In Depth

Instant Opinion: Don’t mention the war

Your guide to the best columns and commentary on Thursday 10 October

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

1. David Aaronovitch in The Times

on calling Germans ‘krauts’

Finally we’re agreed: Don’t mention the war

“I think this week shows that Leave.eu suddenly realised from the overwhelming response that they had got their audience badly wrong. They had spent too much time in their Caribbean tax havens while ordinary Britons have been travelling widely in Europe. True, a small minority of our citizens may be prepared to be nastier to foreigners than they were before 2016 and may feel unpleasantly emboldened. But even those who voted Leave for reasons that others may think are prejudiced don’t like to think of themselves as prejudiced. And so they are not flattered by adverts that expect them to laugh at Germans being called ‘Krauts’.”

2. Martin Kettle in The Guardian

on Brexit tribes

Brexit’s legacy for England will be politics as sectarian as Northern Ireland’s

“Northern Ireland’s divides are rooted in centuries of religious divide. The Brexit divide in Britain is far more recent. But it is rooted in identities and anger, too. If Brexit does become the defining issue in mid-21st-century British politics, the hope of a country coming back together could be as fragile as the dream of Irish peace now is, and just as fraught.”

3. Janet Street-Porter in the Daily Mail

on Extinction Rebellion protests

Never mind the nose-rings, Boris, a lot of these climate-change protestors are your people and they have a point

“Mocking protestors, like Boris has done, won’t work. One critic said that the movement will only be successful if it appeals to middle England. But look past the fancy dress and whacky slogans, and listen to the people holding placards. They are resoundingly middle class. Many are protesting for the first time. The section of society that cares about animals, loves watching the BBC’s David Attenborough and thinks he should be running Britain, and carefully recycles everything in the correct containers - are all sympathetic to the climate change cause. Only blinkered buffoons like Boris could pretend otherwise.”

4. Patrick Cockburn in The Independent

on Trump’s Kuridsh betrayal

Kurdish soldiers I spoke to feared Trump would be a treacherous ally. But the scale of his betrayal is terrifying

“The Kurds do not like the Syrian government, which persecuted and marginalised them for years before 2011, but they do prefer them to Turkish control and probable expulsion. The problem here is that the Kurds may have left it too late. So long as they were allied to the US, they could not seriously negotiate with Damascus. Now they appear to have the worst of all possible worlds: neither Washington nor Moscow nor Damascus is going to protect them.”

5. Nicholas Kristof in the New York Times

on Chinese censorship

When China Comes for Pooh Bear …

“Xi’s anxiety about the internet, religion, Hong Kong protesters, even Winnie-the-Pooh underscores his own insecurities. Xi seems terrified that real information will infiltrate the Chinese echo chamber, undermining his propaganda department’s personality cult around a benign ‘Uncle Xi. We can exploit Xi’s fear to gain leverage — and maybe to chip away at Chinese nationalism just a little bit.”

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