Instant Opinion

‘Tory Islamophobia needs a root extraction’

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


Sara Tor in The Times

This ‘Muslim problem’ the Tories have sounds nasty

on Islamophobia

“Professor Swaran Singh’s report into Islamophobia in the Conservative Party has piqued my interest greatly,” writes Sara Tor in The Times. “Not just because it has determined that bear faeces can indeed be found in the woods,” but also for its use of the phrase ‘Muslim problem’ in its conclusion. “Poor Tory party, sounds nasty”, writes Tor. “It’s as if we’re talking about an embarrassing medical condition that needs to be kept quiet.” Yet, although it’s certainly “embarrassing” for the party – “their ‘Muslim problem’ isn’t actually some very personal ailment” but a “grave concern” that should be called what it is: “systematic discriminatory behaviour against Muslims by members of the very political party currently governing the country”. There’s only one cure for that, writes Tor: “root extraction”.


Marina Hyde in The Guardian

Sport loves athletes with mental health issues – if they just shut up and play

on Naomi Osaka's withdrawal

“You do have to admire tennis’s position on health,” writes Marina Hyde in The Guardian. Naomi Osaka, the women’s No. 2, “has been pushed into withdrawing from a grand slam for having the temerity to take a small step to protect her own mental equilibrium, while the men’s No. 1 has spent the past 14 months continually honking out anti-Covid vaccine messages”, she writes. “I imagine one woman’s decision not to do press conferences at the French Open is regarded as that most all-purpose of bogeymen: the thin end of the wedge.” “In which case, I’m going to go out on a limb and say… whatever? Never mind? Big wows? Fred Perry never had to take this many questions, and maybe the players of the future won’t either,” she continues. “I know we have to pretend there’s a continuum between this and actual totalitarianism, but let’s not and say we did.”


Ashley Howard in the Financial Times

Tulsa’s ‘Black Wall Street’ teaches us about racial economic discrimination

on an atrocitys legacy 

“One hundred years ago, white vigilantes in Tulsa, Oklahoma, raided the black Greenwood community, bursting into homes, killing occupants, looting possessions and setting structures ablaze,” writes Ashley Howard in the Financial Times. The Tulsa Greenwood Massacre killed 300 people and left 10,000 residents homeless. And while the US “will commemorate this event as a singular atrocity, the actions of the mob demonstrate a longstanding tradition”, he continues. “Perhaps no myth is as persistent or insidious in the US than that hard work leads to upward social mobility – the so-called American dream,” writes Howard. But to “abide by this maxim, one must ignore the ways individuals, institutions and governments have for centuries conspired at all levels to suppress black prosperity”.


Suzanne Moore in The Telegraph

It's time to stop shoving 18-year-olds into university

on educations value

While the “zombification” of learning is not something that has been brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic, it has “highlighted how the university system was flailing”, writes Suzanne Moore in The Telegraph. While going to university is now meant to symbolise “all sorts of things” from “being a rite of passage, a way of leaving home, providing a better job, manufacturing friends for life” to “the actual learning thing”, the reality is that many graduates never hit the thresholds to begin loan repayments, and “the great influx of more students into university has not brought about real social mobility”, Moore says. “The idea of shoving every 18-year-old into university for three years has always seemed ludicrous to me,” and while university should still be an option for those “so inclined”, Covid has shown us “we need a combination of skills not just to live but to live well: scientists, creatives, flexible thinkers, community activists, agile entrepreneurs”.


Mary Harrington on UnHerd

Falling birth rates are not just a Chinese problem

on plummeting fertility

“The Chinese government has announced that every family may now have three children. This policy change responds to a cratering fertility rate and looming demographic crisis that isn’t confined to China, but replicated all over the developed world,” writes Mary Harrington on UnHerd. “You can hardly blame women for baulking at a type of commitment that feels ever more like swimming against every economic and cultural current.” Social fragmentation and economic competition incentivises “hyper-individualism” as the “key to survival”, writes Harrington, which in turn will exert “ever greater downward pressure on women’s willingness to compromise their individual autonomy by having children”.


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