Instant Opinion

‘Stigmatising porn can do more harm than good’

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

Internet porn

1

Olga Khazan in The Atlantic

The porn crisis that isn’t

on an easy target

Legislators in 16 US states “have passed resolutions declaring that pornography, in its ubiquity, constitutes a public-health crisis”, writes Olga Khazan in The Atlantic. “But stigmatizing porn can do more harm than good.” Whether the health of adults is harmed by porn is “frustratingly hard to determine”, with most studies raising questions of correlation and causation. “Porn makes for an easy target,” she says, but legislators should “consider what problems they are actually trying to solve”. “Many researchers and adult-entertainment workers support measures that would reduce kids’ access to porn, ensure that porn videos portray only consenting adults, and mandate fair wages for sex workers. Calling adults’ legal use of pornography a ‘public-health crisis’ doesn’t do any of that.”

2

The London Evening Standard editorial board

The Government must do better by pupils

on the lost learning fund

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson is hailing his £1.4 bn investment in education recovery as a key block of the government plan to build back better after the pandemic. “The reality is he knows this money is not nearly enough,” says the London Evening Standard editorial board. “We know the enormous and uneven impact the pandemic has had on our young people’s education. The risk now is that not only the pandemic entrenches inequality, but that the recovery does so as well.” The Institute for Fiscal Studies projected that the average pupil who lost half a year of schooling would lose £40,000 in income over their lifetime, potentially translating to more than £100bn in lost tax revenue in the long run. While the benefits of education “cannot be reduced solely to income”, says the newspaper, “the sums should make the Treasury think”.

3

Zeljko Jovanovic on Al Jazeera

Roma mistrust in governments is an obstacle to Covid-19 recovery

on vaccinating minorities

As countries across Europe race to vaccinate their populations against Covid-19, “there is a danger that our already vulnerable and marginalised Roma communities will fall through the cracks”, says Zeljko Jovanovic, director of the Open Society Roma Initiatives Office, on Al Jazeera. If Europe is to defeat Covid, it is essential for its 12 million Roma to take up the vaccine, but “a deep-rooted mistrust in public institutions is causing many Roma across the continent to refuse”. After decades of mistreatment and neglect, “the problem can only be sustainably resolved if European governments take the necessary steps to address the root causes of our collective pain and anger”, says Jovanovic. “High levels of vaccine hesitancy among Roma is a threat not only to the wellbeing of this long-suffering minority group but also the entire European population.”

4

Frances Ryan in The Guardian

Remote working has been life-changing for disabled people, don’t take it away now

on inclusion

“As we rightly celebrate a return to normal, it should be remembered that, for disabled people, ‘normal’ too often means being excluded from everyday life,” writes Frances Ryan in The Guardian. The shift to home-working has “brought new opportunities to those previously excluded from the workforce”, but “the fear is that any gains made during the pandemic will be discarded now that the wider public no longer need them themselves”. Ryan says: “Attempts to gain access for disabled people are often met with pushback: it’s too much trouble, too expensive or simply unnecessary. And yet lockdown showed that sweeping changes can be made practically overnight with little fuss. The question is, if it was done for non-disabled people then, why not disabled people now?”

5

Tom Peck in The Independent

This England squad is certainly exciting – yet things won’t be different. But who’d want it any other way?

on England’s chances

“The names are out. Trent’s in. Lingard isn’t. And there in the stomach rumbles that old friend, not so much false hope as enforced hope, like the final night of a three-night stag weekend,” writes Tom Peck in The Independent, after Gareth Southgate revealed his final England squad for the Euros last night. This “deluded hope” has passed down the generations, he says. “Little boys and girls who have cried into the full kit their father bought them, watching yet another England quarter-final exit, are now very much old enough to be buying full kits for their little children, expecting, perhaps even hoping, for the ritual to be repeated.” Peck suggests that “maybe, just maybe, it’s the longing that we cherish, more than the winning. Maybe the hope that things might be different trumps the expectation that things remain the same.”

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