Politics – What the Labour Party is learning from Joe Biden | Britain

THE LABOUR PARTY has long spied the future through a telescope across the Atlantic. New Labour was entranced by Bill Clinton’s New Democrats. Ed Miliband was a keen student of Barack Obama’s campaign. Jeremy Corbyn and Bernie Sanders were mutual admirers. American politics is more exciting than Europe’s these days, which is why Labour wonks can recite with greater ease the names of Democratic senators than the prime ministers of Europe, and their shelves heave with Robert Caro biographies and West Wing DVDs.

Yet the echoes of America in British politics are faint. British partisanship is less vociferous than America’s, and its cultural and racial rifts shallower. Although Boris Johnson is embarrassed by his dabbling with Trumpism (see article), he did not suggest bleach as a treatment for covid-19, nor incite an insurrection.

The most striking similarity is between the bind the Democrats found themselves in following the defeat of Hillary Clinton in 2016 and the crisis Labour faces after Jeremy Corbyn’s defeats in 2017 and 2019. Both saw their electorates split: their younger, more diverse, city-dwelling voters stayed loyal, while older, whiter voters in industrial towns drifted away. Labour’s woes in the so-called red wall were mirrored in Mrs Clinton’s loss of the rustbelt states of Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania. The centrist Mr Biden’s success validates Labour’s decision to replace the radical Mr Corbyn with the moderate Sir Keir Starmer.

Sir Keir initially made big advances against the Tories, but insiders fret that he hasn’t opened up a clear lead despite the pandemic (see chart). His party is therefore keen for advice. Lisa Nandy, the shadow foreign secretary, is leading the outreach to the incoming administration.

Sir Keir’s circle sees the insecurity of lower-middle-class families, who “feel the world is spinning out of control”, as the root of Britain’s volatile politics. Mr Biden promised such voters “jobs, dignity, respect and community”. A key insight from Team Biden is that people who once voted for revolutionary change in the form of Donald Trump now hanker for stability. Like Mr Biden, Sir Keir has styled himself as a safe pair of hands, and a defender of the rule of law and Britain’s standing in the world. (Mr Biden’s slogan, “No Malarkey”, rather suits managerial Sir Keir.)

A speech by Sir Keir about “family first” policies reflected advice from John Anzalone, Mr Biden’s pollster, on how to win back working-class voters: faced with a rhetorician like Mr Johnson, a leader’s personal values carry more weight than eye-catching policies. Sir Keir’s speeches are heavy on moralism and light on plans. He now sits in front of a union flag for television interviews, and speaks of his admiration of the queen, the troops and the doggedness of the British people. (The elder-statesman routine is easier for Mr Biden, 78, who took his seat in the Senate around the time the Labour leader was sitting his 11-plus exam.) Sir Keir, like the president-elect, plays up his humble background. “My dad was a toolmaker; he spent his whole life on the factory floor,” he declared on January 11th.

There are also lessons in how Mr Biden navigated the issues of identity politics—trans rights, the Black Lives Matter movement—which span the Atlantic. As with the Democrats, such issues motivate party members, but can be met with indifference or suspicion by voters, especially older ones. Mr Biden’s solution was to embrace a socially-liberal agenda, couched in the language of love and respect, while being careful not to rebuke voters who weren’t on board, says Marcus Roberts, a pollster at YouGov who has worked for the Democrats and Labour.

Mr Biden’s campaign provides warnings too. Despite his ravings and his cataclysmic response to the pandemic, Mr Trump received 74m votes, 11m more than in 2016 and the highest cast for any presidential candidate bar Mr Biden. He increased his share among non-white voters, and remains dominant among men without a college education. Mr Johnson could equally advance in the red wall in 2024. Ejecting a prime minister with a majority of 87 is no easier than ousting a president after a single term. Mr Biden provides inspiration, but little comfort.

This article appeared in the Britain section of the print edition under the headline “Learning from Joe”

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Mary Berry says pandemic has taught us to use what’s in fridge

The Celebrity Best Home Cook judge, 80, said she hoped fewer shopping trips results in smaller quantities of food going to waste.

Asked how the last 12 months have changed home cooking, Dame Mary said: “It has taught us all to use what’s in the fridge and store cupboard and to adapt if something wasn’t available.

“Shopping once a week is a great lesson in not wasting food.”

The former Great British Bake Off judge added: “I hope it’s made us more appreciative of what’s around us locally and that continues.”

