Rachel Malik

Rachel Malik’s first novel, Miss Boston and Miss Hargreaves, was published by Penguin in 2017. She used to be an academic.

From The Blog
20 May 2020

It would be nice to think that such statements, like the weekly ‘clap for our carers’, acknowledged the value of affective labour. But when work is characterised as a set of exceptional actions or feelings – sacrifice, heroism, selflessness, going ‘above and beyond’ – the question of pay, or economic and social security, can be avoided. On Radio 4’s Westminster Hour on Sunday, Kit Malthouse, the justice minister, said that he hoped the crisis would foster the development of care work as a credentialised, ‘desirable, professional career’. Would there be more pay, he was asked. ‘Possibly,’ he replied. Like the ‘care badge’ proposed by Hancock (one of the most toe-curling government micro-responses to the pandemic), the great thing about praise and thanks is that they don’t need to come with guarantees of anything else.

From The Blog
1 April 2020

‘The right measures at the right time’ has been a mantra of ministers and sanctioned experts: sensible, uncontroversial. But the government has undermined its own timelines and its own priorities. It has talked up increases in testing – ‘rolling it out’, ‘ramping it up’ – but at the weekend a significant gap appeared between ministerial claim and reality. Michael Gove said in his Sunday morning interviews that the target of 10,000 tests per day was being met; but on Saturday, it turned out, only 8278 tests were carried out on 4908 patients.

From The Blog
25 March 2020

On Monday, news channels showed Matt Hancock moving boxes of personal protective equipment from a warehouse to a truck. He admitted that there had been a problem with distribution. Last Thursday evening, a London hospital had to declare a ‘critical incident’ after running out of critical care beds. Social media streams are filled with reports from paramedics about missing equipment and sharing masks. Spain meanwhile (to take one example) has ordered 640,000 testing kits from China. International comparisons have become an inevitable part of the response and interpretation of the crisis. Should Britain continue along its own peculiar furrow or be more like Italy, France, Germany, China or South Korea? Also from Spain, there are disturbing reports of residents being left ‘dead and abandoned’ in at least three care homes. Where are we going?

From The Blog
16 March 2020

Can a biscuit factory make a ventilator? Can a car plant? In yesterday’s Sunday Telegraph, the health secretary, Matt Hancock, announced that the government was launching ‘a call to arms for a drive to build the ventilators and other equipment the NHS will need ... We now need any manufacturers to transform their production lines to make ventilators. We cannot make too many. If you produce a ventilator, we will buy it. No number is too high.’

Universities under Attack

Rachel Malik, 15 December 2011

For a long time I believed that being an academic wasn’t just the best career for me – which it clearly was, I loved it – but one of the best it was possible to have, especially within a university system committed to expansion. Yet recently I took voluntary redundancy after teaching in the humanities at Middlesex University for 18 years, and for the foreseeable future I have no desire to work in any university in this country – or, I imagine, elsewhere.

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