Instant Opinion

‘Jamal Edwards gave a generation of young black artists the chance they needed’

Your digest of analysis from the British and international press

1

Nego True at the i news site

Jamal Edwards’ support changed my life, he inspired a whole generation of young people

on a lasting legacy

“Who would’ve thought that someone who started as a 15-year-old with a camera could go on to capture the hearts of the country, inspire a whole generation of musicians and build a legacy that will be felt in British culture for decades to come,” asks Nego True at the i news site. But “that is what my friend Jamal Edwards did”, says the rapper and author. Edwards’s SBTV platform was founded in 2006, and the music entrepreneur introduced many of today’s mega-stars to audiences for the first time. Every day, “Jamal and his small team would upload a potential star”, giving audiences access to new music. “This also gave an entire generation of young black artists what they needed: a chance.” Edwards provided “opportunity” for “an untold number of kids who without him wouldn’t have had many options”. Following the news of his passing, True says he hopes people can “find joy in knowing there’s an entire generation of kids” able to “provide for their families because of Jamal”. He was “one brave, selfless, ambitious champion”.

2

Zoe Beaty at The Guardian

I grew up near an open prison. The number of escapes now is really alarming

on yet another jailbreak

Zoe Beaty says there was “a thrilling danger about growing up close to the open prison known as HMP North Sea Camp” in Lincolnshire. This week, she writes at The Guardian, reports that convicted sex offender Paul Robson had “absconded” from the prison came as “no surprise” to those living near that same jail. Beaty recalls a friend’s tales of police “knocking at the door” looking “for escapees”, and “it was common knowledge” during the 1990s that prisoners “came in during the weekends or holidays to do painting and fixing work” at her school. This week, however, she told her teenage twin sisters “to stay at home”. Beaty asks if moving “dangerous sex offenders” to open prisons was “really appropriate”. Robson has been caught, “but while the system remains inadequate, there are still a whole host of other dangerous offenders putting another generation at risk”.

3

The Voice of the Mirror

Removing Covid protections is horribly foolish move by Boris at this moment

on rule relaxations

“Abolishing free Covid-19 tests on April Fool’s Day seems like a bad joke when even incompetent Boris Johnson recognises that this fatal pandemic is not over,” says The Mirror. Removing the current coronavirus restrictions in England “is horribly foolish at this moment”, and ultimately “owes everything to the Prime Minister’s egotistical desperation to applaud himself and appease restriction-hating Conservative MPs who might write letters demanding a no confidence vote to boot him out of No. 10”. This is “a failure by Johnson to do what is right for the nation’s health”. And though “nobody wants to be told what to do”, most people “will obey whatever is stipulated” in law in order to protect “themselves, their families, neighbours and workmates – unlike the charlatan PM who broke his own lockdown laws with boozy parties”, says the newspaper.

4

Melanie Phillips at The Times

Where’s the outcry over the Post Office scandal?

on devastating indifference

Between 2000 and 2014, more than 730 sub-postmaters were prosecuted for theft, fraud and false accounting. “Their lives were destroyed. A number were jailed. They were financially ruined, made homeless, socially shunned,” writes Melanie Phillips at The Times. Some “had their mental health shattered or their marriages fall apart. At least four committed suicide.” These Post Office employees were “innocent of wrongdoing”, convicted “on the basis of false evidence from a faulty computerised accounting system”. However, “this appalling affair has revealed a rot” far beyond the Post Office. “It involved the abuse of private prosecutions” and “the complacency or dereliction of duty by successive government ministers who batted away concerns when expressed over the years by various MPs”. There have been “periodic reports” about the scandal, but they have “failed to spark public outrage or concern”. Phillips says: “It’s hard to avoid the conclusion that this was because the victims were just ordinary people from modest backgrounds.” And the public’s indifference is perhaps “the most devastating aspect of all”.

5

Roddy Gow at The Scotsman

This could be perfect time for United Nations reform

on grounds for hope

The UN Security Council “must be past its sell by date”, writes Roddy Gow at The Scotsman, “with Russia and China consistently vetoing efforts to reach unanimity on motions to achieve peace on a global basis”. The two countries’ “own self-interest runs counter to the UN’s charter”. It also highlights “the need to overhaul the organisation and its method of operation”. And while “a pessimist might say such an exercise is too difficult… an optimist might judge this as just the time, with frustrations over Ukraine and Chinese policies running high”. Gow, the chairman and founder of the Asia Scotland Institute, writes that this year’s Winter Olympics in Beijing were not so far from “Berlin in the summer of 1936”. As he says: “The optimist will highlight how clear it is that any authoritarian government is exposed by the presence of so many high achieving athletes who represent the future.” And Russia’s position on Ukraine “may well have served to unite Western opinion” behind the eastern European country. “Again, grounds for hope for the optimist.”

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