John Harris

Journalist & Author

Archive for June, 2014

| Newer Entries »

Fear and anger in once-wealthy town divided by insecurity and immigration

Tuesday, June 17th, 2014

Effects of recession in Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, were often blamed on new arrivals who, in time, actually revived town centre

The Lithuanian man I meet on my second day in Wisbech doesn’t want to tell me his name. He has lived in this Cambridgeshire market town the "capital of the Fens" for nearly eight years, but his English remains staccato and stilted. He has the leathery complexion of someone who has spent long hours outdoors, and what looks like a black eye. He tells me he spent the previous night in a shelter for the homeless; today, he has stopped by the Rosmini Centre more of which in a moment to try to get some advice, and eat.

When he first came here, he says, he worked in the fields, picking and cutting daffodils for piece rates: £5.50 for each box of 100 bundles, which could sometimes be put together in half an hour. He lived with his girlfriend in a house shared with other people, and sent money home to his daughter; when work on local farms drew to a close, local agencies then sent him to food-processing factories. And so life went on until, six months ago, he was beaten up by other Lithuanians, he says and left with four broken ribs.

Continue reading…

Posted in Guardian RSS | No Comments »

Could Theresa May be a future Tory leader?

Thursday, June 12th, 2014

Her fallout with Michael Gove has revealed the power struggle among top Tories. But the home secretary might just have what it takes to win a future leadership contest over her more clubbable, Etonian colleagues

As political theatre, Monday’s events in the House of Commons were something of a treat. Michael Gove and Theresa May had been respectively summoned from the Department for Education and the Home Office to face questions about their roles in the so-called Trojan horse affair affecting 21 schools in Birmingham, and the fact that it had sparked a very public fall-out between their two departments, much to David Cameron’s annoyance.

There they were: two people often talked about as future Tory leaders, preparing to bloodlessly pay tribute to each other. A particularly priceless moment arrived when May had finished her time at the dispatch box, and Gove leaned over to pat her on the forearm. As one sketchwriter pointed out: "She did not react, at least visibly."

Continue reading…

Posted in Guardian RSS | No Comments »

Theresa May: ‘She’s not a bloke and she didn’t go to Eton’

Wednesday, June 11th, 2014

Her spat with Michael Gove has laid bare the power struggle among top Tories. Can the serious and inscrutable May win a future leadership contest over her more clubbable colleagues?

As political theatre, Monday’s events in the House of Commons were something of a treat. Michael Gove and Theresa May had been respectively summoned from the Department for Education and the Home Office to face questions about their roles in the so-called Trojan horse affair affecting 21 schools in Birmingham, and the fact that it had sparked a very public fall-out between their two departments, much to David Cameron’s annoyance.

There they were: two people often talked about as future Tory leaders, preparing to bloodlessly pay tribute to each other. A particularly priceless moment arrived when May had finished her time at the dispatch box, and Gove leaned over to pat her on the forearm. As one sketchwriter pointed out: "She did not react, at least visibly."

Continue reading…

Posted in Guardian RSS | No Comments »

The lesson of Birmingham? State education is in chaos | John Harris

Tuesday, June 10th, 2014

Some schools’ conduct was an offence to liberal principles, and we cannot ignore that. But religion is not the main issue here

On the face of it the Birmingham schools controversy is deeply complicated. Ofsted issue their damning verdicts, and the schools concerned fiercely dispute their findings; the row divides not just government and opposition, but the cabinet. What may or may not have happened is the subject of wildly different accounts; among its other confounding details, the story was partly triggered by a letter believed to be a hoax. If you want some indication of how messy it has all become, consider the fact that five separate investigations are now at various stages of completion, with no clear end in sight.

Today there was a shift in what is supposed to be the nub of the story, from state schools supposedly threatened by a jihadist plot to the different failings chronicled in the Ofsted reports: inadequate work "to raise students’ awareness of the risks of extremism", a claim that "pupils have limited knowledge of religious beliefs other than Islam", gender segregation and staff who discourage girls "from speaking to boys and from actively participating in extracurricular activities"; and small groups of governors "making significant changes" to schools’ ethos and culture "without full consultation".

Continue reading…

Posted in Guardian RSS | No Comments »

Labour’s fake folksiness and empty slogans speak of snobbery and stupidity | John Harris

Monday, June 2nd, 2014

Ed Miliband and colleagues are trapped by a pathology of inauthenticity that could hobble the party for another generation at least

Last Friday an email was sent out by Labour party staff to 102,000 members and "supporters". Ostensibly signed by Yvette Cooper, the shadow home secretary, it was aimed at getting recipients to take part in an online survey about the party and the future of the country whose spectacular banality suggests that the whole thing might be a hoax.

But it’s not. You navigate from the email to the survey proper via the mind-boggling question: "Do you think Britain is going to get better or worse in the next 30 years?" If our likely national journey to 2044 seems too complex to contemplate, there is help: two big buttons labelled "Better" or "Worse", either of which opens no end of fun.

Continue reading…

Posted in Guardian RSS | No Comments »

| Newer Entries »

John Harris is powered by WordPress 2.8.4 Entries (RSS) Comments (RSS). Designed by Hywel Harris

ADIDAS PERFORMANCE Galactic Elite W Blanc Cheap Womens AF Sublimation Graphic Tee 2016 Adidas Originals ZX Flux Weave Shoes Sale Mens AF Active Running Shorts Online ADIDAS PERFORMANCE Duramo 6 W Running White Ftw Metallic Silver Vivid Mint F14 Mens AF Washed Out Tee AF 2016 ADIDAS ORIGINALS Court Star Slim W Sale Mens AF Classic Taper Pants Online Adidas Running adizero XT 5 Shoes Cheap Womens AF Textured Open Cardigan 2016 Mens AF Varsity Logo Cardigan AF 2016 ADIDAS ORIGINALS Zx 700 W Sabpou Sabpou Noiess Mens AF Striped Icon Henley AF 2016 ADIDAS PERFORMANCE Duramo 6 W Earth Green S13 Tech Grey Met S14 Solar Pink Mens AF Premium Utility Jacket AF 2016 ADIDAS PERFORMANCE Response Aspire Str W Running White Ftw Pink Buzz S10 Light Grey Sale Mens AF Denim Joggers Online ADIDAS ORIGINALS Extaball W Noiess Ormeta Nuiflu Mens AF Quilted Bomber jacket AF 2016 ADIDAS ORIGINALS Tech Super W NOIR NOIR ROSSOL Mens AF Classic Chambray Shirt AF 2016 ADIDAS ORIGINALS Bankshot 2 0 W Aluminum 2 Aluminum 2 Chalk 2 Mens AF Rib-Trim Crew Sweater AF 2016 Adidas Women adidas Neo Zip Fleece Hoodie New Womens AF High Rise Cropped Flare Sateen Pants 2016 ADIDAS PERFORMANCE Duramo 6 W Running White Ftw Metallic Silver Glow S14 New Womens AF Denim Mini Skirt 2016 Adidas Men Originals Plimcana 2 0 Low Shoes New Womens AF Lace Midi Skirt 2016 ADIDAS PERFORMANCE Duramo 6 W Noiess Noiess Rosflu Men Running adizero Tempo Boost 7 Shoes ADIDAS ORIGINALS Extaball Up W Noiess Noiess Ftwbla ADIDAS PERFORMANCE Galaxy W Neon Pink Metallic Silver Black 1 Men Running Springblade Ignite Shoes