Instant Opinion

‘The real travesty of Partygate is just how sad the whole thing looks’

Your digest of analysis from the British and international press

1

Gus Carter at The Spectator

The dreary truth about partygate

on unglamorous corruption

Reading the details about Partygate, Gus Carter at The Spectator can’t help thinking that the rule-making rule-breakers at No. 10 “weren't really enjoying themselves”. Nibbling on “a Colin the Caterpillar cake in between meetings? ‘Wine time Fridays’? Who wants to be cooped up in the office with their colleagues on a Friday evening?” The “real travesty”, suggests Carter, “is just how sad the whole thing looks”. Photos from one of the Downing Street “events” show Krispy Kreme doughnuts, tubs of long-life flapjacks and a bottle of Barefoot yellow label – “the drink of penniless students and struggling middle-class alcoholics”, says Carter. “If my government is going to be corrupt, I at least want them to do it in style. Isn’t there a Foreign Office wine cellar they can break into? A nice bottle of something from 1968 and a wheel of stilton. Maybe even an Iberico ham.” Instead, we get this “hideous vision of institutional decline: the most powerful office in the land reduced to 2-4-1 snack offers from Tesco”.

2

Katy Balls for The i

Boris Johnson may survive Partygate but Dominic Cummings isn’t finished yet

on a ghostly threat

“Roll up, roll up – the next round of the Boris Johnson vs Dominic Cummings death match is fast approaching,” writes Katy Balls for the i news site. Johnson’s aides “point much of the blame for the current situation the Prime Minister finds himself in on the former advisor”, she continues, and “Cummings has certainly been egging Partygate on from the sidelines”. Indeed, the former aide has “become in some MPs’ minds a creature of almost mythical dread”. Tories fear that Cummings “won’t stop until Johnson is out” and worry about “what new details could be released in the run-up to an election”. Whatever the outcome, Balls predicts that “the ghost of Cummings will be enough to give MPs pause for thought about their choice of leader”.

3

Madeline Grant in The Telegraph

Post-growth Britain is spiralling towards class war

on inevitable envy

The 1970s didn’t just see “civil unrest, strikes and piles of rubbish in the street”, but also “an atmosphere of class envy and real nastiness”, says Madeline Grant in The Telegraph. Now, amid fears that “we have lurched into ‘post-growth’ territory”, she wonders if the UK is heading for a new era of class warfare. The public has traditionally rejected “the politics of envy”, with a recent survey of public attitudes in several developed countries towards the wealthy finding that Brits were among the least green-eyed. “But for how much longer? Revolutionary fervour is already – understandably – stoking up among the furious young, locked out of home ownership by our broken housing market, and demanding increasingly radical policy solutions”. Grant predicts that “negativity, nastiness and envy are inevitable in a society where prosperity is now a zero-sum game”.

4

Esther Rantzen in The Times

Older people need a champion to take on the digital world

on puzzled pensioners

“The digital revolution is causing millions of older people distress and anxiety,” says Esther Rantzen in The Times. The founder of the Silver Line helpline writes that “we oldies… do our best to learn and to take on each new challenge, whether it’s online banking, shopping or booking GP appointments without speaking to a single human being”. But who, she asks, is taking seriously the extra difficulties this causes older people? “Forms used in online banking are designed by young people who don’t care that boxes outlined in pale grey on white are almost invisible to mature eyes”, and “car parks and meters demand a fee that can be paid only via a mobile phone app”. Explaining that these issues can “cause real distress, anxiety and heartache”, Rantzen argues that we “desperately need a minister for older people, and one with real clout”.

5

Ryan Coogan for Indy Voices

Ricky Gervais’s Netflix special is nothing but cancel culture porn

on reactionary conservatism

Ricky Gervais’s new Netflix special, SuperNature, is just over an hour long. “This sounds quite short,” writes Ryan Coogan, “but trust me: you’ll feel every minute of it.” The comedy show is “just a series of trendy anti-woke statements followed by 15 seconds of Gervais laughing like he’s sat in the audience of a better comedian’s show,” Coogan continues. “Intentional or not, Gervais is clearly eager to be cancelled by so-called virtue-signalling, woke hypocrites.” Trans people are “one of the last bastions of acceptable prejudice, but if you listened to Gervais you’d think they controlled the world”. And Gervais “positions himself as some kind of free-thinking superhero speaking truth to power”. But “I can’t help thinking that all he’s really doing is helping to perpetuate a system of reactionary conservatism that has been in place since most of us were born”, Coogan concludes.

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