The Guardian - 2021-11-30
The Guardian 2021-11-30

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The Guardian - 2021-11-30

30. Nov 2021
English
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• Britain’s bad diet ‘He was a god to us’ Stars pay G2 tribute to Sondheim Tuesday 30 November 2021 £2.50 From £1.75 for subscribers Can we ever fix the way we eat? The long read Journal Race to return to 500,000 UK jabs a day as Omicron concern grows Ministers want NHS to reduce booster waiting time to three months Rowena Mason Andrew Gregory Ministers are targeting a return to half a million UK Covid jabs a day as the waiting time for boosters was cut to three months in a n attempt to outpace the Omicron variant that scientists believe is already spreading in the community. Confirmed Omicron cases rose to 11 in England and Scotland yesterday, with scientific advisers braced for hundreds more to be detected in the next week or so. From today, masks will be mandatory on public transport including airports and stations and in shops – including hair salons and takeaways but not pubs or restaurants – to slow the spread of Omicron, which is feared to be more transmissible with the potential to evade vaccines. The NHS is set to confirm an expansion of the vaccine programme this week after the government’s advisers said all adults should be offered boosters and made the surprise recommendation of a three rather than six-month wait after a second dose. A senior government source told the Guardian ministers were aiming for a “significant acceleration” from the current 2.4m boosters a week to 3.5m or 500,000 a day – a return to the huge national effort seen in the early days of the vaccination campaign. “That is the early plan but it ‘That is the early plan but it won’t happen overnight’ Senior government source on aims for 500,000 jabs a day won’t happen overnight,” they said. Currently, boosters are restricted to over-40s more than six months after their previous jab. The first new cohort of people to be offered boosters is likely to be those over- 40s and the clinically vulnerable who are more than three but less than six months past their second jabs. The next tranches will be under-40s in staggered age groups from oldest to youngest. Children aged 12 to 15 will be offered second doses for the first time, and people who are severely immunosuppressed will get boosters in addition to three primary doses. The biggest unvaccinated group remains the under-12s . Dr June Raine , chief executive of the Medicines and 4 Healthcare Cooper returns in Starmer reshuffle Heather Stewart Aubrey Allegretti PHOTOGRAPH: JOHN MINCHILLO/AP Maxwell trial: ‘I thought today would never come’ Sarah Ransome , who has made claims against Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell , arrives at a court in New York yesterday for the start of Maxwell’s sex trafficking trial. News Page 15 → Keir Starmer carried out a wholesale overhaul of his shadow cabinet yesterday , bringing Yvette Cooper back on to the frontbench as part of a ruthless shake-up widely viewed at Westminster as accelerating Labour’s shift to the centre under his leadership. Cooper, who served in the last Labour government, will shadow Priti Patel as home secretary, resuming the spiky interactions the pair have had in Cooper’s current role as chair of the home affairs select committee . Other significant moves include a promotion for David Lammy to shadow foreign secretary while Lisa Nandy will face Michael Gove as shadow 17

• need an answer to every problem, even when there isn’t one. Pretending to be omniscient and omnipotent is in the job description – though the result is that public trust le aches away, since some problems don’t have politically acceptable solutions. There is no politically satisfactory answer to asylum seekers arriving in Britain when many voters feel “controlling borders” is the definition of nationhood. So impossibilism rules. Politicians could point to net migration plummeting last year to 34,000 , far below David Cameron’s original 100,000 promise ; the net number of EU nationals coming to the UK even went negative , due to a combination of the pandemic and Brexit. Or they could show that less than half the number of asylum seekers arrived in the UK last year compared with the early 2000s peak. Numbers of asylum applications are very low compared with France and Germany, while around 85% of refugees worldwide are camped in the poorest countries. We make a disproportionate fuss over taking just 1% of the world’s 26 million refugees . But pollsters will tell you none of that cuts any ice with voters. Blame Shakespeare’s John of Gaunt , with his Migrants preposterous eulogy to English exceptionalism: “ This are brought other Eden, demi-paradise / This fortress built by ashore by a Nature for herself / Against infection and the hand RNLI lifeboat, of war …” As infection and refugees from war arrive Dungeness, here, John Donne’s better truth – “ No man is an island Kent entire of itself ” – is a more reliable guide for our times . PHOTOGRAPH: It illustrates the failure to enable poorer countries to BEN STANSALL/AFP access vaccines rebounding on the rich world like an avenging angel, through the Omicron variant. Or take our failure to help staunch the flow of refugees at source , made harder by the fact that Britain is cutting foreign aid and has shuttered its development department. Berate this country’s ageold inability to compare itself rationally with any other country . But as one pollster warns me , for politicians, being seen to be complacent about immigration is “ not a hill to die on”. The Tories, alarmed at “losing their grip” on borders, as on so much else, take fright at Nigel Farage’s threat to return to politics. He may never win a seat, but he has demonstrated his power to deny them a host of seats in the past. He has them in such a lather that the cabinet is engaged in a circular firing squad , blaming each other • Tuesday 30/11/21 Inside 30/11/21 Four sections every weekday News and Sport Storm Arwen Fourth night without power for thousands but sealed off pub is evacuated at last Page 13 Katie Taylor The Irish boxer on her potential superfight and the influence of her gran Page 40 Once again, vulnerable people are left out in the cold Frances Ryan, page 3 Viva Barbados! Finally, we are a republic Suleiman Bulbulia, page 4 Hungry for change: how do we fix the way we eat? The long read, page 5 The Guardian Tuesday 30 November 2021 Polly Toynbee Opinion and ideas Tories cannot just wish away our obligations to refugees P oliticians G2 Centre pullout Features and arts Say when … Does the rise of smaller wine glasses mean we will all drink less? Page 3 One-hit wonderful They Might Be Giants on the joy of creating Birdhouse in Your Soul Page 9 G2 Daily pullout life & arts section Inside Journal Outside G2 Opinions and ideas The Tories cannot just wish away our obligations to refugees Polly Toynbee Page 1 Once again clinically vulnerable people have been left out in the cold Frances Ryan Page 3 Lost to the virus John Eyers 1978-2021 • The Guardian Tuesday 30 November 2021 News Most -deprived schools ‘hit hardest by spending cuts’ Sally Weale Education correspondent Cuts to education spending in England over the last decade are “effectively without precedent in post war UK history” and have hit the most deprived schools hardest, according to analysis by the Institute for Fiscal Studies . The IFS report highlights that the most disadvantaged fifth of secondary schools have suffered the biggest cuts, with a 14% real-terms fall in spending per pupil between 2009 and 2019, compared with 9% for the least deprived schools. It also warns that recent changes to the way in which education funding is distributed have compounded that disadvantage by providing bigger real-terms rises for the least deprived schools, making the government’s stated levelling-up agenda harder. According to the IFS’s annual report on education spending in England, published today, public spending on health has gone up as investment in education has declined. In the early 1990s, health and education spending each represented about 4.5% of national ▼ The IFS said education cuts in England were ‘effectively without precedent in postwar UK history’ PHOTOGRAPH: PETER SUMMERS/GETTY income, but while education investment has been pegged at around this level, health spending rose to more than 7% of national income before the pandemic. Colleges and sixth forms have suffered the biggest cuts, and even with additional funding from the spending review, spending per student will still be lower in 2024 than in 2010, the report says. The report also confirms that the most deprived schools have lost out most in the re organisation of funding via the national funding formula, with the least deprived receiving bigger real-terms increases (8 -9%), compared with 5% for the most deprived, between 2017 and 2022. The pupil premium, which provides additional funding for children ‘Funding changes will make it harder to level up poorer areas of the country’ Luke Sibieta IFS research fellow on free school meals, has also failed to keep pace with inflation since 2015. “These patterns run counter to the government’s goal of levelling up poorer areas,” the report states. “The cuts to education spending over the last decade are effectively without precedent in post-war UK history, including a 9% real-terms fall in school spending per pupil and a 14% fall in spending per student in colleges . Whilst we have been choosing to spend an ever-expanding share of national income on health, we have remarkably reduced the fraction of national income we devote to public spending on education.” The IFS said the government had goals to level up poorer areas , including a big role for technical education. “However, changes to the distribution of education spending have been working in the opposite direction. “Recent school funding changes have tended to work against schools serving disadvantaged areas. Cuts to spending have been larger for colleges and adult education, and still won’t be reversed by 2024.” The government’s recent spending review included an extra £4.4bn for the schools budget in 2024 compared with previous plans, but the IFS calculates that by then spending per pupil will still only be at about the same level as in 2010. Luke Sibieta , an IFS research fellow and an author of the report, said: “Extra funding in the spending review will reverse cuts to school spending per pupil, but will mean 15 years without any overall growth.” He said the funding changes “will make it that much harder to achieve ambitious goals to level up poorer areas of the country and narrow educational inequalities, which were gaping even before the pandemic ”. Geoff Barton, the general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said the IFS report was a “grim indictment” of the government’s record. “It is a pretty dreadful legacy to have presided over cuts to education which are without precedent in post war UK history.” The Department for Education was approached for comment. Become a Guardian and Observer subscriber from £5.07 a week Visit theguardian.com/paper-subss Weather Page 37 Quick crossword Back of G2 Contact For missing sections call 0800 839 100. For individual departments, call the Guardian switchboard: 020 3353 2000. For the Readers’ editor (corrections & clarifications on specific editorial content), call 020 3353 4736 between 10am and 1pm UK time Monday to Friday excluding public holidays, or email guardian.readers@theguardian.com. Letters for publication should be sent to guardian.letters@theguardian.com or the address on the letters page. NEWSPAPERS SUPPORT RECYCLING The recycled paper content of UK newspapers in 2017 was 64.6% Cartoon Journal, page 4 Cryptic crossword Back of Journal Guardian News & Media, Kings Place, 90 York Way, London N1 9GU. 020-3353 2000. Fax 020-7837 2114. In Manchester: Centurion House, 129 Deansgate, Manchester M3 3WR. Telephone Sales: 020-7611 9000. The Guardian lists links to third-party websites, but does not endorse them or guarantee their authenticity or accuracy. Back issues from Historic Newspapers: 0870-165 1470 guardian.backissuenewspapers.co.uk. Published by Guardian News & Media, Kings Place, 90 York Way, London N1 9GU, and at Centurion House, 129 Deansgate, Manchester M3 3WR. Printed at Reach Watford Limited, St Albans Road, Watford, Herts WD24 7RG; Reach Oldham Limited, Hollinwood Avenue, Chadderton, Oldham OL9 8EP; Reach Saltire Ltd, 110 Fifty Pitches Place, Glasgow G51 4EA; and by Irish Times Print Facility, 4080 Kingswood Road, Citywest Business Campus, Dublin 24. No. 54,516, Tuesday 30 November 2021. Registered as a newspaper at the Post Office ISSN 0261-3077. Twitter shares rise after Dorsey steps down as chief executive Dominic Rushe New York The Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey has stepped down from his executive role at the social media company. The surprise move ends Dorsey’s much criticised tenure as chief executive officer of both Twitter and Square, his digital payments company, which led to the Twitter stakeholders Elliott Management and Paul Singer, a billionaire investor, calling on him to step down from one of those roles. Twitter’s shares rose 11% after the news broke on CNBC before being briefly suspended. The company said Dorsey would step down immediately but that he would remain on the board until Twitter’s stockholder meeting in 2022. He will be replaced by the chief technology officer (CTO), Parag Agrawal . Dorsey said: “I’ve decided to leave Twitter because I believe the company is ready to move on from its founders. My trust in Parag as Twitter’s CEO is deep. His work over the past 10 years has been transformational. I’m deeply grateful for his skill, heart and soul. It’s his time to lead.” Agrawal has been with Twitter for a decade and has served as CTO since 2017. “I want to thank the board for their confidence in my leadership and ▲ Jack Dorsey said the company was ready to move on from its founders Jack for his continued mentorship, support and partnership,” he said . Dorse y, in his most recent tweet on the site, which was posted on Sunday, wrote: “I love Twitter.” In an email to staff yesterday, he wrote that after 16 years at the company, it was time to leave. “There’s a lot of talk about the importance of a company being ‘founder-led’. Ultimately I believe that’s severely limiting and a single point of failure,” he wrote. “I’ve worked hard to ensure this company can break away from its founding and founders.” He said Agrawal was his preferred choice for chief executive. Dorsey, 45, co-founded the microblogging site in 2006 and posted the world’s first tweet: “Just setting up my twttr.” He co-founded Square in 2009 after being pushed out of the top job at Twitter, but he returned as chief executive of the social media company in 2015. Investors and some staff have questioned Dorsey’s management style and have worried that he was stretched too thin by his roles at both companies.

Tuesday 30 November 2021 The Guardian News • 3 Art review A salut ary, sobering, necessary reminder of empire Life Between Islands Tate Britain, London ★★★★★ Adrian Searle L ife Between Islands is an exhibition of protests and pleasures, celebrations and insurrections. Several years in the making, and as important as it is timely – as well as long overdue – it is also an exhibition of arrivals, departures and returns. Filled with variety and complexity, the well- and lesserknown, the overlooked or rarely shown in this country, it takes us from pre war London and the carved figures of Ronald Moody to digital animation and an examination of successive regimes of punitive and restrictive immigration law from the 1800s to the government’s hostile environment policies in a work by the Otolith Group . An extensive catalogue fleshes out this milestone exhibition of a bout 50 artists. We visit the home of the fictional political activist Joyce in Michael McMillan ’s simulacra of a 1970s West Indian front room. On the TV, Horace Ové ’s 1976 film Pressure plays. The first UK feature by a black director, it is a gritty appraisal of lives of the Windrush generation, and the difficulties faced by their British-born children. ▲ A trio of paintings by the South African artist Lisa Brice and, below, Ingrid Pollard’s Oceans Apart PHOTOGRAPH: FACUNDO ARRIZABALAGA/EPA Ové’s photographs of the rise of the Black power movement as well as Neil Kenlock ’s images of riot shields and racist graffiti, and Vron Ware ’s photographs for the anti-fascist Searchlight magazine documenting the 1981 Black People’s Day of Action, following the New Cross arson attack that left 13 dead in a house party, are sobering reminders of a period of casual racism, bleak prospects of resistance and defiance and pleasures taken against the odds. In a painting by Denzil Forrester , Winston Rose is dragged and half-carried through the street by uniformed police, hurried to his death in custody in 1981. Rose was a family friend. In Dominican-born Tam Joseph ’s painting of the night following the death of Cynthia Jarrett during a police raid on her ◀ Michael McMillan sits in the home of the fictional political activist Joyce in his immersive work The Front Room PHOTOGRAPH: GUY BELL/REX/ SHUTTERSTOCK flat in 198 5, we see figures at the lighted windows, and protester s silhouetted against a fire beneath the buildings. Joseph’s The Sky at Night is as much reportage as history painting, an event seen and grasped, as redolent as any documentary film or photography. Another young man is beaten on a bed by his father, for speaking Creole rather than English, during a wonderfully evoked 1960s London house party, in a vertiginous scene from Isaac Julien ’s three-screen 2002 Paradise Omeros . With its scenes of the heavily policed Notting Hill carnivals of 1976 and 1984, of riot and surveillance, with its voice over and heavily mixed sound system dub, Julien’s earlier Territories, made in 1984 while he was a student, is still haunting and filled with memorable images more than 35 years since I first saw it. Protest and resilience, anger and pleasure come together throughout the exhibition. The paintings by Aubrey Williams are filled with broken things, dismembered vertebrae and burnt-out nature . Here even the abstractions are deceptive – the maps of Guyana and South America barely surface in Frank Bowling ’s paintings, and an entirely black, impassive painting by Donald Locke turns out to be an abstracted view of regular gridded fields in Guyana, part of the plantation structure imposed by Dutch and then British colonial rule. This is a geometry of oppression. Tremors and violences are present throughout, though the exhibition is not without humour. In Lookalook, the queer Barbadian artist Ada M Patterson stalks the streets of Bridgetown dressed as a kind of mythological creature draped in black, their head dress decorated with shells, inviting stares and comments, insults and laughter. This public masquerade is a taunt in a deeply conservative society where colonial-era, anti- LGBTQ+ laws are still in place. In another work they pose as a sea urchin, or possibly an echidna. It looks painful either way. The Nassau-born Blue Curry plays on the stereotypes of the Car ibbean as a dumbed-down “site for le isure and consumption”. Curry’s row of airline seats soiled with spews of beach sand and shells, the fanciful headrests adorned with braided synthetic hair, is a giddy transport to a fantasy destination. Zak Ové ’s carnivalesque faces and figures, constructed from beached rope, mops and antique masks, play on the transgressive figures of Junkanoo carnival, as do Hew Locke ’s decorated busts – one has the head of King Edward VII festooned in masonic regalia, almost to the point of smothering the monarch entirely in his decorations. Chris Ofili ’s taunting blue men and his Napoleonicera horsemen who morph into uniformed cops populate a threatening, saturated blue world. Both Ofili and Peter Doig have lived in Trinidad for well over a decade, and there’s a beautiful section of the show highlighting Doig’s creative dialogue with Derek Walcott, whose poems also inspired Julien’s Paradise Omeros, and appears in the film. Dialogues with the Caribbean are more and more two-way . Throughout the exhibition’s run, Ofili’s 2003 Union Black flag, with the union colours replaced by the Pan-African red, black and green, will hang over Tate Britain. I t is a reminder of what has been called the “Caribbeanisation” of British culture and society, a society that grew out of an empire whose riches were derived from slavery to the Caribbean, which the curator Alex Farquharson calls the economic and military centre of Britain’s first age of e mpire. Salut ary, sobering, rich and rewarding, what a great and necessary show this is. From tomorrow until 3 April Film classification board revises ratings for use of racist language Nadia Khomami Arts and culture correspondent The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) is adopting a stricter position on the use of racist language in movies and TV shows , saying “attitudes had shifted” towards outdated and offensive terms and behaviour . The UK regulator said programmes featuring the N-word should not be classified lower than 12A/12 unless in exceptional circumstances, such as a documentary or biopic with a clear educational value and appeal to younger audiences. The move follows research commissioned by the BBFC into racism and discrimination in films and TV shows, which asked people – including those who have been directly affected – their views on the classification of such scenes. Seventy participants were asked about clips from different films and series including Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Won’t You Be My Neighbour?, Race, Young Sheldon, Call the Midwife, Crocodile Dundee and Looney Tunes. They were then asked to watch a film from a selection that included Hidden Figures (2016), Selma (2014) and I Am Not Your Negro (2016). “Of all the language considered, the ‘ N-word’ was the most contentious, evoking the strongest response from the community,” the BBFC said. It was one of the few instances were “zero tolerance” attitudes emerged . While most agreed with the BBFC’s classification for each film, the community gave lower ratings than the BBFC for documentaries and comedic intent, and higher ratings where there was a lack of condemnation and a darker tone. “We must always assess the context in which content appears,” said David Austin, the chief executive of the BBFC. “Violent and threatening ▲ Hidden Figures was among films shown to BBFC research participants behaviour, or use of particularly offensive language, will always aggravate an instance of discriminatory or racist behaviour. “However, clear condemnation, sympathy with the victims, or a documentary or historical setting can all work to help frame the sequence .” Respondents said they wanted to be warned about potentially offensive words or portrayals. In particular, parents wanted content warnings so they could make informed decisions about whether to allow children to watch a programme. The BBFC said while people understood “some older films and TV shows are a ‘product of their time’, it’s clear attitudes have shifted ”.

• The Guardian Tuesday 30 November 2021 4 News Coronavirus ▼ The health secretary, Sajid Javid, visits a vaccine centre at Guy’s and St Thomas’ hospital in London PHOTOGRAPH: RICK FINDLER/GETTY IMAGES Javid targets 500,000 jabs a day as Omicron fears grow Continued from page 1 products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), said this was being “very carefully assessed” and the agency was likely to report before Christmas on the safety of vaccines for children aged 5-11. It would also have to be approved by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) before a final decision being taken by ministers. As the threat of the Omicron variant prompted the JCVI to ramp up the jabs rollout, Prof Jonathan Van-Tam, the deputy chief medical officer, said people needed to “up their game” in getting boosters. But he added: “I do not want people to panic at this stage. If vaccine effectiveness is reduced [with Omicron], as seems pretty likely to some extent, the biggest effects are likely to be in preventing infections and hopefully there will be smaller effects on preventing severe disease.” Prof Wei Shen Lim , chair of the JCVI, said Moderna or Pfizer boosters would push up people’s immune response and cutting the time between doses could help mitigate any drop in vaccine protection before another wave starts. The planned extension of the booster programme means another 13 million under-40s will become eligible for third jabs in the coming weeks. An NHS source said there were 2,2oo vaccination centres in operation, which means that, on average, every site would have to vaccinate 70 more Britons a day to hit 3.5m boosters a week. Sources said it was easier to expand opening hours than open new centres, raising the prospect of ▲ Sajid Javid spoke in the Commons about the Omicron Covid-19 variant more “round-the-clock” provision. Boris Johnson published details yesterday of new regulations to make mask-wearing compulsory on transport and in shops from 4am today. This includes hair salons, taxis, vets, takeaway shops, driving instruction vehicles, banks and post offices. Hospitality settings are exempt. All travellers into the UK will have to take a PCR test on the second day after arrival and isolate until they receive a negative test. In addition, all contacts of people suspected to have Covid with the Omicron variant must isolate, even if they are double vaccinated or under 18. Ahead of a vote on the measures in the Commons today, Johnson said: “The measures taking effect today are proportionate and responsible, and will buy us time in the face of this new variant … our vaccines and boosters remain our best line of defence.” The measures will be reviewed in three weeks, but some backbench Tories are already concerned about possible extensions. Mark Harper, one of key MPs behind the Covid Antibodies Resilience tests begin Scientists in South Africa have begun crucial work to assess how well Covid vaccines hold up against the Omicron variant that has been detected in more than a dozen countries since it was formally reported last week. Most Covid antibodies latch on to one of three sites on the virus, but all are mutated in Omicron, meaning antibodies produced by vaccines or past infection may be significantly less effective. Prof Penny Moore at the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa said “pseudoviruses” – harmless, non-replicating viruses – will be engineered to carry Omicron’s mutations. These will then be exposed to blood plasma from vaccinated people and others who have recovered from Covid to see if they neutralise the virus. Her lab will assess the protection provided by the Oxford/ AstraZeneca, Pfizer/BioNtech and Johnson & Johnson vaccines . Moore’s results, which could be available in the next two weeks, are expected to provide some of the first evidence on whether existing vaccines are sufficient to keep Omicron at bay . Ian Sample Recovery Group, warned measures should not be extended during parliament’s recess just before Christmas. “Trust between the backbenchers and ministers isn’t brilliant at the moment. The government would be wise not to make that worse,” he said. Sajid Javid, the health secretary, told parliament that if Omicron was no more dangerous than the dominant Delta variant “then we will not keep measures in place a day longer than necessary”. The World Health Organization warned yesterday that the threat posed by the “highly mutated” Omicron showed what a “perilous and precarious” situation the world was in. Scientific advisers are braced for hundreds of UK cases of the Omicron variant in the next week or so. In a speech, Amanda Pritchard, chief executive of the NHS in England, said NHS staff would “move heaven and earth to vaccinate as many people as possible” but volunteers would be needed . NHS leaders welcomed the expansion but said it would be a “huge logistical challenge”. Ruth Rankine, director of primary care at the NHS Confederation, said it “adds to the complexity of an already challenging programme so we would encourage the government to support frontline teams to play a critical role in ensuring the public get vaccinated as quickly as possible”.

Tuesday 30 November 2021 The Guardian • 5 New variant Experts braced for surge in confirmed cases Nicola Davis and Ian Sample Scientific advisers are bracing themselves for hundreds of UK cases of the Omicron Covid variant to be confirmed in the next week or so, the Guardian has learned. Some of them may predate the earliest cases of Omicron found in South Africa last week but could still be linked to travellers returning from the country, it is understood. Evidence of community transmission also emerged yesterday. Omicron, which is believed to be more transmissible than dominant Covid variants and has the potential to evade vaccines, was first reported to the World Health Organization from South Africa on 24 November. The UK is one of the world’s busiest air transport hubs and, like South Africa, has a large genomics sector to determine the variants involved in infections – thereby increasing the probability both of importing and detecting cases. On Saturday, two UK cases were announced, rising to three on Sunday – all in people linked to travel to southern Africa . Yesterday morning six new cases involving the variant were identified in Scotland, and this time some had no travel history . The finding has raised concerns that Om icron may already be circulating in the community in the UK. Scientists had previously stressed that while flight bans could delay the importation of Omi cron, the variant would nonetheless arrive . It was Vaccinations What is changing and why The government has accepted advice from its vaccines watchdog, the Joint Committee on Vaccines and Immunisation (JCVI), for one of the biggest immediate changes in the Covid jabs programme. Here is what has been decided and why. What changes have been announced for booster jabs? There are two: the age range and the time gap. When boosters, a third dose to top up people’s immunity, were first rolled out in September they were restricted to those over 50 or with clinical vulnerabilities. Earlier this month the age limit was extended to 40. Going forward, all adults over 18 will be eligible. Boosters were originally introduced with a minimum sixmonth gap after the second jab , with people recently able to start booking them after five months. Now the minimum time gap has been halved to three months. So when can I get my booster? That depends in part on your age and how quickly they can be given. Sajid Javid, the hoped such measures would buy time and let more people get their booster jabs. Now the Guardian understands that scientific advisers are bracing themselves for the possibility of several hundred cases of the Omicron variant being detected within days. Other scientists said the spread was difficult to estimate. Prof Michael Tildesley , an expert in the mathematical modelling of infectious disease at the University of Warwick and a member of the modelling group SPI-M that advises the government, said: “It is worth UK areas reporting cases of the Omicron variant 2 reported cases Glasgow 4 Lanarkshire 1 Nottingham 1 Camden 1 Westminster 1 Wandsworth 1 Brentwood Guardian graphic. Data reported as of 3.30pm Monday health secretary, confirmed in the Commons that they would be carried out in age order, with 30 to 39-year-olds expected to be up next – and this should be confirmed within days. Even if there is a successful speed-up of the rollout, if you are, say, 19, it is likely to take months rather than weeks. What about children aged 12 to 15? The JCVI has confirmed the plan for this age group to get a second jab at least 12 weeks after their first. So far the vaccination rate for this age group is 39.1%, against 67.4% of adults who have had at least one dose. A similar second jab approach for teenagers aged 16 and 17 was agreed earlier this month. And younger children? A number of countries have approved Covid jabs for children aged five to 11, and the UK could follow. However, the JCVI faces a potentially tricky decision given the limited health risks of Covid to the bulk of younger children. First , the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, would need to approve vaccines for use by the age group. remembering, though, that there is a lag between individuals being infected and cases being reported, so at the point that cases are detected, it is likely that there are more infections in the community .” Tildesley added that at this point contact tracing c ould help to detect how many more cases there m ight be . “But there is still uncertainty regarding how transmissible this new variant is, how effective the vaccines might be and how severe infection is with Omicron .” Prof Rowland Kao , an epidemiologist at the University of Edinburgh who also contributes to SPI-M, said the discovery of clusters in Scotland – in Lanarkshire and Greater Glasgow – with no obvious links to each other or to travel, suggest ed at least two separate instances of importation . He said it would not be surprising to find tens of cases at the moment. “Of course [if] it does spread rapidly, as initial reports from [South Africa] suggest it can, then it wouldn’t take long for it to go into the hundreds,” said Kao, adding that if the doubling time for cases was similar to Delta then 25 now could mean 100 in 10 days’ time. “At that point, it would be more a matter of slowing, rather than eradicating Omicron in Scotland. Even then, it would probably only be temporary.” Kao said travel restrictions m ight still bring benefits, potentially reducing the number of outbreaks and helping stamp them out. “ However that is not at all guaranteed, and so, as always, more efforts to reduce spread now may have big epidemiological benefits later,” he said. “Any measures we put in now may of course prove unwarranted if ... the Omicron variant proves to be sufficiently benign that overall levels of severe infection and hospitalisation stay manageable – but we probably won’t know for several weeks.” And people with suppressed immune systems? People whose immunity is compromised have been eligible for three vaccine doses . They will now be eligible for a booster jab, which will be their fourth dose. A third dose and booster are necessarily not the same – for example, if someone is given the Moderna vaccine, they will get a full dose for a third injection but usually a half dose for a booster. Will we need to change the pace of the rollout? Almost certainly. Javid told the Commons that while he had previously planned for 6m booster jabs to be administered in England over the next few weeks, with the emergence of Omicron he wants “to go further and faster”. The NHS is administering about 350,000 booster vaccines or third jabs a day, or about 2.4m a week across the UK, official figures show. It will have to increase the daily number of jabs to 500,000 to hit 30m boosters by Christmas Day, according to Guardian analysis. Pe ter Wa l ke r Andrew Gregory Sketch John Crace Should we all break into hospital pharmacies to help ourselves to doses of the coronavirus booster vaccine? No time to panic, yet, says Van Tam, as team goes into the next round on two yellow cards I t wasn’t the cheeriest of Jonathan Van-Tam’s public appearances. Normally the deputy chief medical officer presiding over a Downing Street press conference at which no politicians are present is reassuring. He is a man with whom most of us would entrust our lives. In fact we already have. This time, not so much. It wasn’t yet time for doom and gloom about the Omicron – the nu nu – variant, he said. Yet. Nor was it time for people to panic at this stage. At this stage. Clearly, there might well be a moment for us all to panic. Though he was hazy on what we should do if and when such a time arose. Should we break into hospital pharmacies for doses of the booster vaccine? Or tie down Boris Johnson and force him to wear a mask at all time s ? Or , as in the 1960s, sit under the kitchen table and wait for Armageddon. Perhaps sensing that he could have chosen his words better, he resorted to one of his football analogies. The fight against Covid had started as an 11-a-side contest, but the Delta variant meant we had a couple of injuries and had used two substitutes. With Omicron we had picked up a couple of yellow cards. The trick was somehow to fight hard without getting anyone sent off. Great. Not only did we only have one sub left , but two of our players were in danger of getting a red. If this was JVT being upbeat, I’d hate to see him when he’s depressed. Still, Sajid Javid sounded a little more optimistic when, moments later, he told the C ommons the government would be adopting all the recommendations of the Joint Committee on Vaccinations and Immunisation. And if the Omicron variant turned out to be no worse than the Delta then all sanctions would be removed. With Jonathan Ashworth recovering at home from Covid, it was left to the shadow health minister, Rosena Allin-Khan, to reply for Labour. Whether it was the possibility of a promotion in the Schrödinger’s shadow cabinet reshuffle that was both happening and not happening – at the very least, it looked like aggression-aggression on Keir Starmer’s part to have allowed the possibility of a reshuffle to overshadow Angela Rayner’s speech on changes to MPs’ behaviour – or just that Allin-Khan was having a bad day, she chose to go in studs up. The government had behaved hopelessly, she said. No one was safe till we were all safe, so why had the UK been so slow to provide vaccines for developing countries? And why was there no pre-departure PCR testing for people travelling to this country? Wearing of masks ought to be extended to hospitality settings – Boris Johnson should never be seen without one – and the health secretary should be doing more to support those who are self-isolating. She made it sound as if the government were entirely responsible for the spread of the Omicron variant. Javid acted as if more sad than hurt by Allin-Khan’s response. The UK was doing more to supply vaccine to other countries than anyone . This wasn’t true, but no one contradicted him. Rules on masks and travel were a balanced reaction. Balanced, as in a happy medium just about acceptable to all wings of the Tory party. The health secretary tried to sound smooth and urbane, but underneath the water he was paddling hard. It wasn’t time to panic . But it might be soon.

6 News Coronavirus • The Guardian Tuesday 30 November 2021 Headteachers say new government Covid advice for schools ‘too vague’ Sally Weale Education correspondent Teachers are calling for face masks to be mandatory for pupils in England and extended to include classrooms, amid pushback from sceptical MPs who warn that additional Covid curbs would cause “chaos” for pupils. According to new government guidance in response to the Omicron variant, masks are merely “recommended” in communal areas and corridors in schools rather than being compulsory. In contrast, face coverings will be mandatory on public transport and in shops from today. Headteachers say the advice is “too vague”, making it difficult to enforce effectively as parents and pupils can legitimately refuse to comply, leaving it up to school s to deal with confusion and dissent . “It’s very difficult to manage on the ground,” said Richard Sheriff, executive headteacher of Harrogate grammar school and chief executive of the Red Kite Learning Trust. “Any parent or child can say : ‘You can’t make me .’” He told the government: “Make it obligatory by law, as we are doing in other places like transport.” The two largest teaching unions, the National Education Union (NEU) and NASUWT , which represent the vast majority of teachers in England, said the government guidance should go further, extending mask wearing to classrooms. Dr Mary Bousted, NEU joint general secretary , said: “Covid does not recognise the difference between a corridor and a classroom, and a failure to require face coverings in both areas in secondary schools is a misstep in the latest guidance.” Dr Patrick Roach, NASUWT general secretary , agreed: “If schools are to maintain safety during the remainder of this term, the government ▲ Guidance merely ‘recommends’ masks in school communal areas will need to accept that its messaging needs to be stronger.” Glyn Potts, headteacher at Blessed John Henry Newman College in Oldham, Greater Manchester , said masks had been in place in communal spaces in his school for some time in response to enhanced local measures . “We are back to handing out masks before [parents and students] gain entry to the school and hopefully the parental support will remain, but they are starting to get a little bit frustrated at what they see as measures that are dropped on them.” The government made similar recommendations on face coverings in communal spaces in universities in new guidance published yesterday, but it said higher education institutions may also want to consider using face masks in workshops, laboratories, libraries and lecture halls, especially where social distancing is difficult to maintain. In addition, international students travelling from red list countries will be required to quarantine in a managed hotel on arrival to the UK for 10 days. Under the new government restrictions, close contacts of those who test positive for Omicron will have to self-isolate for 10 days, including children, which has led to warnings that thousands of healthy children will be forced to stay at home and study online, causing further widespread disruption to education. Steve Baker, deputy chairman of the Covid Recovery Group of Conservative bac kbench MPs , told the Telegraph the new measures “will cause chaos including collateral harms like damage to children’s education ”. In interviews yesterday, the education secretary, Nadhim Zahawi , insisted closing schools was the “last possible option”. He also disagreed with bringing back class bubbles to contain infection spread, and encouraged primary schools to press ahead with their nativity plans. “My very strong advice is if you [are] organising nativities, carry on.” The former vaccines minister told ITV’s This Morning programme: “The best place for children to be is in a classroom, learning .” He added: “Keep schools open: do all the things necessary, like face masks in communal areas … to protect the education in the classroom.” According to a poll of 1,711 primary school teachers in England by Teacher Tapp and shared with PA Media, more than a quarter (27%) said their school was planning an online nativity, one in 10 said they were not planning a nativity at all, while 55% were hoping to invite visitors to watch their nativity in person. Essex outbreak Tracking Omicron puts focus on test and trace Robert Booth Social affairs correspondent At schools, a church and a branch of KFC, public health officials have been scrambling to track people infected by Omicron in a stiff new test of the UK’s widely criticised £37bn test-andtrace programme. Yesterday, cases of the Covid “variant of concern” emerged in two London locations, bringing the UK total to 11, while testing was launched at a school in West Bridgford, Nottinghamshire, and at Larchwood Primary school in Brentwood, where one class was sent home. Customers, staff and delivery drivers at the KFC in the Essex town’s high street last Friday afternoon were also urged to get tests, as were the congregation of the nearby Trinity church. The Essex case is linked to one in Nottingham and travel in southern Africa. Two separate cases were announced in Camden and Wandsworth in London, both with links to travel to South Africa, after a case was detected in Westminster, and four further cases have been found in Lanarkshire and two more in the Greater Glasgow and Clyde areas of Scotland. None of the Scottish cases have any travel history, said Scotland’s deputy first minister, John Swinney, suggesting community transmission is under way. The push to track the spread of the virus is casting renewed focus on the test and trace scheme, which Boris Johnson promised would be “world beating”. Only half of the UK’s main laboratories used for community testing are currently capable of detecting the Omicron variant with a test that shows whether a key “S” gene is missing, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) said. The Essex director of public health, Dr Michael Gogarty, also said yesterday it took seven days to receive confirmation of its ca s e after the person noticed symptoms and was tested on 20 November. They are said to be unwell, but not seriously. Illustrating how long the variant has been in the UK, Gogarty said the Essex patient caught it from another person, who had caught if from someone who arrived from southern Africa about two weeks ago. One factor making detection harder is that only a minority of people with Covid symptoms typically request a test – just 18%, according to a study by academics at King’s College London earlier this year. Dr Jenny Harries, the chief executive of UKHSA, said yesterday it was “critical” that anyone with Covid-19 symptoms isolates and gets a PCR test immediately . It should take between 24 and 48 hours to get a PCR result and an additional 24 hours to determine whether it is likely they have Omicron. Final confirmation could take another two days . The outbreaks come as data shows turnaround times for PCR have been getting worse in England. The latest fi gures showed 68% of in-person tests were received within 24 hours, down from 77% the previous week. UKHSA, which is overseeing testing and tracing Omicron cases, said all close contacts of suspected and confirmed Omicron cases would have samples priority tested for S-gene

Tuesday 30 November 2021 The Guardian • Hospital chiefs Anxiety and belief in ability to handle surge Denis Campbell Health policy editor How much of a threat does the emergence of Omicron pose to the NHS? Among hospital bosses there is a curious combination of apprehension that the new variant could lead to a surge in infections but also a battleweary belief, borne of negotiating the previous waves , that they can handle a potentially major spike in people left seriously ill with Covid. “[NHS] trusts are already making contingency plans for what would happen if there were to be a significant spread of this ▼ Ambulances at Royal London hospital. NHS trusts are already making Omicron contingency plans PHOTOGRAPH: DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/GETTY variant and it turned out that the symptoms and disease produced as a result is as serious as with the Delta variant,” said Chris Hopson, the chief executive of NHS Providers, which represents health service trusts in England. He added: “If it turns out that this variant does evade vaccines then clearly the NHS will see a significantly higher caseload than it has at the moment.” H opson pointed out that, at the second wave’s worst in January, hospitals in England were treating 34,000 people with Covid. Yesterday, it was far, far fewer – just 6,094. “The chief executive of a district general hospital told me today that they were going through plans for how they would expand critical care capacity … They said that an advantage of having had that sudden massive increase last January was that we know what’s needed now if numbers go up significantly again ,” he said. A return to that number of hospital beds taken up with Covid patients would again force hospitals to cancel planned operations, he cautioned. For now, though, Hopson was confident that hospitals could cope if Omicron did wreak havoc. “[In January] the NHS showed just how resilient and effective it is at times of extreme pressure. This is what the NHS is really good at – dealing with shortterm crises and problems that get thrown at us.” But others were more concerned. One intensive care consultant said: “The system is very fragile just now so Omicron could have absolutely no impact – or tip things over the edge and lead to complete collapse … People have the same air of uncertainty and apprehension now as they did in March 2020. What I do know is that nobody is up for another run around the track . ” A spokesperson for the Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine , which represents doctors in that speciality across the UK, echoed that nervousness . They said: “ The NHS is already facing one of the worst winters in its history. We urge members of the public to follow all social distancing measures and safety protocols to reduce transmission and alleviate pressure on critical care services.” Dr Sue Crossland, a past president of the Society for Acute Medicine , said the uncertainty around Omicron’s transmissibility, symptoms and whether existing vaccines would limit its impact meant it was too early to know how much it may add to the pressures the NHS was already under. “ Given the capacity issues at present, even a small increase could cause problems. But we just don’t know. As ever, I remain worried. ” Omicron could also affect the NHS by increasing the already high number of staff off sick, warned NHS Employers . “Health leaders will have some concerns about the impact of new self-isolation requirements , ” said Danny Mortimer, its chief executive. 7 ▲ Calls to make masks compulsory in schools come as testing ramps up in Brentwood, Essex (below), after an Omicron case was confirmed PHOTOGRAPHS: GETTY IMAGES 5 Number of days to get a PCR test result, to determine if Omicron is likely and obtain final confirmation 700,000 The UK’s daily PCR testing capacity last week, compared with 900,000 a day in mid-October target failure and also have wholegenome sequencing . Suspected cases of the variant would be routed to laboratories able to run the genetic tests, and it was “rapidly developing and rolling out a genotyping assay to give an early indication of a probable variant case” to labs that don’t yet have the capacity. The UK’s PCR testing capacity has fallen from 900,000 a day in mid- October to just over 700,000 a day last week. It follows the suspension of testing at a lab run by Immensa after it emerged that 43,000 people may have been given incorrect negative PCR tests . However, before Omicron arrived, the system had capacity to process about 250,000 more tests a day than were needed. Asked about the preparedness of the test-and-trace system, one director of public health in the north of England said that while Omicron’s transmissibility in a highly vaccinated population remains unclear, “we are in pretty good shape ” . Passengers arriving in the UK from 4am today must take a PCR test by the end of the second day from entry and isolate until they receive a negative result. UKSA said it was trying to find out how many private travel testing laboratories, relied upon to check all international arrivals, would be able to test for Omicron. Symptoms Mild illness reported but data is flimsy Linda Geddes Nick Dall As the world scrabbles to contain the new variant , some are seizing on anecdotal reports from South Africa that it may cause only mild illness. But although previous variants of Covid have been associated with different symptoms and severity, it would be dangerous to assume Omicron is a viral pussy cat, experts say. At a briefing convened by South Africa’s Department of Health yesterday, Unben Pillay , a GP practising in Midrand on the outskirts of Johannesburg, said the cases he was encountering were typically mild: “We are seeing patients present with dry cough, fever, night sweats and a lot of body pains. Vaccinated people tend to do much better.” Angelique Coetzee , a Pretoriabased GP, said many of the patients she had seen had unusual symptoms, particularly severe tiredness, but none reported loss of taste or smell. Early evidence is emerging that vaccines do offer at least some protection from Omicron. Dr Wa asila Jassat of the National Institute for Communicable Diseases said that in the city of Tshwane, where it was detected, 87% of hospital admissions were among unvaccinated patients. At a briefing on Saturday, Rudo Mathivha, head of intensive care at Chris Hani Baragwanath , the main hospital in Soweto, said: “We’re seeing a marked change in the demographic profile of patients with Covid-19 . Young people, in their 20s to just over their late 30s, are coming in with moderate to severe disease, some needing intensive care. About 65% are not vaccinated and most of the rest are only half-vaccinated.” ▲ A health worker administers a Covid jab at Soweto’s main hospital These demographic differences may simply be a factor of vaccination rates: 64% of over-60s in South Africa have had at least one dose, against only 26% of those between 18 and 34. All such anecdotes should be treated with caution, however. Dr Müge Çevik , a clinician in infectious diseases at the University of St Andrews in Scotland, said: “All the statements about severity of Omicron … are unreliable at this point as they are based on anecdotes or very little data. Even results from the first epidemiological studies will likely be biased as there are major challenges when inferring causality of disease severity with new variants – especially now that many people have acquired immunity, either via vaccination or infection.” On the other hand, we know that different variants can trigger more or less severe disease, and varying symptoms. For instance, Alpha (first detected in the UK) was more transmissible and associated with more severe disease compared with earlier variants, but the symptoms were broadly similar. Delta (first detected in India) is even more transmis sible and deadly, and yet two of the cardinal Covid symptoms – persistent cough and loss of smell/taste – are less common, while more people report headaches and/or runny noses .

