Instant Opinion

‘The most toe-curlingly embarrassing TV you’ll ever see in your life’

Your digest of analysis from the British and international press

1

Holly Baxter for The Independent

The toe-curling embarrassment of Piers Morgan’s interview with Donald Trump

on angry white men

Writing about Piers Morgan’s interview with Donald Trump on last night’s launch of TalkTV, Holly Baxter says: “I can confirm that the Piers/Donald interview is the most toe-curlingly embarrassing TV you’ll ever see in your life.” She writes that there was “a healthy abundance of straw men” and “‘white man railing against liberals’ bingo”, such as shrieks about “vegans”. She says the Trump interview itself was “mind-numbingly boring” apart from when the former president was coy about whether he will run again for the White House. Turning to TalkTV’s prospects, Baxter writes: “If conversations from 2019 being tediously rehashed and cold coals being raked over in the hope that one slightly tepid ember might remain are your thing, then you’re gonna enjoy everything about Piers Morgan’s new show.” However, she adds: “If you’re looking for something new, you might want to change to the shopping channel.”

2

William Hague in The Times

Boris Johnson will have to change if he’s to survive

on the importance of consistency

Although William Hague “didn’t approve of Brexit, preferred Jeremy Hunt in the leadership election and [has] often disapproved of how the government has been run”, he “still tried to speak up” for Boris Johnson. The prime minister has a “natural, irrepressible tendency to try to cheer up the audience in front of him”, so “even if he has to go through the humblest apologies on the floor of the Commons… he will then go upstairs to the 1922 Committee of his own MPs and seek roars of approval for jokes and ripostes to the attacks of the Archbishop of Canterbury”, writes Hague in The Times. If leaders “give a different impression of their values and priorities behind the scenes to their public posture, it will always cause trouble,” argues Hague. “MPs become troubled and less likely to be sure of their arguments. Officials don’t know which persona of their boss they are trying to serve.” Johnson will “only survive if his party hears the same message, inside and out,” he concludes.

3

Owen Jones in The Guardian

These shocking stories show mental health is still not being taken seriously in England

on avoidable misery

Owen Jones does not wish to criticise “the NHS’s overworked and underpaid army of staff,” but instead offers “a plea for attention to solve one of the great under-discussed crises of modern Britain: the mental distress that blights the lives of millions of citizens, and the lack of provision to tackle it”. The Guardian columnist notes that “more investment has been ploughed into the sector, including £500m last year in response to the pandemic”. However, this needs to be matched with “adequate funding and better joined-up working between different NHS services”, he feels. “Perhaps the sheer number of crises afflicting modern Britain is crowding out the space to talk about [mental health],” but “avoidable misery is imposed on the lives of millions because of a recurring failure to match need with provision – and the human cost is incalculable”.

4

Nicholas Goldberg in the Los Angeles Times

Some people hope the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will fade away. But that’s not happening

on short-term thinking

Nicholas Goldberg notes recent violence in Israel, including seven Israelis shot dead and clashes at the Al-Aqsa mosque, where more than 150 Palestinians were wounded by Israeli riot police. Writing for the Los Angeles Times, the former Jerusalem resident says the “violence is the predictable result of more than a half-century of Israeli military occupation that festers and chafes and inevitably blows up into clashes like these”. Too many people in Israel, the US and elsewhere have “played down the conflict, shrugged off its underlying causes and hoped that if they just ignore it, it’ll go away, or subside to a manageable level,” he writes. However, he adds, “this strategy won’t work indefinitely” because “the status quo is morally untenable and the conflict won’t disappear”. World leaders can “avert their gaze” and Israel “can go about its business as if it were not carrying out an intolerable, indefensible military occupation just across the Green Line” but “until the roots of the conflict are addressed, the violence won’t fade”.

5

Ben Marlow in The Telegraph

The age of the overpriced takeaway is nearing an end

on an overhyped sector

An “almighty shareholder backlash” has cast doubt over Just Eat Takeaway’s £5.8bn takeover of American rival Grubhub, writes Ben Marlow, and this “may turn out to be the moment that the age of the overpriced takeaway came screeching to a very abrupt end”. The Telegraph’s chief City commentator writes that “in a desperately crowded field, the food delivery app industry is among the most overhyped to have ever come out of Silicon Valley”. Now “the world is rediscovering its love of eating out” so “those same cold burgers and overpriced pizzas that lost their topping during transit yet sustained us through lockdown no longer look so appetising”. As the sector’s giants scramble to prove there is “more to the model than just delivering a limp kebab to a student flat in Kings Cross after last orders”, Marlow wonders if “the food delivery boom was a largely London-centric fad that has already had its day”. Few outside of the capital’s “metropolitan bubble” will mourn its passing, he says.

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