‘Modernising Royal family is Charles’s defining challenge’

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

Prince Charles visits NHS and MoD staff involved in the vaccine rollout
Aaron Chown/WPA Pool/Getty Images
(Image credit: Prince Charles visits NHS and MoD staff involved in the vaccine rollout)

1. Charles’s challenge is to repair the royal family

Daniel Finkelstein in The Times

on repairing damage

“Whether you consider the duchess is a victim of racism or believe that she is a difficult individual living a life of luxury who craves attention, she is not alone in her predicament,” writes Daniel Finkelstein in The Times. The problem for the Royal Family is that “the truth is that what has happened to the duchess has happened before”, most famously to Princess Diana. Therefore Prince Charles must examine what has “repeatedly” happened, and use the ongoing scandal as an “opportunity for modernisation”. “It is now his defining challenge.”

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2. How the £37bn Test and Trace rip-off shows the government’s hypocrisy

Anoosh Chakelian in the New Statesman

on untracked spending

An inquiry into the government’s NHS test and trace system has found “no clear evidence” of its overall effectiveness – despite an “unimaginable” budget of £37bn, writes Anoosh Chakelin in the New Statesman. The so-called “world-beating” test and trace system never functioned effectively, with “just 15% of people tested receiving results within 24 hours and only 60% of close contacts reached”. The system is an “ongoing and costly farce” which “makes it hard to swallow the hypocrisy of ministers suggesting money is too ‘tight’ for other services which have proved their worth during the pandemic”.

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3. Britain is set for a brighter economic future and the EU can’t bear it

Patrick O’Flynn in The Telegraph

on bouncing back

“A malignant seed of jealousy towards the United Kingdom is growing in continental Europe and it isn’t hard to understand why,” writes Patrick O’Flynn in The Telegraph. Britain is on course to outperform the EU in the post-Brexit period, with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development upgrading the UK’s growth forecast by nearly a point. “Britain is in very good shape in the bounce-back stakes”, O’Flynn adds. “Anyone seeking an explanation for all the slights and hostility emanating towards Britain from Brussels, Berlin and Paris in recent weeks need look no further.”

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4. A week after the Budget, it’s clear Rishi Sunak has a mountain of unfinished business

Andrew Grice in The Independent

on the chancellor’s challenge

Rishi Sunak still has to climb a “mountain of unfinished business” now emerging from the “fog of figures” outlined in his Spring Budget last week, writes Andrew Grice in The Independent. Sunak may argue there was “no playbook” for the pandemic, but “there is one for running the economy”. Three former chancellors have given their verdicts on Sunak’s performance so far, and their reviews are “lukewarm” at best. “A growing number of Tory backbenchers think Sunak has chosen the wrong ground on which to parade his credentials as fiscally responsible” and “although Sunak still rides high in the Tory popularity stakes for now, whatever he decides on further tax rises or spending cuts will make it hard to retain his position”.

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5. Will we pass Boris’s roadmap test?

Tom Chivers on UnHerd

on Boris's roadmap

“I desperately want to have a drink in a pub garden,” laments Tom Chivers on UnHerd. “In theory, I might be able to do quite soon. But when?” The “four tests” we must pass at each stage of our liberation could prove a stumbling block as they are “entirely subjective” and lack any “quantitative answer to whether or not we achieve the goal”. We may be able to pass one test, or even a few at any given stage, but how we might pass them all together is “not quite so obvious”, he says. That said, there is reason to be optimistic. “I’d wager at least one round on the fact that we’ll be drinking our first pint this year in a pub garden on 12 April.”

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