• The Guardian Tuesday 30 November 2021 8 News Coronavirus In G2 Lost to the virus ‘He thought that if you were young and fit, you would be fine’ Page 4 → Transport unions back mandatory masks but raise enforcement fears Gwyn Topham Transport correspondent Transport operators, unions and passenger groups have backed the return of mandatory mask-wearing on buses and trains in England, but raised concerns about enforcement. Passengers will need to wear masks on public transport across the country from today under measures to combat the spread of the Omicron variant of Covid-19, bringing England back into line with the rest of the UK. Face coverings were made obligatory on public transport in England in June 2020, with fixed penalties of £100 for non-wearers. After the legal requirement ended last July , ministers said masks were “expected” in crowded transport settings. Transport for London (TfL) said coverings remained compulsory for travel, but there was little deterrent against not wearing them . The National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) said most cases of non- compliance were resolved by staff in the first instance. It said businesses and local authorities need ed to remind the public of the rules, and enforcement should not necessarily mean police involvement. Unions, however, said the government needed to ensure there was credible enforcement and that bus drivers and rail staff were not asked to force passengers to wear masks. The Confederation of Passenger Transport , which represents the bus and coach industry, said operators would be communicating to passengers that masks were now a legal requirement again, and “reminding them of their responsibility to comply with this change of approach, which the police will enforce . As they have throughout the pandemic, we expect passengers will work with operators to ensure passengers can travel safely .” A spokesperson for the Rail Delivery Group, which represents the rail industry, said: “While we know the £100 The penalty for failing to wear a mask on public transport the last time it was mandatory in England vast majority of people will want to do the right thing, we’ll be working with British Transport Police who will encourage and enforce the measures.” There has been a significant drop in compliance on transport networks such as TfL despite mask-wearing remaining a condition of carriage . London TravelWatch said research showed other people wearing face coverings was a key factor in making people feel safe about using buses, trains and the tube. Emma Gibson , the director of the independent watchdog, said: “Making them a requirement on all public transport again will be reassuring for many people but it will have to be properly enforced to give out the signal that the rules have changed.” Unions said they backed the measures for public health, but were telling their members that only the operator and police were responsible for making people comply. Unite’s national officer for passenger transport, Bobby Morton , said: “The government’s previous inconsistent messaging on face mask wearing is almost certainly going to result in a high degree of non-compliance. Unite’s advice to bus drivers is clear: it is not their role to enforce mask wearing, their responsibility is to safely drive and operate the bus.” The RMT leader , Mick Lynch , said there were “major issues about enforcement – and it’s our members left in the front line with angry passengers who refuse to comply. The government must make the resources available to properly police this.” Owen Weatherill, of the NPCC, said forces would continue to enforce Covid rules where necessary. “We will work closely with businesses and will continue to respond to incidents where individuals are violent or abusive towards staff or members of the public.” He added: “If officers encounter individuals not wearing a face covering on public transport or in shops, they will engage with them, explain the risks and encourage them to comply with the new rules.” Police issued 626 fixed penalty notices to people in England and Wales for not wearing masks on public transport when doing so was mandatory, and 3,123 fines in other settings. The majority were issued to white men, with police action peaking in February this year. The rule change, announced by Boris Johnson on Saturday but yet to be officially clarified, will bring England back in line with Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, where wearing masks on public transport has remained mandatory.

Tuesday 30 November 2021 The Guardian • ▼ Revellers clog a Swansea street . Venue owners fear having to check vaccine status, as ‘slow queues in freezing conditions aren’t conducive to great trade’ PHOTOGRAPH: ROBERT MELEN Retail sector ‘Don’t expect us to police the new rules’ 9 Sarah Butler Out in the cold again? Pubs and clubs fear another lost Christmas Rob Davies T he Parkers Arms in rural Lancashire is freezing cold and cannot take bookings over the phone, at least for now. Four days ago, Storm Arwen took out the power lines and telephone wires linking this gastropub near Clitheroe to the outside world. Its ever-optimistic proprietor, Stosie Madi , expects normal service to resume by the weekend. But now – like the rest of the hospitality sector – she has a new worry on her mind: the Omicron variant of Covid-19 . “We’re fully booked for the Christmas season and we’re quite pleased with that but we’ve had some cancellations come through,” she says, adding that the bulk came on Sunday after Boris Johnson announced tighter rules in response to the variant . She fears that fresh Covid-19 pessimism could dampen trade, which boom ed after restrictions were lifted in the summer. “People have been making up for lost time but the worst thing that could happen is if we’re stopped from trading,” Madi says. “This year they’ve said they ▶ Stosie Madi hopes for the best at the Parkers Arms in rural Lancashire PHOTOGRAPH: JOEL GOODMAN/THE GUARDIAN won’t lock us down again but you know what he [Johnson] is like. You never know how quickly he changes his mood. If we had to close down completely, that would be a disaster. I don’t know if I could pull the strength out for that.” Madi is one of thousands of publicans, nightclub owners and restaurateurs dreading a rerun of last winter, when soaring cases and the newly identified Alpha variant led to a lost Christmas. While hospitality escaped any new restrictions in Sunday’s announcement, which reintroduced compulsory maskwearing in shops and on public transport, the uncertainty may already be taking its toll. “There will undoubtedly be an impact as consumers digest the news and take steps to protect themselves,” says Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UK Hospitality, a trade body. “There’s no doubt there will be a chilling effect on confidence, while travel restrictions may mean some bookings are being cancelled.” A second Christmas lockdown would be “catastrophic” for a sector still rebuilding from last year ‘If we had to close down completely, that would be a disaster’ Stosie Madi Parkers Arms and heavily reliant on the festive period, she says. Peter Marks , chief executive of 46-venue nightclub group Rekom UK , has already had to revive the company from the ashes of Deltic, the firm’s former name before last year’s lockdowns drove it into administration . The nightclub industry has been closed for longer than any other hospitality segment and received less support. “It makes me want to scream at the fact that I’m sat here waiting for the next piece of virtue-signalling from government where they start picking on us, on nightclubs in particular,” says Marks. “If you lose Christmas and new year, it would cost millions and mean you wouldn’t have the cash to see you through the sparse trade of January and February .” Even having to ask for vaccine status on the door could have a major effect now, he adds. “Slow queues in freezing conditions aren’t conducive to great trade .” Nicholls argues that a ny reimposition of curbs on hospitality must come with renewed economic aid . “Last year we had grants, reduced VAT and full furlough but none of those are in place now. Businesses wouldn’t be able to cope. Substantial restrictions should mean substantial support.” At the Old Millwrights Arms in Aylesbury , landlady Liz Hind has been fielding questions from punters about a return to masks . “People are very confused about what they’re supposed to be doing, the story of the pandemic really,” she says . She fears the longer-term effect will be hard to reverse. “The pub industry chatter is that those who are more con cerned about Omi cron were already staying away. We’ve got that long-term change in customer behaviour.” Retailers have said they cannot be expected to police the reintroduction of mandatory mask-wearing in shops in England from today because of the potential for abuse of their staff . Richard Walker, chief of the Iceland grocery chain, said he backed the Omicron-fuelled mask move but added: “My store colleagues can’t be expected to police those who refuse .” The Association of Convenience Stores, which represents thousands of independent shopkeepers, said its members were concerned . Spokesman Chris Noice said: “ There could be an issue as there is a bit more of a backlash around Covid regulations than there has been in the past. We know from previous lockdowns that reminding people about face coverings and social distancing is a big trigger for abuse and [ staff] are hesitant about challenging people.” Helen Dickinson , CEO of the British Retail Consortium, which represents most big retailers, said: “It is vital that we do not place hardworking retail staff in harm’s way, and enforcement of face coverings must remain the duty of the authorities. ” Mike Cherry, of the Federation of Small Businesses, added: “It’s vital that [shop owners] feel supported by government at every level and by the police . We do hope that customers will recognise, like they did during previous restrictions, the government’s new guidelines when visiting their local independent shops. ” Retailers expect to be ready for the new set-up . Only workers dealing directly with shoppers are expected to have to wear face coverings, with behind-the-scenes workers exempt. Full guidance published yesterday afternoon said that all those entering shops, shopping centres, banks and public transport over the age of 11 must wear a face covering. Adults who do not comply face an immediate £100 fine with penalties rising to £6,400 for repeat offences, in line with the system operated last year. A police spokesperson said enforcement should not necessarily mean involvement by officers, with businesses and local authorities expected to resolve most incidents. Retailers were told that other measures to battle the virus , such as social distancing markers and plastic screens, would not be reintroduced. The shopworkers’ union, Usdaw, said the government must be “absolutely clear” that it was a legal requirement in England for shoppers to wear face coverings in order to reduce problems for retail workers. £6,400 The initial £100 fine for not wearing a mask could mount to a maximum of £6,400 for repeat offences

10 National • The Guardian Tuesday 30 November 2021 Hilfiger pays tribute to Abloh as he picks up achievement award Jess Cartner-Morley The “godfather of streetwear” Tommy Hilfiger paid tribute to fellow designer Virgil Abloh , describing his death as “a devastating blow to the industry”, as he was honoured with an outstanding achievement gong at the Fashion awards. Abloh, the first black designer to lead a luxury fashion house, took the streetwear genre – which Hilfiger pioneered – to a new strata of highfashion luxury during his tenure at Louis Vuitton. He was “not just a designer, but a true Renaissance man ”, Hilfiger said as he prepared to accept his award at the Royal Albert Hall. “He was a student, not just of fashion, but of the whole culture. He loved music. He understood and appreciated architecture.” Hilfiger described Abloh, who died at just 41 after having cancer, as “a real gentleman. He was kind, and he was also very driven. Not just for himself but driven to make real change in the industry.” Hilfiger changed the face of fashion in the 1980s when he took the preppy clothing of mid-century suburbia and, drawing inspiration from the sportswear being worn on the streets of New York, made it oversized and colourful. “The last conversation I ever had with Virgil, he told me that when he was in high school, he only wore my clothes,” Hilfiger recalls. “That was a huge compliment, because he has great taste.” The Tommy Hilfiger brand, with its graphic red, white and blue flagshaped logo instantly suggestive of the stars and stripes, is synonymous with Americana. Hilfiger’s empire was built on his ability to connect the energy and excitement of streetwear with white-picket-fence traditionalism. In the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement last year, Hilfiger launched the People’s Place, an initiative to offer opportunities in fashion to people of colour. “Inclusivity and diversity – this is the subject in our industry today,” sa id Hilfiger. “It’s not good enough for companies to put a diverse group of models on their catwalk, if they only hire white people to work for them. We need to purposefully unlock the door of opportunity across design and business to a diverse population.” The scheme, which Hilfiger has described as an attempt “to do more and to better”, is backing a research study, The Unsung History of American Sportswear, which will spotlight the often overlooked influences from ▲ Virgil Abloh, the first black designer to lead a luxury fashion house, died this week at the age of 41 ▶ Billy Porter (right); and below, Edward Enninful and Anna Wintour; and Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas at the Fashion awards Black American culture on signature Tommy Hilfiger styles. Hilfiger, dressed in an unstructured blazer with a top-pocket silk handkerchief layered over a half-zip sweater and striped shirt, teamed with chino trousers and suede loafers worn without socks, believes that comfort is at the core of postpandemic dressing. “Comfort is incredibly important now,” he sa id. “Now that we can get out of our homes and get out we want to wear something new and nice, but we still want it to be comfortable.” He predict ed that the online world “will have a big role to play” in a sustainable future for fashion, with consumers buying clothes that do not have to be physically produced, in a new era of “dressing up for a video game or for meeting friends online ”. Hilfiger’s career began in 1969, when he opened his first store in his home town of Elmira, New York , aged 18. His eponymous brand was launched in 1985. Caroline Rush, chief executive of the British Fashion Council, said of his award that “his efforts to change the world for the better, combined with his tenacity, collaborations and instinct, is what truly sets him apart ”.

Tuesday 30 November 2021 The Guardian • ▼ Tommy Hilfiger arrives at the Royal Albert Hall with his wife, Dee Ocleppo, before being honoured with an outstanding achievement gong PHOTOGRAPHS: GETTY IMAGES Radio 4’s Today taken off air for 30 minutes by wailing alarm Jamie Grierson The BBC’s flagship morning news programme, Radio 4’s Today, was taken off air for nearly 30 minutes yesterday after an alarm interrupted the broadcast. Towards the end of the 7.30am news bulletin listeners heard “attention please, please leave the building immediately, please leave the building immediately by the nearest exit”. The presenter Nick Robinson returned on air and said: “You may be able to hear we have a little alarm going on here … but shall we wait until someone looks vaguely panicky ?” His fellow presenter, Martha Kearney , suggested they “carry on for a little bit”, before a loud alarm sounded . She added: “Well, maybe it’s going to be quite hard to carry on with this alarm going on in the background.” She continued : “Hopefully it’s a false alarm … this did happen to 11 me once when I was presenting Woman’s Hour and we did have to leave the building because there was a fire . That was at old Broadcasting House .” Robinson said: “We do get these occasionally for alarms . Normally they don’t go off in the studio, but this one is persisting so we’re going to go to a report and that will allow us to work out what is going on .” He introduced a pre recorded report on Ghislaine Maxwell’s trial as the alarm continued in the background and then the live broadcast was taken off air until 7.55am. Kearney announced the show had returned: “As the world news fades down, Nick and I are back in the studio .” Robinson explained: “We had to follow procedures and we did, and we were outside in the cold for a little while, but we’re relieved to be back … we will now continue as before … normal service will resume.” ▲ Today’s Nick Robinson takes a selfie with Martha Kearney outside New Broadcasting House in London ADVENT CALENDAR Exclusively on the M&S app From 1 December 10% off clothing, beauty and homeware When you join SCAN TO JOIN UK only. Applicants must be 18 or over to apply, excludes BP Connect, WH Smith and Channel Islands stores. 10% off fashion and homeware valid online and in selected UK stores only (excluding Channel Islands, railway stores, M&S Outlet and BP Connect stores). Excludes schoolwear, furniture, lighting, M&S X Ghost and Brands at M&S. For full exclusions and T&Cs please visit marksandspencer.com.

• The Guardian Tuesday 30 November 2021 12 National ▼ Thomas Schreiber pleaded not guilty to murder and attempted murder at Winchester crown court Millionaire businessman killed by partner’s son in act of revenge, court told Steven Morris A son who felt he had been subjected to years of unfair treatment by his mother and her partner, the millionaire businessman Sir Richard Sutton , took revenge by launching a “ferocious and sustained” knife attack on them at their Dorset mansion, a murder trial has heard. Thomas Schreiber, 35 , who was frustrated at having to live with the pair because of a Covid lockdown, killed Sutton, 83, a hotelier and ‘ The defendant attacked Sir Richard and his mother with a knife in the kitchen’ Adam Feest QC Prosecuting landowner, and inflicted “severe and life-changing injuries” on Anne Schreiber, 66, Winchester crown court was told. The month before the attacks, Schreiber wrote to a friend: “I’m so sad to report that my mind is consumed with hatred of the very worst kind towards my family. They really hurt me, betrayed me and destroyed all trust. Simply put, I contemplate murdering them all morning day and night. It’s not what I want to think about but it’s the truth. I want them to suffer.” He described his mother as “toxic” and “gold-digging” and said he “couldn’t stand” Sutton and did not have a good word to say about him. Adam Feest QC , prosecuting, said there was no dispute that Schreiber killed Sutton and badly injured his mother, but said the jury would have to consider his state of mind. Schreiber denies murder and attempted murder. The court was told armed police raced to Sutton’s home on the night ▲ Richard Sutton was killed in April PICTURE: ELIZABETH COOK/PA of 7 April after a number of people reported that Schreiber had attacked his mother and her partner and was going to take his own life. Police smashed their way in through the conservatory and found Anne Schreiber barely conscious on the floor of the kitchen. She had slash wounds to her face and front and more than 10 wounds to her back. She was airlifted to hospital where her life was saved, the jury heard. Officers found Sutton’s “motionless and bloodied body” at the end of the upstairs landing just outside his bedroom. He had five stab wounds under his left armpit, one of which had pierced his heart. Spots of his blood and bloodied footprints were found downstairs . The court was told that after the attack Schreiber allegedly went to his part of the property, an annexe above a garage, changed some of his clothing, collected personal items and escaped by car. He was arrested a few hours later in London after a police chase and a “hard stop” manoeuvre. He had left a kitchen knife with Sutton’s blood on it in an upstairs sink. Another knife with his mother’s blood on it was found downstairs. Feest said that in the months before the attack Schreiber had been harbouring “increasingly strong feelings of resentment and hatred” towards his mother and her partner. The prosecutor said: “Built upon a foundation of many years of feeling isolated and unfairly treated by all his family, and fed by being forced to live at Moorhill [the family home] due to the pandemic – this was the second lockdown period – and the many injustices he felt had been perpetrated against him, these feelings had led the defendant to repeatedly consider revenge and violence.” Feest added: “Whatever it was that started the incident, the defendant attacked Sir Richard and his mother with a knife in the kitchen, perhaps having attacked Sir Richard in the study. This, the prosecution say, is a clear case of murder.” The trial continues.

Tuesday 30 November 2021 The Guardian National Weather • 13 ‘There are still homes isolated by fallen trees. My concern is we miss somebody’ Mark Mather Councillor, Wooler ▲ A snow-lined road in Buxton , Derbyshire, where Arwen hit hard Thousands have fourth night without power after Arwen Mark Brown North of England correspondent More than 150,000 homes across the UK were facing a fourth night without power after Storm Arwen wreaked havoc, bringing down trees and electricity lines . The Energy Networks Association (ENA) said damage caused by Friday’s storm was some of the worst since 2005. More than a million homes lost power with 155,000 nationwide still waiting to be reconnected yesterday . It came as parts of northern England had their coldest night of autumn so far . The Met Office said Shap in Cumbria recorded -8.7C (16.34F). Continuing snowfall in some areas made access for engineers more difficult, a spokesperson for ENA said. Helicopters and drones were being used to identify and assess damage. “Engineers are continuing to uncover snapped electricity poles, downed wires and other complex faults. In some areas of the country the damage is some of the worst seen since 2005.” The electricity network operator Northern Powergrid said the storm had caused the most extensive damage in 20 years, initially leaving 240,000 households across north-east England, Yorkshire and Lincolnshire without power. Yesterday, 29,000 households were still without power. In north Northumberland, Mark Mather , who represents the market ▲ After a subzero night, dawn breaks over the river Dove near Mayfield, Derbyshire PHOTOGRAPH: ROD KIRKPATRICK/F STOP PRESS ▼ A fallen tree and vehicle damage from Storm Arwen in New York, North Tyneside PHOTOGRAPH: OWEN HUMPHREYS/PA town of Wooler on the county council, said most households still had no electricity. Some also had no water. With mobile phone signals down, a lot of people would struggle get help. Mather praised the community response. The Angel Inn pub had become a refuge centre and served hot soup to more than 250 people on Sunday. Bottled water was being given out at the town’s middle school. Volunteers took hot drinks to people who struggled to leave their houses. “The majority of the main roads are now open but there are still some homes totally isolated because of fallen trees. That’s my big concern, that we miss somebody in the more rural areas who will have had no heating, no electric, potentially no water … and they can’t make a call for help. ” Northern Powergrid said large sections of overhead cables needed to be rebuilt . Rod Gardner , its major incident manager, said: “ The impact from Storm Arwen has been one of the worst we’ve experienced in the last 20 years.” Electricity Northwest said power had been restored to 81,000 out of 92,000 that had been cut off . The clean-up operation was hampered by treacherous road conditions. But Oli Claydon a Met Office spokesperson, said there had been a “warming trend” to weather yesterday. Three people died in the storm, which brought gusts of up to 98mph. A headteacher in Northern Ireland died after a tree fell on his car, another man was hit by a falling tree in Cumbria, and a third died after his car was hit in Aberdeenshire. Oasis from storm Guests exit after three days trapped in pub Maya Wolfe-Robinson Staff have bid “a fond farewell” to the majority of a 61-strong group that spent three days trapped in the UK’s highest pub . Two of the guests will spend a fourth night at the 17th-century Tan Hill Inn in the Yorkshire Dales after getting snowed in on Friday night as ▲ Stranded patrons spread out on sofas and mattresses at Tan Hill Inn Storm Arwen struck , having travelled to watch an Oasis tribute band. The other guests managed to dig their vehicles out one by one yesterday to follow a path cleared by a snow plough after three days of pub quizzes, board games and karaoke. The two who remained were “young girls who were a bit nervous about driving in these conditions”, said Donna Harrowell, the inn’s duty manager. “Which is quite handy for us because they’re upstairs stripping beds and helping us get the place back to normal,” she added, as the pub prepared to welcome new customers . Blizzards caus ed 9ft-high snow drifts and meant a tunnel had to be cut from the front door, but the roads remained impassable over the weekend because of fallen power cables that had blown over in the high winds. Most of the guests – including four “absolutely beautiful dogs”, according to Harrowell – slept on sofas and mattresses spread on the stone fl oor. One couple and their dog had planned to camp next to the pub, but the winds ripped their tent to shreds . As well as acoustic performances by Noasis – now nicknamed Snowasis – the group watched films shown on a projector and enjoyed the wellstocked bar and kitchen. There was a traditional Sunday lunch, including slices of roasted meat for the canine guests, when the dog food supplies ran low. “The only thing we really ran out of was breakfast sausages,” said Harroway, with guests having to “make do” with just bacon sandwiches yesterday morning. The pub’s owners decided to subsidise the food, providing all meals for free or at a heavily discounted price to cover costs. Perhaps wisely, customers continued to be charged for drinks, which flow ed throughout. “The karaoke last night was a bit slow to start with, but once they’d had a few more pints, everyone was jumping in and enjoying it. The sounds were incredible,” added Harroway.

Tuesday 30 November 2021 The Guardian National • 15 Ghislaine Maxwell ‘trafficked kids for sex’, US court is told Victoria Bekiempis New York Ghislaine Maxwell “preyed on vulnerable young girls, manipulated them and served them up to be sexually abused” by Jeffrey Epstein , federal prosecutors said in their opening arguments in her muchawaited trial in New York. Maxwell, 59, the daughter of the late press baron Robert Maxwell, has pleaded not guilty on six counts related to her alleged involvement in the late financier’s sexual abuse of teen girls, some as young as 14. In court, the prosecutor Lara Pomerantz said: “Maxwell was Epstein’s best friend and right hand . She was involved in every detail of Epstein’s life. The defendant and Epstein were partners in crime. “The defendant was trafficking kids for sex.” The indictment cites four accusers Boy, 14, appears in court charged with murder of 12-year-old girl PA Media A teenage boy has appeared in court charged with the murder of a 12-yearold girl in Liverpool city centre. Ava White had been in the city with friends on Thursday night when she suffered “catastrophic injuries” in an assault , Merseyside police said. The 14-year-old boy appeared at Liverpool magistrates court, sitting – referred to as Minor Victim 1, Minor Victim 2, Minor Victim 3 and Minor Victim 4 – though it is believed more will take the stand. Epstein killed himself in a Manhattan federal jail in August 2019 while awaiting trial . Maxwell’s alleged crimes took place from 1994 to 2004, prosecutors have said. In court yesterday Maxwell wore a cream-coloured sweater and black trousers. When she first walked into the courtroom at a bout 8.30am local time, Maxwell lifted her eyebrows and acknowledged her sister, who was seated in the first row. Maxwell wrote throughout proceedings and at times passed notes to her attorneys, according to a pool report. Throngs of media had gathered outside the courthouse before dawn in hope of securing a much-coveted seat in court or a place in an overflow viewing room. An Epstein accuser, Sarah Ransome , arrived at the courthouse ▲ Ava White, 12, died after being assaulted in Liverpool city centre ‘She was involved … The defendant and Epstein were partners in crime’ Lara Pomerantz Prosecutor, in court shortly before proceedings began, telling reporters: “I never thought this day would come.” Openings arguments came after the final panel of 12 jurors and six alternates was selected. The panel seemed to be ethnically diverse. Many of the jurors and alternates also appeared to be from a younger demographic. Authorities arrested Maxwell on 2 July 2020 at a secretive, expensive estate in the small New Hampshire town of Bradford. as a youth court, yesterday charged with murder and possession of a bladed article. The youth, who cannot be named for legal reasons sat in the dock with two security officers for the five-minute hearing. Thomas Hanlon , prosecuting, asked for the case to be sent to Liverpool crown court and for the defendant to be remanded in youth detention accommodation . District Judge Wendy Lloyd said: “Because this is a murder case it has to go to the crown court, that is the only place murder cases can be tried. “I am formally sending it to the crown court for Wednesday morning. Between now and then you are going to be kept in secure accommodation.” Audrey Strauss , the acting US attorney for Manhattan at the time, contended that Maxwell had “played a critical role in helping Epstein to identify, befriend and groom minor victims” and that “in some cases, Maxwell participated in the abuse”. The indictment charges that Maxwell “would try to normali se sexual abuse for a minor victim by, among other things, discussing sexual topics, undressing in front of the victim, being present when a minor victim was undressed, and/or being present for sex acts involving the minor victim and Epstein”. The US attorney for Manhattan has also accused Maxwell of trying to cover up her involvement in Epstein’s crimes by providing untrue information “under oath” during civil litigation. That lawsuit was the defamation case that Virginia Giuffre , a longtime Epstein accuser, brought against Maxwell. Giuffre has claimed Maxwell and Epstein coerced her into sexual activity with Prince Andrew when she was 17. Giuffre sued Maxwell, who called her a liar. Both Maxwell and Andrew maintain their innocence. Maxwell is charged with two counts related to the alleged lying. Those will be tried in a separate proceeding. ◀ Ghislaine Maxwell in an artist’s sketch embracing her defence lawyers after entering the New York courtroom PHOTOGRAPH: JANE ROSENBERG/REUTERS Three other boys, aged between 13 and 15, were also arrested and have been conditionally bailed . Ava was involved in an argument that escalated into an “assault on her with a knife”, police said. She was taken to Alder Hey children’s hospital but died a short time later. On Saturday police issued an image of a van that may have been occupied by key witnesses to the incident. Detectives have urged people not to post names or comments on social media. Det Sup t Sue Coombs , who is leading the investigation, urged anyone who had captured the incident or aftermath to send images or footage to the force online at mipp.police.uk/ operation/05MP21M43-PO1 . ▲ Bernadine Evaristo won the 2019 Booker prize for Girl, Woman, Other Evaristo to be president of Royal Society of Literature Harriet Sherwood Arts and culture correspondent Bernardine Evaristo is to be the next president of the Royal Society of Literature, becoming the first writer of colour to hold the position. Evaristo, whose novel Girl, Woman, Other won the Booker prize in 2019, will take over from Marina Warner at the end of this year. She will be the second female president in the society’s 200-year history. She said she was “deeply honoured” to be chosen as the organisation’s figurehead. The society was “boldly embracing the 21st century as a great champion of the possibilities of a more egalitarian culture for literature”, Evaristo added. “Storytelling is embedded in our DNA as human beings – it is sewn into the narrative arc of our lives, it is in our relationships, desires and conflicts, and it is the prism through which we explore and understand ourselves and the world in which we live. Literature is not a luxury, but essential to our civilisation. “I am so proud, therefore, to be the figurehead of such an august and robust literature organisation that is so actively and urgently committed to being inclusive of the widest range of outstanding writers from every demographic and geographical location in Britain, and to reaching marginalised communities through literature projects, including introducing young people in schools to some of Britain’s leading writers who visit, teach and discuss their work with them.” Evaristo was the first black writer to win the Booker , which propelled her into the spotlight after six earlier novels. Girl, Woman, Other became a bestseller in many languages. Daljit Nagra , chair of the RSL, said Evaristo was a seminal writer and a trailblazer. “As a writer she speaks with striking originality about underrepresented voices, as an advocate she has championed neglected authors, and as a campaigner she has given voice to the value of literature. Across all media, her voice rings out in passionate open-mindedness, recognisably unique and essential.” Evaristo grew up in south London with a Nigerian father , a white English mother, and seven siblings . In her memoir, Manifesto, she wrote that it was a time when it was “still legal to discriminate against people based on the colour of their skin”.

