Lessons I learned about life from my mother’s early death
Thursday 31st December 2015,
, Photograph: Gary Younge
As gifts go, I would have done anything to return it. To turn the clock back and not have received it. To have lived my life without it. But fate would have it otherwise. So on a balmy day in Edinburgh in late May 1988, as I shuttled between the university library and anti-apartheid meetings, came the news that my mother, who had raised me on her own, had died. At 44, her death was both sudden and unexpected. She was supposed to be coming up to see me the next day. At 19 I was both bereft and bereaved. Naturally, the “gift” in this loss was not immediately apparent. I spent the next few years going through the motions, turning days into weeks and weeks into terms. Time may be a great healer, but those palliative qualities are rarely evident in real time. However, as I emerged from the numbing sense of isolation I realised that my mother’s life had taught me three valuable lessons I would probably never have learned without her untimely death.
Persecuted at home, mistrusted in the UK: the refugee doctors battling for acceptance
Saturday 19th December 2015,
, Photograph: David Levene for the Guardian
In a classroom overlooking the East End of London, a group of refugee doctors retraining for British certification are watching a role-playing session on type 2 diabetes. But first there is cake.
It’s abundantly clear that the left can gain ground – but it cannot yet hold it
Saturday 19th December 2015,
, Photograph: Scott Barbour/Gett
The least interesting thing about Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership of the Labour party is Corbyn himself. Not because he is a dull person. But because, as the candidate who stood to make a point and only made the ballot because his opponents thought he had no chance, he is clearly the accidental lead character in a drama he never seriously auditioned for and nobody ever thought would be produced.
Back in Little Britain, it’s as hard as ever to become a subject
Monday 14th December 2015,
, Photograph: Entertainment One/Astley Baker D
My daughter’s transition from US citizen to British subject has not been going smoothly. Culturally, the shift from Sesame Street to Peppa Pig was effortless; within weeks she’d gone from diapers to nappies. The paperwork, though, has been trickier. All in all I had four of her passport application forms knocked back for anything from using blue biro rather than black, my signature straying beyond the designated box and writing my co-signer’s work address for him.
Donald Trump shows hate speech is now out and proud in the mainstream
Tuesday 8th December 2015,
, Photograph: Randall Hill/Reuters
Those who have been asking if it was necessary to take Donald Trump’s candidacy seriously finally have their answer.
MPs back Syria airstrikes and Labour holds Oldham West – Politics Weekly podcast
Friday 4th December 2015,
, Photograph: Parliament TV
Bombing Hasn’t Worked. Bombing Won’t Work. And Yet, We Will Bomb
Thursday 3rd December 2015,
“If a man beats his head against the wall,” the Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci once wrote, “it’s his head that breaks and not the wall.”