoses
arms race. Although at least with
lot sent to jail.
the Cold War you could knock a
wall down, and de-escalate it. Theres no wall to knock down
Its a struggle to reconcile the faux junkie Woods used to be with
with the war on drugs, is there? Brighton is the thin edge of the
the articulate ex-policeman taking me for tea and cakes. Oh, but
same wedge destroying Mexico. Mexicos just the thicker end of
I loved the art of deception, he offers. And I loved the
development of the skill. Its a great thrill to be able to successfully it, but it can only go in one direction.
deceive people. Particularly when its dangerous. The dangers
He also saw what the drug war was doing to the police. When
grew every year, as dealers cottoned on to undercover police
Woods came across corrupt colleagues in the drug squad, the
tactics, and grew increasingly suspicious of a new face asking for
drugs. One dealer tried to run Woods over, another held a knife to senior ranks would shrug that this was inevitable, given the
amount of money involved. A criminal trade that is worth 7bn
his groin, another pulled a 9mm Glock handgun on him. But the
could buy as many police as it liked. But the public dont tend to
commendation awards kept piling up. Woods even helped
see this, and its not really very much talked about, is it? One of
formulate national guidelines for undercover operations, and
trained officers all over the country in his skills. By his calculation, the big problems is the duty of chief constables to maintain public
confidence which is understandable, because if the public lose
he consigned drug offenders to a total of more than 1,000 years
confidence in the police, anarchy can follow. But it means that
behind bars.
there is no openness about the extent of corruption from the
drug supply. So the public dont know. Compare that with
He did feel guilty about jailing the hapless addicts who led him to
prohibition in the US up until 1933. The headlines in the
the dealers. But I told myself I was fighting the good fight, and
press were constantly about the corruption that was being
that the ends justified the means. This moral justification seemed
caused by prohibition.
more compelling with each new assignment, owing to the
ever-escalating violence deployed by dealers to deter communities
The realisation that the career he had risked his life for was not
from talking to the police. In Northampton, Woods discovered a
chilling new punishment for informants gang rape of a girlfriend merely futile, but the chief cause of the misery he had witnessed,
plunged Woods into a psychological crisis. He felt as if he was
or sister and every heroin addict in Brighton warned him that if
losing his mind, until doctors diagnosed PTSD; it was so severe
the local dealers thought he had talked, the next hit of heroin he
that even today Woods is twitchy and restless. A tic jerks his neck
bought would kill him. Woods had wondered why heroin
THE WEEK 18 SEPTEMBER 2016

ADRIAN SHERRATT/GUARDIAN NEWS & MEDIA 2016

Walking beside me through a


market town centre is a lean,
healthy, 46-year-old man. So,
you wanted me to show you
how I used to look? He
draws in his stomach, rounds
his shoulders, paws imaginary
sweat from his cheeks, and
suddenly Im looking at a
junkie jumpy, wheedling,
begging for a fix. And this is
how you walk when youre
going to score heroin. Subtly
hunched over a sunken
midriff, he strides ahead, as
fast as he can without
breaking into a run. Its all in
the stomach, he grins when
Ive caught up. Its all about
stomach cramps.

The last word


into spasms when he explains
that the memories tormenting
him were of the harm he had
done to vulnerable addicts.
This form of PTSD, he learned,
is called moral damage.
Its about having done bad
things. And I have done really
bad things.

41
alcohol has to go, and probably
coffee, too to allow one
method while banning another
makes no sense at all.