Tuesday 30 November 2021 The Guardian National • 17 Who’s in and who’s out Labour reshuffle Going up Yvette Cooper Shadow home secretary Cooper, pictured above, is making a return to the brief she held under Ed Miliband . After a failed tilt at the leadership in 2015, Cooper went to the backbenches under Jeremy Corbyn . David Lammy Shadow foreign secretary The former shadow justice secretary is one of the most prominent Windrush campaigners . Wes Streeting Shadow health and social care Perhaps best known for speaking about his upbringing on free school meals, Streeting previously described his move to the shadow cabinet as “a proper Labour story” of social mobility. Cooper returns in surprise Starmer reshuffle Continued from page 1 levelling-up secretary . The radical reshuffle, which blindsided Starmer’s own deputy, Angela Rayner , left almost no senior role untouched. “The Labour party I lead is focused on the priorities of the country,” Starmer said. “With this reshuffle, we are a smaller, more focused shadow cabinet that mirrors the shape of the government we are shadowing. We must hold the Conservative government to account on behalf of the public and demonstrate that we are the right choice to form the next government.” He lavished praise on Nandy, whose shift from shadow foreign secretary to the levelling-up brief would traditionally be regarded as a demotion – but levelling-up is at the heart of Boris Johnson’s agenda, and the Wigan MP has previously been a strong voice on tackling regional inequalities. “After 11 years of Conservative mismanagement of our economy, delivering prosperity to all regions and nations in the UK will be a defining mission of the next Labour government, and there will be nobody better than Lisa to lead this work,” Starmer said. Ed Miliband loses his responsibility for the business portfolio, which goes to Jonathan Reynolds . Starmer underlined the importance of Miliband’s new role as shadow secretary of state for climate change and net zero, calling him “a powerful, internationally well respected voice on the issue”. But Miliband will have no department to shadow directly. He and Starmer had clashed at Labour’s annual conference over polic ies including nationalising energy firms. The promotion of key figures from the right of the party – including Bridget Phillipson and Wes Streeting, to education and health respectively – together with the demotions of several on the soft left, including Miliband, Kate Green, who will return to the backbenches from education, and Nick Thomas-Symonds, moved from Home Office shadow to international trade, appeared to point to a fresh shift towards the political centre. Streeting inherited the shadow health secretary role from Jon Ashworth, who is moving to work and pensions, while the former leadership contender Emily Thornberry has switched from international trade to become shadow attorney general , replacing the peer Charlie Falconer. Starmer moved Jo Stevens from the digital, culture, media and sport brief to be the shadow Welsh secretary, replacing Nia Griffiths , who had remained in the shadow cabinet since Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership. Cat Smith, a shadow Cabinet Office minister, quit with a barb at Starmer, saying she was “one of our few remaining ‘red wall’ Labour MPs”. She also raised concerns that Corbyn still ha d the party’s whip suspended. Rayner was apparently blindsided by the overhaul yesterday morning, ▲ Keir Starmer with his deputy, Angela Rayner, who said she had not been consulted about the reshuffle PHOTOGRAPH: STEFAN ROUSSEAU/PA with the Labour leader informing her in a brief chat as she moved between a media round and a major speech on parliamentary standards, which was overshadowed by reshuffle rumours. Rayner’s spokesperson said she had been informed of a plan yesterday morning but insisted she was given no indication it would go ahead th e same day and was not consulted. One Rayner ally said Starmer would have been fully aware the move would “blow up” her bid to lay out plans for reforming the standards system and said it was “not fair” . A second said she had been “gazumped” and complained at the “utterly bizarre” timing. However, other senior Labour sources disputed that Rayner had been blindsided, with a shadow cabinet minister insisting “she definitely knew”. A reboot was favoured by Starmer’s team to capitalise on Conservative backbench revolts and Johnson’s slump in the poll s . Starmer had hoped to carry out a wider reshuffle in May after Labour lost the Hartlepool byelection, but more ambitious plans were stymied by a furious standoff with Rayner over a change to her role. Starmer tried to sack Rayner as party chair and campaigns coordinator but she resisted and emerged with a bigger role. Yesterday Rayner signalled her opposition to a reshuffle, saying the party should be “focused on getting us into power” and if it was diverting attention away from that mission, it was letting people down. Since Starmer’s last reshuffle in May, in which the shadow chancellor, Anneliese Dodds , was replaced by the more high-profile Rachel Reeves, a string of senior staff have also departed from his inner team. These included longtime adviser Ben Nunn , chief of staff Chris Ward, and political director Jenny Chapman . ▲ The former shadow foreign secretary Lisa Nandy will now face Michael Gove as shadow levelling-up secretary PHOTOGRAPH: ANTHONY HARVEY/SHUTTERSTOCK Lucy Powell Shadow culture secretary A former chief of staff to the former Labour leader Ed Miliband . Going sideways Lisa Nandy Shadow levelling up Labour insiders regard her as an authentic and effective communicator key to winning back “red wall” seats . Jonathan Ashworth Shadow work and pensions Ashworth outlasted Matt Hancock but was told the news about his move while at home self-isolating with Covid. Jonathan Reynolds Shadow business Reynolds will be expected to improve Labour’s reputation with the world of business. Going down Ed Miliband Shadow climate change Some of Miliband’s colleagues have long questioned whether he is at home in the business part of his role . He has now lost half his brief. Nick Thomas-Symonds Shadow trade Thomas-Symonds is a genuine Labour intellectual and the author of biographies of Clement Attlee and Nye Bevan, as well as a forthcoming one of Harold Wilson. Cat Smith Out of shadow cabinet S ince becoming an MP in 2015 she has spent all but a few months on the frontbenches. Heather Stewart

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Tuesday 30 November 2021 The Guardian • Royal Ballet star dancer leaps into the digital world of NFTs Harriet Sherwood Arts and culture correspondent She is one of the world’s most acclaimed dancers, dazzling audiences with performances at the Bolshoi and the Royal Ballet. Now Natalia Osipova is fusing her centuries-old art form with the latest digital technology. Osipova, a principal dancer at the Royal Ballet who is currently appearing as Giselle at the Royal Opera House, has created the world’s first non-fungible tokens (NFTs) for ballet that are being auctioned over the coming days. She said the move was inspired by lockdown in an effort to reach audiences while theatres were closed but also as a means to preserve a memory of her dancing at the height of her powers. NFTs are unique assets stored on a digital ledger called a blockchain. They can be copied, but there is only one original and blockchain technology means the origin and ownership are definitively established. NFTs can be sold and traded among collectors. Osipova said she was “excited but a little nervous” about stepping into the world of NFTs and cryptocurrencies, but added: “I like taking risks and this is my latest venture. National “NFTs have shaken up the world of art, particularly over the last year, and I realised they could also broaden ballet’s appeal and reach.” Osipova has performed three pieces, two from Giselle and one from the contemporary duet Left Behind, which she dances with her fiance, Jason Kittelberger. Giselle, she said, was “my favourite classical role, beautiful and amazing”. Left Behind demonstrated more recent work combining classical training in ballet with fluid contemporary dance and an emotional narrative . Together the pieces form Natalia ‘I’m 35 now and I can jump. Maybe in two years I can’t do the same thing’ Natalia Osipova Royal Ballet dancer Osipova: Triptych, which is being auctioned by Bonhams on 10 December. The motive to create the NFTs was born during the Covid lockdowns. “I felt completely lost when I was unable to perform,” Osipova said. She decided to explore ways of connecting with audiences over a digital platform. She and Kittelberger also plan to form their own dance company. “We’re hoping to find some financial independence by selling NFTs to fund the company,” said Kittelberger. “We hope to [build a] bridge over to the crypto[currency] community because they’re the ones who are actually investing.” NFTs also create lasting artwork. Dancers’ careers are short , said Osipova. “You stop about 40, maybe 45, sometimes earlier. I’m 35 now, and I can jump and my body looks good, and now is the time to record. Maybe in two years I can’t do the same thing. It’s sad, but it’s true.” Sales of NFTs have surged this year in what has been described as a new gold rush . The digital artist ▼ Natalia Osipova performs with Reece Clarke in the Royal Ballet’s current production of Giselle PHOTOGRAPH: TRISTRAM KENTON/THE GUARDIAN Mike Winkelmann , better known as Beeple, made history in March by selling an NFT for $69.4m (£52.1m). Osipova said she hoped her NFTs would “pave the way for the next generation of dancers to connect with their supporters on this digital stage”. Dance was “the best language in the world”, but the last two years had shown “we need different platforms for people to see great art”, she said. Osipova and Kittelberger said their venture was a gamble as the market for ballet NFTs was unknown. Bidding for the two short-form Giselle NFTs will start at £8,000 each, and the long-form Left Behind NFT will open at £30,000. Nima Sagharchi , Bonhams’ head of digital art, said the auction house was “proud to be a pioneer in the NFT field – having sold works by creators of digital art and a record-breaking Cristiano Ronaldo NFT trading card – and to offer yet another world’s first. “Through NFTs, we are able to crystallise unique performances and own and collect what would otherwise be intangible.” Caroline Davies 19 Queen sends congratulations to new republic of Barbados The Queen has sent her congratulations to Barbados on its “momentous” day , as the nation removes her as its head of state and becomes a republic. Prince Charles arrived on the Caribbean island on Sunday for the inauguration of Sandra Mason , the new head of state, as Barbados today sheds the vestiges of a colonial system stretching back 400 years. The Queen’s message said: “On … your assumption of office as the first president of Barbados, I extend my congratulations to you and all Barbadians. I first visited your beautiful country on the eve of independence in early 1966, and I am very pleased that my son is with you today. “Since then, the people of Barbados have held a special place in my heart; it is a country rightly proud of its vibrant culture, its sporting prowess, and its natural beauty, that attracts visitors from all over the world, including many people from the United Kingdom.” She added: “It is also a source of great satisfaction that Barbados remains an active participant within the Commonwealth, and I look forward to the continuation of the friendship between our two countries and peoples. ” Charles arrived on Sunday to reaffirm the “myriad” connections between the people of the two countries and deliver an address . The last time the Queen was removed as head of a state was in 1992, when Mauritius proclaimed itself a republic. Barbados’s decision will be watched closely by other members of the Commonwealth, especially in the Caribbean .

20 National • The Guardian Tuesday 30 November 2021 Huge herds of livestock are ruining UK’s rivers, says expert Tom Levitt UK farmers may have to radically cut the number of animals they keep because of the critical state of some river catchments, an Environment Agency pollution expert has warned. Farming is the most significant source of water pollution and ammonia emissions into the atmosphere in the UK, according to government data . It accounts for 25% of phosphate, 50% of nitrate and 75% of sediment loadings in the water environment, which harms ecosystems. Speaking independently, Tim Bailey said the state of catchments such as the River Wye and Somerset Levels and Moors had become critical owing to an overload of chicken and dairy cow numbers, and the problem of disposing of manure. Just three counties - Herefordshire, Powys and Shropshire – produce 250 million chickens a year, with capacity having doubled in a decade. “Many catchments are already at or beyond the capacity of the environment to cope, and more will follow unless we take unparalleled action,” said Bailey, who has written a book – Livestock’s Longer Shadow – about the environmental impact of livestock farming in the UK. “In some instances, it will entail the reduction and restriction of 250m Number of chickens produced each year by just three counties – Powys, Herefordshire and Shropshire livestock production; or the treatment and export of organic manures. “There are catchments like the River Wye where we need to export [animal waste] to other catchments, but transferring the problem will eventually risk creating a UK-wide pollution problem . It’s a critical situation.” Campaigners say the River Wye is “ like pea soup at times ” owing to algae blooms fuelled in part by phosphate-rich excrement seeping in. One of the UK’s biggest chicken suppliers, Avara Foods, which supplies Delicately smoked for hours. Gone in seconds. Co-op Irresistible Beech & Oak Scottish Smoked Salmon, 100g, £5 (£5 per 100g). GHI Taste Approved. Participating stores. Subject to availability. Serving suggestion. Restrictions to Home Delivery and Click & Collect apply. Check coop.co.uk/store-finder to see your local Co-op services. MPs should face a total ban on working as paid consultants – watchdog Peter Walker Political correspondent MPs should face a complete ban on working as paid consultants and ministers should be more open about any potential conflicts of interest, parliament’s internal standards watchdog has proposed among a series of new anti-sleaze rules. Other recommendations in the report from the Commons standards committee include an obligation for MPs to have a written contract for any outside work, available for inspection if needed, which would spell out that they cannot lobby on behalf of the employer . Another idea, which the committee said would need cross-party support to implement, would be to limit how much time MPs can spend on outside jobs or other interests, and how much they can earn from them. It acknowledged, however, that it was difficult to see how this might work in practice. The report also suggests updates to the MPs’ code of conduct to include a ban on members subjecting someone else to “unreasonable and excessive personal attack”, whether in the Commons or by any other means, including social media. The proposals, agreed unanimously by the cross-party group of MPs and seven co-opted lay members on the committee, are now open to consultation, with the hope that

Tuesday 30 November 2021 The Guardian • 21 Tesco and other supermarkets, has admitted that chicken litter from its farms was polluting the Wye. Bailey said livestock numbers needed to match the carrying capacity of the area . The current heavy concentrations in some places are, he said, unsustainable. “We have to start fitting livestock into the environment [so] we are not stressing the environment so that it can’t cope.” The solution would entail a mix of destocking, regulation, advice and financial support to farmers, he said. “This is not a farmer problem, it’s a societal problem. Farmers want to get to the same place, but are trapped in a cheap food economy. “If society wants a clean River Wye or to stop Amazon deforestation, then it has to take responsibility.” A spokesperson for Avara Foods said the company was looking at alternative destinations for chicken litter waste , including combined heat and power plants and novel anaerobic digestion technology, which would also remove phosphates . The National Farmers Union and Defra were approached for comment. Inside Angela’s hinterland Merkel makes surprise musical choice for farewell ceremony Page 29 → Fallen officer honoured Su Bushby, far right, the partner of Sgt Matt Ratana, who died after being shot at a custody centre in Croydon last year, with the home secretary, Priti Patel; London mayor, Sadiq Khan; Met police commissioner, Cressida Dick; and assistant commissioner Matt Jukes, before a memorial service for Ratana. PHOTOGRAPH: VICTORIA JONES/ PA WIRE a final version will be put to a Commons vote by Easter. T he committee had been preparing its report before the recent controversy about parliamentary standards as the government tried to protect Owen Paterson . The independent parliamentary commissioner for standards found that Paterson, then a Tory backbencher, who has since resigned, had repeatedly broken lobbying rules, a decision endorsed by the standards committee. In an effort to save Paterson from punishment, Boris Johnson secured a Commons vote to overturn the verdict and replace the standards committee with a new body with a built-in Conservative majority. The plan was abandoned a day later after an outcry. Paterson’s supporters alleged he had not had a chance for a full appeal. This was not the case, but the committee’s report recommends a senior judicial figure be brought i n to examine the disciplinary system to ensure it is fair. The prime minister has already suggested both a ban on MPs working as consultants and measures to prevent them from neglecting constituents because of outside work. However, a Guardian analysis suggested the proposal would affect fewer than 10 MPs. Labour has proposed notably tougher rules, including a ban on almost all second jobs for MPs and a new, independent watchdog for potential conflicts of interest. The committee’s report says a consultancy ban should cover “parliamentary advice, consultancy or strategy services”. It also suggests that contracts for other second jobs should include a clause preventing such activity, and should be shown to the standards commissioner if needed during an investigation. Under a proposed “safe harbour” provision designed to encourage MPs to seek advice, they would not be found to have breached rules if they had acted in accordance with official advice. Chris Bryant, the Labour MP who chairs the standards committee, said: “ If approved, these robust proposals will empower the standards system in parliament to better hold MPs who break the rules to account.”

Tuesday 30 November 2021 The Guardian • Sagrada Família Conservation Barcelona divided Rwanda welcomes 30 again over Gaudí work endangered rhino Page 26 Page 31 23 Fresh travel curbs around the globe as Omicron cases and fears increase Jon Henley Paris Nick Dall Cape Town The Omicron variant of coronavirus has been detected in several more countries, prompting nervous governments to impose tough travel restrictions to try to keep it at bay while scientists race to establish how dangerous it might be. Joe Biden said yesterday that the variant was “a cause for concern, not for panic”. He urged Americans to get vaccinated – including with a booster – as soon as they were eligible, and to wear masks in public places. “Sooner or later we are going to see new cases of this new variant here in the United States and we’re going to have to face this new threat just as we have faced the ones that came before it,” Biden said, but he added that further travel bans were unlikely. As cases of the variant appeared from Hong Kong to Australia and Scotland to Sweden, several countries opted for caution. Japan, which has not yet detected any Omicron infections, said yesterday it was reimposing border controls. “We are taking the step as an emergency precaution to prevent a worst-case scenario,” said the prime minister, Fumio Kishida . In Israel a ban on foreign arrivals is in effect , while Morocco said it would suspend all incoming flights for a fortnight. Australia said it would delay reopening its international border by two weeks after reporting its first Omicron cases, and India enforced mandatory on-arrival testing for travellers from a dozen countries including South Africa and Britain. Scientists have said it could take weeks to work out the severity of Omicron, which was first identified in southern Africa, but it has already sparked a wave of responses among Countries reporting cases of the Omicron variant In Scotland, four cases were confirmed in the Lanarkshire area, with two found in the Greater Glasgow and Clyde area Canada England’s red list rules apply to Angola, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe Belgium Spain Italy Five cases have been identified in England Netherlands Sweden Germany Austria Israel Botswana South Africa Australia Source: GISAID. Latest available data for each country is shown, UK data as of 3.30pm 29 November ▲ Cyril Ramaphosa has criticised travel bans imposed on South Africa Hong Kong governments concerned it could affect economic recovery. The EU is expected to hold a summit on the situation at the end of this week or early next week, according to senior officials, in an effort to hammer out a common approach on several issues including booster vaccine doses. Despite warnings that border closures can have limited effect and wreak havoc on lives and economies, countries opting to impose tighter travel curbs argued that the restrictions would provide valuable time to analyse the variant. South Africa has strongly criticised the restrictions a growing number of countries have placed on travel from the region, with the president, ◀ Travellers at Melbourne airport yesterday. Australia has paused its plans to relax border restrictions PHOTOGRAPH: WILLIAM WEST/GETTY IMAGES Cyril Ramaphosa, saying it was being unfairly punished for detecting the variant early. In speech on Sunday that was well received across the domestic political spectrum, Ramaphosa described the bans imposed by the UK and other governments as “not informed by science, nor effective in preventing the spread of this variant”. He said they would only serve to “further damage the economies of the affected countries and undermine their ability to respond to, and recover from, the pandemic ”, adding that they went against promises made by G20 nations last month. Ramaphosa also announced South Africa would not be moving into a stricter lockdown, but that the government would instead be exploring ways to make vaccines mandatory. The WHO urged member countries to speed up vaccination programmes – including of booster doses – for high-priority groups. Many European countries have already begun offering booster shots to all over-18s. Omicron cases in Europe had already been reported in Belgium, Denmark and the Netherlands before Portugal identified 13 infections among members of the Belenenses professional football team. One had recently travelled to South Africa. Dutch authorities said they had found another case, bringing the country’s total to 14 – all among 61 passengers who tested positive for coronavirus after arriving in Amsterdam from South Africa on Friday. Poland said yesterday it would ban flights to seven African countries, extend quarantines for some travellers and further limit numbers allowed into places like restaurants, amid concerns over the new variant. “We must appreciate the importance of this phenomenon and the risk that a new mutation emerging poses,” the health minister, Adam Niedzielski , told reporters . The WHO said any surge in cases could have “severe consequences”, but added that no deaths linked to the variant had so far been reported. “Omicron has an unprecedented number of spike mutations, some of which are concerning for their potential impact on the trajectory of the pandemic,” it said. “The overall global risk related to the new variant … is assessed as very high.” Some countries have been more relaxed. New Zealand said it would restrict travel from nine southern African nations but insisted it would press ahead with plans to reopen internally after months of shutdown. The prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, said that she did not anticipate any further restrictions and that bars, restaurants and gyms in Auckland could reopen, ending a lockdown that began in August. “We’ve come through the past two years of C ovid in better shape than nearly anywhere in the world,” Ardern said .

24 Eyewitness • The Guardian Tuesday 30 November 2021

Tuesday 30 November 2021 The Guardian • ▼ Orschwiller , France The medieval Haut-Koenigsbourg castle from the air yesterday after the first snow on the Vosges peaks PHOTOGRAPH: PATRICK HERTZOG/AFP 25

26 World • The Guardian Tuesday 30 November 2021 EU border agency deported record number of people in first half of 2021 Jennifer Rankin Brussels The EU border agency Frontex deported a record number of people in the first half of the year, according to a leaked document that has sparked concern about people being sent back to countries where they may face war or persecution. In a report issued to the EU council of ministers, Frontex said it had deported 8,239 non-EU nationals in the first six months of 2021, a record number and a 9% increase on the same period in 2019, before the pandemic hit global travel. EU member states continue to run their own deportations, but the increase in Frontex operations shows how member states are increasingly turning to the EU agency for help in managing migration, from deportations to border patrol . The civil liberties NGO Statewatch , which published the leaked report , argued there was “no certainty” that Frontex was not supporting refoulements – sending people back to face repression or war . A spokesperson for Frontex said returns decisions were always made by member states in line with EU law. People denied the right to asylum can be returned to their home country, although governments struggle to carry out deportations. In 2019, 491,200 people were ordered to leave the EU, but only 29% were returned to their country of origin. The European Commission aims to sign more return agreements with non-EU countries as it seeks to increase the number of people denied asylum returned to their home nations. In 2020 the main nationalities of people ordered to leave the EU were Algerian, Moroccan, Albanian, Ukrainian and Pakistani. In the first half of the year, 61% of people returned by Frontex chose to leave, while 39% were forcibly returned, according to the agency. The overall proportion of forced returns Frontex deported 8,239 non-EU nationals in the first half of 2021 Jan-Jun 2019 Jul-Dec 2019 Source: Frontex Jan-Jun 2020 Jul-Dec Jan-Jun 2020 2021 8,000 6,000 4,000 2,000 0 declined, which Frontex attributed to people refusing to undergo Covid tests or to get vaccinations to frustrate a deportation order. Under EU law, people being forced to return should be accompanied by human rights monitors. Yet in the first half of 2021 a “forced return monitor” was present on only 47% of Frontex-organised charter flights, 23% of nationally organised flights and 73% of jointly organised flights. Overall there was a 7% reduction in the presence of monitors on all returns flights compared with the same period in 2020, which the agency blamed on Covid travel restrictions. Tineke Strik , a Dutch Green MEP, said the increase in deportations raised concerns, because Frontex says it is not obliged to verify if all steps of an asylum procedure have been followed. “Frontex seems to underestimate its responsibility in making sure that fundamental rights are respected,” she said. She pointed to a recent European court of justice ruling that found the Hungarian government had broken EU law by limiting the right to asylum. “If the asylum procedure has a lot of deficiencies, you don’t know if it’s safe for the person to be returned ,” she said. The Dutch MEP was the author of a recent cross-party report that concluded Frontex had failed to protect the human rights of asylum seekers and appoint its full quota of legally required human rights monitors. She said EU member states also needed to “step up their capacity” to ensure human rights monitors were always present on deportation flights. Frontex has become a centrepiece of EU migration policy since 1.2 million people fled to Europe in 2015 to seek asylum. After the migration crisis, EU leaders agreed to increase funding for the Warsaw-based agency and create a 10,000 strong European border and coast guard by 2027. A Frontex spokesperson said: “Before any return flight is organised by Frontex, the agency requires from the national authorities confirmation that their return decisions were issued in line with the European law. “Frontex is responsible for the coordination of return operations, but the decision about who should be returned is always taken by the judicial or administrative authorities of the member states. According to European legislation, the individual is always given the possibility to appeal against this return decision. Frontex does not enter into the merits of return decisions issued by the member states.” Gaudi gripe Star on Sagrada Família ignites row over stairway to basilica Stephen Burgen Barcelona A gigantic 12-pointed star was installed yesterday on one of the main towers of the basilica of the Sagrada Família , Antoni Gaudí ’s masterpiece that has been a work in progress since 1882 . But the star is unlikely to brighten the mood of local residents whose lives have been blighted for years by Barcelona’s biggest tourist attraction, which before the pandemic brought 60,000 visitors a day to the area. Residents’ associations accuse the religious foundation in charge of the basilica of high-handedness in its dealings with them, and Joan Itxaso and Salvador Barroso , spokes people for two local groups, are unmoved by the latest addition to the city’s skyline. Barroso described the star, which weighs 5.5 tonnes and measures 7 metres from point to point, as “aesthetically horrible”. It will be illuminated from 8 December, the day Spain celebrates the feast of the immaculate conception , along with the tower’s 800 wind ows. However, their main anxiety is that the foundation could go ahead with its plan to build an enormous stairway leading up to the basilica’s as-yet-unfinished main entrance which, if fully realised, would entail demolishing three entire city blocks, dislodging about 1,000 families and businesses. Earlier this month, Itxaso’s association called for all work on the site to be stopped until future building plans had been hammered out in a tripartite meeting between residents, the foundation and the city council. B arroso’s group ‘We have no doubt that what we are building is the work of Gaudi. [We want] the best solution for everyone’ Xavier Martínez Foundation chief is taking legal action against the proposed stairway. Xavier Martínez , the director general of the foundation, said it was open to suggestions about the stairway but added that it was up to the city council to decide whether to include it in its new urban plan. The council has so far shied away from making a decision and, with

Tuesday 30 November 2021 The Guardian • 27 ▲ The star is to be illuminated from 8 December, when Spain celebrates the feast of the immaculate conception PHOTOGRAPH: PAU BARRENA /AFP elections little more than a year away, may be reluctant to agree a plan that involves demolishing dozens of homes. Barroso claims the stairway was devised by Gaudí’s disciples after his death and was n ot part of the architect’s original plans, which were destroyed by anarchists at the outbreak of the Spanish civil war. Prominent local architects say the recent work can not be regarded as Gaudí’s, a view shared by Unesco, whose world heritage site listing covers only the part of the basilica completed during the architect’s lifetime . Mart ínez disagrees. “We have no doubt that what we are building is the work of Gaudí,” he said. Since work began 139 years ago, the Sagrada Família has become a byword for unfinished business and the 2026 completion date has been abandoned as a result of the ◀ A giant crystal star is installed by crane yesterday atop the Virgin Mary tower of the Sagrada Família in Barcelona PHOTOGRAPH: MATTHIAS OESTERLE/ ZUMA PRESS WIRE/ REX/SHUTTERSTOCK pandemic. Mart ínez was not willing to speculate on a new completion date. He said it was only in 2010, the year the basilica was consecrated by Pope Benedict XVI , that it had been realised that thanks to tourism the re might finally be the resources to complete the job, but that was before the pandemic. At its last press conference, in 2019, the foundation announced income for 2018 and 2019 of €80m (£67m) and €100m respectively, of which approximately €110m was earmarked for construction work. The remaining €70m was put aside “in case there should be a drop in visitor numbers”, the meeting was told. Consequently, eyebrows were raised when, at the start of the pandemic, the foundation announced that all work except for the María tower would be suspended until 2024 and most of the workforce was put on furlough until further notice. Mart ínez sa id the €70m “rainy day” fund ha d been needed to pay the part of the salaries not covered by the Covid furlough scheme as well as site security and other expenses, and that work can not resume while visitor numbers remain at only about a quarter of the 2019 figure. “Once a year they hold a press conference where they say how much income they’ve received and how they plan to spend it, but it is impossible to verify these figures because nothing is costed,” said Barroso. Under an agreement signed between the Spanish government and the Vatican in 1979, the foundation does n ot have to publish accounts or pay tax. It only has to declare income from the giftshop, while the income from visitors (4.7 million paying on average €15 a head in 2019) is treated as donations. “We submit our accounts to the [Catholic] church as we are obliged to by law, the lack of public access to the accounts isn’t up to me,” sa id Martínez, adding that he doubted greater transparency would satisfy the critics. The church is not obliged to make its accounts public either. Meanwhile, the stairway issue remains unresolved. Martínez sa id the foundation was happy to discuss it with residents “and reach the best solution for everyone”, but that was easier said than done. “We have to find a solution that meets the needs of the city, not that of the foundation,” Itxaso sa id. Joan Josep Omella , the archbishop of Barcelona, described the installation atop the tower dedicated to the Virgin Mary as “an historic moment after a year of darkness and tireless struggle”. Iran ‘playing for time’ to boost nuclear aims – Israel Patrick Wintour Diplomatic editor Israel’s foreign minister, Yair Lapid , has claimed his country’s archenemy, Iran, had agreed to restart nuclear negotiations only in order to remove sanctions and covertly advance its nuclear programme. Talks restarted in Vienna on yesterday between Iran and the world’s leading powers including Germany, France, the UK, China and Russia after a pause of five months . Speaking in London before the talks, Lapid suggested Iran’s nuclear ambitions could be halted with “tighter sanctions, tighter supervision and conducting talks from a position of strength”. Standing alongside the British foreign secretary, Liz Truss, he said Iran was “at the talks for only one reason : to get sanctions lifted because it needed money for its global terrorist network and for their continued race towards a nuclear weapon”. Tehran “will play for time, earn billions from lifting sanctions, deceive the world and covertly advance their nuclear programme”, he predicted. “The intelligence is clear and leaves no doubt,” he added. Botswana upholds ruling in support of same-sex couples Nyasha Chingono Harare Gay rights campaigners expressed joy at the Botswana court of appeal’s decision to uphold a ruling that decriminalised same-sex relationships, saying it could encourage other African countries. The government had appealed against a 2019 ruling that criminalising homosexuality was unconstitutional . The decision had been hailed as a major victory for gay rights campaigners on the continent , after an unsuccessful attempt in Kenya to do the same. Dismissing the appeal yesterday, five judges unanimously ruled that criminalising same-sex relationships was a violation of the constitutional rights of LGBTQ+ individuals to dignity, liberty, privacy and equality. The court of appeal president, Ian Kirby , said sections of the criminal code targeting same-sex relationships “ have outlived their usefulness, and serve only to incentivise law enforcement agents to become keyhole peepers and intruders into the private space of citizens ”. Before 2019 , gay sex was punishable by up to seven years in prison. Caine Youngman, the head of “I f Iran obtained a nuclear weapon , it would lead to a nuclear arms race across the Middle East .” The British decision to host Lapid on the day the talks started was condemned by Iran’s foreign ministry. In a statement, it said, “the UK issues anti-Iran statements with the Israeli regime – a nuclear-holder and enemy of the 2015 nuclear agreement. Utter lack of goodwill and an evident sign that London doesn’t seek to preserve the deal. You can’t have lunch with the foe of a deal and for dinner sit at another table to claim support for the same deal.” Lapid is due to deliver a similar tough message to the French p resident, Emmanuel Macron, today, but both France and the UK remain committed to seeing most US sanctions lifted if Iran takes consequent verifiable steps to return to compliance with the deal, including allowing UN nuclear inspectors access to Iran’s nuclear sites. Israel is currently isolated in the Middle E ast : the Gulf states follow the US lead in accepting that a revival of the nuclear deal would be good for stability in the region . But that isolation may prove temporary if the talks do not make progress. ▲ Liz Truss, left, and Yair Lapid have agreed a trade and defence pact policy and legal advocacy for the organisation Lesbians, Gays and Bisexuals of Botswana, said: “ I feel relieved, I feel hopeful about our future as the LGBTIQ community in our country. I feel protected. I have all sorts of emotions, but the bottom line is I am really happy .” Youngman added: “This victory is a massive one for the LGBTIQ community and it is an indication that the judiciary in Botswana takes human rights very seriously. It is an indication that the judiciary is willing to play their part for equality before the law.” The judg ment would “be very useful for other comrades around the continent of Africa”. Homosexuality is illegal in many African countries , with convictions carrying a death sentence in some jurisdictions. The LGBTQ+ community in Botswana has received support from the country’s president, Mokgweetsi Masisi. “Just like other citizens, they deserve to have their rights protected,” he said two years ago. The UN’s resident coordinator in Botswana, Zia Choudhury, tweeted : “Woohoo! Justice for #LGBTQ community, and justice for all who believe in #HumanRights … Every human being can love and be loved, without fear of persecution.”

Tuesday 30 November 2021 The Guardian World • 29 Crackdown on Uyghurs linked to speeches by China’s leaders Patrick Wintour Diplomatic editor Excerpts from previously unpublished documents directly linking China’s crackdown on Uyghur Muslims and other minorities in Xinjiang province to speeches by the Chinese leadership in 2014 have been put online . The documents – including three speeches by the Chinese president, Xi Jinping, in April 2014 – cover security, population control and the need to punish the Uyghur population. Some are marked top secret. They were leaked to a German academic, Adrian Zenz . In the documents the highest levels of the Chinese Communist party (CCP) leadership call for Uyghur reeducation and relocation to rectify White House Christmas The state dining room at the White House. This year’s theme is “gifts from the heart” and approximately 6,000ft of ribbon, 300 candles and 10,000 ornaments were used for the decoration. PHOTOGRAPH: JIM LO SCALZO/EPA Former first lady poised to be first female Honduran president Jeff Ernst Tegucigalpa The opposition candidate Xiomara Castro appears poised to become the first female president of Honduras, in a landslide victory 12 years after her husband was forced from power in a military-backed coup. With results counted from just over half of precincts yesterday, an imbalance in the Uyghur and Han population in Xinjiang. Zenz said the top secret and confidential documents were significant because they showed link s between the demands of the Chinese leadership of 2014 and what subsequently happened in Xinjiang, including mass internment in re-education camps, coercive labour transfers and increasing Han population ratios. Zenz allege d that the documents showed the leadership’s long-term intent to commit cultural genocide with the specific purpose of safeguarding the rule of the CCP. The documents were handed in full in digital form to the Uyghur Tribunal – an independent people’s tribunal based in the U K – in September, but have not been published in full in order to protect the source of the leak. Instead, transcripts of Castro held a commanding 20-point lead over her nearest rival. The final result was expected to be tighter, however, as votes from rural strongholds of Nasry Asfura ’s conservative National party trickled in. But the tide in favour of Castro – a leftist represent ing a coalition of opposition parties – appeared unstoppable. Castro, 62, declared herself the winner in a speech before a crowd of jubilant supporters late on Sunday, some of the documents, lengthy quotations, summary and analysis have been published. The transcripts were peer reviewed by Dr James Millward, a professor of inter-societal history at Georgetown University in Washington DC, and Dr David Tobin , a lecturer in east Asian studies at the University of Sheffield. The leak covers 300 unique pages covering a period from April 2014 to May 2018. Zenz said some of the documents were drawn upon by the New York Times in a report in 2019 but that the leak also contain ed previously unseen information. In late 2016, just before a set of unprecedented measures came into effect in Xinjiang, the leaders’ statements were handed to Xinjiang’s cadres as study material, preparing them to implement the measures. and promised to form a government of “peace and justice.” “For 12 years the people resisted ,” she said. “God takes time but doesn’t forget. Today the people have made justice.” In 2009, Castro’s husband, former president Manuel Zelaya , was forced from power by business elites and the military. The protest movement that emerged in the ensuing crisis made Castro a political force in her own right. She first ran for president in 2013 for the cent re-left Libre party. Over the past four years, President Juan Orlando Hernández and members of the ruling National party have been mired in a string of corruption and drug trafficking allegations . In one 2014 speech covered by the leak, Xi argues that the belt and road initiative, his signature foreign policy project , requires a stable domestic security environment. He asserts that the achievement of China’s major goals in the 21st century will be in jeopardy if the situation in southern Xinjiang is not brought under control. Xi demands that the region engage in an all-out battle to “prevent Xinjiang’s violent terrorist activities from spreading to the rest of China”. He also warns that religious extremism is “a powerful psychedelic drug”, and calls for reform though education, as opposed to a practice of arrest and release – a reference to re-education and detention camps. Other classified documents lament “severe imbalances in the distribution of the ethnic population” and a “severely mono-ethnic” population structure (an over concentration of Uyghurs) in southern Xinjiang. The fresh leak was first mentioned at a special session of the UK-based tribunal on Saturday . Zenz is denounced by defenders of Beijing as a Christian fundamentalist determined to destroy Chinese communism. A brother of Hernández was convicted of drug trafficking in a New York courthouse and the president himself has been accused by prosecutors of overseeing state-sponsored drug trafficking. Hernández, who is set to leave office in late January, has vehemently denied the accusations. On the campaign trail Castro promised to “pull Honduras out of the abyss we have been buried in by neo-liberalism, a narco-dictator and corruption” . Her message resonated with voters, fuelling strong turnout, especially among young voters who in past elections have not participated in large numbers. Not black and white: Merkel’s punk pick for her leaving do raises eyebrows Philip Oltermann Berlin Angela Merkel has left Germans wondering how well they really know the chancellor who governed for 16 years, after she pick ed a song by the punk rocker Nina Hagen for the soundtrack of her military leaving ceremony. Merkel, whose Social Democrat successor, Olaf Scholz , is expected to be sworn in as chancellor next week , will be given a customary military farewell in the courtyard outside the defence ministry on Thursday . For her Großer Zapfenstreich , Merkel has been allowed to request three songs to be performed by a marching band . While Gerhard Schröder and Helmut Kohl picked conventionally bombastic fare – Sinatra’s My Way and Beethoven’s Ode to Joy , among others – some of Merkel’s picks hint at an uncharted hinterland. Großer Gott, wir loben Dich ( Holy God, we praise thy name ) is a popular Christian hymn from the 18th century, a nod to her upbringing as the daughter of a Protestant pastor and the religious identity of her party, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU). Her second choice, Hildegard Knef ’s Für mich soll’s rote Rosen regnen ( It should rain red roses for me ), a wistful song about teenage ambition and juvenile arrogance, suggests an ironic twinkle in the eye . “I was supposed to conform, make do ,” the lyrics go. “Oh, I can’t conform, I can’t make do, I always want to win too.” But the pick that had commentators searching for hidden messages was Hagen’s Du hast den Farbfilm vergessen ( You forgot the colour film ). First recorded in 1974 , the song was a hit in East Germany before Hagen emigrated to the other side of the iron curtain and became West Germany’s pre-eminent punk figure of the 1980s. Even to embrace her East German identity is a move uncharacteristic of the Merkel her country has known . Though not censored by the state, the song was understood by its admirers as a covert criticism of the socialist republic . Some commentators speculate that Merkel may have seen a more modern meaning in Hagen’s song: its howl of frustration with men neglecting to do their job properly could also be intended as a parting shot from Merkel to her male colleagues. ▲ Like Angela Merkel, singer Nina Hagen was born in East Germany

Tuesday 30 November 2021 The Guardian World • 31 ◀ One of the 30 white rhinos at the Phinda private game reserve in South Africa before the journey to Akagera national park in Rwanda The big move White rhinos flown to Rwanda in effort to save species Graeme Green G etting stuck into the in-flight wine wasn’t an option for the 30 passengers flying overnight from South Africa to Rwanda. Crew members instead worked to keep the first-time air travellers placid and problem-free. The last thing anyone wanted was a 1.5-tonne rhino on the rampage onboard a Boeing 747. “All the rhinos were slightly sedated to keep them calm and not aggressive or trying to get out of the crates,” said Jes Gruner , of the conservation organisation African Parks, who oversaw the largest single rhino translocation in history at the weekend . “The rhinos weren’t sedated on the plane in the sense they were totally lying down, as that’s bad for their sternums. But they were partly drugged, so they could still stand up and keep their bodily functions normal, but enough to keep them calm .” The 30 white rhinos arrived at their new home, Akagera national park in eastern Rwanda, yesterday. It is hoped Akagera will become a breeding stronghold to support the long-term survival of the species. Down to an estimated 18,000 animals across Africa , white rhinos are classified by the International Union for Conservation of Nature as near threatened, with numbers in decline largely due to poaching, driven by demand for their horns. “ It’s absolutely vital to get white rhinos spread across the continent, where they have safe habitats, and not necessarily only where they used to be,” Gruner said. “We need to spread the risk. If some countries can’t get hold of the illegal wildlife trade, white rhinos and rhinos in general might be pushed to the brink of extinction. ” ◀ A tranquillised white rhino being walked to a crate. Below, one of the animals being released in Rwanda PHOTOGRAPH: HOWARD CLELAND/AFRICAN PARKS Unlike critically endangered black rhinos, wh ich previously roamed in Rwanda, white rhinos are a new introduction to the country. “We’re starting with 30, but this could grow – Akagera could be a home for easily 500 or 1,000 white rhino in the future,” Gruner said. “It could be a good genetic pool. We refer to it as an ‘animal bank’, where you can keep wildlife for the future movement of animals within the region, once we have a good, breeding, functional population in Akagera.” The rhinos – 19 females and 11 males, a mix of adults and subadults – were driven from the Phinda private game reserve in South Africa’s Munyawana conservancy, flown from Durban to Kigali, then transported by road to Akagera, completing a 40-hour journey of more than 2,000 miles – a massive logistical undertaking that went ahead despite the new Covid variant announcements . “This move is the first of its kind with so many animals from wild to wild,” said Gruner. “It’s been a huge task. We chartered an aircraft. There was over 60 tonnes of animals, crates and feed ; a logistical operation that’s taken six months to get going, but at least three years to organise. We’ve had the rhinos in a quarantine area for two months. It’s also one of the longest trips ever done. This move sets the benchmark for future white rhino conservation.” Security was key. “We definitely didn’t promote where they were in quarantine in South Africa,” said Gruner. “ They’ve been dehorned because, where they’re from, being dehorned is a deterrent to poachers. There was security for the animals along the way … We’ve had to uplift law enforcement within the national park, including monitoring. But we also want to show other countries and NGOs how this move can be done . ” The project is a collaboration between African Parks, the Rwanda Development Board and the safari company &Beyond , with funding from the Howard G Buffett Foundation . Lions were reintroduced to Akagera in 2015 and black rhinos in 2017 and 2019. Gruner said: “We look forward to the day when we have some white rhino calves in Rwanda – ‘first generation’ Rwandan white rhinos. The day they start multiplying in number, we know this has been a successful project.” In brief United States Esper sues Pentagon over unpublished book The former US defence secretary Mark Esper claims in a lawsuit against the defen ce department that material is being improperly withheld from him as he seeks to Israel Boy in cable car crash will be returned to Italy Israel’s top court has ruled that a six-year-old boy who was the sole survivor of a cable car crash in Italy must be returned to relatives there within the next couple of weeks. Eitan Biran has been at the centre of a bitter custody battle publish a “ candid memoir” of his time in Donald Trump’s cabinet. Esper’s 18 months as defence secretary ended when Trump fired him in a tweet days after the president lost his re-election bid. The lawsuit contends that “significant text” in the memoir is being improperly held and it contains no classified information. Pentagon spokes person John Kirby said : “As with all such reviews, the department takes seriously its obligation to balance national security with an author’s narrative desire.” A P Washington between relatives in Italy and Israel since his parents were killed in the crash on 23 May . He was allegedly abducted from the home of his paternal aunt, Aya Biran-Nirko , by his maternal grandfather, Shmuel Peleg , on 11 September. Lawyers for Biran-Nirko said the verdict, which upheld a ruling by a lower court in October, marked “the end of an unfortunate episode”. Angela Giuffrida Rome Hong Kong Simpsons’ China visit missing from Disney+ An episode of The Simpsons in which the cartoon US family visits Tiananmen Square is absent from Disney’s streaming channel in Hong Kong, at a time when authorities are clamping down on dissent. After the Hong Kong version of Disney+ started streaming this month, customers noticed that a Simpsons episode featuring China was absent. Episode 12 of season 16 features the family going to China to try to adopt a baby. They also visit Tiananmen Square in Beijing, the site of a deadly crackdown against democracy protesters in 1989. In the cartoon a sign in the square reads “On this site, in 1989, nothing happened”, a satirical nod to China’s campaign to purge memories of the crackdown. It is not clear if Disney+ removed the episode or was ordered to by authorities. AFP Hong Kong

