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Monday, June 24, 2019
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24 Jun 2:46pm May yawned. God this was dull. Why was she even here?
The Guardian
Where once Commons jibes might have hurt, now they bounce off. She has a perspective on her life How times change. Two months ago a statement by the prime minister on the latest EU council meeting would have been considered a significant occasion. One worthy of a full House of Commons. Now the government is so marginal – not just to the EU but to the country itself – that the chamber was barely a third full. And those who did bother to turn up were only there because it was a slow Monday afternoon, there was sod all on TV and they had nothing better to do with their lives. Semi-retirement seems to suit Theresa May. When she first announced she had been forced out of No 10, her face and body appeared contorted with grief and anger. As if the loss was unbearable. Time is proving a quick healer. She is learning to cope with the indifference of her Tory MPs by being equally as indifferent to them. Where once their jibes and accusations might hurt, now they bounce off. She has a perspective on her life. She knows she is surrounded by shabby, untrustworthy careerists and she is going to enjoy every second of schadenfreude as her successors inevitably crash and burn.
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24 Jun 2:15pm Boris Johnson’s chaotic private life parallels his public pronouncements | Suzanne Moore
The Guardian
The separation between private and public is dubious – when it comes to our politicians, what should be off-limits? They sit in a field, no drinks on the table,
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24 Jun 1:56pm The Guardian view on Tory leadership: politics may not survive Brexit | Editorial
The Guardian
The Brexit virus that is running through the Conservatives may end up shutting down both the party and the electoral system that supports itThe
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24 Jun 1:55pm The Guardian view on female voice assistants: not OK, Google | Editorial
The Guardian
When computer assistants reply in female voices, are they saying that women lack power in their world?Within two years there will be more voice assistants on the internet than there are people on the planet. Another, possibly more helpful, way of looking at these statistics is to say that there will still be only half a dozen assistants that matter: Apple’s Siri, Google’s Assistant, and Amazon’s Alexa in the west, along with their Chinese equivalents, but these will have billions of microphones at their disposal, listening patiently for sounds they can use. Voice is going to become the chief way that we make our wants known to computers – and when they respond, they will do so with female voices. This detail may seem trivial, but it goes to the heart of the way in which the spread of digital technologies can amplify and extend social prejudice. The companies that program these assistants want them to be used, of course, and this requires making them appear helpful. That’s especially necessary when their helpfulness is limited in the real world: although they are getting better at answering queries outside narrow and canned parameters, they could not easily ever be mistaken for a human being on the basis of their words alone.
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24 Jun 12:59pm Evolving English: what’s not to like? | Letters
The Guardian
Readers respond to a piece analysing the language of Love Island and share their personal linguistic bugbearsDavid Shariatmadari has a point when he characterises resistance against neologisms such as “I was like…” as inconsistent and futile (
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24 Jun 12:57pm British Library cafe should treat staff like adults and not take away their mobiles | Letter
The Guardian
I wonder about the extent to which employers go in their desire to control those who have the misfortune to depend on them for their livelihood, writes
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24 Jun 12:54pm Mark Rylance amputates the hand that feeds | Brief letters
The Guardian
Anti-Stratfordianism | Typhoon in a teacup | Mark Field | Female actors and Lionesses | Pro-Hunt Fox | Boris JohnsonMark Rylance says “I do not wish to be associated with BP … Nor, I believe, would William Shakespeare” (
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24 Jun 12:43pm Medicalising everyday life doesn’t help anyone’s mental health | Adrian Massey
The Guardian
Not all suffering is mental illness. Pretending it is raises false hopes and puts pressure on an already strained NHSI have a growing sense of unease about the Americanisation of British society’s attitude towards mental ill-health. In the 1980s, British audiences smiled bemusedly at neurosis-laden Woody Allen films and the normality with which American television and cinema treated notions of therapy, meds and interventions. To a British ear, the protagonists of these human melodramas could seem self-absorbed, foolish and narcissistic: figures of fun to be pitied for their inability to maintain a stiff upper lip and their ignorance of the power of a strong cup of tea. Yet now these are all concepts that have been normalised in Britain too. Mental health is talked about using the language of epidemics, and has been commoditised into something to be ordered over the counter: professionals, pills and a side of talking therapy. The scale of the problem has been supersized – exaggerated by extending the reach of healthcare well beyond those with serious, diagnosable psychiatric illness to include the worried well. Things that are better seen as a part of normal human life – the ramifications of choices we have made, our personal shortcomings, losses, bereavements, disappointments, unfairnesses, human frailties – are pathologised, and these experiences then conceptualised as illnesses to which there are no satisfactory treatments.
