In Depth

Instant Opinion: ‘loss of confidence in government’ could trigger second coronavirus wave

Your guide to the best columns and commentary on Thursday 4 June

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

1. Stephen Bush in the New Statesman

On the fresh outbreak of sickness in parliament

How the loss of confidence in the government could lead to a second wave of Covid-19

“The growing perception that the government is doing the wrong things is dangerous itself. The polling consistently shows most people think it is too early to ease the lockdown, then there’s the 76 per cent of people telling YouGov that MPs should simply be able to vote online until the pandemic is over. And there’s also the belief that Parliament's return will cause lockdown to ‘end’… The perception that the government has lost control of the disease, which a fresh outbreak in Parliament would surely trigger, might cause more damage than any other misstep the government may have made since the start of the lockdown.”

2. Allister Heath in The Daily Telegraph

on the trouble brewing for Boris Johnson

The government must act now or a triple Covid storm will destroy it

“Johnson should give a televised address to the nation in which he accepts that bad mistakes have been made, where he states that the system he inherited turned out to be catastrophically unfit for purpose and where he vows to change it. He must announce sweeping changes, high-profile sackings, greater accountability, a new policy to cocoon care homes, the abolition of PHE, the creation of British version of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, able and willing to work with the private sector, and an NHS that reports directly to the secretary of state. The longer Johnson waits, the more toxic the errors of the past few months will become for him.”

3. Afua Hirsch in The Guardian

on how ‘horrible stuff’ is not just an American problem

The racism that killed George Floyd was built in Britain

“The British government could have had the humility to use this moment to acknowledge Britain’s experiences. It could have discussed how Britain helped invent anti-black racism, how today’s US traces its racist heritage to British colonies in America, and how it was Britain that industrialised black enslavement in the Caribbean, initiated systems of apartheid all over the African continent, using the appropriation of black land, resources and labour to fight both world wars and using it again to reconstruct the peace.”

4. Gerard Baker in The Times

on the blue-failure to take on African-American inequality

Democrats fail black voters and blame others

“George Floyd. Eric Garner. Freddie Gray. Rodney King. The baleful list of the names of black men killed or brutalised by police in America is long and too familiar. So too the list of cities where these and other acts occurred, cities now engulfed in protest and mayhem: Minneapolis. New York. Baltimore. Los Angeles… These places have something else in common. Every one of them is controlled by the Democratic Party. Not just recently, or narrowly, or tenuously. Like almost all big cities in America where most instances of racial tension have occurred of late, they are citadels of one-party rule.”

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5. Stephen Daisley in The Spectator

on how George Floyd’s death poured accelerant on centre-left radicalism

Liberals are wrong to defend George Floyd protest violence

“Scenes of rioting, looting and the firebombing of a police station bring out the Rousseauean id of the liberal psyche and a righteous impatience to burn it all to the ground and start over. (‘Out of the rack and ruin of our gangster death/ The rape and rot of graft, and stealth, and lies/ We, the people, must redeem…/ And make America again!’) The drift towards radicalism on the centre-left did not begin with the killing of George Floyd. Some American progressives are done with America, as the New York Times’s flawed, fervently defended and Pulitzer-winning 1619 Project illustrates. The taking of another black life has poured accelerant on this process.”

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