32 Classified The Guardian Tuesday 30 November 2021

Tuesday 30 November 2021 The Guardian • 33 FTSE 100 All share Dow Indl Nikkei 225 £/€ £/$ +65.92 +37.25 +341.91 -467.70 1.1800 7109.95 4057.63 35241.25 28283.92 1.3296 +0.0013 -0.0040 Collapse of energy firms may cost households extra £120 Jillian Ambrose Energy correspondent The energy crisis could cost each home in Great Britain an extra £120 to cover the expense of supplier collapses this winter, which would plunge hundreds of thousands of households into fuel poverty for the first time. Consumers in England, Scotland and Wales could be on the hook for £3.2bn to cover the costs left behind by gas and electricity providers that have gone bust, on top of paying for record gas and electricity market prices, according to analysts at Investec. The bank warned of a “substantial” burden on households to provide a safety net for the customers of bust suppliers, including the largest so far, Bulb , which plunged into a special administration process last week. “The meltdown in the supply Sunderland to fore as Nissan invests £13bn in electric cars Mark Sweney Nissan is to invest almost ¥ 2tn (£13.2bn) into vehicle electrification over the next five years, including a key role for its plant in Sunderland, in its battle with rival traditional carmakers and specialists such as Tesla. The Japanese car manufacturer, which launched one of the world’s first mass market electric vehicles (EVs) with its Leaf model a decade ago, said it would introduce 23 “electrified” vehicle models by 2030 – 15 of them fully electric and eight hybrids. “The role of companies to address societal needs is increasingly heightened,” said Nissan’s chief executive, Makoto Uchida . “We will drive the new age of electrification, advance technologies to reduce carbon footprint and pursue new business opportunities.” Ashwani Gupta , Nissan’s chief operating officer, said Sunderland had a central role to play : “Europe will take the lead on electrification around the world for Nissan. In Europe, Sunderland is the one which will take the lead towards electrification.” The company has set itself EV sales targets of more than 75% in Europe, market is likely to see substantial additional costs land on every GB household, hardly welcome when fuel poverty is an issue, inflation is an issue, and commodity costs look set to push energy bills up,” the wealth management group said. Energy bills had already climbed from an average of £1,138 a year to £1,277 a year from last month under the energy regulator’s price cap, which is used to limit price rises for 11m homes that pay for a standard dual-fuel tariff by direct debit. The increase, which has raised concerns among fuel poverty campaigners that hundreds of thousands of additional households will be unable to pay their bills, is expected to be followed by an even steeper price rise in April. The End Fuel Poverty Coalition has estimated that rising gas markets could lead to a rise in the price cap of just over £117 a year. An extra increase of £120 a year to cover the 55% in Japan and 40% in China by 2026 and a US target of 40% by 2030. Part of the plan included the previously announced £1bn investment that will help convert the Sunderland operation into an EV production hub. Nissan, which will spend twice as much as in the previous decade on the EV market, said the move formed part of a goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2050. “We want to transform Nissan to become a sustainable company that is truly needed by customers and society,” Uchida said. At the Cop26 climate change Record profits at Gazprom Russia’s state gas company has reported record earnings for the third quarter of the year after profiting from a global gas crisis that has ignited historic energy market highs across Europe. Gazprom, the world’s largest gas producer, said it expect ed even higher profits for the final months of the year as its customers in Europe brace for a winter energy crisis and record-high costs. Its better-than-expected financial results included a net income of 581.8 bn rubles (£ 5.86bn) from July to September compared with a net loss a year ago, after the average gas price it earned from buyers in Europe increased to $313.40 per 1,000 cubic metres from $117.2 in 2020. Jillian Ambrose summit held in Glasgow this month, car manufacturers including Ford and General Motors committed to phasing out fossil fuel vehicles by 2040 . “With our new ambition, we continue to take the lead in accelerating the natural shift to EVs through an attractive proposition by driving excitement, enabling adoption and creating a cleaner world,” Gupta said . Nissan said that as part of its plans, it intends to hire 3,000 staff in advanced research and development globally while “continuing to upskill its current workforce”. cost of bust suppliers would mean a £237 rise, or an 18.6% increase in bills overall, which would push 742,364 additional homes into fuel poverty. Martin Young , an analyst at Investec, said the process of pinpointing a total cost for the energy crisis was “akin to attempting to nail jelly to a wall” but the figure could rise as high as £3.2bn, which would most likely be “mutualised” across the market through energy bills. This sum includes the cost of handing customers to a new supplier that must then buy extra gas and electricity at current market rates, which are near record highs, and cover any unpaid policy costs left by the bust provider. The figure also includes the £1.7bn put up by the Treasury to pay for Bulb to continue supplying gas and electricity through the winter via a special administrator, which may be recouped from home energy bills once the company’s fate is decided. Simon Francis , the co ordinator of the End Fuel Poverty Coalition, said: “ Yet another drain on household finances caused by energy markets is unacceptable . The current system is broken and while long-term reforms are desperately needed, the government also needs to provide far more immediate support for people facing fuel poverty this winter .” ▲ Final checks on the line at Nissan’s plant in Sunderland, which will play a key role in electrification plans PHOTOGRAPH: OLI SCARFF/AFP/GETTY IMAGES It is also seeking to reduce the cost of lithium ion batteries by 65% within eight years. It is also aiming to launch an all-solid-state battery-powered (ASSB) car by 2028. ASSBs give greater range and power, at lower costs. “We will advance our effort to democratise electrification,” Uchida said. Shares in Nissan fell more than 5% yesterday . Ireland-EU ferry routes prosper as exporters avoid Britain Lisa O’Carroll Dublin Volumes of goods shipped directly from Ireland to the EU on new Brexitbusting ferry routes have rocketed by 50% in the past six months as exporters seek to avoid travelling across land through Great Britain, according to official data . Figures published by the Irish Maritime Development Office show significant traffic diverted away from the traditional routes between Dublin and Britain to some of the 32 new ferry services direct to ports such as Le Havre, Cherbourg and Dunkirk in France and Zeebrugge in Belgium. The IMDO report shows freight volumes from Dublin port to Liverpool and Holyhead Wales down 19% in the first three quarters of 2021 compared with 2020 and down by 30% on the two routes from Rosslare in south-east Ireland to the Welsh ports of Pembroke and Fishguard . “It is clear that the new trading arrangements between Ireland and the UK have had a significant and negative effect upon RoRo [roll on, roll off lorry haulage] freight traffic between the two countries,” the IMDO said. “Underpinning all of these trends are the new customs and trading arrangements between Ireland and the UK that came into force on 1 January 2021,” it added. “One -third of all RoRo in the Republic of Ireland now operates on direct routes to ports in the European Union, up from a 16% share in 2019 .” Figures for the second and third quarters of this year showed that traffic from the Irish Republic to the EU was already up 52% compared with the entirety of 2019, it added. The decline in demand for the ferry services to Wales and Liverpool has also led to Northern Irish ports receiving an unexpected Brexit dividend with freight volumes hitting “unprecedented highs in 2021”. Historically, Northern Ireland hauliers preferred the Dublin- Holyhead route to reach the south and southeast of England but some have now eschewed the route , the report said. It has meant an increase in traffic in Northern Ireland’s three ports with a 15% rise in Belfast, 18% in Larne and 20% at Warrenpoint. The rise in the number of ferry services direct to France, from 12 before Brexit to 44 in 2021, along with concern over possible delays over customs checks, helped fuel the diversion of trade .

34 Financial • The Guardian Tuesday 30 November 2021 Business view Larry Elliott The markets are probably right: Omicron looks more like an economic setback than calamity A mateur virology is all the rage in the City. Analysts who would normally be more at home inputting some seasonally adjusted labour market data into a spreadsheet now find they can’t explain what is likely to happen to the economy without understanding how viruses spread. When news emerged of the Omicron variant last week it was the signal for financial markets everywhere to take a tumble. That was an entirely rational response: stock markets were not prepared for a potentially dangerous new strain of Covid and the sensible thing to do was to mark down share prices. Over the weekend the sense has grown that things might not turn out so bad after all, so share prices have regained a bit of the ground they lost on Friday. The prospect of central banks delaying action to combat rising inflation probably helped sentiment a bit. The fact is, of course, that nobody knows for sure what sort of threat Omicron poses. Scientists are saying it will take a couple of weeks before there is enough data to make informed judgments, which means for now commentary is glorified guesswork. Here’s what we know. Omicron has arrived at just about the worst possible time for countries in Europe and North America because cold weather means people make themselves more susceptible to catching the virus as they spend more time indoors. If Omicron is as easily transmissible as feared, then that’s a worry. What we also know is that the big developed countries were slowing down even before news of Omicron surfaced. Some amateur psychology would suggest consumers will spend less in the shops this Christmas and be more reluctant to go out for meals. Businesses will put investment plans on hold. It doesn’t take a n officially mandated lockdown to influence behaviour and some sectors of the economy – hospitality, travel, airlines – will suffer more than others. The final thing we know is that economies have got used to dealing with the disruption caused by the pandemic. Even if vaccines are less effective against the new strain – and there is no evidence that is the case – the impact on activity will be moderated by working from home and shopping remotely. In short, the markets have probably got their judgment about right. Omicron looks more like an economic setback than a calamity. But that’s only a hunch. Bet on the boom lasting Reports of the end of the UK’s residential property boom are exaggerated even though the latest ▲ A Swedish study suggests financial inducement can lead to risk-taking figures from the Bank of England show mortgage approvals at their weakest since before the stamp duty holiday began in the summer of 2020. Demand for home loans always tails off as the nights draw in and this year there was the additional factor of Rishi Sunak’s tax break coming to an end in September. Buyers brought forward transactions to beat the chancellor’s deadline, yet even so the number of approvals simply returned to the average for 2019 . Cheap borrowing costs are the main reason activity in the housing market continues to be strong. To be sure, some of the more tempting offers to homebuyers have been withdrawn by lenders in anticipation of higher interest rates from the Bank , but mortgage rates are still low by historic standards. Moreover, the supply of new homes has not recovered to prepandemic levels despite surging demand. Shortages of labour and materials mean supply will remain constrained and with demand strong there can only be one result: house prices will continue to rise. Risk incentives Incentives matter, so when the Treasury announced its “eat out to help out” scheme in 2020 the UK public responded to the offer of cut-price food and drink. But did the financial inducement also make people more likely to take risks ? The answer from Sweden suggests that it might. Marco Islam of Lund University carried out an experiment in which participants were given vouchers for use at cafes worth either €1.50 or €10. Both groups were more likely to go out for a flat white after receiving the voucher, but those given €10 convinced themselves that a visit to a cafe was less risky than they had previously thought even though infection rates were rising. Food for thought there .

Tuesday 30 November 2021 The Guardian • Financial Telecoms ▼ Spinning off or selling a stake in Openreach, which controls most of the UK’s broadband network, is a long-term option for BT 35 BT shares have fallen by about 30% since Philip Jansen became chief executive on 1 February 2019 240p 200 160 120 2019 2020 2021 80 Source: Refinitiv ‘He’s not there to sit on the sidelines’ BT on war footing as showdown with top investor looms Mark Sweney In the days after Philip Jansen was announced in October 2018 as the next chief executive of BT , taking on the h erculean task of reviving the fortunes of the then beleaguered telecoms giant , enthusiastic investors gave its shares a rare boost, sending its market value to more than £26bn. Next month, Jansen – who despite making good on his vision in the three years since then, helms a business investors now value at about £16bn – faces the prospect of a showdown with his new largest shareholder, Patrick Drahi , who has his own ideas about what the future should look like. The Moroccan-born telecoms billionaire and founder of Altice , an aggressive investor with a penchant for cost cutting at businesses he controls, is free to make his next move from 10 December when the no-bid clause that was triggered under UK takeover rules when he took his 12.1% stake through Altice in June expires. To date, Drahi has played the benevolent investor card with words of support for BT’s management and strategy. He has hired Flint, the business advisory firm co-founded by the former Ofcom chief executive Ed Richards, to assuage the concerns of MPs and regulators regarding his intentions toward one of the UK’s nationally strategic assets. “Drahi is an activist private equity investor,” said one City source. “While there may or may not be an immediate move , by that definition he is not there to sit on the sidelines.” While BT’s share price remains stubbornly depressed – down 70% since 2015 when Gavin Patterson was chief executive – low valuations and the promise of future profits from the rollout of full -fibre broadband and 5G networks mean the telecoms sector has got its mojo back among bargain-hunting opportunists. Last week, the US private equity giant KKR proposed a “friendly” €10.8bn (£9.1bn) buyout of struggling Telecom Italia, like BT a former state monopoly playing a key part in the roll out of nextgeneration infrastructure, and is trying to pull it off with the blessing of the government, which indirectly holds about a 10% stake. Yesterday, BT’s share price rose 6% after a report that Reliance Industries, the Indian-based conglomerate controlled by the billionaire Mukesh Ambani , was considering either a takeover move or buying a stake to become the controlling shareholder. However, hours after the story emerged Reliance put out a strongly worded statement “categorically denying” the “baseless” report. BT shares are down by about 30% since Jansen became chief executive in February 2019, but they have rallied in the past year as his strategic plans have started to pay off. The regulatory path has been cleared to guarantee solid long -term returns from a £15bn investment in full -fibre roll out, a £2bn cost-cutting plan is in place after the previous target was hit 18 months early, and last week BT’s Openreach subsidiary told analysts it confidently expected to remain in growth mode over the next decade . “We call it UK on sale,” says Neil Campling, media and tech analyst at Mirabaud . “There are so many UK public companies that are trading at valuations well below peers in other countries; that makes them extremely attractive to many, and BT certainly ticks that box .” Tim H öttges, the chief executive of Deutsche Telekom (DT), BT’s second-largest shareholder, recently said he is “entertaining all options” regarding BT. An “easy option” for Drahi to pursue in the short term, according to one analyst, would be to build his stake, potentially looking to acquire the 12% controlled by DT. DT has held the stake in a passive capacity as a legacy of BT’s takeover of the mobile operator EE in 2015. For Drahi, who could seek to increase his direct influence by joining DT with a seat on BT’s board, a full -blown takeover is likely to prove the hard option. There are growing concerns about the threat to Britain’s economy and national security from a string of recent takeovers of UK companies by foreign rivals and private equity firms. The government has ordered investigations into deals including the $54bn takeover of the Cambridge-based chip designer Arm by its US rival Nvidia, and from Patrick Drahi is now BT’s largest shareholder January will gain tougher powers to block the takeover of key national assets under the new National Security and Investment Act. “I view BT as an operation of strategic national importance,” said Carl Murdock-Smith, co-head of telecoms research at Berenberg. “I would be surprised if politicians would be comfortable with it being taken private by Patrick Drahi. If you are trying to do it you want it done holding hands with the government. But would the UK government look to take a stake in BT like Italian state lender CDP does in Telecom Italia ? No, but it would still not be comfortable with Drahi becoming a majority shareholder.” Rumours that a defensive BT has explored radical ideas including a spin-off of its consumer arm EE seem unlikely to materialise, or at least be complicated to realise, given it is locked into an assetbacked plan to reduce Openreach’s £4.6bn pension deficit. The intermittently speculated sale of a stake or spin-off of Openreach, which controls most of the UK’s broadband network, is likely to be viewed as a longer -term prize. “In the very long term Openreach is a spin -off candidate,” says Murdock-Smith. “But in the near and medium term the pension deficit continues to be an issue.” While BT has moved to a war footing – the former Royal Mail and ITV boss Adam Crozier officially takes over as chairman on Wednesday and the boutique bank Robey Warshaw has been drafted in as defence advisers – Jansen has previously thrived working within the auspices of the private equity ownership model. In 2010, Bain Capital and Advent plucked him from running the European operations of the catering group Sodexo to head Brake Bros, the food delivery company. Three years later he moved to World pay, again owned by Bain and Advent, going on to make an estimated $100m from its flotation in 2015 and buyout by a US rival in 2019. “Jansen hasn’t had a problem working with PE before,” says Campling. “He has done a good job laying the groundwork; BT is on a good path . There is definitely frustration with the share price but he is executing well. If there was a stage two of that, away from the public eye, I don’t think he would have a problem doing that. Why not take it private, get paid for the deal, improve it, and bring BT back to the market three years later?”

36 Classified The Guardian Tuesday 30 November 2021

Tuesday 30 November 2021 The Guardian • 37 Weather Tuesday 30 November 2021 UK and Ireland Noon today Forecast Around the UK Sunny Mist Fog Sunny intervals Hazy 1000 3 Low 6 High Tomorrow 8 London Lows and highs Precipitation Air pollution 8 12 25% Low Manchester Mostly cloudy Overcast/dull Sunny showers Sunny and heavy showers Light showers Rain Sleet Light snow 20 Moderate 11 11 Belfast Inverness 8 Edinburgh Glasgow 11 Shetland 1004 12 13 Newcastle York 1008 Moderate Low 0 High Thursday 4 6 10 Edinburgh 5 11 Belfast 5 10 Birmingham 7 11 Brighton 25% 90% 90% 25% Low Low Low Low Snow showers Heavy snow Thundery rain Thundery showers X Temperature, ºC Wind speed, mph Ice Windy 35C 30 25 20 15 10 5 0 -5 -10 -15 -20 12 12 11 Dublin 1012 1016 12 Plymouth The Channel Islands Liverpool ol 11 Cardiff Nottingham Birmingham 11 Moderate 10 12 London Norwich Dover 27 Carbon count Daily atmospheric CO2 readings from Mauna Loa, Hawaii (ppm): Latest 28 Nov 2021 415.66 Weekly average 21 Nov 2021 415.36 29 Nov 2020 413.55 29 Nov 2011 390.78 Pre-industrial base 280 Safe level 350 Source: NOAA-ESRL 8 12 Bristol 6 11 Cardiff 7 11 Newcastle 5 10 Penzance 9 13 25% 25% 25% 25% 55% Low Low Low Low Low Atlantic front Weatherwatch Around the world H 1024 Cold front Warm front Occluded front Trough High tides Aberdeen 0954 3.8m 2201 3.9m Avonmouth 0302 10.4m 1531 11.0m Barrow 0736 7.8m 1955 8.2m Belfast 0724 3.1m 1935 3.4m Cobh 0112 3.5m 1346 3.7m Cromer 0220 4.3m 1513 4.3m Dover 0715 5.9m 1949 5.9m Dublin 0803 3.6m 2009 3.8m Galway 0113 4.2m 1329 4.4m Greenock 0859 3.0m 2040 3.3m Harwich 0733 3.4m 2014 3.6m Holyhead 0647 4.8m 1857 5.1m Hull 0156 6.3m 1454 6.5m Leith 1058 4.9m 2320 5.0m Liverpool 0719 7.9m 1939 8.4m 1008 1000 1000 992 L L 1016 H 1032 L 1024 1016 Source: © Crown Copyright. All rights reserved. Times are local UK times London Bridge 0936 5.9m 2215 6.4m Lossiemouth 0800 3.6m 2008 3.7m Milford Haven 0215 5.6m 1438 6.0m Newquay 0112 5.7m 1335 6.1m North Shields -- -- 1200 4.4m Oban 0237 3.2m 1438 3.6m Penzance 0043 4.6m 1304 4.9m Plymouth 0133 4.6m 1353 4.9m Portsmouth 0745 4.3m 2003 4.2m Southport 0627 7.6m 1847 8.1m Stornoway 0328 4.0m 1533 4.3m Weymouth 0301 0.7m 1515 0.8m Whitby -- -- 1231 4.8m Wick 0739 3.0m 1946 3.2m Workington 0748 7.0m 2004 7.4m 1016 H 1000 992 L Sun & Moon Forecasts and graphics provided by AccuWeather ©2021 1008 Sun rises 0742 Sun sets 1555 Moon rises 0206 Moon sets 1412 New Moon 4 Dec 1000 L 1008 Lighting up Belfast 1604 to 0824 Birm’ham 1557 to 0755 Brighton 1558 to 0741 Bristol 1606 to 0754 Carlisle 1549 to 0812 Cork 1627 to 0819 Dublin 1611 to 0818 Glasgow 1550 to 0824 Harlech 1605 to 0806 Inverness 1538 to 0833 London 1555 to 0743 M’chester 1555 to 0801 Newcastle 1544 to 0808 Norwich 1544 to 0744 Penzance 1623 to 0759 On 25 November a severe hailstorm hit Klerksdorp , South Africa, damaging businesses and homes during what is their late springtime. Hailstones, the size of golf balls in places, pummelled the city . Intense downpours also brought significant flooding, with icy rivers. Exceptionally cold air has been spilling into Scandinavia over the past week. Consequently, low temperature records are being broken for this winter across mainland Europe. Kevo , Finland, started the week with -29C (-20F) on 23 November , which was quickly replaced by an observation of -32.2C two days later at the same station. In Buresjön , Sweden, the temperature fell to -34.7C on the night of 26 November , the lowest for that month since 2010 and the lowest temperature in mainland Europe of the winter season so far. Meanwhile, the Australian capital, Canberra, has experienced its wettest November on record. As of 26 November almost 150mm (5.9in) had been recorded, with 30mm to 50mm falling across the city in just one day on 25 November . Australia is on course for its wettest spring since 2016, with New South Wales and South Australia the worst affected. Azure Prior Metdesk Algiers 17 Ams’dam 10 Athens 16 Auckland 22 B Aires 25 Bangkok 28 Barcelona 12 Basra 26 Beijing 6 Berlin 5 Bermuda 20 Brussels 10 Budapest 5 C’hagen 5 Cairo 27 Cape Town 22 Chicago 7 Corfu 13 Dakar 28 Dhaka 29 Dublin 10 Florence 10 Gibraltar 17 H Kong 24 Harare 30 Helsinki -6 Istanbul 13 Jo’burg 26 K Lumpur 31 K’mandu 20 Kabul 16 Kingston 31 Kolkata 28 L Angeles 27 Lagos 31 Lima 21 Lisbon 14 Madrid 12 Malaga 18 Melb’rne 30 Mexico C 22 Miami 24 Milan 6 Mombasa 31 Moscow 6 Mumbai 32 N Orleans 19 Nairobi 24 New Delhi 24 New York 5 Oslo -3 Paris 8 Perth 22 Prague 2 Reykjavik 0 Rio de J 27 Rome 11 Shanghai 13 Singapore 32 Stockh’m -4 Strasb’g 4 Sydney 21 Tel Aviv 27 Tenerife 23 Tokyo 17 Toronto 3 Vancouv’r 10 Vienna 4 Warsaw 1 Wash’ton 10 Well’ton 19 Zurich 2

• The Guardian Tuesday 30 November 2021 38 Football Parris rested for Latvia as England shuffle their pack Page 42 → Rugby union Stranded clubs face Champions Cup forfeit threat Page 41 → Time to speak out We all share the responsibility for solving the problems that racism presents Giorgio Chiellini ▲ Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly was racially abused during an interview by a Fiorentina fan after their match in October MB MEDIA/GETTY IMAGES T his summer I had the honour of leading my national team to glory at the European Championship . It feels like a long journey for the Azzurri and on the road to victory we were often tested. But we learnt from that adversity, and from our mistakes, and those challenges make success taste even sweeter. Today Italian football faces another challenge: the horrific racism experienced by black players, and players from different ethnic backgrounds in general, in this league. This season we have already seen so many incidents. I feel ashamed as an Italian that my teammates and fellow players have to live through this. I have no idea how they do it. Of course, as a footballer I’ve had my fair share of heckling from the stands. Sometimes it was tough to stay focused, to manage my emotions. But I have never experienced abuse for something that is part of me, such as my skin colour, gender or sexuality. I can never understand what that feels like but I know it is unacceptable. And it has to stop. Take the game on 3 October between Napoli and Fiorentina. During a post-match interview Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly was called a racist name by a Fiorentina fan after a game in which his teammates André-Frank Zambo Anguissa and Victor Osimhen were racially abused. The fan that abused Koulibaly was banned for five years, and the police and the club are actively searching for other perpetrators. But is this enough? I was asked after that game for my opinion and I said honestly that I don’t know exactly what needs to be done, but that I know we need to do more. I also said it is everyone’s responsibility to act, and I recognise that includes me. Since that interview I have been reflecting on what I can do as someone who has not experienced discrimination but who has a voice, has a platform and has a responsibility. I realise this is an ongoing process for me but here is my starting point – five things I can do to join the fight against discrimination : Understand this struggle is my struggle I may not be the target of discriminatory abuse but as captain of Juventus, as captain of my national team and as a human being, this fight against discrimination is also my struggle and my responsibility. Educate myself I do not have all the answers but I can listen and learn. I acknowledge that I need to put in that work myself rather than put the onus on people facing discrimination to educate me. Amplify the voice of others I will not be silent but I will also not speak on behalf of those who live with discrimination every day. Instead I will amplify the voices of others and I’ll start here by highlighting what Koulibaly and Osimhen said after Napoli’s game against Fiorentina: Koulibaly posted on Instagram that fans who racially abuse players “need to be identified and kept out of the stadiums – forever”. Victor took to Twitter after the match to urge people to discuss racism. I ask that you listen to these players and all those who have the courage to speak about their experiences. Try my best, even if that feels uncomfortable As a player I have learnt that, when we face great challenges, we may make mistakes along the way. But that does not mean we give up or do not try. The most important thing is that, when we are wrong, we take responsibility to improve. Being a good ally is like being a good teammate: I may not always get it right, and sometimes it will feel uncomfortable when I’m asked to do something different. But I will own my mistakes, and learn, and do better. Understand this conversation is not about me I feel pain when I see my teammates and fellow players abused. And I feel shame as an Italian. I am embarrassed that the world is watching and sees the worst of my country when there is so much to love. But I also acknowledge that I have to manage my feelings myself because I am not the victim and this conversation is not about me. This is what we can do as players. Of course our federations, leagues and clubs also need to get together, in consultation with players and player unions, and develop a more effective strategy. We need officials and governing bodies to take the issue seriously and to react swiftly and appropriately to any incident on the pitch, in the dressing room or online. And I will continue to raise my voice to encourage others to act. But we all share the responsibility for solving the problems that racism and discrimination present. Too often I have seen the expectation to tackle racism placed on the shoulders of those most affected. Or seen sexism and homophobia brushed off as a problem that only women and people from the LGBT community can address. This cannot be right. That is why those of us who do not directly experience discrimination must stand up and be better allies . That is why I pledge my voice and my support to all players who experience discrimination. I pledge to take responsibility to act against discrimination, to understand how we can better eradicate it and to speak out against it. If you are lucky enough not to have experienced discrimination, I ask that you do the same. This is an extract from a new Fifpro report: ‘What equal playing field? Players’ perspectives on discrimination in football’.

Tuesday 30 November 2021 The Guardian Sport • 39 Cricket Root talking to Rafiq but denies witnessing racism Chris Stocks Joe Root says he has been in touch with Azeem Rafiq since his former team mate detailed to MPs this month his experiences of discrimination at Yorkshire – but the England captain still maintains he never witnessed racist behaviour at the club. Rafiq admitted in front of a parliamentary select committee he was “hurt” by Root’s previous failure to recall the abuse he endured while at Headingley. He also said he found it “strange” he could not remember anything because he had been present on nights out when Gary Ballance, the former England player with whom Root once shared a flat, had called him the P-word . Speaking at England’s pre-Ashes base in Brisbane, Root revealed he has reached out to Rafiq since he spoke in parliament on 16 November: “We have exchanged a couple of messages since and hopefully, when we finish this tour, we will get the opportunity to sit down and talk about this whole situation. About how we can move the game forward.” However, Root stood by his claim this month that he had never witnessed the racist behaviour towards Rafiq. “No, I stand by what I said,” he said. “I don’t recall those incidences. If they are an oversight on my part, then that’s an area we all have to learn from and I have to learn from.” Root then referenced his decision to call out the West Indies fast bowler Shannon Gabriel on the field for use of a homophobic slur during a Test in St Lucia in February 2019 as proof he takes seriously the issue of discrimination. “There have been other things that have happened since then, on the cricket field, where I feel like I have stepped in and called Illingworth’s cancer care The former England captain Ray Illingworth has revealed he is receiving treatment for cancer. The 89-year-old, who led England to a Test series victory in Australia in 1970-71, is undergoing radiotherapy for esophageal cancer. “They are just hoping to get rid of the last bit [of the tumour] with extra double doses. I will see how these next two doses go, keep my fingers crossed and hope I have a bit of luck,” Illingworth said. His wife Shirley died this year after battling cancer and Illingworth also offered his support for law changes over assisted dying. PA Media ▲ Joe Root says he never witnessed racist behaviour towards Rafiq things out,” he said. “That comes from growth and learning and understanding and education. There is still further education I need to undergo .” Root was less forthcoming on the use of “Kevin” in the England dressing room. Rafiq has alleged this was a pejorative term used by Ballance, who played his last international match in 2017, to describe all people of colour and was once widely used by England players. “That’s part of a live investigation and I’m currently not able to discuss that,” he said. “But clearly that is a phrase that should never be used whether in the dressing room or any part of society.” Pressed on why he was unable to comment given the only investigation being conducted is by the England and Wales Cricket Board, he added: “I think that the ECB are going through an on going investigation, trying to find out more information about that. I don’t think I’m in a position to comment more about that.” England’s on-field preparations for an Ashes series that starts in Brisbane next week have been hit by poor weather in Queensland that wiped out all but 29 overs of their opening three-day tour match last week. More rain is forecast for the start of their final four-day warm-up match, which starts today . Yet the storm clouds gathering off the field, namely the emergence of the Omicron Covid variant that has led to some Australian states tightening border restrictions, is also worrying England’s players. While many families – including Root’s – are already in Australia, those scheduled to join the squad in Melbourne before Christmas could be subject to harsh quarantine restrictions on arrival. “The families are integral to us, especially on the back of the amount of cricket we’ve played in these environments,” Root said. “As players, I think it is really important we remember we’re in the hands of Australian government and local governments. “There’s not much more we can do or say about it. We’ve got to trust the guys above us to do as much as they can for us and concentrate as much as we can on our cricket. But I think it is important we talk about these things. We don’t want to let them fester on individuals and try to make sure no one is letting it affect them.” There was also a scare last weekend when Ben Stokes, back for the Ashes after fracturing a finger and taking time out to safeguard his mental health last summer, feared he had broken an arm after being hit in the nets by the England batting coach, Jonathan Trott. “To see Ben get hit like that was obviously a scary moment,” Root said. “We all know how crucial he is within our squad but he seems to have come through it pretty well. He practised again today and we’ll keep assessing, making sure it doesn’t have a prolonged effect on him .” Analysis Greg Wood Racing’s rulers will be in the dock as Frost case is finally heard F ourteen months after Bryony Frost lodged a formal complaint with the British Horseracing Authority that she had been bullied and harassed by her fellow rider, Robbie Dunne, the regulator’s independent disciplinary panel will finally convene today in London to consider the evidence against him. It is a case with no obvious precedent, which sets one member of the weighing room’s apparently tight-knit community against another. It has also been plagued by delays and leaks, including a release of the 120-page report by BHA investigators into Frost’s claims to the Sunday Times, which prompted the authority to refer itself to the information commissioner . The Professional Jockeys’ Association even suggested last month that the whole case should be abandoned, “however unsatisfactory that is”. That was never going to happen but an uneasy sense of a process that might lurch out of control at any moment has surrounded the case for many months. It will still hang in the air throughout the hearing. If you switch on a bright light in a room for the first time in years, you can never be entirely sure what you might find in the shadows. Dunne, who denied the allegations in the report, is the BHA den ies former integrity chief quit after boozy bender Greg Wood The British Horseracing Authority has issued a swift and categorical denial of a claim by the former trainer Charlie Brooks that Chris Watts, the BHA’s former head of integrity assurance, left his position after an “Oliver Reed-style bender” in Newmarket this year. In a column in the Daily Telegraph yesterday Brooks also suggested that Watts, a former senior police focus of Frost’s complaint but the ultimate scope of this week’s case goes far beyond what did or did not happen on three days at the races last summer. The weighing room’s cherished policy of self-regulation and the authority’s competence as racing’s regulator will also face the fiercest of scrutiny. With so much at stake it is little surprise the three-strong panel hearing the case will be chaired by Brian Barker QC, a former recorder of London and appeal court judge, and also the chair of the sport’s judicial panel. He will be assisted by HH James O’Mahony , also a former judge, and Alison Royston , who has ridden since childhood and is a former head of administration for the Premier League. It seems fair to assume they will approach the evidence and the case like any other, regardless of extensive coverage in the build-up that has included comments by current and former jockeys to support of the long-established but unwritten rule that what happens in the weighing room stays in the weighing room . But we already know from the leaks to the Sunday Times that the BHA’s investigators sensed a definite reluctance by other riders – ie, potential witnesses – to speak fully about what occurred between Frost and Dunne. The BHA already faces criticism for the length of time it has taken to get the case to a hearing, as well as questions about the embarrassing leaks and the sudden departure of Chris Watts, its head of integrity assurance and the leader of the investigation into Frost’s complaint, a few months ago. The overarching question will be whether racing’s rules and procedures for protecting its participants from bullying and harassment in the workplace are fit for purpose. The simple fact that a complaint by a rider has made it this far could be viewed as a sign the BHA takes its responsibilities seriously. But whether this particular case is upheld or rejected by its independent disciplinary panel, the evidence that will be presented over the course of the hearing may well suggest there is still much more to be done. officer who was the anti-corruption manager for the England and Wales Cricket Board before moving to the BHA in 2017, was involved in an alcohol-fuelled incident at the British Racing School later the same day. A subsequent disciplinary process involving Watts, according to the column, contributed to delays in convening the hearing today into Bryony Frost’s complaint of bullying b y her fellow jockey Robbie Dunne, which Watts helped to investigate. A BHA statement released a few hours after publication of Brooks’s claims said: “The article is misleading and inaccurate and we can categorically deny the suggestion that an incident of this nature was linked in any way to a BHA regulatory investigation or led to the departure of any staff member from the BHA. The Daily Telegraph have been contacted to inform them of these facts.” Watts conducted a number of interviews with members of the weighing room, including both Frost and Dunne, while investigating Frost’s complaint. A 120-page report on the investigation, which concluded that there was a case for Dunne to answer and also suggested that a number of fellow jockeys had been reluctant to cooperate fully with the inquiry, was subsequently leaked to the Sunday Times. Dunne has denied all the allegations. Greg Wood’s tips ◀ Bryony Frost’s allegations against Robbie Dunne will be heard today by an independent disciplinary panel DAVID DAVIES/ PA IMAGES; MIKE EGERTON/PA IMAGES Lingfield 11.40 Owen Little 12.10 Brazen Akoya 12.40 Albion Princess 1.10 Unilateralism 1.45 Mount Mogan 2.15 Taravara 2.45 Sea Of Charm 3.15 He’s Our Star Southwell 12.25 Percussion 12.55 Une De La Seniere 1.25 Across The Line 1.55 Crambo 2.30 Calidad 3.00 Lydford 3.30 Killane Newcastle 3.45 Lost My Sock 4.15 Naval Captain 4.45 Millionaire Waltz (nap) 5.15 Proclaimer (nb) 5.45 Atyaaf 6.15 Redzone 6.45 Secret Equity 7.15 Maggie’s Joy

