‘Borders are starting to look like Boris Johnson’s next big Covid mistake’

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

An airliner comes in to land at Heathrow Airport
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1. Ten years for breaking Covid travel rules? Borders are the latest Boris Johnson fail

Marina Hyde in The Guardian

on border restrictions

“Traditionally, politicians have been experts at booking cheap hotel rooms in a hurry,” says Marina Hyde in The Guardian, following reports that the government has yet to sign a single contract for its airport quarantine scheme. “Maybe they’ve been disincentivised in this case by the absence of a sex worker tapping her watch.” “Borders are starting to look like Boris Johnson’s next big Covid mistake,” she continues, adding that given the government’s “desperate unwillingness to take swift decisions” the quarantine scheme is a bit like telling someone to “shut Shergar’s stable door”.

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2. Labour is pandering to nativism with its ‘flag-waving’ strategy – we’ve been here many times before

Yasmin Alibhai-Brown in The i

on progressive patriotism

“Our country is only becoming smaller and meaner,” says Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, who feels that Keir Starmer’s leaked plans for a patriotic Labour rebrand are “pathetic”, “fatuous”, “insulting” and “crass”. “For all his lawyerly exactitudes at Prime Minister’s Questions… Starmer, on whom so many of us pin our hopes, is becoming bendy and opportunistic”, she argues. Rather than mimicking the Conservatives with a “flag-waving” strategy, she says that the leader of the opposition should “offer an alternative to the Tory’s politicking patriotism”.

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3. It’s time to free us from lockdown, Boris – we have suffered enough

Allison Pearson in The Daily Telegraph

on moving goalposts

Longstanding lockdown critic Allison Pearson says that given a “massive reduction” in the number of Covid patients, a “fall in intensive care patients” and the success of the vaccine rollout, “there really is no excuse for the government not to provide a clear roadmap out of lockdown”. Instead, she argues that the “loud trundling” of “goalposts being moved by hatchet-faced mathematical modellers” is beginning to be audible. “The PM must not be coerced into extending lockdown,” she adds. “We kept our part of the bargain, Boris. Now, you must keep yours.”

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4. After battling Covid we need to fight the flab

Alice Thomson in The Times

on a growing problem

Writing in The Times, Alice Thomson maps out her typical lockdown day. “Kit Kat at 10am looking for inspiration, crisps at 12pm after an arduous Zoom meeting, and by 4pm it’s time to finish the brownies,” she says. “The single biggest change this country could make to combat the mutating virus, after the vaccine programme, is to eat less,” she says, pitching “Stop Snacking, Protect the NHS, Save Lives” as “the prime minister’s next message”.

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5. After two years of cancelled exams, school will return to normal after the vaccine, right? I’m not so sure

Peter Lampl in The Independent

on education evolution

“Covid-19 has, with extraordinary speed, rolled over any number of the world’s sacred cows in a way that was previously unthinkable,” says Peter Lampl in The Independent. “Life as we knew it has been thrown up in the air – and we’re yet to see where everything is going to land.” Predicting that school days will never be the same again, he argues that ministers should seize this “once-in-a-generation opportunity to reimagine our out-of-date exam system”.

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