Nothing. Has. Changed.

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1


Nothing. Has. Changed.

 

It is difficult to know whether to laugh or cry at Theresa May's op-ed in today's Sunday Express.

"Some of you put your trust in the political process for the first time in decades." she writes of the 2016 referendum. "We cannot – and must not – let you down."

Yet that is precisely what the Prime Minister and her Tory colleagues have done by waging the same self-indulgent internecine battle over the last 30-0dd months that they have waged over the last 30-odd years.

We head to Tuesday's vote with a resounding defeat on the cards for her failed Brexit deal, no Plan B, and the rest of the world shaking their heads in disbelief.

Yet it wasn't until the countdown clock hit five minutes to midnight that Theresa May even attempted to look beyond the the bounds of her own party, belatedly making desperate calls to Labour MPs and trade union leaders.

As I told Robert Peston on Thursday, it is an absolute tragedy that she didn't make those calls earlier, that she didn't respond back in September when Jeremy Corbyn offered her the chance to meet and discuss a different type of Brexit.

We could have built a Brexit that respected the referendum result, protected jobs and business through a customs union, defended workers' rights and maintained environmental protections. Instead we are being offered a Tory version of Brexit that doesn't even command the support of the party who wrote it.

Sorry, Prime Minister. When we enter the division lobby on Tuesday to vote against your failed deal, it will be my Labour colleagues and I who are standing up for the people of this country who you and your party have so woefully let down.

 

2


Let's Move with Michelle

 

      

"With Barack gone all the time, convenience had become the single most important factor in my choices at home. With less time to cook, I often picked up takeout on my way home from work. In the mornings, I packed the girls' lunch boxes with Lunchables and Capri Suns. Weekends usually meant a trip to McDonald's drive-through window after ballet and before soccer. None of this, our doctor said, was out of the ordinary, or even all that terrible in isolation. Too much of it, though, was a real problem."

That's Michelle Obama writing about the realisation in 2007 - while Barack was battling for the Democratic nomination - that her daughter Malia was borderline obese and could be at risk of type 2 diabetes.

Once in The White House Michelle founded the Let's Move campaign dedicated "to solving the problem of obesity within a generation, so that children born today will grow up healthier and able to pursue their dreams."

Let's Move challenged policy makers, food companies, dieticians, parents and schools. It was about physical exercise, food labelling, banning junk foods in schools and empowering families to make healthy choices.

I hope we can achieve similar things in the UK through my independent commission to reverse the growing toll of type 2 diabetes, and campaigns like The Daily Mile and Fizz Free February which now has the support of local councils across the country and a growing army of individuals and schools signing up.

In the last week I have enrolled Health Secretary Matt Hancock, Shadow Health Secretary Jon Ashworth and ITV's political editor Robert Peston - all pledging to give up sugary pop for a month. If you haven't already shown your support, you can do so here.




I was particularly delighted to catch up with councillors, public health officials, teachers and headteachers on Friday at Sandwell Council who are fired up to make a difference through a year-long Sugar Smart campaign starting with going fizz free in February.

3


A Bulletproof birthday



Thanks to my team for the best birthday ever!  A hamper-full of Bulletproof goodies and a personal note from my hero Dave Asprey.
 

4


Kick it into touch

 



Suicides, family breakdowns, mental health issues, babies neglected and drug dealing - that is the appalling toll of football's relationship with gambling.

As this devastating study concludes: “Far from being the knowledge-based, risk-free activity it is marketed as, the profound appeal of online sports gambling has had dire consequences for many young men.”

I urge all those who believe in the victim-blaming of gambling addicts to read this report and think again.
 

5


Help for heroes

 



I've met the good people that volunteer at the Oldham food bank. I've seen their devotion to helping the poor and hungry, buffeted by years of austerity and the insidious Universal Credit roll-out.

The sort of person who would deliberately sabotage that work by burgling this food bank - depriving its users of food and fuel vouchers - doesn't bear thinking about.

Instead let's use this for good - donate, replace, and show those responsible what charity really means.

Here's how to help... www.gofundme.com/oldham-foodbank-break-in
 

6


Sign up, pay up



On Wednesday Shopworkers' union Usdaw launched its "Time for Better Pay" campaign, calling for a £10 minimum wage and an end to zero hours contracts. They are not outrageous demands. But they will go a long way towards tackling the poverty pay that leaves too many workers reliant on payday loans to support their families.

As Paddy Lillis, Usdaw general secretary, says: “Going out to work should mean a decent standard of living for everyone. We need real and urgent improvements to workers’ rights to deliver an economy which works in favour of all working people."

Paddy wants 100,000 people to sign this petition to the government. Please help his members across the retail sector by adding your name.

7


Licence to be brutal

 

Labour in government lifted millions of pensioners out of poverty. But today, clobbered by nine years of Tory austerity, poverty is rising again among the older generation.

Age UK today warns that 50,000 more could be forced to choose between food, heating or their television if the free TV licence is scrapped for over 75s.

That's the brutal cost of a broken Tory promise.
 

8


A word about books
 


Photo: Kenilworth Books

Rumours of the death of independent bookshops have been grossly exaggerated it appears. In the face of the exponential growth in e-reading and kindles, the number of indies slumped every year from 1995 when the total in the UK and Ireland was 1,894 to just 867 in 2016. But the latest figures from the Booksellers Association show the tide has turned, and numbers are on the increase for the second year in succession, now standing at 883.

To celebrate the joy of reading and this fabulous good news story, The Guardian has done a delightful guide to some of the UK's best-loved bookshops.

If you frequent a favourite bookshop and want to give them a shout out, send me an email with details of that little something which makes your local so special. I'll name check the best responses in my next newsletter.

 

9


Bringing back the gold 

 



Many congratulations to Olivia Colman, Ben Whishaw, Mark Ronson, Christian Bale, Richard Madden and all the back stage creatives who helped produce another great night for the UK's film industry at The Golden Globes.

 

10


Art for all

 

Art, music and drama are vanishing at an alarming rate from our children's classrooms because of relentless underfunding, the narrow EBacc curriculum, and the over-emphasis on national tests.

If the dire situation highlighted in this Fabian Society survey is allowed to continue, millions of state school children will be locked out from access to the UK's world-beating creative industries.

That's why Labour in government will introduce an arts premium with £160m of funding for primary school pupils. Culture must be for all - not just the preserve of a wealthy, privileged elite.

 

11


Game, set and many thanks
 

Andy Murray's unique cocktail of talent, determination and raw passion helped drive him to the very top at the most brutal time in the history of tennis. That same passion was on full display as he announced his impending retirement from the game that has been his life.

Whatever happens in the days and weeks ahead - and everyone must hope he can make it through to Wimbledon - Andy will rank as one of our country's greatest ever, and most gifted, sporting stars.