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Boris Johnson has failed to protect the nation. Instead he's protecting one man | Aditya Chakrabortty

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27 mai, par Aditya Chakrabortty[ —]

He missed vital meetings on coronavirus, and was barely seen for weeks, but for Dominic Cummings he’s fought tooth and nail

If only Boris Johnson had acted as swiftly and forcefully on the pandemic as he has to save Dominic Cummings. No 10 has thrown everything into defending one man, while it has failed to protect 66 million other Britons.

Over February and early March, Johnson was scarcely to be seen, even as the coronavirus crept into the UK through our airports, our workplaces, our pubs and gyms. But in the past few days he has put himself front and centre, displaying a speed and decisiveness that contrasts shamefully with his previous lethal complacency.

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Tory privatisation is at the heart of the UK's disastrous coronavirus response | George Monbiot

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27 mai, par George Monbiot[ —]

From PPE failures to care home tragedies, this crisis has exposed the pernicious role of corporate power in public policy

Amid the smog of lies and contradictions, there is one question we should never stop asking: why has the government of the United Kingdom so spectacularly failed to defend people’s lives? Why has “this fortress built by Nature for herself against infection”, as Shakespeare described our islands, succumbed to a greater extent than any other European nation to a foreseeable and containable pandemic?

Part of the answer is that the government knowingly and deliberately stood down crucial parts of its emergency response system. Another part is that, when it did at last seek to mobilise the system, crucial bits of the machine immediately fell off. There is a consistent reason for the multiple, systemic failures the pandemic has exposed: the intrusion of corporate power into public policy. Privatisation, commercialisation, outsourcing and offshoring have severely compromised the UK’s ability to respond to a crisis.

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'I had an active life': How are shielders surviving lockdown?

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26 mai, par Frances Ryan[ —]

Millions of people with underlying health conditions have not left the house for more than two months

“Shielding is lonely, hard work and stressful,” says Vicki Milner, 26, in Bristol. Her asthma means Milner’s lung capacity is that of someone in their 50s. She is one of millions of people with underlying health conditions in the UK who are shielding during the coronavirus pandemic, meaning they are not leaving their home at all, even for exercise or food shopping.

Milner, who works as a solicitor, is not on the limited government shielding list but like many others at risk, has chosen to stay indoors to protect herself. Unable to go out herself and living alone, Milner is finding relying on other people to deliver food and medicine hard. “I was really independent before this,” she says. “I had a very active life and I miss my friends, family and boyfriend. I don’t think people realise how hard it is.”

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Reversing the brain drain: why coronavirus could stop graduates moving to London | Rachel Connolly

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26 mai, par Rachel Connolly[ —]

This mass experiment in home working could mean young people no longer have to move to the south-east for jobs

My grandma, who lives in Derry, had never been to England until last year, so it was a great honour when she made the trip to London to visit me and my sister, who have both lived on the mainland (in one city or another) for the best part of a decade. We had “great craic” during her stay. We went to the big art galleries and museums, which everyone in the UK helps fund through their taxes, but many never get to visit; she accidentally attended a pro-Brexit protest; and she charmed the waiter of a pizza restaurant with what she calls her “Derry eyes”, striking because of their unusual blue and orange-yellow irises, which she has passed down to my mum, my siblings and me. She wore a lime green suit for the duration of her stay, like a very elegant leprechaun.

That was almost a year ago and I haven’t seen her in person since. I’m always a bit jealous of people for whom family get-togethers like these aren’t a rarity. As they are for many young people in the UK who grew up outside of the economic hub of the south-east, the job prospects in the region where I’m from are, shall we say, not great. So, like many young people, I moved away for university, then to London for work, and now my life feels awkwardly spread across several versions of home. I don’t see most of my family as much as I’d like and I feel like I move every few years for reasons not totally within my control. Now that a pandemic has prompted this mass experiment in working from home, I have been thinking more about whether it has to be this way.

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Johnson and Cummings have revealed their flawed view of what strong leadership is | Suzanne Moore

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25 mai, par Suzanne Moore[ —]

The question is not whether the prime minister will forgive his adviser, but whether people will forgive this government for failing to keep us safe

We must shield the vulnerable. This is what most of us have understood for the past 10 weeks. Most families have been split apart, often in dire circumstances. For adults and parents of children with compromised immune systems, this remains a frightening time. To be in touch with your own vulnerability is profoundly unsettling. Even on a sunny day, the mood you detect is one of anxiety. “Let’s have a socially distanced picnic and pretend it’s all OK,” is one reaction; another is refusing to edge out of lockdown without the kind of reassurance that can never be given.

In this clammy emotional climate, it is unbelievable that Boris Johnson’s interpretation of shielding the vulnerable meant shielding Dominic Cummings. Contempt for the public has been met with contempt from the public. The anger is real, and it will not dissipate. Cummings’ situation is untenable and Johnson is fatally damaged, whatever happens next.

