My old headteacher has been convicted of sexual offences against pupils. But why did justice take so long? | Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett

Concerns about Neil Foden’s behaviour were raised years ago. We need to understand how such abuse is enabled

There was a moment during the trial of my former headteacher that broke my heart when I read about it. Child E was giving evidence of how Neil Foden would take her on trips to Liverpool, pulling over in country lanes on the way back so that he could have sex with her. When the defence suggested that the purpose of these detours was so that he could recce new routes for country walks, she laughed.

Why did reading about the laugh get to me so much? I think it was because it implied a tragic worldliness. The loss of childhood innocence. Children should not be laughing, seemingly bitterly and cynically, about the sexual proclivities of adult men.

Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett is a Guardian columnist

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At a festival for the super-rich, the argument for higher taxes couldn’t have been clearer | Polly Toynbee

Britain’s jet set insist they will flee if they lose their benefits – but Labour should not be daunted at a time of such inequality

The Elite London, described as the city’s “most exclusive jet-set lifestyle event”, filled Wycombe Air Park with row after row of gleaming private jets, seaplanes, hovercrafts (with one for kids), helicopters, and supercars either the size of tanks, or flat on the ground like giant skateboards.

In hangar after hangar, the wares on sale last weekend were designed and priced for the super-rich, though possibly not quite for the cadres in this year’s Sunday Times rich list, which bills itself as “a celebration of aspiration”. A “truly bespoke” £30,000 safe had six permanently revolving wheels that keep your watches synchronised; they recently sold one to protect a household’s £1.3m collection of watches. A writing service offered an illustrated memoir of your life’s successes for £28,000. A monster Land Rover Defender, with its boot open to display champagne and a magnificent picnic basket, promoted educational advice: “Opening the door to the best boarding schools and universities.”

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Julian Assange has paid a heavy price for his leaks – the US should let him go home | Simon Jenkins

From Joe Biden’s point of view, returning the WikiLeaks founder to Australia and consigning him to history may be the wisest move

The Julian Assange farce has run its time. He should be left to return to his homeland of Australia. Yet another appeal against successive British court decisions to extradite him to the US has been allowed . It merely prolongs the tedium. Washington should consider Assange’s more than a decade on the run to be penalty enough for his past sins. It should not want to see its own record in Afghanistan and Iraq revived before the court of world opinion.

Like many freelancers in the undergrowth of espionage, Assange is no knight in shining armour. Phone hacking is an infringement of privacy to which he first pleaded guilty in 1996 in Australia. He then graduated to state secrets. Some such secrets may require the protection of the law, including those concerning individuals as well as private advice and information. Others undoubtedly merit public concern.

Simon Jenkins is a Guardian columnist

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In Italy, we live to eat. But tasty NHS fare puts our boring hospital food to shame | Viola Di Grano

I was brought up to think sick people must do dietary penance. Then I tasted the delicious tikka masalas of a London hospital

I was born into a family with little love for food, and therefore scarcely Italian: I grew up with salads and overcooked pasta and two parents who looked at eating as nothing more than a necessary compromise to survive. Only as an adult did I discover that food was indeed a source of satisfaction, and that in Italy in particular it was associated with hospitality, conviviality and good feelings in general. As one of our most noted writers, Elsa Morante , put it: “The truest display of affection, the only one indeed, is ‘Have you eaten?’” That’s right: not the decrepit, abstract “I love you”, but a concerned question about your dear one having had a meal or not.

There is only one place where this food-cherishing narrative fails, and it’s the hospital. As every Italian knows, as soon as you’re admitted as a patient, the opulence of tastes is replaced with miserable food worthy of a medieval jail. The meals served to patients not only lack variety (you can count on one hand the available options throughout the year) but are chewy, hard and strictly devoid of any taste or seasoning. So widespread is this practice, with no exceptions (even, as far as I know, in expensive private clinics) that no one has ever wondered where it came from. In fact, I hadn’t, either until last summer.I was admitted to a London hospital for a chest infection. To my surprise, a very nice member of staff came round every day to show me a menu and let me choose between different options: all complex, tasty dishes drawing on different culinary traditions. While stuffing myself with scrumptious tikka masalas and delicious Asian sweet-and-sour dishes, I started questioning why, in my home country, the experience for me (and everyone else) had been so different.

