Instant Opinion

‘History may find that lockdowns were a mistake’

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


Philip Johnston in The Daily Telegraph

History may well conclude that the lockdowns were a dreadful mistake

on ‘illiberal’ restrictions

“We have given up a great deal in the past year, and some will rightly point out that many have given up their lives. But above all we have sacrificed that sense of proportion that we once possessed,” says Philip Johnston in The Daily Telegraph. Concerns over the impact of lockdowns on the younger generation have been “borne out” and culture has changed “perhaps irrevocably”, he continues. Enough people are now “so inured to the sense of security offered by lockdowns that they will accept them in other circumstances”. Johnston concludes: “Caution in the face of increased risk is now so embedded in the political and popular culture that it will be hard to abandon.”


Alice Thomson in The Times

The truth is many of us have loved lockdown

on the benefits of Covid restrictions

“There is a group of people who have actually become happier in the past 12 months and they aren’t the super-rich sunbathing in the Maldives,” says Alice Thomson in The Times. She points to research that shows more than half of people will miss some aspect of the coronavirus restrictions. Many “have enjoyed slowing down, seeing their families, learning hobbies, consuming less and becoming more flexible”, writes Thomson. “In the week we remember those who died from Covid it may seem strange to talk about happiness, but it’s vital to believe that humanity can ultimately benefit from this tragedy.”


Katy Balls in The Guardian

With Nicola Sturgeon safe, the battle for the union is back on

on the fight for Scottish independence

“Down in Westminster, hopes of an SNP implosion are waning,” writes Katy Balls in The Guardian. The issue of Scottish independence has long been one of Boris Johnson’s greatest threats – were he to lose Scotland, he “would probably be done for”, she says. Britain’s vaccine rollout has “drawn some of the sting from the Brexit issue in Scotland” and Sturgeon has had a “bruising” few weeks, but ministers in London have long feared a referendum while Johnson and Sturgeon are in power. “Johnson’s unpopularity compared to Sturgeon’s popularity was viewed as too toxic a combination to consider any such vote,” says Balls. “Whatever May’s election brings, No. 10 is getting battle ready.”


Patsy Stevenson on The Independent

I became the ‘face’ of the Sarah Everard vigil – I’m using my platform to demand change

on becoming a voice for women

“I’ve been called ‘terrier-like’, I’ve been labelled as ‘bossy’, or ‘loud’ – well, I am loud. I will continue to be loud,” says Patsy Stevenson, the student arrested at the Clapham Common vigil for Sarah Everard. Writing on The Independent, she says: “It’s been a week since I went to a vigil to light a candle for a woman who I didn’t know, but I related to; simply by being a young woman – and I have now become a voice for every single woman who wants to be heard. I’m not going anywhere and neither should you.”


The Washington Post editorial board

These killings can happen because the US celebrates the sale of weapons made for war

on this week’s Colorado shooting

“Once again, families, friends and communities are shattered by devastating loss,” says The Washington Post’s editorial board, referring to the ten people gunned down at a shop in Colorado on Monday. “The why will never be sufficiently answered, so let’s focus on an easier one: How? With an AR-type assault weapon, that’s how,” says the newspaper. The “horror that unfolded” was made possible because the US “allows, indeed even celebrates, the sale of weapons designed for war”, argues the Post. “No surprise, these have become the weapon of choice for mass shooters.”


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