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Preview: The Guardian newspaper: Editorials & reply | guardian.co.uk

Editorials | The Guardian



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



Published: Fri, 23 Feb 2018 17:25:08 GMT2018-02-23T17:25:08Z

Copyright: Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. 2018
 



The Guardian view on US gun laws: listen to teenagers, not Trump | Editorial

Thu, 22 Feb 2018 18:35:32 GMT2018-02-22T18:35:32Z

The impassioned campaign by survivors of the Florida high school massacre and their peers is in stark contrast to the US president’s crass proposals

Mass shootings occur nine out of 10 days in the United States, and seven American children or teenagers are shot dead daily. Though the death toll was so high in last week’s Florida high school shooting, and the horror felt so deeply, there seems to be more surprise at the outpouring of anger and action from young people than at the massacre itself. On one estimate, 150,000 school pupils have experienced a shooting on campus since Columbine in 1999. In these circumstances, such atrocities can come to be seen as almost inevitable – appalling, but the way things are.

Teenagers are insisting that cannot be. First came the boldness, courage and urgency of survivors, vowing “we are going to be the last shooting”; confronting Marco Rubio over NRA cash; chastening politicians: “We’re children. You guys are the adults.” Then the engagement of their peers: walking out of classes and marching on the Florida state capitol and to the White House.

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The Guardian view on the lecturers’ strike: a deficit in thinking | Editorial

Thu, 22 Feb 2018 18:35:21 GMT2018-02-22T18:35:21Z

It is no surprise to find that universities which act and think like big businesses end up in a needless confrontation with labour

The most serious strike disruption to higher education in the history of British universities began on Thursday. Up and down the country academics downed chalk and picketed their lecture halls over a badly handled pensions dispute. More than a million students at 64 universities will be affected. The strikes could extend into the summer, jeopardising students’ final year exams. Like passengers of a grounded airline, students are demanding a refund for the disruption. They may well be successful in exerting their consumer rights: universities last year began paying out for poor services.

The lecturers, and support staff, are striking over a move to change their pensions from defined-benefit schemes to defined-contribution schemes. The former offers the security of a fixed-sum payment whereas the latter is a payout which depends on the performance of underlying investments. The lecturers’ union claims that the changes will leave a typical academic almost £10,000 a year worse off in retirement. This seems a very high price to pay, especially considering that teaching staff salaries have declined in real terms since the financial crisis. In response the universities say they are dealing with a £6bn pension deficit, which if left would mean cuts to spending on teaching, research and jobs. It’s clear that both sides need to return to talks, but that the mindset of universities may prevent that.

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The Guardian view on Stormzy at the Brits: he set trends | Editorial

Thu, 22 Feb 2018 18:33:15 GMT2018-02-22T18:33:15Z

By being himself the rapper is precisely the kind of artist society needs him to be

Noteworthy moments at the Brit awards are usually lairy and undignified – Jarvis Cocker’s faux fart, John Prescott getting drenched with an ice bucket, Ronnie Wood scuffling on stage with the DJ Brandon Block. It was bracing, then, that this year’s ceremony was defined instead by a lucid and profound diatribe delivered by the 24-year-old south London grime rapper Stormzy.

The headlines were grabbed by his swift denunciation of Theresa May, accused of sluggishness in distributing funds to the victims of Grenfell. After Stormzy’s humane contribution to the Grenfell charity single, this was something different: vocalising the anger of victims, and of an urban working class who feel ignored by Mrs May’s government.

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The Guardian view on eastern Ghouta: the powerful compete, Syrian civilians pay | Editorial

Wed, 21 Feb 2018 18:28:52 GMT2018-02-21T18:28:52Z

Deaths mount in the besieged opposition enclave, but there is no end to Syria’s enmeshed wars in sight

Bloodied children. Maimed children. Children pulled from the rubble, grey with dust, their mouths and lungs clogged with sand. Children who have lost their mother, father or brother. And these are the survivors. Unicef issued a blank “statement” to express its outrage, saying it had run out of words. Eastern Ghouta’s suffering – after long years of besiegement and multiple chemical attacks, including 2013’s devastating use of sarin – has escalated again. In this horror, even one of those trapped there asks in disbelief: “Are we really alive? Do others know we actually exist, and that we’re alive in these basements?”

