Instant Opinion

‘Breaking the law is a resigning matter’

Your digest of analysis from the British and international press

1

Daniel Finkelstein in The Times

Lawmaker can’t be lawbreaker so Boris Johnson must resign

on an untenable position

“Here’s the fact and we’d better face it,” writes Daniel Finkelstein. “Boris Johnson will not go of his own volition over the parties and it is unlikely that MPs will force him to do so.” Although an exit is “possible” if the eventual Sue Gray report comes after “terrible” local election results, “for now at least it isn’t likely”, argues The Times columnist. “Anybody who thinks he will simply decide that his position is untenable has not been following his career or understood his personality,” he continues. Johnson’s view is that “great political careers require a thick skin, that they go up and down, that political moods change, that you barrel on and provided you don’t look behind you, people will be following”. But should Johnson resign? “My view remains that he should,” he writes, because “ministers set the law and breaking the law is a resigning matter”. 

2

Michael Goodwin for the New York Post

After latest bloodbath, time is running out for Hochul and Adams to save NYC

on another nail in the coffin

“Nobody wants to live in the city New York is becoming,” believes Michael Goodwin. Writing for the New York Post, he says the Brooklyn subway shooting was “another nail in the coffin” because “nothing spreads the determination to escape New York faster than the fear of being trapped in the subway with a madman with a gun and a sack full of explosives and smoke canisters”. He adds that “the 40 or 50 people actually in the attacker’s N-train car are stand-ins for the other 8.8 million people who are now terrified themselves” because “everyone is realizing that they or someone they love could have been there”. He says that if governor Kathy Hochul wants New York to “get back to a safer time,” she’ll have to do better than her current plans, which “don’t even qualify as half-a-loaf and are wholly insufficient to do what’s desperately needed”. He demands more action, too, from Mayor Adams, whose honeymoon is now over, feels Goodwin. Meanwhile, he forecasts an exodus. “The point is that many of those who can leave will leave, including the uber-wealthy, but not them alone,” he writes. “Young families, older couples, singles – they all will take their money, their votes and their stabilizing influences on schools and neighborhoods to safer climes.” Meanwhile, “outside the city and around the world, people who might have come here to visit or live will be frightened away”.

3

Anonymous for Indy Voices

This Ramadan, I refuse to choose between being Muslim and being a lesbian

on double discrimination

“Ramadan can be a difficult month for LGBT+ Muslims,” writes Anonymous for Indy Voices. “Yes, it’s a month of beauty, but for some of us it’s also a month of mourning: mourning for the traditions you’ve abandoned, for the memories of family iftars that will never compare to sitting alone. Disownment from your community, family, and friends due to their refusal to accept you for who you are.” As a British Pakistani lesbian Muslim woman, she believes that “most of the general public thinks that gay and transgender Muslims don’t exist,” however “we have always been here,” she writes, but just “stay in the shadows to avoid judgement and backlash”. They are also “subjected to double discrimination” because “in both of our communities, we are outsiders”. On one hand, she “had a religious community telling me that if I was gay, I was not a true Muslim” because “being gay is an abomination and a sin”. The “whitewashed LGBT+ community,” on the other hand, made her “believe that religion has no place in the LGBT+ community because it is oppressive and out of date”. She is “proud to be lesbian, Muslim, and Pakistani” and this Ramadan, and this Lesbian Visibility Week, she writes, “I refuse to deny any part of who I am”.

4

Alex Story for The Critic

England has left Covid behind

on freedom and bondage

“England has left Covid behind,” believes Alex Story. Despite 2,714 people dying of Covid in England last week, the “asphyxiating layer of official cellophane that spread over the whole country and hung over our combined heads for close to 24 months” was “withdrawn” when Health Secretary Sajid Javid said the country will have to learn to live with Covid. “Much of Europe stayed in bondage,” he adds but now, “many European countries have made progress along the road back to sanity, aping (although they wouldn’t like to admit it) Boris and Brexit Britain in the process”. However, “before those who love the idea of being free start celebrating too much about this turn-around,” they should “remember Austrians, Italians and Germans are still required to wear masks, most have to show test results in most public spaces (although a positive test is less freedom-sapping than it once was) and can only travel with proof of either vaccination or immunisation”. He says that “very visible aspects of state-enforced repression are still noticeable, however – hanging over the European populace like a heavy and greyish cloud ready to burst”.

5

Fran Hall for The Guardian

I told Boris Johnson about my husband’s Covid death and saw not a flicker of compassion

on high indecency

When Fran Hall told Boris Johnson about her husband’s death from Covid, she saw “no flicker of compassion or hurt” behind his eyes. Hall was one of the people invited to go to Downing Street to meet the PM last year as part of the Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice support group but she detected no humanity in Johnson. Her husband, Steve, died three weeks after they married. For the funeral, they “were only allowed 30 people in a building that held 100, and many friends had to stand outside,” she writes. “We did the right thing, we did what millions of people did to stop the virus from spreading” but now she knows that Johnson was breaking his own social-distancing rules. “I’m not surprised,” she writes. “If he were a decent man he would have resigned a long time ago.” But Johnson, she argues, “made decisions that led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands” because “there were so many moments we could have acted earlier – over PPE, over masks, over social distancing”. The same goes for Sunak, she believes. “He knew the pandemic was not over when he encouraged people to eat out and mix in the summer of 2020, leading to the wave of infections that would take my husband. He chose the economy over people’s lives.”

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