Category Archives: UK news

Revealed: rightwing groups plot to ditch EU safety standards on food and drugs

‘Ideal’ UK-US trade deal would see banned products sold in post-Brexit Britain, says accidentally released memo

An unprecedented drive to lobby ministers to ditch strict EU safety standards in order to secure a US trade deal is being drawn up by a transatlantic group of conservative thinktanks, it has emerged.

Organisers of the self-styled “shadow trade talks”, which are set to include 10 leading rightwing and libertarian groups from the UK and the US, are preparing to push their “ideal free trade agreement” that would allow the import of US meats, drugs and chemicals banned in Britain.

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Source: gad

How I beat anorexia by savouring the lavish meals of literature

Laura Freeman had the eating disorder since her teens, but the enticing food conjured by Charles Dickens and Laurie Lee set her free

Laura Freeman was first diagnosed with anorexia aged 14. A decade later she had begun to rebuild her life but still struggled with her attitude to food, eating small portions of the same thing for months on end. “At 24, I’d got to the point where I was recovered enough that I could eat, but only in a very formulaic way,” she says. “I had a pretty boring diet. It was more about getting through each day.”

Then one day she read a passage in Siegfried Sassoon’s 1928 Memoirs of a Fox-Hunting Man describing “a breakfast of boiled eggs eaten in winter”. It changed everything.

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Source: gad

May wants new security treaty with EU next year

British PM says treaty is necessary to ensure military, intelligence and counter-terrorism cooperation after Brexit

Theresa May has called for a new security treaty with the European Union that should be up and running next year to ensure military, intelligence and counter-terrorism cooperation after London leaves the bloc.

“The key aspects of our future partnership in this area will already be effective from 2019,” the British prime minister told top European and US officials at the Munich Security Conference on Saturday.

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Source: gad

‘Harassment is systemic’: why white roses won't change the music industry

As the Brit awards respond to #MeToo with flowers, insiders say gestures are not enough

After sartorial support was shown for the Time’s Up and #MeToo movements at the Golden Globes and the Grammys, the Brit awards are following suit. The awards’ organising body, the British Phonographic Industry, has invited artists and guests attending the 2018 ceremony to wear a white rose pin “as a symbol of solidarity” – although the memo doesn’t specify the cause.

The Guardian understands the BPI consulted industry figures on how to acknowledge the issue of sexual harassment and abuse in the arts. The body ultimately partnered with Voices in Entertainment, the American collective of female executives that asked artists to wear white roses to the Grammys. “If the Brit awards can help shine a light on such a sensitive topic, our hope is that it will ultimately help,” says the awards’ chair, Jason Iley.

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Source: gad

Helping child witnesses: 'One girl gave evidence with a hamster on her lap'

They might be victims of rape, or witnesses to murder. But can they really be relied upon to tell the truth at trial?

In the playroom, perched high above suburban rooftops, it feels as if you’re sailing in a sturdy little boat. Outside, beyond the fields, the sea is a strip of hazy grey-blue that glows silver where it meets the sky. Here on the floor is the scattered residue of a child at play: plastic tractors and fire engines spilling from a big red box, half-done puzzles, doll’s house furniture left awry. On a shelf sit the smiling knitted figures of a policeman and circuit judge, the details meticulously rendered, right down to the judge’s red sash and purple-trimmed robes.

Through a pair of open doors in the adjoining interview room – the green room, they call it, on account of the carpet and the cushions – Ruth Marchant and a police detective sit in a pair of battered mock leather armchairs, reflecting on their afternoon’s work. The boy they have been talking to hasn’t made any allegations, but his reaction when the man it’s feared has abused him is mentioned – his erratic breathing, the way he starts to rock – makes the detective feel sure he has something to tell. Marchant wraps one skinny-jeaned leg over the other. “It’s there, isn’t it?” Beside them is a child’s version of their chairs, startlingly minuscule by comparison.

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Source: gad

A guilt tax for the UK’s super-rich might not be such a bad idea | Gaby Hinsliff

After Grenfell the penny has dropped – turning a blind eye to misery and homelessness won’t make you happy or secure

Officially, it’s not a guilt tax. Westminster council prefers the term “community contribution” to describe the idea that its millionaire residents might like to make a voluntary donation on top of council tax. It is, they say, merely a chance for the wealthiest to “invest in their neighbourhood”. Perish the thought that they may have anything to feel guilty about.

But whatever you call it, attempting to appeal to the social consciences of the super-rich is surely a sign of changing times. That a flagship Tory council should be dabbling in new forms of redistribution is interesting in itself. That it began considering the idea a few months after the Grenfell Tower fire, which had some of Kensington’s more liberal-minded millionaires asking why their council hadn’t charged them more and housed their neighbours decently, is more interesting still, given that Westminster’s guilt money is earmarked partly for tackling homelessness.

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Source: gad

The language we use in public and on social media has repercussions. The first step must greater civility | James Graham

The language we use in public and on social media has repercussions. The first step must greater civility

When the general atmosphere is bad, language must suffer,” George Orwell said in 1946. As then, so now – but worse. I know, everyone’s always saying things are worse. Let’s not hark back to an age that never existed. But it is time to recognise the conversation crisis in public and civic life.

I don’t quite believe, like some, that the Enlightenment values of tolerance and civilised debate are being reversed; but they are certainly under threat. This age of unreason we’re living through is defined not only by “had enough of experts”, but with normally reasonable people – you and I – behaving wilfully unreasonably to one another. And by the fact civility itself is now regarded as an obstacle to change, where once it was its best hope.

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Source: gad