Less than a year ago, the opposition enclave on the outskirts of Damascus was declared a “safe zone” in a deal between Russia, Iran and Turkey. There are almost 400,000 people still trapped there. Seven hundred have died in recent months, but attacks this week have killed more than 250, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, and two dozen on Wednesday alone. Seven hospitals have reportedly been bombed since Monday and witnesses say barrel bombs are being used. This siege and bombardment do not constitute a war crime, but war crime upon war crime upon war crime.

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The Guardian view on Worboys and the police: moral and legal dereliction | Editorial

Wed, 21 Feb 2018 18:28:03 GMT2018-02-21T18:28:03Z

The courts have found that the Met failed in its civic duty to serve victims of a heinous crime. As a society we will have to confront the role of the victim in the post-sentencing process too

There is no doubt that the Metropolitan police committed terrible errors in their handling the case of John Worboys, the “black cab” rapist who was convicted in 2009. But the Met nonetheless appealed against a high court ruling that its failings amounted to infringement of the victims’ human rights. That appeal was rejected on Wednesday by the supreme court. The women at the centre of the case were two among the many, perhaps over 200, who were attacked by Worboys. But he was charged with only a handful of offences and convicted years after the first assault was reported. The court has now confirmed, wisely, that this delay was a grievous failure of justice.

Critics will argue that the case sets a dangerous precedent, inviting everyone who feels ill-served by the police to escalate their complaint into a claim of human rights abuse. The ruling explicitly dismisses that risk. The police argued that the relevant clauses of human rights legislation, covering protection against “inhuman or degrading treatment”, envisaged abuse by the state. While the process plainly went wrong with Worboys, the existence of a process proved that the state was not the abuser. The court was unimpressed by this logic. It found instead that police disregard for Worboys’ victims was a dereliction of the state’s duty of care to its citizens. The only precedent set is a good one: the police are accountable if they fail to apply the law against rape.

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The Guardian view on the shrinking vision for Brexit: unlovable to all | Editorial

Tue, 20 Feb 2018 18:45:37 GMT2018-02-20T18:45:37Z

David Davis’s speech in Vienna can neither satisfy leavers nor reassure the EU and remainers

“I am big. It’s the pictures that got small,” Norma Desmond insists in Sunset Boulevard. The self-confidence of Brexiters, so flush with victory less than two years ago, looks similarly out of date and delusional. Brexit seems increasingly unimpressive even to its own supporters. David Davis’s message of reassurance to European business leaders gathered in Vienna – that Brexit will not change the kind of country Britain is – is the antithesis of everything the leave campaign promised. Amid the inconsistencies, outright contradictions and untruths, the one unifying strand was the pledge of a transformative moment for the UK (never mind the prevarication over what precise form the transformation might take).

In contrast, the Brexit secretary’s speech was reminiscent of the chancellor Philip Hammond’s remark in Davos that the government would seek only modest changes in its relationship with the EU – comments disowned by the prime minister as pro-leave MPs reacted with fury. Its tone was echoed in a separate speech on Tuesday by the environment secretary, Michael Gove, to the National Farmers’ Union, promising the maintenance of high standards and acknowledging the reliance on migrant workers in agriculture.

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The Guardian view on gambling: a system ripe for exploitation | Editorial

Tue, 20 Feb 2018 18:44:56 GMT2018-02-20T18:44:56Z

Without proper regulation, the industry helps the rich launder their money and get richer while those who can least afford to lose lose more

The fine of £6.2m levied on the bookmakers William Hill today by the Gambling Commission represents a small victory in the constant struggle against the abuses of a system that lends itself to exploitation. In this case, the firm was found to have been astonishingly trusting about where some problem gamblers got their money: although there is meant to be a system to identify and warn off players who cannot control themselves, in one case a player managed to bet more than £147,000 over a period of 18 months, and lost more than two-thirds. William Hill’s response was to send two “automated social responsibility emails”. In a similar case the bookmaker simply asked a man who had staked more than £100,000 whether he was comfortable with it. When he replied that he was, the company decided that it, too, was comfortable with taking his money.

