Instant Opinion

‘Cats and dogs were airlifted out of Kabul, not human beings at risk of execution’

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

1

Gaby Hinsliff in The Guardian

What a story to tell the world: Britain values dogs more than Afghan people

on Farthing’s menagerie

“As the gates of hell closed on Kabul, they were among the last to make it out,” wrote Gaby Hinsliff in The Guardian. “They landed in the early hours of Sunday morning, to a hero’s welcome from some, and shamed silence from others.” But “this was a planeload not of human souls – those desperate Afghans who had huddled knee-deep in sewage for days outside the airport in hopes of being saved – but of cats and dogs”. The Ministry of Defence confirmed “through audibly gritted teeth” that the private plane chartered to bring back animal rescuer Paul “Pen” Farthing and his strays had been “assisted” through the airport by British troops in the final hours of the retreat from Kabul. “What a gift to extremist movements across the Middle East and beyond who draw their power from the idea that the west holds foreign lives contemptuously cheap,” she added. “That cats of no conceivable interest to the Taliban can be airlifted out but not human beings at risk of being hunted down and executed.”

2

Hugo Rifkind in The Times

Wake up XR, you’re not going to kill capitalism

on political idealism

The environmental group Extinction Rebellion “wants to save the world by ending capitalism”, said Hugo Rifkind in The Times. “Capitalism entails acquisition, the thinking goes, and acquisition entails endless growth. So, you abandon both. Hooray! World fixed.” While in campaigning terms “there can be a value in being wilfully unrealistic”, he continued, “idealism doesn’t age well”. “Even Greta Thunberg, one day, will guiltily turn on the heating”; “apocalypticism leads to fatalism, which breeds nihilism”, he said. “Be careful telling people that they are running out of time. What are they supposed to do once they have?”

3

Patrick O’Flynn in The Spectator

Why Boris Johnson’s opponents keep failing

on Britain’s Trump

“Which Boris Johnson should Labour fight?” asked Patrick Flynn in The Spectator. The Johnson who left-wingers think they are fighting is a “cruel and dastardly right-wing serial liar who wins elections by pulling the wool over the eyes of the voters. A British Trump, in other words.” However, “what actually worries many of those who voted Conservative in 2019” is not that he is a “strongman” leader, but “a growing suspicion that Boris Johnson is nowhere near strong enough”. Flynn went on: “The central thrust of Tony Blair’s destruction of the political personality of John Major” was not “that Major was nasty, but that he was useless; a figure who merited mockery and even pity.” That is what Keir Starmer and the left need to do now with Johnson, he concluded, because “they might just find some non-aligned voters ready to believe it”.

4

Stephen Walt in the Financial Times

The Biden doctrine will allow America to focus on bigger goals

on ‘self-interested pleading’

While “a chorus of overwrought pundits, unrepentant hawks and opportunistic adversaries now proclaim that defeat in Afghanistan has left US credibility in tatters”, Joe Biden’s move to “end an unwinnable war says nothing about a great power’s willingness to fight for more vital objectives”, Stephen Walt wrote in the Financial Times. “Allied complaints that they cannot trust the US any more should be seen as self-interested pleading from partners accustomed to letting Uncle Sam bear a disproportionate share of the burden of collective defence,” he added. “If disengagement from Afghanistan encourages some of them to pull their weight, so much the better.”

5

Rupert Hawksley in The Independent

Good for Esther McVey and Philip Davies – some free hospitality is the least our MPs deserve

on parliamentary perks

“How to react to the news that Tory MPs Esther McVey and Philip Davies accepted VIP tickets to a series of flagship sporting events this year?” Rupert Hawksley asked in the Independent. “Might I politely suggest a great big shrug of the shoulders. Honestly, so what?” The popular suggestion “that MPs must lead puritanical lives, never indulging in anything or – heaven forbid – having fun, is vindictive, childish and self-defeating”, he continued. “It’s certainly an enviable summer of sport but, added together, it amounts to what – a few days of entertainment? It’s hardly a dereliction of duty and I doubt their constituents would disagree,” Hawksley argued. “In fact, most people would probably say, good for them. Tough job, enjoy a day out.”

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