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24 Jun 12:24pm The real scandal behind Britain’s falling life expectancy | Lucinda Hiam and Martin McKee
The Guardian
The health gap between rich and poor is an issue the Tory leadership candidates seem happy to overlookGiven the frenzied speculation about who will be the next leader of the Conservative party and thus prime minister, it was understandable that
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24 Jun 11:57am Erdoğan’s loss in Istanbul could transform Turkish politics | Sinan Ülgen
The Guardian
The landslide election of Ekrem İmamoğlu as mayor is a huge test for Turkey’s ruling AKPThe opposition candidate Ekrem İmamoğlu’s
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24 Jun 11:20am I was Boris Johnson’s boss: he is utterly unfit to be prime minister | Max Hastings
The Guardian
The Tory party is about to foist a tasteless joke upon the British people. He cares for nothing but his own fame and gratificationSix years ago, the Cambridge historian Christopher Clark published a study of the outbreak of the first world war, titled
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24 Jun 8:50am An island that shuns clocks? It won’t stand the test of time | Julian Baggini
The Guardian
A visit to Sommarøy frees you from the tyranny of your watch. As long as you stump up for a ticket – and don’t miss your flightPhilosophers and physicists have long debated the reality of time. But it has taken the people of the Norwegian island of Sommarøy (population: 350) to reach a final verdict. They have sided with Douglas Adams, who declared “Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so.” They want to
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24 Jun 6:34am With Johnson clearly hiding from scrutiny, even diehard fans may start to have doubts | Simon Jenkins
The Guardian
How long can party members dazzled by the would-be Tory leader’s glamour ignore the evidence before them?Cowardly, untrustworthy, disrespectful, unmanly, slinking into office through the back door. Thus did Tory leadership candidate Jeremy Hunt
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24 Jun 5:42am What has the ‘northern powerhouse’ actually done for the people of the north? | Chi Onwurah
The Guardian
George Osborne’s grandiose talk counts for nothing if regional investment is stifled by the political ideology behind austerity
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24 Jun 4:00am Ban male comedy writers? Of course not – but do more to give women a chance | Brona C Titley
The Guardian
I admire ITV’s attempt to attract new voices. But the reaction online shows that many men are terrified of female inclusionLast Monday, I spoke for five minutes on a panel in Bradford, alongside the head of ITV comedy, about diversity in television. As a working comedy writer, I was well positioned to make the point that comedy is better when it’s written by a wide range of voices – people of different genders, races, sexualities, everything. Mad controversial, right? Burn the witch! I assumed my comments would, like most comments ever made on panel discussions, be lost in the annals of time. Even if I wasn’t, like most people on panels, speaking out of my annals.
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24 Jun 3:00am What would you do if you found a wallet? Really? Then prove it | Stuart Heritage
The Guardian
US researchers planted ‘lost’ wallets around the world to see what would happen. I’m conducting my own honesty studyStatistically, people are quite kind. The University of Michigan just spent £472,000 proving this by planting 17,303
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24 Jun 1:00am If Facebook or Google create their own currency, they can control our lives | John Harris
The Guardian
Facebook’s Libra is the last thing the world needs – big tech’s use of our data threatens to intrude even on financial transactionsDystopian fiction – from Anthony Burgess’s A Clockwork Orange to Russell T Davies’s spectacular recent BBC1 series
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24 Jun 1:00am German Greens are on the rise. But the nation is divided | Anna Lehmann
The Guardian
The party has to address the concerns of groups beyond its urban base if it is to ultimately succeed The Greens in Germany could hardly believe it. Leading party members were bouncing up and down when the public broadcasters sent the first, still uncertain results on the evening of the European Union elections. The green column rose to 20% and above, close to the black column of Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats, which ended up with 22.6%. Party manager Michael Kellner was beaming as the numbers came in. Over the course of the evening it became clear that the Green party had nearly doubled its seats in the European parliament and had overtaken the Social Democrats, the former “people’s party”. A historic victory for us, a historic disaster for them.
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23 Jun 7:01pm We set four tests for Brexit. Three years on, all of them are failing | Anand Menon and Jonathan Portes
The Guardian
From the economy to how fair British society is, leaving the EU poses challenges politicians are still far from meetingHas Brexit been a success? Now there’s a question. Remember how Zhou Enlai famously (
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