Instant Opinion

‘Tony Blair is back to haunt voters’

Your digest of analysis from the British and international press

1

Trevor Kavanagh in The Sun

Keir Starmer recruiting Tony Blair to boost Labour is slap in face to voters who blame ‘treacherous’ ex-PM for betrayal

on a political ghost

“In 1997, fresh-faced and evangelical Tony Blair was unstoppable against the tired and sleaze-ridden Tories,” writes Trevor Kavanagh in The Sun. “Today, 25 tired and sleaze-ridden years later”, the former prime minister’s ghost “is back to haunt millions of voters who ditched him and his party in disgust and disillusion”. His return to the political scene “raises questions” about Keir Starmer’s “shock decision to join such a shabbily discredited figure in this week’s local election campaign”. It was Blair, “not Boris Johnson, who turned those Red Wall seats blue”, who “drove” 52% of voters to back Brexit in 2016, and who “arguably” laid the foundations “for a possible Marxist government under Jew-baiting leftie Jeremy Corbyn”. Kavanagh says: “If anything is likely to turn off undecided voters it will be the sight of ‘Bliar’ Blair on TV saying ‘Vote Labour’.”

2

Mark Wallace at i news

Local elections are failing voters but politicians are afraid of the solution

on local interests

Mark Wallace thinks that “a large chunk of voters will act with the national political picture in mind” when they go to the polls on Thursday. “When else do we get the chance to give a sound booting or a warning shot to the Government or the Opposition (or both)?” Labour is relying on a “legitimate tactic” by “capitalising on frustration with the government”. Some Tories are standing under the banner of Local Conservatives “to neutralise the attack”. Local elections don’t necessarily deliver “well-functioning or effective local government”, primarily because a vote cast in a local election is not as “powerful as it ought to be”, says Wallace. Some voters “shun” local elections entirely “or use them as a blunt tool to send a message to Westminster”. Wallace says that “too often” local decisions are “made elsewhere, in one-size-fits-all policy factories”. It’s a “recipe for sustained underperformance” on a local level.

3

Afua Hirsch in The Guardian

Vulnerable, British and black? Now that’s enough to have you face deportation

on citizenship

“There are two types of citizen in this country,” says Afua Hirsch in The Guardian: “those who feel compelled to carry proof that their presence is legal. And those secure enough, entitled even, to barely give it a thought.” Until recently, Hirsch had been the latter. But “entitlement is gradually being eroded” for visible minorities, she says. “The escalation from rhetorical othering, to the actual, violent deportation of people perfectly entitled to be here” through the Windrush scandal “shook Britain’s black community to our core”. The government’s Nationality and Borders Act means people entitled to dual nationality can have their citizenship revoked. “Now those of us designated less entitled” to nationality “will have to check ourselves”. Hirsch concludes: “We have plenty of historic precedents for what happens when a country starts dividing its citizens into tiers based on their heritage. And none of them end well.”

4

Jeff Greenfield at Politico

A Biden-Trump rematch might stink. People will hold their noses.

on a third party

In a US poll, 58% of respondents have said they would consider voting for a moderate independent candidate in 2024 if Donald Trump and Joe Biden were both running for re-election. That’s a “pretty hefty majority for a question that asks voters if they’re prepared to overturn 160 years of history and send a third party to the White House”, says Jeff Greenfield at Politico. A Biden-Trump rematch “would produce many a grimace”, says the television journalist and author. Neither “is particularly popular (nor particularly young)”, but “the attraction of ‘neither of the above’ has been a constant, if limited feature of American political life for more than a century”. As the two-party system “endures”, “do not let the latest polls mislead you”, says Greenfield. “The distance between the abstract appeal of a new voice and the reality of a viable new party or independent candidate is immense.”

5

Catriona Stewart in The Herald

I am the woman in the Samsung advert running at night

on reclaiming the night 

Around Christmas last year, Catriona Stewart started the Couch25K challenge “for the umpteenth time”. Writing in The Herald, she says she now regularly runs that distance and is upping her mileage too. The problem with her “new found love of running” is a “full to overflowing” work schedule, so sometimes she hits the streets in “the wee hours”. Stewart says: “I know I’m an oddity, and I am not recommending night running”, but she was “surprised” at the outcry over a recent Samsung advert that showed a woman heading out for a run at 2am. Some said this would not be “safe” or “pleasant”. On the contrary, “I find it pleasant”, says Stewart. “The streets are so peaceful” and “the cover of darkness is a useful thing” when you are an “inelegant, sweaty runner”. Stewart is “well aware of the terrible things that happen to women but these things happen in the afternoon and the morning, or in the early evening”, not just at 2am. 

Recommended

‘If the UK had won, Eurovision 2023 would have been at a Travel Tavern off the M4’
 Members of the band Kalush Orchestra pose onstage with the Ukrainian flag
Instant Opinion

‘If the UK had won, Eurovision 2023 would have been at a Travel Tavern off the M4’

‘Does Labour have a woman problem?’
Angela Rayner and Keir Starmer
Instant Opinion

‘Does Labour have a woman problem?’

‘Britain needs a democratic monarchy’
Prince Charles
Instant Opinion

‘Britain needs a democratic monarchy’

‘A confused Conservative Party doesn’t know who they stand for’
Boris Johnson
Instant Opinion

‘A confused Conservative Party doesn’t know who they stand for’

Popular articles

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

Is Vladimir Putin seriously ill?

The mysterious Russian oligarch deaths
Vladimir Putin has previously deployed ‘extreme measures’ to crush opposition
Why we’re talking about . . .

The mysterious Russian oligarch deaths

Nato vs. Russia: who would win?
Nato troops
In Depth

Nato vs. Russia: who would win?

The Week Footer Banner