John Harris

Journalist & Author

‘It’s just mistake after mistake’ – stories from the universal credit catastrophe

It was introduced to simplify benefits and encourage people to work. Yet from a bungled rollout to Kafkaesque rules and the infamous six-week payment delay, universal credit has caused untold misery. John Harris meets people who have had their lives turned upside down. Photograph by Mark Pinder for the Guardian
Sue hit her lowest point at the end of 2016. Unable to buy food and behind with her rent, she phoned the finance company about…

Don’t just teach kids to code – teach them to question Facebook and Google | John Harris

It’s shameful that our children are still so computer illiterate. Let’s give them the skills to take on the tech giants, and create a more democratic internet
Three years ago, before the Brexit dreams of renewed imperial glory and Vimto for all took wing, England took an uncharacteristically bold step into the future. Michael Gove was in charge of the Department for Education, and he appeared to make good his promise to revolutionise the teaching…

They voted for Brexit in a cry of pain – what happened to the left-behind? | John Harris

May hasn’t delivered on her pledge to rebalance the country. In fact with austerity cuts, economic revival in leave-voting areas seems more unlikely than ever
It was not much more than a year ago. The result of the EU referendum was still being pored over, and the political moment seemed to be all about two things: a view of much of the leave vote as a cry of pain and resentment from parts of the country…

Freedom for Frestonia: the London commune that cut loose from the UK

When a group of squatters decided to form a republic in west London, few took them seriously. Forty years on, those on the frontline recall a remarkable victory
It’s only a small corner of west London, but it speaks volumes about the recent history of the city. Inside a converted factory is the HQ of Stella McCartney’s design business. Two minutes’ walk away is a similarly refurbished building now owned and used by the

Owning a car will soon be a thing of the past | John Harris

The idea that we will surrender our prized motors can look far-fetched. But as cities clamp down on vehicle use, technology is putting a utopian vision in reach
If ours is an age in which no end of institutions and conventions are being disrupted, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that one of the most basic features of everyday life seems under serious threat. If you are fortunate enough to live in a…

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