Instant Opinion

‘Phoney flag-waving is not the way for Labour to win back the red wall’

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


Labour MP Clive Lewis in The Guardian

Phoney flag-waving is not the way for Labour to win back the red wall

on left-wing patriotism

 “If our country is to prosper in an increasingly hostile century, we must face it together - as a unit. But before we can do that we must confront our past - in all its goodness and, yes, all its darkness. And we must acknowledge that our present-day nation is so much more colourful than the red, white and blue cliches. Whether controversial statues, the teaching of our history, or how we relate to one another, the common theme is one of complexity. We can’t shy away from that. Trying to stuff patriotism and identity into a cheapened caricature from the 1950s is not the answer. Our party, our people and our country deserve more than that.”


Sherelle Jacobs in The Daily Telegraph

Even with vaccines, an unreformed NHS may force us back into lockdown

on a post-pandemic health service

“We may be stuck in a game of developing yearly vaccines that will never deliver a final victory over Covid. The question is how to prepare the NHS to cope – or more disturbingly, whether it can even cope at all. After the current crisis eases in May, the NHS will be too busy firefighting to lay any groundwork for solid reform. Critical care units urgently need to recruit more staff to boost capacity; in truth they will be lucky to prevent current cohorts quitting. PTSD has exploded in ICUs, with almost half of staff reporting symptoms in one January study. Nearly one in five nurses confessed to considering self-harm or suicide. Some are being diagnosed with ‘moral injuries’ – feeling guilty or unable to feel at all – over their inability to save every patient.”


Max Hastings in The Times

Maxwell’s enablers were the bigger villains

on a crook’s facilitators

 “[Robert] Maxwell was a smaller player but he profited from the same rules of the game. Everyone who dealt with him muttered behind the arras that he was a crook, yet sniggered as they said it. As long as his cheques seemed good, they drank his champagne and trafficked with his companies. No banker or auditor even noticed when he pillaged his company pension fund. Yet I feel no animus towards Maxwell, nor even his ghastly family. Like Trollope, I reserve my rage for those who empowered and indulged them, the City’s big hitters, same today as yesterday. They have attended the best schools and belong to St James’s Street clubs, but their ethics are those of Peaky Blinders.”


Frances O’Grady in The i

The furlough scheme must continue until the end of the year – April is the worst possible time to end it

on an avoidable crisis

“I lived through the mass unemployment of the eighties. I remember the dole queues and the despair when, overnight, a town’s biggest employer goes bust. The price of unemployment is always too high. And it’s always paid by ordinary working families. Britain simply can’t afford more poverty and inequality which scars generations. That’s why this movement will always stand for the right of everyone to a decent job. And why we are calling on the chancellor to make the goal of full and good employment his number one mission.”


Marcos A. Orellana on Al Jazeera

Beyond the Beirut explosion: The many dangers of ammonium nitrate

on lessons from Lebanon

 “The UN should work with its members towards removing subsidies for nitrogen-based fertilisers. It should also encourage countries that give out agricultural subsidies (currently amounting to $480bn globally) to prioritise crops that are less emission-intensive and to fund research and development of sustainable farming practices. The Beirut explosion was avoidable. So are climate change, dead zones in the seas, and the disruption of the global nitrogen cycle. Urgent action is needed to save human lives and our planet.”


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