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This is why we're proposing a wealth tax in Spain to help us out of this crisis | Pablo Echenique

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25 mai, par Pablo Echenique[ —]

My country’s recovery from coronavirus should be funded by those who can afford it. A new levy could generate €10bn

  • Pablo Echenique is a scientist and MP for Unidas Podemos

The Covid-19 pandemic has hit Spain hard. A decade of budgetary cuts to the country’s welfare system, in particular to healthcare, has exacerbated the crisis. Spain is a travelling hub and one of the major tourist destinations in the world. As a result, we are one of the countries hardest hit by coronavirus. There have been more than 27,000 confirmed deaths – and around 280,000 confirmed infections.

However, the Spanish government took prompt action and, after a very strict lockdown, the virus has been subdued and the unbearable stress on hospitals has been eased. The daily data now allows us to start to take stock of the damage caused and to plan for the future, while still keeping an alert eye on possible new outbreaks.

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Britain's pride in its past is not matched by any vision for its future | Timothy Garton Ash

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21 mai, par Timothy Garton Ash[ —]

There have been times over the last few weeks when it has felt as if we were living through a looped replay of Dad’s Army

Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of them all? The Covid-19 crisis is a mirror held up to each nation. Some, such as Jacinda Ardern’s New Zealand, look very good indeed. Many have celebrated an unfamiliar unity, solidarity and selflessness, praising as distinctively Spanish, Italian or Danish the very same qualities that just across the frontier are being lauded as Portuguese, French or Swedish. Others, such as the United States and Poland, are tragically revealed as incapable of achieving national solidarity even when faced with such an external threat. Instead they appear more politically polarised than ever, like a man whose right arm is fully engaged in wrestling with his own left arm while a tiger mauls his back.

Related: Britain was led by Churchill then – it’s led by a Churchill tribute act now

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Could the 'liberal' Dutch have learned from Taiwan's approach to coronavirus? |

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19 mai, par Cha-Hsuan Liu and Jaap Bos[ —]

Taiwan’s Covid-19 measures could be seen as intrusive. But seven people have died there, compared with 5,000 in the Netherlands

The whole world has been struggling to contain the coronavirus and “flatten the curve”, but Taiwan has had no curve. Out of a population of 24 million, only 440 people have tested positive for Covid-19, and there have been just seven deaths. Compare that with the Netherlands: while it is similar in size to Taiwan with a population of 17 million, well over 5,000 lives have been lost to the virus.

What has made the difference? Clearly, the Netherlands is not an island that could cut itself off from the rest of world, lock down completely and thus contain the disease. Taiwan is – but Taiwan didn’t do that either.

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Elites have failed us. It is time to create a European republic | Lorenzo Marsili and Ulrike Guérot

10 mai, par Lorenzo Marsili and Ulrike Guérot[ —]

After the pandemic, EU citizens must seize the moment to build a democracy of equals who share the same protections

In 1933, the year of the Nazi takeover, the French writer Julien Benda wrote his Discourse to the European Nation, urging Europeans to come together around their shared universalist values and against the rising monsters of nationalism. As Europe marched towards the murder of its soul and its people, many dared to dream the impossible.

Benda was not alone. The Ventotene manifesto, one of the founding texts of European federalism, was drafted in 1941. And it was against the background of a continent in ruins that Churchill spoke of a “United States of Europe” in 1946. The rebirth of Europe would have been unthinkable if the flame of European unity had not been kept alive throughout the continent’s darkest hour.

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Why did former Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn choose a life on the run? - podcast

14 janvier, par Presented by Anushka Asthana with Justin McCurry and Gary Younge; produced by Hannah Moore, Courtney Yusuf and Axel Kacoutié; executive producers Phil Maynard and Nicole Jackson[ —]

The former CEO of Nissan, Carlos Ghosn, was once one of Japan’s most respected business people. Now, as the Guardian’s Justin McCurry reports, he’s on the run in Lebanon after fleeing the country to escape financial misconduct charges. Also today: Gary Younge looks back on the opportunities he had as he bows out after 26 years at the Guardian

Stories in the business pages don’t often catch the eye of Hollywood scriptwriters. But the case of Carlos Ghosn is an exception. Over Christmas, the former boss of the Japanese car giant Nissan, wearing a disguise, reportedly hid inside a musical instrument case and jumped bail from financial misconduct charges in Japan to Lebanon.

The Guardian’s Justin McCurry has been following the story from Tokyo and watched as Ghosn broke cover at an extraordinary press conference last week from Beirut in which he called out former colleagues and the entire Japanese justice system. It now appears unlikely that Ghosn will ever face charges in a Japanese – but has he instead chosen the life of a fugitive?

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