In Depth

Instant Opinion: Johnson ‘owes Queen an apology’

Your guide to the best columns and commentary on Wednesday 25 September


The Week’s daily round-up highlights the five best opinion pieces from across the British and international media, with excerpts from each.

1. Kate Maltby for CNN

on a PM under pressure

Boris Johnson owes the Queen an apology

“The morning didn’t go according to plan for Johnson. Instead he found himself stammering out a response to a different crisis: a Supreme Court ruling that has sent yet another earthquake through the already fractious landscape of British politics.... There was the usual bluster from Johnson in his reaction - an assertion that he ‘respects’ the judiciary was followed immediately by an insistence that he ‘strongly disagrees’ with the legal findings of Britain’s preeminent judges. Notably, there was an apology missing. At no point in Johnson’s speech did he apologize to Britain’s people, or to the Queen.”

2. Gloria Steinem and Akeel Bilgrami in The Guardian

on undue glorification of a controversial nationalist

The Gates Foundation shouldn’t legitimise Narendra Modi

“It is one thing for a political leader to come to power in his country by exploiting the darkest nationalistic instincts of its electorate. It is quite another thing for such a man to be awarded an international prize and embraced as a statesman by the most powerful and influential country in the world. The former reflects a familiar and vexing paradox of democracy – its deliberate subversion from within. The latter is entirely gratuitous and speaks to the collapse of any sense of international political morality.”

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3. Editorial board in The New York Times

on the potential impeachment of Donald Trump

Congress steps up, Trump blinks

“Come Monday, and rolling into Tuesday, Washington was buzzing with a nervous energy. Everyone was on high alert, frantically scanning for signs of where things were headed next. Ms. Pelosi was canvassing her members about impeachment. With every House Democrat who stepped forward to speak about Ukraine — Debbie Dingell, Rosa DeLauro, John Lewis — the scramble to analyze the odds of impeachment began anew. In a Monday op-ed in The Washington Post, seven freshman House Democrats, including some from districts Mr. Trump won in 2016, came out in favor of a formal impeachment investigation. Twitter was awash in clichéd metaphors describing the shifting politics — the dam was breaking, the tide was turning, the winds were shifting.”

4. Patrick Gathara in Al Jazeera

on ethno-politics in sub-Saharan Africa

Dynasties vs hustlers in Kenya

“Historically, Kenya’s politicians have fought to control, rather than to undo the system of extraction and exploitation inherited at independence. Ethnic mobilisation has been a useful tool in keeping the people blind to their own interests and substituting them for those of the politicians. Politics has thus been a route to wealth for a few at the expense of the many. In turn, wealth, however ill-gotten, has become the justification for political power, underpinned by an ethnicised colonial system built on extraction, corruption and patronage.”

5. Daniel Moss in The Japan Times

on the future of automation in the workplace

Robot wolves and bionic suits might just save Japan

“Robots have long been a fixture of Japanese popular and commercial culture: Astro Boy, an android, first appeared in manga in 1952. That probably helps explain why I met few Japanese who were troubled about jobs being taken from humans, or the idea that machines may one day enslave us. ‘You mean like the Terminator movies? Japanese people aren’t so concerned,’ said Ohta. The policymakers running Japan’s economy need to be equally open-minded. Regional banks need more, not less help, especially given the emptying of the countryside. Financing greater use of automation that can assist everyday lives ought to be a no-brainer.”


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