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Editorials | The Guardian

Latest news and features from, the world's leading liberal voice

Published: Thu, 29 Sep 2016 15:40:05 GMT2016-09-29T15:40:05Z

Copyright: Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. 2016

The Guardian view on football’s crisis: TV money is the root of the problem | Editorial

Wed, 28 Sep 2016 19:34:20 GMT2016-09-28T19:34:20Z

Fans’ enjoyment is not being served by absurd sums that are morally and financially bankrupting the beautiful game

The fall of “Big Sam” Allardyce, the manager of the English national football team who resigned after 67 days in the job, is a tragedy in the sense that it is a human drama of hubris, followed by nemesis. Allardyce is a man who, as the recordings obtained by subterfuge show, can be lured by promises of cash into making unguarded jibes about his peers and colleagues. For a potential £400,000 he was prepared to say the unsayable. Pride fuelled by greed saw him brag of ways around banned financial schemes where players become the property of speculators. Over the next few days more tales of football’s dirty deals are promised. The beautiful game will be besmirched. There was no need for Big Sam to sit down with the fake businessmen. He was already being paid £3m a year to be manager. The flower of English football is being eaten by canker worms of money and avarice.

Since television money flowed into the sport in the early 1990s, the Premier League has become less a local English affair and more a global one. That has some benefits: better facilities and bigger names on the pitch. However, with top-flight clubs owned by foreign investors and English players making up a third of Premier League teams, there is a feeling that English football is becoming detached from its roots. Such is the concern that Andy Burnham, the Labour mayoral candidate for football-mad Manchester, thinks a quota on foreign players is needed.

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The Guardian view on Jeremy Corbyn’s speech: tough vision, tough task | Editorial

Wed, 28 Sep 2016 18:52:12 GMT2016-09-28T18:52:12Z

The re-elected Labour leader set out an uncompromising agenda but showed welcome signs that he sees the scale of the electoral challenge facing Labour

Nobody would ever call Jeremy Corbyn a traditional party leader. His defiantly untraditional approach to politics delights his supporters and exasperates his detractors. But his speech to the Labour conference in Liverpool on Wednesday showed some signs that the re-elected leader sees the need to face up to some traditional problems, while not retreating on the issues closest to his heart.

Mr Corbyn sometimes gives the impression that, for him, politics equates with campaigning. He sees himself as the spokesman of a social movement and Labour as a party of social protest. Much of his speech, in which he claimed to be offering socialism for the 21st century, was uncompromising. Yet right at the start, he also seemed to take a less romantic tack. He said the heart of Labour’s purpose was “about winning power” in elections. He said Labour’s central task must be to rebuild trust and support “to win the next general election”, which he said could come in 2017. Towards the end he acknowledged that “there’s an electoral mountain to climb” but insisted Labour could win by focusing on “the needs and aspirations of middle- and lower-income voters”.

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The Guardian view on low pay: rogue employers should face the law | Editorial

Wed, 28 Sep 2016 06:00:57 GMT2016-09-28T06:00:57Z

There have only been three prosecutions for illegally low pay since early 2014. If the government is serious about stamping it out, it must beef up enforcement

Britain’s biggest independent co-op, Midcounties, has had to make a record payout of over £14,000 to a newspaper delivery worker it had been underpaying for more than four years, as the Guardian reported on Monday. A second delivery worker, who complained that on some days his pay averaged 69p an hour, also received compensation. There is no data to show how many workers in Britain might be paid at illegal levels below the statutory minimum. Compliance action mainly depends on individuals or their unions making complaints. However, it is a matter of fact that, since Labour introduced the minimum wage in 1999, the enforcement arm of HMRC has identified nearly £70m in underpayments affecting more than 300,000 workers. According to the National Audit Office, the number of workers identified as being owed arrears more than doubled from 2014-15 to 2015-16, rising from 26,000 to 58,000. Yet in the past five years, just £5m has been levied on non-compliant employers and since February 2014, although 700 employers have been named and shamed on the department for business’s website after claims were settled, there have been just three prosecutions.

A low wage economy comes with a heavy price tag. It is not only that employers have no incentive to invest in training or upgrading skills for their employees, or buying new equipment for their factories when they can increase productivity by hiring more cheap workers; the gap between take-home pay and what a worker actually needs to live on is met by the taxpayer, through the working tax credit system. That is why when George Osborne triumphantly announced that he was replacing the minimum wage with a “national living wage” just over a year ago, he declared that it would be the first step on a trajectory that would take Britain from a low-wage, high-tax, high-welfare economy to the higher wage, lower tax, lower welfare country of his ambitions.

