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The Guardian view on Trump’s impeachment: the integrity of US democracy is at stake | Editorial

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/democratsplay episode download
11 décembre, par Editorial[ —]

The current president’s unfitness for office is a truth that should be self-evident, not an object of partisan rivalry

While much is unpredictable about the attempt to impeach Donald Trump, one thing can be anticipated with certainty. The US president will show no respect for the process – and no contrition if found guilty.

Mr Trump’s approach will be consistent with his already familiar political style: deceit, cronyism, distraction and bullying. It is the success of that technique that makes impeachment necessary and also difficult. A president who is so obviously unworthy of the office must be held accountable and yet, because Mr Trump’s methods have corrupted American public discourse, the unworthiness is not at all obvious to a large swathe of voters.

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The Guardian view on Viktor Orbán’s laws: controlling culture | Editorial

https://www.theguardian.com/music/operaplay episode download
11 décembre, par Editorial[ —]

The backlash over Hungary’s new theatre legislation is not just political drama. It is a democratic and artistic crisis

In a speech last year, the Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orbán gave his definition of what some late 20th-century Marxists used to call hegemony. “An era,” said Mr Orbán, “is a spiritual order, a kind of prevailing mood, perhaps even taste … determined by cultural trends, collective beliefs and social customs. This is the task we are now faced with: we must embed the political system in a cultural era.”

Soon afterwards, the Fidesz government, which Mr Orbán leads, cancelled state funding for gender studies in the country’s universities. This was part of a drive to minimise the influence of liberal ideas in Hungarian life and promote an alternative worldview – one which the prime minister used to call “illiberal democracy” and now likes to refer to as “Christian liberty”.

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Conservative road to climate catastrophe | Letters

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/general-election-2019play episode download
11 décembre, par Letters[ —]
Labour is the only major party with viable plans to tackle the our environmental emergency, says Diana Heeks. Plus, Steven Pollard on the Tory candidate’s absence from a climate hustings in Portsmouth South

Brexit doesn’t matter. Jeremy Corbyn’s likability doesn’t matter. What matters above all is that the planet that is our only home remains habitable. Australia, California and Amazonia are on fire, the Victoria Falls are a mere trickle, the oceans are deoxygenating, the thawing Arctic tundra is belching methane. In Europe, once-thriving Alpine ski resorts are left to rot for lack of snow, and here in the UK flooding is starting to become endemic. Catastrophic feedback loops, points of no return, are inevitable unless we change our way of living quickly.

Labour is the only major party with viable plans to tackle this. Their Green New Deal would be good for the planet’s health and ours too. Investment in green technologies like wave and tidal power will provide us with unlimited clean energy. The expertise and equipment of this technology could be exported around the world, creating jobs and wealth for us.

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The Guardian view on general election 2019: A fleeting chance to stop Boris Johnson in his tracks | Editorial

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/liberaldemocratsplay episode download
10 décembre, par Editorial[ —]

The mood may be one of despair, but this election is critical to the country’s future. The best hope lies with Labour, despite its flaws

Britain has not faced a more critical election in decades than the one it faces on Thursday. The country’s future direction, its place in the world and even its territorial integrity are all at stake, primarily because this is a decisive election for Brexit. The choice is stark. The next prime minister is going to be either Boris Johnson, who is focused on “getting Brexit done” whatever the consequences, or Jeremy Corbyn, who with a Labour-led government will try to remodel society with a programme of nationalisation and public spending.

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The Guardian view on Boris Johnson’s Brexit: no troubling the truth | Editorial

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/general-election-2019play episode download
9 décembre, par Editorial[ —]

The prime minister does not care whether he is believed on what he says about his Brexit deal when it comes to Northern Ireland. His insouciance ought to worry us all

When political historians come to study the arguments and the rhetorical style that shaped this general election, the resignation statement of the British diplomat, Alexandra Hall Hall, should be considered a key document. Ms Hall Hall stood down last week as Brexit counsellor at the UK embassy in Washington because, she wrote, she was no longer able to “peddle half-truths on behalf of a government I do not trust”.

The obfuscatory arts of bluster and baseless assertion have become a house style during the election campaign for Boris Johnson and his allies. But they have been deployed with particular recklessness on matters affecting the two nations within the United Kingdom that voted against Brexit, both of which have profound concerns about their future within the union. With lofty and presumptuous arrogance, Mr Johnson has ruled out, as if by fiat, the possibility of any negotiations between a future Conservative government and Nicola Sturgeon, first minister of Scotland, over a second independence referendum. In the context of the anger that would be generated by the extreme Brexit he plans to pursue, that will prove a difficult line to hold.

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The Guardian view on Finland’s new PM: a different type of leadership | Editorial

9 décembre, par Editorial[ —]

By becoming the world’s youngest prime minister at the head of a coalition of female-led parties, Sanna Marin reminds us that another politics is possible

The world’s happiest country, according to an international survey two years in a row, is now one of very few to have a female leader. Finland’s Sanna Marin, who is 34, will become the youngest serving prime minister when she is sworn in later this week. In setting this record, the Social Democrat follows in the footsteps of another young, progressive PM – New Zealand’s Jacinda Ardern, who was 37 when her Labour party won the 2017 election, and the first woman to give birth in office since Pakistan’s Benazir Bhutto (the male, 35-year-old prime minister of Ukraine, Oleksiy Honcharuk, was the world’s youngest PM for three months in between).

