Benefit cuts and an unjust social order have left hundreds of thousands hungry in one of the richest countries in the world
Britain is one of the richest societies that has existed in the history of humanity. There are 134 billionaires resident in the country. The FTSE 100 reached a record high at the end of last year. The luxury yacht market is booming, while the average price of properties in Kensington Palace Gardens, west London, is more than £35m. Last year, the fortunes of the wealthiest 1,000 individuals reached £658bn, a surge of 14% compared with the year before.
And yet Britain is a nation in which hundreds of thousands of people cannot afford to eat. Last year, 1.3m food parcels were given to an estimated 666,000 people by the Trussell Trust alone. In areas where the disastrous universal credit scheme has been rolled out in full, food bank usage has jumped by four times as much, or an average 52% increase. Here is a damning indictment not just of a Tory government that has waged a ceaseless war against the welfare state, but also of the entire social order.
Related: Emma Revie: Why food banks must never become the norm
Last week, much of the economic and business community were left scratching their heads. Billy Bragg – renowned songwriter, musician and campaigner – was delivering his debut lecture at the Bank of England. The topic of his speech? UK monetary policy, of course.
The way “immigration” is discussed these days has changed somewhat as back in the 90’s the term “asylum seeker” or “illegal failed asylum seeker” was used far more often and those that defended the UK providing asylum pointed out our long heritage giving refuge to those in need.
The “white working class”. It has become, in recent years, almost a synonym for “racist”. The belief that racism is a working-class problem, and that many in the white working class voted for Brexit for racist reasons, has become widely accepted among liberals (and not just among liberals).
Governor Mark Carney is right to inject uncertainty. You don't want the markets to get ahead of reality, and maybe they have become a little too complacent
Read in the Independent
For every academic economist that thought Brexit would benefit the economy, 22 thought the opposite. That is as near as unanimous as you are ever going to get among economists. It is certainly a consensus. The BBC failed to get that message across during the referendum campaign.
In the wake of Mark Zuckerberg’s ‘grilling’ by Congress, here’s a rewritten user agreement that makes what the social network does painfully clear
One of the few coherent messages to emerge from the US Senate’s bumbling interrogation of Mark Zuckerberg was a touching desire that Facebook’s user agreement should be comprehensible to humans. Or, as Republican Senator John Kennedy of Louisiana put it: “Here’s what everyone’s been trying to tell you today – and I say it gently – your user agreement sucks. The purpose of a user agreement is to cover Facebook’s rear end, not inform users of their rights.”
“I would imagine probably most people do not read the whole thing,” Zuckerberg replied. “But everyone has the opportunity to and consents to it.” Senator Kennedy was unimpressed. “I’m going to suggest you go home and rewrite it,” he replied, “and tell your $1,200 dollar an hour lawyer you want it written in English, not Swahili, so the average American user can understand.”
The challenge to Facebook, Google and the other social media enterprises comes less from concerns about privacy and more about effectiveness
Read in the Independent
If I were editing a tabloid newspaper this week – and I’m always open to guest stints – I would have had advertising vans out since Monday.
The Stonewall chief executive, Ruth Hunt, talks to Owen Jones about her shock at the level of vitriol directed at transgender men and women. She says the scale of abuse in the UK has contributed to high levels of self-harm, mental illness and suicidal thoughts in trans communities