Related: Only three out of 700 firms prosecuted for paying below minimum wage

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The Guardian view on the US presidential debate: Trump fails the test | Editorial

Tue, 27 Sep 2016 11:59:55 GMT2016-09-27T11:59:55Z

If the televised debates matter, then Hillary Clinton clearly did best on Monday night. But American voters may be too angry to care

By traditional standards, the first televised US presidential debate on Monday night produced a clear result. Hillary Clinton’s experience, grasp and temperament proved superior qualities to Donald Trump’s forcefulness, rambling and egotism. Fears that Mrs Clinton’s recent bout of pneumonia would cause her to stumble proved unfounded. Instead, Mr Trump’s sniffing caused more comment on the night. But the question, in this most unpredictable of elections and in a new media world, is how far traditional standards matter any more.

Mrs Clinton repeatedly put Mr Trump under pressure on his finances, his taxes, his climate change denial, Iraq, Russia, Barack Obama’s birth, and race. Mr Trump countered with powerful lines about unfair trade deals and immigration and was both personal and boastful. Mrs Clinton stayed careful but grew more relaxed as the 90 minutes evolved. Mr Trump got angry and repeatedly rose to the bait. To adopt the dismal boxing terminology that tends to be wheeled out on such occasions, neither candidate landed the fabled knockout blow. There were plenty of low punches. But Mrs Clinton obviously won on points.

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The Guardian view on France: a weak left and the rise of populism | Editorial

Mon, 26 Sep 2016 18:29:53 GMT2016-09-26T18:29:53Z

In the aftermath of the terrible terrorist attacks, many French politicians are amplifying xenophobia

François Hollande visited Calais on Monday, his first visit since he came to office in 2012. He promised that the sprawling, inadequate refugee camp would close “by the end of the year”. Last week, President Hollande’s predecessor in the Elysée palace, Nicolas Sarkozy, also went to Calais, making the kind of radical statements he believes will earn him the sympathy of far-right voters in the run-up to rightwing presidential primaries due in November. French politics is swerving towards populism; identity politics is overtaking most public discourse. And humanitarian concerns for the fate of the migrants in Calais risk being swamped by electoral politics.

On his visit, Mr Sarkozy said France risked being “overrun” by migrants, the kind of rhetoric that sits squarely with the views of Marine Le Pen’s Front National, Europe’s largest far-right party, whose ideology is increasingly becoming the reference point in France’s political battles. Mr Sarkozy has also suggested that anyone holding a French passport should accept that their ancestors were “the Gauls”.

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The Guardian view on Arnold Palmer: golf’s biggest hitter | Editorial

Mon, 26 Sep 2016 18:27:33 GMT2016-09-26T18:27:33Z

Love it or loathe it, golf is a global game because of the man from Pennsylvania

Few people have transformed any sport – perhaps any human activity – the way Arnold Palmer, who died on Sunday, transformed golf. Before he came along in the 1950s, golf on both sides of the Atlantic was snobby, reactionary and made little effort to broaden its appeal. Though some vestiges of the old exclusiveness still cling on, Mr Palmer threw most of golf’s gates wide open, with lasting consequences. From a modest Pennsylvania background, he played aggressively and, young and good-looking, he pulled in the crowds and rode the wave of the television age. He treated all four “majors” seriously, travelling regularly to Britain and lifting our sometimes parochial Open championship on to the world stage. He spotted the financial potential of image rights; even this year he was still golf’s fifth-highest lifetime earner, though he last won a major in 1964. The working-class, racially diverse, male and female golf champions of the modern world are his legacy. Golf is loved and loathed as few sports. But it was Arnold Palmer, with his skill and his sportsmanship, who made it what is loved and loathed today.

