Instant Opinion

‘Shooting of Sasha Johnson reminds us of gun crime’s human cost’

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


Tom Ball in The Times

We need to stop US gun crime taking root in Britain

on British weapons

“One of the starkest differences between Britain and its closest ally is America’s relationship with guns,” writes Tom Ball in The Times. But, while relatively low, there has been a rise in British gun violence. “The shooting of Sasha Johnson, the black rights activist who is being treated in hospital, reminds us of gun crime’s human cost.” More must be done to “stem the flow of guns at source”, which will require closer collaboration with American agencies such as the FBI, says Ball. “Gun violence is one of the great tragedies of modern America; we cannot allow it to transplant itself here.”


Rafael Behr in The Guardian

This Australian trade deal shows how ‘Global Britain’ has already lost its way

on pleasing farmers

Trade Secretary Liz Truss is determined to secure a zero-tariff agreement with Australia, but other ministers are worried about the impact on domestic producers. The economic benefits would be “marginal”, says Rafael Behr in The Guardian, but “as a trophy for the ‘Global Britain’ chest it is priceless”. Johnson’s instincts are with the libertarians, but he “does not weigh trade deals in terms of jobs or growth but as rhetorical props in the great Brexit showcase”. Behr concludes: “Who will pay for the production is an issue for later. For now, ‘Global Britain’ is a performance put on for a domestic audience by a prime minister with his back turned to the real world.”


Simon Kelner in The i

Congratulations on your wedding, Boris Johnson and Carrie Symonds – but I have a few words of advice

on Boris’s third nuptials

Simon Kelner in The i newspaper has some words of caution for the prime minister, who is “taking a turn on the matrimonial roundabout” for the third time, marrying Carrie Symonds in July next year. “While I don’t want to dwell on the possibility of a negative outcome to his happy news, Boris will need to change his ways if he’s not going to face complete financial ruin,” says Kelner. “Fidelity and constancy have not exactly been the hallmarks of his relationships up to this point, and Carrie doesn’t strike me as someone who would stand for any nonsense, never mind a public betrayal.” Kelner claims Johnson is “the first Prime Minister in living memory whose personal finances we’ve had to worry about”, and concludes: “In every sense, he cannot afford another mistake.”


Abigail Marsh in The New York Times

Everyone thinks Americans are selfish. They’re wrong.

on individualism

The US is “notable for its individualism”, which everyone seems to agree makes us “self-centered or selfish”, says Abigail Marsh, a professor of psychology and neuroscience at Georgetown University. “But new research suggests the opposite.” Marsh and her colleagues have found that greater levels of individualism are linked to more generosity, not less. “On average, people in more individualist countries donate more money, more blood, more bone marrow and more organs. They more often help others in need and treat nonhuman animals more humanely,” she says. It seems that individualism is “fundamentally misunderstood”. She concludes: “Far from being our worst trait, individualism may be among our best.”


David Gardner in the Financial Times

Palestinian unity upends Middle East status quo

on the future of the Middle East

Benjamin Netanyahu is profiting “for now” from the Gaza clash, the fourth war with Hamas since 2009, says David Gardner in the Financial Times. “Yet he has discarded his diplomatic tools and, with the most powerful military in the region, looks unable to stop a rag-tag army firing outsized pipe bombs from a blockaded enclave.” Gardner believes the conversation on Israel-Palestine is changing, with Jewish and Arab voices in the US saying “enough is enough”. “Across the Middle East ostensibly familiar furniture is moving amid the usual focus on tactics rather than long-term strategy,” says Gardner. “It is astonishing that a diverse Palestinian people has emerged resiliently in the vanguard of this shift. The region’s leaders are struggling to keep up, but change may at last be afoot.”


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