New Age Islam Edit Bureau
This sexual harassment scandal
is only getting started, and it could bring down Theresa May
Facebook and rest of social
media forced to mend ways
Jail Killing Day
The Daily Star
How Balfour's blunder ruined
Lifting the ban on women
driving: Why now?
For some men, rape just isn’t a
When 37% of children are
brought up poor, that’s a national humiliation
Compiled by New Age Islam Edit
Religious actions speak louder
By Suhail bin Hasan Qadi
people dress and act like religious and pious sheikhs, and pretend they are
God-fearing when they are not. They do this for worldly gains. For example,
some of them want to be promoted while others have their eyes on high
positions. Many want to earn as much money as they can.
should influence behavior and actions in a positive way. If a person is truly
religious, his behavior and actions will speak volumes about his religiosity.
Dressing like a religious person while acting like a non-religious person is
wrong. Actions speak louder than words.
Holy Qur’an warns against fake religiosity when it mentions the story of
scholars and monks who use religion for worldly gains. The Holy Qur’an says:
“...indeed many of the scholars and the monks devour the wealth of people
unjustly and avert (them) from the way of Allah.” (09:34)
Muhammad (peace be upon him) also warned against people who pretend to be
religious and lengthen their prayers to show people that they are religious.
Their actions, however, are not very religious.
is a famous story that took place during the time of Omar Bin Al-Khatab, the
second rightful caliph of Islam. Omar asked if any of the people who were
sitting with him knew about a man who was not present. A person stood up and
said he knew the man. Omar asked the person the following questions: “Are you
the man’s neighbor?” The man answered in the negative. Omar asked, “Did you
travel with him to any place?” The man said no. Omar said, “You must have seen
him at the mosque praying and nodding his head up and down?” The person said
yes. Omar said, “Then you really do not know him.”
Omar knew that some people use religion to deceive others; perhaps he knew that
having a long beard did not automatically make someone religious. He could be
an impostor for all you know. Similarly, a woman wearing a black abaya does not
necessarily mean she is modest.
is a good thing but we have to focus on the essence of our religion and express
it through words and actions. If you want to know what a person is like and
whether he is God-fearing, you should interact with him and not judge according
to his appearance.
Kuwaiti columnist Ahmed Al-Boghdadi wrote about fake religiosity in one of his
article. He said that he was shocked at how some Muslims believed that they
were the only ones who were righteous and pious and that other Muslims were
wrong. He said that some Muslims justified murder if the murderer was a man and
the victim was a woman and if the murder involved honor. These Muslims believed
that if a man killed his sister or wife because of honor, then he should not be
severely punished and that the court sentence should be mitigated.
also talked about the group of Muslims who describe anyone who criticizes
religious individuals as kafirs or disbelievers. They believe anything the
mosque imam says without questioning. The columnist does not understand many of
the fake actions of some Muslims. He points out that the actions of some
Muslims are contrary to their words. The problem is that those Muslims with
fake religiosity end up believing that they are right and that others are
university decided to expand its specialist programs to meet the needs of a
larger segment of society. It opened up schools of medical science, information
technology, medicine, pharmacy and dentistry. However, some members of society
vehemently opposed this expansion and said that the university should have
expanded its religion and humanities faculties despite them knowing that
graduates of religion and humanities schools have been unsuccessful in finding
jobs and that most of them are unemployed.
is funny about this is that when the new schools officially opened, those in
opposition sent their sons to enroll in them. The question arises why they
opposed the schools in the first place? Why did their words contradict their
actions? The answer to this is fake religiosity. They say what they do not do.
Christian Arabs hardly receive
any support from the Arab world
By Ray Hanania
a Palestinian-Christian filmmaker based in Nazareth, has produced a comedic
film called “Holy Air,” which has received huge promotional support from
Israeli activists. It is about a fictional character who devises a scheme to
sell bottled air from the Holy Land to enrich himself and pay his family’s
bills. It is one of several Palestinian-made films headlining this year’s
Israeli Film Festival in Los Angeles.
message in Srour’s film is that money cuts across Middle East differences and
brings Arabs and Israelis together. Even though the film is not political,
because of Israeli funding it is unlikely to get support from Arab activists.