Celebrities taking part in the BBC One show include former cabinet minister Ed Balls and the Prime Minister’s sister Rachel Johnson, who said she “literally can’t boil an egg”.

Balls said lasagne is his signature, home-cooked dish.

“It’s a recipe my mum brought back from America when she was there with my dad in 1960 and it’s something I’ve cooked many times over the last 30 years,” he said.

“It made headlines when I was shadow chancellor,” said Balls, who was accused of holding lasagne dinner parties to undermine then Labour leader Ed Miliband at the time.

And Balls added: “I cooked lasagne for Gordon Brown when he was prime minister.

“For a man who only ever ate steak and chips, lamb bhuna or spaghetti bolognaise, this was a bit of a departure but he really liked it.”

Celebrity Best Home Cook airs on BBC One on Tuesday and Wednesday nights from January 26 at 9pm and iPlayer on demand.

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vaccine scepticism and Coronavirus – Channel 4 News

18 Jan 2021

Our reporter, Ayshah Tull, has been speaking to those who are convinced the vaccine is too risky – as well as those trying to fight this disinformation so that normality can return sooner rather than later.



Vaccination against Covid-19 has begun across the world. But can we end this pandemic when the World Health Organisation says that vaccine hesitancy – those who believe vaccinations are either unsafe or ineffective – is one of the biggest threats to global health?

Our reporter, Ayshah Tull, has been speaking to those who are convinced the vaccine is too risky – as well as those trying to fight this disinformation so that normality can return sooner rather than later.

Sources: ITV, The Telegraph, 11Alive, Unicef Africa


You can listen to, download and subscribe to the podcast on Apple Podcasts here.

Also available on Google Podcasts, Spotify, Acast, CastBox and other good podcast apps.

The RSS feed is here.

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Mike Phelan berated Bruno Fernandes from sidelines during Man Utd’s clash with Liverpool

Manchester United ace Bruno Fernandes had a poor game against Liverpool on Sunday, and reports suggest he received a rollicking from Mike Phelan during the game.

Fernandes, who went into the game in red-hot form after scoring 11 and providing seven assists in 17 league games, was started in his favoured number ten role.

He played in the midfield with Paul Pogba, Scott McTominay and Fred, but was unable to find his feet in the game.

Fernandes gave the ball away on numerous occasions and played a few wayward passes out of play.

And according to the Manchester Evening News, Phelan didn’t hide his disappointment in the £46.6million man.

Bruno Fernandes had a poor game against Liverpool

A report on Monday morning claimed Phelan berated Fernandes from the sidelines due to his risk-taking.

Fernandes had one of United’s best chances of the game during the first-half, as he curled a free-kick towards goal from 25 yards.

His effort went just wide of the post, however, and that was the only time he truly threatened to score.

Bruno Fernandes wasn't happy about being substituted off late in the game
Bruno Fernandes wasn’t happy about being substituted off late in the game

Fernandes was hauled off for Mason Greenwood in the final few moments, and didn’t hide his displeasure at being withdrawn.

He was seen gesturing towards Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in protest before eventually trudging off.

But speaking afterwards, Solskjaer explained he wanted to give the Portuguese a rest and let Greenwood run at Andy Robertson.

“Bruno has obviously been running his socks off for us every single game since he’s come,” he said. “He’s been here and been running more or less every game.

“So towards the end we felt Paul [Pogba]’s physical presence in there might be a chance for us. And Mason, when he gets a chance he can score in the blink of a second.

“So it was a bit of a throw of the dice to get Mason on even though he had to defend against Robertson.”

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Donald Trump’s impeachment timeline – what could happen next?

Thursday, January 14

On Jan 14, top Democrats and Republicans discussed how best to stage a Senate trial about whether to convict Mr Trump of the single article of impeachment, for “incitement of insurrection”, that passed the House of Representatives.

It seems all but certain that the Republican leadership’s request for the trial to begin after Mr Biden’s inauguration as president on Jan 20 will be agreed, meaning senators would be debating conviction with Mr Trump out of office.

It remains unclear when the trial will take place.

The House can decide when to send the article of impeachment across to the Senate to trigger the trial. Some Democrats want to wait until months into Mr Biden’s presidency to do so, freeing Senate time at the start of his term for confirming his cabinet nominees and passing measures to tackle Covid-19.

Wednesday, January 20

The inauguration. At noon Washington DC time, Joe Biden becomes the US president and Mr Trump’s term is over. Mr Trump has said he will not attend the ceremony on the steps of the US Capitol.

