Instant Opinion

‘The Tories are seeking short-term wins without any hint of a wider strategy’

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

1

Fraser Nelson in The Telegraph

The Tories still don’t know how to fight the madness of identity politics

on woke words

The “rise of woke”, says Fraser Nelson in The Telegraph, “stopped being a game some time ago”. After Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden this week went out to bat for an England cricketer suspended over tweets he sent as a teenager, Nelson argues that “on its own, the digital outrage mob is irrelevant”. But “when institutions buckle to pressure, it matters”. What are the Conservatives doing about this, he wonders, adding that the Tories seem “to seek short-term wins” but “without any hint of a wider strategy or philosophy”. “A left that cannot win via the ballot box will start a march through the institutions and make decent progress if the Tories cannot say what they stand for and fight for it,” he adds. For a party “led by a professional wordsmith, it ought not to be too much of an ask”.

2

Henrietta Fore and David Miliband in The Times

Child malnutrition should be top of the G7 agenda

on a critical opportunity

“Today the world is facing a child malnutrition crisis brought on by the converging forces of growing poverty and inequality, climate change and conflict, and the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic,” write executive director of Unicef Henrietta Fore and International Rescue Committee president David Miliband in The Times. The humanitarian heavyweights “strongly hope” that the decision of the UK government to “significantly cut its nutrition funding, will not be followed by further cuts by others, and will in due course be reversed”. But as G7 leaders gather for their annual summit, the duo argue that “nutrition should be on the agenda”, with a focus on “creating a critical opportunity to mobilise collective action and investment towards solving this global child malnutrition crisis”.

3

Gaby Hinsliff in The Guardian

Once unthinkable, a ‘smoke-free’ Britain may soon be a reality

on stubbing out smoking

“Everyone smoked when I was growing up, pretty much everywhere,” writes Gaby Hinsliff in The Guardian. “People lit up routinely on the bus, dads chain-smoked in cars all down the motorway to wherever you were going on holiday and sweetshops sold candy cigarettes for little kids to pretend-smoke in the playground.” However, a “smoke-free Britain” could soon become a reality. With Oxfordshire County Council unveiling plans to become the first county in England to go officially smoke-free, Hinsliff speculates that the loss of glamour might finish “Big Tobacco” off for good. “What the tobacco industry arguably never wanted us to find out is that without the illusion of glamour or the sheen of rebellion, there’s nothing much left.”

4

James Kirkup in The Spectator

Euro 2020 and the search for a new Englishness

on national identity

“Any big England game is a rare chance for people to fly the flag and briefly talk about Englishness,” writes James Kirkup in The Spectator ahead of the beginning of Euro 2020 today. “But we need to do more than talk about this when the football team is playing,” he says, adding that “a proper national debate about English identity is overdue and badly needed”. “Why should ‘English’ be a singular status?” he asks, suggesting that “in truth it’s not and never has been”. “We are all more than one thing. I’m Northumbrian, English and British. We need to reach the point where people speak routinely (and comfortably) of being Black English or Asian English, just as they could of being Scouse and English or Geordie and English.” The discussion around national identity triggered by the England football team is a “time to fight for England”.

5

Virginia Heffernan in The Los Angeles Times

Reports of QAnon’s death aren’t exaggerated

on a collapsing cult

QAnon “was always bound to lose steam”, writes Virginia Heffernan in The Los Angeles Times. “It will follow the arc of furious, loopy-loo American conspiracy theories that have existed since before the Civil War,” she continues, because “cults like QAnon burn bright, and they fade fast”. In fact, she adds, QAnon’s demise is “well underway”. But “that’s not the end of dangers posed by fanatical groups” because “it might not be QAnon next time, but extremist ideologies and paranoid fantasies will always captivate the dispossessed”. Therefore, she calls for a shift of focus because “if we’re still battling a cult that’s defeated, we’re in strategic trouble – not only will we have failed to learn from Q’s unravelling, but we also won’t be able to recognise the next catastrophe, let alone prevent it”.

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