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The Guardian view on cycle helmets: head cases make bad law | Editorial

Mon, 26 Sep 2016 18:26:50 GMT2016-09-26T18:26:50Z

Wearing a helmet reduces a very small risk of injury still further. It may be desirable but should not be compulsory

Bicycle helmets save lives. That is a point clearly established by the latest research from Australia, where the subject is live and controversial because in parts of the country it is compulsory to wear them, on penalty of substantial fines. Opponents point out that they are of very little help in serious crashes, since they don’t protect the head against being run over, or the rest of the body at all. Besides, there is some evidence that they encourage bad behaviour: drivers filmed on English roads treat apparently defenceless cyclists with greater consideration than those who appeared armoured in special clothing. Drivers gave the widest berth of all to cyclists who wore skirts and no helmets. But no government would make it compulsory to wear skirts on a bike. Should they, though, make helmets compulsory?

Related: Wearing a bike helmet might make you more dangerous

Related: Sydney's 'war on cyclists': 'I got fined $106 for not having a bell'

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The Guardian view on Labour in opposition: come together | Editorial

Sun, 25 Sep 2016 18:58:03 GMT2016-09-25T18:58:03Z

Jeremy Corbyn now has to show how he will lead the party into government

For a political party opposition is a difficult, exhausting and an unattractive business. If the purpose of a party is to bring about change in society and shape it to reflect the values of its own ideology, then parliamentary opposition seems the wrong place to be. Opposition is the antithesis of what parties are for. Or so it seemed. Jeremy Corbyn’s refreshed mandate as leader of the opposition has been cast as a triumph of party members over the party’s members of parliament.

The Labour leader’s supporters say their “movement” should be seen as part of a global trend comparable to the grassroots success of US senator Bernie Sanders or the advances of Podemos’s people’s assemblies in Spain. While social movements have a dynamism missing from slow-moving parliamentary processes, it is a mistake to think representative democracy is redundant in an age of networked politics.

Related: Jeremy Corbyn wins Labour leadership contest – in pictures

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The Guardian view on an ivory ban: tusk trade rules need teeth | Editorial

Sun, 25 Sep 2016 18:56:58 GMT2016-09-25T18:56:58Z

No markets in elephant ivory should be legalised. They would sustain demand and provide a cover for illegal trading and poaching

The illegal trade in endangered fauna and flora is the world’s fourth biggest, after the trades in drugs, counterfeit goods and people. The difference is that there is no shortage of the other three. Every 15 minutes, an elephant is killed by poachers. A third of Africa’s savannah elephants were slaughtered between 2007 and 2014. On current trends, by the time that today’s children reach adulthood, the African elephant will be extinct in the wild.

This is not inevitable. Governments are about to embark on a three-yearly meeting to discuss the future of international wildlife protection. Cites, the convention on international trade in endangered species of wild flora and fauna, brings together nearly every country on Earth in pledges to protect threatened nature.

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The Observer view on the Labour leadership election | Observer editorial

Sat, 24 Sep 2016 23:05:18 GMT2016-09-24T23:05:18Z

The party will be a lost cause unless there is compromise and conciliation

The gulf between the Labour party’s membership and its MPs has never looked wider. Jeremy Corbyn secured an overwhelming majority in Labour’s leadership contest, increasing his mandate among members. Yet three-quarters of Labour MPs backed a motion of no confidence in him back in June. The result shows how successful he has been on his own terms: since becoming leader, he has reshaped Labour’s membership after his own politics. According to one exit poll, only 37% of members who joined before 2015 voted for Corbyn; among newer members, that figure was 83%.

But on any other objective measure, the last year has been a failure. Under Corbyn’s leadership, the party provided chaotic and ineffective opposition during one of the most seismic periods in British political history. His anaemic support of the Remain campaign to stay in Europe was a low point in his leadership. Labour suffers from the worst-ever poll ratings for an opposition party 12 months on from a leadership contest.

Related: Jeremy Corbyn sweeps to victory increasing his mandate as Labour leader - Politics live

Related: Corbyn Mark II looks like a leader – he must set out a clear, coherent vision

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The Observer view on Britain’s role in the slave trade | Observer editorial

Sat, 24 Sep 2016 23:04:18 GMT2016-09-24T23:04:18Z

Nearly two centuries after slavery was abolished, this country has still not fully acknowledged the shameful part it played. We must delay no longer

“This is the story of this country… generations of people who felt the lash of bondage, the shame of servitude, the sting of segregation, but who kept on striving and hoping and doing what needed to be done so that today, I wake up every morning in a house that was built by slaves.” The most powerful speech of the Democratic convention in Philadelphia earlier this summer was made not by the party’s presidential nominee, nor the president, but by the first lady, Michelle Obama. Her words remind us of the extent to which the slave trade – and the terrible legacy it left the United States – is part of that country’s national consciousness.