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Long covid – How the pressure is being felt in English hospitals | Britain

TO THOSE WHO receive them, vaccines offer fast protection, with effects kicking in just a few weeks afterwards. For health-care systems, though, the protection takes a little longer—as those working in English hospitals are now acutely aware.

In all 32,689 National Health Service beds are currently occupied by people with covid-19, 50% more than in last year’s peak. Modelling by the Covid-19 Actuaries Response Group suggests that because of the slow start to the roll-out, even if everything goes to plan, hospital admissions will not decline sharply until early February.

Intensive-care admissions will take still longer. The government has jabbed the oldest first. Yet the elderly tend not to end up in intensive-care units, because they don’t do well on ventilators (the average age of covid-19 patients on critical-care wards is a sprightly 60). Thus the actuaries think intensive-care admissions won’t drop much until the end of February.

The modelling is based on the assumption that cases will remain at current levels. That is not too far off what many in the health service are now expecting. Growth in cases seems to have halted, but the lockdown may not force a fast decline in infections, because of the increased transmissibility of the new variant.

The result will be a period of sustained pressure on hospitals. London’s and the south-east’s have so far borne the brunt of this wave. Chris Hopson, chief executive of NHS Providers, a representative group, says he is worried about those in the north-west, which have patients in beds from the autumn, and the south-west, which has low capacity.

Politicians talk of the need to avoid “collapse”, implying a binary outcome where hospitals suddenly go from being able to provide care, to not. In reality there is a gradual ratcheting up of risk well in advance of such a moment. “It’s really important that nobody in the NHS should pretend that you will get the same quality of care or the same outcomes,” says Mr Hopson.

This can be seen in oxygen supplies. Since the first wave there has been a move to less-invasive breathing support, which requires lots of oxygen (as much as 60 litres a minute, compared with 15 for a ventilator). Piping—particularly in older institutions—is struggling, meaning some hospitals have reduced blood-oxygen targets to prevent systems from giving out. William Harrop-Griffiths of the Royal College of Anaesthetists says this is safe in itself, but leaves little wiggle room if, say, there is an interruption in the gas supply or if the patient’s lung function deteriorates.

It is a similar story in other areas of care. Some 6% of London’s ambulances are now delayed for longer than an hour, more than double the rate this time last year. Patient-to-staff ratios in critical care are rising, with reports suggesting three or four intensive-care patients to each specialist nurse in some places. That is lower than during the worst of the first wave, but well above the normal one-to-one ratio.

Efforts to free up capacity are getting increasingly unpleasant; ranging, in the capital, from booking hotel rooms for recuperating patients to cancelling cancer operations. The hope is that this will stop critical-care capacity being breached. Whether it works is still in the balance. Yet even if it does, it will come at a cost.

Editor’s note: Some of our covid-19 coverage is free for readers of The Economist Today, our daily newsletter. For more stories and our pandemic tracker, see our hub

This article appeared in the Britain section of the print edition under the headline “Long covid”

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UK Coronavirus LIVE: Matt Hancock says UK ‘on home straight’ as vaccine rollout expands and Government looks at March lockdown end


ealth Secretary Matt Hancock has said the UK is “nearly on the home straight” out of the pandemic as the vaccine rollout gathers pace.

But Government sources have “dismissed as speculation” reports that every adult in Britain could be vaccinated by the end of June. Other reports state the government is looking at relaxing lockdown restrictions in March.

Live updates


More here on Dominic Raab saying it is the Government plan to have offered all UK adults a jab by September 


UK lecturers warn of strike action over ‘unsafe’ conditions

The union representing  lecturers has ruled out face to face this academic year over covid fears.

Members of the University and College Union are to ballot members with the threat of strike action if the government tries to force them back onto campuses. 

The moves comes as the National Union of Students called for universities to stop charging students fees and offer them rent rebates while they are unable to use their accommodation. 


Tokyo reports 1,592 new covid cases

Japan has extended a state of emergency in Toyko after 1,592 new cases were reported in the city.

The government has announced seven more zones in and around the city where restrictions are to be beefed up.

Tokyo is the host city for the Olympics scheduled for the summer.


Sir Ed Davey: ‘Gavin Williamson is worst education secretary we’ve had in living memory’

Sir Ed Davey has said that Gavin Williamson is “the worst education secretary we’ve had in living memory”.

Asked whether university students should be financially recompensed for the disruption of their education during the pandemic and who should pay for it, the Lib Dem leader said: “I think it should be the Government.

“I think the Government has really let down universities, it has let down schools, frankly. I mean the fiasco from Gavin Williamson, the way he has mismanaged this whole crisis for our children and young people and students.

