Top story: ‘Treated like disposable labour’
Hello, Warren Murray here with Friday’s plat du journalism.
Workers’ rights have failed to keep pace with the dismantling of the nine-to-five working week as Britain’s gig economy has more than doubled in size over three years to account for 4.7 million workers, the TUC has warned, in a study conducted with the University of Hertfordshire. “Huge numbers are being forced to take on casual and insecure platform work – often on top of other jobs,” said Frances O’Grady, general secretary of the Trades Union Congress. “But as we’ve seen with Uber too often these workers are denied their rights and are treated like disposable labour.”
Overall employment in the UK has reached a record 32.75 million following a boom in job creation since the 2008 financial crisis. But economists believe employment is also increasingly precarious, putting pressure on living standards. Poverty while in work has increased, alongside the use of food banks, and average wages after inflation remain below the level recorded before the 2008 crash. The government promised to boost workers’ rights after a landmark review of the gig economy but Brexit has left that process stalled, and unions and Labour say the measures do not go far enough.
Democratic debate vol. 2 – An exchange on race rattled frontrunner Joe Biden as 10 more Democratic presidential candidates clashed in Miami on Thursday night. Biden squared up against the Vermont senator Bernie Sanders but they were overshadowed by strong performances from other candidates. California senator Kamala Harris raised questions over Biden’s approach to racial issues after he made a remark recently on the campaign trail speaking fondly of his relationship with segregationist senators.
“That is a mischaracterisation of my position across the board. I did not praise racists,” Biden responded. Sanders called Donald Trump a “pathological liar” who conned American workers and said the best way to beat Trump was to “expose him for the fraud that he is”. It was also a big night for Pete Buttigieg, who has soared from near-anonymity to the top of the Democratic field but has faced sharp criticism for his handling as mayor of South Bend, Indiana, of a fatal shooting of a black man by a white police officer.
G20 under way – Theresa May is expected to press Vladimir Putin over the novichok attack in Salisbury, and the Russian agents suspected of carrying it out, when she meets with him today. Vladimir Putin has said in an FT interview that western liberalism is “obsolete … It has come into conflict with the interests of the overwhelming majority of the population”. The European council president Donald Tusk hit back sharply this morning: “Whoever claims that liberal democracy is obsolete, also claims that freedoms are obsolete, that the rule of law is obsolete and that human rights are obsolete. What I find really obsolete are: authoritarianism, personality cults, the rule of oligarchs. Even if sometimes they may seem effective.” Donald Trump and Xi Jinping have been urged to reach a trade deal for the sake of the global economy as world leaders gather in Japan.
Windrush warnings were ignored – The Home Office failed in its legal duty to counter racial discrimination when it implemented its anti-immigration hostile environment programme, a draft investigation into the causes of the Windrush scandal has reportedly found. “This appears particularly reckless considering the significant warnings that the department was given about their potential consequences,” says the draft report, seen by Channel 4 News. As a result of Theresa May’s hostile environment policy, thousands of people who had lived legally in the UK for decades found themselves wrongly classified as illegal immigrants.
Shock over Alabama case – A woman who was shot in the stomach while pregnant, killing the foetus, has been charged with its manslaughter. Police in Alabama say the charge is justified because Marshae Jones, 27, started the fight with the shooter, who remains free. Alabama is one of 38 states with foetal homicide laws that recognise a foetus as a potential victim. It is also a “stand-your-ground” state where people can use physical force to defend themselves if their reason is “justifiable”. The Alabama governor, Kay Ivey, signed a bill in May banning abortion in almost every circumstance – including rape and incest. Jones’s case has raised alarm among pro-choice groups, who say it is shocking evidence of how the abortion laws are being used against pregnant women.
‘Dutch auction of chaos’ – The announcement of the new Tory leader is still three weeks away. Just leaving that there … in Brexit developments Boris Johnson has refused to categorically rule out suspending parliament in order to let Britain crash out of the EU without a deal. On the hustings in Bournemouth, Johnson’s rival, Jeremy Hunt, pledged to resign as prime minister if he did not manage to “deliver Brexit and deliver it very quickly”. Simon Jenkins writes this morning that Johnson’s hard Brexit is “based on a legal fantasy, that under World Trade Organisation rules you can have an agreement without a deal. Hunt, meanwhile, feels obliged to repeat May’s ‘no deal is better than a bad deal’ mantra. This Dutch auction of chaos is cheered on by Tory party members … Every indication now is that May’s withdrawal deal is the only conceivable way of achieving a 31 October Brexit.”
