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The Guardian view on stop and search: police people, don’t terrorise them | Editorial

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10 juillet, par Editorial[ —]

London’s top police officer is in denial about a counterproductive stop-and-search policy

Cressida Dick, the commissioner of London’s Metropolitan police, appears to be in denial about the extent of institutional racism in the force she leads. The evidence that some of her officers and policies do discriminate is hiding in plain sight. Black people in the capital are four times more likely to be Tasered than their white peers. During the coronavirus lockdown, her officers were more than twice as likely to issue fines to black people as to white people. Perhaps if her force resembled the city it policed, such disparities would shrink. London cannot wait for this to happen. At the current rate of recruitment, the Met will be disproportionately white for a century.

There is a pressing need for reform. Ms Dick said last year that the Met had won the war against racism in the ranks. She has been wilfully blind about the failure of her force to treat black and white people alike. Her apology for the “distress” suffered by two black athletes who were pulled over in their car and handcuffed in a stop and search that turned up nothing but their three-month-old baby in the back seat is no turning point. It was an attempt to deflect mounting criticism for the way stop and search has been applied in the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests. During the coronavirus lockdown, when crime rates fell, stop and search continued for the sake of it. In May alone, one in eight young black males in London were stopped and searched.

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The Guardian view on arts freelancers: they must not be forgotten | Editorial

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10 juillet, par Editorial[ —]

The government has stepped in to protect the UK’s cultural infrastructure, but has neglected the people who make the art

The £1.57bn rescue package for the arts that the UK government announced on 5 July was both absolutely necessary and rightly welcomed. The funds ought to be sufficient to sustain Britain’s artistic and cultural infrastructure until the spring. Had they not materialised, institutions such as the Royal Opera House would have faced collapse by Christmas.

Yet theatres, concert halls, opera houses and arts centres are only the pipes through which art flows. While it is clearly important to keep this infrastructure functioning, it is of absolutely no use on its own. Indeed, the purely physical infrastructure is, by and large, the problem in terms of Covid-19, since it presents the issue of mass gatherings indoors. It is the work – art made by freelancers – that matters, and that audiences pay to see.

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The Guardian view on the Covid-19 inquiry: if not now, when? | Editorial

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9 juillet, par Editorial[ —]

Boris Johnson has no intention of setting up an independent probe of Britain’s handling of the pandemic. MPs and civil society must take the initiative

On Wednesday the World Health Organization appointed a committee of inquiry, to be led by the former New Zealand prime minister, Helen Clark, and the ex-president of Liberia, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, to evaluate the global response to the Covid-19 pandemic. They will produce an interim report in November and a full report in May 2021. For all its limitations, largely imposed by China, the inquiry is a highly important initiative. The pandemic is unrelenting and accelerating. If it is written with independence and authority, the report should help to produce a better model of international and national response to future waves of Covid-19 and to other pandemics.

Boris Johnson was rightly a supporter of an early and independent WHO inquiry. This stands in marked contrast to his cautious and evasive views on a possible inquiry into Britain’s own response. From early in the Covid-19 lockdown, there have been many calls for an inquiry here. Mr Johnson has made vaguely sympathetic noises, but he has never committed himself explicitly to the kind of inquiry that is needed. On 23 June, for example, the Liberal Democrat leader Ed Davey, who has led many of the calls, asked in the Commons whether the prime minister would set up an independent inquiry. Mr Johnson responded by saying: “I am sure there will come a moment when lessons need to be learned – indeed we are learning them the whole time – but I do not consider at the moment that a full-scale national inquiry is a good use of official time.”

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The Guardian view on Britain and China: fasten your seatbelts | Editorial

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/australia-newsplay episode download
9 juillet, par Editorial[ —]

The UK and other countries are reshaping their approach to Beijing. It’s going to be bumpy

Five years ago George Osborne, then chancellor, promised a golden decade for Sino-British relations. The sheen was always deceptive, and the decade has ended prematurely. In April, Dominic Raab remarked that there could be no return to business as usual. Now the foreign secretary’s rhetoric is translating into reality, with indications that the government is preparing to turn its back on Huawei as a 5G supplier.