In the days before drink-driving became socially unacceptable, as well as illegal, drunks used to be asked whether they felt all right to drive. The social damage done by problem gambling is comparable to that done by drink-driving. The scandal of fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs), digital slot machines with which it is possible to bet £100 in 20 seconds, and which are carefully programmed to keep the players in thrall for as long as possible, is under consideration by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. The minister is expected to announce a drastically lowered limit on the stakes, to bring them in line with the mechanical fruit machines they superseded. At the same time we’re seeing a concerning growth of gambling inside video games aimed at children, whose play money must be purchased with real currency.

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The Guardian view on university financing: the making of a market mess | Editorial

Mon, 19 Feb 2018 18:26:17 GMT2018-02-19T18:26:17Z

What the Tories are offering is just an accelerated form of a winner-takes-all marketisation where top performers increasingly capture all the rewards while the rest are left with crumbs

The wrong-headed and misguided policy of creating a market in higher education services in England has been a hallmark of modern-day Conservatism. The thinking was that consumers of such services were 18-year-olds who would purchase courses that would help them to secure well-paid jobs in institutions refreshed by self-interest. Tuition fees were trebled to a maximum £9,000 a year in 2012 – so that universities could use the income to cover large cuts to the direct public funding of teaching. The then higher education minister claimed that “unleashing the forces of consumerism is the best single way we’ve got of restoring high academic standards”.

The price of that consumerism is that students now leave university with almost £51,000 of debt. For poorer students the burden is even higher. This load is carried by twentysomethings who enter a job market where wage growth is at its lowest for two centuries. Many will never pay off the loan; a perversity that means taxpayers will end up footing the bill. No wonder that the star of last year’s election was Jeremy Corbyn’s manifesto commitment to abolish tuition fees. Today Theresa May essentially bought Mr Corbyn’s argument but not his conclusion. She accepted that England now had “one of the most expensive systems of university tuition in the world” but argued that scrapping fees was not the answer. Instead, she said the problem was one of value for money, that “the level of fees charged do not relate to the cost or quality of the course”. Mrs May’s statement amounts to doubling down on consumerism.

Why now?

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The Guardian view on Holocaust responsibility: Poland cannot wholly escape blame | Editorial

Mon, 19 Feb 2018 18:26:05 GMT2018-02-19T18:26:05Z

Germans planned the genocide and carried out most killings. But they had helpers and informants who should not be forgotten

“When you find yourself in a hole, don’t call for a bulldozer” is a useful maxim in diplomacy. The prime minister of Poland, Mateusz Morawiecki, is not a man to follow it. He seems to believe that any problem can be solved with a sufficiently powerful bulldozer. His Law and Justice party has already passed a law making it a criminal offence to suggest that “the Polish nation” was in any way responsible for the murder of six million Jews. This has infuriated opinion in Israel, and disturbed impartial historians everywhere. Worse was to come.

When an Israeli journalist asked him on Saturday whether this meant he could be jailed in Poland for writing the true story of how his mother’s family had had to flee the Gestapo because their Polish neighbours were planning to denounce them, Mr Morawiecki replied: “It is not going to be punishable to say there were Polish perpetrators, as there were Jewish perpetrators, as there were Russian perpetrators.” This was disgraceful. It blurs the morally vital distinction between those few Jews who collaborated with the Germans because they were confronted with agonising choices between evils, and those many Poles, Ukrainians, Lithuanians and other eastern Europeans who collaborated freely, from whatever mixture of greed, bloodlust and antisemitic enthusiasm.

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The Guardian view on Russian trolls: democracy is much too easy to hack | Editorial

Sun, 18 Feb 2018 17:13:43 GMT2018-02-18T17:13:43Z

Of course the Russians tried to influence the US presidential election. The shocking thing is that they found it so simple

Most of the coverage of the Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election has concentrated on who did it, and for whose benefit. But there is a sense in which this was not news. Anyone who has paid attention to the story, which has been hard to avoid, already believes that the Russians did what they could to get Donald Trump elected.

The detail of what was done has been less examined. The 37 pages of Robert Mueller’s indictment contain a meticulous account of the workings of a really professional propaganda or lobbying organisation. The “Internet Research Agency” in St Petersburg is more generally known as the Russian “troll factory”, but it spent its multimillion-dollar budget on much more than simple trolling. Women operatives were sent around the US to gather intelligence and to make contact with social and political activists. It was from American political activists that they received the advice to target “purple” swing states, something that was essential to the ultimate success of the campaign.