40 Sport Boxing • The Guardian Tuesday 30 November 2021 ‘I definitely come from a strong line of great women’ The big interview Katie Taylor Ireland’s world champion boxer on her family’s hard journey and why the potential mega-fight with Amanda Serrano merits history-making status Donald McRae ‘ I love the fact that God chooses the lowly ones,” Katie Taylor says quietly in a conversation that is very different from the punishing dialogue she produces in the ring. She might be the most loved sporting personality in Ireland and ranked the best pound-for-pound woman boxer in the world but Taylor retains her humility. She is in the midst of describing her maternal grandmother and how she and her family overc ame impoverishment in Bray, not far from Dublin. “My granny had a tough life but she is such a fantastic woman. There’s not a bitter bone in her body. She grew up in poverty and we were the same. We wouldn’t have had a lot of money growing up. We were a very, very poor family living in the roughest area but God chose our family and did something with us. I have two brothers and one sister and we all became successful. But nobody would have looked at our family or our house and thought: ‘Success will come to them.’” A week on Saturday in Liverpool Taylor defends her undisputed world lightweight title against Firuza Sharipova. Taylor has won all 19 of her professional bouts and if, as expected, she beats Sharipova, it is likely she will move on to the most lucrative fight in the history of women’s boxing. Next year she should finally meet Amanda Serrano, the great Puerto Rican, in a contest which could earn both women in excess of $1m each. But, before discussing this possible landmark, Taylor is happy to concentrate on the success of her older siblings. Her brother Peter obtained a first-class degree in mathematical science at University College Dublin before completing his Master’s in theoretical physics at Cambridge. I had heard he was a Professor of Mathematics at Trinity. “He was at Trinity but he’s a lecturer at DCU [Dublin City University] now,” Taylor says. “They’ve all done so well. My sister [Sarah] has a managerial job and my other brother Lee is in business .” Taylor also won a place to study at UCD but, when she became Olympic champion at London 2012 , her world changed forever. A shy, likable and intensely private woman had to accept the almost suffocating attention of a nation. It was unbearable at times and life did not run in a smooth upward curve. Four years later Taylor felt almost broken when she moved away from her father, her boxing mentor and trainer, after his relationship with her mother had ended. That decision caused immense pain. “It’s like a lifetime ago now,” she says, “but I felt like I was missing my right arm because I hadn’t boxed without my dad in the corner.” She was in such turmoil that, while her team mates in the 2016 Irish squad returned to their hotel, Taylor chose sometimes Taylor, left, was twice tested by Delfine Persoon to sleep in her car. “I would have thought it was too close to the next training session to travel back an hour from the hotel to the training centre, so I slept in the car. It was probably not a great decision.” The pressure on her intensified and she went to the Rio Olympics as an overwhelming favourite to win gold again. But she lost a highly dubious decision in the quarter-finals. Taylor felt crushed . “Sometimes, when I go back to that moment and talk about it, I still get emotional,” Taylor says. “But I wouldn’t be in the position I am today if that hadn’t happened. So I feel things have worked out even better for me with that loss, even with how heart-breaking it was at the time. I dealt with the loss and the heartbreak and I came back a better fighter. I’ve matured a lot since then.” How is her relationship with her father now? “Things are fine. I obviously love my dad.” Taylor is much more comfortable talking about her grandmother and her mum as she reveals how they sustain her. “My granny is the most generous and soft-hearted person you could meet, and my mam is the exact same, and such a strong person. She’s the reason why we grew up believers in God and she brought us to church. I guess my parents would have been the biggest influence on my life growing up. But I am the person that I am today because of gran.” Does she still watch Taylor fight? “Yeah, she does. She’s 89, still going strong. She can’t travel now but her mind is so sharp and everyone in the family absolutely loves her. She’ll be watching me on television . She watches all my fights.” Taylor’s mum, Bridget, will be with her in Liverpool and they will pray together before she steps into the ring. “It’s always the same and that’s one of the most important parts of the preparation. She prays over me before every fight. It will be the same this fight. I actually don’t know how people get through difficult moments without God

Tuesday 30 November 2021 The Guardian • ▼ ‘There are definitely times I cling on to the word of God. That’s my rock’ MARK ROBINSON ‘I dealt with the loss and the heartbreak and I came back a better fighter. I’ve matured a lot since’ in their life. That’s my anchor, my rock and there are definitely times I cling on to the word of God. One of my favourite verses is in the Book of Romans and the gist of it is that whatever you’re going through there’s a defining moment you can actually use for your benefit. I believe that.” It is tempting to look ahead to the Serrano fight but Taylor is right to focus on Sharipova. “She had a big amateur background. I also know she has good technical skills because all the Kazakhstan fighters are like that. I’m preparing for a very tough fight because she’s very different to Jennifer Han [the cagey American Taylor beat in September]. Sharipova comes to fight where Han came to survive. It was very hard to make any big impact against Han because she was so defensive. But Sharipova is more aggressive so that makes for an exciting fight.” If she beats Sharipova and Serrano defeats Miriam Gutiérrez [the Spanish woman Taylor outpointed last November], the biggest contest in women’s boxing will finally happen. Taylor is backed by Eddie Hearn and the American streaming service Dazn while Serrano recently forged links with the influential YouTuber-turned fighter Jake Paul. Their combined financial muscle should ensure boxing history is made. Taylor makes it clear she is not motivated primarily by money but surely the fact that it could be a multi-million dollar purse would be a milestone for women’s boxing? “Absolutely. Money isn’t my main priority but it obviously is important because boxing is a very limited career. You really want to make the most money you can in a short space of time. Over the last few years women’s boxing has made huge progress in this area. When I first turned pro [five years ago this month] women fighters were making pennies compared to their male counterparts. So, if we reach $1m each, that would be huge for women’s boxing and another great milestone. It’s a fight that deserves that kind of money. It would be a mega-fight.” Serrano, who has lost only one of her 43 bouts , presents the most difficult challenge of Taylor’s career. “She’s obviously a fantastic fighter and a seven-division world champion. She’s been very consistent and she’s very experienced. That’s why this fight will be fantastic. It’s a genuine 50-50 contest.” Female fighters might not punch as hard as men do but Serrano is extremely dangerous. Taylor has also been caught up in two gruelling bouts with Delfine Persoon, whom she was fortunate to beat the first time in New York in June 2019 , and a thrilling battle earlier this year against Natasha Jonas. “That first one against Persoon was my toughest fight. It was very, very close, back-andforth for 10 rounds. It was an absolute war. The second toughest was Persoon again. ” Did it take a long time to recover from those two bouts? “No. I’m a quick healer. I obviously had lumps and bumps on my head both times but after a few days I felt fine again. After those battles it’s nice to have a couple of weeks off to rest.” Taylor is an intelligent woman and she understands that the worst damage is hidden. Brain damage can take years to emerge but it’s the silent, malevolent threat facing all boxers. “Yeah, but I think the damage usually comes during sparring. That’s why it’s very important to have the right team around you to monitor your sparring. In the weeks leading up to a fight you can’t consistently be in heavy, tough spars because that’s where the damage is done. My team is very organised and makes sure we do hard training which is not always tough sparring.” ▲ Katie Taylor is ready to defend her title against Firuza Sharipova Taylor is the superstar of women’s boxing but she is 35. Does she feel time closing in on her? “Yeah. I definitely realise you can’t do this forever. At the same time I don’t feel like I’m slowing down. I also have a group of honest people around me who would tell me when it is time to hang up the gloves because the fighter always wants to keep going. I have a great family as well who are going to be honest with me. But my desire hasn’t diminished at all. “I still love boxing. I still love getting up in the cold mornings and training. These days make the difference between winning and losing. It’s very easy to stay in bed and take a day off here and there. But I never cut any corners. That consistency makes a difference.” Canelo Álvarez, her male equivalent at the top of the poundfor-pound rankings, is one of Taylor’s current favourite boxers. The Mexican loves to market his ‘No Boxing, No Life’ mantra but Taylor says: “I’m not defined by that saying. I’m much more than a boxer and Canelo is as well. Boxing is a huge part of our lives but my identity won’t be wrapped up in the sport forever. Still, right now, I’m so excited having a dream and focusing on these fights. I want to make the very most of them because I’ve come such a long way.” Those impoverished days in Bray remain deep inside her but Taylor knows that the women in her family strengthen her most. “I definitely come from a strong line of great women. My gran and my mam most of all.” She laughs when I tell her that I like the fact such solidity means she has always been, simply, Katie Taylor and never Katie ‘The Terminator’ Taylor. “You’re giving me ideas now! When I was growing up I always pretended to be Rocky Marciano. I didn’t even know who Rocky Marciano was beyond the fact he was an undefeated fighter.” Taylor’s ambition is to retire, like Marciano did, as an unbeaten world champion. Her fame will grow during these last years but she seems determined to remain the same. “I’m always such a quiet person anyway,” she says with a wry little smile. “I always keep myself to myself and don’t reveal too much. It’s actually very easy to live a quiet life regardless of the spotlight on you. We are a very private and quiet family and that’s the way I like it.” Rugby union European Champions Cup to go ahead despite Covid threat Paul MacInnes Postponement is not an option for the European Champions Cup as rugby union finds itself on the front line in dealing with the Omicron variant of Covid-19. Organisers of club rugby’s elite northern hemisphere tournament are to insist teams do all they can to stage fixtures, when the Champions Cup group stage begins in 10 days’ time. This could include listing academy scholars in matchday squads if positive Covid tests and quarantine measures limit player availability. In the event of a club being unable or unwilling to raise a side, it is understood they will forfeit the match 28-0. The prospect of an interrupted schedule loomed yesterday , with fallout from the postponement of two rounds of fixtures in the South African leg of the United Rugby Championship continuing to reverberate. Cardiff Rugby remain stranded in South Africa after reporting two positive Covid cases . A new round of tests have discovered no new cases among the players but quarantine rules mean the team must stay in South Africa, a situation club officials are hoping to rectify. A similar fate has befallen Munster who recorded one positive case this weekend. Cardiff are due to host Toulouse in ‘There is a network working vigorously to ensure the safe return of both clubs’ URC spokesperson Golf Big names sign up for the Saudi Invitational Twenty-five of the biggest names in golf have committed to play the 2022 Saudi Invitational, potentially placing them on a collision course with their home circuits. The defending champion, Dustin Johnson, Tommy Fleetwood, Lee Westwood, Sergio Garcia and Bryson DeChambeau are among those scheduled to compete in the £3.7m event on 3-6 February. The PGA Tour said in July it would not grant players the required releases to play in “unsanctioned events”, with the DP World Tour – which signed a strategic alliance with the PGA Tour a year ago – expected to follow suit. That could lead to players being fined or suspended if they opt to play at Royal Greens Golf and Country Club in Jeddah or in other Asian Tour events. 41 the Champions Cup on 11 December, while Munster are scheduled to travel to Wasps a day later. Two more URC teams, Scarlets and the Italian side Zebre, have managed to leave South Africa, with the Welsh side quarantining in Belfast. Their Champions Cup opener is on 11 December at Bristol. URC organisers said: “ There is a widespread network of stakeholders working vigorously to ensure the safe return of both Cardiff Rugby and Munster Rugby as soon as possible and keep them comfortable at this time.” A lack of flexibility in the calendar means that European Professional Club Rugby cannot rearrange and are faced with two options – ensure matches go ahead or enforce forfeits – but any decisions may be left to the last minute as much remains uncertain about the threat posed by Omicron . Many countries have added southern African nations to their travel red lists . In Europe, Switzerland has also placed restrictions on UK nationals , with vaccinated travellers expected to quarantine for 10 days in the country. Th at has already caused problems for Manchester United. They are due to host Young Boys of Bern in the Champions League next week, but it is unclear whether the players will be exempt from quarantine on their return from England. Under Uefa rules, if a match cannot be staged in the designated country then it falls to the host club to find a neutral venue. In domestic football, the Premier League remain confident of the schedule continuing as planned, with no intimation of new measures on player protocols or supporter restrictions coming from government. Yesterday, the English top flight announced seven positive Covid tests among players and staff, the highest one-off total since August. Meanwhile, the Norwegian Suzann Pettersen has been confirmed as Europe’s Solheim Cup captain. Pettersen has made nine appearances as a player in the biennial contest, most famously being a controversial wild card selection by the captain, Catriona Matthew, in 2019 and holing the winning putt on the 18th green at Gleneagles. It was, however, a solemn day for the sport after Lee Elder – the pioneering golfer who broke several of the sport’s colour barriers – died, aged 87. The most notable moment of his career came in 1975 when he became the first black golfer to play at the Masters. PA Media ▲ Suzann Pettersen will lead Europe’s defence of the Solheim Cup

42 Sport Football • The Guardian Tuesday 30 November 2021 Parris sent home by England due to concerns over workload Suzanne Wrack Nikita Parris has been sent home from the England camp for “a few days off” as Sarina Wiegman attempts to manage the workload of her players. “There’s not a big problem – she is OK,” the England manager said, when asked why the Arsenal forward had left the squad on the eve of the World Cup qualifier against Latvia. “Nikita has had so much loading during the last two years, from Lyon to England, she has hardly had any rest. During the week we had chats with her and the medical staff and we decided it was good for her to have a few days off. Our squad is fit, everyone can play tomorrow, so it was an option to give her some days off.” Parris is not the first Arsenal player to benefit from a coordinated rest. The Netherlands forward Vivianne Miedema and England centre-back Lotte Wubben-Moy, who both travelled to the Olympics in the summer, were given time off in the latter half of the previous international break, as well as the subsequent week with Arsenal, after discussions between ▲ Nikita Parris came on in the second half against Austria last Saturday the WSL club and their international managers. One player not given a break was Leah Williamson, who is out with a “significant” hamstring injury , according to Arsenal’s manager, Jonas Eidevall . Williamson’s injury prompted Wiegman to express concern regarding overloading when announcing her squad . “We have to consider when they are going to have some rest, physical and mental,” she said. “They are just human beings.” With the team having beaten Latvia 10-0 away , the game at Doncaster gives Wiegman the chance to rotate and consider the workload in particular of Chelsea and Arsenal players , who will be involved in the FA Cup final on Sunday and in the Champions League the following midweek. “ They want to play for England, just like Nikita wanted to,” Wiegman said. “We have a team programme but we always modify where needed, so we always look at individuals, we talk to the players, we listen to them and wherever we need to make an adjustment or modify we will. ” She refused to be drawn on the team to face a Latvia side which has lost all four of their qualifiers , conceding 26 goals . Wiegman said of the possibility of selecting some fresh faces : “Maybe. W e make the final decision after training. In the Latvia game away we played with one extra attacker and we might do the same.” Having dominated in Latvia, with 43 shots to none, England will focus on what they can improve on in possession . “Speeding up the game, have a high ball tempo but be patient, have runs behind the defence – those things are principles; we’re just putting emphasis on those things all the time,” said Wiegman. “Then in the final third stay aggressive, keep scanning, be composed and of course be ruthless and get the ball in the net.” Probable teams: England (4-3-3) Earps; Daly, Greenwood, Bright, Stokes; Toone, Walsh, Zelem; Hemp, White, Mead Latvia (4-2-3-1) Vaivode; Voitane, Gergeleziu, Lubina, Tumane; Miksone, Rocane; Zaicikova, Fedotova, Sevcova; Baliceva Referee Veroniks Kovarova (Cz) Kick-off 7pm Venue Keepmoat Stadium TV ITV4 Werner running out of time to cut it at Chelsea Thomas Tuchel defended the forward after he toiled against Manchester United but his patience has limits Jacob Steinberg S ometimes it is easy to forget there is more to Timo Werner’s game than comedy misses, doomed dribbles and an inability to stay onside. Labelling the forward a dud would be an exaggeration. Werner has his uses in certain scenarios and, for true devotees, there will always be that decoy run in Porto – the moment when Turbo Timo zipped from right to left, pulling Manchester City’s defence out of shape, and made the space for Mason Mount to send Kai Havertz through to score Chelsea’s winner in the Champions League final . One had to appreciate the unselfishness. On the one hand Werner had been at his most infuriating earlier in the evening, bungling a series of inviting opportunities to give Chelsea the lead. On the other there was what he does without the ball – the scurrying, the pressing and the boundless enthusiasm , which together may justify his potential value to Thomas Tuchel, who is yet to give up hope of making it work for his luckless £47.5m forward. Tuchel is still trying to find the answer and Chelsea’s manager is not alone in willing his fellow German to succeed. Supporters like Werner, who has become a cult hero at Stamford Bridge, because he is all heart. They admire his ceaseless optimism in the face of adversity. They loved that the 25-year-old kept going after having a goal harshly ruled out against Southampton last month – the 16th time he has been denied by officialdom since he moved to England in 2020 – and got his reward by scoring the vital second goal in a 3-1 win. The problem, though, is that the other stuff is hard to ignore. There are rough edges to Werner’s game and the sense he is not cut out for the Premier League grew when he toiled during Chelsea’s 1-1 draw with Manchester United , who effectively negated the former RB Leipzig forward by denying him space to run behind and reasoning he was never going to hurt them by getting on the end of a cross. “Poor,” was Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink’s summation of Werner’s performance. The former Chelsea striker, who was in the Sky Sports studio, was unimpressed with his work on and off the ball and was critical of a bad miss in the second half. “You’re a No 9,” Hasselbaink said. “You’re going to be judged on the opportunities that you get and what you do with it. It was not good enough. He keeps on missing big chances.” The profligacy will not have escaped Tuchel’s attention. He had seen positive signs in training and Werner had come off the bench to score a tap-in during Chelsea’s 4-0 win against Juventus . It seemed like a good moment to give Werner a chance to play up front. He had been finishing well in training and, with neither Havertz nor Romelu Lukaku ready to start, Tuchel decided to place his faith in him. It did not work out. Werner was easily shackled by United’s reserve centre-backs, Victor Lindelöf and Eric Bailly, and he never looked like scoring. His movement was off, his dribbling lacked conviction, he struggled to link the play and there was little surprise when he spurned his clearest chance, volleying wide when he should have hit the target. Ultimately it was hard to shake off the sense that Werner will never be a long-term solution through the middle for Chelsea. Although ▲ Timo Werner’s lack of sharpness is an ongoing problem for Chelsea Tuchel defended him after the game, pointing out that he lacked sharpness after coming back from a hamstring injury, his patience has limits . Prolific in the Bundesliga, Werner has seven league goals since moving to England and there are times when he simply looks out of place at Chelsea, particularly as they have veered away from counterattacking football this season and become more of a possession team. That shift makes it even harder for Tuchel. Werner’s biggest asset is his speed on the break. Given space, he can surge forward and roll balls across for others to finish. As an inside-left forward, he can be effective. He thrived in that role for Leipzig, playing off a big target man, and he could yet strike up an understanding with Lukaku. Yet Werner is not a subtle creator. If teams sit back against Chelsea, it is hard to make a case for him starting in attacking midfield when Tuchel also has Mount, Havertz, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Christian Pulisic and Hakim Ziyech . The challenge has changed. Chelsea are the hunted, not the hunters this season. They are top of the league and, with opponents showing Tuchel’s team more respect, Werner is running out of time to prove he can rise to the challenge .

Tuesday 30 November 2021 The Guardian • 43 Howe takes hands-on approach to lifting Newcastle to safety New head coach believes that all his players need is a boost in self-belief to find that first win, starting tonight Louise Taylor I t was Eddie Howe’s 44th birthday yesterday but Newcastle’s manager had no time, or apparent inclination, for celebrations. Howe is in the unique position of helming arguably the world’s wealthiest football club at a moment when even its cash-rich Saudi Arabian-led owners are incapable of purchasing the only currency that counts: Premier League points. “We’re certainly going to have to start winning soon,” he said before a watershed week featuring home games with Norwich tonight and Burnley on Saturday. “There’s a huge challenge ahead.” Given that Newcastle are the sole team in England’s top four divisions yet to secure a victory, Howe faces constant reminders that football’s modern history offers little hope of escaping relegation. Only one side with a comparably dismal record at this point in a campaign ha ve avoided falling into the second tier but, even if emulating Derby ’s Houdini act of 2000-01 will not be easy, he spies a potential solution. Whereas Rafael Benítez complained regularly that Newcastle’s limited squad and vulnerable backline left him with a “short blanket”, Howe intends elongating the team’s tactical bedsheet. Benítez, who left St James’ Park in 2019 , justified his safety-first tactics by maintaining that a strong emphasis on attack would create a self-destructive imbalance, exposing the team’s defensive weaknesses. “If you cover your head, you have cold feet,” he said . “But if you cover your feet, it leaves your head cold.” In contrast Howe remains convinced that attack is the best form of defence . “I prefer to talk about stretching the blanket,” said a manager without the suspended Jamaal Lascelles and Matt Ritchie against Norwich. “I don’t believe in copying Rafa’s statement. It’s about coaching, educating, helping the players. When confidence returns we’ll see a difference.” It is all part of a long-running debate revolving around whether Newcastle’s travails are down to the shortcomings of Howe’s immediate predecessor, Steve Bruce, or a squad still containing a nucleus of the first XI Benítez led out of the Championship in 2017. T he former Newcastle captain and manager Alan Shearer believes “at least three or four signings are required in January”, with the current side “nowhere near good enough ”. Although the cashflow may Eddie Howe aims to give his players fresh confidence be restricted by an extension until 14 December of the Premier League’s temporary ban on clubs striking commercial arrangements involving pre-existing business relationships , there should be significant money to spend in the new year. Under financial fair play rules Newcastle could, theoretically, spend almost £200m on players in January. Howe, though, says he is still to discuss transfer budgets with Amanda Staveley and her fellow directors and suggested his biggest problem may be enticing talent . “It’s very difficult to make any promises,” said a manager still awaiting the appointment of a new chief executive and director of football. “You have to attract players, they have to want to come and they have to improve the squad. January’s an incredibly difficult window to recruit in, especially when your league position’s difficult. I know the owners will support the team, and me, in trying to achieve what we need but it would be foolish to make rash promises. My priority is getting the best out of the players we have in the building now.” Gabby Agbonlahor, the former Aston Villa striker, has provoked controversy by saying footballers regard Newcastle as an undesirable home. “I don’t think that’s accurate,” said Howe. “I haven’t seen the city in daylight yet but everyone I’ve spoken to says how nice the area is to live in. “I’ve heard amazing things about the city centre and the surrounding areas. Longer term we’ll have no problem attracting players. I don’t think that’s going to be an issue. But what will be an issue in January is our league position.” At least Howe will be able to greet his new public tonight . He was forced to spend his first home game as manager, a 3-3 draw against Brentford , isolating in a hotel room overlooking the Tyne after testing positive for Covid-19 the previous day. “It was devastating,” he said. “The timing couldn’t have been worse but even from so far away I could hear the noise when we scored. I’m so looking forward to being inside the stadium.” Crouch report has fallen into ‘do-gooder trap’ says Brady Continued from back page League’s chief executive , suggested a softening of his tone on parachute payments. “If there is a way of uniting the clubs in our league and the clubs in the Championship with a new proposal,” he told the BBC, “we should drive for that and we’re happy to work at pace on that project.” New ideas are likely to be divisive among Premier League shareholders , with parachute payments forming a safety net for clubs committed to big spending in the top flight. Several Premier League executives have spoken out about the Crouch review, with the vice-chairman of West Ham, Karren Brady, defending the parachute payment system. Arguing that clubs would go bankrupt without the money, she wrote in the Sun that Tracey Crouch had “fallen into a do-gooder trap” by proposing reform. “Maybe Tracey and [EFL Football In brief Chelsea European champions eye Club World Cup lift chair Rick] Parry confuse competition with fairness,” she wrote. Brady has been joined by Aston Villa’s CEO, Christian Purslow, and Crystal Palace’s chairman, Steve Parish, in speaking out against the review, part of a group of clubs who hold an increasing sway in the league since the failed European Super League plot among the ‘big six’ clubs. Yesterday Parish warned against the implementation of an independent regulator for football, the key recommendation of the Crouch review. Debating the point with Gary Neville on Twitter, Parish said: “Regulators are there so that governments can control markets or companies within a framework they set and can alter. Regulators are instruments of government and they are independant [sic] only up to enforcing the current remit which can be changed at any time by a new act of parliament. So Football will be – under this plan controlled by government.” ‘Football will be controlled by the government’ Steve Parish Crystal Palace chairman Chelsea have been drawn to face Auckland City, Al Jazira or Al Hilal in the semi-finals of the Club World Cup. The tournament takes place on 3-12 February next year in the United Arab Emirates. Thomas Tuchel’s side will enter the competition at the last-four stage after beating their Premier League rivals Manchester City in last season’s Champions League final. The Saudi Arabian club Al Hilal play the winner of the opening match between the hosts, Al Jazira, and New Zealand ’s Auckland, with the victors of the subsequent secondround clash then progressing to meet Chelsea. PA Media Paris Saint-Germain Neymar set for extended layoff after ankle injury Neymar faces six to eight weeks on the sidelines with an ankle sprain sustained in Paris Saint-Germain’s 3-1 Ligue 1 comeback victory at 10-man St Etienne on Sunday. The 29-year-old was later pictured leaving on crutches. Reuters ▲ Neymar had to be taken off on a stretcher during Sunday’s game

44 Sport Football • The Guardian Tuesday 30 November 2021 Ralf against the Old Trafford machine: will it be a masterstroke? Mr Process to the club with no process may be the most radical appointment the Premier League has seen Barney Ro nay D ay one. Ralf has entered the chat. There will be a note of relief about the news, announced yesterday via a club release, that Manchester United have formally appointed their latest interim manager, follow-up to the previous interim-to-permanent, who was in turn replaced by the previous interim, who has been replaced now by the current interim. First things first. Ralf Rangnick is a great “get” for United’s executive tier. The annual Premier League sacking season is not soundtracked by gruff-voiced middle men pinging the phones of Premier League CEOs saying things like : “Ralf is very, repeat very, interested.” Rangnick is above all an ideologue. He has to like, and believe in, the thing you’re offering. But his appearance now does raise two important points. First, how is it possible for this vast global brand to be so appallingly random in its recruitment of its most important employee? Rangnick is United’s fifth semi-permanent manager in eight years. At least José Mourinho and Louis van Gaal had something – arrogance, the past, angry pronouncements – in common . The lurch from Ole-era United to Rangnick’s academic stylings has a Partridge TV-pitch element to it: arm-wrestling with William Shatner, gegenpressing with Cristiano Ronaldo . Which is all fine, and quite predictable. But there is also the second thing about Rangnick’s arrival. Never mind how they got here. Cut away the noise. This is a genuinely mouthwatering prospect. Much depends on how much influence he manages to wield. But in terms of scale and methods Rangnick to United is arguably the most radical managerial appointment the Premier League has seen. It is Rangnick’s personality as much as his background that makes this such a startling turn. There has already been a great deal of poring over his familiar quotes and quips in the last few days. What emerges from that patchwork is a slightly comedic figure, something along the lines of Evelyn Waugh’s German modernist architect professor Otto Silenus, who sees human beings as flawed mechanical designs, who says things such as “the only perfect building must be the factory, because that is built to house machines not men”. Going by his pre-publicity it would be no surprise to see Rangnick take his first press conference standing motionless behind a synthesiser wreathed in dry ice and mumbling about being a robot. Except, of course, he is in reality a coach who feels this sport passionately, who sees coaching and theory as a kind of intellectual calling. Rangnick has been called the godfather of modern German pressing football but his own chief influence came from further east. “We didn’t even have the vocabulary to describe the things that were happening on the pitch. But we did know that this was the future.” Rangnick has described his first sight of Valeriy Lobanovskyi’s Dynamo Kyiv, in February 1983, on the Coaches’ Voice website. He was managing FC Viktoria Backnang in the sixth tier of West German football when D ynamo came to play a friendly. “A few minutes in,” Rangnick recalled , “I had to stop and count their players. Did they have 13 or 14 men on the pitch?” Lobanovskyi built the wonderful USSR teams of 1986 and 1988, pioneered the use of pre-modern computers in football, the obsessing over numbers, metrics, distances run, seeing players as mobile fluid human units. Kyiv were the first team Rangnick saw “systematically press the ball”. His Mixed fortunes Ralf Rangnick will become the sixth German manager to feature in the Premier League, following in the footsteps of Felix Magath, Jürgen Klopp, Jan Siewert, Daniel Farke and Thomas Tuchel Games Won Drawn Lost Win% Thomas Tuchel 31 20 7 4 64.5 Jürgen Klopp 232 145 54 33 62.5 Felix Magath 12 3 3 6 25.0 Daniel Farke 49 6 8 35 12.2 Jan Siewert 15 1 2 12 6.7

Tuesday 30 November 2021 The Guardian • 45 ▼ Ralf Rangnick at United is a genuinely mouthwatering prospect RONNY HARTMANN/AFP VIA GETTY This is a great ‘get’ for United. Rangnick has to believe in the thing you’re offering own mixed and varied sporting life has been lived in pursuit of that lightbulb moment, chasing that feeling, and notable for his ability to inspire others the same way. This is Rangnick’s obsession, not cups or trophies but shapes and space and systems. Likes: team play, theory, old dead silent Sovietera geniuses. Dislikes: ego, star players, inefficiencies. And now here he is at Old Trafford. Hmm. How’s this going to work out? And it is here that his appointment at a club that has been run so aggressively, and so clumsily, as a commercial machine becomes fascinating. It isn’t hard to see the potential for disaster. What is the worst possible thing you can do with Rangnick? How about hurling him into a midseason rescue job at a hysterically hungry club obsessed with its own marketing arm? Welcome, Mr Process, to a place where there is no process. Now get to work. There is also something slightly grim about United scrabbling for the nearest “thoughts guy” when branding and celebrity ha ve failed. We lack a culture. We lack a vision. Let’s go and buy one. Let’s take this careful, disciplined thing and apply it to this sloppy, careless, cash-drunk thing. Maybe one will overwhelm the other. Who knows which? And yet, for all that, there is every reason to believe this could turn out to be a masterstroke. Rangnick’s job here, his role, is simply to be Rangnick: to instil discipline, a system, small but simple improvements. There is so much low-hanging fruit here, a group of players, a club that is crying out not just for his tactical smarts but for a kind culture-management. Rangnick is not a “cold” figure in that sense. He has two sons the same age as his players. He wants to understand how these players think and work, how they can be happy. “I see it as my duty to help them deal with all the temptations and the fake reality they’re faced with as young men making a lot of money.” It is a delicious prospect. United have so many players operating below capacity , ghosts in the machine. Rangnick loves bright, energetic, biddable footballers. What might he do with Mason Greenwood and Jadon Sancho? What other levels can he draw from that tier of vaguely spooked-looking regulars, a Fred, a Wan-Bissaka, a McTominay? And in the end all of the obstacles Rangnick may face seem to dissolve a little. The idea that English football is a strange new frontier is a little dated. Rangnick has personally influenced at least four of his fellow managers . This is not 1995. There are no secrets here. Can United’s players adopt a new system mid-season? Well, yes they can. Footballers absorb huge amounts of detail and planning between games . It is part of the brief to be flexible, to understand systems, to be tactically aware. If the players are willing, significant changes can be made. Ralf against the machine starts here. Putellas and Messi claim Ballon d’Or honours Mark Dobson Alexia Putellas and Lionel Messi have been crowned winners of the 2021 Ballon d’Or during a glittering ceremony in Paris. Putellas, who was an integral part of Barcelona’s treble-winning side with 18 goals and 12 assists in the Primera División, scored in the 4-0 Champions League final victory against the WSL champions, Chelsea, and was named in the tournament’s squad of the season. The midfielder has already been named Uefa’s Women’s Player of the Year and she has followed up last season with a strong opening to this campaign, including a four-minute hat-trick against Valencia. Putellas edged out her Barcelona teammate Jennifer Hermoso, Chelsea’s Sam Kerr and Arsenal’s free-scoring striker Vivianne Miedema to lift the trophy. The Chelsea trio of Pernille Harder, Jessie Fleming and Fran Kirby were seventh, ninth and 10th respectively. The 27-year-old follows in the footsteps of Ada Hegerberg and Megan Rapinoe, who won the award in 2018 and 2019 respectively. Putellas said: “I’m very emotional, it’s a very special moment. I would like to start by thanking all my teammates, especially my current [Barcelona] teammates. For me it’s a collective success.” Messi won a seventh Ballon d’Or title, beating Robert Lewandowski to the award. The Bayern Munich striker finished second after being United ‘squad is full of talent,’ says Rangnick Continued from back page a team. Beyond that, I look forward to supporting the club’s longer-term goals on a consultancy basis.” United believe Rangnick’s experience in coaching and several leadership roles makes him ideally equipped to get the best out of their underachieving squad. Murtough, who spent time studying Rangnick at Leipzig in 2019, said: “Ralf is one of the most respected coaches and a heavy favourite to win last year’s award only for the ceremony to be cancelled because of Covid-19. Messi claimed his seventh title – moving two ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo in the process – and his first as a Paris Saint-Germain player following his summer move from Barcelona. The 34-year-old won a maiden Copa America title with Argentina this year and was top scorer in La Liga before his emotional departure. Chelsea’s Jorginho finished third after a standout year in which he helped Italy to achieve glory at the delayed Euro 2020 after lifting the Champions League trophy in May. Chelsea were named the team of the year following their memorable 1-0 victory against Manchester City in Porto. Among those in the top 10, Chelsea’s N’Golo Kante was fifth on the Ballon d’Or list, Manchester United’s Ronaldo sixth, Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah seventh and Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne eighth. Barcelona’s teenage midfielder Pedri, who recently agreed a long-term contract extension which includes a €1bn (£846m) release clause, was named the winner of the Kopa Trophy – the best under-21 player of 2021. The 19-year-old was presented with the award by the former Ballon d’Or and World Cup winner Fabio Cannavaro. England’s Jude Bellingham just missed out on the Kopa award after an impressive season with Borussia Dortmund. Gianluigi Donnarumma claimed the Yashin Trophy after the Italy keeper was named player of the tournament at Euro 2020. ◀ Robert Lewandowski, whose 41 Bundesliga goals in 2020-21 broke Gerd Müller’s single-season record, accepts the Striker of the Year award BENOÎT TESSIER/ REUTERS innovators in European football. “He was our No 1 candidate for interim manager, reflecting the invaluable leadership and technical skills he will bring from almost four decades of experience in management and coaching. Everyone at the club is looking forward to working with him during the season ahead, and then for a further two years in his advisory role.” Rangnick has not worked as a mana ger since holding the fort at Leipzig in the 2018-19 season while the club waited for Julian Nagelsmann. Paris Saint-Germain’s Mauricio Pochettino remains interested in taking the United job in the summer and would not be put off by Rangnick’s presence in a consultancy position. Results Football SKY BET CHAMPIONSHIP P W D L F A GD Pts Fulham 20 13 4 3 49 16 +33 43 Bournemouth 20 12 6 2 36 16 +20 42 QPR 20 10 5 5 33 25 +8 35 West Brom 20 9 7 4 27 16 +11 34 Blackburn 20 9 6 5 34 27 +7 33 Coventry 20 9 6 5 27 23 +4 33 Stoke 20 9 4 7 24 21 +3 31 Huddersfield 20 8 4 8 23 23 0 28 Swansea 20 7 6 7 25 26 -1 27 Millwall 20 6 9 5 20 21 -1 27 Blackpool 20 7 6 7 20 22 -2 27 Middlesbrough 20 7 5 8 23 23 0 26 Sheffield Utd 20 7 5 8 25 26 -1 26 Birmingham 20 7 5 8 19 21 -2 26 Luton 20 6 7 7 27 26 +1 25 Nottingham Forest 20 6 7 7 24 23 +1 25 Preston 20 6 7 7 22 26 -4 25 Bristol City 20 6 5 9 21 30 -9 23 Hull 20 6 3 11 16 23 -7 21 Cardiff 20 6 3 11 21 34 -13 21 Reading* 20 8 2 10 26 32 -6 20 Peterborough 20 4 4 12 17 38 -21 16 Barnsley 20 2 6 12 13 31 -18 12 Derby** 20 4 10 6 17 20 -3 1 *deducted six points; **deducted 21 points Derby (1) 1 QPR (0) 2 Lawrence 10 Willock 50, Gray 90 SCOTTISH CUP Third round Brechin 1 Darvel Juniors 1 LA LIGA Osasuna 1 Elche 1 FIFA WOMEN’S WORLD CUP QUALIFYING Group D P W D L F A GD Pts England 5 5 0 0 33 0 +33 15 Northern Ireland 6 4 1 1 30 6 +24 13 Austria 5 3 1 1 21 4 +17 10 Luxembourg 4 1 0 3 3 21 -18 3 North Macedonia 6 1 0 5 6 38 -32 3 Latvia 4 0 0 4 2 26 -24 0 Northern Ireland 9 North Macedonia 0 Cricket FIRST TEST (final day of five) India v New Zealand Kanpur India drew with New Zealand. India First innings 345 (SS Iyer 105, S Gill 52, RA Jadeja 50; TG Southee 5-69). New Zealand First innings 296 (TWM Latham 95, WA Young 89; AR Patel 5-62). India Second innings 234-7 dec (SS Iyer 65, WP Saha 61 no). New Zealand Second innings (overnight 4-1) TWM Latham b Ashwin .................................................52 WER Somerville c Gill b Yadav .......................................36 *KS Williamson lbw b Jadeja .........................................24 LRPL Taylor lbw b Jadeja .................................................2 HM Nicholls lbw b Patel ..................................................1 †TA Blundell b Ashwin ....................................................2 R Ravindra not out .......................................................18 KA Jamieson lbw b Jadeja ...............................................5 TG Southee lbw b Jadeja .................................................4 AY Patel not out .............................................................2 Extras (b12, lb1, nb4) ...................................................17 Total (for 9, 98 overs)..................................................165 Fall cont 79, 118, 125, 126, 128, 138, 147, 155. Bowling Ashwin 30-12-35-3; Patel 21-12-23-1; Yadav 12-2-34-1; I Sharma 7-1-20-0; Jadeja 28-10-40-4. SECOND TEST (first day of five) Sri Lanka v West Indies Galle Sri Lanka lead West Indies by 113 runs with nine first-innings wickets remaining. Sri Lanka First innings PS Nissanka not out .....................................................61 *FDM Karunaratne c & b Chase .....................................42 BOP Fernando not out ....................................................2 Extras (lb7, nb1) .............................................................8 Total (for 1, 34.4 overs)...............................................113 Fall 106. To bat AD Mathews, DM de Silva, KIC Asalanka, †LD Chandimal, WRT Mendis, RAS Lakmal, L Embuldeniya, P Jayawickrama. Bowling Roach 6-2-12-0; Holder 8-2-23-0; Mayers 2-0-13-0; Permaul 5-0-18-0; Chase 7.4-0-33-1; Warrican 6-3-7-0. West Indies *KC Brathwaite, J Blackwood, NE Bonner, SD Hope, RL Chase, JA Warrican, KR Mayers, JO Holder, †J da Silva, V Permaul, KAJ Roach. Toss Sri Lanka elected to bat. Umpires HDPK Dharmasena (Sri) and RSA Palliyaguruge (Sri). FIRST TEST (fourth day of five) Chittagong Bangladesh 330 (Liton Das 114; Mushfiqur Rahim 91; Hasan Ali 5-51) & 157 (Liton Das 59; Shaheen Shah Afridi 5-32). Pakistan 286 (Abid Ali 133; Abdullah Shafique 52; Taijul Islam 7-116) & 109-0 (Abid Ali 56no, Abdullah Shafique 53no). Pakistan require 93 more runs with all second-innings wickets standing to beat Bangladesh. Fixtures Football (7.45pm unless stated) Emirates FA Cup First-round replay Exeter v Bradford Premier League Leeds v Crystal Palace (8.15pm); Newcastle v Norwich (7.30pm) cinch Scottish Premiership Motherwell v Dundee Utd Fifa Women’s World Cup Qualifying Group A Republic of Ireland v Georgia (7pm). Group B Spain v Scotland (8pm). Group D England v Latvia (7pm). Group I France v Wales (8.10pm) Cricket Tour Match (first day of three) England v England Lions, Brisbane (midnight)

