The Guardian view on campaign funding: follow the money | Editorial

The mysterious finances of the Brexit party must be dragged into the light

The decision by the election commission to inspect the books of the Brexit party is a step in the right direction, but it may not be a big enough stride for democracy. Nigel Farage formed the Brexit party in January 2019. He is days away from winning this month’s European elections. We know that western democracies are vulnerable to subversion and that murky offshore wealth can be used to support far-right populists. Mr Farage, who has long peddled extreme views, wants to deliver a hard slap to the body politic. But can he do so while playing by the rules?

The regulator acted after a warning from former prime minister Gordon Brown, who sounded the alarm over the insurgent party’s practice of accepting donations via the online payments service Paypal, which raises questions over their traceability. According to the UK law governing European elections, a donor has to be an “individual registered on the electoral register” or a company “which carries on business in the UK”. Nobody outside the UK can donate, so the question is: why would British people use an untraceable method to support the Brexit party? It is also illegal for a donor to remain anonymous if their donations amount to over £500 in any quarter. Mr Brown’s pointed criticisms were decried as envy. They were not.

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Boris Johnson in No 10 will be a fitting finale to this dark decade | Polly Toynbee

He’s likely to be prime minister by autumn. To defeat him at the polls, Labour must unambiguously back remain

Armageddon awaits. Boris Johnson is heading for No 10 and there is nothing dishonest, disreputable or even scandalous enough that he can do to stop his party choosing him now. They know of his lies, laziness and narcissism, but they don’t care. After a crushing humiliation at the polls in Thursday’s EU election, where the Tory vote may fall to single figures, this drowning party will clutch for the straw-headed showman to save them from triumphant Faragists. Well, Prime Minister Johnson would provide a fitting finale to this ever-darkening decade.

A measure of the demented state of the Conservatives is the number of hats in the ring for this most poisonously impossible job. Who would want to lead a paralysed government with no majority and a party that is a nest of vipers? Anyone applying should be disqualified on grounds of diminished responsibility.

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The Guardian view on Google versus Huawei: no winners | Editorial

The struggle over Huawei isn’t really about technology. It is about whether China or the US is to be master

Trade wars, like real ones, are very much easier to start than to stop. The decision by Google to withhold its software from future Huawei smartphones, even if it will continue to support those presently on the market, comes after considerable pressure from the US government. Even so, it is a move that all parties will regret.

The pain for Huawei is obvious. Although it has been stockpiling chips and, presumably, preparing other defences, there is nothing it can sell to consumers outside China that does not depend on American software, and little that does not depend on American chips. As much as half of its global market could disappear, and that is without counting the 5G networking equipment which was the proximate cause of this quarrel. The ultimate cause, of course, is the American fear of losing its position of global pre-eminence, and the Chinese determination to realise that fear.

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US ban on Huawei a ‘cynically timed’ blow in escalating trade war, says firm

Top executive says dispute is about trade, not security, after Trump issued order aimed at cutting off firm from US supplies

The US ban on sharing technology with Huawei was a “cynically timed” blow in the escalating trade war between the US and China, the Chinese firm’s top executive in the UK has said.

Huawei denounced Donald Trump’s ban on the sharing of US tech with “foreign adversaries”, after a string of US tech companies followed Google in restricting the company’s access to their products on Monday.

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How cuts have hit mental health support and dementia care | Letters

Regular access to trained support workers has been lost, writes Mike Smart, while Catherine Dunn says day centres that improve the quality of life for people with dementia are closing

As numerous articles in, and even the title of, your excellent Mental Health supplement (15 May) made clear, the key to addressing any mental health issue is so often an opportunity to talk about that issue: daily, weekly, but – most importantly – on a regular basis.

In my opinion, what was never really recognised as being crucially important, and was criminally whittled away as a consequence of austerity, is access to professionally trained support workers, available in the community, who can visit patients in their homes and with whom patients can share their concerns.

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Men who receive paid paternity leave want fewer children, study finds

Spain’s paternity leave was part of a set of policies to promote gender equality in the labor market and at home, a researcher said

Parents who received paid paternity leave took longer to have another child and men’s desire for more children dropped, a study in Spain has found. The progressive reform towards gender equality may have changed the way men in the Mediterranean country see fertility.

The introduction of paternity leave in Spain, like in other countries, was part of a set of policies designed to promote gender equality both in the labor market and at home, said Libertad González, one of the researchers behind the report. It was also to promote fertility. “Spain is a low-fertility country,” González said. But it seemed to have the opposite effect.

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Mordaunt pledges to review internal MoD torture guidance

Concerns intelligence-sharing guidance is at odds with official government stance on torture

The defence secretary, Penny Mordaunt, has vowed to review Ministry of Defence internal guidance on the sharing of intelligence derived from torture with allies.

An MoD policy document, published following freedom of information requests by the Rendition Project and reported in the Times, stated that UK ministers could share information obtained from third parties where there was a serious risk of torture “if ministers agree that the potential benefits justify accepting the risk and the legal consequences that may follow”.

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Ibiza scandal: why has Austria’s government collapsed? – video

Austria is preparing for an election in September after a video from 2017 appeared to show the far-right vice-chancellor, Heinz-Christian Strache, offering lucrative public contracts in exchange for campaign support. The country's coalition government, formed between the Freedom party and the Austrian People's party, will end. Twenty-four hours after the video was released Strache resigned. 

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Racism on the rise since Brexit vote, nationwide study reveals

Survey shows 70% of people from ethnic minorities faced discrimination, up from 58%

Ethnic minorities in Britain are facing rising and increasingly overt racism, with levels of discrimination and abuse continuing to grow in the wake of the Brexit referendum, new nationwide research reveals.

Seven in 10 ethnic minority people now report having faced racial discrimination, compared to 58% before the EU vote in January 2016, according to polling data seen by the Guardian.

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