Like many people, I have personal experience of the NHS. In my case, medical care, personal life and scientific life are all intertwined. I have received a large amount of high-quality NHS treatment and would not be here today if it were not for the service.The care I have received since being diagnosed with motor neurone disease as a student in 1962 has enabled me to live my life as I want, and to contribute to major advances in our understanding of the universe. In July I celebrated my 75th birthday with an international science conference in Cambridge. I still have a full-time job as director of research at the Centre for Theoretical Cosmology and, with two colleagues, am soon to publish another scientific paper on quantum black holes.
Category Archives: Europe
Once, on a cold and turbulent day in south London, I saw a man standing in the middle of an empty street, shouting, “If you won’t speak English go back to your own country” at the nobody there. The wind wailed soft and heartless vowels at him in reply. They were not in English. It had no country.Last week, members of Fedrelandet viktigst, a Norwegian far-right Facebook group had a similar moment. A photo showing three rows of entirely empty bus seats, globularly ergonomic, decked out in clean blue fabric and gently moulded to friendly yellow supports, was posted to the group. It’s quite a haunting image—a still lifelessness, placid Arctic indifference, a place made for humans, but without anyone to be seen. It has meaning. The readers of Fedrelandet viktigst, for their part, were furious. This should never happen. This looks really scary. Disgusting. Tragic. Terrifying. Thirteen thousand self-declared defenders of Western civilisation retching and ranting against six empty seats on a bus: this is everything that’s gone wrong with society, this is why we have to fight. These people, the freethinkers who see through all the bullshit and lies of liberal society, thought that the bus seats were Muslim women in burqas.
Britain and America feel more unstable than I’ve ever seen them before – how do we come back from this? | The Independent
[Britain and America feel more unstable than I’ve ever seen them before – how do we come back from this? | The Independent] is good,have a look at it! http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/britain-brexit-unstable-jeremy-corbyn-theresa-may-donald-trump-anti-establishment-a7877481.html
How do we measure human malice? Sometimes it’s all too easy. This summer, British cities are struggling through the aftermath of successive terrorist attacks and hate crimes. The Manchester bombing. The Westminster Bridge murders. The London Bridge atrocity. The attack on people outside the Finsbury Park Mosque in north London and on other mosques. The unidentified young men who are still at large in the capital after spraying acid in the faces of passers-by, mutilating them.
In Britain, we are commendably resilient about these things. Returning to London after some time away, I found my spirits lifted by an issue of the London Evening Standard magazine that celebrated the ordinary people who stepped in to help after these atrocities. The paramedics who worked through the night. The Romanian chef who offered shelter in his bakery. The football fan who took on the London Bridge terrorists, screaming, “Fuck you, I’m Millwall!” The student housing co-ordinator who rushed to organise board for the victims of the inferno at the Grenfell Tower and their families.
More than 40,000 civilians were killed in the devastating battle to retake Mosul from Isis, according to intelligence reports revealed exclusively to The Independent – a death toll far higher than previous estimates.
Residents of the besieged city were killed by Iraqi ground forces attempting to force out militants, as well as by air strikes and Isis fighters, according to Kurdish intelligence services.
Hoshyar Zebari, until recently a senior minister in Baghdad, told The Independent that many bodies “are still buried under the rubble”. “The level of human suffering is immense,” he said.
“Kurdish intelligence believes that over 40,000 civilians have been killed as a result of massive firepower used against them, especially by the federal police, air strikes and Isis itself,” Mr Zebari added.
A test opening of St Petersburg’s Zenit Arena in February treated 10,000 spectators to car racing, motorcycle tricks, dancers and a performing bear introduced as “Russia’s greatest hero”. But the patriotic ceremony failed to note that the stadium, in which Russia kick off the Confederations Cup in a fortnight in preparation for next year’s World Cup, was built mostly by immigrant workers from Asia, including from one of the world’s most repressive countries, North Korea.
A subcontractor who asked to remain anonymous said at least 190 “downtrodden” North Koreans had worked long hours with no days off between August and November last year and that one, a 47-year-old, had died on site. “These guys are afraid to speak to people. They don’t look at anyone. They’re like prisoners of war,” the subcontractor said.
Last week, as the shocking results of the British elections arrived, the most over-used sentence in Britain seemed to be: “I was wrong.” Another insurgent mass movement following Syriza in Greece, Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump in the United States, and the Five Star Movement in Italy had caused a political earthquake. In one of the biggest political upsets in British history, Theresa May of the Conservative Party lost her majority in parliament, and her socialist rival Jeremy Corbyn led his Labor Party to its largest increase in its share of the popular vote since 1945.
Britain’s Political Revolution: How tactical voting and new dividing lines of age and education took effect
The surprise outcome of the general election sprang from a series of surprises combining in the closing weeks of the campaign. Some were predictable, but others marked fresh departures in British political life.Canterbury is a good example of these trends, resulting in a narrow Labour win and the first Conservative loss in the constituency in a century and a half. The political geography of Britain is changing. Sir Julian Brazier, the Conservative MP who lost the Canterbury seat after holding it for 30 years, says: “The division is no longer between the middle-class voting Conservative and the working-class voting Labour.” Polls confirm that the new political dividing line is between young and old (the dividing line being a quite advanced 47 years) and between the well-educated and less well-educated. These divisions determine party allegiance as well as attitudes to Brexit, immigration, homeownership and the use of social media.
Britain is experiencing profound political changes, going by the outcome of the general election, but new trends are shadowy, developing below the surface. It may be that Labour’s relative success – achieved amid confident predictions by pundits of annihilating defeat – stemmed from a last-minute change of direction by voters, or simply because pollsters vastly underestimated the turnout of pro-Labour younger voters.The importance of the result is not in doubt: an election called to empower the Government at the start of the Brexit negotiations produced one weakened, divided and facing a rejuvenated opposition. But tempting though it is to jeer at discomfited political commentators eating humble pie with varying degrees of enthusiasm, it is more useful and interesting to ask what has changed so radically in Britain that so many intelligent and well-informed people were wrong-footed.
Political earthquakes, terrorist outrages and man-made disaster are pounding Britain so frequently these days that it is scarcely possible to take in the significance of one before the next is upon us.There has been the referendum on Brexit, the fall of one prime minister and the rise of another, three suicide attacks, the general election with a completely unexpected outcome and the Grenfell Tower disaster.The political landscape in Britain is changing in ways and to a degree that is little understood, but will very likely shape the life of the country for decades to come.All the pundits turned out to be wrong about the outcome of the election on 8 June. They portrayed Jeremy Corbyn as a pariah leading Labour to inevitable destruction, but three weeks later he leads a rejuvenated party, is ahead of Theresa May in the polls for the first time and was being applauded at the weekend by tens of thousands of fans at Glastonbury as an anti-establishment icon.