If there is hope, it lies here, in the most deprived borough in London. Barking and Dagenham has shocking levels of unemployment, homelessness, teenage pregnancy, domestic violence and early death. Until 2010, it was the main stronghold of the British National party. Its population turns over at astonishing speed: every year, about 8% of residents move out. But over the past year it has started to become known for something else: as a global leader in taking back control. Since the second world war, councils and national governments have sought to change people’s lives from the top down. Their efforts, during the first 30 years of this period at least, were highly effective, creating public services, public housing and a social safety net that radically improved people’s lives. But they had the unintended consequence of reducing our sense of agency, our social skills and mutual aid. Now, in the age of austerity, state support has been withdrawn, leaving many people with the … [Read more...] about Could this local experiment be the start of a national transformation?
Amsterdam has won the right to become the new host for the European Medicines Agency (EMA). In a nail-biting final round last night, the 19 European cities that had put in bids had been whittled down to Milan and Amsterdam, sharing an equal number of votes. A draw from a hat sealed it for Amsterdam. Moments later, the same scenario played out for the European Banking Authority (EBA), with Paris and Dublin going into a hat and Paris being drawn. And so it is settled. The EMA will move from London to Amsterdam after Brexit – taking with it nearly 900 jobs, a budget of €322m, and some 40,000 business visits every year, which support local hotels, restaurants, taxis and so on. Also likely to move with the EMA is the attendant industry that congregates around it for easy access to the regulator. It’s a substantial loss of finances, talent, infrastructure and influence. As the EMA leaves the UK, the question now becomes: does the UK leave the EMA? The EMA is the regulatory … [Read more...] about A key medicine agency has left Britain. This is the start of a Brexodus
Boris Johnson took a well-deserved victory lap this morning, having crossed the finish line victorious in the most dramatic general election for a generation, securing him a majority of close to 80 seats and a Labour Party crushed so convincingly its leader resigned before dawn. The newly re-elected PM will be drawing breath for the five-year marathon ahead. But the road is beset with obstacles of his own making, mostly linked to his turbulent love life. A police probe into his relationship with American businesswoman Jennifer Arcuri and grants handed to her company while he was London mayor may be the most concerning. However, thrown into the mix is his impending divorce from second wife Marina Wheeler and his future with the new lady by his side, Carrie Symonds. So, which of Boris's countless personal problems may prove a stumbling block to his premiership? Mayor: Johnson, then Mayor of London and MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip at Downing Street on May 11, … [Read more...] about The police watchdog, scorned ex-wife and nagging questions over his morals: Boris Johnson’s complicated personal life, starting with a probe into his relationship with a US businesswoman, could make getting Brexit done look like child’s play
Films, by critic Peter Bradshaw Blades of Glory Will Ferrell and Jon Heder enjoyed their finest hours in this comedy as egotistical ice-skaters barred from the sport after a disgraceful display of bad temper. They realise their only shot at a comeback is to settle their differences and compete jointly as a men’s pair. A film to release the dove of hope from the spangled Lycra costume of optimism. Duck Soup In 1933, some very depressing political things were happening, and the Marx Brothers did their bit to restore everyone’s good humour, taking aim at political nationalism and tinpot pomposity. The troubled European state of Freedonia has to accept a new president as a condition for a US loan: the free-thinking genius and visionary Rufus T Firefly, played by Groucho Marx. The Devil Wears Prada Is working in a glossy magazine really like this? Who cares? This 2006 film is comfort food that upgrades comfort to luxury, with an outrageous performance by Meryl Streep as the … [Read more...] about Hope in the dark: culture to make you feel less terrible about the UK election
Devil May Cry 5 A frenetic, over-the-top action game about sexy demon hunters, in which you are assaulted by hellish creatures, flashy visual effects and absurdly energetic rock music all at once. It is sensory overload, and an absolute blast. What we said: “It’s bloody, spectacular and irresistible, all cheesy one-liners, guns, swords and explosions while guitars scream in the background, and it plays like a dream.” Read the full review Resident Evil 2 A brilliant remake of the 1998 survival horror classic, providing series heroes Leon Kennedy and Claire Redfield with terrifying new challenges as they explore the zombie-infested Racoon City police station. What we said: “The rhythm, gradually building from many minutes of quiet exploration and puzzle-solving to gigantic, pulverising boss battles, is exact and beautiful, like some monstrous Wagner opera.” Read the full review Heaven’s Vault A reluctant archaeologist sets out across a surreal galaxy … [Read more...] about Best games of 2019 so far