INDEPENDENT 2024-03-12 01:03:59

Massa sues F1 and Ecclestone over Lewis Hamilton’s 2008 title win

Felipe Massa is suing Formula 1, the sport’s governing body the FIA and ex-F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone over the 2008 title won by Lewis Hamilton.

The Brazilian driver is seeking an admission that the sport’s lawmakers failed to adequately investigate the 2008 ‘Crashgate’ scandal. The subsequent impact the inaugural race in Singapore had on that year’s championship was clear after Hamilton won on the final lap of the final race as then-Ferrari star Massa missed out by a single point.

New comments in 2023, by Ecclestone, about the scandal in Singapore encouraged Massa to take legal action, with his lawyers sending an eight-page ‘Letter Before Claim’ to F1 and the FIA last August, alleging their client was the “victim of a conspiracy”.

Having not received an appropriate response, Massa confirmed on Monday that his lawyers have filed suit in London’s High Court. The 42-year-old is seeking more than £62m ($80m) in damages and an admission that the FIA violated their own regulations in not properly investigating Nelson Piquet Jr’s crash. Massa believes that if the crash was appropriately scrutinised, he would have been crowned 2008 champion over Hamilton.

Massa told Brazilain outlet Globo on Monday: “I always said I would fight until the end. As the FIA ​​and FOM [Formula One Management] have decided to do nothing, we will seek redress of this historic injustice in the courts.

“The matter is now with the lawyers and they are fully authorized to do whatever is necessary so that justice in the sport is done.”

F1 and the FIA refused to comment when approached by The Independent.

Ecclestone, 93, told the PA news agency on Monday: “If he had asked me, I would have said it was the complete right thing to do, to sue, and to let an English judge decide what is right and wrong.

“I cannot say anything about the outcome and what will happen. I have not got a clue, I don’t think anyone has, but from his point of view, it is better that an English judge comes up with a verdict. It will be of more help for him.”

‘Crashgate’ rocked Formula 1 when the inaugural Singapore Grand Prix in 2008 saw Renault’s Fernando Alonso win the race before it emerged that his teammate, Piquet Jr, had deliberately crashed to bring out a safety car that played into Alonso’s hands.

That safety car prompted a Massa pit stop that Ferrari mishandled, with Massa eventually finishing the race 13th while Hamilton came home third – a difference of six points, a swing which ultimately impacted the title result.

While Renault and team boss Flavio Briatore were punished in 2009, the result of the race stood despite Massa’s protestations, with the FIA’s statutes making clear that overturning the classification from each season is impossible once the FIA Awards Ceremony for that year is complete, a rule set in the FIA International Sporting Code.

Ecclestone revealed last March that both he and then-FIA president Max Mosley knew of the ‘Crashgate’ scandal in 2008 but refused to publicise the chain of events to avoid the sport a “huge scandal”.

He has since said he could not remember saying the key lines, telling Reuters: “I don’t remember any of this, to be honest. I don’t remember giving the interview for sure.”

Ecclestone had told F1-Insider earlier in 2023: “We wanted to protect the sport and save it from a huge scandal. That’s why I used angelic tongues to persuade my former driver Nelson Piquet to keep calm for the time being.

“Back then, there was a rule that a world championship classification after the FIA ​​awards ceremony at the end of the year was untouchable. So Hamilton was presented with the trophy and everything was fine.

“We had enough information in time to investigate the matter. According to the statutes, we should have cancelled the race in Singapore under these conditions.

“That means it would never have happened for the championship standings. And then Felipe Massa would have become world champion and not Lewis Hamilton.”

Last August, before the 2023 Dutch Grand Prix, Hamilton said on the matter: “I’ve got a really bad memory. I’m really just focused on the here and now and helping the team get back to the championship. I’m not focused on what happened 15 years ago.”

In full, a statement from Brazilian law firm Vieira Rezende Advogados read: “Mr Massa is seeking declarations that the FIA breached its regulations by failing to promptly investigate Nelson Piquet Junior’s crash at the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix and that had it acted properly, Mr Massa would have won the drivers’ championship that year.

“Mr Massa also seeks damages for the significant financial loss he has suffered due to the FIA’s failure, in which Mr Ecclestone and FOM were also complicit.

“Attempts to find an amicable resolution have been unsuccessful, leaving Mr Massa with no choice but to initiate legal proceedings.”

Despite the start of legal action, Massa does not seem able to officially overturn the result – with the FIA’s own International Sporting Code stating protests and reviews expire 14 days after a competition and four days prior to that year’s prize-giving ceremony.