I think Christian Arabs tend to get more support from Israel than they do from
Arabs. Israel recognizes how important Arab Christians are in the war for the
hearts and minds of the world, especially in gaining US support. Arabs tend to
pay lip service to Arab Christians, parroting the politically correct line that
Christians and Muslims have shared the same suffering and challenges, and shed
their blood for the same causes.
Christians are not equal to Muslims in the eyes of Arab activists. Christian
Arabs who challenge mainstream Arab principles — such as the Boycott,
Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel, and rejection of the
two-state solution — are marginalized, demonized as “Zionist shills” and labeled
“traitors to the Palestinian cause.” Activists do not want their “wisdom”
questioned. They want these moderate voices silenced.
are only a few places Christian Arabs can turn to for support. One of those
places is Israel, which constantly addresses their needs. Israelis talk about
us; Arab activists want us to disappear. I am sure Israel is motivated by
propaganda value, but the point is that it is supporting Christian Arabs. This
is one reason why so many Christian Arabs flee the Middle East to Western
nations, where they are embraced and can blend in.
loves to showcase Palestinians who stand up to the anti-normalization policies
of the extremists of BDS and other groups. And nothing gets more attention than
a message embedded in a movie. Film festivals are presented as cultural
environments, but their products can convey powerful messages. Cinema is very
effective in delivering strong political messages through drama, humor and
1960s, Israel used the film “Exodus” to brand its propaganda messages into the
minds of Americans. The movie was based on the 1958 book by Leon Uris, who had
been commissioned by pro-Israel activists to create the fictional print
blockbuster. The movie starred some of Hollywood’s most popular actors,
including Paul Newman, a child of Jewish and Christian parents.
knows the power of film, and many Israelis and American Jews have played
prominent roles in Hollywood. Critics have argued that the industry has been
traditionally racist against Arabs due to personal and political biases.
Growing up in America, I watched more than 200 Hollywood films that presented
Arabs only as sinister characters, terrorists and murderers. Americans rarely
got to see the true face of Arab culture.
few films included positive images, such as the 1976 Arab-funded film “The
Message,” which told the story of the rise of Islam and featured Hollywood
powerhouse Anthony Quinn.
modern films include “Kingdom of Heaven,” starring Liam Neeson, about the
crusades; “The Reluctant Fundamentalist”; and “American East,” which examined
the challenges facing Arab Americans after the 9/11 attacks, starring my friend
does the Arab world not produce movies with compelling storylines that can
appeal to non-Arabic-speaking audiences? The region produces many great films,
but most avoid politics and are in Arabic rather than English. This misses an
important audience that needs to hear the Arab voice.
does not agree with me. But instead of pushing Israelis away and rejecting
“normalization,” we should embrace them away from their country’s racist,
apartheid policies. We should show them the positive face of the Arab and
Palestinian peoples, even when we disagree with their policies. And we should
support Palestinians from Israel, such as Srour, whose voices are more
important than the protest rhetoric of BDS.
film should be showcased across the Arab world and in the Arab activist
community. It is easier to protest in front of an Israeli Embassy than to fund
and produce a compelling movie that tells the Arab narrative in a positive,
effective way to people who need to hear it. A compelling movie about
Palestinian suffering without political rhetoric and ideology can do far more
than the largest protest.
• Ray Hanania is an award-winning
Palestinian-American columnist and author. Email him at email@example.com.
By Tom Harris
evening of the 2001 general election, my parents made the 20-mile journey from
Ayrshire to Glasgow in order to witness at first hand their son being elected
as a Member of Parliament. They sat patiently for hours, denying themselves
their precious cigarettes – that’s how much they wanted to be there! When I
made my acceptance speech I had never in my life seen such pride on their
years later, my dad, now a widower, fell into a conversation with a stranger on
a train, and the talk turned to their respective offspring. Dad later reported
that when he had been asked what his son did, “I didn’t want to tell him you
were an MP.”
2009 expenses scandal was in full swing at the time. Even though I was
(largely) unscathed by the revelations and was officially informed I had
nothing to repay from my previous expenses claims, having an MP in the family
had become a source of...