The fundamental reassessment of relations with China by western countries is becoming more explicit. That Beijing will retaliate to such shifts is equally evident. On Thursday it warned Australia of unspecified consequences for offering Hongkongers a pathway to permanent residence; Canberra’s latest travel advice for China cautions its citizens that they could be arbitrarily detained. But Britain is also taking the heat over Huawei’s future and the offer of potential citizenship to Hong Kong residents. This week, Beijing’s ambassador to London, Liu Xiaoming, warned: “China wants to be UK’s friend and partner. But if you treat China as a hostile country, you would have to bear the consequences.”

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The Guardian view on Rishi Sunak: right words, right focus, wrong policies

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8 juillet, par Editorial[ —]

The chancellor is handing out cocktail umbrellas as the UK heads into a hurricane

Almost alone among his cabinet colleagues, Rishi Sunak has a knack for saying the right thing at the right time. He did it again on Wednesday while unveiling his plan for jobs. “We entered this crisis unencumbered by dogma,” the chancellor told fellow MPs. “And we continue in this spirit, driven always by the simple desire to do what is right.” Fine words uttered in a sympathetic tone. The trouble is, they are not matched by actions. The former investment banker, who can see that the UK is entering a historic economic and social crisis, is grappling with the ambitious politician who doesn’t want to scare Conservative backbenchers. What emerges from this unhappy struggle is the strange alloy offered on Wednesday: sound analysis, sensible priorities but underwhelming, sometimes even wrongheaded policies.

Where Mr Sunak is correct is that this recession is unlike any the UK has faced in decades. In order to contain a lethal virus, almost all of the real-world private sector has had to freeze in its tracks. Spending on restaurants, travel and entertainment has fallen by as much as 80%. The public sector has had to spend unprecedented sums where businesses and households cannot, covering the wages for 9 million jobs, underwriting loans to firms, and funding apprenticeships. Costing £160bn since March alone, this is hugely expensive but essential. The chancellor has sensibly ignored the backbenchers calling on him to lay out plans for spending cuts in the future. To do so now would be to damage business and consumer confidence.

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The Guardian view on Brexit and trade: an expensive geography lesson | Editorial

8 juillet, par Editorial[ —]

Boris Johnson is learning the hard way that the UK’s position on the globe is a relevant factor in its negotiations with Brussels

It is possible that Boris Johnson meant it when he said last year that Brexit would not involve checks on goods moving between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, but only if he did not understand the deal he had signed. His position made sense as dishonesty or ignorance. It was never true.

As Brexit talks continue in London this week, it turns out the government has submitted to the EU its application to put border control posts at Irish Sea ports. That is a necessary act of compliance with the Northern Ireland protocol in the withdrawal agreement.

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The Guardian view on a post-Covid recovery: not much building back greener | Editorial

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7 juillet, par Editorial[ —]

If Boris Johnson wants to permanently shift the UK on to a trajectory to meet its climate targets, he must deliver a new zero-carbon infrastructure. There’s no sign of that yet

Boris Johnson does not want a crisis to go to waste. The coronavirus-induced recession is widely accepted as an opportunity to reset and rebuild the economy to take the environmental challenge seriously. Radical green policies that once seemed impossible – such as shutting down airports and closing off roads – have been implemented overnight with public support. Now that the economy is reopening, Mr Johnson’s political goal is to produce policies that chime with the nation’s mood. He says he will “build back greener”. What Mr Johnson’s phrase means for the country will only become clear when his policies emerge.

His government’s first big announcement is a small step in the right direction. Rishi Sunak, the chancellor, will incentivise home insulation with a £2bn grant scheme so that homeowners can decrease the amount of heat lost through roofs, walls and floors. This will bring jobs back to local economies, with companies providing a labour-intensive service in a post-Covid-19 world suffering from extremely high levels of unemployment.