Massa’s best-finish in F1 turned out to be that 2008 season as he retired in 2017 while Hamilton has gone on to win six more titles with Mercedes, holding the joint-record of seven F1 World Championships with Michael Schumacher.

Constance Marten considered finding nanny on Gumtree to smuggle baby abroad

An aristocrat accused of killing her newborn daughter has told jurors she and her partner planned to pay for someone to illegally smuggle their baby abroad, saying: “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.”

Returning to the witness stand for the third day, Constance Marten said she could have found a carer or nanny willing to help get their newborn to Europe, naming advertising website Gumtree as a place to look.

The 36-year-old also told the court her family believed she was a drug addict who was “bearing children to sell on the black market”.

Marten and her partner Mark Gordon are on trial for manslaughter after baby Victoria died while they were camping on the South Downs in wintry conditions last year while evading the authorities.

Jurors at the Old Bailey have heard how the couple went on the run in a bid to keep their baby after their four other children were taken into care. Marten said on Monday they were “stolen from me by the state”.

Talking about baby Victoria, Marten said: “She deserves to be with me. I’m a good mother, I’m an excellent mother actually.”

Taking repeated aim at social services for taking her four other children into care, she told the court that she and Gordon had planned to travel abroad after realising she was pregnant with her fifth child.

However, she believed there was a travel ban in place against her after her family brought a “private” High Court case in 2019, jurors were told.

She claimed that a relative had used the “full force of the state” in order to “get back at me” by removing her children from her care. “They stated I was bearing children to sell on the black market and was a drug addict. It was completely outrageous.”

Marten added: “My family have a lot of money, a lot of clout and a lot of connections and that is why they were able to do what they did.”

Asked how they were going to get abroad, Marten said: “We were going to find some people to smuggle us abroad illegally.”

She said that they planned to go anywhere in Europe, but that it became difficult due to preventative measures and that their “plan B” was to remain in the UK and stay off-grid.

Describing her plan to keep Victoria until she was three months old so she could be near her parents, Marten then told jurors they had planned to pay a carer to smuggle her abroad. “It would have been a carer, a nanny or something,” she added.

When asked if she thought nannies take money to smuggle people abroad, she responded: “Where there’s a will there’s a way, you can always find someone to help.”

“I would have found someone online like on Gumtree, nannies who don’t necessarily have the same qualifications as nursery teachers but you can go and spend time with them and see how they are with children.”

Marten said the plan was to find someone prepared to register Victoria under their own name.

She also told the court that she was unable to register her daughter’s birth without alerting the authorities and that she had not intended to register her with the NHS.

Instead, she planned to use private medical care on Harley Street if her child required medical attention, and that same-day appointments were available.

After spending several weeks moving between hotels and Airbnb rentals, Marten and Gordon abandoned their Suzuki car after it burst into flames near Bolton on 5 January last year, sparking a national manhunt.

On several occasions, she repeated the claim that a relative had hired private investigators to trail her and Gordon and place GPS devices on her vehicles, which she said were tampered with to cause them to break down on the motorway.

After staying in a tent for several weeks, the couple were arrested near Brighton on 27 February last year.

The couple had refused to answer officers’ urgent questions about where their baby was and whether she was alive or dead.

Her remains were found by police in a Lidl bag inside a shed on a nearby allotment on 1 March.

On how Victoria died, she said: “I had her in my jacket and when I woke up my head was on the floor. And when I was sitting up and when I woke up she was not alive.”

After being born in a rental cottage on 24 December, Marten said that her baby daughter died on 9 January and that she had been overwhelmed with grief and had considered handing herself in.

She told jurors her children meant the world to her and she had done nothing to Victoria “but show her love”.

The defendants, of no fixed address, deny manslaughter by gross negligence, perverting the course of justice, concealing the birth of a child, child cruelty and causing or allowing the death of a child.

The tiny bugs that could hold the secret to cure brain tumours

Scientists say tiny bugs could help them stop the growth of brain tumours.

Experts at the Brain Tumour Research Centre of Excellence at the University of Plymouth have been able to identify and examine cells at the very first stages of growth by using the fruit fly Drosophila as a model.

Their work is helping further the understanding of glioma tumours, which include high-grade types such as glioblastoma.

Glioblastoma has a poor survival rate and tumours grow quickly, invading and destroying healthy tissue.

They can happen at any age but tend to occur more often in older adults.

Symptoms include headaches that keep getting worse, nausea and vomiting, blurred or double vision, and seizures.

