Instant Opinion

‘What good would it do to replace Cressida Dick?’

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


Patrick O’Flynn in The Spectator

We’ll miss Cressida Dick when she’s gone

on policing problems

“To all those – from Left and Right – joining in the clamour for Cressida Dick to resign as Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, a pertinent question hangs in the air”, writes Patrick O’Flynn in The Spectator. “Who would you hire to replace her and what good do you think it would do?” London policing must answer to “two sharply diverging audiences: the local one and the national one”, says O’Flynn, adding that “it is an impossible job on the cutting edge of the culture war”. Dick manages to “somehow pull it off to a largely acceptable degree”, talking the jargon but committed to “strong policing” on the ground. The Met Commissioner is “a wolf in sheep’s clothing”, he adds.


Rachel Sylvester in The Times

Women need tougher laws to make them safe

on the policing bill

“It is rightly said that hard cases make bad law”, Rachel Sylvester writes in The Times, but the murder of Sarah Everard “has highlighted a wider culture of male violence and a flawed criminal justice system that is failing to protect women”. However, the government’s new police, crime, sentencing and courts bill “does more to protect statues than women”. Carrie Symonds, the prime minister’s partner, has suffered her own trauma at the hands of a violent criminal, meaning Johnson “has a personal, as well as a political, understanding” of the response to Everard’s death. But while Symonds may do her best to influence his position, “it is the prime minister who needs to act”.


Stuart Ritchie in New Statesman

Europe’s AstraZeneca vaccine suspension is bad science that will cost lives

on jab fears

“You don’t have to be a hardcore utilitarian to understand the balance of harms”, writes Stuart Ritchie in the New Statesman. As European countries halt the use of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine over blood clot fears, we must consider the “double-figures in the whole of Europe for reports of blood clots” against the “potential hundreds or thousands of deaths” non-vaccination will cause. In Europe, “cases are creeping up, the EU has also been struggling to get shots into arms”, Ritchie adds. “After this new, unforced error, that struggle is going to become all the more difficult.”


Polly Toynbee in The Guardian

The Brexit deal was astonishingly bad, and every day the evidence piles up

on a bad deal

“Now we know that British exports to the European Union plummeted by a cataclysmic 41% after Brexit on 1 January, what next?” asks Polly Toynbee in The Guardian. So far, Brexit had provided little “upside”, although the “pro-Brexit press barely cover” our trade fiasco. “The question is when the sheer weight of evidence exposes how astonishingly bad the Brexit deal is,” Toynbee adds. “The remain ship sailed long ago, but the boat to Norway may eventually dock here.”


Janan Ganesh in Financial Times

Voters will have to pay higher taxes to make a transient stimulus permanent

on an American welfare state

“America’s social democratic turn has been in the works for decades now”, writes Janan Ganesh in the Financial Times. “Quietly, voters have grown to like Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act. Public surveys disclose a culture that is no longer one of masochistic self-reliance, if it ever was.” But President Joe Biden’s $1.9trn fiscal relief bill is still far from a “resounding” progressive moment. Voters may welcome extra spending in a crisis, but the test is whether they will accept higher taxes to make it sustainable in the long run. “A proper welfare state must be paid for. Such is the political Everest that should daunt the Democrats, and the opening that awaits the Republicans.”


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