An extraordinary and thoughtful letter to fans with clear political resonances: “I understand that on this island, we have a desire to protect our values and traditions — as we should — but that shouldn’t come at the expense of introspection and progress.”…
Key rebuttals from Southgate to those who say he and his players should “stick to football.” Says it’s his duty to take of his players and theirs to use their profile to interact with the public on matters such as “equality, inclusivity and racial justice.”
“In a funny way, I see the same Englishness represented by the fans who protested against the Super League. We are independent thinkers. We speak out on the issues that matter to us and we are proud of that.”
A letter to the fans but in part, in content and political argument could just as well be as addressed to his political critics and those of his team, some of whom are in the House of Commons.
When reading it, kept thinking of Tony Blair’s recent piece in the New Statesman, arguing that progressive forces must confront cultural arguments, not resile from them. Southgate could have tried to avoid these questions. He’s gone for the Blair approach with quite some aplomb.
Most of all it’s something we rarely hear- a prolonged and considered rumination about modern Englishness. Implicitly, he acknowledges a truth- that in 2021 his is perhaps the singularly most senior and well-known position in *English* cultural life.
Therefore his/his players’ prominence atop of that rare thing, a solely English cultural/political institution, means they have a near unique position and role in articulating and channeling what Englishness is and what it might be.
Seems to me Southgate’s arguments and drive are motivated by an awareness of this sense of unique responsibility and a real thoughtfulness about modern Englishness and what it means- the latter being pretty rare in politics or public life.

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More from @lewis_goodall

10 Jun
On Matt Hancock repeating his “no national shortage of PPE”
Sigh. Hancock repeats the claim that the NAO has said there was no national shortage of PPE. Have been through this before. Yes the NAO said that NHS providers said they could get what they needed. They also said that that being the case front line workers reported shortages.
Read 9 tweets
9 Jun
Yesterday I visited Transport House in Salford. The leaseholders there are part the next stage in the cladding crisis. But their problem isn't really what's on their building. It's what's in it. Their freeholder has told them it will cost £3m to make safe. Over £100k each.

First some backrgound.

You'll have heard about the cladding crisis. Post the catastrophe at Grenfell Tower, government regulations on cladding changed, requiring the removal of ACM cladding systems (flammable) on buildings over 18m

But cladding isn't the only issue... regs require lots of other fire safety improvements, including changes on fire cavity barriers and insulation within walls.

This is the problem Transport House faces. The leaseholders were recently sent this letter by their freeholder outlining the cost of the works. £3m.
Read 26 tweets
9 Jun
The President is in the UK.
Biden says after he's done with the initial stages of his European trip he'll be going "to speak to Mr Putin to let him know what I want him to know."
Biden: "The US will respond in a robust and meaningful way when the Russian government engages in harmful activities...they'll be consequences for violating the sovereignty of democracies in the US, Europe and elsewhere."
Read 6 tweets
9 Jun
NEW: More than one million people booked a Covid vaccine yesterday through the NHS website- the most we've seen yet in a single day.

I'm old enough to remember when young people wouldn't want to get a jab.
Simon Stevens said young people had sent bookings to "blockbuster levels...the obvious enthusiasm of younger adults to get their jab has blown out of the water the suggestion that people in their 20s might not come forward to protect themselves and their loved ones."
Given what we know about the age profile of cases right now, this is really important news.

Works out at 45000 bookings an hour and around 750 a minute.
Read 4 tweets
8 Jun
In many ways, the key point or bit of context from the Health Select Committee report on burnout. Good will from staff matters because in so many respects that’s what the NHS/social care runs on.
NB this is one of the reasons many criticised the government’s 1% NHS settlement for England.

Committee notes that even before the pandemic, in January 2020. There were shortages of around “one in 10 or one in 12 staff” in the NHS.
Committee notes picture is similar in social care. Was estimated 112,000 roles in adult social care had been vacant in 2019-20. Staff turnover in social care of 30.4%, equating to 430,000 people leaving their jobs in care over the course of that year, 149k leaving care altogether
Read 12 tweets
8 Jun
UK increasingly an outlier in this approach. Many other Europeans countries and the United States changing rules on travel for the vaccinated at the least. Also notable difference in last year’s approach which included travel corridors when no-one had been vaccinated.
Question ministers haven’t articulated is what is the advice about this and what is the end game? Ie at one point will it be “safe” to travel again? What are the metrics? Our vaccination? Theirs? Will travel advice continue to be restrictive as long as there are VOCs?
Also worth nothing the (counter-intuitive) significant cost that often comes with “staycations”- especially this year with so much demand.
Read 5 tweets

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