Plague struck Wittenberg in August 1527, ten years after Luther posted – or didn’t post; historians disagree – the 95 Theses on the door of the castle church, and two years after the Peasants’ War of 1525, when thousands of peasants were slain after they revolted against their lords. Luther had backed the authorities in putting down the revolt with massive bloodshed. Earlier in 1527, Luther had undergone a major physical and emotional collapse, and found himself unable to write or read for some months. Then, just as he was starting to recover, plague broke out in the town.
Although dozens of her own officials have been involved in corruption scandals, including a health minister caught price-gouging on respirators, Añez – like Bolsonaro and Trump – peddles conspiracy theories about enemies in the media, government and civil society. They allegedly follow Morales’s directives, and plot her overthrow through terrorism and drug trafficking in conjunction with Peruvians and Colombians (never mind that Colombian guerrillas are less than a shadow of their former selves).
Contrary to some assumptions, libraries have not closed during the current pandemic. The entrenched view of libraries is that they are just physical places where communities come together to access knowledge. Covid-19 has upended these assumptions. The question, for all libraries, as the crisis was unfolding in March, was whether we would support our communities better by staying open and continuing to provide the services that need the physical spaces to operate, or by closing, as libraries are busy places where the disease could easily spread, affecting frontline library staff as well as users.
Here was this bird, that should be in the jungle learning to emulate the sound of gibbons and rushing water, but was instead imitating Skype ringtones, trapped in a dreadful situation made still more wretched by the fact that its owner was also trapped, with nothing to look forward to for the duration of the lockdown except more Skype calls and getting whistled at by her parrot.
On Friday – when the Conservative government was attempting to shrug off another day of scandal focused on the housing minister, Robert Jenrick – the Labour Party leadership decided it was the perfect time to take a swing at the left. Rebecca Long-Bailey was sacked as shadow education secretary for retweeting a link to an interview in the Independent with the actor Maxine Peake, in which Peake claimed, incorrectly, that ‘the tactics used by the police in America, kneeling on George Floyd’s neck, that was learnt from seminars with Israeli secret services.’
As the #CoronaContract campaign documents, casualised staff at universities across the UK will be hit especially hard by the fallout from Covid-19. Many have experienced financial hardship already, through the loss of promised work hours or their institutions’ refusal to furlough them. Some have had their contracts terminated prematurely. And things will get worse, as universities across the country announce the non-renewal of casual contracts, hiring freezes and redundancies. To fight racism at universities, we need to concern ourselves not only with the future recruitment of Black academics (there are only seven or so Black professors at Oxford), which the mechanisms of casualisation obstruct, but also with the urgent difficulties facing insecure workers currently in the university’s employ.
On hot weekends when I was child we’d go to the paddling pool in Burnley’s Thompson Park. We’d drive over from our house in Accrington and leave the car near Burnley College, where my father taught photography. On the way home I’d beg for a detour past Turf Moor, the home of Burnley Football Club.