By Abdulrahman al-Rashed
worth considering: Representatives of three major corporations swearing in
before then US congressional committee and surrendering to the state that made
it clear to them that “Our interests are far more important than your gains”.
information technology trilogy: Facebook, Twitter, and Google were feeding
information to over two billion people in the world and flaunted the fact that
they broke down walls, bypassed censorship, and spread facts. They are now
admitting that they have become a major issue.
authorities are now convinced more than ever that Facebook, Twitter, Google and
other social media outlets pose a threat to the regime and the society because
they spread terrorism and hatred and manipulate people during elections.
were summoned to open sessions, and with the threat of consequences if they
lied under oath, they admitted to shocking information. Those corporations are
afraid the charges will turn into conspiracy against the state and treason, if
it was proven that they knew, or traded the information in elections to
influence constituents’ political stances or create internal strife.
admitted that 126,000 US citizens read or dealt with information that seemed to
have been issued from the US, but in reality were sent from a building in
Pittsburgh, Russia. Most information and news were false and inciting against
immigrants, Muslims and others. Ten million users received political
advertisements which turned out to be paid from Russia.
confessed that during the same period, it detected 3,000 Russian accounts
backed by 36,000 fake accounts – an electronic army - that tweeted a million
and a half times.
Google, it announced that about 5,000 Russian-funded ads appeared in the
search, as well as thousand videos from Russia on YouTube of 43 hours’
large amount of information proved that information technology companies were
like Trojan horse carrying the message of the American enemy, with the public
unaware they were Russians.
companies justified their position saying they are platforms and not in the
content business, except for Google that has search activity.
them pledged to reconsider and enhance their electronic surveillance that sorts
out the enemy from the friend and allow the media content directed from inside
US and prevent foreign-directed advertisements.
course, the accused Russia is also a victim of US dumping, targeting it
politically and aiming at its regime. So, we are facing a massive, misleading,
and destructive information war.
countries complain about this; countries that have huge capabilities to direct
and educate and with immense military capabilities. What about our countries
facing the same problem?
Similar crisis in Gulf
a similar crisis: Qatar is using information weapons against countries like
Saudi Arabia, Egypt, UAE, and Bahrain. The countries considered this a direct
target against their stability and presence. To stop Doha, the four countries
announced that dealing with Qatar is treason.
the past five months, the quartet tried to obstruct all that Qatar built,
whether they were means or affiliates. The confrontation ended most of the
Qatari instigation platforms, which had been trying to compensate their losses
by infiltrating into open free markets like Kuwait and using its platforms.
a pioneer in this field, recruited accounts in the targeted countries, as well
as electronic armies, to spread fake news, bragging that it is promoting Arab
Spring. But the truth is that its inclinations are toward a political group
like extreme Islamist groups, aiming to topple or weaken regimes.
of the information people receive on WhatsApp, Twitter, or Facebook are created
with political goals to spread fake information. Such information is not worth
the freedom of expression and access.
US, a leader of freedom in the world, decided to change its concepts. Freedom
of expression doesn’t mean freedom of the foreigner to interfere, influence,
al-Rashed is the former General Manager of Al Arabiya News Channel. A veteran
and internationally acclaimed journalist, he is a former editor-in-chief of the
London-based leading Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat, where he still regularly
writes a political column. He has also served as the editor of Asharq
al-Awsat’s sister publication, al-Majalla. Throughout his career, Rashed has
interviewed several world leaders, with his articles garnering worldwide
recognition, and he has successfully led Al Arabiya to the highly regarded,
thriving and influential position it is in today. He tweets @aalrashed.
By The Daily Star
nation mourns the brutal killings of Syed Nazrul Islam, Tajuddin Ahmad, Captain
(Rtd.) Mansur Ali and AHM Qamaruzzaman this day forty-two years ago. It is an
infamy that added the second blot in our history following the killing of the
Father of the Nation along with almost all the close members of his family on
a very well-planned move to deprive the nation of the leadership that they were
capable of providing the people of Bangladesh in the absence of Bangabandhu. As
his trusted lieutenants, they had skillfully steered the Liberation War towards
the final conclusion in 1971. But that was not to be. We recall with gratitude
the extraordinary service they provided the nation during the very seminal
stages of our independence.
killings were a double blow for us, and the nation has suffered for a
considerable period the odious consequences of politics of killing and murder
that was initiated on the fateful day of August 15, 1975. We thank the Sheikh
Hasina government for initiating the legal process to bring the killers of the
1975 tragedies to justice.
some of the killers remain at large. And we hope that the government would do
everything to bring them back from wherever they are ensconced in and make them
face the punishment they have been awarded by the court. Only then will the
wheel of justice complete its full circle, and only then can we as a nation
feel completely absolved of the guilt that we have been carrying.
join the nation in mourning the death of the four national leaders and pray for
the departed souls.
