You're either Downton Abbey or Homeland – or a lunatic

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Opinion digest: the Sunday night dilemma, African leaders, absurdity of the ‘feminist' Julia Gillard

LAST UPDATED AT 12:16 ON Tue 16 Oct 2012

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IT'S DOWNTON OR HOMELAND – NOT BOTH
SOPHIE HEAWOOD ON SUNDAY NIGHT TV
"A rift is currently coursing through our nation," says Sophie Heawood in The Independent. It separates "the ancient regime from the new world order; those who yearn for the past from those who get off on their fear of the future". You're either a Downton Abbey person, primed for ITV, or a Homeland one, glued to Channel 4. Such division is quite normal – it's the "deranged lunatics" who are trying to watch both who are causing the bother. These are people who enjoy talking about their TV programmes on Twitter and have now started barging into other people's online conversations, saying: "TSK NO SPOILERS". Some want to instigate a Twitter moratorium whereby you can't talk about either Downton or Homeland until two days afterwards, so everybody has had a chance to catch up. Good luck with that. Of course the "actual solution" is for people to pledge their allegiance here. What is this – a post-modern age in which people are allowed to enjoy more than one thing in their lives? I remain firm on this point – you're either Downton or Homeland, not both.

JULIA GILLARD IS NO FEMINIST
JOHN PILGER ON THE AUSSIE PM'S LAUDED RANT
For commentators around the world to describe Prime Minister Julia Gillard's attack on opposition leader Tony Abbott as a "turning point for Australian women" is absurd, says John Pilger in The Guardian. Gillard was "promoted by glass-ceiling feminists" who do not care about her actual politics. She is "the embodiment of the Australian Labor party machine" that has "attacked and betrayed Australia's most vulnerable people, especially women". Just before her "lauded rant" against Abbott, Gillard introduced a law that stripped A$100 from the poorest single parents – mostly women. "Her true feminist distinction, perversely, is her removal of gender discrimination in combat roles in the Australian army." Now women are "liberated" to kill Afghans. "Australian feminism has a proud past. Australian women led the world in winning the vote. During the First World War, Australian women mounted a uniquely successful campaign against a vote for conscription. On polling day, a majority of Australians followed the women. Now that's feminism."

GOOD AFRICANS NEED ‘MO' ROLE MODELS
THE TIMES ON AFRICAN GOVERNANCE
For a third year out of the past four, no one has been awarded the $5 million Mo Ibrahim prize for good governance in Africa, says The Times in a Leader. No candidates meet the criteria: being a democratically elected leader who has governed well and voluntarily left office at the end of their term. But "the repeated non-award of the prize gives too bleak an impression". The suggestion is that Africa is stuck in a rut. "The real story is that the continent is growing rapidly, with many leaders shaking off old statist tendencies to create economic opportunities for their people." The Ibrahim Foundation itself says Liberia and Sierra Leone have improved their governance dramatically. But a few more role models would be handy. "Mr Ibrahim might consider using some of this year's prize money to inspire, by recognising leaders below national level."  · 

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