Dr Claudia Barros, who led new research published in EMBO Reports, said her team had uncovered “readying” processes which could be vital for helping tumours form and grow.

She said: “The research contributes to understanding of how brain tumours could form and has opened up avenues of research to find new potential drug targets towards novel therapies for patients with glioma tumours.

“Using the fruit fly Drosophila as a model, we have been able to identify and examine cells at the very initial stages of brain tumour formation inside the brain.

“These cells have most striking differences in their metabolic and protein balance landscape compared to normal cells.”

Dr Karen Noble, director of research, policy and innovation at the Brain Tumour Research charity, said: “There is much work still to be done, but these early findings are significant because, with more investigation, it could help us develop new treatments which will target tumour cells more effectively and so improve outcomes for patients.”

Sam Suriakumar, a self-employed recruitment consultant and part-time musician from south-west London, was diagnosed with a low-grade glioma after suffering seizures.

The 38-year-old’s tumour was being monitored but a scan last July showed it had grown.

He is now undergoing chemotherapy, having already had surgery and radiotherapy.

The father-of-two said: “It’s amazing to think that something as little as a fruit fly could help improve our understanding of tumours like mine and how best to treat them.

“It’s really exciting news and serves as an important reminder of the need for greater investment in research to help get us to our goal of finding a cure sooner.”

Net zero costs to hit lower income households, warns Ofgem

Ofgem warned that lower-income households could be hit hardest by the transition to net zero –  growing levels of debt among customers struggling with soaring energy prices could leave them unable to cope with future price shocks.

The regulator said the costs of transitioning to a cleaner energy system – which scientists say is urgently needed to avoid the worst impacts of climate change – could disproportionately hit the bills of lower-income consumers unable to invest in the necessary technology or change their behaviours to cut their costs.

Citing the toll the global energy crisis has taken on British households who saw their average gas and electricity bills soar from £1,042 to a peak of £4,279 in just two years, Ofgem warned that some customers are “building up more debt that they simply cannot afford to pay back”.

Despite Ofgem’s price cap falling next month to £1,690 for a typical consumer, it said: “Many households are still struggling to pay for the energy they need, facing difficult decisions such as self-rationing energy. In some more extreme cases consumers may self-disconnect.”

As a result, the regulator is “very concerned” that struggling households have been left with a limited ability to cope with a sudden unforeseen change in prices, Ofgem’s director general for markets Tim Jarvis said.

But he added: “At the same time, the cost of recovering bad debts, and the high number of consumers who are locked into debt and repayment plans, could have serious consequences for the retail energy sector.

“Additionally, to meet the affordability challenge and achieve our net zero goals in the long term, we need to rebuild our energy system around cleaner, affordable, and secure sources of low carbon and renewable energy.

“This will require significant investment, and to the extent these costs go on to bills, the risk is that short-term costs could disproportionately hit lower income consumers that are not able to invest in the technologies or change behaviours to reduce costs without further action.”

The regulator’s warning came as it announced a call for input – from suppliers, consumer groups, charities and government – “to work out the steps we need to take to guard against the harmful impacts of future price shocks”.

The regulator’s director general for markets Tim Jarvis said it is seeking “to ensure that the debt burden doesn’t leave us with an unsustainable situation which will lead to higher bills in the future, and to look at how we can better support consumers now and in the future as the market evolves”.

Last year, Ofgem was handed a statutory duty to help the government meet its legal obligation for UK emissions of climate-wrecking fossil fuels to reach net zero by 2050, as part of the government’s Energy Bill.

Mr Jarvis said the new call for input is “part of our wider package of work on standing charges and price cap evolution that stands back and looks at the evolving energy system, where green energy and flexible technologies will offer new ways for households to tailor the way they use and pay for energy, and establish the fairest way to allocate costs and regulate pricing so that no consumer is left behind”.

Simon Francis, coordinator of the End Fuel Poverty Coalition, said the group welcomed any investigation into energy affordability, and was encouraged that surging levels of debt were now on the regulator’s radar.

“But last week the chancellor failed to extend the Energy Price Guarantee which would have helped shield households from future fluctuating energy markets, and the government has failed to consult on the introduction of a social tariff which would have offered even more protection to vulnerable households,” he said.

“Long term investment in household energy efficiency and cheaper home grown renewable energy are how we bring energy bills down in years to come. The solutions are there, but what we need is political class committed to implementing them.

