Instant Opinion

‘France looks more ungovernable than ever’

Your digest of analysis from the British and international press

1

Jonathan Miller in The Spectator

Macron’s nightmare is complete

on new coalitions

The results of the French parliamentary elections have been “much worse” for Emmanuel Macron than “almost anyone anticipated”, writes Jonathan Miller in The Spectator. The French president “has been humiliated by voters, weeks after being re-elected by an unenthusiastic electorate”, he says. “The hyper-president with ambitions to lead Europe looks like he will not even be able to lead France,” and the country “looks more ungovernable than ever”. Having lost his parliamentary majority, Macron “must now hope to create ad hoc” coalitions to pass reforms, “but he has few allies and will pay a high price”. And he “is not only incapable of uniting the country, he bears heavy responsibility for dividing it” too. Macron “commands little to no affection” and is now “doomed to preside over escalating chaos” as France faces cost-of-living, law and order and energy crises.

2

Kylie MacFarquharson in The Independent

I’m a trans athlete too – banning swimmers like Lia Thomas completely misses the point

on questions of fairness

Fina, swimming’s world governing body, has voted to ban transgender women from elite women’s competitions. People who support the move “sometimes argue that segregation between trans and cisgender women in sports is regrettable, but necessary for fairness”, writes Kylie MacFarquharson in The Independent. They think the performance gap “is so large” that a cisgender woman would “be unlikely to ever win against a trans woman”, a sentiment MacFarquharson would “entirely agree with” if it were “true”. Evidence for trans women’s sporting performance “is sparse at best”, and this writer thinks it “ironic” that people often point to Lia Thomas as an example to “justify their position” given her recent results. Thomas did indeed win the NCAA 500 yard freestyle finals in Atlanta in March “but she didn’t set any records”. This policy “creates a situation where trans women are allowed to compete in name only; never fairly”, and “we can do better”.

3

Peter Hain in The Guardian

I negotiated a Northern Ireland deal that worked. Johnson’s Putinesque strategy will wreck it

on political motivations

Peter Hain thinks there is “something Putinesque about the government’s framing of its Northern Ireland protocol bill”. Writing in The Guardian, the former secretary of state for Northern Ireland says: “Never mind that it breaks an international treaty the UK signed. Forget very old-fashioned notions of truth.” The “real purpose” of this bill is “dog-whistling to Johnson’s base by triggering a humongous row with the old villain Brussels because that worked so well in the 2016 Brexit referendum”. He says it’s “not the EU that has been gridlocking the negotiations” but the prime minister’s “failure along with first [David] Frost and now Liz Truss to negotiate seriously”. What “pains” Hain is “that the current batch of Tory leaders don’t really give a fig for Northern Ireland” or “even understand it” – and they “don’t know how to play the ‘honest broker’ role John Major extolled and Tony Blair exemplified”.

4

Emma Jacobs in the Financial Times

Humour in the office matters, but can a boss be funny?

on careers and comedy

Workplace comedy PBC is “niche material for a select audience”, writes Emma Jacobs in the Financial Times. This writer says the accountancy mockumentary “was not LOL-tastic” but it highlighted “a number of issues”. And one is “can a boss be funny?” A CEO once told Jacobs that the higher he climbed up the career ladder, “the funnier and better looking he became. Everyone laughed at his jokes and no one told him he looked rough.” In TV dramas, typically the boss is “a figure of fun rather than great wit”. But this writer wonders “if climbing the corporate or political ladder requires the power hungry to take themselves so seriously that it chips away at their funny bone”. Although Boris Johnson and Volodymyr Zelenskyy are examples of success thanks “in part” to their “comedic skill”, perhaps, says Jacobs, “the truth is that to be truly successful you must also know when to turn the humour off”.

5

The Duke of Cambridge in The Big Issue

Why I wanted to work with The Big Issue

on homelessness

Prince William says he was 11 when he first visited a homeless shelter with his mother, “who in her own inimitable style was determined to shine a light on an overlooked, misunderstood problem”. Writing for The Big Issue, he says that in the decades since he has seen “countless projects in this space grow from strength to strength”, and the publication is “perhaps now the most immediately recognisable”. Despite the progress, “homelessness is still seen by many as some entrenched phenomenon over which we have little power”. And the duke says there are “worrying signs that things might soon get worse”. He counts himself “extremely lucky” to “meet people from all walks of life” in his role, and he commits to “shine a spotlight on this solvable issue” in the years to come. Princess Diana “instinctively knew” that “the first step to fixing a problem is for everyone to see it for what it truly is”.

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