Window watch Howe will not make promises over big-money Newcastle deals • Katie Taylor ‘I’m the person I am today because of my gran’ The Guardian Tuesday 30 November 2021 Page 43 → Page 40 → Secret talks over ending parachute payments Exclusive Paul MacInnes Messi and Putellas crowned Argentinian legend claims seventh Ballon d’Or in Paris while Barcelona star Alexia Putellas reigns Report Page 45 → ‘He was our No 1 candidate’ Rangnick takes United role with focus on fresh culture Andy Hunter Ralf Rangnick has claimed Manchester United can still make a success of this season after being confirmed as the club’s interim manager. The 63-year-old Rangnick has signed a deal to manage the team until the end of th is season before taking on a consultancy role until 2024. He could be in charge for Arsenal’s visit on Thursday, subject to receiving a work permit. Ralf Rangnick’s contract with Manchester United runs until 2024 Michael Carrick, who has overseen a Champions League win at Villarreal and a draw at Chelsea since replacing Ole Gunnar Solskjær, will remain at the helm until Rangnick’s clearance. Solskjær’s backroom team – Carrick, assistant Mike Phelan, coach Kieran McKenna and the goalkeeping coach Richard Hartis – are expected to be retained, although the interim manager will bring in a small number of his own staff, including the video analyst, Lars Kornetka. United considered several candidates to replace Solskjær on a FRANCK FIFE/AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES short-term basis but insist Rangnick, who signed a three-year contract as Lokomotiv Moscow’s head of sports and development in July, was their preferred choice. The former RB Leipzig, Schalke and Hoffenheim manager impressed in an interview with the football director, John Murtough, the technical director, Darren Fletcher, and the executive vice-chairman, Ed Woodward, particularly on how he would implement his style of play. United lie eighth , five points off fourth place and 12 behind the leaders, Chelsea. But despite this season’s toils Rangnick believes the squad can deliver vast improvement during his brief managerial stint. “I am excited to be joining Manchester United and focused on making this a successful season for the club,” he said. “The squad is full of talent and has a great balance of youth and experience. All my efforts for the next six months will be on helping these players fulfil their potential, both individually 45 and, most importantly, as Secret talks between the Premier League and the EFL have been held to discuss removing the controversial parachute payments system, with alternatives set to be put to top-flight clubs for consideration. Discussions have been ongoing throughout the Covid period about how better to organise financial redistribution . Whereas the EFL ha s target ed parachute payments as a major problem , the Premier League had remained defiant in support of the current system – citing the £1.5bn it transfers down the leagues over a three-year period. That position has changed, with a number of alternative proposals developed and debated among executives . The pressure is to make those changes a reality. Parachute payments are given to clubs relegated from the Premier League to cushion the blow of revenue lost from leaving the top flight. The EFL argues this creates competitive distortion , with other clubs spending money they do not have to keep up. One of the recommendations in the Crouch review , published last week, stated that the Premier League and EFL should come up with a solution to the parachute payments problem by the end of the year, with outside voices then brought in to advise on change if no solution can be agreed. Although the discussions are understood to be advanced, ideas have not been presented to Premier League clubs or the EFL board. Yesterday the Premier League board agreed to hold an emergency shareholders’ meeting this week to discuss the Crouch review. Under the terms of the domestic TV deal approved by government this year, parachute payments are to remain in place for another three years. On Friday Richard Masters, the 43 Premier ▲ Fulham and West Brom received parachute payments after relegation

Lost to the virus John Eyers 1978-2021 • Tuesday 30/11/21

• The Guardian Tuesday 30 November 2021 3 Zoe Pass notes Williams The etiquette of the doctor’s reception is hell for a busybody Will smaller wine glasses really help us drink less? COVER: PAUL RYDING/THE GUARDIAN I can’t stand not being allowed to ask intrusive questions S ome time around your 40th birthday, you get a letter from your GP instructing you to attend an MOT, and from here on in, this letter will arrive every five years and the first time everybody definitely ignores it. The second time I got mine, it was in the middle of the first wave of Covid. Wait, the maths don’t stack up on that : maybe the second time I ignored it, again. Then perhaps the pandemic militated against being reminded by the surgery, or somehow, some way, even though it is nowhere near my birthday, and I’m neither 40 nor 45, and most certainly not 50, I got the knock. Actually, a text. Just come stand on a machine , it implored. Any time of day, no need to chat to a nurse. I ran into my previous husband on the way in. “How come you’ve been to the doctor when I’m also going to the doctor?” I quizzed . He inclined his head, in a shorthand devised over time to indicate that this is on the list of questions you’re no longer allowed to ask once you’re divorced, along with, “What’s that big crack in your wall?”, and “Have you seen Line of Duty?”, and actually, now I’m drilling in, this list is really long. I can’t stand not being allowed to ask intrusive questions. I feel like a working dog, bred for generations to chase sheep, transported to a sheep-free environment, then told off for chasing cars. Inside, the machine loomed in the corner, and around it sat everyone approximately my age I had ever seen in the neighbourhood. There were two women I vaguely recognised from having kids older than mine at primary school . The guy who used to run the corner shop, before it became a children’s photography studio, before that went bust, to the vast and untrammelled delight of everyone who preferred when it was a shop, was standing on the machine. “This machine will not speak your weight,” it said in a metallic voice. Obviously now all I wanted to know was how much he weighed, even though it was none of my business and, realistically, I could have guessed. It is etiquette, when you’re going round a prison, not to ask anyone what they’re in for. It is considered good manners not to make small talk with strangers in the reception area of a surgery. These are more than mere conventions : there are situations people can be in that they don’t want to describe to a stranger, and these situations are more likely to obtain in a penal or medical setting than in a cocktail bar. But I had a load of questions, and not being allowed to ask them made my quest for knowledge more imperative. I wanted to find out how the kids of the schoolgate posse were doing, what secondary school they were at, how they were finding it, what their journey was like, whether they had any tattoos or piercings or whatnot. Only middle-aged women need to discover this stuff and we can’t explain why. “This machine will not speak your weight,” the weighing robot reiterated to a fresh patient, who replied, “Maybe just don’t speak at all?”, and we all tittered, then looked swiftly at our feet, and goddammit, he was exactly the kind of person who wouldn’t have minded some small talk, only now he was leaving, and I’d never find out whether I half-recognised him from the dry cleaners or some other place, and I didn’t even know how much he weighed. Two other women were better acquainted than the rest of us, and one had recently left her job, and she was trying to describe why, except that high emotions were interrupting the narrative coherence, and the other one was making no effort to get to the root of it, just going “Mmm, how awful.” Tantalising. Like watching an unsubtitled film in a foreign language. I have become a person who wants to get in on everybody else’s business. I was there to chart the sad statistics of my declining vigour and, instead, did a stock-take of all the things I am newly interested in, which, it turns out, is everything. The busybody is such a figure of fun, culturally speaking, but what culture doesn’t get is how much we enjoy it. For years, wine glasses got larger and larger; the hospitality protocol was to fill them to the widest point of the glass, which was about a third of the way up, typically 250ml. The home drinker might fill them half way, which was more like half a bottle. Everybody knew they weren’t very practical, but there was a double jeopardy in that, if you’d just necked half a bottle of wine in a single glass, you would forget they didn’t fit in the dishwasher and break them trying. Then you’d have to buy more, and the y would be even larger. Post-lockdown, according to John Lewis, there has been a surge in demand for smaller glasses . I wouldn’t call the John Lewis glassware -shopper the barometer of the national mood; like the M &S underwear-shopper, these are people who have looked ahead to a time when they might need a glass, or some pants, and carefully balanced quality against value for money. Regular people wait until they have run out , then buy them on an emergency footing, in a garage. And yet, John Lewis was the first retailer to report a run on ironing boards in 2020, and it was only much later that it was discovered that young people were using them as a desk. It won’t, on its own, make you drink any less . But if it signals an intention to drink less, that might change habits. The only person who has successfully fooled their brain with a trick like this is Liz Hurley, who said she kept her weight down by eating with children’s cutlery. It was never clear whether that was because the small cutlery made the food look bigger, or the infantile mood sapped the adult pleasure of over eating. If you’re trying any of this at home – you’ve bought your bistro mini-glasses and are still powering through gallons of wine a night – maybe swap to a sippy cup. № 4,344 The perfect job Status: Perfect. Appearance: Mythological. I don’t need to read this, because I already like my job. Yes, but is it perfect? Well, no, nothing is perfect. That’s where you’re wrong. A study commissioned by Raja Workplace , which supplies industrial and business equipment, has revealed the credentials that make a job perfect . Would you like me to run through them? Yes please. OK, the perfect job has a 26-hour week. That’s a four-day work week of sixand-a-half hour days, excluding breaks. Wouldn’t that be incredible? You’d finally be able to achieve a work-life balance. Great! What else? Apparently, the perfect job has a £44,000 salary. That’s almost £ 13,000 higher than the UK national average . Count me in! Workers with the perfect job also have free cups of tea and a comfy chair. Wouldn’t that be nice? A lovely stream of endless tea is a sign that your employer values you. This does sound lovely. The perfect job is also situated 17 minutes from your house. No thanks. I’ve got used to working from home now. No, you don’t understand. You have to work in an office that is 17 minutes from your house. You have to. Oh! Here’s something else: the perfect job has an office with a lovely view. Now that I work from home, I get to look out over a park. And I don’t have to spend money commuting. What’s wrong with you, you dummy? Come to the office. Come on! It’s lovely here. What if we gave you your birthday off? People also love that, according to the survey. I’m not a child. We all talk about you behind your back, you know. What? Boris Johnson was right. We all gossip about anyone who isn’t in the office all the time. Yuck. It’s just banter. Workers love banter . In fact, they’ve said that their ideal boss is someone they can go for a pint with. That sounds like a dangerous erosion of professional boundaries. Come on. Come out for a pint with us. We’re a lot of fun! Actually, now I think of it, I don’t really like my job . Covid has made millions of people reassess their professional lives , and I think I should join them. I quit! Have a pint with us, anyway. You’re sure this isn’t a trap to get me back into the office? Come on, it’s just one drink. OK. Wait, is that a net in your hands? Yes! We’ve got you now! Get to the office and work! Work until you drop! Do say: “The perfect job has a 26-hour week.” Don’t say: “Hooray! This means I have two perfect jobs.”

4 • Lost to the virus The Guardian Tuesday 30 November 2021 ‘He thought if you were young and fit, you’d be fine’ John Eyers was obsessed with bodybuilding, triathlons and mountain climbing – and became a vaccine sceptic. Then, at 42, he contracted Covid. Sirin Kale reports It was one of those rare, almost magical, summer evenings. Warm enough to sit outside in a T-shirt, listening to birdsong; warm enough to stay out late, savouring a meal; warm enough not to notice night settling in , the visitor that slipped into the party unannounced . It was 11 June 2021. Jenny McCann sat in the garden of her home in north London with her twin brother, John Eyers, their parents, Lyn and Derek, and Jenny’s husband and children. It was her son’s 10th birthday party. John and their parents had come down from Southport in Merseyside for the weekend to celebrate. Jenny made Lebanese lamb and parathas . The adults were buzzed on wine , the kids on birthday cake. “Life felt really good,” says Jenny. She can’t remember how the argument about the Covid vaccine started. “John started saying really crazy things that didn’t make sense,” she says. “About how people were only getting the vaccine for free McDonald’s, and there was formaldehyde in it.” The rest of the family remonstrated with him, pulling out their phones to factcheck what he was saying. But John was unmoving. “He kept saying: ‘I won’t be a guinea pig.’” Eventually, he made a joke and changed the subject – that was his way of defusing tension. “He would make a joke about everything,” says Jenny, who is 43 and works as an operations manager. Argument aside, it was a great get-together. “John was on really good, funny form,” says Jenny. They went for dinner at a Turkish restaurant and played darts in the garden. John scored a bull seye with his eyes closed and bragged about it all weekend. There was only one other difficult moment, when the family went to a local health club. John refused to wear a mask. The twins had a fight in reception. “I said : ‘John, put your face mask on ,’” Jenny remembers. “‘He said : ‘You aren’t my mother – don’t tell me what to do.’” John eventually acquiesced, then made another easy joke . They went swimming and played tennis and forgot about it. A perfect weekend, then. T wins enjoying each other’s company after the enforced separation of the pandemic. Neither had any idea it would be their last time together. John and Jenny were born in Southport in 1978 . As children, they were diametrically opposed. Jenny was a bookish goody two-shoes ; John was mischievous, good at sport and uninterested in school. Despite their differences, they shared a formidable bond. “When we were very young, we were shadows of each other ,” says Jenny. Into adulthood, she always knew when her brother was lying – like the time he told their mother he hurt his shoulder tripping over a witch on Halloween. (He had been knocked off his bike by a lorry.) “He didn’t want Mum to worry,” she says. Jenny left home at 18 to go to university, leaving her brother behind . He worked in their parents’ carpet business for a while, but didn’t enjoy it, then John Eyers celebrates after finishing an Ironman

• The Guardian Tuesday 30 November 2021 5 In Marbella with Jonathan Cohen, his best friend PHOTOGRAPHS: DAVID LEVENE/THE GUARDIAN; COURTESY OF JENNY MCCANN joined the erotic dance troupe the Chippendales, performing all over Europe. “He had piercings in places you don’t want to know about your brother having piercings in,” Jenny shudders. Around this time, he had a child, Macey, who is now 19. The relationship with her mother didn’t work out, but John was a committed and loving father. His stripping days over, he returned to Southport and began working as a product specialist in the flooring industry. He worked to keep the lights on, but sport was his big thing . John had always been a gifted athlete. “He would do something and get obsessed with it,” Jenny says. In his teens, he was a champion pole-vaulter and hockey player. In adulthood, he went through phases . He got into triathlons for a while, then bodybuilding competitions, then mountain climbing. He was a fixture at his local gym, which is where he met his best friend, Jonathan Cohen, 37, a chartered surveyor. “He’d spot me in the gym with a set of weights and it was a natural progression from there,” says Jonathan. “Suddenly, we were going out every weekend together.” John’s dedication to fitness was something to behold. “He really pushed his body to the limit,” says Jonathan. John would be in the gym most mornings at 6am . On a holiday to Marbella in May 2016, John kept getting stopped by other men on the beach – they wanted to know his training regimen. Jonathan cropped John out of their holiday photos. “I wasn’t having a photo stood next to him with his six-pack,” he laughs. “No! Not having that.” John was gregarious and funloving. “He was a social butterfly,” Jenny says. “He liked being out, working a room, being charismatic and laughing and joking. He was a big piss-taker – he’d insult you, but in a funny way, so you ended up laughing.” From his first girlfriend, at 10, John was a serial monogamist, prone to the odd grand gesture ; he once proposed to a girlfriend at a festive grotto while dressed as Santa. “He was an old romantic,” says Jenny. “He really wanted the happily-ever-after.” He loved keeping fit and getting outdoors He was a social butterfly. He liked working a room, laughing and joking, being charismatic John with his sister, Jenny McCann, and their mother (That relationship didn’t work out and John never married.) From January onwards, John struggled with his mental health. Covid restrictions weighed heavily on him. He hated not being able to go to the gym , hated not being able to go climbing , hated not seeing his friends. He lived alone, having broken up with a girlfriend at Christmas, and was lonely. He confided in his sister. “I was really worried about him,” Jenny says. “He was in a bad place. I had to call him every day to make sure he was OK.” Their grandmother died in March . When Jenny saw him at the funeral, she was horrified. “He’d lost so much weight,” she says. Jonathan thinks this is, in part, what drove his friend’s Covid scepticism. “He was frustrated at the way he couldn’t go and do normal things,” he says. “He didn’t want another lockdown, or to be in a situation where he wasn’t able to go and see people.” John felt that Covid was real, but that it had been dramatically overstated by the authorities. Nobody he knew in Southport had contracted Covid. If he got the virus, he would be fine. “It got to the point where he refused to wear a mask at all,” says Jenny. Many of the people in his life tried to argue with him. “I would tell him : ‘Why won’t you get the jab? You’ll need it if you want to go away on holiday,’” says Jonathan. “He kept saying that he wanted to wait. It wasn’t that he would never get it. But it was more the misinformation, really. For whatever reason, he would not listen to whatever message was coming out of the government. I’d say to him : ‘John, why are you listening to that rubbish?’” John was a fan of the pearlescent-toothed Tony Robbins , whose brand of adrenalised motivational speaking has earned him an estimated fortune of $500m (£375 m), plus a private island in Fiji and celebrity fans including Serena Williams and Hugh Jackman. Robbins, while steering clear of outright anti- vaccine statements, has made comments throughout the pandemic that play down the severity of Covid , or imply that lockdown restrictions are overblown. (Confusingly, he has also touted a Covid vaccine that is being developed by Covaxx, a company that has received funding from a venture capital firm in which Robbins is a partner. He has made no secret of that financial interest.) In September 2020, Robbins posted a link to an article by the Kremlin-funded news site RT that said lockdowns “achieved almost precisely nothing with regard to Covid . No deaths were prevented”. In September 2021, he appeared at a conference in Florida where he mocked Australia’s Covid restrictions , cast doubt on the efficacy of vaccines and told a cheering audience not to let “fear be the thing that controls you”. “John mentioned to me once that one of his beliefs was that we shouldn’t live in a climate of fear around Covid,” says Jenny. “If you were young and fit and well, you’d be fine.” In this assumption, John wasn’t entirely wrong. He was extremely unlikely to die from Covid , as a physically fit 42-year-old with no underlying conditions. The Covid mortality rate for a 40-yearold with no underlying health conditions is about one in every 1,490 people infected. But his calculus when it came to understanding the risk-to-benefit ratio of Covid vaccination was off. If infected, someone who is unvaccinated is 32 times more likely to die of Covid than someone who has been vaccinated. While vaccination carries a risk of sideeffects, this risk is far smaller than the risk of being unvaccinated during a pandemic. Out of 46.3 million fully vaccinated people in the UK, 77 have died of blood clots thought to be related to a Covid vaccine . “There is a huge asymmetry with risk,” says Dr Tom Stafford , a psychology lecturer at the University of Sheffield. “If you can get away with things that are low probability, you don’t know how dangerous they are until it’s too late.” Stafford uses the example of Continued on page 6 →

6 • Lost to the virus The Guardian Tuesday 30 November 2021 ← Continued from page 5 driving without a seatbelt: most of the time, you will be absolutely fine. But the one time you are in an accident, things might get very bad very quickly. “It’s the same with the vaccine,” says Stafford. “It’s a low-probability event that you will get the virus and need hospitalisation. But if you do, then the vaccine shows its benefit.” Stafford says that decisions about vaccination, particularly for Covid , are some of the hardest that people have to make. “Risk calculus can be particularly hard in certain circumstances,” he says. “Risks where we don’t always see the outcome, so we have to trust people. And new risks. Coronavirus is both of those things.” But why would someone such as John be inclined to take his information about the pandemic from social media influencers rather than scientific experts? In 2009, Stafford co-authored a paper that surveyed people who lived on brownfield sites that might have been contaminated with pollutants . The survey asked the residents whom they trusted to tell them about the risks associated with living on the land. While most of the people trusted scientists to tell them the truth, they were almost as likely to take their information from family and friends, despite their total lack of expertise. “It wasn’t that they didn’t trust the expertise of the scientists,” Stafford says. “They knew that scientists knew about pollution. They just thought that the scientists didn’t have their interests at heart, whereas they knew that family and friends did .” The internet replicates this fundamental human impulse – to trust family and friends almost as much as we trust experts – at scale. “We feel a connection to the people who are telling us things in a way that we don’t feel a connection to the Centers for Disease Control or the Joint Council on Vaccination and Immunisation ,” Stafford says. In the age of social media, we don’t even need to have met the people we trust as much as established experts . “That’s why social media is so dangerous,” says Stafford. “Because people share that emotional connection with influencers they might never have met. But it’s an asymmetrical intimacy. I may think I know that vlogger and they are talking to me. But really they’re talking to millions of people – and the advertisers generating them their revenue.” The falsehoods that John repeated in the months leading up to his death are common tropes in online anti- vaccine spaces and easy to find : the vaccine has dangerous levels of formaldehyde in it ; the vaccine is experimental ; people are only getting the vaccine for free McDonald’s . “The best thing that people can do is realise that social media platforms are fundamentally unsafe environments to gain facts about a pandemic that might kill you,” says Imran Ahmed, the CEO of the Center for Countering Digital Hate . “Social media contains vast amounts of misinformation that mingles seamlessly with good information. The misinformation might kill you.” John was a heavy user of social media . “He was what I’d call a Facebook ranter,” says Jenny. Occasionally, she would challenge him on the content of his posts about Covid. When he was at her house, Jenny told him off for spending too much time on his phone. “He wouldn’t put his phone down,” she says. Ahmed is scathing about the social media companies that profit from misinformation. “They don’t want you to find the truth,” he says. “They want you to keep scrolling. If you find the truth, you don’t need to scroll any more. They want you to keep scrolling and arguing and looking for more bullshit.” John tested positive for Covid on 29 June. By 3 July, he was seriously unwell. Amy, the woman who had recently become his girlfriend, had to force him to call 111 for help. Later that day, he was taken to Southport & Ormskirk hospital by ambulance. Jonathan texted his friend as soon as he heard the news. “He said that he couldn’t type, but that he was in hospital with pneumonia,” he remembers. “He wouldn’t admit at that point that it was Covid.” John had a raging temperature and difficulty breathing. Doctors put him on a Cpap machine, to assist his breathing, and swathed him in cooling blankets. On 4 July, John was up all night vomiting blood. He sent Jonathan a voice note the next morning. “It is the worst voice note I have ever heard in my life,” says Jonathan. “I burst out crying halfway through it.” The voice note is a minute and a half long. In that time, John speaks about 12 words. “I will never send it to anyone, but if anyone questioned He made a bad decision. And he paid the ultimate price for it. Which is so unfair John and Jenny with their parents whether Covid is real, I would play it to them,” says Jonathan. “It is the worst thing in the world. I can hear the fear in him. He is literally gasping for air. This is someone I knew who could run 10k or climb a mountain without struggling.” On 6 July, Jenny was in the supermarket when a feeling of great panic settled upon her. “I just had this feeling that something wasn’t right with John,” she says. She left without doing her shopping. That afternoon, she got the phone call. John was in the ICU. She immediately got a train to Southport, sobbing the whole way. By 11 July, John needed to go on a ventilator. Jenny spoke to him on the phone before he was sedated. She told him she loved him. He couldn’t respond, but he texted her: “Don’t let them give up on me.” It was the last message she received from her twin. On the morning of 27 July, John’s family got the call they had been dreading. He was dying ; they should come in right away. They raced to the hospital, but John had stabilised by the time they arrived . Staff told them to go home and said they would call back if there was any change. About an hour later, the hospital called back. The family piled into the car and started driving to the hospital at top speed. Nurses kept calling, telling them to hurry. They raced to the ICU, where staff were waiting with PPE. Jenny could hear the alarms going off in her brother’s room. “I couldn’t stop shaking,” she says. “It felt like a monster was about to come out of my mouth and I couldn’t control it.” When they had finally tugged on the PPE, they ran into his room. It was full of ICU staff, all in tears. John had just died. Jenny’s stepdad collapsed to the floor. Her mum was wailing. “The matron grabbed my mum and was holding her,” says Jenny. “Everyone was crying. The consultant was crying. All the staff were crying. Because he was so young. And they couldn’t save him.” H ow do you explain how a supremely fit 42-year-old man died of a disease typically thought to afflict older people or those with underlying conditions? “Genetics makes the most sense,” says Dr Guillaume Butler- Laporte , a genetic epidemiologist at McGill University. Butler-Laporte is part of a global research programme to analyse the genomes of more than 100,000 people with Covid , in an effort to understand why

• The Guardian Tuesday 30 November 2021 7 some people are more severely affected than others. When he began his research in March 2020, Butler-Laporte “did not expect to find much ”, he says. “We thought Covid would affect everyone, but be worse for old people and not as bad for young people. But as we included more patients, we saw a clear story develop. It was surprising.” Butler-Laporte and his colleagues found that people with variants in up to a dozen locations on the human genome were at If anyone questioned Covid, I’d play them the voice note John sent from hospital higher risk of developing severe Covid, should they be unfortunate enough to be infected with the virus. People with variants on the chromosome 3 region alone were up to twice as likely to develop severe Covid as someone without that genetic mutation. Chromosome 3 mutations are carried in about 10% of people of European ancestry, meaning that such people have a 10% chance of being twice as susceptible to severe Covid infection . “There is no question there is a genetic underpinning to this,” says Butler-Laporte. “As to whether genetics is more important than other factors, like age, I wouldn’t want to comment. But it is clear that there are other determinants of severe disease and genetics is one of them.” He is almost certain that John fits the profile of someone with a genetic variation that made him more vulnerable to severe Covid. “ It’s impossible to know specifically what genes he carried, but it’s very likely he carried this genetic predisposition ,” says Butler-Laporte. Unbeknown to John, his body was primed to react with maximum violence to the Covid virus. When he was unfortunate enough to breathe in infected air carrying infinitesimally small virus particles, his body gradually failed. “Had he been vaccinated , the best case would have been that he developed sterilising immunity, meaning that, when the virus landed in his nostrils, it got picked up by antibodies and never set up an infection,” says Dr Tom Lawton, an intensive care doctor. “If he’d had a lower level of immunity from the vaccine, he would have had non-sterilising immunity, meaning that the virus did start to infect cells, but his body fought it ‘Covid is brutal’ ... John’s twin sister, Jenny and was able to clear out the virus before it ramped up rapidly.” But John was not vaccinated. The Covid virus infected his cells, replicating in his body. He eventually managed to expunge the virus – but then his immune system went into overdrive. “The virus seems to set something up in the body and the damage comes from there,” says Lawton. “It wouldn’t have happened had the virus not been there.” First, his lungs were affected. “There will have been blood clots The last family photo taken of John, from June this year forming, as well as a thickening of the membrane that separates the air and the blood in his lungs,” says Lawton. As a result, the blood couldn’t carry sufficient oxygen to John’s organs . Doctors treated him with steroids, to damp down his immune response. But these immune suppressants made John vulnerable to bacterial and fungal infections. He developed infections in his lungs. His liver and kidneys began to malfunction, causing waste products to build up in his blood. Doctors put John on dialysis to clear out the toxins, but by this point many of his organs were failing and he had unsurvivably low oxygen levels. He expended an inconceivably huge metabolic effort to stay alive. “Although it looks like someone is just lying there asleep, the amount of work they’re doing is really impressive ,” says Lawton. He compares it to walking a marathon for every day the patient is hospitalised. Eventually, John exhausted his physiological reserve. His body was oxygen-deprived and wrung out . His heart stopped beating and he died. Before he died, John told the doctor treating him how much he regretted not getting the vaccine. “The doctor said that he was beating himself up so much before they put him on the ventilator,” Jenny says. “He was saying : ‘Why didn’t I get vaccinated? Why didn’t I do it? Why didn’t I listen?’” It is for this reason that his family has agreed to share his story . “He probably wouldn’t be dead if he’d had the vaccine,” says Jenny. “It’s really quite simple. He made a bad decision. We all make bad decisions all the time. And he paid the ultimate price for it. Which is so unfair.” Jenny says she “just wants people to be vaccinated and, if they have doubts, to get medical advice – not advice from the internet. And to realise that Covid is brutal. It’s just brutal.” She is struggling to adapt to life without her brother. “I don’t know that it will ever feel real,” she says. “How can my healthy, outgoing, silly brother be dead? It doesn’t make sense in my brain. How can I be a twin without a twin?” At John’s funeral, on 16 August, Jonathan delivered a eulogy. He spoke about that holiday in Marbella in 2016. They spent a day drinking champagne at a beach club, laughing, messing around. As the sun set, a rainbow formed over the sea. This is how Jonathan likes to remember John. They are sunburned, drunk, a little unsteady on their feet. Suffused with love for each other. The night is drawing in and Jonathan turns to his best friend and says: shall we carry on? And John says: of course.

• 8 Arts The Guardian Tuesday 30 November 2021 ‘He broke the mould’ … Sondheim’s Company, directed by Mendes, at the Donmar, 1995 When he spoke about Prospero, he burst into tears and retired to the bathroom Side by side with Sondheim From their thrilling collaborations to a supper that ended in tears, director Sam Mendes shares his memories of musicals legend Stephen Sondheim ‘An amazing collaborator’ … Sondheim and Mendes in 2003 He kept a selection of grooming utensils in his guest bathroom: nail scissors, implements for trimming nose hair, that sort of thing. He had a slightly shambolic air, and a listing ga it, like a grad student impersonating a grown up, or as if his nanny had brushed his hair for him that morning. He would rock his head back when he talked and often spoke with his eyes closed, like someone communing with a higher power, which he probably was. His latest enthusiasms were always near the surface – to hear him speak about Rory Kinnear’s Hamlet , for example, was to make one want to go and see it all over again (he actually flew a group of his New York friends to London to see the production). He was equally expressive in his condemnation of work he didn’t care for. He was passionate, opinionated, uningratiating, sharp as a knife. Until his later years, when he chose to spend more time in Connecticut, he was all New York. Steve saw everything: he taught me how to calculate exactly the amount of time it would take to walk to each individual theatre by judging how many blocks east to west (five minutes per block) and north to south (two minutes). For this particular wide-eyed Brit, Steve’s life on East 49th Street was a dream of New York in the 20th century. A beautiful brownstone, woodpanelled, with walls full of framed word games and puzzles. A grand piano looked out on a walled garden filled with vines and flowers. Katharine Hepburn lived next door. When he first bought the house, he told a story of wandering out into the garden at dusk, turning back and seeing Hepburn standing Musical hit … Mendes’ production of Assassins in the lit window. From behind her, Spencer Tracy stepped out of the darkness, wrapped his arms around her and closed the curtains. Years later, after his musical Assassins had debuted off-Broadway, Hepburn approached him slowly and shakily to deliver her verdict over the garden wall. “You’re a curious man, Mr Sondheim,” she said. He was. As he got older, his emotions were closer to the surface – ironic for someone who was sometimes accused of a lack of warmth in his work. I once had supper with him alone at 49th Street, during which he described the legendary production of The Tempest by Giorgio Strehler . When he spoke about the final moments, and of Prospero accepting that his powers were gone, he burst into tears and retired to the bathroom. He was an amazing collaborator when he was on your side. Not so much fun when he wasn’t – I watched him storm out of a production of A Little Night Music in Chichester in utter fury. And I was working at the National Theatre when he first saw Stephen Pimlott’s (I thought) wonderful production of Sunday in the Park With George – and somehow the whole building knew his opinion of the second act by 10am the next morning. But when you were lucky enough to be on the receiving end of his admiration – an experience I had with both Assassins and Company at the Donmar – it was pretty exhilarating. He would cry (tears were never far away), pick

• How we made The Guardian Tuesday 30 November 2021 9 PHOTOGRAPHS: TRISTRAM KENTON/THE GUARDIAN; BRUCE GLIKAS/GETTY IMAGES; DONALD COOPER/ALAMY out moments he loved, spot every detail, wax lyrical. He was always utterly open to new interpretations of his work. Indeed he encouraged them – and in doing so, he broke the traditional mould of the American musical theatre, which tended to decree that the original production was the right and only one, so the work was then calcified for all eternity by draconian rules handed down by author’s estates and entertainment lawyers. He believed art – specifically theatre art – had to be a living, evolving thing, or it was nothing. In that regard he was the opposite of his sometime collaborator Arthur Laurents, with whom he co-wrote West Side Story and Gypsy. Laurents was literal, rigid, and lacked Steve’s confidence that the work could survive multiple interpretations. For example, see the astonishing array of productions of Sweeney Todd, as opposed to the single stale production of West Side Story that did the rounds for decades – a situation only remedied very recently after Laurents’ death by new versions from Ivo Van Hove and now Ste ven Spielberg. Evidence of Steve’s boundless enthusiasm for new iterations of his work is alive and well in New York as I write this – John Doyle’s production of Assassins and Marianne Elliott’s of Company , both new-minted and as fresh as the day they were first performed. His legacy is unquestioned – and best left to others to describe. Not only the shows, but also his two extraordinary books , written when he had mostly run out of juice for the stage. They are rare and significant pieces in that they describe creation from the inside. Filled with fabulous detail and insight, they are essential reading for anyone who wants to understand what theatre can be at the highest possible level, and for all those who now must try to stand on his shoulders. As for the shows themselves, the high spots remain personal: Sorry - Grateful from Company, Every Day a Little Death from A Little Night Music, Sunday from Sunday in the Park, and pretty much the whole of Sweeney Todd. There are several memories that are mine alone, however, something for which I remain absurdly lucky and stupidly grateful. Here’s one: we were working on the somewhat illfated New York Theatre Workshop production of his last produced musical, then called Wise Guys. Steve had brought in a new song to rehearsals that morning entitled A Little House for Mama. As our musical director Ted Sperling sat singing the song for the first time at the piano in his gentle falsetto, and the afternoon sun streamed into the dusty old rehearsal room, I found that tears were rolling down my face. The song was so effortless, so simple, yet seemed to speak to the heart of those who struggled (as Steve did) with a lifelong need to heal a relationship that can never be healed. I looked over to him and he was crying too. “Mothers,” he said. ‘He was a god for us’: the actor’s perspective Jenna Russell: ‘The songs are ridiculously rich’ Meeting your hero is a scary thing but he was wonderful. The songs are ridiculously rich – Steve understood the human condition like no one else in musical theatre. Musicals can be crap. They really can be. But because of the work he did, and the writers inspired by how brave he was, we have some really good musical theatre. I’m so grateful to have met him and had the privilege of doing his work. Daniel Evans: ‘Actors love his work’ He was really strict! If you replaced a syllable of a lyric with something that was inaccurate he would come down on you hard. But his notes were so practical, insightful and implementable – he writes for actors, that’s why actors love his work. Merrily had a predominantly young cast and when he arrived , he came in front of us and said: “It’s OK everyone, God has arrived!” He was being self-deprecating but we were so scared, we didn’t know if he was serious. He was a type of god for us, so we took him at his word. Janie Dee: ‘He moved me to tears’ Every note he writes is perfect for the emotion. You can’t sing a better note than the one he’s written. When I saw Sunday in the Park with George, I felt addressed personally. Even though I was sitting in a crowd of people, I felt like I was receiving guidance and healing at the same time. He has moved me to tears more than any other writer in my lifetime, left me feeling refreshed as a human being. Interviews by Chris Wiegand ‘It was intended as a dummy lyric’ … Linnell, left, and Flansburgh PHOTOGRAPH: EBET ROBERTS/REDFERNS Birdhouse in Your Soul by They Might be Giants ‘I’m completely happy about falling within the noble tradition of the one-hit wonder in the UK’ John Linnell Vocals, keyboards, songwriter We had played the showcase night at New York’s CBGB , but didn’t stand out, so we tried instead playing alongside performance artists in the East Village. People showing up to watch avant garde performance art bought our cassette, and we became part of this groovy little scene of really enthusiastic people. After some indie success, major labels were suddenly coming along like buses wanting to sign us. We opted for Elektra because they were nice people and didn’t seem to want to change us. They gave us a list of potential producers. We knew Clive Langer and Alan Winstanley from their work with Madness, and, weirdly, as a teenager I had seen Clive’s band Deaf School on their US tour. I told Clive the gig was hilarious and fun. I think that’s the reason they agreed to produce us. I’d written the melody and beginnings of Birdhouse in Your Soul some years earlier, but when we started working with the producers in 1989 I was still in the process of arranging it. I’d made a demo using a drum machine and put the snare on the off beat, but when I made another demo I changed it to the sort of classic rock beat I thought might get us on the radio. To their credit, Clive and Alan said : “No! Go back to what it was.” They said I had made it sound “just like any other pop song”, and they were right. The summer we recorded it in New York it was very hot, and we were inspired by the Lovin’ Spoonful’s Summer in the City – we copied its chords for our guitar part. The lyrics were stream of consciousness. I was in my apartment in Williamsburg, Brooklyn , and wrote it from the perspective of a night light serenading the occupant of its room. I wasn’t thinking too hard. It was just intended as a dummy lyric . People seemed to find it really innocent or charming. Before we appeared on the Johnny Carson show , the scrupulous bandleader made us rehearse it several times using a metronome, but for the actual performance the count had somehow been set 10 beatsper-minute faster. It was hard to sing that fast, but it gave it a nervous energy. The song cemented my decision to never sing in an affected accent. I sang in my own voice and when it was played on the radio in the UK someone rang in to say how irritating she found it that I was doing a fake, thick American accent. It was hilarious. John Flansburgh Guitarist, songwriter I would never have dared to try to write a song if it wasn’t for Elvis Costello and the Ramones. Those people getting in the charts opened the way for the likes of us and changed my life. The performance art scene was about partying our brains out, living in the moment and doing interesting things. Before we got noticed we did this thing called Dial-a-Song to get our music heard. You basically rang a phone number and heard a song free of charge. A really embryonic version of Birdhouse in Your Soul was on Dial- a-Song as a one-minute demo a good year before we signed to Elektra. When we met Clive and Alan they were at the height of their cultural influence. I think the label thought: “We’ve got this impossible band that will never work on the radio. We’ll give them to these triplecool producers.” Working with them was a masterclass and they gave us beautifully cinematic production. Birdhouse has real instruments on it but also drum machines and sequenced bass. We built up the whole arrangement without guitars, but they let me add this big Marshall stack guitar part, to give me something to do. On Top of the Pops I just bounced around playing a guitar . Back then, sampling had been the preserve of rich musicians like Duran Duran, but Casio had just brought out the budget FZ-1 sampling synth , which made sampling available to ordinary musicians. De La Soul were across town making 3 Feet High and Rising with the same keyboard. You could do stuff like hit a mallet on a fridge, capture it and play it. So we had all these eccentric sounds. I sampled the trumpet part from a very successful record, but to get round the copyright laws we got the trumpet player in and paid him for two days’ work while he performed it again, note for note. I’m completely happy that we fall within the noble tradition of one-hit wonders in the UK. It’s a different kind of song and has a strange effect on people. When we last played Birdhouse in London, some people in the audience started crying. Interviews by Dave Simpson. They Might Be Giants’ new album, Book, is out now, as well as a hardcover art book of the same name .