Not so in Britain. Our political leaders hardly make reference to the dominant role this country played in the global slave trade. British slave traders generated immense spoils by transporting 5.5 million African slaves to its Caribbean colonies, forcing them to work in terrible conditions on plantations in Jamaica, Barbados and beyond. A new database launched last week by academics at UCL, cataloguing the details of 20,000 British slave owners, illustrates the extent to which the historic wealth of the slave trade extends its reach into modern Britain: in the Georgian architecture of cities such as London, Liverpool and Bristol; in businesses such as Greene King and the Royal and Sun Alliance; in the several recent or serving MPs with slave owners in their family history.

Britain is portrayed as a benevolent benefactor rather than a country with a burden of debt

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The Guardian view on the Labour leadership: wanted – tolerance and compromise | Editorial

Fri, 23 Sep 2016 17:47:57 GMT2016-09-23T17:47:57Z

The party is too important to waste time on internal wars. Tolerance and compromise should be the watchwords

Twenty-first century Britain needs a principled, effective and electable modern Labour party. Yet, as it awaits the result of its second leadership contest in a year, the party is falling short of providing what the country needs. Labour’s problems go deep. Some reflect profound changes in British society. Others are self-inflicted, some in the New Labour past, others in the Momentum present. None of this will be quickly solved, whether Jeremy Corbyn is re-elected or Owen Smith is chosen to replace him.

At its best, Labour’s voice still offers hope for a more economically productive and socially just Britain. No other party speaks so readily on behalf of those who crave a fairer deal in work. None speaks from the gut of experience about the welfare state the party did much to build. None on the left of politics has as strong a record of achievement in government. But Labour is very far from perfect. Its coalition of support has fractured. It struggles to adapt to the deindustrialised Britain of today. Its trade union foundation is both a strength and a weakness. It can be too conservative, too tribal and too factional. It lacks curiosity about the modern world. It has been marginalised in Scotland. Recently, it has too often turned inward and venomous instead of outward. Mr Corbyn’s first year as leader at Westminster was an experiment that failed and, judging by the polls, it has failed among the wider public.

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The Guardian view on Hull, city of culture: arts for all? | Editorial

Fri, 23 Sep 2016 17:45:05 GMT2016-09-23T17:45:05Z

Hull has announced a glittering programme for 2017. Its success will rest not on the glamour of big arts events, but on how it enriches its citizens’ lives

Hull has announced its programme for its year as UK city of culture 2017. The city that brought the world everything from Mick Ronson to the Hull Truck Theatre, from the Housemartins to Philip Larkin, will be awash with events. The elegant Ferens art gallery will reopen after a £4.5m renovation and host exhibitions including the Turner prize and a show of Sienese old masters. There will be a chance to admire, at the new Humber Street gallery, the work of COUM Transmissions, a collective founded in Hull by Genesis P-Orridge and Cosey Fanni Tutti in the 1960s. The Hull-born playwright Richard Bean – writer of National Theatre dramas such as One Man, Two Guvnors – will premiere The Hypocrite, a play about the local aristocrat who set in train the violence of the English civil war. The year will start as it means to go on – with fireworks.

Hull is the second city, after Derry in 2013, to be accorded the title UK city of culture. The scheme was established as a homegrown way of emulating the European city of culture programme, whose crown Glasgow and Liverpool wore in 1990 and 2008 respectively. In the UK version, there is no central government funding to help the winner, which is accorded the title after a bid process. Instead, the accolade is used as a lever to attract investment and partners, such as the BBC and Tate.

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The Guardian view on the US presidential debate: Hillary needs a slogan to sum up what she stands for | Editorial

Thu, 22 Sep 2016 18:58:45 GMT2016-09-22T18:58:45Z

Monday’s television debate will be watched by 100 million Americans. The Democratic candidate should seize a chance to show she is motivated by the common good

When Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump square off on television next week it will be the largest audience of their long careers, which both have lived in the glare of limelight. More than 100 million Americans are expected to tune in on the evening of 26 September – an astonishing viewership that would rank the event as among one of the most watched television broadcasts in US history. The rest have been Super Bowls. Monday’s debate, 56 years to the day after the first televised duel between John F Kennedy and Richard Nixon, will almost certainly be a turning point in a turbulent election year in America – 12 months that have thrown into sharp relief the country’s deep polarisation and the breakdown of the Republican party. The course of debates can turn on personal defects, such as Richard Nixon’s five o’clock shadow in 1960. The screen can magnify character flaws and highlight a candidate’s competence. Ronald Reagan’s much-quoted putdown of Jimmy Carter – “there you go again” – underlined the fact he was offering not only change, but opened viewers’ eyes to his vision of America. Bill Clinton, then the insurgent outsider, pulled off the same trick in making then president George HW Bush look out of touch in 1992.