Following residential treatment


for PTSD, Woods never returned
to work. In 2011, he quit the
police, and last year became the
UK chair of Law Enforcement
Against Prohibition (Leap), an
He tried talking to colleagues,
international organisation of
but they were having none of it.
serving and former police,
If drugs were legalised, they
prison, military and intelligence
assured him, the dealers and
officers who want the public to
gangsters wouldnt disappear,
know about the unconscionable
but simply diversify into other
damage they have seen the war
crimes. This is the greatest
on drugs do. Founded in the US,
misunderstanding about crime.
A raid in Brighton: police mostly catch the low-hanging fruit
Leap hopes to emulate the
Its not criminals that cause
success of Vietnam Veterans Against the War. Ive caused
crime, its opportunity. No other crime presents the same
enormous harm and I think Im duty bound to try and put things
opportunity for any 15-year-old to make anything like as much
right. Im also duty bound because Im in a unique position. With
money as easily, and with so little risk of being caught. And its
all about the demand as well. The Governments own statistics say my experience and views, I have the opportunity to tell people. I
three million people in this country use cannabis. There is no such need to tell people. And people listen to me, because Im not a
hippy. I was a police officer.
vast demand for any other type of criminality.
Increasingly animated, he goes on: About 50% of the people
behind bars in this country are there for drug-related reasons.
Alongside that, 50% of acquisitive crime is committed by less
than 0.2% of the population. And thats problematic heroin users.
If we undercut the criminal gangs, and prescribed heroin to
addicts, most of that crime would disappear overnight. The
evidence is there in Switzerland. Switzerland doesnt go far
enough, but even from their limited evidence, the crime drops that
they have had are absolutely astonishing.

Former friends in the force were immediately ordered to sever all


contact with Woods, and although Leap receives Facebook friend
requests and messages of support from serving officers all the
time, he accepts that, to his seniors, he is a traitor. To make
matters worse, he has now written a memoir about his
undercover career. Good Cop, Bad War is a gripping expos of
the disastrous reality of the drug war, which he hopes will help
shift public opinion. I didnt really want to write a memoir. Im
an extreme introvert. But its the best vehicle to get people to
come with me on my journey, and realise what it was that made
me come to the conclusions I did.

But drugs, his colleagues persisted, kill people. Only recently,


teenagers in Manchester have been left in comas after taking
Woods offers an analogy with the dramatic transformation in
ecstasy. Thats the reason to regulate! he exclaims. We dont
attitudes to homosexuality. There was no particular revolution.
have 70% rum any more, because it used to kill people, so we
Society just collectively thought: OK then, some people are gay.
regulated. Theres a limit on how strong spirits can be. We should
And then the laws changed.
do the same for other drugs,
Well, things are changing rapidly
because otherwise when children
Brighton is the thin edge of the same
with attitudes to drugs now. This
do get hold of these things,
has become a mainstream issue.
theres no regulated amount.
wedge thats destroying Mexico. It can
Canada is about to introduce a
only go in one direction
regulated market, and once the
The argument Woods heard
British public sees it work there,
more than any other from his
he anticipates a sea change in our attitude.
colleagues was: just because lots of people burgle houses, thats
no reason to legalise burglary; so we shouldnt legalise drugs just
The drug policy that Woods wants is both simple and radical.
because so many people take them. He tucks into this bogHeroin should be prescribed by doctors to addicts, and every
standard reply as if it were a banquet. Theres two answers
other drug sold under strictly regulated conditions. Even crack? I
to counter that view. For one, burglars are a tiny number of
went into the police believing that message, one smoke of crack
people. As any police inspector or sergeant will tell you, you can
and youre addicted for life. I remember seeing Nancy Reagan on
decrease the amount of burglaries in a town of 25,000 people by
TV saying that, and its literally a load of crap. There is no
half by catching two burglars. And by catching burglars, you
evidential basis in that statement at all. Contrary to drug war
reduce the demand for that crime, so to speak. But by policing
propaganda, he says, only a small minority of drug users ever
drugs, you dont reduce the demand. You have no impact on the
develop a problem, regardless of which substance they take.
demand whatsoever.
Across the board, the figure is roughly 10% the same percentage
He cites a global study, conducted by the coalition government, of of gamblers who become problematic, interestingly the only
exception being heroin, where it is 25%.
the impact that punitive drug policies have had on drug use. Its
unambiguous conclusion, he says, was that however harsh your
Woods lobbies enough politicians to know that they wont make
measures the death penalty; 20 years in prison they have no
new laws until they can see the public want them. He wont say
impact on drug use. Instead of wasting our time trying to reduce
how long that will take Who knows? but he is sure of one
drug use, argues Woods, drug policy should be about reducing
thing: we will look back on the drug war one day, and marvel at
not drug use but drug harm.
how we could ever have believed in it.
The second point, he continues, is that a burglary causes all sorts
A longer version of this article first appeared in The Guardian.
of devastation, so is wrong in itself. But the only reason drugs are
Good Cop, Bad War by Neil Woods with J.S. Rafaeli is published
prohibited is because we made a decision. The impulse to
by Ebury (14.99). To buy from The Week Bookshop for 11.99,
temporarily alter ones mind is both natural and universal, and
call 020-3176 3835 or visit www.theweek.co.uk/bookshop.
unless we think inebriation intrinsically immoral in which case,
18 SEPTEMBER 2016 THE WEEK