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The Guardian view on Barry Bennell: a chapter, not the whole story | Editorial

Sun, 18 Feb 2018 17:13:30 GMT2018-02-18T17:13:30Z

For 20 years a football coach was allowed to abuse terrified children in his care. There is no confidence yet that it can never happen again

Barry Bennell, the former football coach convicted last week on 50 counts of abuse of young boys in a ruthless and brutal exploitation of the power he had to fulfil their dreams, will be sentenced on Monday. He will probably spend the rest of his life in prison. That will be small satisfaction for his victims, many of whose lives have been irredeemably scarred by the experience of his abuse. There may be two or even three times as many victims as have already come forward: this has been a slow and painful reckoning, and scores of men who had spent their lives in denial have finally felt able to speak out since November 2016, when Andy Woodward first told the Guardian’s Daniel Taylor about the appalling trauma of being one of Bennell’s boys.

Bennell had already served two terms in prison in the UK and one in the US before the scale of his cruelty finally became clear. It may never have come to light if Mr Woodward had not found the courage to forego his right to anonymity and speak out. The familiar outlines of serial abuse have now emerged. Bennell was a cunning and manipulative man with what an American court called an “insatiable appetite” for young boys. For more than 20 years, in what became a well-established grooming routine, he had boys to stay, scared them with horror movies, lured them into the false security of his bed and made victims of these terrified children, often only 11 or 12, sometimes hundreds of miles from home. He knew they would stay silent from the shame of admitting what had happened, from their belief that he could help them to realise their talent on the football field, and from fear that they would not be believed. Some adults had their suspicions and shared them, but to no effect: at Manchester City, the Guardian has been told, the youth team manager Steve Fleet warned the board about Bennell. Bennell went on to Crewe Alexandra, where a board member reported his suspicions to management in the late 1980s, before Bennell was sacked in 1992.

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The Observer view on Britain’s shameful social division | Observer editorial

Sun, 18 Feb 2018 00:04:29 GMT2018-02-18T00:04:29Z

Government is not only failing to heal the education and property rift separating the millennials from the rest of Britain. It is making it wider

Social and demographic changes are usually, by their nature, gradual. Wars and conscription aside, it is very rare that being born 10 years earlier or later will make a profound difference to where someone ends up in life. But new research published by the Institute for Fiscal Studies last week shows that levels of homeownership have changed so rapidly that big differences have occurred even within a generation.

Just one in four young people born in the late 1980s owned their own home by the time they were 27, compared with almost one in two of those born 10 years earlier.

The Observer is the world's oldest Sunday newspaper, founded in 1791. It is published by Guardian News & Media and is editorially independent.

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The Observer view on Donald Trump’s Russian connections | Observer editorial

Sun, 18 Feb 2018 00:02:29 GMT2018-02-18T00:02:29Z

Robert Mueller has not yet proved that the US president colluded with Moscow but he will get another chance

There will be understandable disappointment in many quarters that the latest indictments delivered by Robert Mueller, the special counsel investigating Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election, once again failed to nail Donald Trump. Although the charges levelled against 13 Russians and three Russian entities are extraordinarily serious, they do not directly support the central claim that Trump and senior campaign aides colluded with Moscow to rig the vote.

But Trump is not off the hook. Far from it. His oft-repeated argument, contradicting US and British intelligence agencies, that stories of covert Russian meddling were “fake news” has been exposed as false. The US, like other western countries, is incontrovertibly under sustained assault from the Kremlin. Why does Trump continue to defend Russia? With Trump, it is difficult to talk about credibility. What little he does retain has just measurably diminished.

The Observer is the world's oldest Sunday newspaper, founded in 1791. It is published by Guardian News & Media and is editorially independent.

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The Guardian view on Theresa May’s Munich speech: partnership should be indivisible | Editorial

Fri, 16 Feb 2018 22:30:00 GMT2018-02-16T22:30:00Z

Britain is offering commitment and cooperation to Europe on security and intelligence. It should do the same in its Brexit strategy

A year ago, the annual Munich security conference – the most important gathering of international defence chiefs and ministers in the calendar – met to debate the proposition: “Post-truth, post-West, post-Order?” A year on, this weekend’s Munich conference has a new theme: “To the Brink – and Back?” The sense of relief implicit in the difference between the 2017 and the 2018 themes is unmistakeable and, to an extent, justifiable. The Trump administration has not, after all, trashed everything in the policymakers’ world, as it threatened to do 12 months ago. Explosions in relations with Iran, North Korea and even China have been averted, for now. Washington has not so far rolled over in the face of Russian aggression in eastern Europe. The so-called Islamic State has been pushed back, for the moment. The insurgent political tide that swept the US and the UK in 2016 has mostly been kept at bay elsewhere.

