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Even as we rail at our leaders, we fail to address our own manifest flaws | Howard Jacobson1h Even as we rail at our leaders, we fail to address our own manifest flaws | Howard Jacobson
Our political class is paralysed and we complain that we have never been so badly served. But what about our own errors of judgment?Now is the perfect storm of our discontent. Rather than wonder how it will end – because it can only end badly – we’d do better by asking how it began. I am inclined always to take the long view myself. We listened to the snake in the garden – it’s striking how like
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We risk losing slices of our past if we don’t root out racism in our universities | David Olusoga2h We risk losing slices of our past if we don’t root out racism in our universities | David Olusoga
History is in crisis when black students refuse to study it and staff suffer abuse What happens when a highly respected professional body undertakes serious and rigorous research into race and racism in its industry? Then, in the light of depressing findings, the researchers call upon their profession, institutions and colleagues to confront “persistent inequalities in our habits and practices”? The dismal answer is that both the researchers and their findings are served up, by parts of the press, as disapproval fodder for the “world’s gone mad”, “had enough of experts” demographic; the hard core of the unreality-based community.
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Only when MPs stare into the abyss will they agree to a People’s Vote | Andrew Rawnsley5h Only when MPs stare into the abyss will they agree to a People’s Vote | Andrew Rawnsley
Total parliamentary deadlock, with rejections of both Theresa May’s deal and a no-deal, is the likeliest route to another referendum The march for a People’s Vote converged on Parliament Square. Since MPs were not at home to hear the crowds, some might say that this was a bit pointless. I’d say it was exactly the right place to be. The Brexit stramash began in parliament. Parliament is failing to find a resolution. If another referendum is the only way to escape from the deep hole in which Britain is trapped, then that will require the agreement of MPs. Marches are good for the morale of a cause. They can give momentum and energy to a campaign. It can be a fun and sociable way to spend a Saturday. But those campaigning for another referendum need to know this. Marches by themselves are never going to produce another plebiscite. It is possible that the country will get a last-gasp chance to change its mind and call the whole damn thing off, but that opportunity depends on MPs. It can happen only if sufficient of them are persuaded that a further referendum is the right thing to do or the expedient thing to do. And if not those, then that throwing the question back to the people is the only thing left to do.
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Turkey should look to its own brutal treatment of journalists | Kenan Malik5h Turkey should look to its own brutal treatment of journalists | Kenan Malik
We must not forget the country’s appalling treatment of its own dissidents since the failed coup in 2016Five months ago, I wrote of
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What harm can a couple of inflatable penises do to our historic cities? | Sophie Heawood5h What harm can a couple of inflatable penises do to our historic cities? | Sophie Heawood
York’s latest assault on hen and stag parties ignores the fact that it owes so much to marauding outsiders And so to York, where the powers that be are trying to ban buskers from
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White identity is meaningless. Real dignity is found in shared hopes | Kenan Malik5h White identity is meaningless. Real dignity is found in shared hopes | Kenan Malik
Demographics cannot make sense of unrest. Social context is key to understanding‘It’s dignity, stupid.” Where once economic wellbeing was seen as key to winning electoral support, there is now recognition that more intangible qualities matter too – the ability to be heard, to live in meaningful communities, to possess self-worth. The acceptance that values and social connectedness matter is welcome. The danger, though, is that concern with dignity is becoming as rigid as was that with economic security. In this age of identity politics, dignity is all too often reduced to the public affirmation of ethnic or cultural identity.
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Orwell was right: free speech is important but it is not enough | David Dwan5h Orwell was right: free speech is important but it is not enough | David Dwan
Freedom of expression is a dangerous licence when severed from any commitment to truth, as cyber-thugs reveal daily It’s been an eventful week for what we used to call truth. The Saudi government has finally admitted that Jamal Khashoggi has been killed, although its
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Beware the pernicious Catholicism that is presently abroad in the land | Kevin McKenna5h Beware the pernicious Catholicism that is presently abroad in the land | Kevin McKenna
Why stop at outlawing flags? Ban rosary beads and making the sign of the cross too I am often moved to reproach myself for deploying a disrespectful attitude to Police Scotland. The men and women who patrol our streets and monitor the internet day and night to keep us safe have a difficult job and I feel that they are underappreciated. Thus I was encouraged to learn recently that our national police service is continuing to go yon extra mile in keeping our communities safe. Our officers of the law are now pledged to root out the aggressive and
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The Observer view on dealing with child-grooming gangs | Observer editorial5h The Observer view on dealing with child-grooming gangs | Observer editorial
The victims of the horrific events in Huddersfield and other cities are not best served by a polarised debate on race Rotherham, Rochdale, Oxford, Bristol, Peterborough, Newcastle – and now Huddersfield. These are the places across the country where young girls, failed by those supposed to protect them, have been preyed on by gangs of men who repeatedly rape and abuse them. Every new case that emerges raises the question: how many more are there to come to light? No words can do justice to the horrific abuse perpetrated by a gang of 20 men in
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If you’re on the side of democracy, Nick Clegg, why are you going to work for Facebook? | Carole Cadwalladr5h If you’re on the side of democracy, Nick Clegg, why are you going to work for Facebook? | Carole Cadwalladr
When you take the Zuckerberg shilling, you’re leaving your principles behind you Dear Nick, congratulations on the
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The Harry and Meghan show is a right royal turn-off | Barbara Ellen5h The Harry and Meghan show is a right royal turn-off | Barbara Ellen
I really don’t want to know what the royal couple did on their holiday – or even what you did on yours Hey everybody, did you realise that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex were touring Australia? It’s impossible to escape the
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Porn not only messes with young men’s minds, but their bodies too | Barbara Ellen5h Porn not only messes with young men’s minds, but their bodies too | Barbara Ellen
Is it surprising they struggle to get erections when their instruction manual is so twisted? Far from porn being the great inspirer of sexual play, could too much early exposure contribute to erectile dysfunction and male performance anxiety? A
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The history and horror of the Great War | Letters5h The history and horror of the Great War | Letters
The Observer’s Armistice supplement gave readers plenty to mull – and in some cases weep – overMay I add to your excellent Armistice supplement. Between 1958 and 1961, I was in digs in Norfolk with a gamekeeper. He had spent the whole of the First World War in France on a bicycle running errands. He was probably given the job because, as a gamekeeper, he knew about finding cover. More than 40 years later he was still talking about the war. The worst part, he said, was the starvation in the trenches when it was over. There was so much celebration in London that everyone had forgotten the men in the trenches still needed feeding.
