THE ‘Boris effect’, the price paid by young women in the pandemic and the ‘saving’ of Christmas were the issues debated by columnists and contributors in the newspapers.

The Guardian

Rafael Behr said the dramatic result of last year’s election, which saw constituents whose grandparents would turn in their graves at their backing of Boris Johnson, ‘now feels remote.’

“The era of pre-coronavirus politics is cut off from the present by the scale of the emergency,” he said. “Johnson’s inglorious handling of the crisis has checked his former swagger. He looks worn down. The 80-seat majority that looked insuperable in January has proved vulnerable to multi-pronged backbench rebellion.”

He said it was easy to look back over the pandemic period and conclude that an unfit prime minister had ‘burned through his full supply of political capital, blowing all the credit he earned last December. ‘

“The “Boris effect” that gave the Tories power is surely degraded by the tawdry spectacle of him failing in office. Can it be replenished?,” he asked.

“The election that put Johnson in Downing Street also revealed new cultural contours in English politics – the effect of Labour loyalty eroding for decades.”

He said it was unclear how Labour leader Keir Starmer could undo the damage.

“The Tories still have an 80-seat majority with no general election due before 2024,” he said.

“The prime minister sometimes looks as if he is nearing the end of the road, but the facts of parliamentary arithmetic and the political calendar tell a different story. The Johnson years have only just begun.”

The Independent

Kira Chartlon, a peer researcher for Young Women’s Trust, said she had witnessed first hand the effect the pandemic had on young women’s work, finances and mental health.

She said her research of 4,000 young women found many had been paying a price. “Almost a quarter had been furloughed, and the findings indicated that an estimated 750,000 young women have had to go to work despite fears for their safety,” she said.

“Young women told us they felt very frustrated by the fact their male colleagues were less likely to have been furloughed than them, which they saw as unfair and sexist.”

She said before the pandemic, women carried out 60 per cent more unpaid work than men, a figure which could only have increased since March.

Conversations with her peers had left her with mixed emotions about the future, she said.

“Unless the government takes serious action to listen and acknowledge young women and their experiences, things won’t change,” she said. “Young women must be put at the forefront of recovery planning. An equal society improves things for everyone, not just women.”

She was confident, however, that young women were resilient and had the strength to keep fighting.

“We are talented, hardworking, resourceful and courageous. It’s high time we received that recognition.”

The Daily Mail

Sarah Vine said the news that people would be able to meet in small family bubbles for Christmas was a long-awaited chance for many people to catch up with much missed relatives.

“But for some reason the idea of being trapped in close confines with members of my family for five whole days just fills me with a weary sense of deja vu,” she said. “Because, quite honestly, isn’t that what we’ve been doing for the best part of six months?”

She described Christmas as essentially ‘lockdown on steroids.’

“A few days of frenetic panic-buying of stuff we don’t really need, followed by all the shops being closed, kids, everyone stuck at home, bored out of their minds and waiting to be either fed or entertained — and a seemingly endless cycle of cooking and cleaning,” she said.

For men, she added, the situation was ideal.

“I know many men who have secretly (and not so secretly) enjoyed lockdown, seeing as it mostly involves them barking at Zoom while their spouse takes care of everything else, as well as doing her own work (which, of course, is not nearly as important).”

Women, she said, have had it up to here with being a 1950s housewife - with the added burden of holding down a job and doing home schooling.

“Over Christmas we get to do it all over again — only this time for more people.”