Instant Opinion

‘Why is there a shortage of CO2? Well, it’s got naff all to do with Brexit’

Your digest of analysis from the British and international press


Iain Dale for The Telegraph

No, not everything can be blamed on Brexit

on the rush to blame

The Left continued to blame everything on Margaret Thatcher even decades after she left office, but the former PM has “received a reprieve”, said Iain Dale. “There is a new root of all evil to blame for every single bit of bad news going: Brexit.” Writing for The Telegraph, Dale accepted that Brexit has “caused some bumps in the road” but bemoaned the fact that “otherwise sane commentators rush like sheep to embrace every negative story and blame it on the fact we’ve left the EU”. Turning to the energy crisis, he said it has been caused by many things, “some outside our control (like Putin’s stance on the supply of gas)” and others “totally within our control (like green levies and the energy price cap)”. “Why is there a shortage of CO2? Well, it’s got naff all to do with the UK leaving the EU and all to do with increasing gas prices and green levies on the manufacturers of CO2.”


William Hague for The Times

Liz Truss should hug France and empower women

on mixing briefs

“The opening week of the UN general assembly in New York is a prime test of your stamina, patience, recall and persuasiveness,” William Hague said. Writing for The Times, the former foreign secretary had advice for the new occupant of the post, Liz Truss, as she enters this “feeding frenzy”. Despite tensions over the Aukus deal, Truss should “hug France” because the Western alliance “needs to build its breadth as well as its depth”, he said. Truss “has a great opportunity, combining her role as she does with the post of minister for women and equalities” because “around the globe, the countries that least respect the role and rights of women are those most characterised by poverty, conflict or tyranny”. By being an “effective leader for girls’ education, preventing sexual violence and advancing the leadership of women, Liz Truss has the chance to advance one of the most vital causes of the 21st century”, Hague concluded.


Harriet Williamson for The Independent

Rosie Duffield’s views on transgender people should have no place in the Labour Party

on gender identity

After Rosie Duffield, Labour MP for Canterbury, pulled out of her party’s annual conference, saying that she doesn’t want to be “the centre of attention” and fears abuse over her views on self-identification for trans people, Harriet Williamson argued that it is “completely unacceptable to trumpet prejudiced misinformation, as Duffield has been accused of doing”. Writing for The Independent, Williamson said that Duffield’s views are “not just outdated and embarrassing – they are actively harmful”. The MP has come under fire in the past for liking a tweet that said “individuals with a cervix” should be referred to as “women”, and another that described trans people as “mostly heterosexuals cosplaying [costume playing] as the opposite sex and as gay”. Williamson said that “if you deny the identity of transgender people, dismiss the existence of non-binary folk and agree with hateful and bigoted statements about trans people, as Duffield seems to do, your hot air about ‘actively fighting for all human rights’ is utterly meaningless”.


The editorial board of the Los Angeles Times

Dump Covid vaccine religious exemptions. There is no Church of Moderna Disbelievers

on a convenient excuse

A Covid-19 vaccine mandate is worth “very little, if anything at all” if it includes exemptions for “sincerely held religious beliefs”, argued the Los Angeles Times. Given “how large a loophole religious exemptions create”, no one should be “remotely surprised” that thousands of Los Angeles employees are lining up to claim religious exemptions from the city’s vaccine requirement for its employees, added the paper’s editorial board. Police are prominent in this trend – “for the most part, these are personnel who come into close contact with the public on a regular basis, said the leader column. “They have an obligation to avoid harming the people they serve. Shame on them.” It concluded that: “Religious convictions – whether newly found as a convenient excuse or long held by sincere believers – cannot trump the importance of bringing the Covid-19 pandemic under control.”


Simon Jenkins for The Guardian

Boris Johnson’s military alliance in the Pacific is reckless post-imperial nostalgia

on vacuous focus

“The Aukus defence deal between Britain, the US and Australia grows murkier by the day,” said Simon Jenkins. “Britain has no conceivable reason for adopting an aggressive position in the Pacific,” he wrote in The Guardian, adding that it is “all arcane post-imperial nostalgia”. The columnist said that “time alone will tell” where tensions between the West and China lead, “but for the west now to open a cold war with China must be beyond stupid, and for Britain especially fatuous”. He reminded us that it is half a century since Harold Wilson formally withdrew Britain from “east of Suez”. “[Boris] Johnson clearly aches to return, to prove that he can somehow punch above his weight and put Britain back on the world stage after Brexit.” However, this “vacuous” focus is misguided, suggested Jenkins, because “British diplomacy should now be concentrated on Europe, overwhelmingly so. One thing Brexit did not alter was geography.”


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