Crossword

42
THE WEEK CROSSWORD 125
ACROSS

DOWN

1
2

3
9
11
12
14
16
17
19
20
23
24
25
26

Top sandwiches first in restaurant: beef


or fish (4)
Challenging type caught in different
locations (10)
Right name possibly for unpleasant
experience (9)
Railway found on the outskirts of Rio
de Janeiro (5)
Aristocrat holds assistant back from
specialist (having little patience, its
said!) (13)
English relative is after butter dish (7)
Tell someone quickly that film is
cancelled (4,3)
Queen has one in bed? Unlikely! (7)
Son in straw hat, a swanky one (7)
New shoe-horn a bit quirky? Could be
my design (5,8)
Muse about backing a Conservative?
Not half (5)
Obscure knight leaving count tied in
knots (9)
What orderly would dislike in a
mess? (10)
Refuse in study and yard (4)

4
5
6
7
8
10
13
15
18
19
21
22

Criminals hijacking plot (10)


Bounder with marked accent needing
no introduction (5)
Moderate hurry after start of
concert (7)
More wanting new phone service on
dire mobile (7)
Some morticians endlessly contrive
sympathy (13)
Dramatisation with stand-in away (6,3)
Old communist wrong to show up (4)
Sounds like its permitted in a
philosophy class? (8,5)
Brass face installed in English vessel
right away (10)
Parade, but not this month? (5,4)
City playing here in brown (7)
Unreliable transport provided by old
railway firms holding on (7)
Rooms were acceptable but lacking
finish (5)
Mostly favoured game in the
country (4)

Clue of the week: Put the A in art, essentially (2,5) Sunday Telegraph

Solution to Crossword 123


ACROSS: 9 Nursemaid 10 Potty 11 Oration 12 Germane 13 Ear
14 Demonstrate 17 Manna 18 Moi 19 Miles 21 Laundresses 23 Lac 25 Resigns
27 Portion 28 About 29 In the soup
DOWN: 1 Encore 2 Trial run 3 Behindhand 4 Barn 5 Ad agencies 6 Spar
7 Ottawa 8 Pyrenees 15 Membership 16 Timeserver 17 Maltreat 20 Lollipop 22
Upshot 24 Canape 26 Goth 27 Pitt
Clue of the Week: Tender working with surgeries? (10,5 first letter R)
Solution: REGISTERED NURSE

An essential read for


anyone who is or aspires to become
a business leader in the GCC

Sudoku 125 (difficult)


Fill in all the squares so that each row,
column and each of the 3x3 squares
contains all the digits from 1 to 9

Solution to Sudoku 124

Charity of the week

Adopt-a-Camp
Adopt-a-Camp (AAC) is an initative designed to improve the lives of the
thousands of migrant labourers who live and work in the UAE. It has been
working for eight years and currently has 50 camps and more than 50,000
men under its wing. Programmes offered by AAC include English language
lessons for labourers and the delivery of Ramadan care packages.
Visit www.adoptacamp.ae to find out how you can help.

THE WEEK 18 SEPTEMBER 2016

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