“That is why I have called for him to resign. I think he is the worst education secretary we’ve had in living memory.”


Government ‘looking at quarantine hotels and enhanced monitoring’

Dominc Raab told Sky’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday when asked about the reports: “We will consider all the measures in the round.”


Dominic Raab dismisses claims that the Government had been “too slow” in setting up border measures

Dominic Raab dismissed claims that the Government had been “too slow” in setting up border measures to prevent the importation of new coronavirus variants.

He told the Andrew Marr show on the BBC: “I don’t accept that we have been too slow in this – we are broadly the same pace in terms of Canada and Germany.”

He said “all the potential measures” would be kept under review when asked about quarantine hotels.


Government hopes it can start to lift lockdown measures in March

Dominic Raab told BBC One’s The Andrew Marr Show: : “I think it is true to say that when we get to a situation in the early spring, perhaps March, if we succeed in hitting those targets – we have made good process so far – we can start to think about the phased transition out of the national lockdown.


Lockdown won’t be lifted ‘with one big bang’ with March key month

Dominic Raab said the government was looking to March for the lifting of the lockdown but warned the process would take time. 

The Foreign Secretary told Sky’s Sophie Ridge programme: “It won’t be done in a big bang but a phased way.”

He said the decision on whether restrictions could be eased would be made in March. 


Foreign secretary: ‘we can’t guarantee people will get second jab within 12 weeks’

The government  cannot guarantee people will get their second Pfizer jab within 12 weeks as planned.

He told Sky’s Sophie Ridge on Sunday show: “That’s the aim.”


Raab: ‘Don’t book summer summer holiday’

Foreign secretary Dominic Raab today said he did not think people should book summer holidays despite plans to lift the lockdown in March.

He told Sky’s Sophie Ridge on Sunday programme: “I don’t think it’s appropriate for you book a holiday”.

Raab said people should only plan essential travel.

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India launches ambitious vaccination programme for 1.3 billion citizens – Channel 4 News

India has launched one of the world’s biggest and most ambitious vaccination drives against for its 1.3 billion citizens.

The government aims to administer 300 million coronavirus jabs by August – with healthcare workers first in line for the vaccine.

India has registered more than 10.5 million coronavirus cases, the second highest in the world, and over 150 thousand deaths – although infection numbers have been falling in recent months.

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Dan Osborne proves he was just 14 when he got his first tattoo with teenage throwback

Dan Osborne was just 14 when he got his first tattoo, the star has revealed.

TOWIE’s Dan, who’s married to Jungle Queen Jacqueline Jossa, these days runs a tattoo parlour on south London and boasts inkings along one of his arms and legs.

The 29-year-old also has some elaborate art adorning his right flank, that flows seamlessly over his ripped abs.

But it was 15 years ago that Dan first showed an interest – and received his first at just 14.

Responding to a fan’s social media challenge to find a snap of himself without any tattoos, Dan admitted that he was “really struggling to find one.”

Dan revealed his first ever tattoo

He then shared a snap from 2005, on what looks like a family holiday, a single tattoo on his shoulder.

“Can’t believe I’m posting this pic haha…” he wrote, “I was 14 and just had a tattoo what a lad I thought I was!”

Another saw a fan ask him to root out a snap of himself at prom, to which Dan responded with a dapper photo of himself in a three-piece.

Dan Osborne
Dan was challenged to reveal the snaps by fans

Jacqueline Jossa, Dan Osborne and their kids
The family of four may be moving in 2021

2021 may be a big year for Dan, Jacqueline and their daughters Ella and Mia.

Reports recently emerged that they’re considering upping sticks from their Essex home into a brand new one.

And they may even renew their wedding vows, having tied the knot back in 2017 – but Jac insists it would be a low-key affair.

“The thought of it cringes me out slightly,” she shared, “but we might do something like renew our vows when the time is right.

Jacqueline Jossa and Dan Osborne
Jac and Dan may renew their wedding vows

“We would like all five of us in the photos – we’d do it for the kids.

“It does feel like we have a new relationship though, so it might be quite nice to celebrate that.”

As well as his two daughters with Jac, Dan also shares son Teddy with an ex.

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latest news on when they could reopen

All primary and secondary schools have closed, after England moved into a third national lockdown.

The Prime Minister stated on Jan 4 that schools will need to offer remote learning until at least mid-February and GCSE and A-level exams face cancellation for a second year.

