Innocents of Houla are paying the price for Western stupidity
Opinion digest: the Monarchy, Syria deadlock, Jeremy Hunt at Leveson and the doctor's strike
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THE LESSONS OF LIBYA STILL UNLEARNT
PADDY ASHDOWN ON THE SYRIA DEADLOCK
We should be outraged at the massacre of innocents in Houla, says Paddy Ashdown in The Times, but Western good intentions and concern are not enough. "The West's moral force is in tatters after mistakes in Afghanistan and Iraq" and diminished military budgets mean it can no longer enforce global morality. It seemed with Libya the West had learnt that international action required a Security Council Resolution, and the best way for the West to achieve this, was not to "front up the action" and brandish its sword of morality, but to assist others, (in Libya's case, the Arabs). Instead, we seem to have stupidly reverted to "megaphone diplomacy". Rather than letting the Arabs and regional powers (such as Turkey) lead the call to action, Western leaders led the charge of moral outrage, making it easier for Russia to exercise its veto and prompting UN deadlock. The innocents of Houla "have been left to pay the price".
WHY CELEBRATE A VAPID FAMILY?
POLLY TOYNBEE ON THE ROYAL JUBILEE
This jubilee weekend, what are we celebrating, asks Polly Toynbee in The Guardian? "A singularly undistinguished family's hold on the nation, a mirage of nationhood, a majestic delusion." The monarchy subjugates us, not with pragmatic power but with symbolism. It makes us obedient servants, worshipping an ermine-wrapped fantasy of Englishness. Why do we even pay homage to these unimpressive personages? None of the long royal line since time immemorial has exhibited much spark of intellectual curiosity or originality. The royals are the living, breathing negation of the myth of genetic superiority. The government chose jubilee week to publish a report on Britain's social immobility, revealing a country where the class system cements the children of the privileged into the upper echelons more than ever. "The long line of royal nonentity is the ultimate lesson in the damage that inherited money and privilege does."
IS JEREMY HUNT A SCOUNDREL OR A FOOL?
BRIAN CATHCART ON THE LEVESON INQUIRY
You have to wonder what Lord Justice Leveson made of Jeremy Hunt's testimony at his inquiry, says Brian Cathcart in The Guardian. Hunt seemed a lot like the poacher who, when caught red handed, looks at the dead animal on his shoulder and says: "Yeugh! How did that get there?" Hunt's poacher-style pleading seemed to suggest he had mistaken Leveson for Lewis Carroll's White Queen, who was capable of believing six impossible things before breakfast. Like several other witnesses, "Hunt has been driven to absurdity by the desperate need to open up a space between the two most plausible interpretations of his conduct: that he is a scoundrel and that he is a fool". Next it will be Cameron's turn to explain his own conduct to Leveson, including his decision to put a clearly biased Hunt in charge of the BSkyB bid. "We may well see the poacher's gambit deployed again."
DOCTORS ARE RIGHT TO FEEL AGGRIEVED
ROSAMUND URWIN ON THE DOCTOR'S STRIKE
Andrew Lansley doesn't think the public will "remotely understand" why doctors are going on strike, says Rosamund Urwin in The Evening Standard. "Well, I am a member of the public, and I understand." Doctors have had to put up with Lansley trying to savage the institution they have devoted their lives to with his convoluted reforms. Now he's resorting to the Tory tactic of pitting private sector workers against public. It's true that we envy the sort of "jammy pensions" that doctors have. But then again we haven't all studied for six years, racked up enormous debts and dealt with the stress of treating the seriously ill or of seeing patients die. "The British Medical Association is right to feel aggrieved." The NHS pension scheme was last downgraded only four years ago and it isn't doctors' fault that no one in government had the foresight to start putting aside enough cash to fund us all living longer.