Instant Opinion

‘The Tories have no idea that worse is to come’

Your digest of analysis from the British and international press

1

Nigel Farage in The Telegraph

The Tories have been utterly humiliated. If Boris Johnson stays, they are doomed

On a looming wipeout

Following defeats in both of yesterday’s by-elections, the Conservatives still “have no idea (in electoral terms) that worse is to come”, argues Nigel Farage in The Telegraph. The former UKIP leader and MEP says that Boris Johnson is “a cheerleader, not a leader”, and “in his efforts to please everyone he has pleased no one”. Farage says that the lesson from the Tiverton and Honiton result in particular is clear: “this is above all about the character of Boris Johnson and his cavalier approach to the truth.” Rural, middle-class England “is a law abiding place where honesty and truthfulness really matter”. If a “Liberal Democrat triumph in rural Devon” does “not provoke a Conservative Party rebellion then they are on course for a 1997-style wipeout” and if Johnson stays on as leader they are “doomed”.

2

George Monbiot in The Guardian

There’s a simple way to unite everyone behind climate justice

On debts and destruction

“Rich nations owe a massive climate debt to poorer nations for the devastating impacts of the fossil fuels we have burned,” says George Monbiot, but they have “no intention of paying for the loss and damage they have caused”. Poor countries, meanwhile, “are deemed to owe massive financial debts to the rich nations, yet they cannot pay them without destroying their economies and their ecosystems”. He lauds the “brilliant idea” from Debt for Climate “to cancel both the climate and the financial debts, liberating the money poorer nations need to take climate action”. By “reviving the question of who owes what to whom, huge constituencies, labour and green, north and south, can develop a common platform,” writes Monbiot. “Climate campaigns are indivisible from global justice.”

3

Isaac Lozano in the Los Angeles Times

Elon Musk is not the populist he pretends to be

On a ‘typical capitalist’

Elon Musk “often portrays himself as a maligned man of the people”, says Isaac Lozano in the Los Angeles Times, but “his record reveals that he’s hardly a populist ally”. In 2019, Musk broke California labour laws in a bid to prevent Tesla factory workers from forming a union, Lozano writes, and the company omitted hundreds of worker injuries from its workplace reports. Musk also paid nothing in federal income taxes in 2018. The entrepreneur nevertheless remains popular, which is “partially explained by the mythology of billionaire saviorism: that the needs of society can be addressed not through social safety nets but through a rich guy’s vision of grandeur”. Musk “seems to have successfully marketed himself as a populist, when behind the facade is a typical capitalist whose main agenda is perpetuating the system that has brought him billions”.

4

Jawad Iqbal in The Times

Craven universities have appeased anti-free speech zealots

On fanatical findings

“The latest survey of what students actually think” paints a “disturbing picture of a student body that is ferociously intolerant and unwilling to be exposed to any viewpoint it doesn’t share,” writes Jawad Iqbal in The Times. “The idea of banning certain groups or issues from all public discussion – censorship, in other words – is accepted by the majority.” The Higher Education Policy Institute poll revealed an “almost fanatical desire to police viewpoints”, he writes, and “the truth is that it is not just the students who are careless about free expression”. In fact, the people in charge are no better. “Instead of trying to educate and engage the student body on the importance of freedom of inquiry, university leaders have repeatedly prioritised appeasing campus zealots.”

5

Furvah Shah in The Independent

Why I’m too scared to go to festivals like Glastonbury

On unwanted advances

“I’ve always been enticed and excited by British festivals, but I have never attended one,” writes Furvah Shah for the Independent. Friends who have been to festivals have described to Shah the “rowdiness, the sexual harassment and assault, the drug use, and the fears of being crushed, which are often seen as so commonplace that they have pushed me away from the idea of attending”, she explains. A survey found that nearly half of female festivalgoers have experienced unwanted sexual behaviour when in attendance, and although more than 100 UK festivals have signed up to the Safer Spaces at Festivals campaign, which pledges to tackle incidents of sexual violence with a survivor-led approach, Shah worries this “won’t be enough”. As this summer’s biggest events for British music approach, she urges festival organisers to “think more carefully about how to keep festivalgoers from all backgrounds safe”.

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