Instant Opinion

‘Pandemics do end’

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


Imogen West-Knights in The Guardian

Better days will come – despite what the Covid doom-mongers say

on posturing pessimism

Imogen West-Knights is fed up with “largely unfounded assertions” that the Covid-19 pandemic is never going away. “On some level it’s understandable,” she says in The Guardian, because “pessimism is cooler than optimism”. And with social media encouraging people to “reach the ‘correct’ take” on any given issue first, “you can see why people think fatalism is a good stance to pick”. But “hope is good for us”, and “pandemics do end”, she continues. “Whatever some people have taken to saying lately, better days are on the horizon.”


Clare Foges in The Times

We don’t need any more unimaginative statues

on monumental mistakes

“In Britain’s towns and cities, statues of the great and good have become part of the furniture, perches for pigeons and little else,” says Clare Foges in The Times. “They clutter up public space that otherwise might contain greenery, benches and other pleasant things”, and “are often dark, dull and gloomy”. But there is nothing to stop us from becoming “more imaginative about how we commemorate great people and important moments”, she continues. Following his death last week, a campaign has been launched to “memorialise to Captain Sir Tom Moore in statue form”, but “in keeping with the man’s charming modesty, wouldn’t naming a hospital wing after him be more appropriate?”


Brendan Foster and Conservative MP Julian Knight in The Daily Telegraph

The British summer hasn’t been saved yet

on government insurance

The cancellation of this year’s Glastonbury festival may be “just the start” of a disappointing summer, warn former Olympic athlete Brendan Foster and Tory MP Julian Knight. “From Wimbledon to the Grand National, Edinburgh to Hay-on-Wye, the inability to secure lockdown insurance and the government’s delay in providing any certainty or assistance of its own is crippling the events industry.” But “the opportunity is there to plan ahead”, argue the pair, who point out that the authorities in both Germany and the Netherlands have set aside hundreds of millions in funding to “cover events cancelled due to the pandemic”. And if we can learn anything from the past successes of our own “world-leading sport and cultural sectors, it is that preparation is key”. 


Bel Trew in The Independent

The ICC decision over investigating alleged war crimes in the Occupied Palestinian Territories is a big step

on incoming scrutiny

The International Criminal Court’s ruling that it does have jurisdiction over the Occupied Palestinian Territories was a “pretty momentous decision”, says The Independent’s Middle East correspondent Bel Trew. Coming amid allegations of attempts by Israel to “forcibly transfer Palestinian communities in the West Bank’s South Hebron Hills and in the Jordan Valley”, the move is seen by rights groups “as a step towards accountability and the end of impunity, which could lay more fruitful groundwork for peace”, she adds. The fallout from an ICC ruling could rein in the Israelis, Trew suggests, while also “restraining the indiscriminate rocket fire launched by militants in Gaza into southern Israel”.


David L. Unin in the Los Angeles Times

I’m sick with post-Trump derangement syndrome, are you?

on life after Donald

“It’s been almost three weeks since Donald Trump scurried out of the White House and fled to Florida,” David L. Ulin reminds us in the Los Angeles Times. But “as much as this delights me, it also puts me on edge”, Ulin admits. “Am I the only one who doesn’t know what to do with the silence? Am I alone in having trouble adjusting to the White House calm?” Yet while “I can’t shake four years of conditioning”, that mindset may not be an entirely bad thing, he adds. Despite the change in US leadership, “Trumpism remains”, so we must “keep our guard up”.


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