Instant Opinion

‘Brexiters are waking up to the damage they’ve done’

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

1

Polly Toynbee in The Guardian

Brexiters are waking up to the damage they’ve done

on Brexit schadenfreude

“Expect a lot more shocked Brexiters to discover what they have done, the Brexit cabinet itself is on a steep learning curve. Here’s one Telegraph columnist: ‘We Brexiters are being blamed for the problems we warned about. In reality, the fault lies squarely with the government and poor planning.’ Oh the schadenfreude! That’s a sharp U-turn from the Telegraph’s too-eager 1 January report from the Dover front: ‘Chaos? What chaos?’ As Brexiters turn on each other, Brexit politics move fast. Until now the Tories planned to move on, only reviving ‘Brexit done’ triumphalism to re-arouse the captured red wall at the election: Labour just wanted to bury the whole issue. But the scale of the eruptions bursting out in one sector after another requires the opposition to find its footing on this tricky terrain.”

2

William Hague in The Daily Telegraph

Joe Biden’s historic challenge is to restate the case for freedom

on inaugural challenges

“Even in the best of times, the inaugural address of a president of the United States cannot be an easy one to prepare. It must contain new material while being based on campaign pledges that are already well-known; excite supporters while holding out reconciliation with opponents; combine determination with readiness to compromise; be addressed to Americans while still being of interest to the rest of the world; and set out specific plans while simultaneously summing up the whole purpose of the new presidency. Just to make it nearly impossible, all this has to be condensed into no more than 20 minutes because the live audience is outside in the freezing cold. For Joe Biden, keeping it brief will be a particular challenge. Those of us who held meetings with him during his vice-presidency know that he is a naturally loquacious man, not given to expressing an idea in a single sentence when half an hour of supporting anecdotes might help.”

3

Melanie Phillips in The Times

Who is Lord Sumption to decide the worth of a life?

on brutal reality

“He said he objected ‘extremely strongly’ to the suggestion that he had implied her life was less valuable because she had cancer. But how else to understand ‘I said it was less valuable’? What was really shocking, though, was not just the cruelty and offensiveness of saying this to someone who is so ill. It was the denial that all life is of equal value. This is surely why Sumption’s remark was so shocking. It’s because he ripped apart the impression he had carefully created during the virus crisis of high-sounding concern over issues such as personal liberty and the dilemma of balancing risks to different people. Instead, in a few devastating words, he revealed the brutal reality of his position — that he actually doesn’t appear to understand what the value of human life really means.”

4

Yasmin Alibhai-Brown for The i

Tories are legislating to preserve statues – why are the dead being protected, when the living are not?

on a new culture war

“With thousands of weekly Covid deaths, homelessness and poverty rising, and the NHS buckling, why is the minister in charge of community safety and wellbeing fixating on historical memorials, many of which glorify the worst of men? Why are the dead being protected so valiantly when the living are not? This is yet another culture battle instigated by right-wingers who want to subdue lefties, the ‘woke’, feminists, and most of all, insolent anti-racists. But it’s not going to happen.”

5

Nicole Gelinas in the New York Post

How New York City ‘built’ Donald Trump

on Gotham’s guilt

“President Trump will take his final ride from the White House Wednesday to settle into his Twitter-less Florida dotage. Most New Yorkers will say good riddance. But behind Gotham’s smug self-righteousness over its wayward scion, the city should remember: New York made Trump, and it made him exactly what he is. If small misdemeanours beget high crimes, under the broken-windows theory of policing, New York could have policed Trump decades ago and avoided the national ignominy of two impeachments. Where did Trump learn to exploit long-term government failures, turning them into an opportunity for demagoguery? Don’t blame the president’s voters for Trump’s rise to power. He and his cronies learned everything they needed to know from Trump’s hometown.”

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