By Simon Mabon
colonial legacy is a ghost, but for the Palestinians, it remains a fact of life
simple 67-word letter sent on November 2, 1917, the British foreign secretary,
Lord Arthur Balfour, irrevocably changed the political and geographic landscape
of the Middle East. Outlining British support for the establishment of a Jewish
state, it set in motion a series of events that culminated in the declaration
of the State of Israel in 1948 in what had previously been Palestinian land -
and by extension, the eventual occupation of the West Bank and Gaza strip.
letter was sent in a climate of secret diplomatic wrangling between British,
French and Arab leaders over how best to divide Ottoman territory after World
War I. The McMahon-Hussein Agreement of 1915, which promised independence to
Arabs, was followed by the Sykes-Picot Agreement, which divided the Middle East
into British and French zones a year later. Colonialism was at its apex, and
the Balfour Declaration showed the zeal with which the British elite sought to
influence and dominate people and territory the world over.
from Balfour to Lord Walter Rothschild, a leading member of the British Jewish
community, read as follows:
Majesty's government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a
national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to
facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that
nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of
existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political
status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.
the declaration promised a state to the Jews despite Palestinian natives
comprising some 90 per cent of the population. In the words of Palestinian
scholar Edward Said, this was a declaration "made by a European power . about
a non-European territory . in a flat disregard of both the presence and wishes
of the native majority resident in that territory". Its ramifications are
still felt today.
1948, an estimated 750,000 native Palestinians were forced from their homes in
what is now known as the Nakba, or the catastrophe. The methods Israeli forces
such as the Irgun used to drive them out had their roots in the British
counter-insurgency methods that had been used against the Irgun themselves in
the previous decade.
prominent leaders of the burgeoning Israeli state, among them Moshe Dayan and
Yigal Allon, had been trained by the British during previous collusion against
the 1936 Arab revolt, where they ran special squads to regulate life in the
mandate, with the support of the British.
migration to the mandate - regulated by the British - was increasing, rising
from 9 per cent to 27 per cent of the local population between 1922 and 1935.
And while space was not an issue, the transformation of urban areas was a key
part of the British counter-insurgency operation.
the guise of urban regeneration, the British made 6,000 of Jaffa's Palestinians
homeless, with military personnel directing the demolitions. Similar practices
are employed by the Israeli defence forces today in the West Bank, notably in
Jenin and Nablus.
the new Israeli state's main tools to facilitate urban change was the
demolition of houses. Immediately after it seized the Old City of Jerusalem
from Jordan in 1967, the government erased the city's Maghriba Quarter, found
in front of the Western Wall. In an attempt to facilitate cohesion between the
newly seized territories and the rest of Israel, planning committees referred
to British legislation that required the use of Jerusalem stone on all
buildings. This urban transformation is a key part of political life in
Jerusalem today where Stars of David are used to signify Israeli ownership;
similar strategies are also found across the West Bank as settlers lay claim to
the declaration stressed that civil and religious rights should not be
prejudiced, it was clear that the British were complicit in the development of
infrastructure that was key to the formation of the Israeli state. Such
developments may not have been always by design; after all, the British
experienced a brutal terrorist campaign at the hands of Zionist extremist
groups such as the Irgun and the Stern Gang.
aftermath of the Nakba, Israeli leaders set about building a new state for
Jews, transforming Palestinian land and urban environments into something that
would unite the Jews already in Palestine and create a shared national
identity. A key part of this state-building project was the establishment of
planning committees to oversee the transformation of Tel Aviv and Jaffa. To
this day, Tel Aviv's streets bear names such as King George, Allenby and
Balfour. Reflecting colonial dominance, signs were often topped with the
streets' English names rather than Hebrew ones.
early years of statehood, amid unrest in East Jerusalem and in the West Bank
and Gaza, the Israeli state deployed a range of strategies to keep control.
Homes were demolished, everyday life regulated through security measures, and a
security barrier was built to separate Israel from the West Bank. From the off,
these moves were justified through recourse to British Emergency Laws. First
implemented in 1945 to prevent further violence by the Stern Gang and the
Irgun, they still are routinely used to justify violence against Palestinians.
