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Now it’s official: the less you have, the more austerity will take from you | Frances Ryan

17 November, by Frances Ryan[ —]
The government’s own figures have proved what has been obvious since 2010: minorities, women and disabled people are the ones being hit the hardest

If the point of government is to make the already disadvantaged worse off, then the Conservatives have used the last seven years in power exceptionally well. Today the Equality and Human Rights Commission released a major report calculating the impact austerity is having on Britain – painstakingly calculating the impact that changes to all tax, social security and public spending since 2010 will have on each of us by 2022.

Black households (as the report puts it) will lose 5% of income – more than double the loss for white households

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The Brexit nightmare inside the Sun’s sleeping BBC journalists ‘scandal’ | Anne Perkins

17 November, by Anne Perkins[ —]
Normally such a front page could be dismissed as mischief. But amid the fractious dispute about who is really on the people’s side, it matters

Early in the play Ink, James Graham’s brilliant portrayal of the birth of the Murdoch Sun, the embryonic tycoon explains to the future editor of his new tabloid, “You gotta be a pneumatic drill, Larry, never letting up, powering on through.” Rupert Murdoch never, ever, lets up.

His newspapers have an institutional grudge against the BBC. To their executives this vast corporation bestrides the media landscape, hiding behind the claim of impartiality to pump out the establishment view. It is out-of-touch, irrelevant, and insulated from reality by what is worst of all about it: it is publicly funded. On the back of the licence payer’s pound, it hoovers up digital bandwidth, squeezes out unsubsidised rivals, and filches the News Corp’s executives’ bonuses.

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Blaming baby boomers won’t put roofs over young people’s heads, Sajid | Simon Jenkins

play episode
17 November, by Simon Jenkins[ —]
He’s taken sides with millennials, in a debate that has become about avocados. If he wanted to solve the housing ‘crisis’ he would boost social housing

If in doubt, blame someone else. Sajid Javid’s solution to the “housing crisis” is to accuse the baby-boomer bourgeoisie of south-east England of antagonising “avocado-eating millennials”. He says the baby boomers are impeding new houses in the countryside and rendering his Tory-deserting millennials “rootless and resentful of both capitalism and politicians”. What rubbish.

New building is under 10% of the housing market, and has never made a measurable impact on house prices. New housing in green belts would be a tiny fraction of even that figure. As for the number of these actually being “blocked by baby boomers”, it must be trivial.

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A moment that changed me: seeing my first moth fish | Fiona Gell

17 November, by Fiona Gell[ —]
I was 22 and fascinated by fish behaviour. But when scientist Amanda Vincent showed me this strange creature I became convinced that my future lay in conservation — not in the lab

Like many of the most important occasions in my life, the moment that changed me involved fish. Holding the desiccated carcass of a sea moth while talking to my heroine, the fish biologist and conservationist Dr Amanda Vincent, altered the course of my life.

I was 22, and had just finished my biology degree. For my dissertation research I had spent a couple of months following butterflyfish in the Ras Mohammed national park in the Egyptian Red Sea. I had grown to recognise them by their individual markings and, by snorkelling at a discreet distance, I had mapped their territories and recorded their daily routine.

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Spoiling my grandchildren might be bad for them, but I can’t help it | Peter White

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/grandparents-and-grandparentingplay episode download
17 November, by Peter White[ —]
Research suggests that indulgent grandparents like me are harming their health. But I’m happy to make my house a rules-free paradise for them

Since I became a grandad, the sounds of Friday night have subtly changed in our house. Time was, the coming of the weekend was heralded by the peeling of plastic off pungent chicken madras, the happy snap of a ring-pull from a can of my favourite bitter, and the mournful strains of Coronation Street signalling the switching off of an overworked brain. But since Hannah and Paul came into my life, the soundscape has been markedly different.

