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Instant Opinion: Boris can ‘steal’ votes from Labour

Your guide to the best columns and commentary on Wednesday 30 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. James Kirkup in The Times

on the ideological battlegrounds of December’s election

How Boris Johnson can steal votes from Jeremy Corbyn

“Inevitably, the election and its aftermath will be about Brexit, and however the first chapter of that painful story ends our future relationship with the EU will loom large for years to come. But for many people, other things matter more. If Johnson is to win the voters’ permission to ‘get Brexit done’ at last, he must first remember that there is more to life than leaving.”

2. Patrick Maguire in the New Statesman

on class warfare in the face of Brexit

Jeremy Corbyn’s strategy? Reminding Leave voters that Boris Johnson is posh

“Again and again, Corbyn described Johnson and the Tories in stereotypical terms: privileged, born-to-rule, wealthy. Polling consistently shows that the Brexit-backing Labour voters who Johnson believes will give him a majority feel a stronger aversion to the Conservatives than an attachment to Brexit. The Labour leadership will hope that reminding voters in those seats that Johnson is a posh Tory, like any other, will be enough to check the sweeping advances that many in Westminster are already taking for granted.”

3. Peter Franklin on UnHerd

on an organic, plant-based scapegoat

The real reason why people hate vegans

“Most ‘progressive’ causes come at little individual cost. If you live in a democracy, you lose nothing by not being racist or sexist or whatever bad thing it might be. Even with a cause like environmentalism, which implies the necessity of a simpler lifestyle, one can get away with not practicing as one preaches — especially when the world’s evils are blamed on some all-powerful, corporate other. Veganism, though, is different — to become vegan is to commit oneself to a lifetime of taking personal responsibility for the consequences of one’s own actions. In that respect it is deeply conservative and counter to the spirit of contemporary liberalism.”

4. Roger Cohen in The New York Times

on the end of an era in Lebanon

The Arab Spring rekindled in Beirut

“Across the region, societal dysfunction still runs deep. Very young populations are frustrated by the lack of economic opportunity and by constant insults to their dignity in the form of governmental impunity and waste. A millennial generation is sick of nepotism, frozen political systems and waste. Neither the oppression of dictators nor the promises of Islamic radicalism have delivered the human dignity that comes with government accountability. Young Arabs want agency. They don’t want to pay their water bill and then pay again to bribe some official to get connected to the water pipe that goes to a minister’s home and so actually works. They don’t want to watch the same old men doing the same old things over and over again, before handing power to their sons.”

5. Daisy Jones on Vice

on the pains of growing up

Halloween sucks in your twenties

“Once you reach your twenties though, the purpose of Halloween starts to get a little muddy. You’d get arrested if you went banging on your neighbour's door in a Texas Chainsaw Massacre mask, and cheap vodka now turns your stomach – as do most other people. But you also don't feel old or boring enough to give it up entirely, and there's a high chance you don't have kids of your own to pivot the focus to. So instead you cling on, existing in some weird liminal space between what Halloween should be, and what it actually is.”

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