‘A dangerous amendment to the Health and Care Bill must be defeated’

Your digest of analysis from the British and international press

Hospital staff and patient
(Image credit: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

1. No law should imply you’re better off dead than disabled

Kevin Shinkwin at The Times

on an ‘insidious assumption’

Lord Shinkwin recently completed a consent form for major surgery. “There was no tick box asking if I wanted to be helped to die. The assumption was that, my disability notwithstanding, I wanted to live,” the Conservative peer writes at The Times. Today’s amendment to the Health and Care Bill “threatens that consensus”. “The insidious assumption that it is better to be dead than disabled increasingly permeates our debates. This amendment would enable it to inform our law.” The potential implications this would have “scare” this writer “to death”. When one is ill, “we are vulnerable to influence and hypersensitive” – “how easy it is to be told it is in ‘your best interest’ not to be treated when actually the subtext is that it would be in everyone else’s interests if you were dead”. This amendment is “dangerous” and “poses unacceptable risks to people when vulnerable”. It “must be defeated”.

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2. What the shocking images of Ukraine’s dead say about the media – and our biases

Eugene Robinson at The Washington Post

on pictures of war

“Brave journalists have long risked their lives to document the horrors of war,” says Eugene Robinson at The Washington Post. Why, though, he asks, “has the coverage of the Russian invasion of Ukraine felt so intimate, so explicit and so shockingly gory?”. With regard to wars in Yemen and Syria, “we were not shown such raw and immediate images of the dead”. “It’s not that journalists didn’t see and document such atrocities in other wars,” Robinson continues. “News organisations traditionally have been squeamish about publishing images of people who had been killed in conflict,” but “that was before social media”. But there’s also “the unmistakable subtext of this coverage”, that “these are people just like us, and we could be at risk like them”. Robinson concludes by saying: “May the same empathy be extended to war victims everywhere who are every bit as human as the people of Ukraine.”

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3. Keir Starmer is gaslighting women

Joan Smith at UnHerd

on a ‘polite fiction’

“Does Sir Keir Starmer know there’s a war on?” asks Joan Smith at UnHerd. Last week, the Labour leader visited Estonia with “a very important message” – “‘trans women are women’, he declared. ‘And that is not just my view – that is actually the law.” “It actually isn’t,” says Smith, “but let’s leave that fact aside for the moment.” She asks if this man is “stupid”, or “so committed to an extreme ideology that he has lost sight of its disastrous impact on women”. Starmer and the Labour leadership “say they believe in single-sex spaces, but what does that mean when they also insist that trans women are no different from natal women”, she continues. “To be cruelly frank, women are being gaslighted.” Starmer and colleagues “have confused a polite fiction – ‘trans women are women’ – with reality”. Back in the UK, “women feel utterly betrayed”, she says.

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4. Tory arms welcoming refugees come with a feel of the Windrush scandal

Darren Lewis at The Mirror

on ‘parallel’ schemes

The government has tried to make “the Ukraine refugee crisis more about us than them”, writes Darren Lewis at The Mirror. With the “mythical visa centre in northern France appearing more like a mirage in a desert, the government have also adopted their tried and trusted technique of misdirection”. Michael Gove has told Brits to “open your hearts and take in a refugee”. “The thing is, members of the public were reaching out to evacuees even before the UK government were shamed into doing so,” he continues. But opening their doors comes with “safeguarding issues, checks and balances” that need to be in place. “There is no league table of compassion. There are no extra points.” Parallels between people taking Ukrainian refugees and “the shambolic Windrush Compensation Scheme” don’t “require that much of a leap”.

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5. I used to hide my geeky interests from my Radio 1 listeners but now I’m a proud nerd

Greg James at The I News Site

on not-so-guilty pleasures

“Why does the world condition us into thinking that we’re not cool unless we’re doing the same things as everyone else?” asks BBC Radio 1 presenter Greg James. He thinks that now is “probably quite a nice time to exist as a teenage nerd”. James says he grew up “in a world where you had to hide any inkling that you might be interested or passionate about anything”, and his “long list of girl-repellers” included “being an airband radio enthusiast”, “old fashioned push lawn mowers” and “anything to do with cricket”. He thinks if he was 15 in 2022, “it’s feasible” that all of that “would have a good chance of going viral”. Nowadays, “a child on the other side of the world with a passion for bee-keeping for example, could encourage a whole new generation of young bee buffs”. James isn’t saying “we should all aim to go viral”, but “why wouldn’t you try and find as much joy as you possibly can?”

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