‘Gambling with lives’ – The parents of Jack Ritchie, a gambling addict who killed himself aged 24, have launched a legal bid to hold the government liable. Charles and Liz Ritchie want the inquest into his death to take into account article 2 of the European convention on human rights – the right to life. It would consider whether the government failed to protect Jack from risk. “Over many years they failed to regulate gambling, educate the public about the health risks or make adequate treatment resources available to people who suffer harm,” said Charles and Liz Ritchie, who founded the charity Gambling With Lives after Jack’s death. The Sheffield coroner, Christopher Dorries, is due to hear arguments from the Ritchies’ lawyers today. The Gambling Commission and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, which oversees gambling policy, are opposing the move.
I’ve a new idea, Tim – Jony Ive, the British designer of the iMac, iPod, iPhone and Apple Watch, is to leave Apple after 30 years to set up his own creative company. “This just seems like a natural and gentle time to make this change,” he said. Ive worked on the original Apple PowerBook 140, released in 1991, while still employed at UK design firm Tangerine.
His first true hit with Apple was the 1998 iMac with its translucent “Bondi blue” casing. Starting in 2012, he took over design of Apple’s software, which resulted in a total overhaul of the iPhone’s operating system, iOS. He was also involved in designing Apple’s new headquarters, Apple Park, the $5bn futuristic “spaceship” that opened in 2017.
Today in Focus podcast: Did the Saudis get away with Khashoggi?
A UN report on the murder of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi has said there is credible evidence linking the Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, to the crime. Nick Hopkins and Stephanie Kirchgaessner discuss the killing and the fallout in Saudi Arabia and among its allies.
Lunchtime read: Glastonbury in your living room
If you’re not going to Worthy Farm, the Guardian and the BBC have an entire weekend of highlights to watch and listen to from a mud-free sofa.
Goals from Jill Scott, Ellen White and a long-range Lucy Bronze effort gave England a 3-0 win over Norway to set up a Women’s World Cup semi-final against France or USA. Football might not be coming home just yet and neither are England’s supporters as they got caught up in Le Havre’s culture. Jonny Bairstow has accused England’s critics of wanting the team to fail as they approach Sunday’s must-win World Cup cricket match against India at Edgbaston.
Kyle Edmund progressed to the semi-finals of the Nature Valley International after battling back to win his all-British encounter with Dan Evans. Lewis Hamilton has changed his stance on the suitability of his Mercedes team principal to run Formula One and now says Toto Wolff would make an excellent candidate to take over the sport. And Warren Gatland is to split his role as British and Irish Lions coach with a new job in Super Rugby in charge of the Chiefs.
Concerns about the outlook for the global economy have dominated the opening stages of the G20 summit in Osaka, with world leaders lining up to call on the US and China to reach an agreement on their festering trade dispute. Russian president Vladimir Putin and Indian PM Narendra Modi issued veiled warnings against “some countries” trying to upset the balance of world trade. The fighting talk gave investors in Asia the jitters, led by stocks in Shanghai which were down nearly 1%. The FTSE100 looks like following it down– but only by a fraction. The pound will buy you $1.267 and €1.115.
The FT quotes its exclusive interview with Vladimir Putin on its front: “The liberal idea has become obsolete”. The Telegraph has “Police let class A drug users avoid prosecution”, the Express leads with a warning from a police chief: “Life is a ‘war zone’ for today’s children”.
The Mirror reports that Prince Harry and Meghan will be taking their son on a trip to South Africa: “Archie’s African adventure” and the Sun has a story about a potential cure for baldness (“Slappy ending”), and spares no insult in the story, where it refers to people who may benefit as “baldies” and “slapheads”.
Back in the world of the conservative leadership battle, the Times reports: “Stamp duty slashed in Johnson’s no-deal budget”, the Guardian says: “Johnson’s ‘false promises’ locking UK into no deal, says Brussels chief”, the i reports: “Davidson: UK could break up under Johnson” and the Mail says: “BBC censored Boris’s insult to the French” (over claims the BBC didn’t air Johnson’s comments that the French were being “turds” over Brexit).
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