Instant Opinion

‘Starmer on the back foot because he lacks the vision to be on the front’

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

1

Stephen Bush in The Times

Does Keir Starmer have the killer instinct?

on post-pandemic politics

Nearly a year after he was elected, Keir Starmer “shows little sign that he can adapt to politics after the pandemic”, writes Stephen Bush in The Times. The coronavirus crisis has made it impossible for him to get on the front foot. He was “well placed to give off the tones of reassurance and constructive opposition” over the past year, but “now that politics is beginning to return to normal, he lacks the skillset to do so himself”. Bush concludes: “He will remain on the back foot because he lacks the vision to be on the front.”

2

James Titcomb in The Daily Telegraph

Spare us the talk of democratising money - Bitcoin is about getting rich

on cryptocurrency caution

“Bitcoin has so far proven to be a tremendous investment,” writes James Titcomb in The Daily Telegraph. “But the fact that we spend so much time focused on Bitcoin’s price itself gives away the truth: it has few other important qualities.” He continues: “Certainly few people today are using it as a payment method – they are too invested in its price rising to actually spend any of it.” Today, “the most significant impact of Bitcoin’s rise” has been making “a relatively small number of early adopters extremely rich”, Titcomb writes. “Good for them, but can we at least do away with the lofty talk of democratising finance?”

3

Andrew Hill in the Financial Times

UK owes it to Covid victims to start a public inquiry now

on the need to investigate

“It is right to pay respects” to the many victims of the pandemic and their families, writes Andrew Hill in the Financial Times. “But they have already endured too long a wait for a proper public inquiry into the handling of the crisis,” he writes. “It is not enough to ‘reflect’, ‘support’, and ‘hope’, words projected on to the side of Lichfield Cathedral during last week’s commemoration. A more productive three-step method would be review, study, and learn.” As a country, we are “good at dragging out inquiries, and sometimes poor at implementing their recommendations”, says Hill. “All the more reason to start investigating now.”

4

John Rentoul in The Independent

Alex Salmond’s new party is too clever by at least half

on ‘a divisive presence’

“The first and natural reaction to Alex Salmond launching a new party is that he is a bitter egotist who will set back the cause of independence by splitting the nationalist vote in the Scottish parliament elections on 6 May,” writes John Rentoul in The Independent. “This is quite wrong. He is a bitter egotist who will set back the cause of independence by trying to manipulate the electoral system.” His attempt at “gaming the system may gain some seats”, writes Rentoul, but “his divisive presence in the campaign is likely to lose other seats by suppressing the SNP vote. As a man “more unpopular than Boris Johnson” in Scotland, “Salmond’s return to frontline politics can only be a disaster for the cause of independence”.

5

Kevin Maguire in the Daily Mirror

Boris Johnson is a charlatan who treats Britain as badly as his family and mistress

on a question of trust

“Boris Johnson is a cynical liar and a cheat, a charlatan who treats the country as badly as he treats his family and mistress Jennifer Arcuri,” writes Kevin Maguire in the Daily Mirror. “Yet apologists who watched smiling as he escaped scandals worse than the misdemeanours bringing down lesser politicians, or giggled about good old ladies’ man Boris, may wonder if his luck is about to run out,” he continues. “I defy anybody, including Conservative MPs, to read Arcuri’s account of their four-year affair and argue that Johnson is a joker, a nice guy, someone you could trust.” Maguire claims: “What he does in private is what he does in public. When people open their eyes he will finally receive his comeuppance.”

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