In Depth

Instant Opinion: Brexit leaves Ireland ‘alone in the EU’

Your guide to the best columns and commentary on Friday 7 February

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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. Eoin Drea in Politico EU

on a Britain-less bloc

Ireland’s never been more alone in the EU

“Long hailed as the poster boy for the EU’s particular type of economic success — a small, flexible economy matched with a young, liberal, multiethnic population — Ireland has been a soothing, centrist narrative for a Eurocrat crowd tired of political extremes. Brexit, too, thrust Ireland and the EU closer together. But not even Brexit-induced European solidarity will be able to (in the long run) mask the realities of Ireland’s increasingly anomalous position in Europe.”

2. Hamid Dabashi in Al Jazeera

on old meeting new

Show trials: From Stalin's Moscow Trials to Trump's impeachment

“Indeed the absurd is on full show in Trump's trial: everyone knows that he abused his office to pressure a foreign country and yet in broad daylight, Alan Dershowitz, a Harvard professor of law on the president's defence team, stands up and says the US constitution does not say what the US constitution says, while McConnell puts together a whole political machinery to exonerate Trump and help pave the way for his re-election. Trump's presidency and his impeachment are a theatre of the absurd on a global stage, except with real and calamitous consequences. There is no exiting this theatre.”

3. Sage Young in NBC

on discrimination in Hollywood

Oscars 2020 best director snubs part of a bigger problem. Big problems need big fixes.

“The academy is working toward diversifying its membership, but it’s a lengthy process, and voters are still predominantly male and white. When voters only pay attention to the stories that pertain to them, the result is more often than not a monochromatic, staid list of nominees that doesn’t come close to representing the best of the art form or include the biggest risk takers. Given the Oscars’ power, the ripple effect goes far beyond the ceremony itself.”

4. Philip Stevens in The Irish Times

on the rise of Le Pen

The skies darken for France’s Sun King, Emmanuel Macron

“Emmanuel Macron has just passed the halfway mark of his presidential term and France’s metropolitan elites are already falling to despair about the next election. The omens, they say, are far from encouraging. As elegantly as he dances on the global stage, he is no longer applauded at home. Mr Macron could lose in 2022. Dangerously, the far-right Marine Le Pen could win the Elysée. Now that would be a political earthquake. The shockwaves would be felt well beyond the borders of France. Whenever I am in Berlin I hear complaints about the French president’s habit of seizing the agenda. But Germany cannot afford to see Mr Macron lose. That would damage German as well as French ambitions for a Europe that holds its own amid great power rivalry between the US and China.”

5. The editorial board in the South China Morning Post

on a noble cause

Death of virus doctor who told the truth must not be in vain

“His cruel fate holds a lesson for the authorities. At any sign of a crisis that could affect public sentiment, mainland officials tend to play things down, using the excuse of avoiding panic and social instability. In this case, however, the public is expressing a legitimate expectation that officials exercise sound judgment in determining whether rumours are true or false or warrant further attention. Dismissing them out of hand as lacking substance, in an attempt to head off public concern, hardly meets that test. It is a kind of mentality that can no longer be accepted. The officials found responsible should be punished.”

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