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The Guardian view on Covid-19 and cults of strength: the weakest response | Editorial episode download
28 mai, par Editorial[ —]

Trump, Bolsonaro and Putin have taken a cynical political gamble with the lives of citizens

Even leaders who thrive by bullying people have realised that they can’t bully a pandemic. But nor does caution fit easily with their macho political image. Their temptation has been to let it run its course instead. Now the facts are catching up with them.

The Brazilian president, Jair Bolsonaro, has repeatedly dismissed the risks from coronavirus, defied his own government’s advice by meeting crowds of supporters, and pushed states to reopen beauty parlours as the death toll climbed. This week it passed 25,000, and a study suggested it could hit 125,000 by early August. Brazil ranks second in the world for recorded cases – all the more shocking given its strong performance in the previous HIV and Zika virus health crises.

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Moving climate up the global political agenda | Letters

28 mai, par Letters[ —]

Readers respond to an article by Rebecca Willis in which MPs agreed to speak candidly about climate change

Rebecca Willis has done a great service in confirming that there has long been a deeply rooted socially constructed silence on climate change among MPs (‘I don’t want to be seen as a zealot’: what MPs really think about the climate crisis, Long read, 21 May). However, there is a silence within that silence: namely the refusal of MPs who do engage with climate change to acknowledge it as first and foremost a global issue, and not merely an international or even national one.

It is no longer tenable for the world to rely solely on individual countries such as the UK to blaze trails towards net-zero emissions in the hope that others will voluntarily follow at their own pace. World leaders need to wake up to the looming security threats from burning fossil fuels (and forests) and start tackling them at their sources – in the first instance by setting enforceable controls on extraction of fossil fuels, akin to controls on nuclear arms.

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Test and trace undermined by Cummings | Letters

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28 mai, par Letters[ —]

Maggi Carr, Trevor Toms, Ruth Windle, Anita Charlton and Sarah Houghton on the government’s new scheme for keeping a lid on Covid-19, and on the prime ministerial adviser’s lockdown breaches

The launch of the test-and-trace system was supposed to be on 1 June, but it was brought forward to 27 May, even though it wasn’t ready (Hancock: it is public’s ‘civic duty’ to follow test-and-trace instructions in England, 27 May). Could this have had anything to do with the government wanting to deflect attention from the Dominic Cummings scandal? Furthermore, the prime minister keeps saying that what people want is to “move on”, which is contradicted by the polls. The only way to move on is to admit that the rules were badly bent if not actually broken by Cummings, by their very architect, apologise, and dispense with his services.
Maggi Carr

• Can anyone in government explain why, following the inability of ministers to deal with Dominic Cummings, I should install their new tracing app? Since members of the government have largely thrown their support behind someone who broke the lockdown rules, I can see no reason why I should now adhere to their requirements with this new app. I already had concerns over the privacy element of the app, but this latest refusal to acknowledge the anger felt by so many people and deal with the matter leaves me no choice but not to participate.
Trevor Toms
Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire

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Nagorno-Karabakh and Ramil Safarov | Letter

28 mai, par Letters[ —]

Azerbaijani ambassador Tahir Taghizade responds to a recent article

Nagorno-Karabakh is not a “disputed territory” as described in your article about the case of Ramil Safarov (Relatives of Armenian axed to death by Azeri officer call for justice, 25 May). It is an integral, internationally recognised part of Azerbaijan which, together with seven other regions of Azerbaijan, has been occupied by Armenia for more than 25 years. More than a million Azerbaijanis became refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs). In 1993 the United Nations security council adopted four resolutions demanding the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of Armenian troops from the territory of Azerbaijan. These resolutions are yet to be implemented.

