To find the tools to clamp down on online misogyny, racism and bullying, parliament needs to look to the past
It’s great that Matt Hancock and Sajid Javid have said they will regulate the internet, but what could they actually do? The culture secretary said that when he called in representatives of 14 leading internet companies to discuss his ideas, only four turned up.
The government said it will introduce new laws to tackle “the full range of online harm”. This must mean dealing not just with serious crime, but with the harm produced every day by social media, such as abuse, bullying, racism and misogyny, with little or no protection for children. These things either aren’t quite crimes, or aren’t serious enough for the police to chase – and there are precious few concrete ideas for how to reduce them.
Related: Social media firms failing to protect young people, survey finds
Politicians fret over whether the technology can be regulated at all, and where regulation stops and censorship starts
An obsession with deregulation of building fire regulations meant warning signs of looming disaster seem to have been missed on the watch of Conservative ministers
The public inquiry into the Grenfell Tower fire finally begins this week with a fortnight of testimony from friends and relatives of the 71 people who died in the terrible blaze on the night of 14 June 2018. The blackened shell of the 24-storey tower has become a symbol of the inequalities of Britain. Almost a year on, there remains a disturbing feeling that justice is far from being delivered. The families of the dead are a long way from possessing any sense of completion. The inquiry, led by a judge, is a necessary step, but it is far from being a sufficient one.
The government has yet to make much progress on the houses that the former Grenfell residents need – only one in three of the families are living in a permanent new home. Woeful handling of the situation by Kensington and Chelsea council has not improved much since it dumped its ineffective leadership last year, bringing in a new head who’d never been to a tower block. Unsurprisingly the council continues to build fewer affordable homes than any other London borough.
MPs and member of Lords make separate calls for end to ‘repugnant’ use of paragraph 322(5) of immigration law
A group of about 20 MPs and a member of the House of Lords are to establish separate pressure groups to persuade the Home Office to stop deporting highly skilled migrants using a paragraph of the immigration rules designed to tackle terrorism and people judged to be a threat to national security.
Lord Dick Taverne, QC, in a letter to the Guardian, says he will launch a campaign to lobby the Home Office until it ceases turning Theresa May’s “much-vaunted vision of an open Britain into a closed Britain through the heavy-handed and unconscionable use of this controversial paragraph of the immigration rules, which is denuding Britain of those with the special skills our industries need – and doing so in the cruellest of ways”.
Related: A life ‘completely destroyed’ by one paragraph of immigration law
- Missouri senator opposed Haspel for ‘classified’ reason
- Republican Cotton: McCaskill ‘reflexively opposed’ to Trump
Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri has defended her vote against Donald Trump’s pick for CIA director, but said the specific reasons for it were classified.
McCaskill was one of the few Democrats facing a difficult re-election this fall to oppose the nomination of Gina Haspel, who was confirmed by the Senate on Thursday after a heated debate about her role in the CIA’s torture program.
Related: Facing Trump, a historian appeals to America’s soul: ‘I think we’ll survive’
Women’s reproductive rights are under widespread threat, not least in America. This is no time for complacency
During his eight years in the White House, one of the themes President Obama frequently reflected on in speeches was the non-linear nature of social progress. “Progress doesn’t travel in a straight line,” he told Rutgers students in his commencement address in 2016. “It remains uneven and at times for every two steps forward, it feels like we take one step back.”
The Observer is the world’s oldest Sunday newspaper, founded in 1791. It is published by Guardian News & Media and is editorially independent.
Related: Trump administration to revive Reagan-era abortion ‘gag’ rule
If American women are denied a safe abortion, it will send a terrible moral signal to the rest of the world