“As a national infrastructure priority, improvements in the grid should be paid for through general taxation – funded through windfall taxes on firms who have benefited from the energy crisis. We can’t just keep adding money to people’s bills whenever the energy firms ask for it.”

A Department for Energy Security and Net Zero spokesperson said: “Energy prices are now at their lowest in two years and down over 60 per cent since their peak, when we covered half of a typical household’s energy bill.

“We are continuing to protect vulnerable people, providing significant financial support for those who need it most – backed by £108bn. This is on top of National Insurance cuts totalling 10 per cent and an increase to the living wage.

“We are also actively consulting on the future of the energy market, to ensure households and families can access the full benefits of moving to a smarter, more flexible energy system.”

Additional reporting by PA

War veteran, 100, returning to D-Day beaches to marry his sweetheart

Harold Terens and his fiancee Jeanne Swerlin kissed and held hands like high school sweethearts as they discussed their upcoming wedding in France, a country the World War II veteran first visited as a 20-year-old US Army Air Forces corporal shortly after D-Day.

Terens, a gregarious and energetic 100-year-old, will be honored in June by the French as part of the 80th anniversary celebration of their country’s liberation from the Nazis. Then he plans to marry the sprightly 96-year-old Swerlin in a town near the beaches where troops landed.

“I love this girl — she is quite special,” said Terens, who has been dating Swerlin since 2021. To demonstrate their fondness for dancing, they had Siri play “Uptown Funk” by Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars and then jumped, twisted and gyrated like teens at homecoming.

“He’s an amazing guy, amazing,” Swerlin said. “He loves me so much and he says it.”

“And my god, he’s the greatest kisser,” she said.

The couple, who are each widowed, grew up in New York City: her in Brooklyn, him in the Bronx. They laugh at how differently they experienced World War II. She was in high school and dated soldiers who gave her war souvenirs like dog tags, knives and even a gun, trying to impress.

Terens enlisted in 1942 and shipped to Great Britain the following year, attached to a four-pilot P-47 Thunderbolt fighter squadron as their radio repair technician. Terens said his original pilots all died in the war.

“I loved all those guys. Young men. The average age was 26,” he said.

On D-Day — June 6, 1944 — Terens helped repair planes returning from France so they could rejoin the battle. He said half his company’s pilots died that day.

Terens went to France 12 days later, helping transport freshly captured Germans and just-freed American POWs back to England. To him, the Germans seemed happy because they would survive the war. The Americans, however, had been brutalized by their Nazi captors over months and even years.

“They were in a stupor,” he said.

He then went on a secret mission — even he didn’t know his destination. His planes hopscotched North Africa before eventually landing in Tehran. There, he survived a robbery that left him naked in the desert and fearing death until an American military police patrol happened by.

He learned the details of his covert mission when he was deposited at a Soviet airfield in Ukraine. As part of a new strategy, American bombers would fly from Britain to attack Axis targets in Eastern Europe. They didn’t have enough fuel to return so they would fly to the USSR. Terens’ job was to get the crews fed and the injured treated before they flew their refueled planes home.

Terens soon contracted dysentery, which almost killed him. In another close call, a British barkeep refused to serve him past the mandatory closing time despite his pleadings for just one more drink. Moments after he was kicked out, a German rocket destroyed the pub.

Following the Nazi surrender in May 1945, Terens again helped transport freed Allied prisoners to England before he shipped back to the US a month later.

He married his wife Thelma in 1948 and they had two daughters and a son. He became a U.S. vice president for a British conglomerate. They moved from New York to Florida in 2006 after Thelma retired as a French teacher; she died in 2018 after 70 years of marriage. He has eight grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.

Swerlin married at 21 and was a full-time mom to two girls and a boy before being widowed in her 40s. Her second husband died after 18 years of marriage. She then lived with Sol Katz for 25 years before his death in 2019. She has seven grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

It was Katz’s daughter, Joanne Schosheim, who introduced her to Terens in 2021.

She met Terens when her children attended camp with his grandchildren years ago and remained friends. She and a friend thought the two might hit it off, so invited them to lunch.

“She gave my dad such joy,” Schosheim said of Swerlin. “I didn’t want her to be lonely.”

But after Thelma’s death, Terens wasn’t interested in other women and barely noticed Swerlin.

“I didn’t even look at her. I didn’t even talk to her,” he said.

“I looked at him. He looked at me,” Swerlin said, but “it was like nothing.”

Even so, Terens’ buddy Stanley Eisenberg took them to dinner the next night. Eisenberg wanted to see who his friend had dismissed.

It was love at second sight.

