Instant Opinion

‘We’re being whipped into a frenzy about monkeypox’

Your digest of analysis from the British and international press

1

Rod Liddle in The Sun

Ignore the hoohah, monkeypox virus isn’t the new Covid

on pandemic jitters

“Yikes!” says Rod Liddle in The Sun. “Monkeypox! WTF is all that about?” The illness “had been largely confined to people in Africa” but “is now spreading across Europe”. Liddle says he has “the feeling that we’re being wound up by folks who seem to be yearning for another pandemic. And another lockdown.” But unlike Covid, it isn’t easy to catch. “Getting jiggy with an infected person may do it, sure,” says Liddle, but generally “you are in very little danger”. “Nah,” it “almost certainly” won’t kill you. And could it mutate to become more contagious and deadly? “Nope,” he continues. Evidence suggests this virus “tends to behave itself”. Even so, “we’re being whipped up into a bit of a frenzy” about the virus. “People have the heebee-jeebees as a consequence of Covid”, with every virus now “cause for great wailing and gnashing of teeth”. Liddle says “carry on, as you were”.

2

Bari Weiss at UnHerd

How America went berserk

on the state of a nation

Bari Weiss’s sister is a schoolteacher in America and “has had to teach her fourth-grade students about how to defend themselves against people who might walk into her public school with guns”. Writing for UnHerd, Weiss recounts that during a “false alarm”, one student “wielded a peanut butter jar. Another: a bottle of hand sanitiser.” Meanwhile, her sister “crouched behind her desk and told them they were doing great”. Weiss wonders if the school students and teachers in Uvalde, Texas “had similar drills”. Reading headlines about the mass shooting that took place in an elementary school this week, this writer considers “how people grow accustomed to horrific things”. There is “a deep sickness” in the US, she says, and “it goes beyond our addiction with guns”. “Now the brokenness is everywhere we look,” she says, “and it is impossible to unsee it.”

3

Iain Martin in The Times

No one fears Boris Johnson, and that’s a problem

on a lack of leadership

“Britain does not have a functioning government,” writes Iain Martin in The Times. Yes, “Whitehall is there and the panoply of state power remains with all its attendant ceremony”, but “underneath all that is a different story”. The presiding government is “a shambles”, and by “sticking” with Boris Johnson’s leadership, “the Tory party is in line for the most terrible whacking”, Martin continues. “Britain is heading for a Labour government of one sort or another.” How did this happen? “Like many large organisations, governments tend to reflect the personality of the individual running them,” and Martin says that Johnson is not “someone cut out for government”. The contents of Sue Gray’s ‘Partygate’ report “illustrate the problem perfectly. No one involved was even moderately scared of the prime minister.” Martin says no officials “would have dared behave at work like that under any predecessor in the modern era”, and there is now “a huge opportunity for the opposition”.

4

Cihan Tugal in The New York Times

Turkey shows what Nato really is

on a ‘deeply revealing’ move

In April, “as the world was occupied” with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Turkey targeted the camps of Kurdish militants in Iraq and Syria, writes sociology professor Dr Cihan Tugal in The New York Times. “For a long time, the Western world has turned a blind eye to Turkey’s heavy-handed treatment of the Kurds”, and “rarely seemed to care” as the country has “persecuted the Kurdish minority”. But now, the state’s treatment of this population is “center stage” because Turkey “is effectively threatening to block” Finland and Sweden’s admittance to Nato “unless they agree to crack down” on Kurdish militants. It’s “a bold gambit” for President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, and “the tepid response” from Nato members “suggests he might be successful”. No matter the outcome, the situation is “deeply revealing”. “The truth is that Turkey’s aggression has gone hand in hand with Nato acceptance, even complicity.” There’s “no use” in Western nations “lecturing Turkey, or Turkey complaining of Western hypocrisy: They are in it together.”

5

Zoe Williams in The Guardian

The Lassie complex: why are we so obsessed with dogs saving human lives?

on puppy love

Humans “like to project a saviour complex on dogs”, writes Zoe Williams in The Guardian. “We can’t help ourselves when it comes to real-life tales of incredible dog bravery.” For years, there have been stories of “dogs saving people from muggings, fires and bear attacks”, but “none of these are more powerful than the dog and cancer stories”. Some dogs have reportedly “sniffed out” their owners’ diagnoses. Read too many of these stories, and “you’d walk away with the impression that all dogs were consultant oncologists”. A bigger question here is “do our dogs love us? As in, do they love us the way we love them?” Recent research suggests that it’s better to focus on how owners “are changed by loving dogs”. It makes us “love one another better” and re-situates us “within nature as participants rather than overlords”. There could be “huge consequences for the planet” as a result, says Williams.

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