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The People’s Vote is a cause worth marching for10h The People’s Vote is a cause worth marching for
The energy is with Remain: when hundreds of thousands give up their time for peaceful protest, they are never wrongApproaching 700,000 people marched on Saturday for a
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John Bercow is not the man to fix the house. He should go | Jess Phillips16h John Bercow is not the man to fix the house. He should go | Jess Phillips
It pains me to say it, but the Speaker is not up to the job of ending the culture of bullying at WestministerA fish rots from the head, apparently. I have no idea if this is fact or a fiction that makes for a brutal metaphor, one that I heard again and again in parliament last week. The fish is parliament and the head is the Speaker, John Bercow. Dame
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David Cameron led us to this calamity. Yet he stays quiet and hides in his hut | Nick Cohen17h David Cameron led us to this calamity. Yet he stays quiet and hides in his hut | Nick Cohen
As ex-prime minister, he has a duty to offer a solution on Brexit, but lacks the gutsJohn Major, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown have warned of the dangers of Brexit. But where is the former prime minister who called the referendum that will blight Britain for as far ahead as anyone can see? Whatever happened to that likely lad? David Cameron doesn’t want to talk about it, one of his friends tells me. “He doesn’t defend the referendum, but won’t say he made a mistake either. Europe is like a family scandal. We know what’s happened but we don’t say a word: it’s his no-go zone.” At a personal level, the consequences swirl around him. I may be exhausting your capacity for compassion but the smallest of the casualties of Brexit has been the good fellowship of the Chipping Norton set. Naturally, the Cotswolds’ wealthy Leavers are grateful. But Cameron must resent them. He must know that he has been the useful idiot who succumbed to the demands of Rupert Murdoch’s
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Lizzo would be a sea witch to make us all live happily ever after | Rebecca Nicholson19h Lizzo would be a sea witch to make us all live happily ever after | Rebecca Nicholson
The American rapper seems a natural for the remake of The Little Mermaid The singer and rapper
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The Observer view on the urgent need for a fresh vote on Europe | Observer editorial22h The Observer view on the urgent need for a fresh vote on Europe | Observer editorial
While Europe remains united in defence of its principles, the Tory party is hopelessly divided. Voters must be given a voiceThe way the hard Tory Brexiters told it, Europe’s leaders should have been begging for mercy by now. Instead, Germany’s Angela Merkel and France’s Emmanuel Macron
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Am I too young to write my autobiography? No way! | Chibundu Onuzo29h Am I too young to write my autobiography? No way! | Chibundu Onuzo
We all have stories to tell. History is not just about the big names. It’s about our everyday lives “Isn’t that a little premature?” a relative of mine asked when I told him I was writing the story of my life so far in eight essays. For some, my life has been too short to be chronicled. I’ve not reached 30 yet, that age milestone that proves beyond doubt you are now irrevocably an adult. For others, my life has been too uneventful. I’ve watched news of wars, earthquakes and famine ticker past on my TV, safe in my living room. And you might even say my life has been too insignificant. I don’t have a
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Bullies too often go unchecked – and not just in Westminster | Gaby Hinsliff29h Bullies too often go unchecked – and not just in Westminster | Gaby Hinsliff
It’s a problem that buck-passing managers often ignore. But the damage is immense The shouting was audible from the end of the corridor, but it was only when I got close that it was clear what was actually happening. A well-known broadcaster, who shall not be named despite richly deserving it, was bawling at an obviously frightened junior researcher for something that seemingly wasn’t her fault. Walking into the whole thing as a studio guest was as oddly embarrassing as stumbling into a marital row by accident, but asking around later I learned that it apparently happened all the time. The presenter had a reputation not merely for being a bully but for not particularly caring who saw her throw her weight around. (Yes, it was a woman. Female bosses can be appalling bullies, just as men can.) It was years ago, I was young and fairly junior myself, and didn’t know what to do, except go on air and awkwardly pretend it hadn’t happened. But this week, reading
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