Instant Opinion

‘New report shines damning light into toxic culture within Met police’

Your digest of analysis from the British and international press

1

Daily Mail Comment

A desperate new low for the disgraced Met Police

on ‘abhorrent’ attitudes

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick has offered a “tin-eared defence of the constabulary”, said the Daily Mail. “A force the size of Scotland Yard would invariably employ the ‘occasional bad ’un’”. Yet anyone who is today reading the Independent Office for Police Conduct’s “damning report into the toxic culture at the Met might draw a strikingly different conclusion”. “Far from a few rotten apples, Dame Cressida has a whole barrel”. The report exposes “shocking evidence of a profoundly sick force”, including “disturbing texts between serving officers” that have been “passed off as ‘banter’”. For members of the police force to hold such attitudes is “abhorrent. Yet only two culprits have been sacked.” The report trains “an intense spotlight on ingrained dysfunctionality” within the force “that is at best tolerated, at worst swept under the carpet”. This “dangerously corrodes” the public’s trust in the police, and “their leaders face tough questions for failing to eradicate the vile microclimate” that persists. “It is hard to think of a public servant who has failed so consistently and comprehensively as Dame Cressida.” Before her detectives investigate partygate, “shouldn’t she get her own rackety house in order?”, asks the newspaper.

2

Robert Halfon at the Financial Times

Addressing poverty means financial education in primary schools

on money lessons

“The first weeks of the year are viewed by many as some of the toughest,” says Robert Halfon at the Financial Times: “but this year, things are even worse.” The cost-of-living crisis should give “pause to consider long-term solutions for families’ financial instability”, says the Conservative MP: “that is, not just ensuring people have enough money in their pockets but making sure people have the skills to manage their income to maximum benefit”. Halfon says “reforming financial education is at the heart of this.” He believes too many adults “lack the basic skills which underpin financial capability”. And while the Chancellor’s announcement of a £560m adult numeracy programme last year “has the potential to be truly life changing”, “the truth is we have to start earlier”. People who leave school “without an effective financial education are at high risk of financial abuse, fraud and debt”. The financial marketplace is evolving “at an electrifying pace”, says Halfon, and “financial education must recognise that the TikTok generation faces altogether different challenges to those armed with a cheque book years ago.”

3

John McLellan at The Scotsman

Scottish Tories can’t rely on Boris Johnson to set a good example but can’t defect to Labour either

on staying put

“Representing the Conservative Party these days”, as John McLellan does, “means there is little middle ground”. Writing at The Scotsman, the Tory councillor says those “at the sharp end” of the unfolding Westminster drama “just have to get on with it”. The “blunders, U-turns, accusations and bad headlines” are now “so frequent that they are losing their currency”. The Scottish Conservative Party “is the only solid opposition to the SNP and independence”, however, “so we can’t indulge ourselves by stropping out like the traitorous MP Christian Wakeford”. The party would “of course” be in a better position if Johnson “behaved like a statesman and set an example of which to be proud”, but then, “he wouldn’t be Boris Johnson”. Like Vladimir and Estragon in Samuel Becket’s Waiting for Godot, Scottish Conservatives “can only wait”. Unlike Becket’s characters “and unlike Wakeford, we do not move”. 

4

Alice Thomson at The Times

Blaming Carrie Johnson for No. 10 mess is deeply unfair

on reputational disarray

Ever since Anne Boleyn entered Henry VIII’s court, “she has been blamed for leading her husband astray”, says Alice Thomson at The Times. “Half a millennium later nothing much has changed.” Now, it’s a different court, and Boris Johnson’s wife Carrie “is taking the rap for her man’s actions”. She is “accused of causing havoc”, says Thomson, and her personality “is being cited to excuse many of the prime minister’s most egregious mistakes”. The “most serious charge” against the prime minister’s wife is “that she forced” the government to save cats and dogs from Kabul “rather than airlift desperate Afghans fleeing from the Taliban”. Then there’s “Carrie Antoinette’s scrolling fern wallpaper”, and the claim that she “‘ambushed’ him with a cake” at a surprise birthday party. But ultimately the Downing Street “mess” is Boris’s “responsibility, no one else’s; he causes chaos”. And yet if he’s “ousted”, “he will return to a well-paid column and the lucrative lecture circuit”, while “it’s Carrie who will have lost her reputation”.

5

Clemence Michallon at The Independent

Rihanna’s pregnancy announcement was tongue-in-cheek perfection

on mastering a new art 

Clemence Michallon wasn’t surprised “when Rihanna nailed her pregnancy announcement”. Writing at The Independent, she notes that the Barbadian singer “tends to excel at, well, practically, everything she undertakes”. Over the weekend, she “offered us a masterclass in that most modern of genres, the celebrity pregnancy announcement”. Rihanna “stepped outside in an eye-catching pink winter coat, which she kept open to reveal her bare pregnancy bump overlaid by a large, jewelled cross necklace” next to her partner, A$AP Rocky. That the New York backdrop was “blanketed in snow” only made the feat “all the more impressive”. Such announcements are a “rich genre” of “Hollywood history”, and Rihanna’s announcement “picks up where her celebrity peers left off”. It’s “traditional” in that “it relies on a bump photo – understandably a favourite medium” of the genre. It’s “staged at just the right amount”, and achieves “the perfect mix of controlled aesthetics and casual cool”. The announcement is “deliciously casual in the most tongue-in-cheek manner”, particularly given Rihanna “was the subject of unfounded pregnancy rumours for years”. “Congratulations,” says Michallon.

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