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The Guardian view on Trump and the Christian vote: doubting Donald | Editorial

7 juillet, par Editorial[ —]

The US president’s tactic of using religion as a battering ram in his culture wars may not work a second time

Donald Trump has suggested that the Bible is his favourite book. When pressed to say more, he has shiftily declined to name a single chapter or verse. But for those curious to understand Mr Trump’s current religious preoccupations, his Twitter feed is offering regular enlightenment in the lead-up to November’s presidential elections.

Last week, Mr Trump approvingly tweeted the words of a bestselling Catholic author who claimed on late-night television that American Christianity was under attack as protesters roamed the streets. The writer, Dr Taylor Marshall, moves in similar arch-conservative religious circles to another Trump favourite, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, the former papal nuncio to the United States. Last month Archbishop Viganò published an open letter to Mr Trump in which he claimed that the Black Lives Matter protests that followed the death of George Floyd were orchestrated by “deep state” operatives. Describing the protests as part of an assault on the values of western Christian civilisation, the archbishop praised the president for robustly opposing “the children of darkness” who were threatening the social fabric. Mr Trump tweeted that he was honoured by the archbishop’s letter and hoped “everyone, religious or not, reads it”.

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The Guardian view on £1.5bn for the arts: the shows will go on | Editorial

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6 juillet, par Editorial[ —]

Culture needed a lifeline, and has got one. Now the sector must avoid treading water

There are as many reasons to applaud the UK government’s decision to pump £1.57bn into the arts as there are theatres, concert halls, galleries, libraries, singers, dancers, acrobats, violinists, costume designers, stagehands, artists, audience members and myriad other people and organisations that will benefit from this injection. The arts sector had been poleaxed by the coronavirus pandemic. While culture, along with nature, has been a source of consolation during recent months, this has mainly applied to those forms enjoyed at home: television, recorded music, books. For live performance and museums, the pandemic has felt more like a kiss of death, as buildings have stood empty and productions have been shelved. The Haymarket Theatre in Leicester and Nuffield Southampton Theatres have already announced that they are closing.

Ministers should have acted sooner. It is more than a month since the German government announced a bailout package including €1bn set aside for culture. But the unexpected generosity of the package announced on Sunday shows that campaigners put the extra time to good use, both in public and private. By persuading the government to invest in the arts, the sector has won an important argument. Not only has the government accepted that the arts are of vital importance to the economy, it has also recognised that their value is not purely instrumental. Oliver Dowden, the culture secretary, described them as “crown jewels” and “the soul of our nation”. Progressives may balk at such language, which is at odds with a more egalitarian, inclusive and internationalist conception of what art is for and about. But we can still be glad that the plays, music, museum collections and public spaces that we value are recognised by the government as being among our most precious national treasures – not least because they have the power to bring us together.

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The Guardian view on Macron's reshuffle: taking back control? | Editorial

https://www.theguardian.com/world/franceplay episode download
6 juillet, par Editorial[ —]

The French president’s time in office has been beset by crises. As a deep post-coronavirus recession looms, the biggest one is yet to come

The coronavirus pandemic inevitably tore up the best-laid plans of prime ministers and presidents, shredding carefully assembled lists of priorities and timetables. For the French president, Emmanuel Macron, however, government as crisis management came as nothing new.

Since entering the Élysée in 2017, Mr Macron has spent a large part of his presidency putting out fires, some of them real ones. The sudden emergence nearly two years ago of the gilets jaunes (yellow vest) movement, in protest at a rise in fuel tax, saw demonstrations in French cities of a type and scale that drew comparisons with 1968. A subsequent wave of strikes in response to planned pension reforms – a traditionally neuralgic issue in French politics – brought Paris to a virtual standstill during much of December and January. Buffeted by events, loathed by the hard left and the hard right, and criticised across the board for a perceived haughtiness in style, Mr Macron has found it impossible to become the smooth, technocratic president he aspired to be.

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