Instant Opinion

‘The time now is desperately short to regain the trust of women in the police’

Your digest of analysis from the British and international press

1

Parm Sandhu for the i newspaper

If the Met police are serious about rebuilding trust after Sarah Everard, they should actually talk to women

on taking swift action

The horrifying murder of Sarah Everard at the hands of a police officer “leaves me with the most awful feelings of anger and deep upset”, writes Parm Sandhu, a former chief superintendent in the Metropolitan Police. It’s important to remember that the vast majority of officers are “good people” who are “also struggling to come to terms with the actions of the monster who killed her”. What has concerned many is the force’s “failure to identify [Wayne Couzens] as the risk he was”, she says, as well as “the various stories from serving and ex-officers of their experience of misogyny and sexual harassment from other officers”. The police need to show they are taking swift action to address such issues, writes Sandhu, who served in the Met Police for 30 years. We need to see action fast, she adds, as “the time now is desperately short to regain the trust and confidence of women in the police”.

2

Owen Jones for The Guardian

Breaking promises won’t get Keir Starmer into power

on a leader whose time is up

“Dishonesty corrodes democracy like acid,” writes Owen Jones. However, it is not the “broken promises of Boris Johnson” that are on The Guardian columnist’s mind this time, but those of his opposite number. Jones rages that “Starmer stood for Labour leader under a banner of Corbynism without Corbyn” but has now discarded that promise. He dismisses Starmer’s conference speech as “Blairism without Blair” but says comparisons with Blair’s leadership are nonetheless “wrongheaded” because the “architects of New Labour” were “genuinely substantial figures”. Furthermore, he argues, “where Blair and Neil Kinnock were talented orators, Starmer lacks any charisma or warmth”. He notes that Starmer is “less popular than a prime minister presiding over a country with fuel shortages, empty supermarket shelves, and an impending cut to universal credit that will drive hundreds of thousands of children into poverty”. It is too late for the Labour leader to win Jones over. “He needs to be removed,” Jones says.

3

Annabel Denham for The Daily Telegraph

Thank God furlough has ended. Now give businesses the freedom to employ

on becoming ‘risk allergic’ 

At one point, close to nine million people were on the furlough scheme, making it “one of the largest interventions that the UK government has launched in any crisis, ever”, writes Annabel Denham in The Daily Telegraph. Few disagree that the decision to nationalise the workforce “was the right medicine in the pandemonium of March 2020”, she says. “But as the months wore on, it became harder and harder to justify.” The longer workers were furloughed, the more we became “risk allergic” to jobs being lost; “we ignored that jobs disappear all the time, even without pandemics”. When furlough eventually winds up, there will “regrettably” be an increase in unemployment – but “this will likely be less than was once feared”. “Protecting jobs was core to Rishi Sunak’s pandemic strategy,” Denham concludes, but “it’s not a job the government can do forever”. 

4

John Timpson for The Times

Hire ex-offenders to help society and the economy

on the upside of ex-cons

John Timpson welcomes news that Dominic Raab is encouraging bosses to employ ex-prisoners because “if this represents a permanent shift in attitude it will significantly reduce the number of prisoners who reoffend and will cut the vast cost of our prosecution and prison service”. Writing for The Times, Timpson, whose shoe-repair and key-cutting chain started recruiting ex-offenders 20 years ago, points out that more than 60% of prison leavers reoffend within two years of release, a figure that falls to under 20% for those with a job. “We use the same criteria as for all other applicants: we pick them on their personality,” he writes, adding: “Drug dealers are often successful: they are very commercial!” He calls for more employers to follow his lead. “Ex-offenders can only get a job with most companies if they lie on their application form,” he says, but “if employers think ex-cons can help with the current crisis, and beyond, they should scrap for good their insistence on a clean criminal record”.

5

Nicole Hemmer for CNN

Britney Spears’ bid for freedom comes at a crucial moment

on the right to body autonomy

A judge’s decision this week to remove Britney Spears’ father, Jamie, from the decades-long conservatorship that has controlled nearly everything – from her movements to her healthcare decisions – has brought the pop star “a step closer to regaining her freedom”, writes Nicole Hemmer on CNN. But this move “isn’t the end of the conservatorship” and even ending it “will not make Britney Spears whole”, she adds. For more than ten years, Spears has been denied “the most personal of all freedoms: the freedom to choose to have children”. Sadly she’s not alone. “Women in the United States do not have, and have never had, full reproductive autonomy,” Hemmer says. “Spears’s struggle helps highlight the moral catastrophe of those limitations, especially at a moment when women’s reproductive rights are under renewed attack.” The attention being paid to Spears’ conservatorship case “is happening at a crucial moment”: “seeing a woman being freed from the control of her father, and slowly regaining full autonomy over her own life and body, is a reminder of why all women deserve the right to control their lives as well”.

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