Instant Opinion

‘The government has forgotten the values of being conservative’

Your digest of analysis and commentary from the British and international press

1

Giles Fraser on Unherd

Why I’ll never vote Tory again

on ‘valueless’ government

“I’m not sorry for voting Tory on 12 December 2019. If I were to go back, I’d do it again,” writes Giles Fraser on Unherd. However, “the more conservative I become, the less I like the government”. For Fraser this means “I won’t be voting Conservative next time”. “What distinguishes this government from so many Conservative governments of the past is that this one doesn’t seem to do morality at all,” he says. “One suspects they think that morality is for lefties. Which is just rubbish. Because Conservatism has always had a moral core, albeit a different one from that of the Left.” As for the current prime minister, “no one can say that Boris has ever made any great play of being constrained by morality, certainly not anything like a Judeo-Christian one”. The government has “forgotten the values of being conservative”, he adds. “And without those values, the Conservative Party is little more than a vessel for the personal ambitions of the depressingly self-entitled.”

2

Dahlia Scheindlin in The Guardian

Why Israel is more concerned about Ben & Jerry’s than the Pegasus revelations

on spy games

This week has seen “extraordinary revelations that the Israeli company NSO Group’s mercenary cyber-surveillance tool, Pegasus, was allegedly used to target political dissidents, human rights activists, journalists and politicians around the world”, writes Dahlia Scheindlin in The Guardian. But “the day after the NSO story broke, there was an announcement from another company that would eclipse talk of the rogue use of surveillance spyware”, namely Ben & Jerry’s decision to “cease the sale of its products in the ‘occupied Palestinian territories’”. What followed “offers a penetrating view into Israel’s public priorities”, Scheindlin says. “Orna Barbivai, Israel’s minister of economy, made a video of her dumping Ben & Jerry’s containers in the bin, while former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu wrote a cheeky tweet supporting a counter-boycott.” Meanwhile, the “the lack of a national conversation about NSO, save for a smattering of critical columns”, is also “symbolic”. “To Israelis, the technology industry proves that Israel is the good guy, and neutralises the country’s dark side,” she adds. “Israel’s symbolic self-image as the earnest victim that can programme its way out of politics is the real illusion.”

3

Editorial board of the Los Angeles Times

They started a deadly fire, but prison isn’t the right answer

on required restraint

“Few more things are as arrogant and self-indulgent as a party at which parents-to-be announce the shape of their unborn child’s genitalia,” says the Los Angeles Times editorial board. “And that’s even without setting off pink or blue incendiary devices in the midst of a severe drought and record-setting heat wave.” Therefore, they agree, it is tempting to want to “throw the book” at Refugio Manuel Jimenez Jr and Angela Renee Jimenez, the couple whose gender-reveal pyrotechnics sparked the El Dorado fire that burned nearly 23,000 acres, killed a firefighter, forced tens of thousands of evacuations, injured 13 people and destroyed five homes. However, they argue, it is “unlikely in the extreme that the Jimenezes will be staging any more gender-reveal parties or setting off any more smoke bombs”. They also call for us to consider the child, “who will one day come to know of the destruction their parents recklessly caused in his (or is it her?) name?”.

4

Chris Stevenson in The Independent

Given the prime minister’s disdain for parliament, is it any wonder Dawn Butler broke rules to call him a ‘liar’?

on parliamentary procedures

“You may not agree with Dawn Butler’s methods, but is it any wonder she resorted to them – given the events that have taken place under the premiership of Boris Johnson?” writes Chris Stevenson in The Independent. The Labour MP was asked to leave the Commons chamber after refusing to retract remarks in which she called Johnson a liar – an accusation that isn’t allowed under Commons rules. However, “if you are facing a prime minister and a government that appears to treat parliamentary convention with disdain, then is it an unexpected development?”, Stevenson says. Listing several examples of Johnson misleading the House of Commons, Stevenson suggests that it is Johnson who “appears to treat parliamentary convention with disdain”.

5

Ian Botham in The Telegraph

The future of shooting is looking bright

on hunters’ happiness

“It is very satisfying to announce the failure of your opponents,” writes Ian Botham in The Telegraph, declaring that he “can say with great confidence that those obsessives who have been trying to ban game shooting have lost the battle”. The cricketing legend celebrates that major supermarket chains have agreed to stock game meat and says consumers consider the conditions grouse grow up in to be fairer than that of battery chickens. Writing that “fanatics” who oppose field sports have united the “big shooting organisations” into a “patchwork quilt” that is ready “to talk to the government and the media about how shooting can best be regulated to serve the interests of both human beings and the natural world they inhabit”, he says it is his side that are having the last laugh.

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