Young people are poorer than older people. And it’s not simply because the old have worked all their lives and are enjoying the fruits of their labours in their sunset years. The wealth gap between the young and the old is on the rise in England. These were the stark findings of our research into deprivation levels between 2004 and 2015. We measured wealth (or lack thereof) using the the UK government’s English Index of Multiple Deprivation data, which pulls together relative deprivation across seven domains: income, employment, education and skills, health and disability, crime, barriers to housing and services, and living environment.
David Kinloch was born and brought up in Glasgow, Scotland. He is a graduate of the Universities of Glasgow and Oxford and was for many years a teacher of French. He is Professor of Poetry and Creative Writing at the University of Strathclyde. A winner of the Robert Louis Stevenson Memorial Award, he is the author of six collections of poetry, most recently In Search of Dustie-Fute (2017). In the 1980s Kinloch co-founded and co-edited the poetry magazine, Verse. More recently he helped establish the Scottish Writers’ Centre and is a founder and organiser of the Edwin Morgan International Poetry Competition. In 2013 he organised an international conference on the subject of ekphrastic poetry.
There was no other option. Naked bum perched on frigid porcelain, I jerked forward violently as my back touched the freezing, off-white tiles that covered every wall of the window-less bathroom. I followed the line of my body – brown nipples pointing solemnly down towards the soft curve of my stomach connecting to the pale triangle of my stubbled crotch, long thighs, inexplicably and permanently hairless, the rest of my legs disappearing at the cliff edge of my knees. Resting on the sodden bathmat were my toes, blistered and bunioned too early from all the running. I lifted one bulbous digit – the big toe of my left foot – and prodded the electric razor that lay beside my feet. I had tried everything.
At PMQs, Jeremy Corbyn devoted his six questions to the NHS in a tribal ding-dong about what he called “privateering”. He was at his strongest when he attacked on solid ground, with figures for waiting lists, the declining number of GPs and so on - and he got in a catchy fact about Virgin Healthcare being paid £1.5m for a rejected bid. He was weak when trying to defend Labour figures who’d advocated private sector outsourcing. Worst was when he cried out, “From the party that opposed the NHS in the first place, that is a bit rich!” It is the kind of line that appeals to tribalists who like to trot out historical grievances. It means nothing to most voters.
The British government’s agreement last December to the Irish backstop and the prospect of some form of special status for the North has prompted a change of tune from the DUP with the party now focused on ensuring that the North should end up having whatever arrangements apply to the UK as a whole. If prime minister Theresa May manages to deliver a soft Brexit it seems the DUP will stay on board as long as the deal involves the entire UK and does not imply any special status for the North.
According to the recently departed Philip Roth, “Literature takes a habit of mind that has disappeared. It requires silence, some form of isolation, and sustained concentration in the presence of an enigmatic thing.” This is certainly true when reading the latest Unthology collection from Unthank Books in which the classic, realist slice-of-life encounters the shocking, the strange and the experimental on common ground. Within this edition of Unthology tales from fourteen new and established writers weave together, with expert editing by Ashely Stokes and Robin Jones, to form an engaging and mysterious collection filled with humour, malice and intrigue.
Probably a week has not gone by without some kind of speculation about a snap general election. If Arlene Foster sneezes, front pages lead with stories of an imminent collapse of the government. The real story is that Theresa May’s absence of leadership has made her minority administration remarkably stable. Every time a political observer predicts an early poll, the one thing they do not do is tell us how. It is not just May’s vacuum that is propping up this government but the Fixed-Term Parliament Act. Designed to prevent the Conservatives playing dirty of their then coalition partners, the act means that weak governments can stay in office: MPs can only dissolve Parliament with a two-thirds majority, or bring down a government with a specific vote of no-confidence (ie a vote not linked to any bill or issue).
Zambian-born, Harvard-educated economist Dambisa Moyo jokes that she wishes she had never written her bestselling book, Dead Aid, as every question and answer session reverts to Africa whatever the topic up for discussion. This is precisely what happens at her London School of Economics event this month to launch her latest work, Edge of Chaos, a harsh analysis of the potential threats to the western model of liberal democratic capitalism along with 10 radical solutions. It should be no real surprise to her given that Dead Aid — full title: Why Aid Is Not Working and How There Is a Better Way for Africa — was a searing indictment of Western aid practices, which managed to gain huge publicity after software billionaire turned philanthropist Bill Gates called it “evil”.
President Donald Trump called for peace in the Middle East on Monday as the U.S. opened its embassy in Jerusalem while Israeli soldiers battled protesting Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, killing more than 50 and wounding more than a thousand others. The images made for jarring split screens beamed worldwide, with U.S. officials, including Trump’s daughter and adviser Ivanka, cheering during the grand, historic ceremony held as smoke filled the air in nearby Gaza. The scenes offered a glimpse of how divisive Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital has been, and they bode poorly for his plans to offer a peace proposal to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.