‘Love Island has begun – and so have the Matt Hancock memes’

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

Matt Hancock
(Image credit: Twitter/@joesaunders)

1. Many disgraced MPs never manage it, but a Matt Hancock political comeback is entirely possible

Cathy Newman for The Independent

on the affair scandal

Love Island has begun – and so have the Matt Hancock memes,” says Channel 4 News presenter Cathy Newman in The Independent. “Perhaps the famously optimistic former health secretary will see this as the first step in his political rehabilitation. He’s now a figure of fun as well as fury.” So how easy will a Hancock revival be? Many disgraced MPs, like Stephen Byers and Mark Oaten, were unsuccessful in reinventing themselves, but “plenty of MPs facing the final curtain do manage a second act”. Just look at “the ultimate political Lazarus”, our prime minister. However, even though the public “might be able to forgive a sex scandal”, Hancock’s “hypocrisy charge is far harder to shake off”, says Newman. If Hancock “wants redemption” he’ll need to tick off “years of penance on the backbenches, before facing voters at the next election”.

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2. Today marks the day in Britain that millions of neighbours become foreigners

Daniel Trilling in The Guardian

on the right to remain

“Today marks the day in Britain that millions of neighbours become foreigners”, reads the headline of author and journalist Daniel Trilling’s op-ed in The Guardian. At midnight last night, the deadline passed for most European Union citizens to apply to live permanently in the UK as settled residents. Those who missed the deadline “will be deemed to be living in the country unlawfully and will be subject – in theory – to all the deterrent measures the UK immigration system has to offer”. Since the scheme opened two years ago, more than five million people have applied “with a large majority of the applications processed quickly and successfully”. However, many people are “at risk of falling through the cracks”, with around 400,000 applications “stuck in an administrative backlog”.

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3. Is this the day of reconciliation between Prince William and Prince Harry?

Robert Lacey in The Times

on royal rifts

Today, Princes William and Harry are coming together to honour their mother’s memory by unveiling her statue in the new White Garden at Kensington Palace on what would have been Diana Spencer’s 60th birthday. Even “without the drama of the brothers’ rift”, this is a “landmark moment in modern royal history”, says Robert Lacey in The Times. “Who would have predicted 25 years ago that there would be a statue raised to the memory of Diana, the ultimate royal rebel and troublemaker, in Kensington Palace – or in any other palace for that matter?” Today could also be a moment for the brothers to “reflect on what their mother meant to them” and make peace. “William and Harry have worked harder than people realise to raise this statue in their mother’s honour,” says Lacey. “Now they have the chance to add to that tribute with the greater initiative of a genuinely loving and forgiving brotherly relationship.”

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4. There’s one man to blame for Bill Cosby’s release

Barbara McQuade for The New York Times

on a legal ‘affront’

“If you want to blame someone for Mr. Cosby’s release, blame Mr. Castor,” says Barbara McQuade in The New York Times. The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania’s basis for reversing its 2018 conviction of Bill Cosby for aggravated indecent assault came down to a “highly unusual 2005 news release by Bruce Castor”, a former district attorney for Montgomery County. Castor had publicly stated that he had chosen not to file criminal charges against the disgraced entertainer “because of ‘insufficient credible and admissible evidence’”. These statements were “binding” on Castor’s successor, who brought the case back to life more than a decade later. Although Cosby’s release is an “affront” to his victim and “to the other women who testified against him and to the public”, the court was “reaffirming the longstanding notion that due process requires the enforcement of prosecutors’ promises”. As McQuade says: “Due process matters, even for monstrous crimes.”

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5. If 45,000 people can sing themselves stupid at Wembley, why can’t we dance at a wedding?

Janet Street-Porter for Mail Online

on ending Covid restrictions

“So what’s the truth about the current danger from the pandemic?” asks Janet Street-Porter for Mail Online. The latest figures are showing that “just 23 people died in England this Tuesday after testing positive” and the seven-day average is 17; “that’s 26% less than a week ago” and “far less” than the number who will have died in the same period from cancer, pneumonia and the flu. Even though the Delta variant has “resulted in a 62% rise in infections”, very few people have been admitted to hospital. “So why are we still wallowing in official doom and gloom? What’s the danger and what are we saving the NHS for?” If, as Mail Online says, people can “happily hug each other in Trafalgar Square singing Football’s Coming Home”, why does the ban on singing and dancing at weddings remain in place?

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