It goes something like this. Running feet (knowing the sharpness of my hearing, they don’t often bother to creep), cupboard doors being wrenched open, the plunk of the lid coming off the biscuit tin followed by frantic scrabbling, presumably aimed at finding the ones with the most chocolate on them. Then there’s the tearing of crisp packets, then silence will fall for a short while, only to be shattered by the restarting of an Xbox until the next sacking of my kitchen by the Goths and the Visigoths.

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Politicians must dare to shape public opinion, not just follow it | Abi Wilkinson

https://www.theguardian.com/uk/immigrationplay episode download
17 November, by Abi Wilkinson[ —]
Research shows public opinion swung against unemployed people after New Labour had begun to denigrate them

Within Labour, there are two competing narratives about the 1997 general election. The first is that Tony Blair was the party’s saviour. After the best part of two decades in the wilderness, his programme of “modernisation” finally made the party electable again.

By ditching Clause Four and embracing some elements of the neoliberal economic consensus – combined with a commitment to poverty reduction and, perhaps the central principle of Blairism, meritocracy – New Labour was able to appeal to a broader cross-section of voters than a more traditional incarnation of the party ever could – particularly to the aspirational “Mondeo man” – a traditional Labour voter who had switched to the Conservatives under Margaret Thatcher thanks to tax cuts and policies such as right-to-buy.

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Truck drivers like me will soon be replaced by automation. You're next | Finn Murphy

17 November, by Finn Murphy[ —]

Innovators like Elon Musk – who have long worked to get self-driving trucks on the road – are poised to remove the last humans left in the modern supply chain

I’ve been driving big trucks since shortly after my 21st birthday in 1980 and I always figured I’d be able to stay on the road until retirement. Now I’m not so sure. Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, Daimler, Tesla, Uber, Ford and Toyota are all investing billions of dollars in driverless vehicles.

I’m sure about one thing, though: driverless trucks will be here before driverless cars because that’s where the early money is going to be made. With some of the world’s most aggressive and best capitalized companies racing to be first with a viable driverless vehicle, I don’t give myself very good odds on choosing when to hang up my keys.

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The Senate should focus on things we care about - like Aussie baked goods! | First Dog on the Moon

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/australia-newsplay episode download
17 November, by First Dog on the Moon[ —]

Other countries seem to believe ‘climate change’ is a threat to the planet. Ridiculous. But enough of that, let’s instead celebrate the humble friand!

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Don’t mock the Redknapps. Living apart together can save a marriage | Gaby Hinsliff

17 November, by Gaby Hinsliff[ —]

Louise and Jamie Redknapp are recoupling part-time. When it allows each partner room to be themselves, having separate homes can be a good idea

For the novelist Margaret Drabble and her biographer and husband Michael Holroyd, it was an arrangement that gave both the freedom to write. And for the actor Helena Bonham Carter and director Tim Burton, maintaining two separate adjoining apartments seemed the perfect if unconventional recipe for family life – at least until it ended in them splitting up.

Yet the romantic grey area that is living apart together, or inhabiting not just separate bedrooms but separate homes, still holds a guilty allure for many long-serving couples. Imagine, time alone! Even just a couple of nights a week, whether to flop exhausted on the sofa and not have to talk, or to go out and enjoy the bright lights a homebody partner won’t; to be master of the remote control, eat crisps and wine for dinner instead of cooking, catch up with friends she or he never got on with – but all within the blissful security of a committed relationship. If it didn’t come larded with sotto voce questions about whether one of you is secretly having an affair, how many more couples would want to follow suit?

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Yes, we can halt the rise of the international far right | Timothy Garton Ash

17 November, by Timothy Garton Ash[ —]

The ugly nationalist march in Poland is part of an alarming global trend. It is for all of us – not just politicians – to resist it

Every journalism school should show its students the video clip of the moment on Saturday when a chirpy Polish state television reporter asked a man decked out in red and white national colours what it meant to him to participate in a march celebrating Poland’s independence day. “It means,” replied the man, “to remove from power … Jewry!”

Related: This weekend’s march in Poland proves the far right isn’t going away without a fight | Paul Mason

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