10 • TV and radio The Guardian Tuesday 30 November 2021 Gooey mystery … Lila Nobel and Milo Campanale in Elves Britney 11.35pm, BBC One Review Elves, Netflix If you go down to the woods today, you won’t get a huge surprise ★★☆☆☆ Lucy Mangan T here is, as Aunt Ada Doom oft told, “something nasty in the woodshed”. But it turns out, in the Netflix horror series Elves, to be nothing compared with what is in the woods themselves. The opening scene establishes, without much room for doubt, that whatever lurks among the cold pines of the fictional island of Aarmand , an isolated part of the Danish archipelago, is not to be messed with. Local farmer Møller (Rasmus Hammerich ) tethers a cow in the middle of a blackened circle and legs it as an unseen horde of unknown – unless you’ve read the title – somethings descend and the poor bovine is scattered over a large area. Pity, then, the Svane family, who are just arriving on the island for a quiet Christmas holiday – hardworking mum Charlotte ( Lila Nobel ) and dad Mads ( Peder Thomas Pedersen ) and their bickering children Kasper ( Milo Campanale ) and Josefine ( Sonja Stee n). Despite clear instructions to stick to the coast road to reach their getaway, Mads cuts through woodland and collides with something that leaves black goo on his bumper. But what? But what, in this six-part horror miniseries originally called Nisser , a word sometimes translated from the Danish as “gnomes” or “goblins” and, here, Elves, could it possibly be? Mum and Dad reckon the goo is oil or tar from the ferry crossing. Josefine, meanwhile, has tracked a trail of it heading towards a mysteriously fenced-off region of deeper forest (from which, I suspect, she could still pick up a tangy whiff of freshly slaughtered cow). Møller turns up in a truck and tells them all to føck øff his land. The rest of the locals are barely more welcoming. It’s almost as if they have something to hide. The family arrive at their delightfully rustic abode – no electricity, no wifi, lots of apotropaic symbols hanging from branches and small, semi-digested carcasses lying beneath – and set to work buying fuses from the general store run by native islanders Karen (The Killing’s Ann Eleonora Jørgens en ) and her granddaughter (hostility free with every purchase), making festive decorations and cutting down a Christmas tree from the edge of the wood, in direct contravention of Karen’s advice. Oh, and Josefine creeps back to the woods as darkness falls, follows the goo trail again and finds a wounded baby something and takes it back to care for it secretly in the barn. Appropriately enough for a YA-aimed drama, the setup is essentially a cross between ET and The Wicker Man. After that – not much, but a steady march through the basic s of the genre. The outsiders cause more and more disturbance, monsters flicker and skitter in characters’ and viewers’ peripheral vision. The island’s back story is filled in (an idyll before the arrival of a lumber mill changed the community, the land and its balance; a terrible accident; the closure of the lumber mill and the fencing off of a certain section of the forest) and its inhabitants grow more hostile to the family as the safety of all is threatened. Except for Kasper’s love interest Liv (V ivelill Søgaard Holm ), who can be relied upon to tip him off whenever the plot needs to get moving again. As cow sacrifices fail to appease and the fence is breached, the obvious secret the islanders are all very obviously hiding reveals itself to nods of recognition among the audience rather than gasps of surprise, I suspect . The elves – I hope I’m not giving anything away here – are rather good, rising off the forest floor, made of rasping bark and creaking malevolence. They also benefit from the fact that the human characters are barely more complex than wood wights themselves. Mum is a mum, Dad is a dad (albeit of the Danish variety, making jokes about hash brownies to his kids and not letting life-threatening situations get in the way of his sarcasm), teen boy is a teen boy, islanders are taciturn, Liv is bridge-between-twoworlds and Josefine is a collection of idiotic decisions held together by sensible knitwear. Nobody breaks out of formation, and neither does the plot – whose underlying message is the untold harm that can be wrought by humanity’s disrespect for and disruption of nature’s harmony. Which – has been done. It just about gets away with everything because the six episodes are under half an hour each, but it’s a very light, slight thing. I’d hunker down with ET or The Wicker Man if I were you, depending which way the season of goodwill takes you. And another thing Still saving Brooke Shields’ and Cary Elwes’ A Castle for Christmas, but the reviews are in and couldn’t be better, or worse, or better. Based on Charly Clive (left) and Ellen Robertson’s sell-out live comedy show about Charly’s real-life brain tumour diagnosis (she named the tumour “Britney”), this confident BBC Three pilot is a sweet, smart and sometimes refreshingly silly story about navigating life-changing bad news with your best mate. Charly being told to remain completely still during an MRI scan while Hanson’s MMM Bop blasts through her earphones on repeat is just one of several very funny moments. Hollie Richardson Sarah Beeny’s New Life in the Country 8pm, Channel 4 Beeny and her family resume their quest to build a colossal ecomansion in Somerset. The exterior’s more or less done, so it’s time to get a poured floor in and then think about coving, cornicing and some two - toned limestone tiles. Plus, Beeny wrangles bees with a local called Lionel. Jack Seale Insecure 9pm, Sky Comedy Molly balances a work retreat – a carousel of heavy drinking and presentation-giving – with her mum’s stay in hospital. Meanwhile, Issa attempts to reconcile with Crenshawn, and Nathan confronts a permanently late colleague – trying (and failing) to separate their personal and professional lives. Henry Wong Miriam and Alan: Lost in Scotland 9pm, Channel 4 “People are funny about onions,” Miriam Margolyes asserts while munching on an onion as if it’s an apple. Her travel companion Alan Cumming looks on aghast. And thus their journey around Scotland reaches its final episode. But first, they’ve got to meet Alan’s mum. HR Stath Lets Flats 10pm, Channel 4 The excellent third season of Jamie Demetriou’s comedy about the puppyish but inept letting agent wraps up with a big fat wedding. As Steven and Vasos tie the knot and prepare to relocate, the usually daffy Stath broods about loved ones leaving him. That involves laughs, tears, songs and Dean in an unmissable outfit. Graeme Virtue On Assignment 10.50pm, ITV The in-depth foreign current affairs series returns. Tonight, Rageh Omaar reports on Israel’s first budget in more than three years from the country’s first coalition government without Benjamin Netanyahu. Also, Carl Dinnen visits Rome to find out why it’s being reported as “sinking”. HR

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12 Yesterday’s solutions • Puzzles Quick crossword no 16,089 The Guardian Tuesday 30 November 2021 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 TODAY’S PET CORNER ANSWER ANNA SEWELL Wordsearch Solution no 16,088 P A G E T U R N E R P O U H E Q R U S T L E R G R U F F I E F O I A A V A S T S N A C K B A R I D G I L F L E T R I P A D H E R E E I A F E T G A M E B I R D D I S C E E O E V N H S P O I L S K I T T L E F I C S R D A F I C I O N A D O Sudoku no 5458 Across 1 Secret key to admission (8) 5 Jazz style (4) 9 Badge of honour (5) 10 Betrayal (7) 11 Enrolment (12) 13 Unexpected outcomes (6) 14 Entrance or exit (6) 17 Not appropriate — if licentious (anag) (12) 20 It sets out targets (3,4) 21 Change (5) 22 Forbid (4) 23 Made a sign (8) Down 1 Mechanical device that blows or sucks (4) 2 Dejection (7) 3 Portable radio transmitter/receiver (6-6) 4 Move in a circle (6) 6 Cabinet minister’s first name, meaning ‘wise man’ (5) 7 Unpleasant wet (8) 8 Anti-authority — rant at cleric (anag) (12) 12 Imposed a penalty (8) 15 Division between Northern and Southern hemispheres (7) 16 Father Time traditionally carries one (6) 18 Harmonise (3,2) 19 Generated (4) 9 10 12 11 13 14 15 17 18 20 21 22 23 16 Stuck? For help call 0906 200 83 83. Calls cost £1.10 per minute, plus your phone company’s access charge. Service supplied by ATS. Call 0330 333 6946 for customer service (charged at standard rate). To buy puzzle books, visit guardianbookshop.com or call 0330 333 6846. 8 19 Sudoku no 5459 Suguru Wordsearch Word wheel BENCHMARK Medium. Fill the grid so that each row, column and 3x3 box contains the numbers 1-9. Printable version at theguardian.com/sudoku Fill the grid so that each square in an outlined block contains a digit. A block of 2 squares contains the digits 1 and 2, a block of three squares contains the digits 1, 2 and 3, and so on. No same digit appears in neighbouring squares, not even diagonally. Can you find 15 words associated with shaving in the grid? Words can run forwards, backwards, vertically or diagonally, but always in a straight, unbroken line. Suguru Word wheel Pet corner Find as many words as possible using the letters in the wheel. Each must use the central letter and at least two others. Letters may be used only once. You may not use plurals, foreign words or proper nouns. There is at least one nine-letter word to be found. TARGET: Excellent-50. Good-42. Average-31. Who was the author of Black Beauty? a. Emily Brontë b. Anna Sewell c. Lewis Carroll d. Elizabeth Gaskell Answer top right

• Once again, vulnerable people are left out in the cold Frances Ryan, page 3 Viva Barbados! Finally, we are a republic Suleiman Bulbulia, page 4 Hungry for change: how do we fix the way we eat? The long read, page 5 G2 Daily pullout life & arts section Inside The Guardian Tuesday 30 November 2021 Opinion and ideas Tories cannot just wish away our obligations to refugees Polly Toynbee P oliticians need an answer to every problem, even when there isn’t one. Pretending to be omniscient and omnipotent is in the job description – though the result is that public trust le aches away, since some problems don’t have politically acceptable solutions. There is no politically satisfactory answer to asylum seekers arriving in Britain when many voters feel “controlling borders” is the definition of nationhood. So impossibilism rules. Politicians could point to net migration plummeting last year to 34,000 , far below David Cameron’s original 100,000 promise ; the net number of EU nationals coming to the UK even went negative , due to a combination of the pandemic and Brexit. Or they could show that less than half the number of asylum seekers arrived in the UK last year compared with the early 2000s peak. Numbers of asylum applications are very low compared with France and Germany, while around 85% of refugees worldwide are camped in the poorest countries. We make a disproportionate fuss over taking just 1% of the world’s 26 million refugees . But pollsters will tell you none of that cuts any ice with voters. Blame Shakespeare’s John of Gaunt , with his preposterous eulogy to English exceptionalism: “ This other Eden, demi-paradise / This fortress built by Nature for herself / Against infection and the hand of war …” As infection and refugees from war arrive here, John Donne’s better truth – “ No man is an island entire of itself ” – is a more reliable guide for our times . It illustrates the failure to enable poorer countries to access vaccines rebounding on the rich world like an avenging angel, through the Omicron variant. Or take our failure to help staunch the flow of refugees at source , made harder by the fact that Britain is cutting foreign aid and has shuttered its development department. Berate this country’s ageold inability to compare itself rationally with any other country . But as one pollster warns me , for politicians, being seen to be complacent about immigration is “ not a hill to die on”. The Tories, alarmed at “losing their grip” on borders, as on so much else, take fright at Nigel Farage’s threat to return to politics. He may never win a seat, but he has demonstrated his power to deny them a host of seats in the past. He has them in such a lather that the cabinet is engaged in a circular firing squad , blaming each other Migrants are brought ashore by a RNLI lifeboat, Dungeness, Kent PHOTOGRAPH: BEN STANSALL/AFP

2 Tories cannot just wish away our obligations to refugees Polly Toynbee ← Continued from front for the dinghies in the Channel. Priti Patel’s allies berate the cabinet for doing “ sweet f*** all”, reports the Sunday Times. She blames a do-nothing Foreign Office for failing to negotiate a return of refused asylum seekers . A cabinet minister retaliates that “ she has over promised and under delivered” : her plan for processing asylum seeker applicants in Albania disintegrate d when that country found out about it, crying, “ fake news !” “Stick with Prit,” the prime minister said of his home secretary over her breaking the ministerial code – and why not, when Cruella draws all the fla k for the brutality and ineffectiveness of this government’s migration policy? She rails against the Border Force for refusing to turn around fragile boats , but captains don’t want to break international maritime law. Her nationality and borders bill’s penalty of up to four years in prison for “inadmiss ibles” – asylum seekers who arrive unlawfully – is another fantasy. Boris Johnson met the Common Sense Tory MPs group , reports the Daily Express, promising some new wheeze: “He has a plan but didn’t want to reveal the details yet,” as his cabinet “wets” would wreck it. What seems to be brewing is an attempt to derogate or abrogate the 1951 refugee convention, which obliges signatories to harbour those fleeing persecution. The UN refugee agency says the bill already breaks the convention by penalising asylum seekers for arriving through safe countries. That’s how the wind blows when even someone seen as a liberal Tory like Matthew Parris advocates abandoning the Geneva conventions . You could say the conventions belong to a cold war era, suitable for encouraging the escape of communism’s dissidents, not a mass exodus from povertystricken and often gangsterised perpetual war zones . But I’ve never been clear on the human rights difference between a family fleeing so their children don’t starve, and a family escaping their children’s murder for ethnic or political reasons. Government figures suggest that 55% of applicants are granted asylum , but Peter Walsh of Oxford University’s Migration Observatory says “ of 10,000 refused, at least a half never leave. The backlog of assessments is 88,000, some waiting three years or more.” January’s “tough” new law labelling arrivals “inadmissibles” if they came through safe countries does nothing to solve this. How they arrived is unprovable since Brexit Britain lost access to Eurodac, EU fingerprint data. Of 4,500 “inadmissibles”, says Walsh, “only seven have been returned, with so few agreements with countries to take people back”. What happens to those who are refused? Most stay, living lives of limbo, vanishing into an underground economy . That’s why all this “tough” stuff is bogus. Better by far to admit the truth and let asylum seekers live, work and integrate legally. On this issue, hard line Tories such as Steve Baker and the public agree they should be allowed to earn their living. With a million vacancies, we need workers . Nor is there any evidence that the ability to work is a “pull” factor, with not one study finding that asylum seekers shop around according to best work and benefits regimes. Easing asylum numbers takes international cooperation, not treaty -breaking or gesturing rudely at the French with undiplomatic tweets . The public may not accept that stopping all arrivals is impossible, because no one dares tell them that truth. Instead we may see rhetoric ratchet up and further policy cruelty. The only actual penalty for reneging on the refugee convention is global opprobrium: no other country has done this. But that might cause enough public shame to stir a patriotic sense of harm done to national pride and honour. Voters also harbour a idea of Britain as a country that keeps its word and plays by the rules . Besides, in practical terms, reneging on a treaty we helped draw up would make it even harder to strike deals with other countries to return their citizens. If this didn’t work, what next? No one really knows. This squalid government could do anything. • The Guardian Tuesday 30 November 2021 Founded 1821 Independently owned by the Scott Trust № 54,516 ‘Comment is free… but facts are sacred’ CP Scott Covid The best weapon is still vaccines. Ministers must fight anti-vaxx lies too It is by now fairly well known that the most serious cases of Covid-19 in the UK, and other rich countries, are increasingly concentrated among unvaccinated people . Between January and September, there were 34,474 deaths from Covid in England of unvaccinated people aged 10 or over, compared with 4,308 deaths of those who had received two vaccine doses (an alternative set of figures, also published by the Office for National Statistics and based on a different dataset, gives the totals of 40,966 unvaccinated deaths, compared with 5,104 double-vaccinated). The UK Health Security Agency has been careful to stress that the data “ do not show causal links between vaccines and risks of mortality”. Other differences between vaccinated and unvaccinated groups could contribute to their differing death rates. But the contrast is dramatic, as are data relating to hospitalisation, with one recent analysis showing that of 40,000 Covid patients hospitalised , 84% were unvaccinated and just 3% double-vaccinated. Already, the relatively low take-up of vaccines among some groups was a cause for concern, not least among doctors who have described their distress when confronted by dying people who have deliberately avoided vaccines. Among 12- to 15-year-old children, the vaccination rate is 39.1% (compared with 67.4% of adults who have had at least one dose, although the risk posed to children by Covid-19 is lower). But concerns associated with the arrival of the Omicron variant , against which the current vaccines may be less effective, make the issue of vaccine take-up more urgent – and the gaps more alarming. At a press conference led by Professor Jonathan WTO Globalisation does not work for poor nations. Another model is needed Putting off the crunch meeting of the ministerial World Trade Organization won’t defer the chronic malfunctions of the world economy. The currency and debt crises experienced by developing nations, the eurozone’s turn to austerity and the great financial crash are symptoms of a broken trading system built on the global role of the dollar. Deeply embedded within the world’s trade and capital regime is a hierarchy where cheap labour goods from developing nations keep rich world wages down. Meanwhile, elites in the developing world run their nations in order to be able to consume in the manner of the developed world. Greed sees income hoovered away from most of the population by a wealthy layer. The extensive trade liberalisation of the 1990s did not lead to higher economic growth rates. This should raise serious concerns for backers of globalisation. Are wealthier nations interested in raising the living standards in poorer countries? Or are they only really bothered about ensuring that debtor nations pay back their loans and open their economies to international trade and finance? The evidence suggests the latter: since the 1950s the evidence is that poor countries are financing rich ones through net resources transfers, rather than the other way round. What is needed is international transfer of real resources in support of economic development and the elimination of poverty. This means not just cash but Van-Tam, the deputy chief medical officer, it was announced yesterday that children aged 12 to 15 would now be eligible to receive second doses 12 weeks after their initial jab. A decision on whether to vaccinate younger children is likely to be made before Christmas (in the US, the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine has been approved for those aged five to 11 ). All adults will be offered boosters , where a fortnight ago these were mostly reserved for over-40s. Those with suppressed immune systems are also eligible for an additional (fourth) booster jab. Advice to pregnant women to get vaccinated has been belatedly strengthened. The purpose, as Prof Van-Tam and others have explained, is to try to “get ahead” of the mutating virus, and behave according to precautionary principles (around a dozen Omicron cases have been detected in the UK so far, with hundreds more expected ). New rules about mask-wearing, including in secondary schools, are sensible in this context. Ventilation has been overlooked in the past and requires further attention . It is possible that the Omicron variant may turn out to be no more dangerous than the Delta variant. But ministers should seize this moment and use it to improve their vaccine messaging, starting with the prime minister himself. With vaccines now compulsory for care home workers, and causing problems where staff have left jobs rather than be jabbed, it is incumbent on senior politicians to set an example, allying themselves with scientists instead of the libertarians on their back benches. They must also do more to combat vaccine misinformation online , both by demanding in public that Facebook and other platforms clamp down on the dangerous anti-vaxx propaganda that they allow to spread unchecked , but also by countering the lies with their own words and actions. The pandemic is not over. Once again, the level of danger may be on the rise. Along with delivering boosters, boosting the vaccination rate must now be the government’s domestic priority – while internationally, it should do everything it can to promote efforts to vaccinate the world . technology transfer in both climate and vaccine intellectual property. As the economist Ndongo Samba Sylla writes, without innovations being shared with the developing world “the Green New Deal in the global north might translate into a ‘Grey New Deal’ in the global south: a further outsourcing of ecological damage and economic costs from the global north to the global south.” No wonder there are growing calls for the developing world to give up on the WTO if it won’t budge on Covid vaccine patents. Without access to technology, the thinking goes, developing countries cannot ascend the value chain, obtain industrial knowhow and ultimately become wealthier. To gain such insights they are forced, however, into throwing open their doors to foreign investment and embracing the damaging macroeconomic orthodoxy of western-backed institutions. In choosing this path, the developing world becomes locked into a global economic system that deepens inequality. Surely there must be an alternative to this? The global middle class shrank by 54 million people in 2020 – mainly in Asia – from the number projected before the pandemic. Perhaps it would be better for developing countries to eschew imports and use state power to stimulate local production instead – thus obviating the need for external finance. Social spending on health and education could be encouraged, as well as strong support for the agricultural sector, combined with restraints on export of raw materials. India and China grew by opening up their economies gradually, not with shock therapy . So-called free-market economies hide the fact that states have a long history of economic intervention to direct economic growth. But wealthy nations should not be able to keep poor countries poor with theories that deny the very factors that made them rich.

Tuesday 30 November 2021 The Guardian • Opinion 3 It is a stain on Johnson’s government that it took a new variant of Covid to spur the kind of measures that were already needed Once again, vulnerable people are left out in the cold Frances Ryan F aux ruffled hair. Solemn tone. Boris Johnson’s emergency address this weekend about the new Omicron variant felt like a return to the old days of the pandemic. The measures announced, though, were hardly significant: introducing mandatory masks in shops and on public transport only brings England in line with what the other home nations have been doing, and hospitality venues such as pubs and restaurants aren’t included . Perhaps most worryingly, protections for those most at risk from the virus, such as older and disabled people, were not even mentioned. There is no government advice as yet on how clinically vulnerable people are meant to live throughout the winter. Previously, 3.7 million clinically vulnerable people in England were asked to shield in their homes, and were given some government support to do so. Now they are effectively on their own, left to navigate going into the office, or meeting friends at Christmas in a pub with no masking rules. Even before the discovery of the new variant, people with underlying health conditions were being ignored, despite case numbers remaining high. In October, months after the official shielding programme ended, data from the Office for National Statistics show ed that almost one in four clinically extremely vulnerable people were still shielding, while 68% were leaving the house but taking extra precautions. Many people in this position are bra ving the cold and only socialising outdoors, while others aren’t seeing loved ones at all. As one man with cerebral palsy and asthma, who is not leaving his flat other than for vaccine appointments, told me: “I feel like a hamster on a wheel. ” Ministers have only made matters worse. Over the past few months, the government has removed many measures that would have helped clinically vulnerable people. In England, the legal requirement to wear a mask ended as far back as July, apart from in healthcare settings and care homes. Once furlough ended in October, clinically vulnerable people had fewer options to shield themselves. Many were sent back to packed offices or public-facing roles, without the legal right to work from home or still be paid if they c ouldn’t. Passengers on a tube train in London, yesterday PHOTOGRAPH: ANDY RAIN/EPA Since August, close contacts of people in England who test positive for Covid haven’t had to self-isolate if they have been double-vaccinated . The government appears to have little interest in either preventing or tracking non-hospitalised cases – a strategy that is dangerous to even vaccinated clinically vulnerable people in the UK, who must try to avoid contracting Covid in a population where 1 million people have it . The government clearly believes vaccines can form its main line of defence, but while the rollout is providing huge relief, it is not a silver bullet. More than 100,000 extremely vulnerable people are yet to have their third jab after confusion over who is eligible . Medication or certain health problems mean two in five people with impaired immune systems have a “low or undetectable” antibody response after being double vaccinated, meaning they in particular require a “vaccine plus” strategy – such as masks and increased distancing – to feel safer. The government’s new strategy is a step in the right direction, but to get through the winter and protect clinically vulnerable people, we need to take further low-cost measures. Reintroducing “work from home if you can” guidance would have the biggest individual impact on reducing Covid transmission, according to Sage . There also needs to be greater support for workers who need to self-isolate. Statutory sick pay isn’t sufficient, and many insecure workers say they’re afraid of repercussions if they take time off to isolate . Unless the government provides better support, employees will turn up sick, increas ing transmission and infecting vulnerable colleagues. There needs to be more focus on ventilation and regular lateral flow tests, particularly in schools and large venues. It makes little sense to bring back masks in shops, but not offices. But the real issue will likely be inspiring compliance. It is natural for pandemic fatigue to be setting in, and the government’s contradictory messaging has only compounded this. The same prime minister who was photographed without a mask in hospital now expects to command public trust on mandating them in Asda. There needs to be an emergency public health campaign, particularly over the high effectiveness of masks in reducing transmission. The public acted with solidarity early in the pandemic because the message was that measures would protect not only ourselves but others – there should be no reason why we can’t rediscover that sense of community . The government’s framing around “saving Christmas” suggests anyone who asks for more Covid measures is the Grinch. This is backwards thinking. As Hans Kluge, the World Health Organization’s regional director for Europe, puts it: Applied “ correctly and consistently ”, preventive measures “ allow us to go on with our lives, not the opposite ”. With rising cases in Europe resulting in new lockdowns , and the NHS facing its regular winter crisis, it’s long been in all of our interests to reduce transmission. It is a stain on Johnson’s government that it took the emergence of a new variant to spur the preventive action we already needed. Ministers have a duty to do more to protect the public this winter – and that includes clinically vulnerable people.

• The Guardian Tuesday 30 November 2021 4 Opinion Viva Barbados! Finally, we are a republic Suleiman Bulbulia O n 20 October, in a joint sitting of parliament, Mia Mottley , the prime minister of Barbados, described the removal of Queen Elizabeth as the head of state and the decision to become a republic as a “seminal moment” in our country’s history. We have reached the day that this becomes a reality, as Barbados embarks on its new path , cutting the umbilical cord that bound it to its former colonial master, the United Kingdom. It began yesterday, when Dame Sandra Mason was installed as the first president of Barbados . That event – at which public participation was extremely limited due to Covid protocols – had the Prince of Wales in attendance as representative of the Queen. That decision itself stirred emotions. Some Barbadians were not happy with his presence. Others suggest that now may be a good time to raise the issue of reparations with Charles. In any case, this day has been a long time coming. It was on 14 May 1625 that the first English ship reached the island under the command of Captain John Powell , who claimed it on behalf of James I. It was from that time, 396 years ago, that “Los Barbados” (the bearded ones) became an English colony . It acquired its name from the Portuguese – earlier visitors who some claim were struck by the abundant fig trees, which have a beard-like appearance. Others surmised it was down to the presence of bearded people. From 1627, the English settled on the island, wiping away any traces of the original inhabitants, the Arawaks , who had lived here for centuries. People with good financial backgrounds and social connections with England were allocated land in this new colony ; Barbados’s strong connection and staunchly British attitude earned it the title of Little England . The English turned Barbados into a slave society , a slave economy, which would be replicated in several parts of the “new world”. It was known as the “jewel in the crown” of the Caribbean . It is a history that we can never be proud of, but one that we must understand. Prof Hilary Beckles , a Barbadian historian, the current vice-chancellor of the University of the West Indies and a leading figure in the push by Caribbean islands to secure reparations, sums it up best. “Barbados was the birthplace of British slave society and the most ruthlessly colonised by Britain’s ruling elites,” he writes. “They made their fortunes from sugar produced by an enslaved, ‘disposable’ workforce, and this great wealth secured Britain’s place as an imperial superpower and caused untold suffering.” We see it as a journey : we become a republic today – 30 November – which is another stop on that journey. Suleiman Bulbulia was a member of the Republican Status Transition Advisory Committee in Barbados, and is a columnist for Barbados Today It’s a date with resonance , as 30 November 1966 was our independence day . It is a sign of this journey continu ing that at 55 we are confident to say to the UK and the world that, despite our size and our limited resources, we can be our own shepherds, our own stewards. Of course, our transition may not find favour among those who still believe that the “sun will never set on the British empire” . Older folks here remember the days when British royalty would visit. They would stand in the sun waving the union flag , hoping to catch a glimpse of the Queen or her representatives. But Little England has grown up, it has matured, it should no longer be loitering in its “master’s castle”. As part of the transition, there will be official activities in National Heroes Square in the capital city, Bridgetown, but one notable absence will be Lord Nelson. For 208 years his statue stood there, but in 2020 it was ceremoniously removed – a result of the Black Lives Matter movement here and the re awakening of our consciousness. There are no plans to change our national symbols: the flag, the coat of arms, the national pledge, the national anthem. However, the terms “royal” and “ crown” will be removed from official terminology. The Royal Barbados Police Force will become the Barbados Police Service ; “ crown lands” will become “state lands”. Independence day will still be 30 November , and the focus will stay on the birth of the modern nation. The day will belong, as it always has, to our national hero, our first prime minister , the father of independence, the Right Excellent Errol Walton Barrow . Of course, Barbados will maintain a strong relationship with the UK. Our main source for tourists is from there; Brits love Barbados. But this is a new era , in which all Barbadians must take pride and take ownership. As for “ Little England” , these times may call for a new term of endearment.

Tuesday 30 November 2021 The Guardian • Reconstruction after Covid The long read Hungry for change From ultra-processed junk to failing supply chains and food poverty, the way we eat is broken. The solutions are out there – so why won’t the government do anything? By Bee Wilson ILLUSTRATION BY KLAWE RZECZY

• The Guardian Tuesday 30 November 2021 6 The long read When I was younger, and at war with my own body, I was a sucker for diets. I tried The Rotation Diet (Lose Up to a Pound a Day and Never Gain it Back), The Beverly Hills Diet (a 35-day programme, but I never made it past the first three days) and numerous punitive low-fat regimes involving raw carrots and dry crispbread. None of the m lasted long, but each time I broke a diet, I would soon be looking around for another, equally unrealistic, weight-loss plan. No matter how similar the new diet was to the last, it gave me a sense that I was doing something productive about what I saw as the problem of my body. Personal weight-loss diets have a lot in common with obesity policies in England and beyond. For a start, the sheer quantity of these policies is astonishing. Earlier this year, two researchers based at the University of Cambridge – Dolly Theis and Martin White – published a paper showing that from 1992 to 2020, there were no fewer than 689 separate obesity policies put forward in England . Like failed diets, almost none of these initiatives have been realised in any meaningful way. Instead, their main effect has been to remind people with obesity that the government views the mere existence of their bodies as a “crisis”. While England is not alone in failing to reduce the prevalence of obesity – the World Health Organization reports that it has more than tripled worldwide since 1975 – “obesity policy” in England has been strikingly ineffective. (I say England because since devolution, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have their own separate health policies .) Between 1993 and 2015, obesity among England’s adult population rose from 14.9% to 26.9%. Twice as many adults in the UK are living with obesity as in Italy, Sweden or Switzerland. At the same time, levels of hunger in the UK are some of the highest in Europe. Nearly one in five 15-yearolds live in a household where the adults are “food insecure”, which is a fancy way of saying that they can’t reliably afford enough food. Covid has brought to the surface some hard truths about the British food system, and what a poor job it does of feeding the population as a whole. As the first lockdown hit in March 2020, plenty of betteroff British households were able to carry on eating much as before, while millions more were plunged into food poverty. According to data from the Food Foundation , during the first two weeks of lockdown in the spring of 2020, the proportion of households facing food insecurity doubled to more than 15%. Black and Asian people have been twice as likely to suffer hunger during the pandemic as their white counterparts. As Marcus Rashford said in a letter to parliament about food poverty in June 2020, “This is a system failure”. But it is a system failure that existed for decades before the pandemic at long last pushed it on to the national agenda. British politicians, as a rule, have shown little interest in tackling the problem of poor-quality food and its relationship to health. These policy failures go back to the 19th century. Our early Industrial Revolution meant that a larger percentage of the population lost its connection with agriculture at an earlier stage than in any other country. When it comes to food policy, there has long been an attitude of “leave it to the market” (the shining exception being the two world wars, when the constraints of rationing forced governments to join the dots on food and health). Campaigners against the grossly adulterated food supply in Victorian times sometimes complained that the selling of food in London operated on “buyer beware” principles, which meant that grocers were free to sell poisonous pickles and fake coffee to an unsuspecting public without fear of retribution. Not much has changed, except that instead of poisonous pickles, we are sold a surfeit of ultra-processed food . Recent English obesity policies have spoken endlessly of “action” to help people eat healthier diets, but what they deliver, often as not, is another raft of patronising diet information leaflets, such as the bright yellow Change4Life diet pamphlets handed out in schools and GP surgeries. (One uninspiring gem: “If you’re shopping for packaged snacks for your children, try sticking to 100 calorie snacks.”) For three decades, Theis and White found, successive governments have repeatedly proposed “similar or identical policies” and then not done anything to see them through. What counts as an obesity policy could be anything from a plan of action to a statement of intent. Whichever party has been in charge, the most popular policies have been ones placing high demands on individuals to make personal changes (such as the 5 a day campaign) rather than meaningful reforms such as restricting the sale of unhealthy foods, or subsidising fruits and vegetables to make them more affordable. Most of the ideas for structural interventions – for example, that the food industry should reformulate its unhealthiest products – were voluntary. Unsurprisingly, compliance was not high. One of the few exceptions has been the Soft Drinks Industry Levy (AKA Sugar Tax ) of 2018, which resulted in a 30g a week drop in household sugar consumption, but I suspect that this will turn out to be a pyrrhic victory given new evidence that consuming aspartame, the artificial sweetener used in many diet drinks, also causes weight gain as well as possibly altering the gut microbiome. The almost 700 obesity policies fell under the banner of 14 separate obesity strategies. It is poignant to read the titles of these largely failed and forgotten strategies, which share an air of wishful purpose. Under John Major in 1992, there was Health of the Nation. Next, under Tony Blair in 1999, came Saving Lives . Also under Labour came Choosing Health (2004) , Choosing a Better Diet (2005) and Choosing Activity (2004, 2005 and 2005) and Healthy Weight, Healthy Lives (2008). The Coalition government produced Healthy Lives, Healthy People and A call to action on obesity in England (2011). Most recently, under the Conservatives there have been three instalments of Childhood Obesity: A Plan for Action and then, in 2020, Tackling Obesity . Notice how the words “choosing” and “action” keep reappearing in these strategies. Given that poorer UK households would have to spend nearly 40% of their income to buy food for a healthy diet, according to recent data from the Food Foundation, to frame healthy eating as simply a matter of “choosing” is dishonest. It’s not choice if you can’t afford it. Decades of research show that obesity is determined to a large extent by environmental factors such as socioeconomic inequality, the rise of ultra-processed food and the way that cities are built to facilitate car use. But policymakers of England have stayed CHARLES MCQUILLAN/ GETTY wedded to the idea that weight is all about personal responsibility: just eat less and move more. The failures of obesity policy in England and the UK are part of a larger problem with food policy in general. As well as being a source of joy and nourishment, food is Britain’s biggest employer, accounting for 4.1m jobs (most of them low-paid). At the same time, poor diet is the country’s biggest cause of preventable disease and the food supply is also one of its biggest drivers of climate breakdown (10% of our greenhouse gas emissions come from agriculture). And yet for decades, a food policy to address any of this has seemed to be missing in action. Fewer than a quarter of the policies analysed by Theis and White (24%) included any plan for monitoring their progress. Nearly a third (29%) of the policies did not include any timeframe, any evidence or any position on who or what is responsible for driving the rise in obesity. It isn’t just that food policies in England have long been ill-suited to improving our diets. It is that very few people, inside or outside government, seems to have the slightest idea what these policies actually are. Earlier this year, the need for a radical rethink of food policy in the UK was set out in Henry Dimbleby’s National Food Strategy: The Plan , an independent review commissioned by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). Dimbleby, one of the founders of the Leon chain of cafes, wrote the report after consultations with more than 300 organisations, as well as town hall meetings with members of the public. It took three years to produce. Unlike all the earlier failed obesity policies, Dimbleby’s plan recognised that how a person eats is not just a question of personal choice , and that healthy food is a basic need for all of us, no matter how much we weigh. It called for a range of ambitious strategies themed around reducing diet inequalities, improving food education, making better use of land and, crucially, setting as a clear goal that the food system of the future must “make us well instead of sick”. It suggested that school inspections should pay as much attention to cookery and nutrition lessons as they do to English and maths, and that meat consumption should be cut by 30% over 10 years, with more investment going to growing vegetables and fruits. Almost everyone I have spoken to in food policy and nutrition circles has showered Dimbleby’s report with praise, relieved that someone close to government was finally recognising the scale of the problem and proposing real solutions. Some public health experts, such as Rob Percival at the Soil Association, have been disappointed that the report still talks about foods high in sugar, fat and salt as the problem, rather than addressing the harm done by ultra-processed products as a whole. But Percival has still praised the report as “important and progressive” in making the connections between farming and health. No sooner had the National Food Strategy (NFS) plan appeared, however, than the government backed away from taking action. The first of the strategy’s recommendations was a “reformulation” tax of £3 a kilogramme on sugar and £6 on salt for use in food processing, catering and restaurants and food processing. But on 15 July, Boris Johnson announced that he would not support the plan’s call for higher taxes on foods high in salt and sugar. “I’m not attracted to the idea of extra taxes on hard working people,” said Johnson, before repeating his belief that weight loss could best be achieved through exercise. His language could have come from any one of the 14 failed obesity strategies. This was a characteristic piece of political theatre from Johnson, who knows he will win points with some voters by positioning himself as a brave warrior against the nanny state. More significant than the fact that the prime minister ridiculed the first recommendation in the NFS plan is the fact that he remained silent on the other 13 proposals. Did this silence imply approval or disapproval (or simply that Johnson couldn’t be bothered to read the whole thing)? The real test will be the government white