Gavin Williamson, however, has indicated that exams may go ahead in a reduced capacity. The Education Secretary has said he would “like to explore the possibility of providing externally set tasks or papers”, in a letter to the chief exam regulator on Jan 13. 

Only vulnerable children and children of key workers are currently allowed to attend schools for face-to-face learning, and early years settings such as nurseries will remain accessible.

Boris Johnson said the new measures were necessary: “because we have to do everything we possibly can to stop the spread of the disease”.

However, Mr Johnson remains “very cautious” about the timetable, with restrictions being lifted as a “gradual unravelling”. 

Those entitled to free school meals will continue to receive them during closures, and more devices will be distributed to help remote learning, according to Mr Johnson.

The Government had insisted schools would remain open only a day before the new measures were announced, reassuring parents it was “safe” to send their children back for the start of term on January 4.

But the move prompted backlash from four national teaching unions, who called for the delay seen across London to apply to all schools in England amid concerns the new strain of Covid-19 poses a threat to teachers.

Anne Longfield, the Children’s Commissioner for England has called for teachers to be vaccinated “as a priority”.

The Telegraph reported on January 9 that education experts warned that Britain needed to massively expand its army of tutors to stave off the long-term economic damage of Covid-19 from lost learning.

Read more: Tracking UK Covid vaccinations: Are we on target to end lockdown?

What are the rules for children of key workers and vulnerable children?

The Department for Education (DfE) said children with at least one parent or carer who was a critical worker could attend class – even if parents were working from home.

It came after concerns were raised about the risks of transmission of Covid-19 amid reports that more than half of pupils were onsite in some primary schools.

Matt Hancock said on Jan 11 that Gavin Williamson, the Education Secretary, will be sending out 500,000 laptops to vulnerable children to ensure they can access remote lessons.

The Prime Minister told MP’s that 560,000 laptops were distributed in 2020, but this still falls short of the 1.5m pupils that Ofcom estimates are without digital devices in their homes, on which they can learn.

A DfE spokesperson said: “Schools are open for vulnerable children and the children of critical workers. We expect schools to work with families to ensure all critical worker children are given access to a place if this is required.

“If critical workers can work from home and look after their children at the same time then they should do so, but otherwise this provision is in place to enable them to provide vital services.

The DfE also said that schools were expected to “strongly encourage” vulnerable children to attend class.

Vulnerable children could include “pupils who may have difficulty engaging with remote education at home” due to a lack of devices or a quiet space to study, according to the advice.

But Government guidance says parents who choose to keep children out of class will not be penalised.

What do Tiers mean for schools?

The new lockdown measures mean the entire country will be subject to the same tougher measures, including the closure of all schools. This means the tier system is not currently in place.

Every school had been instructed to draw up plans to ensure children continue to receive an education even if they have to stay at home.

Mr Johnson said on the announcement of closing schools: “I want to stress that the problem is not that schools are unsafe to children.

“The problem is that schools may nonetheless act as vectors for transmission, causing the virus to spread between households.”

Read more on the previous tier system: 

When will secondary schools reopen?

All schools will remain closed until mid-February, with the possibility that these measures could be extended further.

This means most secondary school pupils will stay at home until at least the February half-term. 

Are there any changes to exams?

Gavin Williamson, the Education Secretary, has indicated that GCSE, A-Level and AS exams may take place after all. 

Mr Williamson addressed this possibility in a letter to the chief exam regulator on Jan 13. This contradicts his announcement on on January 6 that exams would not take place this summer. 

Mr Williamson explained that the replacement would be a “form of teacher-assessed grades, with training and support provided to ensure these are awarded fairly and consistently across the country”.

However, the Education Secretary stated on Jan 13 that he would “like to explore the possibility of providing externally set tasks or papers”.

While teachers’ predicted grades will still be used, the exams may be necessary so that teachers can “draw on this resource to support their assessments of students”, he said.

Previously, Mr Williamson had told the Commons that, while exams are the fairest way of testing a student’s knowledge, the Covid pandemic means it is “not possible to have exams this year” and ministers will “put our trust in teachers rather than algorithms”. 

The Department for Education and Ofqual will launch a joint consultation on the plans later this week, and this will run for a fortnight.

How will testing in schools work?

The Government had previously set out a plan for every secondary school to test as many pupils and staff as possible when they reopened.

It is not yet clear if schools will still be required to mass test pupils after the latest school closures have ended.

The plans stated that 40,000 volunteers will have to be recruited by secondary schools to mass test their pupils, according to Government documents.

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