Finland, which was the first country in Europe to grant women the vote in 1906, is often regarded by those on the left as something akin to utopia – or at least a shining example of what a big-spending, socially liberal government can achieve. Its well-funded universal education system is among the most successful in the world. Between 2017 and 2019 it ran one of the first trials of universal basic income. This summer a new left-leaning government pledged to make Finland carbon neutral by 2035 – a target accurately described by Finnish Greens as “probably the most ambitious in the world”.

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The Guardian view on Boris Johnson’s NHS plan: trading patient data | Editorial

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/general-election-2019play episode download
8 décembre, par Editorial[ —]
Donald Trump has made clear he wants a post-Brexit Britain to let US tech companies and big pharma access medical records

The NHS is a goldmine of patient data which the United States wants to be quarried by some of its biggest companies. Britain’s health service is home to a unique medical dataset that covers the entire population from birth to death. Jeremy Corbyn’s NHS press conference revealed that the US wanted its companies to get unrestricted access to the UK’s medical records, thought to be worth £10bn a year. A number of tech companies – including Google – already mine small parts of the NHS store. Ministers have been treading carefully after an attempt to create a single patient database for commercial exploitation was scrapped in 2016 when it emerged there was no way for the public to work out who would have access to their medical records or how they were using them.

However, such caution might be thrown to the wind if Boris Johnson gets his way over Brexit – and patients’ privacy rights are traded away for US market access. This would be a damaging step, allowing US big tech and big pharma to collect sensitive, personal data on an unprecedented scale. Donald Trump’s officials have already made clear that this is what they are aiming for. In the leaked government records of talks between US and UK trade representatives White House officials state that “the free flow of data is a top priority” in a post-Brexit world. Trump’s team see Brexit as an opportunity “to avoid forcing companies to disclose algorithms”. The US wants the UK to drop the EU’s 2018 data law, in which individuals must be told what is happening with their medical data, even if scrubbed of personal identifiers.

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The Guardian view on North Korea: a brewing nuclear crisis | Editorial

8 décembre, par Editorial[ —]
Pyongyang’s truce with Washington could end with terrible results. To avoid that, international efforts – notably from the US – are needed

North Korea often appears to have styled itself upon a James Bond adversary. We have seen the dramatic announcement of a deadline (New Year), followed by the arch threat that “it is up to the US what Christmas gift it will choose to get”. (Experts predict a missile test.) Its fondness for baroque menace is matched by its flair for provocation – Sunday saw the announcement of a “very important” test at its Sohae site, which the US said it had agreed to destroy. A flurry of pictures of Kim Jong-un mounted on a white horse, at the sacred site of Mount Paektu, surely herald, according to state media, “a great operation to strike the world with wonder again”. The theatricality is intentional: Pyongyang wants international attention. It should also be taken seriously. The North walked out of talks in October, frustrated that there is no sign of sanctions relaxation. The White House has reminded people that the US could use force and described Mr Kim as “Rocket Man” again – and warned he had “everything to lose”.

It would be easy to mistake this for another instalment in a predictable series. But it is only half true to say that we have been here before. Donald Trump’s threats of “fire and fury” followed by a charm offensive (“we fell in love”) have not merely failed to resolve the underlying problem; they have made a bad situation worse. He claimed progress by pretending there was no difference between something Pyongyang would not object to (multilateral denuclearisation of the peninsula) and something it would never agree to (complete unilateral denuclearisation). This was not a solution; only an illusion of progress.

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The Observer view on who to vote for in the general election | Observer editorial

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/general-election-2019play episode download
8 décembre, par Observer editorial[ —]
After a tawdry campaign of lies and racism, the choice is clear – anyone but Johnson

This is a historic election, the most important choice voters have faced in decades. The result will determine whether Britain as we know it exists in a generation or whether the union will have splintered beyond repair. It will shape the nation’s economic wellbeing: whether we make countless lives harder by cutting ourselves off from our biggest trading partner or maintain our close relationship with the EU. It will influence the type of society we are: whether the number of children who grow up in abject poverty and the number of people sleeping rough – stains on our collective conscience– will continue to rise. It will decide the sustainability of the world we bequeath to our children and grandchildren.

Yet there is no disguising that this is an election of last resort, the product of an unedifying journey through months of parliamentary gridlock. None of the options inspires enthusiasm; the campaign has been underwhelming and uninspiring. But the gloomy sense it leaves – that our politics is unequal to the tests that lie ahead – must not obscure the momentous nature of the decision voters must make on Thursday.

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The Guardian view on schools for the future: no thanks to more of the same | Editorial

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/general-election-2019play episode download
6 décembre, par Editorial[ —]
The Conservatives’ promise to replace lost funding should not be allowed to mask the paucity of their ideas

School cuts proved to be an achilles heel for Theresa May in the 2017 election, and Boris Johnson learned from her mistake. In September, the Conservatives announced a £4.4 billion per year increase in funding for English schools (education is a devolved issue) that was calculated to neutralise Labour attacks. Polling suggests that education has declined in importance for voters over the past two years. Schools do not have the totemic significance for the current party leaders that they did for Tony Blair and David Cameron. But September’s announcement should not have allowed the Conservatives to escape censure to the extent that they have.

Analysis shows the government’s claim that the increase amounts to “record” spending is misleading. Taking into account rising pupil numbers and inflation, spending per child has fallen by around 8% in England (5% in Wales) since 2009/10. This injection would return it to the level a decade ago. Additional funding will disproportionately help better-off areas. And while budget increases for further education and special education needs (SEN) and disabilities are welcome, the Tories have offered no solutions to the many other problems they have created.

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