Tuesday 30 November 2021 The Guardian • Reconstruction after Covid 7 how much food they waste, they would be forced to declare how many healthy foods such as vegetables they sell each year – for some companies, the answer would presumably be “none” – as well as how many unhealthy sugary foods. The hope is that this process of public accounting would enable government to track whether businesses are moving in the right direction. The problem is that it ’s currently unclear who would oversee this, or what the sanctions would be for companies that continue to sell us the same old junk. paper, which is due to be published in January 2022, setting out plans for legislation based on Dimbleby’s report. Will the libertarians in the Tory party ever lose their conviction that it is not government’s place to meddle in how people eat? If they don’t, it is unclear how Dimbleby’s radical policy suggestions can be put into action. The ambitions of the NFS report raise a question: can this new holistic vision of food policy actually be delivered? The final recommendation is the introduction of a Good Food bill, which would commit the government to five-year action plans, and to coming up with a “healthy and sustainable reference diet”: an agreed vision of what healthy eating actually means, to create a consistent approach to food across the whole system, from schools to farms. So far, so good. The problem is that the report handed responsibility for monitoring progress to the Food Standards Agency, a non-ministerial department whose remit is mainly food safety and things such as use-by dates . “Delivery ain’t gonna come from the FSA, no way!”’ said Tim Lang, emeritus professor of food policy at City, University of London, when I spoke to him on the phone recently. Lang, who is most famous for coining the term “food miles”, has long been recognised as one of the leading experts on food policy in Britain. The week after the NFS plan was published, he wrote an opinion piece in the Spectator praising much of the content of the report but suggesting that the FSA was unfit to deliver it. The FSA is, he wrote , a “longweakened body … a kind of genial facilitator” whose role is purely advisory. Since it is not a government ministry, Lang argued, the FSA lacked the power to get anything meaningful done. “Nothing happens unless you get laws and regulations that get translated into daily cultural values,” Lang told me. Since the war, he argues that the closest that the UK has come to having a systematic food policy was in 2008, under Gordon Brown, when the Food Matters review of food policy was set up (under which the Healthy Weight, Healthy Lives strategy fell). “They integrated environment and nutrition and hospitality all in one document,” Lang said. But when the coalition government came to power in 2010, the review was “shut down by the Tories overnight”. Now, he wonders whether the government really wants a unified food policy, or whether they would prefer “no To frame healthy eating as simply a matter of ‘choosing’ is dishonest. It’s not a choice if you can’t afford it MARK CASE/GETTY policy at all”, to keep their friends in industry happy. For years, Lang has decried what he calls the lack of “food democracy”. In the UK, 94.4% of food is supplied by one of the nine leading retailers. Along with his colleagues Erik Millstone and Terry Marsden, earlier this year Lang wrote a paper setting out nine “tests” for food policy in the UK. “How will people be fed and to what standards, from where, produced how, and with which consequences?” the paper asked. Lang feels that Whitehall brushes these questions aside because there is a “naive optimism” that other countries will always come along to feed us. After Brexit, this post-imperial complacency looks dangerously misplaced. As recently as October there were tonnes of broccoli and cauliflower rotting in the fields without workers to pick them, tens of thousands of pigs faced being culled because of a post- Brexit shortage of butchers and empty shelves in the supermarkets because of the shortfall of lorry drivers. In the midst of this chaos, who will actually step in to protect the food supply? Successive governments have been largely happy to leave it to the market – which in practice means leaving it to the supermarkets and the ultra-processed food industry. Dimbleby says that one of the core aims of his report is to break what he calls “the junk food cycle”, in which retailers oversupply us with low-nutrient sugary foods and we in turn demand more of them. At the same time, the report was informed by conversations with many of the biggest food companies including Coca-Cola, Greggs, Tesco and Asda (as well as smaller organic companies such as Yeo Valley). To regulate industry, Dimbleby proposes forcing all food companies with more than 250 employees to publish an annual report. As well as admitting It is hardly surprising that English food policy to date has seemed muddled, given that responsibility for it is spread across no fewer than 16 separate government departments. As well as the obvious candidates such as DoH, DoE and Defra, there are more surprising departments such as the DoJ (prison food) and Digital Culture, Media and Sport (food sponsorship and advertising). In 2020, food policy researcher Dr Kelly Parsons produced a report identifying which government departments are responsible for which aspects of food policy in England. The meticulous research process confirmed Parsons’s hunch that “there is no single place to go to find out about food-related policy, either for those inside or outside government ”. Parsons told me that after she published her map of the different groups and departments a number of people in Whitehall told her how useful it was, because they had been just as much in the dark about food policy as the rest of us. Given the poor state of the average British diet – the Food Foundation found in 2021 that almost a third of British children aged between five and 10 eat fewer than one portion of vegetables a day – it would be easy to assume that Britain must have a poor nutrition policy. But the problem is actually deeper and more nebulous than this. Britain doesn’t actually have a single nutrition policy at all, just a series of different policies on food, often contradictory ones, emerging from different departments at different times. Not only do these departments fail to coordinate their actions on food, but they may have directly opposing agendas. Current agricultural policy in the UK subsidises sugar and red meat, even though dietary advice from the Department of Health recommends eating less of them. Earlier this year, Parsons set out to identify some of the key disconnects in food policy in England, based on interviews with senior officials in key departments in Westminster. One of the biggest contradictions was that different departments have different “client groups” to please. Health officials may wish to restrict junk food being marketed to children, but their counterparts in the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport are more interested in protecting the profits of the advertising industry. “When you have [an agriculture] minister who says, ‘I’m going to be judged on whether I keep the farmers happy’, and a minister of health who has a completely different set of interests, it’s difficult to see how they would work together,” said one of Parsons’s interviewees. The client who tends to get forgotten in all this is the ordinary person simply trying to feed themselves and their family as well as they can on a stretched budget. Another of the disconnects Parsons identified was between nutrition, obesity and income. Through the Department of Health, the government hands out advice on what to eat (through the much-criticised Eatwell guide ), but there is no attempt to crossreference this with policy on welfare and on food access – “specifically, people’s ability to afford the food being recommended for healthy weight”. This clash of departments partly explains why so many obesity policies focus on physical activity as the solution, rather than reforming the food supply. As Tim Spector outlined in his recent book Spoon-Fed, evidence suggests that exercise – while beneficial, especially for mental health – does not reliably cause weight loss. But obesity policies that propose more sport, rather than changes to diet, have always been popular in government

• The Guardian Tuesday 30 November 2021 8 The long read Reconstruction after Covid because they pose no threat to the junk food industry. We shouldn’t be talking about obesity policy (let alone an “obesity crisis”) at all, but about food quality laws or junk food control . After all, the government does not produce tobacco strategies with titles such as “childhood smokers: a plan for action” or “tackling smokers’ lungs”. Chris van Tulleken, an infectious diseases doctor at University College London hospital, told me that, as with tobacco, the focus should be “on regulating the marketing, not blaming the consumer”. He argues that ultra-processed foods should come with a warning label and that these products should not be marketed to children. But there is still a reluctance within the UK government even to identify ultra-processed food as a problem. As Gyorgy Scrinis, an Australian professor of food policy, has shown, the big food companies have successfully lobbied governments around the world to ensure that official nutrition advice stays focused on individual nutrients in packaged foods rather than on ultraprocessed food in general. What would it take for England to have a food policy fit for the task? One obvious solution would be to create a designated minister of food to coordinate food policy, as there was during the war and up until 1955, when the Ministry of Food became subsumed by Agriculture and Fisheries. Another solution would be to say that food is so relevant to every aspect of life that there should be food in every policy . This is the approach favoured by the NFS report, which ruled out the idea of a single food minister, noting that food is not unique in being split across multiple departments. Since the second world war, Dimbleby argued, the purpose of the food system in England has been to maximise the production of cheap food, regardless of quality. This urgently needs to change, but to pivot to a new system that produces nourishing, sustainable food would require radical adjustments all the way through the food chain. There is a need, as Dimbleby notes, for every cog in the wheel of the food system to be designed to “make us well instead of sick”, to be “resilient” and to help “halt climate change”. But where will this shared sense of purpose come from? Having interviewed 23 of the most senior civil servants and politicians in Westminster, Kelly Parsons told me that she realised that at the highest levels of government in England, food was endlessly pushed down the agenda. It simply wasn’t seen as important. The absence of adequate food policy in England reflects a wider culture in which most of the Last winter, Unicef stepped in to feed hungry children in the UK . But the government continues to see hunger as an ‘overseas issue’ population has been disconnected from food production for a very long time. There is a maddeningly persistent view in the UK that caring about healthy food is snobbish or “middle-class”. (Witness the rage that greeted Jamie Oliver when he dared to try to improve the quality of school meals in 2005.) England is far from the only country where responsibility for food policy is spread across multiple departments. In South Africa, for example, food policy is splintered across 15 different departments. But one of the big differences is that South Africa also has a Department of Cooperative Governance, whose role is to coordinate food polices across all the departments at a local and national level. In 2019, South Africa was ranked as the most effective government in the world for its commitment to tackling hunger and undernutrition by the Hunger and Nutrition Commitment Index . Under South African policy, ensuring adequate food for the population is seen as such an urgent priority that nutrition has its own separate budget line. Compare and contrast this with the UK, where hunger is still not generally recognised as an issue. In England, there is not a single department assigned lead responsibility for hunger, despite the fact that, in 2018, the Food and Agriculture Organisation found that there were more than 2.2 million people in the UK in a state of food insecurity. (The 2021 figures are undoubtedly higher). Last winter, for the first time in 70 years, Unicef stepped in to feed hungry children in the UK . Yet Parsons reported that the government continues to see hunger as an “overseas issue”. If England has fragmented food policies, it is partly because this is a country that does not recognise how much food matters. In modern western societies with an apparently abundant food supply, treating food as trivial is a common mindset, as historian Paul Footballer Marcus Rashford, who has campaigned against food poverty FARESHARE/MARK WAUGH/PA WIRE Bee Wilson is a regular contributor to the long read Freedman shows in his short new polemic Why Food Matters . Effective food policies have a better chance of taking root in countries with long-established cultures of cooking, where it is normal for families to gather around a table every day. One example is Brazil, where school canteens are obliged to source 30% of their ingredients from local family farms. In 2014, Brazil totally rewrote the script on nutrition policy when the department of health issued new food-based nutrition guidelines urging Brazilians to avoid ultraprocessed food and to eat more freshly produced food. At the time, these guidelines were unlike any other nutrition policy in the world, although similar policies have since been adopted by other countries including Ecuador, Peru and Canada. When I asked Geoffrey Cannon, a British researcher who helped design the Brazilian nutrition guidelines, why Brazilian food policy is so much more ambitious than that in England, he pointed to the prevailing food culture. “In the Catholic tradition, Brazil is still largely family-based and therefore family meals are normal .” Even when people move away from home to the cities, they can still buy cheap home-style food at “per quilo” restaurants selling unpretentious food priced by weight. Cannon felt that people in Brazil still had a sense that homemade food was something normal and delicious – much more so than in the UK with its highly processed diet and long working hours. But it’s also worth remembering that food cultures are not static, and just sometimes food policy can succeed in changing cultural attitudes for the better. In the 1970s, the region of North Karelia in Finland had some of the worst rates of fatal heart disease in the world. A visionary young public health official called Pekka Puska implemented a whole range of measures to address cardiovascular health, all at once. Puska worked with women’s groups to encourage people to cook new versions of traditional dishes, with more vegetables and less meat. He supported dairy farmers in diverting some of their land from butter to berries. He persuaded local sausage producers to take out some of the fat and replace it with mushrooms. And he recruited an army of local people to act as advocates for the new diet to their friends and neighbours. Puska also instigated smoke-free workplaces. By 2012, cardiovascular mortality among men in the region had dropped by 80% . Policy experts still debate which of Puska’s various measures made the greatest difference, but in a sense it doesn’t matter. This was food policy as doing, not talking, and it worked. A good food policy is one that actually makes it beyond the announcement and gets carried out, with adjustments along the way for anything that doesn’t work. The example Dolly Theis likes to give is of the city of Amsterdam, which from 2012 to 2015 brought down rates of child obesity thanks to a series of measures that included increased support for parents, a ban on junk food marketing at sporting events, and a rule that the only drink in schools should be water. “Can you imagine that here?” Theis asks. The hope held out by Dimbleby’s NFS report is that if enough measures can be put in place at once, as in Amsterdam, something fundamental will shift and we will collectively reach a point where we no longer tolerate a system so stacked against healthy eating. Our forgiving attitude to an ultra-processed food supply today might be a bit like attitudes to tobacco 50 years ago, when smoking on trains was normal. There are signs that the pandemic has finally jolted us into new ways of thinking about food. Marcus Rashford’s passionate advocacy has made far more people recognise how unacceptable it is to live in a country where mothers like his struggle to buy “a good evening meal” on minimum-wage jobs. Our great-grandchildren may laugh when we tell them that English schools routinely used to sell sugary drinks for profit , that hospital food courts provided burgers and chips to people who had just undergone heart surgery, and that farmers were paid to produce the very foods that caused the most damage to health and the environment. “That was what it was like,” we will say, “living in a country where the politicians didn’t know that food mattered.” •

Tuesday 30 November 2021 The Guardian • Letters guardian.letters@theguardian.com @guardianletters 9 Established 1906 Country diary Creedy Valley, Devon A r u ffl ed vibration, like running a thumb across the pages of a book, comes from the open window. I register it, distantly, thinking of the goldfinches who like to peck cobwebs from the lintel. But I don’t look up. The fanning becomes louder, but I’m busy writing and still don’t look. Now, the quiver is inside the room. The air ripples and the stirring grows. I look up. A chiffchaff in my bedroom whirs its wings, taking no notice. Rapid olive feathers beat. A palette of green and brown, moss and pine, brings the woodland directly into the house. Its pale eye-stripe flashes like a thread of sun. One of the first migrants to arrive in spring, the chiffchaff’s song is often what makes it memorable. The familiar, disyllabic “chiff-chaff” heralds warmer days and a swell of birdsong. There is, therefore, something dissonant about its voiceless presence in November, with the only song coming from purring, woodwind wings. Inside when it should be out, quiet when it should be loud – these broken patterns shake me out of my routine, as, for around 10 minutes, we build a gentle camaraderie, working side by side in the new normal. Since an increasing number of these traditional summer migrants are now staying through the UK’s warming winters, it’s not so unusual to find it here. With more of my work taking place in the house, it’s not so surprising to meet different neighbours. As I write, it explores the room with a series of sorties, interspersed with intervals of treading air. I stretch periodically, as it hangs there, neither of us moving towards cover. We are getting used to one another. It is only when I reach for a camera that it stirs and flits out of the window. Perhaps this gesture towards surveillance breached an unwritten code. I’m still learning what working by a chiffchaff is like. I hope I did some things right. When I touch the keyboard and resume, all the air seems to have been let out of the room. EJ Burnett ILLUSTRATION: CLIFFORD HARPER We may edit letters. Submission and publication of letters is subject to our terms and conditions: see theguardian.com/letters-terms Driven to despair by Ofsted inspections Ofsted is forcing talented leaders and their teams into chronic stress (‘I can’t go through it again’: heads quit over ‘brutal’ Ofsted inspections, theguardian.com, 27 November) . As a headteacher, my vision must be maintained amid shifting goalposts. Prior to 2019, a school’s raw attainment data was enough to make or break an inspection grade. Since the new framework, it is whether your planned curriculum matches exactly what is in the books that is the deciding factor. And there has been a pandemic in between. Meanwhile, a crisis in children’s services adds more responsibilities. Due to a 60% increase in referrals to the Oxfordshire multi- agency safeguarding hub and its lack of resources, work with vulnerable families has now fallen to schools. There are 25 full-time vacancies for health visitors in Oxfordshire. Since the pandemic, there have been no child development checks at year 1 and year 3 in our area. Children are arriving at school with a multitude of problems, and we are the first professionals to identify these. I am working hard to make sure my school is well prepared for Ofsted. The inspection begins with a 90-minute phone call, where I will need to set the tone. But I don’t know if this will come this week, this month, or even this year. The inspection process is inadequate as a method to improve educational outcomes for our children. Rachel Hornsey Headteacher, Sutton Courtenay C of E primary school • I also have recent experience of the inspectors’ frantic two-day hit . Schools value trust, challenge and support. “Move fast and break things” is a less commendable approach. The disconnect between schools and the inspectorate is most glaring with regard to the pandemic. Ofsted ha s made the bizarre decision to exclude all specific references to the pandemic from many recent reports. The single cut-and-paste phrase that it had been “taken into account” was the best it could do for my school. In the period of greatest educational disruption since 1945, this makes it appear tone deaf or irrelevant. Schools are in the business of building, not breaking. We will keep on weaving straw into gold. Dr Chris Pyle Head, Lancaster Royal grammar school Degrees offer more than earning potential The government has announced that universities are to be set targets for the proportion of their students who go on to well-paid jobs, which the minister described as “good outcomes” (Universities told to show ambition to get students into graduate jobs, 25 November) . We have two adult sons. One took degrees at two of the UK’s top conservatoires, and now works as a cellist with leading symphony orchestras. The other studied law at university and is now a management consultant, mainly Martin Kettle is right to say that Boris Johnson’s “lack of a team, a structure and a shared ethos adds up to a humiliating verdict” on Britain’s politics (Johnson may win elections, but he simply cannot govern, Journal, 26 November) . The Tory party puts up with his shambolic and corrupt leadership simply because its members think so little of the British electorate that another election can only be won with Johnson at the helm. The trouble is that the Labour party is in similar mode, prepared in banking. Needless to say, the management consultant earns more than the cellist. So presumably the government regards being a management consultant as a “good outcome”, while being a cellist is a less good outcome. That sounds to me like knowing the price of everything and the value of nothing. Name and address supplied • Studies on social mobility in relation to universities often miss the important work done by adult education departments in many Labour must not trade principles for votes to sacrifice decency and principle for a boost in the polls. With a home secretary and prime minister only capable of thinking in terms of blame and attempting diplomacy on Twitter when dealing with the tragedy of asylum seekers in the Channel, the opposition, as Gaby Hinsliff writes, often “struggles with what to say about it” (Twenty-seven dead in the icy Channel. This must spur change, Journal, 26 November) . It seems that Labour cannot appear to be sympathetic or generous • Inspection pressure is nothing new, nor are its dysfunctional consequences . But it doesn’t have to be like this . We can have rigour without disrespect, and improvement without causing schools to implode. The process works best when informed specialists provide accurate judg ments supported by robust evidence. In my experience, the best inspectors reported strengths as well as weaknesses. They held informed professional evaluative conversations with teachers and leaders. We were far more likely to act on their advice and the school was all the better for it. It’s amazing what benefits can be derived from insightful two-way professional dialogue. Yvonne Williams Ryde, Isle of Wight • Ofsted inspections test only one thing: how savvy schools are at passing Ofsted inspections. They do not test how good schools are at the important things such as teaching children to think, care, understand, play well, act wisely, make a difference and know that they are loved and valued. As your harrowing article indicates, Ofsted is one of the worst manifestations of the hideous audit culture that so deforms the UK. Let’s abolish Ofsted and trust our teachers to do what they are most committed to: teaching our children well. Prof Nick Megoran Newcastle University higher education institutions (Top universities do least to help social mobility, research finds, 24 November) . These departments, recruiting from their local communities, often take students with no formal qualifications and offer tailored degree routes for adult learners that provide a boost in confidence and learning, from which many enter the professions. In the quest for greater social mobility, the role of adult education departments should be celebrated. Dr Steven Gascoigne Centre for Lifelong Learning, University of Warwick because it has to appeal to voters who aren’t. Rather than merely following national opinion, why isn’t the Labour leadership team leading from the front, shouting out the facts, like the one about the UK receiving the fourth highest number of asylum applications , and demanding changes to the way asylum claims are processed? If it is true that the only way for this country to have a Labour government is for the opposition to adopt Farage-lite policies, then Kettle’s “humiliating verdict” on our politics appears too generous. Bernie Evans Liverpool Corrections and clarifications • One of the images used to illustrate a front page trail ( Ridley Scott films: ranked! , 5 November) was from the film Aliens, directed by James Cameron. The intended reference was to the earlier Alien, which was directed by Scott. • In a story headlined “ Ban on disabled parking in parts of York prompts legal challenge ” (20 November, page 15), the unanimous vote reported was by the city council’s nine-person executive, not the whole council. Editorial complaints and corrections can be sent to guardian.readers@theguardian.com or The readers’ editor, Kings Place, 90 York Way, London N1 9GU Why sleeping rough was rare in the 70s One reason why sleeping rough was a rare sight in the 1970s (Letters, 27 November) was because squatting was then legitimate, with about 30,000 s quatters in London alone in 1979 . Subsequent governments made things harder, and the enactment of section 144 of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 effectively made squatting illegal. Kevin Bannon (former squatter ) London • With the first night of Hanukkah on Sunday, I looked to your food pages for inspiration. The weekend editions were loaded with ideas for Christmas . But whither kugel, matzo ball soup and latkes ? Odd, as the Guardian has worked hard to highlight politicians’ lack of regard to the multiple faiths that make up this country . Allison Dutoit Penarth, Vale of Glamorgan • A very good point, Toby Wood, on great sex v food (Letters, 29 November) . The imbalance speaks to the quote from George Meredith ’s book The Ordeal of Richard Feverel : “ Kissing don’t last: cookery do .” Siobhán Ní Chuanaigh Dublin • Presumably the Ernest Shackleton and Robert Falcon Scott expeditions used quill pens because fountain pens would become inoperable at sub-zero temperatures (Letters, 29 November) . Dr Brigid Purcell Norwich • Since masks become mandatory today , surely it would be sensible to provide free masks at stations, bus depots and other locations? Harry Miller London

• The Guardian Tuesday 30 November 2021 10 Obituaries Sir Frank Williams One of the true greats of British motor racing who enjoyed huge success with his F1 team Before the road accident that changed his life at the age of 43, Frank Williams typified the breed of fastliving, almost pathologically competitive alpha males who had graduated from the mostly amateur world of post war British motor racing to dominate the sport at its highest level. When Williams, who has died aged 79 , lost the use of all four limbs after crashing a rental car while speeding from a circuit in southern France to a nearby airport one evening in the spring of 1986, his career as the driving force of a championship-winning Formula One team appeared to be over. For several days he hovered on the brink of death. But tetraplegia was to prove no match for the will of a man devoted to winning, often against the odds. Thirteen years later, having added seven more constructors’ world championships and five more drivers’ titles to the pair of each secured by his team before the accident, he was knighted for his services to motor sport. The men who won the world title at the wheel of his cars were Alan Jones, Keke Rosberg , Nelson Piquet, Nigel Mansell , Alain Prost, Damon Hill and Jacques Villeneuve . By that time his wheelchair, pushed by a carer, had become a familiar sight at the world’s racing circuits. Williams sat in the pits watching the computer screens that monitored his cars’ progress, Williams, left, with Patrick Head, co-founder of Williams Grand Prix Engineering, at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, Canada, in 1985. The following year Williams had a lifechanging car crash in which he lost the use of all four limbs PAUL-HENRI CAHIER/ GETTY IMAGE his once expressive features now a largely inscrutable mask. The view of his rival team bosses was summed up in a remark attributed to Ron Dennis of McLaren, when it was announced that Williams would be returning to action despite the loss of physical functions: “Now he’s even more dangerous. All he can do with his time is think.” Like Enzo Ferrari , Williams designed not a single nut or bolt of the cars that bore his name. Instead he functioned as a motivator, a strategist and a hustler who liked making a good deal for his team almost as much as he loved seeing them triumph on the track. Eventually, in 2012, after the last of their 114 grand prix victories, he stepped back, handing over the front line duties to his daughter, Claire , who had studied her father’s style and methods at close quarters for many years. Williams was born in South Shields, now in Tyne and Wear, to Clare (nee McGrath), a teacher of children with special needs, and Owen Williams, who flew Wellington bombers in the RAF and left the family before his son was a year old. While his mother struggled to earn a living, much of the young Frank’s upbringing was consigned to his grandparents. He was enrolled at St Joseph’s college, a Roman Catholic boarding school in Dumfries, where he was good at languages but spent most He was a hustler and liked making a good deal for his team almost as much as he loved seeing them triumph on the track of his time studying motoring magazines. His mother had taken a job as a head teacher at a school outside Nottingham, and during his holidays Frank would often stay with a school friend in Newcastle whose father was a car dealer. He learn ed to drive in the grounds of his mother’s school, taking the wheel of her Morris Minor before he was old enough for a provisional licence. Earning a mere £3 10s a week in his first job, as a trainee with a vehicle distribution centre in Nottingham, he persuaded his mother to give him £80 to buy a hotted-up Austin A35 saloon with which, as a teenager, he entered his first races. It was while sitting on a trackside bank after rolling the car at Mallory Park that he struck up a conversation with Jonathan Williams, another young driver who had crashed at the same spot. Back in the paddock Jonathan introduced his new acquaintance to his friend Piers Courage, the Old Etonian son of the chairman of the Courage brewery. After hitting a lamp-post and writing off the car on the way to the next event, at Oulton Park, Frank fitted some of the undamaged components into another Austin, an A40, and carried on racing. Dismissed from his day job after failing to attend a course, he worked briefly as a filling station attendant and as a trainee sales rep for Campbell’s Soup, which required him to wear a bowler hat when visiting clients. His friendship with Courage and Williams drew him into a circle of ambitious young racers. Before long he was living at 283 Pinner Road in Harrow, north-west London, a house that had become a centre for their activities, where his penniless state meant that he frequently slept on a couch. The group, who included Courage, Charles Lucas, Anthony “Bubbles” Horsley and Charles Crichton-Stuart, the grandson of the 5th Marquess of Bute, spent their summers hauling their racing cars from one continental circuit to another behind a variety of dilapidated vehicles and surviving on the starting money picked up from race organisers. It was a picaresque apprenticeship, but Williams’s enthusiastic participation in the hedonistic life of the mid-1960s was balanced by an asceticism that encompassed his obsession with long-distance running and an avoidance of alcohol and tobacco. A gift for deal-making enabled him to earn a living from buying and selling components for racing cars, and eventually complete cars. The proceeds subsidised not only his racing activities but also the Curzon Street haircuts, cashmere sweaters and Dougie Hayward jackets that belied his general impecuniousness. In 1966 he drove a Brabham in European Formula Three races, without great success, while Courage, competing in the

Tuesday 30 November 2021 The Guardian • obituaries@theguardian.com @guardianobits 11 same category, finished the season with 12 wins. By the end of 1967 Williams’s business activities were turning a profit. Courage’s promising career, however, had stalled, and he was happy to accept his friend’s offer of a race at Brands Hatch in a prototype F3 Brabham. A win in their heat gave Williams his first victory as an entrant and established a partnership with Courage. The combination achieved respectable results the following year, although it was Jonathan Williams, taking over at Monza in Courage’s absence, who gave the team owner his first international win. In 1969 the team moved up to Formula One, running a Brabham with financial support from Dunlop and Castrol. Early in the season a second place behind Graham Hill ’s Lotus in the Monaco Grand Prix earned them both prestige and $20,000 in prize money. That would be the season’s best performance, but by the end of the year Williams had made a deal to run Courage in a car built by the Argentinian wheeler-dealer Alejandro de Tomaso . After the car had performed poorly in the early races, Courage was in seventh place in the Dutch Grand Prix at Zandvoort when he ran wide in a fast bend and hit a bank. The car overturned and caught fire, trapping the driver, who died in the blaze. Badly affected by the death of a friend in a car that he had entered, Williams considered giving up the sport, but instead finished the season with other drivers. The next four years were a story of struggle and failure with a variety of cars, drivers and backers, the only bright note sounded when Jacques Laffite finished second in the 1975 German Grand Prix. To keep the team going, at a time when his telephone line w as regularly cut off, Williams borrowed money from many sources, from Bernie Ecclestone – then the owner of the rival Brabham team – to his girlfriend, the former Virginia Berry, who had left her husband, another racing driver, to be with him. When Frank and Ginny were married at a register office in 1974, both were skint and a friend stumped up £8 for the licence. The loans from Ecclestone cemented a relationship that would prove useful to both men in later years. At the end of 1975 Williams entered into two partnerships. The shorter of them was with Walter Wolf, a Canadian with a fortune from the oil industry. The other, which would last several decades, was with Patrick Head, a young engineer. The new Wolf-Williams car, a modified Hesketh, was a disappointment, and Williams was humiliatingly eased aside. He decided to leave completely, taking Head with him to start afresh under the name Williams Grand Prix Engineering. So allergic to bankers that he hid when a man from Top, Williams with Nigel Mansell at Brands Hatch in the mid-1980s and, above, with Damon Hill in 1995 EAMONN MCCABE/THE GUARDIAN; STEPHEN SIEWARD Barclays came with what turned out to be the offer of a £30,000 loan and an overdraft, he raised similar funding from a representative of Saudi Arabia’s national airline ; the slogan “Fly Saudia” on the rear wing of their March car represented the first significant incursion of Arab oil money into sport. Poor results did not deter the Saudis, and in 1978 the first Headdesigned Williams, the FW06, made its debut in the hands of the team’s new driver, a pugnacious Australian named Alan Jones. The following year, renamed Albilad-Saudia, the team won five grands prix: the first at Silverstone, where the victorious FW07 was driven by Clay Regazzoni , followed by four for Jones. Starting the 1980 season with a win from pole position in Buenos Aires, Jones took four more victories in the FW08 on the way to becoming world champion, the team taking its first constructors’ title barely a couple of years after Williams had been dodging bank managers. A further constructors’ title came the following year, and in 1982 Rosberg became Williams’s second world champion driver. His wheelchair, pushed by a carer, was a familiar sight at racing circuits all over the world Once Williams had returned from his accident, Head and his assistants produced a stream of world-beating cars bristling with technical innovations. The active suspension, traction control and automated manual transmission of the Renault-engined FW14B – designed by Adrian Newey, a new addition to the technical team – allowed Mansell to become the first driver to win nine races in a single season on his way to the 1992 title. Williams was now the team every driver wanted to join. In 1994, having watched his great rival Prost cruise to the previous year’s title in the FW15, the triple champion Ayrton Senna switched over from McLaren. The Brazilian was leading his third race in the FW16, at Imola, when he left the track, hit a wall, and was killed. It would be several years, and a journey through the Italian legal system, before Williams and Head were cleared of blame for an accident that forced F1 to reconsider its attitude to safety. Williams and Head shared a view of drivers best summarised in the former’s words to the author Gerald Donaldson: “The best of them are driven, motivated, pushy, won’taccept-second-best, immensely competitive people. This is what makes them good – because they’re bastards.” The no-nonsense Jones was their beau idéal, but their judg ment was far from flawless. They gave Damon Hill, who had steadied the team after Senna’s death, his notice midway through 1996, the season in which he became champion, in order to replace him with the lacklustre Heinz-Harald Frentzen. Jacques Villeneuve’s 1997 title, won the year after the team moved to new headquarters in the Oxfordshire village of Grove, would prove to be their last. The rejection of Newey’s request for the technical director’s role and a stake in the company led to the departure of a brilliant man who went on to design title-winning cars for McLaren and Red Bull. That decision prefaced the team’s gradual competitive decline, although engineering collaborations with Renault, BMW and others bolstered the company’s finances. In August 2020 he bowed to the inevitable and sold the team to a US investment firm, Dorilton Capital, for $152m , effectively severing the family’s connection with the sport. Ginny died of cancer in 2013. While recovering from his accident, her husband had told her: “As I see it, Ginny, I’ve had 40 fantastic years of life. Now I shall have another 40 years of a different kind of life.” Williams is survived by their three children, Jonathan, Claire and Jaime, and three grandchildren, Ralph, Nathaniel and Celeste. Richard Williams Francis Owen Garbutt Williams, grand prix team owner, born 16 April 1942; died 28 November 2021 Other lives Annie Evans Social housing development officer inspired by her belief that everyone is entitled to a decent home My friend Annie Evans, who has died aged 68 of cancer, was unassuming and modest. She made a significant contribution to social housing in London and was also a talented artist. Born and brought up in Portsmouth, Hampshire, Annie was the only child of Irish parents, Hilda (nee Whelan) and Green Evans. Her father came to Britain during the second world war and joined the RAF. Her mother, a nurse, worked at the Victoria hospital in East Grinstead, West Sussex, at the burns unit that treated the RAF aircrew known as the Guinea Pig Club. She studied geography at Aberystwyth University and travelled in Asia – embarking on the Magic Bus that started in Totteridge, north London, and made its way across Europe and through Afghanistan. After working in planning she moved into social housing development with Newlon Housing Association in London. She and I met in 1986 at Solon East Co-operative Housing Services in Whitechapel, east London, which bought and developed land and properties. In 1990 she moved to the Community Housing Association in Chalk Farm, staying there until her retirement in 2014. She believed that everybody was entitled to decent housing. Painting was a lifelong love and Annie produced powerful works of art, ranging from sketches of the capital’s landscapes to Cornish seascapes and portraits, including a Windrush series. She had a great love of gardens and obtained a diploma in garden design at Capel Manor College. Annie was a wonderful friend – kind, patient, interested and very good company. She loved travelling, walking and yoga, and was knowledgable about all sorts of things, but particularly about art, buildings, plants and the environment. Over the past 10 years Annie dealt with illness in the way that she dealt with life generally – with the great support of her partner of more than 20 years, Paul Canty, whom she married last year. He survives her. Maggie Jones Birthdays Nigel Adams, Conservative MP, 55; Lady (Hilary) Armstrong of Hill Top, former Labour MP and minister, 76; John Bishop, comedian and broadcaster, 55; Semyon Bychkov, conductor, 69; Magnus Carlsen, chess grandmaster, 31 ; Tsai Chin, actor and director, 85 ; Des’ree, singer, 53 ; George Duffield, jockey, 75; Roger Glover, songwriter, musician and record producer, 76 ; George Graham, football manager, 77; Andy Gray, footballer and commentator, 66; Billy Idol, singer and musician, 66 ; Frank Ifield, singer, 84; Dan Jarvis, Labour MP and mayor of the Sheffield city region, 49 ; Lorraine Kelly, television presenter, 62 ; David Laws, former Lib Dem MP and minister, 56 ; Josh Lewsey, rugby player, 45 ; Gary Lineker, footballer and broadcaster, 61; Radu Lupu, pianist, 76; Terrence Malick, film director, 78; David Mamet, writer, stage and film director, 74 ; Lord (Patrick) McLoughlin, former Conservative MP and former party chairman, 64 ; David Nicholls, novelist, 55; Prof Andrew Saint, architectural historian, 75; Sir Ridley Scott, film director, 84 ; Ben Stiller, actor, 56; Lord (Graham) Tope, former Liberal MP, 78; Prof Kate Williams, historian and television presenter, 47; Lord (Phil) Willis of Knaresborough, former Lib Dem MP, 80; Ian Wynne, Olympic canoeist, 48. Letter Henry Woolf In the early 1970s at the Orange Tree Theatre Upstairs, Richmond, in Surrey, one Saturday lunchtime, the superb Henry Woolf (obituary, 26 November) ambled on to the floor space and addressed us, the audience. It was a play based on a 1917 short story by Franz Kafka – A Report to an Academy. Apartheid was a concerning topic. From the moment this diminutive figure casually came in as if he were a bit late, we were captured . Woolf began to torturously lumber about as he then eloquently delivered the lecture. It was a mix of shocking, bewildering and amusing, as he portrayed the dignified, civilised character. No scenery, no props. He was magnetic in this stunning performance. As parents of young children we had little money or time to go to the theatre , but this proved to be a wonder. Jill Kent Reread our obituaries of the photojournalist Tom Stoddart and the American poet Robert Bly theguardian.com/ obituaries

12 • The Guardian Tuesday 30 November 2021 Puzzles Yesterday’s solutions Killer sudoku Easy Killer sudoku Easy The normal rules of sudoku apply: fill each row, column and 3x3 box with all the numbers from 1 to 9. In addition, the digits in each inner shape (marked by dots) must add up to the number in the top corner of that box. No digit can be repeated within an inner shape. Codeword Each letter of the alphabet makes at least one appearance in the grid, and is represented by the same number wherever it appears. The letters decoded should help you to identify other letters and words in the grid. Medium Medium Codeword Cryptic crossword Solution No. 28,615 W A S A B I P U P P E T E L U D P R A JANE SNOWPLOUGH T E T W I P T CHUK KA NI TROGEN E R I Y N A G R E N A D INE SEAM Y G N S USS ASS I S T A N T C T G T N O CAVAL I ER TRA UMA P G R E E B A CURMUDGEON BODY L U L T S O I A U S T E N S E P T I C Stuck? For help call 0906 200 83 83. Calls cost £1.10 per minute, plus your phone company’s access charge. Service supplied by ATS. Call 0330 333 6946 for customer service (charged at standard rate). Want more? Get access to more than 4,000 puzzles at theguardian.com/ crossword. To buy puzzle books, visit guardianbookshop.com or call 0330 333 6846. Guardian cryptic crossword No 28,616 set by Paul 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 Across 7 2 securing old, old driver (7) 8 Quintet and quartet where one might check out 2 (7) 9 2 drops in for meat (4) 10 Cheese left, acknowledge unfinished (4,5) 12 2 picking up record (5) 13 Name gong bagged by more than one of twelve (8) 15 Wobbly stuff, Hindu music rejected (4) 16 2’s flute, perhaps (5) 17 2 shut up (4) 18 Suitcase on bed before end of life — where one pegs out (8) 20 Small skirt’s pinned on back (5) 21 On reflection, what one might have said on meeting river with a religious leader (9) 22,25 17 across, composer appearing in month — where reason for being late remains unknown? (4,7) 24 Army, one broken from now on (3,4) 25 See 22 Down 1 2 succeeding often on the radio — as another? (4) 2 Maestro primarily inspired by work in creation of score? (8) 3 Tyrant locking last of opponents in garage (6) 4 Notes from female 2 (8) 5 20 down, 19 and 12 across in Dutch village once (6) 6 Correct, somewhat vindicated I thought (4) 11 Ultimately, number being all wrong, take one back (4,1,4) 12 14, 19 and 12 across drink (5) 14 2 looking discontented, musical talent claims (5) 16 Directors of Indian state embark (2,6) 17 Line in solid design of aeronautical engineering triumph (8) 19 Musical section briefly captivating royal 2 (6) 20 2: chap stealing hearts, ending in despair (6) 21 2, one being paid without limits (4) 23 Score the finest music, ‘Messiah’ last of all (4)

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