Viola Di Grado Viola Di Grado is an Italian novelist and literary translator. Her latest novel is Blue Hunger.

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There’s an article I shouldn’t tell you about – is contempt law in a losing battle with reality? | Archie Bland

The concept behind the Contempt of Court Act is laudable, but in the age of social media it is clear an update is needed

An article has been published in the New Yorker about the trial of Lucy Letby. It has been geoblocked in the UK, but it can still be accessed by some, or read in print copies of the US magazine. It has been raised in parliament, written up by news providers and discussed on social media. I shouldn’t link to it, describe its contents or tell you anything else about it.

By the letter of the law, I also shouldn’t give you more specific detail about why I shouldn’t give you more specific detail, except to say that Letby has a retrial on one charge of attempted murder scheduled for June. But I can at least tell you about the law in England and Wales that has created this surreal situation: the Contempt of Court Act 1981 .

Archie Bland is the editor of the Guardian’s First Edition newsletter

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The Guardian view on Julian Assange: time to dial this process down | Editorial

The high court decision to allow an appeal against extradition is good news. But a political resolution to this saga needs to be sought

Given the real possibility of his extradition within days to face espionage charges in the United States, Monday’s high court decision granting Julian Assange leave to appeal was a last-ditch victory for good sense. Mr Assange and his lawyers now have some months of breathing space, during which the search for a political resolution to his case can continue. Fourteen years into this protracted saga, that would be by far the most desirable outcome.

Handing Mr Assange a legal lifeline, the high court rightly judged US assurances that Mr Assange could “seek” to rely in court on first amendment protections to be less than a guarantee. Its decision, though related to Mr Assange’s status as a non-US national, underlined the broader risks of pursuing a trial on the basis of charges put together by Donald Trump’s justice department in 2019.

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When smart meters save money – and the overheating planet | Letters

Michael Wilkinson has had a good experience using a smart meter when charging his electric car and using a heat pump. But other readers remain unconvinced about their benefits

Recent letters about smart meters (14 May ) reported some readers’ bad experiences, but it’s not all negative – our smart meter is allowing our household to cut carbon and save money. In combination with our electric vehicle charger, the smart meter allows us to automatically charge our car at times when there is less demand on the grid and higher renewable-energy generation. This helps balance the grid, and I only pay 7p per kWh to charge the car. This works out at about 1.5p per mile to drive.

The smart meter also works with our heat pump and allows me to pay 15p per kWh for electricity to heat my home. The heat pump’s efficiency means that this works out at about half the price of gas for the same amount of heat.

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The case against Julian Assange has been a cruel folly. His right to appeal is a small step towards justice | Duncan Campbell

Successive home secretaries and the courts have been spineless in pandering to the US government

Almost obscured on its perch outside the Royal Courts of Justice, amid the crush of camera crews and vociferous supporters of Julian Assange, was the statue of Samuel Johnson, a man who also knew the importance of getting information out to as wide an audience as possible. “To keep your secret is wisdom,” is one of his better known observations, “but to expect others to keep it is folly.”

The high court decision to grant leave to appeal to Assange was a further reminder to the US authorities and their apologists in Britain of the folly inherent in their attempt to extradite and jail a man whose main offence is publishing the shameful secrets of the US government and its armed forces. In a just world, the court would have brought this whole absurd legal process to an end there and then, but the fact that an appeal has been granted is both a defeat for the US and renewed cause for hope for Assange.

Duncan Campbell is a freelance writer who worked for the Guardian as crime correspondent and Los Angeles correspondent

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They made fatal decisions and shredded evidence. Now those behind the contaminated blood scandal must face justice | Sarah Boseley

Ordinary people were wronged, their lives ruined and so many cut short. After today’s devastating report, a reckoning is long overdue

It was one of the worst medical disasters of our time. Some 30,000 people who needed the help of the NHS to stay alive and well were given treatment that wrecked their health, took the lives of nearly 3,000 and will be responsible for more deaths to come. Finally, today, half a century on, the six-year Langstaff inquiry has produced a judgment on the infected blood scandal – and it is devastating.

The list of errors and misjudgments is extraordinary and it is clear that arrogance from the medical profession played a big part, as well as greed from the pharmaceutical companies and back-covering from the politicians. So many heads should roll, but many of the most culpable individuals are dead.

Sarah Boseley is the former health editor of the Guardian

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