Instant Opinion

‘Let’s kick Blue Monday to the kerb in 2022’

Your digest of analysis from the British and international press

1

Sian Bradley at The Independent

Enough of ‘Blue Monday’ in 2022 – this made-up ‘holiday’ continually trivialises depression

on a made-up Monday

“It’s here again,  apparently – the bleakest day of the year,” writes Sian Bradley at The Independent. But surely with the pandemic ongoing, “the last thing we need is scaremongering about a Monday so horrible it has a name”. Psychologist Cliff Arnall introduced the concept of “Blue Monday” to the global psyche in 2004, on the basis of “bad weather, failed New Year resolution and foggy memories of Christmas leaving us all in a debt-riddled slump”, Bradley explains. Scientifically, “it’s complete nonsense”, as Arnall has since admitted. But “the damage is already done”, with travel companies and other brands “exploiting” depression “for the sake of profit” through sales pushes. Cashing in on this sales opportunity “may seem harmless”, says Bradley, “but conversations around Blue Monday conflate low mood with depression”. The two aren’t the same. “Depression doesn’t care what day it is,” she writes. “For 2022, let’s finally kick Blue Monday to the kerb.”

2

Tim Stanley at The Telegraph

Britain’s failed Establishment will never apologise for the catastrophe of lockdown

on an unlikely apology

Will anyone, asks Tim Stanley at The Telegraph, say sorry for setting the UK’s lockdown rules? His fear is that “we’ll become so obsessed with the breaking of rules by Westminster party animals that we’ll emerge from this pandemic without a proper assessment of how much damage the restrictions regime did – to our society, health and economy”. Labour MPs last week listed the rules their constituents followed in the UK’s national lockdowns. “What they were describing was objectively insane”, but by “attacking the government employees for disregarding the code, they reinforced the narrative that the rules were basically sound”, Stanley argues. Yes, Covid-19 “demanded a rapid and radical response”, but “even if you do something for the right motives, you still say sorry”. Many of the restrictions “defied common sense at the time”, but the policymakers – who “themselves weren’t obeying all the measures they set” – have “slapped down anyone who suggested the rules were illogical”. Politicians will “probably never properly account for the worst of the rules”, because the restrictions were “an expression of power, and no one gives that up easily”, he concludes. “Just ask Boris Johnson.”

3

Alexander Larman at The Spectator

Is Britain really too dangerous for Harry and Meghan?

on a matter of security

Since Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s “announcement of their quasi-abdication from their roles”, the Duke has “devoted a disproportionate amount of time complaining about the cost of his security measures”, says Alexander Larman at The Spectator. The issue has “emerged once again” after Harry said that his young family will not be returning to England from the US “because it is ‘too dangerous’”. Since he is no longer a “working royal”, the government has removed his police protection, and though he has “an expensive private security team”, the Duke “has claimed they would be unable to function effectively” in the UK. He is now taking the government to court over the matter. The move “shows a remarkable degree of ignorance as to how the action will be received in Britain”. Indeed, it “remains unclear how popular a return by him and Meghan would be”, claims Larman, who argues that this “latest intervention seems to be the latest act of attention-seeking from Brand Sussex”. Harry “might look to history” to see “how badly” things went for Edward VIII after he abdicated in 1936 – as the Duke shows “every sign of following in a similar path”.

4

Daily Mail editorial board

Sanctimonious Sir Keir must apologise

on a deja-vu defence

Keir Starmer is “desperately trying to weasel his way out of trouble after incriminating photos emerged of him boozing with staff members in an office” during a national lockdown, says the Daily Mail. The Labour chief said it was “a work meeting”. When the prime minister used the same excuse last week to “defend restriction-flouting drinks in the Downing Street garden”, the “pious” opposition leader demanded his resignation. Calling on Starmer to apologise, the paper warns that “Sir Keir should remember those in glass houses ought not to throw stones”. Last week was clearly “a very difficult” one for Boris Johnson and “the ‘partygate’ scandal mustn’t be downplayed”. But, asks the paper, “isn’t it time for a sense of perspective?” With the PM “getting firmly on the front foot” again, “it’s vital Britain now looks to the future – and doesn’t remain mired by misjudgements from the past”. 

5

Anna Leszkiewicz at The New Statesman

Why The Great Pottery Throw Down is the loveliest show on TV

on the satisfaction of ceramicists

“I never thought I would cry at pots,” writes Anna Leszkiewicz at The New Statesman. That was until she began watching The Great Pottery Throw Down. “No competitive entertainment series communicates the personalities of its contestants quite like” this TV show, favouring “craft and character over drama and spectacle”. Each series “introduces us to a cast of often eccentric individuals from all over the UK” who are “united by the shared sense of joy and satisfaction that comes from making something beautiful from scratch”. Former punk band singer-turned-Pottery Throw Down judge Keith Brymer Jones “is both charismatic and infectiously enthusiastic about pots”, frequently “bursting into tears at the beauty” of the contestants finished works. Along with the (non-professional) potters, he and his fellow judges shine the spotlight on “the value a creative hobby like pottery can bring to a life”. The pleasure they take in the craft seems in complete “opposition to the anxiety-inducing dynamics of the workplace”. As Brymer Jones has said, “working with your hands can be magically fulfilling”.

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