Instant Opinion

‘Many more people are realising how bad England’s Covid situation is’

Your digest of analysis from the British and international press


Andy Beckett in The Guardian

With Covid infections rising, the Tories are conducting a deadly social experiment

on cynical optimism

Since Boris Johnson lifted Covid restrictions in England on 19 July, a “giant experiment in individual ethics has been under way,” writes Andy Beckett. The results look “increasingly alarming” as “many people are acting as if the pandemic is over” – even as England becomes “one of the worst places for infections in the world, despite a high degree of vaccination by global standards”, The Guardian columnist adds. This is partly because England has “endured a more protracted period of economic, social and political turmoil than most”, prompting an “especially strong” desire to return to some kind of normality. The “cynical optimism” of Boris Johnson “feeds an appetite for easy solutions, and the hope that crises such as the pandemic can be wished away”, he adds. But all that could change. “Many more people have realised how bad England’s Covid situation is,” he said. But “for Covid’s victims since ‘freedom day’, it will be too late”.


David Brock in The New York Times

I was wrong about Donald Trump

on a resurgent danger

“Like most Democrats, I initially underestimated Donald Trump,” admits David Brock in The New York Times. I “didn’t once imagine” the Republican would win the 2016 White House election, because the controversial candidate was “an obvious pig”, a “fraud” and a “cheat”. Brock adds that once Trump was in the White House, he “misread him again” and only belatedly noted his “authoritarian” and “anti-democracy tendencies”. As Trump eyes a presidential campaign in 2024 and whips up his supporters for the 2022 midterms, Democrats “need to step up”. “Having underestimated Mr. Trump in the first place”, he adds, they “shouldn’t underestimate what it will take to counter his malign influence now”.


Robert Jenrick in The Telegraph

Time to renew the fight against extremist ideologies

on resiliance and cohesion

“From the far-Right to Islamist extremism, we’ve failed to tackle the hate and violence which exists,” says Conservative MP Robert Jenrick in The Telegraph, “because contesting it is hard, requires honesty about the problems we face, and consistency and dedication to resolving them”. In the wake of the killing of fellow MP David Amess, “we do not need to reinvent the wheel in looking for ways to act on this problem”, because “much has been said, less put into practice”. Social media companies, local authorities and schools should build “resilience and cohesion against extremism, where all too frequently they turn a blind eye”, he adds. “Britain has never been cowed by fear, hatred or terror and we should not be now.”


Molly Meacher in The Times

Assisted Dying Bill is a humane end of life insurance policy

on a transformational choice

“Although modest”, the Assisted Dying Bill, which gets its second reading in the House of Lords today, would “transform all our lives and deaths for the better”, writes Molly Meacher in The Times. It will “enable terminally ill, mentally competent adults whose suffering is beyond the reach of palliative care to die on their own terms”. The life peer, who introduced the bill, says that the arguments made against assisted dying “do not stand up” because “even with the best possible palliative care, 6,400 dying people a year would still experience unrelievable pain in their final months”. “The choice of assisted dying is now available to more than 200 million around the world,” she adds. “We know it can be legislated safely, providing choice to those who want it and protecting the rest of society.”


Keir Starmer in The Independent

‘Fire and rehire’ is unfair and unjust – so why won’t the Tories support a bill to end it?

on a government ‘sell-out’

“We should be building a fairer society coming out of the Covid crisis,” argues Keir Starmer in The Independent, but “instead, unscrupulous bosses are being given a green light to intimidate workers into accepting worse pay and conditions”. The Labour leader has announced that his party is supporting a private member’s bill to “stamp out fire and rehire”, arguing Boris Johnson, who is “ordering his MPs to vote down the bill”, is “selling out working people in the process”. Three million workers have been told to reapply for their jobs since the first lockdown in March, Starmer points out. Far from wanting to “go back to business as usual after the pandemic”, he adds, “we must use this opportunity to bring employment law into the modern age and build a better country and a fairer society for us all”.


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