Instant Opinion

‘Boris Johnson’s Russian money claims are an inversion of reality’

Your digest of analysis from the British and international press

1

Oliver Bullough in The Guardian

Boris Johnson claims the UK is rooting out dirty Russian money. That’s ludicrous

On the need for enforcement

“We were warned about Vladimir Putin – about his intentions, his nature, his mindset – and, because it was profitable for us, we ignored those warnings and welcomed his friends and their money,” says Oliver Bullough in The Guardian. Parliament’s intelligence and security committee wrote two years ago that our investigative agencies are “underfunded, our economy is awash with dirty money, and oligarchs have bought influence at the very top of our society”. But “instead of learning from the report and implementing its proposals” Boris Johnson “delayed its publication until after the general election and then, when further delay became impossible, dismissed those who took its sober analysis seriously as ‘Islingtonian remainers’ seeking to delegitimise Brexit”. The prime minister’s “ludicrous claim” to the Commons that no government could “conceivably be doing more to root out corrupt Russian money” is an “inversion of reality”. Johnson must “fund our enforcement agencies as generously as oligarchs fund their lawyers”, he adds. And his colleagues must “step up and force him into action”.

2

Con Coughlin in The Telegraph

Vladimir Putin may just have made the error that ends his bloody rule

On a reckless enterprise

“If Vladimir Putin believes that he can achieve a lasting victory in Ukraine, he need only look at the Kremlin’s disastrous involvement in Afghanistan in the 1980s,” writes Con Coughlin in The Telegraph. The Soviet Union “came to regret ever having set foot in that benighted country”. Similarly, the Ukraine invasion could trigger a “long and costly conflict” that “could ultimately spell the end of Putin’s autocratic rule if the Russian people suddenly find themselves having to cope with the daily ritual of their young men being returned home in coffins”. Many Russians, including prominent businessmen with interests in the West, will be “appalled by their leader’s conduct, especially as they run the risk of being caught up in the wide-ranging sanctions that will be applied to Russian interests”. “Even if Putin achieves short-term military gains in his attempts to seize control of Ukraine,” he adds, “in the long term it could well be the Russian leader who ends up being the ultimate victim of his reckless Ukrainian enterprise.”

3

Holly Baxter in The Independent

Onstage at CPAC, Ron DeSantis just turned into Trump’s worst nightmare

On cerebral Trumpism

“He’s 30 years younger, politically similar, and a little more restrained,” writes Holly Baxter in The Independent of Florida’s Republican governor, Ron DeSantis. So “why wouldn’t the Hydra-head of Trump’s base be turned” by him? DeSantis yesterday gave a speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) that saw him turn into the former president’s main rival for the Republican ticket. He offers “more cerebral-sounding Trumpism” and is “energetic but calm onstage, talking about how ‘we reject the biomedical security state’ rather than ranting on about how UV light can probably cure Covid”. He also “buys heavily into the American conservative belief that everywhere outside of the US is a communist hellhole replete with forced labor camps” and “says the same things as the ageing grandfather in the corner”, she says. But he says them in a “folksy, I-got-your-back kind of way, and not in a way that makes some people wonder if Gramps might be losing his mind”. There is “no denying that he’s one of the most statesmanlike speakers on the CPAC schedule”, she adds. And “he might have just turned from Trump’s greatest protégé into Trump’s worst nightmare”.

4

Tracey Crouch in The Times

We cannot back down on banning trade in fur and foie gras

On unethical products

“As a long-term advocate of better protection for animals”, Tracey Crouch says she feels “compelled to challenge any suggestion that political action to ban the indefensible trade in products of animal cruelty” is a “‘woke’ distraction, or somehow at odds with ‘Tory values’”. Writing in The Times, the Conservative MP said that over the past ten years, “this government has delivered enormous progress on animal welfare and has a record to be proud of”, including tougher sentences for animal cruelty offences and a ban on the use of wild animals in circuses. But it is “not enough simply to legislate against cruel and environmentally damaging practices in our own backyard”. The government should “also make clear to our trading partners that we will not provide markets for the unethical products from such industries”. Crouch was “disappointed to learn that the government may be set to abandon plans to introduce bans on the import and sale of animal fur and foie gras”. She “and other like-minded Conservatives can’t be expected to turn a blind eye to the huge public demand for action on fur and foie gras when the relevant legislation is introduced”.

5

Angela Epstein in The Jewish Chronicle

I used to love my name, before Jeffrey ruined it

On a toxic title

Angela Epstein was 15 when she discovered the Beatles. She found the discovery exciting and “perhaps most thrilling of all was discovering that I shared a surname with the Beatles’ manager, Brian Epstein. Now I had a real connection to the band. It may have been as flimsy as star dust but who cared? Not me.” Writing in The Jewish Chronicle, she explains that the name Epstein is one of the oldest Ashkenazi Jewish family names that is “thought to have derived from the German town of Eppstein, in Hesse”. But on Urban Dictionary, Epstein is defined as “a perverted billionaire **** head who used his money to get away with ****** young girls”. This is “what happens when a surname of which you have been so proud suddenly turns toxic”. She complains that when she’s “on television or radio myself” and the “evergreen, ever-gangrous story” of Jeffrey Epstein’s abuse surfaces, “I have to rather pathetically splutter that he and I are in no way related”. She hopes that “in time, my surname will fade from its association with the warped American financier who killed himself in jail while awaiting trial on sex-trafficking charges and whose actions damaged the lives of so many”.

Recommended

The favourites to replace Boris Johnson
Boris Johnson, Rishi Sunak, Sajid Javid
In Depth

The favourites to replace Boris Johnson

Quiz of The Week: 14 - 20 May
Speculation is mounting over the publication date of Sue Gray’s Partygate report
Quizzes and puzzles

Quiz of The Week: 14 - 20 May

‘The Tory party could literally fall apart’
Boris Johnson leaves No. 10 Downing Street
Instant Opinion

‘The Tory party could literally fall apart’

Boris Johnson’s Whitehall ‘power grab’
Boris Johnson leaves 10 Downing Street
Getting to grips with . . .

Boris Johnson’s Whitehall ‘power grab’

Popular articles

Is Vladimir Putin seriously ill?
Vladimir Putin
Why we’re talking about . . .

Is Vladimir Putin seriously ill?

Inside Adelaide Cottage: the guesthouse tipped to be Prince William and Kate’s new home
William and Kate
In Depth

Inside Adelaide Cottage: the guesthouse tipped to be Prince William and Kate’s new home

Caroline Watt: where is Rebekah Vardy’s missing agent?
Rebekah Vardy arrives at the Royal Courts of Justice
Profile

Caroline Watt: where is Rebekah Vardy’s missing agent?

The Week Footer Banner