Instant Opinion

‘It’s too early to conclude that Boris has used up the last of his nine lives’

Your digest of analysis from the British and international press

1

Nigel Jones in The Spectator

Is this the week Boris Johnson’s luck finally runs out?

On a ninth life

Just a few months ago it looked “almost certain that partygate would bury Boris”, writes Nigel Jones for The Spectator, “yet Boris’s detractors ignored one thing: time and time again throughout his switchback career in the media and politics he has been dismissed, written off, and counted out – only to bounce back like some monstrous rubber ball”. If a week is a long time in politics, says Jones, “the two years that stretch ahead before Boris needs to face the voters again in an election are an eternity” and “if nothing in politics really matters, how long will it be before the public’s rage over partygate abates, and other issues – above all the cost of living crisis – grabs their attention?” Therefore, with Sue Gray’s report imminent, it is still “far too early to conclude that the luckiest man in politics has used up the last of his nine lives”, he says.

2

David Davis in The Daily Telegraph

Windfall taxes are a betrayal of Conservatism

On the power to destroy

“The commitment to low taxes is a fundamental tenet of Conservatism,” writes David Davis in the Daily Telegraph. “It is a major part of our reputation for economic competence, and it gets us re-elected.” However, continues the Tory MP, “we find ourselves with the highest tax burden of any Conservative government in history” and some Tories are “now arguing about whether we should go further, with a windfall tax on energy companies to finance measures to mitigate the rising fuel costs of ordinary families”. With the threat of stagflation, the answer is “high growth, both in productivity and output”, he writes, but “suffice to say that if we keep increasing taxes, we will achieve neither”. Therefore, he concludes: “Treasury ministers should remember that the power to tax is the power to destroy, and should be used very sparingly indeed.”

3

Clare Foges in The Times

Wolf-whistle ban would harm women’s rights

On the wrong message

“How quickly we arrive at the ridiculous, which is a serious problem because it undermines the whole cause of tackling more serious crimes against women,” writes Clare Foges of The Times. Foges feels that the plan of Nimco Ali, the government’s independent adviser on tackling violence against women and girls, to criminalise behaviour “such as telling women to smile, persistently staring, cat-calling and wolf-whistling” would be counterproductive to women’s rights. “We have been engaged in a decades-long fight to be taken as seriously as men,” she continues. “Treat us as equals. Don’t patronise us. Don’t pigeonhole us as victims or vulnerable flowers. When campaigners suggest we are so vulnerable we need protection in law from a wolf-whistle, this sends an entirely different message.” She calls for a different approach: “to change hearts and minds, not the law”.

4

Julia Baines for the Independent

First Covid, now monkeypox – will we ever learn?

On zoonotic diseases

With the rise of monkeypox, “we should accept that our toxic relationship with animals is sleepwalking us into disaster”, writes Julia Baines. “If we continue to use and abuse animals, we risk triggering another global pandemic.” Noting that “like Sars, swine flu, and Covid-19, monkeypox is a zoonotic disease that jumped to humans from other species”, she writes that “snatching animals from their natural homes, confining them to filthy cages in close proximity to each another (at markets or farms), and killing and eating them will lead to more zoonotic diseases like monkeypox”. Baines, who has a PhD from the University of Liverpool and a background in animal behaviour and welfare, says: “The solution is simple: follow a plant-based lifestyle. Leave animals in peace. Behave in a way that shows compassion for all. For the sake of all animals, including humans, take action now.”

5

The Sun

Terrifying spate of pitch invasions and assaults must be crushed by football clubs

On illegal invasions

The “terrifying spate” of pitch invasions and assaults on players must be “crushed” by football bosses and clubs, says The Sun. “Jubilation is understandable after tense and crucial games at the climax of the season,” says the paper’s leader, “but a hardcore of fans, drunk, coke-fuelled or both, have lost the plot”. It notes the “sickening” head-butting of Sheffield United skipper Billy Sharp and the “goading” of Crystal Palace manager Patrick Vieira by an Everton fan, as well as the “violent intimidation” of Swindon players by a Port Vale “mob”. The tabloid says pitch invasions are illegal but we cannot enforce that “with fences nor expect a handful of poorly-paid stewards to hold back a tide of rampant fans”. Instead, clubs must “get tough… with long bans, even life bans for the worst offenders”.

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