Instant Opinion

‘We should agree a date for Victory over Virus Day’

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

1

David Aaronovitch in The Times

The state won’t give up Covid powers easily

on post-pandemic liberties

Writing on the restriction of civil liberties during the Covid crisis, David Aaronovitch says in The Times that “measures taken to combat the pandemic may also, whatever the assurances of ministers, have an unwelcome afterlife once the crisis is over”. He proposes that at “some time this year, we should agree a date for Victory over Virus Day”, marking the point when “excess deaths have fallen or infection rates reach a pre-pandemic level” and “after which we expect all emergency measures, restrictions, mandatory tracking apps and special discretionary powers to end”.

2

Nelson Chamisa in The Guardian

The international community must stop legitimising despots’ regimes in Africa

on illiberal democracies

“Africa cannot afford to continue with the despotic forms of governance that still proliferate across the continent”, insists Nelson Chamisa, leader of the MDC Alliance, Zimbabwe’s largest opposition party. Writing in The Guardian, he says the main interest of current regimes such as Zimbabwe and Uganda is to “retain power and loot public resources for the benefit of a few political elites, leaving the majority of citizens in poverty”. He argues that the “international community should not keep rubber-stamping these illegitimate outcomes in the name of maintaining a supposed peace”.

3

Sherelle Jacobs in The Daily Telegraph

Society will never ‘learn to live with Covid’ like flu

on viral revisionism

“Coronavirus may be a medical milestone rather than simply a scientific event, changing society’s attitude to endemic viruses permanently, as threats that must be eliminated”, says The Telegraph’s Sherelle Jacobs. “If anything, rather than seeing Covid like flu, society is more likely to start seeing flu like Covid”. She argues that “modern tolerance of flu is built on shaky ground, which may finally buckle in the era of Covid” as we “likely lump together flu with coronavirus, as an enemy to be controlled through mask wearing and social distancing”.

4

Alex Massie in The Spectator

There is something rotten in Scottish politics

on ministerial unaccountability

Nicola Sturgeon has “already all but intimated” that she has no intention of resigning even if she is found to have broken the ministerial code, writes Alex Massie in The Spectator. This, he argues, offers “a picture of an over mighty and unaccountable executive and a first minister who considers everyday standards of propriety something for other, lesser, people”. “There is every reason to suppose that Nicola Sturgeon has repeatedly failed to tell even a part of the truth”, he says. And there is “something rotten” in the Holyrood investigation into allegations of sexual assault by Alex Salmond.

5

Rupert Hawksley in The Independent

Anne Robinson’s comments on The Weakest Link make her totally unsuitable to host Countdown

on tea time cruelty

“It is fitting that Anne Robinson now faces trial by social media”, says Rupert Hawksley in The Independent. “They deserve each other.” As controversy greets the news that the veteran broadcaster is the next host of quiz show Countdown, Hawksley argues that Robinson and Twitter “have been known to thrive on cruelty and seek to inflame our worst prejudices” and “both seemingly value spite over decency”. He says Robinson is inappropriate for Countdown and by hiring her, Channel 4 is “sending a clear message” that “prejudice is no barrier to success”.

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