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Instant Opinion: The Queen was ‘right to be ruthless’

Your guide to the best columns and commentary on Monday 25 November

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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. Dominic Lawson in the Daily Mail

on the royal family

For the Monarchy’s sake, the Queen was right to be ruthless with her beloved son

“It is when the Royal Family’s future becomes a General Election issue that the panic button is pushed in Buckingham Palace. Rule One is that the Crown is above politics: it cannot otherwise function as it should. There is no room for complacency on this point. A YouGov poll last week, asking the public the question ‘Should the monarchy survive?’ received the support of 63 per cent. Pensioners were 82% in support, but only 41% of the 18-24 group were in favour of its continuation. In an age of decreasing deference, that is unsurprising. But it demonstrates the long-term challenge to an institution which can survive only as a unifying force. It is a peculiarity of the Royal Family that, because it has the ultimate status, it has nothing to gain, but everything to lose. That means (although Andrew may be the unfortunate exception) it is never greedy, but always fearful.”

2. Stephen Bush in the New Statesman

on the Tories’ election promises

Manifesto Destiny

“Safety first is the message that the Tories want the media to repeat and voters to take from the manifesto. But this isn’t a safety first manifesto – it is, albeit in a very different way, every bit as transformative a programme as Labour’s, but where Labour think their interests are best served by talking up how radical they are, the Conservatives think their aims are better served by stealth. Are they right? Well, if the polls are even close to accurate, yes. But in office, something is going to have to give here and while Theresa May showed that there are risks in writing a manifesto and forgetting the voters, Boris Johnson might, like David Cameron before him, live to regret neglecting the question of what happens after.”

3. Tim Stanley in The Daily Telegraph

on public spending

The Tories have conceded too much to Labour

“My greatest worry [is] that by trying to echo Labour’s language on spending, the Tories validate Labour’s direction of travel, if not its destination. If there is to be a national consensus that the UK needs to spend a whole lot more, then all it takes is for Labour to replace Jeremy Corbyn with someone more attractive and it could easily win an election by outbidding the Tories.”

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4. John Rentoul in The Independent

on covering the election

Corbyn is right to be neutral on Brexit – because he wants to change the subject

“Projecting an enthusiasm deficit onto the electorate is part of a larger mistake that we journalists often make. Our problem is that we have been writing about the arguments of this election for months, and the debate about Brexit has been soul-drainingly intense for a whole year now. Yet it is only now, with less than three weeks to go until polling day, and with postal ballots about to arrive, that most normal people start to pay close attention to politics. This means that not only is there an enthusiasm gap between voters and journalists, but there is an agenda gap too, in that journalists regard the finer points of Labour’s Brexit policy or Tory NHS spending plans as old news at just the time when many voters want to know more about them.”

5. Clare Foges in The Times

on drugs

Legalisation of cannabis is a fool’s crusade

“If you are against the legalisation of cannabis, you are automatically cast as defender of the status quo, which is a difficult role to play. Those who point out that ‘the war on drugs’ isn’t working are right. But then neither is ‘the war on violent crime’, ‘the war on domestic abuse’, or ‘the war on burglary’. Failing to stop these other crimes would never be seen as a reason to down weapons and admit defeat, and yet this is what many propose we do on drugs.”

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