Foodbank Fallacies

Jeremy Paxman sits back comfortably in his chair. Hands folded in front of him. Clipboard of questions resting on his knee. It is 9pm on 26 March 2015. It is the night of the ‘Leaders Debates’, which kicks off the British General Election Campaign. No Newsnight for Jeremy for nine months. No politicians to devour in all that time. How will Paxman react to finally being let off the leash? What will his opening gambit be?

“David Cameron, do you know how many food banks there were in this country when you came to power?” “I don’t have the exact figures but I know that usage of food banks has gone up and there are many amazing volunteers who man those food banks and provide an important service”

Foodbank collection

UK immigration detention: the truth is out

Successive governments have ignored and dismissed complaints of suffering in UK immigration lock-ups. This week, in Parliament and on national television, fresh evidence has been heard. On Monday night Channel 4 News broadcast shocking undercover footage of guards talking about the women in their care at Yarl’s Wood detention centre in Bedfordshire.
“Headbutt the bitch, I’d beat her up,” says one guard at the immigration prison, which is run for the Home Office by the private security company, Serco.

The hidden lives of India’s domestic maids

Kalanidhi lets out a heavy sigh as she bends forward to adjust the length of her sari. The 50-year-old’s face is gently lined; her expression is one of tired resignation.

A few moments before our interview Kalanidhi was busy, cleaning the house, sweeping the floor and washing the dishes. Now she sits crossed legged, sipping tea. She earns $16 (10 British pounds) every month for her work. This is her everyday routine, and she has grown used to it. “I have lived in Bangalore for 50 years,” she says, “and I have been working here for 15 years. At first, I started working in a local printing press. After that, I started doing household work. It’s been 10 years since I started working here in Cox town. Time passes by quickly.” She smiles.

Indian slum

Fighting on all fronts, poorest women hit by legal aid cuts in family courts

As a woman, there are things you take for granted when you live in a country where equality laws were passed generations ago: the right to work, the right to autonomy over your relationships, the responsibility to protect yourself and your children from abuse. As the next general election approaches, reading the political press, you might assume that politicians want to build on these rights; and in particular, that domestic abuse is a shared ‘number one’ priority.

Holborn Towers. Photo by Jonė Reed

Iraq: The Reckoning

In a suite of rooms in a ‘safe house’ in a city in south eastern Europe, investigators employed by the British Government have been interviewing a stream of Iraqi civilians for the past 18 months.

Royal marine by Thomas McDonald