Instant Opinion

‘Unsentimental tough-minded voters regard Starmer as an insult’

Your digest of analysis from the British and international press

1

Janet Daley in The Telegraph

Boris has been spared by the Red Wall

On unsentimental voters

The “new post-Jeremy Corbyn incarnation” of Labour made some serious gains in London, but in the rest of the country the local elections were “no Conservative bloodbath”, says Janet Daley in The Telegraph. Despite commentary that “the Red Wall regions have been let down” by the government, “they did not choose to take their revenge on the ruling Conservatives”. She argues that “in the unsentimental tough-minded parts of the electoral map”, people thought Corbyn was a “dangerous idiot”. But they regard Keir Starmer “as an insult”, the “very personification of the out-of-touch Islington elitism which knows nothing of the real lives lived by working class people who cannot make a living sitting in front of a computer in a study overlooking the garden”. The election results suggest “it might not be the prime minister’s position that is in danger, but that of the Leader of the Opposition”.

2

John Rentoul in The Independent

These local elections suggest Keir Starmer could be prime minister

On Labour’s chances

“Two immediate reactions to these results can both be true,” says John Rentoul in The Independent of Labour’s performance in the local elections. The first is that ”these are good results for Keir Starmer but they are not the kind of results that presage a Labour majority at the next general election”. He argues that if “yesterday’s local votes were translated into a general election, and ignoring the lower turnout, the outcome would be a hung parliament in which Keir Starmer would be prime minister”. “What matters is that, if the Conservatives can be deprived a majority in a House of Commons in which they have no allies”, he adds, they will not lead a new administration. In that scenario “Starmer would be prime minister”, says Rentoul. “These local elections suggest that is quite possible.”

3

James Forsyth in The Times

This is the slow road to state censorship

On uncertain legislation

The Online Safety Bill “could affect what you read, how you read it, and whether you can even find it”, says James Forsyth in The Times. The bill’s “bold ambition is to regulate the internet” and it is “well intentioned”. But “we all know which road is paved with good intentions”. “The government has started to legislate without first answering key questions: how should the concept of ‘legal but harmful’ be defined? Who decides what is harmful? How is that measured?” For example, is “orchestrating a Twitter pile-on harmful”? Those who have talked to Boris Johnson about this legislation worry “he hasn’t spent enough time thinking through the possible unintended consequences”, he adds. Proponents of the bill say it is a “world first”. But “that uncertainty should concern us”.

4

Aidan Beatty on Novara Media

Why do we still fetishise homeownership?

On an enduring ideal

“The Conservatives have long held up homeownership as the golden standard of British life,” says Aidan Beatty on Novara Media. “But it isn’t just Tory die-hards who fetishise it.” Despite the “steep decline in homeownership” in the past quarter-century, it “remains the default desire of the vast majority of ‘generation rent’”. The potential reasons for this are “manifold”, says the historian. “One may be the inextricability of property-ownership from established ideas about citizenship, as well as deep-rooted gender and racial norms.” Or perhaps “we’ve just bought into Thatcher’s idea that owning a home is a moral imperative”. “Either way, it seems that for many of us – including those who nominally oppose Thatcher’s property-owning democracy – it remains the ultimate ideal, even if it’s one many of us will never realise.”

5

Kuba Shand-Baptiste on the i news site

I never thought I’d say it, but the dominance of streaming giants like Netflix makes me miss channel-surfing

On the good old days

Kuba Shand-Baptiste has recently found herself “pining” for the days of channel-surfing and traditional broadcasting. The “rising cost of living has persuaded me to reconsider which platforms I deem worthy of increasingly expensive monthly subscriptions”, she says on the i news site, adding that “the merits of broadcast TV are more apparent than ever”. With the number of subscribers to streaming channels such as Netflix falling, “those who haven’t already may benefit from going back to what so many of us already know: mindlessly pointing the clicker at our boxes and settling for whatever happens to catch our attention”. “I just want to go back to what I grew up with: legs kicked up on the sofa, remote in hand, complaining out loud to no one in particular that ‘there’s nothing bloody on’.”

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