Ramil Safarov was forcibly expelled as a child from his home town, Jabrayil, which is also under Armenian occupation. His extradition from Hungary – where he had already served eight years in prison – to Azerbaijan was done on a legal basis, and it is the constitutional right of the head of any sovereign state to pardon its citizens. While Azerbaijan is calling for justice for its refugees and IDPs, Armenia employs all instruments and platforms to solidify its occupation of Azerbaijan’s territories.
Tahir Taghizade
Ambassador of the Republic of Azerbaijan to the UK

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Lockdown reviewed for Ambridge residents | Brief letters episode download
28 mai, par Letters[ —]

NHS rainbow | Barnard Castle | The Archers | Stockings and tights

If Charlotte Higgins’ “anthropologists from another world” (Why we shouldn’t be calling our healthcare workers ‘heroes’, 27 May) read the ninth chapter of the book of Genesis, they would understand that the NHS rainbow emblem is less “apotropaic device” and more post-diluvian promissorily covenantal, as I’m sure most plain-speaking hebdomadal hand-clappers and saucepan-bangers would agree.
Fr Alec Mitchell
Holyhead, Anglesey

• Presumably, as a former denizen of Durham, Mr Cummings is aware of the vernacular use of the term Barnard (or Barney) Castle to indicate “a pathetic excuse”. Classic Dom.
Austen Lynch
Garstang, Lancashire

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After PPE and testing, contact tracing looks like the next government shambles | David McCoy

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28 mai, par David McCoy[ —]

The Conservatives’ zeal for outsourcing and centralisation has compromised its coronavirus strategy from the outset

Curbing the coronavirus outbreak involves a familiar mantra: test, trace, isolate. As of this week, the government will begin to roll out the second part of this strategy. In theory, contact tracers will call or text people in England who test positive for coronavirus, asking them to provide a list of everyone they have met for longer than 15 minutes, who will then receive a message instructing them to self-isolate for 14 days (Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are rolling out separate programmes).

But already, England’s contact-tracing strategy looks set to be hobbled by the government’s reluctance to involve local authorities and regional public health expertise in its coronavirus response from the outset, and its dogmatic commitment to outsourcing health services to the private sector.  

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The Tories are losing the shires – this is a gift for Keir Starmer | Gaby Hinsliff

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28 mai, par Gaby Hinsliff[ —]

Voters got what they wanted in Boris Johnson: a rule-breaking rogue. But that was before coronavirus, and Cummings

What Britain wants is a “strong leader prepared to break the rules”. Or at least that’s what it wanted a year ago, when a Hansard Society survey showed that 54% of voters were actively looking for a prime minister willing to play dirty if necessary.

In retrospect, these findings predicted much about the rise of Boris Johnson last summer. His supporters were never so much blind to his flaws – who didn’t know the score by then? – as curiously attracted to them, or at least willing to see their usefulness in the circumstances.

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Cummings is the symbol of a political class that knows consequences are for little people | James Butler

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28 mai, par James Butler[ —]

Why should we keep faith with democracy when our leaders bend laws and distort truth?

There is a moment in all British political scandals when a prickly sensation creeps up the spine: “He’s going to get away with it, isn’t he?” It isn’t provoked by Dominic Cummings alone. I felt the same watching Michael Gove’s exchange with Nick Ferrari on LBC: Gove first starting to claim that he too took the occasional miles-long drive to test his vision before rowing back, perhaps dazzled by the scale of the lie. Smirks were exchanged. The same when Matt Hancock stared down the camera on 30 April and celebrated “achieving” his testing target; the reflux came two days ago, when revised testing figures revealed the target had, in fact, never been hit.

It is not a sensation produced merely by lies, or the stench of hypocrisy in high places. It is the smirk, the assured belief that consequences are for little people, and that, in any case, anyone who really matters is in on the act. These people are open about it: to accept it is a mark of urbanity, to be disgusted by it is gauche.

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The world wasn't ready for a Green New Deal in 2009. Today, it may be | Larry Elliott

28 mai, par Larry Elliott[ —]

There is no easy route to a greener global economy. But since coronavirus hit, politics and business are thinking again

Timing matters. Early 2020 saw an economic collapse the likes of which have not been seen in living memory. Growth has collapsed, unemployment has soared, poverty has increased.

Yet in different circumstances the past few months would have been dominated by calls for countries to do more to cut carbon emissions. As 2019 drew to an end, everybody from the managing director of the International Monetary Fund to the governor of the Bank of England was warning of the threat of global heating.

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