Instant Opinion

‘Keir Starmer’s lead in the polls is his chance’

Your digest of analysis from the British and international press

1

Steven Fielding in The Spectator

Will the real Keir Starmer please stand up?

on an opportune moment

Opinion polls suggest Keir Starmer currently looks “like the best-placed Labour leader since the distant days of Tony Blair”, says Steven Fielding in The Spectator. But “much of this has been the result of the public turning away from the government… rather than them seeing Starmer’s leadership in significantly positive terms”. Labour’s present position “is still insufficient to guarantee a Commons majority”. “Sobering” too is the memory of “how recently serious question marks hovered over” Starmer’s leadership. So now, should the leader “stick or twist: does he cautiously sit on his lead in the hope the Conservatives fail to respond, or go on the attack to try and make victory certain?”, asks Fielding. “Blair had it easy compared to Starmer”, with New Labour able to rely on “the traditional loyalty” of regional voters who “no longer exist”. For Starmer, “the opinion poll lead he currently enjoys… is his chance”, Fielding adds. “Will the real Keir Starmer stand up – or was he there all the time – and will voters like him if he does?”

2

The Wall Street Journal Editorial Board

A European revelation on climate

on eco-investment

“Could this winter’s energy crisis be shocking Europe into climate realism?” asks The Wall Street Journal’s (WSJ) editorial board. “Someone please pass the smelling salts to the Sierra Club” because, “believe it or not”, the EU is set to add nuclear and natural gas to its taxonomy for classifying environmentally sustainable investments. “The usual suspects are furious for the usual reasons” and “critics are partly right that politics is at play”. But this, says the WSJ, “is that rarest of cases in climate policy where the politics aligns with energy reality”. Natural gas “stands out” as a lower emitter than other fossil fuels and nuclear is both “zero-emitting and more reliable than wind or solar”. The new EU taxonomy “has flaws”. “But at least Europe is correcting some of the errors of its last generation of green industrial policy”. Ultimately, “all of this has implications for the US”, where the government “is still fantasising that solar and wind power can soon replace all fossil fuels”, the paper adds. “If Europe can admit the truth, how about the White House?”

3

Polly Toynbee in The Guardian

As the Conservatives implode, the red wall suddenly seems in Labour’s grasp

on losing loyalty

“I will always back whoever I think can best deny the Conservatives power,” writes Polly Toynbee in The Guardian. And “yes, sometimes, that means compromising to win votes”. The UK’s “archaic electoral system kills new parties”, so existing ones are “the only viable route for a political cause”. “Labour has had periods of leftist entryism after losing elections”, but suddenly the “online raucousness sounds like voices from the past, fringe noises coming from outside a party that has since transformed itself”. Labour MPs will all be up for reselection in the coming weeks and we should “expect no upsets”, says Toynbee. On the other side, “the Tory party is devouring itself, eaten up by the Ukip-inflected extremists” who have moved on from Brexit to push for other policies “that are unsellable”. A recent poll of 57 red wall seats by the Mail on Sunday put Labour 16% ahead of the Conservatives, the survey revealing “a litany of lost voter trust”, she adds. Should “impulsive spending cuts and regulations” lose the Tories votes, “Labour will be right there”.

4

Camilla Tominey in The Telegraph

Why the Queen needs her confidantes more than ever

on close ties

“Royals have, famously, long outlived their subjects,” writes Camilla Tominey in The Telegraph. But the “distinct disadvantage to longevity” is “saying goodbye to many loyal and long-standing friends”. For decades, the Queen has been surrounded by “a tight-knit team of ladies-in-waiting”, but a number of these “confidantes” have recently passed away, meaning she has “bade farewell to a number of her nearest and dearest”. “With the Platinum Jubilee approaching in June – not to mention the ongoing fallout from the Epstein saga and Prince Harry’s autobiography due in the autumn – the Queen is going to need all the support she can get,” writes Tominey. “She will always rely on family first”, with Charles, Camilla, William and Kate “expected to ‘step up’ even further”. But “her majesty will also rely on her remaining ladies-in-waiting”, as well as “loyal and longstanding servants”, she adds. The “remaining ‘court’ has never played a more crucial role”.

5

Jenny Eclair in The Independent

I’ve got a mild touch of ‘Omicron envy’ - have you?

on wanting Covid

Jenny Eclair has “‘Omicron Envy’” – “and I suspect some of you may have it too”, she writes in The Independent. She’s referring to “those of us who feel fit and well enough to withstand the new variant”, and “are slightly miffed that we haven’t managed to catch a nice mild dose of it by now”. Two of her relatives recently recovered from the virus, and she “must admit to a pang of jealousy”. “Theirs is the version we all want,” explains Eclair, “a week of feeling a bit under the weather and then back on your feet and bouncing around, full of antibodies with no lingering after-effects.” There remain “so many unknowns” about Covid, but “what we do know” is that “we are just going to have to live with this thing”. “Getting on with life after having been cautious for so long is a weird one,” she continues, “venturing back into society” for a recent cinema trip feeling “slightly alien”. Now, “I need to get used to leaving the house”, she adds. “Good luck to all.”

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