Yet while the worst may have been avoided, genuine positives are thin on the ground. Global confrontations continue and in some cases – the Middle East, for example – to deteriorate dangerously. The alliances that exist to control and resist them are still in shock at the Trump effect. Theresa May is in every context except Brexit a traditional multilateralist. She will certainly give a less thoroughly provocative speech at the Munich conference on Saturday than the foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, did at the same venue 12 months ago, when he ludicrously described Brexit as a national “liberation”. Yet, viewed from elsewhere in Europe, Mrs May still leads a country that, by voting for Brexit, has made a serious contribution to the problem of instability, not one that is playing a reliable role in solving it.

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The Guardian view on religious education: teach humanism too | Editorial

Fri, 16 Feb 2018 16:59:20 GMT2018-02-16T16:59:20Z

Religion is growing in importance, for good and ill. Studying it teaches us about ourselves – even if we don’t believe

Why should anyone wish to learn about religion? Religion is, in the phrase of the sociologist Linda Woodhead, “a toxic brand”. In the public imagination the word summons up images of violence, patriarchy and irrationalism. The facile confidence of the “New Atheist” movement in the early years of this century was pushing at an open door. Religious studies nevertheless remains a surprisingly popular A-level subject, although this may owe something to its reputation as an easy one. A recent YouGov poll found that the British public thinks that RE is a subject scarcely more important than Latin, which the public, wrongly, does not care about at all. The National Association of Teachers of Religious Education has just launched an appeal for more teachers.

The association is quite right: religious education matters a great deal. At the very least it can function as a kind of ethnography, teaching people about the customs and beliefs of different religious cultures – something that is obviously desirable in a multicultural society. To know that Muslims and Jews won’t eat pork, or that Hindus regard cows as sacred, is really just a part of civics. There is nothing specifically religious about such teaching, even if it is by convention part of religious education. It could just as well be taught under geography or history, subjects profoundly influenced by the beliefs and actions of religious people. The real task of RE is much more ambitious.

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The Guardian view on South Africa’s new leader: a welcome change, but a long road to travel | Editorial

Thu, 15 Feb 2018 18:23:39 GMT2018-02-15T18:23:39Z

The optimism surrounding Cyril Ramaphosa’s presidency is understandable after Jacob Zuma’s disastrous tenure. But South Africa needs systemic change too

The goodwill surrounding Cyril Ramaphosa’s swearing-in as the new president of South Africa today was in direct proportion to the relief that his predecessor had finally departed. In his nine years at the top, Jacob Zuma showed himself to be utterly unfit for the job in every way: facing multiple corruption charges, encouraging the spread of clientilist politics and assaulting South African institutions. On his watch, the economy suffered, inequality and unemployment soared (to almost 27%) and violent crime rose. His country’s international standing has tumbled. Nothing about his presidency became him as the leaving of it, even if he had to be dragged kicking and screaming to the exit.

There is widespread hope that Mr Ramaphosa will turn things around. He too is an anti-apartheid veteran, boasting both prominent trade union service and a very lucrative business career reassuring to the foreign investors that South Africa must woo. He is seen at home and abroad as an able leader serious about tackling the problems; his first speech promised to fight what has become known as “state capture”. But to believe that one man can fix the woes that his predecessor introduced, exacerbated or ignored is to make a fundamental error. One analyst compares Mr Zuma’s departure to deadheading a rose bush. It may be necessary, and the bush may look a lot better as another bud comes into bloom – but unless the roots are watered and the blight is tackled, the bush will die.

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The Guardian view on Northern Ireland talks collapsing: the lost language of power-sharing | Editorial

Thu, 15 Feb 2018 14:11:35 GMT2018-02-15T14:11:35Z

Party politics in Northern Ireland remains a grim zero-sum game. But the Conservatives in London have made things even more difficult

At the start of this week the British and Irish prime ministers went to Belfast. Such visits are less common than they were. So the word surrounding the meeting between Theresa May and Leo Varadkar was that they had arrived to bless a fledgling agreement between the Northern Ireland parties to restart power-sharing. Older heads warned that such optimism might be premature. The arrival of such senior figures could trigger the start of serious political battles, they said, not mark their ceremonial conclusion. And so it has now proved.

