Instant Opinion

‘I’ve already had my first Oxford-AstraZeneca jab. I’ll certainly be getting my second’

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

1

Cathy Newman in The Independent

I broke the story about the AstraZeneca jab – but I’m still happy to have my second dose

on vaccine worries

“If you were told you had a one-in-a-million chance of winning the lottery, you’d think it couldn’t be you”, writes Cathy Newman in The Independent. “So, logically, if you’re told you’ve got a one-in-a-million chance of dying from a blood clot after having the Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid jab, you’d also think it was pretty unlikely.” While “health disasters cast a long shadow”, “good sense is required from the public, too” in response to the news about the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine. “It would be a tragedy if Britain’s brilliant vaccine rollout was scuppered by a crisis in confidence,” Newman continues, adding that as an asthma sufferer and the journalist who broke the story: “I’ve already had my first Oxford-AstraZeneca jab. I’ll certainly be getting my second.”

2

Janice Turner in The Times

Spare me the smugness of vaccine refuseniks

on poor choices

“Surrounded by people who are either vaccinated or desperate to be so, it’s strange to bump into refuseniks,” writes Janice Turner in The Times. “They aren’t concerned about the remote risks of AstraZeneca but implacably opposed.” As an “old friend” sends a “random article from some contrarian site about how vaccines are all a con”, Turner is left considering “how easily smart people, after too much time alone, can slip beyond reason”. “I used to tolerate the anti-MMR parents, the alternative therapy folk,” she adds. “But after this year, I can’t abide these selfish, smug, I-know-better charlatans. Just get the goddamn jab.”

3

Sherelle Jacobs in The Telegraph

Northern Ireland backlash to Brexit fudge threatens the Union

on toxic fallout

“The saying goes that history is something that Irishmen should never remember and Englishmen should never forget,” says Sherelle Jacobs in The Telegraph. But on Brexit, “the opposite has turned out to be true”. Outbreaks of loyalist violence across Northern Ireland are a result of “the pathologies of Irish sectarianism and EU fundamentalism”. “Some Unionists are apparently willing to risk everything – including peace in Northern Ireland – to show that the despised Protocol is unworkable,” she argues, while “the EU is clearly willing to sacrifice everything – including peace in Northern Ireland – to protect the single market”. “The Tories have a narrow window of opportunity to confront this impending disaster,” Jacobs warns. If they fail, “either the Union becomes the price of Brexit, or Brexit becomes the price of the Union”.

4

Larry Elliott in The Guardian

The Covid crisis is doing what the 2008 crash didn’t: ending the old economic orthodoxies

on no-longer-sacred cows

“There’s nothing startlingly new” about Joe Biden’s plans for the US economic recovery, writes Larry Elliott in The Guardian. Many of the ideas have been “knocking around for years, if not decades”. But the difference now is that they are “no longer just proposals put forward by progressive thinktanks or marginalised Keynesians in academia”. “If the old Washington consensus believed in small states, low taxes and balanced budgets, the new Washington consensus believes in activist governments, inclusive growth and a green new deal.” Those who expected the financial crisis to “result in a challenge to the Washington consensus were not wrong”, he adds. “It has just taken 10 years longer than they were expecting, that’s all.”

5

Emi Nietfeld in The New York Times

After working at Google, I’ll never let myself love a job again

on tough lessons

“I used to be a Google engineer,” writes Emi Nietfeld, admitting that she had “bought into the Google dream completely”. “During the week, I ate all my meals at the office. I went to the Google doctor and the Google gym,” she continues, describing how the company became her “surrogate family”, having spent some of her childhood homeless and in foster care. But after complaining to HR about harassment by the man in charge of her day-to-day work, “Google went from being a great workplace to being any other company: It would protect itself first.” “After I quit, I promised myself to never love a job again,” Nietfeld adds. “No publicly traded company is a family. I fell for the fantasy that it could be.”

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