Tuesday 7 June 2022 - Monocle Minute | Monocle

Tuesday. 7/6/2022

The Monocle Minute

Breaking news

UK prime minister Boris Johnson says he will remain in office after surviving a vote of confidence in his party leadership, despite a major rebellion by more than 40 per cent of Conservative MPs. The ballot on Monday night was triggered after 15 per cent of Tory MPs signed a letter stating that they want the leader ousted. For the very latest on the vote and its fallout, tune in to Tuesday morning’s edition of The Globalist on Monocle 24.

Image: Shutterstock

Opinion / Fernando Augusto Pacheco

Changing tides

I have struggled in recent years with being Brazilian and how I feel about my country. In Jair Bolsonaro, we have a leader who is far from admirable and – though none of this is exclusive to Brazil – the country is riven by violence, racism and social inequality. But the results of a poll released by Brazilian daily Folha de São Paulo have made me a little more hopeful.

The survey, which is conducted every five years, looks at Brazilians’ opinions on topics ranging from homosexuality to drug use. The latest findings suggest that there has been a remarkable shift towards more progressive views over the past five years. Some of the results surprised me, particularly when considering the views of President Bolsonaro. Most Brazilians (79 per cent) now think that homosexuality should be accepted by all – up from 67 per cent 10 years ago – and 76 per cent of people think that migrants are an asset to the country and should be welcomed. Meanwhile, advocates of the death penalty have declined sharply (from 47 per cent to 36 per cent). Over the past five years in particular, there have been shifts towards more state intervention in economic matters: for example, 48 per cent of Brazilians now say that they’re willing to pay more taxes for free healthcare and education, up from 43 per cent.

This could all be a reaction to the Bolsonaro years but Brazil has always been a complex, somewhat contradictory nation. Though I’m wary of drawing any general conclusions about the country, it seems undeniable that there has been a shift in opinions. The question now is whether citizens will vote for a leader who reflects these attitudes in the presidential elections later this year.

Image: Andrea Pugiotto

Design / Italy

Natural evolution

When Salone del Mobile opens today at the Rho Fiera Milano fairgrounds, visitors will be able to see all 20 of the Fiera’s exhibition pavilions fully occupied for the first time since 2019. In an area the size of 29 football pitches, 2,000 exhibitors – 25 per cent of them from abroad – will showcase their wares to the world’s leading architects, journalists and design enthusiasts. Those at the fairgrounds would be wise to pay a visit to Pavilion 15, where the event’s showpiece installation, “Design with Nature” by Italian architect Mario Cucinella, is on display. Here, green walls and furniture made from recycled materials will offer an enticing place to sit and reflect. Venturing further from the fairgrounds, visitors to Lombardy’s capital will also be able to stop into showrooms and event spaces across the city to see the latest works from leading furniture and homeware brands, including Germany’s Gaggenau (pictured). After two years of cancellations, postponements and downsized events, Salone del Mobile is returning to its best.

For more from Milan, listen to our regular check-ins across Monocle 24 this week and pick up a copy of Monocle’s ‘Design, Art + Salone del Mobile Special’ newspaper.

Culture / Global

In the line of fire

A fireproof edition of Margaret Atwood’s bestselling 1985 novel The Handmaid’s Tale will be auctioned today at Sotheby’s. The so-called “unburnable book” is printed on fire-resistant paper with stainless steel binding; the Canadian writer was recently filmed brandishing a flame-thrower (pictured), trying to ignite the one-off edition – to no avail. According to the American Library Association, The Handmaid’s Tale, which depicts a dystopian theocracy where women are enslaved, is among the world’s most widely forbidden novels.

Bidding for the unburnable edition currently stands at $100,000 (€93,000) and all proceeds will benefit Pen America, a charity dedicated to defending freedom of expression. “This unburnable book is an emblem of our collective resolve to protect books, stories and ideas from those who fear and revile them,” Pen America CEO Suzanne Nossel tells The Monocle Minute. “We are thankful to be able to deploy the proceeds of this auction to fortify this unprecedented fight for books.”

Image: Getty Images

Defence / Nato

Show of force

The annual Nato-backed Baltops 22 naval-led exercise kicks off this week in the Baltic Sea, involving some 45 ships and 75 aircraft from 16 countries (14 Nato members, plus Sweden and Finland). Though in its 51st year – and marking the 500th anniversary of the Royal Swedish navy – there is inevitably special attention being paid this year as Sweden and Finland have formally applied for alliance membership in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. “So it’s also a show of support and unity by Nato allies,” Petri Burtsoff, Monocle’s Helsinki correspondent, told The Globalist on Monocle 24. More than 40 ships docked in Stockholm’s port over the weekend, part of a normally festive pre-sail event that allows the public to tour these awe-inspiring vessels. That public boarding was cancelled this year for fear of people with “hostile intentions” gaining access – but the exercise is nevertheless a reminder that the Baltic is one region that Nato is determined to defend.

Image: Mathew Scott

Transport / USA

Starting grid

The challenge of reducing carbon emissions is shaking up the global car industry and shifting the balance of power between manufacturing cities. In the US, a mixture of industry and state-led initiatives is transforming Phoenix into one of the country’s biggest motor cities. Everyone from electric-vehicle (EV) manufacturer Nikola to Volvo and South Korean battery-maker LG Energy Solution is looking to capitalise on the expanding market.

“With the inflow of the population from southern California to greater Phoenix, the market was seeing a 99 per cent year-on-year increase in EV registrations,” Gregor Hembrough, head of Polestar USA, tells Monocle as part of a mobility special in the June issue of the magazine. The new trend is shaking up local politics too: Phoenix mayor Kate Gallego is aiming for 280,000 EVs on the city’s roads by 2030. So while Arizona’s electric-vehicle sector might be the new cool kid on the block, it has a long future ahead.

To read more about Phoenix, grab a copy of Monocle’s June issue on newsstands or subscribe today.

Image: Alamy

Monocle 24 / The Menu

Poland’s hospitality industry

We are in Warsaw, where hospitality businesses are getting together to boost the capital’s offering and reputation. Also in the programme: a visit to a different kind of food festival in California.

Monocle Films / Global

Retail special: tasty tipples

Monocle Films visits makers of sherry, gin and whiskey to discover their recipes for success. The memorable flavours and sharp designs of their refined drinks are a perfect tonic for the year ahead.


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