In this election the TV debate offers a chance for each candidate a chance to reset the narrative of their campaign. Mr Trump, a businessman-demagogue trading in crude economic populism, has less reason to do so. Last week’s terrorist attacks play into his claims that America is under siege. Democrat Hilary Clinton’s recent bout of pneumonia bolstered his nod-and-wink comments about her failing health. While Mrs Clinton has endured some of the worst weeks of her campaign, her Republican rival has been stealing headlines. While Mrs Clinton remains ahead in the polls, the momentum is with her rumour-mongering opponent. On paper Mrs Clinton should be able to swat away her opponent. She has the experience, the public policy competence and the chance to make history as the first female commander-in-chief of the most powerful nation on earth. She is also a better debater than retail politician.

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The Guardian view on universities: facing a double whammy | Editorial

Thu, 22 Sep 2016 18:53:03 GMT2016-09-22T18:53:03Z

Brexit risks falling student numbers and vanishing research grants. Now a misconceived higher education bill could be the last straw

Britain’s higher education sector has probably never been held in such high international esteem. Oxford has just topped the Times Higher Education global ranking table, beating the best US universities – California Institute of Technology (better known as Caltech), Harvard, Princeton and MIT; two other British universities, Cambridge and Imperial, are in the top 10. Only US institutions are better represented in the world’s top 1,000 universities. It is boom time for higher education, as universities invest their students’ £9,000 a year fees in shiny new labs, libraries and sports facilities to compete for students after the lifting of the cap on numbers last year. But in years to come, 2016 may look like the high point before the decline: the consequences of Brexit, a slump in the number of 18-year-olds and, above all, a misconceived higher education bill, will all take their toll. As we report today, universities are making plans for a much chillier future.

Related: UK universities draw up plans for EU campuses ahead of Brexit

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Clean up sport: set the world anti-doping agency free | Editorial

Wed, 21 Sep 2016 18:09:56 GMT2016-09-21T18:09:56Z

Now Rio is over, there is a window of opportunity to build a credible anti-doping regime for world sport

The great Rio sportsfest is over. The Paralympians have arrived home, and they are recovering from their jet lag. The Olympians are already on to the next thing. Memories are fading of the state-sponsored doping scandal that overshadowed the opening of the Games in August and led to around 100 Russian athletes being excluded from the Olympics, and all Russian athletes being banned from the Paralympics. So there is a window of opportunity, a moment to lay the foundations for a genuinely clean 2020 Tokyo Games. There is an obstacle, however. Officially it is denied. But the body that should be most interested in promoting such an outcome, the International Olympic Committee, appears instead to be trying to undermine Wada, the World Anti-Doping Agency, the organisation best placed to police international sport.

The IOC is considering setting up its own “integrity unit”, a new body that Wada officials fear would take over its powers to investigate allegations and sanction drug cheats, in retribution for Wada’s independence at Rio. The flaws in such an arrangement were plain for all to see in this summer’s row: Wada, acting on the findings of the McLaren report that it had commissioned into the extent of state support in Russia for cheating, demanded that all Russian athletes should be banned. The IOC, whose president, Thomas Bach, is close to Vladimir Putin, insisted that such a decision was for the IOC to make, and subsequently decided that the 28 international sports federations should be the arbiters of which athletes could compete. The one person banned by the IOC was the whistleblower Yuliya Stepanova, who had alerted Wada to the extent of Russian doping. It is hard to avoid concluding that the IOC has too much at stake in mounting a global spectacular to be a credible anti-doping body as well. If its main purpose is to run a global sports event, the suspicion will always be that policing the sports themselves is a subordinate concern.

