Instant Opinion

‘Prince Andrew’s defence teeters on the edge of victim blaming – and then plummets right into it’

Your digest of analysis from the British and international press


Marina Hyde in The Guardian

Attacking the woman who accuses you? It’s no sweat for Prince Andrew

on Andrew’s new lawyer

The fact that Prince Andrew is being represented by a lawyer who is “also defending Armie Hammer over his whole cannibal-fetish-rape situation” really is “the latest jewel in the royal family’s many, many crowns”, says The Guardian columnist Marina Hyde. Like Hammer, Prince Andrew has denied accusations of sexual assault – with the alleged victim in his case being “former Jeffrey Epstein sex slave Virginia Roberts Giuffre”. Once the Queen’s son “finally allowed lawyers to serve him the papers relating to this civil case”, a change of pace was “inevitable”, says Hyde. Now the prince is being represented by “Hollywood power attorney” Andrew Brettler and “the gloves are suddenly well and truly off”. How else, asks Hyde, can you explain “a new legal filing that teeters on the edge of victim blaming – and then plummets right into it, rolls around it, wallows deeply in it, and then finishes off by making snow angels in it?” Among other claims, the 36-page motion accuses Giuffre of “seeking ‘another payday’ at the prince’s expense” and “claim she has ‘milk[ed] the publicity’ of her association for years”. The filing reveals that “despite everything that has happened”, Hyde adds, Prince Andrew is totally blind “to the silly little tragedies of Virginia Roberts Giuffre and all the silly little girls like her”.


Philip Johnston in The Telegraph

Smart motorways are a symptom of the British state’s addiction to failure

on the hard shoulder 

The “scariest” 20 minutes Philip Johnston has ever experienced while driving was “on the M5 travelling home from a holiday in Devon”, he writes in The Telegraph. Just as it was getting dark, he had a puncture; “a proper tyre-shredding blow-out that fortunately happened just after joining the motorway rather than at speed”. Johnston pulled onto the hard shoulder and “set about replacing the offside wheel as 40-ton lorries roared past inches away”. “I still break into a cold sweat every time I drive past the same spot”, he adds. Looking back, Johnston says he has “no idea” what he would have done without the hard shoulder. “It is difficult to understand what thought processes were involved when a few not-so-bright sparks in the Department for Transport dreamt up the idea of ‘smart’ motorways,” he continues. These come in several forms including “the all-lane running variety using the hard shoulder as a permanent additional lane”. The problem, says Johnston, “is that smart motorways are potentially dangerous for drivers forced to stop and unable to get to one of the emergency refuge areas provided every 1.2 miles”. “I would never have made it to one of those”, he says, “and a dozen or more motorists in recent years have been killed because they couldn’t either”.


Sarah Vine in the Daily Mail

How the Queen majestically eclipsed all those eco-posers

on a ‘no-frills’ speech

Cop26 seems to “encapsulate the insanity, vanity and general vacuousness of the modern world perfectly”, writes Sarah Vine in the Daily Mail. It’s a “carousel of self-obsessed, bombastic, virtue-signalling hypocrites”, from Joe Biden “snoozing on the job” to “Nicola Sturgeon ambushing Sir David Attenborough for a selfie”. But, she continues, there has been “one exception”. “One small, white-haired, beady-eyed nonagenarian with a mind like a steel trap and a sense of decorum combined with quiet humility that, frankly, knocks all these preening popinjays into a cocked hat”. When the Queen speaks, “the world listens”, says Vine. “And not because she speaks loudly or forcefully, or because she surrounds herself with symbols of power. We listen because she is calm, wise and a little magical.” Against “the backdrop of all those motorcades and private jets and hot air-emitting climate protesters”, the simplicity of her “no-frills” speech, delivered from Windsor Castle, was as “refreshing as a bright spring morning”.


Yasmin Alibhai-Brown on the i news site

Little Amal is an inspiration, but not enough to transform the UK’s hostility to refugees

on refugee theatre

Little Amal, the “giant puppet” who passed through Wigan on Sunday, was “whole-heartedly welcomed by many”, writes Yasmin Alibhai-Brown on The i news site. Created by War Horse craftsmen and made from cane and carbon fibre “to make her light enough for the many puppeteers – some of them former refugees – who move her”, Little Amal is “live theatre unlike any other – visually stunning, insistent and brazenly political”. Inevitably, says Alibhai-Brown, some folk are “revolted” by her and her “silent implorations”. In one Greek town on her journey,  she was “pelted with stones”. But mostly she is “surrounded by the curious and kind – children in particular”. “Amal’s creators want to awaken our consciences and change the hateful narrative about refugees,” continues Alibhai-Brown. It’s “a valiant, but I fear, forlorn aspiration in today’s UK”.


Rupert Hawksley in The Independent

Britain to Boris: Please just wear a mask around David Attenborough

on a bad example

When CNN presenter Christiane Amanpour questioned Boris Johnson over his decision to not wear a mask when sitting next to “national treasure” David Attenborough, he was “clearly frustrated”, writes Rupert Hawksley in The Independent. He “hunched over, narrowed his eyes, every bit as cross as a child being asked to finish their homework” before vomiting out “a series of entirely random words in no discernible order”. “It is also genuinely quite difficult to imagine a less appropriate occasion not to wear a mask,” Hawksley continues. The PM was “sitting in a crowded room, surrounded by hundreds of people who have literally flown into Glasgow from all over the world and who will, very soon, be flying back out again all over the world”. Mask wearing is “not just about optics”, he adds. “The Covid-19 statistics do not make for happy reading.” This journey is “far from over” and part of the reason why the Covid rate is so high is “undoubtedly” because “so few of us are wearing masks”. “We look to our leaders for guidance – for leadership – and what we see is Boris Johnson not bothering, not complying, not giving a damn,” he concludes. “That’s why it matters and why you should care – even if Johnson doesn’t.”


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