Instant Opinion

‘No.10 needn’t fear Dominic Cummings’

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

1

Fraser Nelson in The Telegraph

No. 10 is terrified of the revenge of Dominic Cummings. It needn’t be

on political vendetta

“When Boris Johnson recruited Dominic Cummings, he was warned that it would end in disaster,” writes Fraser Nelson in The Telegraph. Despite Cummings once being dubbed a “career psychopath”, No. 10 has seen “none of the vengeance that his enemies predicted”. In any case, “it’s not quite clear why the prime minister’s allies should be so worried about embarrassing disclosures”. Even if we learn that Johnson was distracted by “personal dramas” while co-ordinating the pandemic response, “when he won his majority, his complicated personal life was incredibly well-documented”. “It’s hard to imagine what we could learn, now, that would really change what people think,” Nelson adds. 

2

Laura Spinney in The Guardian

We need to mark the countless lives Covid has claimed. But how to do it?

on a pandemic memorial

“Millions of love stories, vendettas, encounters, debts and projects” have been wiped out by the pandemic, writes Laura Spinney in The Guardian. “What these extinguished lives have in common is that we haven’t yet been able to commemorate them… So how should we pay tribute to them, eventually?” The importance of memorials lies in their ability to “bridge the gap between names and numbers, sense and nonsense. They make us think about what vanished in an instant and isn’t coming back.” But what we must also mark is the “eternal return” of pandemics. “Whenever we think we’ve beaten the invisible enemy, we’ve really just entered a new round.”

3

Libby Purves in The Times

Real BBC change has to involve far more than stars

on leaving London

“The BBC, aiming to represent the nation’s spirit, feels guilty about sitting mostly in W1A and has to throw out tentacles,” writes Libby Purves in The Times. Director-general Tim Davie “is right” to do so. For the BBC’s “London voice to become a national one requires a diaspora”. But physically moving anchors and journalists makes “less difference”. “What really will make the difference, if Davie pulls it off, is basing important departments such as science, tech and business elsewhere and giving them budget and prestige to match the London blob.”

4

Paul Embery in UnHerd

Labour could lose Hartlepool

on former heartlands

“Whether the party likes it or not, the by-election will be seen as an interim assessment of Sir Keir Starmer,” says Paul Embery of the upcoming Hartlepool poll in UnHerd. To win, “Labour must be able to demonstrate that progress is at least being made in the job of reconnecting with its core vote”, not just “middle-class liberals” but “working-class, post-industrial Britain”. “If that is the mountain to be climbed – and it surely is – then the party is barely beyond the foothills.”

5

Chris Deerin in the New Statesman

Nicola Sturgeon won’t resign, but the Salmond scandal could yet be her downfall

on Scottish scandal

“Can Nicola Sturgeon survive the coming onslaught over her handling of the Alex Salmond scandal?” asks Chris Deerin in the New Statesman. “The answer is almost certainly yes.” That is “not to say that Sturgeon has behaved well or emerges without a stain on her reputation”, he adds. “The assault on her integrity may yet produce the unionists’ desired result, but it will only come once the voters have had their say.”

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