Two days on, the talks between the unionist DUP and the nationalist Sinn Féin have collapsed. The immediate reason is failure to agree on the terms of a new Irish language act, which Sinn Féin has promoted but against which much of unionist Northern Ireland is in revolt, causing the DUP to pull the plug. The danger is that both sides can now see more advantage within their own communities from failing to agree than from agreeing.

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The Guardian view of Boris Johnson’s Brexit vision: all about me | Editorial

Wed, 14 Feb 2018 17:37:44 GMT2018-02-14T17:37:44Z

It was billed as a Valentine’s Day letter to remainers. But the foreign secretary’s love affair with himself got in the way

The foreign secretary Boris Johnson made a speech on Wednesday in praise of optimism, confidence and a liberal Brexit. It was rich in rhetorical flourish and almost empty of detail. It was the speech of a politician whose only credibility is as the tribune of the leave campaign, a shameless piece of oration that fell back on his old journalistic trick of describing an EU that does not exist in order to justify his determination to get out. It was billed as an overture to the 48% who wanted to stay in the EU and a definitive speech about the shape of Britain’s future relationships outside it. But it was singularly free of the kind of irksome detail needed to understand a world beyond Europe.

It was rich in what Whitehall describes as optimism bias, “an estimate for a project’s costs, benefits and duration [made] in the absence of robust primary evidence”. It was a Valentine’s Day card to himself and his ambition to be the next Tory leader, an ambition he betrayed with his incoherent answer to a question about whether he would rule out resigning this year.

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The Guardian view on Team GB at the Winter Olympics: fine advantages and fair play | Editorial

Wed, 14 Feb 2018 17:37:33 GMT2018-02-14T17:37:33Z

High-tech suits worn by the UK’s skeleton team have got the all-clear after questions from rivals. But questions over the acceptable limits of innovation will persist

The Olympics brand themselves as a high-minded celebration of global friendship and what used to be known as sportsmanship. Yet in reality national pride, personal ambition and cash are central. While athletes may admire each other’s prowess and commitment, they would not reach this level of competition without a single-minded determination to win and the employment of all possible legal advantages: the right nutrition, the best trainer, the most cutting-edge equipment. Richer countries benefit.

Barring a return to the ancient practice of competing nude – both chilly and perilous for the Winter Games, despite the Tongan flagbearer’s bare chest – there will be no levelling of the field. But the distinction between a legitimate marginal gain and an unfair leg-up is a fine one, renegotiated with each technological improvement. In 2009, as records tumbled, the International Swimming Federation banned LZR whole-body swimsuits. The British swimmer Rebecca Adlington compared the advantage the suits provided to doping.

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The Guardian view on a calendrical coincidence: ashes and chocolate | Editorial

Wed, 14 Feb 2018 06:00:11 GMT2018-02-14T06:00:11Z

Indulgence or self-denial? For the first time since 1945, we all have to choose

To govern is to choose, it used to be said. Not any more. Theresa May’s government survives by deliberately not choosing what form of Brexit it desires. Yet some choices cannot be dodged. One of these falls today, when Valentine’s Day and Ash Wednesday coincide. Both are originally Christian festivals. Yet while the first, which lost its official status in 1969, is associated with the celebration of romance and the heavy consumption of chocolate hearts wrapped in pink foil, the other is irrevocably a day of self-denial and sobriety, marking the start of the Christian season of Lent.

The two states of mind are not easily reconciled. The Catholic church has duly made clear to believers savouring the prospect of a candlelit steak dinner with the beloved tonight that the Lenten bar on eating meat is already firmly in force. Happily for steak-and-eat-it postwar generations, today’s dilemma is the first time the two festivals have coincided since 1945. The bad news is that the cosmic clock decrees that today’s double whammy will be repeated in both 2024 and in 2029. Before that, there is also this year’s second calendrical coincidence to savour as, in 46 days’ time, Easter falls unusually on April Fools’ Day. But that’s an editorial opportunity for then, not now.

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