Daily catch-up: How goes the War on Want? It is being won

The good news about the decline in world poverty and the sad story of a charity that lost its way

John Rentoul
Friday 22 January 2016 09:55

The history of War on Want is a parable of my lifetime. It was founded as a campaigning charity in 1951 by Victor Gollancz and Harold Wilson. I set up a War on Want group at school in the 1970s. Later it was run by George Galloway and it became thereafter an anti-capitalist sect that still retains its charitable status.

John Hilary, its executive director, wrote an article on its website three weeks ago entitled "EU Referendum: How Should the Left Vote?" In it, Hilary is unable to decide whether "the Left" should want Britain to remain part of a capitalist European Union, or whether we would be even more capitalist if we came out. I find it inexpressibly sad that a once noble cause should have been diverted into such a dead end.

The charity is in want of the graph, above, by Max Roser from his Our World in Data website, showing the decline in the proportion of the world population living in absolute poverty. Capitalism has been the most effective weapon in the war against want, and yet the charity finds itself fighting on the wrong side in that war.

Conor Ryan on Michael Gove's changes to exams and grades. The arbitrary messing about with grade boundaries, labels and measurements will confuse and distract from the main goal, which should be raising standards.

Paul Richards yesterday made public his long-awaited report into Labour's defeat.

Etymology news. Lace and lasso both come from Latin laqueus "noose", according to the Oxford Dictionary.

• And finally, thanks to GlennyRodge ‏for this:

"Don't ever make sudden noises around that Raging Bull director."

"Scares easy?"

"Yes, but he doesn't pronounce it like that."

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