I wasn't fat because I lacked willpower - it's not that simple

Willpower is a strange and complicated concept – especially when it comes to losing weight. Those who don’t lose weight are judged not to have it – and judged constantly.

It is rarely a trait that people fully understand themselves, yet it is an attribute that is conferred on them. I have lost weight, therefore I have willpower. I am, it is concluded, morally superior to those who have not; I have some quality they don’t. 

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Emma Burnell in Conversation with Kamila Siwinska

As I sit down with Kamila Siwinska there is glorious late summer sunshine outside the Teatr Polski in Poznan it is the last day of the Close Strangers festival. Actors nearby are rehearsing lines for their last show while drinking strong black coffee. The theatre is a bustle of activity and preparation for their last show and most ambitious production as well as preparing for their critically acclaimed Hamlet which starts as soon as the festival ends. No rest for Teatr Polski – not sleep nor chance to dream.

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emma@politicalhuman.com
Agata Siwiak and Joanna Wichowska in conversation with Emma Burnell

meet Agata Siwiak in the glamorous downstairs bar and cabaret space at Teatr Polski in Poznan. It is the second day of the festival for which she is the artistic director, The ‘Close Strangers’ festival – which is putting on plays every night for a week either about the Ukrainian experience in Poland or by Ukrainian artists – in their own language and translated into Polish through subtitles.

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Labour Remainers don’t have to love moderate (ex) Conservatives—but they should see the value of an alliance

Is Amber Rudd a hero—or villain? There has been a lot of friction recently between FBPE-types who think Rudd is a hero for resigning the Tory whip, and her cabinet job, over Johnson’s extremist behaviour, and those to their left who blame her for a series of wider societal issues—in particular, the Windrush scandal over which she had to resign after misleading the house of commons (what a long time ago that seems).

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Thin Body, Fat Mind

As a size 14 I’m the typical shape of an average British woman. In fact, if you walked past me on the street you’d be more likely to notice my frizzy red curls than my figure. Yes, I’m nobody’s idea of skinny, but you wouldn’t think I was fat either - so why do I?

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emma@politicalhuman.com
I used to weigh 25 stone, but the responsibility for the obesity crisis is as much yours as it is mine

I used to weigh 25 and a half stone. Thanks to weight loss surgery and the Slimming World programme, I am now around 13 stone – and aiming to make it to 10 and a half.

In my old life, I couldn’t walk 100 metres without crippling back pain. Last month I hiked 25km for charity, and up some pretty steep hills too. I have gone from being morbidly obese to obese. Soon, I hope, I will just be overweight.

And then, one day I will be a healthy weight.

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Only political pundits are excited by Rory Stewart as Tory leader - everyone else can see his mistakes

Rory Stewart’s bid for Conservative leadership, and to be this country’s next prime minister, is causing quite a buzz. Not among his Tory selectorate or among his colleagues in the wider Conservative Party – the Conservative Home website has him backed by only seven of his fellow MPs this morning. And the voting public doesn’t seem to be particularly impressed with him either: a Com Res poll has him only winning 51 seats for the Conservatives, while the leading candidate Boris Johnson is projected to win 395. I think Johnson’s numbers are inflated and Stewart’s depressed by their relative name recognition, but even so that’s not great for someone who wants to be chosen to fight the next general election.

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Scaling up changes everything. How can we predict its effects?

Policy makers at all levels know what it’s like to watch a scheme that’s have done well at pilot stage fail to succeed when scaled up. What works for 30 children in Loughborough may not work for 1000 in Lagos. Or even London.

That’s not because the ideas were poor in the first place, or because the pilots themselves were poorly run, but because scale affects projects in different ways and as such needs a different evaluative approach.

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Labour supporter—but I still wish Change UK had been more successful

Change UK’s all-but-demise is hardly unexpected. It was a poorly conceived and inadequately run outfit from the start. Given that it was apparently planned for months in advance, that it was so shambolic throughout its short life was even more telling of the failures of those who ran it. Yet even though I didn’t expect it to succeed, I never expected it to fail that badly, that quickly.

I was never going to vote Change and I would never have suggested anyone else do so. I want a socialist government and I vote for a socialist party. But I want that socialist government to be internationalist in its outlook, and an essential part of that for me is campaigning to keep us in the EU.

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