Instant Opinion

‘Cop26 was not a waste of time and energy’

Your digest of analysis from the British and international press

1

Hamish McRae for The Independent

The disappointment over Cop26 is understandable - but there is hope

on agreeable achievements

The Cop26 deal “will be picked over in the coming weeks”, said Hamish McRae at The Independent. But history has shown that when it comes to climate summits, “what happens in the following year is more important than the wording of the communique at the end of the meeting”. Some achievements can already be noted. “To have India and China onside” in phasing down the use of coal “is a massive advance”, writes McRae. So too is the “wall of commercial money” that will be used to back new technologies, and the boost Glasgow has given to environment, social and governance (ESG) investing in global markets. It’s also important that young people are pushing for a greener economy, given they “will set the pace” on ensuring goods and services are produced adhering to best environmental practice in the coming years, McRae continues. “Cop26 could have gone further,” he concedes, but “there was real progress”. “Clearly it was not a waste of time and energy.”

2

Ben Page for The Telegraph

Shifting polls prove Boris Johnson can’t afford to get complacent

on a popularity contest

“Anger, frustration and a tiny bit of envy” may sum up the public’s feelings towards ministers at the moment, says Ben Page in The Telegraph. Tory sleaze has had “an immediate impact in the polls”, but “don’t read too much into the headline numbers”. Conservative support has been declining for months, says Page, who is chief executive of polling company Ipsos MORI, and “this level of support is by no means bad” for a mid-term government. But what’s more important is Boris Johnson’s personal approval ratings. “He is no longer more popular than his party”, but “he may not worry too much, yet” given Keir Starmer is facing a similarly low level of support from Labour voters. “So far, there is nothing in this latest scandal to suggest the outcome of the next election is anything other than another Conservative win”, says Page. But “Mr Johnson might benefit from being a little more paranoid”.

3

Rana Foroohar at the Financial Times

The oldest asset class of all still dominates modern wealth

on investment indicators

A recent study by the McKinsey Global Institute found two-thirds of net worth is stored in residential, corporate and government property, as well as land. “For all the talk of digitalisation, it seems that bricks and mortar are the new bricks and mortar,” says Rana Foroohar in the Financial Times. On average, house prices have tripled across the ten countries the study investigated. “The ramifications are troubling” as wealth and growth have become “completely disconnected”. “For all the talk of blockchain, cryptocurrency and big data, it’s rather amazing that most 21st-century wealth still lives in the oldest asset class of all,” writes Foroohar. Low interest rates haven’t done much for business investment, but “more encouragingly” the government’s post-pandemic spending programmes “present a new opportunity to try and push money into more productive sectors”. It’s clear that “affordable housing is the most pressing economic issue of the moment”, she continues. “Only by fixing housing can we rebalance our global ledger.”

4

Yomi Adegoke for i news

A four day working week might sound like a radical idea, but so did weekends at first

on an effective balance

“One of the many lessons of this pandemic is that the way we worked before wasn’t working,” writes Yomi Adegoke for the i news site. “The tightrope that is work life balance has been brought to the fore” and the feasibility of flexible remote working has been proven. The speed at which it became the norm “surely bolsters the case for the four day working week”. Support for the idea has become increasingly mainstream, and “it makes sense to strike whilst the iron is hot”, she continues. Countries like Iceland and New Zealand have already seen spikes in productivity, and benefits for mental health. “Waves are being made in the UK” with some trials of a three-day weekend finding “remarkable” performance results. “The retention of earnings is key” and the conversation is “even more relevant” after Cop26. Any real change seems radical when first presented; “not even a hundred years ago, the five-day workweek and a two-day weekend were looked at with the same wariness”.

5

Rebecca Root for The Guardian

Lady Gaga, be warned - method acting may bag you an Oscar, but where does it end?

on becoming the part

Like Dustin Hoffman, Sylvester Stallone and Nicolas Cage before her, Lady Gaga appears to fall on the side of actors that favour “method” to “not method”, writes actor Rebecca Root for The Guardian. Lady Gaga’s approach to playing Patrizia Reggiani in Ridley Scott’s House of Gucci “was a process of ‘becoming’ rather than an ‘imitation’”, and she said that she stayed in character for a year and a half. “Film and television history is filled with stories of actors taking the method to extremes”, and while “authenticity delights audiences”, “where does it end”, asks Root: “if you’re playing Macbeth, must you commit regicide?” Clearly, method acting works, and “for many who adhere to it, glory at the Oscars seems inevitable”. In fact, it produces “such endlessly startling award-winning results”, this writer is tempted to try it herself.

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