“I had never seen him lit up like that,” Eisenberg said.

Terens couldn’t talk or eat, and that’s not like him.

“I said, ‘You’re in love,’” Eisenberg said. “He said, ‘I don’t know. I’ve never had these feelings before.'”

After that date, Swerlin said, Terens “didn’t give me a chance” to turn him down. At 94, she also was in love.

“He was introducing me to the whole world, ‘I want you to meet my girl, my sweetheart,’ and I didn’t even know him more than two days,” she said, laughing. “Being in love is not just for the young. We get butterflies just like everybody else.”

Terens proposed a few months ago, kneeling to give Swerlin a ring.

“She got hysterical” with delight, he said.

“I thought I’d have to help him up, but he’s so macho,” she said.

The couple and their families will head to Paris in late May, where Terens and a handful of surviving World War II veterans will be honored. Of the 16 million American WWII veterans, only 120,000 remain, the government says.

It will be Terens’ fourth D-Day celebration in France. He received a medal from President Emmanuel Macron five years ago.

The families then will travel to the town of Carentan-les-Marais, where the couple plan to be married June 8 by Mayor Jean-Pierre Lhonneur in a chapel built in the 1600s. Lhonneur said because of the American sacrifice on D-Day, more US flags fly in the area than French.

Normandy is the 51st state,” he said.

Lhonneur explained legally he is only allowed to marry town residents, but he thinks the local prosecutor will let him make an exception.

“It will be a pleasure for us,” the mayor said.

A culinary tour of the Algarve: from wine and seafood to desserts

The Algarve, on Portugal’s southern coast, is the country’s most popular holiday destination for good reason: it boasts over 100 miles of beautiful beaches, charming villages, and endless culture and activities. But one of the best reasons to visit is the region’s incredible food. As befits its proximity to the sea, fish and seafood are an absolute highlight, but the region’s diverse cuisine boasts dishes to suit every taste and palate.

To help you find your perfect foodventure, travel experts Jet2holidays offer breaks in more than 50 amazing destinations, including the Algarve. All holidays include accommodation, return flights, transfers and 22kg baggage, all wrapped up in an ABTA and ATOL-protected package for a low £60pp deposit*. There are thousands of Free Child Places** available, and infants under two go free✝. Meaning it couldn’t be easier to book your next break with the Which? Travel Brand of the Year 2023 and Tripadvisor’s Best UK Airline.

Here we explore some of the region’s must-try dishes, foodie locales and immersive experiences, so you can start planning your own culinary-infused getaway.

Whether you’re in a bigger, buzzier town such as Lagos, Albufeira or Faro, or enjoying the serenity of a smaller seaside resort like Olhão or Praia da Luz, you’ll find many of the same delicious local specialities on restaurant menus.

Must-eats include conquilhas à algarvia, a mix of plump clams fresh from the Atlantic, cooked with garlic coriander, olive oil, lemon juice and slices of succulent Portuguese sausage. There’s nothing better than tucking into a plateful, using bread to mop up the juices, and savouring a crisp glass of white wine at an al fresco eatery overlooking the ocean. You can’t miss the Algarve’s mouth-watering shrimp bisque either: a rich, creamy soup made with just-caught prawns and thickened with day-old bread. Served with a squeeze of lemon, it’s a beach holiday in a bowl.

Sardines are another Algarve must-sample, often simply grilled and served with potatoes, but in the beach town of Portimão, they’re cooked in a blend of herbs and spices, placed on a thick slice of bread, and served with a fresh tomato, cucumber, red pepper, onion and oregano salad. Locals tuck into the fish first, then enjoy the oil and herb-soaked crust afterwards. You might also spot diners eating their supper straight from a metal pot; this is a cataplana, in which a hearty stew of onions, peppers and tomatoes mixed with fish and shellfish is simmered and served.

Portuguese piri-piri chicken is one of the Algarve’s most popular dishes. Known as frango assado, the chicken is grilled or barbecued with a spicy, piri-piri chilli sauce marinade for a favourite the whole family will love. Wild boar, known as javali, is another crowd pleaser: just like pork, it can be served grilled, oven-baked or in rich stews.

If you’re not in the mood for a full meal, you’ll enjoy the tradition of petiscos, essentially light bites or snacks. Order a few of these small plates to share – perfect washed down with a chilled beer – options include the likes of cod fritters, fried prawns, sliced chorizo, or a selection of cheese and charcuterie.

