Instant Opinion

‘The grotesque sight of Labour united with right-wing Tory rebels’

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


Ian Lavery, Labour MP for Wansbeck, on HuffPost

I’m a Labour MP. Our party voting against tax rises for big business would be grotesque

on increasing taxes

“If the rumours are correct and we end up with the grotesque sight of Labour whipped into voting alongside right-wing Tory rebels to defeat a meagre corporation tax rise that would only affect those who’ve done well out of the pandemic, then I fear for the future,” says Ian Lavery on HuffPost. Our country “depends on Labour to argue for, and point the way to, a better future,” he argues. And this future “must be built on a partnership with society, paid for by taxation – not a partnership with business, paid for by society”.


Fraser Nelson in The Daily Telegraph

The Salmond scandal has shattered my belief in devolution

on a Scottish ‘conspiracy’

The ongoing scandal in Scotland is “the most extraordinary story ever heard in modern British politics”, Fraser Nelson writes in The Telegraph. Alex Salmond’s “claims that Nicola Sturgeon’s allies conspired to use the law to remove him as a political threat” and even “imprison” him make the Jeremy Thorpe murder trial back in the 1970s “appear mundane”. Salmond’s allegations would “seem ludicrous in Westminster, where it’s implausible for any prime minister to plot to throw a rival in jail or exert any kind of political pressure on government prosecutors”, says Spectator editor Nelson. “The scandal here isn’t so much the allegation but what it reveals about the mechanics – and decay – of democracy in Scotland.”


Mark Steel in The Independent

Children are keen to get back to school, apparently. Sorry, what?

on classroom changes

“Apparently, millions of kids are eager to get back to school. This is a complete puzzle to me,” writes Mark Steel for The Independent. “When I was at school,” he continues, “we’d have done anything to keep the schools shut.” Back then, “if you liked school, you were an oddity”, on a par with “someone who had a fetish, and enjoyed lying naked in the garage while someone drove over you in a go-kart”. Yet this change is a good thing. It is “joyous” that kids today are “begging to go back to school”, as an indicator of how “the whole concept of school has changed”.


James Forsyth in The Times

When will we all be sent back to the office?

on workplace retreats

“Will we ever return to packed city centre offices,” wonders James Forsyth in The Times, “or does the future lie in a combination of working from home and smaller, more liveable cities?” Boris Johnson’s “new-found caution” suggests that the prime minister “is unlikely to push people to return to their offices soon”. Instead, “the big question for the government is how much to allow economic nature to take its course”. Only time will tell whether Johnson reverts to his libertarian instincts and simply allows companies and individuals to “work out what balance they want to strike between working from home and nudging people back to their desks”.


Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall in The Guardian

If the UK government won’t stop industrial fishing from destroying our oceans, activists will

on a marine mission

“Our oceans are in crisis,” warns celebrity chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. Government ministers have pledged to “safeguard some of the most sensitive and ecologically diverse parts of our seas”, but have “not kept this promise”. And “that’s why I’ve been out at sea with Greenpeace this week, supporting their action to put giant boulders into the Channel” that will “stop bottom trawlers from ploughing up this valuable seabed habitat with their heavy fishing gear”, Fearnley-Whittingstall writes. Yet I still retain hope that the government will also finally turn “words into action” to protect our oceans, “by properly banning destructive fishing from our most precious marine environments”. 


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