Instant Opinion

‘Johnson is an uneasy advocate for his government’s new approach’

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


Stephen Bush in The i

Boris Johnson may have signed off the 1% pay rise for nurses, but he didn’t understand its implications

on changing direction

Chancellor Rishi Sunak may have imposed unpopular measures on the road to repairing the country’s finances post-pandemic, but “it’s far from clear whether the prime minister shares his appetite for that”, writes Stephen Bush in The i. Having “floundered” when facing questions from Keir Starmer on a pay rise for nurses, “the government is now signalling that a U-turn may be in the works”. Sunak’s budget is taking the government in a new direction, but the prime minister has suggested this week that he “is an at best uneasy advocate for the government’s new approach and way of doing things”.


James Forsyth in The Times

We’re all taking the big government gamble

on state intervention

“We appear to be entering a new era of big government,” writes James Forsyth in The Times. But while Joe Biden’s “jaw-dropping” $1.9 trillion [£1.36 trillion] stimulus package is a “borrow-and-spend bonanza”, Britain “has far less room for manoeuvre”. Without the global reserve currency, it simply cannot “go big” even if it wanted to. Boris Johnson is keen to avoid austerity measures to repair public finances post-Covid, preferring to spend on infrastructure, innovation and skills. “But even if he’s right it will take years, perhaps decades, for the investment to be repaid.”


Tanya Gold in The Spectator

In defence of Meghan, the demonised Duchess

on media scrutiny

“The words pouring on Meghan’s head are written for a witch, because that is the natural progress of the story,” writes Tanya Gold in The Spectator. The Royal Family is our “national myth” and “interlopers are sanctified if they comply and demonised if they don’t”. “The response to the [Oprah Winfrey] interview has proved Meghan’s point for her,” Gold argues. “Life in the Royal Family was intolerable. She flipped a finger at our shabby fairytale and abandoned us. We behave like children in return.”


Henry Mance in the Financial Times

Why are the Tories putting up the wrong taxes

on climate crisis 

“When it comes to carbon taxes,” writes Henry Mance in the Financial Times, the government “runs scared”. “Maybe they’ll get round to it, once they’ve fixed the economy, saved the Union and negotiated a global climate deal.” But sadly, much like responding to a pandemic, “climate action is harder the longer you delay”. “My guess is that, in 20 years’ time, the public won’t care much about Brexit or the pandemic,” Mance predicts. “They will judge today’s leaders on how bold they were on climate change. They will remember where we were, when we could have made a difference.”


Suzanne Moore in The Telegraph

The case of Sarah Everard has fuelled our rage – for her we should keep it red hot

on violence against women

“Women are afraid more than we admit to ourselves, but right now we are angry,” says Suzanne Moore in The Telegraph. Sarah Everard’s murder during a year of lockdown where domestic violence has soared has evidenced that women “are not safe to go out”. As the Metropolitan Police tries to block the Clapham Common vigil in Everard’s honour on Saturday evening, “fear is now giving way to fury”, she adds. “Our anger makes us fearless. Our rage is our power. For Sarah and all the others we keep it red hot and glowing. The flames are lit.”


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