The British pet obsession, solving the lorry driver disaster, and still yet another statue scandal

The British really like of animals knows no bounds. That is the unsettling lesson from the saga of “Operation Ark” – the scramble in the ultimate days of the Uk evacuation from Afghanistan to come across room for almost 200 rescue animals at the need of their keeper, the former Royal Marine Pen Farthing. Just after a ferocious Television set and social media marketing campaign that split the country, with MPs obtaining countless numbers of email messages from constituents advocating the animals’ rescue, Farthing and his pets designed it safely and securely to the British isles on a personal charter flight on Sunday 29 August. The charity’s Afghan staff members did not. Their plight – and that of the ladies, LGBT individuals and Afghans who labored with Western governments but who have now been remaining to fend for on their own – has garnered significantly less sympathy from the British public than a shelter entire of dogs and cats to which the Taliban poses no direct threat.

In the times ahead of Farthing’s wonderful escape, a YouGov poll found that a staggering 40 for each cent of Britons feel animal lives are value the identical as human life. Even as an animal lover myself (I generally prefer my cat’s business to that of other people), this figure is tough to digest, in particular provided only 2 to 3 for each cent of the Uk populace is vegetarian. We could adore our fluffy friends, but that doesn’t end most of us happily having them.

I marvel if the nation’s issue for Farthing’s animals has a lot more to do with Victorian attitudes of these who are “deserving” and “undeserving” of our assist. Awkward queries about past transgressions and religious and cultural components that could hinder the assimilation of a desperate Afghan refugee are conveniently irrelevant when thinking of the fate of a canine.

Recruitment drive

The shortage of lorry motorists to deliver to supermarkets has develop into so acute that a person logistics company is now offering salaries of up to £56,674 a yr, even though Waitrose advertises fork out up to £53,780. For reference, that is greater than the regular income of academics and architects.

The lack of motorists and other concerns with source chains could show devastating – presently, customers are experiencing bare cabinets. Steve Murrells, the chief government of Co-operative Team, warned: “The shortages are at a worse amount than at any time I have found.”

An urgent take care of is plainly desired. But in the lengthier term, as the furlough plan unwinds this thirty day period, the alternative is staring the hapless federal government in the experience: a nationwide retraining plan for everyone whose position has been afflicted by Covid, offering a route into a tough but superior-reward (and nearly upcoming-evidence) occupation in logistics.

[see also: UK retailers report lowest level of stock since 1983]

Wokery or whitewashing?

Newspapers are furious at a choice by Cambridge University’s classics school to put up indicators in its archaeology museum explaining the “whiteness” of sculpture plaster casts. This is, according to some enraged teachers, “unhinged”, “extraordinary” and “modern-day gobbledegook”. How dare Cambridge try to “woke-wash” the ancient world.

I speculate if any of the scandalised students quoted in these article content are really classicists. If they ended up, they would know that Greek and Roman statues weren’t meant to be the gleaming white stone we see right now in museums, but would have been garishly painted – a issue that will presumably be observed on the new indicators, along with details of where the topic of the sculpture arrived from. Surely they are not suggesting it is “unhinged” to give factually correct information?

Moreover, for all the mockery about imposing modern day values on to antiquity, historical Greece and Rome had been much extra numerous than these slim-minded outrage-retailers feel to realise. What we believe of as the classical planet stretched at different factors from Spain to Asia, the Scottish borders to northern Africa. Rome even experienced a black African emperor – which may not be immediately# obvious from the whiteness of his statue. If college students get a warped perception of the ethnicity of the civilisations they are researching, any respectable historian would want to established the record straight. Or have the society wars turn into so bitter it is now regarded “woke” to be historically exact? 

[see also: Beyond the culture wars]