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Instant Opinion: ‘Expect more bodies - the EU’s migrant policy is dangerous’

Your guide to the best columns and commentary on Thursday 24 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. Jo Wilding in The Independent

on migration

Expect more bodies after the 39 in a truck in Essex. EU desperation to keep out migrants has left it in a helpless position

“In the determination to stop ‘unlawful’ immigration, instead of creating safe, legal routes, Europe tightens up security and people take a longer way around, a more dangerous way around. People don’t stop moving. They will never stop moving. And until we recognise that, and address it with humane policies, we will continue to find lorries full of dead human beings. No doubt, in the coming days, we will start to hear the names and life stories of some of the people who died. Important as those are, we should not let that distract us from the most important matter: that their demise, and the deaths of so many like them, is the fault of the British government, the British Home Office, British foreign policy, and our counterparts across Europe.”

2. David Aaronovitch in The Times

on the monarchy

Prince Harry and Meghan can’t have it both ways

“I just can’t see how our unconscious public sadism and love of celebrity can be accommodated by the monarchy once Elizabeth II has passed from our lives. It is horribly obvious that for their own sakes Harry and Meghan should renounce their titles and become private citizens, rather than vainly attempt to bend the institution to suit their psychological needs. Someone needs to show that it can be done. The truly modern monarchy is one you can leave. One where Edward VIII did the right thing. I’m not a republican because I think a modern constitutional monarchy is something that fits in with our idea of ourselves as Britons. But after the Queen it needs pruning and decelebritisation. It needs bicycling princesses and princes who teach in primary schools. It needs people we can relate to and empathise with, not suck up to, envy and secretly wish to destroy.”

3. Owen Jones in The Guardian

on an early general election

It’s time for Labour to bite the bullet and embrace an election

“Labour should shake off any self-destructive gloom. It should confidently trumpet its ‘let the people decide’ Brexit policy, offering the only plausible route back for remainers: a compromise position between hard Brexit and the Lib Dems’ arrogantly undemocratic revoke. It understandably fears an election defined by Brexit, but offering clarity about a genuinely uncomplicated position gives it permission to talk about the issues it cares about, as well as winning back supporters who have fled to the Lib Dems and Greens. It must put domestic issues – taxing the rich and big business, public ownership, solving the housing crisis and a real living wage – centre stage, in part by emphasising that such ‘burning injustices’ led to Brexit in the first place and offering optimistic can-do solutions.”

4. Roy Greenslade in the New Statesman

on the Belfast blindspot

How Britain still doesn’t get Northern Ireland

“Despite sporadic sectarian clashes, the British media largely reverted to the pre-1966 habit of ignoring Northern Ireland. It was left to deal with its deeply divided society, where religious ghettos exist behind ‘peace walls’, schooling is separated by religion, and passionate disputes over language rights, same-sex marriage and abortion are unresolved. Northern Ireland in 2019 is not as it was in 1921, nor as it was in 1969. But its society remains broken, a situation exacerbated by the failure of the British media to report honestly, fairly and consistently on a part of the United Kingdom that demands much greater journalistic attention.”

5. Philip Stevens in the Financial Times

on Europe

Thatcher’s fear of an overmighty Germany lives on in Brexit

“As it happens, unification did indeed mark the return of the German question — in the simple sense that Germany’s preponderant economic power is once again an unavoidable fact of life. What the Brexiters miss is that the EU was designed as a strong countervailing force. The US security guarantee embedded in Nato serves the same purpose — underpinning the democratic foundations of a European Germany in place of a German Europe. Brexit upends the big-power balance within the EU. France finds itself alone as a counterpoint to Germany. This at a time when US president Donald Trump is doing his best to weaken Nato. A charitable interpretation of Thatcher’s performance in Moscow would say she wanted to preserve the security offered by the status quo. Brexit marches in the opposite direction. If there is any risk of an over-mighty Germany it lies in the collapse of the present European order.”

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