Royal hypocrisy and undervalued workers

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THE Sussexes tell-all interview with Oprah Winfrey and concern for the staff working in quarantine hotels were the issues raised by columnists and contributors in the newspapers.

The Daily Mail

Stephen Glover said one could only imagine how the Royal Family had reacted to the news that Harry and Meghan had recorded an interview with US chat show queen Oprah Winfrey.

“There is a contradiction here. A couple who ferociously insist on their privacy thirst at the same time for international publicity,” he said. “But it is publicity the Hollywood way — exclusively on their own terms. A friendly photographer takes the picture they want, and Meghan and Harry release it to the world.”

He said Meghan fiercely defends her privacy yet has a ‘near-inexhaustible appetite for favourable media coverage’.

“Of course they have a right to a private life. But when they share aspects of it with the public — for example, that intimate photograph of them in their Californian paradise — then they invite interest and scrutiny.”

The Daily Express

Vanessa Feltz congratulated the Sussexes on the announcement of Meghan’s pregnancy but said the photograph released of them relaxing in sunshine in their Californian mansion with her cradling her baby bump left her ‘with no words.’

“They are very keen to safeguard their privacy and independence, yet equally determined to milk every marketing opportunity,” she said. “There was no need for a “we are thrilled to be pregnant and head over heels in love” picture. A dry bulletin would have sufficed. Now we learn that Meghan is to appear on Oprah.”

She said the couple were adamant the public is not entitled to ‘chapter and verse’ of their personal life but ‘can’t resist the chance to unleash an idyllic fantasy shot.’

“It would be churlish to wish them anything but fulfilment in the bosom of their burgeoning family – but it is mildly infuriating that they opt in and out of the public eye whenever they fancy it.”

The Independent

Zoe Gardner, policy advisor to the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants, said staff working in the quarantine hotels faced the risk of catching Covid but low sick pay meant isolating from work could lead to financial destitution.

“The government needs to raise statutory sick pay from £95 per week, one of the lowest in Europe and utterly insufficient to support a family for 10 days or more of isolation,” she said.

“Throughout this pandemic, we have seen how frontline workers, often in low-paid work, have kept our country going. Yet these are the workers who are consistently undervalued by the government and by employers, despite the fact they have kept our shops open, our transports systems running and our shared spaces clean.

“The new mandatory hotel quarantine scheme is no exception.”

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