And as a sweet treat to finish any meal, try the dom rodrigo, a delicious, sticky, pyramid-shaped dessert dating from the 18th century, which combines sugar, egg yolks, ground almonds, cinnamon and fios de ovos (a traditional Portuguese sweet, made by boiling eggs in sugar syrup).

Fancy recreating some of these dishes yourself? Book into a local cookery class, where you can learn how to make the food you’ve enjoyed here when you’re back home. Further immersive experiences can involve meeting and chatting to local producers, or getting a tour of a local market with a chef before cooking with ingredients you’ve bought.

There are also several excellent food markets throughout the towns and villages of the Algarve, and it’s worth spending some time wandering around them and marveling at the glossy, farm-fresh produce on offer.

The most popular market in Algarve is Olhão market. Set in twin bright red-brick buildings facing the Ria Formosa lagoon, Olhão Mercado Municipal comprises two market halls. One sells fresh fish directly from the boats. The other fruits, vegetables, meat, nuts, flowers, dried fruits and Portuguese sweets. On Saturday mornings, visitors can experience a much larger farmers’ market, where local farmers and producers exhibit and sell their products directly on the streets around the market building.

Another must-visit is the monthly market in the small town of Moncarapacho, just beyond Olhão, which sells fruit, vegetables and fish, and boasts a range of food stalls so you can eat as you wander. In Lagos you’ll find a typical farmers’ market, where you can pick up fresh eggs, olives, homemade jams, sweets and home-baked bread, while the lively Loulé Municipal Market is located in a historic building that dates back more than 100 years and offers plenty of tasty produce, including fresh fish and organic food.

Finally, for those seeking a tipple, as well as the tales and terroir behind it, the Algarve boasts a wealth of vineyards where you can sample different varieties and learn about their production. The wine region here consists of four DOCs (a ‘designation of controlled origin’, signifying high quality and authenticity): Lagos, Portimão, Lagoa and Tavira, which benefit from a warm, sunny climate, perfect for growing vines. You’ll find crisp whites such as Arinto, Malvasia Fina and Crato Branco, ideal for summer sipping, but also robust, velvety reds, such as Negra Mole, Castelão and Trincadeira. Saúde! (Portuguese for ‘Cheers!’)

To make it even easier for you to enjoy the ultimate break in the Algarve, Jet2holidays provides the perfect package holiday, looking after you at every step of the way with award-winning customer service and In-Resort Customer Helpers to ensure your stay goes smoothly.

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Fly to the Algarve from 11 UK airports: Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, East Midlands, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds Bradford, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle and London Stansted. To find out more and start planning your trip, visit Jet2holidays

*On bookings made ten weeks or more before departure. Full payment required by balance due date.

** One free child place per two paying adults. Subject to availability. T&Cs apply, please see for further details.

Applicable for all infants under the age of two years on the date of return. Infants are not entitled to a flight seat (they must be seated with a parent or guardian) or a 22kg baggage allowance.

Earl Spencer has shown he’s a survivor of ‘boarding school syndrome’

It is well known that British boarding schools are favoured by the aristocracy and deemed to confer social advantage on their alumni. It is also widely acknowledged that some have historically fostered a tradition of brutality and emotional deprivation among their pupils, with long-lasting effects.

With the publication of Charles Spencer’s courageous memoir A Very Private School, there is likely to be renewed debate around the neglect and privations that have haunted generations of children who were abandoned at the age of seven or eight to a childhood of institutional care.

Unlike those who are taken into the care of the local authority, however, children in boarding schools are considered to be privileged.  

Is Lee Anderson’s defection to Reform UK a major blow for the Tories?

A beaming Richard Tice, leader of Reform UK, surrounded by no fewer than three giant union jacks, paraded Lee Anderson to the media like a prize bullock at a county agricultural show. Here, we are asked to believe, is a heavyweight political beast; a former Conservative deputy chair and the MP for Ashfield, who speaks for millions and has decided to put the nation first by defecting to Reform UK. Anderson’s potent seed will invigorate Reform, which has already made some remarkable progress in the opinion polls and scored respectable results in by-elections. But there must be doubts about the strength and usefulness of the charge Anderson is about to make at the Tories…

Sadly, no sign of that. When Reform’s ancestor, Ukip, managed to get a couple of Tory MPs to defect, both resigned from the Commons in order to fight by-elections, and they both won. That was in 2014, and conditions for their victories were somewhat propitious – for various reasons, the Conservatives, Labour and the Liberal Democrats were all fairly weak, while Farage and Ukip were on a protest-vote roll (so much so that they’d pushed David Cameron into promising an EU referendum).