Instant Opinion

‘Keir Starmer has a long way to go to banish the ghost of Corbynism’

Your digest of analysis from the British and international press

1

Madeline Grant in The Telegraph

The ghost of Corbyn still haunts Keir Starmer

on political poltergeists  

This year’s Labour conference delivered a “visual metaphor”, writes parliamentary sketchwriter Madeline Grant in The Telegraph. It was the moment when David Evans, the party’s new general secretary and “a staunch ally of Sir Keir Starmer”, unwisely asked delegates to consider what inspired them to first join the party – resulting in “an instant volley of ‘Ohhhhh Jeremy Corrrrbyn!’”. “Nothing better encapsulates the Corbyn ghost that continues to haunt the Labour Conference,” says Grant. “Or rather”, she adds, “the poltergeist, because unlike more genteel phantoms, this one is inflicting real damage”. In fact, Starmer “deserves credit for attempting to root out the worst excesses of Corbynism”, she continues. “The fact that prominent Jewish former MPs… feel comfortable returning to the party shows that vital progress has been made.” But the Labour leader “still has a long way to go if he’s serious about banishing the ghost of Corbynism”.

2

Alexander Vasudevan in The Guardian

Berlin’s vote to take properties from big landlords could be a watershed moment

on the power of tenant activism

A successful local referendum in Berlin over the weekend could “serve as a template and inspiration for activists in Europe and elsewhere”, writes Alexander Vasudevan, an associate professor in human geography at the University of Oxford, in The Guardian. The result of the referendum, on whether or not to expropriate the city’s apartments from corporate landlords, is an enormous win for the campaign to resocialise housing in Berlin (Vergesellschaftung). The vote isn’t legally binding – it’s up to the city’s government to decide whether to move forward – but it could “have a major impact on housing struggles in other cities”, says Vasudevan. If resocialising goes ahead, the process will “undoubtedly face legal challenges, not to mention the problem of compensation of the property corporations”, Vasudevan adds. But, he says, Berlin’s socialisation campaign has “shown us the power of tenant activism and community organising”.

3

Katy Balls in the i newspaper

In fuel, staff and energy shortages, Boris Johnson is finally facing a crisis he can’t bluster his way out of

on rocky times ahead 

What could be better for the Tories than this week’s Labour Party conference?, asks Katy Balls, deputy political editor of The Spectator, in the i newspaper. “Faced with a fuel crisis, staff shortages and broken supply chains, government aides have watched with relief as the opposition’s annual meeting in Brighton has descended into chaos,” she writes. Things got even better when, rather than attack the government’s incompetence at handling the various cries, Labour “got into a fight with itself” instead. But, says Balls, as the conference draws to an end, attention is returning to the government, “with the problems showing little sign of abating”. Soon, the crises we’re facing will be so worrying that no distraction technique will work. “The Prime Minister will need to do some creative thinking on how to get the country through a rocky few months.”

4

Carol Midgley in The Times

I can’t tell you how I’d like to punish fraudsters who fleece old people

on ‘human maggots’

As the word of the week is “scum”, writes Carol Midgley in The Times, what could be a better time “to revisit our old friends, the bottom-feeding dregs who scam elderly people, steal their savings and don’t even die of shame.” Following her mother’s death earlier this month, the Prime Minister’s sister Rachel Johnson revealed that Charlotte Johnson Wahl “fell victim to cold-call fraudsters who came to her house to “‘value her valuables’”. Similar happened to Midgley’s father who also died this year, she writes. “Nothing will persuade me that the decline in his health was unrelated to the months of worry, despair and humiliation these slop-suckers caused him.” Be warned, she concludes, “these human maggots are just like violent muggers in an underpass”.

5

Brooke Masters in the FT

As pubs pack out, drinks companies worry about an abstemious youth

on a ‘looming’ drinking problem

As officer workers gradually return to their desks, their “natural next stop seems to be after-work socialising”, writes Brooke Masters in the Financial Times. But now the drinks industry is starting to address “one of the biggest threats to its long-term profitability”: the fact that “Gen Z and millennial customers are far less attracted to alcohol than older generations”. According to Masters’ research, more than 56% of 18- to 24-year-olds think consuming one or two drinks a day is ‘harmful’, compared with 31% of those aged 65 and over. “Young alcohol sceptics aren’t morally opposed to drinking”, Masters explains, “rather they [dislike] hangovers and [worry] about alcohol’s impact on their mental health – and their wallets”. To prepare for this “looming issue”, companies spent the last few years “putting research and advertising clout behind low and no-alcohol adult drinks”, she adds. But, for that to work, “these tipples need to be more than a pale substitute for the abstemious”.

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