Instant Opinion

‘No one dreamed that Nazanin’s horror would last six years’

Your digest of analysis from the British and international press

1

Shaparak Khorsandi at i news

My friend Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe is coming home – we are all overcome with elation

on new beginnings

Shaparak Khorsandi is feeling “avalanches of relief and elation” that her friend Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has returned to the UK. “The sky has never looked more beautiful,” she said, when she knew Nazanin was “up there, flying back to her family”. After Nazanin and her daughter Gabriella were stopped at Tehran airport on 3 April 2016, her husband, Richard Ratcliffe, was “frantic” for days. On hearing the news herself, Khorsandi thought Nazanin would soon be released from prison. “In my defence, I had heard numerous tales of dual nationals being imprisoned for no particular reason then released in a matter of weeks.” No one “dreamed that for Nazanin, Gabriella and Richard, the horror would last six years”. Now, this writer wishes the family “privacy and time to heal and rebuild”. This weekend is Nowruz, Iranian new year, “a celebration of light and new beginnings. It has turned out to be the happiest one of all.”

2

Michael Deacon at The Telegraph

This endless torrent of scandals from the Met is destroying our trust in the police

on ‘bad apples’

During his first speech as prime minister in 2019, Boris Johnson pledged to recruit 20,000 more police officers. It was “a welcome move”, says Michael Deacon at The Telegraph. But “personally”, the writer says, “I fear he may have to recruit 20,000 more” to “investigate their fellow officers”, particularly “the ones based in London”. Deacon says that “what’s happening in the Metropolitan Police is extraordinary”. Cressida Dick’s resignation “has done nothing to slow the torrent of scandals engulfing” the force. “If anything, the torrent seems to be growing.” Yes, “we have thousands of excellent police officers in this country: brave, honest and hard-working”. But “the Met’s scandals undermine their standing as well”. “Bad apples… spoil the whole barrel.”

3

James Hohmann at The Washington Post

Biden is right to pass on Zelensky’s no-fly zone

on avoiding escalation

Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zenenskyy “played on America’s desire to be ‘the leader of the world’ when he implored Congress” to support a no-fly zone this week, writes James Hohmann at The Washington Post. Zelenskyy “was David asking us to join his fight against Goliath. Make no mistake: that’s what the no-fly zone he wants would mean – a hot war between the world’s two biggest nuclear powers.” The current crisis has proved that as well as “showing sympathy”, President Joe Biden is “capable of hardheadedness”. The US would “climb the escalation ladder at our peril”, and that’s why Biden’s response was “so wise: the most we can realistically do is give David more slingshots”, says Hohmann. Biden has “good reasons to resist getting sucked into what he fears would become World War III”. 

4

Shahed Ezaydi at gal-dem

The ‘Homes for Ukraine’ scheme is yet another way for the government to shirk responsibility

on a ‘typical and vague’ response

“It should be no surprise that the Tories are bad at helping refugees,” says Shahed Ezaydi at Gal-Dem. “Apparently”, Michael Gove’s “Homes for Ukraine” resettlement scheme “was meant to make up for an unbelievably slow start to supporting” people fleeing Ukraine. But: “Instead of establishing a properly run and funded state resettlement scheme, the Conservatives are relying on the good will of individuals, which is, of course, not always guaranteed or permanent.” Ezaydi says: “As we’ve seen time and again, this government is individualising an issue that needs to be dealt with systemically.” And “concerns have been raised… around what safeguarding measures will be in place and how refugees will be protected from exploitation or violence”. The government’s “seemingly typical and vague” response “doesn’t explain” what security checks will include, “or who will be conducting them”. The scheme is “further proof that our asylum system is utterly broken” and “a reflection of where the Tories want to take us – somewhere where they hold no responsibility or accountability for its actions”.

5

Rod Liddle at The Sun

We’re heading for widespread poverty, Rishi, don’t grab more cash

on the cost of living crisis

“OK, let’s start with the good news,” says Rod Liddle at The Sun. “To be honest, there’s not much of it.” This is it: “Avocados are cheaper at the moment than they have been for a year or so. By at least six pence.” Liddle says: “That’s cheering, isn’t it?” before adding: “Almost everything else, though, is getting dearer.” With prices rising and imminent rising fuel hikes, “this is going to be the most expensive year we’ve ever experienced”. That’s why Liddle says “it’s absolutely vital that the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, drops his ludicrous and damaging plan to tax the bejesus out of us via our National Insurance contributions”. The increase is expected to arrive in April. “In normal times” the extra cost “might just about be OK. But not now.” If you “add this stuff together”, says Liddle, then “we are heading for widespread poverty”. He calls on Sunak: “Don’t inflict extra punishment on the people who voted you into office simply for reasons of pig-headedness.” After all “we can’t just eat avocados”.

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