19/09/2020
19 Sep 2020

Where’s Boris?

19 Sep 2020

Where’s Boris?

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Fraser NelsonFraser Nelson
The missing leader: Boris Johnson needs to find his purpose again

At the end of last week, the Prime Minister invited Tory MPs to a massive conference call, a kind of digital fireside chat to lift their spirits. It was a disaster. First the MPs were astonished to learn that he wasn’t taking questions; then his connection failed halfway through — at which point the callers, who had been ‘muted’, became ‘unmuted’ and started talking loudly and all at once. One of them, Michael Fabricant, started singing ‘Rule Britannia’.

The missing leader: Boris Johnson needs to find his purpose again
Laurie Graham
Why I’ve given up on handbags

I have given up handbags. Men may think this a trifling thing. Women will understand it was not a painless decision. In my adult life I had rarely left home without a bag. Sometimes just a small clutch bag, but more likely a bucket bag which hung, with the weight of a Yorkshire terrier, from my shoulder. I have a dent in my collarbone to prove it. Then came Covid. You may remember that obsessive hand-washing was the first thing asked of us.

Why I’ve given up on handbags
Paulina Neuding
Sweden’s crime problem has become too big to ignore

Stockholm ‘We have an obvious problem,’ admitted the Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven recently. He was referring not to the Covid pandemic, but to a summer of crime that has left even jaded Swedes reeling in disbelief. There are regular bombings, hand grenade attacks and shootings. Young men are killing each other at a horrific rate — ten times that of Germany. The feeling is growing that the government has completely lost control.

Sweden’s crime problem has become too big to ignore
Ursula Buchan
Thanks to Covid, village shows are withering away

I measure out my summer in invitations to judge classes of flowers, fruit and vegetables at local village shows. The flower-show calendar is as changeless and as adamantine in its continuity as the high days and holy days of the Christian liturgical year. Or rather it was. In the past, as I have prepared to set out to one of these shows, armed with my RHS Horticultural Show Handbook, schedule of entry classes, tape measure (to assess the longest runner bean) and gardener’s knife (to cut into a beetroot’s bloody heart), I have sometimes thought how pleasant it would be to stay at home in my own garden, for judging is very precise and tiring work.

Thanks to Covid, village shows are withering away
Sarah Whitebloom
How many care homes are to blame for Covid deaths?

Cases of coronavirus are on the rise again inside care homes. Last week, Public Health England reported that 35 care homes had ‘infection incidents’ linked to Covid. And an internal Department of Health memo suggested that ‘satellite tests’ — which mainly take place in care homes — were picking up an estimated 1,100 new cases every day. This is extremely worrying for the most vulnerable people in our society — almost half of Covid deaths in the UK, more than 19,000, have been in care homes — but especially worrying when you look at the care regulatory system presided over by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

How many care homes are to blame for Covid deaths?
Gary Dexter
Why the Japanese love wearing facemasks

On any given street in Tokyo today, almost everyone will be wearing a mask. The Covid-19 death toll in Japan is around 1,500 in a country of 126 million people. This is dramatically less than the UK’s, yet everyone still covers up, and there are hardly any anti-mask movements of the sort that have become popular in Europe and America. Why are the Japanese so happy to wear masks, when it makes some people from other nationalities so cross? The first reason is the most obvious: to avoid spreading germs.

Why the Japanese love wearing facemasks
Devon Cross
We should give Trump credit for his foreign policy successes

Various luminaries from the Republican party have begun turning up on social media, on television and in newspapers urging Americans to vote for the Democratic nominee Joe Biden. One group of foreign policy mandarins recently signed a letter declaring that President Trump has ‘gravely damaged America’s role as a world leader’ by aligning himself with dictators, dishonouring the rule of law, imperilling national security and more.

We should give Trump credit for his foreign policy successes
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