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The global economic outlook: dark clouds and few silver linings | Editorial

Wed, 21 Sep 2016 17:21:04 GMT2016-09-21T17:21:04Z

New OECD and Unctad reports suggest Britain’s economy will falter in 2017 and that the financial crisis is about to be felt in developing countries most of all

Eight years ago this month, a bank collapsed, Wall Street went into meltdown and the world economy plunged into crisis. Trillions were lost in output ($22tn in the US, within just five years), millions of workers were made redundant (8.8 million in America’s great recession, 1.2 million in the UK) and thousands of promises were made by politicians and policymakers – everyone from Barack Obama and Gordon Brown to David Cameron and Christine Lagarde – that things would change. Yet, nearly a decade later, what is most striking is how little has changed. In the US, the UK and the rest of the developed world, policymakers talk of the “new mediocre”, so tepid is economic performance. And in the developing world things look even worse.

Related: UN warns over global fallout from debt crisis in poor countries

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The Guardian view on Syria, the ceasefire and the aid convoy attack: a new low | Editorial

Tue, 20 Sep 2016 18:08:18 GMT2016-09-20T18:08:18Z

There can be no enthusiasm for a ceasefire that has not even protected humanitarians. But there are few other options

After so many atrocities, it is hard to be as shocked as one should be by the horrors of the war in Syria. Appalled, yes. But surprise is harder to muster. Week after week and month after month, the crimes mount up. Civilians have been attacked with chemical weapons and have learned to fear the roar of government forces’ helicopters bearing barrel bombs, and the deployment of “hell cannons” by rebels. Medical facilities have repeatedly been targeted. The limp body of Alan Kurdi and the dazed, dusty face of Omran Daqneesh have forced us all to recognise again and again that no one is protected from this war. Syria is not the first place where besieged families have faced starvation, but their suffering has been extraordinarily protracted. Five years of civil war has killed half a million citizens and displaced millions more.

Even so, Monday’s airstrike on a UN aid convoy delivering food to a rebel-held area close to Aleppo was another low. This was not only a humanitarian initiative but one that had been agreed by all parties. The convoy was clearly marked, had the necessary permits, and had notified everyone who needed to know of its passage. If the attack was deliberate – and it is hard to believe otherwise – it was a war crime.

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Loving the NHS is not enough. We have to want to pay for it too | Editorial

Tue, 20 Sep 2016 18:08:02 GMT2016-09-20T18:08:02Z

The NHS is coming apart at the seams for need of more cash. It’s not just the government that has to persuade the public that the system is safe in their hands

The hard truth, Tim Farron told the Liberal Democrats in his party conference speech today, is that the NHS needs more money. Actually, that’s a fairly easily stated truth, and widely understood. As Mr Farron made clear, the NHS needs a lot more money – tens of billions of pounds was the Lib Dem leader’s figure. But where is it going to come from?

Political parties rarely lose votes by promising to spend more on the NHS, as the leave campaign so spectacularly – and mendaciously – showed in June. Yet in spite of the public’s love for the NHS, party politicians put their credibility at risk if they cannot say how the necessary cash is going to be raised. This is a problem for all parties in all parts of the UK. The answer is too important be perpetually fudged. The Lib Dems’ latest answer is a cross-party commission modelled, with more than a little touch of hubris, on the Beveridge report, plus a pledge that taxes will rise if the commission’s conclusions require it.

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The Guardian view on the New York declaration: better than nothing | Editorial

Mon, 19 Sep 2016 19:10:34 GMT2016-09-19T19:10:34Z

Refugee charities are disappointed that there’s no immediate promise to take in more refugees, but at least the postwar settlement survives

The idea of a refugee or a displaced person means different things to different people. But the human suffering they encompass is often much the same. Europeans might envisage families in leaky boats adrift in the Mediterranean, or quietly determined crowds trekking northwards along highways. For people in the Middle East, it might be row upon row of tents in a refugee camp; for Africans, stories of men, women and children trafficked across the Sahel, only to end up in a sordid detention centre run by militias in Libya. In Asia, it might be desperate boat people being turned back, or the island camps where those who hope to find a new life in Australia find themselves detained.

Across the globe, the 21st century has become an era of disruption and exodus. An unprecedented 65 million people are fleeing war or persecution, or migrating in search of training, an education or a job. The response is asymmetrical: most refugees only go as far as a neighbouring country. According to Britain’s Refugee Council, 44% of refugees are in the Middle East and Africa, and 27% in Europe. Turkey, Pakistan and Lebanon are all sheltering more than 1 million from Syria and Afghanistan. The UK, according to the UNHCR, hosts about 170,000.

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