DAILY MAIL COMMENT: Even in defeat, take pride in our Lionesses
26th August 2023

DAILY MAIL COMMENT: Even in defeat, take pride in our Lionesses

After four weeks that electrified a nation, the Lionesses’ exhilarating adventure in Australia finally ended in heartbreaking defeat.

For more than 90 minutes, our women footballers gave their all against a talented Spanish side, but in the end their efforts fell agonisingly short. For now, that long, elusive quest for England’s first World Cup trophy since 1966 continues.

But while there is always disappointment in defeat, this hugely admirable – not to say outrageously talented – group of footballers can return home with their heads held high.

Amidst a wash-out summer, they have brought joy and celebration to the country at a time when the spiralling cost of living has left many of us in dire need of a lift.

In reaching a World Cup final, they have achieved something our men’s national side have failed to do in more than half a century.

For more than 90 minutes, our women footballers gave their all against a talented Spanish side, but in the end their efforts fell agonisingly short

In reaching a World Cup final, they have achieved something our men’s national side have failed to do in more than half a century

Indeed, the composure the Lionesses showed throughout the tournament – not least in winning a dreaded penalty shoot-out in their match against Nigeria – is something their male counterparts would do well to emulate.

More importantly, however, their success demonstrates that their victory in last summer’s European Championship was no flash in the pan.

It is to be hoped that their unity and infectious enthusiasm can inspire even more young women to get involved in the game, providing a springboard for further success.

Gate receipts at women’s football matches have already trebled since last year’s European triumph captured the public imagination. With millions tuning into yesterday morning’s match, it’s clear the place of women’s football in mainstream sport is now assured.

As Boris Johnson pointed out in his column in Saturday’s Mail, the Lionesses’ heroics send out a powerful message to regimes around the world which regard women as second-class citizens.

It’s a reminder of how fortunate we are in this country to have such potent female role models. Through their talent, commitment and sense of fair play, they are an example to us all.

Hiding from justice

Many legal experts predict that Lucy Letby will today be told she will spend the rest of her life in prison.

That she is not expected to be present in the dock to hear the judge pass sentence marks a final cowardly act from this cold-blooded killer of defenceless babies.

By refusing to admit to her abhorrent crimes, Letby has already compounded the misery of her victims’ families by dragging them through a harrowing trial.

Many legal experts predict that Lucy Letby will today be told she will spend the rest of her life in prison

Her refusal to attend today’s sentencing now denies them some much-needed emotional succour. For justice to be seen to be done, those families need to be able to look this contemptible woman in the eye as punishment is handed down.

Earlier this year, former justice secretary Dominic Raab promised a law that would compel criminals to be in court for sentencing.

This appalling case shows why his successor Alex Chalk must now fulfil that pledge as a matter of urgency.

Useless Ulez

Sadiq Khan’s Ulez expansion always looked more like green posturing than a genuine attempt to dramatically reduce air pollution.

So what to make of revelations that Mr Khan’s deputy mayor for environment and energy, Shirley Rodrigues, tried to ‘silence’ scientists at Imperial College, whose research questioned the policy’s effectiveness?

Surely it all but confirms the suspicion that the scheme is more about clobbering motorists than protecting the environment.

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