Instant Opinion

‘Negotiation with Putin would be a moral disaster’

Your digest of analysis from the British and international press

1

The Washington Post editorial board

Now is not the time to seek a deal with Putin

On weapons not talks

“Wars end,” says The Washington Post. “Many, if not most, end with negotiation. That might be what happens with the war Russia launched against Ukraine.” However, “it would be a disaster – both moral and strategic – if Mr. Putin were invited to talks before his major war objectives had been thwarted”. Pressure for talks “remains a minority view within the Western alliance, and it should be”. “Nato’s red lines, public and private, seem to be holding” and Putin shows “no signs of interest in a deal” as opposed to the “outright seizure of all Ukraine”. A negotiated settlement may become an option. “For now, though, the best way for Ukraine’s friends to help is to accelerate shipments of vital weaponry – and stop negotiating with themselves.”

2

James Forsyth in The Times

Sunak’s splurge will buy him only six months

On the wolf at the door

The question about Rishi Sunak’s support package is “whether it is generous enough to hold off demands for more money”, says James Forsyth in The Times. There is a recognition among cabinet ministers that, “come the budget in October, the government will have to do more”. The scale of the chancellor’s measures surprised many but his £15bn “will really only keep the wolf from the door. This living-standards crisis will go on long enough that it won’t be the final intervention that ministers will have to make.” During the Covid pandemic, “the government had the benefit of the doubt as it responded to the crisis”. But “this crisis is very different” as “ministers have little political capital in the bank”. Therefore, “any hope of a Tory revival rests on a sense that the government steered households and the country through the coming economic storm”.

3

Charles Moore in The Spectator

The endless tiny errors of the NHS

On aggregate anger

Jeremy Hunt has written a “good new book examining unnecessary deaths in the NHS”, says Charles Moore in The Spectator. But “someone should write a companion volume about the other end of the scale of seriousness – the literally millions of small mistakes and obstructions effected by ‘the envy of the world’”. Since 2014, Moore has made dozens of visits to eight different NHS hospitals. And “almost every encounter has been strewn with error or delay”. This includes “immense waits in A&E, postponement of operations, the loss or muddling of medical notes or X-rays, the cancellation of appointments, non-emergency moves to another hospital conducted in the small hours” and “being asked the same questions again and again by different staff”. When you see all this “in aggregate”, he says, “you cannot avoid being angry”.

4

Harriet Williamson in The Independent

Stranger Things has redefined what it means to be a ‘nerd’

On intrigue and enchantment

As Stranger Things returns to Netflix with its fourth season, Harriet Williamson feels “the time has come to celebrate the beating heart” of the show. “Central to the magic of Stranger Things is fantasy tabletop game Dungeons & Dragons,” she says. The 1970s role playing game is about “imagination and creativity on a grand scale, mixed with plenty of puzzle solving, cooperation, collaboration, strategy and humour”. Dungeons & Dragons can act as a “much-needed reset”, she says, “allowing you to become someone else and immerse yourself in a world of intrigue and enchantment” where “there’s no Partygate” and where “Boris Johnson doesn’t exist”. It’s a “joyful, creative and inclusive experience, and I recommend it to anyone, however familiar with or disconnected from wider ‘nerd culture’ they might feel”.

5

Ben Sixsmith on The Critic

Why is TalkTV failing?

On a limited launch

Ben Sixsmith says he agrees with “a lot of the sentiments expressed by the presenters of TalkTV”. But, having watched the channel, he writes: “I don’t feel angry anymore. I feel numb inside. Cold. Hard. Dead.” The “one-note grumbling doesn’t motivate me to care about these issues”, he says on The Critic. “Somehow, such monotonous boomer bait has the opposite effect. Without the subtle tastes and textures of insight, humour, mystery and eloquence, I feel a bit like I am eating an enormous vat of unflavoured porridge.” Sixsmith finds it “perversely admirable” how presenter Piers Morgan “has had such success with so little talent”. Turning the screw on the host, Sixsmith writes: “Humour? Charm? Eloquence? All of them are alien to a man for whom God, in His wisdom, decided to exhaust his supplies of aimless belligerence.”

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