Instant Opinion

‘It’s back to school for Boris Johnson, the man who refuses to learn’

Your digest of analysis and commentary from the British and international press

1

Marina Hyde in The Guardian

It’s back to school for Boris Johnson, the man who refuses to learn

on the PM’s cosmic hopes

“What was he waiting for? Better news? Did he think that, having informed Andrew Marr’s viewers on Sunday that things were bad and getting worse but he wasn’t going to act, some kind of cosmic miracle was going to occur? Perhaps he hoped a Downing Street aide might rush breathlessly into his office on Monday morning and say: ‘You’ll never believe this – the R rate has plummeted and we don’t need to do the difficult thing after all! Wow, thank God for you. Bravo for having the lack of courage of your lack of convictions. That’s why they pay you the big bucks, even though you tell friends your salary is chickenfeed.’”

2

Michelle Goldberg in The New York Times

To Defend Democracy, Investigate Trump

on electoral subversion

“If there is no penalty for Republican cheating, there will be more of it. During impeachment, Republicans who were unwilling to defend the president’s conduct, but also unwilling to penalize him, insisted that if Americans didn’t like his behavior they could vote him out. Americans did, and now Trump’s party is refusing to accept it. It’s evidence that you can’t rely on elections to punish attempts to subvert elections. Only the law can do that, even if it’s inconvenient.”

3

Yasmin Alibhai-Brown in The i

A wealth tax on the richest is well overdue in the UK

on doing the ‘right thing’

“Citizens of all classes are now expressing disquiet about these entrenched injustices and inequalities. A poll of 2,000 readers by The Sunday Times found this month that ‘two-thirds supported a wealth tax as they believed the wealth gap between rich and poor had become too great during the pandemic – and that a levy was the best way to improve income equality’. I agree, but only if the levy is properly enforced so accountants could not exploit loopholes and if tax exiles were properly pursued. Will the government do the right thing? Of course not. For the PM and his circle, such a levy would feel like an intolerable violation of their inherited privileges.”

4

Patrick O’Flynn in The Spectator

Nigel Farage’s China curveball should worry the Tory party

on a Brexiteer looking east

“So could a long-term geo-political development such as the remorseless rise of China become a major vote-shifting issue in Britain anytime soon? Even in the wake of Covid, it is difficult to see it competing with living standards, jobs, healthcare, law and order and all the other usual big issues. Yet it still has the potential to promote and add depth to the Farage brand, making it more marketable on the international lecture circuit and leading more UK voters to appreciate that here is a substantial political figure who cannot be dismissed as the proverbial one-club golfer.”

5

Hugo Rifkind for The Times

Despite it all, try to look on the bright side

on much-needed optimism

“And when everything they say is scary, as it is right now, it can be hard to focus on all the reasons they might get better. Although we can choose to try, and I’m going to. Vaccination might not happen as fast as we hope but it surely won’t happen as slowly as we fear, either. Spring may be a long way away but it always comes eventually. As for the summer, who knows? Both the dream and the nightmare are possible. So do yourself a favour and pick the good one. Believe in the tiger. Why not?”

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