‘Alex Salmond is entitled to put forward his side of the story’

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

Alex Salmond departs Edinburgh High Court in March 2020
Alex Salmond departs Edinburgh High Court in March 2020
(Image credit: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

1. Alex Salmond inquiry’s credibility has been undermined and Crown Office’s independence trashed

John McLellan in The Edinburgh Evening News

on a fishy inquiry

“It doesn’t matter whether you think conspiracy or cock-up was at the heart of the botched inquiry into complaints of sexual harassment” against Alex Salmond, writes John McLellan in the Edinburgh Evening News. “All you need to know is the Scottish government was warned it would fail but pressed on.” McLellan says “you don’t need to be a Salmond fan to accept this needs examining, or that having been subjected to a biased government investigation... he’s entitled to put forward his side of the story”. Whether the end result is a finding of corruption or incompetence, “the inquiry’s credibility [has been] undermined” and “the Crown Office’s independence trashed”.

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2. Rishi Sunak must deliver a workers’ budget to ensure a post-Covid recovery

Frances O’Grady in The Guardian

on a green revival

“We all hope the pandemic is receding”, writes Frances O’Grady in The Guardian, “but what it leaves behind is the prospect of mass unemployment and whole industries fighting for survival”. The general secretary of the Trades Union Congress says that at next week’s budget, “working people across the UK need the chancellor to set out a new vision of good jobs for everyone”. Calling for job creation, she adds that “a powerful green stimulus package would revitalise communities that have lost traditional industries, transform firms and provide better opportunities”.

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3. A £100 dog licence would make buyers think first

Janice Turner in The Times

on licensing pets

Janice Turner is upset by a “new delicacy” that contains salmon, peanut butter and sweet potato and is “100% natural, with no added salts, sugars or preservatives”. What’s got her so hot under the collar about this snack? That it is for dogs. With the “doggy pound” soaring as more people buy dogs and splash cash in pet stores, she calls for a return of the dog licence, abolished in 1987. “Make registration £100, with a compulsory microchip, add a £50 annual fee easily paid online”, she says in The Times. “It’s a modest fee given that some salmon-snacking dogs eat better than families who use food banks.”

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4. It’s time to stop tampering with literary classics

Ben Lawrence in The Daily Telegraph

on unedifying rewrites

“Publishing houses love delving into classic novels for ‘re-imagined’ follow-ups”, writes Ben Lawrence in The Telegraph, but he is no fan of the results. “Literary classics are classics for a reason”, he argues, and “tampering with them in prequels, sequels or alternative versions does little to edify the original”. He wonders whether Ken Loach will soon produce a cinematic version of The Great Gatsby, “relocated to the sugar beet fields of Norfolk with a migrant worker in thrall to his enigmatic boss”.

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5. It’s not a ‘home smear test’ trial – it’s a ‘home HPV test’. Here’s why the distinction matters

Lydia Brain in The Independent

on clear messaging

“News of the first NHS trial for HPV self-testing... is a positive step forward for anyone at risk of cervical cancer”, says Lydia Brain in The Independent. But its announcement “has also shone a light on the confusion that exists around the current cervical screening programme”. Even Health Secretary Matt Hancock got “the difference between a swab for HPV (the virus that causes the vast majority of cervical cancers)” and a home HPV test mixed up. And his mistake “really goes to show is that the language around cervical screening has become quite confusing”. But the differences between the HPV and a “smear test” are key. “It’s too important to leave this set of health messages to chance”.

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