Instant Opinion

‘With Andrew Neil gone, GB News is no longer a serious enterprise’

Your digest of analysis from the British and international press

1

Daniel Finkelstein in The Times

Failure of GB News is a warning to the right

on a failure to thrive

“Launching a new television station is hard, and I always thought GB News would find things tough”, writes Daniel Finkelstein in The Times. “I did, however, want it to succeed.” But with Andrew Neil gone, so has “any chance of GB News being a serious journalistic enterprise”, writes Finkelstein. “I strongly suspect viewers will decide to take back the remote control”, he quips. Now the channel is “only useful as a warning”. Namely, of the danger of the right “speaking only to ourselves”. “Powerful people commiserating with each other about how powerless they are isn’t much of a basis for a political movement. Or even, as it turns out, for a niche TV channel.”

2

Hamish McRae in The Independent

Young people who choose to ‘lie flat’ instead of work may pay a high price in the future

on a social phenomenon 

“The job market is booming on both sides of the Atlantic,” writes Hamish McRae in The Independent. “But many people, particularly the young and well-educated, don’t want to take the jobs on offer. Instead, they would prefer to ‘lie flat’”. A social phenomenon that began in China, it calls on young workers to “opt out of the struggle for workplace success, and to reject the promise of consumer fulfilment”. “While it can be dismissed as self-indulgent, the lie flat movement is a reaction to some aspects of society, including excessive materialism, that we should all question,” writes McRae. “I just worry that too many people will discover that what seems a wise choice now may seem rather less prudent in a few years' time.”

3

Sherelle Jacobs in The Telegraph

This Government will be swept away unless they find a story to tell

on political narratives

Boris Johnson has become “a leader without a story”, writes Sherelle Jacobs in The Telegraph. “Stripped of his rebellious, Churchillian optimism, he becomes apparent as a figure riven with contradictions,” she continues. “He is reportedly raring to get back to normal – but also not quite willing to rule out definitively a winter circuit-breaker or other draconian Covid restrictions.” Meanwhile, “[h]e wants to reboot the economy – but is willing to pummel it with taxes to prop up the NHS.” “He has seemingly decided to protect his landslide majority by occupying the Opposition’s centre-Left territory, while keeping lifelong conservatives just about on side,” writes Jacobs. “He would do well to heed WB Yeats’ dismaying words, which Didion is famed for taking mainstream, ‘Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold’.”

4

Jemima Kelly in the Financial Times

Dip in suicide rates over lockdown may offer lessons for life after Covid

on community

While the UK’s mental health may have been “negatively affected by Covid in many ways”, new evidence suggests “the number of people dying from suicide actually appears to have fallen when England and Wales went into lockdown,” writes Jemima Kelly in the Financial Times. While this may sound “counterintuitive”, there is “a precedent for such a phenomenon”. In fact, “research has consistently shown that during periods of war, suicides fall. This is because at times of national crisis, social cohesion and altruism tend to increase, meaning that people often feel less isolated”. “In the soul-searching that will follow this pandemic, perhaps we can reflect on how to foster a sense of ‘all being in this together’ without the need for a global crisis,” she concludes. 

5

Michael Levitin in The Atlantic

Occupy Wall Street Did More Than You Think

on Occupy's legacy

“[O]n the tenth anniversary of Occupy Wall Street, it’s clear that the movement has had lasting, visible impacts on our political and cultural landscape,” writes Michael Levitin in The Atlantic. “At its core, Occupy made protesting cool again – it brought the action back into activism – as it emboldened a generation to take to the streets and demand systemic reforms”, writes Levitin. “More deeply, the movement on Wall Street injected activists with a new sense of courage: Confronting power and issuing demands through civil disobedience is now an ingrained part of our political culture.” “In the years since, a cascade of social movements influenced by Occupy have altered the national conversation, including Black Lives Matter, #MeToo, the Women’s March, Indivisible, and March for Our Lives,” Levitin continues. “Occupy provided a blueprint for how popular dissent and demands can change America. Now a new 99% must write the next chapter.”

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