2010, after demonstrating against the demolition of Palestinian homes, Adnan
Geith was banished from his home through use of the Defence (Emergency)
Regulations from 1945. The use of emergency powers goes much further; it played
a central role in the occupation of Palestinian lands, resulting in the
establishment of the regime that today helps Israel assert sovereignty over
Palestine and control daily life.The Balfour Declaration may be a century old,
but its effects are as firmly entrenched as ever. In the corridors of
Whitehall, Britain's colonial legacy is a ghost - but for Palestinians, it
remains a fact of life.
Simon Mabon is Lecturer in International
Relations, Lancaster University
Lifting the ban on women driving:
By Layan Damanhouri
driving, a new future city to be built, and now a robot granted Saudi
citizenship. It’s been a month full of surprises in Saudi Arabia!
it was announced that women would be allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia, the question
I’ve been asked the most by foreigners and international media is: Why now?
it was a surprise that was greeted by many Saudis with a sigh of relief, the
reason for the timing of this sudden announcement was not clear at first. With
no introduction, it was announced on state TV and news agencies and made
rare public appearance, Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman at the Future
Investment Initiative in Riyadh gave a clearer answer to many who wonder about
the changes happening in Saudi Arabia.
announcement of NEOM, an ambitious $500 billion mega project to be built in the
northwest of Saudi Arabia that will mark a new generation of cities, Crown
Prince Muhammad asserted that Saudi Arabia’s direction in the post-oil era
meant getting rid of the barriers that have been holding it back since the
barriers are essentially extremism, which departs from the true moderate Islam
that innately grants men and women equality. “We are returning to what we were
before? -?a country of moderate Islam that is open to all religions and to the
world,” he said. “We will end extremism very soon.”
rules in Saudi Arabia are not religious, but are urged by conservatives bound
by tradition. Despite that, there has been progress in women’s empowerment over
the years and it is inspiring to see more women appointed to leadership
positions. Nonetheless, the ban on driving contributed to women being
considered to be second-class citizens.
important that the decree allowing women to drive has occurred top-down by the
government, because for decades extremist factions have had their voice prevail
over the rest of society.
always prevails over cultural traditions, the perception that men are superior
to women will gradually diminish.
personally consider the declining price of oil a blessing in disguise.
Diversifying the economy requires all members of the population, both men and
women, to be productive. As according to the General Authority for Statistics,
unemployment among women has increased to 33 percent, transportation is a more
pressing issue than ever. For the first time in Saudi history, the new economic
model will liberate women from cultural barriers.
Saudi society is different than in the past. Two-thirds of the Saudi population
is under the age of 25. Saudi Arabia’s new Crown Prince is younger than his
predecessors by at least two generations and is working on revamping the
country in today’s digital age, a fast-paced era where change is quicker, efficient?
By Emma Brockes
thing I keep hearing, as the fallout from Weinstein continues, is incredulity
that a famous champion of liberal causes might have a problem with women. To
most women who have spent time around champions of liberal causes, this is
(grimly) hilarious. The idea that men on the left are less likely to be
misogynists than men on the right is as bogus an idea as the one that men of
the cloth are less likely to sin. And yet over and over it comes: why did he do
it? Was it because of self-loathing? Was it the thrill of getting away with it?
think he did it because, to him, it was simply no big deal. I was talking with
a friend once about sexual assault and he said: “Well, being raped isn’t as bad
as, say, working in a factory in China.” Apart from the ludicrousness of the
comparison – of trying to figure out what rape is and isn’t as bad as – it was
suddenly clear to me that to him, and I assume to many men, rape exists purely
in the hypothetical realm. “If you had to work in a factory for six months or
be raped, which would you choose?” I asked. He looked taken aback; rape wasn’t
something he had considered in relation to himself.
have been complaints from women that the elision of minor infringements –
knee-grabbing, verbal harassment – with violent assault dilutes the gravity of
“genuine” sex crimes. But it seems to me that these things have always been
elided: by the criminal justice system, by men who don’t see much difference
between pinching someone’s arse and “non-consensual sex”. Unless you are a 17-year-old
who is grabbed off the street by men in ski masks, the continuum between sexual
assault, harassment and aggressive “banter” is at best a little blurry.
will be over-corrections. Some of the narratives on offer to young women to
whom older men have been inappropriate will invite some to feel more
traumatised than they are. It is, undoubtedly, better to laugh off some
experiences than nurse them.
is also better to live in a world in which the genuinely traumatised aren’t
told nothing has happened to them, and where the presumptions underpinning even
the most trivial acts of aggression are dragged out and exposed. It has never
been much of a taboo to touch a woman without her permission. Perhaps, under
pain of calamitous “overreaction” from those legions of humourless millennials,
it will be from now on.
