‘Boris Johnson must explain his 180-degree shift in attitude towards global warming’

Your digest of analysis from the British and international press

Boris Johnson in New York City
Boris Johnson in New York City ahead of his speech at the UN General Assembly
(Image credit: Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

1. Boris Johnson should explain his climate conversion

David Aaronovitch in The Times

On the PM’s chutzpah

Boris Johnson was “on a cloud of chutzpah” when he arrived at this week’s UN General Assembly in New York to tell the world it needed to “grow up” on climate change, writes David Aaronovitch in The Times. Yet this is the same man who once ridiculed “eco doomsters” and their absurd belief that “evil gases” were encircling the planet, and who has “invoked the work of the climate denier (and now antivax activist) Piers Corbyn to cast doubt on claims that warming might be affecting weather”. Of course, “it may be that Johnson changed his mind and changed his views”, says Aaronovitch, but “he has never explained his conversion”. A “full accounting” by the prime minister for his “180-degree shift in attitude towards global warming” could help persuade the hold-outs “that they should undergo a similar conversion. And reassure the rest of us that he’s actually serious.”

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2. Why has Sabina Nessa’s murder not dominated the news? Take a wild guess

Hira Ali for The Independent

On disproportionate coverage

The case of Sabina Nessa, a 28-year-old primary school teacher believed to have been murdered as she walked home in southeast London on Saturday afternoon, bears a “painful resemblance” to Sarah Everard’s killing six months ago, says Hira Ali. But Nessa’s case “has not dominated the news yet because of how the media treats victims of colour differently”, Ali writes in The Independent. She insists that “it would be naive to ignore the repeated pattern of discrimination in the way media and police treat victims of colour”. This “disproportionate coverage and attention is in equal parts appalling and disheartening”. As “an Asian woman of colour” like Nessa, Ali finds it “disappointing to see how much it takes to bring cases like her’s into the limelight”. Gender violence does not discriminate, she concludes, “but we do”.

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3. What would Jesus do? He’d get vaccinated, that’s what

Robin Abcarian in the Los Angeles Times

On jabs and Jesus

More than 500 members of the Los Angeles Police Department have filed a federal lawsuit against the city over its vaccine mandate on city employees, which they claim violates constitutional rights to privacy and due process. Robin Abcarian argues that the group bringing the lawsuit are “pawns” who have been “manipulated by social-media-spawned misinformation, ignorance and antagonism toward scientific expertise”. And “now we learn that about a quarter of the Police Department’s workforce has indicated it plans to pursue religious exemptions to the vaccine, a patently absurd and disingenuous dodge”, she writes in the Los Angeles Times. But “if you’re wondering what Jesus would do, by now it should be pretty obvious: love your neighbor, get the shot”.

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4. Britain faces a triple crunch – and the political cost for the Tories could be huge

Larry Elliott in The Guardian

On looming challenges

“It is easy to see why ministers are getting a bit jittery,” writes Larry Elliott. The national energy crisis is growing, economic growth is slowing and inflation is rising, while Covid-19 infection rates remain high. Adding to the misery are the end of furlough, the withdrawal of the £20 uplift to Universal Credit, plus higher fuel bills and food shortages. In fact, Elliott warns in The Guardian, a “triple crunch” now looms: an economic crunch, an energy crunch and a climate crunch. He predicts that the “political cost” for the Tories could be “huge” and could allow Labour to inflict some “serious damage”. Indeed, Keir Starmer is “never going to have a better opportunity” to “land a knockout blow”.

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5. Angela Rayner vs. Dominic Raab: a contest of wet lettuce against flame-haired fury

Madeline Grant for The Telegraph

On class war

Deputising for Boris Johnson at Prime Minister’s Questions while the Tory leader was in the US, Dominic Raab “delivered his lines with his usual bland efficiency - the interminable dullness of a Tim Henman post-match interview enlivened by occasional glimpses of Andy Murray-style surliness”, says Madeline Grant. Meanwhile, Angela Rayner stood in for Keir Starmer. The Labour MP was “resplendent in her pretty frock - the kind of delicate floral pattern you might see in the revamped No. 10 powder room”, writes The Telegraph sketchwriter. “Her Excellency could have been off to lunch at The Ivy, or quaffing Pimm’s at the Wimbledon Members’ Enclosure.” But “appearances proved deceptive, for Angela’s game was class war, red in tooth and claw, and waged with all the subtlety of a heat-seeking missile”. In the end, Grant concludes, “this battle of fire and water - wet lettuce vs. flame-haired fury - proved an inconclusive tussle”. Deciding who won “all depends on which extreme you prefer”.

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