Instant Opinion

‘Labour’s track record on dealing with racism falls wildly short’

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

1

Joshua Kelly and Sam Green for Novara Media

Labour’s silence on Apsana Begum shows how morally bankrupt the party has become

on a lack of solidarity

Labour MP Apsana Begum described incidents of domestic abuse and honour-based harassment as she fought a legal battle against an accusation of housing fraud, and has faced a “barrage of death threats and online torment” even after being found not guilty, write Joshua Kelly and Sam Green on independent, left-wing site Novara Media. Yet throughout her 18-month trial and since, the Labour Party “has consistently failed to show solidarity” with her. Perhaps “this should come as no surprise, especially given that Begum is a woman, a Muslim and a socialist”, suggest Kelly and Green. “Labour’s track record on dealing with racism both inside and outside the party… falls wildly short.” Begum’s case brings into focus Labour’s “misguided priorities” in focusing on issues such as “the perceived far-left threats within its ranks”. Keir Starmer should not be surprised that “many wonder if the party is even capable of reforming itself under his leadership”, the pair conclude.

2

Polly Toynbee for The Guardian

End-of-life care should not simply be about prolonging a painful death

on funding decisions

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) can be relied on to provide “the most authoritative standard view” when it comes to medical advice, said Polly Toynbee in The Guardian. The health body has proposed a “controversial” cut in additional spending on drugs “that may only delay death a little”. That proposal may be better received now than previously, given “public opinion has shifted considerably” on the issue. Funding could then be “reapportioned” to other services. “For decades, public opinion has backed the right to assisted dying.” Now it’s for NICE to advise the NHS on why “easing the exit from life with the best possible palliative care is the way to spend funds, not on wastefully expensive drugs to prolong the inevitable”.

3

Randall Denley in the National Post

Trudeau could learn from Ford’s vaccination plan

on different approaches

Canada’s prime minister, Justin Trudeau, “could learn a thing or two” from Ontario premier Doug Ford, who has figured out that “pushing vaccine numbers higher is a tricky, multi-dimensional problem that requires more than political slogans”, Randall Denley wrote in the National Post. The liberal Trudeau’s plan has “hit a couple of reality bumps”, while Ford has gone for “a more targeted and balanced approach”. Ontario has focused on targeting workers “in high-risk settings”, including those working with the vulnerable and elderly. “That makes sense,” said Denley. Less so does Trudeau’s plan, which would predominantly affect public servants who are working from home.

4

Emma Duncan for The Times

We want a cushy life but we can’t afford it

on why we can’t have our cake and eat it too

“Now that people have been sprung from their domestic prisons, consumer spending has leapt,” said Emma Duncan in The Times – but “there’s a problem with the supply of workers”. The furlough scheme, and an “unwillingness, as a society, to do some of the jobs on offer at the price that employers are offering”, are partly responsible. But what some might call “laziness” Duncan thinks is “a perfectly sensible choice”. The fact is, this is what happens when a country’s wealth increases, she explains: “People choose pleasant jobs over tough ones and leisure rather than money.” This is “a problem of national cakeism”, Duncan added. “At some point, we’re going to have to make up our minds what sort of a country we want to be.”

5

Imogen West-Knights for i news

Geronimo the alpaca: animal-obsessed Brits have a history of forcing politicians to intervene

on unusual political pressure

It’s a sad end to a story that has kept the nation on tenterhooks. Geronimo the alpaca has been sentenced to death – “but there will be another like him”, said Imogen West-Knights on the i news site. The writer looks forward to that day when “an elected member of parliament has to stand up, smooth down her suit and offer her condolences on the untimely passing of a ferret or what have you”. Britain, West-Knights said, “is a nation notoriously obsessed with animals”. Why else would the prime minister’s father “plead” with his son “to spare this benighted beast?” she asks. “This is the kind of thing that people in this country demand of our politicians,” West-Knights continued. And while these stories may be “palpably ridiculous”, wouldn’t we miss them if they stopped.

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