Shelving the issue
came to my house to assemble some furniture this week and reminded me that “men
have feelings too”. His standard line, he said, when reviewing the handiwork of
men whose wives or girlfriends had called him in to fix it, is “the only reason
it didn’t work is that you didn’t have the right tools”. Meanwhile he’s
thinking: “This guy’s an idiot.”
when the women have left the room, the men confide in him – that they feel weak
and inadequate if they can’t put up shelves. You can’t call a woman names any
more, said the man – his belief in this was touching – but you can tell a guy
to “man up” and it’s no big deal. Somewhere in there I thought he had a good
came this week in the form of the new Netflix documentary on Joan Didion,
leaver of pauses, finisher of sentences, who, after dispatching a perfectly
composed thought to camera, swept a look to the floor as if devastated by its implications.
She talked of the Central Park Five, the emblematic New York rape case of the
late 1980s that Didion identified at the time as not just “a lie” but as a
proxy for political tensions in the city. Yet all one wanted was to hear her on
• Emma Brockes is a Guardian columnist
By Polly Toynbee
more British children will be poor than since records began, back in 1961. In
four years, progress will be reversed and all the good that was done undone.
Over a million more will be plunged below the decency threshold.
37% of children to be brought up poor is a national humiliation. Any politician
boasting pride in “British tolerance” should include our remarkable tolerance
of poverty, which exceeds all similar European countries. This is who we are
and what we expect, so today’s chilling report from the Institute for Fiscal
Studies didn’t make it into this morning’s BBC news bulletins. Sex and Brexit
obsess us, while poverty is just normal Britishness.
doesn’t have to be this way. This is a political decision, supported by enough
voters. Since George Osborne’s 2010 budget, virtually every hammer-blow of
austerity has fallen on those with least. To be sure, by sleight of hand, flat
inequality figures have until now disguised what was happening. But as benefit
cuts cleave through to the marrow, another 7% of children will be deliberately
made poor. More people are in work than for many a year – but never in modern
times have so many been paid so relatively little, with families still poor and
reliant on benefits even when both parents work.
and Iain Duncan Smith, given cover by the Liberal Democrats, targeted the
poorest, and the same families were struck down by benefit cuts and freezes
time and again. Housing benefit cuts and the bedroom tax drive many from their
homes, continually moving schools, moving further from family and friends as
rents rise above benefits. With the loss of education maintenance allowance for
teenagers, shrinking child benefit, the two-child limit, the tax credit freeze,
thousands of mobility cars taken from families with a disabled child and monstrous
work capability tests harrying the sick and mentally ill, the same families are
hit again and again.
offering help are vanishing: more than a thousand children’s centres are gone,
and closures are accelerating. The youth service has all but disappeared.
Social workers can only cover extreme crises. Citizens advice bureaus lose
funding everywhere, with councils, cut by over 40%, unable to pay for them.
Health visitors are spread more thinly than ever, with school nurses lucky to
serve no more than 10 large schools each. Without help for families, there was
a shocking 24% increase in multiple tooth extractions under anaesthetic for
children under four last year, to 84,086. The only flourishing service is food
Financial Times reports that the chancellor will stick to his spending cap.
With NHS, social care, police, prisons, councils, schools and more at breaking
point, who expects poor children to be his surprise priority? This is who we
are, the country we choose to be, dominated by foghorns of the right for ever
telling of benefit cheats and welfare fraud (minuscule compared with tax
evaders). Perhaps there is no national “we”, just a deep split between the
mean-minded and those horrified to live in a country with a widening chasm between
the haves and have-nots.
last British Social Attitudes research shows some softening of hearts, more
willingness to pay tax, less suspicion of benefit cheating. We are less
generous and empathic than our EU neighbours – but after all these harsh years,
there are signs attitudes are thawing. But no sign of shame from this
• Polly Toynbee is a Guardian columnist